“Tell me why, Ain't nothin' but a heartache, Tell me why, Ain't nothin' but a mistake, Tell me why, I never want to hear you say, I want it that way-”
“Phichit Chulanont, if you do not stop singing I’ll have you clean out the floor drains in the kitchen every night for a month!”
“But Ciao Ciao!”
“DON’T CALL ME CIAO CIAO!”
Yuuri laughs, picking up the next batch of dirty plates from the lunch service and starts stacking them into the dish cart. He has been on this shift since ten thirty this morning and will be until around midnight tonight, working all through lunch till when they are done cleaning after dinner service. He’s already exhausted. Phichit turns the radio down slightly, singing turning to humming as he gets back to picking up the clean dishes that are coming out of the restaurant’s dishwasher, slight pout on his face.
“If you just sing a little quieter he won’t care,” Yuuri says as he continues to work his way through the mountain of dirty dishes in the sink.
It had been a smooth lunch service, mostly business parties coming in large groups with pre booked meals. Yuuri had taken his half of the dining room, Phichit his, and things had gone without much trouble. The lunches usually do. The dinner services however... Yuuri sighs and pushes it from his mind as he pushes another cart into the dishwasher. He knows tonight will be a challenge, with a large alpha organisation coming in and renting most of the space in Yuuri’s area. The alphas usually get too handsy at the end of the night, not taking Yuuri’s ‘No, I’m not interested’ for an answer. Luckily, Guang Hong is coming in tonight as well, not that either of the omegas will have it easier because of that, but shared burdens.
“I know, but it’s fun to tease him,” Phichit admits, smiling widely.
Yuuri shakes his head at his friend’s antics, even if they always brighten his day. He loads the last cart of dishes and sends it into the dishwasher, pulling off the yellow dish gloves and placing them in the rack next to the sink.
“He’s gonna make good on his threat,” Yuuri says as he turns to face his friend. Phichit simply shrugs, smile on his face as he continues to hum to the song on the radio.
They’re both in the all black waiter uniforms, short sleeve button ups and tight jeans, the Celestino logo in gold over their hearts. Phichit always looks so good in his, while Yuuri feels a little stuffed in the tight ensemble, shifting to try to get it to fit better. He feels like he wears it more than his own clothes these days.
Phichit is in a deep purple collar today, adorned with small, crystal gems. Yuuri’s is a plane blue, his favorite every day collar. He’s wearing the matching blue cuffs, and the right one has started to fray at the lower edge. He’ll have to replace them soon.
“Did you pick the fish or chicken for lunch today?” Phichit asks. The question reminds Yuuri of the Crown Prince’s lunch conference and he snaps his head up to the clock, terrified he’s missed it.
He hasn’t of course. He would never let himself, and neither would Phichit. There is still ten minutes left until it’s scheduled to start.
“Chicken,” he answers. Celestino is a kind boss, and he takes good care of his employees. They get to eat one of each meal they serve, free of charge. The lunch is always eaten after the lunch service, the dinner when time permits it.
They take the last clean dishes out of the cart as soon as it’s out of the dishwasher, almost too warm to be held without shifting it around, and places it where it belongs. When done, they pick up their lunch plates from one of the cooks and walk out into the dining room. In the area next to the bar there’s a TV. It’s placed so that those who want to eat something light and watch a game can without disturbing the dining room where guests come for finer dinners. The omegas sit down on a couch, plates in one hand and forks in the other, starting to shovel in their food. The chicken has been paired with oven roasted potatoes and cream sauce, and it tastes like heaven after running around the dining room all through lunch.
The TV is already on, a group of newscasters and a royal expert trying to guess what the prince has called this press conference for. It hadn’t been disclosed, like it normally would. The press release simply said that it was something that would affect the entire nation, and that as many as possible were encouraged to watch. Yuuri’s heart is pounding, much like it always is when there is something involving Crown Prince Victor.
Yuuri can’t say when it started. He just knows that basically his entire life, he’s had a crush on Crown Prince Victor Nikiforov. Well before either of them presented, Yuuri had looked at the TV and seen brilliant blue eyes, a heart shaped smile and long flowy silver hair, and his heart had beat so fast in his small chest it almost hurt. He had stared at the four years older boy on the screen in awe, until Mari had broken him out of his trance through teasing.
The feeling had not subdued as he grew up, and as he got to watch the prince turn from child to man, his feelings had deepend. Yuuri knows it’s crazy. He’s never met the prince, and never will. Holding such strong feelings towards someone who doesn’t even know he exists is borderline masochistic.
Still, Yuuri can’t stop himself. Everytime he sees the prince or hears his voice, his stomach flips and he fills with warmth. It’s not just his looks that enchant Yuuri, even if it had been at first. Victor works hard to build a better country, building children's hospitals and speaking up about omega rights and helping refugees. He’s going to be an amazing king, Yuuri knows it. So maybe it’s not that strange that he harbours a crush on someone that amazing. The prince will never know, and Yuuri has stopped blabbering about how amazing the prince is to all living organisms he meets a long time ago so not to be teased. Only those closest to him knows about his impossible crush. What is the harm in a little fantasy? A dream that will never happen? Hopefully, nothing.
Other press conferences are usually about charities or collaborations, but they always come with an explanation. This is so vague. Yuuri worries if Victor is okay. Is he sick? Or, has the day finally come, where he announces an engagement, and Yuuri’s heart breaks? Yuuri tries not to imagine it, Victor with a beautiful omega by his side, looking at them with glittering eyes, filled with love and adoration. Yuuri knows he has no chance, but as long as the prince is single, he can fantasize with less guilt. Pretend that one day the crown prince will waltz into Celestino's restaurant, spot Yuuri, and ask him out on the spot. It’s a silly dream, but it’s Yuuri’s dearest.
There have been rumors throughout the years of Victor having partners. Paparazzi photos taken of the Crown Prince getting out of a car with someone, or party pictures of him with an arm around someone. Nothing confirmed, nothing denied. Yuuri has wondered if Victor would have noticed him if they were ever at a party together. If Victor would smile towards him and if they would dance.
More employees gather in the area, all of them curious to what the news can be. Gossip flows freely about what the bomb the Royal house is about to drop could be, marriage at the top of the list. Yuuri’s stomach twists again. When the royal emblem shows on screen, they all fall quiet. Yuuri carefully places his plate on the table in front of him, leaning forward slightly. His heart is pounding in his chest, and he has to try to remind himself to keep breathing. Nothing good will come from him passing out at the sight of the prince, again.
The camera immediately focuses on the palace press secretary Lilia Baranovskya. Her face is as always sharp, emotionless. She looks over the room, no doubtedly filled with reporters and media. This is how almost every press conference from the royal house starts. Lilia will explain the layout of the conference, and then Victor will come up to speak.
“Good day to all of you that have gathered here in the Nicholai Hall in the palace, and welcome to all of you throughout the country that is watching. This press conference has been called by Crown Prince Victor and he will come up shortly to share with you why he has. He will speak his mind, and when he is done he’s going to step off the stage. Any questions will be asked to me, after he is done. Anyone who does not obey by these rules will be asked to leave the room immediately.”
Yuuri blinks in surprise and the shocked murmurs from the press at the palace can be heard through the TV speakers. The prince is usually very social, charms the entire press corps with a smile and wink. For him not to answer questions, this must be something serious. All thoughts of jealousy towards a potential mate for the prince disappears from Yuuri as he starts to worry about the prince’s health. Is he truly sick? Hurt? Dying? The omegas mind and heart races as the prince steps up to the table to speak, Lilia taking a step back.
Victor looks just as lovely as ever. Strong broad shoulders, a slender neck, lithe waist. He’s in a deep blue button up shirt that makes his eyes seem impossibly bluer. His hair lies perfectly over one eye and when he looks into the camera, those perfect pink lips spread into a charming smile. Yuuri’s heart does a flip in his chest at the sight.
“Hello, and thank you for coming and for watching. I know this press conference has been highly speculated about so I will not keep you waiting. As most of you know, my mother, the regent queen, has been ill lately. She’s doing alright, but her wavering health is something the entire royal family is struggling with, in more ways than one.
“Even though her health is not as good as we all would like, the queen has decided that she wants to continue to rule, but for precautions to be set in place in case she worsens. For all of you that are familiar with the royal heritage laws you realise this affects me in a deep way. One of which, is the need for a mate.
“The law clearly states that the regent shall have a mate. It is widely known that being mated keeps one’s head clearer, brings joy and strengthens relations, both in one’s professional and personal life. Since I do not have a mate, nor do I have anyone in my life as of right now that I would want to spend my life with in that way, I have chosen to evoke the ‘Catarina praxi.’”
Several people, including Yuuri, sucks in a breath. Yuuri is very familiar with the ‘Catarina Praxis’, he had an exam on in his ‘The Royal family - history and present’ course as part of his internal affairs major where it was covered. The Catarina Praxi came from the 17th century, when the then regent Alexi the second Nikiforov passed quickly, before his daughter Crown Princess Anastasia the first had found a mate. A nationwide search was made, and in the end, by scent alone, Anastasia chose a farmer’s omega, Catarina, to be her mate. They ruled for fifty years together, and their mateship is one of the strongest and most celebrated throughout the country's history. Since then, the ‘Catarina Praxis’ has been used three times, the latest being for Victor’s grandparents. There is a catch to it though…
“Lilia will give out the specific details how it will be conducted, but it will be a nationwide search for a mate for me and will require scent samples. As those of you who are familiar with the praxi knows, this means that all omegas that fall into the chosen group are prohibited from entering a mateship until an engagement between me and a chosen omega has been announced. This results in that all unmated omegas from the age of eighteen to twenty eight are now legally arranged to be mated to me, until an official engagement has been made. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will cause, and hope for a fast search, so that this rule can be evoked.
“I thank you all for your continued support for the royal family and hope you will help me in my search to finding someone to spend my life with. Thank you.”
Victor smiles one last time, a dazzling one, before he steps off, disappearing out of frame. The Nicholai Hall explodes with questions from the reporters as Lilia steps up to the microphone, while Yuuri keeps completely still, eyes wide and mouth hanging open, heart pounding in his chest.
Yuuri bites the back of the pen as he stares down at the questionnaire he’s been given by the receptionist in the healthcare clinic. It’s been a week since the prince’s press conference, and all omegas in the required age span that have not been registered as mated have been sent a letter, urging them to visit their designated health care clinic to leave their admission for the ‘Catarina Praxis.’ Yuuri got his three days ago. The healthcare clinics have been tasked with collecting the scent samples and apparently it comes with a questionnaire the omegas are to answer as they leave the samples.
Yuuri is trying very hard not to freak out in the waiting room as he rereads the questions for the fifth time. He knows that the likelihood of Victor actually reading this is almost none. It will probably be archived and then tossed, but if it does end up in the prince’s hands, it has to be perfect. This is the only chance Yuuri is ever going to get, and even if it is almost non-existing, he has to try to do his best. He’ll never forgive himself if he doesn’t.
To have to answer five questions just out of the blue, without preparation makes Yuuri’s stomach turn. What if he writes something stupid? He’s definitely going to. Yuuri is an expert at embarrassing himself after all. He glances down again, takes a deep breath. He needs to just do it. Not think too much.
He starts with the easy ones. Name, age, social security number, ways to contact him. Then comes the hard part. Yuuri bites the end of the pen again, before starting to write, as neatly as he possibly can. He tries to imagine Phichit or Guang Hong asking instead of envisioning Victor’s pretty lips forming the words, and then the answers come a little easier.
What do you do on a normal day?
Okay, that’s pretty easy, Yuuri can just scribble down how he goes about his day. Not too hard. Not that he lives an exciting life, reading about his normal day must be boring. Still, he can’t lie. If the prince were to choose him, which he never will, Yuuri wants it to be real, not a fake version of himself.
I wake up early from doggy kisses from my dog. I take him for a walk and then head over to my aunt’s dance studio to take one of her classes. I go back home, feed and walk my dog again, before a quick nap. I take my dog to my sister and then head to work. I’m a waiter at a local restaurant, and then work there from the lunch service till we close after the dinner service. If I have time in between, I study for my internal affairs course I take at the local college.
What are your passions?
Okay, that’s easy too. As long as he doesn’t think too hard about who might read this, he can try to get something sensible and true on the questionnaire.
Dancing and animals, dogs in particular. And food. And helping people.
What are your dreams?
Oh, that’s so much harder. Okay, deep breaths, Yuuri. If it were Phichit who was asking, what would you say?
I would have loved to work with dance in some way, and maybe someday I’ll have the opportunity to teach. I do teach some children's ballet classes on my days off from the restaurant. I was never good enough to perform. I would like to save enough money to be able to get through my college classes faster, without having to split my program up to afford it. I hope to be able to make a difference for this country with my degree, to make it easier for those who have less to live fuller lives.
How does your perfect day off look like?
Ugh, everything he’s coming up with sounds so stereotypical. It’s still true though. Yuuri isn’t an exciting person. He doesn’t need much.
Lounging on the couch or in my nest, playing video games or watching TV series or movies with my dog. Drink tea and order take out and just be. Or, spend the entire day in the dance studio, creating .
What would you normally be looking for in a mate?
Shit shit shit, Yuuri can’t write ‘Victor Nikiforov’ like he would if he would be answering a friend. His heart starts pounding in his chest, palms sweaty. He tries to think of something, anything. He imagines his parents mateship, his friends Yuuko and Takeshi. The ones he’s seen that have been less than good, unsupportive and hurtful. He takes another deep breath, and tries to gather his thoughts.
A partnership. Someone who can rely on me, and that I can rely on in return. Someone to share life with, good, bad, horrible. The tough times and the good times. A person who can be vulnerable with me, someone who I can take care of, and that can take care of me. Someone to love.
He stares down on the words on the page, sighing. It feels inadequate, even if it’s all true. He doesn’t know what more to say. It will have to be enough, even if he knows it will never be. Victor deserves someone spectacular, and Yuuri just isn’t.
“Yuuri Katsuki?” the receptionist calls and Yuuri looks up to face him. The beta smiles politely, and gestures down the hall. “You’re up next.”
“Okay, Yuuri. Unlock the cuffs and collar please,” Yuuko says as she holds her hand up, wiggling the bag she’s holding filled with tubes and swabs.
“How many of these have you done so far?” Yuuri asks, shifting on the patient bed.
Yuuko has been a nurse for about four years, and works at the health care clinic Yuuri is assigned too. Yuuri is both thankful and a little embarrassed to go to her for this, considering she knows about his major crush on the prince, with them being friends since childhood, long before Yuuri learned to hold back.
“I’ve done about three hundred so far, I don’t know about the whole clinic. We’re supposed to do two thousand, and the country as a whole I think it’s about one hundred thousand,” Yuuko says as Yuuri reaches into his pocket to retrieve his wallet that holds the key to the collar and cuffs. He usually leaves it at home, where it’s truly safe, but it was either bringing it or leaving the house without collar, and Yuuri doesn’t take risks like that.
“That’s so many, how is the prince supposed smell all of those?” Yuuri asks. It sounds completely insane. The prince can’t sit and smell over one hundred thousand scent samples.
“I know, right!? I have no idea how they plan to pull it off,” Yuuko laughs as she starts unpacking the bag she holds in her hand. “Maybe the prince will have some sort of premonition of who to smell? Or have some group that smells them first? We are to take several samples from each omega.”
Yuuri’s heart clenches a little in his chest. He never thought the prince would choose him anyway, but now it feels like an unclimbable mountain, with so many omegas handing in samples. It’s mandatory after all. All unmated omegas in the age span between eighteen to twenty eight. One hundred thousand omegas. No way is Yuuri going to get picked over so many.
“Yeah, it sounds like an unimaginable task,” Yuuri agrees and Yuuko frowns as she watches him unlock the cufts on his wrists, placing the black straps on the paper clad mattress next to him.
“Maybe that's why they’ve asked for the questionnaire? So to lower the numbers of who seems like they might match with the prince?”
“Yeah, maybe that’s it,” Yuuri agrees, reaching to open the collar around his neck next, sliding it around to reach the lock. Yuuko has been placing the contents of the bag on a tray on a rollable table next to the bed while they’ve been talking. Everything is neatly placed in two rows, swabs and sticks and tubes with liquid.
“Alright, hold out your left wrist first,” Yuuko instructs and Yuuri does as told, offering his wrist, scent gland up. “Did you fill out the questionnaire?”
“I did,” Yuuri says, frowning as he looks over at the sealed letter he had given Yuuko as he came into the room, for her to place with the scent samples after they are done.
“What will you do when he picks you?” Yuuko says, gleam in her brown eyes, lips quirked up. Yuuri sputters, almost pulling his wrist out of her hand as she dabs the wet cloth on his scent gland.
“Yuuko! You know he’ll never-,”
“I don’t, and neither do you. Haven’t you had a crush on him for years? Maybe it’s fate!” Yuuko says cheerily, placing the cloth into a tube with liquid, closing it tightly before picking up the next swab.
“I doubt that. I bet he won’t even receive my samples. They will take one look at my questionnaire and toss the whole thing.”
