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Someone to Protect

Chapter Text

Strength does not come alone.

This couldn’t be happening. Not here, not now. It wasn’t even supposed to happen ever. Yuri was starting to believe there was a grudge held against him. Someone up in the sky didn’t want things to go Yuri’s way, and it only seemed to be getting more agitated. That was just how Yuri felt right now, with the feathering of his heat starting to bloom in his abdomen. It usually started slow. Yuri would feel a little warm, and it would gradually progress into full on feverish. There were painful pangs in his abdomen along with a spattering of other ailments that made Yuri want to vomit. He wasn’t supposed to be this way, he was never meant to present as an Omega.

Yet, there he sat in one of the empty lounges, with fire licking at his skin and his insides twisting into knots. Yuri felt dizzy, hot and aching, and he had a fucking competition to win tomorrow. He knew he could still skate in the morning, at least. The clinic here could provide him a prescription that would dull the symptoms. Well, enough for Yuri to focus. “I take fucking suppressants for a reason,” Yuri mumbled to himself. He was furious that the suppressants had failed him now, of all times. They weren’t one-hundred-percent all the time, maybe more like ninety. Of course, Yuri had fallen into that ten percent. He'd heard of suppressants sometimes failing and an occasional cycle would take place. Yuri was also young, he had presented before sixteen, which didn’t happen often. His doctor had warned him that suppressants might affect him or work different.

Yeah, by making his heat hit him like a fucking train?

Yuri had yet to tell his coach it had happened. Though, he knew he needed to hurry up and message Yakov with the explanation (or, maybe get Mila to do it for him) and let his coach know about this minor hitch. There were medicines that would both soothe the discomfort and that would cover up the pheromones. That was something that could present a problem, because scents could get distracting. Yuri doubted it would cause that much of an issue. Most of the audience would be too far away and the other competitors were upwards of eighteen, where Yuri was but fifteen. Yuri didn’t think any of them would take much interest in someone his age.

Several minutes ticked by as Yuri tried to gather up the courage to get up and go find the stupid medical wing. He didn’t want to risk running into anyone else here. It was bad enough presenting as an Omega, but to have anyone see him like this? A runt Omega who couldn’t even control his own body? That was a disgusting fault and Yuri couldn't accept that. He’d kept it a secret from the media and from almost everyone he knew. Only a select few were privy to the secret, only the ones who needed to know. The longer Yuri sat there, the worse it became. He knew he couldn’t just wish away the painful throbbing in his gut. Drugs existed for a reason, to keep pathetic wastrels like him from falling apart.

Just as Yuri had given up and started to stand, a nauseating scent permeated the air. With a wrinkle of his nose, Yuri looked up at the pair of men that had just come swaggering into the lounge. They were both Alphas, and they both reeked. Yuri noticed that when he was in heat, he could pick scents apart much better, particularly that of an Alpha. Every person was different, unique, but Yuri had never smelled someone so…rotten.

“What have we got here?” The man closest to Yuri spoke first, grinning a smile that showed too many teeth. He had his brown hair tied back into a ponytail that bounced as he nudged his dirty-blond companion.

“Y’lost, Omega? Who let a pretty thing like you wander around alone?” They both broke into a filthy snicker that made the hair on Yuri’s neck stand on end. He had heard all sorts of harsh criticism and reproachful insults. But, no words had ever left such a bad taste in Yuri’s mouth like the ones he’d just heard. It almost made him want to scrub his ears.

“Get lost,” Yuri muttered, cramming his hands into his pockets and hunching his shoulders. He wanted to make himself closed off. “Go back to drooling over the sides of the ice rink at the girl skaters.” Yuri’s clipped insult hung in the air as he turned around. He was ready to storm off and take care of his problem while also leaving these dirt-bags in the dust.

Instead of that plan, Yuri found himself faced with another man, who was blocking the way to the hall. “That’s no way to talk to an Alpha, you disrespectful little brat.” This one was bigger than the other two, almost hulking, and smelling just as foul. He took a step towards Yuri, and Yuri took a step backwards. He was no coward and he wasn’t going to back down to a group of creepos, but something deep in his gut told him he shouldn’t let this guy get too close.

“Being an Alpha doesn’t make you special, you big idiot.” Yuri bared his teeth as he spoke, hissing out the words with as much vitriol as he could muster. The guy shoved his dark hair back and pinned a strange look onto Yuri, one that made him want to recoil. That wasn’t a look he’d ever seen on a person. He’d only seen it on television—on a starving big cat, ready to go in for a kill. Yuri was so focused on the one in front of him, trying not to let him get too close and gain any advantages, that he had all but forgotten the two waifs behind him.

A hand settled on Yuri’s hip, and the boy could swear that it burned. He reached down and slapped the hand away from him, only for another to bury into his hair. The hand yanked Yuri back, hard, and Yuri thought he was lucky to not hear his neck snap. He cried out at the sudden pain and reached back to try and pry himself free. “Get off me, you fucking freaks! I’ll have you thrown out of this place!”

The giant in front of Yuri gripped his chin and squeezed, forcing Yuri to stop talking. “Ssh, ssh, doll-face. Just relax a little.” Yuri felt bile rise up the back of his throat. All three of them were surrounding him, circling like they were going to eat him. Their scents were dizzying, sickening, and Yuri felt himself start to go a little faint.

One of the men behind him (he wasn’t sure which) chuckled too close to Yuri’s ear. A bony hand reached down to fumble with the bottom of Yuri’s shirt. “You need a little help getting through your heat, pretty? We just want to help you out.” A stubbly chin nuzzled against Yuri’s cheek.

Tremors traveled through the blond’s thin limbs. He tugged at his attackers in a weak attempt to free himself, but he couldn't seem to get a grip. His mind was hazy and clouded with thoughts that didn’t feel like his own. His heat was turning his own body against him, his whole body throbbed in aching rhythm. It was not arousal, not at all, it was painful and scorching hot and Yuri couldn’t shut it off. He didn’t know how to shut it off! “Get your f–filthy hands off!” Yuri’s voice faltered on him a bit. His heart was racing out of his chest, thumping so hard against his rib cage that it felt almost violent. The hand at his shirt reached lower.

Yuri couldn’t breathe anymore.

“Get away from him.” The atmosphere itself seemed to freeze, as did all three of the men harassing Yuri. The voice was familiar, but Yuri couldn’t place a guess on who it belonged to. It was menacing, and that added to the unfamiliarity.

“Hey, we were just tryin’ to help the kid out is all.” The hands removed themselves from Yuri’s person. Never could Yuri recall such an overwhelming relief. It was almost enough for his legs to give out on him, but instead he stumbled away, still dizzy and reeling, and looked at who had interrupted them.

Katsuki Yuuri. With his hair slicked back and his eyes narrowed into a scowl, Yuri almost doubted it actually was the Japanese piglet. Those dark eyes held far too much rage for them to belong to the meek skater.

“By forcing your scent onto him? By assaulting a fifteen-year-old?” Yuuri’s shoulders rolled back as he took a step forward. He appeared far more intimidating in that moment than Yuri could have ever imagined.

“Easy, we don’t want any trouble,” the greasy blond one backed up a step.

Yuuri’s scowl deepened as he came to stand in front of Yuri, blocking him from sight. “It’s too late for that. I suggest you get out of here before you find out what real trouble is.” Yuuri had every intention to report these three perverts. The cameras around here had to have gotten a good look at their faces. For now, he just wanted to get Yuri out of there.

The three excuses for Alphas scattered after that, holding no wish to test the pissed off, commanding man in front of them. Once they were out of sight, stumbling around the corner, Yuuri’s shoulders sagged. “Oh, that was terrifying. I can’t believe that worked.” Turning around, Yuuri looked down at the young skater. Glistening concern softened his eyes. “Yurio, are you hurt anywhere?”

Yuri stared numbly up at the other man, his expression tight and his eyes wide as he appraised Yuuri. Instead of answering, he replied with a question of his own. Or, maybe it was more of an accusation. “You’re an Alpha?!”

Yuuri rubbed the back of his neck a bit sheepishly. Most people were kind of surprised when they found out, it wasn’t like Yuuri was exactly the strong and intimidating type. “Yes, I am. I know it’s kind of surprising, but I can say the same for you. You’re much more frightening than half the Alphas I know.” Yuri felt a little pride at that, but it was short-lived as the same ache and discomfort began to register again. It was nothing like before, but Yuri’s mind was still reeling. Although he’d never admit it out loud, Yuuri knew this had shaken the young boy.

