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Safe House

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Victor slumps down on his couch, sighing heavily in relief. He sinks into the familiarity of home, happy to have the long journey behind him. The plane had been delayed two hours, which meant he arrived later than planned. This led to him having to hold off on picking Makkachin up until tomorrow morning since the kennel already closed for the evening. It’s not how Victor wanted it. He’s missing his best girl, and was looking forward to couch snuggles with her.   

The trip had been nice. Victor hadn’t taken time off work in a long time and was in need of a vacation, his hometown the destination. His mothers spoiled him rotten as soon as he walked through the door. He’d been fed his favourite foods along with far too many baked goods, and had gotten endless hugs. Mama took him shopping, smiling proudly every time a clerk recognized him from when he was little, cooing over how big he’d gotten. Each boutique visit turned into her gushing about how successful Victor was, working as a marketing manager for a sports company. She kept petting his hair as if he were still five, or one of her dogs. Victor plastered on a smile and nodded along, feeling like he couldn’t breathe until they stepped out, only to repeat the process in the next store. 

Mamochka took him and the dogs on forest hikes instead, tracking down familiar trails in the woods behind the large house. The two poodles bounced around, happy to be leashless, running and jumping as they moved farther into the forest. Victor smiled and pushed down the feeling of missing Makkachin, hoping she was having a good time at the kennel. Mamochka had poked and prodded, tried to pull out how he really was, always the therapist. She brought up his old classmates who had just mated, repeatedly mentioning an omega who recently started working with her at the clinic. Victor smoothly changed the subject, asking about the next trip to France his mothers had planned. The entire vacation filled him with feelings of being cared for and loved, as well as smothered and not measuring up. He knows they want him to find someone to share his life with, want grandchildren. He’s not sure he’ll ever be able to give them that. It’s a bit exhausting to spend such an extended period of time with them, but Victor still adores them, and wishes they didn’t live so far away. Maybe he wouldn’t feel as lonely if they didn’t.

Victor sighs again, still having trouble finding a comfortable position on the couch. He has a good life. He enjoys his job. He has fun and loving friends. He has the best dog in the entire world. He also has some interesting, fun, and sometimes incredibly challenging volunteer work. Life is good. He has no reason to complain. Except for the numbing emptiness growing in his chest. 

Victor’s a strong alpha. He’s always been, ever since presenting at the early age of fourteen. He loved it back then, going around showing dominance towards other alphas, flashing pheromones like it was nothing, establishing himself at the top of the hierarchy. He never needed to back down to another alpha. Looking back now, it disgusts him. Victor feels ashamed by how he’d behaved while growing up. He didn’t notice how the omegas cowered down next to him, averted their eyes in submission. Didn’t recognize how they crossed the street when he came walking toward them on the sidewalk. 

Things changed a lot in college. 

Victor met Chris during orientation. The other alpha was studying psychology and they quickly hit it off. Looking back, Victor’s surprised Chris put up with him, knowing now how he feels about knotheaded alphas like Victor was back then. Victor’s immensely grateful that he did. They went to parties together, hung out in each other’s dorms, and slowly, they got closer, until Victor viewed Chris as one of his closest friends. 

One evening Chris couldn’t hang out, claiming he was going to go do some volunteering. Intrigued by what his friend was up to, and extremely bored with his own studies, Victor asked to tag along. Chris had dismissed him, claiming it wasn't something Victor could just come with to. Offended, Victor had lashed out, but Chris simply shook his head, offering to explain to Victor later that night after he came back.

It turned out that Chris was volunteering at an omega safehouse. It was in his hometown, a smaller town an hour’s train ride from the city in which they attended college. As an alpha, Chris was not allowed into the house itself, but he participated in what they called Alpha Therapy. Twice a week, the omegas who wanted to could spend time with safe alphas, trying to get more comfortable around them after years of abuse at the hands of one. Chris told him that the therapy mostly consisted of hanging out in a designated place, the alpha volunteers, omega volunteers, and the omegas from the safehouse all together. Sometimes they went on excursions, to amusement parks and the like. Some of the omegas had kids, Chris explained, and they’d take them out to kid-friendly activities, like going to the playground or a park. 

