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Sochi, Russia GPF

 

“I messed up.”

 

“What? Yuuri….stop that. You made it all the way to the Grand Prix Finale and got fourth! Fourth! Do you realize how great that is?” Phichit’s soothing voice spoke over the phone in the empty bathroom.

 

“But I…,” Yuuri hiccuped with a sob, covering his mouth to try and keep the scream in that threatened to escape. I was so close…so close to having an omega finally stand on that podium.

 

“Yuuri…,” Phichit sighed into the receiver. “I’m so proud of you. We all are. Next time, I’ll be there with you, and we’re going to stand on that podium together, ok?”

 

The corner of his lips drew up slightly at the promise and he wiped at his tears. “Yeah. Yeah...I’d like that a lot.”

 

“Listen. Go with Ciao Ciao to the banquet tonight and try and let loose a bit, yeah? Then when you get home I’m going to shower you with kisses and we’ll eat all the katsudon you want for a week.”

 

Yuuri laughed through a sob, bringing his other hand up to the phone and pretending he could reach Phichit through the phone, thousands of kilometers away in Detroit. “Promise?”

 

“Promise. I love you.”

 

With a shuddered breath, Yuuri ended the call and gathered himself before he unlocked the stall door and stepped out. The bathroom was thankfully still void of people and he took a moment to remove his glasses and splash his face with cold water. So badly had he wanted to bring home a medal to his rink back in Detroit and to his family...but it would have to wait another year. Once again, his anxiety had gotten the better of him and he’d butchered everything.

 

“Yuuri...what did I tell you about looking at your phone, huh?” Celestino sighed, catching Yuuri as he exited the bathroom.

 

“I was talking to Phichit,” Yuuri answered, head hung low in shame.

 

Celestino’s gaze softened. “Well, I’m sure he told you the same thing I did; That you were great and you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.”

 

It sounded much better coming from his boyfriend than his coach. “I’ll just have to make it up at Nationals...right?” He forced a smile, trying to make himself believe his own words.

 

With a ruffle to the skater’s hair, Celestino smiled. “That’s right. Go get cleaned up and dressed. I’ll meet you at your room at six, ok?”

 

Yuuri went through the motions of showering and dressing in his ill-fitted suit and old ratty blue tie. There wasn’t any money to buy anything better. All his sponsor money went to Celestino, travel, and costumes. A suit was the least of his worries. He didn’t even bother with slicking back his hair and kept his thick glasses on. The more he could look unimpressive and unapproachable the better, he thought.

 

Sure enough, no one paid him a lick of attention as he entered. Not the sponsors, the other skaters, or the judges. Celestino was happy enough to try and network, excitedly greeting fellow coaches that he knew and had even skated with in days’ past. Yuuri wanted none of that. The champagne flutes laid out on a red cloth looked very inviting, though. Stepping into an empty space at the table he carefully picked up the first flute and knocked it back completely in one go. The cool liquid sizzled down his throat and he quickly followed it up with a second, and then a third, and then a fourth, before he finally put the glasses down and allowed the alcohol to start to do its work.

 

“Wow, is the champagne really that impressive? Or are you just hoping you can maybe make this dull event a little more entertaining?”

 

Yuuri blinked in surprise at the sudden voice, his eyes flicking up to gaze at the voice’s owner through the thick lenses. Maybe it was the alcohol, but almost immediately Yuuri felt everything grow hot and his eyes widen at the view. Tall with broad shoulders, silver hair neatly groomed with bangs swooped to one side. The stunning blue eyes reminded him of the ice and his omega started to purr deep within. An alpha, no doubt. “I-I um...I just…”

 

The man chuckled and reached for a glass that was just past Yuuri, forcing him to step right up against the omega. “You’re even cuter in person.”

 

The heat grew so fierce Yuuri thought he might just pass out. “I-um, w-what?!”

 

“Oh, where are my manners?” The alpha smiled. “My name is Viktor Nikiforov. I’m a sponsor of the Russian Skating Federation and I’ve been following your skating for quite some time, Yuuri.”

 

“M-me?!” Yuuri pointed a finger at himself in shock. “Why? I’m not any good. Didn’t you see my embarrassing performance out there?”

 

Viktor grabbed Yuuri’s wirst, startling the omega. The grip immediately softened, and he thumbed at the gland that was held there. “It was anything but embarrassing. It was beautiful. Technically it may not have been perfect but the artistry...I have never seen anything like it. The judges are fools that are blind to true talent. I could feel the emotion in every movement and it complimented the sorrowful feeling of the aria. Stammi Vicino...one of my favorites.”

 

The alpha’s smile made Yuuri feel uneasy, and he pulled his wrist free of his grasp. “I...thank you. I just wish I could have been better.”

 

Gentle fingers lifted Yuuri’s chin, forcing him to look straight at the alpha’s eyes. “You were perfect.” Yuuri swallowed hard and Viktor put down his drink. “I apologize if this seems overly forward, Yuuri, but I would love nothing more than to take you out to dinner. Will you be staying an extra day in Sochi?”

 

Oh god. Yuuri felt like he couldn’t breath, the embarrassment too overwhelming. This alpha was gorgeous enough to be on the cover of a magazine. Why on earth would he ever be interested in someone as plain and boring as him? “I-I’m sorry, but I leave tomorrow afternoon and...I’m seeing someone.”

 

The way Viktor’s face fell so quickly and harshly had Yuuri’s omega jolting inside him. The alpha’s nostrils flared and his back straightened. “I see...well, he is certainly the most lucky alpha in the world to have you by his side, then.”

 

“Oh, no, he’s a beta, and I’m the lucky one,” Yuuri smiled slightly, adjusting his glasses out of nervous habit as he thought of Phichit’s smiling face.

 

Viktor’s hand twitched before curling into a fist. “A beta…? My dear Yuuri...you deserve far better than a meager beta.”

 

Yuuri frowned. “I’m sorry, Mr. Nikiforov, but I do not appreciate your comment. My boyfriend is anything but meager. If you’ll excuse me.” Downing one last glass of champagne Yuuri turned his back on the alpha and headed for the door. First there had been the embarrassment of his free skate and then there was just the anger at Viktor’s comments. Yuuri had been through a whirlwind of emotions and he was ready to sleep it off and forget this entire week.

 

Sleep came easily, but it was filled with haunting blue eyes and silver hair. Yuuri felt like it was a warning.

 

Waking up still emotionally drained Yuuri showered and began to pack, eager to leave Russia behind and return home to his friends and Phichit. A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts and he sighed, figuring it was Celestino telling him to either hurry up or to drag him down to breakfast to be social one last time. It wasn’t Celestino that greeted him, though, but a hotel staff worker with a large bouquet of blue roses.

 

“Mr. Katsuki?” He asked. Yuuri nodded, too shocked to speak as the bouquet was handed over to him. “For you, sir.

 

“Wait, from who?!” Yuuri asked, but the man had already started to walk off, paying him no mind. Slowly and in confusion Yuuri closed the door and searched for some sort of card in the mix of flowers. Finding the small cardstock paper he turned it over and read the elegant writing:

 

Yuuri,

 

Please accept my sincerest apologies for last evening. It was never my intent to insult you or your mate. Would you allow me to make it up to you with coffee before you leave? I will be waiting in the lobby.

 

Viktor

 

Frowning, Yuuri crumpled up the cardstock and dropped it in the trash, setting the bouquet down carelessly. The nerve! Despite all the advances in equality laws, alphas still felt they were just so entitled to everything. Yuuri would certainly not be joining the man for coffee. The sooner he could leave, the better, even if it meant sitting around at the airport for longer. Grabbing his phone he shot off a quick text to Celestino to let him know he’d be ready in thirty minutes to leave.

 

The next time there was a knock on the door, Yuuri was sure it was his coach and he gathered up his suitcase and opened the door with it firmly in hand. Once again, it was not Celestino. It was Viktor. Before he could even open his mouth, the alpha was forcing his way into the room. The dreams from the previous night started to come back into the forefront of his mind.

 

“I see you got my flowers,” Viktor huffed, noticing the bouquet that was not seated in the trash.

 

Yuuri swallowed, his hands starting to sweat with nervousness and a tinge of fear. “I can’t exactly take them with me.”

 

“So you throw them away without a thought?” Viktor questioned, a perfect eyebrow arching up.

 

“I...I have to go,” Yuuri gripped his luggage handle tightly and opened the door. This time, it was his neck that Viktor grabbed, his nose pressed to Yuuri’s neck gland and breathing in deeply.

 

“I think it’s very rude that you rejected me in such a manner, Yuuri,” he purred, voice low and threatening. “Omegas are designed to be with alphas. It is the way of the world and always has been. You were made for us. To mate and to breed.”

 

Yuuri shivered, a whimper escaping his lips as Viktor gently kissed his gland. His heart was beating so fiercely he thought it might just leave his chest and run away. “Please...just let me go. I’m not interested.”

 

Viktor sighed, disappointed, and ran a finger down the side of Yuuri’s cheek. “I was hoping I could court you properly, in a manner in which such a beautiful omega deserves, but I suppose I must move ahead in the process.” Pulling a white cloth from his pocket he kissed Yuuri’s cheek and tightened his hand on his neck the moment he started to struggle. “You are going to give me the most beautiful children, my Yuuri.”

 

Viktor closed the cloth around Yuuri’s mouth and nose, the omega’s screams muffled by the cloth and hand. He could smell the drugs that soaked the rag and his head began to spin.

 

Phichit….help me….

 

His world went black.

Chapter Text

Yuuri’s head was throbbing with pain reminiscent of a hangover, muscles sore and body heavy. Carefully, he moved his body and felt soft silk slide against his skin. His left cheek was pressed against a pillow and he slowly blinked open his eyes to take in his surroundings. It was dark and without his glasses he had a hard time making out anything, but one thing was for certain; this wasn’t his hotel room.

 

“Yuuri, you’re awake.”

 

That voice. How did Yuuri know that voice? Deep, silky, accented. Where had he heard it before? Pressing his palms down against the mattress he lifted his torso to sit up and attempt to get a better look at the owner of the mysterious voice. His black suit blended into the darkness of the room, but the silver hair was unmistakable.

 

Viktor.

 

Immediately, Yuuri’s heart burst into a sprint beneath his chest, his legs pushing his body as far up the bed and away from the alpha as he could go. No, no, no, no, no. This couldn’t be happening! He couldn’t be here!

 

“Now, now, Yuuri,” Viktor purred, taking a seat on the edge of the mattress and lifting a hand to Yuuri’s cheek. The omega violently flinched and the alpha clearly frowned, even through the blur of Yuuri’s vision. Without warning Viktor grabbed for Yuuri’s throat, giving it a harsh squeeze until the air no longer passed to the lungs. “Don’t make me mark you so soon, Yuuri. I want to court you properly. Won’t you let me?”

 

Hot tears were streaming down his cheeks, his hands wrapped around Viktor’s wrist trying to pry them off his throat. Mouth opened and closed, desperately trying to find whatever air he could. Viktor released his hold but pressed his mouth against Yuuri’s before the omega could recover, slipping his tongue into his mouth and tasting the sweet honey. Yuuri began to cough, still gasping for air through the kiss, and Viktor finally withdrew.

 

“Please,” Yuuri breathed, a hand reaching up for his neck and touching the tender skin. “Please let me go.”

 

Viktor’s lips twitched with an unhappy smile and he ran a rough hand through Yuuri’s hair. “Yuuri, did you not understand me? I want to court you.”

 

“I don’t want to be courted!” Yuuri shouted with a sob, curling his knees to his chest between him and Viktor protectively. “I have a boyfriend-,”

 

Viktor’s hand slammed on the headboard next to Yuuri’s head. “Betas do not make good mates for omegas, Yuuri. I can show you how much more I can give you, if you’d just let me. Lavish dinners, beautiful flowers…”

 

Yuuri let out a desperate wail and curled in on himself, Viktor’s words drifting softer and softer until he could no longer hear them at all anymore. A frigid chill wrapped around him like a blanket and his world began to go dark.

 

“Don’t you dare-!”

 

Was the last thing he heard before he completely withdrew within himself, reaching the final stage of the omega drop and going numb to the world around him.

 

/*/

 

When Yuuri began to come back to the world he was hot. Burning hot. Sweat dripped down his forehead and into his eyes as he blinked them open. A shiver ran down his spine and a gush of slick coated his thighs soaking his pants. With wide eyes he came fully to and started to panic, clawing at his skin.

 

“Don’t worry, it’s temporary,” Viktor said, standing right next to the bed. “It was the only way I could think to pull you out of the drop. Which, by the way, wasn’t very kind of you, Yuuri. If you do that again, I’ll bite you, and pull you out myself.”

 

Yuuri whimpered and turned on his side away from Viktor, curling in on himself and trying to keep himself reacting from an alpha so close. Phichit, Phichit, Phichit...he wanted Phichit! How was this happening? How had he gotten here? Hot tears started to fall from his eyes and he squeezed them shut, desperately trying to send himself back into a drop, but the false heat was keeping him from doing so just like Viktor had planned.

 

Viktor bent down and kissed Yuuri on the temple, running a comforting hand through his damp hair. “Sleep it off, my Yuuri. It will be done by tomorrow. I have great plans for us.”

 

With a sniff Yuuri tried to hide his erection, urging himself to not give into the temptation of rubbing it against the mattress to gain any sort of friction. The moment the door shut and Viktor was gone, Yuuri was ripping off his clothing and shoving in two fingers with a howl through helpless cries. Biting the comforter he worked his fingers in and out of his ass, painful sobs wracking through his body until he came and eventually blacked out.

 

The next time Yuuri woke up it was with another pounding headache, but his skin was no longer burning. That was little consolation given how sticky the skin on his stomach and between his legs was. The heat was gone, just like Viktor had said it would be, the drugs having quickly passed through his system. How long had he even been in the drop initially? Was anyone looking for him?

 

A click of a door opening pulled him from his thoughts and he saw Viktor enter with a glass of water and a small plate in the other hand. He set both items down on the nightstand next to the bed. “I hope you slept well, Yuuri. I brought you water to hydrate and some plain toast to go easy on your stomach. Shower when you feel ready and dress in the clothing I’ve laid out for you across the door of the closet. I cannot wait to take you out.”

 

Out. Viktor was going to take him out. He could try and escape. With a shaking hand he reached for the water, guzzling it down in one go and wiping at his mouth. Viktor chuckled, simply enjoying watching Yuuri go about his actions as he crossed his legs on the bed. His smile sent a cautious shiver down Yuuri’s spine. Nibbling on the toast he kept his eyes on the ground by his feet that he’d swung over to the floor. His nakedness was the last thing on his mind, instead constantly worried that he might make a wrong movement and Viktor might hurt him.

 

“I’ll start the water for you,” Viktor spoke, breaking the silence and standing. “That way it’ll already be warm when you get in.”

 

It didn’t matter how warm the water was, Yuuri couldn’t stop the chill. He hugged himself close as the water poured over him, staring at the small river swirling down the rain. It was Viktor’s hand that reached in and turned off the water, wrapping a fluffy white towel around Yuuri and pulling him close to his side. Yuuri’s entire body went rigid at the closeness.

 

“You must still be in a slight heat haze,” Viktor spoke apologetically, drying Yuuri off. “Do you need me to help dress you?”

 

Yuuri was quick to shake his head. No. Don’t touch me.

 

“I’ll get you more water. Be done by the time I get back.” Viktor’s words were kind, but there was an undertone that scared Yuuri into moving quickly.

 

The steam began to fade from the mirror as he buttoned up the shirt. There was a ring of black and blue around his neck from where Viktor had choked him. It was tender to the touch, Yuuri hissing as he buttoned around the area all the way to the top to hide it. The sweater was just making its way over his head when Viktor returned, setting down the water and slipping Yuuri’s glasses up and onto his nose.

 

“Beautiful,” Viktor whispered, thumbs brushing across Yuuri’s cheeks. After gazing into his eyes for several long moments he leaned in and gently pressed his lips against Yuuri’s. Yuuri kept his eyes open, trying to keep his body as still as he could until Viktor pulled away. He wanted to cry. He wanted to scream.

 

“I brought you a gift,” Viktor said as he reached for Yuuri’s left hand and held it up, pushing the sleeve of the sweater and shirt back just enough to expose his wrist. The alpha slipped on a silver watch with a blue pearled clock face rimmed in sparkling diamonds. “Blue truly is your color.”

 

Did this man truly believe he could win Yuuri over with extravagant gifts? Phichit could barely afford to buy Yuuri Walmart flowers, and yet he had never cared. He loved the beta so much it had never mattered. Love wasn’t about this. “Please...Viktor...I don’t want your gifts. I just want to go home.”

 

It was the wrong thing to say, Viktor grabbing the wrist he had just gently caressed harshly, so much so Yuuri let out a cry of pain. “I spent a lot of money on this gift for you, Yuuri. Do you not appreciate it?”

 

“No, I do!” Yuuri quickly shouted, trying to get Viktor to let go of his throbbing wrist. “I’m sorry! Thank you!”

 

Viktor released him, and used the same hand to brush his knuckles just under Yuuri’s glasses. “Good...there’s plenty more where that came from. Come. I have a nice reservation for us.”

 

This man was crazy. Certifiable. Yuuri had to get away before he hurt him further, or worse, killed him! His heart was beating faster than it ever had after a free skate, so fast he thought it might just explode and leave him for dead.

 

It took him until they reached the closed off stairs outside a main door of the floor to realize that this entire house was not a house at all, but rather an extravagant apartment or flat of sorts. Viktor was clearly well off with whatever it was he did. There had been several others in the living area that stared at him as they walked, all dressed just as expensively as Viktor. What did he do…?

 

Viktor maintained a tight hold on Yuuri’s waist on the walk down. A security measure, Yuuri was sure. Though why risk taking him out in public at all? Someone would recognize him….right? Or...well...of course they wouldn’t. Why would they? Yuuri wasn’t popular. He hadn’t even medaled at the GPF. Why would anyone recognize him?

 

The outside of the building was a patch of green land with beautiful flower beds surrounded by a fence. Yuuri could see a river across the way illuminated by the lights of the city. Were they still in Sochi? Or were they somewhere else? A black SUV was waiting for them, the door opened by another man in a black suit. They exchanged words in Russian before the doors slammed shut and Yuuri was seated next to Viktor in the back. Yuuri swallowed and eyed the handle on the door.

 

Viktor wrapped a strong arm around Yuuri’s shoulders and pulled him in close, like he could sense Yuuri’s wandering eyes. Lip quivering in fear he bit at it, trying to keep himself from exploding into tears. He’d only have one shot at this. He had to keep himself together long enough to make this happen.

 

“I hope you’ll like the food, Yuuri,” Viktor spoke, his thumb starting to rub circles into Yuuri’s shoulder. “It is some of the finest in St. Petersburg. Certainly the most expensive,” he chuckled. “My beautiful omega deserves only the finest.”

 

My omega...Yuuri swallowed hard, trying to focus his thoughts on Phichit’s face and voice in his mind. He didn’t respond, eyes gazing out the window and trying to take in as much of their route as he could. When the SUV stopped it was in front of a building, several small groups of people loitering around with drinks in hand. The second Viktor’s arm withdrew his hand reached for the door handle.

 

Yuuri launched himself out of the vehicle, stumbling as he came in contact with the ground. The moment his body regained its footing he ran as fast as he had ever run before. “Please help me!” He shouted, pushing through the bodies that ignored him and frantically looking for anyone that wouldn’t. “Please!” All he received in response were confused stares and hushed whispers in Russian. With a sob he continued running, the only thing he could think to do.

 

A car blared its horn at him, startling him into realizing he was in the middle of the road. The driver shouted at him in Russian, likely cursing him, but he just continued on. On the corner of the street he spotted two men dressed in heavy black coats wearing black fur caps. In the center of the caps were a gold emblem. Police. Yuuri’s heart fluttered with hope as he sharply adjusted course.

 

“Help! Please! Help me! You have to help!” He pleaded, gasping for air as he came to a stop in front of them.

 

The officers looked at each other in confusion before one spoke in heavily broken English. “What is wrong?”

 

“Please, help, I was kidnapped in Sochi and brought here! Please, help get me home!” Yuuri grabbed onto the man’s arm, tears falling in frustration.

 

“Ok, come, come. We take statement. Get help,” the man responded.

 

Yuuri almost fell to his knees in relief. “Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” The omega held on tightly to the officer as they walked down the cold street, Yuuri constantly looking over his shoulder for any sign of Viktor and the black SUV. Unfortunately, most of the vehicles were black SUVs...it did nothing to ease his anxiety until he was through the doors of the police station and led to a small room.

 

His leg began to bounce up and down, hands rubbing together and licking his lips. It seemed like eternity before the door opened and a different man came in, older than the two he had walked with.

 

“Mr. Katsuki, yes?” The man questioned. Yuuri nodded, remembering giving the officers his name coming in. “Why don’t you tell me what has happened.”

 

“I-I was in Sochi, competing at the Grand Prix Final,” Yuuri started, voice threatening to break. “This man, Viktor Nikiforov, he got mad that I rejected his advances and he, um, he kidnapped me and brought me here. Threatened to force a bond on me.”

 

The man stared at Yuuri, a blank expression that made him even more uncomfortable. “Viktor Nikiforov, you said?”

 

Yuuri nodded swiftly. “Y-yes, that was his name.”

 

Slowly, the man closed the vanilla folder he had briefly opened and pushed back his seat to stand. “One moment, please.”

 

Yuuri opened his mouth to protest, but he was already exiting the room, leaving him alone again. Minutes passed. Ten. Twenty. Maybe even thirty. What were they doing? They barely had any information from him. Were they calling the embassy? Police in Sochi?

 

When finally the door opened again, the man entered and behind him was Viktor. Yuuri jumped out of his seat and flung himself against the wall, his breaths coming out in harsh gasps. “No! No! Please, that’s him! That’s the man that took me!”

 

Viktor let out a heavy sigh and spoke to the man in a worried tone. He held out a hand to him to shake it, and Yuuri did not miss the wad of rubles being exchanged between palms. Yuuri’s eyes went wide in realization and he lunged towards the door. A hand grabbed his collar and he was yanked back into Viktor’s arms.

 

“LET ME GO!” Yuuri screamed, throwing punches and kicks anyway he could. “Please! Please help me! Let me go!” Despite his best struggles, Viktor was much stronger and larger than him, and he was easily drug out of the station and back towards that dreaded black SUV. Viktor practically threw him into the vehicle, pinning him down harshly against the black leather after the door slammed shut.

 

“You ungrateful omega,” Viktor growled, fingers digging into the same bruises he had the first night. “I tried to court you. I tried to treat you to an expensive dinner and jewelry and you just want to play hard to get. I don’t like games, Yuuri.”

 

“Please,” Yuuri gasped through a sob, tears fully blurring his vision and fogging his glasses. Viktors fingers moved down to his collar and pulled it down to bare his gland. The omega’s heart shot out in horror. “No! NO! Please! Don’t!” Yuuri began to struggle, kicking and thrashing any limb that he could, but Viktor’s entire body was lying on his.

 

“I warned you, Yuuri, that if you didn’t cooperate I wouldn’t play nice,” Viktor growled against his ear. “You will be mine no matter what. I love you, and you will love me. Eternally.” His hot mouth hovered over the gland, a tongue licking a trail of saliva across the skin.

 

Yuuri howled in excruciating pain as the alpha’s teeth sunk deep into the gland, claiming the omega as his. Tears flowed harder, nose dripping with snot and blocking his airways in his gross sobbing. Viktor’s teeth only sunk deeper, the pain completely unbearable.

 

When Viktor finally relinquished his hold Yuuri could only lay there limply, the damage done and permanent. His neck throbbed in pain and his head buzzed with the new link that had been forged through the bond. Viktor bent down and placed a gentle kiss to the nape of Yuuri’s neck.

 

“Mine.”




Chapter Text

Yuuri was drifting.

 

Drifting in a dark void where he we was weightless and everything was numb. Everything but the powerful pulsing in the junction of his neck where his gland was located just beneath the surface of the skin. Something was tugging at him with a powerful force.

 

Yuuri…

 

Yuuri hated that sound. That voice. It was both powerful and terrifying, and at the very core: alpha. Desperately, he tried to sink further into the darkness locked away in a place that voice could never reach him.

 

Yuuri.

 

This time it was more forceful and demanding, yanking him almost out of the protective shell he had created for himself. Yuuri could feel his mind start to panic, fingers grasping to remove an invisible leash. The harder he pulled, the harder the other end pulled back. It was no use. The walls were cracking and soon they would break.

 

Light flooded in like a tidal wave while pain rippled through him like a bolt of lightning. Blue eyes were staring him down, looking deep within his very soul. Yuuri sunk away, trying to push himself back from those terrible icy eyes. There was nowhere to go; Yuuri’s back hitting the headboard of a bed. He was a trapped like an animal. With sharp gasps the omega began to hyperventilate and shake. He could feel himself trying to retreat again, but it felt like someone had a hand on his very soul keeping him in place.

 

Viktor stared at him for a long while, lips drawn into a tight line pondering his words. His bare hand reached up and drew a line down the side of Yuuri’s face down beneath the chin to then draw it up. Leaning forward Viktor spoke with a menacing voice, “Don’t you ever drop in my presence again.”

 

Don’t.

 

You.

 

Ever.

 

Yuuri’s eyes went wide as the words sealed themselves in his mind, a mantra that would not stop repeating itself. There was a feeling of obedience – like these words were law. Alpha command. Viktor had used an Alpha Command on him and he was a bonded omega. He had no choice but to obey. Silent tears dripped down his cheeks and to the sheets below. Fingers tangled themselves into expensive silk so tightly it was at risk of tearing. Yuuri belonged to Viktor, now.

 

Viktor sighed disappointedly, fingers moving to Yuuri’s dark hair and swiping it away carefully from his face. “This isn’t how I wanted it to be, my sweet Yuuri, but you left me no choice. It’s your own fault it had to be this way. Well, at least we got it out of the way, no? Now all that’s left is for your suppressants to leave your system so your body can prepare itself for me. Those things are vile, truly. An omega is born to have heats.”

The nails of Yuuri’s fingers dug into his palms through the sheets, fear washing over him and turning his skin cold. It had been two years since his last heat. That was when things with Phichit had started. Yuuri had locked himself away, refusing any sort of help and instead just going through it completely miserable. After he had surfaced from four days of hell, Phichit had confessed his undying crush on Yuuri and how he wanted to take care of him. It had scared Yuuri away for month, not believe he was worthy of such admiration, but Phichit had been so insistent that he had no choice but to give in and give the beta a chance.

 

He hadn’t regretted it once.  Now, though, he regretted never giving himself to Phichit. He’d never get that chance.

 

“You must be starving. You haven’t eaten anything real in days.” Viktor held out a hand for Yuuri to take and the omega obeyed with a quivering hand.

 

The thought of food made his stomach churn in disgust. How long had he been out? It didn’t matter. It could have been eternity, and it didn’t matter. The only way he could ever be freed from this madness was through death or another alpha’s mark. Phichit could now never be his mate…”

 

Yuuri clutched Viktor’s hand tightly out of fear as he let him out of the room and down the hall into the open area of the flat. A large family room was to the right, with the dining area and kitchen on the left. Everything was open, allowing Viktor or whomever full view of everything that went on. A shiver ran down his spine, feeling several pairs of eyes on him as Viktor pulled out a chair for him at the head of the table and then sat next to him. He was grateful he had left his glasses behind, unable to see any of the scowls and glares clearly.

 

"This is your omega?” A roughly accented voice growled in English. Suddenly, Yuuri found himself almost knocked completely out of his chair as the speaker passed by. Regaining his composure, Yuuri squinted to make out a tall and lean figure with long blonde hair held up in a messy bun. “What an ugly pig. I thought you had better taste than this, Viktor.”

 

“I find little piggies quite adorable,” Viktor countered smoothly.  “And you should be more mindful of your behavior around my mate, Yura. I won’t take kindly to your usual bratty attitude around him.”

 

“Oh yeah, because kidnapping him and forcing a bond is such model behavior,” he huffed, pulling his chair out with enough force to make a loud scraping sound and plopping down.

 

“As an alpha, it is my duty to make sure he is a protected omega and bonded to only the finest,” Viktor said. “We are only doing what we were born to do. As an alpha yourself, perhaps you could take some pointers.”

 

“Vitya,” a female voice whined, Yuuri able to make out a blob of red hair. “There’s no need to be so passive aggressive in such a statement towards me. I already know I live the rebel life.”

 

Viktor chuckled, taking a sip of what looked like wine, “Mila, my dear, you’d be no use to me at all if you were a mated omega. Who, then, could you seduce for me?”

 

Mila hummed in delight. “Two Yuris, huh? What are the odds of that? Guess we’ll have to come up with a nickname for Yura.”

 

“Shut up, hag! I was here first!” The blonde Yuri growled.

 

Yuuri covered his mouth, feeling an overwhelming urge to puke. He was terrified. These people were going to kill him or worse. Yuuri flinched violently when Viktor’s hand reached out for his thigh and squeezed, a calming scent filling his nostrils.

 

“Yuri is harmless, my love,” Viktor cooed, “No need to be so afraid. He’s just a kitten in a tiger’s costume.”

 

I’m afraid of you , he wanted to shout, I’m afraid of everything! Yuri spat something in Russian that Yuuri didn’t understand nor care to. He had just wanted to skate in the Grand Prix Final. All he had wanted was to go out there and try and medal for his country. Why? Why is this happening to me?

 

“So this is him?” A cool male voice spoke who sat next to Mila. Yuuri figured they were conversing in English on purpose, so that he would hear their snide and hurtful remarks. “The omega you’ve been lusting after for years? He certainly looks plain when he’s not dolled up on the ice.”

 

Years. That word struck Yuuri like a bullet to his chest. This had been going on for years. How many times had Viktor been there, lurking in the shadows, just waiting to make a move? A plate of food was set down in front of Yuuri, and he felt like he was going to be sick.

 

“Now, Georgi, just because you prefer your omegas to be covered in powder, glitter, and dramatics doesn’t mean we all do,” Viktor clucked in careful warning, raising an eyebrow at Yuuri when he noticed he wasn’t eating. “Is Russian food not to your liking, Yuuri?”

 

Not anymore. Yuuri had been to Russia on more than one occasion and had never been bothered by the food before, but now he couldn’t stand to look at it.

 

“Yuuri,” Viktor’s voice was rough and his hand tightened on the omega’s thigh. “I asked you a question.”

 

Sucking in a quivering breath Yuuri responded with a barely audible voice, “It’s fine. Not hungry.”

 

“Not hungry?” Viktor questioned, his grip loosening slightly. “Nonsense. You should be famished. Eat.”

 

Eat . It hit him just as hard as the order not to drop again had earlier. Viktor was clearly not above using Alpha Commands, which were widely criticized in many countries and held legal consequences in others including the US and Japan. Hand shaking almost uncontrollably, Yuuri reached for a fork and worked to take a bite. It was a struggle, but he eventually made it to his mouth. It might have been good. It might have been disgusting. Yuuri tasted nothing as he carefully chewed and swallowed only because he’d been ordered to do so.

 

The rest of the table conversed in Russian, excluding Yuuri from it while they ate. Several times he heard his name, but he was unsure if it was really him or the Russian Yuri they were discussing. Even with Viktor’s command, Yuuri only ate half of the plate, his stomach threatening to vomit it all if he took another bite. Viktor didn’t mention it, thankfully.

 

After the plates were cleared by the house help Viktor pushed back his chair and held out a hand for Yuuri. “I told you not to be so frightened, Yuuri. You are my mate, now, and I will make sure you are not harmed. Perhaps a nice shower will help you to relax.”

 

Yuuri took the hand with a harsh swallow. Did this man really think that his words were comforting? Did he not think that he, himself, was the cause of his fear and overwhelming anxiety? No amount of soaking in the onsen would bring him ease in the presence of this man - his mate. The word filled him with disgust.

 

Viktor led him back into his room - their room - and into the bathroom. The walk-in shower was massive and luxurious, matching the rest of the penthouse that Yuuri had seen thus far. In the large mirror, Yuuri caught sight of the bright red wound on his neck that was starting to turn purple and black around the edges. It was a mark of death. Opening the glass door Viktor stuck a hand in and turned on the water so that it could get warm. Turning his attention back to Yuuri, he began undressing him, starting with pulling the sweater over his head.

 

Yuuri cast his eyes down as he shrunk in on himself, trying to make his body as small as possible. When Viktor moved his hands to the jeans he wore, his heart began to race with panic. Would Viktor try something more than a shower? His nails dug into the skin of his arms as pants and underwear pooled down beneath his feet leaving him completely exposed. When Viktor started to remove his own clothes he almost lost it, having to bite his lip hard enough to draw blood to keep himself from whimpering out loud.

 

Both men naked, Viktor leaned in for a kiss, his lips gentle on Yuuri’s. “Georgi was so wrong,” Viktor breathed. “You are most beautiful like this.”

 

As Viktor’s hands washed his skin and hair under warm water, Yuuri let himself cry and cry and cry, tears hidden as they swirled down the drain at his feet.

Chapter Text

Yuuri could feel it coming. He could feel the temperature rising beneath his skin a little more each day and the ache in his chest. It had never happened this fast in his entire life - not since his presentation. Six weeks. It typically took six weeks for his heat to come after getting off of suppressants. He’d stop taking them around Four Continents typically and that would land his heat a few weeks after World’s. Yuuri didn’t know how long he’d been in this hell, but it had not been six weeks.

 

Makkachin could smell it on him, too, keeping pinned to the omega’s side even more than usual. Yuuri didn’t mind so much. The poodle was the only bright spot in all of this nightmare that Yuuri could find. It still bothered Yuuri that the reason for the poodle’s absence at first was because he was being trained on Yuuri’s scent. Like a hound dog. Viktor truly had thought of everything to prevent his escape.

 

The other alphas that frequented the home had also caught on to Yuuri’s coming heat. Their pupils went wide when they whiffed his scent and a few had even growled sending Makkachin into a barking fit. It had been Georgi that had dragged him away, throwing him into the bedroom before shouting at Viktor in words he didn’t understand.

 

“Georgi is right, I was careless,” Viktor started as he entered the master suite. “I didn’t realize your smell was already so potent. Goodness...it is so sweet.” He reached out for Yuuri’s face, kissing him on the corner of the mouth. “You’ve made me even happier, my Yuuri. Ready for my knot so soon. I can’t wait.”

 

Don’t cry, don’t cry. Yuuri’s breaths involuntarily hitched and his body shook, but he kept the tears at bay. He did not want this. God, he didn’t want this.

 

“It’s best that you stay in here as your heat hits. I don’t want anyone to take advantage of you in your state,” Viktor said, kissing the top of Yuuri’s head before heading for the door. “I’ll make the necessary preparations for our week together. It will be the best week of my life.”

 

The moment the door clicked shut Yuuri broke down. Heats had always been scary enough as it was, but to actually spend it with someone - spend it with someone who had drugged and kidnapped him - was beyond terrifying. Yuuri had always been to scared to go all the way with Phichit. Not that he wouldn’t eventually, but they’d been taking it slow and working up to it. He couldn’t do this. Makkachin started to lick his face and Yuuri buried his face in her fur.

 

When the tears had finally subsided Yuuri tested the door. It was locked from the outside. Yuuri had no desire to leave the room, anyway, but it left a sinking feeling in his stomach that he was for certain a prisoner here until his heat consumed him. All he had to entertain himself was the view of the grey skies and almost constant darkness outside the window and his inner thoughts of dread. It was consuming him.

 

Viktor would return every night and bury his nose against his mark scenting Yuuri in preparation and to keep any alphas away. Yuuri didn’t sleep. He was too hot and too frightened that his heat would hit in the middle of the night. Not like it would matter. He couldn’t stop it. He couldn’t stop any of this. Morning, afternoon, night. It didn’t matter when it came. It would come and there would be nothing he could do.

 

Three days later he started to produce slick. He’d shed the majority of his winter clothes for soft t-shirts and his boxers. Everything was just so hot. When Viktor had entered, he’d pounced, pinning Yuuri to the bed and licking a long wet stripe up the side of his neck breathing in the scent. Please get off! Don’t do this! Not now!

 

Viktor hadn’t gone further, giving his hips a grind against Yuuri’s as once and then retreating. “My apologies...I got ahead of myself,” he said as he smoothed his suit. “You aren’t quite there yet. I want you begging for me when I take you, Yuuri. For you to want nothing else in the world than me.”

 

Yuuri cried into the pillow the moment Viktor left. It wouldn’t be long now before he was doing exactly that. Viktor’s scent was on everything and it was driving the omega within him to its basic of instincts. Normally,  Yuuri was able to keep a part of himself in tact during heats. Things were hazy but he still had a concious of what was happening - he had a sense of control. A mating mark changed all of that.

 

With every hour that passed his temperature would rise and the amount of slick he produced increased. He’d gone through several pairs of boxers, trying to keep himself dry, but it quickly became a useless endeavor. Makkachin tried to offer comfort, but her fur was too hot and scratchy making Yuuri turn her away. Without even realizing it, he eventually shed the remainder of his clothes and sprawled out on the bed, eyes squeezed shut as he desperately tried to keep his breaths calm.

 

The moment Viktor came into the room he knew. God, he knew. His small cock sprung to life and he instinctively spread his legs in invitation, cool air hitting his slick hole. Immediately he was closing them and rolling over, trying to get away from everything that was Viktor only to bit hit with his smell from the pillow. He let out a loud whimper of frustration and defeat.

 

Gospodi , Yuuri,” Viktor breathed from somewhere behind him. “You truly are heaven on earth and I haven’t even entered you yet.

 

The rustle of cloth filled Yuuri’s ears and the tears started up again. This was it. The bed dipped and a mix of a gasp and cry left his lips. Run, run, run. But there was no where to go, and his body didn’t want to listen to his mind. His body wanted this - wanted Viktor. A single finger traced the skin down his spine and his body arched into the touch with a loud gasp.

 

“Tell me you want me, Yuuri,” Viktor breathed against his skin, lips gently touching against his shoulder blade.

 

Yuuri buried his face in the pillows, fingers violently grasping at the sheets. Viktor wasn’t using an alpha command - yet - but in his state it was enough to make him want to comply. To make him stick his ass in the air and just take it. Every kiss from those lips drew a louder whimper from him the pillow could eventually no longer muffle. Viktor’s hands slid down Yuuri’s sides and down to his hips, lifting them just slightly up against what he could clearly feel was a bare chest.

 

A finger breached his entrance and his teeth let go of the pillow with a loud gasp, head tossing back. More, more, more. His mind was racing, hips canting backwards sucking in Viktor’s finger further.

 

“That’s it,” Viktor encouraged as he started to curl his finger against the velvet walls. “Come on, Yuuri. Tell me. Beg for me.”

 

No. He wouldn’t. Yuuri bit his lower lip so hard he tasted copper, refusing to give in despite his body. Another finger entered and he buried his face into the pillows again, tears flowing full force. There was no way he could hold out much longer. His heart was beating wildly against his chest and his cock was throbbing with want. His skin was fire kissed and all he wanted was relief.

 

Viktor’s fingers curled just right and Yuuri was screaming. As quickly as those fingers had brushed across his sweet spot they disappeared, leaving the omega empty and wanting. “Please,” he whimpered, sobbing at the loss.

 

“Please, what, Yuuri?” Viktor breathed hot against his ear, rolling his hard length against his ass.

 

Squeezing his eyes shut, Yuuri felt everything within him give in. This is it. It’s over. All he could hope for now was that the heat haze would consume him. That he could get so lost in the desire that he’d forget it completely. Maybe, just maybe, he’d wake up from this nightmare back in Detroit curled against Phichit’s chest. Phichit would wipe away his tears as he woke and tell him everything was going to be ok.

 

“Please….alpha,” Yuuri allowed the word to pass his lips. “Please.”

 

Viktor’s breath hitched behind him. “Oh, Yuuri….” he spread Yuuri’s cheeks and slipped his cock between the crack, the tip just catching on his rim making Yuuri’s hole flutter in excitement. “Please alpha what?”

 

This is it. It’s over.

 

“Knot me.”

 

Three fingers plunged in this time and immediately curled up making Yuuri howl without thought. Viktor was quick and rough muttering quick Russian into the dip of his shoulder as he stretched Yuuri with haste. When he finally removed his fingers his hands were shaking, spreading Yuuri’s cheeks apart and pinning his thighs against the back of Yuuri’s.

 

The very wind was knocked from Yuuri’s throat the moment Viktor’s cock breached him, a combination of shock, pleasure, and horrific pain filling him. It hurt. Yuuri didn’t need to see him to know he was big, stretching him far more than the three fingers had done. And yet, at the same time, Yuuri was seeing stars of pleasure with every centimeter Viktor sunk in. He wanted more.

 

Hearing his plea, Viktor slowly pulled his cock out until just the head remained and snapped his hips forward. The alpha picked up a consistent pace quickly and Yuuri could do nothing but cant his hips up and back and moan with each thrust. The pain started to subside and Yuuri felt his upper body just start to go limp, sinking down into the mattress as his vision was covered in a thicker fog than normal. Soft gasps mixed with heavy grunts. Calloused fingers pulled at silk hair and Yuuri allowed his body to be contorted into whatever shapes and used however Viktor wanted him to be used.

 

The more he allowed himself to accept it, the better it began to feel. Viktor continued to speak to him in Russian, his voice low and soft between nibbles at his ear and neck. Fingers brushed across his hard nipples and down between his legs, grabbing onto his hard cock. Yuuri moaned loudly at the touch, eyes fluttering closed as the lust started to consume him in full.

 

“Alpha…”

 

Yuuri didn’t even recognize his voice as it spoke the word. Spoke the plea.

 

“So beautiful,” Viktor finally spoke in English, hips snapping forward with far more force. “Going to give me the most beautiful pups. I can’t wait. Can’t wait to see you round and full - unf - Yuuri!”

 

Viktor began to swell within Yuuri and the omega started to panic within. His mind was grasping at the sheets and headboard, trying to pull off and away, but his ass thrust back and suddenly a waterfall of heat was flooding his walls. Pain rippled through the juncture of his neck as Viktor renewed their mating bond. Omega was happy. Omega was mated and had been bred.

 

Yuuri wept for the loss of everything.

 

/*/

 

Bits and pieces of the heat plagued Yuuri’s dreams when he finally passed out. Yuuri’s breathy moans pleading for his alpha and Viktor praising every bit of his body. Mind clearing from the haze, Yuuri felt himself grow sick at the memories. The junction between his shoulder and neck throbbed with intense pain where Viktor had staked his claim multiple times. There were bits of smeared blood still on his skin not wiped away. Sharp needles pricked his lower back with every movement and knives plunged into the depths of his entrance. Something was still oozing slowly out of him, and Yuuri cringed at the thought of what he knew it was pooling beneath him. The inside of his mouth was so dry it tasted of cotton, desperate for a drink of water Yuuri couldn’t move to retrieve.

 

Suddenly a glass of water was set down on the nightstand next to him and the mattress sunk in beneath the weight of a person. “My beautiful Yuuri. You were so amazing. Beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. You must be exhausted.

 

Yuuri couldn’t help but swallow with desire as his eyes spot the water. Overcoming his fear of having to be near Viktor Yuuri moved to sit up, instantly regretting it as pain shot through him. Viktor’s hands were on him, helping him up and propping a pillow up against his back before bringing the glass to the omega’s dry lips. Yuuri drank the entire glass in one go and still felt parched.

 

Viktor set the glass down and caressed the omega’s cheek. “I’ll run you a hot bath and bring more water. You deserve the world after bringing me so much pleasure this week.”

 

Yuuri didn’t want any world that Viktor offered him, no matter how sweet it may have sounded. But….a hot bath sounded like a dream. Nodding in response to Viktor’s offer the alpha immediately withdrew to the bathroom and turned on the water. After a few minutes he returned with a refilled glass of water. This time Yuuri took care to only drink half.

 

Pulling back the covers Viktor bent over and curled his arms beneath Yuuri’s body pulling him into his arms. Yuuri held on as loosely as he could to keep himself from falling not wanting to touch Viktor more than he had to. When his skin made contact with the burning water his breath hitched, but the lower he sank the more amazing it felt. All the tight muscles started to relax against the heat and some oil that Yuuri could smell in the water.

 

Viktor moved to the edge of the tub behind Yuuri dipping a cloth into the water and then using it to gently scrub at at the dried blood around his bonding mark. Letting out a sigh of relief Yuuri closed his eyes and concentrated on the feeling rather than the hands that were causing them. He pictured Phichit instead, his gentle hands massaging his muscles after a long day on the ice. After the sweat, slick, blood, and semen was cleaned from his skin Viktor moved to his hair, lathering it with a sweet scented shampoo and conditioner before washing it out.

 

Wrapping the omega in a fluffy white black towel Viktor bridal carried him back to the bed that had been stripped and redressed while they’d been in the bathroom. The clean silk felt kind against his skin. Grabbing one of the pillows Viktor propped Yuuri’s hips up with it. “It helps with pregnancy.”

 

Yuuri swallowed his response at that, crossing his arms and digging the nails into his biceps. It was hard to argue much given how much the pillow alleviated the literal pain in his ass. He watched as Viktor scrounged through some drawers and pulled out a nice looking sweater and a pair of pajama pants made of silk. Viktor helped him into the clothes, using the towel to then dry his hair with one more pass. The clothes were comfortable, but made of fare more expensive cloth then Yuuri would have ever bought.

 

“Rest, my Yuuri. You deserve it. I will have some food brought to the room so you can refuel.” Viktor pulled the covers up to Yuuri’s waist and leaned in for a kiss.

 

Yuuri couldn’t help but flinch when Viktor’s lips touched his, but either Viktor didn’t notice or chose not comment before he left Yuuri alone with Makkachin in the room. There was an overwhelming sadness present. Self-pity. But as he stared blankly at his hands, Yuuri couldn’t find it within himself to cry. Maybe there was just nothing to leave his eyes. Viktor came with food, but Yuuri barely touched it, eating just enough to appease the alpha that he’d returned some lost nutrients to his body.

 

A maid - or what Yuuri thought was one - came in and took the food away and Viktor offered another kiss instructing Yuuri to to not move from bed for the day and that he would check up on him. Yuuri didn’t think he could get out of bed whether he wanted to or not. So, when Viktor left, Yuuri sunk down into the plush mattress and pillow of the bed pulling the comforter all the way to the top of his head. Makkachin jumped up on the bed and curled up against him, his only solace.

 

Yuuri slept and slept and slept. He knew he was sleeping, even in his dreams, and he started to hoe and pray that perhaps he would never wake up. That he could stay on the shores of Hasetsu with his feet buried in the warm sand with the waves just reaching his toes. He did wake, though, a full 48 hours later. His body felt better, but his mind only felt like a heavy weight pulling him down. Reluctantly, Yuuri was pulled from the bed to shower and walk at Viktor’s insistence, joining him for meals in the proper dining room. It was hard to ignore the glances from the others in the flat. The looks that spoke of ‘whore’ and ‘slut’ and ‘omega’.

 

All the days after seemed to blend together in a strange routine. Viktor held Yuuri close while they slept, sometimes rubbing his thick member against Yuuri’s back and fucking his thighs until he came. They showered together, Viktor’s fingers touching every part of Yuuri inside and out. Most of the day he’d spend with Viktor in his office, sitting on the window seat with Makkachin simply staring out the window and watching the snow fall. Yuuri didn’t even feel like he was present in his own body. Sometimes the female omega, Mila, would try and talk to him, but Yuuri had nothing to say.

 

A few days later - a week? Two? - a strange man showed in their bedroom. He was older, and if Yuuri didn’t know better, he looked like some sort of home doctor with the bag he carried around. Yuuri didn’t understand. He was feeling fine, now, physically. Was Viktor concerned?

 

“Yuuri, Dr. Sokolov is here to run a pregnancy test,” Viktor explained with a bright smile.

 

Yuuri’s heart dropped through the floor. What?

 

“Tests are far more advanced these days and it’s been just over two weeks since your heat started. If we conceived during the first part of your heat, we should be able to tell.” Viktor reached out for Yuuri’s hand and rubbed his thumb across it. “I just couldn’t wait. I must know as soon as possible!”

 

Dr. Sokolov held out a plastic cup and spoke something in Russian. Yuuri could only stare at it for several long seconds in shock, despite knowing what he was supposed to do. Shaking fingers eventually took the cup and he trudged with trembling legs to the bathroom. Viktor had to come retrieve it, Yuuri only able to put the seat down and sit after he had flushed, his body unable to move from that spot.

 

I can’t. I can’t be pregnant. Dear god, please.

 

The wait was agonizing. Even though there wasn’t a clock around him, Yuuri could hear the ticking of a second hand in his ears. He brought his knees up to his chest on the toilet and wrapped his arms around them, body starting to rock back and forth with anxiety. When Viktor returned to the bathroom, it was with a face as bright as the stars.

 

“Oh, my Yuuri! Congratulations,” he bent over and kissed the top of Yuuri’s head. “You’re going to be the most amazing mother.”

 

For a moment Yuuri simply couldn’t breathe. His skin went cold and he couldn’t feel his finger, toes, or even his heart in his chest. Nothing. Then, he felt his knees hit the tile hard and he was vomiting up everything he had into the toilet basin. His fingers turned white in their grip on the porcelain. With every pass of substance, he hoped that maybe it was possible to throw up the horrific life that was now in his body.

 

“Pregnancy symptoms already…?” Viktor’s voice spoke somewhere in the distance in concern.

 

Yuuri’s breaths came out shuddered as there was a pause in his nausea. There was a drip-drop that echoed in the bath as tears dropped from his cheeks into the soiled water.

 

He had to kill it. He had to he had to.

 

He had to kill this baby.

Chapter Text

Yuuri had tried everything he knew to try. He’d punched his own stomach in a crying fit. He’d tried not eating and then eating things he knew he shouldn’t. He’d gone into Viktor’s closet and scoured the entire thing for a coat hanger he could use, but all of them were wooden and of no use for a tool of abortion. There had even been the instance when he’d just started to show that he had tried to throw himself down the stairs before his appointment for an ultrasound. Viktor had caught his arm just as he had tumbled and pulled him to safety.

 

Viktor had just thought it was the hormones that made him cry afterwards, but it was the utter defeat that no matter what he did Yuuri couldn’t kill the child growing inside of him.

 

He had continued to try as the months went on, though only half-heartedly. It was things like ‘accidently’ bumping into the edge of a counter rather roughly or being just close enough to Viktor that he risked being elbowed. Still the child grew. A son, they had learned.

 

Something inside him finally shifted as he approached the third trimester. Suddenly, he became hyper aware of everything and avoided counters, elbows, and anything that could potentially harm his baby. A photo from the ultrasound stayed stashed in the nightstand and Yuuri found himself constantly looking at it. Yuuri didn’t know if he could say he loved this child yet, but he no longer felt such a strong need to get rid of it.

 

Maybe it was because Viktor treated him so much better. He no longer asked for sexual favors or used Yuuri for his own desire (well, except for the obvious breastfeeding kink he developed once Yuuri started lactating). Yuuri was pampered and given anything he asked - almost. Of course, Yuuri was under no illusions. Viktor was still Viktor. The alpha that had kidnapped him, raped him, and forced a bond, but he would enjoy every second that he could being void of the man’s touch.

 

As he reached his due date, Yuuri found himself changing his mind again. Everything hurt all the time and he could barely get out of bed with how big he’d gotten. His feet and hands were swollen and the Braxton Hicks were enough to send him over the edge. Mila seemed to take pity on him, staying with him whenever he was having his false contractions and making sure he had whatever he needed. It was more sympathy than anyone else had shown. Sleep didn’t come at all, his son nestled against his uterus the more he dropped down the canal preparing for birth. Yuuri wanted him out and gone. He wanted this pain and agony to just stop.

 

Labor lasted an agonizing 30 hours. A 30 hours that Viktor didn’t allow him to be given drugs to help with the pain. A ‘natural’ birth, he said, not even allowing Yuuri to give birth in a hospital. Yuuri cried at those words. For himself and for his son. The omega had never known a greater pain in his life as each contraction ripped through him. As the baby had crowned Yuuri thought he was being split into two and figured he would die right then and there. The urge to vomit and scream and blackout hit him all at once. Anything that would distract him or stop the pain.

 

There were no words to describe the sense of relief that washed over him the moment the baby’s cries filled his ears and the pain subsided. He was sore. Incredibly so. Like he’d been training non-stop for weeks without rest. All he could do was lay there and pant, desperately trying to regulate his breathing back under some sort of control.

 

“You want to hold?” One of the midwives asked in Russian, the baby wrapped in a blanket in her arms.

 

No. Yuuri wanted to tell her to take the boy away. Kill him, give up up for adoption, he didn’t care. Just get rid of him. She wouldn’t. He knew that. Viktor was still just outside the door. There was no escaping this, now. Their son was here, alive and breathing. With a shaky breath he nodded and struggled to get himself up right in a sitting position. The other midwife noticed and helped him get settled propping a few pillows up behind his back.

 

Once Yuuri was settled the baby was carefully placed into his arms that were adjusted by the midwives to hold him properly. Yuuri’s breath caught in his throat as he pulled back the blanket to look at his face. It was bright red and squished and by all rights ugly, but Yuuri thought he was suddenly the most beautiful thing in the world. Tears immediately stung at his eyes and with a hesitant and careful movement he traced a finger across his rosebud lips. A light tuff of silver hair sat upon his head and even though his eyes had not yet opened, Yuuri knew they would be a brilliant blue that would never turn dark. There was a small pain in his heart knowing that he would look just like Viktor, but Yuuri shoved it down and brought him closer to his chest so he could kiss the baby’s small temple.

 

“Oh, Yuuri,” Viktor’s voice breathed as he approached the bed, a shiver running through Yuuri’s bond at the voice. “He’s beautiful. You did wonderfully.”

 

Yuuri kept his focus on their son doing his best to block out Viktor’s presence. The newborn started to wiggle in Yuuri’s arms and let out a small sound of annoyance as his mouth started to open and close.

 

“He’s hungry,” the midwife quickly explained. “Do you want to see if we can get him to latch?”

 

Yuuri had to look to Viktor for a full translation to fully understand her words before he nodded. The midwife helped pull down the top of the gown they had dressed him in. The moment the baby’s cheek brushed up against Yuuri’s bare skin he started nuzzling around instinctively in search of a nipple. The midwife laughed at his eagerness as she helped guide his face in the proper position. The moment the nipple brushed against his top lip he opened wide and latched on. Yuuri was used to the feeling from Viktor having had his share the past few weeks, but it still surprised him and he let out a small gasp. This was different than Viktor. This wasn’t for some disgusting sexual need. This was nurturing, loving, providing.

 

“Vitaly,” Viktor’s voice spoke after a long silence, the alpha having settled in on a chair across the room.

 

Yuuri looked up from where his baby was happily feeding. “What?”

 

“His name. I’ve decided on Vitaly,” Viktor clarified. “It means life-giving.”

 

Vitaly. Yuuri tested it on his lips quietly, struggling with it a bit like he did Viktor’s own name. After a few times repeating it he thought it was perfect.

 

Vitaly had given him the will to live once again.

Chapter Text

Vitaly – 4

Yulian - 1

 

Yuuri had lost track of how long he had been sitting on the cold floor of the master bathroom, back propped up against the vanity and his legs splayed out in a V. A small puddle of crimson sat between his thighs, small creeks having had the time to spread down the grout and out around his feet. It hadn’t been like he imagined. At first it just seemed like a stomach ache - cramps, really. It almost seemed like he was just getting ready for menstruation.

Then he had remembered he was already pregnant.

When it dawned on him what was happening, it was far too late. The little boy or girl of 17 weeks was already gone. It was strange. Had this happened with Vitaly, he would have been thankful at the time. So desperately had he gone out of his way to force Vitaly from his body those first few months after finding out he was with child. Yuuri would have done anything to see the blood between his legs five years ago. Things had changed, though. Pregnancy and children were Yuuri’s only solace.

What would Viktor say when he came home to find him like this? He hadn’t even had the time to properly mourn the loss, too afraid of what would happen to him when his alpha returned. Viktor didn’t like it when things didn’t go to plan. This wasn’t part of the plan. Would he blame him? Any reasonable person would know it wasn’t, but Viktor was anything but normal.

Makkachin was laying at his feet, occasionally giving a small whimper. A large sound suddenly got his attention and his head snapped up, tail wagging. Viktor was home. The alpha made it half way through the door before he came to a screeching halt and stepped back out of view. He whispered something in Russian to who must have been Vitaly and then reappeared.

His face was stern, lips drawn into a tight line and jaw clenched. For long drawn out minutes he was silent before he finally let out a long and deep sigh. “Look what you’ve done, Yuuri…”

Involuntarily, Yuuri’s lower lip began to quiver violently and he let out a chilling sob. “I don’t mean to. I didn’t. Please, Vitya…I didn’t…”

“Shhh,” Viktor hushed, kneeling down and pulling Yuuri into him, a gentle kiss to the top of his head as he unleashed his tears in full. “You shouldn’t have spent so much time playing with Vitasha and Ulya. It stressed your body, and you killed our child in the process. Their brother or sister. How disappointed they will be.”

Another harsh sob ripped from him, Yuuri burying his face in his hands in shame. It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault…but it is. Viktor said it was. Alpha is never wrong. Viktor was right – Vitaly would be distraught. He had been so excited when Yuuri was pregnant with Yulian, taking to being an older brother so easily. Seeing that precious little face so upset…it was his fault.

“Get cleaned up, my love. I will fetch the doctor. Hopefully we can try again immediately.” Viktor wrapped his arms around Yuuri’s shoulders and helped hoist his body to his feet.

Try again. Couldn’t he give him a moment to mourn? To recover? He’d just lost a child! He stared at the ground in silent shock as Viktor removed his soiled clothes and had him in the shower. The moment he realized he was alone again he collapsed to the shower floor and curled in on himself, letting everything he’d been holding in out. It took Viktor returning to pull him out, wrapping his body in a towel and leading him to the bed. The doctor instructed him to lay down and he did so mechanically, spreading his legs and barely wincing at the intrusion to his birthing canal. The doctor and Viktor conversed with each other, and even though Yuuri was fluent in Russian at this point, he couldn’t translate the words properly.

Yuuri spaced out completely, losing himself in his own sense of self-destruction. He did not return to reality until he heard grunts from Viktor and the distinctive sound of lube on skin. Blinking several times his vision focused again and he saw Viktor naked on his knees pumping himself to full hardness.

“I’m so glad, Yuuri,” Viktor sighed, giving his base a squeeze. “The doctor said we could try again immediately. I don’t have to let your stomach go empty of my seed for even a second longer.”

Yuuri wasn’t even able to take in what was happening before the thick head of Viktor’s cock was pressing in. It hurt. Yuuri couldn’t stifle a small cry, arching his back off the bed trying to find some position where it hurt less. He was still cramping terribly and blood was still spotting out from the birthing hole. How could Viktor do this to him?! Not even a night of rest!

There was nothing he could do. Viktor had made his decision. Yuuri simply rolled his head to the side, letting his silent tears fall with each thrust.

Chapter Text

Vitaly loved both his parents a lot. Papa was strict but kind and often gave Vitaly lots of gifts when he did what he was told. One week he had dressed himself every day and Papa had given him a stuffed sea lion. It had become his favorite. But Mama…Vitaly REALLY loved his Mama. He was ALWAYS nice, even when Vitaly had done something he wasn’t supposed to. But Vitaly hated going against his Mama’s words. He’d look so sad and it would make Vitaly sad.

 

Today, Mama looked tired. Too tired.  His eyes kept closing behind his glasses and his breaths would be uneven. Every time Vitaly would try and ask what was wrong, Mama would say it was the baby making him tired. Did he make Mama tired when he was in his belly, too? Vitaly hated to think he ever hurt his mama like that.

 

“Mama sick?” Vitaly questioned as he gently placed his hands on Mama’s large belly, pressing a cheek to it.

 

“Just tired, baby,” Mama answered. “It takes a lot to keep your brother safe in here.”

 

“Don’ worry!” Vitaly exclaimed, looking up to his mama with a smile, “I’ll keep safe!”

 

Mama chuckled, brushing his knuckles against Vitaly’s soft cheek. “I know you will, baby. You’re going to be the best big brother there is.”

 

Vitaly was excited to have a brother. He was. But there was a part of him that was afraid. “Mama…?”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Will you wove me less? When my baby bwother comes?” Vitaly couldn’t look at his mama, turning his head away and cuddling as close as he could.

 

“Oh, sweetheart, no,” Mama brushed back Vitaly’s hair and bent down to kiss his forehead. “You will always be the light of my life, baby. No matter what.”

 

Vitaly felt himself feel warm at the words, but he couldn’t help but let out a worried whimper, a small hand reaching up towards his mama’s breast. “Pwease?”

 

“Oh, Vitalik, of course. Always. You just have to ask,” Mama said, lifting his shirt above his belly and his breasts. Picking Vitaly up, he situated him into a comfortable position with his mouth nuzzled up to his swollen breast.

 

Vitaly happily wrapped his hands around his mama’s torso the best he could and latched onto a nipple with his small mouth. The milk hit his tongue, so sweet, and Vitaly let out a happy mewl as he closed his eyes and snuggled closer to his mother. He hushed him and started to rock him, his voice beginning to let out a song in his native tongue. Vitaly still only understood a few words, but it lulled him into a happy and comforted state regardless.

 

That day, Vitaly decided he never wanted to live without his mama.

 


 

 

“He’s so small,” Vitaly said in awe as his mama carefully handed him his baby brother. Yulian. Vitaly couldn’t say it quite right, so he used the diminutive. “Baby Ulya…I’ll protect you!”

 

“Good,” Mama smiled, brushing a hand through Vitaly’s silver locks. “He needs protecting. Ulya was born a little too early, you see, so he didn’t have time to get big in strong in Mama’s belly. “

 

“Ulya be okay?” Vitaly asked with concern, rubbing his cheek against his little brother’s nose.

 

“Yes, he’ll be just fine. You’re so sweet, Vitalik. Mama is so happy you are concerned.” Mama gave him a peck on the cheek and Vitaly couldn’t help but grin. “Why don’t you help me get him to his crib?”

 

“Okay!” Vitaly exclaimed excitedly, getting to his feet with his mama’s arms assisting with Yulian in his arms.

 

Slowly they walked together, Mama helping guide Vitaly instead of just taking the baby where it would be easier and quicker. Once they did make it to the nursery, Mama took Yulian since Vitaly was too small to lift him over the sides of the crib. Once laid down in the blankets Vitaly looked in between the bars in awe. Vitaly wanted to stay and protect his baby brother, but he knew he couldn’t. But he could do the next best thing. Scurrying out of the room without a word he dashed into his own room and grabbed his stuffed sea lion and carried it back with him into the nursery.

 

“Mama! Ulya needs this! Keep him safe!” Standing on his tippy toes, Vitaly waved the animal in front of Mama’s face. Mama didn’t take it, but started crying instead. Frowning, Vitaly brought the animal towards his chest and felt tears in his eyes. “Mama…are you mad?”

“Oh, god, no, baby, I’m happy,” Mama said as he wiped at his eyes and carefully took the sea lion from Vitaly. “I love you. I love you so much, Vitalik. Never forget that, okay?”

 

Vitaly couldn’t only nod as Mama gently laid the sea lion down next to Yulian who immediately curled around it. Curling his hands around the bars, Vitaly looked on with pride. He would never let anything happen to his baby brother. Ever.

 

 


 

 

“Papa! I’m sorry! Please!” Vitaly cried, tears streaming down his face.

 

“Enough crying,” Viktor ordered, kneeling in front of Vitaly and grasping onto his shoulders carefully but firmly. “You disobeyed me, did you not?”

 

Sniffling, Vitaly nodded. “Y-yes.”

 

“Then you know you must be punished,” Viktor said, tilting his son’s chin up with his fingers so that he was forced to look at him.

 

“But I don’t understand!” Vitaly exclaimed with a blubber. “Why couldn’t I go play with Ulya!?”

 

“Because playtime is not priority, Vitasha,” Viktor stated plainly. “Sometimes, we must sacrifice the things we truly want to do to take care of the things we must. Papa would much rather spend time with Mama than go to meetings and spend so much time on the phone, but those things are priority. They are my responsibility. Other people besides myself depend on me doing those things. Do you understand?”

 

He did, but he didn’t want to. Nothing should be more important than Ulya and Mama. With a loud sniffle he nodded, even if he didn’t want to.

 

“Good boy,” Viktor patted his cheek. “Ulya and Mama will always be there waiting for us when we are done with our duties. Remember that. Now go to your room. I feel confident that you will have learned your lesson after this.”

 

Vitaly could do nothing but comply, fists clenched at his sides as he stomped off to his room angrily. Mama would have never sent him to his room. Mama never would have scolded him in such a way. Papa wasn’t mean…but sometimes Vitaly wished he could be more like Mama.

 

Vitaly made a vow that he’d grow up as strong and powerful as Papa, but as kind and caring as Mama.

 

 


 

 

Vitaly knew he shouldn’t be in his parent’s bedroom – in their closet – but he knew that there would be no way Yulian would find him in there. He’d win their game for sure!

 

He heard a door shut and he jumped, fearing that Yulian might have found his hiding spot after all. Pressing an ear to the door he listened carefully. There were shouts. They weren’t from Yulian. The voices were muffled but Vitaly was certain…it was Mama and Papa. Quietly pushing the door open he crawled out of the closet into the main portion of the bathroom and towards the door that was slightly ajar, a blue eye peeking out.

 

“I told you to have them both dressed and ready in the dining room by six. Not only were you late but they were far from presentable,” Papa hissed, his hand roughly squeezing Mama’s face.

 

“It’s what they wanted to wear!” Mama countered, eyes glossy with tears.

 

Papa growled, spinning Mama around and shoving him down onto the bed, leaning down to gnarl into his ear, “You embarrassed me in front of our guests, Yuuri. I am very upset.” Papa was rough, pulling down Mama’s pants and shoving down his own. His hand wrapped around his ….his…his private parts…and it started to grow.

 

“Viktor, please, don’t,” Mama whimpered, fists clenching the duvet tightly. Papa slipped his private part between Mama’s butt cheeks and Mama screamed.