“Um, come on, we should take you to the clinic. They’ll prescribe you something to help with your heat, no one else will even learn about it!” Yuri was about to protest the offer of help, because he certainly didn’t take hand-outs. Still, after what had just transpired... Walking off on his own didn't seem too appealing an idea. Yuri rubbed at his arm for a second before mumbling something akin to an agreement. Though, his eyes were to the side and not looking anywhere near Yuuri.

Yuuri smiled all the same, and placed a hand on Yuri’s shoulder to guide him to the clinic. Yuri would sooner die than admit, even to himself, that he needed the protection of an Alpha. But, it was kind of comforting. The walk to the clinic was short and blissfully devoid of any other encounters. The nurse on duty was a kind, smiley sort who smelled like cinnamon and told Yuri she admired his skating. It was nice to hear, even if it was while she was gathering a heat-blocker for him.

On the way back to Yuri’s room, Yuri cut his eyes towards the older man beside him. “Don’t you dare say anything about this to anyone, you hear me? I don’t need any protection from a dumb Alpha.”

Yuuri raised his hands up in defense, waving them about as he shook his head in denial. “No, no! Of course not!” Yuuri conceded. Yuri held his gaze for a moment longer before, appearing satisfied, he looked ahead again. Yuuri breathed out a sigh of relief. He hadn’t been lying, Yurio was definitely intimidating. “And, Yurio?” green eyes cut towards Yuuri, “this wasn’t…what you said it was. It was just a friend helping out a friend!”

Yuri snorted at that. “We aren’t friends,” he grumbled, somewhat sulkily. Yuuri just smiled in response. He was fifteen, once. Not this kind of fifteen, but still, fifteen. And he hadn’t had the Omega hormones to make it worse.

“Yuuri! I’ve been looking for you! Oh, you were with Yurio?” Yuri didn’t even bother biting back a groan when he heard Viktor’s cheerful voice calling out to them. Yuuri turned around to greet his coach, while Yuri just glanced over his shoulder. “I was meaning to get a practice in before tomorrow morning, and—” Viktor stopped midsentence once he was closer to the two of them, now close enough to recognize Yuri’s heat. It had no effect on him, just like it didn’t on Yuuri, but it was still distinguishable. Viktor looked down at Yuri with serious concern, “Yuri, you shouldn’t be out—”

“It’s fine, old man. I’ve got the blocker and I’ll be fine by tomorrow. Take your boyfriend and get out of here, would you?” Yuri’s bristly nature was apparently back in full force as he jammed his key-card into the lock of his door. Before stepping in, Yuri glanced up at Yuuri for a moment. It was a quick look that didn’t last a beat, but Yuuri smiled gently at the teenager, and Yuri had to rush into his room before his own small smile could be seen.

Outside the door, Yuri heard Viktor whining. “He called me old, Yuuri!”

Chapter Text

Yuri huffed out an annoyed sigh, frustrated at staying cooped up in his room. It had been three days since his heat had started. It was starting to calm now, the symptoms now dwindling into being bearable. It didn’t make Yuri any less embittered. He had, at least, gotten to skate at the competition that had taken place two days earlier. The mild heat blocker was only meant to last twenty-four or so hours. Even then, Yuri still felt the uncomfortable aching in his stomach and head, though it was duller. Yuri would have taken the blockers for the entire duration of the cycle, if he could. Too bad that wasn't advised, especially for younger Omegas. They interfered with hormones and could make a person quite ill, sometimes even causing permanent issues. Blockers were only for emergency situations, where one needed to suppress their heat immediately and for a short time.

Yuri was thankful the blocker had done its job and allowed him to skate. Which had been beautiful, heat be damned, despite his…shortcomings. Clutching a pillow to his stomach, which was writhing inside of him like an angry snake, Yuri buried his face into it. Its plush surface was perfect for screaming into without anyone hearing, Yuri had discovered. He’d done a lot of that, along with the occasional cursing, whining, and generally being miserable about the whole ordeal. If he were at home, Yuri would have been tearing things up and slamming things across his room. It was the only way Yuri coped with this; by being destructive. Violence and anger were the only way Yuri knew how to deal with his heat, with being an Omega. It was all he’d ever known.

A throb in Yuri’s stomach made a whine rise in his throat. He bit down on and swallowed it before it could get out. Yuri was pathetic enough.

There was a knock at his door that startled him, snapping him out of his thoughts. Without thinking, he snapped an annoyed sounding “what?” at whoever was on the other side.

It was Yuuri. He cracked the door open and slipped inside, shutting it behind him. In his hand was a small tray of food. Food for Yuri, who couldn’t leave his room. Because he was useless, and an embarrassment, and couldn’t control his own heat. Heat which often incapacitated an Omega until their bodies grew used to it. It was usually a few years after first entering the cycles, when one was in their later teens. Even then, there were some Omegas whose heat was so strong that it left them stuck at home for a few days. The length of the heat cycle, along with the frequency, was dependent on the Omega. Yuri was lucky, his heat only lasted about five or six days. But, it was rather strong and his own doctor wasn’t sure when his body would regulate to it.

Yuuri seemed to notice the dour mood the teenager was in. It was hard to miss, with the way Yuri was scowling. Even so, the blond’s lips were set in a thin line of obvious discomfort. Heat was different for everyone, and it could be painful at times. Yuuri felt bad for his friend, things were always worse for the first few years. He was sure Yuri knew that, his family had to have told him all about the cycles and how his body worked. It must be hard, being all the way in Japan instead of back at Russia, where things were familiar and homely. Clearing his throat, Yuuri set the tray on the bedside table. It was a modest meal full of vitamins that Yuri needed, his body had to replenish all its lost energy. “You aren’t eating much, Yuri. My mother is getting a little worried,” Yuuri told him. They were all worried about Yuri, him being so young and in a foreign place, for the time being. Yakov and Viktor had both said that Yuri tended not to eat much. That could make him too weak while his body struggled through the heat.

Yuri shrugged. Or, he shrugged as well as one could when buried under a blanket. It was hot under it, too much so, but Yuri found he needed the blankets. They made him feel secure. It was a dumbass thought, but an unshakable one. When Yuri wasn’t stuffed beneath the blanket nest then he was taking an icy bath, fighting to get his temperature down. “Does she want me to get fat?” Yuri muttered, sitting up a bit. He wanted that glass of water Yuuri had brought.

Yuuri sighed. It was about all he could do, Yuri was a stubborn and independent person, even like this. Not that anyone could fault him for it, none of the Katsukis were like Yuri. Yuuri and his father were Alphas while his mother and sister were Betas. They did know how to help Omegas, several stayed at the onsen while on their heat because it was a quiet and safe space. Yuri was…rather difficult, and it wasn’t just because he was a rebellious fifteen-year-old. At least, Yuuri didn’t believe that was the entirety of it. “Please try to eat a little more, will you? I don’t want you to get sick!”

Yuuri’s concern was overwhelming and unwanted. Yuri didn’t need it. As soon as his heat was over, hopefully a couple of days, he could take the flight back home. Yakov hadn't been happy that Yuri had had to stay. It was Yuri’s fault; he’d have to train even harder when he returned. He’d have to learn how to control his body. “Fine!” Yuri snapped, shoving the blanket back and reaching for the bowl. He’d already downed the glass of water in a single go. “If it gets you off my back, I’ll eat the damn food.” Yuri shoved a bite into his mouth and ignored the way his stomach twisted, ready to reject anything.

Still, Yuri swallowed, and he ignored the way it felt like a heavy weight sinking into his belly. Yuri rarely was hungry during his heat, though most were, because the cycle took a lot out of one’s body. It left an Omega physically drained and they had to eat and drink more to stay on top of things. Most actually took medicine and vitamins so that they wouldn’t get sick or so exhausted that they were bedridden. Yuri didn’t do any of that. He took the suppressants and learned to suck everything else up.

Yuuri stood and watched the Omega eat, unnerving Yuri. He wanted to shout at the other to leave, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. That only pissed him off further. When Yuri didn’t think he could handle any more food, he set the bowl down and waited for Yuuri to snap at him for not finishing. Yuri had tried, but he just wasn’t much of an eater, unless it came to certain foods. It was a habit from when he was little. Growing up, he'd spent several nights hungry. That was until he started making enough to support his family.

