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Sirin's Child

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Ch. 1:   Wings

 

Yuuri watched the long-haired beauty skate to Stravinsky’s Firebird , the dancer lighting the ice on fire with his quick movements bringing a smile to Yuuri’s lips.  He’d been watching the younger man since he first saw him skate across the screen during the Junior Worlds two years prior. Yuuri realized then he may possibly be gay.  Now, there was no doubt.

 

His breath caught as he watched the silverette crash down on his third jump.  Thus far, his season had been perfect. Yuuri moved closer to the barrier, his eyes trained on the young skater.  His first Grand Prix final and Yuuri had looked forward to him giving some competition. Although he came back up and picked up his program, Yuuri could tell he was shaken and something was off.

 

A scent wafted across the ice as Viktor came close.  Blackcurrant, rosemary, coriander, amber, cedar. He’s...omega?  Then Yuuri’s eyes widened at the further implications.  He held his breath as he watched the skater finish his program.  He took some deductions, but the program he created remained beautiful.   It’s like he writes stories with his skates.

 

The skater left the ice in his coach’s arms and Yuuri could see the bitter tears of disappointment as he fought through his emotions.   You skated beautifully, Yuuri thought, wordlessly aiming his feelings toward the younger man.   Hold onto that.

 

A hand on his shoulder brought him from his thoughts and he turned to see fellow competitor and friend Chris Giacometti at his side.  “Is that interest I spy in Katsuki’s eye?”

 

“Maybe,” Yuuri responded, his eyes turning back to the silver hair as his coach led him from kiss and cry.  “He...is breathtaking.”

 

“That he is,” the fellow alpha murmured then lowered his voice.  “Did you also catch it? His scent?”

 

Yuuri nodded.  “What rotten timing.  Hopefully his coach will get him safely back to his room.”

 

Chris nodded thoughtfully.  “He should have been put on suppressants during his last heat.  The boy is eighteen. I wonder what’s the problem.”

 

Yuuri frowned as he thought back to his alpha omega physiology class.  “Sometimes it takes a couple of cycles to get it regulated. Frustrating age.”

 

Oui ,” the Swiss man agreed.  “Now...about your roommate…”

 

Yuuri grinned.  “Yeah?”

 

“That bewitching Thai keeps sending mixed signals.  How do I nail him down for a date?”

 

Yuuri laughed.  Phichit had mastered the art of mixed signals, keeping a string of men in confusion.  “If it makes you feel any better, no one in Detroit has managed it either. He can be quite elusive.  I think he likes to be chased.”

 

“Intriguing.  Too bad he didn’t make it to the Final.  I would have chased him...properly.”

 

The Japanese skater shrugged, a smile on his face.  “He won’t make it easy.”

 

Chris smiled, “Nothing worth having ever is.”

 

Sobering, Yuuri glanced to the ice.  It was almost time to warm up. “You’re serious?”

 

“I am...he is...captivating.”  Chris was a shameless flirt, but he was a good and honest person.  He was worth of at least a shot at Phichit.

 

“Games,” Yuuri suggested.  “Meet him in game. He’s playing Perfect World right now.  Level 35 Sin.”

 

Chris practically purred with delight.  “Mmmm, sounds like my kind of character.”

 

Yuuri chuckled.  “Assassin.”

 

The hazel eyes dulled at the clarification, “I haven’t played an MMO in some time.  Let me see what I can drum up.”

 




Yuuri stepped off the podium, another gold.  Chris rolled his eyes, adding another silver to his collection.  He hadn’t seen gold since Yuuri moved up to Seniors. Three years older than the Japanese skater, he knew his time would run out and Yuuri would still be skating strong.  He looked to the other side of Yuuri to the other skater his age, Georgi. They were both approaching their final years skating.

 

“What happened to your rinkmate?” Chris asked the Russian.

 

He frowned as his eyes met Yakov’s off ice.  “I’m...not sure. I know Yakov was calming him down earlier.  He...sometimes gets hysterical. Not poor sportsmanship, just high strung.”

 

Yuuri exchanged glances with Chris before breaching a taboo topic.  “I noticed his scent rinkside. Is he…”

 

Georgi gave him a glare that hushed him up.  “He’s fine. And don’t talk about that.” As they stepped off the ice, Georgi slammed on his guards causing the other two to exchange worried glances.  