“Why?” Victor had asked, confused. He’d never thought about the fact that some omegas might be abused by their alphas. His parents' relationship is so incredibly loving, Victor couldn’t even imagine Mamochka beating or alpha-commanding Mama. The thought sent unpleasant shivers down his spine. The thought of doing something like that himself, unthinkable.  “How did you find it?”

“Me and my dad lived at a safehouse for a while,” Chris stated simply, sipping his coffee as he watched Victor from the couch in Victor’s dorm. 

“What?” Victor asked, shocked. He’d met Chris’ dad. He was like any other omega Victor had met. He would never suspected he’d had to live in a safehouse. 

“My dad met an apha after my other dad passed away. He got violent and possessive. To keep us safe, they moved us to a safehouse until he was prosecuted,” Chris explained, and a cold shiver ran down Victor’s spine. He felt completely blindsided by this information, and could feel himself gaping like a fish. Chris chuckled, bringing Victor out of his spinning mind. 

“They’re ordinary people, Victor. Ordinary people who’ve had the unfortunate luck of meeting horrible people. They deserve all the help I can give. Besides, most of the time, it’s like hanging out with friends,” Chris calmly stated. 

 

In the months to come, Victor asked Chris endless questions about his friends' experiences living at the omega house and volunteering. The answers pooled in his mind, making Victor’s stomach clench when confronted with his own behaviour as he did his own research. He started reeling in his pheromones and completely stopped challenging alphas he met them. The change in his life was instant. People smiled around him instead of cowering away. They opened up. The more he reeled his alpha posturing back, the more people of all secondary genders relaxed in his company. They let their own pheromones out more as well, leaving Victor to learn to interpret all the signals they were sending out. It was exciting and life changing, in all the best ways. 

Almost a year after Chris told him about his volunteer work, Victor asked if he could be interviewed to become a volunteer as well. He went through all the procedures, and after three months, he joined Chris for his first Tuesday Alpha Therapy. He went every Tuesday and Thursday after that, joining Chris in endless outings and visits in the house therapy room. He and the personnel became friends, Sara and Mila lovely women who always did their best to make sure the omegas in the safehouse were safe and cared for. 

Victor enjoys seeing the omegas blossoming into independence again, leaving the safehouse to live their lives freely. He enjoys talking to them, learning their stories and watching them grow. Even now, years later, he’s still amazed how they can rally after being beaten down so badly, both physically and mentaly. 

Victor graduated from college and got a job at Aria Sportswear, but continued to take the hour train ride or car drive to the small town to volunteer, Chris continuing too, as he settled into a therapist practice. They both grew into their new lives post-college, and Victor found himself with more free time than he had when he studied, so he got himself a dog, the poodle puppy a wonderful addition to his life. 

He’d been volunteering for several years when Sara asked if he would be open to being more involved in helping out at the Baranovskaya safehouse. She explained that when omegas first came, they were often under their mate’s alpha commands. The commands varied from not being able to speak about what they were being put through to not being able to speak at all to orders to harm themselves. They needed unusually strong alphas to help break these commands, since they were almost always from a bonded mate. The alpha who had previously performed this service was moving away, and Sara wondered if Victor could take her place. He agreed in an instant.

 

Victor’s phone rings and he reaches out for it on the coffee table. Surprised to see the safehouse flash across the Caller ID with Mila’s extension, he sits up from his reclining position, frowning. What could the safehouse’s therapist want this late?

“Hello, Mila. You missed me so much you had to call the second I came home?” Victor teases with a smile. He hears her huff on the other end of the line and his grin widens.

“Oh boo, of course I missed you,” Mila says and Victor can hear the smile in her voice.  “It's no fun without you around here. I can't stand Chris alone anymore. Sara just enables him,“ she complains. Victor chuckles in response. Chris is growing worse, teasing and flirting with anyone. Victor thinks it might have something to do with a tanned, dark-haired omega volunteer at the Baranovskaya safehouse, but he’s not sure yet. He’ll have to do some more prodding now that he’s back. Mila laughs, too, softly, before she composes herself. 