The bowl was half-empty this time, more than he usually ate. Yuuri beamed, “that’s much better!” He took the tray and Yuri wrapped the blanket around himself again, wishing it brought more comfort to him. “Is it getting any better?” Yuuri had asked that every time he came to see Yuri, to give him meals and sometimes just to drop by and check on him. Yuri didn’t know how to handle all the attention. Stuff like that left him embarrassed and a little guilty, though the idiot was doing it to himself. Yuuri didn’t have to do all this.

“It’ll be over in a couple days,” Yuri answered, having given a curt nod to Yuuri’s question. It was bad, but not like the first few days. Yuri imagined that was what dying felt like.

“Oh, that’s good! You’ll be able to go home. I’m sure you’re looking forward to getting back to training!” Yuuri’s smile never left his face. It made Yuri snort and roll over into his sweltering pile of blankets, pillows, and frustration. He hated that his life was on a temporary hold over something as trivial and fucked up as this. Nor did he like the reminder of it getting thrown in his face. He heard Yuuri leave, as quiet as always. The emptiness of the room seemed huge.

There was a tightness in Yuri’s chest that made him want to expel everything he’d just managed to eat. Sniffing, he rubbed at his face angrily, making his skin turn a little red. This was fucking stupid, he didn’t ask for any of this. It wasn’t just his body that betrayed him, but everything else. His emotions got out of hand, sometimes, and it was like being in a washing machine. One moment you were up, just fine, and the next you were violently flipping and turning, drowning.

“If you’d been born right instead of being a fucking disappointment, this wouldn’t be happening to you!”

That god damn pillow was good for more than just hiding screaming.

Yuuri came into the kitchen looking anxious, a sight not unfamiliar. He set the tray down and began to clean up the leftovers and dishes immediately. That was a habit for him, Viktor had noticed. Domestic things just seemed to help Yuuri focus his feelings elsewhere.

“What happened? Is he sick?” Viktor asked, leaning his chin onto his hand. Yuuri jumped a bit, though Viktor knew the other had been well aware of his presence. “If he is, we can go out to get something to replace the nutrients he isn’t eating. They make all sorts of supplements!” Viktor was optimistic about the situation. He was optimistic about everything, something both endearing and somewhat exasperating to Yuuri.

“He isn’t sick, not yet. He ate more than usual today, but…” Yuuri trailed off, worrying his lower lip between his teeth. He couldn’t place his finger on it, he just knew something was upsetting the young Omega. He was also willing to swear that it wasn’t just the heat.

Viktor cocked his head and approached Yuuri, wrapping his arms around the Alpha’s waist. “But what? What is it? Did he say something?”

Yuuri almost laughed. “No, that’s what’s bothering me.” He listened to the confused sound Viktor made, too close to Yuuri’s ear. It made him shudder. “He seems off, somehow. I can’t place it, Viktor, but something is wrong. I know that the heat is hard on him, but I don’t think that’s it! At least, that's not all.” Yuuri shifted around to face Viktor, though it wasn’t easy, considering Viktor never let go of him. “He’s just…acting too quiet. Has he acted this way before?”

“When is Yurio ever quiet?” Viktor was grinning, and Yuuri smiled a little at the joke, in spite of himself. Still, the grin didn't quite reach Viktor’s eyes. “I’ll talk to him. If you hear things breaking, everything is fine.” What a not-quite-reassuring reassurance. With that, Viktor pecked Yuuri's forehead and wandered off towards Yuri’s room. Yuuri stood still, torn between being thankful or worried. There was still much he didn't know about Viktor and Yuri’s relationship. Aside from that they trained together and had known another for a few years, having grown close. Viktor was protective of Yuri, and Yuri looked up to Viktor, something Yuuri was sure that the Omega wanted to hide. Yuuri could see through that facade. Because of those things, he was hopeful that Viktor could help the situation. Or, at least figure out what the situation even was.

Viktor knocked on Yuri’s door twice and too cheerful. Everyone else here knocked modestly, so Yuri knew who it was without even asking. “Go away, Viktor.”

“Yuri, I’m hurt!” Viktor exclaimed, definitely not going away. He waltzed through the door like Yuri had welcomed him in and shut it behind him. Yuri aimed a scathing glare at the older man for invading. Although, considering it came from beneath a pile of blankets, it wasn’t all that intimidating. Smiling sympathetically, Viktor sat at the edge of Yuri’s bed. “Still that bad, is it?” he asked, reaching out and combing some of Yuri’s mussed hair back. Yuri swatted at Viktor’s hand, but it only made the man chuckle.

“Of course it’s fucking bad,” Yuri snipped, “it’s not going to get better.” It would never get any fucking better no matter what he did. It was going to stick around, hanging over his head like a sore reminder. Viktor continued combing through soft blond hair, carefully untangling it. Yuri was too lazy to bother pushing him away. Yeah, that sounded like a good reason to him. Above him, Viktor made a considering hum.

“I know it doesn’t seem that way, now. It hurts and everything is hot, sticky and awful,” Viktor said. Yuri grumbled something in agreement. “But, that’s not forever. It goes away, and it gets easier as you grow up.” Viktor smiled after he finished talking. He knew to Yuri, it must feel like the end of the world. Most people felt that way about the trials of heat.

Yuri scoffed at that. What kind of bullshit was Viktor trying to spoon feed him, now? “Shut up, it doesn’t get any better. I’m not a kid, you don’t have to lie to me. I’m going to go through heat for the rest of my life, it’s not gonna go away!” Yuri’s voice rose into a yell towards the end. He didn’t even care if the Katsukis heard him, they didn’t get it. No one did.

Viktor furrowed his brows. Privately, he thought that Yuri was, in fact, a child. “Yuri,” Viktor started, dropping the nickname, “the cycles get easier. Your body will get used to them in time and they won’t be so taxing and hard on you. The suppressants will help in dulling them—”

“They’re supposed to make them go away completely!” The blankets all tumbled about as Yuri sat up too fast, making his headache worse. Viktor’s eyes widened a bit at the outburst, but he didn’t cut in nor did he recoil. Yuri’s eyes were sharp with anger, but there was something deeper in the way they had softened, in the way his voice was too forced.

There was shame.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen! You don’t get it, none of them do! How am I ever going to be anything with this happening? I’m just a fucking Omega, no one’s going to respect that and I can’t do anything to fix it! I couldn’t even stop some stupid fucking Alphas!” Yuri’s throat tightened then and he almost choked on his words. He had tried to forget about what had happened at the competition, and he thought he had.

Viktor’s hands came down hard on Yuri’s shoulders, squeezing and snapping the boy out of it. Surprised, Yuri looked up into Viktor’s hardened, intense eyes. “That wasn’t your fault, Yura.” Viktor’s voice was firm, speaking with conviction and familiarity.

Yuri pursed his lips tightly together. “The fuck it wasn’t. I should have been able to fight them off, if I wasn’t such a weak, broken piece of shit. If I could just not be a stupid Omega!”

Viktor clenched his jaw. “Where is this coming from?” he asked, searching Yuri’s expression when the boy didn’t answer him. “Why do you believe it’s something bad, being an Omega? You couldn’t help that, that’s who you are, and there’s nothing wrong with you.” Viktor tightened his hold on Yuri’s shoulders when the boy looked ready to argue with him. “What those men did was disgusting, and it is not your fault. It’s theirs, and they’re never going to do it again.” Viktor pulled Yuri close then, startling the teenager and drawing a gasp from him as he collided with Viktor’s chest. “Nothing is wrong or broken. You’re an Omega, Yuri, and that changes nothing. You are one of the strongest people I know, Yura. You grew up before you should have had to, you earned your way up from the bottom.” Swallowing, Viktor took a steadying breath. He could feel Yuri, tense and shaking, clutch at his shirt. “The strongest thing anyone can do is to accept who they are. Because there’s nothing wrong with you.”

Yuri was thankful he could hide his face in Viktor’s shirt, even though it made it hard to breathe. Viktor didn’t know what he was talking about, Yuri tried to convince himself. He couldn’t quite succeed. Viktor knew. He knew better than anyone else. Yuri couldn’t discredit Viktor’s words as total bullshit, much as his mind was trying to twist them around. Yuri felt his eyes threatening to water on him, so he kept them shut. “I wasn’t supposed to be this way,” Yuri mumbled.