 

After an interchange with his coach in Russian, they both looked his way and Yuuri knew he crossed a line.  As they stalked off, Yuuri murmured to Chris, “I shouldn’t have said anything.”

 

Chris stroked his thin beard.  “You and I know that every alpha here caught a whiff of that scent.  Thankfully this isn’t an aggressive sport. Less of an alpha draw. But there will be enough.”

 




Yuuri finally shook free of the press needing the cool fresh air to settle his nerves.  And Russia in December had cool air in spades. Chris offered to walk with him but Yuuri waved him off.  He’d been on edge since the Russian’s scent drifted his way. The winter chill cleared his head as he continued the walk to the hotel.

 

The air shifted as he rounded the corner and he tensed, on alert.  His eyes scanned the area and noticed everyone avoiding his side of the street.  As he approached the darkened alley, he smelled the fear in the air before he heard the cries.  He knew that scent and as he stepped where he could see down the alleyway, he spotted the glint of silver hair.  A choked cry for help called out to him followed by a growl of get out. There were two of them, only one seemed to be restraining Viktor.  The other looked bored, standing off to the side. Then a whine slipped from the omega and Yuuri felt everything in him respond to that cry and he flung himself into the alley, moving with the agility of a man who studied dance for his entire life.  With a possessive growl, he yelled, “Get off my omega!”

 

The startled perpetrators backed up not expecting interference from a passerby, let alone an alpha claiming rights. The onlooker decided it was time to leave and tried to get the other to follow him but the second man wasn’t ready to leave his quarry.  Yuuri moved quickly, stepping into the space vacated by the attacker, maneuvering between him and Viktor. Open spaces were harder to shift the atmosphere but Yuuri used the brick walls to echo as he deepened his aggression towards the one who held Viktor.  He watched the weapon fall from his hand before the other man took off in a run. Yuuri held his ground until he knew they were both gone before turning to drop down to the cowered omega.

 

“Viktor, I’m so sorry...I needed to make sure your safe,” he apologized quickly lifting the chin gently to study the eyes.  He could see the fever of heat already setting in and knew the trauma of the incident would make this heat a nightmare. “I need to get you out of here.  Do you know who I am?”

 

Viktor nodded then reached his hand out to Yuuri who helped him to his feet.  The omega patted down his pockets and looked around in frustration. “My phone...my room key…”

 

Yuuri turned the light on from his phone and did a quick sweep of the alley but knew time was of the essence.  “I think we’re going to have to chalk it up as lost. Do you trust me?”

 

He nodded.  “Georgi says you’re a good man.”

 

Yuuri smiled at the compliment.  “Georgi is kind, and I won’t hurt you.  Will you let me get you someplace safe?”

 

Viktor nodded but as he stepped closer to Yuuri, the alpha knew he had to deal with Viktor’s scent.  Taking off his coat and scarf, he draped it over Viktor’s shoulders and neck. “You’ll get too cold,” Viktor protested.

 

“It’s not far.  I’ll be fine. Besides, I’ve not trained in Detroit for nothing.”

 

Bright blue eyes looked up into his, they were clouding with heat confusion but still held onto sense.  “Is it cold like Russia?”

 

“Maybe not St. Petersburg, but Sochi is a fair comparison.  Now, let’s go,” Yuuri urged him forward, and wrapped a protective arm around him.   He negotiated Viktor out of the alley and down the few remaining blocks to the hotel.  As they drew close, Viktor’s feet stilled. Yuuri turned and tightened the scarf, buttoning the coat.  “You smell like me. No one will know.”

 

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  I’m on suppressants,” he whined

 

“It sometimes takes a two to three cycles to settle,” Yuuri explained patiently.  “Let me get you inside.”

 

His scent shifted sharply in panic and Yuuri’s proximity gave him the full impact.  “I can’t go to my room. I don’t have a key...and...and even if they let me into my room, I’d be terrified that man had my key.”

 

Yuuri sighed as he considered their options.  “I’m going to take you to my room. I can keep you safe.”

 

Viktor’s eyes widened.  “I can’t ask you to do that.”

 

“You are not asking...I’m taking you there and you will sleep this off.”