At least that’s what Yuuri keeps telling himself, trying to push down any hope he has of being picked to be Victor’s mate. If he’s dismissed by something like being a waiter, not having achieved his dreams or not having a college degree yet, maybe it won’t hurt as much.
“I’m sure they won’t. There would be no point of such a big search if they are going to be judgemental,” Yuuko protests, closing the second scent sample tube. “Okay, I’m gonna do the neck now. This might be a bit uncomfortable.”
Yuuri closes his eyes and rolls his head to the right, the cool, wet scent cloth dabbing at the sensitive gland there. It is uncomfortable. The scent glands are so sensitive, and Yuuri, never having had a boyfriend has barely had anyone but himself touch them. He bites the inside of his cheek to not let out a distressed whimper.
“Other side,” Yuuko instructs and Yuuri leans to the left, Yuuko repeating the procedure on the scent gland there. “There, all done.”
Yuuri opens his eyes, blinking to adjust to the light of the examination room. Yuuko holds out a tub of gel scent blockers. It’s not the kind Yuuri usually uses, but it will work until he gets home. The letter asked him to come with his scent uncovered, and Yuuri got the double amount of catcalls on the way here compared to what he usually gets. Being scentless would probably help on the way home. He dips his fingers in the tub, starting at the neck and then moving to his wrists. The gel is cool against his skin as he rubs it in and he watches as Yuuko starts closing up the bags.
“Don’t give up hope, Yuuri,” she says and Yuuri frowns, placing the tub of scent blocking gel on the now empty tray. “If it’s meant to be, I’m sure it will work out.”
“The prince isn’t going to pick me,” Yuuri protests again and Yuuko smiles that smile she only uses when she knows something Yuuri doesn’t, or she thinks she does.
“We’ll see. Now get off my bed, I have other patients to swab!”
It’s been two months since Yuuri visited the clinic, and the news about the ‘Catarina Praxis’ has started to calm down. All of the omegas were given one month to submit samples, so they should all have reached the palace by now. The royal house has been quiet about how the process will work, and it’s been one of the most speculated topics in the media since the announcement was made. Nothing has leaked, and therefore, the news slowly died. Yesterday the prince hastily canceled a meeting with a visiting royal family, his father, the queen's consort, having to step in in his place. This had fueled the rumors that maybe the prince had found his omega. Yuuri’s heart clenched painfully at the sight of the headlines and he had hurried to work, trying to bury himself in dishes and cleaning out the storage. Thankfully, it had been a busy day.
Today is slower. Yuuri is sitting in the personnel room of the restaurant, reading up on 17th century politics for an exam next week. It had been a slow lunch service, and they had cleaned faster than usual, giving them some extra time before they needed to get ready for the dinner service. Phichit is laying on the floor, talking to Guang Hong about going out to dance that weekend. A new DJ has started playing at Phichit’s preferred club, and he’s dying to check it out. Yuuri doesn’t really like going out to dance, even if he does sometimes fold to Phichit’s endless begging. It’s been a few months since he did last time, maybe he should. It would make his best friend happy, and it may take his mind of the prince.
His phone chimes on the table next to him, the sound of an email coming in. Yuuri pries his eyes away from the textbook to reach over, and freezes as he spots the sender. With shaky hands he unlocks his phone, heart pounding so hard he can hear it in his ears.
Dear Mr. Katsuki,
The Royal House of Nikiforov hereby invites you to the Winter Palace to meet H.R.H Crown Prince Victor Nikiforov in response to your submittance to the ‘Catarina Praxis’.
H.R.H Crown Prince Victor invites you to stay at the palace for a week, for the chance of you two getting to know each other properly in hopes of you becoming the future king’s consort. You will be given a room at the palace and be treated as an official guest, spending most of your time with H.R.H Crown Prince Victor. Please inform us of your availability for the suggested date below at your earliest convenience.
Lilia Baranovskya, Press Secretary to the Royal House of Nikiforov
Yuuri stares down at the email. Rereads it once, twice, before opening the sender line to check, because he’s sure this is a very well crafted fake email, but nope. That is the official royal house email and that is the press secretary's official email address. Yuuri sucks in a breath, hands shaking as the phone slips from his grip, clattering to the floor.
Yuuri goes to the palace to meet the prince. He's not freaking out. Not even a little bit.
A huge thank you to all of you for the great response for this fic and this entire week. It's been almost overwhelming how much nice things you've had to say about it, and I'm so incredibly grateful!
I hope you enjoy the continuation of this modern arranged marriage AU for my two favourite boys.
Betaed by the great takeitoffhemmo
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The knock on the door startles Yuuri even if he’s sitting in the hallway waiting for it. He’s been sitting here for ten minutes, just staring at the white apartment door, trying really hard not to freak the fuck out. He wishes he had Vicchan with him to calm his raging nerves, but he’s left him with Mari for the week, not daring to ask the palace if he could bring his dog.
It’s been a week since he received the email, and after Phichit had coaxed him back into the land of the living after an actual omega drop on the floor of the personnel room floor, something Yuuri has never experienced before, he had helped Yuuri come to terms with the contents of the invitation.
Yes. It is an official email. Yes. It meant that Yuuri is going to meet the prince. Yes. It means that the prince might be interested in Yuuri. The whole thing is as if taken from a fairytale. A very twisted fairytale. Because surely the prince will take one look at Yuuri, thank him for coming, since he’s nice like that, and send him back home on the train. There is no way the prince will actually be interested in Yuuri, right?
Yuuri stands on shaky legs, unlocking and opening the door slowly. There are two people standing outside of it, one is female with fiery red hair and sparkling blue eyes, a beta. The other is a dark haired male, alpha, Yuuri thinks. He’s in a black suit, sunglasses on his face, and looks every bit as every stereotypical bodyguard Yuuri has seen in movies.
“Hello, Yuuri Katsuki?” The woman asks and Yuuri nods, swallowing hard. “You have ID?”
“Uhm, sure.” He picks up his wallet and pulls up his driver's license and holds it out, heart hammering in his chest. The woman looks at it, looks at Yuuri, and then nods, wide smile on her face as she hands the card back.
“Sorry. I had to make sure. I’m Mila, and I’m Victor’s advisor. This is Otabek,” she says, gesturing to the guard behind her, who waves once. “He’s one of Victor’s body guards. Lilia has informed you that we were coming to get you I hope?”
Yuuri must look completely shocked, but he nods. Lilia had informed him of a schedule, names of the people picking him up and sent a list of appropriate clothing to bring.
“Y-yes, she did,” Yuuri agrees, trying to calm his racing heart by taking deep breaths.
“Great,” Mila says looking into the hallway. “Is this your only luggage?”
“Yeah,” Yuuri looks down at the single suitcase and backpack. “I hope it’s not too much?”
He had tried to pack lightly, while still bringing everything on the list. Some of the things he didn’t even own, and he hopes he won’t get into much trouble for it.
Mila laughs, eyes glittering as she shakes her head, behind her Otabek’s lips twitch into a small smile.
“Oh no! We’re just used to traveling with people who pack their entire wardrobe. Ready to go?”
Yuuri nods. reaching for his bags but before he reaches them, Otabek has grabbed them both.
“I can take them,” Yuuri assures but Otabek shakes his head.
“The prince would like me to take them,” he assures and Yuuri flushes at the mention of Victor, his stomach flipping at the thought of soon being at the palace, where the prince lives. That soon, Yuuri will meet him. He’s still not sure this isn’t a fever dream.
They walk out to a sleek black car, unmarked and without the flags Yuuri has seen the royal vehicles decorated with before. Otabek places his bags in the trunk, and then opens the door for Yuuri, the omega blushing as he slides into the car. He works his lower lip between his teeth, trying not to freak out about being in a closed area with two unknown people, palace employees or not. He reaches for his collar absentmindedly, checking to make sure it’s still there.
The Winter Palace lies outside of the capital, a six hour drive from the small town Yuuri lives in. He had been prepared to take the train, but Lilia insisted that the prince wanted to send a car, and who was Yuuri to argue with that?
“How are you feeling, Yuuri?” Mila asks from the seat next to him when they’ve all been seated, Otabek directing the car onto the freeway.
“Alright. Nervous. I- I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve never done anything like this before.”
“Yes, it’s a very unique situation. The entire palace have been buzzing with it ever since the decision of the ‘Catarina Praxi’ was made, and then again when the prince made his choice. We’ve been to so many information gatherings and meetings I've lost count on how many it’s been,” Mila agrees.
“Yes, I can’t imagine how much work it must be,” Yuuri says, trying to wrap his mind around how the organisation of the royal house handles something like this.
Yuuri probably has more knowledge about how the royal house is organised than most. Partly because of his infatuation with the gorgeous Crown Prince, and partly because of his college major, which, if he is going to be completely honest with himself, might have been influenced by his infatuation.
“Yes, but it’s been so much fun too. It’s good when something new and different happens. And we all want the Crown Prince to be happy, so it’s worth the trouble,” Mila assures him.
She leans in a little closer, glint in her eye as she does.
“You know, the prince hasn’t been able to stop talking about you since he opened your admittance. He is very much looking forward to meet you.”
Yuuri’s stomach flips again, both in excitement and with nerves. He’s looking forward to meeting the prince as well, but he’s very nervous too. He doesn’t know the prince, more than through interviews, documentaries and articles. He’s sure there is more to Victor than he has ever seen, and he longs to know it.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him too,” Yuuri admits, feeling his cheeks flush. “Will you tell me about him?”
After seven hours, two food and bathroom breaks and stories upon stories about the prince, Yuuri feels more relaxed. Mila and Otabek seem to both be close to the prince, knowing him personally, and even if Yuuri notices them holding some things back, they speak very warmly of him. They paint a rather different picture of the prince than the media does, and Yuuri soaks it all up, the dorky, soft and vulnerable. With every mile they drive, Yuuri longs to know the prince even more. Something he didn’t know was possible.
“He’s a very kind and strong person, Yuuri.” Mila says, finally. “Soft, but lonely. I hope you are a good match. It would make all of us happy if he found love.”
It’s late when they arrive at the capital, street lights guiding them through to the other side of the city. The Winter Palace is breathtaking, and Yuuri can hardly grasp all the intricate ornaments decorating both the outside and inside of it. It looks much more beautiful in person, and Yuuri thinks he might be able to get lost just walking around looking at all the art and decorations, halls and halls filled with them.
Mila and Otabek walks him to his room, a suite with a large bedroom and bathroom. It’s almost ten pm, and after Otabek has left his bags and excused himself, Mila informs him that they will send up someone with a tray of food, and that he should rest. She’ll come to him at nine tomorrow morning, and then he will get ready to meet the prince.
Yuuri constructs a quick temporary nest on the large plush bed, scenting the blankets and pillows he finds in an extra closet. It’s not as intricate as he would like, but he is too tired to construct a full nest now. He falls asleep before the food arrives, dreaming of endless travels, and never reaching his destination.
The next morning Mila brings him breakfast and they sit together in the small couch group that’s set up in Yuuri’s bedroom. The tray is filled with food - bread, fruit, eggs and waffles. Yuuri feel’s like he’s starving as he digs in, Mila smiling as she leans back with a coffee cup in her hands, claiming she’s already eaten when he offers her some.
“Okay, so after this I will ask you to go take a shower with these scent neutral soaps. It’s to bring out your natural scent. It’s just for the first meeting with the prince, to make sure you’re compatible. You can wear blockers for the rest of the stay if you feel more comfortable with that. The prince will also be without scent blockers, so you should be prepared for that.”
Yuuri nods, chewing on some toast. He’s not used to being close to alphas without scent blockers, at least not alone. Some that come into the restaurant don't use them, but the scents get mixed and therefore don’t affect him too much.
“When you’re done, I have a scentless dress you will need to wear, and I have a collar and cuffs that will let through your scent while still protecting them. This is also just for today. You can wear all your own things tomorrow.”
Yuuri’s mind is spinning, and he’s starting to get scared his scent won’t be as the prince might have remembered it, if he will be disappointed. Cupping his hands around a delicate porcelain cup, swirling with red and gold patterns, he leans back in the armchair, trying to push down his nerves.
“Have you seen him today?” Yuuri asks and Mila’s lips form into a small smile, nodding.
“I have. He was nervous, excited. He has a meeting now, before he comes to see you, and he tried very hard to have me cancel it so he could come to you sooner.”
Mila leaves him with the designated items, and Yuuri leaves the clothes, collar and cuffs on the bed, before he goes into the bathroom with the soaps. He longs to sink into the bath, but decides he’ll have to use it another time. He’s too anxious to relax now anyway, and he doesn’t want to keep Victor waiting.
The spray of the shower is warm, his natural scent of cherry blossom, vanilla and sandalwood filling the humid air. He dries off and steps out on the tile floor, pulling on a pair of his own boxers and pulls the dark blue tunic Mila left over his head. It reminds him of a dance routine costume he used for a recital once, and he smiles as he remembers the routine, locking the black collar and cuffs into place, placing the key in the nightstand. All he can do after that is wait.
Nerves roll in Yuuri’s stomach as the minutes tick by, and after a while he can no longer sit still. He starts pacing in the room, looking at all the paintings decorating the walls and out through the window into the lush gardens. If today's meeting goes well, maybe he can ask the prince if they can take a walk through them during Yuuri’s stay.
When he’s circled the room three times, nervous energy still bubbling in him, Yuuri starts to move a little more freely across the floor. Dancing has always helped him relax, and the small steps soon turn into pirouettes and jumps. It’s no real choreography, only favourite steps and flowing movements that feels right. His body welcomes the release of energy that has been building since he was picked up from his apartment yesterday, and with a song in mind he makes the steps bigger, bolder, moving surely across the floor. He can feel himself relaxing and as he guides the movements to his will, stepping into a several turn piruet.
He’s on the third lap of his turns, going for four, when he spots someone by the door. Startled, he falls out of the pirouette gracelessly, eyes wide as he turns to face whoever has managed to walk into the room unnoticed, and comes face to face with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Victor Nikiforov.
He’s in a soft black sweater, tight dark blue jeans that hug his legs just right. He looks even more beautiful than in the pictures and videos Yuuri has repeatedly watched. His skin cream white, with a slight flush on his cheeks, lips pretty pink. His silver bang is swept back slightly, two bright blue eyes meeting Yuuri’s. His heart thunders in his chest, and he sucks in a deep breath to try to calm it.
It’s a mistake, because the scent of evergreen, roses and alpha fills his senses and he’s almost knocked back by the intensity of it, how it almost calls to him. He can’t stop himself as he takes another deep breath of air, eyes fluttering close as the scent surrounds him.
“Please,” the prince says, voice wonderfully deep, and Yuuri wills his eyes to open so he can look at him. “Don’t stop on my account. That was lovely.”
“Your highness,” Yuuri stutters but Victor immediately shakes his head, taking a step further into the room, distance between them shrinking.
“Please,” the prince says, licking his lips nervously. “Call me Victor?”
Yuuri shudders. He doesn’t know if it’s the intensity in those eyes, the overwhelming and delicious scent or just the fact that he’s standing in the presence of someone that he has admired for years, but Yuuri forgets all manners. He should protest, admit that he’s not worthy, but instead the name slips off his tongue uninhibited, as if it belongs there.
Yuuri means to continue. To apologise for not hearing him coming in, for dancing. He never gets the chance because Victor’s face spreads into the loveliest smile. It’s wide and bright, heart shaped. It makes Yuuri’s head spin.
“Yuuri,” Victor answers, stepping even closer. He reaches out and takes Yuuri’s hand in his, bringing it up to his mouth. He places a soft kiss on Yuuri’s knuckles, and Yuuri thinks that there must be a miracle that's holding him upright, with how his knees tremble. “I’m so glad you’ve come to see me.”
“T-thank you for inviting me,” Yuuri answers and Victor is still holding his hand, warm and solid and real in Yuuri’s grip.
They are both silent for a moment, and Victor just smiles, eyes so bright and filled with life, joy. Yuuri feels like he’s fallen through the looking glass. This is so different, Yuuri sees it now. This Victor looks alive in a way Yuuri has never seen before, and he’s doing it looking at Yuuri.
“You are more beautiful than I could ever have imagined,” Victor says, and Yuuri is sure his heart stops for a second, all the blood in his body rushing to his cheeks. He ducks his head, embarrassed. His mind wants to scream that it’s a lie, that Victor is only saying it to be kind, but he can’t deny the sincerity in Victor’s eyes, the squeeze of his hand around Yuuri’s.
“Thank you,” he breathes, the scent filling his nose again. It’s divine. “I was sure you would be disappointed.”
A hand comes up underneath Yuuri’s chin, pushing it softly upwards until he’s staring into those startling blue eyes again. Victor is frowning slightly, brows furrowed, creating a soft crease between them. They’re closer now, and Yuuri feels surrounded by Victor’s scent. He feels addicted to it too, taking deep breaths to let it fill his nose.
“Why would you think such a thing, Yuuri?”
Yuuri is starting to feel too warm, but Victor’s hands on him feels so soft, so cool. It must be the nerves, or that he was dancing just a minute ago.