 

Vitaly jumped, hands flying to his mouth to keep him from crying out. Why was Papa hurting Mama?! Papa moved his hips back and forth making Mama cry out from each movement. Vitaly whimpered out of desperation and Mama’s eyes flew open looking directly at him. Gasping, Vitaly flew away from the door and scrambled back into the closest, shutting the door behind him as he started to sob.

 

No, no, no! Papa said he loved Mama! Why would he hurt him?! Vitaly let himself cry, hard. It wasn’t likely they would hear him anyway, over the loud sounds his Papa and Mama were making.

 

Vitaly didn’t know how long he had stayed in the closet when the door suddenly opened, Vitaly immediately crawling backwards and curling into a ball.

 

“Vitalik?” Mama slowly entered the closet, hit eyes bright red and cheeks stained with tears. He wore his favorite robe and limped slowly over to where Vitaly was curled up on the floor. “Oh god…Vitalik…,” Mama sobbed, a shaking hand to his mouth.

 

Vitaly could see his knees trembling and a single drop of blood fell, staining the carpet between his feet. Crying out, Vitaly latched onto to his mama’s leg, and Mama fell to his knees and scooped him into his arms. “I hate him! I hate him!”

 

They cried together, Mama rocking Vitaly back and forth and repeating “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” Over and over again.

 

Vitaly clenched his fists angrily against his mother’s chest. He would make Papa pay. One day.

Chapter Text

Viktor remembered the first time he had ever laid eyes on Yuuri better than any day of his life. It had been November in Moscow at the Rostelecom Cup and it was bitter cold. Long had Viktor been a lover of the fine arts and with that especially ice skating. He often thought that maybe, just maybe, if his mother had not taken her own life and he had not been subjected to Bratva rule so young he might have been a skater himself. A good portion of his money was donated to the ISU and the Russian Skating Federation. It kept him favorable within the public eye and kept them out of his...business.

 

The moment his eyes landed on omega Katsuki Yuuri from his box seat, he knew he had to have him. With a soft face and gorgeous slanted brown eyes, Viktor could just imagine the feeling of the omega in his arms. He swore he could smell his scent across the ice calling out to him to mate. There was nothing that wasn’t perfect about him. His frame was small but plump in all the right places - perfect for childbearing. What perfect children they would have. The omega was shy and had a confidence problem - perfect to control.

 

As if Yuuri’s short program hadn’t been enough to seduce him, the omega then went and skated to his mother’s favorite aria. It was a sign. This omega was calling out to him. Viktor had known in that moment he would knot the Japanese skater. He had jerked himself off in his room after the medal ceremony, Yuuri’s name on his lips as he came. Unfortunately, Yuuri was nowhere to be found at the banquet despite his silver medal. Yuuri hadn’t qualified for the Grand Prix Finale like Viktor had hoped and it would be too risky to approach the omega outside of Russia.

 

Viktor could wait.

 

Perhaps it had been best, anyway. It gave Viktor time to prepare. He’d hope that Yuuri would come willingly, of course. Afterall, he was a very attractive alpha and had money and power. Viktor alone could fund his skating career. Though, Viktor wasn’t sure he could contain himself to allow that. All he could think of in the month before the Grand Prix was set in Sochi - Yuuri having qualified this go -  was how quickly he could get Yuuri pregnant with his child. Yuuri didn’t need to compete. Viktor alone should be privy to such beauty.

 

Yakov had scolded him. Told him he’d been far too distracted by a pretty face and needed to focus on his work. Viktor had scoffed and blown him off. What could that old man understand, anyway? Besides, Viktor needed heirs. There was no better omega in the universe than Yuuri to do just that. They’d have tons of children. As many as Viktor could pump full in him. Surely an omega as beautiful and as round in the hips as Yuuri would be very fertile. He smelled it.

 

The weeks leading up to Sochi had been spent watching videos and press conferences, jerking himself off on a daily basis to them. He’d found out who made Yuuri’s costumes and had gotten his measurements, stocking their future room together with custom tailored suits. He’d found jewelry galore, including a diamond collar to keep his mark out of view of other alphas. Viktor was fully prepared.

 

Mostly.

 

What Viktor hadn’t been expecting when he finally encountered Yuuri in Sochi was for the omega to already be in a relationship. This hadn’t been in his plan. Now, he’d have to work twice as hard to make Yuuri fall for him. A beta. It made Viktor sick and he had destroyed his office in his fury that night. Viktor hadn’t wanted to take Yuuri like this. He’d had dinner reservations and a diamond necklace. But he had to make a move, before Yuuri was on a plane back to America.

 

Yuuri almostly immediately dropping was insulting . Viktor had screamed in outrage, almost ready to take it out on Yuuri’s limp body himself, but Makkachin’s presence had calmed him and he remembered. Yes, omegas were delicate and sensitive creatures. They scared easy like a deer. He’d come on too strong in his eagerness.

 

Viktor had been nicer once Yuuri recovered. Brought him breakfast and set out his clothes. Rescheduled their initial dinner reservations at the highest end restaurant in St. Petersburg and presented him with an expensive watch. Yuuri seemed receptive, doing all that Viktor demanded. Delicate and Sensitive indeed.

 

Except Yuuri had run. Normally, Viktor enjoyed a little game of cat and mouse, but he had waited long enough. He would have Yuuri now .



The alpha had never tasted anything sweeter in his life than the moment his teeth sunk into Yuuri’s flesh. There had been a rush - a mix of adrenaline, arousal, fear, panic, lust. There was a new constant buzzing in the back of his mind, now. A constant presence of Yuuri .

 

How desperately Viktor wanted to ravish his omega right then and there. It had taken everything in him to keep his alpha in control seeing the beautiful omega naked in the shower. No, he wanted to save their first time for a heat. Viktor wanted to be sure that Yuuri would conceive. It could take up to two months for suppressants to fully leave the system. Two months too long.

 

Viktor didn’t need to wait. Only a month later, Yuuri started to smell of pre-heat. Viktor had been overjoyed at the prospect of them being so compatible that biology had taken things into its own hands. Yuuri had still been timid and flighty, but now...now, Yuuri would beg for him. Beg for his knot. Yes, Viktor would wait. He would wait until the moment Yuuri willingly stuck his ass up in the air and wailed. Then he’d fucking own the omega.

 

When Yuuri’s heat finally came, Viktor locked the door and stripped himself of his clothes taking a seat in the chair across from the bed patiently. He watched as Yuuri writhed on the bed, doing everything in his power to avoid calling out. The smell of slick and arousal was enough to make the alpha rock hard without touch. The moment his cock breached the tight, wet heat Viktor knew - He was in love.

 

Yuuri was made for him. His insides clenched perfectly around his hard cock and Viktor’s hand fit perfectly round his slender neck forcing it down and into the pillows. Never before had he felt something so incredibly wonderful in his life. Yuuri may have still needed some convincing, but Omega wanted nothing more than life than Alpha.

 

When Viktor’s knot popped Yuuri milked him dry, doing everything to draw every bit of cum from him. Viktor didn’t think his heart would swell with delight any more than it did in that moment. The omega was so greedy, clearly wanting to be bred as badly as Viktor wanted to breed. Love was no longer an appropriate word. Viktor’s feelings for Yuuri went far beyond than words could convey, and the omega was all his.

 

The pregnancy test came back positive five weeks later. Yuuri had been overcome with emotion, much to Viktor’s delight. There had been fear and dread mixed in the bond, but the omega had spent the past week doing nothing but throw up into the toilet. Of course there’d be dread. Viktor would dread such a thing, too. The fear was also understandable for a first time parent. But Viktor was there. He’d ensure Yuuri and their baby received the best of care.

 

Yuuri wore pregnancy well - like he should never wear anything else. Viktor had thought it was unimaginable for the omega to look more beautiful than he had dressed in elaborate figure skating designs, but he was wrong. Oh, so, wrong. Now, he looked simply divine. It had been impossible for Viktor to contain his lust, making love to Yuuri as many times as he could, hands pressed against the bulging belly. As the seventh month hit and Yuuri began to lactate, he simply went mad with desire. Every bit of Yuuri tasted so sweet from his slick to his milk. Viktor could never have enough.

 

Vitaly was perfect. As perfect as his mother, though with Viktor’s dashing good looks. Seeing Yuuri cradle the newborn perfectly in his arms only made his cock twinge in desire to give them more. There would certainly be more, but the doctor had warned him to allow the omega’s body to recover. It would be so hard to resist.

 

As Viktor watched Vitaly suckle his mother’s nipple, a flash of love in mother’s eyes, he knew. He knew that, yes, he was madly, certifiably, in love.

Chapter Text

Viktor loved his son. Vitaly was the perfect offspring and heir that anyone could ever ask for. He was smart and strong, and better yet, had presented as an alpha. The child was eager to learn and enjoyed being by his father’s side. Perhaps the only flaw that Viktor could find in his son was his attachment to his mother. But even that wasn’t even a real flaw. Yuuri was incredible and gorgeous. How could anyone not fall completely in love with him as he had?

 

Today was a rare and special day. The majority of his Bratva family were out on an important task leaving Viktor alone with his family and a few guards for safety. It was so rare that Viktor got to spend precious time with his children. He wished he had more than the three to dote on, but, unfortunately, Yuuri had not been as fertile as promised. The thought still made anger flare in Viktor’s stomach. Well, getting pregnant hadn’t necessarily been Yuuri’s problem, it had been staying pregnant. The doctors called it a miracle he had managed to get pregnant with their fourth. Yuuri had just hit the third trimester. Things were looking positive, at least.

 

“Vitasha, come join me in my office after you finished getting dressed,” Viktor instructed as they finished their breakfast at the table.

 

“Yes, Father,” Vitaly responded excitedly.

 

“Yuuri, my love, you will rest today won’t you? You are looking a bit fatigued,” Viktor noted with concern, lifting a hand up and grazing the omega’s cheek with the back of his hand.

 

“I will take it easy, I promise,” Yuuri answered.

 

“Don’t worry, Papa, I’ll take care of Mama!” Alyona said with beaming pride.

 

“Ah, of that I have no doubt,” Viktor smiled.

 

Vitaly joined him in his office thirty minutes after they had concluded their breakfast with his hair freshly combed back and correct attire. Too often Yuuri let them wear more comfortable clothing when it was not appropriate. Closing the door behind himself he made his way towards Viktor’s desk and took a seat in one of the leather chairs opposite him.

 

“Did you do your homework?” Viktor asked.

 

Vitaly nodded. “Yes.”

 

“Good boy,” Viktor praised. “And? Your thoughts?”

 

“Kozlov is going behind your back and embezzling,” Vitaly answered.

 

Viktor’s smile widened. Of course, he’d known that for months and had a plan in motion to catch the traitor, but Vitaly had figured it out from just the reports. Heart full of love he couldn’t help but rise from his seat and make his way around the desk to place a pleased kiss upon Vitaly’s temple. “You will make a fine Pakhan one day, Vitasha.”

 

“Spasibo, Father,” Vitaly responded in a low but appreciative voice.

 

Clasping his hands behind his back Viktor took a step towards the window. There were grey skies but no signs of rain just yet. Occasionally the sun would try and peek out through the clouds. “You have made me so proud with your wit. The question is, will you be able to act upon it when the time comes? Can you put your smarts into action at the forefront or will you lead behind the safety of these office walls?”

 

Seconds passed before Viktor realized what had just happened. The pain was slow at first and then shot out like lightning from the wound in his back. In completely shock Viktor pulled himself from the weapon and turned around. Vitaly was shaking with anger, a bloodied knife in his hand. The same knife his mother had slit her own throat with. Before words could leave Viktor’s lips, his son was stabbing him again in the stomach.

 

“Does this answer your question, Father?” Vitaly hissed, driving the knife deeper.

 

Yes. Vitaly would act in the face of his adversaries. But why….how had he become the adversary? “Vi-tasha,” Viktor breathed in shock, survival instincts kicking in and shoving the teenager off of him.

 

Vitaly was on him again with surprising strength hurdling him to the floor and driving another slice into him. “You hurt Mama!” He screamed, straddling Viktor and pinning him down. “You stole him, raped him, beat him! Mama hates you. I HATE you!”

 

No! Viktor wanted to scream. It wasn’t true! Yuuri loved him! Viktor only ever put him in place when was required, as every alpha did to an omega! With a shaking hand Viktor reached up for Vitaly’s throat, grabbing at it with weak fingers. Vitaly didn’t even flinch. “Lies....Vitasha...who has poisoned your mind?”

 

Vitaly forcefully pulled away Viktor’s hand and pulled the knife out only to plunge it back in again. “I hate you. I will never let you hurt Mama again! Never!”

 

Viktor let his body fall limp resigned to his fate as the blood started to pool in his own mouth. Despite the numbness in his limbs and the cold creeping in over his skin, there was a sense of pride. He had done it. He had groomed Vitaly to be everything he wanted. He was an alpha who decided what he wanted and learned how to take it for himself.

 

Viktor couldn’t help but chuckle, blood bubbling over his lips and dribbling down his chin. Little did he know the thing that Vitaly wanted so badly was his Yuuri. The Bratva’s very own Helen of Troy...a shining omega queen prize for the victor. His vision began to blur and darkness crept in over the colors. He just wished he could see his love one last time...the love of his life.

 

“...Vitaly?”

 

A warmth spread over him as his mate’s voice touched his ears and he took his final breath.

 

Yuuri.

Chapter Text

Vitaly – 7

Yulian - 4

 

 

The last few days had been a joy for Yuuri. Viktor had been gone to Moscow for a weekend trip leaving him alone with Vitaly and Yulian. Yuuri lived for these moments with his two sons. It was quiet. Peaceful. He used this private time to teach them Japanese and about his culture in secret, knowing Viktor would get angry if he found out what he was doing. This time alone also allowed his body a much needed rest.

 

Viktor wasn’t due back until late that night - possibly maybe not even until the next morning. So, Yuuri took his last night alone to hug his children close to him in the large bed while he read to them. Each son was curled up against a side as he spoke in soft Russian. Yulian was already starting to nod off, but the small child was trying so hard to stay awake.

 

The entire time Viktor had been gone, Yuuri had been left completely alone so it was more than a surprise when the french doors flew open and Viktor stumbled in almost falling over himself. Before Yuuri could even register what was happening Viktor was crawling on the bed towards him, a strong and powerful hand grabbing for throat.

Vitaly was the one who got between them, swatting at Viktor’s hand angrily. “Stay away!”

 

“Vitasha, let the adults do adult things. Mama needs to take care of Papa,” Viktor’s words were barely understandable, cheeks flushed red and hair matting to his forehead with sweat. Ignoring Vitaly Viktor made another advance locking lips with Yuuri this time. “Yuuri, Yuuri, I need you,” Viktor’s eyes were blown wide with lust as he started to pull at his tie.

 

“Viktor, the children are here,” Yuuri hissed, shoving Viktor off of himself, consequences be damned. Viktor was in rut. He needed to get his children away and to safety as soon as possible before this got ugly.

 

Viktor’s eyes narrowed angrily at Yuuri’s rejection and he growled. Before Viktor could act, Vitaly was colliding with him hard in the side, sending both flying off the bed.

“Vitalik!” Yuuri gasped, fear shooting through him like lightning as he scrambled off the bed to pull his son away from his husband. A seven-year-old against an adult alpha in rut could be death!

 

“Vitasha, stop this nonsense at once,” Viktor ordered as he got to his feet in a drunken manner. “This is a natural thing your mother and I have to do. Take your brother and leave.”

 

“No! You’re going to hurt him!” Vitaly balled his fists, stamping his foot down firmly while Yulian started crying on the bed.

 

A body brushed past Yuuri harshly and Georgi was suddenly putting himself between Yuuri and Viktor. “Vitya. You don’t want your children to see you like this. Have some self-control.”

 

Yuuri breathed out a sigh of relief and picked Yulian up and off the bed, hushing him as he set him down next to Vitaly. “Vitalik, take your brother and go with Georgi, ok? Mama and Papa are going to be busy for a few days.”

 

“No!” Vitalik’s blue eyes started to fill with angry tears in his defiance. “He’s going to hurt you!”

 

Yuuri’s mouth twitched up into a sad smile as he brushed back Vitaly’s hair.  It hurt. It hurt so badly to see Vitaly acting like this. Acting like this because he knew. “I need you to be strong, Vitalik. Be strong for your brother. And for me. Can you do that, baby?”

 

“Mama,” Vitaly’s voice trembled as the tears fell.

 

“Vitaly...promise me,” Yuuri whispered, so close to breaking. His son didn’t deserve this. Yuuri would endure a million ruts to have his son’s innocence back.

 

Georgi picked Yulian up and gripped Vitaly’s shoulder tightly. “The best thing you can do for your mother right now is come with me, Vitaly.”

 

The look his son gave him haunted him the entire rut. Viktor was rough the moment the door locked behind Georgi and their two sons. Clothing was torn off and discarded into piles without a care. Viktor’s lips crashed into Yuuri’s, biting and drawing blood as his hips ground roughly against the omega’s. And Yuuri just had to take it.

 

Yuuri was flipped onto his stomach and he closed his eyes, grateful he didn’t have to look at Viktor this time while he was violated. His ass was lifted into the air and three fingers were shoved into him, stretching him far too much at once. Fingers dug into the pillow painfully as Yuuri muffled his own cries. He should be grateful, he figured, that Viktor thought to give him any sort of prep at all as poor and painful as it was. The alpha at least waited until plenty of slick was dripping down his leg before lining up and thrusting in.

 

All Yuuri could do was cry silently at the brutal pace, fingers digging into his hips so tightly he knew there’d be bruises. It felt like being ripped apart and this was only the first of what would be many rounds of this. Viktor came quick and strong, warmth blooming in Yuuri’s insides as seed pumped him full. Despite the knot, Viktor didn’t stop rutting up against him, the climax doing little to sate his rut. He was hard again almost immediately, humping into Yuuri as much as the knot would allow before coming again with a growl.

 

It couldn’t have been more than a full 24 hours when Yuuri was finally allowed a moment of rest. Viktor had slipped out and had dozed off leaving Yuuri to limp (almost crawl) to the bathroom to try and empty himself of all the cum that had filled him. The omega felt so full he could practically taste it in his mouth. The thought made him vomit, emptying what little contents were in his stomach before he slowly got up and spread himself over the toilet, pushing out everything he could.

 

Cleaned up as best as he could he headed to the sink with wobbly knees and filled a cup with water doing his best to stay hydrated. His reflection was a ghost. Pale skin littered with black and blue and even red where Viktor had bitten down hard and painful on his bonding gland. Bending over the sink he splashed his face with cool water, the temperature bringing him relief. He had started to grow hot the last few rounds.

 

Maybe his heat was trying to come and sync with Viktor’s rut. Yuuri didn’t dare to hope. It would allow him to get lost. To forget. To make it through this horrible week with little knowledge of what was happening. Would life dare to throw him such a small bone in all of this?

 

“Yuuri….”

 

Right. With a shuddered breath Yuuri collected himself and trudged back into the bedroom, joining Viktor back on the bed. Viktor wasted no time in pulling Yuuri close against his body, rocking his hips in his still dazed state up against him. It hurt. God it hurt. Yuuri was sore and tender and he was absolutely sure there would be some tearing. Not that Viktor cared. He never cared.

 

When Yuuri’s mind started to go foggy with a heat haze, Yuuri sighed in relief and allowed it to consume him without a fight.

 

Even though the majority of the rut and heat was a blur, Yuuri could feel every bit of what had happened. His entire body hurt and walking was painful. Viktor had kissed him on the head, told him how perfect he’d been, and instructed him to get some rest. Like Yuuri had any other choice.

 

At some point, Vitaly had come in - likely behind Viktor’s back - and slipped under the covers with Yuuri. “He hurt you.”

 

Yuuri couldn’t even argue the fact. The evidence was all over him. Sighing, he brushed away the hair from Vitaly’s forehead and gently kissed it. “Sometimes, we just have to endure, Vitalik. For the greater good.”

 

“One day I’ll save you,” Vitaly promised, curling up against Yuuri’s chest.

 

Shakily, Yuuri smiled at the sentiment. “You already have, baby. You already have.”

 

Six weeks after the rut, Yuuri unsurprisingly found himself pregnant. How long would this one last, Yuuri wondered? Would it be long enough like the last one where he had made it far enough to know it had been another boy? Long enough they’d already discussed names? Or would this poor life inside of him meet a quick end? It didn’t hurt any less any longer. His body had seemed to have given up despite his mind staying strong. Yuuri would have given anything to have his dead children back in this cruel world.

 

The weeks passed. Then months. His belly was growing larger and larger and the baby was as healthy as ever. A girl. Finally. Yuuri was having a little girl. Yuuri was not a praying man by any means, but he prayed to anyone that would listen that his daughter would make it.

 

At 39 weeks, a healthy baby girl with black hair, brown eyes, and a powerful set of lungs was placed in Yuuri’s arms.

Chapter Text

15 Years after being kidnapped

There was so much blood. It pooled beneath Viktor’s dead body and coated Yuuri’s oldest son in splatters. Yuuri remained frozen for what seemed like eternity in the door way, his hand on the frame the only thing to keep him on his feet.  Viktor’s Armani suit was shredded with countless stab wounds, the murder weapon held tight in Vitaly’s hand as the boy continued to breathe heavily from his onslaught.

 

Yuuri was shaking as he finally stepped forward, slowly kneeling next to his son as to not startle him. “Vitaly…?”

 

Vitaly’s grip on the knife tightened at his name. “He hurt you.”

 

Yuuri’s heart constricted and warm tears pooled behind his glasses. Not for Viktor, but for his son. For the loss of innocence since that first time he witnessed Viktor raping him. “I know, baby…I know.” Yuuri trembled as he pulled Vitaly into a hug against his pregnant belly, clinging to him desperately as he cried. Vitaly had done this for him. He’d become a murderer for him, and Yuuri would never forgive himself for this. Ever. But it wasn’t about him right now. This was their chance.

 

Wiping his tears Yuuri gently pulled the knife from clenched fingers. “Vitaly, listen to me. Get cleaned up and help your brother and sister pack. Nothing much, just essentials. We’re leaving. Be discrete and don’t let anyone see you. Do you understand?”

 

Vitaly responded with a small nod and was on his feet, wrapping himself in a hug and hurrying out of the room. It was then that Yuuri broke down, tears flowing in full force as he began hyperventilating at the stench of blood. His hands flew to his swollen stomach protectively. How long had Vitaly been planning this? It couldn’t have been coincidence that Yakov, Yuri, Georgi, and Mila were all gone on some important task right now. All of Viktor’s most loyal and powerful followers were out of the house. Those that were here were would not pay much attention to them.

 

This was planned.

 

Swallowing back a scream Yuuri got to his feet and began rummaging through all of Viktor’s drawers looking for their passports. Papers and folders went flying, Yuuri not caring if he left all sorts of evidence laying around. Nothing. Panicking, Yuuri looked around frantically trying to find where else they could possibly be. His eyes locked on the safe behind the desk. Yuuri had been a prisoner here for fifteen years. He knew every passcode to every lock whether Viktor had known it or not. Punching in the numbers the safe unlocked with a click. Five passports were stacked neatly in the corner next to large piles of rubles. Yuuri grabbed several stacks and filtered through the passports, leaving Viktor’s behind.

 

Satisfied with the items in hand he rushed to his own room, pulling out a small travel bag and shoving the items in it before stripping out of his own blood stained clothing. He needed a shower, but there was no time. They had to hurry before someone noticed Viktor. Opening the door he looked up and down the hall for signs of anyone. It was silent. Vlad and Alexei were probably too busy drinking this time of night.

 

“Mama? What’s going on?” Alyona asked as Yuuri entered her room, Vitaly busy packing a carry-on bag for her.

 

“We’re going on a trip, ok, baby?” Yuuri gently brushed back a long strand of black hair behind her ear.

 

“Is Daddy coming?” She asked, so innocently.

 

Yuuri’s smile was shaking as he thumbed her cheek lovingly. He would give anything to be able to give that back to Vitaly and Yulian. “No, baby. He’s not. It’s just gonna be us, ok?”

 

“They are all drunk and watching TV in the living room,” Yulian spoke quickly, slightly out of breath as he hurried into the room. His shaggy black hair was getting a little too long and covering part of his glasses.

 

“Ok,” Yuuri nodded, zipping up Alyona’s bag. “We’ll go out the side door, then. Grab your jackets. It’s not too bad but we’ll have to walk until we get to the main road and I can find us a way to the airport. Come on, we need to hurry!”

 

Yulian helped his sister with her bag and took her hand. Vitaly said nothing, blue eyes far and distant as he followed behind them all. Their house was a little off the beaten path, an actual house unusual in the main town of St. Petersburg. Most of the housing was apartments, but Viktor had had the house specially built. The weather was thankfully mild, and the children made no complaints as they walked up the long and winding driveway to the main road. Yuuri didn’t want to trust anyone that passed them by, but when a van finally pulled up next to them, he had little choice. There was no phone to call a taxi.

 

“Do you need help?” An old gentlemen asked, in an accent that had even Yuuri struggling to translate.

 

“Our car broke down. We are trying to make it to Pulkovo for our flight. Please, can you take us? We can’t miss it,” Yuuri begged. “My phone is dead otherwise I would call a cab.”

 

“Pulkovo? That is a bit out of my way. Is there somewhere else I could take you?” He asked.

 

Yuuri handed him a wad of rubles. “Please.”

 

The man looked down at the wad for several seconds before accepting it. “Pulkovo.”

 

“Come on, get in,” Yuuri waved the kids on. Yulian and Alyona gave him wary looks, expectedly, but they did as their mother asked.

 

Gratefully, nothing bad happened from it. The man dropped them off at the airport just as he had promised, with no injury to anyone. They hurried to the ticket counter and Yuuri asked for the first available flight to Fukuoka. The next flight out was full. They’d have to wait until that evening. It made Yuuri’s heart beat in anticipation in fear. The longer they had to wait, the longer Viktor’s men had time to come find them.

 

“That’s fine. Four, please.” The woman gave him a curious look when he paid with cash, but she did not ask questions.

 

Even after successfully making it through security without any hiccups, Yuuri couldn’t sit still. His leg bounced idly as they sat in their chairs and his eyes kept darting around looking for one of Viktor’s henchmen to be looking for them. Their flight wasn’t for another ten hours – the last one out to Seoul where they’d have a layover until Fukuoka. Yuuri would worry himself sick until the plane was safely in the air. Alyona and Yulian were on either side of Yuuri, both children curled in as close as they could be to Yuuri with his round belly. Vitaly sat silently across from them. He still had not spoken.

 

“Running away, huh?”

 

Yuuri jumped slightly at the voice. It was soft, a woman who sat a few seats down from Vitaly across from him. She looked to be about Yuuri’s age dressed in an expensive business suit with a slicked back blonde ponytail. She didn’t look like someone Yuuri had seen around the house, but that didn’t mean anything. “I-um,”

 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude,” she apologized. “It’s just that…well; I know what its like to have an abusive alpha.”
 

Swallowing hard, Yuuri lowered his head. “Is it that obvious?”

 

“No,” she smiled with a shake of her head. “I just recognize it because I was in your shoes once. But it can get better. I’m happily single now and VP to my company. It looks like you have your children. They are very lovely. When are you due?”

 

“July 22nd,” Yuuri responded, starting to relax around her but still keeping his guard up.

 

“Well, congratulations. I know my daughter is the light of my life. My name is Anna, by the way,” she offered.

 

“Yuuri,” he answered in kind.

 

“When is your flight?” Anna questioned.

 

“Not until tonight,” he responded. “We are headed out of country, so it’s overnight.”

 

“Ah, yes, my favorite types of flights,” she laughed sarcastically. “They are always so exhausting. I can only imagine how tough it must be travelling with so many young ones and pregnant.”

 

Yuuri hugged Yulian and Alyona closer. “We’ll manage. We have to.”

 

Anna hummed in agreement and went silent for a while, checking some messages on her phone before folding her hands in her lap and looking back up at Yuuri. “You know, it’s not much, but I am a member of Aeroflot’s platinum club. They allow guests. Usually it’s just one, but they know me very well there. I’m sure I could work something out.”

 

“Wh-what? Oh no, I couldn’t!” Yuuri shook his head, cheeks blushing slightly. Did he really look that pathetic? Probably. He’d been held in captivity for the past fifteen years of his life. Even if it was under luxurious conditions, it had still destroyed him mentally.

 

“Please, I insist,” Anna said, getting to her feet. “Come. Bring your children. They can get a warm meal in their bellies and sit with you in much more comfortable chairs.”

 

Yuuri wanted to say no. He needed to say no. This could be some sort of trap. She could be some woman being paid to lure Yuuri into some sort of false sense of security and then he’d be right back in the house on the main land. But he also knew the sorts of luxuries those lounges held. He had spent most of his money on getting last minute plane tickets for him and the children. There seemed like plenty left, but with so much uncertainty until they were safely in Hasetsu he didn’t want to spend more than necessary. The thought of free food was enough. “Ok. Yulian, Alyona. Come on. We’re going to go get a meal, ok?” The children eagerly stood at the prospect of food. All but Vitaly. Yuuri sighed and held out a hand towards his eldest child. “Vitaly. Come on. Please.”

 

Vitaly paused, not taking the extended hand at first, before finally accepting it and trudging along behind Yuuri and his siblings with Anna leading the way. They stood back while Anna chatted softly with the receptions, a few times pointing at Yuuri and his family making him blush in embarrassment and worry. Maybe they should just leave. His omega flight instincts were kicking in and he was just on the verge of turning on his heel when Anna smiled brightly at him and waved them forward.

 

“You are welcome here as long as you need until your flight,” She promised.

 

“S-spasibo,” Yuuri thanked her, an overwhelming desire to cry at this woman’s kindness.

 

Anna leaned forward and gave Yuuri a kiss on his cheek. “Good luck, Yuuri. You’re free, now.”

 

Yuuri sucked in a large breathe, trying to keep himself together at those words. Not yet. He wouldn’t feel free until he was back in the onsen. But they were all one step closer. “Go find a seat, okay?”

 

“Mommy! Look at all the food!” Alyona looked bright-eyed at a table set up buffet style in the far corner.

 

“Can we eat?” Yulian asked, squeezing his mother’s hand.

 

“Sure. But don’t bother the other guests, alright?” Yuuri couldn’t help the small smile as Alyona and Yulian chatted excitedly over the many goods they filled their plates with. It vanished quickly when he realized Vitaly was still silently at his side. Yuuri took him by the shoulders and guided him to an unoccupied portion of the lounge, sitting him down on a large couch. “Vitalik…baby…please say something.”

 

Vitaly’s face scrunched up in pain. “You hate me.”

 

“What?” Yuuri turned him so that his son was forced to look at him. “No. No. I love you. So much. Nothing could ever change that. Nothing. Nothing,” he repeated over and over, pulling Vitaly into his arms and crying. Vitaly’s body shook against his and he could feel hot tears soaking into his shirt. Yuuri was not a praying man, but he prayed.

 

Please protect my children…please…

 

And when their plane finally touched down in Fukuoka and the cyrillic was replaced with kanji, Yuuri dropped to his knees.

Chapter Text

Vitaly – 14

Yulian -  11

Alyona - 5

Yuuri knew the moment they had landed in Fukuoka that he should have gone to the police. The officers at customs had already seemed suspicious enough as it was. It hadn’t been in a bad way – more like a ‘hey I know you’ sort of way – but it had made Yuuri flighty and he made sure they got to the train station with haste. Yuuri just wanted to see his family. He wanted to go home. He wouldn’t feel safe until he and his children were secure within the walls of the onsen.

They had gotten the last train for the night into Hasetsu Station. By the time the four of them finally approached the opening gate to Yutopia it was dark. Alyona had fallen asleep snuggled against Vitaly’s back. Yulian had refused to let go of Yuuri’s hand most of the trip and Vitaly had still refused to say a word since his breakdown at the airport in St. Petersburg.

With shaking hands he slid the front door open and ushered his children in from the chilly night air. Swallowing nervously he took a look around, noticing how after fifteen years nothing about the place had changed. It was truly like coming home.

“The restaurant and onsen are closed for the night,” Came a voice from the back. “We only have one room available with a single bed.”

Yuuri could feel the tears already stinging at his eyes, recognizing that voice without a doubt. “Mari-neechan…”

Something loud crashed, startling Alyona awake who slipped down Vitaly’s back and clung to his waist out of fear. Loud and fast footsteps filled the room and there was Mari, dressed in the usual salmon colored robe. She was older of course, crow’s feet around her dark eyes and several gray strands showing through her dark hair. Gone were the blonde highlights from before.

“Yuuri…?” Her voice was soft – hesitant. Like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing before her eyes.

With a firm nod, Yuuri started to cry. “It’s me…Tadaima.”

Hands to her mouth, Mari let out a loud sob, body shaking with each one she let out. “Kasan! Tosan!” Her voice cracked as she shouted for their parents and she took her steps forward, Yuuri meeting her in the middle in an embrace. It was hard for them to get close, Yuuri’s seven month round belly getting in the way.

“Mari, what -,” there was a scream and Mari was being pulled from Yuuri and replaced by the frantic hugs of his parents.

Everyone was crying with repeated cries of ‘Okaeri, Okaeri, Okaeri!’ as clothes were completely soaked through with tears. I’m home. Finally. Yuuri had never let out a bigger sigh of relief then he did just then, surrounded by the embraces of his parents and sister.

“Yuuri…who?” Hiroko carefully asked, as she noticed the three children still standing awkwardly and afraid near the door.

Wiping at his eyes Yuuri held out a hand and beckoned his children forward in Russian. They all stepped up, but Alyona immediately hid behind her mother, only peeking out slightly around his legs. “These are my children.” Yuuri didn’t miss the sad and pitiful looks his family gave him, the realization of what might have possibly happened hitting them. “Vitaly, Yulian, and Alyona. You’ll have no problem speaking Japanese with Vitaly, though he needs a lot of work with his kanji. Yulian has a good understanding but take it slow. Alyona doesn’t know much, I’m afraid.” Yuuri ran a hand over Alyona’s hand and tried to encourage her out. “Alya, those are your grandparents and your aunt.” He spoke to her in Russian, trying to make her feel more comfortable. “Mari-obasan, Obaasan, and Ojisan.” He pointed to each one as he spoke their Japanese titles.

Hiroko knelt down and gave her best smile. “Alya-chan…Yoroshiku! You can call me Baba if it’s easier! And your Ojisan Jiji!”

Alyona poked her head around further. “Baba…Jiji?”

Hai, hai!” Hiroko beamed.

Yoroshiku,” Yulian bowed politely, his nervousness quite evident in his posture.

Vitaly said nothing and made no attempts to greet anyone.

“You poor dears must be starving,” Toshiya finally said, breaking the silence. “Are they picky? Is there something I can cook that they’d like?”

“They haven’t really had Japanese food, to be honest,” Yuuri admitted, “So I don’t know. I think they’ll appreciate anything, thank you.” Yuuri ushered his children into the dining room and sat them down around the table. Alyona quickly started to open up to Mari, his sister talking slow with her and offering several smiles. Yulian occasionally piped in to help translate. Vitaly stared down at his hands.

“Yuuri…” Hiroko tried to begin as they hid away in the kitchen. Her eyes glanced down to where her son had a hand on his belly.

Yuuri swallowed. Where did he even begin? How did he even begin? “I…”

Hiroko stepped forward, wiping at the tears he hadn’t even realized had fallen. “It’s ok. You don’t have to say anything. It’s fine. You’re here. You’re safe. That’s all we care about. We’re going to take care of you and your beautiful children.”

Toshiya licked his lips, trying to be supportive but with too many worries on his mind. “Yuuri…the alpha…”

“Dead,” Yuuri whispered, the painfully throbbing bond in his neck a constant reminder. He knew why his father was concerned about such a thing. It wasn’t hard to put it all together. Their son returns after fifteen years missing with three kids in tow and another in his belly. What else could it possibly mean? “I guess…I’ll need to speak to someone at the station. I need to somehow regain my citizenship and get the children’s names changed. I refuse to carry that man’s name any longer.”

“We have the number of the detective who worked your case,” Toshiya nodded as he worked on slicing vegetables. “We…we never gave up, Yuuri. We tried so hard but…there was just nothing but a cold trail.”

Yuuri nodded, understanding. “Viktor…he had the police in his pocket in Russia. There wasn’t much hope. I…I’m worried that some of his men might follow us here.” Because my son killed him. “I…I’m sure they might think that I was somehow involved in his death.”

“We won’t let anything happen to you,” Toshiya promised. “We’ll call the detective first thing in the morning and we’ll make sure you’re safe.”

It was nice to hear, but Yuuri knew that if Yuri or Georgi or Yakov wanted to find them, they would.  His mark sent another sharp ripple through him and he whimpered, hunching over slightly with a hand on his neck.

“Yuuri?” Hiroko cried out in worry, hands on her son.

“It hurts,” Yuuri sobbed. “I didn’t think anything could be worse than the night he marked me, but I was wrong. This is so much worse.”

Hiroko ran a hand across his forehead, swiping away at the bangs that were matted down to his skin. “We’ll get you to a doctor as soon as we can. Maybe there’s something they can do to ease the pain. A broken bond…I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. Oh, Yuuri…I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry this happened.”

Yuuri knew that there was no medicine that could cure this. The only things that could were time or another alpha, and that was only if he could survive in the meantime. “I just want to move on, Ka-san. I just want my children to be safe.”

Mari was there, now, and she set down a warm mug of tea next to her brother. “Vitaly…,” she struggled to pronounce his name the same way Yuuri did at first, making it sound more like Bi-tal-ee. “Is that what he looked like…the alpha?”

Hesitantly, Yuuri nodded. “Yes…spitting image.”

Mari hummed, brow furrowed in thought. “You said he spoke Japanese, right? Are you sure he understands? Should I talk simpler? He seems…lost.”

“No, he understands,” Yuuri whispered, wrapping a hand around the warm mug seeking comfort. “He…Vitaly has been through a lot, lately. He’s…traumatized. He was there when Viktor died and…he understands what happened. To me.”

“Oh,” Hiroko’s breath hitched. “Dear…No wonder he’s so quiet. How old are they?”

“Vitaly turned 14 in September. Yulian just turned 11 and Alyona will be six in July.” Yuuri looked on through the cracked window into the dining room, smiling fondly as Alyona chatted away with Yulian. “They are the reason I survived. I lived for them, and I love them so much, Ka-san. Even though they -,” he swallowed hard, biting down on his cheek to steady his words, “Even though they were products of rape and an abusive bond, they are the light in my life. I could not imagine a world without them. Vitaly…he saved me.” In more ways than one. “Please don’t judge them for how they came into this world. It’s not their fault. It’s not – it’s not,” Yuuri couldn’t take it anymore, completely breaking down.

“Yuu-chan, please, sweetie, those are our grandchildren out there. We no more blame them for what happened than we blame you,” Hiroko assured him, squeezing him tight and swaying softly back and forth.

“I promise I’ll get a job and find a place for us to live,” Yuuri sobbed. “I promise.”

“Yuuri,” Toshiya stopped what he was doing and joined his wife in comforting his son. “Yuuri, no. You don’t have to do any of that. You have a place to live, here, with us. It might be tight for a while until we can figure out rooms for you and the children, but you will have a warm bed to stay in. Always. You can help us here at the onsen. There’s no need for you to get a job, especially in your condition.”

“B-but, I’ll just be a burden!” Yuuri sobbed harder.

Toshiya held Yuuri’s face in his hands, holding it firmly in place to where their eyes were forced to meet. “Yuuri. You are our son. You have never been, and never will be, a burden. We…we thought you were dead. These past years I would have given all the money in the world to see your face one last time. To have you here…it is a gift.”

“It’s going to be ok, baby brother,” Mari promised, ruffling his head. “We’re going to do whatever we can to help you and my niece and nephews.”

“Now please, baby, enough with the crying. You are under so much stress as it is. It’s not good for the little boy or girl inside you,” Hiroko scolded. “Do you know yet?”

Yuuri wiped his nose on his sleeve, covering the fabric in snot and tears. “A girl…”

“Do you have a name?” She continued, trying to keep him occupied so that he didn’t lose it again.

“N-no…Viktor never let me pick the names before so I haven’t thought about it,” Yuuri admitted.

“Hmm, well, you still have some time to decide. How far along are you? You look thin.”

“Seven months,” Yuuri answered.

“Too thin! Come now, child, I’ll help your father in the kitchen. Sit with your children,” she encouraged. “They surely need you right now. I’ll be sure to cook you our biggest bowl of katsudon tomorrow to get some weight on those bones!”

Yuuri did as he was told, taking his mug of tea into dining room and kneeling down on a cushion next to Vitaly. Within seconds of him setting down the mug, Vitaly was throwing himself at Yuuri’s torso, burying his face against his belly.

“Please don’t cry, Mama,” Vitaly begged in Russian, his blue eyes glossed with tears. “This is all my fault. I’m so sorry.”

“No, baby, no,” Yuuri pulled him in close, rocking back and forth just as his mother had to him moments ago. “None of this is your fault, Vitalik…in fact, if it weren’t for you, none of us would be here. Spasibo, Vitalik…..Spasibo.”

When Vitaly climbed into Yuuri’s old bed with him, cramped as all hell with Yuuri's pregnant belly, no one said a word.

Chapter Text

If you asked Phichit if he was happy with his life, he’d say sure. He wasn’t unhappy, by any means, but maybe happy wasn’t quite the appropriate word. Content. After Yuuri’s disappearance, he’d never been the same. All of his focus and love for the ice had disappeared with Yuuri. There had been some medals, sure, but he’d never made it to the GPF and never medaled at World’s. Yuuri had been his soulmate.

 

After getting his degree, he’d moved back to Thailand and started his own skating school. He had had dreams of putting on his own ice show and a few years later it was in full production. It had been successful in Southeast Asia and ran a few times a year still, though Phichit was back to focusing on his students.

 

Except today, his students seemed nowhere to be found. The ice was barren of people and so, too, were the locker rooms. “Dao, where is everyone?”

 

The woman blinked in surprise as she slipped off her skate guards. “You didn’t hear?”

 

“Hear what?” Was the rink supposed to be closed and he’d never gotten the memo?

 

“That skater from Japan that disappeared fifteen years ago,” she started. “They found him. He’s alive. Everyone’s in the break room watching the news reports about it.”

 

Phichit didn’t care that he had already taken off his guards. He didn’t care that he might ruin his blades by running on them without protection. He was in the break room, pushing aside his own students so that he could get a clear view of the television screen. There, as clear as day, was a photo of an older Katsuki Yuuri with a belly ready to burst and three other children with him.

 

“....never made it out of Russia. Katsuki became a victim of omega trafficking within the Russian bratva and was unable to get word out. When some sort of dispute occurred between organizations, it gave Katsuki the opportunity to escape with his children back to Japan where they are now safe and sound under heavy police protection. It is uncertain after fifteen years what sort of…”

 

“I need the first flight to Japan,” Phichit spoke into the receiver of his phone, eyes still glued to the screen. At some point he had dialed the airlines, instincts completely kicking in.

 

“Phichit, are you ok?” Dao asked, having apparently chased after him.

 

“I need you to cover for me,” Phichit spoke rapidly while he was placed on hold.

 

Dao blinked in surprise. “Um, ok. For how long?”

 

Phichit’s jaw tightened at the question. Would Yuuri remember him? Would he even accept him back? Could he? There was no telling what Yuuri had endured. Rape, obviously. Likely a shit ton of abuse. It didn’t matter to Phichit, though, as long as Yuuri would have him. He’d accept the omega in whatever condition. He was alive. “I don't know.” It was the only response he could give before he was working on violently removing his skates and getting out of the rink.

 

The flight was just under five hours. He’d been able to get on the next flight, only two hours from when he’d made the call. His bag was light. Even if he ended up staying, he could make a weekend trip back to grab things or just buy whatever in Hasetsu. He just needed to see Yuuri and fast. The years he spent learning Japanese in Yuuri’s honor had never come in handy more than in this moment.

 

It was easy to navigate his way through Fukuoka airport to the train station. He’d done it once before - the summer before Yuuri had disappeared. They’d made it official and gone steady, and Yuuri had brought Phichit to the onsen to meet his family. Would they remember him? They’d loved him at the time, even though communicating with anyone but Mari had been difficult.

 

The sun had already mostly set by the time he stepped up to the entrance of the onsen. It was much later than he would have liked, not wanting to intrude at an inappropriate time. He just couldn’t wait. With a nervous flutter of his heart he reached out to slide open the door. It was locked.

 

Strange. Had...the onsen closed? Phichit knew that the other onsens in the area had struggled in the past. Closing his hand into a fist he gave a polite knock and waited.

 

“Go AWAY,” a harsh voice shouted in sharp Japanese. “Haven’t you all bothered us enough!?”

 

Huh?!

 

Phichit could hear the sounds of heavy and fast footsteps before the door was sliding open angrily. “You sons of-,” Mari paused mid sentence when she saw Phichit.

 

“Um...Sumimasen,” Phichit scratched the back of his head nervously.

 

Mari’s posture softened but her eyes were wide. “P...Phichit...right? I’m sorry, we’ve had so many journalists hounding us the past week.”

 

Oh. Fuck, of course they had. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come unannounced, I just…” For the first time since seeing the news Phichit started to feel the emotions coming forward and tears filled his eyes. This was real.

 

“Hey, come on in,” Mari opened the door all the way for him. “Nice Japanese, by the way.”

 

“I practiced every day,” Phichit confessed, “Hoping that...hoping that one day I could practice with him.”

 

“He’s...he’s not the same Yuuri,” Mari started, arms wrapping around her torso uncomfortably.

 

“Of course he isn’t. How could he be?” Phichit had done nothing but read articles on his flight about the information that had been released. He was sure it wasn’t even the half of it. “I don’t care, Mari. I don’t care if he’s changed. I don’t care that he has kids. All I care about is that he’s alive and that he’s here.”

 

Mari’s lip curled up slightly in a smile. “Be sure to tell him that...Well, come on up. It’s better to ambush him than give him a way out of seeing you.”

 

Phichit couldn’t help but chuckle. That hadn’t changed, then. He followed Mari up the stairs to the second floor where the family room and kitchen was. Two of the children Phichit had seen in the articles were there. One seemed a little older with silver hair and bright blue eyes. Phichit never would have guessed he was Yuuri’s child. The other though...if he weren’t so young, Phichit would have thought it was Yuuri himself sitting there.

 

“Where’s your mother?” Mari asked them kindly.

 

The older one glared. Especially at Phichit. Alpha, no doubt. The other one - Yuuri’s mini-me - acknowledged Mari instead. “Upstairs. He’s not feeling well again.” His Japanese was slow, accented. Clearly not comfortable with it.

 

“Is he ok?” Phichit frowned. He didn’t want to make Yuuri worse off by being here.

 

“It’s the bond,” Mari sighed. “That on top of being pregnant has been hard on him. I think he might feel better seeing you, though.”

 

“Mama needs his rest,” the alpha spat the moment Mari started to lead Phichit up the next flight of stairs.

 

Mari tugged him along, not giving the boy an answer. “It’s not just you,” she assured him as they got out of earshot. “He’s...like that. Doesn’t talk much, and when he does it’s in Russian even though he apparently speaks more Japanese than any of them. He’s very protective of Yuuri.”

 

Phichit hummed in understanding. “If looks could kill.”

 

“Tch, yeah,” Mari agreed. “I mean, it’s not really my place to say, but...I think something’s a little off.”

 

“How so?” Phichit was sure to keep his voice down as they approached a cracked door.

 

Mari stopped, turning her back to the door. “Well...He’s old enough to understand what happened. And he does. I think...he may have seen things, you know? I think he needs some help just as much as Yuuri. Don’t say anything about it to him, though. It’s pretty clear he’s the favorite child, and I don’t want to upset him at all - especially in his current condition.”

 

Phichit just nodded and Mari knocked on the door. “Yuuri? You up?”

 

“Come in.”

 

Mari slid the door open and Phichit’s heart stopped. There, laying in the bed with a book propped on his hugely round belly was Yuuri. He was older with crows feet in the corners of his eyes and the sharpness of his face completely gone. But those cinnamon eyes were still bright behind those glasses despite it all. A small girl with Yuuri’s same features was curled up next to him.

 

“Yuuri...you have a guest.”

 

The moment Yuuri looked up he dropped the book and time seemed to freeze. Phichit took a step forward cautiously. Mari said something to the girl that Phichit didn’t catch and she was leaving the room with her.

 

“Yuuri…,” Phichit choked out, hot tears forming in his eyes.

 

Yuuri was already crying, his hands to his mouth.

 

“You’re here. You’re real,” the beta sobbed, taking another few steps forward until he was right at the edge of the bed. Yuuri looked like he wanted to run, even though he wasn’t going nowhere so heavily pregnant. Phichit had no choice but to just lay his heart out there.

 

“I waited for you, Yuuri. I waited for you every day for 15 years hoping I’d see you again,” he started, tears coming down in full force. “I searched the Earth for you. I learned Japanese for you.” Yuuri let out a small laugh as he wiped at his eyes. “I never gave up hope. I never moved on to love someone else because there was only you to love.”

 

Yuuri let out a loud sob, lower lip trembling violently. “P-phichit...I-I’m..broken.”

 

“No!” Phichit shook his head, wanting so desperately to reach out and hold him, but stopping himself knowing it might scare him off. “You’re beautiful and you’re strong. You are so strong to survive what you did. And your children are so beautiful, Yuuri. I will wait forever for you. You can tell me in a few years or you can tell me never. You can give me everything or you can give me nothing. I’ll adopt your kids. I don’t care! All I want is to be here with you.”

 

“W-why?” Yuuri asked, his voice so small in the room.

 

“Because I love you. I never stopped loving you.” Slowly, Phichit took a seat on the edge of the bed. “Please, Yuuri...can I...can I hold you?”

 

Yuuri didn’t respond, instead reaching out with his arms and letting Phichit pull him into his chest as he started to cry harder. Phichit placed gentle kisses to Yuuri’s dark hair, rocking him back and forth gently. They stayed just like that for a long time, Phichit giving Yuuri all the time he needed and not a second less. Eventually, the two settled together on the bed, both men clinging to each other as the sniffles quieted down.

 

It was Yuuri who broke the silence first. “You...you meant it? You want to stay?”

 

“Yeah, of course,” Phichit confirmed, lacing his fingers with Yuuri’s. “That is, if your kids will let me. I got a pretty good stink eye on my way up.”

 

Yuuri let out a short laugh. “So...you’ve met Vitaly, then?”

 

“Mm. Why don’t you tell me about them?” Phichit asked, offering up an easy subject that was likely to make Yuuri happy.

 

“Ok,” Yuuri nodded, starting with his eldest son.

Chapter Text

Yuuri was worried. Well, he was always worried when it came to his children, but especially now. All three of them were having such a hard time adjusting. Vitaly was the most obvious, and Yuuri knew why. Phichit’s arrival hadn’t helped things on that end. He hoped that with time that would fade. Yulian did his best to open up to Yuuri’s family, but the language was still a bit of a barrier and his social anxiety gave him struggles. Then there was Alyona. At first, Yuuri thought Alyona would be the easiest. She appeared eager to chat with Mari and Hiroko despite very little understanding of Japanese. Then, out of nowhere, she shut herself up tight.

 

Maybe the realization they weren’t returning to Russia had hit. Yuuri had never really explained the situation to her. He was avoiding it. It made him a terrible mother.

 

“You did say that she was pretty close with Viktor, right?” Phichit asked, fluffing the pillow behind Yuuri’s back lower back for him.

 

With a slight wince at the movement and a hand to his swollen belly Yuuri nodded. “I mean, I feel so conflicted about it, to be honest. A part of me wants her to hate Viktor because he was a horrible person - an evil person. At the same time, though, her love for him meant she was taken care of. That he didn't hurt her.”

 

“No, I get it,” Phichit agreed. “It’s a tough situation.”

 

“I’m an awful parent,” Yuuri sighed sadly. “I barely spend any time with them and I should be spending more time than ever with them now that we are here.”

 

Phichit sat on the edge of the bed and took Yuuri’s hand. “Hey. Stop that, it’s not true. You are in pain more times than you aren’t and you’re almost nine months pregnant. They understand.”

 

“Vitaly and Yulian do. Alyona doesn’t,” Yuuri corrected. “And that’s my fault.”

 

“I’d offer to take this burden off your shoulders, but I don’t speak Russian and she doesn’t speak enough Japanese to be able to understand something so critical,” Phichit frowned.

 

Yuuri shook his head. “No, I need to be the one to do this. I just...need to find the right time.”

 

The right time came far too quickly for Yuuri’s liking, and at a moment where he felt his worst. The broken bond was flaring exceptionally badly today and his exhausting was at an all time high. His little girl had kept him up all night long kicking and twirling in his belly. But Alyona looked even worse at the table, barely touching her food as they ate. As the rest of the family cleared out to clean up, Yuuri knew he had to do this now.

 

“Alya...tell me what’s wrong,” Yuuri coaxed in a soft voice.

 

Alyona kept her brown eyes cast down at the table. “When are we going home?”

 

Yuuri’s throat grew tight. “This is our home, now, baby. We aren’t going back to Russia.”

 

“But why?!” Alyona asked, eyes looking up as they started to fill with tears. “Ulya said that Papa left. It’s not true, right?! Papa wouldn’t leave!”

 

Clenching his shaking fists beneath the table Yuuri chose his words as carefully but truthfully as he could. “You’re right. Papa wouldn’t just leave. But...that’s not the kind of leaving your brother meant, Alya. Your papa is...gone. There was...an accident.”

 

“You’re lying!” Alyona practically screamed, the tears falling down her cheeks in full force now.

 

Yuuri could feel his entire heart shattering. “I’m not, Alya. Your papa is dead. Japan is our home, now.”

 

Angrily, Alyona pushed herself to her feet, fists clenched at her sides. “How can you just sit there and say that?! You aren’t even sad! None of you are!”

 

Squeezing his eyes shut Yuuri let his daughter scream at him with words that were true. He wasn’t sad. Not in the slightest. “We all go through grief in our own way, Alya. This hasn’t been easy on any of us and I know that -,”

 

“No!” She hissed. “You don’t care! I hate this place and I want to go home!” Without giving Yuuri any chance to respond she turned on her heel and ran up the stairs.

 

Yuuri slumped over in defeat burying his face in his hands. He had no idea how to fix this. He couldn’t tell her the truth. Not now. It would seem like he was just making it up to justify his feelings. It wouldn’t be sincere.

 

A pair of arms hugged his neck. “I’ll talk to her, Mama.”

 

Yuuri reached out a hand and hugged Yulian back almost clinging to him desperately. “Thank you, Ulya. Please..please don’t tell her the truth.”

 

Yulian nodded into Yuuri’s hair. “I won’t.”

 

It hurt more than he thought it would, knowing that he couldn’t comfort his own daughter and that his son was having to do the job for him. After Phichit helped him back up the stairs to his bed he broke down and cried feeling as helpless as the day he found Vitaly in the closet.

 

“She hates me,” Yuuri sobbed into his pillow.

 

Phichit hugged Yuuri from behind as tightly as he could without hurting him or the baby. “No she doesn’t, Yuuri, she is just upset and confused right now. This, too, will pass.”

 

Yuuri found it impossible to believe.

 

“Look, why don’t I try and take her away for a few days? Get her mind off of things, do something fun with her and Yulian? I’d take Vitaly, too, but I somehow don’t think he’d be interested. Maybe I can find an open rink somewhere in Kyushu?”

 

Yuuri bit back his tongue at the mention of the ice and just nodded. It would be good for them to get away and it would be good for Vitaly to have some peace and quiet.

 

“Would you be ok a few days without me?” Phichit questioned, wanting to be sure.

 

Another nod. “Of course. My parents and Mari are here. I’ll be fine.”

 

And it was fine, mostly. Yuuri still felt guilt eating at him, but he felt better than he had in weeks with his pregnancy and his bond. It helped that with Phichit gone Vitaly spent much more time with him, and that of course made him feel better. When the three returned five days later, Alyona did seem in better spirits but she still avoided Yuuri. Phichit told Yuuri about their trip with excitement, telling him how both kids took to the ice and both showed promise if that's what they wanted to do. Yuuri hoped it wasn’t.

 

“Did she talk about it at all?” Yuuri asked as they got ready for bed.

 

“No,” Phichit shook his head. “If she said anything to Yulian he didn’t say. It’ll be ok, Yuuri. I got her to smile more than once and she had some fun. The more opportunities like that we can present for her the better she’ll be able to push her anger aside.”

 

Yuuri wasn’t convinced and went to sleep with a heavy heart. Sometime, though, in the middle of the night, the door slid open and there was an added weight in the bed. Blinking his eyes open he squinted, trying to figure out who it was that had come in.

 

“Mama…?” Alyona’s small voice asked. “Can I sleep with you? I had a nightmare.”

 

The weight lifted from his heart. “Of course, baby.” Nudging Phichit awake to move over Yuuri made what room he could for the girl around his belly and they settled into the covers, Alyona curled closely to him.

 

Alyona was silent, and Yuuri figured she had fallen asleep until she spoke. “I miss him.”

 

Yuuri placed a comforting hand on her head. “I know, Alya. I’m so sorry. I wish I could spare you the pain.”

 

“You aren’t going to leave me, are you?”

 

Yuuri squeezed her tight and planted a kiss to the top of her head. “No. Never.”

 

“Ok,” she nodded against his chest.

 

Yuuri didn’t sleep, but it was from his heart too happy with joy as he watched his daughter sleep.


Chapter Text

Vitaly 14

Yulian – 11

Alyona - 5

The doctors had decided well in advance that when it was time, Yuuri would have a c-section given his condition. A normal birth was extremely high risk and would likely end up in his mother’s death. Vitaly was both excited and nervous to meet his baby sister. Even with a c-section, he was beyond worried for his mother’s health and safety. The last few months had been beyond excruciating for him trying to handle a pregnancy and a broken bond. Vitaly wished so badly that he could make it better. This child would be a symbol of hope, though, the only one of them that would be completely untouched by Viktor’s influenced.

She would be pure.

As they prepped Yuuri for the surgery it was Phichit that he chose to join him in the operating room. Phichit. It made Vitaly angry. Phichit had just shown up one day at the onsen and had inserted himself into their family like he had always been there. Alyona had taken to him immediately and Yulian was rather indifferent, but Vitaly hated him. The beta had no business being a part of their family, and to think that he would be the first one that would hold his sister in his arms. It hurt.

It was hard to be mad when Phichit turned her over, such a small thing with wispy silver hair and his mother’s large brown eyes. Holding her close, Vitaly placed a gentle kiss to her still smooshed forehead.

“Her name is Aiko,” Phichit told him.

Aiko. Child of love. Yes. Vitaly swore that she would be loved and protected with everything that he had. He would do right by her where he had been unable to with Yulian and Alyona under Viktor’s roof. She would want for nothing and somehow, someway, he’d make sure she got whatever it was she asked for. Aiko would be the light in all of their lives.

“How is Mama?” Vitaly asked, cradling Aiko in his arms.

“Really tired, but okay,” Phichit answered. “He’d be really happy to see you when he wakes up, I’m sure.”

Yuuri was fast asleep in the bed, back propped up slightly and hooked up to several monitors and IVs. His heartbeat was strong and steady, a comforting song in Vitaly’s ears, though his skin was too pale for his liking. A surgery that hadn’t even required anything on Yuuri’s end had been too much. Vitaly grit his teeth. Why wouldn’t anyone let him bond his mother…? He could make it all go away.

“I wanna hold her!” Alyona beamed excitedly, pulling Vitaly from his thoughts.

“Ok, but be careful, here,” without even asking Phichit was taking Aiko from Vitaly and handing her to Alyona.

He had to fight down a growl, only comfortable with his newborn sister was safely in Alyona’s arms and away from Phichit. It was truly amazing how much the beta could affect him. If Phichit were an alpha…Vitaly didn’t even want to begin to think of that end result. As much as he hated Phichit, Mama liked him, and the last thing Vitaly ever wanted to do was upset or hurt his mama.

“Vitalik…?”

Vitaly was caught by surprise at the sound of his mother’s hoarse voice. He looked up and found his brown eyes looking at him softly and his fingers twitched, beckoning his son closer. Vitaly quickly complied, taking his mother’s hand in his and squeezing. “Are you okay, Mama?”

“I’m fine, baby, just tired,” Yuuri assured him. “How’s your baby sister?”

“She’s so pretty, Mama. I’m going to be a good brother to her,” Vitaly promised.

“I know you will be, Vitalik. I know,” Yuuri lifted a hand and brushed back silver strands, his thumb lingering on his cheek.  “Come here. Get in with me while you still can. You’re getting so big!” Yuuri carefully shifted over in the bed, wincing slightly from the incision in his abdomen.

Vitaly climbed into the bed, careful to not brush up against the incision sight and curling up against Yuuri’s side. He was right - he was getting almost too big for this. He’d be fifteen soon and he was growing like a weed. Soon he’d be Yuuri’s height and would likely surpass him. Vitaly wish he could just stay small forever so he could curl up like this…

“Yuuri, I think she might be hungry,” Phichit’s voice interrupted his thoughts, his voice sympathetic in its suggestion. “Do you want me to have a nurse prepare a bottle?”

“No, no, I want to try,” Yuuri shook his head, slowly adjusting himself so that he could sit up properly. Vitaly figured it was best he get out of the way and started to crawl out of the bed, but Yuuri stopped him. “It’s ok, you can stay here. Please.”

How could Vitaly do anything but, after such a request? Vitaly made sure to get out of his mother’s way, tucking his head underneath her arm as he moved his gown out of the way of a breast and cradled Aiko in his arms. Her head was facing him as she suckled and Vitaly reached out gentle fingers, carefully stroking her soft head in awe at such a thing.

When they finally were able to bring Aiko and Yuuri home they held a small party, Hiroko and Toshiya overly excited at the prospect of getting to see one of their grandchildren grow up from birth. Aiko was special not just to Vitaly, but to everyone. Even in his sickly state, Yuuri seemed to shine brighter every time he looked at her, kissing her as often as he could.

They all took turns taking care of her through the night, eager to allow Yuuri all the rest he could get. Tonight was Vitaly’s night, and he couldn’t sleep, too overjoyed with watching the moonlight bathe his baby sister as she snoozed happily wrapped around the stuffed sea lion. It had been his long ago, and then Yulian’s, then Alyona’s, and now it was hers. A reminder of where they’d all come from and how they’d survived.

“Love you, Ai-chan,” Vitaly smiled, giving her a small rock in the bassinet after she started to stir. She immediately settled back down, and not long after, so did he.

Chapter Text

Yuuri was tired. More than he had ever been before. True, that was was fairly typical of anyone who had a one month old baby, but it was different. It was...not just physical. Not being able to properly take care of Aiko since her birth also hit him hard. Phichit and the rest of the family all took shifts changing diapers and watching over her so that Yuuri could get as much sleep as possible. Yuuri hated it. It made him feel no connection with his daughter. Even feeding was a struggle that he couldn’t always complete, often times needing to supplement with formula when he just couldn’t provide enough.

 

Some days he felt himself slipping into the dark place he’d come so familiar with in Russia.

 

He needed to find a way to get out of this funk, but every time he thought he might be able to try the broken bond pulled him right back down, sometimes for days at a time.Used to, when he got like this, he’d distract himself with what little friends he had. Unfortunately, one of those had been Phichit who was occupied with Aiko, and the others had been the Nishigoris who were busy trying to open Ice Castle again. The rink had shut down not long after Yuuri’s disappearance, but Phichit had started a GoFundMe to get the rink opened again in Yuuri’s honor.

Yuuri didn’t think he’d ever step foot in it. There was just too many memories. Too much pain.

 

“How are you feeling?” Phichit asked, quietly entering the room with a sleeping Aiko in his arms.

 

Yuuri sighed and sat up in bed. “Exhausted. Depressed.”

 

“Is it like, a postpartum kind of thing?” Phichit asked, carefully lowering the baby down into the crib and getting her settled.

 

He gave it a thought for a moment before shaking his head. Yuuri wanted to be able to spend more time with Aiko, not less. “No. The doctor said it would happen with the broken bond. I...I just want a distraction. I need to get out of bed. I need to do something other than feeling sorry for myself.”

 

“Hey,” Phichit spoke sternly, sitting on the bed. “I know how you are, and that you think this is all in your head, but you are actually sick Yuuri. If you need to rest, rest. And also, don’t you dare feel guilty about all of this because I know you are feeling a little sorry for yourself that I’m taking care of Aiko. I don’t mind it. I want to do it.”

 

Swallowing hard, Yuuri rolled over closer to Phichit, curling his legs so that his knees brushed against the beta’s. “You always did know me so well. I just...I want to try. I want to try and eat with the family or just go outside. Hold Aiko for longer than ten minutes…”

 

“Ok,” Phichit responded. “Let’s give it a try. But slowly, and if you at any point hurt or feel tired we stop and we come back up here, right?”

 

Yuuri’s nod was hesitant but eager.

 

Phichit bent down and kissed Yuuri on the cheek, allowing himself a moment to gently brush aside dark bangs. “I...I wasn’t going to mention it, but since you said you are wanting to be social I figured maybe now is the time. I got a call from Ciao-Ciao.”

 

Yuuri looked up in surprise. “Celestino…? Why? What did he want?”

 

“Yuuri,” Phichit frowned. “Ciao-Ciao was responsible for you when you went missing. He was your coach. He’s...he feels guilty. I know it’s been eating at him ever since it happened. He quit coaching altogether a year later when the police more or less said you were gone and there wasn’t hope of finding you. I think he wants to apologize. Needs to apologize.”

 

Yuuri felt tears sting at his eyes. “But it’s not his fault! He has nothing to apologize for!”

 

“I know that,” Phichit agreed, “But he needs to hear that from you. Otherwise, he’ll never believe it. He want to come visit, if you’ll let him.”

 

Nervously, Yuuri bit at his lip. What would it be like seeing Celestino again after all this time? Knowing that he had felt guilty made Yuuri feel guilty. He needed to set that right. “Ok...ok. You’ll be here, right?”

 

“I’m not going anywhere, I promise,” Phichit responded.