“No, actually, I’m calling about work stuff. We’ve had a new arrival today,” she begins, stopping as if she has a hard time finding the words. Victor frowns, an uncomfortable feeling pooling in his gut. When Mila speaks again her voice is soft, laced with worry. “It— It’s pretty bad. We wanted you to come and try to break the command.” 

“Oh, okay. Right now?” Victor asks. There’s an urgency in her voice that makes him scoot forward on the couch, as if getting ready to stand. Something like this has never happened before. Victor’s usually just sent a calendar request through his email, always a few days in advance. Nothing has ever been this urgent.

“No, tomorrow is fine,” Mila answers and Victor sits back again, mind still spinning. “He’s sedated, so you couldn't do much as of right now. The doctor will pull him out of it in the morning and you can try then.” 

“Sedated? Wha— Why is he sedated? And what do you mean try? Has somebody already failed to break the command?” Victor asks, shocked. He’s never heard of anything like this, even at the yearly safehouse conferences.

“I’ll fill you in tomorrow, if you can come by?” Mila asks. She sounds so tired. Victor pulls the phone from his ear, glancing at the clock. She must have been at work the entire day and now it’s almost midnight. Victor should probably get to bed, too, especially if it’ll be an early morning tomorrow. 

“Of course, Mila. I’ll do anything I can to help,” Victor vows, standing to make his way to bed. “Promise me you’ll go home and get some rest. You sound exhausted.”

“Can't; Sara’s staying.” Mila answers, yawning. Victor can’t stop the smile curling on his lips at that. Of course Mila won’t leave her girlfriend, and of course Sara won't leave a new arrival. 

“Okay, just lie down in one of the empty omega rooms then, or is it full again?” Victor asks as he moves into his bedroom. “It wasn't when I left.” Cao Bin should have moved out by now. He was rehabilitated and the legal process was finished two days before Victor went on vacation. 

“Just one room empty, but we’ll try to catch some sleep there,” Mila promises. “See you tomorrow. Come early.”

“Promise. Give my love to Sara,” Victor answers with a yawn.  

“I will,” Mila agrees, yawning again too. “Sleep tight.” 

 

Victor’s arrives at eight, finding Mila in her and Sara’s joint office. The Baranovskaya safehouse is off limits to all alphas. As a regular volunteer, Victor didn’t even know where it was. He had to sign more forms that he had in his entire life combined to have the location disclosed to him, after passing an extensive background check. He’s still only allowed into the offices and treatment rooms. The kitchen, kids’ playroom, common room, and the omegas’ private rooms are off limits to anyone not living or working there. Even if Victor’s position means that he practically works for the safehouse, giving him a commission for every command broken, alphas are not allowed. Victor has never considered breaking that rule. The omegas’ safety and peace of mind, to have a place that feels safe from alphas, is a top priority for everyone working there. He sees no reason to risk that.

“Good morning,” he greets chipperly, ever the morning person. He puts down the cardboard tray with coffee for Mila and Sara, brought from their favorite café he passes on his way from the train, holding out a bag of pastries towards her. 

“I love you,” Mila sighs as she grabs it, pulling out a croissant and taking a huge bite.  Victor smiles as he sits down in the worn armchair facing her. He gives her a few moments to dig into breakfast, grabbing his own cup of black tea as she eats. 

“How’s everything been?” he asks when Mila looks less like a ghost and more like a person again, scent more content than frazzled. She smiles softly, shrugging with one shoulder as she takes another bite, answering with her mouth full. 