“But you are,” Viktor reminded him, not unkindly. Everything else that reminded Yuri about who he was just felt like it was mocking him, like it was just trying to keep him from fighting it. Viktor…it was different. He didn't make Yuri feel like he needed to fight a thing. “I know it’s hard, and it will take time, but you’ll see it get better. There’s nothing shameful about being an Omega, or in going through heat like this. It’s different for everyone, but Alphas go through it, some Betas do, too.”

Yuri scoffed, mostly to push his emotions back and cover them with his usual attitude. Alphas were much different and had their heat under control, it didn’t affect them nearly as strongly or as often as it did with Omegas. And Betas? Yuri didn’t know. Most Betas didn’t have a heat cycle, so he hadn’t learned much about it.

“Is it really going to get…less like this?” Yuri asked, battling his own awkward way with words. Viktor hummed in confirmation.

“It might take a few years, but it will improve. Your body takes time to regulate its hormones and learn how to cope with the changes, but it won’t be this bad for much longer. The pain and intensity both diminish significantly as you age. Your attitude might improve, too—”

Yuri hit Viktor’s arm, but it was lighthearted. Viktor smiled, separating from the Omega and looking down at him. “You aren’t alone, you know that. You never have to feel that way. No one here thinks less of you for who you are, there’s nothing shameful or bad about it. If anyone makes you think that, remember that that’s their own problem and prejudice, not yours.”

Yuri grumbled a tired response. Yeah, Viktor was right. Had Yuri not been in heat, he would’ve beaten those three sickos into the ground. Viktor knew that, too, though Yuri wasn’t the only one who could.

“You should also try to eat a little more, you’re worrying Yuuri.”

Yuri groaned and pressed his hands over his face. “I still can’t believe he’s an Alpha.”

Viktor just smirked and ruffled Yuri’s hair. 

Chapter Text

“Yuri, I told you to dress warmer!” Yuuri was fussing, worried about Yuri handling the snowy weather. He was more of a mother-hen than his own mother, at times. Yuri, being born and bred in Russia, one might have thought he was impervious to frigid climates. It wasn’t the case, Yuri hated the cold and so did his immune system, with all the germs and dry, cold air.

“When have I ever listened to you?” Yuri asked, an indignant sniff accompanied his words. Yes, it was cold. Yes, he regretted only putting on a jacket. No, he wasn’t going to parade around in the full winter ensemble that Yuuri and Viktor were wearing. “You two look like winter threw up on you.”

Yuuri had half a mind to let the teenager get sick. Yuri may have outgrown some of his rebellious and vitriolic nature, but he was still just as stubborn as ever at seventeen as he had been at fifteen. Maybe more so, considering he was nearing adulthood. There was an odd conflicting rift between teenagers who were entering adulthood. They were either terrified and refused to accept growing up, or they were convinced they knew it all and were ready to take it on. Yuri was the latter, for the most part, though no one could blame him. Yuuri didn’t, for sure. He knew his younger counterpart had had to grow up long before now. That didn’t mean Yuuri wasn’t going to fuss over him. “At least pull up your hood. You just finished the competition, your body is still drained, take care of it!”

“You and Viktor are going to be suffocating parents,” Yuri grumbled. The directions given to him went in one ear and out the other.

“You’re enough of a handful as it is,” Yuuri answered in good humor. He smiled when Yuri turned to scowl at him, no longer phased by the once terrifying expression. Yuuri was too used to it, by now. Though, that wasn’t to say Yuri couldn’t still intimidate the bark off a tree if he wanted to. It made Yuuri a little anxious to see Yuri so readily snap at others. In many places, Omegas were revered, and no one would dare to hurt them.

In other places, some treated Omegas more as receptacles or burdens, more like things to own. While Yuri was capable in self-defense, he was still quite small. There were some that would sooner put an Omega in their perceived place than to allow any disrespect. Of course, it was illegal, it classified as Alpha-supremacy as well as assault. That didn’t mean that it didn’t happen. In Russia, Omegas were quite looked down on, as were Betas. Russia was a dominant country where an Alpha was worthy of utmost respect. It was tiring, and quite sad, Yuuri thought. Being from Japan, where Omegas were considered precious, he found Russian customs to be almost cruel.

Maybe that was why Viktor was so hesitant to let Yuri go off on his own. Yakov had been similar, now that Yuuri thought about it. A couple of years ago, the old man had almost blown a gasket to learn about Yuri taking off to Japan by himself. Looking back, Yuuri realized why. Yuri, being an Omega as well as just a kid, made it dangerous for him to wander off on his own. Regardless if he was capable of knifing anyone who gave him problems or not, it was still risky. There was always going to be someone willing to hurt you, just because of a biological difference.

“Oi, dumbass, you’re going to run into a poll if you keep staring into space like that.” Yuri’s voice snapped the Alpha from his thoughts. Yuuri was thankful for that, because he had started to recall that terrible incident two years back. That wasn't something he wanted to think about, not anymore. It was behind them both, now, and nothing like that had happened since.

“All the roads in Russia look the same,” Yuuri mused. He'd been relying completely on Yuri to not let him get lost. That was a lot of faith in someone who paused to look at every stray cat he came across.

Yuri snorted, “at least you understand some Russian. Getting lost in Japan fucking sucked.”

Yuuri had to laugh at that. “At least that’s kept you from storming off into any other foreign countries.”

That and the fact that Yakov would probably strangle Yuri if he pulled that stunt a second time. While it wasn’t illegal for Yuri to travel alone, he was still a minor and still under guardianship. It wasn’t a law that an Omega had to be under guardianship, per se. There were plenty who were independent, but guardianship was common. Often it was an Omega’s family, trusted friend, or their Alpha. Sometimes a Beta could be a guardian, though it was less seen.

In Yuri’s case, his grandfather was his main guardian, and Yakov was secondary. It was him who was almost always in charge of Yuri, after all.  Once he turned eighteen, Yuri would be able to be independent, but he wouldn't be mature, yet. Omegas took a longer amount of time to fully mature. Alphas and Betas were considered fully grown between the ages of eighteen to twenty. Whereas Omegas were considered so between twenty-one and twenty-three. Their bodies had generally regulated their hormones and had stabilized by that age. Most Omegas still couldn’t carry children safely until their mid to late twenties. It was, however, common for them to have courted by then.

Yuri had never courted, nor could he see himself mating. Settling wasn’t in his near future, unlike his little self-proclaimed family. Viktor and Yuuri had somehow managed to both settle and continue with their careers. Speaking of, “do you think Viktor has gotten drunk already?” Yuri asked, shuddering at the thought of what might happen.

Yuuri covered his cheeks with his gloved hands. “Oh, I hope not. I didn’t want to leave him there alone as it is. It hasn’t been that long, he couldn’t have gotten into that much trouble!” Yuuri’s worried tone made the blond skater roll his eyes. He hadn’t intended on making Yuuri have a panic attack. Now he had no choice but to struggle to keep up as the older man began to walk faster. The two of them had taken a brief walk to unwind after the competition a few hours earlier. Yuri sometimes needed a little space before he had to deal with a crowd at the banquet. Viktor had stayed behind, having gotten engaged in a conversation with Chris. Yuri swore, if there was another stripper pole there tonight, he was going to beat someone with it.

There weren’t too many people around yet, thankfully. Sometimes they trickled in a bit later, already tipsy. Yuuri paused as he entered the building, shifting his weight from foot to foot as he sought out Viktor. Yuri stood a bit behind him, his cheeks and nose both red from the cold winter air outside. It was Yuri who heard Viktor. He would recognize the calm, familiar voice anywhere, though there was something off. Viktor’s voice was cool and clipped, as if he were trying to be polite but wasn’t in the mood for it. Yuri had heard it spoken to pushy reporters often. You wanted them to leave, but you couldn't tell them to fuck off. Not without there being consequences in some way.

“Yuuri,” Yuuri turned towards his friend when he heard his name. Yuri nodded up, towards one of the corridors. Turning in the same direction, Yuuri’s shoulders sagged in relief when he caught sight of silver hair. The relief was short-lived when, looking further, Yuuri noticed two bouncers crowding Viktor. They were both Alphas and had clear intent for trouble written in their expressions. Viktor stood still and straight, looking entirely nonplussed, though his smile was too forced. From here, Yuri could see that Viktor had let his jacket slip off a little, baring his neck and shoulder a bit. That was where his mate’s mark was imprinted on his skin. Viktor almost never displayed it, it was rare that people bothered him enough for him to need to.