 

Celestino planned to come in a week’s time. Yuuri did his best to gain some strength with that week making an effort to join the family for a meal at least once. Some days he felt good enough for two. Seeing Vitaly, Yulian, and Alyona gave him strength he didn’t think he had. Seeing them be good siblings to Aiko, each taking turns in holding and caring for her, gave him the fight he thought he’d lost. Vitaly, especially, seemed to never want to let go of his baby sister.

 

Yuuri is finally breastfeeding Aiko when Phichit climbs the stairs to tell him Celestino is here. A nervousness claws at his chest. “Can...can you please tell him to wait until I’m done? I haven’t been able to do this in so long.”

 

Phichit smiles, “Yeah, of course. He’ll totally understand.”

 

Vitaly frowns from his place next to Yuuri. “Who is this man?” He questions in Russian.

 

“He was my skating coach,” Yuuri answered. “He’s very kind.”

 

His eldest son huffed angrily. “This is the one that let you be taken by Viktor?”

 

“Stop that,” Yuuri warned him. “It wasn’t his fault. If you’re going to act like that then you can go to your room.” Of course, Vitaly didn’t want to leave his mother alone so he snapped his mouth shut quick just as Yuuri had expected.

 

When Aiko is satisfied with her fill and stops suckling Yuuri hands her off to Vitaly to burp and cleans himself up. Shirt pulled back down and looking mostly presentable despite his still exhausted appearance he signaled for Phichit to bring Celestino upstairs. His breath caught in his throat when his old coach reached the top of the stairs. The years had not been kind to him. There were more wrinkles on his face and his hair had thinned out considerably.

 

“Yuuri,” Celestino breathed in disbelief.

 

Yuuri swallowed hard and tried to smile. “Coach…”

 

“Don’t call me that,” Celestino responded, already almost choking on his own emotions. “I lost the right to be called that when I failed you.”

 

Squeezing his eyes behind his glasses Yuuri shook his head. “No! No, please. It wasn’t your fault. Viktor would have found a way no matter what you did. There was no way to stop it.”

 

Celestino’s fists clenched tightly. “I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Yuuri. I just...I just can’t help but think that if I had been there I could have done something. Gotten help or seen a face or something. Anything. Maybe 15 years would have only been 15 days.”

 

“But it wasn’t,” Vitaly muttered under his breath in Russian.

 

“Vitalik,” Yuuri snapped. “I’m sorry for my son’s manners. This hasn’t been easy on him, either.”

 

“No, no, of course it hasn’t,” Celestino agreed. “They are beautiful, Yuuri. I met Yulian and Alyona outside. I wasn’t able to converse much with Alyona with the language barrier, but my...what a little spit fire.”

 

Yuuri smiled. “She is, isn’t she? This is Vitaly and Aiko.” He had to knee Vitaly under the table to get him to utter a hello. “Please, Celestino...sit. Make yourself comfortable.”

 

“I don’t know if I can,” he admitted. “I’ve already hurt you so much I feel like I can’t even intrude on your home let alone sit with you.”

 

Yuuri thought back to what Phichit had said in their bedroom. “Celestino. I don’t feel the need to forgive you because you did nothing wrong, but if you need to hear it than I will say it. I forgive you. I forgive you, and I don’t want you living anymore with needless guilt.”

 

There was a visible relief as Celestino’s shoulders relaxed and he let out a breath. “Thank you, Yuuri...thank you. I have needed to hear that so badly from you since I saw that you were found alive. I promise you that if any of your children ever want to skate that I will offer my services completely free of charge. I don’t trust myself to travel with them, but I would happily coach them here locally. Phichit told me they were trying to re-open the rink.”

 

The idea of any of his children wanting to skate almost threw Yuuri into a panic attack. Just thinking about the ice gave him nightmares. If any of his kids wanted to go down that path...With a shuddered breath he forced a smile. “That’s very kind of you. Thank you.”

 

Phichit gave Celestino a big hug with a toothy smile. “See, Ciao-Ciao! Everything is ok! Should totally hire you as a coach at the rink once we open!”

 

“Isn’t that going to be your job?” Celestino asked.

 

“Well, yes,” Phichit nodded. “But as amazing and talented as I am, I can’t teach everyone.”

 

“Oh? Amazing and talented? Still doing quads at your age?” Celestino asked with crossed arms.

 

Phichit’s face went red in slight embarrassment and annoyance. “No, but I can still do all my triples! Ok, well, not the axel but STILL. Ciao-Ciao come on, don’t be like that!”

 

Yuuri laughed. He actually laughed, and it felt amazing. It was just like back in Detroit for this small moment in time. Phichit and Celestino looked at him in surprise, and even Vitaly seemed shocked at hearing his mother laugh.

 

“You’re staying with us, aren’t you? Please,” Yuuri extended the invitation. “I...I feel really up to helping cook a meal, I think.”

 

“Really?” Phichit questioned with excitement.

 

“Yeah,” Yuuri agreed. It probably wouldn’t last long. He’d over exert himself and be exhausted tomorrow, but he wanted this moment.

 

He wanted this moment because at least, for now, everything was fine.

Chapter Text

Yulian 12

 

Yulian didn’t have the right to feel the way he did. He knew that. And yet...he felt it anyway. The sadness and the anxiety. The loneliness and the constant worry. The fear. Being in Japan, in Hasetsu, was the safest that Yulian had ever felt in his entire life, but he always felt a chill beneath his skin making him look over his shoulder with every step without relief. He was loved more than ever with family that doted and loved on him. No longer did he fight for affections from a father that didn’t want him. There was love and there was safety.

 

Yet, Yulian was still afraid.

 

He was pathetic. He had it the easiest out of all of them. Alyona barely spoke the language when they first arrived while he at least could hold a conversation. Yulian at least looked like he was born in Japan and the few friends he had made called him Yu-chan giving him a name that blended right in. Meanwhile, Vitaly was bullied relentlessly unable to blend in any possible way. The kids threw racial slurs at him any chance they got. And Mama...Mama went through the worst hell of them all and not once complained.

 

Yulian knew he was so pathetic.

 

All of his emotions only got worse when he presented just a few months after they arrived in Hasetsu. An omega, just like everyone always said. Despite only having just gotten out of the hospital after giving birth to Aiko and worse for wear, Yuuri stayed with Yulian all four days of his heat. He brought him cool towels, water, and plenty of food. He held him through the worst waves and promised him it would be ok, that nothing would happen to him now that they were in Japan.


Yulian wanted to believe it, but he didn’t. The only times he ever thought he might were when it was Vitaly that spoke those words.

 

The louder the voices in his head got, the more Yulian started to pull away. Avoiding everyone around him, he shut himself off in his room and immersed himself in his books. There, among the thousands of pages, he could take himself to another world where he truly did feel safe even for a moment in time. Whenever his siblings or mother would try and corner him about his behavior he’d just run off back to his room. Back to his books.

 

There was a knock on the door.

 

“Ulya…? Can I come in?” Yuuri’s voice came through muffled through from the other side.

 

Yulian closed his book and hugged it tight to his chest. “I-I’m fine…”

 

Yuuri slid the door open anyway and closed it behind him with a look of heavy concern. “Ulya...what’s going on? Please, talk to me. I can’t fix it if I don’t know what’s wrong.”

 

Pulling his knees up he looked away and hot tears filled his eyes. “You can’t fix me.”

 

The bed sunk with Yuuri’s weight. “Of course I can’t, because there’s nothing wrong with you baby.”

 

“Everything is wrong with me!” Yulian cried, letting the book fall from his arms. “I’m always scared and awkward and don’t know how to talk to people! I think that my life is the worst even though everyone around me has it worse and never complains! I’m not...I’m not normal!” A soft laugh left Yuuri’s lips and Yulian found himself getting angry. “It’s not funny!”

 

“It is, because you sound exactly like someone else I know,” Yuuri responded. “Me.”

 

Yulian looked up at his mother from behind his thick red glasses with surprise. “...What? No. That’s not true. You’re...you’re so strong.”

 

“I wasn’t always,” Yuuri said as he moved closer to his son. “I was socially awkward and didn’t know how to make friends, either, and when I did I always found a way to push them out of my life. I had bad anxiety, too, and always turned the smallest things into big ordeals for no reason. You should have seen me before my skating competitions. I was a mess.”

 

Taking in his mother words he let himself scootch a bit closer. “So...how did you get rid of those feelings?”

 

“You don’t ever really get rid of them,” Yuuri explained, “You just learn how to manage them. I still feel those things, just for different reasons. Sometimes, even though I know you, Vitalik, and Alya all love me, I feel like you hate me and want nothing to do with me. Like this week, when you’ve shut me out...I would think the worst. That I had done something wrong.”

 

Yulian flinched and moved away. “I-I’m sorry, Mama...I didn’t mean to make you feel like that. I’m so sorry…,”

 

Yuuri wrapped his arms around his son and pulled him in. “Ah, see? We are both making the situation into something it’s not. I know all too well what you’re feeling right now. But Ulya...I want you to remember something. Just because the people around you might be going through different things doesn’t invalidate your own feelings, ok? It’s ok to be scared or worried or sad.”

 

“But it’s stupid,” Yulian mumbled against Yuuri’s chest. “All of my fears are stupid compared to what you and Vitasha go through.”

 

“They aren’t stupid, Ulya, they are just different,” Yuuri corrected. “But I’d like it if you’d talk to me about them, if you want? Sometimes talking through it can help.”

 

With a sniffle Yulian turned his face just enough so that he wasn’t talking directly into his mother’s chest. “I’m scared of being an omega…”

 

Yuuri was silent for a second before putting a hand on Yulian’s head. “It is scary. Experiencing heats the first few times is terrifying as you try and learn your own body as it changes. Your hormones are crazy and sometimes you get emotional, which doesn’t help people like you and me who are already crazy and emotional. But there are also amazing things about being an omega. You can use your sensitivity to be more open to other people’s emotions and understand them at a deeper level. You have the gift of creating life if that’s something you want to do.”

 

“Or someone forces me to,” Yulian sobbed, clinging to his mother’s arm that was wrapped around him.

 

Yuuri squeezed tighter. “No one will force you to do anything you don’t want to do, Ulya. I promise you that. Omegas are treated differently here. You’ll be treated just like alphas and betas and we will never let anything happen to you, ok? I will never let anything happen to you. Please believe me.”

 

Could Yulian believe him? Yuuri had been unable to protect himself all these years, but now he was asking his son to believe he could protect him now. And still...Yuuri had protected all of them for all that time in Russia. By sacrificing himself. “Ok…”

 

Yuuri let out a small sigh of relief and bent down to kiss Yulian on the top of the head. “You know...when I was feeling down and felt like the voices were too loud, I used to go skate or dance to calm myself down. I know that your books help. Maybe trying finding a few other things that can allow you to escape like reading? A safe space.”

 

Yulian slowly untangled himself from Yuuri and looked up at him through his dark lashes. “Will...you teach me how to dance?”

 

The young omega had never seen his mother smile so brightly. “Let me make some calls.”

 

Chapter Text

Vitaly – 15

Nobuo - 17

“Oi. Gaijin. Why the long face?”

Vitaly looked up from his place on the bench and scowled. Tall, lanky, with shaggy black hair and narrow black eyes. An 11th grader, a year above Vitaly. Takahashi Nobuo. “I’m not gaijin. My mother is Japanese.”

Nobuo chuckled. “Oh? But are you? Bi-ta-lee.”

With a tightened jaw Vitaly clenched his fists, trying to keep himself from lashing out at the taunting of how most of the other children and teachers couldn’t say his name correctly with the V sound foreign to the Japanese language. For the most part he was simply referred to by Katsuki, which frankly, was fine by him. He was proud to wear his mother’s name, now.

“Where are you from, anyway? With a name and accent like that?” Nobuo plopped down next to Vitaly uninvited.

Vitaly looked at him with a side-eye, cautious of the beta’s intentions. No one ever voluntarily socialized with him other than Yulian, but now they were no longer at the same school. “Why do you care?”

“Just trying to be friendly gaijin! You could use a friend, couldn’t you? Since you have none?” Nobuo gave a teasing poke to Vitaly’s shoulder, earning him a growl. “Russia, neh? That’s where you’re from? Son of the once great and powerful Viktor Nikiforov.”

Like a snapped rubber band Vitaly’s head jerked around. Viktor’s name had never been released to the public.

Nobuo smirked. “Now I’ve got your attention. Is it true you killed him?”

Vitaly rose to his feet and took a step back. With a low voice he asked, “What do you want?”

“Relax,” Nobuo waved him off. “I’m here to help.” With a quick look around he made sure no one was actively watching and pulled down the collar of his neck revealing the head of a dragon tattoo. Yakuza. “I hear you’ve been carelessly shouting around trying to find us. Not very smart. What are you, just 15?”

“Fifteen and already killed my father,” Vitaly spat. “What have you done?”

Nobuo’s eyes lit up in delight. “Oh! Feisty! I like that. So it is true, then? Wow. Well,” Nobuo bounced up onto his feet and wrapped a tight arm around Vitaly’s shoulders, the alpha tensing up immediately. “Everyone is already afraid of you at this school, so might as well really solidify it. I can get you a meeting with Oyabun, if you really want. Though I have to ask, why?”

Vitaly shoved Nobuo’s arm off of him with a glare. “To protect my family.”

Nobuo hummed thoughtfully. “Honorable. But is it worth selling your soul to the Yakuza to do it?”

“I’d do anything to protect my mother,” Vitaly scowled.

“A real Mama’s boy,” Nobuo laughed playfully. “Alright, fair enough. I imagine the Bratva is still looking for you and your mother, huh? Doubt they are real happy you went and offed their Pakhan. Ok. Give me your phone.”

Vitaly pulled his phone from his pocket and handed it to Nobuo who immediately began typing and swiping across the screen before handing it back. He’d entered his number.

“I’ll text you an address and time later. Look your best. Oyabun doesn’t like it when people dress frumpy,” Nobuo explained.

“I don’t have anything,” Vitaly frowned. “My family is poor.” All his suits and designer clothing purchased by Viktor had been left behind in Russia, unable to take any of it with them when they had run. Yuuri had no money, and they were completely dependent on the family inn which was hanging on by a thread as it was. It was why the kids mostly just wore inn robes when not in school uniforms. And with Yuuri’s illness and the birth of Aiko he couldn’t take up a job. Well. There was Phichit now, but Vitaly would rather die than accept help from him.

“Riiiighhht,” Nobuo hummed. “How many of you are there? Four, right? Well, if you play your cards right and Oyabun likes you, then you won’t have to worry about finances ever again. Just wear your school uniform, ok?”

“Ok,” Vitaly agreed, watching carefully with blue eyes as Nobuo started to walk off with hands in his pockets.

“Oh, and Katsuki-kun,” Nobuo turned his head over his shoulder, “You can still change your mind, but once you are through that door tonight there’s no turning back. They’ll own you.”

It should have scared Vitaly. It should have sent some impending sense of dread down his spine, but all it did was make him feel more and more vindicated in his decision. Vitaly wouldn’t turn back from this. He couldn’t. Without this, Mama wasn’t safe. Ulya, Alya, and his sweet Ai-chan would never be safe. Vitaly was the alpha of the house, now. It was up to him.

Deciding it was easier to just not return to the onsen and having to explain leaving later, Vitaly sent his mother a text letting him know he was studying with a friend. The prospect of him having a friend was so exciting to Yuuri that he had responded with several emojis in his excitement and had simply told him to be safe and to study hard. Vitaly waited by the ocean, simply taking in the sounds of the waves and the gulls. It reminded him of St. Petersburg. Of what used to be home.

His phone buzzed with a text.

Nobuo: Back alley of Seventh Heaven. I’ll meet you at the door, 2000. Don’t be late.

Me: Ok.

Grabbing a bowl of ramen at the local stand to kill the time he waited until the sun just started to set and headed to bar. Of course, Vitaly was still underage but…he had a feeling they weren’t really meeting in the bar. Even though Vitaly showed up fifteen minutes early, Nobuo was already there.

“Early…good. Oyabun will like that. Come on,” Nobuo opened the door and nodded Vitaly in ahead of him. Nobuo directed him through a small hallway and towards the left room. Several older men were gathered around a nice table with drinks and cigars in their hands. “Oyabun,” Nobuo bowed. Vitaly quickly followed suit. “I’ve brought Katsuki-san.”

The eldest of the alphas in the room turned to look at Vitaly and waived a hand at him. He was older, but not terribly so. Maybe late 40s. He wore thick black frames on top of his dark eyes. “Well. Come. Let me have a look at you.”

Vitaly swallowed and stepped forward, though he refused to lower his gaze as was customary when approaching elder alphas in Japan. Oyabun seemed more amused by that fact than insulted.

“Takahashi says you want protection for you and your family from the Bratva,” he began. “This, I can do, however; what is it you can do for me, Katsuki-san? You are but a boy.”

“Information,” Vitaly answered. “I was raised to be next in line to Viktor. He shared everything with me. I know that the Yakuza and the Bratva have bad blood between them.”

Oyabun let out a long drawn out hum. “You can give me names? Locations of safe houses? Weapon and drug routes?”

“Hai,” Vitaly answered firmly. “All of it.”

With a smile, he tapped the ash off his cigar. “You speak Japanese and Russian, I presume. What else?”

“English,” he responded.

“Languages are important in our line of business, Katsuki-san. Learn as many as you can. Mandarin and Korean.” Vitaly could tell it was not a request, which was fine. He had proven good with language, despite his rough accent. Understanding was far more important than speaking. Oyabun motioned to one of his colleagues and a thick wad of yen was placed on the table which drew a shocked reaction from the young alpha. “You are family now, Katsuki-san, and we take care of our family. Yours has been through trying times. Use this to help you through it. There will be more. Buy that sweet mother of yours something nice…and perhaps something for your new baby sister? My congratulations.”

Vitaly accepted the money with shaking hands, desperately trying to keep his emotions in check. “Thank you, Oyabun.”

“Alphas who are so weak they must prey on omegas to justify their worth are not welcome in my family,” he huffed. “That is not what makes us strong. You will remain under the care of Takahashi until you can be of use. He will teach you what you need to know. Pay close attention, Katusuki-san, because we do not repeat ourselves. Besides…your family’s onsen is the last remaining one in Hasetsu. I would hate to see it go under. I quite enjoy a good soak.”

Another underlying threat that Vitaly acknowledged. It wasn’t needed. He’d be a valued asset. There was no other choice. “I understand.”

“I will contact you to let you know when we will meet again to gather your information. Until then.”

Nobuo and Vitaly bowed, dismissing themselves out of the room and then the bar.

Nobuo wasted no time in pulling Vitaly close. “We-hell! Looks like we’re bros, now!

Vitaly sighed and pushed him off. Of all the people he had to be stuck with – an annoyingly touchy beta.

There were worse things, he supposed….

 

 

Chapter Text

Fujikawa Daizo sucked in a long breath staring out over the gardens of St. Petersburg from his lavish admiralty suite at the Hotel Lion next to St. Isaac’s cathedral. It was the finest that money could buy with prime location. It brought back memories. Memories of a time when he was still young, an Oyabun in training, and in Russia for far more pleasant reasons. Then, he had come to Russia as a friend. Now, it was as an enemy.

 

“Aniki?”

 

Daizo turned his body just enough to acknowledge his follower, Hideyo, who bowed.

 

“All of the boy’s information has proved correct,” he explained. “All of it.”

 

Of course it had. Daizo had never had any doubts that Vitaly had been anything but truthful, especially after having observing him around his family around the onsen. Loyal to a fault to those he loved. Deadly to those he didn’t. “You have eyes on them, then?”

 

“We do. Their base location as well as several warehouses in the district that house assets,” Hideyo confirmed.

 

“How quickly can we move?” Daizo questioned, continuing to watch the scenes below outside his window.

 

“As quickly as you wish,” he answered.

 

It was time, then. There would be no delay. No time for second thoughts or a show of weakness. “We move tonight, then. Kill them all. No prisoners, no interrogations. We have all the information we could possibly need from Katsuki.”

 

“The Pakhan, too?”

 

Daizo had met Georgi once or twice and had never been impressed. The alpha was a follower, not a leader. How he had taken over after Viktor’s death was still a mystery. Plus, he had sent men after the Katsukis. He’d made a vow to Vitaly once receiving his pledge to the clan to protect them. Such an attack on the boy was an attack on himself. That could not go unpunished. “Especially the Pakhan. However…,” he turned, hands clasped behind his back. “Their Brigadier. A man by the name of Yakov Feltsman. I want to take care of him personally.”

 

Hideyo snapped to attention and bowed. “Of course, Aniki. I will have you called when he is captured.”

 

Daizo dismissed him with a wave of his hand and turned his attentions back to the city outside his window.

 

Now, he’d simply wait.

 

/*/

 

The warehouse stenched of blood. Daizo’s nose barely twitched having grown so accustomed to such a smell. He was careful to watch for puddles of blood and guts as he maneuvered through the room. These shoes were new. A birthday gift from his mate. Tied to a chair beneath the lone light in the room was Yakov Feltsman. “You may leave.”

 

All the present men bowed and dismissed themself. Of course, they wouldn’t be far. They would not leave their Oyabun completely unprotected. Grabbing a chair he placed it in front of Yakov, the man bruised and bleeding, and took a seat. “Yasha...my old friend.”

 

“Daizo-san,” Yakov breathed, a small smile from his split lip. “How did it come to this…?”

 

Daizo returned the small smile. “How indeed…? Though, I think we both know how. I warned you. I warned you, Yasha, not to release Viktor’s leash when you named him Pakhan.”

 

Yakov couldn’t help but chuckle, a sound that turned into a bloody cough. “Vitya was always my weakness.”

 

“And still is, so it would seem,” Daizo pointed out. “He looks just like him, doesn’t he?”

 

There was a realization in Yakov’s dark eyes. “Vitasha...you got to Vitasha. This is how you knew. How you knew everything .”

 

“Make no mistake, Yasha. I did not get to Vitaly at all,” Daizo corrected. “It was him who came to me seeking protection.He knew you would come for them and did what Viktor trained him to do. A smart child.”

 

“Too smart,” Yakov agreed. “In the end it was Viktor’s undoing. I should have stopped him. I should have never allowed him to keep the omega around.”

 

“I could not be more disappointed in you,” Daizo almost whispered. “Allowing Viktor to do what he did to Yuuri. We are mafia. We are criminals. But there is still an honor code in which we follow.”

 

“Honor,” Yakov sighed, “Is perhaps something that only exists within your culture, for it has long disappeared from ours.

 

“You could have stopped this. You could have gotten Viktor the help that he needed. You could have let Yuuri go. Instead, you have allowed him to take you down with him.” With a heavy and saddened sigh Daizo stood and pulled out a flask from his suit coat. Unscrewing the top he walked over to Yakov and offered up a drink the Russian alpha gladly took. “I will do with Vitaly what you could not do with Viktor. I will take him as my son and harness his anger into a controlled rage. I will provide protection over his family and in return will have the most loyal of followers at my fingertips.”

 

“He will make a fine soldier under your tutelage, I have no doubt,” Yakov said. “But you are delusional if you think Vitaly does not have problems of his own.”

 

“Oh, of course not,” Daizo agreed. “In fact, it is the exact same problem that plagued your Vitya. It’s quite funny how it happens, isn’t it? The cycle. A close bond with mother. Mother is hurt. Son revolts. Son kills father. The difference is that Yuuri still breathes, and I believe that to be all I need to change his future”

 

Yakov huffed. “You mean it makes him controllable.”

 

Daizo took his own sip from the flask. “ I prefer the term moldable. Something Viktor was not.”

 

“No,” Yakov agreed, “he was not.” They took a moment of silence, Yakov’s breaths becoming heavy. “You will give me a quick death, I hope? I am far too old to be left bleeding, I would think.”

 

“You shall die well, my friend,” Daizo promised, reaching for a sword that had been left behind for him propped up against a stack of boxes.

 

“Like a rotten log half buried in the ground - my life, which has not flowered, comes to this sad end. ” Yakov softly receited, closing his eyes.

 

“Minamoto Yorimasa,” Daizo acknowledged, the poet’s death poems some of his personal favorites. Slowly, he unsheathed the sword and placed the cool edge of the blade up against Yakov’s neck. “May our souls meet again, Yasha.”

 

Daizo’s blade was swift and clean. Experienced. The ritual of dakikubi perfectly executed with Yakov’s head still attached by just a sliver.

 

The Nikiforov Bratva was no more.

Chapter Text

Vitaly – 16

 

The first time Vitaly actually killed someone it was terrifying. Yes, Vitaly had killed Viktor, but he hadn't killed Viktor. Not like the first time he drew blood for the Yakuza. Well...it hadn't been for the Yakuza and therein lied the problem - it had been for him.

 

Vitaly had been with Nobuo getting lunch from a ramen stand. A drunken alpha was going off about his omega girlfriend to anyone who would listen. The more he went on, the angrier Vitaly got. The alpha talked of putting the omega in place and fucking her until she learned. When the alpha drunkenly got up to leave, Vitaly followed with angry clenched fists.

 

"Katsuki, don't do anything stupid," Nobuo had hissed into his ear.

 

He did something stupid, anyway. The man had stepped into an alley to puke and Vitaly had made his move. He'd landed punch after punch to his face, screaming at him. "You think it's ok to just beat up on omegas?! To just beat and rape them? Well how does it feel, huh!?" He hadn't stopped. He'd just kept going and going and going with blood drenching his school uniform and staining the concrete below.

 

"Katsuki-kun," an old and gentle voice spoke, a careful hand touching his shoulder.

 

Vitaly suddenly dropped the body with wide eyes, breaths coming out hot and fast. What had he done...? Oh god…Oh god…he’d killed him. He hadn’t meant to!

 

"Shh, child," the man spoke, pulling Vitaly up against his chest. The smell of bamboo. It was Oyabun. Oyabun was safe. He was safe.

 

Hot tears streamed down Vitaly's face as he buried himself against the other alpha. "I'm sorry, Oyabun. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry-,"

 

"He was a bad man, Katsuki-kun, and an even worse alpha. I can understand how his actions reminded you far too much of how your father treated your mother. To treat an omega like that is unforgivable. It does not show power but weakness." Oyabun pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the blood from Vitaly's face. "Go with Takahashi and freshen up. I will take care of this. Everything is going to be just fine."

 

Vitaly's hands had shaken for days and sleep had plagued him.  

Chapter Text

Vitaly - 16

 

Yuuri lasts all of two years before his body starts to completely shut down. He’s so sick in bed that he can’t even care for Aiko and it’s become a full time job of Phichit’s and the rest of the Katsukis. The omega is pale and thinner than ever unable to keep most meals down or even stay awake long enough to consume one. The doctor is surprised he has even lasted this long.

 

“There has to be something you can do!” Mari bites out in frustration. “Mates leave each other all the time and this doesn’t happen!”

 

“But it does happen,” the doctor countered with a heavy sigh. “Much more than you think, though usually it’s from a tragic accident or illness that takes one of the mate’s life. Yuuri was bonded for almost 15 years and had 4 kids with this alpha. That creates a tighter and stronger bond that only breaks harder. “He needs a new alpha. It’s the only thing that’s going to save him.”

 

“So he’s going to die?” Phichit asked, unable to to hide his tears even behind his angry mask. “Just like that?”

 

“If he doesn’t bond with an alpha, yes,” the doctor confirmed. “I wouldn’t give him much more than a month, maybe two.”

 

Hiroko bust out into tears, Toshiya unable to say anything as he took his wife into his arms to try and comfort her despite the lost cause. Mari lets out a string of loud curses and Phichit just looks broken. Vitaly watches silently from the other room and clenches his fists. He could his mother’s new alpha. He could save him.

 

“Fuck this, I’ll do it!” Mari shouts. “I’ll mark him. Finding a mate was never for me, anyway.”

 

“Mari!” Hiroko reaches out a hand towards her daughter’s arm that is only jerked away.

 

The doctor winces uncertainty. “It could work, but it’s not very likely. Familial bonds are usually rejected. The human body is smart enough to recognize it and protect against it.”

 

Vitaly’s would work. He knows it, and there’s a flash of angry heat that boils within him at the idea of Mari being the one to mark his mother instead of him. They wouldn’t allow him. He knows it. Even as a last resort.

 

“It’s worth a try,” Phichit eventually comments, voice low and defeated. Defeated because he can’t be the one to save Yuuri. Useless, pathetic beta.

 

Mari’s bond breaks within two days.

 

Hiroko doesn't stop crying. Mari doesn’t stop smoking. Toshiya moves around the onsen simply on auto-pilot trying to carry out the daily tasks. Vitaly sees Phichit break down in tears in a corner of the onsen where he thought he’d be alone. He almost feels sorry for him. Almost.


Vitaly could fix this. He knew it.

 

After he had gotten Aiko settled into her crib and to sleep he snuck into his mother’s room despite being told to let him rest in peace. Vitaly’s blue eyes filled with tears the moment he saw how weak Yuuri was in the bed already looking like he’d passed. “Mama…?” His voice chokes, terrified that he won’t get a response as he approaches the side of the bed.

 

Yuuri doesn’t respond right away and Vitaly almost falls to his knees. There’s a slight flutter behind the omega’s closed eyelids and then they slowly blink open. “...Vitalik?”

 

Vitaly is scrambling to get beneath the covers and tight up against Yuuri’s side. He clings to his mother like both their lives depend on it, and they do. Their lives depend on this. His eyes catch sight of the purpling bruise on Yuuri’s neck where Mari had tried to bond with him. It’s going to hurt...more than usual. “Mama, please...you can’t die. I can’t lose you.”

 

Yuuri’s breaths are labored, and he struggles to bring his hand to Vitaly’s head. “You won’t lose me, Vitalik. I...I’m going to be fine.”

 

“Stop lying!” Vitaly half sobbed and half shouted.

 

There was a long silence only occasionally broken by Vitaly’s soft cries that he couldn’t contain. “You’re right…,” Yuuri eventually responded. “I’m lying.”

 

The floodgates opened and Vitaly’s entire body trembled as he broke. Fingers turned white in their grip on Yuuri’s shirt and he was sure he was going to rip the fabric. Sounds he didn’t know he was capable of making left his lips. Snot clogged his nose and he started to choke on his own cries he sobbed so hard.

 

“P-please,” he sobbed into Yuuri’s chest. “Please let me mark you! I c-can’t let you die!”

 

Yuuri stares at him, too shocked by the offer to even speak for a moment. “Vitalik...no. No . I cannot ask you to give up your future for me.”

 

“What future?!” Vitaly asked. “There is no future without you!”

 

“I can’t,” Yuuri cried his own tears fully, now. “I can’t ask you to sacrifice more than you already have for me.”

 

“What about what you’ve sacrificed?” He sobbed. “I want to do this, Mama! Please !” His fists beat softly against his mother’s chest as he repeated the plea.

 

Yuuri’s body trembled from his own sobs and with what little strength he could muster he pushed himself up to a halfway seated position, unable to make it all the way and falling back against the pillows. “I’m so sorry, Vitalik. For everything. For not protecting you like I should have.”

 

“Stop!” Vitaly hissed angrily. “You did protect me! It wasn’t your fault! It wasn’t!”

 

“I couldn’t protect your innocence,” Yuuri argued back. “You sacrificed your childhood to become an adult far too soon. Even now you want to throw away everything that could be your youth to be tied to me...your old and broken mother.”

 

“Stop,” Vitaly repeated, softer this time and defeated.

 

“Vitalik...can you really look me in the eyes and tell me that you want to bond with me?” Yuuri asked. “That you are willing to give up the potential of a future mate and family with someone else for me?”

 

Vitaly looked up instantly with a fire in his eyes he had not had in years. It was the same fire and determination he felt when he had decided he would one day kill Viktor. It wasn’t just determination, it was a promise. “Yes. A thousand times, yes.”

 

Yuuri was breathless. He hadn’t expected the response. His brown eyes searched blue looking for any signs of doubt. There were none to be found. “Ok...ok.”

 

Vitaly almost collapsed onto Yuuri from relief. “It will work, Mama. I know it will.”

 

The small twitch of a simple was enough to show him Yuuri wasn’t completely convinced by it. Carefully, the omega tilted his head in offering. “D-don’t hesitate...it’ll hurt more.”

 

Delicately Vitaly straddled his mother’s waist and eyed the gland on the proffered neck. “How...how will I know if I’ve done it right? When I’ve gone far enough?”

 

“You’ll know,” Yuuri promised.

 

Vitaly’s heart thumped with a powerful force against his chest as he placed a careful hand on Yuuri’s shoulder and ther behind the omega’s head for stability. Leaning in he let his lips hover just above Mari’s fading mark, breath hot on his mother’s skin. Slowly opening his mouth he gave one last chance for his mother to pull away and then tasted flesh. Yuuri whimpered in pain, body going completely rigid as Vitaly’s teeth sunk in. It took all the power in himself to not pull away, doing as his mother instructed and not hesitating.

Yuuri was right. He knew the moment the bond was formed.

 

At first there was warmth and a deafening silence, and then it was loud. Loud with his mother’s thoughts and feelings invading his own mind and body. Vitaly thought that his love could never be greater, but the emotion that flooded his veins said otherwise. With great care he released his hold on his mother and pulled back, wiping away at the blood that was on his lips with the back of his hand.

 

“...Mama…?”

 

“I’m,” Yuuri paused, trying to catch his breath, “I’m ok.”

 

Without even thinking about it, Vitaly was pulling at the hem of his own shirt. “You can mark me, too! Please! I don’t want you to ever think I have power over you!”

 

Smiling, this time honestly, Yuuri raised a hand and let the palm rest against where a mark would go on Vitaly’s neck. “You have had power over me since the moment you were born, Vitalik...and not once have you abused it. I know that won’t change, even now. I trust you.”

 

Vitaly started to cry again, though this time silently, as he took his mother’s palm and buried his face into it. He regained his composure quickly and winced as he caught sight of his mother’s fresh bond. “I should go get bandages.”

 

“Just fetch me a warm rag and then tell your grandmother to come up here with her honey mixture. She’ll know what you mean,” Yuuri instructed.

 

With a nod Vitaly did as he was told, grabbing a darker colored washcloth from the cabinet that would be easier to clean of the blood. Running it under the warm tap he returned to the bed and wiped at the blood and then covered the wound with it. “I’ll be right back. This is going to work, Mama...I swear it.”

 

Yuuri just squeezed his hand.

 

Vitaly found Hiroko and inquired about the honey mixture. The old omega nodded sadly, thinking none the wiser. Thinking that it was still Mari’s mark that was bothering Yuuri. Not ten minutes later Phichit was storming his way towards Vitaly with a mixed look of anger and pure horror.

 

“What have you done? ” Phichit breathed, voice shaking with furry.

 

Calmly, Vitaly stood tall. “What you couldn’t.”

 

Days passed. Then weeks. Vitaly’s bond didn’t break. Color returned to Yuuri’s cheeks and strength returned to his bones. For the first time in months he was able to hold Aiko in his arms again. Hiroko and Toshiya avoided him like the plague. Mari eyed him when she thought he wasn’t looking with a look that wanted to kill. He’d ostracized himself from his family even more, and that was just fine to Vitaly.

 

His mark had taken, and Yuuri lived.

 

Chapter Text

One year after being captured, 3 months post-Vitaly's birth

The wedding was incredibly beautiful, held at the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg in the middle of spring. But even the gorgeous scenery was not enough to distract Yuuri from what this all meant. The horrifying realization that this was now permanent on both body and paper. So instead of focusing on his surroundings he exchanged the soft trickling sounds of the fountains for the rush of waves and the salt of the sea, placing himself back on the shores of Hasetsu. The red and yellow roses became pink and white sakura blossoms, and suddenly he was back in the comforts of home. The mafia lords and ladies clad in black in the white seats were replaced with his smiling and crying family, and silver hair and blue eyes turned black. Porcelain skin darkened to brown and it was his child-hood friend standing in front of him.

Phichit smiled back at him lovingly, and Yuuri clutched the bouquet in his hands. He spouted words of love and affection that were true, and not lies based on delusion. His hands were soft and gentle, not calloused with the grip of deadly weapons. The kiss tasted of sweet honey instead of blood. 

The moment Viktor’s teeth sunk into his neck to renew the bond Japan disappeared and Russia came swimming back to life around him. Yuuri cried, internally crying out for his friend...the one he never told he loved.

 

------------------------------

Vitaly 15, Aiko 1

Yuuri would be a liar if he said he didn’t let out a big sigh of relief the moment Vitaly’s mouth latched onto his nipple and started suckling. They had both needed it after the long and emotional day they had. Yuuri had woken up feeling the best he had in days and gotten over eager in returning to duties around the onsen. He had collapsed and sent the children into a panic. As always, poor Vitaly took it the worst. 

It was harder to get comfortable the older he got, the fifteen year old getting taller with every passing day. But somehow they managed, Vitaly a tangle of limbs across Yuuri’s lap, blue eyes dropping shut in exhaustion as he lapped at the rosy bud. Brushing at the silver strands Yuuri smiled, relishing in this bonding moment between mother and son. Often times he wished his other children wanted this. Aiko still fed, but she was well on her way to weening early. it bothered him. He didn’t want it to end. 

Vitaly whimpered, face scrunching up in dissatisfaction and Yuuri sighed, disappointed in himself. “I’m sorry, baby, I just fed Aiko…try the other one.” He remembered when he used to be able to feed Yulian, Vitaly, and even Viktor for hours on end, never running dry. Now, it was hard enough just to feed one. Just another thing to add to the list of failures as a mother. 

“Hey, Yuuri I just -,” Phichit halted half-way through opening the door and immediately started to back out. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll-,”

“No, it’s ok,” Yuuri assured him, shifting a heavy Vitaly in his arms to give himself just a bit more modesty.

“Are you sure?” Phichit asked, a sleeping Aiko against his chest, knowing that this was usually a private moment. Phichit never liked to intrude on these moments. He respected their meaning too much.

“Yeah it’s fine. I…can’t really go much longer anyway,” Yuuri responded sadly, hot tears stinging at his eyes. He knew the moment he had run dry, Vitaly suddenly starting to suck much harder to try and draw out milk that wasn’t there. Yuuri coaxed him off and kissed his forehead. His body just wasn't what it used to be. “Go find your oba and help her lock up for the night, ok?” 

Vitaly reluctantly nodded, fists clinging desperately to Yuuri's yukata before letting them drop. It was obvious that he wanted more, even if it just meant suckling on empty breasts. “Okay. Night, Momma.”

“Night, baby,” Yuuri responded before his eldest son left the room. Phichit set Aiko down in her crib and settled into bed with Yuuri. “Does it bother you?”

“What?” Phichit asked carefully, watching as Yuuri tied back up his yukata. 

“What I do with Vitaly,” Yuuri answered, an embarrassed blush creeping up on his cheeks. “It’s…unusual.”

Phichit sighed and leaned in, giving Yuuri a peck on the cheek. “Yuuri, listen. Your entire life has been unusual. If this helps the two of you feel closer to each other, then it’s fine by me. There are definitely worse things you could be doing.”

“It’s not sexual,” Yuuri blurted out, his cheeks burning even hotter. “I swear!”

Phichit laughed, a part of him happy to see that nervous wreck of a friend from their college years. “Yuuri, you don’t heave to explain yourself to me, okay? It’s fine, really. I’ve actually seen stuff like that in a lot of the villages in Thailand. Families are really close in the rural areas, and a lot of older kids breastfeed. I've always been open minded, and this is no different.”

“You’d tell me though, right?” Yuuri questioned. “If something ever bothered you?”

“Sure,” He promised. “But it doesn’t. Though, I have to ask, does it bother you?" Phichit's hand crawled across Yuuri's thigh and rested on the innermost part. 

A few tears dropped this time as Yuuri rested his head on Phichit's shoulder. "It bothers me that I can't provide for my children anymore. Did you see how disappointed he was?"

"Oh, Yuuri," Phichit sighed, rubbing circles into his skin. "It's not your fault. Your body has been through so much. You have to give yourself a break. Now come on,” He pulled Yuuri down onto the bed, wrapping his arms around him protectively. “Your feeling better, right? Than early?"

“Yeah, I feel fine,” Yuuri assured him, settling in underneath the covers with his back pressed tightly to Phichit's chest. “I just overdid it.”

“Take it easy tomorrow then, okay? I love you.” Phichit placed a gentle kiss at the nape of Yuuri’s neck.

Yuuri smiled and closed his eyes. 

--------------------------

Aiko 2, Alyona 8

Phichit and Yuuri had been “official” for a year now, but the closest thing to intimacy they’d ever gotten was holding hands or a chaste kiss on the cheek. It wasn’t that Yuuri didn’t want to it was just…well….Yuuri didn’t want to. The sex part, at least. Phichit was always reassuring Yuuri that it was fine, that he didn’t care if they ever had sex, he still loved Yuuri, but Yuuri still felt like he should give him something. Maybe even a handjob. It was better than nothing, right?

It was Phichit’s birthday, and he had wanted to spend it on the beach and a walk through the gardens with Aiko and Alyona. The sakura trees were in full bloom and it was the perfect weather out. A little chilly for Phichit coming from Thailand, but gorgeous none-the-less. It were days like this that Yuuri missed having a dog most of all. 

“Doggie!” Aiko pointed toward a woman walking her dog, a smile on her face. Right on cue. 

“Yes, doggie!” Phichit grinned, holding Aiko tightly in his arms and bouncing her. 

Phichit loved Yuuri’s children like they were his own. It made Yuuri feel like he didn’t deserve this man. He was far to good for him, especially when he couldn’t even return proper affection. Yuuri must have been projecting his feelings, because the beta walked up to him, concerned, and rubbed the back of his hand against his cheek.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” He asked, black eyes gazing at him in worry. “Are you feeling sick? Should we go home?"

“N-no,” Yuuri shook his head, “Sorry. I was just thinking.”

“About what? Alyona! Don’t wander off!” Alyona had gone several meters down the bridge, leaning over the railing to look at all the koi swimming around below.

“Well…,” Yuuri rubbed at his arms nervously. “Us.”

Phichit sighed, knowing where this was going. “Yuuri, how many times do I have to tell you that it’s ok-,”

“But it’s not! I…,” Swallowing hard he mustered up the courage, “Kiss me.”

The Thai man blinked in surprise. “W-what?! Are you sure? Yuuri you really don’t have to-,”

“Please,” Yuuri begged. “I…I want to try.” There was a moment of pause, and then Phichit was leaning in, tilting his head and pressing his lips gently against Yuuri’s. Yuuri sucked in a sharp breathe of surprise. It was nothing like with Viktor. It was soft and gentle and the beta tasted sweet like sugar. It sent a tingle down his spine. A spark of hope and excitement.

Aiko’s giggle broke them for their kiss. “Mommy and Daddy! Again!”

Yuuri beamed. 

 

---------------------

Aiko 3, Alyona 9, Yulian 14, Vitaly 17

Yuuri dread the holidays and birthdays. The onsen was still surviving - doing rather well in fact - but going from only having 3 mouths to feed and house to 8 (9 if you included Phichit) had certainly taken a hit on the finances. Yuuri’s parents never once complained which only made him feel worse. But it left little to nothing for actual gifts for the children and it made him feel like the worst mother on the planet. Viktor had spoiled them -showered them with the most expensive of gifts. All Yuuri had was his love. It never felt like enough. Phichit did pretty well, but with Alyona as his student anything he made basically went right back into her training. She was doing well, and soon there'd be travel expenses involved.

“Did you pull the dangos from the freezer, dear?” Hiroko asked, divvying out the rice into the separate bowls. 

“Mmm,” Yuuri nodded in confirmation, continuously stirring the sauce in the pan. “I put them down in the fridge to thaw an hour ago. They should be perfect by the time we finish dinner.”

Hiroko smiled and gently took the large spoon from Yuuri’s hand. “I can finish up in here, dear. Go spend time with your children.”

Even with his mother’s loving touch and smile, Yuuri fell even further into his guilt. Relinquishing his hold he cleaned his hands on his apron and trudged into the dining area. Aiko and Alyona were giggling excitedly, his youngest in Phichit’s lap pinching his cheeks playfully. 

“Momma! Look! I make Daddy’s face look funny!” Aiko giggled as she pressed on Phichit’s face, squishing it up.

“Hey!” Phichit pinched Aiko’s nose gently, making her squeal in delight. “How about I make your face funny and see how you like that?!”

“Noooo!” Aiko hid behind Alyona with a smile. 

Yuuri’s heart swelled, so happy to see his children laughing and playing. Even Yulian had a rare smile on his face as he sat silently across from them. Vitaly was fairly stoic, as usual, but Yuuri could feel how at ease the alpha was. Even though the space beneath the Christmas tree was mostly bare, no one seemed overly bothered. Or were they just hiding it well?

“Dinner is served!” Hiroko beamed brightly, Toshiya helping her bring in the bowls with a large bottle of sake tucked away beneath his arm. 

“Ah! It looks so good!” Yulian licked his lips, brown eyes sparkling behind his glasses. He had inherited his mother’s love of food. 

“I want dangos!” Aiko pouted, disappointed at the food choice laid out in front of you.

“Dessert is for after dinner, baby,” Phichit laughed.

“No! It should be first!” Aiko crossed her arms in a huff.

“Wow, smells amazing,” Mari commented, finally having finished her chores in time to join them. 

“Happy Christmas to all my beautiful children and grandbabies,” Hiroko cooed, delighted to see everyone already eagerly digging in.

Yuuri sighed with relief as Phichit grabbed his hand beneath the table. Instinctively, Yuuri shifted a little closer so that their thighs were stuck together and their shoulders brushed. Phichit's love had gotten him this far. Had gotten him used to human touch again. Had made him finally feel safe in the arms of another. Yuuri loved him.

Maybe love was enough after all. 

--------------------------

6 Years after Escape

It was the first real heat Yuuri had had since Aiko. There had been times he felt hot and produced slick for a few days, but his body had never really been strong enough to go into full swing. But he had felt healthy the last few months, and his body must have felt the same. He was burning up in the middle of December, slick completely coating his pants and his skin shivering. 

"Yuuri, what can I do?" Phichit's voice was soft and patient. He sat cross-legged next to Yuuri, his knee barely touching the omega's calf in a show of comfort. The Beta's eyes were dilated with desire, but he was well in control. "Tell me what you need." Yuuri whimpered, pushing at the waistband of his pants. Phichit's hands met his and he helped him slide them up and over his hips, discarding them off to the side. Yuuri's trembling hands then moved to his shirt which Phichit also helped get off. Yuuri was lactating for the first time in years. "Yuuri. Talk to me, baby. What do you want?"

"Touch me," Yuuri begged, hips rolling up. 

Phichit moved to straddle Yuuri's hips, still fully clothed, and grabbed Yuuri's cock. Slowly and carefully he began to stroke, working soft moans from Yuuri's lips. "There you go...I've got you. Do you want me to touch your hole?" Yuuri shook his head, a slight flash of fear on his face. "Ok, ok. I won't touch you there. What about your breasts, Yuuri? Can I touch those?" That got an eager nod, and Phichit moved his free hand to a breast, firmly kneading the flesh.

Yuuri bucked up his hips into Phichit's hand, mouth opening wide with a gasp. His cock was leaking heavily and flushed dark red. He wanted. He needed. "P-Phichit...please..." Yuuri whined, massaging the nipple of his free breast. He wanted his eldest son...he hadn't been home in days, but he wanted him. Vitaly had missed this, and Yuuri had missed it too. 

Phichit thumbed a nipple, catching a drop of milk and bringing it to his lips to suck. "Yu-uri...is that want you want? I know I'm not your son...but I can nurse, if you'd like? Until he gets home? Would that make you feel good?"

"Please, please, please," Yuuri begged, thrusting his hips up again. 

Sitting back on his heels Phichit pulled down his sweats so that his own cock could spring free, hard and leaking in his pants. "Is this ok, Yuuri? Can I stroke myself? I promise I won't touch you with it."

It was slightly reluctant, but Yuuri reached between them and and wrapped a hand around his own cock and Phichit's. "Y-you...like this."

"Oh," Phichit caught up, rubbing himself up against Yuuri. "Yeah." Sighing with relief, Phichit got comfortable and bent down, mouth hovering above a leaking nipple. Flicking out a tongue he teased it, Yuuri already writhing beneath him, and then he latched on and sucked. The omega was screaming now, bucking with pleasure beneath Phichit as he ground their hips together and the beta continued to nurse from a long abandoned nipple. 

Both men came far too quickly, like teenagers all over again. Phichit pulled off Yuuri's breast, eyes rolling back slightly in his head with pleasure, before kissing Yuuri in full on the lips. Lazily, Yuuri rocked up against Pichit, relishing in he kisses. 

"Stay," Yuuri whispered, fingers digging into the beta's back.

"Always."

 

Chapter Text

 

Yulian 14, Vitaly 17

 

“Vitasha...please...I need your help,” Yulian begged, a whine in the back of his throat.

 

Vitaly grabbed hold of Yulian and ushered him off to a closed off room. “Ulya, you’re in pre-heat. You shouldn’t be here. I’ll go get Mama-,”

 

“No!” Yulian shouted, grabbing hold of Vitaly’s wrist and pulling him back. “Please! Vitasha, I can’t! I can’t go through it alone again! It hurts so bad and my mind just screams for an alpha! Please! I don’t trust anyone else! I can’t - it can’t be anyone else!”

 

Although his mind knew what Yulian was asking of him, Vitaly just stared, unable to truly comprehend it.  He’d never had sex and the two ruts he’d had consisted of awkward humping against pillows and an occasional hand job that were more frustrating than anything as he struggled to find any release. Sexual thoughts never invaded his mind like it did so many alphas and omegas his age. He just...wasn’t interested. And yet, here his brother was, asking him to do this.

 

“Ulya..it’s. We’re brothers.” It was the only thing he could think of to say.

 

“I know! But,” Yulian’s face crunched up in pain. “I can’t with anyone else. Maybe not ever! You are the only alpha that I know won’t hurt me!”

 

“But you don’t have to be with an alpha,” Vitaly argued. “You don’t have to be with anyone! Many omegas spend their heats alone!”

 

Yulian’s jaw clenched angrily. “Yeah, and have you asked them how it feels? How miserable they are? You said it yourself you hated your last rut! Vitasha I’m begging you! We don’t - we don’t have to do anything unless I just have to...maybe just you being there will help. Please.”

 

Vitaly looked hard at his brother and felt something tugging at him - a string pulling him closer. It shouldn’t have existed. Vitaly was bonded to another omega even if it wasn’t sexual. His brother’s scent shouldn’t have been drawing him in like it was...except that there was just a hint of Yuuri there beneath it all in both scent and looks. “Ok…,” he caved.

 

Yulian launched himself at Vitaly, clinging to him desperately with relief. “Thank you. I’ll...I’ll let Mama know that I’ll be in my room the next few days.”

 

Vitaly nodded. “I’ll...go out and get heat drinks and bars for you. I’ll come to your room when my chores are done for the night.”

 

The moment Yulian retreated Vitaly was pulling out his phone and dialing a number he now knew by heart. “Nobuo...I need your help.”


“Are you fucking serious?” Nobuo’s dark eyes were wide as Vitaly explained the situation. “You’re gonna spend your heat with your brother ? Your virgin brother? With your virgin self? Do you even, like, know what to do?”

 

“Why do you think I called you?” Vitaly spat angrily. “Do you really think this is something I’d tell anyone otherwise? I...I know it’s wrong, ok?”

 

Nobuo sighed heavily and put his hands on his hips. “Fuck...well, it’s not like there’s anything normal about your family, anyway. You’re already fucking bonded to your own mom what’s having sex with your brother at this point? Wait, is this because Yulian looks like Mama Katsuki? Shit, is that what this is?”

 

“No!” Vitaly shouted, waiving his hands frantically in front of him. “Absolutely not!”

 

The beta hummed, not convinced. “Are you even sure you can get it up? You are the most awkwardly uncomfortable alpha I’ve ever met anytime anyone even mentions something sexual. Didn’t you say you hated the mere idea of it?”

 

Vitaly’s face went hot as he looked away. “The only sexual encounters I’ve ever had involved my father raping my mother. Of course I hate the mere idea of it.”

 

“It doesn’t have to be like that,” Nobuo said softly. “It can be good. Fun.”

 

“Can’t...can’t you maybe do it?” Vitaly threw out there. “I trust you and maybe I can convince Yulian-,”

 

“Fuck no!” Nobuo shook his head vigorously. “I know that technically 13 is the age of consent in Japan, but he’s 14. I’m 18. I have survival instincts! Also, I’m just a beta and if his heats are really that bad I’m going to do him no good.”

 

Vitaly groaned helplessly and plopped down into the sofa. “I...don’t know what to do.”

 

Nobuo let out another heavy sigh and brushed back his unruly hair out of his eyes. “Alright so...take it slow no matter how much Yulian gets handsy. And hold out as long as you can. If you get straight to it it tends to make heats last longer. Hand jobs and blow jobs can help take the edge off. I’m assuming I don’t need to demonstrate how to give a handsy? Hollow cheeks and no teeth on the blowy.”

 

Vitaly cringed and flushed red again. Would Yulian even want that? Would he like it? “I...what if I’m not good at it?”

 

“I mean, you probably won’t be,” Nobuo confessed, “But the good news is you’re both virgins and have literally zero context. Also, omegas in heat think basically anything that involves dicks feels good. Oh, which I guess brings up my next point. No matter how much he begs you just to stick it in, for the love of god, do not just stick it in. You have fingers. Use them. He may have slick, but you still have to prep him.”

 

The alpha felt so hot he felt cold. “I...how?”

 

Nobuo slapped his head with his palm. “Christ. You don’t even watch porn? Like, you literally know nothing?! Ugh. Ok. One finger in, wiggle it around, in and out, until he loosens up around you. Then you add another and repeat. Take. Your. Time. He’s gonna tell you to add more before he’s ready but don’t listen to him. Use your own instincts. Once he feels loose then you can move on to your dick. Again - go slow. Little by little, and stop periodically if you have to to let him adjust.”

 

Vitaly took in Nobuo’s instructions and gave a small nod. “Ok.”

 

“Oh! Hold on, I think I have some alpha ones around here,” Nobuo started going through the drawers of his kitchen until he found what he was looking for and dumped a large stack of green foiled squares on the counter. “I’m gonna have to do the banana demonstration on how to put on a condom, aren’t I?”

 

It didn’t matter that Vitaly wasn’t entirely sure what it was Nobuo meant by that, he just nodded his head anyway. Grabbing for a banana from the opposite counter he picked out one of the square foils and ripped it with his teeth.

 

“Pinch at the top so that air doesn’t fill, and roll like so,” Nobuo rolled the condom onto the fruit with expert ease. “These are specifically made for alpha so should accommodate your knot.

 

Vitaly could feel the heat in his ears and down his neck, now. “Um...you’re a beta. Why do you have alpha condoms?”

 

“Uh, hello, don’t always assume the other guy or gal is going to have condoms. One always has to be prepared,” Nobuo explained.

 

What? But-oh. Oh! Vitaly covered his face unable to even look at Nobuo anymore at the thought of what he’d just imagined. “I want to do this for him. You should have heard the way he begged me, but I don’t think I can.”

 

“So don’t. Or at least, stop putting the expectation on it,” Nobuo said, rolling off the condom and throwing it out before starting to peel the banana for a bite. “He told you that if just being in the room with him works that’s fine, right? So just start with that. I mean, it probably won’t, but strangers things have happened I guess. Biology is weird.”

 

Strands of hair fell from their slicked back position into Vitaly’s face as he hung his head. “It’s wrong...I know it...but I can’t help but feel like it’s my duty to help him. Even in this. You must think I’m a freak.”

 

Nobuo was quiet for a second as he moved to join Vitaly on the couch. “Look, I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve ever experienced the world of incest, but it isn’t,” he started. “When you’re poor and have a mix of alpha and omega kids...it’s more likely to happen than you think. No access to suppressants, no access to toys or heat and rut services...and no trust. I get it..ya’ll have been through hell. Yulian only trusts you. I...get it. Ok? And I’m not going to judge you or hold this over you or anything like that, alright? I’m...sort of flattered you could trust me with this and came to me for help. Though, I mean, if you have time, a practical demonstration might be best-,”

 

“No!” Vitaly jumped away from Nobuo, blushing harder than even before. “T-that’s not...necessary.”

 

“Mmm, shame,” Nobuo pouted. “Well, I’d say go get ‘em tiger, but that just seems weird in this situation so...just...be careful and call me when it’s over, alright?”

 

/*/

 

Vitaly came back to the onsen with heat drinks and omega bars all with the nutrients needed to help an omega get through their heat. He also came back with a bag of condoms that he quickly stowed away in his room for later. Things were normal for the rest of the day as he helped his mother with chores and occupied Aiko long enough dinner could be made.

 

“I’ll take some food to Ulya,” Vitaly told his mother while they worked to clean up and he put a small bowl together.

 

“Are you sure?” Yuuri frowned. “I can get Alya to do it. It might be better.”

 

Vitaly leaned in to kiss Yuuri on the cheek. “It’s fine. You know I don’t really get affected.” Which was normally true. The pheremones Yulian would let off during his heat never had affected him like it did the others around the onsen. It was almost like he wasn’t an alpha at all sometimes.

 

Yuuri contemplated it and then nodded. “Ok. Let me know if he needs anything?”

 

“Of course,” he agreed and took the tray up to Yulian’s room. He locked the door behind him. The omega’s scent hit him hard but it was still easy enough to swallow down. “Ulya…?”

 

“M kay..,” Yulian mumbled. He was still clothed in one of the inn’s robes but the covers were kicked off from the bed and there was a light sheen of sweat on his forehead.

 

Vitaly set the bowl down on the nightstand. “You should try and eat something if you can.”

 

Yulian didn’t argue even a bit, immediately moving to sit up and reach for the bowl. He was slow in getting the rice down, but eventually he reached the bottom. “Are you...ok?”

 

Vitaly nodded from where he sat on the opposite side. “It doesn’t bother me yet. Do you need anything?”

 

“I think maybe I’ll take a cold shower and then go to bed,” Yulian answered. “Maybe if I try and fall asleep before it really comes I can just sleep through part of it.”

 

“Ok,” Vitaly nodded, gathering up the bowl and chopsticks. “I’ll take these down and take a shower myself and then I’ll join you for the night.”

 

“Thank you,” Yulian whispered nervously.

 

Vitaly’s fingers grazed Yulian’s just barely before he walked away. It was a strange feeling as he took the dishes to the kitchen. Like he was just waiting for someone to catch him. Neither Yuuri nor anyone else said a thing or acted other than normal, though, preparing to lock the inn up for the night and settle in. After a long warm shower he threw on an old shirt and boxers and snuck his way back across the hall into Yulian’s room. The omega was already curled up on his side sleeping in just a pair of boxers with the night light on. Carefully, as not to wake him, Vitaly turned the lamp off and crawled into bed behind him. He was close enough to make the omega aware of his presence, but allowed space.

 

Yulian would come to him when he was ready.

 

/*/

 

Heat blanketed Vitaly with a suffocating force. His blue eyes blinked open and he breathed in a heavy whiff of lavender and vanilla. Yulian had moved closer to him sometime during the night and now the omega’s body was flush against Vitaly’s radiating heat like the sun. His brown eyes were squeezed shut and his head tucked beneath Vitaly’s chin.

 

“Ulya…?” Vitaly prompted softly.

 

“I-I’m ok,” Yulian mumbled against his skin. His heart was racing but his breathing remained steady. “You’re helping. It’s not coming on so strongly.”

 

“What do you want me to do?” Vitaly inquired, not wanting to move until instructed.

 

“Just hold me,” Yulian responded.

 

Vitaly complied, wrapping his arms around his brother and slotting their legs together. In all the sexual education classes he had been in, he was told that in the presence of an omega in heat he would become uncontrollable and potentially even feral, and yet Vitaly felt none of those things. All Vitaly felt was the need to protect and love his brother. To help him get through this as easily as possible. Maybe Yulian had been right to come to him. He trusted himself to be gentle and careful and always in control. What other alpha could offer that?

 

It was completely instinctual that Vitaly placed a gentle kiss to the top of Yulian’s head before pulling him in closer to his chest. “Try and get a little more sleep. I’m here.”

 

Yulian nodded and it took no time at all for both men to fall back into a deep slumber. The next time Vitaly woke, though, it was to a scalding heat and Yulian shivering violently in his grasps. Now, Vitaly could feel the small hardness pressing up against him and a wetness on his thigh where he was slotted up against Yulian.

 

“Shhh, Ulya...breathe. It’s ok. I’m here,” Vitaly whispered, a gentle hand stroking the top of his head.

 

“I’m sorry...I’m so sorry I asked you to do this,” Yulian whimpered.

 

“Don’t be sorry, Ulya. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to,” he promised.

 

The shivers subsided and Yulian slowly looked up from where he’d been hiding his head. “...Really? You mean that?”

 

While Vitaly may have been clueless when it came to sexual intimacy, one thing he knew and knew well from his mother was how to show love. He rarely showed it since it didn’t fit the facade of a Yakuza, but here, now...he could let it out. Shifting carefully he lifted his hand and let his palm rest against Yulian’s cheek. The skin was almost scalding, but Vitaly didn’t flinch. “Of course I mean it. I would do anything for our family. For you. Even this.”

 

Vitaly didn’t expect Yulian to suddenly close the gap between them, their lips colliding awkwardly from both their position and inexperience. The alpha could do nothing more than just stare oddly at his brother until the omega parted his lips and Vitaly finally closed his eyes and deepened the kiss with open mouths. Yulian moaned and rocked his hips up against Vitaly making his hardness known.

 

“Mmf,” Vitaly pushed at Yulian. “S-slow down...just a bit...we’re supposed to hold out as long as possible, right?”

 

Yulian whined in annoyance but didn’t chase his brother. “J-just...something, anything. Please...it’s getting so hard to resist it, now.”

 

Vitaly thought about the hardness he had felt earlier. “Would...touching you help?”

 

“Please, yes...please,” Yulian begged quietly, fingers digging into the pillow beneath his head.

 

With a slight hesitation Vitaly reached between them and dipped his fingers under the thin fabric of Yulian’s boxers to wrap around his small length. They both gasped, the feeling new to each of them. Of course Vitaly had jacked off during his own ruts, but this...this was different. Far more intimate. Yulian was hot and wet in his hand as he slowly started to stroke. The omega bit down on the pillow stifling his moans and rocking his hips up into Vitaly’s hand.

 

Yulian came only moments later to his own surprise. “S-sorry!”

 

Vitaly couldn’t help but let out an amused huff. “That was the point, wasn’t it?”

 

“Yes, I just-,” Yulian looked away with heavy pants in embarrassment.

 

“Better?” Vitaly asked as he sat up and pulled the soiled boxers off of his brother, wiping his own hand on the cloth before getting up to discard it in the hamper. “Do you want me to get another pair?”

 

“Don’t bother,” Yulian answered. “And yes...sort of. God, it burns Vitasha...everything just burns and I just want to be touched and feel full and I hate it. I hate this.”

 

Vitaly sighed heavily, his heart aching at his brother’s words. There were many things that he could protect his brother from in this world, but this was not one of them. Looking down at his own clothes he noticed they were coated in slick and he kicked off his own sleep pants and shirt near the door. He still had yet to react physically to Yulian. It was something he didn’t know if he was grateful for or dreading. It would make things...much harder later on if he couldn’t get some sort of feeling.

 

They made it through the night with a few more handjobs and Yulian three fingers deep within himself as he buried his nose against Vitaly’s scent gland. Vitaly slipped out early while Yulian had gotten a few hours respite to shower and make an appearance to his family to not cause any sort of suspicion. He allowed Alyona to take food up and for Yuuri to check in without putting up any sort of fuss. It was the normal routine, after all.

 

“He seems to be handling it much better this time,” Yuuri commented absently. “I’m so glad. Maybe we can get him on some suppressants after this round, too. At least start the discussion.”

 

When Vitaly finally thought it was safe to join Yulian again he relayed the information, hoping it would bring his brother strength that this would be the last for a while, but the omega seemed too far gone now to understand him and he quickly found himself on his back, clothes being stripped from his body.

 

“I can’t wait any longer,” Yulian sobbed, sitting on Vitaly’s lap. “Please! Vitasha!”

 

“W-wait,” Vitaly held out a hand and his heart raced in a panic. While he knew this would come, a part of him had hoped maybe just his presence really would be enough. He still hadn’t even gotten hard. How was he supposed to do this?!

 

As if sensing his exact thoughts Yulian bent over and took Vitaly’s face in his hands. “Vitasha, I know. I know that you don’t like sex and it’s hard for you, but I need you to try and do this for me. Close your eyes. Think of anything. Anyone that will help.”

 

There was nothing, though. Vitaly couldn’t find any-he gasped in shock as Yulian’s mouth sunk down over his flaccid penis. It felt horribly wet and anything but pleasurable as the omega tried to suck and ended up biting. Vitaly yanked him off much harsher than he had meant to. “S-sorry just...teeth. Watch your teeth.” He tried to recount what Nobuo had told him, though terribly, he thought. At least, the second time, Yulian didn’t bite down.

 

As Yulian finally found some sort of rhythm Vitaly closed his eyes and let his head fall back onto the pillow. He searched for anything in his mind that would allow him to feel pleasure. Any at all. A gasp left his lips and a heat started to build the second he thought of him. Tears started to build behind his eyes in the shame of it. It shouldn’t have given him the spark that it did. Swallowing hard he squeezed back the tears behind his eyes and thought of him more and his cock finally showed signs of life.

 

Vitaly barely registered in time that Yulian had pulled back and was lining himself up. “Wait! Ulya! I-I have to get a condom.”

 

“No, it’s ok, we don’t need one,” Yulian answered, not pausing in his motions.

 

Vitaly rolled them over, tossing Yulian off of him. “That’s your omega talking, not you.” Despite Yulian’s hands desperately clawing at him he pulled away and rummaged through the bag that Nobuo had given him. He stared at the foiled square. This was getting all too real to quick. Swallowing down his nerves he got back onto the bed and tore open the package with shaking hands. He lacked the efficiency that Nobuo had in his demonstration, instead fumbling with trying to roll the latex on correctly. The combination of the frustration of the condom and Yulian trying to crawl onto him in the process was almost enough for him to lose the erection he’d worked so hard to get.

 

“Vitasha,” Yulian whined, laying back and spreading his legs. “Hurry. I need you so bad.”