 

Viktor blinked a moment then started as Yuuri took his hand firmly pulling him after him.  Viktor stumbled a few steps then followed after him. “You can do that? Make me sleep?”

 

Yuuri nodded.  “It’s not ideal, but I think in this situation, it’s appropriate.”

 

Entering the building, Yuuri flashed his badge and security let him enter, the omega on his heels and falling into the elevator after him.  He hit the buttons that closed the door and then took them to their room. Tapping his feet impatiently, he glared at the people waiting outside the door when it opened for its first stop.  They backed away deciding to take another elevator. Finally, on the tenth floor, Yuuri led him down the hall and opened the door to his room. He had the double locks slammed down as soon as the door closed.

 

He turned to find Viktor tugging at his sleeve nervously.  “I’ve scared you.”

 

“This whole night has scared me.”

 

Fair enough.  Yuuri walked over to the dresser and pulled out some pajamas.  Two sets. Handing one to Viktor, he pointed towards the bathroom.  “Change. Get comfortable. I’ll be back in a moment.”

 

Viktor nodded, tugging at his hair, his hands shaking.  He didn’t know if he was afraid of Yuuri or just coming to terms with his situation.  Watching Yuuri leave, he turned and spotted Yuuri’s phone on the bed along with key. He’s giving me a chance to decide if I will let him in.   Turning to the bathroom, he went inside to change.

 

Out in the hall, Yuuri took several quick breaths.  Maintaining a calm facade said nothing about what was going on inside of him.  He reached for his phone. “Fuck!” he muttered under his breath. Walking down the hall, he knocked on his coach’s door only to find no answer.  He’ll be in the bar drinking with some of the other coaches. Yuuri knew once he settled Viktor down to sleep, there would be no removing him. He finally sighed and went down to the ice machine and filled a bag before returning up the hall.  Knocking on the door, he waited.

 

“Who is it?” came the quiet voice on the other side.

 

“It’s me, Yuuri…”  He waited to see what Viktor would do.  He could see the shadow pass over the eyeglass and then the door slowly opened.  Viktor peered cautiously out in the hall. Yuuri waited until he was invited inside before entering.  As he settled the ice into the bucket, he reached for the water bottles he had stashed onto the dresser and tucked four of them inside.  Turning, he spotted Viktor in the middle of the bed hugging himself.

 

“I don’t...I’ve never...not during my heat…” Viktor began.

 

Yuuri knew he had to allay the boy’s fears.  “I have no intention of having sex with you, Viktor.  It would be tantamount to rape if I did so. You are way too far into your heat to consent.  I just want to take care of you.”

 

“And you can...even if I…”

 

“I can control myself, Viktor.  Anyone who says an alpha can’t control themselves is making up excuses.”

 

Viktor seemed to relax a little, “You said...you can make me sleep.”

 

Moving cautiously towards the man, he handed him an unopened water bottle.  “I think it is best...after what you went through, you won’t have a fruitful heat.”

 

Viktor tightened his arms around him.  “I’m scared.”

 

“Of me?” Yuuri asked cautiously.

 

The Russian slowly shook his head.  “I...don’t think so. What if he…”

 

“He didn’t.  You’re safe. But you’re probably a little sore.  I want you to drink this water and I’m going to get you some ibuprofen to go with it.”  He paused, watching Viktor who began nursing the bottle of water. Slipping away, he dug around in his luggage until he found the meds.  The omega took them without hesitation before finishing his water bottle. Yuuri set another on the nightstand. “Have you eaten?”

 

Viktor shrugged which Yuuri took as a no.  “I don’t think I could keep anything down. I already feel nauseated.”  He scooted back and pushed the blankets out of the way. “I...don’t have a nest.”  The whine was involuntary and Viktor blushed.

 

Yuuri looked around the room trying to think of what they could use when a small hand with long fingers wrapped around his hand.  “It’s fine,” the omega assured him. “It’s not like...this was a typical situation.” He laid on his side facing Yuuri. “H-how does this work?”

 

“Ideally, you would situate yourself close to my scent glands.  Either hand or...neck,” Yuuri murmured. “I’m going to shower...wash away the scents and then I’ll be back.  You’ll be able to rest better. Then we’ll begin.”