“Aside from this new thing, pretty much the same. Cao Bin moved out. Yura had a really good week,” she answers as she chews. “I think he’s really getting along with that new alpha at therapy, which is good. It’ll be nice if he finds friends his age. He’s been here too long.” She takes another bite, frowning slightly as she thinks.  “Uhm. Seung Gil and Mi Sol went to the community center pool with Georgi. I think they had fun. Georgi’s so good with her.“

Victor nods along as Mila fills him in. Yura’s been at the omega house for two years, since the age of fifteen. He and his mother were found badly beaten by his father. His mother died from the injuries, father sent to prison, leading to him having no guardian. Social services had tried different childcare facilities but none had worked, Yura becoming angry and violent himself. As a last resort, social services asked if the Baranovskaya safehouse could take him in. He’d come in to get therapy and help with his life situation. It was rough at first, but looking at how Yura is now, it was all worth it. He will probably stay one more year, until he’s eighteen. It’s lonely to stay so long at the safehouse, watching people come and go without being able to do so yourself. He still snaps sometimes, his anger rising and leading to him lashing out. Mila’s right. Otabek, the new alpha volunteer, could be a good friend for him.

Mi Sol is Seung Gil’s daughter. They were placed at the safehouse six months ago. They are both faring pretty well, mostly waiting for the trial of Seung Gil’s Alpha and Mi Sol’s father, scheduled in a month. Georgi’s their in-house mentor, a caring, if sometimes overly emotional, beta. 

The mentors are omega and beta volunteers, just like the alphas. They, however, are let inside the house. They usually mentor one or two omegas at the time. Yura has Minami, a young beta who usually mentors the youngest omegas who come from homes where one of the parents had been abusive. As of now, Minami’s mentoring Yura and Ji. Georgi mentors Isabella and Seung Gil. That leaves one volunteer, the newest. Phichit’s an omega full of life, warm and caring. Victor enjoys hanging out with him at the alpha therapy sessions, where the mentors often tag along. Phichit mentored Cao Bin, but must now be without an omega. 

“So,” Victor starts, the curiosity in his chest growing as he waits for Mila to start talking about this new case. “This new omega. You said he’s sedated? Why? I’ve never heard of anything like that.” Mila passes the pastry bag to him and Victor takes it, pulling out a danish. He has a feeling he’s going to need all the energy he can get if the command breaking will prove more challenging than usual. 

“Neither had we. I probably shouldn’t tell you too much, since you may meet him and get to know him during Alpha Therapy,” Mila starts, and Victor nods in understanding. They always try to let the omegas have control of their own story. These omegas have already been robbed of too much. “Apparently, he’s been at an omega house in the capital for about two weeks. They’ve tried to break his command three times with no success. After the last try, they decided to sedate him due to the distress the bond is causing, until they could figure something else out. The alpha bastard is sending some horrible things through the bond.“

“Three times?” Victor’s jaw drops. He’s never faced a command he hasn’t been able to break. It’s usually pretty easy, even if it takes a lot of power. In Victor's experience, alphas that needed to hurt their mate to control them are weak and their command, even if it’s a bond command, can be broken by a stronger alpha. The safehouses in the capital should surely have strong alphas as well. “Is that why they moved him?” 

“Yes and no. His mate found the location of the previous safehouse. They had to move the omega immediately for protection,” Mila explains, and Victor hums in understanding, continuing to munch on his danish. It’s not uncommon for safehouses to be found at some point by an alpha who’s extremely eager to get their omega back. Usually, the police handle it, but the omega always needs to be moved just in case. “They sent out a request for another safehouse that suited his situation, and Lila though we could be a good fit. I hope she's right. It's not like we've had any experience in cases this difficult, but other than that, he fits our profile,” Mila states, cradling the paper cup in her hands, spinning slightly in her chair. 

Lilia founded the Baranovskaya Omega Safehouse with her mate, Yakov, thirty years ago. As they’re starting to cut down the time they spend working, they employed Sara to start to take over the day to day operation. The safehouse specializes in younger omegas, working together with the other safehouse in the small town that specializes in older omegas, those over thirty-five. 