“I’m pretty ordinary?” Yuuri says, and he has no idea why it sounds like a question. Victor shakes his head immediately, leaning in a little closer, tilting his head slightly. Victor takes a deep breath, the exhale tickling the skin of Yuuri’s neck, and he realises that Victor is breathing in his scent as well. Another flash of heat surges up in his body at the thought, hands trembling.
“I don’t think there is anything ordinary about you,” Victor says as he pulls back, hand still clasped with Yuuri’s. “Let’s sit.”
Yuuri follows as Victor guides him into the couch, Victor sitting down in an armchair next to him.
“Was the trip here alright?” Victor asks and Yuuri nods, gathering courage to tell him about Mila and Otabek and how nice they had been. This leads them into talking about how Victor knows them, and Yuuri listens to the melody of Victor’s voice, dazed. Victor smiles, still heart shaped, and Yuuri’s heart flips again. He still feels so hot, and even though he’s barely wearing any clothes he wants to remove them, fabric itching against his skin.
His mind feels hazy, lulled by Victor’s deep voice and he must have been zoning out, because suddenly there is a hand on his cheek. The touch is cool and heavenly, and Yuuri turns on instinct, lips brushing the place where the delicious scent wrapping around him is the strongest.
“Yuuri,” a voice calls and Yuuri looks up, catching blue eyes looking down at him. His mind is so dizzy. Something must be wrong.
“Victor,” he says, pleading. He knows it’s him, even if he feels dazed, like he’s falling. “Please.”
Everything is a jumble after that. Yuuri remembers being moved, clutching hard onto the coolness of the person next to him, scent delicious and rich, everything Yuuri wants. The alpha’s voice is calm, telling Yuuri how he’ll take care of him. Yuuri submits. He doesn't fight it at all, baring his collared clad neck completely. He wants the alpha to take care of him, to want him, claim him. Surely that will make the heat in his body cool. He needs this alpha, who smells better than anything Yuuri has ever smelled before.
He remembers heat and want and then a sharp pinch in his upper arm. Everything turns dark after that.
Yuuri wakes up in the place he lest of all expects.
Yuuri wakes slowly, body heavy and mind hazy. He’s warm, but not hot, and he’s nestled in soft blankets, a solid heartbeat under his ear. He squirms, a grip around his waist tightening. There is a scent surrounding him, his own familiar one, but another as well, roses and evergreen. Yuuri pries his eyes open slowly, finding Crown Prince Victor Nikiforov looking down on him from where he’s resting against the pillows. His face is soft, one hand around Yuuri’s waist, the other on his cheek, delicious scent so close to his nose.
“Hi Yuuri,” Victor whispers and Yuuri pulls back slightly, blinking as he tries to orient himself.
He’s in a bed with a practically unknown alpha. He can’t remember what happened that led him here, it’s all just blank. He should be terrified, and a part of him does feels scared, looking down to check that he’s still in all his clothes, and so is Victor. He feels tired, but mind clear, body heavy but not hurt.
“What happened?” he asks, meeting Victor’s eyes again.
“You went into heat,” Victor explains and Yuuri feels his eyes widen, pushing back from Victor as panic rises in his throat and he tries to feel if he’s sore or if anything happened or…
“Nothing happened!” Victor assures him as he lets Yuuri push himself away, sitting up as Yuuri straights as well. “I called the doctor and they gave you an emergency heat stopper. It’s only been a few hours.”
“How-how did we end up here?” Yuuri asks, mind racing at it tries to catch up. They’re still in his room, in his nest. It smells like them now, and something in Yuuri feels lighter for it, enjoys the feeling of his alpha’s scent in his nest. Oh no, not his alpha.
“I- You didn’t want me to go, and I- I didn’t want to leave either. Mila stayed too, to keep me in check. She just left to get us some food when we were sure the heat had completely faded.”
“I’m sorry!” Yuuri says. He can’t believe he went into heat just from meeting Victor. That’s taking his crush way too far. And then holding Victor here as some sort of body pillow, he can only hope his heat didn’t make him do or say something even more embarrassing. It probably did. Yuuri should flee, apologize again and then take the next train back home.
“No! Don’t apologize! I hoped you would, ah! No, that sounds weird-” Victor says before cutting himself off, eyes wide and cheeks flushed.
Yuuri doesn’t understand anything. Victor wanted him to go into heat? Why? Did he mean to take advantage of Yuuri? He could have, but he didn’t. So why would he want Yuuri to go into heat?
“I don’t understand,” Yuuri settles on, hoping Victor can try to explain.
Victor takes another deep breath, blush deepening. It looks so pretty on him, and even through his confusion, Yuuri finds him enchanting, longs to reach out to touch him again. It’s such a strange feeling. Yuuri can’t wrap his mind around it. He’s usually so uncomfortable around alphas, finds their scents repelling. With Victor it’s different, opposite. It’s like he longs for his scent and touch, needs it.
“After reading your questionnaire, I smelled one of your scent samples and immediately went into rut.”
Yuuri gasps, eyes wide. He had gone into rut from Yuuri’s scent alone? But that's impossible, that’s fairytales and myths of true mates. Yuuri can’t believe it.
“I was interested after reading, and your scent sample was the only one I had smelled for a week. None of the other applicants I had read that week stood out, couldn't hold my interest. Yours did, and then your scent was heavenly. I’ve never felt such a pull towards a scent before and before an hour had passed I was in rut. Had to cancel meetings and everything,” Victor smiles sheepishly, and Yuuri recalls the news of Victor suddenly canceling meetings just before he got his email and blushes.
“Do you believe in true mates, Yuuri?” Victor asks softly.
“That’s a fairytale,” Yuuri protests, mostly on impulse.
Victor smiles, soft and sweet, hands reaching forward, palms up. Yuuri can’t help himself, reaching out to place his hands in Victor’s. It feels like they belong there, and any protest about this not feeling right dies in his throat. Victor raises an eyebrow, cheeky.
“Is it?” Victor teases and Yuuri blushes, inching a little closer, hands traveling up Victor’s forearms. “When you went into heat from my scent too, from just being in the room with me for less than an hour, I knew we had to be.”
Yuuri lets out a shuddering breath. It’s too good to be true, he hadn’t ever dared to think Victor would look at his letter, let alone be invited here. Never in his wildest imagination could he have entertained the idea of being true mates with someone as wonderful as Victor.
“Don’t you feel it too?” Victor asks, and he sounds so small, as if Yuuri’s rejections would shatter him.
Yuuri needs to fix it, make sure he soothes all Victor’s worries just like Victor is very much doing with Yuuri’s. He takes a leap of faith, hoping he’s not wrong, and crawls into Victor’s lap. Victor’s breath hitches, but Yuuri ventures on, too late to stop now.
“I do,” he agees, and Victor's smile is so bright, it’s like the sun. Yuuri wonders what it would feel like to kiss him.
“Would you let me court you?” Victor whispers in the small space between them, smiling.
“Court me?” Yuuri laughs. It feels like something from a regency novel, but Victor nods, eyes determined.
“Let me show you that I’m worthy. You can leave anytime you want, but I really want to spend more time with you, see if this is as good of a fit as it feels like.” Victor’s eyes search his, and Yuuri smiles and nods, joy coursing through him as he does.
Victor lets Yuuri get out of bed and find some clothes he feels more comfortable in. He’s still in the tunic and the collar and cuffs Mila had given him and now that the scent part of the meeting have been taken care of, he can use is normal clothes. He finds a pair of jeans and a soft white sweater in his luggage and grabs those. He’s only packed one everyday collar and one more decorated that's for finer dinner and such, and he grabs the everyday collar and cuffs and hurries to the bathroom. He changes, both clothes and jewelry, feeling more like himself already.
He takes a look in the mirror in the bathroom, trying to smooth back the hairs on his head that has come undone from lying on the bed. Yuuri sees himself flush from just thinking about the fact that he just shared a bed with the prince, a nest. That he has asked him to stay, to not leave Yuuri, and the prince wanted to stay. Yuuri’s heart rate picks up, excitement mixing with nerves as he takes a steadying breath, stepping out to meet the prince.
Victor is standing by the window looking out, but by the sound of the door opening he turns, warm smile towards Yuuri that turns his knees to jelly.
“You look beautiful,” Victor says and Yuuri can feel his cheeks heat up by the compliment.
“Thank you, so do you.”
The alpha is still in the dark sweater and jeans he wore when he caught Yuuri dancing, clearly stayed by his side the entire fast rising heat and omega drop after. It makes something warm take root in Yuuri’s heart, that Victor seems to be just as kind as he has always thought.
Victor smiles at the compliment, that heart shaped one.
“I called down to the kitchen,” the alpha says as he closes the gap between them with a few long steps, stopping just a meter from Yuuri. “I thought maybe we could go outside to eat dinner? So I could bring Makka, my dog?”
“Dinner?” Yuuri asks, frowning. He hasn't even thought about what time it is or how long he was out. A quick look out the window shows the sun getting lower, painting the sky in deep yellow. When he met Victor he had just eaten breakfast, the drop must have made them stay in the nest over lunch, and Yuuri feels embarrassed, having caused the prince to miss a meal.
“Yes, I imagine you’re hungry?” Victor says, offering his arm. Yuuri takes it tentatively, hooking his with Victor’s as the prince guides them out of the room.
“I’m sorry, you must be starving if I had you miss lunch,” Yuuri says as Victor guides them with easy steps, clearly knowing his way around.
“Oh no, I would rather miss a hundred meals than leave your side when you need me Yuuri,” Victor says, and he does it with such ease Yuuri feels his breath leave his lungs in a rush.
“Victor,” he chides, covering his face with his free hand, probably the shade of a tomato by now. He can feel his scent spike with happiness and embarrassment and Victor laughs, carefree and bright, clearly smelling it too.
“I’m sorry,” the prince says and Yuuri peaks carefully from behind his hand, seeing a small blush on Victor’s cheeks as well. “I know I can be a bit overwhelming.”
Yuuri blinks, something sour in Victor’s scent, clearly bothering him. Yuuri’s not used to being able to detect feeling through scent. It must be the lack of scent blockers.
“What do you mean?”
Yuuri doesn’t mean to ask, it feels intrusive and something far too personal, but sometimes Yuuri’s mouth to brain filter doesn’t work properly and things like this just come cascading out. He feels Victor tense by him, just slightly.
“Nothing,” the alpha says, and smiles. It’s nothing like the one before. This one is one Yuuri knows, he’s seen in countless times in magazines and on TV. He’s never seen how painted on it looks before, how fake. It makes his heart seize up, mind scrambling.
“No, please,” Yuuri says, stopping in the middle of an extravagant corridor. His heart is pounding so hard and Victor turns, eyebrows raised. “Please don’t hide from me. I-I want you to be as you are around me.”
Yuuri has no idea where this boldness comes from, who he thinks he is to make such demands and claims, but it’s worth it when the charming, plastered, fake smile forms to a genuine one, Victor’s scent sweetening again.
“If that’s what you want,” Victor agrees. “Only if you do the same.”
Yuuri nods, smiling back.
They step around the corner of a neatly trimmed bush, Victor explaining the origin of this part of the garden as Yuuri listens attentively, when something big and brown barrels into them. Yuuri braces himself for the impact, years of catching Vicchan as he jumps up at Yuuri’s chest making him take an instinctive step back. Two furred paws lands on his chest, and a pink tongue lolls out to lick him right across the face, knocking his glasses to the right and leaving dog drool all over the lenses. Yuuri laughs as his hands dig into the soft fur behind the dog’s ears, her eyes falling close as the tongue continues to hang out of her mouth.
“Hi,” Yuuri cooes. “Such a good girl.”
“Makka! What did we talk about this morning about behaving?” Victor scolds, his own hands petting down the large poodle’s head and back, nudging Yuuri’s as he does. Makkachin seems to have no regrets, tail wagging happily as she gets pet.
“It’s alright,” Yuuri smiles, looking up to catch Victor’s eye. “Vicchan’s the same.”
“Vicchan, is that the name of the dog you mentioned in your letter?” Victor asks as his hand stops on top of Yuuri’s in Makkachin’s fur. Yuuri nods, blushing at the thought of his dog’s name, and who he got it from.
“Yeah, he’s a poodle too, but much smaller. He can still knock me straight off my feet if I’m not prepared though,” Yuuri laughs, turning the hand Victor is holding, lacing their fingers together.
“I would love to meet him someday. Where is he now? I didn’t see him in your room,” Victor says, shooing Makka off Yuuri’s chest with his free hand.
“No, I didn’t know if I could bring him. He’s with my sister.”
“You have a sister?” Victor asks as he tugs lightly on Yuuri’s hand, leading him further into the garden. Yuuri starts to tell Victor about his family as they walk, of his parent’s hotel and about his and his sister’s relationship. Victor listens attentively, asking questions to know more as they come upon a soft purple blanket and white and grey pillows scattered on the ground. Next to it sits a basket, filled to the brim with what looks like sandwiches, sweets and drinks.
Victor tugs Yuuri down onto the blanket and starts serving him from the basket, sneaking bites to Makka as he does. Yuuri finds it extremely endearing.
They continue the night getting to know each other and Yuuri learns many things about Victor, his feelings only deepening with each of them. He learns that Victor has a silly sense of humor, and that he can be extremely stubborn. That he gets lost looking out into nothingness when he talks about his official job, that everytime their fingers brush or Yuuri reaches out to touch him Victor blushes, almost as if touch starved. It makes Yuuri almost giddy with how much he wants to reach out and hold, caress, kiss. He holds back though. He’s still scared this is too good to be true, and can’t decide between throwing caution to the wind and jump into this crazy new reality, or try to hold back in case he gets hurt if it’s not all what it seems to be.
Victor walks him back to his room when the sun has set, and the stars twinkle in the sky, leaving a light kiss on his cheek before walking away, leaving Yuuri with a pounding heart and a tingling sensation that spreads all through his body, all the way out to his finger tips.
When Yuuri crawls into his nest that night he can’t stop smiling, and it takes a long time before his excitement dies down and he falls asleep, the nest still smelling like the both of them.
The next day Victor knocks on his door early, carrying a breakfast tray filled with just as much food as the one yesterday was filled with. Yuuri, who is not a morning person had simply wrapped a robe around himself to go see who was disturbing him at this ungodly hour. His hair is in disarray and he blinks to truly take in the sight in front of him. Victor looks impeccable, because of course he does, and Yuuri considers slamming the door in his face and go hide in the nest and pretend this never happened. He’s sure Victor is going to go run away at the sight of Yuuri’s morning mess, but he doesn’t. Instead he tilts his head slightly and smiles.
“Good morning, beautiful,” the alpha says, smile wide and gorgeous. Yuuri’s heart does a double beat. This week is going to kill him if it continues like this. “I brought you breakfast.”
Yuuri takes half a step back to let him in, excusing himself so he can hurry to the bathroom and as quick as he can he rushes through getting dressed, fixing his hair and face, making sure collar and cuffs are sitting neatly where they should, and then steps out again. Victor is on the couch where Yuuri had his omega drop yesterday. He stands when Yuuri opens the door, smiling widely.
“I’m sorry if I woke you,” he says, rubbing his neck nervously as Yuuri approaches. “I have a lot of meetings to make up for the ones I had to cancel because of the unexpected rut, and I have the entire day packed. I wanted to see you before.”
His nose is pink with a flush and Yuuri is falling. Falling so hard for this man who is turning out to be more than he could have ever imagined. When he reaches the alpha, he goes up on his toes, one hand cupping his cheek, the other on his shoulder to steady himself, so he can brush his lips against Victor’s cheek, an answer to the kiss Victor left him with last night.
“Thank you,” Yuuri says, radiating far more confidence than he actually feels as he sinks back down, sitting down on the couch. Victor seems stunned, continuing to stand for a moment and Yuuri has to reach out and take his hand, tug lightly, to bring him back to reality. He is scared he’s over done it, but when Victor turns there is a blush high on his cheekbones and a dazed smile decorates his lips.
“You wanna sit?” Yuuri asks and Victor does, their thighs brushing as he sits. “What are the meetings about?”
“There is one with my mother and the ministry of foreign affairs, then I have one over Skype with some of the UN ambassadors about a situation in Sri Lanka caused by the tsunami, then I have the weekly meeting about the Catarina Praxi with my parents, our advisors and the press secretary,” Victor says, reaching for a slice of toast.
“That’s a lot,” Yuuri agrees as he leans back with a cup of tea, watching as Victor coats it with far too much jam. Nerves turn in Yuuri’s stomach by the mention of the praxi, but Victor seems none the wiser.
“Yes. That’s why I wanted to see you now, and also to ask if you might want to have dinner with me later tonight?” Victor looks nervous, licking his lips as he looks over at Yuuri.
“Of course I do,” Yuuri says softly, watching as Victor’s expression relaxes into a smile. “When do you want me to be ready?”
“Seven? I should be done by six but things have a tendency of dragging on sometimes, so to be on the safe side?”
“Great,” Yuuri agrees. “Are you going to have Makka with you?”
“No, she’s not allowed into meetings, I get way too distracted by her,” Victor confesses with a low chuckle.