Beside him, Yuri heard a dangerous growl. He remained glued to the floor, stunned into stillness as Yuuri stalked forward. There was no trace of his usual smile or friendly sparkle in his dark eyes. The kind disposition was now replaced with cold anger.

One of the Alpha men noticed Yuuri approaching and he took a step away from Viktor. It was unmistakable that Viktor was claimed, and the claimer was seconds away from hospitalizing someone. Viktor cut his eyes to the side when Yuuri stepped into his line of sight, moving in front of him. “Oh, Yuuri, I was just talking about you!” Viktor’s casual tone was as friendly as ever, but his closed smile belied his displeasure with the situation.

Cool, narrowed eyes scowled at the two Alphas in front of them. Neither appeared too aggressive and they had both shied away a few steps upon Yuuri’s arrival. An Alpha’s claim on their mate was respected near everywhere. If it wasn’t, it often resulted in a fight between a possessive mate and those who disrespected the relationship. “You aren’t welcome, or are you too blind to see that?” Yuuri’s chest rumbled as he growled out the words, referring to the mating mark on Viktor’s skin as well as his blatant disinterest.

“Just checking in on the lone ones wandering. Can’t let them get into too much trouble.” The Alpha closest to Viktor was trying to placate the situation, but all Yuuri heard were excuses.

“Don’t come near my Beta again.” That final, threatening statement hung in the air like a thick rain cloud as Yuuri hooked his arm around Viktor’s waist and steered them both away. Behind him, Yuuri heard one of the sleazes emit a frustrated grumble. Even with the situation over, rage still thrummed in Yuuri’s veins with powerful vengeance. Rarely was he so possessive, he knew better than anyone that Viktor could handle himself just fine. He hadn’t needed Yuuri to step in, but the Alpha couldn’t help it. It disgusted him to see anyone treated that way, like nothing more than something to own or seduce. But, when it was his own mate? Yuuri saw red.

“Yuuri, you’re squeezing me.”

“A—ah, sorry!” Viktor smiled when Yuuri immediately backed away, waving his hands, and apologizing. Quickly, Viktor linked their fingers together and tugged Yuuri close again.

“That was quite a show, wasn’t it? I like seeing you get so possessive,” Viktor smirked, and Yuuri flushed, and why, why, why.

“Wh— I didn’t— You—” After the third attempt at starting a rebuttal, Yuuri gave up. Viktor had no right being able to erase Yuuri’s grasp on speaking. “I’m not going to let anyone else put their hands on you!” Yuuri exclaimed, only to realize what he’d said. “Not that I think you can’t take of yourself, I know you can! I just…” Yuuri trailed off, embarrassed, though Viktor was profoundly amused by it all.

Leaning down a bit, he pressed his lips onto Yuuri’s in a chaste kiss. “Thank you for coming to my rescue, Yuuri.” Viktor sounded sincere, though Yuuri still felt like he'd overreacted. When the older man gave him a bright smile, Yuuri thought he felt his heart give out on him for a second. No matter that they’d been together about two years, Viktor never failed to have that sort of effect on Yuuri.

“You two are fucking gross.” The affronted voice that came from behind Yuuri made them both turn around, startled. They found Yuri, standing with his arms crossed and making every effort not to look at the two of them.

“Oh, Yurio, are you feeling lonely? Don’t worry, we wouldn’t leave you out!” Viktor opened his arms and made as if he were going to try and hug Yuri, who immediately thrust his own arms out to keep the older man at a distance.

“Don’t even think about it, I don’t want to be a part of your bullshit!” Yuri could already feel his dinner wanting to come up. Viktor gave a mock pout for a moment, and Yuuri thought he might try to persevere. Luckily, Viktor crossed his arms instead of reaching again. Yuuri let go of the breath he'd been holding, relieved that there wouldn't be a fight.

“You are so mean, Yurio!” Yuuri had to chuckle at the petulant tone Viktor had taken. It did nothing at all to sway Yuri, though, as he was sure Viktor knew it wouldn't. The teenager scrunched his nose and flipped Viktor a very impolite gesture that made the Beta gasp, faking offense.

Yuuri sometimes wondered if he was actually out with two children, instead of one adult and one almost-adult. A pre-adult. “Stop antagonizing him,” Yuuri chastised. He withheld a laugh when Viktor deflated, looking like a kid who’d been told off.  Not that those moods lasted for long, soon Viktor had brightened up, and a mischievous spark had entered his eyes. He reached for Yuuri, then. Had Yuuri had an inkling of self-preservation, he might have pulled back. Too bad he was weak when it came to Viktor.

“Come on, let’s go get a drink, shall we?” Viktor all but whisked Yuuri towards a tower of glasses that someone had assembled on one of the tables. Yuri watched them go, holding no inclination to follow the mushy couple. Seeing Yuuri get drunk again was not on the blond’s to-do list. More people were starting to filter in, now. Just how long it would take before people started making bets on who would embarrass themselves first? Yuri’s money was on it being either Yuuri or Chris…yeah, Yuri was going to pretend not to know any of them. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Mila waving vigorously at him. She was too tall and too bright to get lost in the crowds. Ugh, Yuri could just walk away now and pretend he hadn’t seen her. Ugh, she was coming over, now he had to actually socialize at this thing.

 The evening had progressed without any unpleasant surprises, fortunately enough. Yuri had managed to duck around most of the people, though he did still get dragged into the occasional conversation. There was also the brief exchange with J.J., and by exchange, that meant insults. J.J. had finally married that witch that was always hanging off his shoulder. She did little other than cover her mouth and giggle at the quips that were slung between the two men, which further irritated Yuri. J.J. thought it was a game. Yuri looked at it more like a precursor to dumping the arrogant Alpha into the nearest punch bowl.

Eventually, Yuri grew weary of the crowd and the noise. Mila had convinced him to try some of her champagne, which Yuri found to be terrible. How in the hell did people manage to drink enough of that shit to get drunk? Now drowsy and struggling a bit with sensory-overload, Yuri decided to go out and get some fresh air. He could already hear Chris trying to get Yuuri to dance with him again, so it was time to go. “Oi, Mila, I’m going out. Don’t let the idiots panic if they can’t find me.”

“Be careful, Yuri!” Mila told him, after promising she’d let Viktor and Yuuri know where Yuri had gone, should they start to look. Yuri brushed her words off and headed out, leaving the redhead to tend to her own Beta. Sara had a low alcohol tolerance. Yuri didn’t pity her, anyone who downed that sparkling piss deserved to get sick off it!

Outside, the sky was an inky black. Silvery clouds spilled across it and covered up the moon, leaving it rather dark aside from light from the lampposts. The cool air enriched Yuri’s lungs as he took a greedy inhale, eager to clear his head. It was much quieter and less confined out here. Aside from the occasional passerby or someone coming out to smoke, there were no people. It was perfect for a quick walk, Yuri wouldn’t be gone five minutes.

As he walked, Yuri browsed through his phone. Most of his feed had pictures from the competition itself, but soon posts started rolling in from the banquet. Dressy photos, pictures of the food or displays, selfies, Yuuri downing a glass... “God damn it, Yuuri,” the Omega grumbled to himself. Why couldn’t Viktor keep an eye on him? Or…on second thought, Yuri knew it was probably Viktor who’d talked Yuuri into drinking at all, the sneaky, overgrown imp.

So lost in his browsing, Yuri wasn’t paying attention enough to his surroundings, or how far he’d walked. As luck would have it, there were others who happened to find the night nice enough for a walk. Yuri got to meet running straight into one. Yuri grunted and bounced off, having to stumble back to catch his balance. Swearing, Yuri looked up at the snickering man that had just run into him. “Oi, watch where you’re going!” Yuri snapped. Was everyone blind around here?

Looking taken aback, the barrel-chested man leaned down into Yuri’s personal space. “That’s a mouth you got on you, brat.” Behind him, his friend, a jittery looking older man, barked out a laugh.

“All Omegas have good mouths,” he stated. The lewd implication was impossible to miss.

Turquoise eyes narrowed into a glower, disgust having begun to paint over Yuri’s features. “Fuck off, bastard. Why don’t you give your friend’s mouth a try?” Yuri spat, backing away from the men when one of them took a step towards him. “Keep your fucking hands off or I’ll snap them off your fat bodies.”