“Okay. What happens when he wakes up? How does the bond affect him?” Victor asks, and Mila reaches back for the omega’s file. This one is still pretty empty, just a few papers that Mila flips through before she takes a sip of her coffee. It feels better to be prepared for whatever he’s going to face when trying to break the command. Usually, Victor only has to have eye contact, release some soothing pheromones and demand a command release. If the omega’s catatonic or screaming, that might be difficult. Mila winces as she reads through the papers and it sends and uncomfortable shiver down Victor’s spine, his stomach sinking. 

“Apparently, a lot of tears and some screaming,” she reads with a sympathetic expression. “He can barely hold a conversation. God, this is horrible,” Mila states as she looks up, throwing the binder back on the desk. “I don't think your usual approach will be enough, but I don't know what you should do. I've never seen anything like this. I think we read about it in school but I can't remember how it went. I guess you’ll just have to let your instincts guide you.” 

“What's his name?” Victor asks. He’s starting to get nervous. What if he can’t help this omega? What will happen to him then? Victor’s never felt performance anxiety before but as Mila read the file, he could feel it start to fill his system, making worry pool in his gut. 

“Yuuri,” Mila answers calmly with a sad smile on her lips, closing the folder. As she does, Victor’s eyes catch movement in the corridor and he looks out through the still-open door, seeing Sara pop her head out from the treatment room across the hall. She smiles as her eyes meet Victor’s, and she comes out of the room and walks over to the office.  

“Hi, Victor! Nice to see you. You ready?” she asks, a bit hurried, a purple matching collar and cuffs set on the unmated omega’s neck and wrists. She looks a little less exhausted than Mila, but Victor knows better. Sara’s overly devoted to her work and goes out of her way to help omegas. If Victor had to guess, he’d bet she sat next to Yuuri the entire night.

“Angel,” Mila calls. “Victor bought coffee from Black Bean Café. Come have some!” Sara rolls her eyes fondly but steps farther into the overcrowded office, taking the offered cup. She hums contentedly as she sips the hot coffee, eyes smiling as she does. 

“Thank goodness for Jana’s lattes, and Victor’s kindness,” Sara states as she lowers the cup, opening her eyes and smiling at him. 

“It was nothing,” Victor assures. “I needed a pick me up before dealing with this task.” 

“Oh yeah! Thank you so much for coming so quickly, Victor. I just hate to think about how bad it must be for him. Even sedated, he's tossing and turning,” Sara says, turning back and looking towards the treatment room with pain in her eyes.

“Is it a two-way bond?” Victor asks, trying to find the reason for it to be this bad and in hope of the answer giving him the key to fix it. Sara shakes her head, eyes still glued to the half-open door. 

“No, the police found no marks on the alpha. The bondmark is on his wrist, which you know is rare,“ Sara sighs, bringing the cup back up to drink some more of her latte. Victor nods as he spots the doctor coming out of the treatment room. She’s a rather old beta with a kind look, long white hair in a tight braid hanging down her back. Victor’s met her several times and they get along well, both here for the same reason. 

“The sedation is starting to wear off now,” she says as she approaches the offices. “I’ll stay in the hall to be able to sedate him again if needed, but I'm guessing that the fewer people in the room the better.” Victor nods in agreement. It’s best to have the room as calm as possible if he going to focus solely on Yuuri, and for Yuuri to focus on him. 

“Alright,” Sara agrees, smile sad but expectant, turning to Victor. “You ready?”

Victor nods, nerves fluttering in his stomach as he stands to follow Sara. He needs to relax. Getting nervous won’t help him be in control of this situation, and clearly, he really needs to be. 

They walk into the treatment room, usually furnished with couches and armchairs that have been swapped for one of the fold-out beds the safehouse keeps for the kids that sometimes arrive with omegas. The other furniture is pushed to the sides, one lone chair next to the small bed. 

As soon as Victor enters, a conflicting scent fills his nose, leading him to take a deep breath. The sweet scent of omega is unmistakable, filled with pain and anxiety. Still, it’s the most enticing scent Victor’s ever smelled. Cherry blossoms, vanilla, and sandalwood fill his senses, drawing him in. There’s clearly some alpha in it, too, from his bond mark. It seems off in the otherwise lovely scent. Like it doesn’t belong. Victor’s pretty sure that it doesn’t. He steps closer, almost on impulse, and as he does, he gets his first look at the omega lying in the bed. 