“Could I take her for the day?” Yuuri asks, voice trembling slightly. “I totally get if you don’t want to, I’m just not sure what to do with myself and…” he trails off. He doesn’t want to be a burden or sound ungrateful, and he doesn’t want Victor to feel uncomfortable about letting his dog hang out with Yuuri, but he really misses Vicchan, and it would be nice to have a companion throughout the day.
“I would love for you to have her! You really want to?” Victor looks shocked, silver lashes fluttering against his cheeks as he blinks rapidly a few times as a his hand lands on Yuuri’s thigh, making his entire body tingle. He looks up, eyes meeting deep blue and Yuuri has to hold back from leaning forward and closing the inches between them and press his lips against Victor’s soft looking pink ones.
“Yeah, I would love that. Is it okay if I take her out in the garden?” Yuuri asks, looking away from those dazzling blue eyes, trying to calm his racing heart.
“Of course, I’ll have someone bring her here as soon as I leave. You can hang out here and go down to the castle gardens, look around the palace. Did Mila show you the entertainment system?” Victor asks, sounding a little breathless. Yuuri busies himself with making toast, not daring to look at the alpha right now.
“N-no, uhm, entertainment system?” Yuuri stutters and Victor stands, walking over to a cupboard covering one of the walls and presses his hand to it. It opens to reveal a big screen tv, a number of game consoles and a sound system. Yuuri’s jaw drops.
“Wow,” he breathes and Victor smiles, breathtakingly beautiful.
“You wrote you like movies and video games,” Victor says as he walks back to the couch and Yuuri is still gawking at him, eyes wide.
“You got this for me?”
Victor looks sheepish, pink dusting his cheeks as he nods. “I wanted you to be happy.”
Yuuri’s heart stutters for what must be the millionth time and it’s only been 24 hours since he first met Victor. He can’t resist anymore, one hand on Victor’s thigh to steady himself as he presses his mouth to the corner of the alphas mouth. Victor stills and Yuuri takes a deep breath of alpha scent before he pulls back, eyes downcast so he doesn’t have to look at Victor’s reaction.
“Thank you,” he says, voice just above a whisper.
They change the subject after that, moving on to talk about video games Yuuri enjoys and movies they’ve watched. All too soon, Mila comes to retrieve Victor. She steps out in the hall and as soon as she does, Victor pulls Yuuri into a warm hug, scent surrounding him as he wraps his arms around Victor’s waist, squeezing once.
“Have a good day,” Victor whispers against his hair. “I’ll see you later.”
Makkachin arrives twenty minutes later, when Yuuri is in the middle of collecting stars on Super Mario Galaxy. Mila informs him that she went out just before she was collected and the dog happily jumps up into the nest, curling up at Yuuri’s feet.
They spend the day either in Yuuri’s nest playing video games, or out in the gardens playing fetch. A servant named Hikaru brings him lunch and after another trip to the gardens with Makkachin Yuuri gets into the shower. After a brief consultation over the phone with Phichit about what to wear for a dinner date, trying not to fall into the trap of telling Phichit every detail of what has happened since he came to the palace, Yuuri is finally ready.
For his date.
With the prince.
What an insane world this is.
Yuuri is a little early, worried about being late, and curls up in the nest with Makka as he waits, trying not to overthink things.
Victor knocks on the door a few minutes before seven, and as soon as Yuuri calls for him to come in, crawling out of the nest as he does, Victor opens the door.
He’s looks gorgeous. Dark grey slacks and a white button up, sleeves rolled up. Yuuri swallows hard, stopping a meter from the alpha. Phichit had suggested Yuuri’s tight black jeans with the black lace and mesh shirt. It’s a bit more revealing than Yuuri would like, the mesh revealing his skin from the high collar down his arms to the cuffs on his wrists. It meets the black lace on his chest, asymmetricaly covering more and more from just underneath his collarbones down to his waist. It does fit him well, and Phichit had insisted it was a good date shirt.
“Hi,” Yuuri says, pulling his lower lip in between his teeth. Victor’s eyes are wide, roaming up and down his body and Yuuri has to look down too, to see if he’s covered in dog hair or if he’s put something on backwards. He can’t find anything obvious amiss, so maybe it’s the outfit that's wrong.
“Yuuri,” Victor breathes, and Yuuri looks up, catching Victor’s wide eyed gaze. Then he smells it. There is just a hint of it in Victor’s evergreen and roses, but still there. Attraction. Arousal. “Wow.”
Yuuri feels his cheeks pinkening but a surge of something he rarely feels fills him under the alpha’s gaze. He straightens his posture, closing the distance between them with sure steps. He lets his hand rest on Victor’s chest, feeling his rapidly beating heartbeat under his palm. He rises on his toes until they’re level, brown eyes meeting blue. Victor’s eyes are wide as he watches Yuuri carefully, his intense gaze filling Yuuri with confidence.
He presses his lips against Victor’s cheekbone, letting his lips rest there for a second, before sinking down again. He’s about to take a step back, mind buzzing with the feeling of Victor's skin under his lips and his scent in Yuuri’s nose, but Victor doesn't let him. His hands come up to support Yuuri’s elbows, holding him against his chest.
“You look lovely,” Victor breathes, voice barely above a whisper. Yuuri looks up at him through his lashes, hoping his knees won’t give out.
“So do you,” Yuuri admits, eyes darting to Victor’s lips, pink and smooth. “Did you have a good day?”
“Horrible,” Victor breathes. “All I could think about was how I wanted to spend it with you. I think everyone I was in a meeting with scolded me for being distracted.”
Yuuri doesn’t believe him, can’t believe that he’s been on Victor’s mind just as much as Victor has been on his all day.
“I’ve thought about you too,” Yuuri admits.
“Is that so?” Victor smiles, leaning forward slightly. Yuuri’s heart hammars in his chest because he’s so close now and just a centimeter more and his lips would be on Yuuri’s and…
“Want to tell me about it over dinner?” Victor asks, tilting his head so his breaths ghosts over Yuuri’s neck. The alpha takes a deep breath of his scent, and Yuuri’s eyes flutter close, hands still on Victor’s strong, muscular chest. He needs to compose himself, pull himself away from Victor's intoxicating scent and skin and gaze or he will do something foolish, like rip all of the alpha’s clothes off and have him on the floor.
“Yes,” Yuuri breathes. “Let- Let’s go eat.” Yuuri agrees, stepping back from Victor in earnest now.
Victor looks just as dazed as Yuuri feels and Yuuri does take some pride in that, in this insane reality he finds himself in. They just stand there, looking at each other for a second before Victor offers his arm, one Yuuri takes gladly, and they walk out of the room.
Dinner is served on a balcony overlooking the gardens, now painted in the summer night light and the lamps scattered around the grounds. The table is small, a round one, making them sit so close their legs almost touch the entire meal. The food is delicious, but Yuuri has a hard time concentrating on it, too focused on Victor’s voice, gaze and scent. They talk and talk, and Yuuri laughs in a way he rarely does with anyone, let alone someone he’s known for just a few days. Victor laughs too, and it’s a beautiful sound, one that warms Yuuri’s entire core.
When desert has been served, and the night has grown cold enough to make Yuuri shiver, Victor guides him back to his room, walking quietly side by side. It’s anticipation in the silence and as they reach the door, Yuuri’s entire body is tingling with it.
“Here we are,” Victor says as they stop, arm sliding from Yuuri’s so he can turn to face him proper. “I had a lovely time.”
“Me too,” Yuuri agrees, feeling lost for words as he looks into Victor’s deep blue eyes.
“I have the day off tomorrow, no meetings. Want to go somewhere with me?” Victor asks.
Anywhere , Yuuri thinks, but that might be a little too much. Instead he smiles, nodding slightly as he pulls his lower lip into his mouth.
“Yeah. I’d like that,” Yuuri agrees. “What time do I need to be ready?”
“Ten?” Victor says, eyes darting from Yuuri’s lips to his eyes. “Wear something you can move around in. Walk and run.”
Interest spiked, Yuuri smiles and nods, curious about what they might be doing tomorrow, to know more about this alpha.
“I look forward to it, my prince,” Yuuri says, far bolder than he really is. Victor’s eyes widen, and in no time at all, Yuuri feels a warm hand cup his chin, lifting it up slightly. Victor has closed the small distance between them and Yuuri has only a second to look into those blue eyes before they flutter close, warm lips pressing against his own. Yuuri’s eyes close too, head rushing with the feeling of Victor’s body pressed against his, hands on his cheeks, sweet lips pressed against his own. Yuuri’s hands find Victor’s sides and he grabs at the fabric of his shirt to ground himself. He feels hot and dizzy and for a moment he starts to fear he’s going into heat again, with how his heart races and his mind fills with Victor, Victor, Victor. He’s never felt like this before, joy filling his chest and vibrating through his entire body, and as Victor licks the seam of his lips, Yuuri opening up easily, wanting more, needing more.
Victor lets out a soft moan, and Yuuri’s stomach flutters with the prospect of that sound, grabbing Victor’s shirt tighter to pull him in closer. His breath stutters and Victor pulls back, just a little, heavy breath falling on Yuuri’s lips as they break apart. Heat is rushing in Yuuri’s bloodstream as he looks up, meeting Victor’s eyes that are barely blue anymore.
“Yuuri,” he breathes and Yuuri shudders, wanting nothing more than to pull Victor into his room and push him down into his nest, but he needs to gather himself. He feels the rush of emotions running wild inside him and it’s almost becoming too much, overbearing. So instead of falling for temptation, he pushes up to kiss softly at Victor’s upper lip, pink and kiss swollen.
“I will see you tomorrow then, my prince,” Yuuri says as he takes a step back. Victor looks disheveled, but smiles, reaching out to grab Yuuri’s hand. He brings it to his mouth and Yuuri expects him to kiss his knuckles again, but instead Victor turns his hand and presses his lips against Yuuri’s palm. The gesture is endearing and odd and Yuuri smiles as Victor looks up, stepping back and dropping Yuuri’s hand.
“Good night darling.”
The drive out of the palace in the sleek balck car is nice. Victor looks amazing in his black joggers, and blue, tight, long sleeved t-shirt. Yuuri’s heart raced so fast that he had to bite the inside of his cheek to not let out a high pitched shriek about how hot Victor looks when the alpha picked him up this morning. He’s been drooling over Victor for years, how is he supposed to function when someone so hot, so wonderful, comes to pick him up in the morning with a soft kiss on his cheek and compliments about how beautiful Yuuri looks?
They drive a separate car, one filled with guards in front of them and one in the back. Victor looks sure behind the wheel and Yuuri finds it extremely endearing, the way he hums along to the radio, blushing slightly when he catches himself. The alpha excusing himself for his horrible singing voice. Yuuri doesn’t mind at all.
They arrive at the start of a hiking trail, and have to wait in the car while the guards do a quick sweep, but Victor promises that they will mostly be alone hiking as soon as they’re done. Apparently it’s not a very popular track, and Victor comes here regularly with Makkachin to know it’s fairly safe.
“Is it hard?” Yuuri asks as they wait, turned towards each other still sitting in the car. “To have to have people around you like this all the time?”
Victor furrows his eyebrows and shakes his head, and Yuuri can almost see how the mask that he now knows Victor wears start to slip into place, covering the goofy and cute Victor he's been on the way here. Something comes over Yuuri and as panic rises in his chest he reaches out, grabbing Victor’s hand. The prince looks surprised, blinking a few times before he looks up, meeting Yuuri’s eye.
“It’s okay if it is,” Yuuri says in a rush, trying to hold onto the momentum that made him reach out, before it runs off him and he becomes embarrassed about what he did. “It doesn't mean you don’t appreciate it.” He squeezes Victor’s hand and the prince lets out a long breath, a small smile tugging at his lips as he looks at Yuuri, lacing their fingers together.
“You seem to have a knack for throwing me off, Yuuri,” Victor says with a small shake of his head. “I fear it might be addicting.” Blood rushes to Yuuri’s cheeks and his heart’s rushing in his chest.
“It’s true,” Victor admits, reaching out with his other hand so they can intertwine their fingers on that hand as well. “I tend to feel very lonely, even if I’m rarely alone, which is very strange. There is this, persona, I must uphold. For the public but also for the guards. They are my employees, and even if I can get to know them, they aren’t here to be my friend, they are here to make sure I survive.”
An ache settles over Yuuri’s heart at Victor’s words and somber expression, even though the prince has a soft smile on his face as he plays with Yuuri’s fingers. He doesn’t want Victor to feel like he has to be someone he’s not with Yuuri. Yuuri wants to know Victor as he is, not what he has to be for someone else.
“I hope you don’t feel like that around me?” Yuuri asks, and Victor shakes his head, smiling a little wider now.
“No, I promised I would be myself and I have. It’s very liberating,” Victor admits, pulling Yuuri’s hands up so he can kiss his knuckles on both hands. “It would just be fun to be able to let loose a little sometimes.”
Yuuri takes a deep breath to ask what Victor would like to do to ‘let loose’ but there is a tap on the window behind Victor and the prince turns, opening the car window to address the guard there.
“It’s clear, your highness,” the guard says and Victor smiles, one of those stiff ones, and nods.
“Thank you, Emil,” the alpha says, turning back to Yuuri and squeezing the hand he’s still holding, once before releasing it. “Ready?” Yuuri nods, turning to find the door on his side already opened by another guard.
The conversation with Victor is spinning in his mind, almost as if itching at it. He hates the fact that Victor hasn’t had fun. Hasn’t had silly sing-alongs to the radio in the dishroom in Celestino’s restaurant or goofy drunk nights out with his best friends because he can’t. He needs to be the prince, always. Yuuri hadn’t even considered this before and he feels a bit sick about it. He needs to do something to change it. Victor deserves everything he wants, and Yuuri will try his best to try to give it to him, if it’s within his power.
Victor leads them to the edge of the forest, a semi wide trail leading up the mountain in a soft rise. An idea sparks in Yuuri and he turns to Victor who’s smiling softly towards him.
“Ready to get going?” the alpha asks and Yuuri nods, looking up at the trail again.
“Yeah, how long is it?” he asks, adrenaline starting to pump in his veins, Victor frowns for a second, expression puzzled.
“Uhm, about 5 kilomiters, why?” Victor asks as he steps a little closer to Yuuri.
“No reason,” Yuuri says as he shrugs, trying to hold back the smile that’s tugging at his lips as he feels the energy start buzzing in his body, he takes a step forward, turning so he can face the alpha who’s still looking a little puzzled. “Hey Victor?”
“Race you,” Yuuri says and then he turns towards the trail and takes off in a sprint up the path. He can hear a shocked gasp from behind him and then the sound of another pair of feet that starts pounding the ground behind him. Yuuri can’t help but to let out a laugh as he pushes a little harder up the hill, gaining speed. Adrenaline’s pumping in his body and it feels so good, he feels light, like he could fly up the entire hill.
Yuuri knows this is stupid. He’s been told in sex-ed class to never let an alpha give chase because it can trigger all kinds of primal behaviours, but right now he doesn’t care. He can hear Victor laughing behind him and that makes it all worth it, makes him push even more as they continue up the trail.
They run and run up the beautiful hike, and Yuuri is delighted when he realises Victor is just as competitive as he is. Still, Yuuri has more stamina than most from almost two decades of dancing and as they continue to rush, the alpha doesn’t quite catch up. Yuuri would never give up without a fight, so he continues to run until he reaches the end of the trial, until he reaches a grass covered clearing with a lookout spot. Yuuri collapses on the ground in exhaustion, chest heaving as he tries to catch his breath from the far too explosive run up a mountain. His legs burn, there’s a metallic taste in his mouth and he’s so happy.
Victor’s close behind, and when he reaches the top he drops down to loom over Yuuri, arms on either side of his face, knees boxing in the omega’s hips. His chest is heaving with exhaustion, blue eyes intense as they stare down at Yuuri, before he bursts out laughing.
He’s so beautiful, carefree and relaxed and Yuuri laughs too, sucking in air to try to catch his breath. They laugh and laugh, and Victor seems to compose himself first, smiling so adoringly down at Yuuri that Yuuri feels like he might burst with how his stomach flips. Victor leans down slowly, and even though Yuuri is sweaty, probably blotchy and is still trying to catch his breath, he lets his arms wind around the alpha’s neck, pushing up slightly. Victor tastes like his scent, but also sweet like adrenaline and Yuuri loves it. Victor’s mouth is hot against his and the pressure of his body is grounding as Yuuri’s head spins. He seems to always feel a little like he’s losing his mind as he gets this close to Victor. It’s like his entire body starts humming and the need to be even closer grows. He’s never felt like this with anyone before.
Victor lets out a happy sigh, looking down into Yuuri’s eyes and his face breaks into a beautiful smile before he pecks Yuuri’s lips once, twice, before sitting up, pulling Yuuri with him.
“That was amazing,” Victor says, cheeks flushed and eyes sparkling. “You’re amazing.”
Yuuri shakes his head, unable to contain his smile. “I just wanted you to have fun.”
Victor shakes his head too, as if he can’t believe Yuuri is real, grabbing the omega’s cheeks to peck at his lips again before standing. Yuuri is about to ask what he’s doing, until he spots a backpack at the other side of the clearing. Victor picks it up and brings it over. Yuuri didn’t even notice it when he came up, but is very grateful as Victor pulls out two water bottles and hands one over.