“Spoiled little brat,” the bigger Alpha sneered. “Somebody needs to teach this one what an Omega’s place is, huh Alexei?” The two sniggered together and Yuri tisked, repulsed at the callous, perverse way they were speaking about him. He felt violated without them even touching him. He turned his back to them and began to walk away. As much as Yuri wanted to spit in their faces, it wouldn’t make a difference. Omegas were taught their whole lives not to engage Alphas like this. It was safer to walk away, especially when no one else was around. Don’t instigate, don’t rise to bait.

“Where are you going? Didn’t anyone ever tell you it’s rude to turn your back on an Alpha?”

“Nah, I like them better from the back,” came the greasy response from the other Alpha. Yuri shoved his hands into his pockets, his nails digging half-moons into his palms all the while.

“Someone should put bastards like you on leashes,” Yuri snapped. He quickened his pace and didn’t turn around, but he was just waiting for a hand to close around his arm. He’d hate to have to deck some asshole in the face and end up sitting in a jail cell for a night.

“How’d you like us to put you on a leash and put you on your knees, you fucking brat?”

Yuri had had enough of the bullshit. Just as he started to turn around and sock whoever was closest, he heard a rumbling motor approaching. A pair of headlights illuminated the sidewalk, then. Yuri lifted his head to better look at the oncoming vehicle, as did the two Alphas. It was a boy on a motorcycle, couldn’t have been much older than Yuri, himself. The motorcycle came to a stop and Yuri’s body stiffened, suspicious of more trouble. Once it had come close enough, though, Yuri recognized the boy riding. He was from the skating competition. The one from Kazakhstan—Otabek, that was his name.

“Get on,” Otabek’s laconic command caught Yuri completely off guard. Had he even heard right? The boy was looking right at him.

“Oi, we were laying claim on this one—” Yuri shot a filthy look at the lumbering Alpha, but before he could cut off the lie, Otabek’s calm voice broke in.

“You aren’t. You’re harassing someone who wants nothing to do with you.” Otabek’s stoic response was far calmer than Yuri felt at the moment. A pair of dark brown eyes turned towards him again, and Yuri tensed, still reeling from the intervention. “You need a ride back to the banquet, don’t you? Come on.” Otabek held out the spare helmet for Yuri, who stood still for about half a second, then one of the Alphas took a step towards him. Immediately, Yuri made for the motorcycle. He snatched the helmet to put it on and took a seat onto the rumbling hunk of metal. Yuri had never ridden on one, but he’d seen them explode enough in movies to be wary of them.

The oldest Alpha snarled a threat in slurred Russian once the motorcycle pulled off. Yuri wrapped his arms around Otabek’s waist to steady himself. They weren’t going too fast, but the wind still whipped through Yuri’s hair, cold nipping at his skin. As odd as it was, the ride was peaceful. That might just be because it was a safe escape.

Now that he was this close, Yuri’s senses could identify Otabek as an Alpha. Yuri scrunched his nose a bit, the scent unmistakably present, but it wasn’t in an unpleasant way. Most Alphas Yuri had to deal with had either rotten or overwhelming scents—ones that were unnerving. Otabek’s was none of the three, but Yuri couldn’t place it. It was unlike anyone else Yuri had ever met. Yuri didn’t notice how close he was leaning to Otabek until a bump in the road made his forehead graze against the other boy’s back. Yuri leaned his head back a little bit, scowling at the blurring road.

The ride back took a few minutes; a few minutes that Yuri had to fight the urge to look over his shoulder. He knew the pair of douche-fucks would be way back where they'd been left behind, but it was hard to shake the urge off nonetheless. Maybe the two would wander off and end up freezing somewhere, unable to cause any more shit.

Once the building came into view, full of bright lights and a few people outside who’d had too much to drink, Yuri relaxed. Hopefully, one of his supposed chaperones would be somewhat sober. Otabek stopped in front of the entrance and let Yuri get off, which he did shakily. How did people get used to riding those things? “Um,” Yuri began, handing Otabek the spare helmet, “thanks, for the help.” Not to say Yuri had ever been masterful with words, but this was embarrassing. His mind was scrambled from being so close to the Alpha, leaving Yuri both confused and immensely frustrated.

Otabek, to his credit, didn’t comment on Yuri’s apparent lack of eloquence. “You’re welcome, I'm sure you could have had it handled yourself. People like them have no business harassing others.” Yuri made a noise of confirmation, watching for a second as Otabek headed around the back towards parking. Turning on his heel, Yuri darted inside the building, eager to find both warmth and sanctuary. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how overbearing the two could get) Yuuri and Viktor were outside of the main banquet room and were just rounding the hallway when Yuri was walking in

“Yuri!” Viktor cried, having noticed the teenager first. “Where on earth have you been, Mila said you left half an hour ago!”

Oh. “I—I just went for a walk, it wasn’t a big deal,” Yuri grumbled. Why he had lied, he had no idea, but he felt like he should. He didn’t want to give either one of the older men more reason to worry or think that he couldn’t take care of himself.

Yuuri, looking a little tipsy, still managed to be annoyingly observant. “You look flushed, Yuri, and you’re shivering. I told you that you were going to get sick!”

Yuri wanted to answer, but he sneezed instead. There were a lot of things he was willing to do, but admitting that he was cold when Yuuri had told him to dress warm wasn’t one of them. “I’m fine, stop being such a stupid hen,” Yuri complained.

Viktor looked ready to say something else, but his gaze lifted up over Yuri’s head before he did. His eyes widened with recognition. “Oh, Otabek, right?”

Yuri felt his heart begin to beat a little faster. He turned around, tearing his gaze away from Viktor’s polite smile and Yuuri’s confused expression. Otabek offered a nod to Viktor’s greeting, while his fingers slipped off the scarf he was wearing. Carefully, he placed the warm, soft fabric around Yuri’s neck. The blond didn’t say anything, not for a lack of things that he wanted to say, but more because he couldn’t seem to find his voice. “Try to take of yourself, Yuri. I’ll see you later, yeah?”

Yuri, completely focused on Otabek, didn’t notice Viktor and Yuuri sharing a look behind him. “Yeah,” he answered numbly, barely realizing he had just agreed to meeting with the older boy. Otabek graced Yuri with a small smile before he was ushered off by his coach, leaving Yuri to process what had taken place. Reaching up with slender fingers, Yuri touched the scarf.

It carried the same scent.

Chapter Text

Yuri was pouting. He’d never admit that he was pouting—no, he was scowling, frowning, glaring, but never did he pout. That wasn’t something the tough, Russian Punk would do. So, as he sat with his lips pursed and arms crossed, he was definitely not pouting. A thin sheen of sweat glimmered on his forehead, evidence of a strenuous practice, but that wasn’t the only reason for Yuri’s flushed appearance. Yakov had forced Yuri off the ice a few minutes ago, a fact the young man was none too pleased about, but when he’d tried to argue he’d only gotten Yakov’s infamous evil eye. He didn’t like his students overexerting themselves in the first place, and Yuri had been in the rink since the crack of dawn, it was now nearing evening. He’d only taken two short breaks in that duration, and once Yakov had arrived in the later morning, he understood. The ice rink was Yuri’s vice, both when he was at his best and more when he was at his worst.

Yuri always pushed himself much harder once he had started his heat cycle; he had to make up for that misgiving. He had to prove he could do anything any Alpha or Beta could, and that his being an Omega was never going to hinder him. At eighteen years old, Yuri had made a great name for himself already, both in the skating world and in the Omega one. Other Omegas had come to revere him as an idol for persevering his goals and never standing down, even to higher ranking people. There wasn’t anyone superior to Yuri, as far as he was concerned, not in the way that the system would have most Omegas believing.

Now that he was eighteen, Yuri’s heats had only marginally weakened. The way they affected him mentally had improved, but physically they still drained him and left him achy and with a myriad of other issues. He was an adult, technically, (legally) but he still wouldn’t be fully mature for a few more years. Yuri held out hope that, by then, this biological bullshit would have toned it down a bit. He’d switched to adult suppressants a few months ago, but his doctor had warned him in the past that his hormones were stronger than most of the suppressants that were safe for him. He would still experience heats at least bi-yearly, but that wasn’t half as much as Omegas who didn’t take suppressants dealt with them.