He’s beautiful. Long, dark hair is braided to one side, reaching just below his clavicle. His face appears soft due to its slightly rounded cheeks, even if his jaw and cheekbones are sharp. Dark sculpted eyebrows, plump pink lips. His jaw is locked tight, as if in pain, and Victor’s heart aches as he sees Yuuri’s fist tighten, knuckles white. A soft white blanket covers him from the ribs down, a blue long-sleeved t-shirt the only clothing visible above it. Yuuri’s scent glands on his neck are unmarked, just like Sara said, and Victor finds himself looking away from them, feeling a slight blush tint his cheeks. It’s rare to see an omega with unmarked scent glands on the neck, as they’re usually covered until bonding. It feels invasive to look at them, so Victor’s looks down at Yuuri’s wrist instead, finding the bondmark on the right one just above Yuuri’s fisted hand. So unusual. Alphas almost exclusively mark the neck. Victor’s never before seen an omega with just a wrist mark. 

Yuuri’s thin, much thinner than anyone should be. He looks starved, wrist bones and elbows protruding starkly. The sedation could be part of the cause, but Victor imagines it must have been the work of the abusive alpha as well. A low growl starts ripping through Victor’s throat, startling him. He hastily pulls his anger back. That’s something he hasn’t done since he was a teenager, let his emotions run away with him like that. He needs to keep himself in check—Yuuri doesn’t need a feral alpha. Victor’s here to help and that's what he needs to focus on. 

He takes two deep breaths, letting the amazing scent of Yuuri overtake him. It’s so easy to lose himself in it, and Victor should probably be wary of that, but right now, he can’t seem to care. His instincts rise in his chest, wanting to start releasing calming pheromones as an answer to Yuuri’s distress. This feels so new. He’s read tons of literature on alpha/omega relationships, alpha commands, removing bonds, and omegas being abused. Since Chris opened this world to him, Victor couldn't stop trying to learn more. He knows what studies say about how to help distressed omegas, but his body has never reacted instinctively like this. He tries not to focus on why right now. It feels too big. Life changing. Intimidating.

Yuuri’s tense body relaxes as Victor’s pheromones fill the room, their scents mixing. Victor moves closer, sitting down on the edge of the bed next to Yuuri’s chest. He tries to not think, acting on what comes naturally, and he desperately wants to touch Yuuri. To hold him and help him, ease his distress. He places Yuuri’s hand in his lap, lacing their fingers together. No other command-breaking Victor’s done has been like this. Usually, the personnel explains the process to the omega, introducing Victor before he comes. He introduces himself as well, keeping a safe distance as he feels out the situation. They usually sit down opposite each other, keeping eye contact, and then Victor simply alpha commands the previous command away. There’s rarely physical contact, never this type of pull.

Yuuri wakes slowly, breathing growing shallower, eyelids fluttering before opening completely. Victor’s still sending out more calming pheromones than he’s ever used in his life, the room completely soaked in them. Yuuri’s gaze is glassy and unfocused as his eyes open, as if he’s searching. It's hard to know if it’s because of the sedatives or pheromones but as long as he looks this relaxed Victor doesn't really care. Yuuri squeezes Victor’s hand, and Victor squeezes back but keeps his hold light so Yuuri can move back if he wants to. The last thing he wants is for Yuuri to feel threatened or restrained.

After a few seconds, Yuuri’s gaze falls on him. Gorgeous brown eyes look straight at Victor for a moment, as if taking him in. It takes a moment, and then Yuuri flinches. His breath hitches and Victor prepares for him to pull away, the grip on his hand loosening even more. Yuuri sits up in a rush but leaves his hand in Victor’s, who watches him carefully, trying to judge the situation, letting his instincts continue to guide him. Yuuri doesn’t look scared, more confused, looking at Victor with those big brown eyes.