“The guards left it, because I thought we would have a romantic stroll up hand in hand and didn’t want it in the way,” Victor says, still smiling as he sits down on the grass to face Yuuri. Yuuri winces, but Victor immediately shakes his head, swallowing the water he’s drinking.
“No. No such face Yuuri. I love it. I can’t remember the last time I ran like that. I can’t remember the last time I laughed like that.”
“Then I’m glad,” Yuuri admits, the way Victor is looking at him making butterflies flutter in his stomach. The prince’s smile is radiant as he puts the bottle and bag down, pulling out a blanket and placing it on the ground, before sitting down on it. Victor plucks out all kinds of treats from the bag before they settle down completely, leaning against each other, sides pressed together. Conversation flows easy today as well, and Yuuri feels comfortable to ask what he’s been wondering ever since that press conference two months ago, what's been grinding in his mind even more since he woke up in Victor’s arms a few days ago after a rushed heat.
“Why the praxi?”
Victor furrows his brows slightly, fingers that’s been playing along Yuuri’s arm pulling back as the alpha repositions them, turning till they’re facing each other, sitting cross legged.
“When mom got sick, she went into this full Regent mode,” Victor explains, hands reaching out to tangle his fingers with Yuuri’s, almost playing with them. “It was really hard on all of us, me, Yura, Mama. We needed her to be our mom and mate, not the queen. I can see now that it was a way for her to cope, to feel like she had some power over what was happening, but it was still so hard.
“She gave each of us a list of things that needed to be done, both in the actual state - how the country was going to get to know about her state, how her meetings were going to be shifted around, when treatment would be given and where. It also included what we each needed to do, in case she needed to step down or…”
Victor trails off, face twisting as he shakes his head as if to clear it from the thought of losing his mother. Yuuri’s heart twists too at the sight of it, shuffling closer so he can hold Victor, legs crossing around each other and arms coming to rest around Victor’s lower back, Victor welcomes him, hooking his legs behind Yuuri’s back as well, a soft smile on his lips.
“I’m so sorry, Victor. I can’t imagine…” Yuuri says, trying to let out soothing pheromones to ground the alpha. He can smell Victor’s worry and fear spiking and it itches his nose, makes him want to sooth it all away. Make it right. Victor takes a deep breath, and Yuuri can see how he relaxes under the pheromones, shoulders dropping from their previously tensed position. The alpha leans forward to kiss right between Yuuri’s brows, whispering a soft ‘thank you’ before continuing.
“On my list there were of course a lot of things concerning taking over the throne, one of them being finding a mate, since that’s what the law requires. It felt so idiotic to me. My mother was sick, might die, and I was supposed to start looking for someone to be with for the rest of my life? She and Mama started hinting that I should be with friends of mine, talking to other royal families about arrangements. I panicked because I knew all of those people and none of them felt right. I always wanted what my parents had, to mate with someone I love, and now that was being taken away from me.
“I was at a loss of what to do when grandmother came to visit and I remembered that her and grandfather met through the ‘Catarina Praxi’ and it just clicked. I wasn’t completely convinced, because it felt like such a strange way to meet someone, but it would buy me some time and my grandparents always talked so warmly about it, so I thought why not?
“My parents weren’t happy about it, but I convinced them, after a lot of meetings, to try. There was nothing to lose after all. They needed me to find a mate, and I wanted to do it my way. I won’t bore you with all the details about how we formed the search, but in the end we got it done and announced it.
“We split the letters into three. Me, Mila and my best friend Chris read equal amounts. There was so much and it took such a long time. We only read the letters, and if there was one that stood out I smelled one of the samples but none felt completely right. Then, one day, Mila came in with the ones she felt I might want to read and pointed to the one on top and said ‘I think you should check this out’, and it was yours.”
Victor's smile is soft, and Yuuri feels his thumbs stroking at his hips, the gestures and words making his heart beat far too rapidly in his chest, pounding at a rate that must be unhealthy.
“It was definitely the letter that had spoken to me the most. I totally see why Mila felt it would fit. I got so many weird letters, Yuuri, you have no idea. Some who gave far too much and some who just felt like they said what they thought would please me. It’s hard to explain but yours felt so genuine. I opened the scent sample, a wrist one, and as soon as I smelled it I knew.” Victor smiles and Yuuri’s stomach flutters under that warm gaze, cheeks heating up. It’s not fair, for Victor to be able to say such sweet things, making Yuuri melt into a puddle.
“God, Yuuri. Even now. Your scent — it’s so good. I just want to tuck my nose right there,” the alpha says, thumb grazing over the collar-covered scent gland on Yuuri’s neck. “And breathe you in. Never has a scent felt so right.”
Yuuri is a blushing mess now, frozen in place. Victor locks eyes with him and Yuuri can see him pull back, a tingle of fear in the alpha’s scent and Yuuri hates it, presses forward until he can press his nose to Victor’s neck and take a deep breath of his scent. Victor bares his throat and Yuuri presses closer for a few seconds filling his senses, before pulling back. His mind is a little hazy as he straightens, but there is a silly smile on his face he can’t seem to shake away.
“I think you smell amazing too,” Yuuri admits. “I-I might have to admit something.” He takes a deep breath, trying to find Victor’s presence grounding and not frightening. Victor has opened up so much to him, should he not do the same? Does Victor not deserve the same honesty?
“I-I might have had a crush on you for… a while. As long as I can remember, really. As a kid I found you so pretty, and I-I guess I still do. I always admired the way you strive to make things better for this country and how humble you are about it. How you seem to give so much of yourself to it. I can’t imagine the strain it must take to grow up like you have and I-, Yeah. So this is a bit overwhelming for me sometimes, but I’m really glad I’m here.” Yuuri lets out a long breath, glancing up to see a soft pink flush covering Victor’s nose and cheeks.
“Yuuri,” Victor sighs, pushing at the back of Yuuri’s neck, moving in closer till their lips meet. It’s soft and sweet, and Yuuri loves the way Victor sighs into the kiss. Loves the way it feels like he’s melting. It’s short but all consuming, and when they pull back Yuuri really needs to create a distraction from all the adrenaline that was rushing through his veins. Something to hold him back because if he doesn’t he’s going to crawl into Victor’s lap and never let go. He licks his lips, and looks into Victor’s eyes, blue and, oh so beautiful.
“What happened next? When you had decided? I know you said you went into rut but..?” Shit, yeah, Yuuri should probably not think about Victor in rut, because that really doesn’t stop him from wanting to take things further than just kissing. Victor seems to have similar thoughts as his blush deepness, clearing his throat and pulling back slightly to create some space between them. Yuuri is more than grateful.
“Yeah- uhm, so I jumped out of my seat and rushed over to Lilia with your admittance and told her ‘this it it, get him here now’. Lilia was in a meeting with the state department so she wasn’t really happy about being interrupted. She told me to wait till she was done and when she was, I was already in rut. ”
“How do you know it wasn’t just a regular one?” Yuuri is pretty sure Victor would know, if it was anything like that rushed heat he almost fell into when meeting Victor, but the doubts in the back of his mind still needs reassurance. Needs to know.
“I had already had one, two weeks before, very much in the frame of my normal cycle. It was much faster too, usually I pre-rut for at least a few days before it hits but this was in the span of an hour. Sort of like when we met and you almost went into heat,” Victor says, leaning back a little, hands supporting him on the grass behind him. God, he’s so handsome.
“They didn’t give you a stopper?” Yuuri asks, letting his fingers trail through the warm grass. The sun is high now, they must have been up here for a few hours.
“No, there was no time. With you- I don’t want to say we expected it but we knew it could happen, so we had the palace doctor be prepared. I’m sorry we didn’t tell you but I wasn’t sure and-,”
“No, it’s fine,” Yuuri admits. “I would probably have freaked out even more if Mila had told me to expect to go into heat.”
“Yeah, not really good first date information. Like it wasn’t enough with all the pressure already,” Victor says and there is that bitterness again, or is it fear?, Yuuri can’t decide.
“I’m glad you picked me,” Yuuri says and Victor’s expression softens into a smile again.
“I am too,” Victor agrees, leaning over to cup Yuuri’s cheeks. Yuuri’s not sure he can handle another kiss and hold back. Victor is so addicting. Yuuri’s sure he’ll never be the same after this week.
Victor’s phone starts ringing and he sighs, pulling back from Yuuri to answer it. It’s a quick exchange of words before he hangs up, frowning slightly before looking back at Yuuri.
“That was the guards, some other hikers are on the way to the trail so Otabek and Emil are going to come up and meet us, and then we should probably head back.”
They pack up the backpack, Victor strapping it to his back and then start descending, hand in hand. Victor points out creeks and a clearing with flowers they missed in their race up, and Yuuri wonders if one could fall more in love faster than this.
Victor is busy the next day, but they agree on a movie night in Yuuri’s room later that evening. Makka comes to spend the day with him, and Yuuri does his best to catch up on school work, talk to his friends and family and take care of the large pup. Around six, Mila comes to get Makkachin for a walk and to take her to the queen. Victor comes not long after, dressed in soft sweatpants and a t-shirt, leaving a soft peck on Yuuri’s lips in greeting. It’s not fair to look so good in such comfortable wear. Yuuri has no idea how Victor does it.
“She always feels calmer with Makka there,” Victor says when Yuuri asks about his mother and Makka. “It’s a bit lonely for me but I get it.”
They settle down on the couch, choose a movie and start watching. Yuuri finds it hard to focus on the film, with Victor’s warm body so close and their scents mixing, getting more of Victor’s every time either of them move. It’s only a few minutes into watching when Victor’s arm slides across his shoulders, pressing Yuuri to his side.
“Is this okay?” Victor murmurs and Yuuri nods, fighting the impulse to turn and push his nose against the scent gland on Victor’s neck that’s so close now.
“Yeah,” Yuuri agrees, feeling his attention for the movie slipping even more as he turns to take in the prince’s profile. He’s so beautiful, it almost makes Yuuri stop. He can’t believe he’s here, in the palace next to Victor, cuddled up on the couch. That Victor wants him here, over all those other omegas. Over thousands, Victor chose him. Crazy.
Victor must sense Yuuri’s eyes on him because he turns, noses brushing they’re so close. He feels Victor’s breath ghost over his lips and he licks his lips, watching as Victor’s eyes follow the movement. The pull is so magnetic, impossible to ignore as they move on instinct to close their lips over each other’s.
Victor’s lips are warm and Yuuri melts against them as a soft sigh leaves the alpha’s lips. Victor twists to fully face him, plucking Yuuri’s glasses off before one hand comes to rest on Yuuri’s neck and the other on his hip, fingers grazing the skin that’s exposed where the omega’s shirt has ridden up. The touch sends sparks flying through Yuuri’s body and he winds his hands around Victor’s neck to ground himself. Victor pushes closer and Yuuri follows, as the alpha lowers them down into the couch. The weight of Victor’s body on top of his feels amazing and Yuuri gasps when Victor moves his mouth from his lips to trace his jaw, leaving searing hot but soft kisses all the way up to behind his ear.
Yuuri bares his throat, body feeling like it’s flooding with warmth as Victor takes the invitation, moving down, nibbling a little right above the collar. It sent a jolt of pleasure though Yuuri’s body and he moans, fingers tangling in Victor’s soft silver strands.
“Victor,” Yuuri says as his eyes fall shut, the alpha continuing down his throat down to the collar of his shirt, kissing the skin exposed just over it. Victor’s hand has traveled further up under his shirt, fingers carefully caressing his stomach.
“You drive me insane, Yuuri,” Victor mumbles into his skin and almost on instinct, Yuuri parts his legs so Victor can kneel between them, kissing his way up to Yuuri’s mouth again. Their lips lock, mouths opening to deepen the kiss, the scent of need and want growing in the air as Victor’s hand moves further up, Yuuri’s shirt crumpling as it gets hiked up, until Victor’s fingers graze a nipple. Yuuri gasps into the kiss, hands starting to tug at the back of the alpha’s shirt. He wants it off, needs to have more of Victor’s skin on his.
Victor pulls off his lips just long enough to help Yuuri tug the garment off, and Yuuri wastes no time in letting his hands run down Victor’s beautiful chest. God, the alpha is breathtaking and Yuuri feels heat start to pool in his gut, spreading like wildfire in his veins. Victor starts tugging on Yuuri’s shirt too, and the omega sits up so fast they almost knock their heads together in his haste to get it off. He’s getting too warm, clothes feeling uncomfortable and restricting.
Victor stops just as Yuuri’s skin is bared, looking over the omega as he rests on all four over him. Yuuri bares his throat again, squirming a little, trying to present himself.
“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Victor says as he sits back between Yuuri’s parted thighs, letting his hands possessively move from Yuuri’s hips up to his chest, scent glands pressing into his skin, scenting him. Yuuri moans softly. He wants to scent for real, wants to press his wrist against Victor’s neck and make him smell like them. The alpha's eyes are dark, pupils blown with lust.
“I love your scent,” Yuuri gasps, his own hands trailing up the alpha’s strong arms. Such strong arms. Yuuri bets he could carry him anywhere, pin him to the wall and fuck him sensless. “I want it with me always.”
It’s a shameless admission, and Yuuri isn’t sure where the words are coming from but Victor growls, and it’s such a wonderful sound, making Yuuri squirm on the couch again. His sweatpants feel too hot, and he wants them off, to get out of the confinement.
Victor’s hands move down again, before he lays down on his side next to Yuuri. This way, Victor can tease his nipple with his mouth while his hand caresses the soft skin just over the omega’s waistband.
“Victor,” Yuuri moans, fingers tangling in Victor’s hair. He’s so aroused, and Victor’s mouth sucking on his nipple feels like heaven, much better than Yuuri’s own hands. The fingers on the hand caressing his lower abdomen grace just under the waistband and Yuuri gasps, wiggling to get it lower, get Victor’s hand where he needs it the most.
“This okay?” Victor asks and Yuuri nods frantically, words hard to find with all the overwhelming sensations. He rolls his hips just as Victor lets his hands disappear into his pants. Long fingers wrap around the base of his cock and Yuuri bucks up into it, friction amazing.
“Does it feel good, Yuuri?” Victor asks, voice low in his ear. Yuuri feels like he’s on fire, like his entire being is burning up and the only thing cooling him down is Victor’s hands, Victor’s scent, Victor’s mouth sucking at an earlobe.
“Yes,” Yuuri moans, turning his head to he can kiss Victor again. “More.”
“Fuck,” Victor whispers against his mouth, strokes becoming surer and faster, making Yuuri roll his hips in time with them. “You look so sexy like this, Yuuri.”
Yuuri’s so hot, and the pleasure is so good, much more than he’s ever felt before, and Victor’s just stroking him off. He can hardly think about how it would feel to have Victor inside him, buried to the hilt and pushing him down into the mattress.
“Victor, Victor,” Yuuri moans, so close now and Victor sucks his lower lip into his mouth and with that, Yuuri comes, spurting all over Victor’s hand and the inside of his pants. A dizzying feeling envelops Yuuri, heat exploding though his body as he arches off the couch, thrashing against the alpha next to him. Such a good alpha that made him come so good. The relief lasts only for a second, before Yuuri needs more, body aching to be filled and claimed.
“Alpha, alpha, please,” Yuuri begs, trying to rub his wrists against the alpha’s neck but the cuffs are in the way. Frustrated, he lets out a whine and Victor turns them immediately, looking over Yuuri with a look of worry in his eyes. Alpha is so good. He’s going to take care of Yuuri, make sure he’s safe. There is a growl in the alpha’s chest and Yuuri tries to move to present himself but the couch it so small and everything is wrong. He needs the collar and cuffs off, he needs his nest. He needs his alpha inside him. Another whine leaves his throat and Victor rubs his wrists against Yuuri’s torso again, huffing out irritation when he can’t press his scent glands against Yuuri’s.
“Off,” Yuuri whines, tugging at his pants, pulling them down with the help of Victor’s much surer hands. He reaches over to Victor’s pants, pulling them down too. The alpha looks amazing, cock full and flushed. Yuuri wants nothing more than to have it inside him.
“What do you need, Yuuri?” Victor says, placing wet open mouth kisses to his chest.
“Nest,” Yuuri demands. “Alpha, take me to the nest.” Victor is off the couch in an instant, picking Yuuri up to carry him over to the perfectly constructed nest Yuuri’s made on the bed. Alpha places him down first and Yuuri squirms, trying to find a good position. He relaxes down into the pillows, spreading his legs wide for his alpha. He’s soaked with slick, he didn’t even notice it happening but it’s good. He’s all wet and ready for Victor to come take him. Alpha is standing by the edge of the nest, eyes hungry and body trembling. Yuuri wants him to be his, always.
“Come Victor, come take care of me. Come fill me up.”
Victor crawls in immediately, locking his lips with Yuuri’s as the omega rolls his hips up, his cock fully hard again, caressing softly against Victor’s erection, making them both moan. Yuuri tries again to scent his alpha and to bear his throat to Victor so he can scent him but there are still things in the way and he whines again, distress filling him.