Yuri was one of the lucky ones, his body could withstand suppressants without much backlash; many others couldn’t handle the medication. Heat cycles could come monthly to every three months, otherwise. Twice a year was sure as shit better than that. That didn’t mean that Yuri was happy about sitting on the bench, his heart thrumming and his stomach and head throbbing in sync. Whenever he was out in public during one of his cycles, Yuri felt exposed, vulnerable, and embarrassed, like everyone was staring at him and judging him. Realistically, he was sure that the only ones brave enough to look at him were Yakov, who was making sure Yuri didn’t sneak back into the rink, and Mila, who spared the occasional pitying glance at him.

Had Yuri been able, he’d have stormed off instead of sitting around feeling like a zoo exhibit. As things were, he was waiting on his ride. Ever since the two incidents with hostile Alphas when he was a kid, Yuri was somewhat wary of wandering around by himself whenever he was in this state. Plus, he’d be outright breaking a promise he’d made to take care of himself. That involved asking for help now and again, apparently. Yuri was still learning about the whole self-care thing, but he was getting there. With Yuuri and Viktor in Japan, he didn’t have to worry about their smothering ways, but someone else took over that role. Granted, it wasn’t as bad…Yuri allowed it, at any rate.

The oncoming rumble of a motorcycle made Yuri perk up a little. Hopeful, he raised his head up and peered out of the window to the roadside, where he watched the familiar bike roll to a stop. His heart relaxed in his chest, no longer beating in an erratic, rushed pattern. A smile came to the boy’s lips despite himself, and he snatched his bag up to sling it onto his back, eager to leave the public eye in the dust. He waved a hand over his shoulder when he heard Mila shouting a goodbye at him, but the exchange turned into him flipping her the bird when she told him to “thank his boyfriend for taking care of her little brother” or some embarrassing crap like that. She wasn’t his sister, she was an old hag that haunted the ice rink, more like.

Yuri jogged up to the motorcycle without further preamble, hurrying to put on the helmet handed to him and get seated. “Go, Beka,” Yuri urged, hugging the older boy around his waist to hold on when the bike pulled away from the sidewalk. The loud purring of the motorcycle would annoy most people, but Yuri found it to be comforting, and he let his senses fade into the noise as everything else turned into greyscale in the background. Leaning his forehead against Otabek’s back, Yuri took a slow inhale and let his arms tighten briefly around the boy’s middle, basking in the familiar and warm scent. Never did he think that he’d find that in someone else; comfort, peace, it was like a home if a person could be such.

Viktor had once, way back when, confided that Yuuri felt like home to him in a way that no structure or Russia ever had. Yuri had called him a sappy idiot. Maybe that’s what he was, now, too. The thought made him groan, and he thought it lucky that the motorcycle drowned that out. It was a quick ride back to Yuri’s apartment, where he’d moved in almost a year ago, and where Otabek tended to stay whenever he was in Russia. Yuri wished that he could stay more often, but they made the best of what they had. Not everyone could drop their whole lives to change everything around for one person, after all.

Otabek parked, but even after he’d stood up, Yuri felt the vibrations still traveling through his nerves. He hardly waited for Otabek to even get up before the blond was hurrying towards the apartment building, keen on getting into his room and staying forever. Well, if “forever” meant about four days. The extent of his cycles had also, thankfully, dropped a couple of days. Maybe Yuri had lucked out on the frequency and length of his cycles, but he was cursed on the intensity. Otabek trailed behind the anxious teenager as they headed inside. He was the one who answered any greetings from other tenants with a polite nod, Yuri wasn’t in any mood to bother with pretending to be nice right now.

“Yuri, slow down,” Otabek chided, though he could keep up with the smaller boy without a problem, he could tell Yuri had already overworked himself for the day.

“I’ll slow down when we’re home,” Yuri grumbled, and he could already see the door in sight. He wondered, not for the first time, when he’d started calling it Otabek’s home, too. Reaching the room, Yuri brutalized the lock when he jammed the key in and shoved the door open. Otabek watched with a mild look, hoping Yuri would at least let him in before slamming the door shut. He needn’t worry, Yuri didn’t stop. He stumbled into the living room without a look back, both letting Otabek inside as well as leaving him to lock the door.

Turning his attention to Yuri, Otabek watched the Omega drop his bag by the couch, and proceed to collapse onto it, shaking and miserable. The scent of his heat had been faint and muted on the way home, Otabek had hardly detected it, but Yuri’s behavior was the biggest red flag. Now, in the apartment, the scent was powerful, rich, something that roused a frisson of excitement as well as overprotectiveness in Otabek. He couldn’t stand Yuri suffering, no matter how short or natural the reasons were. He sat on the couch near Yuri, wary of affording the Omega his space, as he could get snappish about it.

Rarely was that snapping aimed at Otabek, though. Seconds after Otabek had sat, Yuri twisted away from the arm of the couch to lean into the Alpha instead, his face buried against Otabek’s shoulder. Otabek’s scent was always stronger whenever Yuri was in heat; it reminded Yuri of crackling fires, of cinnamon, of desert sandstorms, he reminded Yuri of home. Whenever Yuri was near Otabek, he felt something in him, something hidden and locked away, relax and become less vehement. Yuri felt less like he had to be on constant guard, or like he had to fight; Yuri felt safe.

“Is it that bad?” Otabek asked, raising a hand to card it through Yuri’s hair and freeing it from its tie. He smiled when Yuri grumbled an incomprehensible answer into the cloth of Otabek’s shirt. The earlier distress had begun to dwindle, now, easing both boys’ nerves. Otabek knew Yuri would be glad to sit there all night, but he wouldn’t allow that. Yuri needed to eat—he’d gotten better with eating the right foods to balance his diet and replenish what his heat (and stringent routines) took out of him. Still, he sometimes needed prompting. “Come on, get up. You need to eat,” Otabek said, and Yuri groaned, but Otabek continued, “go shower off and I’ll make dinner, deal?”

No, it wasn’t a deal, Yuri was content to stay right where he was. Too bad for him, Otabek didn’t feel the same. He stood up, depriving Yuri of the warmth he’d been basking in moments before. Yuri emitted a noise of annoyance that made Otabek smile. He couldn’t help it. Aiming a nod towards the master bathroom, he prompted Yuri again, “go on, dinner will be ready soon, and you’ll feel better once you’re clean.”

“Yeah, if it lasts long,” Yuri grumbled, uncomfortable. He shuffled off all the same, while it was tedious taking more than one shower a day, it was better than staying hot, sticky, and gross for half a week. Seriously, whoever created humanity must’ve had it out for Omegas. And Betas, Yuri supposed, though it was only a few of them compared to every Omega.

He mumbled bitterly to himself the whole time he got ready for the shower, but the warm water was too alluring to be angry about it for long. It streamed over him in soothing rivulets, and he cringed as he scrubbed away slick. It wasn’t that bad yet, but on the second to third days, it could soak Yuri’s inner thighs. It made him feel nasty and out of control of his own body, not to mention how obvious the scent was. Yuri stayed in the shower for several minutes, enjoying the warm, clean feeling until he knew he couldn’t hide anymore.

When he stepped out of the shower and reached for a towel, (the fluffiest he had) Yuri was surprised to find an outfit laid out on the counter for him. He rolled his eyes soon after, the surprise not lasting long. He’d told Otabek before that he didn’t need to bother taking care of Yuri, but the Alpha never listened.

He tried his best not to belittle Yuri, or make it seem like he didn’t believe Yuri capable, but Otabek’s looking after Yuri was instinct. Yuri had the same reflexes when it came down to it; he’d taken care of Otabek after the elder had gotten sick or injured, and he was possessive almost to a fault. He’d outright growled at another Omega who had been clinging on to Otabek at a banquet a few months ago, getting her foul perfume and cigarette smoke scent all over him. It had amused Otabek, as much as it had stunned the girl and, unfortunately, Yuuri and Viktor. Yuri still got an array of questions from the older couple. Was Otabek respectful, polite, treating Yuri well, etc? Did they think Yuri would stick around if Otabek didn’t?

Yuri was thankful for the Alpha. For a multitude of reasons, not least because of how genuinely caring Otabek was. He was kind, patient, and strong when Yuri needed it. It was like Otabek was a missing component that Yuri, while he’d never noticed anything missing, felt more complete than he ever had. As a child, Yuri had grown up knowing that no one was ever going to love him. Omegas were tools, toys, or burdens, no one wanted them once they were through using them.