 

Vitaly counted to ten in his head, trying to keep the panic attack at bay. Fingers. Right. Fingers first. Reaching down between Yulian’s legs Vitaly gathered up some slick and held his breath as he let his first finger slip in. There was no resistance at all as Yulian moaned.

 

“I’m ready already, please, put it in,” Yulian growled.

 

No. Nobuo had said not to listen. Vitaly ignored him, working the single digit in a few more times before adding a second finger that slipped in just as easily as the first. Yulian had been opening himself up but...Vitaly was big. Bigger than Yulian’s fingers. How...was this going to work? The third finger was met with a little of resistance, though not much. Still, Vitaly took longer this time, drowning out Yulian’s protests until he finally added a fourth finger. Yulian arched his back off the bed as Vitaly curled and opened his fingers within him.

 

“Please, please,” Yulian begged, tears streaming down his face. “Vitasha I need you now!”

 

Vitaly could hear his own heartbeat in his ears as he removed his fingers carefully. He couldn’t bare to see his brother suffer any longer. He had to do this. With trembling hands he lined himself up and pushed back at Yulian’s leg. Vitaly’s cock breached Yulian’s entrance and he barely moved further before Yulian’s moan turned into a hiss and he stopped immediately.

 

“I’m hurting you,” he panicked, “We have to stop-,”

 

“No!” Yulian grabbed at his arm, nails digging into his skin. “S-slow, god, Vitasha, you can’t stop now.”

 

Vitaly could feel it, the arousal and blood flow quickly retracting from his cock. Licking his lips he closed his eyes and pictured him again. That it was him beneath him...Slowly, ever so slowly, Vitaly let himself sink deeper into the omega until he could go no further. A loud gasp left Yulian’s lips, one that wasn’t of pain this time, but out of desperation.

 

Vitaly didn’t know how to move, not really. It was choppy and uncoordinated - something that shouldn’t have felt good at all. And yet, Yulian was too lost to care, eyes rolling back in his head and wanton noises leaving his lips. The entire time Vitaly just wished it to be over, the images becoming harder to hold onto in his mind as Yulian scratched and clawed at him begging him to do more and go faster.

 

“Vitalik…”

 

Vitaly’s eyes shot open with a gasp and he came fast and hard. It was by pure luck that he had been half-way out as his knot popped. His head whipped around to the door. Vitalik. It was still closed and locked. Nothing out of place.

 

“Mm...Vitasha…,” Yulian sighed, his own stomach painted white from his own releases, finally somewhat sated.

 

Pulling out almost too quickly Vitaly crawled back on the bed staring down at Yulian still in shock. The omega seemed to mostly ignore him, eyes fluttering shut in a blissed out state and preparing to sleep. In a mad dash Vitaly pulled at the condom and tied it off, tossing it in his bag of items to discard away from the onsen later and throwing on his clothes. He shouldn’t have left Yulian, not after what they’d just done, but the fear in the pit of his stomach was too much to bear.

 

Quietly, he dashed across the hall to his own room and slid the door shut almost too forcefully, likely to draw attention. A few hot tears dripped on his hand still on the door, his breaths hot and shaky in the silent room. Had...had Yulian accidently called him that? Or...had he been imaging it? Wanting it? Did it even matter…? When he finally was able to move he reached for his phone and pulled up Nobuo’s contact.

 

Me: I...I messed up…

 

/*/

 

Vitaly hated himself for not returning to Yulian the next day. He’d made a promise, and he was breaking it, but he couldn’t. It wasn’t because of Yulian. It wasn’t because of the sex. It was...it was because of himself. Much to his surprise, Yulian surfaced the morning of the fourth day with only a faint trace of heat smell still on him.

 

“See,” Yulian smiled when they were finally alone in their family room. “You helped. A lot. I’ve never had a heat end so quickly. Thank you...really. So much, Vitasha.”

 

Vitaly couldn’t believe his ears. “I...barely did anything, though. And...I was horrible.”

 

Yulian smiled with a soft blush and reached out to lace his fingers in Vitaly’s. “I don’t think I really cared too much, to be honest, and I’m sure I wasn’t much better. Things are always hazy when I get too deep. I don’t remember much.”

 

There was a relief that Vitaly couldn’t dare make known in that fact. “Well...I’m just...really glad it was worth it.”

 

Yulian brought their hands up and kissed the back of Vitaly’s. “I’m here for you, too, you know? If you ever need me...I’m here.”

 

It got easier the next year, and even easier the next. The older Yulian got, the more he grew into himself and into a beautiful omega, the easier it was to pretend and the easier it was for Vitaly to get lost in it. With such infrequence their experience never really improved but they found a rhythm that worked better and felt more natural. Vitaly never approached Yulian for his own needs. The guilt was too much.

 

When Yulian left for America and came home with a boyfriend, Vitaly knew it was the end of them. It made him smile knowing that his brother had finally found someone that could make him feel as safe as he had. That was what he had wanted all a long. But deep down…

 

Vitaly mourned the loss of the illusion.

 

Chapter Text

“Daddy why can’t make dangos?” Aiko questioned with a pout, standing firmly on the stool in front of Phichit at the countertop.

 

Phichit chuckled. “Because on Mother’s Day we make Mama’s favorite food, not yours, silly.”

 

Aikos’ lips pursed out in a pout. “Should be dangos.”

 

“Well, I’ll just let you tell him that, huh?” Phichit smiled as he continued helping his daughter prepare the ingredients for this evening’s katsudon. Alyona and Yulian were working on breakfast, everyone having gotten up early before Yuuri to make sure it was ready by the time their mother woke.

 

Hiroko was happily helping the two middle children prepare the fish and omelet dishes for breakfast. Even though Hiroko was just as much a mother as Yuuri, everyone had really rallied together every year since Yuuri’s return to focus on Yuuri. It was why Vitaly’s absence really bothered Phichit. It would hurt Yuuri beyond measure for his eldest son to not be here on this important day.

 

“Breakfast is ready, Daddy!” Alyona exclaimed happily, wiping her hands on her apron.

 

“I’ll set the table,” Yulian offered excitedly grabbing an armful of bowls and mats to take to the dining room.

 

Phichit breathed in and let out a groan of pleasure. “It smells amazing! I know your mama is going to love it! Ai-chan, you wanna take Marron and go wake up Mama?”

 

“Yeah!” Aiko grinned, slapping a chubby hand into the rice.

 

Helping her off the stool Phichit placed Aiko down on the floor and grabbed her hand. “Marron! Let’s go wake up Yuuri!” The little poodle wagged his tail and trotted along next to Aiko’s heel as they made their way down the hallway and up the stairs to Yuuri and Phichit’s shared room.  Phichit giggled as he watched Aiko stand on her tippy toes and struggle to reach the handle of the door. Finally feeling sorry for her he helped her out and slid it open so that the child and the dog could run in and trounce a sleeping Yuuri.

 

“Momma wake up!” Aiko shouted, Marron giving a yip in excitement.

 

Yuuri groaned and pulled up the covers and Phichit laughed as he, too, fell into the bed and started to pry away the sheets. “Happy Mother’s Day, baby.”

 

Frowning, Yuuri let the covers be pulled back to expose his over-the-top bedhead and glossy eyes. Aiko gave him a peck on the cheek. “Momma! We made bweakfast!”

 

The frown quickly disappeared and he wrapped a hug around his youngest daughter. “Thank you, baby. That was so sweet of you. I’ll be there in a minute, ok?”

 

“K!” Aiko beamed. “Come Marron!” The little girl and the dog jumped off the bed and skipped out of the room excitedly.

 

Phichit curled around Yuuri like an octopus and kissed his neck. “They all got up early and worked really hard for you.”

 

“I know,” Yuuri sighed, nuzzling up against Phichit’s chest. “Sorry, I’m just tired. I swear I’ll be up in a second.”

 

“You aren’t sick again, are you?” Phichit frowned, heart thumping with worry.

 

Yuuri shook his head, “Uh-uh. I just couldn’t get to sleep last night for some reason.”

 

Because of Vitaly. Phichit didn’t need to hear it to know. Yuuri had always had a sixth sense about his oldest. He thought twice about bringing it up, but figured it was better to address it away from his parents and the other children. “I haven’t seen Vitaly this morning…”

 

Yuuri looked up sadly at Phichit. “…Nothing?”

 

“No,” Phichit answered sadly. “I’m sure he’s okay, Yuuri…” But the omega didn’t believe it. How could he? Vitaly never missed Mother’s Day or Yuuri’s birthday. “Why don’t we go get something to eat, huh?”

 

Yuuri didn’t say anything, but allowed Phichit to drag him out of the bed and downstairs where he was bombarded by his other three children. That, at least, brought a smile to his face, but Phichit could still sense the sadness and worry in him. It wouldn’t go away until Vitaly returned.

 

Alyona and Aiko had gone out and picked flowers from the garden and put them at the center of the kotatsu where they all ate. Yulian had created his own frame for a photo of the entire family together that had Yuuri almost in tears as he hugged his son. The kids cleaned up so that Phichit could take Yuuri to the onsen, the two enjoying the private bath to themselves. Phichit had coordinated it as such, peppering Yuuri with kisses and massaging his back and shoulders.  Yuuri managed to relax for the hour or so until they got out and he was reminded of Vitaly’s absence as the kids prepared for dinner.

 

Phichit had gotten good enough at Japanese that he had heard the snide remarks from Yuuri’s parents and sister about Vitaly. The beta had the rockiest relationship with Vitaly out of the four children, but it didn’t mean he didn’t care or try. It hurt him to hear his family talk about him like that, and he knew it hurt Yuuri. As the hours went on it grew harder and harder for Yuuri to conceal him disappointment even with the katsudon the kids fed him.

 

Everyone had long retired for the night, Phichit putting the last final touches of clean-up in the kitchen as the clock struck ten. Yuuri sat silently at the kotatsu just waiting. Sighing, Phichit knelt and slipped his arms around Yuuri’s torso, tucking his chin into the omega’s neck. “Yuuri…you can’t just stay up all night worrying yourself sick.”

 

“I can’t sleep knowing my son could be hurt or worse, Phichit,” Yuuri answered shakily, the omega so close to breaking.

 

“I know, Yuuri, but there’s nothing you can-,”

 

The door slid open and Vitaly bounded in with a bouquet of pink and purple flowers in one arm and a package tucked under the other. “Mama! I’m so sorry!”

 

Yuuri sprung to his feet so quickly it knocked Phichit onto his back. Vitaly dropped both items from his arms as Yuuri lunged towards him with a hug, finally letting the tears spill. Phichit got to his feet and carefully picked up the flowers so that they wouldn’t get stepped on in the excitement. Vitaly was a mess, his hair disheveled and his suit out of place. There was a bleeding cut on his cheek and his right wrist was bandaged. Phichit’s eyes locked with his and he frowned, letting the alpha know that he knew what he had been up to and that he was disappointed. Vitaly’s eyes lowered in acknowledgement.

 

“I was so worried, Vitalik!” Yuuri sobbed, hands cradling Vitaly’s face and a concerned thumb rubbing under the cut. “Worried sick!”

 

“I’m so sorry,” Vitaly repeated. “I…I got caught up with work and then I had to get your present.”

 

“Baby, you know you don’t have to get me anything,” Yuuri said.

 

Vitaly bent down and picked up the package, holding it out towards his mother. “I know, but…this was important. I had to do this for you. Please.”

 

The box was heavy and Yuuri took it to the kotatsu to unwrap. Phichit watched on curiously as he grabbed a vase for the flowers. The moment Phichit saw the branding on the box he dropped the flowers on the counter and quickly scurried back into the dining room, eyes wide and heart beating frantically. Those were skates. Yuuri had been terrified of the rink ever since what had happened with Viktor. How could Vitaly do this?!

 

Yuuri had recognized the branding too, and his eyes were already starting to glaze over as he slowly opened the top and unveiled a black boot. A hand shook as his fingers touched the leather.

 

“Mama,” Vitaly started in a soft voice, “I know that you are scared. But you used to love skating and you were good at it. You were so beautiful out on the ice. You let Viktor take everything from you…don’t let him take that, too.”

 

Yuuri muffled a sob with a hand to his mouth and he was then he was wrapping his arms around Vitaly in a tight hug. “Thank you.”

 

Phichit let out a long breathe he had been holding and his shoulders relaxed. Maybe…maybe Yuuri was finally starting to heal. “Don’t worry, Yuuri, me and Alyona will be there to hold your hand!”

 

Yuuri let out a half-laugh half-sob as he wiped at his eyes. “Promise?”

 

“Promise,” Phichit smiled.

 

Chapter Text

Yuri hated kids. So when Viktor decided to bring that fatso of an omega into their family to act as a broodmare, Yuri almost lost his shit. Within a month the omega was already pregnant, indicating high fertility and compatibility with Viktor. The fact that anyone could be compatible with his half-brother made him nauseous, but this also meant there was likely to be an army of rugrats he’d have to deal with in the future.

 

Vitaly had ended up being the spitting image of Viktor, increasing Yuri’s need to vomit. Not only that, but the older the kid got, the more he followed Viktor around like a lost little puppy. Vitaly clearly admired Viktor – why Yuri couldn’t figure out. Viktor was the world’s greatest asshole, even to his own people, and especially his mate. They weren’t the idiots Viktor made them all out to be. Viktor’s idea of love was enslavement. Why Georgi and Yakov went along with it was beyond him.

 

When Viktor happily announced that Yuuri was pregnant with their second child, Yuri had started spending more and more time in Kazakhstan. Otabek let him stay as long as he needed whenever he needed. Yuri was thankful neither he nor Otabek were omegas. While the rest of the world moved away from the typical secondary gender roles, Eastern Europe and Russia in particular had stayed quite traditional. Yuuri would likely remain pregnant as long as his body would allow it. Viktor had only waited as long as he had between children because Yuuri had fallen ill.

 

Yulian, Yuri knew, was in trouble. Even at such a young age he was timid and reclusive. Viktor had quickly picked up on it and subtly cast him aside. It was already determined by everyone that Vitaly would present as an alpha and be Viktor’s heir. They were all likely right. Yulian had approached Yuri once, trying to talk to him, but the moment Yuri told him to scram he had broken out in tears. An omega in the making – just like the scum he took after in looks.

 

A multitude of miscarriages followed and Yuri would whoop in excitement with each and every one. Hopefully, this would mean the end of it. Both boys were old enough they stayed out of the way and left Yuri alone, but a new baby would mean more crying and more annoyances.

 

But then it happened…the day he came back from Kazakhstan and noticed the change in Vitaly. The love and admiration he had always seen in those blue eyes for Viktor had been snuffed out. There was a darkness in its place. Yuri knew that look so very well. What did he see…? What did my brother do…? The curiosity was too much for him to bear.

 

One day he finally caught Vitaly alone in the hall as he made his way from his father’s office to his mother’s study Viktor had allowed him to create. “Hey. Kid. Why do you always look like you want to run away from your old man all the time, huh?” Vitaly shot him a glare, but did not answer. Yuri liked this side of the kid. “Come on. Tell your Dyadya what happened. I promise not to tell.”

 

Vitaly’s small fists clenched. “Papa hurt Mama.”

 

Ohhhh. Well, this was bound to happen, of course. Vitaly was starting to get to that age he may not have fully understood what rape was, but that something bad was happening to Yuuri at the hands of his own mate. “Your Papa hurts a lot of people, your Dyadya included.”

 

Vitaly’s face scrunched up, a mixture of confusion and sadness. “I thought Papa only hurt bad people.”

 

Yuri had to keep himself from laughing. “Is that what he said? Is your mama a bad person?”

 

“No!” Vitaly hissed back with an angry scowl. “Mama is the nicest person! No one should hurt him! Ever!”

 

“What do you think should happen to people that hurt your mama?” Yuri asked, purposefully baiting the child.

 

Without the slightest bit of hesitation, “They should be hurt, too!”

 

Yuri smirked. “Well. Then get strong, little Vitalik. Get big and strong for your mama and hurt your papa for what he’s done.”

 

Vitaly was silent, contemplating his uncle’s words. “H-how?”

 

With a huff, Yuri ruffled his silver hair. “You’ll figure it out. But whatever it is, make sure he gets what he deserves.”

 

Vitaly looked determined. “I’m going to make him hurt. I promise.”

 

“Good.”

 

There wasn’t much a child could do, of course, but the constant glares the child shot his father behind his back was enough for Yuri to know that he had set Vitaly down the right path.  It was interesting how much more Vitaly had thrown himself at Viktor after that conversation. Keep your enemies close…Smart kid. Very smart. Maybe too smart.

 

And then just when Yuri thought he might be free of children, Yuuri got pregnant again and this time made it to term. A girl. Yuri breathed out a sigh of relief, figuring a girl would less likely be out to annoy him. Boy, had he been oh so wrong.

 

“Dyadya!” Alyona tugged at the hem of his jacket, barely able to reach it on her tippy-toes. “Can I play with your hair?”

 

“No,” Yuri hissed, tugging his jacket away.

 

“Can you play with mine?”

 

“No!”

 

“Why do you like tigers?”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“I like tigers!”

 

“Good for you.”

 

“Is Beka your mate? Like Papa and Mama?”

 

“No!”

 

“I think you should mate!”

 

“I don’t care. Now go!”

 

“You’re pretty!”

 

Yuri would never in a million years admit that he had blushed behind his mane of blonde hair, quickly scurrying away to a place Alyona couldn’t find him. He definitely would never admit that when he saw a tiger doll in the window of a shop, he had gotten it for her. It came with a bow that she wore in her hair. She went around parading how her Dyadya got it for her.  It had led to complete and utter embarrassment and taunting from Georgi, Mila, and many others in the house.

 

“You did that one to yourself,” Otabek had scoffed in amusement.

 

“Shut up!” Yuri had thrown a pillow at him.

 

So many more miscarriages followed Alyona that the doctors had eventually called Yuuri infertile, his body too traumatized to bear anymore children. It had made Viktor angry, and the entire family could hear how Viktor had tried to prove everyone wrong for weeks on end. But every test came back negative.

 

Just shy of six years after Alyona, Yuuri had gotten terribly sick, and the doctor confirmed he was miraculously with child. Viktor had almost cried at the news. It was downright disgusting. Yuri then made the choice to leave for good, moving in with Otabek on a permanent basis.

 

Apparently it had been just in time.

 

A few months later, news of Viktor’s death at the hands of his own son had spread like wildfire among the Bratva. When Otabek had told him, Yuri had only thrown back his head and laughed hysterically. Good for you kid…looks like you kept your promise. Yuri had never felt more alive than the year that followed. Everyone was scrambling to find order and structure within Viktor’s house. Yuri was the rightful owner of the title of Pakhan, of course, but he did not want it. The freelance work he did with Otabek was where he belonged.

 

Then the Yakuza came.

 

Vitaly had sold them out. He’d sold them all out to keep his family safe in Japan. All of the Bratva were hunted down and murdered with ease, all their locations and secrets handed to the Yakuza on a polished silver platter. Yuri and Otabek thought they would be safe from the massacre, but they were wrong.

 

They were being hunted.

 

Smart kid. Very smart. Too smart.

 

No matter where they ran, no matter which country they hid in, the Yakuza found them.

 

“I’m tired of running!” Yuri slammed his fist into mirror of the shitty motel they were currently hiding out in.

 

“I don’t know what else to do,” Otabek confessed. “We cannot outrun them. We cannot take them on.”

 

Angrily, Yuri ran his fingers through his long hair and pulled. He knew what they had to do. Keep your enemies close… “We go to Japan. We ask Vitaly to pull them off us.”

 

“That’s suicide,” Otabek scowled.

 

“Better than waiting for our murder.”

 

It had taken some time, and two more changes of location before they received a lead on Vitaly’s location. It was risky, trying to get in to Japan while they were being hunted. Their only hope was that they would be complacent, figuring their prey would never enter the lion’s den.

 

The onsen was in a quiet town, non-descript and barely on the map. A perfect hiding spot for Vitaly and his family to lay low and off anyone’s radar. They waited until after the various customers had left, but before the business had locked up for the night. They were greeted by an older couple who did not look up, likely telling them in Japanese that they were about to close.

 

“Where is Yuuri?” Yuri scowled in English.

 

That caught their attention quickly. “N-not here. Leave!” The man ordered. The woman ran off. Yuri figured she was going off to find Yuuri and warn him. His green eyes looked to Otabek who nodded and turned his attention to the various entry and exit points.

 

“I know that omega whore and his spawn are here,” Yuri growled. “I want to talk to him!”

 

“Get. Out!”

 

It took Yuri a minute to realize he was being yelled at in Russian. Blinking, he saw none other than Yuuri stomping forward with an angry fire in his eyes. Yuri smiled. “Well, well, the pig is still alive after all. Gotta say, I’m surprised you survived a broken bond like that.”

 

“I almost didn’t, no thanks to you!” Yuuri growled, place himself between the older man and him. “Leave. You are not welcome here!”

 

“Oh? I can’t see my niece and nephews? I’m family, Katsudon. I have a right.” Yuri took a step forward into Yuuri’s space threateningly. There was no way he was going to be intimidated by an omega.

 

Yuuri didn’t back down, though, much more aggressive and assertive than he had ever been in the presence of Viktor. “They are my children and you will not see them.”

 

Yuri flicked an eye to the side, noticing Otabek had caught a runner. It was a little girl. Couldn’t have been more than two or three.

 

“Yuuri!” The older man cried. “Aiko!”

 

Yuuri’s demeanor immediately changed. Yuri could feel the omega crying out like a desperate mother. “Oh, whose this?” Yuri asked, running his fingers tauntingly through the girl’s silver hair. There was no mistaking who this girl was. “Must be the little shit you were pregnant with before you went and let your son kill my brother.”

 

“Daddy!”

 

“Aiko!”

 

Yuri lifted a curious eyebrow as another person entered the room. A beta with dark skin and hair. “Daddy? Moved on so quickly, huh? You really are a whore. Let her go, Beka, we aren’t here for her.”

 

Otabek released the girl who started running before her feet even touched the ground, leaping straight into the beta’s arms. She was handed off to the eldest and they were gone.

 

“Why did you come?” Yuuri asked, moving closer to his now mate.

 

“Your son,” Otabek answered, his voice much more calm and collected than Yuri’s.

 

“Vitaly killed Viktor,” Yuri started. “I could see it – the anger and hatred in his eyes towards my idiot brother. It was the same look I gave him on a daily basis. Can’t believe the old man didn’t see it coming. But word has gotten around rather quickly about our precious little Vitalik. He’s become quite infamous the way he sold us all out.” Yuri’s green eyes went cold. “He’s completely destroyed the Russian mafia single handedly.” And I did it. I set him down this path…

 

“Perhaps you should have thought about that before you helped my father kidnap and rape my mother.” Yuri looked up at the new intruder, eyes wide at how Vitaly had grown. How he had grown to look just like Viktor. It wasn’t just in the slicked back silver hair and the blue eyes, but the way he held himself and spoke in a cool voice that sent shivers down the spines of everyone in the room.  

 

“Vitalik, please, go. Don’t get involved,” Yuuri begged his son, but Vitaly did not stop in his advance.

 

“They wanted to see me, so they can see me,” Vitaly shrugged, crossing his arms in a green robe without a care in the world.

 

Yuri scowled at such nonchalant behavior. “Look at you. Ended up just like Daddy after all, didn’t you?” Yuri did not miss the way Vitaly tensed at the accusation, jaw tightening and nails digging into his own biceps. “Didn’t take you long to sell out to the Yakuza.”

 

“I did what I had to. As did you. What is it you want, Dyadya?” Vitaly questioned, quickly losing his patience. Just like Viktor always did.

 

Yuri swallowed, suddenly feeling uneasy and a strong sense of fear. Maybe Otabek had been right. This was suicide. “To leave us alone.”

 

Vitaly only laughed and Yuri felt like he was nothing but a peon – an omega beneath this alpha’s gaze. Yuri was twice his age and yet he felt so incredibly small. “Oh? What’s this, Dyadya? Do I scare you? Just like father? You have come into my country,” he took a step forward, “Into my family’s home,” another, “Scared my beloved and pure baby sister,” another, “Insulted my mother,” he stopped just shy of Yuri, “And insulted me. And it is you who want to be left alone?”

 

Otabek placed a hand on Yuri’s chest and scooted him back and behind him, taking on Vitaly himself. Yuri could only stare at Vitaly, unable to take his eyes off of him. “Ever since Viktor was killed we have been hunted. We want it to stop. We will never return to Japan and will not harm your family if you tell the Yakuza to back down.”

 

“I fail to see what I get from this,” Vitaly fired back. “This onsen is under the protection of the Yakuza under my hand. You are already being watched, I promise you. The second you leave this place you will be dead unless I change my mind. So tell me – why should I call them off?”

 

 “Vitalik…let them go. Please,” Yuuri’s soft voice begged. “We don’t need any more violence. There’s been enough.”

 

“Still nursing off of Mama’s nipple, huh?” Yuri spat. He immediately realized his mistake in his quick response, Vitaly’s hands immediately on him and grabbing his jaw with such strength. Just like Viktor used to do. Vitaly was no longer the son of his brother, but a fearsome Pakhan.

 

Leaning in, Vitaly hovered above Yuri’s ear. Yuri shivered. “The only reason you still breathe is because I allow it, and the only reason I still allow it is because I still nurse off my mother’s nipple. Remember that, Dyadya. Besides, was it not you who told me to make sure Viktor got what he deserved?” Turning towards Otabek he scowled, “Cage your cat and I will make sure I call off my dogs. But if either of you ever step foot into Japan, I will have you both killed without question. Do I make myself clear?”

 

Yuri yanked himself from Vitaly’s hold and nodded vigorously.  “We’ll leave. Tonight.”

 

“Safe travels,” Vitaly responded, turning his back to his uncle.

 

For the last time.

 

Yuri and Otabek were out the door in an instant, Yuri running, running, running. When he finally stopped, he broke down and cried.

Chapter Text

Vitaly - 18

 

“I think you should leave the onsen.”

 

Vitaly stopped in his tracks, crossing his arms and turning his head in the direction of the voice, Phichit having been hiding away in the shadows. As if Vitaly hadn’t known he was there to begin with. Hmph. “If anyone should be leaving the onsen it’s you.”

 

Phichit’s dark eyes narrowed. “No one feels comfortable with you around, Vitaly, and I especially don’t like you around Aiko. Or Yuuri.”

 

Face twitching in anger, Vitaly balled his fists. “Aiko is the most important person to me in the world next to Mama. I would hang the moon and all the stars for her. How dare you? You are the outsider here, not me.”

 

“You’re sick, Vitaly,” Phichit argued. “It’s not your fault, you were brought up in a terrible situation, but you need help! It’s not normal! A 19 year old sleeping in his mother’s bed and still breast feeding of all things! I’ve put up with a lot of it – for Yuuri – but I’m done! You are a danger to everyone here!”

 

Vitaly took several steps forward until he was right in Phichit’s face, his much taller frame towering over the Thai beta. “Oh. I see. You’re jealous. Jealous that it’s me that gets to suck on Mama’s nipple and not you. Jealous that it’s my mark on his neck instead of yours. Jealous that he’s my mate.”

 

Phichit shoved Vitaly back angrily. “He’s not your mate! He’s your mother, and the fact you even think like that is just proof to what I’ve said all along! You. Need. Help. I understand that Yuuri agreed to it so he could survive, but I don’t trust you for a second. Yuuri can preach to me all day long that what goes on between the two of you is nothing more than mother and son, and I’m sure to him that’s true, but I see the way you look at him. I see the way you want, and it’s sick, and it’s wrong.”

 

Slamming a hand on the wall Vitaly caged Phichit in. “Do you know how easy it would be for me to lay claim to Mama as his alpha? How I could have made him succumb to me during his last few heats with nothing? And yet I didn’t. I stayed away and let you handle it because I’m a good son and I know for whatever ridiculous reason I can’t understand he loves you.”

 

“And it hurt him! It was painful for him to go through his heat without an alpha! All you’ve done is caused him more pain!” Phichit spat.

 

Vitaly snorted. “Well. Maybe if you weren’t such a weak and useless beta, you could have done something about it and we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

 

“Fuck you!” Phichit shoved at him again, teeth gritting together in his fury. “You are dangerous, and one day you’re going to hurt someone – if you haven’t already! I won’t let it be Yuuri!”

 

Vitaly slammed a hand right on Phichit’s chest, just below his neck. A clear threat. Leaning in, he brushed his lips against Phichit’s ear. “I killed my father. Is that what you want to hear? That I brutally murdered him? That I stabbed him with a knife over, and over, and over again until there was nothing left of him? I did. And it felt good. And you know what, Phichit? Mama knows. He was there. He held me close, kissed my head, and cleaned the blood from my hair. He loves me even still. I have killed for Mama once, Phichit,” his hand slid further up Phichit’s neck, “And I would not hesitate to do it again.”

 

“Is that a threat?” Phichit scowled, lifting chest and straightening his spine in a show of bravery.

 

“Just a statement,” Vitaly responded, giving the beta his space back.

 

“If I have to call the police and have you committed, I will,” Phichit said, “And that’s a threat.”

 

Vitaly laughed, low and menacing. “The police? You mean the ones whose salary is paid by the Yakuza?” He lifted his right arm and let the robe sleeve fall down, exposing the dragon that wrapped around his forearm. “You’re right. I can be very dangerous, Phichit, but only if you make me. Don’t make me.” Letting his sleeve slide back down he turned his back. “Sleep well.”

 

Phichit slammed a fist into the wall, silent tears streaming down his cheeks.

 

Chapter Text

Vitaly - 17/18

Secretly, Vitaly knew that one day he’d have to. One day he would be required - forced - to go under the needle and paint his skin with traditional Yakuza ink. He dreaded it. Not because he feared the pain or didn’t appreciate the artistry in the work. No, it was because then his mother would know. Yuuri already knew, if Vitaly was honest with himself. Mothers know everything. Tattoos, though, would leave no doubt.

 

He’s 17 when Nobuo starts to put the bug in his ear.

 

“You gotta do it,” the beta said. “At least a part of you. No one expects you to get your whole body done, especially since you’re gaijin and all, but you have to pledge at least a limb to Oyabun.”

 

There’s no use fighting it. Vitaly knows. “Fine…”

 

Later that week, Nobuo is dragging him to a shop at night. The artist is extremely skilled and draws directly onto Vitaly’s right arm and shoulder, not even using any sort of reference material. His own imagination is all he needs. The man draws the dragon that is the symbol of their clan and throws in blossoms of various types. Vitaly specifically requests for cherry blossoms to be included in honor of his mother. He sits for six hours that night before his skin goes completely red and raw and the artist calls it a night. Only his shoulder down to his elbow has been lined.

 

It’s almost a month later before Vitaly is able to go back and he dreads it even more this round. The aftercare was worse than actually getting the tattoo, he thought. It stung like a sunburn at first, then got disgusting and peeled, and then itched like hell for days. Worse than that, he couldn’t use the onsen while this whole thing was being done. There’s another five hours in the chair, Nobuo teasing him every time his face would scrunch up in pain. The elbow was literally one of the worst things Vitaly had ever experienced in his life.

 

Vitaly didn’t go back immediately after the outline was healed to start the coloring process. He needed a few months. Maybe even a year. It would likely take Nobuo dragging him back. Eventually, he got so used to the sight of the ink that it was almost as if he forgot he had it. One day, he fell careless, and wore a short-sleeve shirt as the spring started to show.

 

“Vita-nii! What’s on your arm!?” Aiko asked curiously.

 

It was then that he had realized his mistake. “I...it’s a tattoo.” What else could he possibly say?

 

“What is it?” Aiko tilted her head curiously, carefully grabbing her brother’s arm and trying to make out the design. “Ohh! Dragon?”

 

“A dragon,” Vitaly confirmed. “And flowers. I haven’t had time to get it colored just yet.”

 

Aiko’s brown eyes lit up and she grabbed a few markers she’d been playing with from the table. “I’ll color it!!”

 

Vitaly let his rare smile show, then, and held out his arm for his sister to color. Without hesitation she eagerly got to work coloring his arm in bright blues, pinks, and purples. The alpha almost wished he could actually have these colors when the time came, just as a nice reminder of his sister that could forever be on his skin. The real ink would be duller, less vibrant.

 

“Aiko! What on earth are you doing?” Yuuri’s voice called out as Aiko worked her way up to Vitaly’s bicep.

 

“Coloring Vita-nii’s tattoo!” Aiko proudly answered.

 

Vitaly could feel the wave of anxiety from Yuuri. Their bond was still new, and while Vitaly was still learning how to control his emotions through it, Yuuri was experienced. It was rare to let something like this slip through.

 

“Oh...a tattoo?” Yuuri asked, voice almost breaking. “Did it hurt…?”

 

Vitaly couldn’t look his mother in the eyes. “A bit.”

 

“Mama, isn’t it pretty!?” Aiko asked.

 

“Very pretty, baby,” Yuuri responded. “I’ve never seen a pink dragon before!”

 

“Will you get it colored pink for real?” Aiko asked, absolutely serious in her question.

 

Vitaly chuckled. “Ah, no. I think it’ll probably be green.”

 

Aiko scrunched her face up unhappily. “Should be pink.”

 

Yuuri didn’t talk about it again, but Vitaly could feel the sorrow well enough. The guilt ate at him for days and it indeed took Nobuo dragging him back to the shop months later - long after Aiko’s coloring had washed away - to start the first session of color. By the end of it, it took almost a full year before the sleeve was finished. It was beautiful. Vitaly couldn’t deny that at all. The colors were vibrant and popped against his pale skin. A work of art.

 

Eventually, just as the outline had become, the sleeve in its entirety became just a part of him he no longer noticed. What he did notice, though, was people’s reactions to it. The taunts of being called a gaijin ceased entirely. Those that had tried to bully him suddenly stepped back. There was a power to the art that Vitaly hadn’t realized he would gain.

 

He learned to love his ink, then.

 

Nobuo ends up with the majority of his body covered in the ink. Vitaly never feels the need. The arm is enough.

 

A year after Mochi came into his life, he gets a fox added to his chest.

Chapter Text

Vitaly 18 Nobuo 19

 

“You know, I’ve never asked before,” Vitaly started, eyes ever watchful through the window on the streets below, “But how is it you got involved in all of this?”

 

“Involved in what?” Nobuo responded, fingers tapping away vigorously on the keyboard.

 

Was that him? Mm, no, too short. “The Yakuza. Were you born into it? You seem like you’ve been involved for quite some time.”

 

The typing ceased and the pause was long enough Vitaly spared a second’s glance from the window to look at the beta who had a nervous twitch in his face now. “It’s...yeah you could say I was born into it. Born into not having any other choice.”

 

It was fairly normal that Nobuo would get like this - twitchy, hyperactive, sometimes with a nervous anxiety - but this seemed...different. Uncomfortable, maybe? Vitaly returned his attention back to the window. “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”

 

Nobuo went silent and Vitaly figured the subject was being dropped until he started talking again. “My mom was a prostitute and a heavy drug user. Definitely did drugs while she was pregnant with me, to the point I apparently suffered withdrawals as a fucking newborn.”

 

Ah. Well, that explained many things. So it wasn’t just a form of ADHD that always had him pacing, bouncing his legs, or made him fidget all day. Nobuo was lucky, he thought, to have only come out with those issues. No physical deformities and he was mostly in his right mind.

 

“We were poor as fuck, constantly bouncing around from shitty apartment to shitty apartment with whatever alpha she was fucking at the time,” Nobuo went on, a bitter bite in his tone. “Any money she did make she spent on drugs. Spent half my childhood starving. I learned to steal real damn quick.”

 

It was hard to imagine Nobuo having come from that background. He was always put together and looked clean despite his unruly hair. Thin, but not emaciated by any means. A small pang of guilt pulsed in his chest. As terrible as Vitaly’s childhood had been, he had never wanted for anything in Viktor’s care. He briefly wondered how many scars the beta’s extensive tattoos covered.

 

“I honestly don’t know how old I was. Don’t even know my real birthday, just the one I chose. But one day she just up and left me,” Nobuo shrugged. “Didn’t want to deal with me anymore. Which was fine. I didn’t want to deal with her anymore, either.”

 

Vitaly clenched his jaw. He couldn’t imagine a life without his mother. If Yuuri had ever left him...he would have died. He knew it. It was depressing to hear Nobuo speak so distastefully of his own mother, even despite the circumstances. His mother was still his mother at the end of the day.

 

Nobuo relaxed back into the chair rocking it back to balance on the back legs. “I got involved in local gangs. Just small groups. It was easy work pickpocketing rich assholes and stealing food for our group from markets. In exchange I had a nice abandoned warehouse to stay in. It wasn’t that bad, honestly. I lived a better life doing that than with my mom.”

 

Vitaly only responded with a hum of acknowledgement and understanding, not wanting to disrupt his storytelling with any questions.

 

“Unfortunately, one day, I pickpocketed the wrong rich asshole,” Nobuo scoffed.

 

“Yakuza,” Vitaly commented.

 

“Yeah, Yakuza,” Nobuo nodded. “I got caught and they dragged me into an alley where they beat the ever living shit out of me. They didn’t expect me to still be a crafty little bitch even with my face beat in, though. I was able to grab a knife from one of them during the middle of it and…”

 

Nobuo trailed off again, Vitaly barely catching the way his breath shook at the end. Once more he dared look away from his post and saw Nobuo staring at the floor with clenched fists, a shake in his body as he fought to keep his breathing under control. “Nobuo...you don’t have to-,”

 

“L-let’s just say I killed them...with excessive force,” Nobuo managed to get out. “Like, a lot more necessary than especially a kid should have been able to put out.”

 

Vitaly could see it in the eyes. The way the memory alone spooked him. “You lost control. Is...that why you aren’t allowed on the front lines of anything?”

 

Nobuo’s mouth twitched up into an uncomfortable smile and his leg started to bounce. “Y-yeah. Something like that...Apparently the sight of blood just really works me up, you know? Um...anyway. So, apparently there was another clan trying to track down the assholes that beat me and one of them found me in the alley. His name was Suzuki. He cared for my injuries and took me to his hotel room. Fed and clothed me. He’d seen what I’d done and...well, he offered me a place in the family. Said I could be useful, especially with my age. No one would expect an 8-year-old or whatever fishing around for information.”

 

“So you’ve been with the clan for that long? Since you were a child?” And Vitaly thought he was crazy for joining at 15.

 

“Yeah, but...it was the best thing that could ever happen to me,” Nobuo confessed. “Suzuki took me in not just as clan family but real family. He took care of me better than I’d ever known.”

 

Vitaly didn’t recognize the name. “What happened to him?”

 

“Fucking car accident, can you believe it?” Nobuo let out an amused huff. “No foul play. No special con from another clan. Just a regular everyday car accident. I didn’t cry when my mom left me. I didn’t even cry when I was left for dead in that alley. But when I heard that Suzuki had died, I cried.”

 

The alpha didn’t need to look over to feel the emotion the beta was letting off even without the help of pheromones announcing his distress. “What happened then? Where did you go? That couldn’t have been recent.”

 

“Oyabun took me in,” Nobuo explained. “He wasn’t Oyabun yet, not for another year, but he and Suzuki had been partners. Like you and me.”

 

A realization. “That’s why he trusted you with me so easily at the beginning.”

 

“Told me to take you in as my brother,” Nobuo agreed. “So, as your brother, it was my obligation to give you shit all the time. Naturally.”

 

Vitaly huffed with a smile. “Naturally.” Even in the face of tragedy the beta always deflected with jokes. Now, at least, he knew why. He understood the behavior better. Vitaly tensed suddenly as his blue eyes locked onto the target. “He’s here.”

 

Nobuo’s chair dropped to the floor and he was furiously typing away once again on the computer as if the conversation had never happened at all. Putting in his earpiece he nodded to Vitaly. “We’re set.”

 

Vitaly placed his fingers on the table in front of Nobuo. “Are we…?” Are you ok? Can you do this? Should we call it off?

 

Nobuo gave him a confident nod, eyes warm in their understanding and thanks. “Go get ‘em.”

Chapter Text

Alyona 11, Yulian 16

 

Alyona loving catching Yulian practicing his dance at the onsen. It was always when the omega thought that no one was watching in the empty banquet room or outside on the wrap-around porch if the weather was good enough. Yulian was beautiful and elegant, moving with grace that Alyona could only hope to have out on the ice. She was more power and grit.

 

Usually, Alyona watched quietly, not wanting to disrupt Yulian, but this time she couldn’t keep her silence. Carefully, as to not startle him, she slid the door open with a bit of force to draw his attention to her. Yulian immediately paused in his movements.

 

“Alya, what are you doing?” Yulian asked out of curiosity.

 

“Ulya, I want you to teach me how to dance,” she spoke with determination. “Papa says I’m a jumping bean, but that I’m not very graceful.”

 

Yulian chuckled. “Well, he might be a little right.”

 

Alyona stuck out her tongue. “You aren’t supposed to agree with him!”

 

“Sorry, sorry,” Yulian apologized waving her in to the room instead of just standing by the door. “I’d love to help you, Alya. Why don’t you come with me to the studio for my lessons with Minako-senpai?”

 

“Yes!” She beamed eagerly. “I’ll teach you how to skate in exchange! You were really good, you know.”

 

Yulian maneuvered Alyona into a position of his desire while they talked, straightening her out and lifting her chin. “I’m not bad, and I like it, though I prefer to dance. I’d love to spend time with you on the ice, though. I like to spin.”

 

“Papa wants to work on my Beilmann but he says I’m not flexible enough,” Alyona pouted, wrinkling her nose up at the chastising she’d gotten from Phichit yesterday about it. He was right, of course, but Alyona hated hearing it and refused to admit there was a problem with her flexibility.

 

“Well, I can help you with that, too,” he promised. “How about we work on that today?”

 

Alyona immediately groaned in protest.

 

“None of that,” Yulian chided. “You want help or not? I promise to tell Phichit you are going out of your way to work on things if you’re good.”

 

“Fine,” she drew out the word in annoyance, mimicking her brother’s movements into their first stretches. It was the cost of spending more time with her favorite brother, she supposed.

 

A month later she nailed her Beilmann, earning her an excited applause from Phichit and tons of praise. When she got home she tackled Yulian in her excitement sending them both tumbling to the floor.

 

/*/

 

Alyona 14, Vitaly 22

 

With an annoyed and frustrated sigh, Alyona dropped her bookback off at the top of the stairs and padded over to the couch where she plopped down on it with a bit of extra exaggeration. Another day where Masato had been fucking relentless with teasing her. She swore if they were still both kids on the playground he’d pull her hair and push her down as a way of expressing his love. Being an assumed beta (she hadn’t presented even yet at 14), was probably the only thing keeping him from popping a knot in public around her.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

Alyona looked up, surprised that it was Vitaly that asked her the question. She and Vitaly had never been exceptionally close. Nothing against him, they were just...different. They’d never really connected like she had with Yulian. Vitaly had always seemed just so...cold. Still, he was her brother, and she loved him. “It’s nothing…”

 

“It’s not nothing,” Vitaly argued, offering up a piece of biscuit he had been eating.

 

Taking it graciously she hummed in thought as she nibbled on it. “This boy at school won’t leave me the hell alone. I want to punch him in his stupid face but the school frowns on that.”

 

Vitaly frowned and crossed his arms. “Is he harassing you? Hurting you?”

 

“No!” Alyona quickly answered, knowing that her brother was about to offer to cut the boy’s head off. “Gosh, Vitasha, everything is always zero to a hundred with you. He isn’t being mean just...persistent.”

 

Vitaly relaxed, but only slightly. “Have you told him you aren’t interested?”

 

“Well,” Alyona hesitated. This is where it got tricky. “Sort of?”

 

That caused the alpha to raise an eyebrow. “Are you interested?”

 

Alyona shook her head slowly. “I don’t...no. I...I think I like girls.”

 

Vitaly let his arms fall to his side and a small smile graced his lips. “Ah. There’s nothing wrong with that, Alya. I don’t like girls.”

 

Alyona rolled her eyes. “You don’t like anyone !”

 

“True,” he agreed, “but if I did I’d be into men. Alya, listen, it doesn’t matter. Male, female, alpha, omega, beta. Love who you love as long as they are kind to you.”

 

“I know it doesn’t matter, I guess, I just wasn’t really sure...until talking to you,” she admitted. “But...now I can say it for certain.” She smiled up at him. “Thanks, Vitasha! I’m gonna go get me a pretty lady!”

 

Vitaly blinked in surprise and then chuckled. “You’re welcome. Though, Alya? Male or female, it doesn’t matter - I will kill them if they hurt you.”

 

A little chill ran down Alyona’s spine knowing the words to not be a joke but an actual threat. “Geez, Vitasha...I’ll be sure to be the heartbreaker, alright? That one no one dies.”

 

“Well, the offer still stands of course, in case you ever change your mind,” Vitaly told her.

 

Rolling her eyes again she headed up to her room, though with a lighter heart and a huge smile.

Chapter Text

Vitaly 20, Yulian 18

 

“I’ve missed this,” Yulian commented, taking a bite of his green tea ice cream and licking his lips in delight. “New York is so…busy all the time. And loud.”

“Oh, and here I thought you were talking about me,” Vitaly huffed, moving just far enough away that they were no longer brushing shoulders as they walked down the sidewalk of the beach. It was quiet here, as it always was. 

Yulian quickly closed the gap, purposefully bumping up against Vitaly enough that he hobbled. “I definitely missed you. You know that.”

Vitaly lifted a finger and gently wiped his brother’s chin where some ice cream had dribbled from his lips. There was a slight urge to lick it off, but he quickly pushed it down much easier than he used to. “I can’t help but feel a little jealous when I see your photos with Dylan…are you happy, Ulya?”

Cheeks flushing slightly, Yulian gave a nod in response. “A lot. I feel safe with him – almost as safe as I do with you.”

“Almost?” Vitaly questioned in amusement with a perfectly arched eyebrow.

Reaching forward, Yulian took Vitaly’s hand in his, lacing their fingers together. “No one could ever replace you, Vitasha – ever.”

Vitaly’s heart swelled at the compliment and his brother’s touch. All those times he'd look at Yulian's Instagram and worry he was being replaced vanishing. 

“Oi! Katsuki! Finally found an omega whore of your own?”

Vitaly’s demeanor changed instantly, eyes narrowing angrily and jaw clenching tight. His hand tightened around Yulian’s and he pulled him close protectively. A soft growl rumbled in the back of his throat. “Someone sounds jealous, Yoshida-san. Still being rejected by every alpha, omega, and beta in Japan?”

Yoshida approached them with another alpha to his right. They weren’t any taller than Vitaly, but they were clearly more muscular. “I could have any bitch I want, including yours. Looks nice. I kind of want a taste.”

Vitaly released Yulian’s hand and stood tall in front of him. “Idi domoy, Ulya.”

“Nyet! I won’t leave you alone!” Yulian protested, face stern and certain. “I can fight.”

Dirty gaijin!” The other alpha hissed, reaching out a grabby hand towards Yulian.

Vitaly was lightning quick, arm wrapping around the alpha and using the leverage to toss him to the ground despite his size disadvantage. Chaos erupted, then, Yoshida making a move for Yulian who dodged his arms and squatted down low before launching with his powerful legs at the man’s torso. It sent both alpha and omega to the concrete, but Yulian was slow to recover. Too slow. As Yulian was rolling off, Yoshida grabbed at his ankle and yanked him back down. Vitaly locked an arm around Yoshida’s throat, but the other alpha had regained his footing and pried him off and away.

Yoshida flipped Yulian roughly and wrapped his large hand around the omega’s slender throat, cutting off his air. “I’m gonna fuck you until you learn your place!”

Something struck the side of Yoshida’s head and his body went flying. Just as he gave his head a shake and went to lift it, a foot landed hard on his cheek and shoved it back down. “Now, now, now, Yoshida-san, that’s not very nice. You should apologize.”

Vitaly used that moment of distraction to land a knee to his attacker’s stomach and an elbow to his head, knocking him unconscious. With the back of his hand he wiped at his busted lip, small beats of crimson smearing across his skin. “Nobuo. What are you doing here?”

“Always getting in fights with the north siders, aren’t you?” Nobuo clucked his tongue in disapproval. “If I don’t watch your back, who will? Boss would be pretty upset with me if I let his favorite die on my watch. Now, I said you should apologize, Yoshida-san.” Nobuo put his full weight on the foot and stepped up so that his entire body was standing on Yoshida’s head.

“Fuck you!” Yoshida spat as best as he could with the way his face was being smooshed beneath Nobuo's weight.

“Only if I top,” Nobuo grinned, bending his knees and jumping up, landing with a powerful force back on the alpha’s head.

“Let him go,” Yulian muttered, taking Vitaly’s proffered hand to help him stand.  The side of his face had several scrapes like a burn where he’d been dragged. He winced when he touched at it. “An apology from him means nothing.”

Nobuo hummed thoughtfully before finally stepping off and kicking Yoshida hard. “Scram.” Yoshida did as he was told, rousing his friend and scurrying off. “Neh, Yu-chan, you fight like an alpha. You’re not an alpha. Tell Rodriguez-san that his techniques only work for him.”

Yulian’s eyes went wide. “W-what?! How do you know about Diego?”

Nobuo flashed him a knowing grin. “Vita-niikun and I have had a few trips to America under boss’s orders. We made sure to swing by your studio a time or two.”

This time, Yulian’s eyes went dark and he faced Vitaly, fists at his side. “You’ve been spying on me!?”

Vitaly was caught off guard, mouth opening and closing like a gaping koi fish before he finally pulled himself together. “You were alone in a foreign country! I was worried! Rightfully so if you’ve felt the need to learn how to fight to protect yourself.”

“Because someone could strike at any moment! Even with you here to protect me! Like today!” Yulian shouted. “Just…just ask Mama! He was in a hotel full of people – with his coach – and was still taken! He was -,” Yulian’s lip trembled and tears fell behind his red framed glasses. “I don’t ever want to be taken like that!”

It felt as if his heart had shattered in his chest. Of course he’d be terrified. Viktor had threatened it on multiple occasions – selling Yulian off to an allied family’s alpha son or daughter. Yulian had been destined to suffer the same fate as their mother. Live a life of alpha commands and breeding. Taking a step forward, Vitaly pulled Yulian in against his chest. “That’s why I watch after you, Ulyushka, as I have watched over Mama. So…if you want to fight, then fight. Never stop fighting.”

“Mmm, but maybe learn how to fight for your body,” Nobuo suggested. “You had good strength, but you were slow. You have to learn to strike quick. Alphas are dumb brutes, after all.” He winked at Vitaly.

Yulian sniffed, lifting his gaze to glance up at Vitaly beneath his lenses. “You’ll teach me?”

“Of course,” Vitaly smiled. “But we should get you home for now and cleaned up. If Mama asks - which he will - you and I got into a playful scuffle on the beach. Do you want another ice cream? It looks like yours is ruined.”

Yulian shook his head, looking at the melting cone splattered on the concrete. “No…thanks.”

“Bright and early at our spot,” Nobuo said simply, turning to walk back in the direction he’d come. “Be ready!”

/*/

Just as the sun was beginning to rise, Vitaly hauled Yulian out of bed and took him to a small garage in one of the warehouse districts that had been converted into a sort of gym. There were only a few people there, but Yulian noticed the tattoos that covered the inhabitants. Just as he noticed the dragon wrapped around Vitaly’s right arm as he removed his jacket to expose a thin tank top. 

Yulian couldn’t help but reach out a hand, brushing his fingertips over the ink. “Does Mama know?”

Vitaly flinched at the question, but answered truthfully, muscles flexing beneath taught skin. “Probably.”

Nobuo wore a sleeveless hoodie, showing how he was covered from shoulder to wrist in the intricate designs without shame. “This won’t be easy. Not too late to back out.”

“I spend almost eight hours a day either at the gym or in the ballet studio. I’m not scared of a workout,” Yulian countered with crossed arms.  

“Right, right, the little ballerina,” Nobuo smiled. “Then this should be easy, right? You know the basics of fighting, you just need to think of it more like...a dance.”

“Fine. So what do I do?” Yulian asked, tired of waiting.

“Lesson one: Patience,” Nobuo responded, starting to circle the omega. “When you are at a disadvantage because of your size and strength, you’ve gotta wait for the right time to strike.” Nobuo bounced into the center of the mats he had laid out and put up his fists. Vitaly joined him in the center, mimicking his actions. 

They started out slow, both exchanging a few punches that were easily dodged or blocked by the other. Vitaly seemed to bait Nobuo, the beta falling for it, and ending directly on his back. 

“He’s a bad example,” Vitaly smirked, looking down at his friend through a few loose strands of silver. 

Nobuo chuckled, grinning wide. “Ah! This is why I leave the fighting to him. I’m a much better side-line coach. Betas are the brains.”

Vitaly nodded his head in Yulian’s direction, calling him to the mat. “Show me what you’ve got, then, Ulya.”

Yulian raised his fists and tried to take Nobuo’s words to heart. Make it a dance and be patient. He let Vitaly make the first moves, dodging the first punch and effectively blocking the next. Vitaly smirked, a form of praise from the alpha that encouraged Yulian. Vitaly then came at him with a foot which Yulian blocked barely before a fist was flying towards his face. Yulian could feel the knuckles just brushing his hair as he tilted his head just in time. Vitaly was fast. Adjusting his stance, Yulian tried to knock Vitaly’s legs from under him, but Vitaly was quicker and caught Yulian’s leg with his own, wrapping it in a twist and flipping the omega until he was face first against the mat.

Nobuo kneeled down in front of Yulian as the omega groaned, pushing himself up. He was chewing on the end of some candy stick. “Mmmm good technique. Too slow. Easily flustered. The moment you just escaped death to the head was the time to strike.”

Yulian lost track of how many times he tasted mat that day. That week. Yulian dragged Vitaly to the gym every morning, and every morning he stared up at his brother from his back. Vitaly had been the one to inherit their mother’s famous stamina. Yulian had no idea how the alpha could just continue to spar long after Yulian had called it quits for the day, using Nobuo as a living punching bag. 

With only one session left before he was on a flight back to New York and Juilliard, Yulian felt determined. I have to beat him, just once. Vitaly removed his shirt entirely before they stepped onto the mats and Yulian swallowed. The alpha was doing it on purpose, trying to distract the omega. He’s doing a pretty good job of it...Focus, Yulian! Sucking in a deep breath he centered himself, trying to put his mind in the same place he would before his performances. Vitaly was his partner...lovers perhaps? But Yulian wanted to be hard to get...keep away from the advances...make the approach on your time...Gracefully, Yulian dodged all of Vitaly’s advances, prolonging the chase. There was a brief second - oh so brief, where Yulian saw Vitaly’s shoulders relax in complacency - rejection. With his right hand he went to punch, retreating at the last second. Vitaly’s hands had already raised to block and Yulian threw his entire weight into Vitaly, knocking the alpha down and onto his back. Yulian did not follow this time, instead landing a knee on the alpha’s chest and pinning him down. 

The garage erupted with multiple claps. Yulian blinked several times, trying to catch his breath, before he realized what had happened. I did it. I did it!

Vitaly smiled up at him, his silver hair splayed around his head like a halo. “Ideal’nyy.” 

Chapter Text

Yulian - 17

Dylan - 19

Diego - 21

 

Packing his bags to leave for America was the scariest moment of Yulian’s life. It was scarier than his time in Russia, scarier than his first heat, scarier than...well anything. There had been several moments over the last week where he’d almost talked himself out of it. He’d call the administration at Juilliard and inform them he wasn’t coming and he’d just stay here in Hasetsu.

 

But he couldn’t do that.

 

If he didn’t do this, if he didn’t face his fears now, he’d live with this fear the rest of his life. Knowing he had to go through with it didn’t make it any less terrifying. When he gave his mother a final hug his hands were trembling. He thought that Yuuri might be, too.

 

“I’m so proud of you, Ulya,” Yuuri cried, pulling back and holding the younger omega’s face in his hands. “There aren’t enough words to describe how proud I am. You are going to be absolutely amazing.”

 

“Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for anything, ok?” Phichit offered. “Even if it’s 2 in the morning here!”

 

Yulian smiled through his tears and nodded. “I will. Thank you.”

 

“Bai bai Yu-niichan!” Aiko waived sadly.


Yulian kneeled down and gave her a tight squeeze. “I’ll be sure to send you a lot of souvenirs and pictures, okay?!”

 

“K,” Aiko responded sadly into his shoulder.

 

Alyona looked like she might not say anything, but to Yulian’s surprise she lunged forward and hugged him tightly. “Go get really amazing at ballet so you can teach me, ok?! I need some help on my PCS.”

 

Yulian chuckled. “Maybe I’ll even choreograph something for you.” He was shocked to see the surprise and hope in his sister’s face. Maybe he really would do it.

 

Vitaly was silent the entire drive to the station personally taking Yulian himself. Their hands stayed intertwined at the center dash, though, as Yulian struggled with trying to find the words to say. When they arrived, Vitaly helped unload his bags and they stared at each other for what felt like eternity before they were in each other’s arms crying.

 

“I’m scared,” Yulian sobbed into his brother’s chest, fingers digging into his jacket.

 

“I know,” Vitaly responded. “But you’re going to be amazing. The fear will disappear, and I am only a phone call away.”

 

“What if something happens?” He asked. “I-I don’t even really speak English all that well. I barely passed the proficiency test.”

 

“But you did pass, and you’ll learn,” Vitaly promised him. “Even from the test to the live audition, your practice paid off and you nailed your interview. You are so smart, and such a fast learner. I have no doubt that you’ll speak it so well that you won’t even have an accent in a few years! I’m afraid I won’t ever lose mine.”

 

Yulian let out a small laugh at that, knowing it was true. Vitaly’s accent was worse in English than it was in Japanese. “I love you.”

 

Vitaly pulled back and leaned in for a kiss. It was deep, full of love, and Yulian couldn’t help but press up on his toes to lean into it. “I love you, too, Ulya. Call me the moment you land.”

 

“Ok,” Yulian agreed.

 

The flight from Fukuoka to New York was long and exhausting even though he slept right through the majority of it. Getting through customs was even worse and by the time his cab showed up at the front of the Residence Hall he just wanted to crash. It was only early morning in New York and the Hall was buzzing with people trying to move in. The girl that greeted him at the check in was bright eyed and bubbly, and Yulian tried to smile and thank her as best as he could, though he didn’t think he was overly successful.

 

His roommate hadn’t checked in yet, and he was more than grateful. Sending off a quick text to his mother and to Vitaly that he’d made it he dumped off his luggage and dove under the sheets of the made bunk bed. His roommate could thank him later for volunteering for the top bunk. There was just something...safe about it that lulled him to sleep.

 

Yulian didn’t know how many hours of sleep he’d gotten, but it wasn’t enough when he was woken by a loud bang and a curse.

 

“I’m so sorry!”

 

Slowly, Yulian blinked his eyes awake and felt around for his glasses he’d set beneath his pillow. His roommate had arrived apparently. He was tall, lanky, with long blonde hair tied back in a ponytail and a thin mustache. Beta, with no distinct smell. Art student. Yulian would put money on it right then. “It-it’s ok. Just trying to sleep off jet lag.”

 

“Oh! Where you from?” He asked as he pulled the final suitcase in and quietly shut the door. Not like it mattered at this point.

 

“Japan,” Yulian responded.

 

“Ah!! Konnichiwa! Jason desu! Hajimemashite!” He beamed.

 

Yulian’s heart skipped excitedly. “You speak Japanese?”

 

“Air Force brat,” Jason responded. “Dad was stationed there when I was a kid. I’m a bit rusty, though, and definitely don’t ask me to read or write kanji.”

 

He laughed, knowing the struggle all too well. “I’m Yulian.”

 

“Yulian? Not exactly a Japanese name,” he pointed out.

 

“Ah...I was born in Russia,” Yulian explained, tossing his legs over the side of the bed to dangle down. “My father was Russian, but I consider myself Japanese and took my mother’s name.”

 

Jason laughed. “So, let me guess? Dancer.”

 

Yulian grinned cheekily and pointed. “Artist?”

 

“Nailed it,” he winked. “From sunny Palm Beach, Florida! My body is not prepared for the winters I’m about to endure.” With an annoyed huff he kicked at one of his bags. “I totally don’t feel like unpacking. Wanna go to Central Park? I’ve always wanted to see it and it’s like, right across the street!”

 

Yulian found himself nodding eagerly. “Ok!”

 

The park ended up being everything they had both hoped and dreamed of, and they quickly realized there was no way they were going to see everything in a day. The weather was perfect, and even though it was the afternoon of a work day people were all over the lawn having picnics and soaking up the sun. Joggers littered the sides of the paths and dogs that Yulian itched to pet were everywhere.

 

“This place must be amazing in the fall,” Yulian breathed, leaning out slightly over the side of the bridge at the water.

 

“I’ve never been much of a painter - sculptor, mostly - but it might be worth pulling out the oils again,” Jason agreed.

 

A whistle echoed behind them. “Wow! Nice ass, omega!”

 

Yulian felt a hand slap his butt and he almost jumped straight over the bridge.

 

“Yo, man, what the fuck!?” Jason shouted angrily. “Apologize!”

 

“Oh, sorry, is he your slut?” The alpha asked.

 

Hot tears started to sting Yulian’s eyes. This was it. This was exactly what he was afraid was going to happen all along. He should have never left Japan. Vitaly couldn’t protect him here.

 

“Why do you feel like it’s ok to talk to people like that?” Jason fired back. “You shouldn’t talk to anyone that way!”

 

“I can talk to anyone anyway I-,”

 

“Okidoki, machismo ! Really? You’re just gonna sexually assault an omega and fist fight with a beta in broad daylight? In the middle of Central Park? Are you drunk?”

 

“Fuck off!”

 

“Hey. I’m gonna ask nicely for you to leave. If you don’t leave, then I’m gonna be the one causing a scene.”

 

There wasn’t a response and Yulian dared to turn around. The second alpha that had approached was huge. He wasn’t overly tall, maybe around Vitaly’s height, but he had strong muscles that frightened him. His skin was a shade of brown with black hair that reached his shoulders. Although his face was softer compared to the rest of him with kind brown eyes, Yulian couldn’t help but be afraid.

 

“You ok?” He asked, taking a step towards Yulian.

 

Without hesitation, Yulian grabbed Jason’s hand and started to run the other way.

 

“Whoa! Hey! Hey!” Jason called, eventually tugging hard enough to stop them both. “It’s ok. They are gone.”

 

“I want to go back to the dorm,” Yulian said, barely keeping himself together.

 

Jason just nodded.

 

When they got back, Yulian found a private room and cried, instinctively calling Vitaly despite the time. The alpha had been asleep, but had answered anyway.


It didn’t happen again. Every person he met the next week during move-in had been overly welcoming, even the alphas. It didn’t matter. Yulian was still afraid.

 

He felt like he had made a huge mistake.

 

/*/

 

Yulian wasn’t in class five seconds before he felt the stares and heard the whispers echoed behind his back. He’d been cleared to take the second level of the class and while he contemplating staying with his peers below, he decided to take a chance a year up. Now, he was regretting it. Granted, it was likely they’d talk just as much in the first level class. He knew exactly what they were talking about before he even heard it.

 

“...I heard he was invited to schools all over the world, including Russia! And Japan has better ballet academies than this. Why would he choose to come here? Obviously he’s good if he was allowed into the class. It’s been forever since they let a first-year do that.”

 

“I was going to try and Facebook stalk him a bit, but I didn’t even have to. Just google his name. His dad was some big Russian mafia boss.”

 

“Isn’t he dead though? His mom was that famous figure skater, right? That was kidnapped and raped like 20 years ago? I remember my sister talking about it when he was found. She used to be big into skating.”

 

Yulian’s hand tightened on the barre as he stretched. He wasn’t stupid enough to think that people wouldn’t figure it out, but the fact they had all looked into him so quickly caught him off guard. Maybe it shouldn’t have. Of course they’d want to know about the first-year intruder in their class. Don’t cry, don’t cry.

 

“So he’s a rape baby? That sucks.”

 

“You can’t say that!”

 

“Well, it’s true!”

 

“Look at him, won’t even talk to anyone. Just on the barre by himself.”

 

“Of course he is, with the way you jerks are going on about him! Instead of talking about him behind his back, why don’t you introduce yourselves and get to know him?”

 

“Why don’t you do it?”

 

“Fine, I will!”

 

Yulian immediately stiffened at the barre. He did not want to talk to anyone. He was just here to dance and that was it. Please don’t come, please don’t come, please-

 

“Hi! You’re Yulian, right?”

 

The omega almost screamed at the tap on his shoulder. Breathe . Slowly, he turned his head, and his heart caught in his throat. At first his mind shouted at him to run. The man’s physique was all alpha with huge broad shoulders and a muscular chest, but then he smelled it. Roses. Omega. His skin was a milky chocolate with unusually bright blue eyes that reminded him of Vitaly. Freckles dusted his nose and hints of a 5 o’clock shadow framed his chiseled jaw. Black hair was cut close to his head leaving almost nothing at all. The man was beautiful.

 

“Y-yes,” Yulian eventually answered.

 

The other omega smiled even wider. “I’m Dylan. Dylan Monroe. Welcome to our class!” There was an accent there that reminded Yulian of Uncle Chris’...French, maybe? Though, it was clear he felt far more comfortable with English than himself.

 

“T-thank you,” he finally managed to spit out.

 

“Please, let me know if you need help with anything,” Dylan offered. “I look forward to seeing you dance!”

 

Yulian couldn’t stop the blush that crept up his neck to his cheeks. Even without his glasses, he couldn’t help but notice Dylan staring at him the majority of the class. It was easy to forget about it while they were dancing, Yulian completely in his element through the tough grind. A compliment was even made from the instructor, which earned him a mix of angry and impressed stares. Dylan’s was impressed.

 

“Yulian!” Dylan called out to him after class, jogging to catch up to him through the crowd of students. “When’s your next class?”

 

“Um, not till one,” Yulian answered, nervously tightening his grip on his gym bag.

 

“Do you want to grab lunch with me at the cafeteria?” The other omega asked.

 

As much as Yulian wanted to decline, there was a pleading look in his eyes that had him caving in almost immediately. “Ok.”