“What’s wrong?” alpha asks, sucking marks into Yuuri’s exposed skin on his neck. Yuuri tugs at the wrist cuffs, huffing irritatedly.
“Off,” Yuuri whines and Victor leads down to try to bite them off, without any luck. Yuuri’s mind is so hazy but he knows there is a solution to this and he’s scrambling for it as Victor growls above him. Then it hits him.
“Key,” he gasps. “In the nightstand.”
After that it’s so easy. Victor finds it, because he’s the best alpha, and soon Yuuri is blissfully bare, able to press his wrists against alpha’s neck. A tingle flows through his entire body as their scents mix and it feels so right. Like this was always how he was supposed to smell. A low rumble starts in Victor’s chest and Yuuri feels an echoing purr start in his as he pushes himself up, until he can straddle the alpha’s lap.
“Take me,” Yuuri moans, as the first one of Victor’s long fingers slide into his heat. The slick is soaking them both and the bed and Yuuri gasps, rolling his hips as he rides Victor’s finger, which becomes two and three before Yuuri feels he might combust with the fire burning in his system if he doesn’t get Victor’s cock in him, now.
“Please alpha, let me have your cock. Please fill me up, I’ll be so good, I promise,” Yuuri babbles. Victor’s mouth finds one of the scent glands on his neck and at the same time Yuuri feels the blunt head of his cock press against his waiting hole.
“Yess,” Yuuri moans, sinking himself down slowly, splitting himself open on Victor’s thick erection. It’s better than he ever expected.
“Fuck, Yuuri, so good,” Victor moans and Yuuri nods, rocking slowly down until he has all of Victor inside him, blissfully full. He grabs Victor’s face, kissing him roughly before locking eyes with the alpha, both of their chest’s heaving.
“Fuck me. Make me yours.”
When Yuuri wakes, his heart feels full but the rest of his body aches, sun shining in from the window indicating that it’s late afternoon. He tries to move, to roll to his side, and lets out a groan at the way his entire body hurts. He tries to sit instead but realises that that's a horrible idea since most of the pain seems to come from his spine and ass.
He tries to remember what happened, feeling across the bed to find Victor’s warm body next to his, blissfully naked in Yuuri’s nest. He’s beautiful, even if he is littered with bites and hickeys, all over his shoulders and neck, down his throat and chest. Victor stirs, smile slow and soft as he turns to look at Yuuri and when he does, Yuuri sees it. A fresh bonding mark on the right side of his neck.
The memories come crashing down on Yuuri. The movie and the kissing and the heat. The fire and the scents and how they had sex over and over, and over for what must have been days. How he went into heat and how Victor went into rut. And there on Victor, crown prince Victor, sits Yuuri’s bonding mark, without so much of a planned bonding ceremony. In panic and shock, Yuuri’s hands fly up to his own neck.
Me: leaves cliffhanger on Pakhan and his swan
Me: leaves cliffhanger on this
Also me: I'm not trying to give you a heart attack I swear!
Welp. That happened.
Next week: Does Yuuri have a mating bite too? and how will the boys deal with the aftermath of their actions.
There is a sharp sting on his right scent gland as Yuuri’s hands finds his neck, confirming the double sided bond. He feels it now too. It seems silly he didn’t notice it immediately when he woke up, the resonating adoration that's swirling around his heart. Yuuri has never felt such a thing for himself, so he knows it’s not coming from him. Victor is still looking at him, frowning slightly as he takes in Yuuri’s shocked state.
“Yuuri, are you okay?” he asks and Yuuri doesn’t know how to feel because his mind is running a mile a minute because he bond-bit Victor without them talking about it, and without a ceremony, and this is probably breaking all kinds of laws. At the same time there is this love, this bright, beautiful care and adoration that’s chipping at his anxiety. Illuminating all the shadows and hollows inside him. It’s so strange at the same time as it’s very lovely.
Victor’s hand finds his cheek, and it feels like the most natural thing in the world to lean into it, ground himself in the warmth of the prince’s skin. Victor’s touch felt good before the bond too, and Yuuri craved it, but this is different. This feels right. As if Victor’s touch belongs on Yuuri, to Yuuri. As if it’s his. Maybe it is now.
“Love,” Victor calls and there is a worried tone in his voice, the sourness of his scent and the uncomfortable tug in Yuuri’s heart. Doubt. Yuuri snaps back to reality. He never wants Victor to fear Yuuri doubts this connection because in all honesty, he doesn’t. He feels Victor’s sincerity. It’s so much easier to believe it now that Yuuri feels it, and it’s not just Victor’s words.
“I’m okay,” Yuuri says, even if he’s a bit overwhelmed. “How are you?”
Victor smiles, a soft sweet one, shuffling a little closer. Yuuri reaches out, arms coming to wrap around Victor’s neck, and then Victor lowers them back into the plush bed. It’s clean, so Victor must have changed the sheets for them at some point. The alpha leans on an elbow so he can look at Yuuri, his free hand starting to create patterns over Yuuri’s naked chest. He’s noticed that Victor does this a lot, as if his fingers become restless. It makes Yuuri smile, to know such intimate things about the alpha. Victor smiles too, those restless fingers coming up to swipe Yuuri’s hair away from his forehead.
“I’m good. It’s… a lot,” Victor says, eyes coming up to meet Yuuri’s. “It might be very cliché, but I feel like I might be complete for the first time in my life. Like a hollow place that’s always been there is gone, and all of these swirling emotions from you have filled it.”
“Victor,” Yuuri breathes, feeling like he got the breath knocked out of him by such beautiful words. Yuuri takes Vicor’s hands and places it flat on his chest.
It’s such a strange thing to say, because of course Yuuri is, the bond bite on his neck says so, but it’s more than that. Yuuri has always been Victor’s, for as long as he can remember. The alpha’s smile turns so soft by the words, Yuuri thinks he might melt under it, the scent in the room so happy, content, while Yuuri feels the same echo through the bond. Wow.
“You amaze me,” Victor says, thumb coming up to stroke softly at Yuuri’s bondmark, still a bit sore. “I can’t believe I get to call you mine.”
“Yours,” Yuuri repeats, the single word feeling embarrassingly beautiful. He leans up to kiss at Victor’s pink lips, the temptation growing too big. “All. Yours.”
“Darling, you’re going to make my heart explode,” Victor says, eyes so warm, smiling wide. “You sure this is okay? It’s not like we can do much about it but…”
“Yes, I- It feels right but, what happened?” Yuuri asks, letting his hands wander over the expanse of Victor’s naked chest, tracing all the marks he left there. He feels a rush of pride, laced with embarrassment as some of the memories resurface in his mind.
“I’m not sure. We went into rut and heat, obviously. I checked the date on my phone when I came to completely and it must have lasted about a week.
“A week?” Yuuri says, eyebrows shooting up in shock. He was only supposed to stay at the castle for a week in total, and that had almost passed when the heat started. He must have missed shifts at the restaurant and lectures in school. His family must be worried and Phichit must be going insane.
“I can’t remember everything perfectly, it’s a jumble,” Victor continues. “I just felt this need to touch you, and have you near and then it all spiraled.
“Yeah, that’s what I remember too,” Yuuri agrees.
“It was very enjoyable though,” Victor says, smirking and Yuuri can’t stop the blush spreading as he remembers again, how Victor had filled him over and over and over.
“Very,” Yuuri agrees and Victor leans down to kiss him again. He can feel Victor’s smile against his lips, and Yuuri’s smiling too, feeling a soft purr start in his chest, an answering rumble coming from Victor’s and it’s so easy like this, to let his fingers card through Victor’s soft silver stands, tangle their legs together under the covers and…
The door to the bedroom slams open and Yuuri’s heart jumps, adrenaline spiking as fear rushes into his body. In an instant, Victor is above him, covering Yuuri with his body as a loud growl rips out of his throat. Yuuri feels the fear and the need to protect completely flood the bond.
“For heaven's sake, Vitya, aren’t you done yet?” a female voice says and Yuuri tries to peek under Victor’s arm to see who it is. He breathes a sigh of relief when he sees that it’s Mila in the door, and not an intruder. Victor is still growling however and Yuuri feels it in the bond as well. Someone intruding on their territory, their nest. This close to a rut and heat, and a new bond, Victor’s protective instincts must be extremely heightened.
With a deep breath, Yuuri starts emitting soothing pheromones, taking deep breaths in hope to show his alpha that everything is fine. That they’re safe. That Yuuri’s safe. Victor untenses slowly, and he turns from the threat down to Yuuri, blinking a few times, as if to steady himself from the impulse that just shock though his body.
“It’s okay,” Yuuri says. “We’re safe.”
“I don’t want her to see you,” Victor whispers, pressing down to cover Yuuri’s body even more, the sheet resting over Victor’s hips following him down. Yuuri lets out a soft coo, hands resting on Victor’s neck, rubbing softly at the scent glands there. “I can’t stand the idea of her seeing you like this.”
“Tell her to leave then, and we’ll join her later,” Yuuri suggests. He’s not very keen on Mila seeing him naked and full of hickeys either, but he doesn’t want Victor to jump his advisor. They’ve probably caused enough trouble as it is.
Victor nods, swallowing once before turning from Yuuri to address the beta, still standing in the door. “We’ll be right out, Mila,” he says and underneath Victor’s arm, Yuuri can see Mila nod with a smirk, turning on her heal and bringing the door with her. Victor lets out a sigh of relief as the door clicks shut, relaxing against Yuuri’s body.
“I’m sorry,” Victor mumbles against his neck, lips soft against the healing bond mark. “I don’t know what came over me.”
“No, it’s okay. I got startled and I think you just reacted to that,” Yuuri soothes, hands caressing through the short strands of Victor’s hair at the nape of his neck. The alpha nods, taking deep breaths of Yuuri’s scent. He can feel a smile curve against his neck and when Victor rises to look down at him, a beautiful heart shaped smile is adorning his lips.
“What?” Yuuri asks, unable to stop his own smile.
“You smell like me. Like mine,” Victor says, leaning down to press his nose against the other scent gland on Yuuri’s neck for a second before coming up again. “I love it.”
They eventually, after two knocks on the door from Mila, untangle and get out of the nest. Victor pops his head out to speak to her while Yuuri steps into the shower and it’s not long before Victor joins him. The only thing stopping them from staying far too long in there is the fact that they are both really sore. Yuuri still can’t really process what’s happening. This joy filling his body feels too large. Like he’s going to float away with it. He’s so grateful for it too. If he wasn’t feeling it he’s sure he would be flooded by anxiety, thinking about what awaits them outside that door. A new set of clothes for Victor has found its way into Yuuri’s room when they come out, a soft knitted sweater and slacks, oxford shoes.
“What happens now?” Yuuri asks as he pulls on a pair of slacks too, feeling nerves start to rise at the thought of leaving their safe haven to walk out in the world, and meet the consequences of what they’ve done. Victor’s arms wind around his waist, pulling Yuuri back to his chest. It will take a while to get used to this. That Victor now will know how he feels. That Yuuri can’t hide.
“I have no idea,” Victor admits, nose nuzzling into Yuuri’s hair. “We’ll do it together though, okay?”
Yuuri nods, pulling a sweater over his head, making Victor pull back. He finds his glasses by the couch and place them on his nose, the world coming into better focus. He catches sight of the collar and cuffs on the floor, blushing slightly when he thinks about how he had begged for them to be removed. He picks up the collar, frowning slightly. It’s not like he needs it now, but does everyone know? Should they keep it a secret? Should he put it on?
“Victor?” he asks, holding the collar in his hands as he turns to face the alpha. “Do you think they want me to wear this?”
Victor’s eyes dart down to the piece of jewelry and Yuuri can feel the possessive and irritated tug in his heart as Victor sees it. A frown appears on the alpha’s face before he looks up to meet Yuuri’s gaze.
“Do you want to?”
Yuuri looks down on it again, thinking about how he’s always been so used to it sitting on his neck, protection and decoration all the same. It doesn’t feel right anymore. He would put it on, if it were required of him, but it feels like it won’t fit him anymore. He feels proud to be Victor’s. That Victor wanted to put his mark on Yuuri and wear his in return, no matter how high on hormones they were when it happened. It feels very wrong to hide that. So he shakes his head, looking up to meet Victor’s eyes again.
“No, but do you think they want me too?” Victor steps over and takes the collar from his hand, placing it on the table in front of the couch, a small smile on his lips.
“Let’s not care about whoever has anything to say about it. I’m yours, Yuuri. That’s nothing they can take away. That’s what matters.”
Mila is waiting for them outside the room, immediately congratulating them with a smile. It looks like she’s about to go in for a hug but a low growl out of Victor’s chest stops her, an amused smile on her face as she steps back. She hands them both a sandwich and then they start walking though the palace, through corridors and hallways until Yuuri is completely dizzy with it. Mila informs them that she’s talked to Yuuri’s college and workplace about his absence. She’s also been on the phone with his sister and Phichit, who she of course finds delightful, telling them that Yuuri will be extending his stay. She hasn't told anyone why this has happened, just that his presence was required for a longer period of time. Yuuri is extremely grateful.
They stop in front of two large ornamented doors, Victor giving his hand one firm squeeze before pushing the doors open and walking them both in. The room is filled with faces Yuuri knows but have never met, and he takes a stuttering breath as they all go quiet at the sight of the pair. Victor stands tall, all that regal posture and relaxed features, as he winds his arm around Yuuri’s waist.
“Good afternoon everyone,” Victor greets, and it’s that official voice that Yuuri’s known from TV from years and years of listening. It feels so off now. Like it’s not really Victor. Through the bond he can feel the determination, nerves and underlying love. “May I introduce you to my mate, Yuuri Katsuki.”
All eyes dart to Yuuri and he can see some of them gaze between his and Victor’s bond marks, red and healing on their necks. He tightens his grip on Victor’s hip, trying to calm his breathing. He needs to do this. Show that he’s worthy of standing beside Victor.
“It’s nice to meet you all,” Yuuri says with a slight bow. “I hope to do my best to take care of Victor.”
Joy sparks though the bond, almost making Yuuri jump with how it sizzles. He’s unable to stop the impulse to look up at Victor who has that soft smile on his face again, blue eyes so adoring and lovely.
“We’ll they obviously bonded,” the queen’s consort, Anna, Victor’s Mama and omega parent says amused. “A strong one too it seems.”
“Yes, well,” the queen says with a deep sigh. “Come sit, Vitya.”
Victor pries his eyes off Yuuri and it makes it easier for Yuuri to look back at the table where the court and their advisors and the press secretary sits. Victor moves them over and pouts when Yuuri sits down on his own chair, and it’s so hard not to lean over and kiss that cute pouting lower lip, but Yuuri manages any way. The tension is thick in the room, and Yuuri gulps. It feels like a very strange way to meet his mate’s family.
“This is a mess,” Lilia Baranovskya says as soon as they are seated and dread fills Yuuri’s body, pooling in his gut.
“What do you mean?” Victor asks, sounding as aloof as Yuuri’s ever heard him.
“What she means,” Yakov, who Yuuri knows to be the queen's advisor, just like Mila is Victor’s, sighs. “Is that no one of the royal family has ever been bonded outside of a marriage in as long as the Nikiforov’s have sat on the throne. It will most certainly not be taken lightly by the general public.”
“Are these not modern times?” Anna asks with a soft smile. “We can’t always hang on to these old ways?”
“No, but with how this whole thing has turned into a public affair with the praxi and everything this will certainly be big news,” the queen, Alexia, sighs. “It would have been much simpler to do things the more traditional way. Victor, can you please look a little less pleased about this!”
Yuuri turns then to see Victor smiling widely, looking straight down at Yuuri who blushes under the gaze, soft smile tugging on his own lips.
“What?” Victor asks. “I am pleased. I see no reason to hide it.”
“Dear god,” Lilia sighs, rolling her eyes but Victor only chuckles, lacing his fingers with Yuuri’s under the table.
“Yes, well,” Mila says, clearing her throat. “If we are to believe the true mates expert-,”
“True mates expert?” Victor interrupts, turning from Yuuri to face her. “Who’s that?”
“After Yuuri went into his first heat, confirming that something between you clearly responds to one another, we reached out to find someone who might know more about that. When you both burned through the stoppers we called the one with the most experience and research about the subject here to discuss it,” Lilia informs them.
Yuuri feels a bit dizzy with it all, unsure what his place is in this. It feels so strange to have something as intimate as his and Victor’s relationship displayed like this, in front of people he doesn't know, making it sound like some sort of nuance. He really doesn’t like it. Victor seems unfazed by it though, and Yuuri wonders how many times he’s had to push his feelings aside for ‘appearances’ and the ‘general good’.
“Are they still here?” Victor asks and Lilia nods, Mila standing, saying that she’ll go get her.
“What we need to do now is announce your engagement,” Lilia continues as soon as the door has closed. “It would have been preferable to have you two be spotted together outside of the castle a few times before but I guess it can’t be helped. The sooner we can make an official statement the better.”
“I agree,” Alexia says, resting her head on her fisted hands, elbows on the table. “This will certainly be trying for all of us. In a perfect world Mr. Katsuki would go back home during the engagement but I fear after the news breaks it will be hard to do so. People will flock to see the new prince consort, and it might not be safe.”