 

“What if I…”

 

“Do what you need to do, Viktor,” Yuuri reassured him.

 

“These are...your pajamas.”  And as if to highlight the fact, he ducked in to smell Yuuri’s scent in the fabric.

 

“It’s fine,” Yuuri answered.  “Nothing would be….just do what you need to do.”

 

Yuuri slipped away and closed the bathroom door.  Breathing carefully, he worked on calming himself.  As he stood under the cold shower, he kept having to redirect his thoughts from the man on the other side of the wall, his alpha far too interested in what the man was doing...and if Yuuri was honest, he was far too interested.  Drying off, he reached for his pajamas. Dressed, he eased open his door.

 

The room was darkened and he heard...sniffing.   Shit!  The mental distress mixed in with Viktor’s scent and...rejection?   God...you are certainly not rejected, Yuuri thought deep within.  Moving to the omega’s side, he could see signs that the omega had gotten himself off but now laid on his side facing the wall.  Wide blue eyes stared, his expression a wall of emotions.

 

He cautiously placed a knee on the bed and frowned as the other man stiffened.  Reaching for him as Yuuri stretched out behind him, the boy whispered, “I’m gross.”

 

“No, you’re not,” Yuuri answered, his voice equally soft, as he pulled Viktor into his arms.  “Let me take care of you.”

 

Another sniff.  “There’s been no one,” he whispered even as his body molded to Yuuri’s.

 

Nuzzling into that silver hair, he returned, “I thought as much.  Just relax. Let me settle you.”

 

“What if I…”

 

“Do what you need to do...I’ll take care of you,” Yuuri promised.

 

Viktor wrapped his hand over Yuuri’s and the older man winced as he squeezed and he knew Viktor was fighting his instincts.  Closing his eyes, he began flooding the room with pheromones. I know.  It’s a lot, Alpha...but he needs this.  The body next to him began to relax and finally stilled, asleep.  He slowly slipped from the covers to go get the things to clean him up.

 

Viktor was restless when he returned and Yuuri sighed, taking the cloth in hand.  He hesitated as he pulled back the sheet. “I’m sorry...I just...I don’t want you to wake up in your funk.”  He tried to be clinical in his approach, wiping Victor down efficiently before reordering his clothes. Tucking the sheet around him, he dropped the washcloth in a pile for the maids.   I’ll have to make sure I tip them well.

 

Returning to Viktor’s side, he slid back under the sheets and pulled Viktor back into his embrace.  Viktor sought his scent unconsciously, turning to bury into his neck. “Take what you need,” Yuuri whispered, holding him close.  “Take what you need.” Yuuri settled in for a long night, another burst of pheromones releasing into the air.

 




Viktor shifted restlessly in his sleep, Yuuri’s arms tightened around him.  The heat from the younger man soaked through both sets of pajamas. A soft cry slipped from Viktor’s lips, “No...stop.”  Yuuri’s eyes closed as he held the silverette close. Scenting and releasing pheromones, the boy stilled in his arms.

 

I can’t hold on much longer, he heard the murmur of the alpha within.

 

I know...just a little while longer.  He’s in so much pain.

 

The little one’s pain goes much deeper than last night.

 

I promised.  You know the terrors are worse if he’s awake, if he fights through them in heat.

 

I know.

 




As the heat of the body stretched across him broke, Yuuri felt his own energy fade out.   At least...it’s over.

Chapter Text


 

Ch. 2:   Runaway

 

Viktor woke up slowly from his sleep looking around the strange room disoriented.   Where am I?   Then he noticed the figure next to him and images flooded in out of order about the previous night causing him to jump away.  He remembered being cornered, attacked, then someone came by...cared for him...slowly the gaps filled in. Yuuri had taken care of him, helping him sleep, and he relaxed.   How long have I been here?

 

The alpha remained completely still and Viktor left him to sleep away his exhaustion.   How hard was I to care for?  Moving quietly around the room, he found his clothes folded neatly on the dresser.  He didn’t remember doing that and wondered if Yuuri had taken the time to see to his clothes.  Picking them up, he was thankful they didn’t hold the scents of the other men from the alley.

 

I feel gross but not in the way I normally feel after a heat.  More like coming out of a fevered dream.  Glancing towards Yuuri, he decided, I don’t think he’ll mind if I shower.