 

They grabbed their lunch on their respective trays and managed to find two free seats in the corner of the cafeteria at peak hours. It was loud, and it made Yulian nervous. Dylan seemed to catch up on that right away.

 

“Not a fan of busy places?” He asked.

 

Yulian shook his head. “I’m from a really quiet town. It never gets this busy anywhere, even at our schools.”

 

“Really? Where in Russia are you from?” He asked casually, as if it hadn’t overheard all the conversations from earlier.

 

It made Yulian flinch. “Um...I was born in St. Petersburg, but...I don’t live there anymore. I’m from Hasetsu, a small town by the sea in Japan. I guess you heard what everyone was saying about me?”

 

“I heard,” he admitted, “but that doesn't mean I listened. It’s an art school. People love to gossip.”

 

“Except it’s true,” Yulian muttered, playing around with his food with his fork. “All of it.”

 

“So? That doesn’t give them the right to talk about it, especially before getting to know you at all,” Dylan added.

 

Yulian just shrugged. “It was the same back home. Everyone always talked about us, even years after we arrived. It’s why I started dancing.”

 

Dylan stopped half way from shoving some vegetables in his mouth. “Wait. When did you start dancing?”

 

“Eleven, I think?”

 

“What?!” The omega’s eyebrows shot up and his eyes twinkled in amusement. “You’ve been dancing, what, seven or eight years? While the rest of us have been dancing all our lives? Goodness, you really are talented!”

 

Yulian couldn’t help but blush again and he shrunk in on himself. “I just...had nothing better to do, I guess, than dance and study.”

 

“Ah, I can’t wait to see what else you have instore for us,” he genuinely beamed. “Do you do pointe?”

 

“Of course,” Yulian nodded. “You don’t?” It was fairly common practice for male omegas to at least dabble in it.

 

Dylan laughed and Yulian thought it was the most beautiful thing on the planet. “I may be an omega, but don’t let that fool you. Do I look like I do pointe?”

 

Yulian couldn’t help but smile back. “I suppose I try not to assume, though I assume you aren’t from here originally? France?”

 

“Ah, oui !” Dylan nodded. “Neuilly-sur-Seine, just west of Paris.”

 

“Why come to the US?” Yulian asked. “France has a lot of amazing ballet schools.”

 

“Yes, it does,” Dylan chuckled, “And my parents would have been more than happy to throw all their money at me to go, but I wanted to get far away from home. I love my parents, very much, but - ah - how do you say? Rich and snooty. I kind of wanted to...live dirty, a bit. Though, they still pay for almost everything and send me money, so I guess I’m not really living dirty. Dirtier city,” he winked. “And you? If it was all true, that you had the chance to go to Russia or stay in Japan, why come here?”

 

Slowly, Yulian put down his fork and stared down at his food. It wasn’t something he really talked about with anyone outside of his family. He had literally just met this man a few hours ago, and he was suddenly being asked to open up. But. Wasn’t that why he came to the US in the first place? “I can’t go back to Russia. Ever,” he began. “I just can’t. Not after what happened to my mother there. What happened to me and my brother. And yeah...I could have stayed in Japan. My mother and brother begged me too. I almost did, but…” He sucked in a shaky breath. “I knew if I didn’t leave, I’d never leave. I’d stay afraid, holed up in our sleepy little town in my grandparents’ home for the rest of my life.”

 

Dylan was silent for a moment before offering up a kind and sympathetic smile. “You are very brave. It takes a lot of courage to leave your hometown, let alone your home country.”

 

“I mean, I’m not braver than you,” Yulian argued. “You did the same thing, didn’t you?”

 

“Yes, but I wanted to leave. You didn’t want to, you needed to,” he corrected. “That’s far more brave.”

 

Dylan quickly changed the course of their conversation to lighter things, asking all the classes Yulian was taking and dishing out all the information he could on what to expect from the work and the instructors. Yulian was grateful for it, taking all the mental notes that he could. Time passed quickly, and he glanced at his phone almost sadly.

 

“I’ve got to go,” he sighed, standing and throwing his bag over his shoulder. “I’ll see you later?”

 

“Could I get your number?” Dylan blurted out instead. They stared at each other, both shocked at what had just been said. “U-um...I mean, I could show you around later? The school?”

 

“Um. O-ok. Yeah,” Yulian pulled out his phone and handed it to Dylan who quickly punched in his number and sent a text to himself. “Let me know when you’re done for the day?”

 

Yulian’s fingers lingered on his as he took back his phone. “Yeah.”

 

“Nice getting to meet you,” Dylan waved.

 

Yulian’s heart thumped loudly in his ears.

 

/*/

 

Dylan: I’m heading to a yoga class at 7. Do you want to join?

 

Yulian and Dylan had become almost inseparable since that first day. At first, Yulian worried he was being too clingy, so desperate to have friends he had never seemed to find back in Hasetsu. He’d gotten close with Jason, but this was different. This was...Yulian didn’t know. It was just different. Dylan never said anything, though. Instead, he was constantly trying to pull Yulian from his shell, like he was now.

 

Me: Ok!

 

Yoga had never really been his thing, he preferred just to stretch on his own, but yoga certainly was Vitaly’s thing. It would be nice to remind him a bit of home. And, well, Dylan would be there.

 

Dylan: Meet you out front of the dorm at 6:30? It’s just about a fifteen minute walk, maybe a bit more

 

Me: ok! See you then!

 

Right at 6:30, Yulian bounded down the stairs with his mat swung over his shoulder wearing a light coat and they started on their trek down the busy New York City streets. They talked about their day, nothing too out of the ordinary, but to Yulian it felt like everything. When they arrived at the small studio Dylan held the door open for him, and such a small act made Yulian gush.

 

“Hey, welcome to Yoga Works! Dylan! Hey!”

 

“Hey Diego!” Dylan waived at the man behind the counter.

 

Yulian froze. He knew him. That was the alpha from the park. The one that had...saved him. Ok, he didn’t save him, he didn’t need saving, he just - fuck. He’d run away like a coward.

 

“Diego, this is my friend Yulian, Yulian this is - ,” Dylan stopped and looked between the two who were both staring silently. “Ah...do you two know each other?”

 

“No!”

 

“Yeah!”

 

Yulian blushed and looked a way. Why the hell was this guy at a yoga studio? He looked nothing like someone who would do yoga. He was all alpha, all muscle. “We...met briefly. Once. For a few seconds.”

 

“He was being harassed at Central Park,” Diego said to Dylan, like it were a common occurrence.

 

“Ohhh, so you had to go out there and flex your big alpha muscles, huh?” Dylan rolled his eyes in amusement. “He can’t help it,” he spoke to Yulian. “It’s in his DNA.”

 

“Whatever,” Diego huffed. “So...how do you two know each other?”

 

“He goes to Juilliard,” Dylan answered. “A danseur, like me.”

 

Diego gave Yullian a lookover that had him taking a step back. This was why he hated alphas. This! Always looking at omegas like they were pieces of meat! He had to run. He had to go-!

 

“Hey, are you ok?” Diego frowned. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

 

Dylan’s comforting and strong hands were on Yulian. “Hey...Hey, calm down. It’s ok. I know Diego, he won’t hurt you. I promise. You trust me, right?”

 

Yulian realized he’d been releasing distressed pheromones. Completely embarrassed, he got himself under control and looked away. “I-I’m sorry...I just…”

 

“I know,” Dylan whispered, because he did. They’d talked about it. Sort of. Some of it. “Why don’t we go get set up and try and relax, huh? I’ll be right there with you.”

 

Slowly, Yulian nodded and let Dylan guide him past Diego to the door to the studio. The room was just slightly warmed and it immediately made him feel better. After setting their mats down side-by-side Dylan took their water bottles out to fill them allowing Yulian a moment to breathe. It was stupid. So stupid. There were alphas everywhere, even in this room. This had to stop.

 

In the end, Yulian was able to forget for a moment and focus on himself. The stretches felt good and he challenged himself. Hed almost completely forgotten about Diego until they walked out of the studio and they happened to lock eyes again. Yulian looked away and pulled the strap of his mat closer to his shoulder.

 

“Hey,” Diego’s voice called out.

 

Out of the corner of his eye, Yulian could see that the alpha was holding something out. Tentatively, Yulian took it. It was a business card to an MMA gym a few streets north with his name on it: Diego Rodriquez.

 

“No one should live their life feeling scared all the time,” Diego explained softly. “That’s my other job. My main job. I’ll help you, if you want. I’ll teach you how to fight.”

 

Yulian didn’t realize he had been holding his breath until Dylan was tugging him a long and the cool air hit him. “I...I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to overreact tonight.”

 

“No...no, Yulian you don’t have to explain or apologize. I get it. I mean, Diego isn’t exactly the sort of person you expect at a yoga studio, I’ll admit. It’s how we started to talk, honestly. I started to tease him about it and then learned that it was just a second job to pay the bills. The fact he’s an MMA fighter makes a lot more sense. He can look a bit scary, but I promise that Diego is one of the nicest alphas that I know. One of the nicest people in general.” He paused and then chuckled to himself. “I remember after we started really getting to talking, he admitted that he hated yogis and thought it wasn’t a real workout. I dared him to do a class with me one day. He couldn’t even last the entire hour! Was so sore he couldn’t walk for days!”

 

That did make Yulian laugh. “Really!?”

 

“Yeah!” Dylan nodded. “Do you...do you think you’ll take him up on his offer? It might help you.”

 

Yulian looked down at the card and flipped it between his fingers. “I’m not sure.”

 

It was two weeks before Yulian made a decision to visit the gym and even then, he couldn’t get the courage to actually go in. Four times he had passed by it and hadn’t been able to go through the doors. Today, though, he knew he would walk through the door. Something about everything just gave him confidence. He was bathed in praise during class and had gotten good marks on a report. It was a good day.

 

So, after staring at the sign for a good ten minutes, Yulian finally took a step forward and entered the gym. He was hit with alpha pheromones almost immediately and everything tensed. Letting out a breath through his mouth he resisted the urge to run. There were alphas and betas, but certainly no omegas as he looked around the gym looking for Diego.

 

Yulian finally spotted him in the ring at the center of the gym sparring with another alpha. His shirt was off exposing all his huge muscles and tattoos. When Diego finally saw him he came to a stop and ended up getting punched in the side out of his distraction. Yulian felt a little bad. Just a bit.

 

“...Hey,” Diego finally said, leaning over the ripe.

 

Gathering up all his courage he spoke. “Ok. Teach me. Teach me not to be afraid anymore.”

 

Diego smiled.

 

/*/

 

“Ok, I can’t take this anymore,” Dylan sighed, slamming his book closed. “No more studying. Let’s take a break.”

 

Yulian wasn’t tired of studying. He loved to read and he had always loved school more than anyone. But...it was so easy for Dylan to coax him into playing a long. Plus, they really shouldn’t even be studying together. They weren’t in the same year and the only class they shared was the one dance class. “Ok. What do you want to do?”

 

Dylan grabbed Yulian’s hand and pulled him up. “Let’s dance!”

 

“W-what?!” Yulian yelped in surprise as he found himself being drug down the hall to one of the practice rooms. It took a few times to find one that was empty, but eventually Dylan pulled them into one and immediately started to twirl Yulian without any music. “What are we doing?!”

 

“Dancing!” Dylan answered with a laugh. “You don’t need music. We can make our own.”

 

After a few movements that Yulian recognized from class, he let himself fall into the familiar choreography and even let out a laugh. They danced, even though the room they’d selected was really too small for full movement. Dylan pulled Yulian close, a hand between his shoulder blades and dipped him half-way. A small gasp left Yulian’s lips as their noses touched.

 

“Let me court you,” Dylan spoke then, his voice soft though it sounded like a scream in Yulian’s ears. “Please. I know that we’ve only known each other a few months, but I feel it. I feel the spark.”

 

Yulian had never been bold. He’d never taken the initiative in anything in his life, always hiding behind his mother and Vitaly. He’d never even made a decision for himself, always having to defer to the opinions of others. This time, he made a decision for himself, and it was to be bold. Pushing Dylan back up he stood on his toes and locked their lips together.

 

Yulian felt the spark, too.

 

Chapter Text

Vitaly 19, Aiko 5

 

Vitaly was having a bad day. A shitty day. Probably one of the worst days he’s ever had. Well, worst since he’d gotten to Hasetsu. Nothing could compare to the hell that had been Russia. Still, this was pretty bad.

 

It had first started when he woke up late to his phone non-stop vibrating with calls from Nobuo. They’d been assigned an important task from Oyabun the night before. For whatever reason, Vitaly had been plagued with insomnia tossing and turning the entire night. When he had finally found sleep it had hit him hard through his alarm. By the time he finally threw on clothes and made it to Nobuo’s apartment, the timeline for their plan had flown by. They came up with a back-up plan, but in its haste there were several overlooked fault that came to literally bite Vitaly in the ass - well, arm.

 

Biting down on the strip of leather and taking a long, long, swig of vodka he had shut his eyes and waited for Nobuo to sew him up. Normally, Nobuo was an expert with the needle, but today his hands had been shaking and he’d jabbed him unnecessarily hard straight in the wound more than once. There would be no amount of sorries that could make up for how utterly painful his day had ended up being. None of this even took into account the cuts on his face or the bruises that would soon appear.

 

The bright side in all of it had been looking forward to finally getting home to the onsen and seeing his mother and his siblings. They would make him feel better for certain. Except no one was home when he returned. No one except Phichit. The alpha couldn’t help but scowl at the thought as he finally collapsed at the table of the family’s living room, cradling his exhausted head in his hands while the TV sounded off quietly in the background.

 

“Here.”

 

Vitaly looked up in surprise at the voice, an ice pack being handed to him by none-other-than Phichit. His initial thought was to think about all the potential contact poisons that could possibly be on the ice pack he was being handed. Then it was pure confusion. Phichit certainly never went out of his way normally to be nice to Vitaly, especially when Yuuri was around. Cautiously, he took the pack and placed it to the side of his forehead.

 

“Rough day?”

 

Why was this man trying to make casual conversation? It was baffling. “You could say that,” Vitaly responded, voice deeper and rougher than normal. He was tired and all he wanted to do was be hugged by Yuuri or hug Aiko. “Why do you care?”

 

Phichit huffed in annoyance. “I really don’t, but Yuuri cares, and the last thing either of us wants is to upset him. When he sees you like this it’s going to upset him.” The tension his jaw relaxed some. “Also, despite how much I really dislike you, I don’t exactly want to see you dead.”

 

“Wow, that might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me,” Vitaly huffed. “What’s the English phrase…? Has Hell frozen over?”

 

The beta responded with a heavy eye roll. “Can’t stand me being nice to you, can you?”

 

“I stand it about as much as you stand it,” he answered. “Mother isn’t around to see your heroics. Or are you hoping I might mention it?”

 

“With you, I don’t have hopes of anything.” Phichit sat down across from Vitaly, staring at him in such a way that made the situation even more uncomfortable than it already was. “What is it you even do that gets you these injuries?”

 

Vitaly let out a snort, shifting the ice pack on his head. “You know very well what I do.”

 

“No,” Phichit argued, “I know who you work for. It’s insulting that you think your mother or I believe you when you say you do contract work.”

 

Of course Vitaly didn’t actually expect them to believe it, but it was better than out right admitting he was Yakuza. “If you know who I work for then you know what I do. It’s as easy as that.”

 

“So you kill people?”

 

Vitaly grit his teeth. “You know I have. What’s the point of asking that? Contrary to popular belief, though, that encompasses very little of what we actually do.”

 

“So then enlighten me,” Phichit instructed with crossed arms.

 

“No.” It wasn’t Phichit’s business nor was it anyone else’s what he did.

 

The two were saved from any further conversation by the sound of Yuuri and Aiko’s voices coming up the stairs. Aiko was going on about something, Yuuri chuckling at her enthusiasm.

 

“Vita-nii!” She beamed the moment she got to the top of the stairs, bounding forward into his arms making him wince. “Vita-nii! You’re hurt!” Aiko gasped, pointing at the poorly done bandage by Nobuo.

 

“I am,” Vitaly agreed, holding out his arm. “But a kiss from you would certainly make it better instantly.”

 

“I’ll give you two kisses!” Aiko carefully bent down and placed two gentle kisses against the bandage. All the annoyance Phichit’s presence had caused vanished in that instant.

“What happened?”

 

“Well, not everyone’s dogs are as friendly as Marron,” Vitaly explained. “I startled him, I think. My fault, I assure you.”

 

“Don’t scare him next time, then!” Aiko suggested.

 

Vitaly smiled, finally content. “You are absolutely right.”

 

Yuuri, however, was far from convinced, frowning at his eldest son with deep concern. Knowing concern. “Did you go see a doctor?” He asked in soft Russian.

 

“You know I didn’t,” Vitaly answered back in kind.

 

With a pained sigh Yuuri adjusted his glasses and nodded his head up the stairs. “Come on. I’ll fix you up.”

 

Phichit was about to say something, always annoyed in his insecurities when Russian was spoken around him. Aiko never gave him the chance, though, pouncing in his lap.

 

“Papa, wanna hear what Mama and I did today!?”

 

Sparing one last look to mother and son Phichit turned his attention to the little girl. “Of course I do, baby. Tell me all about it.”

 

Vitaly listened to Aiko babble on excitedly until her voice faded completely. Yuuri led them into his bathroom through the bedroom and opened a cabinet to start fishing through first aid supplies. Without a word Yuuri reached for his injured arm and started to cut through the tattered bandage.

 

The moment the wound was exposed Yuuri’s eyes started to fill with tears. “No matter what I say you won’t go to the hospital, will you?”

 

“Mama, it’s fine,” Vitaly tried to assure him with a soft voice, but he could feel the distress through their bond.

 

“It’s not fine!” Yuuri sobbed. “You put yourself in danger for what?”

 

“You know why…” He responded softly.

 

A tear fell from the omega’s eye. “I’m not worth this, Vitalik…”

 

“You are,” Vitaly argued certainly. “All of you are.”

 

Swallowing hard, Yuuri wiped at his tears and started to dab around the stitches with peroxide, Vitaly biting his lip to hold back his hiss. “I know Daizo-san is your Oyabun. He tries to hide it, but a mother knows. I know because…” he paused in his movements. “He’s...really fond of you.”

 

Vitaly was surprised by the statement and the jealousy that came through the bond right along with it. “Mama, no one can replace you. No one. Daizo-san has been good to me, yes, but he is my Oyabun. You are my mother.”

 

The jealousy faded someone and Yuuri nibbled at his lip, concentrating on wrapping the fresh bandage around Vitaly’s arm. “I know...I’m sorry...I just...Next time I see him I’m going to give him a piece of my mind! Putting you in danger like this all the time.” Yuuri let out an angry huff as he finished tying the cloth off. “If something were to happen to you, Yakuza be damned, he’d never be allowed in this onsen again.”

 

Vitaly’s lip twitched in amusement. Somehow, he thought that Daizo Oyabun would get quite the kick out of his mother scolding him. A part of him hoped his mother went through with the threat. “Of that I have no doubt, Mama.”

 

Yuuri smiled and placed a bottle of painkillers in Vitaly’s hand. “Don’t overdo it. Is there anything else that needs a mother’s touch?”

 

“No, that was the main one,” Vitaly responded fondly. “A kiss from Aiko will fix the rest of them.”

 

The omega’s smile grew wider. “She can make the worst days bearable, can’t she?”

 

“She can,” Vitaly agreed.

 

“Come on, let’s go get started on some dinner, then. Yulian and Alyona will be home from ballet soon.”

 

Vitaly did as he was instructed, happily baby sitting Aiko in the kitchen as the little girl insisted on helping Mama cook. The moment his other two siblings came up the stairs, all today’s pain went away.

Chapter Text

Dr. Kaori Asada had always rather enjoyed being an omega. The empathy her secondary-gender was known for made her job so much easier and allowed her to connect in a way that being an alpha or beta would never allow her to. It helped her patients not only put their trust in her but their sensitive mental state as well. Today, though, Kaori did not enjoy her sensitivity to emotion.

 

Her newest patients Phichit Chulanont, Katsuki Yuuri, and Katsuki Vitaly, were absolutely suffocating her.

 

Literally every other psychiatrist in the clinic had refused to take on the case when Mr. Chulanont had first called. Everyone knew about the Katsuki’s and didn’t want to touch the mental nightmare that Yuuri likely was after 15 years in captivity. Kaori had detested their reactions. If anything, this family should have gotten help when they had first arrived in Hasetsu just over five years ago. When the three had arrived and filled the room with a mixture of anger, hatred, anxiety, and worry, Kaori began to wonder if she was in far over her head. Not a word had even been said and emotions were already unbearable.

 

Kaori cleared her throat and smiled. Yuuri was seated firmly between Vitaly and Phichit with a solemn face that looked ready to burst into tears at any moment. The alpha and beta on either side were on edge, ready to climb over the omega in the middle to fight. She resisted the urge to begin writing on her pad already. “Mr. Chulanont – Phichit – you told me a little bit over the phone about some of the issues you and your family are having, but what I’d like to do is allow each of you to tell me why you think you are here. Now, it’s very important that while you may disagree with something being said during these conversations, you allow that person to speak. Phichit, why don’t you begin?”

 

Phichit drew in a harsh breath through his nose, arms firmly crossed across his chest. “I love Yuuri. I never stopped loving Yuuri for the entire time he was missing, and the moment I got news that he was alive I dropped everything to come to him. I have taken his children in as my own and done everything I could to help get them back on their feet. Some days, our relationship is great – amazing, even – but there’s a constant leech that just won’t stop trying to suck the life out of it.” Phichit’s black eyes glared at Vitaly who rolled his eyes in response.

 

“You find Vitaly a threat to your relationship to Yuuri?” Kaori questioned, seeking further clarification. She double checked her notes. Vitaly was Yuuri’s son, correct? Why feel threatened?

 

“Tch,” Phichit scoffed, “Understatement of the century. He gets himself involved in things that could put this family in danger – could put Yuuri in danger – which is funny with how obsessed he is with him! It’s not only unnatural it’s downright unhealthy! And, I’m sorry Yuuri, but you enable him! You have an unhealthy obsession, too!”

 

Kaori saw Yuuri visibly flinch and she made some notes. Mother and son possible unhealthy relationship. Sensitive subject for mother. Vitaly involved in drugs or a gang of some sort? “Phichit, has Vitaly ever actually put you, Yuuri, or anyone else in the family in harm’s way?”

 

The beta’s nostrils flared. “Not yet, but it’s a bomb just waiting to explode.”

 

Of course, Kaori wanted to ask just exactly what it was Vitaly was involved in, but if that information was not being offered she thought it best not to ask – at least not in this group session. “So, you feel that Vitaly and Yuuri are a little too close and you find Vitaly a danger to the family. What sort of solution are you looking for in this?”

 

Yuuri almost immediately started crying like he knew what Phichit was going to say, and the beta seemed to crumble under that, shoulders relaxing. “I think…they just really should spend some time apart. Vitaly should move out of the onsen and live on his own and….he needs help. He’s not right.”

 

“Not right,” Vitaly let out a low growl, unable to hold his tongue any longer. “I’m not right, and yet I almost single handedly provide for this family when I’m only 21.”

 

“That’s quite a heavy burden to bear,” Kaori said.

 

“There is no burden too heavy to bear if it means protecting my family,” Vitaly responded. “I would do anything for them which seems to bother Phichit.”

 

“Still, being the primary provider for such a large family is emotionally and physically taxing for anyone, especially someone as young as you. But we can talk a bit more about that in our private session. Why don’t you tell me why you’re here?” Job makes a lot of money – probably something illegal.

 

“My family was trying to heal,” Vitaly began, jaw tight and body rigid. “Myself and my siblings were suddenly pulled from our home in Russia and thrown into a county where the language and the people were foreign. Russia was cold and full of abuse, yes, but it had been all we knew. We needed time to be with one another and work through the pain. Instead, he just barges right in and forces himself into our lives like he could just magically fix it all!”

 

“That’s not-!” Phichit snaps his jaw shut, remembering he was not supposed to speak.

 

“My mother was suffering from a freshly broken bond, pregnant, and yet you just waltzed right in and tried to pick up where you left off!” Vitaly scathed. “If anyone should be leaving, it’s you!”

 

The tears that had been silent suddenly became vocal as Yuuri just completely broke down. Kaori felt for the omega, knowing how difficult it must have been having to be barrier between two people he loved ripping each other’s heads off. The room stank of angry alpha. “Ok, I was going to try and do a full hour of all three of us together, but I think Yuuri might need some time alone. There are a lot of emotions floating around here. Could you both step out, please?” Vitaly spat something angrily in what Kaori assumed was Russian as he stood and Phichit responded in kind as they both stepped out.

 

Reaching for the box of tissues, Kaori offered it up to the other omega who took it eagerly and blew his nose. “I can tell that this puts a lot of stress on you, Yuuri.”

 

“I just want them to get along!” Yuuri sobbed into the tissue. “I don’t want either of them to leave! I love Phichit so much, but Vitaly is my son!”

 

“Well, that’s why I’m here. To help all three of you work through your disagreements and hopefully come to a resolution that makes everyone happy,” Kaori assured him. She gave the omega a few moments to get out his shaky breaths and wipe at his eyes. “Yuuri. Did you ever talk to anyone about what happened to you?”

 

Yuuri slowly shook his head. “N-no. I…When I first escaped I was in so much pain from the broken bond and the preg-pregnancy was so hard I was bed ridden. It took me almost a full year to recover after Aiko was born and I was always getting sick even then. By the time I finally started to feel better I had a baby to take care of and I just wanted to move on.”

 

“Have you?” Kaori asked. “Moved on?”

 

Yuuri laughed through his tears. “Obviously not if I’m here.”

 

“Well, it seems to me that you’re here more for your relationship with your son than what happened in Russia, correct me if I’m wrong?” She offered.

 

The male omega fiddled with the tissue in hand. “But…that’s where it all started, isn’t it? Where my relationship with my son all began.”

 

There was something in the way Yuuri said those words that had Kaori shifting in her seat uneasy. Like he was admitting that perhaps, there was something more than a normal relationship going on. “Have you always had this close relationship with your son?”

 

Another small laugh. “I tried so hard to kill him when I found out I was pregnant. I did everything I could think of. I even tried throwing myself down the stairs. Viktor stopped me in time, but…I still tried. I just knew that I didn’t want to be pregnant and I’d do anything. I hate myself for that. I hate that I ever had those thoughts about him.”

 

“I don’t think you had those thoughts about him, specifically, Yuuri,” Kaori offered. “You had those thoughts about the situation you were in. I don’t think anyone would blame you for what you did under the circumstances. But…obviously your feelings changed at some point.”

 

Yuuri sucked in a shuddered breath and smiled. “The moment I held him in my arms…it all changed. I suddenly had a reason to live. He saved me. He breathed life back into my dying body. I wanted to do everything I possibly could to protect him.

 

A reasonable response, given the circumstances, Kaori thought. Many mothers found strength through their children in dark times. “How did Viktor treat your children?”

 

“Better than me,” Yuuri huffed. “Viktor…was not a bad father, all things considered. Strict, but…fair.”

 

“That must be very hard for you to admit,” she pointed out.

 

Yuuri shrugged. “I’m thankful for it. It made it easy to…when he’d get angry, it was easy to make him take it out on me.”

 

Kaori swallowed hard out of sympathy. “Did he beat you often?”

 

“He never beat me. Not…not like with his fists or anything like that.” He sniffed, wiping at his eyes. “Viktor was more the type to just fuck me into submission.”

Nibbling slightly on her lower lip, Kaori contemplated asking her next question. It was maybe a bit out of place in the current conversation, but perhaps was an issue in the greater scheme of his relationship problems. “Yuuri, have you and Phichit had sex at all?”

 

Yuuri tensed up and gave the response Kaori expected. “No. I’ve had enough sex to last me two lifetimes.”

 

Intimacy issues due to rape. Certainly not unexpected at all, but a likely cause of some of Phichit’s frustrations, even if he didn’t want to admit it. After writing down her notes she steered the conversation back to its original course. “How did your children view Viktor?”

 

“Alya adored him. He doted on her the most with gifts. Yulian…Yulian loved Viktor very much, and tried so hard to catch his attention, but Viktor was never very interested. It was obvious fairly quickly he would likely present as an omega, and Viktor had no interest in that. Vitaly…,” a smile full of longing graced his lips. “Vitaly loved Viktor. So much. He wanted to be just like him. As crazy as it sounds, I was happy about it. I was happy that I could fake my life enough to hide my children from the horrors of the reality we were in. It felt like I was doing my job, knowing they were so innocent from it all. There was enough hatred within myself to go around. They didn’t need to have that in their hearts, too.”

There was a but, here. Kaori waited for it.

 

The tears started to fall harder again. “One night…Viktor had some guests over. He had asked that I dress the children in specific clothes, but they were fussy and I was too tired to fight with them over it. I let them just wear what I could get them in to. He didn’t say anything at dinner, but after the guests had left….,” a loud sob filled the room. “He took me to our bedroom and yelled at me. I knew it was coming, and sure enough he bent me over and started tearing off my clothes. I could bare it. I had many times before, even though it hurt. It hurt so bad. But the pain was nothing – nothing – like when I saw Vitaly hiding in the bathroom watching as Viktor raped me.”

 

Kaori felt her own tears stinging at her eyes and she quickly moved to wipe at them. Fuck. Fuck. A child witnessing such a horrific event at such a young age. The psychological trauma that would cause. The…protective obsession it might cause.

 

Yuuri took a moment, letting out several sobs as the tears fell. “I still keep thinking that there was something I could have done to prevent it all. That if I had just done what Viktor had said Vitaly would have never seen and would still be that beautifully innocent boy. I…I will never forget his screams when I finally found him hiding in the closet. I would give anything to go back and take that moment away from him. Anything.”

 

Kaori wished she couldn’t feel Yuuri’s emotions. It hurt. She gave herself a moment of steady breaths to compose herself before speaking. “Children are smart, Yuuri. It was only a matter of time before Vitaly grew to realize what was going on. Maybe he would not have witnessed it outright, but he would have noticed your relationship with Viktor was not quite right eventually. It was not your fault. It was Viktor’s.”

 

Yuuri nodded, blowing his nose. “I-I know…I know…but Vitaly was never the same.”

 

No fucking shit. “How did things change with Viktor after that?”

 

A quivering smile. “Well…it’s like you said. He was a smart kid. Very smart. As far as Viktor was concerned, nothing had changed. Vitaly still acted like he loved his father. But…I saw the fire in his eyes. The hatred. Vitaly started to do small, subtle things to keep Viktor away from me. He’d pretend to have nightmares and come into our room at night so that Viktor couldn’t have sex with me. When Viktor finally put his foot down saying he was too old, he taught Yulian to start doing it. He’d fake sickness as much as he could to stay home with me. The only thing he couldn’t figure out how to protect me from was my heats.”

 

Vitaly had started to become an alpha. Kaori sucked in a breath. Those sorts of things were too smart for a child to think up on their own…but an alpha. Protecting an omega was pure instinct. It was possible Vitaly would have presented as an alpha, anyway, but it was also very likely that witnessing the rape had caused Vitaly to present as an alpha in order to protect Yuuri. She’d read studies similar to this before.

 

Vitaly was still trying to protect Yuuri.

 

“I know it bothers Phichit,” Yuuri continued. “He hates how protective and overbearing Vitaly is of me sometimes, but there’s reasons for it that he just can’t understand. And…I…I feel safer with Vitaly with me.”

 

And there it was, the admission.

 

“It’s not fair,” Yuuri went on. “It’s not fair all the things Vitaly has had to go through. Even when we finally escaped here to Japan after Viktor was killed, Vitaly couldn’t find peace. The other children at school cast him out as a gaijin and he’s never been able to make friends. My family…my family thinks there’s something wrong with him and don’t like him around the onsen. They think I don’t know, but I hear the way they talk about him behind my back. That they only put up with him because it would upset me otherwise. He’s sacrificed so much. He doesn’t deserve this.”

 

Kaori frowned slightly. “Children can be cruel. I could see where they would not be accepting of Vitaly given his foreign appearance and accent. I also understand some of Phichit’s reservations. I’m not sure I understand why your family would be wary of him.”

 

Yuuri went silent. There were a few moments where he opened his mouth like he might speak but then thought better of it. He was scared to admit something.

 

“Yuuri…it’s ok. This is a safe space. I will not judge you for anything you say,” she reminded him.

 

“Well,” Yuuri started hesitantly, eyes on the floor. “They don’t really approve of his job and – um – some of the people he does associate with. But…they also…don’t approve of some of the things we do.”

 

Kaori held her breath.

 

“We both still tend to have a lot of nightmares and…I let him sleep with me. Even now,” Yuuri confessed. “It just…it makes me feel like he’s five again. Before everything happened. When he was still innocent.”

 

Ok. That…wasn’t too bad. A little strange, but not terrible. That was something she’d dealt with in a few previous patients, though maybe not with a kid quite this old.

 

“There’s also…,” Yuuri trailed off, fiddling with his hands anxiously. “Um…I sort of…he…I would let him breastfeed when I was pregnant and feeding Aiko.”

 

The fact Kaori kept a straight face was truly amazing. “H-,” she cleared her throat. “How old was he when this was going on?”

 

“Um…14 I guess?” Yuuri responded, face bright red in shame. “I just…it always helped me fell so much closer with my children. Honestly, I hated it that Yulian and Alyona weened so quickly. It felt like I couldn’t bond with them as closely. Vitaly…whenever he was upset he’d ask, and…no matter how old he got I couldn’t deny him. I didn’t want to.”

 

It was just as Yuuri had said. Vitaly had never been weened of his mother. Kaori suddenly started to think this was an impossible case. “Do you…still breastfeed him?”

 

“Ah, n-no,” Yuuri shook his head. “I can’t…even with Aiko, I had a very hard time producing milk. I had to supplement formula a lot with her. But…sometimes, when we’re both feeling really down, I just let him rest his head against my chest and…it helps.”

 

If Vitaly were but five or six, this might be adorable. Bond between mother and son. But Vitaly was 21. It wasn’t adorable. It was scary. Straightening, Kaori licked her lips. “Yuuri. I don’t think you need me to tell you that your parents are concerned because your relationship with Vitaly is unhealthy in its codependency. Have you both tried to spend some time a part? Even just a little?”

 

Yuuri’s eyes started to swell with tears again. “We can’t. I can’t. It just hurts too badly.”

 

“Yuuri,” she sighed, “I know it won’t be easy at first, but for both your sakes you need to start thinking about separating yourselves. Even if it’s just days at a time at first.”

 

“No, you don’t understand,” Yuuri practically shouted. “When he’s gone for a few days for work I feel like dying. When he’s gone for weeks it’s excruciating.” Fumbling with the collar of his sweater he pulled it to the side to reveal a bonding mark. “We can’t be separated.”

 

Kaori almost dropped her pen and pad. They were mated. “Yuuri…why…?”

 

Yuuri shook his head. “It-it’s not what you think! It’s not…it’s not like that. Phichit thinks that it is which is so fucking stupid because it’s not! It’s not! I was sick. I was going to die. I never was able to recover from the broken bond with Viktor and the only option was to bond with another alpha. My sister tried, but the bond didn’t take. Vitaly….Vitaly was the only option.”

 

But of course his sister’s bond didn’t take. It was almost impossible for a familial bond to take. The body knew and would reject it. How on earth did Vitaly’s bond take? An impossible task just turned even more impossible. To try and separate them with a bond could very well be a death sentence. Kaori felt at a loss of words.

 

“I’m so fucked up,” Yuuri cried into his hands.

 

Kaori’s heart shattered. “You’re not fucked up, Yuuri. You were put through horrible, horrific circumstances that drove you and your son to do what you had to do for survival. An omega sought out an alpha for protection after abuse. That’s completely normal. In these circumstances, we can’t expect your secondary gender to take relation into account.” She was spewing bullshit, and she knew it. “What we have to do now, though, is see how we can help you, Vitaly, and Phichit turn this into a more normal way of living despite the unique circumstances. There are mates that spend time apart without pain. I think you and Vitaly can do this, too. Don’t you think maybe a part of your pain is a bit psychosomatic? Are you truly in pain, or do you just think you are because you’ve become so used to having him in your life?”

 

Yuuri didn’t respond, and Kaori wondered if maybe she might have actually caught on to something she could use.

 

“I can’t live without him,” Yuuri finally breathed.

 

“I’m not asking you to,” Kaori promised. “I’m just asking that you work on developing a healthier relationship with him. You said you love Phichit, right?”

 

“Yes,” Yuuri breathed. “So much. He has practically raised Aiko and Alyona completely. They adore him! It hurts all of us when he and Vitaly fight.”

 

“I’m sure it does. But I think in order to make things better, we are going to have to work on creating more of a balance in your relationship with both of them. That includes maybe separating yourself just a bit from Vitaly. Baby steps. I’m not asking that he leave or move out right now. Do you think that’s something you’d be willing to try?”

 

“I…,” Yuuri played with the hem of his sweater. “I can try.”

 

Kaori let out a sigh of relief. One out of three down. “Good. Well, I think we’ve done enough today. It takes a lot of courage for you to talk to me about all of this. Be proud of yourself for taking this first step. You are much stronger than you know.”

 

Yuuri didn’t offer a response, discarding his used tissues and reaching for a few more before making his way to the door and closing it behind him. Kaori rubbed at her temples, a throbbing sensation finding its way there. She needed a drink and she had a feeling that desire would only escalate. The door opened and an irritated looking Vitaly stepped in. A shiver rippled down her spine at the aggravated scent coming from the alpha. He took a seat on the sofa and crossed his arms in an aggressive stance.

 

Well. Where to begin? “Why don’t you just tell me a bit about yourself? Your likes, interests, hobbies.”

 

Vitaly rolled his eyes. “Seriously?”

 

“Indulge me,” Kaori pressed. She wouldn’t let this alpha bully her.

 

Vitaly sighed in annoyance. “I’m 21. Born in Russia. I speak Russian, Japanese, English, Korean, Mandarin, and Thai. I like to practice various forms of martial arts and yoga.”

 

“Wow, that’s very impressive that you speak so many languages,” Kaori honestly spoke. “Any particular reason you learned so many?”

 

“My job,” Vitaly responded.

 

An opening. “Can I ask what it is you do?”

 

“No,” Vitaly answered firmly.

 

Damn. Can’t say she didn’t try. “Any romantic interests at the moment?”

 

Vitaly let out a snort. “When your first experience with sex and romance is rape, you feel a little less inclined to experience such a thing for yourself.”

 

Well, that was a fair and valid point, though it didn’t make it any less sad that he thought he couldn’t experience healthy love. “Do you consider yourself asexual, then?”

 

“As asexual as an alpha that experiences ruts can possibly be,” Vitaly responded.

 

She wanted to ask the question, but not yet. Not quite. “You mentioned that you are the primary provider for your household. Do you ever feel like that puts some stress on you?”

 

“Of course not,” he huffed. “I am the alpha of the house. It is my job to provide and to protect my family. It’s not a stress and it’s not a chore. The only stress are the times it pulls me away from my mother and siblings.”

 

“You love your family very much,” she noted.

 

“I would die for them,” Vitaly said, and then his cold blue eyes pierced right through her that had her shrinking back. “I would kill for them.”

 

Her grip on her pen tightened. Something…something told her that maybe he already had. Phichit, after all, seemed to have the same fears. “Vitaly…your father is dead. Your mother is safely back here in Japan. Why are you so afraid? Why do you feel the need to protect him so badly?”

 

“You say that like my father was the only thing out there in this world that could hurt my mother,” Vitaly hissed. “Viktor was the head of the Russian mafia. He had friends and enemies across the globe, both who would take the chance to come after my family if given the chance.”

 

“But why?” Kaori asked. “Why would they care about you, your mother, or your siblings?”

 

Vitaly’s jaw tightened. “I was my father’s first born. His heir. He was training me to be his successor. My mother was his mate. We know many things.”

 

Kaori wondered if how to kill was one of those many things. The longer she sat in the room alone with Vitaly, the more uncomfortable she got. “I understand why you might worry about the mafia coming after you, but why worry about Phichit? Your mother knew Phichit long before you were born. They were together. He’s not an alpha. So what is it? What is it that upsets you so much about him?”

 

Vitaly bared his teeth in a growl. “He is not wanted in our family!”

 

“That’s not what your mother told me,” she retorted. “Yuuri seems to love Phichit very much, and so do your sisters. You are the only one that seems to have a problem with him. So what’s the real issue?” Vitaly didn’t seem to know how to respond. “Is it because you are jealous?” That got her a reaction. His muscles rippled beneath the fabric of his Henley. The collar slipped just enough off to the side of his shoulder in his movements that she caught side of the dark ink. His gestures were a warning, and Kaori thought that maybe he meant for her to see the ink. To see that he was Yakuza. “Are you in love with your mother, Vitaly?”

 

There. She’d said it.

 

Vitaly looked like he’d been punched in the face. He recovered quickly, but the slight falter had been seen regardless. “Yuuri is my mother. Of course I love him.”

 

“I know you love him. That’s not what I asked. Are you in love with him?” She repeated. “Have you ever had sexual thoughts about him?”

 

“Fuck you,” Vitaly hissed, making her flinch. “My mother was raped and abused, and you are asking me if I want to sleep with him?!”

 

Kaori held her ground, despite how quickly her heart was beating beneath her chest. “What you desire and what you actually do are not the same. I have no doubt in my mind that you would never do anything to hurt Yuuri, Vitaly, but that does not mean that sometimes you do not have fantasies. It’s not that unusual, especially during adolescence. You wouldn’t be the first, though those feelings typically pass as quickly as they come. But, I’m wondering, if perhaps you don’t like Phichit because those feelings never went away. That he’s competition even though it’s you that are bonded to Yuuri. Are you in love with Yuuri?”

 

Vitaly did not deny it, Kaori noticed. Despite his seething anger, his eyes started to get wet, though no tears fell.

 

“I hate Phichit because he is nothing. Betas are nothing,” Vitaly started. Kaori felt frozen in fear beneath his words as he stood and towered over her. “I had to watch as my mother forced himself to pretend to love my father for the sake of my siblings. I had to watch him be raped when he disobeyed. I had to watch him be raped when he obeyed. I had to listen to his screams when my father was told he was likely infertile and felt the need to prove the doctors wrong. The moment I presented I swore on my life that I would never allow anyone to do this to my mother again. Ever. And I and promise you that watching my father bleed to death was one of the greatest moments of my life. A beta cannot provide. A beta cannot keep my mother safe. I am the only one that protect him! I am the one that saved him! Not Phichit! Me!”

 

Kaori jumped when the door slammed. A whimper left her lips and she had to stand and brace herself against her desk as she breathed heavily trying to calm herself. Her hand trembled as she tried to hold onto her pen and it took several minutes for it to finally stop shaking enough she could write.

 

Shows violent tendencies. Likely a danger to himself and others. Yakuza affiliations. Extremely obsessive and possessive behavior. Somewhat understandable given circumstances, but has progressed dangerously. Definitive Oedipus Complex.

 

Kaori stared at the final thought she wrote down.

 

Likely committed patricide.

 

“Dr. Asada?” Phichit’s calm voice broke her from her thoughts. “Are you alright? Fuck, he didn’t threaten you did he?!”

 

“No, no,” Kaori shook her head, turning around and adjusting her glasses. “He…ah…just got a little upset. He’s quite overbearing, isn’t he?”

 

“Shit,” Phichit sighed, plopping down onto the coach in an exhausted motion. “See what I was trying to say, then?”

 

“Ah,” Kaori ran a hand down the back of her skirt and took a seat again. “I, um, think that your concerns are very valid.”

 

“Isn’t there something you can do?” Phichit asked. “If he’s dangerous, can’t you have him committed?”

 

Kaori licked her lips. “It’s…tricky. Technically? Yes. I am fairly certain I’ve witnessed enough behavior that I could have him forcibly taken, restrained, and brought to a psychiatric hospital where he is involuntarily admitted. And then, when he’s released…. I likely have the Yakuza hunting me down.”

 

Phichit swallowed loudly. “So…he told you?”

 

“No,” Kaori shook her head. “Well, not directly, but there are very few ways someone as young as him comes upon so much money, and the tattoos sort of gave it away.”

 

With an exhaustion motion the beta rubbed a hand across his face. “So what do we do?”

 

Silence.

 

“I don’t know,” Kaori eventually whispered. “I really, truthfully, don’t know. I think that Yuuri is willing to try and put some distance between himself and Vitaly to help his relationship with you, but that takes Vitaly agreeing to accept that distance.”

 

“He’s not going to agree,” Phichit said for her.

 

She pursed her lips unhappily. “No. I don’t think so. Not unless we can get Yuuri to make him do it. That’s sort of our only route at the moment.”

 

Phichit nodded in understanding. “Vitaly will do anything Yuuri says, but convincing him isn’t going to be easy.”

 

“No, but I think it’s worth a try.”

 

Again, Phichit nodded, and took a moment to suck in a deep breath. “Am I crazy? Am I crazy to stick around and deal with this?”

 

Kaori smiled sympathetically. “Crazy in love, it sounds like. The fact you are trying so hard for this proves your love for Yuuri. And it proves how brave you are. If…if Vitaly really wanted to, he could get rid of you.” He could kill you.

 

Phichit surprisingly laughed. “Yeah, I know, but he won’t. As much as he hates it, I make Yuuri happy. As long as I do that, he won’t off me.”

 

Kaori was glad he had more confidence in that than she did.

 

“How did it get to this?” He asked. “How did it get this out of control? This…abnormal?”

 

“Well,” Kaori started with a big breath, “If I’m quite honest with you I don’t think it’s as abnormal as you think. I mean, sure, for people that grew up in a healthy family and normal environment, yes, it’s abnormal. However, given the circumstances, it really isn’t. When you stop thinking about them in terms of Vitaly and Yuuri and Alpha and Omega, suddenly all of this seems quite normal. An omega is abused by an alpha in the presence of an unpresented. Unpresented becomes an alpha. New alpha…disposes of abusive alpha and takes the place as omega’s new mate and protector. That’s the natural order of things.”

 

Phichit looked at her with dark eyes. “Disposes…you think…?”

 

“Don’t you?” Kaori breathed.

 

Phichit just nodded slowly. “Yuuri just makes excuse after excuse for him.”

 

“We’ll work on it,” she promised. “It won’t be easy, and it’s going to take both you and Yuuri putting in the effort. The bond makes it even trickier, but there is hope.” She didn’t believe it even though she said it.

 

“Thank you,” his voice trembled.

 

“Give my office a call when you want to come back,” she instructed him. “It’ll be both of you together moving forward.”

 

That night, Kaori smoked for the first time in two years and drank an entire bottle of wine. Predictably, Vitaly never returned. Yuuri did with Phichit, and while she thought they made some progress in Yuuri’s fears around the ice to see his daughter compete and his intimacy issues, Vitaly was a rarely discussed topic. Yuuri just didn’t want to discuss it any further, and Kaori quickly lost hope. Eventually, Yuuri stopped coming too, and she was left with Phichit who could do nothing but vent and cry his frustrations.

 

Kaori had never had a bigger failure in her career.

 

Chapter Text

Alyona - 15

Alyona was second after the short program and only three points behind the leader. Getting gold in two days was completely within her grasps. Only her first grand prix final and she would likely at least medal. Sure, she was one of the older contestants. Still 15 and in the Junior group, but she'd gotten a late start. Phichit had suggested she not move up to the Senior division until 17. She didn't mind that. More time to be perfect.

 

Waving goodbye to some of the other competitors for the night she skipped up to Phichit who was on the phone with Aiko climbing all over him giggling. In an attempt to help her dad out she tickled Aiko to distract her.

 

“Yeah, she was amazing!” Phichit beamed into the receiver of the phone, mouthing a silent ‘thank you’ to Alyona. “Actually, she just walked up. You wanna talk to her?” The beta pulled the phone away slightly from his cheek. “Aly-chan, it's your mom. He wants to say congrats.”

 

In an instant, Alyona’s good mood dropped and turned sour. This was her first grand prix and Yuuri hadn't come. Yuuri hadn't come to any of her competitions. Her mother wouldn't even set foot in an ice rink. “If he wanted to say congratulations so much then he should have come.”

 

Phichit frowned heavily at her, not appreciative of her attitude. “Hey, that is not -,”

 

Alyona didn't even wait around for him to finish that sentence, letting go of Aiko and quickly storming off. Arms crossed she headed for the elevators but then changed her mind. She needed to get out of this stupid hotel. Pulling her Team Japan jacket tighter around herself she headed for the main entrance and stepped out into the brutal cold of Moscow. She wasn't dressed appropriately at all, but she didn't care. Instead, she just continued to walk as far away from the hotel as she could.

 

By the time she reached a bench several blocks away she was crying. Hot tears froze almost instantly on her cheeks as she sat down and pulled her knees into her chest. Why was she so upset? This was nothing knew. Her mother had been doing this ever since she started skating. The disappointment was expected.

 

“Alyona! Alyona!” She heard Phichit shouting for her and she lifted her head just enough to see. “Alyona! Oh my God, don't you ever run off like that again! Do you understand me?!”

 

Alyona blinked back her own tears in surprise, Phichit almost falling to his knees in front of her with his own set of tears falling. All she did was go down the street. “I just needed air.”

 

“God, Alyona, you can't just walk off like that! Especially not here!” Phichit wiped at his face and took a seat next to her, his gloved hand gripping hers so tightly she was afraid she might go numb. “Russia isn't like Japan, Aly. People disappear here.”

 

“Maybe I should just disappear,” Alyona sobbed. “Mama hates me anyway.”

 

It was shocking how quickly Phichit grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. The beta had never put his hands on any of them like that. His black eyes were darker than night itself. “Don't you ever, ever , say that. Ever, Alyona. Your mother loves you so much. You have no idea.”

 

Angrily, Alyona batted his hand away. “You're right, I don't! I have no idea because he never says it! He never comes to my competitions and he's never at the rink! What am I supposed to think, Papa?!”

 

Phichit's tight body slumped over and he suddenly seemed more exhausted than she'd ever seen him. More so than after any competition. “Alyona...how much has your mother ever told you about how he met your father?”

 

The question caught her off guard. They never mentioned her biological father in the family. She always thought it was too painful to talk about for Yuuri and the mention of him only served to anger Vitaly. “I...he never said and I never asked.”

 

Phichit squeezed her hand again. “You know your mother used to skate. He was good. Amazing. The most beautiful skater out there, I thought. There was someone else that thought that, too.”

 

“My dad?” Alyona questioned.

 

A nod confirmed her response. “Viktor really liked Yuuri, a lot. Thing is, your mom and I were already dating at the time. At the banquet at the end of the Grand Prix Final in Sochi, Viktor asked Yuuri out and he said no.”

 

Alyona’s brow furrowed in confusion. If her mother had said no, how did they end up together? Had her father refused to give up? “I don’t understand.”

 

Phichit’s adam's apple bobbed as a few more tears fell. “Your mom never came home from Russia, Alyona. I never saw him again until six years ago when you all came to Japan.”

 

People disappear here.

 

Alyona could feel her heart flutter in a slow realization and her skin go so cold it felt hot. Burning hot.

 

“Viktor took your mother and-,” Phichit paused, clearly trying to find the right way to say the words Alyona knew were coming. “He forced a bond on him and kept him hidden from the world for 15 years.”

 

Alyona’s hands flew to her mouth, keeping in the scream that threatened to let loose. Her brown eyes squeezed shut so tightly it was painful. “Rape,” she suddenly blurted out between sobs. “I’m 15. I know what that word means, just say it! I’m a product of rape !”

 

Phichit didn’t say anything, his eyes lowering to the snow on the sidewalk. They both sat there crying unable to say anything for a long time.

 

“I didn’t know,” Alyona hiccuped finally, breaking the silence. “I didn’t know. They always seemed so happy.”

 

“Of course they did,” Phichit’s voice sounded raw. “Your mother did everything he could to make it look that way to protect all of you. The happier they looked, the better things were. Your mother loves you so much that he sacrificed so much to save you.”


Alyona felt sick even though she hadn’t eaten anything in over twelve hours. How naive was she to have not seen any sort of sign? They had to have been there. “Do they know? Vita-nii and Ulya-nii?”

 

“Yes,” Phichit answered regretfully. “It wasn’t right to keep it from you, Alyona, but your mother did it to protect you because he loves you. Your brothers, too.”

 

“I’m a terrible person,” Alyona cried.

 

“No,” Phichit wrapped an arm around her and pulled her in tight against his chest. “No, you’re not. You were just a kid.”

 

All this time, Alyona had hated her mother for nothing, having no idea the pain and suffering he’d been through. “I wish I could take it back. I wish I could take it all back, Papa! I don’t hate him!”

 

“Oh, baby, I know you don’t,” Phichit kissed the top of her head. “And your mother knows that, too. I know things will never be the way you want with him, but try and have a little more patience? Mama...I don’t think he can stay away from the ice forever, but he has to do it on his time, ok?”

 

Alyona nodded furiously into his chest. She’d apologize. She had to. Beg for her mother’s forgiveness the moment that they landed back in Japan. “Do you...do you know how father died? Mama just said there was an accident.”

 

A flash of something flickered in Phichit’s eye and Alyona immediately regretted asking. “I don’t know, baby.”

 

“Ok,” Alyona accepted simply. “I’m cold.”

 

Phichit chuckled. “Well, yeah, it’s freezing out here and you’re wearing basically nothing! Come on, let’s get back inside where it’s warm and get some food. You worked hard today and deserve it. Ciao-Ciao might kill us if we leave him alone with your sister any longer.”

 

Alyona, too, chuckled as she stood with her hand still in Phichit’s. “She is full of energy today, isn’t she? I hope she lets me sleep tonight.”

 

“We’ll order a big dinner. That’ll knock her out for sure!” Phichit promised. “But...Alyona...you know...the way you came into this world...Mama doesn’t love you any less for it. He doesn’t love any of you any less.”

 

Swallowing, Alyona nodded. She didn’t doubt it, especially the way he loved Vitaly. Now...it made sense. Things she always thought were slightly strange in her family all made perfect sense. “I know.”

 

Two days later, Alyona won gold. It was her personal best. It was the most light-hearted and free that she had ever felt in her life. The heaviest weight had fallen off her shoulders and allowed her to fly on the ice. Still, it was hard to enjoy the celebration too much. Vitaly, who had flown in the morning after the short-program, noticed.

 

“You won gold, Alya. Why the look of disappointment?” Vitaly asked, gently touching a few fingers to her chin in an attempt to make her lift it.

 

“I messed up,” Alyona responded, averting her eyes from the alpha.

 

Vitaly blinked with confused blue eyes. “What? That performance looked pretty flawless to me, and the judges agreed.”

 

“Nooo,” Alyona whined. “I...Please don’t be mad at Papa.

 

Eyes immediately narrowed with judgement. “What did he do?”

 

“I said don’t be mad!” Alyona huffed, the stuffed animal in her hand bobbling with her movement. “He...he told me about Mom and Dad. You know...Viktor.”

 

Vitaly’s mouth drew into a harsh thin line and he was pulling Alyona by the hand around the corner away from the crowd. “What exactly did he tell you?”

 

Alyona shrunk in on herself. “Well...how they met. And how Mama didn’t love him.” Her eyes started to go glossy with tears. “I messed up, Vita-nii. All this time I thought Mama hated me, but he’s just scared! And I ruined everything!”

 

Vitaly’s hands cupped Alyona’s face and he looked at her seriously. “Alya. Mama has never hated you. He just hates the ice, and that’s not your fault. You’ve ruined nothing. Mama understand why you’ve felt angry and hurt.”

 

“Do you think he’ll accept my apology?” Alyona asked, nibbling at her lower lip.

 

“Without a doubt,” he promised.

 

“Vita-nii...how did he die?” Alyona had to know. She just did.

 

Vitaly did not shy away from the question like Phichit had. “Viktor had many enemies, Alya. He was in an evil business and did evil things beyond what he did to Mama. In the end, his actions caught up to him, and he got what he deserved.”

 

So it hadn’t been an accident, then. Her father had been murdered. There was a pain in her heart she hadn’t expected at the news. Viktor had never been mean to her. In fact, he’d doted on her completely. He’d never given her any reason to hate him. “Do you hate him, nii-chan?”

 

“Yes,” Vitaly responded firmly without hesitation. “Not even death could forgive what he did in life. But that doesn’t matter, now. All that matters is that Mama and you and Ai-chan and Ulya are all safe and healthy and most importantly: happy.

 

Standing on her tippy-toes, Alyona wrapped her arms around her brother’s neck pulling him into a hug. “I love you, Vita-nii.”

 

Vitaly kissed her cheek, hugging her back. “I love you, too. Now smile. Enjoy your victory.”

 

Alyona did as she was told.

 

/*/

 

The flight back to Fukuoka was fifteen hours and then there was an hour train ride. Sixteen hours Alyona had to work and re-work her apology to her mother and sixteen hours she had to start to panic. It didn’t matter that Phichit and Vitaly had promised her that Yuuri would forgive her. She still worried. With her gold medal firmly in her jacket pocket she went over the words in her mind over and over again until the moment they stepped foot back into the onsen.

 

“Tadaima!” Phichit called out to the onsen, beaming with pride. “I brought a gold medalist with me!”

 

“Okaeri!” Toshiya and Hiroko called back, both excitedly fussing over Alyona.

 

Alyona was excited to have her grandparents’ praise, but they weren’t who she wanted to see. Hiding in the hallway was her mother, offering a smile but feeling like he was not welcome. Pulling out her gold medal Alyona bounded forward toward Yuuri, opening her arms and tackling him with a large hug.

 

“Oof!” Yuuri stumbled, barely catching himself from falling. With surprised eyes he hugged her back. “Alyona...is everything alright?”

 

Alyona smiled up at him through tearful eyes thrusting the gold medal into his chest. “I got this for you.”

 

Yuuri smiled, gently taking the medal from her. “Arigatou, Alya-chan. It’s beautiful. You were beautiful.”

 

“Mama...Can we talk?” Alyona asked, keeping her tears at bay growing harder and harder.

 

Yuuri glanced up over her shoulder to whom she assumed was Phichit and then nodded. “Sure. Why don’t we take your things up to your room and get your costumes hung so they don’t wrinkle?”

 

Nodding, Alyona gathered her luggage and followed Yuuri up the stairs. A small bark greeted her as they reached their private level of the onsen and she immediately bent down to pet the poodle. “Marron!”

 

“He missed you,” Yuuri mentioned.

 

Alyona didn’t linger, giving the poodle a quick pat and then hurrying off to her room. She and Yuuri had barely crossed the through the threshold before she started to word vomit. “I’m so sorry, Mama! I’m sorry for everything! I’m sorry for all the times I was mean and standoff-ish! I’m sorry for ignoring you and not ever saying I love you. I’m sorry for trying to make you come see me on the ice when you were scared! You don’t have to come! Ever! I promise! You can just stay here and I’ll call you when I’m done and -,”

 

“Alya,” Yuuri whispered, taking a seat on the edge of her bed. “Alya, where is this coming from?”

 

Alyona’s mouth snapped shut. Oh. “Did...did Papa not tell you what he told me?”

 

Yuuri sighed, a small twitch of a smile. “Ah. Well...This...was not how I ever expected this conversation to go.”

 

Mama was starting to cry, and Alyona felt awful, immediately joining her mother on the bed. “No, Mama, please! It’s my fault! All of it! I didn’t know you were scared! Please don’t hate me!”

 

“Oh, baby, I could never, ever, hate you,” Yuuri told her, pulling her into a hug. “Without you and your brothers I would have died. You saved my life. Nothing has ever been your fault. If anything, it’s been mine. I haven’t been a very good mother and role-model, have I?”

 

“No, you’ve been perfect!” Alyona argued, grabbing for her mother’s hand. “It’s ok to be scared! I just didn’t know!”

 

Yuuri smiled apologetically. “You’re right, it is ok to be scared. But it’s not ok to let your life be ruled by your fears. I have let my fear rule me, and all it has done is made me miss out a good portion of your life, Alyona, and I will never regret anything more. It hasn’t been fair to you. I can’t promise how far I’ll be able to go and how long I’ll be able to fight, but I do promise you I’m going to try. Starting with National’s.”

 

Alyona’s eyes went wide and she gasped. “But...Mama...National’s is in a few weeks!”

 

Yuuri smiled. “It is. It’s also in Japan, and I’ll be with your Papa and we’ll drag Vita-nii along, too. I’ll be perfectly safe.”

 

“No one would dare mess with Vita-nii,” Alyona nodded firmly. “He’ll definitely protect you!” There was something in Yuuri’s expression then, that made Alyona wonder. It was a mix of longing and sadness. Happiness and regret.

 

“No one would dare,” Yuuri agreed, voice barely above a whisper. He reached up and tucked a strand of her dark hair behind her ear. “I’m so proud of you, Alyona. So, so, so proud of you.”

 

“Thank you, Mama,” Alyona responded, a few tears of happiness letting loose.

 

Leaning forward Yuuri pecked a kiss on her cheek. “Ojisan and I made katsudon! Let’s go celebrate!”

 

That night, Alyona felt more love for her family than she’d ever felt before.

 

Chapter Text

 

There were many times where Phichit asked himself why he stayed. Maybe, there were more times than he could truthfully count. Of course, he’d known from the moment he saw Yuuri and his children on the television that things wouldn’t be easy. Mari had confirmed it, reminding him that Yuuri was no longer the Yuuri he had been dating and had fallen in love with in Detroit. Phichit took the risk anyway, and with it came struggles.

 

The most obvious struggle was Vitaly. Cold, arrogant, and down-right destructive. At first, Phichit tried to give the teen the benefit of the doubt. He’d witnessed horrible things and had his entire world turned upside down. It was only natural to be antisocial and off putting. But it never changed. Maybe it just got worse, honestly. Vitaly was outwardly rude and abrasive towards Phichit. At first, Phichit could ignore it and cast it aside as an angsty teenager phase, but the older the alpha got, the more serious it all became. Vitaly grew tall and strong and if he wanted, he could end Phichit’s life in an instant.

 

Somedays, Phichit worried he would.

 

The second struggle was Yuuri himself. It wasn’t the nightmares of his time in Russia, or his health problems. No, Phichit was there to comfort him during every midnight sweat and helped nurse him to health whenever he got sick. Those things didn’t bother Phichit at all. What bothered him was the way Yuuri allowed Vitaly to act the way he did and worse - enabled it. Phichit was so sick of the excuses they were enough to make him walk out some days. He wouldn’t leave leave, of course, but he’d have to step away from the onsen and take a walk on the beach to clear his head. He hated fighting with Yuuri more than anything and it was always about Vitaly. Then there was the bond. The bond that Yuuri himself had allowed Vitaly to create. Nothing would erase the bad taste that left in his mouth. It was permanent.

 

So, yeah...he wondered why he stayed a lot.

 

But then there were the moments when Aiko would wake them up in the morning by pouncing into their bed. She’d bring Marron and Mochi to make a full greeting party. Aiko would call him Papa and hug him tightly and his heart would swell. They’d go to the beach and they’d build sand castles and play with a beach ball. Together they’d swim and splash each other in the waves. Sometimes he’d look at pictures of her as a baby and through the years as she had grown. He’d done that. He’d helped raise her from birth.

 

Phichit stayed for that.

 

Then there was Alyona who had made Phichit truly love the ice again after a decade. Naturally talented just like her mother, but with a fire and determination that Yuuri never quite had. Alyona was fearless on the ice and anxiety could never break through the powerful shield she had created. It was an indescribable joy to see her succeed and for Phichit to be the one to help her do it. Her ultimate goal was to land a triple axel one day. Phichit believed she’d achieve that goal.

 

Phichit definitely stayed for that.

 

Even Yulian, shy and anxiety prone and a clone of Yuuri when they had first met in Detroit, made him smile. Phichit liked to think he had done a lot in helping Yulian overcome his anxiety and fears. After all, he’d helped Yuuri do the same. Although he never referred to Phichit as Papa or opened up to him like the girls had, he’d still welcomed him into the family and came to Phichit with concerns and worries. There was trust.

 

Phichit stayed for that, too.

 

Hiroko, Toshiya, and Mari had also welcomed him into their home with open arms. They gave him free food and housing. They warmed his soul with their smiles and laughter and their gracious thanks for helping Yuuri heal with his presence. Not a day went by that he didn’t feel completely accepted as one of their own.

 

Phichit stayed for that - and how could you not with food that good?

 

Then there were the days like this. Days where he and Yuuri spent the morning in bed together, just enjoying each other’s presence and not wanting to move.

 

“Soooo…,” Phichit’s voice drew out, rubbing a soothing circle into Yuuri’s side as they laid in bed, the beta pressed firmly against Yuuri’s back. “All the kids are out of the house for the next few days…whatever are we going to do with all this free time?”

 

Yuuri moaned, burying his face further into the pillow and slipping a foot between Phichit’s legs to further root himself down. “Sleep.”

 

Phichit chuckled, placing a gentle kiss to Yuuri’s neck. “Well, we can certainly do that, but surely that’s not all you want to do?”

 

“Eat,” Yuuri added, his eyes still closed, though he tried to scoot back closer to the other man.

 

“Then sleep some more.”

 

“Yuuri!” Phichit whined, wrapping his arms around Yuuri’s torso and giving it a tickle.

 

With a yelp, Yuuri’s eyes opened wide, body curling in on itself in attempts to stop the assault. “Hey! No fair!”

 

“What do you mean no fair?” Phichit questioned with a pout as Yuuri finally turned to face him. “Here we are, with all four kids gone for the first time ever, and all you want to do is eat and sleep?”

 

Yuuri made sure that this time his legs were completely intertwined with Phichit’s, their noses brushing against one another. “Well…I suppose I could find some time to spend with you.”

 

“Hmm…like on a date?” Phichit asked, a hand sliding part way down Yuuri’s back, fingers just slipping underneath the waist band of his sweats.

 

With a smile and a soft hum Yuuri raised a hand and laid it gently on Phichit’s cheek. “Like a date.” Leaning in he just captured Phichit’s lips, a soft and lazy kiss perfect for the morning. “I’m so not used to it being so quiet…I don’t think I like it.”

 

Pulling Yuuri in tighter Phichit initiated another kiss, far deeper and more awake this time. “I can think of a lot of ways we can make it not quiet.” Phichit felt the slightest bit of muscles tense in Yuuri and he instantly regretted those words. “Yuuri, I’m so sorry…We don’t have to do anything.”