Yuuri can feel Victor’s hand tightened around his at the words, shaking his head. “I can’t let him go. I feel like… like I have to go with him if he goes.”
“Exactly,” Alexia says, pointing a finger at her son. “Which is why this is troublesome. You might not even be able to have separate bedrooms right now because of- oh for heaven's sake, Vitya, can you please take this more seriously!” the queen exclaims and Yuuri turns again to see Victor’s wide smile, hand squeezing his under the table again.
“Victor,” Yuuri says softly, because the bond is completely flooded with love from Victor by the idea of them living together and it’s so wonderful. Yuuri remembers the conversation they had about Victor feeling lonely and having to be someone else all the time, and Yuuri feels like he’s getting whiplash from being tossed between this cold conversation and Victor’s overwhelming emotions. He hopes he’ll be able to be a safe haven for Victor, if this is how he has to live his life in the public eye.
“You’ll love it, Yuuri, I promise. And if you don’t we can redecorate and-,” Victor starts to ramble and Yuuri laughs as he shakes his head.
“I’m sure I’ll love it,” he admits.
Yuuri hasn't even thought about the fact that this bond means that they’ll live together. That he and Victor will get married. He hasn’t even processed that Victor chose him and they had sex yet, but if Victor needs his confirmation Yuuri will enjoy living with him it’s something he’ll give gladly. Living anywhere without Victor feels unbearable right now. Maybe it’s the bond. Maybe it’s just love.
“I would like to tell my parents and friends first, before we announce anything,” Yuuri asks and the table nods at that, relief untwisting one of the knots in his chest. “Could I go home and get some of my things too? Like clothes and my dog?”
“Of course,” Anna says with a soft smile. “We want you to be comfortable here. This will be your home too now.” Yuuri’s not sure a castle can be called a home, but he nods and smiles towards her anyway.
“You should do that as soon as possible, tomorrow would be best,” Yakov suggests. “Lilia can draw up a press release tonight that you can both read. We’ll release it after you’ve left so the focus will be on that and hopefully no one will pay attention to you.”
“A week should be sufficient time before we address the public,” Alexia says. “It will give you both some time to settle and for Lila to draw up a script and for you to rehearse it. We should invite Yuuri’s parents for an unofficial and official meeting. After that-,”
“I would like for me and Yuuri to go to meet his parents before the announcement is made,” Victor says and Yuuri can see how the queen stills, glancing over to her son with a raised eyebrow.
“That would be very risky. The press could find you and with the bond marks-,”
“Why should his family be treated as any less important just because they are not nobility or royal?” Victor asks. “I would like to meet them before this. I want them to know that I adore their son before the media starts to try to tearing this apart.”
“Victor,” Yuuri says on a soft outbreath and Victor drops the staring match he’s having with his mother to look at him, brows slightly furrowed. “You would go to see them?”
“Of course. You speak so warmly of them and I wouldn’t want them to think I took advantage. I truly wish for them to know me, and for me to know them.”
Yuuri’s heart feels so full he could combust, and it’s only that he’s in a room with far too many unknown people that’s stopping him from reaching forward to kiss Victor silly. Instead he brings the alpha’s hand up to his lips and kisses it softly. “Thank you.”
Victor’s smile is radiant, and Yuuri feels like the entire room falls away around them as their eyes meet, until someone loudly clears their throat.
“Alright,” Alexia agrees, and Yuuri sees a small smile tug at her lip, breaking through the regent facade. Beside her, Anna is beaming at them, reaching over to take her wife’s hand. Alexia laces their fingers together and lets out a breath. “We should all get to it then. I feel it would be best if you two stay within the palace as much as possible, except for the trips we’ve discussed. You should perhaps try to hide the marks, just until everything is announced.”
“Turtle necks,” Anna says with a smile, leading Alexia to a chuckle. Victor huffs out an amused breath as well, and the mood in the room suddenly feels much lighter than before, as if the business they concluded was priority one, and everything else comes second. Alexia stands, which leads to everyone else standing and yeah, Yuuri is going to need sometime to get used to this.
They all come forward to congratulate them after that, and it seems that after all of the official work is done, they act much more like a family. It seems that the country must come first, and then the family, which makes Yuuri sad, to think Victor has grown up like that. Victor is still pensive of anyone touching Yuuri, except his Mama who is allowed to pull Yuuri into a crushing hug, welcoming him to the family.
They don’t get much time to be alone, before Mila comes back with the true mates expert, a beta woman in her late forties with long dark hair and kind eyes who introduces herself as Satsuki. As soon as she sees them her eyes sparkle with interest and she hurries over to have them sit down, asking them to do what feels ‘natural’. Yuuri suddenly feels like he’s part of a science study and unconsciously leans a little closer to Victor, who instinctively puts and arm around Yuuri. This, of course, makes Satsuki squeal in delight, making Mila chuckle behind her.
“Do you- does this happen often?” Yuuri asks. It still feels so strange to talk about something this intimate, but Yuuri has questions and it seems this woman might be the one to answer those.
“Yes and no,” Satsuki says with a soft smile. She seems to have calmed down a little, but Yuuri presses closer anyway because Victor feels so warm next to him, so right. “It’s pretty uncommon to have a true mate, even if most of us are more or less attracted by different people’s scents. Those who have a true mate and have met them are always drawn to them, and goes into some sort of heat/rut state. I think it’s because the soulbond wants to connect, so it rushed the body to do so.”
“What about for us then?” Victor asks, fingers playing on Yuuri’s hip.
“I’ve never heard of a couple where one part has been able to scent the other before meeting, so yours is definitely a special case. But aside from that I feel like you fit the profile very well,” Satsuki says with a soft smile.
“What about the heat and rut we went into together?” Yuuri asks. “Since we were on stoppers?”
“I can’t be sure, but I would guess the hormones that work to try to connect you burned through them. Especially if you were spending a lot of time together. I think this was completely out of your control,” she bites her lip a little, brows furrowing. “I can’t be sure of course, but I would guess that Victor would have come to you Yuuri, had you not come here. The pull is usually too great to ignore.”
Yuuri’s stomach flutters at that, to think that all those fantasies he used to have as he waited on tables could have come true. It would have been less fun to go into heat in the middle of Celestino's restaurant though.
“What about for the future? Is there something we need to think about?” Victor asks.
“You will probably have more of an emotional connection through your bond than most. I would guess you’re already feeling it. You might also find separation hard. Not for a few hours but several days or weeks might seem unbearable,” Satsuki explains.
They talk for a little while longer. Satsuki wants to know about how Yuuri felt when he saw Victor for the first time and how they felt when they met, how the pull was before the stoppers burned out. It’s a bit strange to talk about, but with Victor by his side, love wrapping around his heart, Yuuri finds he’s not as embarrassed as he thought he would be. If the world chose him to be with Victor, and Victor chose him himself, Yuuri can be strong and cope with that. He’ll do whatever he needs to be the best mate Victor could have.
The week is packed. They move Yuuri into Victor’s room that same night, and the next day they head for what used to be Yuuri’s hometown. They go get Yuuri’s things and Vicchan, as quietly and with as little escort by guard as possible. Victor calls his apartment homey, and Phichit a whirlwind. They see Mari who gives Victor a stern look and a harsh shovel talk, under much protest by Yuuri. Victor takes it all, promises to take care of Yuuri in every way that he can, and before they leave, he even makes Mari smile. Yuuri’s parents open up easily to Victor, treating him as if he was always part of the family. His mother cooks katsudon and his father serves too much sake and the dinner is so much like when Yuuri grew up it almost gives him whiplash to turn to see Victor sitting there, face open and smile on his face. When they come back to the palace Lilia has Yuuri in media before he’s even stepped over the threshold. It’s exhausting and mind spinning and Yuuri loves every single night when he gets to go back to their chambers, cuddling up to his mate and dogs, trying to process that this is all happening.
Victor is tense. Yuuri can feel it as well as see it when his mate walks into their chambers. The queen had been right. Yuuri had moved in immediately, none of them wanting to be away from each other. Yuuri had built his nest on the bed, and the dogs found a home on their respective dog beds in one of the corners and it felt very much as if it fit.
Victor’s been gone all day, going over the plans for an around the country tour for them after the announcements made tomorrow, which is, Yuuri guesses, why Victor is tense. Yuuri is sitting in the nest reading, Makkachin resing by the foot of the bed. At the sight of her dad she jumps down to greet Victor, who comes over to kiss Yuuri’s cheek.
“How are you?” Yuuri asks, winding his arms around Victor’s neck to pull him down into the nest, books forgotten. Victor goes down willingly, tucking his nose into Yuuri’s neck, their legs tangling as Victor relaxes above him, a solid weight weighing him down into the mattress.
“I’m worried,” Victor mumbles in to his skin as Yuuri lets his fingers start to tread through Victor’s hair. Yuuri hums, starting to release all the calming pheromones he’s been itching to soak Victor in all day, feeling his mate’s distress through the bond.
“I can feel that, why?” Yuuri asks, pressing a kiss to Victor’s jaw, the only spot he can reach from being pinned down like this.
“I’m scared you’ll regret this after tomorrow, that you’ll feel it’s too much,” Victor admits, and it makes Yuuri ache. They’ve been able to spend a lot of time together since waking up bonded, and since there is clearly both love and attraction here, both of them have had an easier time to open up. It’s become clear to Yuuri that some have used Victor for his position, as well as told him he’s too much work for it. It baffles Yuuri to no end, but be can’t help but be slightly happy about it, that none of them saw the gem they were throwing away. This way he gets to be Yuuri’s, and Yuuri would never make Victor feel that way.
“I won’t,” Yuuri promises. Victor sighs, before pushing himself up on his elbows, looking down at Yuuri with a slight frown.
“You don’t know, Yuuri. It can be such a witch hunt sometimes.”
“I don’t care,” Yuuri says, swiping the hairs back from Victor’s forehead, tucking some behind his ear. He’s so pretty, with his long lashes and high cheekbones. Yuuri can’t believe he got this lucky.
“Why?” Victor asks, twisting his mouth slightly and Yuuri leans up to give it a soft peck.
“Because I have you. Let them all know I stole you, that you are all mine and I’m all yours. That we fell so hard so fast we couldn’t stop from bonding,” Yuuri says, matter of factly. He means it too. He’s sure he’s going to freak out as they start bashing him and say he’s not good enough to be with Victor, but as long as he can feel Victor’s love through the bond, he’s sure they will be alright.
“Yuuri,” Victor breathes, bond fluttering with love, worry slowly subduing. Good. Yuuri pushes up to press his lips against Victor’s, hands coming to cup his cheeks, thumbs pressing softly across Victor’s scent glands, making the alpha let out a soft moan. Victor’s always so sensitive to Yuuri’s touch, and Yuuri loves it. Victor licks at the seam of his lips and Yuuri opens up gladly, tilting his head so Victor can deepen the kiss. Yuuri rolls his hips up slowly, feeling the alpha’s growing erection pressing against his hip.
“Can I take care of you, Vitya? Make you relax?” Yuuri asks, feeling heat starting to pool in the pit of his stomach. Victor nods against his lips, pressing closer again and Yuuri lets his fingers wander, finding the buttons of Victor’s shirt to start unbuttoning them, revealing soft skin underneath. Victor pushes up, unbuttoning his sleeves to he can shrug the shirt off, throwing it on the floor before he comes down to claim Yuuri’s lips again, hands finding their way underneath Yuuri’s shirt, pulling it up as his hands move from Yuuri’s stomach up to his chest. Victor’s touch feels so right, warm hands igniting the embers in Yuuri’s system, making them come alive into a flame, burning through his body. Yuuri pushes off the bed and together they push the shirt off, joining Victor’s on the floor, before pulling Victor down into the kiss again. Kissing Victor is so addicting. Yuuri feels like he wants to do it all the time, until their lips get sore and they have to come apart to breathe, only to press down again.
They’ve done this a lot during these last few days, and Yuuri still hasn’t gotten used to being able to touch, kiss, caress Victor. To reach for his belt buckle and open that as well as his pants and start to push them down. It’s still so new, thrilling and tingling all through his body. Victor helps, kicking them off as fast as he can. Yuuri can feel the arousal in the scent in the air, through the bond, like a loop from them both. It’s dizzying and he pulls Victor closer, rolling his hips up so his clothed cock bushes against Victor’s abdomen, friction teasing and so delicious. He can feel himself grow wet, the scents growing even heavier in the room as Victor moans against Yuuri’s lips. The alpha’s hands move down to push Yuuri’s sweatpants down, underwear following, until Yuuri is completely bare underneath him.
Victor pushes away from the kiss, kneeling between Yuuri’s spread legs, hands caressing softly down Yuuri’s exposed chest, as if trying to map it out, commit it to memory. Yuuri never felt comfortable with his body enough to show it, but under Victor’s gaze he always feels beautiful, sexy even, because it’s written all over his prince’s face as he looks down on Yuuri twisting in the sheets, eyes wandering.
“I’m never going to understand,” Victor says as his fingers caress softly, teasingly, from Yuuri’s collarbones down his chest. “How the universe deemed me so lucky to have someone as you as my mate.” Victor’s hands continue down, touch fleeting but worshipping, and Yuuri withers under it and Victor’s gaze.
“I have no idea how to be worthy of you, to give you everything when all I have is myself. When I know there will be so much that will be heavy and hard for you, because of who I am. And I didn’t even ask you before.”
Victor’s fingers tremble, just slightly, and Yuuri sees it for what it is, the fear and doubt. Yuuri loathes it. He pushes up, until they’re both sitting up, Yuuri’s hands coming up to cup Victor’s cheeks lightly as he leans in for a soft kiss. He twists them then, pushing Victor down into the mattress so he can straddle his alpha’s lap. He moans softly as Victor’s still clothed cock rubs between his soaked cheeks, but holds back. He desperately wants to have Victor buried inside him, but there is something he has to do first. He leans down and kisses right at the top of Victor’s forehead, where he sees him, every morning, try to push the fringe down.
“I love this,” Yuuri says right after the kiss, leaning to the side so he can reach the single dimple that forms in Victor’s cheek when he smiles for real, not the prince kind, and kisses that twice. “And this.” He pushes himself back, placing a kiss right on Victor’s chest, above his heart. “And this.” He scoots up again then, Victor’s hands on his hips as he brushes his nose against Victor, back and forth. He stops, keeping eye contact as he opens his heart.
“And I love when you laugh so much you get the hiccups, and then continue to laugh as you jump every time another hiccup comes. I love how you reach for me in your sleep, like you know I’m there. How you’ve never shied away from my fears. How you made my father laugh and my mother coo and my sister smile. How you made this apartment ours in a matter of days, because you want me to feel at home. Even if you weren’t a prince, I would love all of those things, and so much more. “
“Oh crap,” Victor breathes, surging up to pull Yuuri down into a bruising kiss. Yuuri opens up easily, wanting more, needing everything Victor has to give him. He starts rocking down, friction so teasing and they both let out a soft moan. Yuuri rises, hands scrambling to get Victor’s underwear off, urgency filling him suddenly, as the bond is almost bursting with emotions. Victor grabs his waist tight, and in one fluid movement Yuuri’s back hits the bed again, the alpha kneeling between his legs. Victor kicks off his own underwear and descends, mouth kissing a trail down Yuuri’s torso until he reaches Yuuri’s hard and flushed cock. One hand grabs the base, as the other caresses down between his cheeks, sliding easily through the slick.
“Aah,” Yuuri moans and as he looks down, he can see a smirk on Victor’s face, just before he takes Yuuri’s hard erection into his mouth.
“Victor,” Yuuri gasps, as his mate slowly takes the whole length into his mouth. The heat enveloping him feels amazing, and just as Victor bottoms out, a finger pushes into Yuuri’s wet hole. Yuuri arches off the bed, fingers coming to tangle in Victor’s soft strands, trying to ground himself in the addictive pleasure of Victor’s mouth and touch. A finger becomes two, and three, and Yuuri feels like he’s going to float away with how hot and aroused this is, the fire burning like a forest fire through his veins.
“Vitya, Vitya please I-,” Yuuri begs and Victor pulls off his cock at his pleading, kissing the juncture of his hip before he pulls his fingers out, crawling up the bed. Yuuri whines at the loss, the need to be filled so great, and Victor chuckles as he leans down, their lips just a breath apart.
“You want my cock, darling?” Victor asks, and Yuuri can already feel Victor lining up, thick head of his cock pressing against his wet and open hole, as if he can’t wait for Yuuri’s answer. The air in the room is filled with the scent of lust, need and love and Yuuri feels breathless in it, fingers tingling as he nods.
“Yes, it’s so good. Your cock it’s so good and I - aaah,” Yuuri cuts off into a loud moan as Victor pushes it, pace hurried but controlled, as if Victor has to hold back to not snap his hips hard into Yuuri and well, Yuuri can’t have that. He rocks his hips down, Victor gasping above him as his cock is pushed further into Yuuri’s heat. Friction so good and the stretch delicious.