 

The warm fingers of water slid over his body washing away the grit of his sleep.  The salty sheen that held onto his body easily gave way to the spray and soon he felt much better.  Reaching for Yuuri’s soaps, he frowned at the casual brands. Boy needs someone to take care of him.  He then blushed at the thought before resignedly using the shampoo and conditioner combo on his hair.  “Forgive me,” he whispered, not to Yuuri but to his hair. He could imagine what it would do to the silver locks but continued in the ritual.   I promise a deep conditioner treatment when we get home.   He needed to feel clean.  Too much had happened.

 

He tried to focus on the face, or the idea of the face, of his assailant.  There was something almost familiar about him. Maybe...not his face but that almost sulfuric scent.  He grimaced. What kind of alpha has such a scent?  The boy sleeping in the other room smelled of cedar, the salt of the sea, jasmine, and fresh sand.  He smelled...clean, but not in the freshly showered sense. Like the beach after rain had cleansed the air.

 

He entered the room, his hair damp and hanging down his back.  He went to his protector’s side. “Yuuri?” he whispered, reaching down to pull back the sheet.  The pale figure before him surprised him and running his hand over Yuuri’s cheek and skin, Viktor felt the odd clammy mixture of fever and sweat.  He blinked in surprise. What’s wrong?

 

He looked for his phone then realized it was lost.   Yakov’s going to be pissed.  Or worried. Or both.  He turned to Yuuri’s sleeping form and spotted his phone on the nightstand.  Disconnecting it from its charger, he was thankful it could be opened by a fingerprint.  Freeing Yuuri’s hand, he maneuvered it to unlock the phone. Messages flooded the screen but Viktor ignored them.  Sighing with relief he stared at it with a frown.  English.  I can do this.  He was inwardly thankful for it not being in Japanese.  Finding the contacts, he went to the favorites button and found Yuuri’s coach listed first.  Selecting the contact, he waited for it to ring.

 

The heavy Italian accent of the stressed coach came across the speakers.  “Yuuri, thank god!”

 

“Ummm, sir?” Viktor heard the hesitance in his own voice.  Looking at the still form, however, he knew he had to push back his own fears and get Yuuri some help.

 

“Who is this?”  Coach Celestino’s voice dripped in suspicion.  The phone turned off for...how long has it been?  Viktor could imagine his own coach in just as bad a shape.

 

“My name is Viktor...and...something’s wrong with Yuuri.  He won’t wake up.” Viktor fought against the alarm, the whine, the panic.

 

The coach’s voice went straight to business.  “Where are you?”

 

“Yuuri’s room?”  That’s what Yuuri said.

 

“Viktor...as in Viktor Nikiforov?”  The voice seemed suspicious.

 

Viktor knew he was in trouble, Yakov had clearly reached out to the other coaches looking for him.  “Yes...my coach…”

 

“Is frantic looking for you!”  The coach cut him off. “Your phone was found in an alley several blocks from the hotel.  There are police. Neither you nor Yuuri were seen after that night.”

 

After that night...wouldn’t that be last night?   “I’m...okay.  But there was someone trying to…”  He faded off.  What was he trying to do?   Focusing on Yuuri, he repeated, “Yuuri won’t wake up.”

 




Down the hall, Celestino sent a call through to the old Russian coach.  “Yakov, I found your skater.”

 

“Oh, thank God!  Where is he?” Relief flooded the old man’s voice.

 

“In my skater’s room…” Celestino winced.   What have you gotten yourself into, Yuuri?   He knew the boy went into heat, but he also knew his own skater.  Yuuri worked with younger skaters at their rink, and he trusted him implicitly.

 

Yakov didn’t.  “I’ll kill him!”

 

“Now, Yakov...we don’t know what has happened,” Celestino began to sooth.  “We need to hear the boys out.”

 

“He knew my boy was going into heat.  He said as much to Georgi. He was past the window of consent.”

 

Celestino felt his anger rise at the implied allegation, “Still, I know my skater and he wouldn’t take advantage of someone unable to consent.  Give them a chance to explain. Besides...that doesn’t explain why Viktor’s phone and ID were found in the alley.”