 

“No…it’s ok,” Yuuri assured him. “I just…Maybe not today?”

 

“Whatever you want, baby,” Phichit promised, a softer kiss this time.

 

“But,” Yuuri traced a finger from Phichit’s cheek down to the middle of his bare chest, “I think I’d really like to go out with you today. Grab lunch, go to the beach? Maybe do some shopping?”

 

Phichit smiled. “Perfect.”

 

Phichit stayed most of all, for this.

Chapter Text

Vitaly - 22

 

Vitaly is lonely.

No one really knows it. His demeanor is as glum and stoic as always and he keeps to himself, but Yuuri knows. Yuuri knows, and his heart aches for his son. It makes Vitaly feel guilty and even lonelier. 

Yulian is gone, an ocean away. Alyona has put her full self into training and gained enough sponsorship to afford an apartment nearby with a rink mate. She’d long been itching for independence. Aiko…sweet Aiko is still around of course, but the older she got the less she seemed to need Vita-niichan. 

So yes…Vitaly is very much lonely. He lives in a house where the family whispers insults behind his back and secretly wish he’d leave. There’s Nobuo, of course, but try as he might, the beta never really filled the empty void in Vitaly’s heart. 

He’s walking back to the onsen after a job, sky dark and moon high in the sky, when he hears it. A high pitched squeal of distressed followed by laughter. Curious, Vitaly changes his direction, moving quiet in the shadows as he follows the noises. Gathered by the edge of a tree line were a group of teenage boys tugging on various limbs of an animal. 

“Listen to it squeal,” one laughed, tugging hard on a leg.

“Should we eat it?” Another asked.

“Yeah, and make a nice hat out of the fur or something,” another smirked.

“If you don’t put that poor creature down right now, I’ll be sure to make a nice hat out of you,” Vitaly’s voice growled, low and menacing in the dark. 

“Who the hell are you?” The largest spat.

Vitaly took another step forward into the moonlight, illuminating his silver hair and blue eyes. he pulled up the sleeve of his suit just enough to expose his dragon sleeve. “Are you sure you want to find out?”

The three boys were immediately releasing the creature and running at a full sprint. Vitaly huffed irritably and looked down at the animal. Now, he could clearly see the red, white, and black fur of a fox. Kneeling down he placed a careful hand on the animal. “Are you alright?”

The fox’s eyes blinked open and stared at Vitaly, as if she were trying to read the situation. When Vitaly removed his hand the fox curled it’s legs under its body and stood, giving herself a shake.

“Well, I’ll take that as a yes,” Vitaly smiled, standing back up. “Be more careful, won’t you? Oyasumi, kitsune.” Vitaly returned to the onsen, and did not think of the fox again that night.

The next morning, when Vitaly awoke, it was to a small red fox curled at the foot of his bed. “….How did you get in here? Did you follow me home?” The fox hardly moved, only twitching its ears in the direction of Vitaly’s voice.

With a sigh, Vitaly picked the fox up and headed downstairs where it was still quiet, opening a door and placing the creature outside. Sliding the door closed behind him, he went on with his day. 

Three days later he heard the whispers of the tenants.

“Oi, that fox has been hanging around the onsen for days now. It doesn’t seem to want to leave.”

“Then I don’t, either! A kitsune, come to bless the onsen! A spirit has attached itself to this place!”

Vitaly could only roll his eyes. He was hardly a religious man. Not Russian Orthodox, not Shinto. Just his own man. But then the fox started to slip back inside and follow Vitaly on his heel. It drew attention from his mother.

“Ah, Vitalik! I can’t believe it! A yokai has blessed our house! And a servant of Inari no less!” Yuuri beamed one night. “It seems to be quite taken with you.”

Vitaly could only hum in agreement, having nothing much to say about the topic. That night, he let the fox into his room, the creature happily hopping up onto the bed and curling up by Vitaly’s feet.

“Kitsune…If that’s true, then which are you? Zenko or Yako?” Predictably, the fox did not answer, though it happily rubbed itself against the sheets before shoving its nose against the bottom of Vitaly’s foot. “Well, you seem to be making yourself at home. Suit yourself.” Vitaly turned off the light and buried himself under the covers. 

When he awoke, the fox was curled up against his chest, face cocooned beneath Vitaly’s arm. The fox would leave on occasion to hunt, but every night the fox returned to sleep with Vitaly. 

Days passed. Weeks. Months.

Vitaly suddenly didn’t feel so lonely anymore as he hugged his fox close every night. 

Aiko had excitedly named her Mochi.

Chapter Text

 

Vitaly – 22

Aiko - 8

 

Vitaly was exhausted. He’d come back from a long day of harassing business owners who were late on their dues to the organization. Some of the meetings had turned out...dicey. The alpha hadn’t been able to walk away without a few scrapes and bruises. So when his head had finally hit the pillow he had been more than happy to accept Mochi into his arms at the wee hours of the morning and fall into a deep sleep.

 

It didn’t last long. Or rather - it certainly didn’t feel like it. The door to his room was sliding open with a loud slam jerking Mochi from her sleep and in turn himself. Annoyed, Vitaly opened an eye and shifted in the bed so he could see the intruder.

 

It was Phichit.

 

With an angry scowl Vitaly rolled over, his back to the door and Mochi following his movements to get away from the unwanted visitor. “I’m sleeping.”

 

“My hamsters are missing,” Phichit stated, voice full of accusations.

 

“And you think I took them?” Vitaly huffed. Honestly. Vitaly wanted nothing to do with those stupid animals.

 

“I think that vermin in your bed had a little snack in the middle of the night,” Phichit corrected.

 

“Circle of life,” was Vitaly’s only comment, closing his eyes and giving Mochi a long loving stroke. Good girl.

 

Even though Phichit was only a beta, Vitaly could feel the man seething with anger. “I swear, Vitaly, if I don’t find my hamsters and find proof that your pet ate them-,”

 

“You’ll what?” Vitaly growled, sleep completely gone and body now sitting up with Mochi cradled in his arms. “Kill the very thing that all the guests have started bringing offerings for? Maybe you shouldn’t have been so careless to leave their cage open.”

 

“I didn’t-Aiko forgot-,”

 

“Oh, so it’s Aiko’s fault now,” Vitaly snorted. It was low even for Phichit to blame something on the young girl. “Make up your mind.” Tired of this conversation he fell back onto the bed with a thud and rolled over.

 

Phichit let out a growl of frustration, but only slammed the door shut in response. Vitaly looked down at Mochi who had rolled onto her back with her tongue hanging out and tail thumping. Vitaly happily rubbed her belly. “Who's a good girl? Were the hamsters tasty? I hope so.”

 

Vitaly slept for another few hours before his stomach finally roused him and insisted on being fed. Mochi’s ears were perked forward curiously at the sound of his rumbling stomach. Before Vitaly could move she was jumping up and pouncing. “Oof! Hey! I am not an animal no matter how much I may sound like one! Come on...let’s go try and find some real food.”

 

Throwing on a shirt and loose sweats he padded down to the second floor where their private living room and kitchen sat. It was empty except for Aiko who was watching TV with a forlorn expression. Vitaly felt his jaw tighten. Had Phichit yelled at her? “What’s wrong, Ai-chan?”

 

As if she could tell Aiko’s sadness, Mochi strolled right up to the girl and crawled into her lap with a lick to the face. Aiko snuggled the fox close looking close to tears. “It’s all my fault.”

 

“Did Phichit tell you that?” Vitaly took a seat next to her on one of the cushions.

 

Aiko shook her head. “No, but...I accidently left the cage open after I played with them and they got out.”

 

Vitaly sighed and ruffled the silver locks on her head. “It was an accident. These things happen.”

 

“Vita-nii, please help me find them!” Aiko pleaded, the tears forming in her eyes. “I don’t want Daddy to be sad anymore!”

 

Eyes glancing down at Mochi Vitaly’s mouth twitched. If Mochi really had eaten the hamsters this would be an impossible task...but...Somehow he didn’t quite think she was the culprit (as much as he sort of wished she were).”Ok. Have you tried leaving some food out for them?”

 

Aiko rubbed at her eyes and sniffed, “Like a trail?”

 

“Like a trail,” Vitaly confirmed. “Maybe Mochi can help. She has a pretty good nose.”

 

“Daddy says Mochi ate them…,” She frowned running a hand down the fox’s back and tail. “Do you think that’s true?”

 

“Well...if she had I would think she would have left evidence behind,” Vitaly answered truthfully. There had been no blood stains on the fox’s mouth or on her fur and no one had found any...remains. So as much of a sweet justice as it would have been, no, Vitaly did not think Mochi had eaten the hamsters.

 

That had apparently been the wrong thing to say sending Aiko into a loud crying fit. Mochi started to let out small whines and pants, unsure of what she was supposed to do in this situation. Vitaly pulled her against his chest, needing to save face quickly.

 

“I’m sure they are fine, just hidden somewhere,” he assured her. Looks like food would just have to wait. “Come on, Ai-chan, crying won’t find them, ok? Why don’t we take Mochi up to Mama’s room and see if we can have her smell the cage and find them, ok? I doubt they’ve travelled very far.”

 

Aiko sniffled and wiped her face on Vitaly’s shirt. “O-ok…”

 

Spending the day searching for Phichit’s stupid hamsters was the last thing Vitaly wanted to do, but he had to remind himself this was for Aiko. For Aiko, he’d do anything. Holding her hand up the stairs they headed for Yuuri and Phichit’s room, Mochi hot on their ankles. The room looked a bit of a mess, which was unusual for Yuuri. It must have been due to searching for the hamsters.

 

“Anko! Manju!” Aiko called, getting onto her knees and searching beneath every piece of furniture.

 

Vitaly clucked at Mochi as he approached the open cage, calling her up to it. Curiously the fox sniffed the inside of the cage, her ears twitching as she took it all in. “Surely you can find them for us, no?” Mochi hopped off the table and immediately put her nose to the ground. Vitaly stood back and watched, his sister continuing to move thing around and calling to the two hamsters.

 

“Nii-chan, loooook!” Aiko pouted when she noticed him just standing there.

 

“I’m looking, I’m looking,” he said, moving a book on the desk aside and then doing nothing else.

 

Mochi came to a stop in front of the clothing hamper. She slowly sat, her nose creeping forward in deep concentration. Carefully, she began to rock back on her haunches and then effortlessly pounced all the way up and face first into the hamper. Loud squeaks suddenly filled the room and the hamper was falling backwards sending Mochi and a handful of clothes spilling out.

 

Two small creatures went dashing across the ground. Mochi darted after them.

 

“Mochi, no!” Aiko shouted.

 

Vitaly managed to catch one of the hamsters as it darted away from Mochi’s jaws. The other hadn’t been so lucky, wiggling between her teeth. “Mochi, no. Give him to Aiko.”

 

Mochi sat and obediently dropped the hamster into Aiko’s hands, the hamster immediately crawling up her shirt.

 

“Stupid rodents,” Vitaly sighed, quickly putting the dark brown hamster into the cage. “See? Safe and sound.”

 

“Bad Anko!” Aiko scoffed at the hamster she’d wrangled back in. “Stay in your cage, ok?!” She gave him a stroke with her finger and then put him back in the cage with Manju.

 

Vitaly made sure to secure it shut.

 

“Ah, what are you two doing-,” Yuuri’s voice cut in as the door slid opened. “Oh! You found them! Phichit is going to be so relieved!”

 

Aiko bent down and picked Mochi up, the fox’s back legs dangling as her front paws wrapped around Aiko’s small arm to keep herself from falling. “Mochi found them!”

 

Yuuri smiled and gave the fox a pat on the head. “Good girl!”

 

“Sorry,” Vitaly apologized, “We didn’t mean to just go through your room.”

 

“No, no, it’s ok,” Yuuri assured offloading the load of laundry he had brought up on the bed. “I’m really glad you found them. I...I know Phichit gave you a hard time about it this morning. I’m sorry.”

 

Vitaly waved off the apology, “It’s not your fault. It was easy to point blame to her, I guess.” Jerk.

 

Yuuri only hummed, not convinced. “Well, it doesn’t matter now. Have you eaten yet? You slept pretty late. We don’t have many guests. I could make something for you.”

 

“Please, Mama, there’s no need for you to do that,” Vitaly replied. “I can make something for myself.”

 

“No, I know, but I want to,” Yuuri insisted. “As a thank you. Really, it means a lot that you’d help look for Anko and Manju.”

 

Vitaly knew the underlining words. It was a thank you for playing nice with Phichit when he didn’t have to. Especially after this morning’s exchange. “Well, if you insist.”

 

When Phichit returned home that afternoon with Alyona from practice, he forced out a half-hearted apology to Vitaly. The alpha was certain that Yuuri made him do it. For his mother he accepted it.

 

“Mochi is such a good girl!” Aiko beamed as they all took a seat at the dinner table.

 

“Aren’t you?!?!” The little girl held up a piece of fish and dangled it for Mochi who happily leapt up and snagged it.

 

“Aiko, don’t feed Mochi at the table!” Phichit frowned. “You don’t want to teach her bad manners!”

 

In a show of silent defiance, Vitaly handed the fox his own piece of fish, eyes locked onto Phichit.

 

“Are you kidding me?” Phichit’s eyes narrowed.

 

“Phichit,” Yuuri pleaded quietly, a hand on the beta’s thigh. Phichit backed down, but not happily.

 

To add insult to injury, Mochi had snuck over to that side of the table, and without Phichit realizing jumped up and grabbed hold of the entire fish off the beta’s plate.

 

As Phichit shouted in frustration Vitaly could only laugh on with pleasure.

Chapter Text

Vitaly 23

 

Vitaly couldn’t fight it any longer. No amount of excuses were thick enough to hide behind any longer. Belief in the constant lies he told himself every day was now squashed like a bug. Meaningless and fragile. After his forced visit to the therapist he had gone out of his way to prove her wrong for a year. Prove that her words were lies.

 

All he had done was prove her truth.

 

The months following the session, Vitaly had doubled down his efforts and had gone out of his way to stay away from the onsen for extra days after jobs. Proof that he wasn’t in love, that he could distance himself if he pleased and that there wasn’t an obsession. It hurt, and he had hated it, but he had done it. Then, just over a year later, a rut had come, and the first thing that had come to mind as he locked himself away in Nobuo’s spare room was Yuuri. It had terrified Vitaly so much that it practically scared the rut out of him lasting little more than 24 hours.

 

Vitaly had gone the only place he’d known to go. It was the only place he felt truly safe with himself. A place he could come clean and honest without free of judgment. He’d gone to Oyabun’s house, nesting himself in a beautiful bed of pink shibazakura in his boss’s large garden, and wept. Time was lost to himself as the tears fell, arms curled around his knees as he hugged himself tightly. He was so far lost that for the first time a person was able to sneak up without his knowing.

 

“Katsuki-kun...what on earth are you doing here? Chiharu spotted you through the window. What is wrong, my son?”

 

After a sharp sob of surprise at his presence, Vitaly hinged at the waist and wrapped his arms around Daizo’s legs holding them tightly. “Please, Oyabun,” he begged, “I need help.”

 

Daizo placed a gentle hand atop Vitaly’s head. “With what, child?”

 

Vitaly sucked in a shaking breath, lowering his head between Daizo’s legs in shame. “I’m not right, Oyabun. I-I’m wrong .”

 

The other alpha was silent for just a moment allowing his hand small stroking motions against the silver locks. “Why would you say such a thing? There is nothing wrong with you.”

 

“But there is!” Vitaly cried, blue eyes blinded with his tears. “I love him! I am in love with my own mother and that makes me just like him !”

 

Daizo looked down at through his thick black-framed glasses before kneeling and taking Vitaly’s face into his hands. “I knew your father, Vitasha. I knew him and I saw him grow and become the evil man that he did and I can assure you, on all of my honor, that you are nothing like him.”

 

Vitaly’s breath shook as he closed his eyes and reached up to anchor his hands on Daizo’s wrists. His tongue tasted heavy salt and his nose filled with snot as he cried. “H-how can you say that...with what I’ve done?”

 

“And what is it that you’ve done, my son?”

 

“I have thoughts,” Vitaly breathed, full of shame.

 

“We all have thoughts,” he confessed. “Thoughts that we would be ashamed to admit. That would be horrific acts if carried out in life. But what are thoughts? Thoughts are not tangible. They do no harm to those around us as long as they simply stay within our own minds. The only thing that thoughts can harm are ourselves. You are allowing these thoughts to destroy you, Vitasha. Why?”

 

“V-Viktor-,”

 

“Viktor had thoughts and acted on them,” Daizo quickly corrected. “Have you ever touched your mother in a way he did not want?” Vitaly slowly shook his head. “Coerced him into anything without his permission?” Another slow shake. “Done anything to harm him in anyway?” One more shake. “Then how you can you kneel here and tell me you are like your father? It is not Viktor that I see in front of me. It is a poor, love sick alpha who is doomed to have unrequited feelings for his mate. There is no shame in that.”

 

The tears were not coming down as harshly now, and Vitaly found a moment to breathe. “It’s still..I’m still not supposed to…”

 

Daizo let out a long, knowing, sigh. “And as a father, I am not supposed love and cherish a son who is not blood more than my own daughter.”

 

Vitaly’s eyes went wide and he was being draw in to Daizo’s chest and lifted to his feet. He let his body fall against the older man, burying his face against the fabric of his soft dress shirt and clinging to him. Fluttering his eyes shut he allowed Daizo to rock him back and forth into a quiet ease, sobs turning into just small sniffles.

 

“What should I do?” He whispered against the other alpha’s chest. “How can I forget and move on?”

 

“We don’t ever forget and move on, Vitasha,” Daizo explained, “We simply learn to live with it. We grow so used to the pain that it no longer bothers us the same way.”

 

Vitaly winced. “How? How do I do that?”

 

“You have already taken the first step,” he assured him. “You’ve admitted your feelings. Accept them, don’t turn them away. You may come to me anytime you need to discuss your feelings about your mother. I will listen.” Carefully, he pulled them apart and looked Vitaly straight in the eye. “But with this, you have to stop subconsciously chasing your mother.”

 

“I don’t-,”

 

“You do,” Daizo cut him off. “You do not realize it, but you do. You live in the onsen though you have the means to do otherwise. You do this as a way to always be near him and to...chase off other pursuers.”

 

Vitaly cringed, knowing that Daizo was referring to Phichit. “It’s not-I just don't like him.”

 

Daizo hummed. “Yes, because he likes your mother and your mother likes him. Ask yourself honestly, Vitasha, if the beta was truly just a friend to your mother, would he bother you?”

 

“Y-,” Vitaly snapped his mouth shut with an internal huff. “I...don’t know.”

 

Daizo let out a surprised laugh. “I’m quite surprised by that answer, if I’m honest. I expected you to deny it without hesitation. That’s good...it’s a start. A start your father never would have even attempted. The fact that your mother’s lover is still breathing is the truest testament to your differences than anything. Viktor would have killed him long ago.”

 

Vitaly turned his cheek into Daizo’s palm. “It doesn’t matter...they still hate me. They still think I’m him.”

 

“Who? Your grandparents? Your aunt? Are their opinions of you truly that important? Are they whose opinions you value over your mother’s or your siblings’?” Daizo questioned. “They do not know. They do not understand. They never will and that is their problem, not yours. You came to me under honorable reasons. You have kept your family safe and provided for them. You have never done harm to anyone who has not deserved worse. You are a good man,Vitasha. One that I am so proud to call my son.”

 

A sigh of relief left Vitaly’s mouth as he allowed his body to completely melt against Daizo’s touch. For so long had he wanted to hear those words from his own father so long ago. Little did Vitaly know that he just needed to wait until he found the right father. “Thank you, Oyabun...Thank you.”



Daizo smiled and patted Vitaly’s cheek fondly before sliding his hands down the length of his arms. “Come. Stay with us for a few days. Perhaps weeks if that is what is needed to heal your heart. Chiharu knows the best remedies for broken hearts. I will have to ask her to make you her special tea. She brews it with flower petals straight from our very own garden…”

 

Vitaly allowed himself to be lead up to the house where Daizo’s wife immediately fretted over him. She dried his tears and offered tissues for his nose. She asked him of his favorite food and got to work on a meal. While sitting at the table patiently waiting with their family cat curled up in his lap and purring she had brought him a tea with pink petals floating at the top. It warmed his heart.

 

For nearly three weeks Vitaly found himself returning to the Fujikawa household. It wasn’t nightly, the alpha still feeling the pull to the onsen and his mother, but he slowly started the process. The process to heal.

Chapter Text

Vitaly – 23

Aiko – 9

 

“Vita-nii, hurry up!” Aiko shouted through the crack of the door into Vitaly’s room. “Everyone’s waiting!”

 

“Yes, yes, I’m coming,” Vitaly responded, finishing the tie of the obi on his yukata. It was still a little too warm even in October for Vitaly to wear a kimono even though everyone else has gone that route. Vitaly had never really acclimated to weather different from Russia. It wasn’t unusual for him to wear a yukata in the dead of winter, even.

 

Slicking back his hair he slid the door open all the way, Aiko decked out in a beautiful kimono with a purple and orange floral pattern. Sitting very impatiently next to her was Mochi in a black harness and leash. Mochi let out a whine, her tongue hanging out and tail wagging excitedly. “You’re bringing Mochi? Are you going to watch her appropriately?”

 

“Of course! She’s family!” Aiko pouted. “And everyone loves her!”

 

“They do, but Mochi also loves all the food that is put out at festivals,” Vitaly mentioned. “Just make sure you keep an eye on her, ok?”

 

“Ok!” Aiko promised.

 

Mochi started to bounce up and down around Vitaly, begging for her master’s attention. Vitaly complied, scratching her favorite spot behind her ears before Aiko was calling after her and they bound down the stairs together. Phichit and Yuuri were waiting for them already dressed to go. Vitaly missed when their entire family could go together, but Yulian was in the US and Alyona was attending the festival with her own set of friends.

 

“You look so handsome,” Yuuri beamed at him, smoothing out the dark blue lapels of the yukata. “And you look so pretty!”

 

“Thanks, Mama! You’re pretty, too!” Aiko beamed.

 

“Do we have to take the fox?” Phichit mumbled as Mochi started to bound around Aiko’s feet.

 

Yuuri smacked Phichit’s arm playfully. “It’s fine, Phichit.”

 

“She’ll behave! Won’t you, Mochi?” Aiko bent down and picked the fox up who happily started to lick her face and wag her tail with a high-pitched whine.

 

Vitaly hoped Mochi stole every bit of food Phichit bought tonight. “Tight hold on her leash, Ai-chan,” Vitaly instructed as they headed for the door, Mochi taking the lead.

 

Hasetsu was brightly lit with strings of lights and lanterns all across the small town with vendors in booths lined all up and down the sidewalks along the beach. Everyone was enjoying the coming of fall and the festivities. Even for Vitaly it was a relief. It was a brief respite from his job and the realities of the world. Plus, he’d give anything to spend a night like this with Aiko. Even at nine she had yet to lose any of her bubbly energy.

 

There was music and dance and hundreds of booths full of food and treats. Some booths taught calligraphy and some taught origami with hundreds of cranes lining the concrete ready to be released onto the river that ran from the ocean through town closer to midnight.

 

“Vita-nii!! I want to make a crane!” Aiko tugged at his hand to pull him towards the booth.

 

Vitaly looked over at his shoulder towards his mother who simply waived and wished him luck.

 

“Konbanwa!” The woman greeted as they approached, taking a place at the table with several other children and adults. “Have you done origami before?”

 

“A little, but I’ve never made a crane before,” Aiko responded. Wanting to be at the center of attention, Mochi barked and pounced up onto the table causing several pieces of the origami papers to go flying. “Mochi!”

 

“Kitsune!” Several of the other kids pointed with excited faces.

 

Vitaly picked her up, “Bad! You can’t just jump up on things like that!” The fox hardly seemed sorry having gotten the attention she wanted all along.

 

The woman teaching the origami only laughed. “How fortunate of you to have a servant of Inari in your care. How about I make an origami kitsune for you while you work on your crane?”

 

Aiko’s eyes lit up. “Really?!”

 

“Yes! It’s a very advanced pattern, so I think it would be best that I do it just this time,” she smiled. She reached for an orange square of paper and began to make folds.

 

“Nii-chan, which paper do you like?” Aiko asked as she pointed at the various patterned sheets.

 

Tucking Mochi under one arm he filtered through several pieces of paper and pulled one out. “This one looks like your kimono.”

 

“It does!” Aiko agreed. “Ok, I’ll use this one, then.”

 

Aiko got to work on the crane, Vitaly just sitting back and allowing her to work on her own while he wrangled an exuberant Mochi in the chaos of the crowd. Occasionally, Aiko would ask him for help when she didn’t quite understand what the diagrams were showing her. It didn’t end up being the prettiest of cranes, but Aiko was quite proud of herself.

 

“Your crane will travel beautiful along the river tonight,” the teacher smiled. “And here is your kitsune!”

 

Aiko’s face lit up brighter than the lanterns that surrounded them. “She’s perfect! Mochi, look, it’s you!” Mochi stuck out her nose to sniff the paper, but seemed rather disinterested when she realized it wasn’t food. “Here, Vita-nii! You can keep it!”

 

Vitaly smiled, taking the small paper fox into his free hand and shoving Mochi forward. “I’ll trade you.”

 

With a giggle, Aiko took Mochi from her brother. Giving her a good squeeze she then put the fox down and grabbed at the leash. “I’m hungry.”

 

“Whatever you see that you want,” Vitaly responded as they started towards the various food booths. Now, Mochi was starting to get very interested, and Vitaly thought he might need to reign her in again. If they weren’t careful some vendor’s meat would walk off.  When his nose (and Mochi’s) caught whiff of something amazing Vitaly preemptively purchased a bowl of just meat and would occasionally drop for his fox friend to keep her out of trouble.

 

“Vita-nii! Dangos!” Aiko bounced up and down as she approached a glass enclosure of dangos that had been decorated to look like various animals.

 

Vitaly huffed in amusement. Of course. “Don’t you want some actual dinner to eat, first? Then we can eat the dangos?”

 

“No!” Aiko pouted. “Dango, then dinner, then more dangos! Look there’s a poodle! We should get one for Mama!”

 

“We should,” Vitaly agreed, easily caving into her sister’s wishes. It was impossible for him to say no. “Look, there’s a fox, too! I definitely have to have that one.”

 

“I want the panda! And look! A hamster for Papa!”

 

Vitaly pulled a wad of yen from the pouch attached to his obi and instructed the vendor to get whatever Aiko liked. That was probably a mistake, as they ended up with every animal that was displayed in the case and then some. No one could ever argue that Vitaly didn’t spoil her rotten. “You can only eat one right now, ok? Save the rest of them for later.”

 

“Ok,” Aiko agreed pulling out the panda first and chomping right into it.

 

“I see she found the dangos,” Yuuri’s melodic voice chuckled from Vitaly’s right.

 

Vitaly smiled fondly. “She did. And was thoughtful enough to get you one.”

 

With her own stick of dangos still in her mouth she pulled out the poodle and hamster sticks. “Fur joo!”

 

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” Phichit scolded playfully, taking the hamster stick. “But thank you, baby. I love it!”

 

“Vita-nii, do you want yours?” Aiko asked as she pulled the now bare stick from her mouth.

 

“I’ll save it for later,” he answered.

 

“Ai-chan, Vitalik, why don’t you both go sit there on the wall by the lanterns?” Yuuri asked. “I want to take a photo.”

 

“Can Mochi be in the photo?” Aiko asked as she dutifully skipped over to the brick wall in question.

 

“Of course,” Yuuri smiled, pulling out his phone.

 

Vitaly took a seat and Mochi knowingly hopped into his lap. He helped hoist Aiko up onto the wall where the girl immediately climbed up to her feet and moved around Vitaly so she could hug him from behind.

 

“Smile, Vita-nii!” Aiko beamed as she held him close with a huge grin.

 

For the first time ever, Vitaly’s smile was documented.

Chapter Text

Yulian - 20

Dylan - 21

Diego - 24

One of Yulian’s favorite places to go in New York was a place called Salud. Downstairs was a craft bottle shop with a small kitchen that served the most amazing waffle dishes he’d ever had. Personally, he wasn’t much of a beer person, but the shop served wine and ciders that he liked that Diego and Dylan would sneak him a taste of. Diego loved it. He was a secret beer snob. Upstairs, though, was a beautifully quiet coffee shop with hanging potted plants giving it a fresh crisp air in the middle of a polluted city. It was a hipster’s dream...and Dylan’s.

 

It was the perfect place for all three men to enjoy without fuss.

 

Currently, Yulian and Dylan were upstairs as they waited for Diego to finish with his classes at the gym. Yulian was curled up against Dylan on one of the couches reading a book while the other omega worked on classwork on his laptop. There were two cups on the table - one a caramel latte and the other green tea. The weather was starting to change from the beginning of fall to full blown and with it the fashion of everyone around them. Yulian loved Dylan’s oversized sweaters and colorful scarves. He loved wearing them around their loft even more.

 

“I should have known I’d find you two up here.”

 

Dylan smiled coyly at the alpha - their alpha. “Sorry, I know you’re allergic to fresh air and good atmosphere.”

 

“Ha-ha, real funny,” Diego snorted, plopping down on the couch by Yulian’s feet. The alpha picked them up and placed them on his lap, allowing him to inch closer. He wore a black leather jacket over a very low V neck top showing all his muscles in full glory.

Diego had brought a beer up with him and Yulian watched his adam’s apple bob as he took a sip. It made Yulian blush and he quickly averted his eyes back to his book. It was still so hard to believe that they were together. All three of them. At first it had just been a way to save money. Dylan and Yulian had been going steady for a full year and moved in with each other. Diego was struggling after having to pay medical bills for his youngest sister and so the omegas welcomed him into their own with open arms. Things just...happened….without anyone really realizing it.

Yulian had never been happier. He’d never felt safer.

 

“How was class?” Yulian asked.

 

Diego shrugged, “The usual, I guess. No complaints. How were my two beautiful omegas’ day?”

 

“We’re starting to ramp up for the Nutcracker,” Dylan responded. “Tryouts are in two weeks.”

 

“Ohhh, are you going to be my Nutcracker Prince this year?” Diego winked.

 

Dylan smiled, “That’s the plan. That way I can have a dance with my gorgeous Sugar Plum Fairy over here.”

 

Yulian couldn’t help but blush. It wasn’t uncommon for omega males to take the parts usually held by females, especially when they were built like Yulian was. It would be easy for someone like Dylan to lift and hold them while they danced. The reverse certainly wouldn’t have been true even though Dylan was an omega. He’d worked with Minako back in Japan en pointe, the teacher seeing his potential in those roles.

 

Honestly, Yulian had planned on just trying out to be a snowflake again, but the director had specifically asked for him to try out for the Sugar Plum Fairy. It would be his first real leading role.

 

“Hey,” Diego began, sensing the omega’s anxiety. “You deserve this. You’re a great dancer and I couldn’t think of anyone that is more deserving. I might me a little bias, but I definitely think you taste sweet enough for the part.”

 

Yulian lightly nudged Diego’s stomach with his foot. “Stop…”

 

Dylan leaned down and planted a kiss to Yulian’s cheek. “He’s right, you know. You were asked to audition for the role. That’s huge. We can practice together. The moment they see our chemistry it’ll be a done deal. Don’t be so down on yourself, mon amour.

 

“I know, I know, sorry,” Yulian apologized, shifting his glasses back up onto his nose - a nervous tick of his.

 

“My family wants to try and visit this Christmas. I know they’d love to go see you both dance, especially Sofia.” Diego smiled softly, but there was a hint of pain in those strong features. “She wants to be a ballerina, too.”

 

Sofia was Diego’s youngest sister diagnosed with acute leukemia. They had caught it quickly, and her prognosis was looking better each day, but it had still put a huge emotional and financial toll on their family.

 

Yulian placed his hand on Diego’s in an act of comfort. “We’ll be sure to get tickets for everyone, and they can stay with us if needed. I know it would be tight, but we’d find a way to make it work.”

 

Dylan closed his laptop and placed it in his bag. “You two need to stop being so sad and smile. I like it better when you smile.”

 

“Well, I know what’ll cheer you up,” Diego pulled Yulian into a hug with one arm. “I saw that the ice rink is open in Central Park.”

 

Yulian’s eyes lit up. “Really!? Already?!”

 

Dylan let out a snort before sipping his coffee. “If I recall, that cheers you up just as equally. You like to barrel over all the poor children in your hockey skates.”

 

“Hey, it’s not my fault if they can’t get out of my way,” Diego shrugged unapologetically.

 

Yulian chuckled. “Are you going to try and join the beer hockey league again this year?”

 

“I want to,” Diego nodded. “I think we still have enough of last year’s team interested.”

 

“You’re such a bull,” Dylan snorted with a small smile.

 

“I don't hear any complaints from you in bed,” Diego winked.

 

“Ok, Ok,” Yulian blushed heavily, swinging his legs off of Diego and sitting up. “Why don’t we finish up here and go back home to grab our skates?” Dylan didn’t have any, but he and Diego had their own. Yulian had given up on it competitively, but he still enjoyed going out on the ice. It had definitely made him feel closer with Alyona when they were younger.

 

Diego threw back the rest of his beer. “I’m ready!”

 

They rode the bus back to their loft, changed into more appropriate clothing, and headed back out to Central Park with skates in hand. Dylan could hold his own out on the ice, but it had never become enough of an interest to buy his own. Yulian thought that maybe a nice recreational pair could be a nice Christmas gift this year.

 

Diego wasted no time in charging off on the ice, purposely trying to scare several of the children who only ended up laughing once the fear had passed. The alpha loved children, and he was so good with them. Yulian took Dylan’s hand, and they were content to act like a couple out on the ice.

 

After a few laps, Diego came charging up to them, coming to a stop so powerfully that a blanket of snow washed up all the way to the omegas’ waists. “Come on, Ulya! Show us your pretty moves out on the ice!”

 

“Could you maybe not get the ice on us, next time?” Dylan groaned, brushing at the snow that had accumulated on his jeans.

 

Diego glid ride up to Dylan and planted a kiss on his lips. “And where would the fun be in that?”

 

Dylan grabbed at the fabric of Diego’s sweatshirt and pulled him in for another quick kiss. “Show off.”

 

“Nah, I’ll leave that to Yulian. Dance for us, mi hermosa bailarina.

 

Yulian waited for a group of teenagers to pass and then took a few steps before moving into a three-turn and into a layback spin straight into a beillmann. It had always been one of his favorite spins.

 

Tu es beau ,” Dylan clapped. “ Magnifique .”

 

Yulian still to this day couldn’t ever quite get over the way praise from his boyfriends made him feel. “It’s nothing...just a simple spin.”

 

“Can you jump!?” A small girl asked excitedly after having seen Yulian spin.

 

“Ah, sure,” Yulian smiled. With a few powerful strokes he mowhaked into double flip followed by a single toe-loop. It had been a long time since he’d done that.

 

“Pretty!” The girl and her friends clapped excitedly, jumping up and down on their toe picks.

 

Yulian was surprised by a sudden kiss from Diego. “W-what was that for?”

 

“Just cause,” the alpha beamed. “I’m so lucky, you know that?”

 

No, Yulian was pretty sure that it was him that was lucky.

 

Dylan slid up to them and grabbed each of their hands, pulling them along in a line.

 

“We’re all lucky, why don’t we just settle on that? And then settle on some food. I’m hungry!”

 

Diego immediately let go of their hands. “First one to finish two laps gets to choose where we go!” He was off before he’d even finished.

 

“Hey!” Both omegas called out, laughing as they tried and failed to catch up.

 

Diego let Yulian chose anyway.

Chapter Text

Vitaly 26

Aiko – 12

 

Aiko doesn’t even see it happening, is the thing, but Vitaly does. Oh, he sees it from kilometers and kilometers away. Once she entered junior high among the presented - among the alphas - she started gaining suitors. A lot of them. Of course, he knew it was coming. Aiko was turning into quite the beautiful woman as well as an omega who deserved nothing but the best. None of the children at her school were the best. Not even close.

 

The first time it happened was when she brought a female alpha over named Hikari. Vitaly hadn’t thought a thing about it at first. They’d huddled together underneath the kotatsu with their books out clearly studying. There had seemed to be no foul play as Yuuri smiled and brought them some snacks while they worked. Then he overheard his mother and Phichit discussing it in the kitchen.

 

“She’s grown up so fast,” Yuuri mused fondly. “I can’t believe our little girl has her first crush.”

 

“It’s so sweet!” Phichit agreed. “She’s gonna be a total heartbreaker. I definitely don’t have to worry about looking out for her.”

 

Yuuri chuckled. “Yeah, it’s everyone else’s heart we’ll need to protect. Though, Hikari seems pretty bold for her age! Did you see-,”

 

Vitaly had had enough of that conversation. He was seeing red. Aiko was only 12. That was still far too young to have any interest in potential mates or dating or - well - anything!

When Hikari had excused herself for a moment to use the bathroom, Vitaly followed, waiting outside in the hall until she came out.

 

The girl bumped into him and looked up at him with large surprised eyes. There was definitely a hit of fear there, too. “S-s-sumimasen!” She bowed in apology.

 

Vitaly’s arms were crossed and his posture straight and firm. “Are you interested in courting my sister?”

 

“W-what?!” The girl gasped. “I-um, I-s-she’s really nice and um,”

 

Vitaly cut her off. “She’s unavailable for anything more than a friend.”

 

Hikari nodded her head vigorously in understanding before scurrying off. Vitaly didn’t see her again at the onsen, but the next round of suitors were not far away. This time it was a pair of siblings - one boy and one girl - both betas. The girl didn’t seem to have any interest in Aiko past friends that Vitaly could tell, but the boy was another story entirely. They were sitting far too close to each other to be considered friendly.

 

It was too difficult to try and separate them to where Vitaly could target his prey. So, instead, he got just close enough to the boy he slipped one of Mochi’s treats in his pocket. It took no time at all for the fox to appear from outside where she must have been hunting. Why go through the trouble of finding a bird or a mouse when the human would provide for no work? Mochi crept up behind the boy where he sat, nose twitching with each sniff. Opening her jaws she leapt forward with a hard chomp at the beta’s ass.

“ITAI!” The beta shot into the air, hands flying towards his rear where Mochi had bitten him. “What the hell was that!?” Mochi nipped at his ankle, angry that she hadn’t gotten what she’d come for. “Kitsune?! What the hell is that doing in here!? I could have rabies!”

 

“Mochi doesn’t have rabies!” Aiko frowned, bending over to pick up the fox. “She’s our pet!”

 

“Kitsune aren’t pets they are vermin!” He spat. “And it bit me!”

 

“Well clearly it’s because she thinks you’re a bad person!” Aiko huffed.

 

Vitaly thought it the perfect time to step in. “Oh...it looks like Mochi is quite...hungry.” He drew out the last word with a growl.

 

The boy’s eyes went wide. “Come on Rei! We’re leaving!”

 

Mochi huffed in annoyance, not having received her treat. Vitaly dropped one on the floor just behind Aiko’s feet as a reward. The fox immediately hopped out of Aiko’s lap and chewed it up with a smile. Good girl.

 

It became even easier after that. Anyone else who came over only required a glare and a sliver of his dragon tattoo to send them running off. After a few months, people stopped coming altogether.

 

“You haven’t brought any friends home lately,” Vitaly commented carefully one evening after school. Aiko didn’t seem upset, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t. Despite his good intentions, he would hate himself if what he’d been doing made his baby sister sad.

 

Aiko shrugged as she kept her eyes focused on her kanji worksheet with a fairly neutral face. “All the people I tried to bring over were lame.”

 

Vitaly raised a surprised eyebrow. “...Really? You seemed...interested in a few. Like you liked them.” The last part he added softly.

 

“Maybe,” Aiko hummed, “but they were all wimps. I don’t date wimps.”

 

Well that was a curious response. Folding his legs beneath him he took a seat next to his sister at the table. “Wimps? How so?”

 

Aiko put down her pencil to look at him with a serious face. “They were all scared of you and didn’t want to come over anymore. There are a lot of scary things in the world - scarier than you. Like spiders. I hate spiders. How could I ever expect my mate to protect me if they can’t even stand up to you? I don’t want a wimp. A princess deserves better.”

 

Vitaly felt absolutely delighted. There could have been no better response from his sister than this. “A princess certainly does deserve better.”

 

“I don’t want to date anyone that you don’t like,” Aiko decided. “If Vita-nii doesn’t like them then how can I?”

 

“How indeed?” Vitaly grinned from ear to ear. It looked like he didn’t have to worry about his sister after all.

 

Picking up her pencil, Aiko continued. “I don’t even know if I want a mate. I don’t need one, right?”

 

“Of course not. You do what you want to do and don’t allow anyone to pressure you otherwise,” he said.

 

“Are you going to mate with Nobuo-chan?” She asked in all seriousness. “I think you’d make good mates.”

 

Vitaly almost choked on air and in the distance he could hear the beta laughing with delight at the notion. “A-ah, no, Ai-chan, Nobuo and I are not going to mate. We are just friends.”

 

“Mmm, ok,” she accepted the answer. “Well, then I guess I’ll just have to marry you.”

 

His heart fluttered. “I guess I could do worse.”

 

“Hey!” Aiko pursed her lip into a pout as she slapped his forearm.

 

Vitaly pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Do your homework. Mochi will make sure to keep any pesky suitors away.” The fox thumped her tail at the mention of her name.

 

His work here was done.

Chapter Text

Vitaly – 26

Aiko - 12

 

As the kids around her in school started to come of age and present - including herself - the environment changed drastically. Those that had popped a knot suddenly grew confidence they might have never before had, or their inflated egos became far worse. Those that had been greeted with heat started to shy away and make themselves as small as possible. Aiko thought it was bullshit. Vita-nii was an alpha and he never went around flaunting his status or making omegas feel small about themselves. In fact, it was he who had told her when she presented that it didn’t matter. That she could do whatever she wanted and be who she wanted to be despite being an omega. Like Yu-niichan.

 

Aiko was determined to make sure all the other omegas knew that, too.

 

“Fumi-chan, why did you let Chikashi-san talk to you like that!?” Aiko frowned after witnessing an exchange between the alpha and omega.

 

Fumiko shrunk in around the books she was holding. “Ai-chan, he’s an alpha! I have to let him talk to me that way! That’s how it works!”

 

Aiko’s cheeks puffed out so far in anger she was sure she looked like one of her Papa’s hamsters. “No!!!! It’s not! You still deserve respect. You shouldn’t have to act any differently around anybody!”

 

“Hey Ai-chan,” a voice purred from over her shoulder. “Guess who popped a knot this week?”

 

Spinning around angrily, Aiko put her hands on her hips. “Your head when my nii-chan gets a hold of you for talking like that to a lady!”

 

There were collective gasps as the alpha, Isao, flinched in shock. When the surprise finally subsided, his brow furrowed with a growl. “Watch your place, omega! Your nii-chan is a freak and a gaijin!”

 

Aiko saw red and without even thinking she stepped forward and gave Isao a rough shove sending the alpha flying onto his back.

 

“You fucking-,” Isao didn’t have time to finish, a teacher coming up angrily behind him and grabbing him by the collar.

 

“Katsuki! Suzuki! With me, now!”

 

Aiko was still fuming as she following, both kids told to sit in a chair in the principal’s office. It wasn’t until she saw her parents walk through the door that she realized the gravity of the situation. She shrank under their angry and disappointed stares as she was told to follow them into a separate room.

 

“I apologize for interrupting your days, Katsuki-san, Chulanont-san, but you must understand the importance of the situation,” the principal adjusted his glasses as they all sat.

 

“You wanna tell your Mom and I why you shoved another student?” Phichit questioned with a heavy frown.

 

“He said rude things to me!” Aiko rapidly explained. “Alpha things!”

 

Yuuri’s eyes went wide and his anger redirected towards the principal. “What?! Why are the children not being monitored closely for this behavior and corrected!? This is an important time for their development! They are heavily impressionable!”

 

“I assure you, Katsuki-san, that the alpha in question is being punished for his actions as well,” the principal promised. “We have had several classes sitting down alphas and discussing this sort of behavior with them. We are doing the best we can, but unfortunately there are far more students than teachers.”

 

Phichit sighed, “Aiko, it wasn’t right what that boy said to you, but you can’t just shove people. What makes omegas better than alphas is that they don’t result to violence to solve their problems. Ok? I want you to go out there and apologize. Ah!” Phichit warned with a finger the moment her face contorted into protest. “Do it.”

 

With an angry groan Aiko stomped out to where Isao still sat. With a deep breath she quickly said, “I’m sorry for pushing you.”

 

Isao snorted. “I’m sorry for not calling you an omega slut like you are. And I’m not sorry for calling your brother a freak and a gaijin. Gaijin, gaijin, gajin!”

 

Aiko’s fists shook with anger, her body almost exploding before she simply relaxed and slowly smiled. “You’ll be sorry, Suzuki-san. I promise.”

 

The next days he lingered after school, following closely behind Isao until he and his friends were just past the school grounds line. The moment that occurred, Aiko shouted with a grin and a wave. “Suzuki-san! Are you ready to apologize yet?!”

 

Isao turned around with a scowl, “No, you stupid bitch.” The moment he turned around he slammed right into Vitaly.

 

“Does putting down omegas make you feel powerful, Suzuki?” Vitaly’s smooth and deep voice asked. Isao’s friends spotted the purposefully visible tattoo and immediately scattered. “...well?”

 

“I-I,” Isao swallowed. “I was just putting her in her place!”

 

“Her place?” Vitaly stepped forward, pushing Isao back. “Her place is on a pedestal, Suzuki. All omegas’ place is as such. Omegas are good for many things: loving, nurturing, providing, giving life. What are you good for, Suzuki? Your mouth and your knot? How superior.” With quick reflexes Vitaly was grabbing hold of the tongue from Isao’s mouth. “Should I take away the only things you are good for, Suzuki?”

Isao’s screams went unheard, tears starting to form in his eyes.

 

“Tell all your alpha friends, Suzuki, that should the gaijin or any of his friends hear of any more omegas being bullied, that you and all of them will lose their tongues,” Vitaly pulled harder on his tongue and leaned in. “I have many friends who have colorful skin like me. Do you understand? Or is the gaijin’s accent too much for you?” Isao shook his head rapidly and Vitaly let go of his tongue. “Good.”

 

The boy ran immediately.

 

Aiko giggled wildly with loud clapping. “Kakoi! You were so scary, Vita-nii!”

 

Vitaly grinned, pulling Aiko in for a hug. “Nobuo volunteered to follow them around for a few days and give them an additional scare.”

 

“Good!” Aiko smirked. “You’re the best, Vita-nii!”

 

“No, you’re the best,” Vitaly argued, allowing her to take his hand in hers. “But no more shoving. It upset Mama. You can be powerful with your words.”

 

“Ok. I’ll just leave the shoving to you!”

 

“Absolutely.”

Chapter Text

 

 

Aiko 14, Vitaly 28

 

Yuuri had thought that today, by all accounts, was a good day. Aiko had managed to get up and out of bed on time to make it to school. She had a bad habit of being late having inherited Yuuri’s knack for being a nightowl. Phichit was home after World’s while Alyona was off vacationing with her newest girlfriend. An ice dancer, if Yuuri recalled. Vitaly also had spent a few nights and managed to appear injury free. Even his parents who had been struggling with their health seemed in good spirits today and had felt strong enough to go into town on their own. All of these things made for a happy Yuuri.

 

Then he got a call from the school and the tides changed faster than Yuuri could blink.

 

“Katsuki-san, I am so sorry to have to interrupt your day like this,” the principal apologized, “but there’s been an incident with Aiko.”

 

“What!?” Yuuri practically screamed into the receiver. “Is she ok?!”

 

“She’s fine, physically,” the principal began. “Aiko did push another student, but that’s not why I’m calling. I will not be enforcing a punishment on her for that. It’s...it’s what the other student said to provoke her that is the issue.”

 

Yuuri held his breath. “What is it?”

 

“The, um, well...the student accused her of being a ‘rape baby’ and then proceeded to spew out slurs about her heritage,” the principal cautiously explained. “Katsuki-san, I’m so sorry. I know that Aiko doesn’t know about your history and I’m quite certain this is not how you wanted to explain it to her. I assure you that the offending student will be harshly dealt with.”

 

The phone slipped from Yuuri’s hands and he stood there frozen in space and time. No. No, no, no. Not now. Not like this. Aiko couldn’t know.

 

“Yuuri, who was that on the phone-,” Phichit paused, noting Yuuri’s fearful face. Reaching down he picked up the phone quickly. “Moshi moshi?”

 

Yuuri barely heard Phichit’s voice over his own ringing in his ears. This couldn’t be happening. She was still too young. She wouldn’t understand. She’d never understand!

 

Phichit’s touch to his shoulder startled him out of his thoughts. “Yuuri...We have to address this.”

 

“No!” Yuuri shouted, tears coming in fast and hot. “We-we can’t! Phichit!”

 

The beta wore his own look of dread, but kept himself under far more control. “Yuuri...baby, come on. We knew this day would come. There was no way we were going to keep her in the dark forever, nor should we.”

 

“But not like this!” Yuuri sobbed and he fell into Phichit’s embrace the second the beta’s arms wrapped around his shoulders.

 

“I know,” Phichit sighed into the omega’s shoulder. “It’s not how I wanted to do it, either, but this is what we’ve been dealt and now we have to handle it. Come on. I’ll be there for everything.”

 

After helping Yuuri dry his face and put himself somewhat together Phichit let Mari and Emiko - their hired help once Hiroko and Toshiya could no longer work - know that they were headed to the school. The drive was somber, Yuuri doing everything he could to not lose it again. The feeling was worse than anything he had ever felt in Russia. The shear dread of it all.

 

Aiko was sitting quietly in a chair in the main office when they arrived, eyes red and wet with tears but also full of anger. The moment she spotted Yuuri she sprung up hugged him around the torso. “I told him he was a liar! I know it’s not true!”

 

Yuuir’s arms shook as he returned the hug, but his voice wouldn’t work. No sounds would come out. When Aiko looked up at him waiting for him to confirm her thoughts his lip quivered and a small omega whine sounded in the back of his throat.

 

“Aiko, we’ll talk about this when we get home,” Phichit quickly stepped in.

 

Removing herself from Yuuri, Aiko took several steps back like she had just touched fire. “Papa...no...it’s not true…”

 

“Aiko,” Phichit repeated, this time with much more force. “I said we’d talk about this at home. Grab your bag. Let’s go.”

 

Yuuri couldn’t hold it in on the drive back, breaths shuddered as he tried to at least contain his sobs. Through the reflection of the window he could see Aiko crying, too. He couldn't do this. It was too much. The trek up the stairs to the family area was like a walk to the guillotine.

 

Aiko didn’t waste a second the moment her feet stepped on the final step. “So it’s true?! My real father is a rapist ?! And you what? Were just going to hide this from me forever?! Hope I’d just never ask questions even though I knew Phichit wasn’t my real dad?! Be a liar?!”

 

Phichit reached out and grabbed her arm with just enough force to take her to the sofa. “Sit down. Don’t ever talk to your mom like that, you understand me?”

 

The girl looked like she’d been slapped in the face and promptly sat down.

 

Swallowing heavily Phichit tried to soften himself. “Aiko. I know you’re upset, but you have to give us a chance to explain things before you lash out like this, ok?”

 

Yuuri couldn’t feel a single thing as he joined Phichit, the beta taking his hand and helping support him. Everything was so numb. Counting to ten in his head and controlling his breathing he finally raised his eyes to look his daughter straight on. He was strong...he could do this. “Yes. It’s true. I...I was kidnapped by an alpha when I was in Russia for an ice skating competition. It’s...it’s why I was so afraid to go watch your sister compete for the longest time.”

 

Aiko’s fingers dug into the fabric of the couch, her lower lip trembling. “Me, Alya, Ulya….Vita-nii….all of us?”

 

Yuuri squeezed his eyes shut and gripped Phichit’s hand tighter. “Yes...I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry, Aiko.”

 

“We were going to tell you,” Phichit stepped in. “I promise we were, but it was important to us that it come at the right time at the right age. What happened to your mother was horrific. It was terrible and it was real. It wasn’t like on television or in the mangas you read. Bad things happened, and we didn’t want to subject you to that too soon. This...wasn’t what we wanted. We didn’t intend to hurt you or lie to you in any way.”

 

“But you did!” Aiko snapped back, tears streaming down her cheeks so forcefully they began soaking the top of her school uniform.

 

“I know,” Phichit admitted, “And there’s nothing we can say or do that can take that back.”

 

“But I love you,” Yuuri belted out in earnest. “More than anything! No matter what happened, no matter how you or your siblings came into this world, I love you . Please, Aiko, I need you to understand that!” Yuuri’s heart stopped as he waited for a response.

 

There was a pregnant pause of silence before Aiko slammed her palms down onto the cushions and sprung up to her feet launching herself past her parents and up the next set of stairs to her room.

 

Phichit was pulling Yuuri in before he could collapse, the sobs loud and heavy. “Yuuri. Yuuri, deep breaths. Breathe. It’s going to be ok, I promise. Aiko just needs some time to digest the information, just like Alyona did. It’s going to be ok.”

 

Yuuri gripped the fabric of Phichit’s shirt tightly, burying his face in his shoulder. Deep down he knew Phichit was right. There was no way that Aiko wouldn’t move past this and forgive him, but it didn’t make the pain any less. It didn’t make the piercing in his heart heal any faster. There was nothing more in the world Yuuri had wanted than to shield Aiko from this forever.

 

Rubbing his back with soothing circles Phichit rocked him back and forth gently until he started to calm down. “I’m…I’m going to call Vitaly.”

 

“...what?” Yuuri lifted his head in surprise.

 

Phichit sighed. “As much as I absolutely loathe to admit it, Vitaly and Aiko are close. Right now, Aiko just needs to scream at someone, and I think he’s the best person for that. Make yourself some tea. Sit down. Breathe. She’s gotta worth through this now without us, ok? She’ll come to us when she’s ready.”

 

Reluctantly, Yuuri nodded. If anyone could make this right, it would be Vitaly.

 

/*/

 

It had been bothering him now for hours. An insistent buzzing beneath his skin where his bond was. There was worry and sorrow. It made him worry about his mother, but he had promised himself he’d try and back off. It wasn’t a strong feeling, so nothing serious could have happened to him, right? As if on queue, his phone buzzed with the notification of an incoming call from his mother.

 

“Mama? Is everything ok? The bond feels off,” Vitaly spewed out the moment he accepted.

 

“It’s me,” Phichit’s voice came from over the line.

 

Vitaly’s jaw immediately tightened and a low growl threatened to come out. “What do you want? Is Mama ok?”

 

“He’s fine. It’s Aiko.” Vitaly sucked in a breath through his nose. “Some kid at school got in a pissing match with her and...well, used your past as his ammunition.”

 

Fuck. Vitaly exhaled slowly, closing his eyes. “She didn’t take it well.”

 

“Ah, no. Look, Yuuri is beside himself and I know Aiko looks up to you. Will you please talk to her? I think it would help.”

 

“Wow, it must be really bad if you’re asking me for help,” Vitaly scoffed.

 

“Seriously? We’re gonna do this now?”

 

Rolling his eyes Vitaly bit his tongue. “I’ll be right over.”

 

“Thinks alright with Mama Katsuki?” Nobuo asked, eyes gazing up just over the top of his phone.

 

Pocketing his own phone Vitaly tilted his head questioningly with a sigh. “Yes. No. Not really. Aiko found out about Viktor.”

 

“Ah, shit,” Nobuo cursed. “What are you gonna say?”

 

“The truth,” Vitaly answered simply. “No good hiding anything now.”

 

“Anything I can do?” He offered.

 

Vitaly shook his head and then paused. “Well...it doesn’t really help, but maybe find the biggest gift basket of dangos you can find.”

 

Nobuo let out an amused huff. “On it.”

 

Yuuri didn’t even acknowledge Vitaly when he came up the stairs, too busy with his face buried in his hands at the table. Phichit nodded his head up the next flight, telling him Aiko was in her room. Vitaly just nodded, knowing his mother needed space at the moment. Marron and Mochi greeted him silently, tails wagging and nipping at his heels. He let them follow, hoping maybe they’d be a comforting presence to his sister.

 

Softly, Vitaly knocked.

 

“Go away!” Aiko’s muffled voice came through the door.

 

Of course, Vitaly didn’t listen, sliding the door open to let himself and the animals in.

 

“I said go-,” Aiko stopped herself when she saw who it was. She was curled up on her side on the bed clutching a panda stuffed animal. It was obvious she’d been crying hard.

 

Vitaly sat on the edge of the bed by her feet, close enough that he was a comforting presence but not too close to invade her space. “You can talk about it with me freely, if you wish. Anything you want to know, I’ll tell you.”

 

“So you knew?” Aiko questioned with a sniff. “All of you?”

 

“Yes,” Vitaly answered truthfully.

 

“And none of you were ever going to tell me?” she squeezed the stuffed animal harshly.

 

“Is this something you really wanted to know? Truthfully?” Vitaly threw back calmly. “That Mama was hurt? Abused? Kept against his will? Is that something anyone ever wants to know?”

 

Aiko’s face shrunk partly behind the panda silently.

 

“Mama doesn’t deserve your anger. It’s Viktor that deserves it,” Vitaly went on.

 

“Is that...was that his name?” She asked with a small voice.

 

“Yes,” he answered. “Viktor Nikiforov. Pakhan to the Nikiforov Bratva - the mafia. A cruel, vile, and evil alpha. I will not hide any of that from you, Aiko.”

 

Aiko curled her legs in on herself remaining silent in thought for a long moment, taking in her brother’s words. “...When did you know?”

 

Vitaly looked away from his sister and down towards his hands. “I knew from a very young age. Too young. Too young for me to really understand or comprehend the gravity of the situation. It changes you. It changed me. I witnessed it with my own eyes. Mama did everything he could to shield it from us, even while we were in Russia. To this day, I think, Mama considers it a failure that he could not protect me from it the way he did Ulya and Alya.”

 

A shuddered sob got muffled in the panda. “Why? Why did he do it? Why did he take and hurt Mama?”

 

“Because Russia is not like Japan, Aiko,” Vitaly spat hatefully, far more harshly than he meant to in his sister’s presence. “They see omegas not as people but objects to be owned. They do not ask permission and take what they see fit.” With a soft hand to her calf he returned his gaze to her fiercely. “Aiko. I mean it every time I tell you that omegas are strong, powerful, and to be looked after. Never let anyone tell you otherwise or treat you any less than. A good part of the world is behind, yes, but it will take us standing up and fighting for the oppressed to change it. Alphas and omegas alike. Never believe you aren’t worth anything just because of your secondary gender.”

Aiko laid there in contemplation for a good moment before sitting up and reaching out towards Vitaly’s tattooed arm. “I always wondered why....I knew you weren’t a bad person. You were my favorite person...but it never seemed to add up why you’d join the Yakuza. Now it does. You fight for us. Omegas.”

 

“I do,” Vitaly answered. “Not just for omegas. For our entire family. For your future families. I will always make sure you are safe.”

 

With light touches Aiko’s finger traced over the ink patterns. It wasn’t until Mochi jumped up on the bed and shoved her way between them that she finally let go. “I want to fight for us, too.”

 

“You aren’t joining the Yakuza,” Vitaly told her seriously.

 

Aiko shook her head. “Not like that. I want to fight for us with words. Laws. Make it where what happened to Mama doesn’t happen to other people.”

 

Vitaly smiled and ruffled her silver curls. “Then you will fight, and I know you will win.

 

Dropping her panda in favor of cuddling with Mochi Aiko fell back onto the bed. “Can I be alone now…?”

 

“Of course...you’ll come find me if you need anything?”

 

Aiko just nodded.

 

Vitaly left the door open just enough that both fox and dog could get out if they wanted and made his way downstairs. There was no one in the family room any longer and with a heavy sigh he decided he needed a smoke desperately. The onsen was fairly busy having hit the summer months so he slipped out the family entrance to the back side of the wrap-around patio where he pulled out a cigarette and a light before taking a seat on the edge.

 

He held out the open pack. “You want one?”

 

“There’s no way you saw me,” Phichit murmured, reaching out and plucking a cigarette from the pack.

 

Vitaly offered the light. “I didn’t need to.”

 

Phichit hummed, taking a seat next to Vitaly though keeping a good distance. “How did it go?”

 

Taking a drag he let out a few expert smoke rings. “She’ll come out stronger. The better question is how is Mama?” Not like Vitaly didn’t already know. He could feel it.

 

“I convinced him to try and sleep it off,” Phichit answered. “He needs all of our support. That includes trying to play nice, you know?”

 

A younger Vitaly would have come up with a sarcastic remark. A younger Vitaly would have accused Phichit of having been the one to start the problems in the first place. But he wasn’t a younger Vitaly anymore. “Ok.”

 

Phichit’s black eyes went wide in surprise. “Ok? Just like that?”

 

Vitaly blew out a huff through his nose. “What? You want me to argue with you? I’m fucking tired of arguing. You may not think it, but I am trying, you know?”

 

“I know,” Phichit answered. “If it weren’t for the fact all your shit is still here I’d think you’d moved out. You with that Yakuza friend of yours?”

 

Vitaly went rigid. “What do you mean with?”

 

Phichit laughed. “I just meant staying with him, but if there’s something else I should know about-,”

 

“No,” Vitaly answered curtly. “I mean, I’m staying with him, yes, but that’s it.”

 

“Well, whatever...whatever makes you happy. That’s all your mom wants. Within reason,” he shot him a knowing glance.

 

Vitaly rolled his eyes, completely understanding the underlying accusation being thrown his way.

 

“Are you?” Phichit questioned. “Happy?”

 

“Are you?” Vitaly threw back.

 

“Yeah,” Phichit answered. “We aren’t conventional, and this isn’t exactly the future I had pictured with Yuuri when we were just stupid teens back in Detroit but...yeah. Yuuri is alive and I got to help raise two amazing girls with him. I’m happy. So, what about you?”

 

Vitaly flicked the bud off the end of his cigarette staring down at the grass. “I’m content. I think that’s all I can ask for in this life.”

 

“Why?” Phichit frowned. “Everyone deserves happiness, even you. What would make you happy? And I swear if you say Yuuri this nice little moment we are having is gonna get ugly real quick.”

 

Vitaly shook his head with the slightest of smiles rubbing at his eye with the heel of his palm. “Is it strange to say that I do not know? It makes me happy to see Ulya happy in America, and Alyona doing so well at her competitions.”

 

“Happiness is about being selfish sometimes,” Phichit interjected. “Those aren’t selfish things. Those things are temporary feelings of happiness. What makes you happy? Don’t you want a family of your own?”

 

He snorted. “With the life I live? No. That’s a selfishness I will not put on anyone. Besides...I...am not interested. It’s one of the many things wrong with me, I guess. I don’t feel...like that towards people.”

 

“Because you are afraid,” Phichit observed. “That if you do, you might turn into your father.”

 

Vitaly crushed the remainder of his cigarette in his hand. Here he was trying to play nice and Phichit had pulled out the one thing that he simply could not forgive! “I am not my father.”

 

“No...you’re not,” Phichit spoke softly, trying not to aggravate Vitaly any further. “I used to think you were. Joining the mafia, your obsessive behavior with Yuuri...but unlike some people I continued going to therapy and it’s...maybe put things into a different perspective.”

 

The alpha clenched and unclenched his fists having to calm himself from almost seeking and destroying. “I’m seeking help, just in ways you would not approve of.”

 

“Ok,” Phichit said simply. “Well, I’m glad. It’s working at least a bit. Keep doing it. Whatever it is. Maybe, then, you’ll figure out what it is that makes you happy. I hope you find it.”

 

“You don’t have to say that for Mama’s sake, you know?” Vitaly snorted, running a hand through his hair.

 

“I’m not,” he argued back. “Well, maybe a little. But if you’re happy, then we play nice, and then Yuuri’s happy so it’s a win-win right?”

 

Vitaly only hummed.

 

They sat there in silence while Phichit finished his own cigarette before putting it out on the side of the patio. “Stay for a few days. I think it would be good to have everyone here while we work through this.”

 

“Ok,” Vitaly nodded. It would be nice to be back at the onsen for a while. It had been too long since he had a soak in the onsen or one of his mother’s meals.

 

“Ok,” Phichit echoed. “Hey, look at that. The two of us having a decent conversation and we both made it out alive. There’s hope for you yet.”

 

Vitaly looked up towards the bright blue sky. Maybe there was still hope.

Chapter Text

Aiko 15, Vitaly 29, Nobuo 30

 

To say Aiko was frustrated was an understatement. Yulian was engaged and would be getting married soon. Alyona and her pretty ice dancer girlfriend had been going steady for over a year. But Vitaly was still by himself and it annoyed Aiko. It annoyed her because her big brother deserved to be happy and to have someone to love. It annoyed her because it was time for him to stop being so lonely and sad. It annoyed her because the perfect person was right freaking there for him and he was too dumb to see it.

 

So, Aiko decided it was time that she intervene. If she needed to play matchmaker, then dammit, she’d play matchmaker. A few years ago she had gotten a huge crush on Nobuo, but then she’d seen the way that the beta looked at her brother and she’d realized it could never be. No, Nobuo was in love with Vitaly and they needed to be together. Aiko was certain of it. Vitaly was dumb to not see it and Nobuo was dumb to not ask.

 

Dumb boys.

 

“Papa,” Aiko bugged Phichit after he’d gotten home from training one day. “How did you ask Mama out on your first date? What did you do?”

 

Phichit grinned the moment Yuuri’s face went red at the question. “Your mom didn’t even realize it was a date until I leaned in for a kiss. I mean, it was pretty bold of me to go for it on a first date, but geez.”

 

“You said you wanted to just go for dinner! We were roommates! I thought it was just a normal thing!” Yuuri fired back in embarrassment.

 

“No, I asked if you wanted to go out with me,” Phichit countered. “You said sure, asked me when and where, and we went.”

 

Aiko ignored her parents’ bantering, tapping her bottom lip in thought. “So a dinner then? A nice one?”

 

Phichit raised a curious eyebrow. “Why are you asking, babydoll? You got someone you wanna ask out?”