As a teenager, Yuri had aged knowing that, maybe, those things weren’t all true. His rink mates didn’t treat him as inferior, nor did Yakov, even if he was a little fussier about Yuri. None of the other skaters treated Yuri as inept or somehow weaker. Yuri, looking back, realized that most of the time, he was his own biggest enemy when it came to his biology.

Now, Yuri knew that those old ideals were a metric ton of bullshit. Yuri could look at Otabek and catch a warm, affectionate expression on the older man’s face, just for him, and understand that. Once upon a time, Yuri hadn’t believed in having a mate. He thought it was an excuse for an Alpha to claim a ton of Omegas to own or to make Omegas and Betas feel like they weren’t anything without an Alpha to watch out for and talk over them. Otabek had never made him feel that way, though. Even on the day they’d met, Otabek had said he knew Yuri could have handled himself. Otabek knew Yuri was dangerous, independent, and had no need for anyone else. Otabek didn’t do the things he did for Yuri out of obligation or for any alternative motives, he did it because he wanted to. Gradually, Yuri had started reciprocating, because he wanted to, too.

They had a comfortable, subtle bond, one that was still young and fresh but growing strong. It had been almost two years since that day at the banquet. Yuri still remembered going home, with Viktor prodding him incessantly and Yuuri trying to get Viktor to give Yuri some privacy, while still being curious himself. Yuri had told them to buzz off, retreated to his room, and fell asleep with the scent of cinnamon and warmth wafting in his dreams. He had kept the scarf, and he did meet Otabek, a short time later. It was frightening how they came together, hardly any prompting or courtship had taken place, they…just seemed to fit, like a two-piece puzzle. Never had Yuri felt belittled or weak, never had he felt like the stereotypical role portrayed in much of the media. He and Otabek were a team and stood on equal ground.

So lost in his thoughts about Otabek and of their bond, Yuri hadn’t noticed his distress increasing, quiet but intense. Ever since Otabek had gifted Yuri the scarf, it had helped ease Yuri’s stress during heats, and for the past couple of cycles, Yuri had started needing Otabek himself around. He’d tried to keep it a secret, but Otabek, too percipient, caught on to the charade. He, too, had become more attuned to Yuri in physical and mental ways neither of them had anticipated. Neither of them minded, either, though Yuri had found it frustrating and embarrassing at first. The way his senses would call out for someone else was too foreign.

Now, though, when Otabek came into the bathroom to check on his anxious Omega, it was nothing but natural. Yuri, swallowed by a pair of sweats and an oversized shirt, only started a little when he felt Otabek’s arms around his waist. He melted back into the embrace, smirking as Otabek hid his face in the crook of Yuri’s neck for a moment. Both of them soaked up any moments they had together, making them last while they could. Otabek couldn’t make promises to Yuri, but he tried to promise himself to be here with the Omega for his heat cycles. It would drive them both crazy to not be together.

“Eat, then you can go to bed,” Otabek said, to which Yuri huffed. If it were up to him, he’d spend the whole time in bed, like he used to. Otabek was far too stubborn, though, and he never failed to make sure Yuri took proper health measures, regardless of how Yuri grumbled each time Otabek coaxed him out to eat, shower, or take a short walk. “You’ll regret it later if you don’t take care of yourself” was what Otabek’s mantra was when Yuri wanted to be difficult, which was usually.

Still, the irritable Omega followed Otabek into the kitchen, only because he was eager to get dinner over with so that he could hide underneath a mountain of blankets. “I don’t understand why we can’t just order takeout,” Yuri mumbled, taking a seat at the small table. Otabek had picked up cooking at some point in his earlier teens because of his own need to be self-sufficient, but when Yuri had come into the mix, he started reading up on specific recipes that were rich with nutrients and such that Omegas needed. Yuri had gotten over his issues with inadequacy for the most part, but he still sometimes felt guilty that Otabek went through the trouble.

“A burger isn’t going to do you any good, aside from making you feel lethargic,” Otabek refuted, cocking a brow at the blond. The jerk was always right about most things, including everything Yuri didn’t want him to be. “Quit insulting my food and eat,” Otabek smirked, taking his seat opposite Yuri.

Picking up the fork, Yuri pointed it at Otabek. “I’m not,” the blond said, “I’m insulting your mother-hen-ness.” Yuri shared Otabek’s smirk before quickly taking a bite of his dinner to prove his point. He really did like Otabek’s cooking, even if sometimes it reminded Yuri of the way his grandfather used to cook. He had passed a little over a year ago, and for a while, Yuri thought the memories would be bitter, but they weren’t. Thinking about his grandfather’s passion for cooking and for making his grandson happy brought a wistful smile to Yuri’s lips. Otabek noticed, and though he didn’t say anything, he moved his leg a little closer to Yuri’s so that their knees were touching. A quiet act of solidarity that spoke more for them than an entire conversation would for some people.

The meal was light and colorful, Yuri knew it was packed with all sorts of healthy crap, but he’d get Otabek to let him eat something sweet later. The guy was a sucker when Yuri really wanted something, he knew how to get it. After dinner, Yuri was quick to retreat to the bedroom, where the sanctuary of his bed beckoned him. The dizziness and weakness that used to accompany his heats no longer showed up, whether that was due to Otabek forcing Yuri to remember to eat and drink, the blond wasn’t sure. Maybe Viktor had been right, and things were dying down. Either way, Yuri was still too warm, achy, and overall disgusted with it.

The young man stormed around the room, snatching blankets, jackets, a big quilt usually saved for winter, and anything else that he could pile onto the bed and nest under. He loathed that word to the core, but “nesting” was the only way to describe it, it was exactly what it was. He hadn’t had a name for it until a couple of years ago, considering he had blatantly ignored anything regarding his own biology for as long as he could, as if he might be able to escape what was staring him the face.

After burrowing into the makeshift nest, where Yuri felt shielded and at ease, he exhaled some of the tension from his shoulders. His fingers toyed with the scarf he was clutching, running over the silky fabric that acted as a good distraction. The scent had faded, but that was why Yuri always stole a couple of Otabek’s shirts or jackets whenever the boy came back. Yuri didn’t quite know how to put it into words. When Otabek was gone, Yuri felt anxious and pent up, he couldn’t be around to help protect or support his Alpha. Having the older man’s scent near him at least tricked his brain into a calmer state, instead of one that was constantly like a danger alert broadcast.

Several minutes passed until Yuri heard the bedroom door click; a quiet sound, but with his senses so haywire and sensitive, it might as well have slammed. The Omega flinched, but a hand on his shoulder steadied him, reminded him there was no reason to jump. “It’s just me,” Otabek soothed, his voice low and steady. Yuri latched onto it, blindly reaching out to grab Otabek’s arm and yank him down into the mass of blankets. Otabek “oofed” when he landed, but the bed was so cushioned with everything Yuri had piled onto it that he wasn’t even sure the mattress creaked.

Otabek hugged Yuri around the waist, drawing the smaller body close to his so that Yuri pressed against his chest. Yuri curled into Otabek, the warmth and strength of the Alpha were inviting, soothing, and everything Yuri wanted and didn’t believe he’d ever need or have. Burying his face into Otabek’s neck, Yuri huffed a quiet sigh while the brunette carded his fingers through Yuri’s still-damp hair. “It’s all right Yura,” Otabek murmured, “go to sleep for a while, I’ll be right here.”

Yuri whined a distressed, pained sound, because that did a better job of expressing how he felt than words would. Otabek sympathized, wishing he could take away what was hurting his mate, but he could only settle for alleviating some of it. Hoping it would settle Yuri some, Otabek raised his hand and rested it over Yuri’s stomach, rubbing soothing circles beneath the blond’s baggy shirt. He pressed a chaste kiss to Yuri’s temple and sagged with relief when Yuri relaxed, no longer a bundle of tension. It was the least Otabek could do, providing the brief respite.

To Yuri, though, it meant a lot more. The discomfort writhing in his insides relented at the comforting touch of Otabek’s warm hand, he hoped the heat would abate quicker with the Alpha at his side. The warmth and affection lulled Yuri into a drowsy state, and he hummed a content sound against Otabek’s neck, huddling down for what would be a heavy sleep. He’d gladly sleep through the whole cycle if Otabek would let him.

Still, Yuri was thankful he had people to protect him.