 

The Russian coach grumbled but agreed to listen.  Celestino gave him the room number and went to meet him there, making sure he arrive first and saved Yuuri’s life.

 




The pounding on the door startled Viktor and the silverette left Yuuri’s side to answer the demand.  He knew that heavy knock, heard it too many times when he was late to practice. He knew the stern lecture he would hear similar to when he missed curfew.  Centering his thoughts, he worked out his strategy. Throwing open the door, he wrapped Yakov in a hug. “I’m sorry, Yakov! I shouldn’t have left on my own.”

 

The gruff coach was caught off guard, pushing Viktor back to study him.  “No, you should not have. Are you okay? What did he do? Did he...hurt your virtue?”

 

“Dear God, please let me die.”  Viktor closed his eyes, “No, nothing he helped me sleep.”

 

Celestino moved past them to look at his skater, Yakov’s eyes rested on the brunette, narrowing and studying the form.  His pale demeanor didn’t go overlooked. The Italian coach worked to try and wake his skater but received no response. Turning to Viktor, Yakov asked, “Perhaps you can explain what happened the night you disappeared.”

 

Viktor noticed for the second time they weren’t calling it last night.   “How long have I been gone?”

 

Celestino leveled a gaze at the boy, he wasn’t angry but his patience was wearing thin.  “Two days...you missed the banquet and exhibition. Both of you. Everyone has been looking for the two of you.”

 

Two days made sense.  His suppressants promised a quick heat...but it also promised predictable.  He swallowed, looking at Yuuri sleeping in the bed, Celestino on the phone calling for help.  “I...I left, the crowds felt threatening. I just wanted out. So...I walked. I was fine...preheat but still aware of my surroundings but then he grabbed me.”

 

“Katsuki?” Yakov cut in.

 

Viktor shook his head vigorously.  “No...I think...maybe it’s the one that has been following me,” he answered, lowering his voice.

 

Yakov gasped.  “He’s not been spotted outside St. Petersburg.”

 

“I couldn’t see him...there wasn’t enough light.  But he smelled oddly...sulfur-like.” Viktor missed the pallor that settled on the old coach’s face.  “I knew the smell. It has to be him. He probably left his scent on one of the notes.” Yakov nodded but said nothing.  “I was terrified and didn’t know how to get away when Yuuri...he stepped in.” He paused and looked towards the still form before asking, “Why did he do that?”

 

Yuuri’s coach looked up and offered a gentle smile.  “Because Yuuri is protective of those he cares about.”

 

“He doesn’t even know me,” Viktor protested.

 

The coach shrugged before turning back to his skater.  “You’re part of our extended family, a skater...but honestly, he may have stepped in regardless.”

 

Turning back to his coach, Viktor pressed, “I couldn’t remember my room number and I was afraid he had the key.  I didn’t know how to reach you...so Yuuri took me here.”

 

The coach regarded his young charge a long moment before he asked, “What happened here?”

 

Viktor drew in his shoulders, his cheeks pink with embarrassment.  “My heat hit but...he made me sleep. He said...the trauma would make it horrific and sleep would be better.”  Turning to where Yuuri slept, he asked, “Why won’t he wake up?”

 

The coach studied the still form and sighed.  “I think he expended too much energy.”

 

“He’ll be okay, won’t he?”  Wide blue eyes looked from coach to coach and Celestino’s hesitation answered his question.  “H-he was helping me. Can I do something?”

 

“I’ve called for help.  Let’s see what the doctors have to say,” the younger coach answered, meeting Viktor’s blue eyes.

 

Minutes later, the EMTs were securing Yuuri to a stretcher while Viktor stood with his coach, worry in his eyes.  Turning to Yakov, he stated, “I have to go.”

 

The coach nodded in agreement.  “I want them to check you over anyway.  I’ll call our driver. We shouldn’t be far behind.”

 

They watched the EMTs wheel Yuuri out before Yakov led him back to his room.  Looking around, Viktor was relieved to see it undisturbed but the coach acknowledged his keycard was not found.  The hotel had already rekeyed the room and Viktor looked around, not feeling exactly settled in the space.

 

“I’ll just change and put my hair up then I’ll be ready.”  In probably record time for Viktor, his hair thrown up on top of his head in a messy bun, fresh t-shirt and sweats accompanied by a matching hoodie in place, he grabbed his coat and stilled remembering Yuuri wrapping him in his own coat last night.  “He...he was cold...he gave me his coat to get me back safely. What if that is what made him sick?”