 

“No,” Aiko shook her head. “I don’t have time for dating. I want to concentrate on my entrance exams. But, I wanna ask someone out for Vita-nii.” The noises that left both her parents’ throats made her frown. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

“Uh, sorry, it’s just, we didn’t know Vitaly was interested in anyone,” Phichit tried to cover his tracks.

 

“Who is it?” Yuuri pried curiously.

 

Aiko rolled her eyes. “Really? Is everyone around here totally blind or just stupid?”

 

“Hey!” Phichit frowned. “Language! Don’t go turning into a bratty teenager on me now.”

 

“Well it’s true!” Aiko huffed, hands on her hips. “Nobuo-chan and Vita-nii need to just mate and be done with it, and I’m gonna help! What’s your favorite restaurant to take Mama?”

 

“Amegen,” Yuuri answered for Phichit with a knowing grin. “Pricey, but elegant. A perfect spot for a first date.”

 

“More like an anniversary,” Phichit snorted. “You trying to rob your own son of everything he has with those prices?”

 

Yuuri leaned in to peck his cheek with a kiss. “I never hear you complaining about the bill when you take me. Besides, who said Vitalik would be paying? Nobuo is always such a gentlemen when he visits. This could be fun.”

 

“For who? Us or them?” Phichit questioned.

 

“Will you call and make reservations for me?” Aiko threw out. “I still sound like a baby. They won’t take me seriously.”

 

Phichit chuckled. “Sure, baby, whatever our little matchmaker wants. You just tell me when. Though, how are you going to convince the two of them to go?”

 

Aiko grinned. “Just leave that to me.”



Me: Nobuo-chan!!!! Let’s go on a date!!! I haven’t seen you in forever!!!

 

Nobuo: Ai-chan!!! Yes! Of course my princess deserves a nice day out! What do you want to do?

 

Me: Take me to dinner at Amegan! Mama and Papa were talking about it. I wanna eat a fancy meal!

 

Nobuo: Wooooooooow, you really ARE a princess huh? We-eeell, I suppose if it’s you I could spare the cash.

 

Me: (✿◠‿◠) Thank you Nobuo-chan!!!!

 

Aiko confirmed the time with him that night and grinned as she pulled up her next text window.

 

Me: Vita-nii!! I miss you! Let’s go out to dinner tonight! Mama and Papa are being all gross and I don’t wanna be around them!

 

Vitaly: Sure...Ide Chanpon?

 

Me: Mmmm noooo let’s do something different! I wanna dress up and go somewhere fancy! Take me to Amegan!

 

Vitaly: Are you sure you’d even like the food there…? It’s very traditional. You tend to like your burgers and pizza. One would think you were American.

 

Me: I knooooow but I wanna try it! Pleassseeee?!

 

Vitaly: Ok, ok...are you sure Mama and Phichit are ok with it?

 

Me: Yup!! I already asked if I could hang out with you tonight! I already checked and they had a reservation!

 

Vitaly: You already checked, huh? What if I had said no?

 

Me: Silly! You don’t say no to me!! (*^▽^*)

 

It was a little bit of a shame, really, that Aiko went out of her way to wear a nice dress and curl her hair just right for nothing. Well, mostly nothing. Phichit and Yuuri had offered to take her out to a fancy dinner after she’d finished her matchmaking duties, though one that was considerably less expensive. Aiko had turned down a ride from Nobuo, not wanting to have the two men accidentally running into each other before she’d gotten them to the restaurant. She’d told him Phichit would drop her off, but it was Vitaly who had swung by to get her in a suit she knew cost a pretty penny. For a moment, her stupid childhood dream of wanting to marry her own brother came to mind again seeing him all dressed up for her. Nope. Not for her. For Nobuo! He just didn’t know it. Yet.

 

“Thank you for me bringing me!” Aiko beamed as Vitaly opened the door for her.

 

“Of course,” Vitaly answered. “You are growing up so fast...since when did you start putting on make-up?”

 

“Since like a year,” Aiko scoffed. “Duh.”

 

“Ai-chan! Hey! You didn’t mention you were bringing your brother!” Nobuo’s smile turned into a heavy pout as Aiko bounded up to him at the entrance with Vitaly dragging behind. “No fair! I thought I was getting an exclusive with the princess?”

 

Aiko grinned. “No! I gotta bring Vita-nii to make sure you behave! I’m a presented lady omega now, after all.”

 

Nobuo let out an exaggerated scoff. “What?! Me? Not behave?! You are so cruel to me with your words!”

 

Vitaly rolled his eyes and shoved his hands in his pockets. “And here I thought I would be enjoying a quiet evening.”

 

Aiko felt her heart beating wildly in excitement as she grabbed each of their hands and pulled through through the door of the restaurant. “Reservation for Katsuki, please!”

 

The receptionist grabbed two menus and then paused. “Ah, the reservation was for two. Are there three?”

 

Aiko’s grin grew wider. “Nope!” She took a step back and linked Vitaly and Nobuo’s hands together. “Bye!! Enjoy your date! Maybe mate afterwards, okay!?” Without giving either man the time to corner her she darted out the door and back towards the parking lot where Phichit and Yuuri had been patiently waiting for her.

 

Her job was done!

 

/*/

 

Nobuo’s laughter filled the restaurant to the point people started to turn their heads. Vitaly couldn’t believe what had just happened. His face was so hot in embarrassment he thought he might just even pass out.  The tie around his neck was choking him and he tugged at it haphazardly.

 

“H-hey,” Nobuo managed to spit out between laughs as he plucked Vitaly’s hand away from his neck. “I don’t think she meant for us to mate here! Unless you’ve got some exhibition kink I don’t know about?”

 

“Shut up!” Vitaly hissed. “I can’t believe s-she even said that! She shouldn’t even know what that means and-,”

 

“Oh, stop,” Nobuo butted in, laughter finally dying. “She’s a presented omega, of course she knows about the birds and the bees. Now come on, baby , let’s have some dinner since she went through all this effort!”

 

“N-no! I am not-,” Vitaly was tugged forward as the receptionist led them to their table, her face its own shade of red.

 

“Why are you so embarrassed? It’s fucking adorable,” Nobuo grinned, getting comfortable on his cushion.

 

“Because we aren’t together!” Vitaly exclaimed, trying to keep his voice under control when all he wanted to do was scream.

 

Nobuo shrugged, “Well, duh, so what? Unle-es you have feelings for me and are upset that Aiko exposed you?” The beta wiggled his eyebrows.

 

Vitaly could feel his face getting hotter. “NO! I do not have feelings for you!”

 

“Not even a bit? Just a smidge?” Nobuo held his thumb and forefinger close together. “Not even those times we actually did mate? Come on, it was fun. Admit it.”

 

Vitaly buried his face in his hands, unable to continue looking Nobuo in the face any longer. “That was not the same and you know it! That was purely for biological needs!”

 

Nobuo thanked the waitress who brought them two bottles of sake. “So you’re saying you didn’t have fun at all?”

 

“You know I hate sex, especially my ruts,” Vitaly growled in a hushed tone. “I am done talking about this!”

 

Nobuo poured them both a glass and downed his first round of warm sake with a grin. “Ok. Tell me other things about yourself, then. I want to get to know my date better!”

 

Vitaly clenched his jaw and went to stand on his feet, “I am do-,”

 

Nobuo reached out and yanked him back down, the grin wiped from his face. “Alright, alright, sorry. Calm down. We’re here. We should enjoy some food, yeah? When’s the last time we did something nice for ourselves? Besides...it is kind of sweet, don’t you think?”

 

Face finally cooling down and shock subsiding, Vitaly allowed himself to nod in agreement. “It was...a nice gesture.”

 

“Remember how she used to say she was going to marry you? And then she had a crush on me for that one year?” Nobuo grinned before picking up the cup of soup that had just been placed in front of him.

 

Vitaly rolled his eyes. Oh, yes, he remembered. “Don’t remind me. I still might feel the need to kill you for it.”

 

“Maybe this was her idea of the next best thing!” Nobuo suggested after a loud slurp. “Look. Drink. Eat good food. Bill Oyabun after. We can be friends just having a good time.”

 

Eyeing the sake Vitaly finally caved and tossed it back.

 

“And maybe tell Aiko we banged just so she feels good about her efforts,” Nobuo threw in.

 

The alpha almost choked on the alcohol. “I hate you.”

 

“No you love me!” Nobuo beamed.

Chapter Text

Yulian - 26

Dylan - 28

Diego - 31

It had been an emotional five months for Yulian. First it had been getting engaged to Diego and Dylan. It had been perfect, Diego proposing to both his mates after the final show of their Giselle performance. Everyone had been ecstatic at the news from all three families. Even Dylan’s parents, who were rich and stuffy and preferred that Dylan find someone more his status, had offered their congratulations and support. They had, however, argued over the location of the wedding. They’d insisted on a wedding in France, but Dylan had expressed his desire to have it anywhere else knowing his parents would make it an overbearing nightmare. It hadn’t taken much to decide on Hasetsu after that.

 

Just as they had started coordinating the details with his family back home he’d gotten word that his grandparents had taken a turn for the worst. The doctors didn’t give Toshiya more than a week and it was understood at that point that Hiroko would not be far behind given how long they’d been bonded. Yulian had packed a bag and flown back to Japan without hesitation. Toshiya passed two days after he arrived and Hiroko a week later. Although Yulian had never been as close to his grandparents as his sisters, he still felt the pain of their deaths. They had given them a home when they had nowhere else to go. Fed him, clothed him, and helped him learn the language and adjust. He would forever be grateful for their kindness.

 

It was another reminder to him just how strong his mother was. While himself, Alyona, and Aiko all cried Yuuri stood strong at the funeral with his hand laced with Mari’s. Maybe it was because it had been a long time coming, but his mother seemed at peace with their passing. The onsen was now his and Mari’s responsibility, and it was a huge one to bear. They’d already hired part-time help from a local student and Yulian had surprisingly seen Vitaly conducting chores. It made him feel guilty, like he should come home and help. But Yuuri, as he always had his entire life, knew every little thing that Yulian was thinking and put his fears to rest. With a tight hug he assured his son not to worry and to go back to America promising that everything at the onsen would be perfect for the wedding in the spring.

 

Fiddling with the silver ring on his finger, Yulian stared out the window of their studio loft abscently watching the rain fall against the glass. Something inside him had stirred on the trip to Japan. Memories. Haunting reminders. The realization that he hadn’t been entirely truthful with his future mates and husbands. It wasn’t that he had lied, but...rather not told. How could he possibly agree to marry them without them knowing the truth?

 

Silent tears streaked his cheeks as he continued to roll the ring around his finger. It was eating at him more and more every day. He had to come clean. If they really loved him, they would understand. And if not...Yulian swallowed the knot in his throat. He couldn’t even allow himself to imagine the latter. When he heard muffled voices and the lock on the door turn he quickly wiped at his eyes with the sleeve of his oversized sweater.

 

“Hey!” Diego beamed as he and Dylan came through the door with groceries in hand. “We’re back!”

 

Yulian forced a smile. “H-hey!” It came out far more choked out than he had intended and both men immediately were onto him with frowns.

 

“What’s wrong, baby?” Dylan asked, immediately setting down the groceries and making his way over to the little reading nook they had made for Yulian. “Is it about your grandparents?”

 

“N-no,” Yulian shook his head. It was now or never. “It’s...I need to talk to you. Both of you.”

 

“Ok,” Diego nodded, not showing any signs of concern or worry as he took a seat with Dylan. Dylan, however, wore his concern on his sleeve.  

 

Yulian couldn’t look at them, instead concentrating on his hands in his lap as they futzed with a loose thread. His fingers were trembling as they moved. “I, um, there’s things I think that you need to know. About my past.”

 

Querido , you know you don’t have to talk to us about Russia, right?” Diego asked.

 

“It’s not,” he paused and shook his head, “it’s not about Russia. Not...exactly. Um.” He couldn’t help it. The tears were already starting to fall and he hadn’t even told them anything yet. “So, I, um, told you both that I had never been in a relationship before. That wasn’t, it wasn’t entirely truthful.”

 

Dylan sat there quietly, his face tight as he listened trying to remain patient. Diego, however, was far more attentive. “You mean dating or is this a sex thing?”

 

The knot started to well up in his throat again. “Sex.”

 

Alpha pheromones suddenly filled the room. “Yulian. Did someone hurt you?”

 

Yulian sucked in a breath with wide eyes, vigorously shaking his head realizing what it sounded like. “N-no! No, it wasn’t like that! It was - I consented.”

 

Diego relaxed, if only slightly. “Ok…”

 

“It’s more about who it was with,” Yulian added, voice becoming more and more unstable and the tears falling harder.

 

Mon coeur , it doesn’t matter who you’ve slept with in the past,” Dylan chimed in. “I’ve certainly had my share of partners I wish I hadn’t slept with. I think that’s part of the process.”

 

Yulian visibly cringed. “But it does matter. This person... does matter. It’s...it’s…,” Yulian sucked in a shuddered breath, eyes staring down at his hands beneath his glasses. “It was Vitaly.”

 

A defining silence filled the loft. There was no clock that ticked in their home, but Yulian swore he could hear one in the distance.

 

“Vitaly…,” Dylan breathed quietly. Barely more than a whisper. “As in your...brother?”

 

“That fucking son of a bitch,” Diego hissed angrily, muscles flexing beneath his leather coat. “He manipulated you-,”

 

“No!” Yulian sobbed. “He didn’t! Diego, I swear! I was the one that went to him for help! My heats were terrible and I was too scared to go to anyone else! I could-I couldn’t go through another heat again without an alpha! I just couldn’t!”

 

Dylan was shaking his head in disbelief. “So you...you slept with your brother ?!”

 

“He-he was the only one I trusted!” Yulian cried out, tears falling so hard he felt like he was choking on them. “After Russia I couldn’t stand to be close to an alpha for so long! I was so terrified of ending up like my mother! I trusted Vitaly and he helped my heats go from a full week to just days!”

 

“Heats?! As in more than one?!” Dylan shouted angrily. “How long has this been going on?! Is it still?!”

 

“No!” Yulian swore. “No! I swear to you nothing has happened since I left Japan!”

 

Dylan’s eyes darted around looking for something, anything, that would reveal this all to be some sort of joke. “I can’t - I can’t do this.” Throwing the pillow off of his lap he shot up and made a beeline towards the stairs that went up to the bedroom loft that all three shared.

 

Yulian could feel his heart shattering in his chest as he watched Dylan leave. He curled his knees up to his chest into the smallest ball he could possibly make and began to shake with his sobs. This was it. It was all over. Both his mates were going to leave him, now, and he’d be all alone. His greatest fear was going to come true.

 

A pair of strong and warm arms wrapped around him. “ Querido ...shhh. It’s ok. Baby, I still love you. Nothing will ever change that. You are so brave to get the courage to tell us about this. You didn’t have to, and yet you did, knowing the reactions you might get.”

 

Words caught in Yulian’s throat and all he could do was cling to Diego as he cried.

 

“Yulian...you swear to me that Vitaly didn’t force you? That he didn’t manipulate your or talk you into it? That you aren’t defending him?” Diego rested his large hands on Yulian’s cheeks and gently lifted his face so that he was looking at him.

 

Yulian shook his head as much as he was able in the hold. “I swear.”

 

Diego nodded slowly. “Ok. Ok. That’s what’s important. Look, Yulian, I understand. I understand why you only felt safe with Vitaly and went to him. I do. While I personally have never gone through anything like this, I saw it happen all around me when I was little.”

 

A pained sob left Yulian’s lips. “D-Dylan…”

 

“Dylan is,” Diego sighed heavily. “He’ll come around. Let me go talk to him, ok?” Diego leaned forward and placed a long gentle kiss to Yulian’s forehead. “I love you. I mean it.”

 

Yulian nodded, but he wasn’t so sure he believed it. Watching Dylan walk away would haunt his dreams for the foreseeable future. The omega could do nothing more than curl up on his side on the couch and continue to cry.

 

/*/

 

Diego found Dylan out on their tiny bedroom balcony, bent over the railing with his head hung low despite the falling rain. It had at least slowed to a drizzle. “Dylan..”

 

“How can you be ok with this?!” Dylan whirled around aggressively. “He slept with his brother!”

 

Diego remained calm. “I never said I was ok with it. I just said I understood it.”

 

“How?!” Dylan breathed in confused wonder.

 

The alpha cringed and shifted his weight. “Well. I suppose if we are in a mood for confessing today, then I have something to confess. I spent the majority of my life here illegally. It wasn’t until I had already graduated high school that I worked my ass off to actually become a citizen here.” Diego wasn’t at all surprised by Dylan’s look of shock. The omega had grown up so cultured and protected. So privileged. He had never known struggle.

 

“By the way, half of my family is still here illegally,” he threw out. “When I say I was born in Mexico, I mean I was born in Mexico. In a town that was heavily influenced by the Cartel. I know exactly the type of world Yulian grew up in and what that can do to you. The fear that can fester inside you. The way it can make you feel like you have no other choice.”

 

Dylan looked like he was about to cry himself as he buried his face in one of his hands. “I don’t...I just don’t understand.”

 

“Yeah, I know you don’t,” Diego responded. “I suppose the question is, are you prepared to try? I know me and Yulian...we aren’t exactly what your parents were hoping you’d marry. We aren’t rich and we grew up under really sketchy circumstances. We’re...low class as far as they are concerned.”

 

“You’re not-,”

 

“We are,” Diego confirmed with a laugh. “There ain’t nothing wrong with it, but there’s baggage that comes with it that you’re just not going to understand. Some of it you won’t ever. Can you live with that?”

 

There was a long pause of silence. Long enough it had Diego worrying that Dylan would say no. That this was the moment he returned the ring Diego had given him and walk away. He couldn’t blame him. They were different in so many ways. Maybe so different they were...incompatible.

 

“I need some time,” Dylan finally said. “I...I’m not leaving. Not for good, I swear it, I just...I need time.”

 

Diego’s jaw twitched at that response. “Ok…”

 

“I know you and Yulian are not men of God but I am and I just-,” Dylan licked his lips. “I need time to speak with him.”

 

Diego himself may have not been a man of God, but he had grown up as Catholic as they come, and it certainly wasn’t the first time he’d heard such a statement. “Ok. Take your time. I’ll take care of him in the meantime.”

 

“I’ll come back I swear it-,”

 

Diego didn’t let him finish, wrapping his arms around the omega’s back. “I know. I know you will. It’s ok.”

 

As Dylan packed a bag and walked out of the apartment, Diego held Yulian tightly. He took the next few days off and stayed with the grieving omega through the tears and the several dropping scares. It took a heavy release of alpha pheromones and convincing to get Yulian to eat. Diego had never been so close to giving an alpha command. Even though they weren’t yet bonded, he knew it would have worked, but he didn’t. He coaxed him into small meals and taking a shower. Ever so slowly, Yulian started to come out of his shell.

 

It was almost three weeks later when Dylan finally returned home. Yulian stood there frozen, afraid that Dylan would announce he was moving out for good. Instead, Dylan dropped his bag and took Yulian’s hands into his, gently kissing the knuckles of the other omega.

 

“You trusted in me enough to tell me your sins,” Dylan began. “It took me time, but I finally realize that that is your way of showing me your love. It would have been so easy for you to continue hiding it and never confessing, but you loved me enough to tell me. Thank you. Thank you both for entrusting me with your secrets. I will protect them just as you have.”

 

Yulian had never felt a greater relief. It was stronger even than the moment he escaped Russia with his family. The three held each other tightly whispering their love and affection in their own native languages. The next morning they woke entangled with one another and hearts full.

Chapter Text

Yulian - 27

Dylan - 29

Diego - 32

Vitaly - 30

Alyona - 22

Aiko - 16

 

Vitaly had been dreading Yulian’s wedding for months. It was less about the fact that his brother was getting married to two people Vitaly was very much on the fence about, and more about hosting both their families at the onsen for the event.  Diego had six brothers and sisters, his mother, and grandmother that he had to somehow fly to Japan from America. While that sounded relatively easy, he found out rather quickly that half of Diego’s family - including his mother and grandmother - were not legal. It was still easy with Nobuo’s quick fingers, but it was just another reason to distrust Diego.

 

The Monroes were only three with Dylan’s parents and sister. Vitaly didn’t even bother making arrangements for them. That family had more than enough money and he would be damned if he spent a single yen on them. When he’d asked Nobuo to look into them he’d unfortunately found a completely squeeky clean record legally. Pretentious assholes, sure, but nothing he could hold over their heads.

 

There was also the fact that this entire thing was putting stress on Yuuri. Of course his mother had insisted they hold the wedding at the onsen, but Yulian should have done the right thing and declined. They’d gotten in a huge argument about it and really hadn’t recovered fully. There was still an avoidance and a heavy air between them. Yes, it was by all accounts a small wedding, but they were without Yuuri’s parents and he and Mari were only two people. Yuuri had sworn up and down he didn’t mind at all, but Vitaly was convinced he was just being polite.

 

Nobuo had come back first with the Rodriguez family in tow. He had gone with Diego to the train station to pick up the family. Diego had stressed the entire time they would struggle getting from the airport on the train, but after walking his brother through every bit with Yulian on speaker they had somehow managed. Vitaly knew they were going to drive him up the wall. It was constant fast noise in a language he didn’t understand. The young children ran around like crazy and despite the massive language barrier Aiko was quickly giggling wildly with them and glued to their side with Marron and Mochi. Vitaly thought Mochi might die from the amount of attention she was getting, her tail wagging with a wild force.

 

Although the Monroes were far quieter when they arrived it was with a conceited air. Although French was another language Vitaly didn’t understand among his vast repertoire, he could tell by the way they whispered they were criticizing the onsen. He voiced his annoyance and displeasure at their presence to Nobuo in heated Korean. The beta could only chuckle which riled him up even more. At least, it seemed, Alyona’s steady girlfriend from Italy - Martina, if he recalled - seemed to be a perfect match for them and they chatted excitedly in various European languages.

 

At the Rodriguez family’s insistence, most of their luggage still remained unopened in the lounge, their owners much preferring to get done with the wedding preparations as soon as possible. Once they were done for the day, the three families sat together to dine in comfort; their disparities struck through as all the Rodriguez chatted happily with the Katsukis about anything, while the Monroes - except for Dylan - kept to themselves, except for one or two polite comments from Dylan’s sister. Still, it painted a picture of domestic comfort.

 

The animated conversation moved into the topic of the wedding itself, or more accurately what every person could do to help. Most was already planned, but the Rodriguez’ were anything if not creative with new ways to liven up the wedding no matter how small it was. The youngests proposed mixing many types of flower petals and even paper tassel for the grooms’ walk to. The eldest offered help and recipes for many types of their traditional food as they could, and any Japanese food the Katsukis would need help with, and the Rodriguez’ elderly matriarch, Abuela Elena, kept the rapport going with each and every new idea added. Soon enough, the Katsukis got carried into the enthusiasm, with Aiko particularly interested in learning - and tasting - new confectionery.

 

All of them were pretty animated over the topic… Except for Vitaly.

 

He was sincerely happy for Yulian, really. He’d managed to find happiness, even if he himself wasn’t convinced on his choice of mates, and had separated himself from the codependency on Vitaly.. But at the same time, it hammered home the reality of what he could never have. It was selfish, but he couldn’t partake in the same happiness as the rest of his family. So, he kept to himself, only listening to the others like part of an outsider’s conversation.

 

That was until the aged voice of Abuela Elena was directed at him. “ Mijo , you haven’t said anything this entire time. Don’t you wanna help with your brother’s wedding?” She asked, slow and somewhat stilted but otherwise firmly.

 

It shamed him, the depths of his selfishness, but he didn’t. There was nothing he could bring to the table, and there was nothing he did want there. After all, he was sure that outside of his mother and Yulian himself, the families would rather do away with him in the entire thing, and this situation - this entire wedding planning - just hammered home what Vitaly couldn’t ever have.

So no, he didn’t want to be a part of it.

 

“I don’t have anything to add,” he said curtly, his bad mood showing through.

 

The atmosphere quickly shifted, the incessant chattering that scattered around the table just minutes ago started to die down. From the corner of his eye he could see the glares of the grooms, and his brother’s heartbreak showing on his face. It tore at Vitaly to provoke that, to hurt his brother in any way, but he always did this - lash out whenever he was hurt. This was why it was better not to get involved.

The elder woman disagreed, however. “But he’s your brother! Don’t you care about your brother wedding?”

 

“I said, I don’t have anything to add,” Vitaly almost hissed, his patience quickly wearing thin. The other’s disapproving stares did little to change his mind; after all, wouldn’t he be looked the same way if he tried to get involved anyways?

 

But the kind of disapproval in both Latinas was a different one, less rejection, more indignity. As Diego’s mother, María, tried to mediate and at the same time coax Vitaly into participating on the wedding preparations, Abuela Elena took to reproach Vitaly’s aloofness. Her broken English slowly gave way to rapid, agitated, and unintelligible spanish.

 

Vitaly’s patience finally wore so thin it tore. This was a clash of wills and neither Vitaly nor the women would bend to the other’s demands. Vitaly rose from his seat. I they couldn’t understand a simple ‘no’ then nothing else would convince them. He did not see the look of heartbreak in Yulian’s eyes as he attempted to storm out, but Diego and the Rodriguez women did, and for the latter it was enough to incense their temper even further.

 

Like a bolt of lightning, unexpected by everyone, the eldest woman reached for her heels preparing to unleash retribution on the aloof, thoughtless, young man. The Katsukis and Monroes went unaware of what was about to take place, but the Rodriguez, far more learned in the art of their matriarch’s terrible weapon, could only stare in terror and awe. Diego, more than the rest of her family, feared what would happen in the next few seconds; both from the trained discipline towards his grandmother, and from the coldness of the young Yakuza.

 

Two seconds was all it took from the moment Vitaly began to rise from his seat and Abuela Elena launched her trusty tool of discipline with long-trained mastery. Through the thick atmosphere of the room, a string of furious Spanish cut through. “Mire muchacho grosero! Que ese es tu hermano qué se va a casar y estás demasiado grande para andar con tus berrinches como un niño chiquito usted!”*

 

Arcing through the air, the chancla struck true to its target. Vitaly stumbled back from the force of the impact, unable to tell for a moment just what had happened, until he saw the chancla at his feet.

 

Hazme el favor y se disculpa con su hermano ahora mismo! ”** Abuela demanded as she made a sign for Diego to take the chancla back to her.

 

Diego practically crawled from his place on the zabuton to retrieve the chancla and only rose to translate to Vitaly. “She, um, she wants you to apologize to Yulian for being rude. I’d do it, man. She’s got another chancla and she’ll use it.”

 

Vitaly could barely mumble the apology out, a hand still to the side of his head in shock at the fact a shoe had just been thrown at him. He’d faced enemy Yakuza come at him wielding blades with skill of Samurai. He’d been gunned down by Triad forces. He’d engaged in hand-to-hand combat with members of the Jo-Pak. But never, ever, in all of Vitaly’s years had he had a shoe thrown at his face.

 

Nobuo broke the heavy silence with an eruption of laughter. He could barely breathe he was laughing so hard. “I had heard that Mexican women threw sandals at people, but I thought it was all a joke! Wow!”

 

All Vitaly could do was plop back down onto his zabuton next to Nobuo as if the woman had successfully beaten him into submission. The second he tried to steal a glance at her she was pointing down to her shoe and that was all he needed to look away and straighten up.

 

“Guess I should have tried that sooner,” Yuuri teased, reaching across the table and pinching Vitaly’s cheek. “Who knew that’s all it would take to get you to behave?”

 

Diego started furiously begging him quietly not to kill his family claiming cultural misunderstandings. To be honest, the thought never even crossed his mind. That small Mexican woman had packed such a punch with a sandal that Vitaly wondered if he’d even stand a chance Yakuza or no. Vitaly had absently waived him off, assuring him he wasn’t going to do anything, but Diego hardly looked convinced.

 

The dinner seemed to go on as if nothing happened, but something had happened, and it was eating at Vitaly further and further. He could feel Yulian’s eyes burning a hole into his skin. His apology hadn’t been enough. Of course it hadn’t. It wasn’t even that sincere in the moment, Vitaly too shocked to even do anything other than obey. But, Vitaly was sorry. Going out of his way to help he assisted clearing off the dishes and cleaning up what he could while the families were introduced to the baths and how they worked.

 

Patiently he waited until Yulian emerged from the baths and managed to catch him for a second away from his future husbands. “Ulya, can we talk? I’m sorry-,”

 

“Don’t,” Yulian interrupted immediately, hands up to block Vitaly from coming any closer. “I don’t want to hear it from you right now.”

 

The rejection stung. He deserved it. It must have been the same way Yulian was feeling after his behavior since the families arrived. “Ok,” he responded, bowing out gracefully. “Goodnight.”

 

“Night,” Yulian murmurred, not even looking at Vitaly as he towelled off his hair and walked away to the room he shared with Diego and Dylan.

 

With a tight jaw Vitaly also walked away, though not to his room. There was no way he’d get any sleep at this point so there was no use lying in bed. Instead, he headed down to the part of the bath that remained open to the family after hours. A private oasis of his own where neither the Monroes or Rodriguez would follow. While the hot waters of the onsen did plenty to soothe his tired muscles after the long week, they did little to soothe his aching heart.

 

“Oi.”

 

Warm water was suddenly splashing all over Vitaly’s face interrupting him from what little peace he had managed to find. Frowning, Vitaly wiped back his hair and the water from his face to find Nobuo sitting on the edge, not even bothering to cover himself with his legs spread wide. It annoyed Vitaly, but it was rather typical. “No horseplay in the onsen.”

 

Nobuo grinned and finally sunk into the water less than gracefully. “I thought maybe it was just your normal insomnia bothering you, but now I see the long face. What happened?”

 

With a sigh, Vitaly turned around and pulled the cloth off of his head to set aside. “I tried to apologize to Yulian, but he wouldn’t hear it.”

 

“Hmm,” Nobuo sunk down to his nose and blew several bubbles before resurfacing. “Well, you were being a little bitch.”

 

Vitaly glared at him with ice eyes. “What?”

 

“That’s what Abuela said,” Nobuo clarified. “That you were being a little bitch.”

 

What. “You...you speak Spanish?” Nobuo had never once told him that. Not once with everything going on.

 

Nobuo could only grin as Nobuo knew how. “El que no pregunta no recibe respuesta.”***

 

It was Vitaly’s turn to splash water on Nobuo. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Are you kidding me?”

 

“And what good would it have done, huh? You’d just keep asking me what they were all saying, and to be honest, no one was talking about you until you started being a baby. I like Abuela, though. Abuela es fiera, yo entiendo esa fiereza." ****

 

With an angry huff Vitaly hoisted himself out of the water. “I’m going to bed.”

 

“You want me to join?” Nobuo asked as he placed his own cloth over his head. “We can cuddle.”

 

Vitaly pointedly ignored him and quickly dried off, slipping into a robe and making his way up the stairs to his room. Predictably, sleep didn’t come. Vitaly expected it, and he didn’t make a fuss over it. He’d learned in all his years of nightmares and insomnia how to at least allow his body to rest even if it wasn’t in a state of deep sleep. Eventually, he did manage to fall into at least a light sleep, but it was rudely interrupted by his phone.

 

Oyabun was calling.

 

/*/

 

Having to work the day before the wedding was the last thing Vitaly needed in trying to repair his relationship with Yulian, but Oyabun would never interrupt such a big event unless it were an emergency. It had been an emergency, extremely time sensitive, and the lack of preparation in their mission had ended up costing them even though they succeeded. Nobuo had come back with a black eye and Vitaly a dislocated shoulder. While he had been able to pop it back in himself, the pain was still very present and there were signs of bruising around the area from where he’d been hit. They received stares all through the rehearsals from the Monroes and especially the Rodriguez. María and Elena spoke furiously in Spanish while they pointed conspicuously at them. Nobuo sported the ice over his eye with a wave and a grin like nothing had happened.

 

“What are they saying?” Vitaly asked.

 

“Mm, mostly talking about how Diego was right that we are in a mafia,” Nobuo translated. “You probably won’t get another sandal to the head, but I only say probably because Mexican woman don’t seem to be too bothered by any kind of danger.”

 

That certainly wasn’t comforting in the least, especially the way Vitaly’s head throbbed from where it had been slammed into the wall earlier. “Clearly you’ve spent time around them when I didn’t know about it. Have you ever been hit by a sandal?”

 

Nobuo let out a large snort. “Me? Hell no. Madres and Abuelas adore me. Men and women.” He winked.

 

Of course. Everyone loved Nobuo. The beta was exceptional at putting on a mask of any kind in front of people. Whatever they liked, he could be. Vitaly was one of the only people who knew what was beneath those masks.

 

“The two of you couldn’t just stay away from your job for one freaking day?” Phichit hissed under his breath as the priest finished going through the rehearsal. “Yuuri’s silently freaking out over here worried about you two with everything else he has to worry about and now you’ve got the other families talking!”

 

Before Vitaly could even say anything Nobuo threw an arm around the alpha’s waist and grinned at Phichit. “Who said it had anything to do with our job? I just like to get smacked around a little, if you know what I mean?”

 

If Vitaly’s shoulder wasn’t still in so much pain Nobuo would have been knocked dead on his feet, witnesses be damned. “It was an emergency and it will not happen tomorrow. I’ll handle Mama.”

 

“You aren’t going to suddenly bleed out and die in the garden are you?” Phichit questioned. “Like, you aren’t hiding a life-threatening injury just to not worry Yuuri?”

 

“I’m fine,” Vitaly assured him. It was enough to get Phichit to leave them alone at least, but it didn’t do anything to help the alpha’s guilt. When the rehearsals were officially over Vitaly went out of his way to do everything he could to finalize the decorations out in the garden no matter how badly it aggravated his shoulder. The wincing must have been enough to draw attention, though, as he worked on tying the various flowers to the chairs.

 

“Hey, are you ok? You look like you need a break,” Yulian said, reaching out and grabbing hold of Vitaly’s bad shoulder. The alpha couldn’t help but jerk and let out a pained moan through gritted teeth. Yulian retracted his hand like he’d just touched fire. There was a gasp before his face quickly fell in realization. “You’re hurt. You...you went on the job. That’s where you and Nobuo were all day.”

 

Vitaly had done it again. He’d disappointed Yulian and been the cause of his pain. The look his brother was giving him was telling enough. “Ulya…” What? What could he even say?

 

“Don’t you dare miss tomorrow,” Yulian warned through teary eyes. “Don’t you dare.”

 

“No, of course, I would never-,” Vitaly couldn’t even finish his sentence.

 

“Promise me!” Yulian demanded, his fists turning white.

 

The alpha’s heart had no right to be breaking like it was with how badly he’d shattered his own brother’s. “I promise, Ulya...I promise. I will be there.”

 

Yulian wiped at his eyes and hugged himself. “I can finish the chairs.”

 

“No,” Vitaly objected. “This is your wedding. You shouldn’t be doing anything. Besides, I deserve a little pain for leaving you alone this morning. Go inside. Enjoy a meal. I hear Diego’s mother and grandmother are amazing cooks.”

 

“You need to eat, too,” Yulian argued. Vitaly knew it was his way of trying to extend an olive branch and he had to take it no matter how small.

 

“I will,” he assured. “Save me some, won’t you? For when I finish. Nobuo might eat it all if you don’t.”

 

Yulian seemed to accept it, even giving a small smile, but Vitaly still felt like complete shit as he worked to finalize the last set of chairs with the floral arrangements. He should be happy. He should be damn delighted . This was more than he could have ever wanted for his siblings,  but at the moment, not only did being at this wedding remind him of what he could never have, but the thought of seeing Yulian all dolled up, peaceful and enamored with his two husbands just made him feel like he.. .Lost.

 

Vitaly had never felt so disgusted at himself in that fleeting moment of selfishness. The moment he finished with the decor he went straight to his room unable to stomach any sort of food. He tossed and turned beneath the covers, guilt completely tearing him apart. Even Mochi’s presence next to him couldn’t seem to calm him down. The moment he managed to fall into sleep out of exhaustion it only brought nightmares.

 

Yuuri disowned him. His very own mother called him a disgrace. Disgusting. Wrong. Yulian spat on his feet before walking away. Alyona and Aiko refused to even acknowledge him. It was the worst kind of nightmare. It was the one that Vitaly feared would become a reality the most.

 

Waking up in a sweat and terrified, Vitaly did the only thing he could think of. He was too old to run to Yuuri anymore, and with the onsen full of guests that would question it he couldn’t even risk it. Insead, he went to only other person who understood him. Who would just accept him in any state without question. Navigating down the stairs to the guest quarters he found Nobuo’s room and nudged the door open.

 

As quietly as he could Vitaly tip-toed over to the empty side of the bed and carefully pulled back the covers to get in. Nobuo didn’t stir beside him until he rolled away from the beta to settle in properly.

 

“Nightmare?” Nobuo’s groggy voice asked laced in concern.

 

Vitaly curled up against the pillow. An admission by itself.

 

“What can I do?” Nobuo asked, making sure he didn’t move until requested.

 

“Just let me stay here,” Vitaly responded, unwilling to ask for anything more.

 

“You don’t have to ask,” he assured him.

 

Vitaly didn’t respond, but let himself at least relax. Sleep certainly did not come to him just by changing beds, but at least the nightmares were chased away and he felt safe. He prayed tomorrow would be a better day.

 

/*/

 

Yulian woke far more tired than he was hoping with a long day ahead of him, but despite the troubles he had finding sleep he couldn’t help but smile as he woke up in the arms of his fiances. They’d said to hell with traditions as far as that went, but Yulian imagined they wouldn’t see much of each other once their respective families got ahold of them.

 

“‘Morning,” Diego yawned with a slight stretch around his omegas. “You kept tossing and turning all night. You nervous?”

 

Yulian shook his head. “It wasn’t because of the wedding.”

 

Diego let out a heavy sigh and put an arm around Dylan who had adjusted himself so that his head rested on the alpha’s chest, not ready to wake up just yet. “Your brother.”

 

Annoyed at the mere mention of Vitaly Yulian rolled over into Diego with a frown. “He always does this! He’s so self-destructive! Anytime things get hard and don’t go his way he just...he hides within himself. He never lets anyone in. He’s hurting and instead of asking for help he just pushes everyone away.”

 

“Well, I don’t really know Vitaly at all other than what you’ve told me, but if he keeps running away maybe you just gotta chase him down,” Diego suggested. “Does anyone ever call him out on it?”

 

“No,” Yulian confessed. “He can’t do any wrong in Mama’s eyes and because of that everyone just lets things go. I mean, Phichit will get onto him, but they don’t get along at all so Vitaly would never take it seriously.”

 

Diego hummed in thought. “Well...from what I do know of your relationship, I think he’d listen to you. It’s worth a shot. You don’t deserve to have this weighing on you today.”

 

“If he makes you cry anything but happy tears today I’ll kick his ass, Yakuza be damned,” Dylan mumbled sleepily.

 

Yulian smiled fondly. Maybe they were right. Even though it shouldn’t have been his place to take the initiative, that was just how Vitaly was. Yulian needed to corner him. When, though, was the question. It wasn’t likely that he’d be able to anytime soon.

 

All three of them started to slowly roll out of bed and put on enough clothes to be decent before heading down into the onsen’s public dining area. They could already smell amazing aromas coming from the kitchen as the cooking for the day was well underway. It seemed like the majority of the inn was already up and moving about trying to prepare.

 

“Ohayo!” Yuuri called excitedly the moment he spotted the three. “Sit, sit! I’ll have breakfast out to you in a moment!”

 

“Morning Ulya-nii!” Aiko ran up and gave Yulian a big hug. “Dylan-nii! Diego-nii!” She gave each of them big hugs, too. Despite having just turned 16, she was still so short comparatively.

 

They all sat down at the table together and quickly dug into the food that was brought to them. There wasn’t much conversation between them, but that was because none was really needed. They were comfortable in each other’s presence, despite the wedding. It was lowkey. No need to get stressed over it.

 

Abuela, though, had other ideas, coming over and interrupting Diego’s breakfast with a swat to his shoulder and an argument in heated Spanish. Diego seemed to have lost whatever argument they were having as he put down his bowl and rolled his eyes. “She says I gotta go, now. I may not be superstitious, but she is. I’ll see the two most beautiful omegas in the world in a few hours.”

 

Dylan’s mother and sister were not far behind, scooping up Dylan to whisk him away and get him dolled up at their expense. Yulian was somewhat relieved at it. The noise lessened and the rush finally seemed to slow. Gathering their bowls Yulian brought them to the kitchen and immediately started to work on washing them.

 

“No, no, out, out!” Yuuri shooed him. “You aren’t supposed to do anything today!”

 

“Mama, it’s ok, really,” he promised.

 

“Get out,” Mari huffed, grabbing one of the bowls from him.

 

Yuuri chuckled. Despite all of Vitaly’s worries, Yuuri seemed anything but stressed. Maybe it was because of how much Diego’s family was helping, or maybe it was something else entirely. “Go take a soak in he onsen. You’ll need it. I’ll help you get ready when you’re done.”

 

“It won’t take that long for me to get ready,” Yulian argued. It wasn’t like he had make up to put on or much hair to work with.

 

“True, but time will fly by quicker than you think today,” Yuuri promised him.

 

Those words ended up being far truer than Yulian could have ever thought. Having the onsen to himself had been so relaxing that he’d lost track of time completely. Yuuri had ended up having to fetch him from the waters, his skin way past pruning. Dressed in one of the inn’s robes Yuuri rushed him into his own bathroom where they had more room to work with.

 

“This is some stuff I used to use for my skating performances,” Yuuri spoke as he pulled out a few containers of hair gels and powders. “Just even out the color of your face and tame that unruly hair I gave you.”

 

“You don’t have to do any of this you know,” Yulian tried to protest, but like everything else involving the wedding, Yuuri wouldn’t have it.

 

“My baby is getting married. Let me fuss over him,” Yuuri demanded as he pulled out a brush and started to apply powder to Yulian’s face. “This may be my only one, so let me enjoy this.”

 

Yulian closed his eyes to keep the makeup from getting into them. “I really doubt that’ll be true. Alya doesn’t seem like she’s going to have a choice in the mater the way Martina is all over her. Ai-chan will definitely get married, too, and she’ll want something super fancy. You’re getting off lucky with me.”

 

“I’m lucky with all of you,” Yuuri corrected. “No matter how big or small or any wedding at all. I just want your happiness.”

 

“It doesn’t bother you, though?” Yulian asked as his mother moved to comb gel through his thick black hair. “You know...a wedding? After…” He couldn’t say Viktor’s name. It was almost as if it were forbidden in the onsen.

 

Yuuri’s fingers slowed through Yulian’s hair. “No. This is nothing like that, Ulya. This is a happy, joyous occasion. That was anything but.” Wiping his hands of the gel with a towel he grabbed a comb and brushed a thumb across his son’s cheek. “Don’t think about that. This is your day, not his.”

 

Yulian allowed himself to be done up by his mother, the mood shifting back to a positive one quickly. When they pulled out Yulian’s tuxedo it brought immediate tears to Yuuri’s eyes. It was a bright white with silver and red flower embroidery in the sleeves. Gorgeous and elegant.

 

“Mama, please don’t cry,” Yulian hugged him from behind.

 

Yuuri wiped at a stray tear with a laugh. “I can’t help it, I’m just so happy. Besides, what’s wrong with me crying? I’m allowed, and I think I’ll do it a lot today shamelessly.”

 

Carefully Yulian slipped into the tuxedo with his mother’s help. He put on a yukata on top to protect the white fabric until it was time. In turn, he helped Yuuri get dressed in the traditional kimono he had chosen for himself. When it was finally time, they walked arm and arm to the onsen’s garden.

 

The weather had turned out beautiful. It was still a little cool in the spring air making their tuxedos feel comfortable instead of a heated weight. Flowers and sakura trees were in full bloom in the garden and the fountain trickled serenely completing the scene. Although the guest list didn’t extend much past the immediate families and a few friends that flew in last minute from their ballet company and Diego’s gym, they filled the space perfectly making it feel much larger.

 

“You look so handsome,” Yuuri beamed, hands brushing over the lapels of Yulian’s suit after the yukata had been removed. Yulian could already see where tears were forming in Yuuri’s eyes and he prayed he held it in until after the ceremony. If his mother started crying now, so would he. “Perfect. Are you ready?”

 

With a deep breath, Yulian nodded. It was a strange feeling not to feel like a nervous wreck. Maybe he was used to it from the performances he’d done over the years. But maybe...maybe it was because there was absolutely nothing to be nervous about. He wanted to be married to Dylan and Diego more than anything. “I’m ready.”

 

Although Aiko and Diego’s sister Sofia were far older than the average flower girls, the two had become fast friends and took great pride in their roles. Aiko wore a brightly colored kimono and Sofia a yellow puebla dress with pink and blue floral designs. They tossed cherry blossoms down the small aisle while Mochi and Marron - the ring bearers - pounced and played with the flowers as they followed behind. Yuuri led Yulian down the aisle first followed by Dylan and his father, and Diego and his mother. They hadn’t bothered with a wedding party. This was more than enough.

 

Yulian couldn’t help but be in awe at his two mates and how incredible they looked. Dylan’s light pink suit against his dark skin just popped, especially with his bright blue eyes. It was plain and simple without embellishments like Yulian’s, but it was perfectly tailored to his form. Diego’s longer hair was slicked back and he wore a burgundy three-piece tuxedo. Yulian was truly the luckiest man in the world.

 

The priest began the Catholic ceremony upon request of Diego and Dylan’s side of the family. Yulian couldn’t care less having no real affiliation with anything as long as his mates were happy. Diego stood in the middle holding a hand from each of his mates. Looking back, Yulian knew he wouldn’t even remember a single word that was said, far too busy looking into the loving eyes of each of his mates. The three exchanged their vows, short but overly sweet, and Aiko and Sofia retrieved the rings that were tied onto the collars of the dog and fox.

 

With the rings secured on each finger the priest smiled. “I now pronounce you alpha and omegas.”

 

There were loud cheers and hollers as Diego made a huge show of kissing both his omegas with long dips. Dylan and Yulian were much more traditional in their kiss, but full of no less love. Arm-in-arm they retreated down back down the aisle, Mochi and Marron nipping at their heels in their excitement. After a million of photos were taken the grooms and guests retreated to a seperate part of the garden.

 

With the ceremony over, all that was left of the amazing celebration was the reception. The party dispersed around the onsen’s back-garden to chat, drink, eat, and congratulate the marriage. Yulian noticed that while Vitaly didn’t leave he wasn’t mingling with anyone, either. Nobuo, however, had no trouble conversing with everyone and left the alpha alone off to the side. He wanted to confront him now where he could back him into a corner, but there were still obligations he had to fulfill.

 

Mari and Yuuri both assisted their part-time onsen help in serving the dishes to get everyone food in a timely manner. It was mostly buffet style, anyway, but they tried their best to make the experience the best they could. There was a mix of all of their culture’s food and everyone looked like their stomachs would be be more than satisfied with the look of delight in their eyes.

 

Once most of the plates were cleared they cut the cakes together. It was the one thing they hadn’t been able to agree on so they opted for three smaller cakes which was just fine by the guests. Aiko especially was delighted to taste three cakes instead of one. Yuuri and Mari received several compliments from Marìa and Elena which Diego made sure to tell them was a huge deal in their culture. Yuuri burst into tears yet again.

 

Although Vitaly hadn’t come up to say anything to Yulian personally, the omega did witness a conversation between him and Diego. At first, he thought that either alpha might be giving shovel talks or threats, but after a moment of eavesdropping he found it was anything but.

 

“So...your mother made these cakes?” Vitaly asked the other alpha as he inspected the small powdered cake.

 

“Yeah,” Diego confirmed, clearing his throat at the awkwardness between them. “They’re traditional for weddings in Mexico.”

 

Vitaly turned the cake over like it was some rare thing. “Oh.” The conversation paused with a heavy sense of uncomfortable air around them. “They...um...are very similar to Russian tea treats that I ate when I was a child.”

 

“Oh!” Diego drug out, now understanding the strange looks that Vitaly had been giving the cake. “I see...I’m guessing, then, you weren’t very fond of them since you aren’t eating it? Bad memories or something?”

 

Vitaly took a bite of the cake. “No.”

 

Yulian turned his back and stifled a laugh. It was awkward and silly, but such an innocent interaction between the two warmed his heart more than words could ever describe. Once the small joy had passed, though, he realized that now was the moment. Now was the time for him to stop Vitaly from running and face him. After he finished dancing with his husbands, he would catch him.

 

There were three dances to celebrate, each groom getting a turn with the other. It was obvious who the dancers were among the three, Dylan and Yulian’s dance far more practiced and effortless. They left their audience in awe, and apparently had also issued a sort of challenge. Martina was promptly dragging Alyona onto the floor to try and upstage the ballet dancers. Yulian wondered if they might succeed, but he didn’t stick around to be an accurate judge. He had something else to do that was far more important.

 

Finding Vitaly, Yulian approached him with confidence. “Dance with me?” Yulian asked, extending out a hand towards his brother. Vitaly was just as shocked by the question as Yulian thought he might be, so without waiting for an answer he pulled his brother onto the dancefloor the second a slow number started. “This way you can’t run from me.”

 

“I haven’t been-,” Vitaly stopped himself with a huff, knowing that his brother was right. “Ulya...I’m sorry. Really. I’ve been so selfish the past few days when this was your day.”

 

“I know you’re sorry,” Yulian assured him, “And I’m not mad at you about that anymore. I’m mad because you are closing yourself in and not talking about the real issue at hand here.” He knew he’d hit the nail on the head when Vitaly actually tried to recoil away from him. Yulian tightened his grip, keeping him right where he was. He wasn’t running. Not this time. “You’re scared.”

 

Vitaly looked away as they slow danced. “It’s...It has nothing to do with Diego or Dylan. I know it seems like I hate them, but I don’t. They are good to you, and that’s all that matters.”

 

“Ok. So my mates aren’t the problem. Then what is?” Yulian already knew, of course, but he wanted to hear it from his brother’s own mouth. If the alpha couldn’t admit it, there would never be healing from it.

 

Vitaly switched to Russian, and for a moment it was strange for Yulian to hear. “I don’t want to lose you, Ulya! I’m afraid of never being able to see or talk to you again after today! I have no one else!”

 

Even though Yulian knew those were his fears, it still hurt to hear. “Vitasha...you will never lose me. I promise. I’m not leaving you to go to Dylan and Diego, I’m just adding them to the family. You will always be my brother. My protector. My first love. I will never forget those things. And you are not alone. You’ll never be alone. You’ll always have all of us here.”

 

Vitaly looked like he might cry, and Yulian wanted to tell him that it was ok to do so. That it was ok to just let out all of the emotions he knew he’d been holding back for so long. Vitaly wouldn’t do it, though. Not here in front of so many people. So, instead, Yulian halted their dancing and pulled Vitaly in as close as he could. “I love you. Thank you for being here.”

 

“Ulya-nii! It’s time to throw the bouquets!” Aiko shouted excitedly, interrupting their tender moment by thrusting the bouquet into Yulian’s hands.

 

“Ok, Ok,” Yulian laughed, giving Vitaly a reassuring smile before following his sister to meet Dylan in front of the growing crowd.

 

“Ready?” Dylan asked with a grin. “On three. Un. Deux.Trois !”

 

Both omegas tossed their bouquets over their head into the crowd of loud shouts. Yulian turned around quickly trying to spot who had caught them. He saw Dylan’s bouquet first caught by Martina who was jumping up and down in excitement shouting out happy Italian before bringing Alyona in for a kiss. Then he saw it. Where his own bouquet had gone. It was in the hands of Nobuo who was grinning mischievously in Vitaly’s direction. The alpha was as red as the roses that were in the bouquet. Yulian secretly hoped that one day those two might figure it out. That Vitaly would realize he had never been alone.

 

The party started to die down and the younger of the kids started to wear out quickly. Although the onsen staff had taken care of cleaning up most of the dishes, everyone pitched in to help finalize putting everything away or into an organized area to be left for the morning. It had been a long day and Yuuri, Marìa, and Dylan’s mother Adeline were quickly shooing them all away to bed.

 

Though it was customary for most newlyweds to rush off to the bed and consummate the marriage, the three didn’t do anything of the sorts. No, they’d already had their fare share of time together in the bed and the onsen did little to provide any privacy with the paper thin walls. What they did decide to do immediately, however, was make their mate status official. It was finally time to bond.

 

The three gathered on the bed in their sleep pants but void of any shirts that would get in the way. As the eldest omega, Dylan took the first bite into the gland of his neck and returned it in kind. Yulian already felt anxious and watching his mates bond in front of him only worsened his nerves.

 

“It’s ok,” Diego promised him, a kiss to his palm and then bringing their foreheads together. “I’m here. We’re both here.”

 

Yulian allowed the scent from his husband to wash over him. It was not mixed heavily with Dylan’s scent after their bonding. He needed to bite Diego first. He wouldn’t have the courage to do it after receiving his own bite, and the alpha seemed to sense this offering up his wrist. For weeks Yulian had argued over the place of the bite claiming he should use the gland on Diego’s inner thigh, but the alpha wouldn’t have it. He wanted the world to know that both omegas were his and that he was theirs.

 

Sucking in a deep breath Yulian began to scent the alpha’s gland with his own scent preparing the site. Both fear and excitement was coursing through his veins, the beat of his heart ringing in his ears. When his lips brushed over the gland something in his mind seemed to come alive and instincts started to tug him in the right direction. Without even realizing it his teeth were sinking into the flesh and a flood of thought and emotion entered him. The sting in his own neck went almost completely unnoticed in the whirlwind of emotion. For a moment he felt light headed, but Dylan was there to steady him.

 

Hot tears suddenly started streaming down his face and he reached for the hands of his mates. It was too much and not enough. It was everything and nothing. “This is the happiest day of my life,” he somehow managed to sob.

 

Both of his mates embraced him, holding him close in his moment of fragility. It was new to all three of them, and they all felt that moment of weakness, but Yulian most of all. Even as they wiped away the blood and dressed their freshly created bonds with a honey mixture made by Marìa they stayed close with some sort of skin contact between them. When they finally managed to settle beneath the covers together it was with Yulian sandwiched between the other two men and he quickly found himself purring in delight.

 

Sleep didn’t come to Yulian that night, but it was for all the best of reasons. He was too excited. Too ready. Ready to take on the world with his husbands and mates.

 

Chapter Text

Yuuri - 54

 

“Yuuri, come watch the sunset with me on the beach,” Phichit said as he wrapped his arms around the omega’s waist from behind where he was finishing folding towels.

 

Yuuri smiled fondly. “If only I didn’t have responsibilities.”

 

“Oh, come on,” Phichit whined. “Yumiko and Mari can finish locking up for the night. There isn’t much left to do. Please? The weather is amazing out.”

 

With a heavy sigh Yuuri caved, knowing that if Phichit had his heart set on it he wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Ok, ok. Let me just finish the laundry, ok?”

 

Phichit smiled against Yuuri’s neck and left a quick peck at the base of it before separating. “Ok. I’ll let Mari and Yumiko know we’re going out and to finish up. Meet me out back when you’re done?”

 

With an acknowledging hum Yuuri continued his work on the laundry allowing Phichit his excitement. Maybe it would be nice. Yuuri didn’t let himself enjoy the simple things enough, especially now that he and Mari were responsible for the onsen completely. The simple things were likely all he was going to manage to enjoy at this point. Though, he didn’t mind. Taking over the onsen hadn’t been his vision for the future when he had packed his things and moved to Detroit but now...there was a comfort to it. A safety in it.

 

After stowing away the folded towels and robes in their proper places Yuuri made his way to the family entrance of the onsen as promised where Phichit was only a few seconds behind. Slipping on their shoes they exited the onsen and Phichit wasted no time in reaching for Yuuri’s hand and lacing their fingers together. Yuuri couldn’t help but blush like a teenager.

 

“We’re both half a century old now, you know,” he pointed out.

 

“So?” Phichit stuck out his tongue. “That’s only in body! I’m still 19 in spirit and mind! And who says 50-year-olds can’t hold hands?”

 

Yuuri smiled and gave Phichit’s hand a squeeze. “You’re right.”

 

“Come on, let’s go down to the beach!” Phichit gave the omega a tug and led him towards the path off the sidewalk that led down to the sandy shore.

 

“We can see the sunset just fine from up here, you know!” Yuuri said with an amused laugh, kicking off his shoes at the base and setting them next to the retaining wall.

 

“Yeah but it’s not nearly as romantic,” Phichit pointed out. “Besides, let’s take advantage of the fact not many people are on it!”

 

That was true. It had been far too hot the last week even for the beach unless you were just constantly in the water. Tonight, however, there was a perfect breeze that made it quite comfortable. And ok...maybe it was really nice to feel the sand between his toes, the breeze in his hair, and smell the fresh sea-salt as they walked hand-in-hand on the beach. It was completely cliche, but Phichit was a cliche person. It was perfect.

 

“You aren’t too burnt out, are you?” Phichit asked softly with a layer of concern.

 

“Hm? What? At the onsen?” Yuuri wondered. “No, not really. I mean, somedays I feel really tired and older than I am, but it’s not because of the onsen.” It was because of Viktor, and not even the bond with Vitaly had completely outdone all the damage the alpha had caused.

 

Phichit let go of Yuuri’s hand to wrap his arm around his waist and pulled him in. “I worry, you know? But now that I’m not coaching Alyona anymore I’m going to be around to help. Let you catch a break.”

 

Yuuri bit at his lip anxiously at that. “Phichit...I don’t want you to feel obligated to do anything at the onsen. If you want to continue teaching at Ice Castle, you totally can. I promise I don’t mind.”

 

Phichit didn’t say anything for a moment, pulling them closer to the tide where the water just brushed up over their ankles before retreating back to the sea. Pulling away he stopped them, taking both of Yuuri’s hands in his and facing him directly.  “Yuuri. I have never felt obligated to do anything for you. Everything I’ve done has been because I’ve wanted to do it. Dating you in Detroit, waiting for you and never giving up, taking care of you when you returned, loving and adopting your kids...I did all of that because I wanted to. I don’t for a second regret any of it. But...there’s still one thing I want to do that I haven’t gotten the chance to do yet.”

 

“Wh-,” Yuuri was abruptly cut off as Phichit suddenly got down on one knee in front of him, the water splashing up against his shorts. His eyes went wide behind his glasses and his heart beat wildly beneath his chest. Surely this wasn’t want it looked like.

 

“Yuuri. I knew from the moment we became roommates that one day I would marry you,” Phichit began. “Don’t ask me how, but I just knew. I had already been talking to my parents about wanting to find a ring for you before the Grand Prix which is stupid given how young I was, I know, but I was that certain about how much I loved you.

 

Yuuri could feel himself starting to choke up, the knot heavy in his throat as tears started to fill his eyes and his hands trembled in Phichit’s.

 

“I should have asked you a long time ago. I don’t know why I waited. Maybe it was because we already felt like a family. I made Alyona and Aiko my own and was welcomed into your family by your parents and Mari. I had you in my arms, warm and real, and that was really all that mattered. But I guess seeing Yulian get married in the spring had me thinking that I wanted to make you mine for good. I know I can never bond with you, but I can do this. I can’t ever let you go again. Yuuri...will you marry me?” Phichit let one hand go and reached into his pocket to pull out a small black velvet box. Inside was a silver ring lined with small sapphires.

 

The tears spilled down his cheeks and all Yuuri could do was nod his head unable to form words. Phichit slipped the ring on Yuuri’s finger and stood. Yuuri launched himself at Phichit, lips colliding, the force enough that they were knocked back onto the sand with a thud. The water soaked through their clothes but it did little to stop them from deepening the kiss.

 

Phichit rolled them over, making sure Yuuri got his own fair share of sand in his clothes, and looked at him with longing dark eyes. “I love you so much, Yuuri.”

 

“I love you, too,” Yuuri responded fondly. “I don’t want a big wedding, though.I know how you are.”

 

Phichit laughed and kissed him on the nose. “Small wedding. Promise.”

 

They had the wedding two months later in the fall as the color of the leaves started to turn. It was held at the local shrine joined by only the children and Phichit’s family. Small and quaint and everything Yuuri could have wanted. They closed the onsen for the day and enjoyed food and drink in celebration. That night Yuuri couldn’t stop staring at their matching rings with joy.

Finally, after 31 long years, he was Yuuri Katsuki-Chulanont.

 

Yulian - 29

 

Yulian would never forget the nerves he had felt as he held up his phone to facetime his mother. While it wasn’t the worst anxiety he had ever gotten, it was different. Unusual. Something he’d never before faced in his life. Would his mother be happy for him? He hoped so. It was planned, the timing was right. They were happy.

 

Ulya! ” Yuuri’s face lit up as his image appeared on the screen. “Ah, I’ve missed seeing your face so much! Everything going well?”

 

“Un, it’s going great Mama,” Yulian confirmed with a nod and a smile. “I...I wanted to facetime because I have some big news. Good news.”

 

Yuuri blinked curiously. “Oh?”

 

Sucking in a deep breath he readied himself. “Well...I’m...pregnant.”

 

The screen suddenly shook and Yulian wondered if Yuuri had dropped his phone in shock and...disappointment. “PHICHIT!” Yuuri was screaming. “Ulya’s pregnant!!!” Yuuri’s face popped back on the screen. “Oh my god, Ulya! I’m so happy! How far along?”

 

“Seven weeks,” Yulian responded, a huge sigh of relief leaving him. “I’m really excited. Nervous, but excited. Diego is over the moon, I think.”

 

“CONGRATULATIONS!” Phichit suddenly popped in from behind Yuuri beaming proudly. “Boy or girl!?”

 

“Phichit! It’s way too soon to know,” Yuuri chastised him.

 

While Yulian was happy that they were happy there was one more thing to confess. “Well, actually...I have something else to tell you. I’m having twins.”

 

Phichit practically shoved Yuuri out of the way of the camera. “OH MY GOD! TWO OF THEM! YUURI WE ARE GONNA HAVE TWIN GRANDBABIES!”

 

Yuuri shoved his husband back out of the way to take control. “Wow, I bet that was a surprise! I doubt you were planning on two right out the gate.”

 

“Ah, well, yeah,” Yulian agreed with a small cringe. “As if one didn’t seem daunting enough...Apparently it runs in Diego’s family. It’s...I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely and utterly terrified.”

 

“I’ll be here every step of the way for you,” Yuuri promised. “I can’t say I have any experience with twins, but I have plenty of experience otherwise. Are you going to stay in New York after they are born?”

 

Ah, yeah...then there was that. “We’ve talked about it a lot. Obviously Japanese citizenship is really out of the question. Even if I gave birth to them there, that would be it, and I don’t think that’s fair to Diego and Dylan. Both Mexico and France allow multi-citizenships. I think staying here for the birth is the best route, but we can’t stay here in New York. Rent for the three of us is crazy as it is and we’d have to find some place bigger.”

 

“Where would you move to? You and Dylan would have to find another ballet company, wouldn’t you? Or are you not going to go back?” Phichit asked.

 

“I won’t go back on a career basis,” Yulian said. It was why they had waited. Diego was firm in not asking either omega to sacrifice their dancing career for his desire for kids. He knew that once you left there was no real coming back. “I’d like to teach, though. And, well...Dylan has already had a few offers. We’re thinking about moving to France.”

 

“Oh! It’s so pretty there, you’ll love it! And that would make me feel better knowing you’d be close to family,” Yuuri said. “The three of you have obviously put a lot of thought into this, so of course it’s going to be just fine. You’re going to be amazing parents.”

 

Yulian could only hope that to be true. “Thanks, Mama. That means a lot. I should let you go, it’s really late there.”

 

“Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions! It doesn’t matter what time of day it is,” Yuuri insisted.

 

“I will,” he promised.

 

The morning sickness was terrible. Yulian had known it would be bad but not this bad. The doctor had warned him that with double the buns came double the symptoms and it had not been a joke at all. The back pain was unbearable by only the second trimester and only continued to get worse. Sleep was practically allergic to him. While some of Yuuri’s suggestions helped somewhat, nothing really worked . The only glimmer of hope was the obstetrician telling him that he was likely to give birth well before the 40 weeks with twins.

 

What he hadn’t been prepared for, like extremely not been prepared for, was just how utterly huge his belly got. He’d remembered his mother pregnant with Aiko, and while having a definite belly, Yuuri hadn’t seemed all that big. Of course, Yuuri had only been carrying one kid and not two. The omega couldn’t even believe his belly would stretch that large. What little abs he had had before were gone forever.

 

Dylan and Diego had been amazing beyond words. They were both patient through all of his hormonal outbursts and caring through the long nights of tossing and turning and early mornings needing help just to get to the bathroom. They rearranged their schedules so that someone was always with him no matter what from day one. With how much of a high risk his pregnancy was they refused to chance it.

 

A week before his due date Yuuri flew in having refused to miss being there for his son. Yulian had never been so relieved in his life, bursting into tears the moment he saw his mother in their loft. He’d been in so much pain the last few weeks and seeing his mother gave him a new strength. Two days after Yuuri’s arrival Yulian went into labor.

 

Yulian didn’t know how his mother had done it more than once. It was a pain like no other even with the help of the drugs. When Yulian had whimpered for his mother on the bed Yuuri had immediately kicked Dylan and Diego out. Neither had protested despite clearly wanting to. Yulian was thankful his mother knew him so well. Having his mates there were not a comfort but just a cause of more anxiety. What if he couldn't do this? What if he messed up? They’d be there and they’d see and -

 

“Ulya,” Yuuri pulled him from his thoughts, squeezing his hand. “I’m here. I’m not going to leave you. Everything is just fine. Both your beautiful girls are positioned just right. They are ready to meet you, but you have to help them out.”

 

“I’m scared,” Yulian whispered through the tears.

 

Yuuri reached up and brushed away the matted bangs on his sweaty forehead. “Of course you are. Everyone is scared in this moment, but you have a wonderful doctor and team of nurses here who are going to make sure that all three of you come out just fine. So, when the doctor tells you to start pushing, I need you to do it. Be strong for them despite your fears. You’ve done it. I’ve watched you do it.”

 

With several deep and controlled breaths he nodded. His own mother had given birth without the help of drugs or the safety of a hospital. He’d had no one to hold his hand or whisper words of courage. If his mother could endure, so could he.