“Hi, Yuuri. I’m Victor,” he greets, voice low and steady. His heart’s hammering in his chest with nerves but he tries to stay calm, focused on continuing to release calming pheromones, seem unthreatening. 

“You know me?” Yuuri asks, eyes darting across Victor’s face. His eyes are still growing a bit more focused. He still looks calm, almost serene, a noticable difference from when Victor first stepped into the room. 

“Not really, but I would very much like to,” Victor admits. It’s not just kind words. Yuuri’s affecting him in ways he’s never experienced. Knowing him is something Victor finds himself longing for, aching for. Maybe it’s his scent, maybe it’s those caramel eyes, maybe it’s just a feeling

“Am I dead? Are you an angel? You look like one. Smell like one too,” Yuuri says in awe, reaching his free hand out to touch Victor’s cheek. Victor would laugh at how cute it is if something uncomfortable didn’t pool in his stomach at the words. He can’t stop himself from asking, even if he knows he probably shouldn't. 

“Why would you think you were dead, Yuuri?” 

Yuuri casts his eyes down, hand dropping before it reaches Victor’s cheek. He’s still holding Victor’s hand, and Victor starts caressing up and down between his knuckles softly, hoping to be soothing. With a low voice, more like a whisper than anything else, Yuuri answers. 

“I can’t remember when I last felt this at peace.”

It takes every ounce of Victor’s self-control not to react to that statement. To not cry, or shout, or run out and pound his fist into a wall. He needs to control his emotions. Yuuri’s safe now, far away from all that hurt him. Victor has to focus on that. He pushes the confirmation of Yuuri’s horrible fate down to wallow in at a later time. This is not for Victor. He’s here for Yuuri. He reassuringly squeezes Yuuri’s soft hand again, his other hand coming up to gently guide Yuuri’s face up so they can keep eye contact. 

“You’re not dead, Yuuri,” he assures with a soft smile, letting his hand drop as soon as their eyes meet again. His heart flutters at the sight of Yuuri’s slightly pink cheeks and wide eyes. God, he’s breathtaking. “And I'm not an angel. But I would like to help you if I can. Okay?” 

Yuuri’s eyes watch his as if he’s searching for something. Perhaps it's dishonesty, or manipulation, or whatever other horrible things he’s used to. His other hand finds Victor’s cheek, reaching all the way now. His palm feels warm and soft. It startles Victor for a moment, before he leans in to the touch because of just how right it feels. He shouldn't be doing this. It’s too intimate and Yuuri is in a vulnerable state, high on pheromones and still coming down from sedation. But Victor can’t break this now. He needs Yuuri relaxed and trusting as soon as possible if this is to work. Before whatever makes Yuuri scream and quiver comes back. Yuuri seems to have found what he was looking for in Victor's face because he leans forward, forehead resting against Victor’s.

“Okay,” he whispers, the single word sending a shiver down Victor’s spine. He feels like Yuuri’s trust is the most beautiful gift he’s ever received. He wonders faintly how much of this Yuuri will remember in his hazy state, or if it will seem like a dream. Victor desperately hopes he remembers. 

Victor steadies himself with two deep breaths, raising his forehead from Yuuri’s so he can maintain eye contact. He places his right wrist against Yuuri's left, the unbitten one, and starts scenting him. He’s never scented anyone before, but this feels like what he’s supposed to do. Yuuri sighs contentedly at the contact, so Victor continues to follow his gut. He raises Yuuri’s right hand with his free hand, fingers laced together. He shouldn't be doing this. It's too much, logically Victor knows this, but it's like his instincts are guiding him. He slowly brings his lips to the marked scent gland, holding eye contact with Yuuri. The scent from the other alpha is clearer here, and Victor wishes he could will it away because it feels so wrong in Yuuri’s scent. 