 

“We won’t know until we get there,” the coach answered.

 

As they stepped out, they ran into Georgi who wrapped Viktor up in his arms.  “Vitya! We were so worried about you.”

 

“I-I’m sorry...I shouldn’t have left,” Viktor murmured.

 

“We’re headed to the hospital.  Keep an eye on the other skaters, Georgi,” Yakov ordered.

 

Georgi’s eyes were wide.  “Are you okay?”

 

Viktor nodded.  “Just some bumps and bruises.  We’re checking on a friend.”

 

Georgi watched them as they left, Viktor turning back and offering a small wave from the elevator before it closed.






Viktor impatiently waited as they checked him over.  Scrapes and bruises but nothing worse than what he’d get from the rink.  Some probably came from the ice. Yakov then escorted Viktor to where Yuuri was being kept, assisted by a text from the younger coach.

 

As they walked up, Viktor’s ears tuned into what the doctor was saying.  “He’s over-expended his alpha.”

 

“What does that mean?” Celestino demanded.

 

The doctor sighed, “The patient is unconscious and refusing to wake up because his alpha is...in stasis.  It’s like...hibernation.”

 

Celestino was clearly frustrated, “How long are we talking?”

 

“Well, he can wake up without his alpha but it’s disorienting.  They usually need someone to ground them...like a mate...to make it less confusing.  It’s like...losing one of your senses. His primal instincts are asleep. The alpha will return...in time.  But for now, he needs a reason to wake up.”

 

Viktor’s eyes rested on the door separating him from Yuuri even as he listened to the doctor’s explanation.  As Yakov and Celestino continued to question the doctor, he slipped away and entered the door.

 

In the middle of the room, Yuuri slept, an IV connected to his arms, his body still fevered.  “This is my fault. How do I fix it?” Glancing at the door, he went over to the bed and sat next to him, studying his sleeping form.  He reached up and smoothed Yuuri’s hair back from his forehead, the dampness holding it in place. “You did this...for me. You didn’t tell me it could hurt you.”  As he moved his hand down Yuuri’s cheek, the man turned towards his wrist, his scent causing Viktor to still.

 

“Can it be so simple?”  Stretching out beside him, Viktor nuzzled into his scent, his own wrist settling next to the gland.  “I know...this is a bit unorthodox. I should...ask for permission. But...desperate times call for desperate measures.”  He leaned in and scraped his teeth across the gland feeling the body beneath him stiffen. At least it’s a response.  Sliding his wrist over the surface, he felt their scents intermingle even as an arm tightened around his middle.

 

Brown eyes fluttered open and blinked rapidly as they struggled to focus on Viktor.  “Wha--where am I?”

 

Viktor sat up and studied the man beside him.  “You’re in the hospital. Your alpha...he’s sleeping.”

 

Yuuri’s hand went up to his forehead sliding into his hair in frustration.  “I used too much energy.” Refocusing on Viktor, he asked, “Are you okay?”

 

Viktor blushed, of course you are more worried about me...  “Thanks to you.  Did you do too much?”

 

Yuuri struggled to make sense of his memories from the past few days.  “I don’t think so. You kept fighting in your sleep. It was almost as if you knew the person who attacked you in the alley.”

 

Drawing his knees up, Viktor shrugged.  “Maybe. I don’t know for sure but there was something...familiar about him.”

 

“A stalker?”

 

Viktor nodded hesitantly.  “I’ve been getting these letters.  And there have been...other incidents.  I don’t travel in St. Petersburg unaccompanied.  This...was the first time he tried to get to me outside of St. Petersburg, though.”  He shivered, his eyes looking past Yuuri. “I’m scared,” he whispered.

 

“If I had let you remain awake, your body...it would have demanded you give into your impulses but it would be as if...he…”  Yuuri couldn’t bring himself to finish the sentence. “I just...I didn’t want you to feel...that way. The alternative would have been if I...if I had claimed you.  And without your consent...sleep was the only option.”