“Yuuri. Fuck,” Victor gasps and Yuuri grabs the hairs at the nape of Victor’s neck tight, starting to rock his hips in a rhythm, desperate to have all of that thick cock inside him. He thinks sometimes, that he would be happy just sitting on it all day. Victor bottoms out, hands fisting in the sheets, breathing heavy. Yuuri feels so full. He loves this too. Being filled by Victor, claimed.
“Feel’s so good,” Yuuri sighs. “So, so good, Vitya.”
Victor nods, pressing his lips against Yuuri’s lips before repositioning, sitting up and pulling Yuuri into his lap, the omega’s shoulder blades still resting on the soft bed. The new angle feels heavenly, and Yuuri moans loudly as Victor starts fucking into him in earnest, hips snapping into Yuuri’s heat.
“Fuck Yuuri, so tight, so good, aah-” Victor moans and Yuuri is so lost in it, delerious as Victor pounds into him, repitedly hitting that spot that makes him feel like he’s going to melt.
“Ah, Vi-Vitya,” Yuuri moans, Victor’s hand coming down to wrap around his cock, stroking in time with his pace. It’s so much. Yuuri is overwhelmed by the emotions flooding the bond, the pleasure and the scents and it doesn't take long before Victor’s knot swells, pushing them both over the edge while screaming each other’s names. It’s an awkward position to be locked in but Victor’s knot soon deflates to the point where they can reposition, Victor slumping down onto of Yuuri with an undignified grunt, making Yuuri giggle before the air is half knocked out of him by the alpha landing on top of him.
The worry in Victor’s scent and through the bond is gone. Instead there is contentment and adoration and what more could Yuuri ask for? He’s sure that after tomorrow the roles will probably be reversed. That Yuuri will doubt his place as consort and future queen. Feel unworthy. But right now, there’s only them, in their space.
“We’ll do it together, okay? All of it,” Yuuri whispers, fingers drawing patterns on Victor’s naked back.
“Yes,” Victor agrees, kissing the bond mark on Yuuri’s neck. “Together.”
“Good day to all of you that have gathered here in the Nicholai Hall in the palace, and welcome to all of you throughout the country that is watching,” Lilia greets, the phrase feeling achingly familiar, as Yuuri and Victor stand and wait, hand in hand. “This press conference has been called by the Royal family Nikiforov, and Crown Prince Victor in particular, to deliver news about the ‘Catarina Praxi’. We ask you to show all that come up to this speaker chair to speak respect. Anyone who does not obey by these rules will be asked to leave the room immediately,” Lilia says.
Yuuri takes a deep breath, squeezing Victor’s hand before the alpha’s fingers unlace from his and he steps up to address the country. Yuuri feels the slight nervousness and he wonders how Victor felt in this moment three months ago, when he stepped up to deliver the news of the praxi to the country.
Victor straightens, and Yuuri sees it so well now, the straight posture, the practised smile, the collected expression. This is His Royal Highness Crown Prince Victor Nikiforov, who is but not really, the same as Yuuri’s Vitya.
“Good day everyone. I’m here to thank everyone who has helped me through this search. Thank you to all the health care personnel who collected the samples and to all of you who handed them in. It means a lot to me that so many were willing to do it and I appreciate it greatly,” Victor says. Then a small crack in the facade is visible, a small crooked tug of Victor’s lips as his eyes dart to the side, catching Yuuri’s. Yuuri feels both of their hearts jump, before Victor turns back to the crowd.
“I have called this conference to introduce you all to someone who I have met throughout my search and that I would like you all to meet.”
Victor turns fully to the side, and Yuuri moves forward towards Victor from where he’s standing behind one of the screens, hiding those not on stage from view. He sees the camera flashes go off but tries to ignore them as he focuses on Victor. Victor’s blue eyes that are such a comfort, such a source of love. Victor reaches a hand out and as soon as Yuuri can reach it he takes it, Victor squeezing it once before dropping it, landing protectively on his lower back instead.
The hall is packed, and Yuuri can see all of them vibrating out of their seats, ready to pounce with their questions. After this moment nothing will be the same, but it really hasn’t been ever since he opened that email. With a deep breath he turns and addresses the world.
“Hello. My name is Yuuri Katsuki, and I’m Crown Prince Victor Nikiforov’s mate,” he says with a steady voice, and a collective gasp seems to run through the room. He’s extremely aware of his naked neck, bondmark very visible. “We hope for your support in our engagement and coming marriage. I love Victor very much, and I plan to do all I can to be the best support I can for him, both now and in the future when he becomes king. Thank you.”
There is a beat of silence, and then another, before the Nicholai Hall explodes with camera flashes and loud questions. Yuuri feels Victor tense momentarily beside him, but Yuuri doesn’t even flinch. Let them wonder and envy and be horrified. Yuuri can’t care less. He loves Victor and he’s not going to go anywhere. He can be the omega who took Prince Victor from the world, but above all, he’s going to be the one who stands by him through whatever may come.
The cloak feels heavy on his shoulders, and Victor rolls them, trying to ease some of the tension. It doesn't help, and it’s with a deep sigh that he turns from the mirror, glancing up at the clock. It’s started by now. He knows, because he heard chatter of the people in the hall die down, the music swell and then quiet again. The prime minister much be holding her speech. Anytime now, they will come get him. Victor sighs again, rolling his shoulders for what feels like the hundredth time.
He’s all alone, and that perhaps, is why this feels like such a burden. He had to be, they said. Tradition. He had protested, but it had been no use. Some things are supposed to stay the same, always. Victor’s not used to being alone, especially in times like these, high pressure and official. It feels wrong, empty and hollow. Thankfully, he can feel the steady and calming stream of Yuuri’s love wrap around him, like he has the privilege of feeling everyday. To know that even though he’s not there in person, Yuuri is with him. Always.
So many has called their bond a curse. This need to be close, as if not complete without each other. Victor always has to bite his lip to not laugh in their faces, because that's not something that royalty does. Still, it’s the most idiotic thing he’s ever heard. Yuuri’s love has saved Victor from much more than he could ever recall. It gives him purpose to get out of bed on even the darkest days, that silver of joy and love his mate sends through the bond helping him through every time. It makes him a better advocate for their country and Victor is sure, after today, a better king.
The knock on the door comes and Victor opens it immediately, following Mila out of the small room down the hall. He mostly wants this ceremony over. It itches under his skin, when he should feel pride and joy. Will he be enough? Will he be able to make a difference? Will this make him a more absent mate and father? This is the day he’s been born for. The day his entire life has lead up to. And Victor is excited, but he’s also terrified. He really wishes Yuuri could be beside him, hand warm in his, smile bright and calming.
“Soon,” Mila says as they walk up to the large ornament door of the throne room. There is music playing inside again, all of the guests waiting for them. “You’ll see him as soon as the song ends.”
Victor nods, shaking his shoulders again. Soon. Really, really soon. The music fades and Mila steps to the side, out of view, and then the doors open. The throne room is packed, a red carpet rolled out in the middle creating a walkway for Victor through the crowd. At the end of the line stands Yakov on top of the first step of the altar, waiting. Victor wants to rush over, because he knows the sooner he gets there, the sooner he’ll see Yuuri. He takes a deep breath, glues his eyes to the large Nikiforov emblem and with a straight posture and thundering heart he steps down the aisle.
The room is quiet as he walks and it feels daunting, with all eyes on him, the only sound being his steps on the floor. The room is long, and it feels like he’ll never reach the end, but after two thirds, everything seems a little bit easier, as Yuuri comes into view. He’s in his official robes, dark blue and white jacket with silver jewels, dark blue pants. It’s strange to see him in them without the usual tiara on his head, but there is really no need for it now. Soon there will be something much heavier resting on that beautiful black hair.
Yuuri smiles when he sees him, and excitement floods the bond, like adrenaline rushing through his veins. It’s such a strange thing, but the bond always knows when they’ve been apart or need each other more. It's so wonderful, to feel that Yuuri has longed for him too, ached and wanted and needed, even though it’s only been a day that they’ve been separated. Victor wants to rush over and press his lips against Yuuri’s, tell him over and over how much he missed him, but for now he’ll have to wait. This ceremony comes first, and then they can be together all they want.
Victor reaches Yakov and kneels on one knee. He feels Yuuri’s pride and adoration, and has to hold back to not glance to the right and look at his husband, throw him a kiss. Above him, Yakov reads the coronation law, the vow Victor makes to the nation as their ruler and when Victor accepts, an attendant brings over the large golden crown that’s always adorned Victor’s mother head as she’s ruled. Victor leans his head down, and Yakov places the crown on his head carefully. It’s lighter than Victor remembered it being when they fitted it, and he lets out a deep sigh, before looking up. Now comes the easy part. The best part. His first action as king. To crown his queen.
A smile spreads on his lips as he rises, turning towards Yuuri as he does. Yakov takes a step back, and Victor takes the two steps up, one more and he would be on the top, next to the thornes. It’s where he should be standing, but he doesn’t want to. He wants to take the last step with Yuuri. He’s not planning on ruling alone after all. This will be their time to make a difference.
He gestures for Yuuri to step up, and just like Victor did, his mate kneels on one knee, looking up at him with those deep brown eyes and Victor feels an onslaught of memories and feelings wash over him. Times they got to be just them, lazy Sundays and dinner dates. Their wedding. Dancing in their bedroom in the middle of the night after being separated during the day. Official travels, meetings and charity events. Taking each other apart in their bedroom. Having the kids; they were both scared and so filled with joy. Memories of fights, tears, making up, making things right. So much love. More than Victor ever expected to have.
Yuuri swears to uphold the laws, just like Victor just did. To serve the country with pride and give all he has to make sure it thrives. To serve the crown and the citizens the same. Victor’s not sure he would be able to uphold any of it without Yuuri. Another attendant brings Yuuri’s crown over, and it fits perfectly on his head. Victor reaches out to take Yuuri’s hand, helping him up from the floor and together they walk the steps up to the throne, sitting side by side.
Yakov annonces them, voice booming as the crowd cheers for their new rulers, Victor and Yuuri Nikiforov.
“You look like shit.”
Victor sighs. He can’t even argue with his brother because it’s probably true. He feels dead on his feet. The celebrations have been going on for what feels like forever, and Victor has shook more hands within the span of the hours since the coronation until now than he has throughout his entire life. There’s been a dinner and now a ball, dancing in full swing on the ballroom floor. He’s danced so many waltzes with Yuuri in his arms. It’s been the best part of the day, except letting little Prince Nikolai try the heavy crown. Yuuri has better stamina than Victor though, and the newly crowned queen had been swept into Christophe's arms when Victor had suggested a break for drinks, only to be passed to Phichit next. Yuuri still looks completely radiant. Victor can’t believe it’s been fifteen years since Yuuri first came to the castle during the Catarina Praxi. It feels like yesterday, and an entire lifetime.
“I feel like it too. I just want to go to bed, Yura,” Victor whines and Yuri rolls his eyes, small smile tugging at his lip. His brother was such a firecracker when younger. Even if he’s still fierce, he’s a bit more mellow now, and Victor has his beta mate Otabek to thank for that.
“Go get Yuuri and go up to your room then,” Yuri says, his eyes following the omegas on the dancefloor. “It’s not like you don’t leave every party early anyway.”
“We should,” Victor sighs. “The kids are gonna wake us up early tomorrow and I’ll be completely exhausted.”
Yuri chuckles, shaking his head. “Where do you think Beka is?”
Victor looks around the room frowning. He saw the alpha just an hour ago, tops. As he looks through the crowd of people he can’t spot him and he turns to his brother, frowning.
“Can’t find him,” Victor says and the corner of Yuri’s mouth quirks up slightly, almost smug.
“He’s putting the brats to bed in our room, so you can sleep in,” Yuri says and sips his champagne. Victor gasps, because that’s the best coronation gift ever.
“YURA!” he exclaims and throws his arms around his brother who easily shrugs him off with an ‘eww’ even though Victor can see a small smile on his lips as he takes a step back.
“Yeah, yeah. We built them a pillow fort so they should be fine,” Yuri says and Victor’s heart aches for how much he loves that his brother is this kind and attentive, even if none of them would admit it. He also loves that Yuri loves his kids so much that he wants them in his and Otabek’s chambers all through the night, and probably most of tomorrow.
“Thank you,” Victor says and Yuri nods, eyes drifting back to the dance floor.
“Go get the queen then, King Victor,” he teases before walking away.
Victor wastes no time, hurrying over to the dancefloor to grab Yuuri’s hand that’s resting on Phichit’s shoulder, skillfully twisting him out of the omega’s grip. He can hear Phichit call out a ‘hey!’ behind them but he doesn’t care. Yuuri is giggling behind him, champagne drunk and happy. They rush through the crowd, because Victor doesn’t want to give anyone else a chance to stop them. He pulls Yuuri out through the back door that leads to the staircase up to their chambers, pushing Yuuri up against the door as soon as it closes, pressing his lips against Yuuri’s mouth.
Yuuri sighs, fingers immediately caressing through the short strands of Victor’s nape. Close like this, he can smell Yuuri’s scent, and the small hint of his own that’s always there through the bond. Victor’s heart thunders in his chest. How is it possible that after all this time, Yuuri can still make him feel like he’s a teenager in love for the first time?
“Are you stealing me away, my king?” Yuuri whispers and the sliver of self control Victor has around Yuuri disappears in favour for aching need as he grabs Yuuri’s waist tight, pushing hard into a wet kiss. His hands travel down, until he can lift his mate up off the floor. Yuuri yelps and laughs, clinging to Victor’s shoulders tight.
“Vitya! Careful or you’ll pull something!” Yuuri laughs and Victor mocks a gasp as he starts carrying Yuuri towards the servers elevator on the bottom floor.
“Darling, are you calling me old?” he asks and it brings a beautiful bubbly laugh out of his gorgeous mate, just as anticipated.
“No,” Yuuri answers. “But we are getting older. You’re turning forty this year, Vitya.”
“I am. Are you going to leave me for some younger and more viral alpha, Yuuri?” Victor teases, even though the joke brings knots to his stomach. Yuuri shakes his head, leaning down to kiss the bond mark on Victor’s neck, love the only thing flowing through the bond from Yuuri.
“Never,” Yuuri vows. “Never, ever, ever. I loved you first, remember? I’ve loved you forever.”
Victor’s heart soars. It doesn't matter how many times Yuuri says it, it still feels like such a blessing to have someone as amazing as Yuuri love him from afar for so long, and then get to love him up close. They’ve reached their floor by now and Victor walks confidently through known corridors towards their small haven.
“I don’t deserve you, my queen,” Victor says and Yuuri snuggles closer, inhaling deeply before letting out a soft yawn.
“I’m not sure I’m ever getting used to that,” Yuuri says, sleepiness evident in his voice. The dancing and alcohol must be starting to take its toll. “Have you checked on the kids? Mila said she was taking them up.”
“No,” Victor admits, repositioning his half asleep mate in his grip so he can open the door. “They’re in a pillowfort with Yura and Otabek.”
“Really?” Yuuri asks, straightening a little in Victor’s grip so he can look him in the eye. He’s so beautiful. Cheeks flushed, pushed back hair starting to come undone, lips pink from their kissing. Victor adores him. “They spoil us,” Yuuri procialms and Victor laughs, walking across the room to place Yuuri carefully on the edge of the bed.
“You deserve to be spoiled,” Victor says, pushing down so he can press his lips against Yuuri’s softly. Yuuri hums into the kiss.
“I’m sleepy,” he says when Victor pulls back, and Victor chuckles, starting to help Yuuri out of his clothes. He would love to completely ravish his mate tonight, but it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s not happening. Yuuri looks exhausted, almost asleep as he sits. Victor doesn’t blame him. It’s been a long day for them both. They’ve managed to get Yuuri out of everything except underwear when Yuuri flops down into the nest, snuggling to one side.
“Come to bed,” he demands, and Victor nods, starting to shrug out of clothes as well. They should brush their teeth and Victor should do his skincare routine, but right now he doesn’t care. He didn’t get to fall asleep with Yuuri in his arms yesterday, so he’s sure as hell doing it tonight.
“I’m too tired to rock your world tonight,” Yuuri says as Victor sinks into the bed, pulling Yuuri close to rest on his chest.
“You rock my world every day,” Victor says back and if Yuuri were more awake he would probably protest, instead he swats at Victor’s chest, snuggling closer.
“Ssh, I’ll do it tomorrow,” Yuuri vows and Victor kisses the crown on his head, heart so filled with joy and love it’s threatening to explode.
“Not if I rock yours first,” he whispers into Yuuri’s hair and his queen nods, smiling.
“M’kay,” Yuuri agrees, yawning again. “I love you, Vitya.”
“I love you, Yuuri.”
Sleep is underestimated. They got a good night's rest and then they banged like crazy until they had to take the kids back from Yura and Beka.
Here is it, the last part of my omegaverse stories for YOI Omegaverse week 2019. It's been an insane ride from the first time I saw the post from the mods until now with well over 100k written in less than four weeks. I have loved working on this and I'm blown away about all of the love you've all given me. Thank you so much for all the kudos and comment. I never would have imagined this getting dosed in love like this. Really, thank you so much. <3.