Victor’s lips meet Yuuri’s skin and Yuuri shivers, eyes widening slightly as Victor continues to watch him. He summons all the power he has, more than he’s ever used. It pools and grows inside him, until he feels like he will burst if he doesn't use it. A breath, then he pushes it out. 

“Release.” 

Yuuri lets out a breath he wasn't holding and a thought grazes Victor’s mind, clarity filling him as he keeps his lips pressed against Yuuri’s scent gland. The commands are unusually strong, probably stronger than any Victor’s ever met, and he guesses there are so many of them that there’s a tangled mess in Yuuri’ mind. He repeats the command. 

“Release.” 

Yuuri breaths out again. 

“Release.”

“Release.”

Victor chants the command until it sounds like a prayer. Yuuri’s body continues to relax under each and every repetition, tension leaving his body as the commands release their grip. The tightness in his neck and shoulders disappears, a soft smile slowly spreading across his face until he’s giggling, eyes shining. The sight is joyus, and Victor can’t help but brightly smile back as he lets their hands drop down. 

“Feel better?” He asks as Yuuri’s giggling dies down, a soft smile remaining on his face as he looks at Victor, adoration in his eyes as he nods. Victor’s heart jumps in his chest, a feeling he hasn't felt in a long time tingling through his body. Yuuri’s smile’s exchanged for a yawn, then a sleepier smile. 

“Do you want to lie down and rest?” he asks. This must have been incredibly draining for Yuuri; Victor feels like he ran a marathon. 

“Yes,” Yuuri admits as he slowly makes himself comfortable, lying down on the bed again. Victor stands, trying to collect himself as he walks to the door, even if his instincts are screaming to stay. 

“Victor?” Yuuri calls, and Victor turns back towards him. He doesn't want to go, but he knows he must. He needs to process this encounter, try to calm the raging emotions and swirling thoughts. Yuuri probably has a lot to sort through, too, more than Victor might be able to imagine.

“Yes, Yuuri?” he answers, taking another breath of Yuuri’s sweet scent, so much more content now. It makes something prideful fill Victor’s chest to know that he helped the omega, just like he always does. This is slightly different, though, Victor’s just not sure why. 

“Will you— Will I see you again?” Yuuri asks. He looks unsure, his form curled up on the small bed making him look even smaller. 

“If you want to,” Victor promises, meaning every word. Right now it feels like he would swim across the Atlantic to get to Yuuri. 

“Alright,” Yuuri says with another yawn, eyelids starting to droop, as if that promise was the last thing he needed to relax. He curls up on his side, eyes falling completely shut. Victor takes one last look at him, closing his own eyes to hope they’ll meet again, before he walks out of the room. Sara’s waiting for him in the hallway, leaning against the wall next to the office door. The atmosphere lies heavy around them as they look at each other, and Victor tires to not let how much the previous hour has affected him show. Sara eyes him up and down with a crease between her brows, and Victor doesn’t blame her. He’s not entirely sure what happened in there, or why he acted as he did. 

“That was different,” she says after a long moment, voice flatter usual. Victor knows it was. That he crossed lines he never has before, not even considered existed before this, because never before has he met someone under so many strong and heavy alpha commands. 

“It’s a very special case,” Victor states, shrugging his shoulders. He really doesn't want to talk about this now. His mind is a jumble and he needs time, a long walk with Makkachin, and some wine with Chris to sort out his thoughts. Sara hums affirmatively, pushing herself off the wall and walking over towards Yuuri’s room. 

“Will I see you on Tuesday?” she asks, referring to the weekly alpha therapy sessions. This is clearly not resolved yet, but maybe there isn’t much more to say at the moment. 

“Of course,” Victor answers, and turns towards the door leading out. 

“Okay. Bye, Victor. Thank you again.” A soft smile spreads across Sara’s face and Victor takes it as a sign that he hasn’t screwed up completely. At least, he hopes he hasn't. 

“Bye, Sara. Say hi to Lilia and Yakov when they come in,” Victor replies as he pushes the door open and walks out into the chilly summer morning, an empty feeling echoing in his heart as Yuuri’s scent disappears in the wind.