 

There was so much pain and blinding white heat, but all of it seemed like a distance memory no more than a blur the moment the nurse handed over the first of the two girls. Both girls were so small and tiny that it left Yulian breathless. Completely normal for twins, he’d been told, but it was still so unreal. Yuuri had finally let Diego and Dylan back into the room and it was just a sea of overwhelming emotions. Both children had heads of thick black hair and dark eyes. Not identical twins, but Yulian imagined they’d look fairly similar nonetheless

 

“This one has to be Rosa,” Diego declared at the bundle in his arms. “She’s definitely got my nose.”

 

Yulian barely managed a smile through his exhausted state. “Then that makes her Rika.” The other bundle was nestled up against Dylan’s chest.

 

Unable to keep his eyes open any longer Yulian felt himself drift off without even realizing it. When he woke it was to almost complete silence, only the sound of the heart monitor filling his ears. The more he came to the more he started to hear a soft voice whispering in Japanese. Blinking his eyes open slowly he noticed the lights were dim and the room was empty except for Yuuri was was sitting between he bassinets whispering to the girls and occasionally reaching a hand in.

 

“Mama…?” Yulian squeaked out, voice raw and scratchy from screaming.

 

“Ah, you’re awake!” Yuuri smiled. “Let me call the nurse. You passed out before they could take care of some things.”

 

Yulian wondered what he meant until the nurses came in to help him go to the bathroom to get cleaned up. They had warned him there would be a lot of blood. He wished he hadn’t looked. Now he knew why Yuuri has insisted bringing only clothing he didn’t care about. When they had gotten him settled back into the bed the nurse asked if he wanted to try getting the babies to latch on.

 

“We’ll just do one at a time right now, though most moms get the hang of juggling them both,” she smiled.


Yulian could feel the tears come on when Rika didn’t latch on right away. It was frustrating and he felt useless.

 

“It’s ok, she’ll get it,” Yuuri promised. “You were really fussy the first few times, too. That must be where she gets it from. Vitalik was the only one that latched on right away.”

 

Rosa, however, had no problems finding Yulian’s nipple and suckling away giving him the confidence boost he so desperately needed after such an exhausting 24 hours. The nurse let them be and Yuuri cradled Rika in the crook of his arm so naturally while Yulian let Rosa nurse.

 

“Where’s Dylan and Diego?” Yulian asked, still trying to get used to the strange feeling of feeding a human child with his own body.

 

“Dylan was going to pick up his parents from the airport,” Yuuri answered. “I think Elena and Maria weren’t far behind. Diego went to go get some real food for us. Don’t worry, I’ve been intercepting all the calls and text messages on your phone could have some peace and quiet. Everyone’s so excited to meet them and extend their congratulations. Aiko says she’s very excited to be the best aunt the world has ever seen.”

 

Yulian let out a small laugh. “There is no doubt she’ll be the best.” The more he started to wake the more he realized every ache and soreness in his body. It reminded him of his early days at Juilliard training hard before tryouts to perfect every movement and push himself to his limits. “Is it supposed to feel like I’ve been hit by the bullet train back home?”

 

Yuuri chuckled. “Oh yes. Very much so. It’ll feel like that for a few days.

 

They returned to their silence and the longer it went on the louder it got in Yulian’s mind. The more he stared at his daughter the more frightened he became. “Mama...I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to be a mother.”

 

“No one knows how to be a parent,” Yuuri assured him, “But you learn. You won’t be alone.”

 

A small sniffle and whimper left his lips. “But what...what if I can’t protect them?”

 

Yuuri’s body tensed and a hand moved up to cover Rosa’s head as if it were an instinctive movement at the question. “Ulya...you have two beautiful, strong, and loving mates. They will do everything in the world to keep the three of you safe. You,” he paused, choking up on his words, “You don’t have to worry about any of you ending up like me.”

 

Yulian’s eyes went wide at that and he looked straight on at his mother. “W-what? But that’s just it. I’m terrified, more than anything, that I won’t be like you.” Yuuri looked back at him with an equal amount of surprise and confusion. “You are the strongest person I know in the entire world. You went through hell and you were all alone in Russia and yet you still took care of us and protected us. You never gave up on us and made so many sacrifices to keep us safe. I pray that I can be half the mother to my girls as you were to us.”

 

A sob left Yuuri’s lips and large hot tears spilled down his face down to where a smile graced his lips. “Thank you. I needed to hear that so badly. Thank you .”

 

Yulian soaked up this precious time with his mother as much as he could before the masses started to invade his room. He was brought flowers and chocolates and Diego’s mother and grandmother kissed his face so many times he was sure he’d never wipe the feeling away. It was exhausting, but Yulian couldn’t wipe the cheesy grin off of his face.

 

He couldn’t wait to bring Rosa and Rika Katsuki-Rodriguez home and start their new life in France.


Three years later, Dylan gives birth to a beautiful baby boy Rémy Monroe-Rodriguez.

 

Alyona - 25

 

Alyona meets Martina Altomare at Skate Canada when she’s 20. A gorgeous omega Italian ice dancer with olive skin and long dark hair that went on for days. They meet while Alyona was out for dinner with a few of the other skaters and somehow struck up conversation. Martina is graceful not just on the ice but off, carrying herself with pride and poise. She obviously cares greatly about her appearance having dressed up for the outing where the majority of them were in their team tracksuits. The phrase high-maintenance didn’t even seem to begin to cover it, but Alyona thought she was in love at first sight.

 

She assumed Martina wasn’t interesting in women being a dancer and didn’t say anything, but they exchanged numbers anyway and kept in touch. They met again at the Grand Prix Final. Alyona didn’t see it coming and to this day she couldn’t even properly remember Martina sauntering up to her and straight up telling - not even asking - Alyona that she was taking her to the banquet as her date. Smitten was no longer a word she could even use. Head over heels was more appropriate.

 

They dated long-distance for a year meeting up in the off season and at any shared competitions where they could. After the first year Alyona finds herself falling even more in love and makes the hardest decision of her life. Through heavy tears Alyona fired her own father as her coach. If she had thought Phichit would move with her to Italy to train, she would have never have done it, but there was no way. He’d already complained about being away from Yuuri as much as he was.

 

Phichit had laughed and pulled her in for a hug. “Don’t be so upset, baby girl! I saw this coming a mile away, and I’m totally cool with it. You know I want to spend way more time with your mom and this is the perfect opportunity. Besides, I could really only take you so far. This will be so good for you. I’m so happy that you found someone that makes you want to do stupid things like upend your life and travel halfway around the world!”

 

Alyona scoffed through the tears. “Like you did?”

 

“Hey, I only travelled like, a quarter of the world,” he corrected. “Thailand and Japan are pretty close.

 

Phichit and Yuuri threw a small party to send her off cooking her favorite meal and presenting her with a few gifts that would always remind her of home. Milan was nothing like the quiet seaside town of Hasetsu. It was a busy metropolis with high-end everything. Growing up on the lower end of the financial spectrum had done little to prepare her for such a place, but Martina spared no expense on her.

 

Milan had a church made from human bones. It was fucking sweet. Alyona gushed about it on Instagram for weeks.

 

Armed with her daddy’s credit card, Martina made sure they lived a fun and comfortable life. Alyona was still used to living frugal that when her skates started to fall apart she just taped them right up. Two days later, Martina had presented her a gift of brand new skates perfectly her fit. For months Alyona had worried how she was going to hold up her end. How would she be able to spend the money on things Martina would appreciate?

 

“If I want things I buy them myself,” Martina had told her in her heavy accented English when she’d confessed her concerns. “It’s nice, no? To spend money on someone else. I like it. I like you. That’s all that matters! Now take me for a ride!”

 

Alyona smiled, all too happy to take her girl on a ride through the city on her motorcycle with the brand new leather jacket Martina had bought her. When they had time off they’d still go to the ice rink and goof off, Martina teaching Alyona ice dance patterns that ended up helping her step sequences considerably. Martina’s dancing partner, Piero, had surprisingly ended up becoming a good friend for both of them.

 

Two years into living in Italy, Alyona thinks about calling it quits. It’s not that she doesn’t love the ice - she does - but she and Martina see less and less of each other. If they had worked in the same discipline it might have been easier, but they didn’t. Different ice times, different training schedules. It was hard, and Alyona had realized she loved the omega more than the ice.

 

Before she had a chance to communicate this Martina announced she’s taking a year off. “Piero broke his ankle yesterday. It’s not looking good that he’ll be back for the season and trying to find another partner is too much trouble. I don’t want to, anyways.”

 

They take a weekend trip to Rome where Martina takes Alyona to an incredibly fancy diamond store. Alyona thinks nothing of it. Martina loved jewelry and she certainly loves diamonds. It isn’t until Martina waives her over to the displace case and slips a ring on her finger that suddenly it starts to click.

 

“Mmm, I like this one best,” Martina speaks as she switches out the rings for another one. There was a large diamond in the middle surrounded by red rubies. “No mate of mine will look cheap. Everyone must know you are married rich!”

 

“W-what?!” Alyona stuttered, cheeks turning bright red.

 

Martina raised a perfectly arched eyebrow. “You will marry, yes? No need for fancy proposal. They are silly. Fancy should be just for wedding. Yes or no, simple.”

 

“Um...yes?” She managed to squeak out.

 

“Ah, che bello!” Martina clasped her hands together excitedly. “Now, help me pick mine!”

 

No one is surprised when Alyona facetimes them to let them know she’s now engaged. It was more of a collection of ‘about time’ and ‘finally’ from the masses. Of course, the wedding was grand. Alyona had backed off and let Martina decide every little detail, including her own tuxedo. Martina had tried to get her into a dress, but that was the one thing she had put her foot down on. The tux still had a feminine touch fitting her curves in all the right places up top and hugging her legs tight at the bottom. White with a dark red waistcoat and accent fabric. A popped collar gave it her own flare.

 

They take almost a full month for their honeymoon traveling to five different countries. It’s almost enough to make Alyona want to quit skating. How could she go back to training after being in paradise? But she does, and so does Martina with Piero back to health. Alyona has more inspiration than ever and she goes on to have her best season yet.

 

The only children they have are their two cats Bacio and Draco.

 

Aiko - 24

 

Aiko finished at the top of her class and is accepted into every university she applies to. The majority were local in Japan, but she had chosen to apply abroad a few places. In the end, she chose to stay home and attended university in Tokyo. There she would work on improving her English which she knew still needed work if she was really going to be successful with her dreams. That and the more she grew the more European and less Japanese she started to look. It confused people when she didn’t speak English.

 

Enrolling in the School of Law at the University of Tokyo she took classes on social politics and the history of omega rights through time. How some countries were still behind. Countries like Russia. She got involved in as many campus activities and organizations as she possibly could quickly earning her a high social status among the students.

 

Her second semester she has a free slot and decided to take a business class at one of the other campuses. Even though she was studying law she had no intent of becoming a lawyer, instead wanting to use her knowledge of the law to start foundations and nonprofits to help omega survivors. That, in a sense, was a business and she thought it prudent to study at least a course’s worth.

 

It’s there that she meets Uchida Itsuki. There was nothing very extraordinary about Itsuki in appearance. A typical Japanese alpha in that he was tall but not overly muscular with a strong jawline. His hair was a lighter brown with chestnut eyes. Kind eyes and a kind face despite being an alpha. Still, Aiko only really took notice of him when she worked with him in class on an assignment.

 

As their semester exams drew near, Itsuki started offering up invitations to study sessions. They started out as groups and then suddenly the numbers dwindled until it was just the two of them. Aiko wasn’t stupid. She had, after all, spent much time trying to set her brother up on dates. It was cute, but she wondered just when he would get the courage to actually ask her the question. If it wasn’t soon she might just get bored enough of him. Luckily for him he finally asked Aiko out for a celebration dinner once their exam was done.

 

“Wow, took you long enough,” she chuckled.

 

Itsuki blushed and blinked hard in confusion. “W-what?”

 

“Oh, come on, Itsu-chan, you’ve been wanting to ask me out for at least two weeks if not longer. I was starting to think you would chicken out!” Fearing he might flee she took his hand. “But I’m glad. That you finally asked, that is.”

 

Itsuki let out a huge sigh of relief. “Really?”

 

“Of course!” She beamed. “I wouldn’t have continued to come to our study sessions where everyone just so happened to cancel every single time for two weeks if I wasn’t interested.”

 

To be honest, she hadn’t expected to end up liking Itsuki that much. She thought that he was more interested in her than the other way around, but after a few dates she found that she really did like him. He was attentive the way that other people weren’t. She might make an off-handed comment about liking something or wanting to go somewhere and the next thing she knew Itsuki was buying it for her or planning the trip. He was a bit of a pushover, accepting anything that Aiko said as law, but she found she quite liked that, too.

 

Before she knew it months had passed and they were suddenly the envy couple of everyone on campus. Aiko thought that was a bit much. It put a lot of expectations on their relationship but more months went on and then two years and they were still dating. They’d even shared a heat. She’d confided in Nobuo that fact, something she had sworn him to complete secrecy. She supposed the fact that Itsuki was still alive was proof he hadn’t gone off and tattled to Vitaly. He had asked, however, if she was thinking about marriage or a mating bond with him. She hadn’t been. Until now.

 

Now it seemed it was all she could think about. Itsuki was smart and had a promising career in business. He was kind and compassionate. Most of all, though, he was supportive. There had been the alphas, and even betas, that had tried to court her and laughed when she told them her plans for the future and her dreams. Told her it was impossible for true equality. Aiko would never stop fighting for omegas. No amount of laughs would ever stop her.  Itsuki believed she could do it.

 

The idea of wedding bells and bonding marks eventually left her mind a month before her thesis presentation. She’d blocked Itsuki out completely, apologizing but insisting she needed to focus. As with everything, Itsuki asked her not to apologize and understood her wishes only occasionally sending texts to ask if she needed anything.

 

One day, out of the blue, her brother sends her a text.

 

Vita-nii: I like him.

 

Me: ??

 

Vita-nii: You’ll know.

 

Well, she didn’t know, obviously, otherwise she wouldn’t have asked. She followed up with another string of question marks but this time Vitaly didn’t provide any sort of answer. Did he have a boyfriend now? A new friend? When she asked Nobuo he said Vitaly was still as single as ever and didn’t know what the text was about, either. She wasn’t entirely sure she believed him, but what else could she say?

 

The morning leading up to her presentation she felt like she was going to throw up. She knew she would do well. It was a subject matter she was beyond passionate about, but this was a huge assignment. An important one. When she spotted Itsuki in the crowd, though, all of her nerves seemed to disappear. She had this. With a deep breath she stepped on stage.

 

“How many of you here have a friend or family member who is an omega that you care a lot about?” She watched as almost the entire auditorium raised their hand. “And how many of you have ever said something derogatory and sexist towards them? Or even just thought about how perhaps they weren’t as good as you?” Very few hands went up. Aiko smiled. “A good portion of you are lying, but that’s ok. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, isn’t it? Why, then, if we know it to be wrong of us, are so many countries and laws so far behind in stopping this behavior?”

 

Taking a few steps she clicked to the next slide showing a picture of her family. “As many of you likely know, my mother was victim to omega trafficking. My siblings and myself are all products of omega abuse. In Russia, this is just considered normal. Omegas disappear and the police look the other way. Russia is not alone in this. China, Iran, Belarus, Venezuela. These are some of the worst offenders for omega trafficking. Trafficking isn’t the only problem, though. It’s just the most severe. Even here in Japan, a country where omegas have more rights than many others, there are problems in the workforce with equality and an even bigger issue with heat leave.”

 

The more she spoke the more natural it felt. She could feel the passion and the courage building up in her with each slide as she spoke about the need for reform in the world. The need for them to be a voice for the people they claimed to say they loved at the beginning of the presentation. The need for omegas to also stand up and to not be silenced.

 

When she finished, it was to a standing ovation.

 

Itsuki presented her with flowers after and gushed about the presentation. Aiko had never felt so fulfilled in her life. People actually believed in her words. There was hope of change no matter how slowly it might happen. Proof that came two days after.

 

Yulian: Omg! I saw your thesis presentation! Ai-chan, it was amazing! Don’t tell anyone but I cried!

 

Me: What?! How did you see it?

 

Yulian: Wait you don’t know? It was posted online! Someone did English subtitles for it, too. It’s going viral.

 

Me: WHAT?!

 

Yulian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8MqvUeDqL4

 

Aiko clicked on the link and sure enough it was a video of her presentation. There were already over 750,000 hits. Suddenly the texts started pouring in.

 

Nobuo: Ahhhh Ai-chan!!! You were so gorgeous and your words were so moving! (。♥‿♥。) Baby girl is gonna be famous!

 

Alyona: That picture you used of me was terrible. That aside, holy shit! You were awesome! You got a perfect grade, right?! Martina was bawling like a baby by the end.

 

Mama: Ai-chan...I am so incredibly proud of you. Thank you. It means so much to me to see you up there fighting...don’t ever stop. Let your voice be heard.

 

Papa: YOU ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD! MY BABY!

 

Itsuki: Wow...looks like I have a lot of competition! Now the entire world is after you! Well, I saw you first so tough for them!

 

At their promised celebration dinner Itsuki suggested not letting the momentum of the video’s popularity go to waste. That they should use this to start up her brand. Itsuki had thought of everything from social media and beyond. Aiko couldn’t help but feel herself falling even more in love at his support and eagerness.

 

Two weeks into their summer break Itsuki proposes at a local garden.

 

“You are so incredibly smart and driven and that just makes you the most amazing person,” he had said on his knee. “I love being around you. You make me want to be better. Oh! A-and just so you know, your brother said it was ok! I asked, like you said!”

 

Aiko’s jaw dropped. “W-wait, you asked Vitaly!?”

 

Itsuki looked someone taken back and slowly stood. “Um, well, yes? You told me I had to!”

 

“I was kidding!” She responded in shock. “Vita-nii has always hated anyone who has shown interest and says no and threatens everyone and - wait. He...said yes?!” Suddenly she remembered the text messages.

 

“Well, yeah,” Itsuki said. “Though, you’re right, he definitely threatened me and I’m pretty sure I thought I was going to piss myself the way he was looking at me. Are the tattoos for show or is he actually Yakuza because-,”

 

Aiko couldn’t help but launch herself at Itsuki hugging his neck tightly. Vitaly had said yes. He had said he liked him. With a laugh she kissed him on the lips and nodded. “Well, if Vita-nii likes you then there is no choice but to say yes!”

 

Aiko is 24 when they tie the knot in a Japanese garden in Tokyo. They stay engaged for over three years until both are finished with their studies knowing how important graduation was to both of them. It’s a large family affair on both sides and a huge celebration. Aiko couldn’t have felt happier.

 

They announce their first child two years later, but it’s not theirs. Both had decided on an adoption wanting to provide a home for a child in need. A few months later they are convinced to adopt the sibling as well. It only takes five years for their family to grow to 7 adopting another and Aiko giving birth to two of her own. She starts her own non-profit organization and charity to help omegas in need and to fight for their rights. Organizations all over the world invite her to speak at their events.

 

Tucked away deep in a place only she knows is a photo she found on the internet. It’s of Viktor. Days when she is feeling down and defeated, like there is no hope or no way out, she pulls out the picture. It’s a reminder of why she’s here. Why she fights.

 

Aiko never stops fighting.

 

Vitaly - 38

 

Half-way through the reception of Aiko’s wedding something hit Vitaly in the gut so strongly he couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t physical, instead an internal manifestation, but it was so shocking to him that he waited until Nobuo was otherwise occupied and slipped away back to their hotel room. Nobuo had booked them the honeymoon suite so there was only a single bed. It was his friend’s sense of humor, and Vitaly was more than used to it, but tonight it bothered him. More than usual.

 

Kicking off his shoes and throwing his jacket over the back of the chair he collapsed onto the bed and curled up on his side. The room was silent. Eerily so. It left Vitaly alone with all his thoughts and he hated that more than anything. That feeling that was had been in his stomach worsened and he curled up tighter on himself.

 

“There you are! For fuck’s sake, Katsuki, you can’t just up and leave and then not answer your damn - are you ok?”

 

Vitaly jerked in surprise at Nobuo’s voice and he realized his vision was blurry and his face was wet. He was crying. When had he started crying? Why was he crying?

 

“Hey…,” Nobuo approached the side of the bed cautiously in concern. “Vitaly. What’s wrong?”

 

Still in a state of confusion he rapidly wiped at his face. “N-nothing. I don’t know why that happened.”

 

“Yeah, bullshit,” Nobuo countered crossing his arms.

 

Clenching his jaw and grasping at the pillow beneath his head he realized what the feeling he’d had was. It was the same feeling in his core when he had realized his love for his mother. The same feeling when he knew he was rejected. Seeing the last of siblings get married off felt like a rejection. He was now well and truly alone despite everything. “I didn’t think it would hurt this badly.”

 

“For what to hurt?” he asked, keeping his voice soft.

 

“Seeing everyone move on while I’m left behind,” Vitaly confessed. “And I know that sounds fucking selfish of me. All I’ve ever wanted was to see my family happy and everyone is.”

 

“Everyone but you,” Nobuo finished for him.

 

Vitaly squeezed his eyes shut and buried his face into the pillow. “I thought I had come to terms with the fact I could never have any of that. I can’t have love or a normal relationship.”

 

“Why the fuck not?” Nobuo frowned. “Why can’t you have those things? You deserve to be happy just like the rest of them. Maybe even more so.”

 

“I’m not right!” Vitaly cried. “I can’t love people normally! I can’t be intimate with people the way they’d want.”

 

Nobuo took a seat on the edge of the bed. “So what? Not everyone needs or wants that. And what the hell is normal, anyway? I mean, fuck, I’m a murdering borderline psychopath crack baby and I still think I deserve to have someone.”

 

“And I’m a murder with an Oedipus Complex whose fucked his own brother,” Vitaly huffed sadly. “Who on Earth could love that?”

 

“Me.”

 

Vitaly’s body froze.

 

“Me,” he repeated, firmer this time and with his own set of tears forming. “I can fucking love you. I think i’ve loved you for the past 20 years or some shit like that. And yeah, I love sex. I really fucking like sex like a lot, but I’m also really fucking good at having emotionless unattached sex with people so you don’t have to worry about that. Unless it bothers you and then fuck it, fine, I just won’t have sex somehow.”

 

Vitaly moved to prop himself up on his shoulder and he tried to speak but Nobuo continued on.

 

“And so what, you did a really selfless thing by helping your brother when he really needed you. You did something you hate because you cared enough about him. And yeah, you’re a murder in love with your mom but you murdered to protect him and you know what? Your mom is super hot so I can’t blame you! Anyone would be fucking lucky to have someone as self-sacrificing as you. So seriously, when are you just going to do something for yourself? For once? When are you actually going to be as selfish as you claim to be?” Nobuo was gasping for air by the end of it, slow tears rolling down his cheeks.

 

Vitaly was also breathing heavily, breaths coming out in terrified shudders as his hands clenched tightly in the sheets. “I...I can’t love you the way you want me to.”

 

Nobuo leaned forward and shoved Vitaly back into the mattress before grabbing a fistful of his dress shirt. “Stop saying that like you fucking know what I want! And yeah, you’re right, you’ll probably never be able to give me everything I want but right now I don’t have anything that I want!” His trembling hands loosened their grip. “Fuck...Vitaly...please. Just give me whatever you are willing to give. Let me decide whether or not it’s enough.”

 

“I...I don’t know how to do this,” Vitaly breathed softly, blinking gathered tears and letting them fall. “I don’t know how to open up and be with someone. I don’t know what to do.”

 

Nobuo laughed softly through his own tears. “Do you have any idea how much you are already open to me? How much I’m already open to you? We’ve only ever opened up to each other. Don’t you get that?”

 

Vitaly swallowed and pulled at every ounce of courage that he had. It took more than when he had worked up the strength to slay his own father. It took more than when he signed his own death sentence by seeking out the Yakuza. More than when he asked his mother to accept his bond. More than when he admitted his love to Oyabun. “I’ll try.”

 

Relief flooded the room and Nobuo’s palms pressed gently against Vitaly’s chest as he lowered his head and let his weight rest on the alpha in an almost embrace. “Tell me. Please. Tell me what I can do for you right now. How can I help?”

 

Reaching out with a tentative hand Vitaly ran his fingers through Nobuo’s always unruly hair. “Just...hold me.” Like my mother always does.

 

Nobuo shifted on the bed to lay behind Vitaly and both men moved to their sides. Slotting his chest firmly against Vitaly’s back Nobuo wrapped his arms around his torso and laced their fingers together against the mattress. Vitaly felt his heart settle beneath his chest at the closeness and feeling of protection. When Nobuo slotted his nose into the crook of his neck he found himself pressing back into the warmth. Their breathing slowed and started to sync up with one another. Vitaly was sure their heartbeats matched, too. It wasn’t long at all before his silver lashes fluttered closed and he was falling into the deepest sleep he’d had in a very long time.

 

When Vitaly woke up he was covered in warmth. With a content sigh he allowed his eyes to slowly open and found himself pressed up against the front of Nobuo. His head was tucked beneath Nobuo’s chin and their legs were tangled. Breathing in he captured Nobuo’s scent. The beta didn’t have a natural scent, not in the way alpha and omegas did, but there was still an air about him that was distinctly...him. It was mostly cigarettes and alcohol, but, well, that was Nobuo.

 

“I’m not hungover...what a shame,” Nobuo breathed groggily.

 

Vitaly smiled. “My fault, I’m afraid.”

 

Nobuo untangled himself from Vitaly and stretched out his body with a loud satisfied groan. “That’s fine. You’re gonna make it up to me when we stay another week here in this sweet hotel room. We’ll order a shit ton of room service. I’m gonna get drunk and if I’m lucky, so will you.”

 

Vitaly rolled onto his back with a slight flush. He didn’t drink precisely because he knew what happened when he did. Not being able to handle alcohol well was something that ran in the family, apparently. “I think I’ll leave that to you.”

 

“Nope,” Nobuo protested. “You gotta. You owe me. Besides,” he rolled over to face Vitaly, “it’ll just be you and me.”

 

“We’ll see,” Vitaly responded, though he wasn’t going to hold out hope for himself. Nobuo was not only persuasive but crafty. If he really wanted Vitaly to drink he’d find a way to slip it in without Vitaly even realizing until it was far too late. He might as well just give in.

 

Nobuo hummed and sat up with another stretch. “I need to shower and get out of these damn clothes.” He lowered his arms and looked down at Vitaly. “Join me?”

 

The butterflies exploded in his stomach and the need for flight arose. Of course. He had known it. Vitaly couldn’t be what Nobuo wanted. He couldn’t do this. He-

 

“It’s just a shower,” Nobuo promised softly. “That’s it.”

 

I won’t ask anymore of you. I won’t have you give more than you can give.

 

Nobuo extended a hand and Vitaly took it.

Chapter Text

FINAL CHAPTER

 

Vitaly - 53

Yuuri - 76

Phichit - 72

Yulian - 50

Alyona - 45

Aiko - 39

 

Oyabun’s funeral was massive. Vitaly felt swallowed by the amount of people that ended up coming honoring their late leader. Clans that didn’t even have an affiliation with their own had shown up to pay respects. It was selfish of him to think it knowing how many lives Daizo had ended up touching, but Vitaly wanted all of this for himself. He wanted everyone to leave and allow him his grief privately.

 

Daizo’s daughter, Mayu, had shown her face near the end and Vitaly seethed with anger. Nobuo had linked an arm around his waist and pulled him flush against his body both to keep Vitaly from launching himself at the woman and to calm him down. She had abandoned her father upon learning about his position within the Yakuza. She did not deserve to be here. As the people began to disperse as the funeral came to a close Mayu approached them and Vitaly was convinced they would be holding a second funeral within seconds.

 

“I don’t think you should come any closer,” Nobuo warned, taking initiative to step between her and Vitaly.

 

“I’m not here to cause trouble,” Mayu explained, coming to a halt well ahead of Nobuo. She looked over the beta’s shoulder at Vitaly with a tight jaw. “So...you’re the one? My father’s real son. Thank you.”

 

Vitaly froze in surprise at those words.

 

Mayu’s mouth twitched up into a sad smile. “I was not a good daughter to my father. I had my reasons and I do not regret my choices, but he was still my father. I am glad that he had someone there for him. That is why I want to leave the house to you. I have no need for it and I think he would have rather left it to you in the first place. My mother likely made him leave it to me out of a sense of familial duty.”

 

“Are you certain?” Vitaly asked, almost unable to believe what he’d been hearing. The Fujikawa house had been his second home. It had been his sanctuary for all these years between the well tended gardens and the meals provided by Daizo’s wife.

 

“I am,” she confirmed. “I will have papers drafted to transfer the house to you. Please treat it well.”

 

“I will,” Vitaly promised. Mayu bowed her head and didn’t offer up any other words before dismissing herself.

 

Nobuo kept himself between them despite the growing distance as a precaution. “There’s no way that house isn’t completely paid off. No more rent. This is awesome.”

 

Vitaly was skeptical of that. The house wasn’t very large but the gardens were quite expansive. “The upkeep will likely cost just as much. I’m not going to let things go to ruin...not now.”

 

Money was less of an issue than it ever was, so he’d make sure of it. The onsen had been almost completely remodelled years ago. Alyona had enough sponsorship to pay her way for a lifetime and still took part in ice shows. She’d also married rich. Yulian had just married rich. Aiko and Itsuki had worked their way to major success and needed no help from Vitaly. The only place his money went to was to his mother. Towards all the medical expenses…

 

“I’ll start asking around for some recommendations,” Nobuo assured him. “Trusted resources to take care of the property the way it deserves.”

 

Vitaly saw the papers two days later and had them taken care of. Nobuo wasted no time in starting to pack the things in the apartment they’d lived in for half their lives. They’d moved rooms within the compex a time or two as things were renovated and moved to a bigger one once they’d permanently moved in together, but they’d never strayed far. It was a strange feeling. Long past due to find a place to truly call home.

 

Yuuri had been beyond ecstatic when Vitaly had gone to visit and tell the news. “I’m so happy you are finding your own home. Will you take me to see it?”

 

It hurt. It hurt far too much to force the smile as Vitaly stroked a thumb across the top of his mother’s hand. Yuuri was so frail looking these days. He looked well beyond his years, especially for someone of Japanese descent. When he wasn’t at a hospital he was in bed or confined to a chair unable to walk without help. Everything had finally caught up to him and with a force. “Of course, Mama...but only when you are feeling up to it.”

 

Phichit had pulled him aside the moment Yuuri started to nod off. Where Yuuri looked far older than he was, Phichit looked younger. His eyes were still vibrant despite his peppered hair and the crow’s feet fit him well. The beta was in practically perfect health. Vitaly wanted to resent him for it, but he had long moved on from those feelings. He and Phichit would never be friends, but it had become too tiresome to hate long ago.

 

“He’s not doing well,” Phichit said sadly.

 

Vitaly knew that. Not only could he see it, but he felt it. Somedays it seemed like the bond was sucking his own life out of him just to keep Yuuri alive. Maybe that’s exactly what was happening. Nobuo had blamed it on the grief from the loss of Oyabun, but Vitaly knew it was because of Yuuri. “What can I do?”

 

“I can’t take care of both the onsen and him,” Phichit sighed. “We’re going to have to hire someone so I can care for him fulltime. Can I count on you to find someone trustworthy? We’re busy all the time these days so I need someone that can really do the job.”

 

He nodded. “I’ll find someone, don’t worry.”

 

Phichit let out a breath of relief. “How are you holding up?”

 

Vitaly found himself clenching his jaw and tensing up at the question. “I...could be a lot better. With many things.”

 

“You look tired,” he pointed out.

 

“I feel it,” Vitaly agreed.

 

“Maybe you should take some time off,” Phichit suggested. “I guess, if the Yakuza allows that sort of thing.”

 

Maybe…

 

Vitaly brought it up to Nobuo as they worked on unpacking their boxes in what was now their home. Maybe they could go somewhere. Get away from everything for a few weeks. Clear their minds.

 

“I’m all for that, but, I was thinking,” Nobuo started, stopping what he was doing with the current box to give Vitaly his full attention. “You should quit.”

 

If the alpha had been holding anything he surely would have dropped it. “What?”

 

Nobuo shifted uncomfortably and crossed his arms. His fingers clenched and flexed. One of his nervous ticks. “Vitaly...you’re done. You joined the Yakuza to protect your family and you’ve done that. You don’t have to keep doing this anymore. Mama Katsuki needs you now more than ever. Be with him.”

 

Vitaly had succeeded in his duties long ago, it was true, but what else was he supposed to do? The mafia was all he had known since birth. Where else in the world was there a place for someone like him? “I can’t...you don’t just quit.” It was the excuse he’d been using for decades.

 

“Yeah, not like, completely, but Oyabun wasn’t stupid. He knew he couldn’t leave you in charge, but he was sure to pick a successor that would take care of you. You wouldn’t be out out but like, in the reserves or something. Ask Nakamura-san,” he pleaded. “I think he’d be more understanding than you think.”

 

The alpha anxiously nibbled at his lower lip in his doubt. Even if Nakamura did relieve him of his duties within the clan, that still didn’t answer the remaining question. “But what will I do?”

 

“You said you wanted my help in finding someone to take care of the onsen. Well, I found him. You.”

 

It made sense. Vitaly had grown up in the onsen. He knew how things were run and he had occasionally helped out before. It would be busy work. Hard work. But it would help keep his mind occupied and he’d be right there with Yuuri. “And you…? What will you do?” They hadn’t been apart since they met. Ever.

 

Nobuo closed the distance between them and brought their foreheads together. “I’ll be fine with whatever Aniki decides for me.”

 

Vitaly requested audience with Nakamura and they met a few days later. Nobuo came a long as moral support hiding in the background where he was out of sight and out of mind.

 

“I will grant you leave from the clan on one condition,” Nakamura told him. “You maintain the onsen in good condition so that it may still be of use to us. Yutopia is a favorite among the clan for both pleasure and business. I would not see it fall.”

 

“Of course, Oyabun,” Vitaly bowed. “The clan is always welcome at Yutopia. Thank you for your generosity.”

 

“You’ll take him, too,” Nakamura pointed to where Nobuo was trying to remain hidden.

 

Nobuo stumbled out of the shadows in shock pointing to himself. “Ah, me? Aniki?”

 

Nakamura clucked his tongue. “The two of you have been inseparable since the day Fujikawa-san introduced you. You are also a liability when left alone and I doubt there is anyone in the clan with the patience to deal with you. I certainly don’t have it.”

 

Nobuo hardly showed offense to those words, surprising Vitaly. “Who knew I was such a pain?” That shit-eating grin hadn’t changed in the almost 40 years they’d known each other.

 

It still worried Vitaly, though. “You don’t know how to be still. You have to always be doing something.”

 

“I don’t think I’ll be very still working at an onsen,” Nobuo had countered. “I’m more worried about annoying all the guests because that’s what I’m best at.”

 

Vitaly rolled his eyes. Most of the regular guests were used to him well enough and those that he did annoy were mostly clan members as it was. Nobuo had become family long ago and people put up with family no matter how annoying.

 

Phichit and Mari were more than skeptical when Vitaly explained his plans. Vitaly was one thing, but Vitaly and Nobuo smelled like trouble. But when Yuuri lit up brighter than he had been able to in years at the idea both husband and sister folded. They fell into an easy routine. Nobuo was personable despite the excessiveness so he took care of most customer-facing things along with their other part-time help. Vitaly worked quietly but diligently in the back stirring the onsen waters and folding laundry. Mari would still cook on her better days and she and Phichit would always lock up so Nobuo and Vitaly could go home at a decent hour. Everything was turning out fine.

 

Until it wasn’t.

 

Vitaly couldn’t breathe. He felt like suffocating and his eyes shot awake as he gasped for air. A voice and a pair of hands tried to soothe him as he worked through his panic realizing that he could breathe just fine. There was no noose around his neck. No restriction.

 

“What the fuck was that?” Nobuo asked, voice soft as he continued to rub at Vitaly’s back. “Nightmare?”

 

Vitaly didn’t answer right away. He was scared. What had happened? Why? As the silence grew while his breathing slowed he noticed an insistent buzzing from his phone. At first he thought it was his alarm having come far too soon until he saw the name on the screen. Phichit. “What’s wrong?”

 

“We’re at the hospital,” Phichit started, voice solemn. “He was having trouble breathing.”

 

He was having trouble breathing.

 

Vitaly bit his lip to keep from crying. “I’m on my way.” He hung up but couldn’t move from the bed staring at sheets.

 

“It’s your mom, isn’t it?” Nobuo asked. “What happened?”

 

He swallowed hard. “He couldn’t breathe.”

 

Nobuo sucked in a sharp breathe and his hands wrapped around Vitaly’s biceps. “Fuck. You’re feeling it. Through the bond.” Throwing back the covers with a sigh Nobuo started to pull out clothes. “I’ll drive.”

 

Mari was outside the hospital doors with a cigarette between her lips. By all rights she should have been long dead from lung cancer, but Katsuki women were stubborn she’d said. Vitaly wouldn’t have been surprised if somehow she outlived them all despite her silver hair and receding frame. She carried a bad cough with her permanently, but otherwise she still managed to get around fine. The woman didn’t say anything. She couldn’t or she’d fall apart. All she did was offer Vitaly a drag of her cigarette which he took.

 

Yuuri was hooked up to oxygen and the slow sounds of the heart machine echoed in Vitaly’s ears. Nobuo reached for Vitaly’s trembling hand in support as they slowly entered the room. Phichit was curled up in a chair by the bed looking as exhausted as Vitaly felt.

 

“There’s nothing more they can do for him,” Phichit said, not even bothering to tear his eyes away from Yuuri as he spoke. “Just manage the pain and make him as comfortable as possible.”

 

“There has to be something,” Vitaly breathed, unable to accept that as an answer.

 

Phichit sniffled and wiped at his eyes. “Pretty much every vital organ is failing. He’s started having trouble even recognizing who me or Mari even are some days. Some days he won’t eat. Won’t sleep.”

 

Yes, Vitaly knew. Neither Phichit or Mari had said anything, but Vitaly had known. He’d always been plagued with insomnia, but lately it had been worse, and his own appetite had faded. Often he’d find he’d go an entire day without eating. It had been easy to blame it on being too busy with the onsen, but it was far from the truth.

 

“Are they going to keep him here?” Nobuo asked.

 

“No,” Phichit shook his head. “Yuuri made me promise I wouldn’t let him die at a hospital. They are making preparations for home care at the onsen until…” his voice trailed off. He couldn't say it. None of them could.

 

Silent tears fell down Vitaly’s cheeks. He wasn’t ready for this. He’d never be ready for it. Yuuri couldn’t die. Tentatively, Vitaly reached out to touch Yuuri’s hand. It was terribly cold.

 

“We should call your siblings,” Nobuo whispered as the only rational mind in the room. “They’ll...want to be here if they can.”

 

That was it. That was all it took for Vitaly to break down. He fell to his knees by Yuuri’s bed clinging to his hand for dear life. “There has to be something! Anything! They can’t just let him die!”

 

The two betas let Vitaly cry for a moment. It was Phichit who stood from his chair and walked around to the other side of the bed to put a hand on Vitaly’s shoulder. “I wish there was. I’d give anything to have more time with him, and I know you would, too. All we can do now is make sure he’s as comfortable as possible.”

 

Vitaly could only grip at the sheet of the bed in response, muffling a scream that he wanted to let out. Nobuo and Phichit spoke softly behind him, but he didn’t catch what they were saying. He didn’t care. All he wanted was for Yuuri to wake up and smile at him. Promise him that everything was going to be ok. Eventually he was left alone in the room to his tears and when he could cry no longer he could do nothing but let the darkness claim him.

 

The dreams he had were strange. Some could not even be classified as dreams, but nightmares of the worst kind. It took awhile for him to realize that he was not looking through his own eyes, but rather Yuuri’s. Some of the places and events seemed familiar to him. Some were here in Japan when he was still a teen. Others were back in Russia. A few were the kinder memories, but the majority were not. Those were ones he had no recollection of. Ones that were memories belonging only to his mother...and Viktor.

 

There was a moment when Viktor reached for his throat and had him pinned down. Vitaly suddenly couldn’t breathe, but he was caught in the dream unable to wake. Even in his own mind he could feel his heart starting to race in panic. No matter how much he willed himself to wake, willed himself to breathe, he couldn't. All he could see was Viktor’s blue eyes - his own blue eyes - staring down at him.

 

Finally, he could feel himself pulling from the dream as he heard soft mumbling in the distance. His heart began to slow and he could feel his lungs expanding with air as he breathed. It beat slower, and slower, and slower...almost too slow. The more he started to wake, the weaker he suddenly felt. His entire body was heavy and it took a force of wills to finally open his eyes. It hurt.

 

At some point, someone had lifted him off the floor and put him on a chair covering him with a blanket. His hand was still in Yuuri’s and his cheek was pressed against the omega’s leg. It was too much to move, but Vitaly could feel the fingers in his hair. It had been Yuuri calling to him. Yuuri who had saved him...as always.

 

“Tell me this isn’t real,” Vitaly begged, voice raw from screaming that happened in his own mind.

 

Yuuri’s hand paused. “We all must meet our end eventually, Vitalik...we can’t run forever.”



Vitaly felt the tears fast approaching again. “But I’m not ready.”

 

“No one ever is ready,” Yuuri told him. “All we can do is be thankful for the time we had together. And I am thankful, Vitalik. I am thankful for you and your siblings, despite the circumstances. I have had a happy life overall, and my job here is done.”

 

Finding the strength, Vitaly looked at his mother. “How can you say that? How can you say that your job is done? I still need you!”

 

Yuuri smiled. “No you don’t, Vitalik. You haven’t needed me for quite some time, now. There is someone else who makes you happy, even if you never could admit it outloud. Oh, don’t give me that look,” he chastised the moment Vitaly tried to feign ignorance. “I’m your mother. You may have never announced that you and Nobuo finally got together, but I knew. And I’m happy. It’s all I ever wanted for you.”

 

Vitaly had Nobuo, yes, but the beta wasn’t his mother. He wasn’t his...mate. That was a hole that could never be filled if made. “But I want to be selfish, Mama. I want to have you both.”

 

“I wish you could be selfish, too, Vitalik. I’ve always wished you were far more selfish than you ever were,” he confessed. Vitaly could only bury his face against his mother’s skin again as the omega tried his best to continue petting his hair with the little strength he had. They let a pleasant silence fall over them for a long while until Yuuri finally spoke again. “Take me to your house. I still haven’t seen it yet, and you keep saying the gardens are so pretty.”

 

“When your stronger, Mama,” Vitaly argued. He could hear how hard it was for Yuuri to breathe properly. It was hard for him to breathe, too.

 

“Vitalik,” Yuuri sighed, “I’m not getting stronger. Please...I want to see the place you’ve called your home.”

 

The words were a punch to the gut. Yuuri had given up. Vitaly wanted to scream and shout. Demand that Yuuri keep fighting. Tell him that he’d get stronger and that he’d get through this. That he’d hit 100 and then some. He did none of those things. Maybe Vitaly had given up, too. “Alright...when the doctors have cleared you to go, I’ll take you.”

 

Yuuri nodded and then his face contorted into a frown. With a deep breath he suddenly erupted into a series of heavy wet coughs. Vitaly tried to reach up to steady him when he felt a strong tickle in his own throat. A hand covered his mouth and he felt his own coughs ripple through him. Vitaly’s eyes went wide in realization and he did everything he could to swallow them down before Yuuri realized it, too. Thankfully, he somehow managed to get his own coughs to subside in time to settle his mother down and the omega was none the wiser.

 

Vitaly knew, though. He knew what this meant.

 

It was only a few hours before Yuuri was released given there wasn’t much for the doctors to do for him. The doctor had spoken with Phichit and Vitaly giving them instructions on what they could do to help ease Yuuri’s pain and help him get through whatever time he had left. Vitaly’s nails dug into his palm keeping him from striking out at the doctor who spoke so casually about impending death.

 

Vitaly told Phichit of Yuuri’s request, and the beta agreed. It might be the last time Yuuri could make it outside and actually enjoy it. It would give him time to set up the room, too. Vitaly made Nobuo drive, his body still feeling like it would come to a stop at anytime. Maybe it was just the fatigue from learning about his mother’s condition. From crying. But the slow beat of his heart wouldn’t stop haunting his own mind.

 

Nobuo carried Yuuri to the garden from the car. Vitaly didn’t trust himself to do it and he himself had had to anchor himself to Nobuo’s waist to make it. Once they were both situated on the bench that Oyabun and his wife so often sat together on, Nobuo left them alone.

 

Yuuri smiled as the sun shone down on his face and he listened to the birds sing. “Oh Vitalik...it’s so beautiful.”

 

“I can’t take much credit,” Vitaly admitted. “It was simply left to me.”

 

There was an expression on his mother’s face that he couldn’t read until he spoke. “I used to be so jealous of him...you know?”

 

Vitaly blinked in surprise. “Oyabun?”

 

“Mm,” Yuuri confirmed. “You spent so much time with him, and I know you confided in him things you wouldn’t dare confide in me. But...as time went on, I realized that that was exactly what you needed and I grew thankful for him. He guided you and protected you in ways I never could, but he wasn’t replacing me.”

 

“Mama, no one could ever replace you,” Vitaly promised him.

 

“I know, I know,” Yuuri tried to chuckle, though it turned more into a small cough. “He was simply complimenting me. A way a father should. The fact he left you this place says it all.”

 

Vitaly allowed himself to really take in the gardens around him. “He meant a lot to me, I won’t lie, Mama. Without him...without him I would have ended up just like Viktor.”

 

Yuuri sighed, reaching a hand up to stroke Vitaly’s cheek.“Oh, Vitalik. I don’t believe that for a second. The person who kept you from ending up like Viktor was you. Yes, you may have had some help along the way, but ultimately the decision was yours to make, and you had made it long ago. I know that joining the Yakuza was not what anyone of us wanted, but in the end you made a choice that you felt you had to make, and I will never begrudge you for it. It found you Fujikawa-san, and more importantly it found you Nobuo. I will always be thankful for the second family it gave you.”

 

Vitaly wiped at the single tear that fell. “Thank you, Mama...that means a lot to me.”

 

Yuuri forced an exhausted smile and his head lowered to rest on Vitaly’s shoulder. “I think...I think maybe we should head home. I’m feeling really tired.”

 

Vitaly was, too. More so than he had at the hospital. Nobuo could see it, too, when he came back to help with Yuuri. Vitaly dismissed the silent look of worry he received from his companion, but it didn’t stop the feeling within himself. The concern for his own health. He told himself he’d feel better in the morning, that he needed rest, but even he didn’t believe it.

 

He ended up not sleeping, anyway, so there was no gauge to what was causing his exhaustion. Maybe it was everything. Maybe it was nothing. What he did know, though, was that Aiko showed up the next morning, and he knew that this was real. Yuuri was dying and there was nothing he could do this time.

 

Yulian and Alyona showed up the day after.

 

Mari and Phichit made the decision to limit the onsen and restaurant hours. No overnight guests were allowed and services were limited. Word spread quickly around the town, and all the townspeople started bringing gifts in preparation. Everyone took turns going in and taking care of Yuuri from hand feeding meals to changing the catheter and giving sponge baths. Yuuri didn’t do much else but sleep, and neither to Vitaly.

 

Even with all of the sleep Vitaly seemed to be getting, he didn’t feel better. Movements were sluggish and all the muscles he had from years of yoga and training seemed gone. Everything felt weak, and that was only solidified when he dropped the cup of tea he’d poured for himself in the kitchen and collapsed to his knees short of breath.

 

Vitaly stared at the shattered pieces of the cup on the floor between his trembling hand, the other clutching at his heart. “I’m sorry...I’m so sorry…”

 

“Vitasha!” Yulian’s voice shouted in surprise and he was immediately at his brother’s side on the floor. “What happened? Vitasha?”

 

Nobuo was immediately next to them hoisting Vitaly into his arms. Effortlessly. Too effortlessly. Vitaly had not only centimeters on the beta but several kilograms. With Yulian’s help they moved Vitaly to the common area and set him down on several cushions. “Vitaly. Can you hear me? Do you know who I am?”

 

Vitaly opened his mouth to respond and frowned. Wait. Who...who was he? “I don’t…” Wait. No. He knew. “Nobuo. Ulya.” How could he forget? That was his brother and his unofficial mate. What was happening?

 

Nobuo rested his palm against Vitaly’s cheek, his eyes going glossy. “Vitaly you have to figure out how to shut your link with Yuuri down,” he pleaded. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed. You cough when he coughs. You can’t breathe when he can’t breathe. It’s affecting you. Badly.”

“What?!” Yulian breathed in surprise. “Vitasha!”

 

Vitaly could feel himself tremble at Nobuo’s admission of the truth. The truth Vitaly had known all along. “I don’t know how.” I don’t want to. I can’t.

 

“I’m calling a doctor,” Yulian said with a determined frown before excusing himself.

 

What could a doctor do? If they could do nothing for Yuuri, then they could do nothing for Vitaly. Nobuo silently caressed his face as he guided him down onto the cushions and instructed him to rest. Although Vitaly closed his eyes, he could hear his siblings and Nobuo talking - and sometimes shouting - in the kitchen.

 

“...he’s killing himself and I don’t know how to stop it!” Nobuo almost sobbed.

 

“I just talked to the doctor,” Yulian said, “There has to be a way. I refuse to lose them both like this.”

 

“...we all knew there was a chance this would happen,” Alyona’s cool voice pointed out.

 

“No!” Aiko shouted. “No! It can’t...it can’t! This can’t happen! It’s not like they are mates! Why is this happening?”

 

“But they are mates,” Nobuo pointed out. “They are...maybe not in a traditional sense, but Vitaly marked Yuuri. There’s a link between them. A link that’s been around for almost 40 years. If Yuuri’s bond with Viktor almost killed him after 15…”

 

“It’s not the same!” Aiko insisted. “I refuse to believe this! How can you believe this?”

 

“I don’t want to,” Nobuo insisted, and Vitaly was sure he was crying even though he couldn’t see it. “But I’ve seen what this is doing to him.”

 

When the doctor did come, he confirms everyone’s worst fears. “It’s definitely the bond,” he sighed sadly. “I know this was a non-traditional bond, platonic, but a bond is still a bond at the end of the day. The best thing I can tell you to do is to leave. If you can put some distance between you and your mother, you might be able to dull the effects.”

 

No one said it, but the somber mood was enough to confirm everyone’s worries. They all knew what the doctor was asking was a tall order. An impossible one. Vitaly simply walked away without a word to his old room in the onsen. Nobuo followed.

 

“I can’t do it,” Vitaly cried softly, Nobuo curled up behind him on the bed. “I can’t leave.”

 

Nobuo squeezed his eyes shut, refusing to cry. “I know…I know you can’t leave...but I need you to fight. You have to. Please.”

 

“I’m scared,” the alpha confessed, making himself smaller against Nobuo’s chest.

 

Nobuo ended up crying anyway, tilting Vitaly’s face towards him and kissing him long and deep. “Me too...I can’t lose you, Vitaly. Please don’t leave me.”

 

“I don’t want to,” Vitaly confessed with a sob. “I just don’t know how to keep fighting.”

 

“Together,” Nobuo sniffed. “We fight together.”

 

Vitaly whimpered as he turned into Nobuo’s chest and buried his face into the crook of the beta’s neck. “I know...I know I’ve never been able to say it but...I...I just…”

 

Nobuo kissed the top of his head and bit the inside of his cheek. “Fuck you...you’re not allowed to say that. You’d only say that if you thought this was the end, and it’s not the end. You’re not allowed.”

 

A half sob, half laugh, filled the air at that. Leave it to Nobuo to be Nobuo even in the worst of moments. “Stay with me?”

 

“Always, baby,” Nobuo promised.

 

It may have been only a few hours, but it was a few hours of actual rest that Vitaly managed to get. Somehow, it seemed like the calm before the storm. When Vitaly woke, he felt rested, but his body was light and not his own. Carefully, he pried himself from Nobuo’s limbs and made his way to Yuuri’s room. He had this feeling. This feeling that the clock was about to strike midnight.

 

“Mama…?” Vitaly whispered as he entered the room.

 

Surprisingly, Yuuri seemed wide awake and alive. “Vitalik...I knew it would be you. It had to be you.”

 

Vitaly’s heart clenched as he approached the bed and kneeled beside it. “...What do you mean?”

 

The smile stayed unwavering on the omega’s face. “I’m ready, Vitalik. I’m ready to go…”

 

Tears fell, but Vitaly couldn’t comprehend those words. How could he be ready? Hadn’t he said himself that no one was ever ready for death?  “I don’t understand. Mama…?”

 

“I’m at peace, Vitalik,” Yuuri promised him. “It’s time for you to let me go and find your own peace.”

 

“Mama, no-,”

 

Yuuri stopped him with a hand to his face. “Vitalik. I need you to let me go. Please...stay with me until the end, but let me go.”

 

Vitaly couldn’t even see Yuuri properly through the tears anymore. There were no words. What could he even say? What Yuuri asked of him was the impossible. He kept silent, trying to find the words to say, and then it happened.

 

A blinding, unbelievable pain tore through him. His throat constricted from the force of an invisible noose around his neck. His heart beat slower, and slower, and slower. There was suddenly nothing in his body. No soul. No life.

 

Please don’t leave me , Nobuo’s voice pleaded in his head. We fight together.

 

But Vitaly was tired of fighting. He had been fighting for so long...he didn’t want to anymore. Everything felt heavy again and then it was numb.

 

Vitalik.

 

A hand reached out to him, and Vitalik made his choice.

 

He reached out and took the hand.

 

/*/

 

“Vita-nii, are you still in here? You haven’t-,” Aiko paused after sliding the door halfway open. Vitaly was draped across Yuuri’s chest, their fingers laced together. Both men’s eyes were closed. She waited to see the rise and fall of a chest or the slight twitch in a muscle but there was nothing. The room was cold. Her heart stopped and her hand flew to her mouth to stifle the horrifying sound that wanted to leave it. No. They couldn’t...they were just sleeping.

 

With shaking knees she stepped forward until she was close enough to touch her brother. He’d always been pale, but now he looked white. “Vita-,” she choked on her own words as she placed her hand on his shoulder and gave it a shake. No response. Vitaly never slept this hard no matter how tired he was. She placed her and beneath his nose waiting to feel the soft heat of his breath. Cold.

 

It wasn’t immediate. The realization didn’t hit Aiko right away like she always imagined it would. Instead she felt her breaths come out short and fast and found her eyes shifting to her mother. He didn’t look peaceful like the stories always said. He looked beaten and battered by the years and the hardships of his life. Peaceful must have been the excuse people needed to justify death.

 

Carefully she bent down and placed a gentle kiss to her mother’s forehead. “Rest now, Mama. You’re free.” Warm tears splashed down onto Yuuri’s cheeks and everything finally came crashing down onto her. Loud sobs filled the room and her brown eyes filled with heavy teas. More than sadness, though, she felt anger. With small fists she beat down on her brother’s back. “Screw you! How dare you leave me like this! You selfish jerk! What about Nobuo?! You can’t...you can’t…,” her fists ceased and she wailed into his shirt.

 

Aiko had prepared herself the moment she’d gotten the call about Yuuri. It had been a while coming. Yuuri had been deteriorating swiftly over the last year. It was no less heartbreaking, but Aiko had had the time to come to terms with her mother’s impending passing. This, though. This...no amount of preparation could have prepared her for losing her brother at the same time. There was not enough heart in her to break any more. It had shattered into millions of irreparable pieces.

 

Everything became a blur. The voices around her, the other cries, the warm arms that finally pulled her away from Vitaly. Briefly she recalled witnessing Mari grace their lips with matsugo-no-mizu and she only cried harder. It should have been just Yuuri. There shouldn’t have been two. Aiko refused to leave the room still in disbelief and watched as Alyona put up a small table decorated with flowers, incense, and candles as was Shinto custom.

 

When the medics came to collect the bodies it took Yulian to hold her back. Even though both her mother and brother were dead in front of her, she couldn’t believe it. How could she? Vitaly had always been the one to keep their family alive and safe. He’d been the pillar that kept them all strong. How could he be the one to crumble like this? Without him, how could they all continue to stay strong?

 

Finding out about Viktor had been a terrible pain. This...this felt as close to dying as she’d ever come.

 

Almost immediately the onsen’s butsudon was closed and covered in a white paper. Yulian was the one to step up for funeral arrangements in the family’s grief. Phichit tried, but he locked himself away in his own grief. The tsuya was held two days later, and the amount of guests that arrived was shocking to them all. It was more than just the town of Hasetsu. It was an entire clan of Yakuza for Vitaly. The amount of condolence money they received exceeded more than the onsen made in an entire year.

 

The day after, the kokubetsu-shiki was held, and both Yuuri and Vital received their new names to take into the afterlife.

 

Aiko’s fingers caressed the soft petals of the flowers placed around Vitaly’s head. The nokansha had styled his hair in such a way it reminded Aiko of the pictures she had of Viktor. Carefully she brushed the silver strands back and away from his face just like he always used to wear it. Just the way Yuuri would always style it for him. “Goodbye, big brother. Your work here is done, now. Be at peace. I hope you and Mama have found each other wherever you may be.” Sucking in a breathe she allowed herself one last look before turning her back and walking away for the final time.

 

The rain was still coming down in buckets when she exited the temple. She found her umbrella among the many propped up against the side of the temple and headed for the stairs. Nobuo was sitting on a middle step soaked through to the bone. Whatever was still left of her heart fell to the pit of her stomach as she opened the umbrella and stepped down so that it covered them both. When Nobuo didn’t immediately saying anything Aiko took a seat next to him and let her head rest on his shoulder. She didn’t care that her own clothes were now getting soaked.

 

“I loved him,” Nobuo sobbed. “I really did, you know?”

 

“Of course I do,” Aiko answered. “I’ve always known. Before you two even did.”

 

Wiping at his eyes harshly he scoffed. “Yeah, but I never fucking said it. Not really. And now I can’t. I can’t never tell him. It didn’t matter to me that he could never really love me. I knew that and it was fine, but I should have fucking said it.”

 

Aiko frowned as she lifted her head. “Nobuo. Look at me. Vitaly did love you, even if he never said it either.”

 

Nobuo huffed with a sad smile. “There was only ever one person that Vitaly ever truly loved and they are going to be buried in the ground right along with him. At least they finally get to be together, I guess.”

 

Swallowing hard Aiko thought about how she might answer that as she watched the raindrops fall from the edge of the umbrella around them. “I...have never tried to understand the relationship my brother and mother had. I don’t think I could ever understand it without the context of living in Russia. I know their relationship was unusual and...well...unconventional. But, regardless of whatever all of that was, I know without a doubt that Vitaly loved you. I am the expert, after all,” she smiled. “Who do you think it was you both texted and complained to whenever you two fought?”

 

“No fair, you were supposed to always be biased towards me,” Nobuo sniffled with a small smile.

 

Aiko let her head fall against his shoulder again with a laugh. “I’m pretty sure I was supposed to be biased towards my own brother, but honestly I thought you were both always so hard-headed and stubborn. Maybe that’s why even though I knew you idiots loved each other when I was fourteen it took you two eternity!”

 

“Stupid alphas,” Nobuo huffed playfully, letting his head fall against Aiko’s.

 

“Stupid alphas,” Aiko echoed softly.

 

They sat like that for a while listening to the sounds of the rain and the distant thunder that occasionally rolled. Nobuo shifted closer. “I don’t know how to live without him, Ai-chan. I haven’t had to live without him in so long that I don’t know if I can. What do I do?”

 

“Don’t do anything for awhile,” she answered. “Mourn. Allow yourself that.”

 

“And then what? I can’t hang on to him forever,” he countered.

 

Aiko actually thought about it. Deeply. Nobuo had always been a friend, practically another big brother for her in her life. He’d been there just as much as Vitaly had been. She felt an obligation to return the care he had given her. “Work for me and Itsuki. Whatever either of us need you to do. You’re good with security aren’t you? I know there’s always something Itsuki’s company needs and I could always use a handsome bodyguard when I travel.”

 

“You don’t have to do that,” Nobuo sighed.

 

“Of course I don’t,” Aiko agreed. “Vitaly taught me that I don’t ever have to do anything I don’t want to. So, that means that I want to do this.”

 

Nobuo frowned as he thought about it. “The house...I can’t leave it. It meant too much to him. To us.”

 

“Keep it, then. We’ll make sure it’s taken care of and it’s a place you can always return to whenever you like,” she said. “You’ll need a place to escape to once-in-a-while. I think the kids might drive you nuts. They love you.”

 

“Your kids are the best,” Nobuo argued. “Could never drive me nuts. Bet I drive them nuts, though.”

 

“So you’ll come, then?” Aiko nudged him hopefully.

 

Nobuo took a moment, watching the rain fall, and the nodded. “Yeah...I’ll come.”

 

Aiko smiled through her grief. They could do this. Together.

 

/*/

 

Snow covered the grounds in a beautiful light blanket. Although there was a slight chill it wasn’t as terrible as it had been without a wind. With the sun shining brightly in a cloudless sky Aiko found that it was quite pleasant. She found the tombstone with ease covered with flowers and Phichit’s name still painted in red symbolizing his place still in the world of the living. Aiko knelt down and laid down her own bouquet of flowers.

 

“Mama, Vita-nii, I’ve missed you! I hope you’ve both been well. Itsuki and I have had another busy year. I cut back on my travel a bit to spend more time with the kids, but they are such a handful. I love them, so deeply, but some days I just want to scream! How did you do it so flawlessly, Mama? Etsuko presented in the fall as an alpha. It’s made her so moody and difficult to deal with some days. We’re managing, though.

 

Let’s see, what else? Ah, Ulya told me that Rosa has been seeing someone! I don’t have all the details yet, but I’ll be sure to have them next time I visit. Of course I stopped by the onsen. Ulya, Dylan, and Diego are taking such good care of. It’s flourishing and they all seem to really love it. I was a bit surprised, if I’m honest. I sort of thought Dylan and Diego might have agreed to it out of duty, but I think I was wrong. Diego is wonderful with the customers and his Japanese is so good, now!

 

Alya and Martina are always so busy travelling. What else is new? They are so happy. It’s like the honeymoon phase never ended. I love to see all their photos of all the places they go. They got a new cat! Her name is Moka. She’s so cute and fluffy. Alya mentioned trying to get the family together at the onsen this summer. We haven’t been together since the funeral and of course that was under terrible circumstances. I’ve missed everyone. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Vita-nii….Nobuo is doing well. He misses you so much, but he’s found purpose again to keep him occupied. I know you told me he has to always be busy, so I’m doing my best to make that happen. Sometimes he annoys Itsuki a bit too much, but I think it’s funny. Oyabun’s house is well taken care of, too. Nobuo visits it often and we stay there when in town as to not burden the onsen. I can’t wait for the gardens to start to bloom again. I’m tired of winter!

Papa is still in Thailand. He sends me lots of pictures everyday. He did mention coming back to Japan the other day. I think maybe his age is finally starting to catch up with him. Don’t worry, Mama, I will take the best care of him until he decides it’s time to join you. Hopefully that’s not for a while, yet.”

 

Her eyes shifted to the stone next to Yuuri’s and Vitaly’s. “Tell Aunt Mari hello for me, if she’s with you! And Jiji and Baba, too!” Reaching out she let her fingers graze over her mother’s and brother’s names. “I’ll be back soon. Sayonara.”

 

Aiko turned with a lighter heart to leave and came to a surprised halt as she noticed a curious set of footprints in the snow. They were small, but familiar. Her brown eyes followed them to the base of a sakura tree where two foxes were playfully nipping at one another. One was as bright as the snow with ice eyes and the other was a pure black. Her heart fluttered in memory of Mochi who had long ago left them. “Kitsune! What a surprise! Are you watching over the spirits?”

 

The white one barked at the black and they were off in a chase through the stones. The black one led them straight for the Katsuki stones before pouncing into the pile of flowers. Aiko erupted into laughter as they rumbled in the bed of blossoms. They finally settled down together curling close at the base of Yuuri and Vitaly’s stone. Aiko smiled. “You’ll watch over them, won’t you? Keep their spirits safe. I’m counting on you both! Ja !” Chuckling to herself she turned to walk away.

 

For a moment, she thought she saw the sakura tree starting to bloom.

 

Aiko didn’t mention the foxes to anyone, which is why she was surprised when one of the garden keepers mentioned seeing them at Oyabun’s house. “Are you sure?” She asked.

 

She nodded. “Yes! Katsuki-san put up a shrine to Inari when he moved in with Takahashi-san. I swear on my life there were live kitsune there today. Inari has listened and blessed this house.”

 

Grabbing her coat she slipped on her shoes and headed out into the garden and towards the shrine. Sure enough, curled up together on top of one of the stones were a black and white fox. Aiko sucked in a sharp breath in surprise. She considered herself Shinto well enough, but she’d never given much thought to the practice. Now, though, she felt it. She felt their presence right here as if they were alive in the flesh before her.

 

“Ah, did you really not trust me to take care of this place?” Aiko asked with a pout, hands on her hips. The white one opened an eye to acknowledge her but did not move. Treading through the snow she approached close enough to reach out a hand. Neither fox fled from her touch. “Well, I suppose I can’t call you Yuuri and Vitaly, now, can I? No, that wouldn’t do. Let’s see...I suppose we should continue the trend? You’ll be Katsudon, of course, Mama. Vitaly always loved those Russian dumplings...Pelmini?” The white one licked her hand.

 

“Well, alright, then. I suppose you can stay, but there will be rules! Don’t eat the flowers and make work harder for the keepers, and definitely stay out of the pond! No eating the fish! There are plenty of rodents and birds around here for you to prey on. If you’re good I might bring you both something special from the market when I’m here. I don’t think I could convince Itsuki to let you sleep inside, but I’m sure you’d easily be able to persuade Nobuo.” Katsudon shoved his nose into Aiko’s palm as if acknowledging her requests. “Good. I’ll let you two get back to your afternoon nap, then.”

 

Smiling brightly she walked back up to the porch and stopped to look out over the sparkling snow across the garden. Her eyes stopped on the two foxes and her heart felt full.

 

“Okaeri.”