 

Viktor drew a shaky breath and nodded, curling into Yuuri’s arms, their bodies settling into one another with ease and familiarity the Russian was unaccustomed to.  It was in this manner, the coaches found them as they opened the door. They stopped their eyes resting on the two young men assessing the situation.

 

“I thought he might be in here,” Celestino stated finally.  “You’re awake, Yuuri!”

 

The older skater waved then rubbed his head.  “Part of me, anyway. I don’t know how this will affect my skating.  Do you know...how long he’ll be out?”

 

The coach sighed, pursing his lips.  “The doctor said it depends on whether or not...your omega can...help.”  His eyes rested on the young man in his skater’s arms.

 

Viktor met the coach’s eyes before whispering, “What...do I need to do?”

 

Yuuri’s mouth fell open in surprise.  “But he...but we…”

 

“Hush, Yuuri,” Viktor stated, his fingers going over Yuuri’s lips.  Turning back to the coach, he held onto his eyes. “It might be good...if I leave Russia for awhile.  I don’t know if he’s still out there.”

 

“This...wasn’t an isolated incident,” the Italian coach surmised.

 

“I can’t keep you safe,” Yuuri protested.  “Not without my alpha.”

 

Viktor turned back to Yuuri and stated quietly, “You underestimate yourself.”  Turning back to the other two, he added, “I know I have Nationals but...I can meet you in Moscow.  I think I need to go with Yuuri.”

 

Yakov held his eyes for a long time before asking, “What about Makkachin?”

 

“Bring him to Moscow.  If I need to return, he can go back with me from there.  I’m decided.” A hand threaded into his and he turned to Yuuri.  Holding the cinnamon brown eyes, he asked, “Is that...okay?”

 

“I’m going to Japan from here.  Time with my family while I put in final preparations for Nationals.”

 

“Oh,” Viktor murmured, all of the sudden small and quiet.  “Maybe they wouldn’t want me there.”

 

Yuuri smiled warmly and gave his hand a squeeze.  “They would welcome anyone I bring home with me. It will be fine.  There is plenty of room at my house. I live at a ryokan.”

 

Viktor blushed then finally shrugged.  “I don’t know what that is.”

 

“It’s an inn and hot spring resort all in one.  My parents bought out all of their competition. It’s...it has plenty of room.”  Giving his hand another squeeze, he added, “I know you’ll be safe there. You and Coach will be the only non-Asians there.  If someone else showed up, we’d know.”

 

Turning back to Yakov, Viktor implored with his eyes.  The coach ran his hands through what was left of his hair not for the first time thinking that the young skater was the reason behind his hair loss.  “Well, Vitya, you are almost nineteen. So I can’t exactly hold you back. If Yuuri’s coach agrees to take you on temporarily, I won’t argue.”

 

He turned to the other coach who sighed dramatically.  “Oh, hell...why not?”

 

Viktor bounced in excitement, turning back to the alpha and holding his hands on both of his own.  “It will be great and you’ll see...your alpha will be back before you know it.”

 

Yuuri studied him thoughtfully, a small smile on his lips.  “You’re...not what I expected.”

 

Viktor shrugged.  “I didn’t expect this either but it’s a done deal.  I’ll go back and pack my things while you are checking out.  Then I can stay with you until we fly out.”

 

“We need to get you a ticket,” Yuuri pointed out.

 

“First class is never sold out,” Viktor pointed out.

 

Yuuri suddenly felt a little embarrassed, “I’m...in business class.”

 

Turning to the coach, he murmured, “Oh...I thought…”

 

“It’s fine, Viktor,” Celestino assured him.  “I can guarantee Yuuri has enough miles he can also upgrade to join you.”

 

Viktor smiled, grateful to not have to fly business class... whatever that was… Then a thought hit him, “What about you?”

 

The coach smiled indulgently, thankful to be considered in all of this.  The hurricane known as Viktor was a force to be reckoned with. “I’m sure I’ll be fine.  I’ll text you our flight information and you can make the arrangements. Send me confirmation and I’ll process the upgrade.”

 




Back in his room, Viktor was thankful his coach stayed in the room with him while he organized his luggage.  There was no trace of that horrid sulfur scent in his room but he still didn’t feel comfortable knowing his stalker might have had access.  Yakov watched the boy bounce about the room, “I don’t think Katsuki knows what he’s getting into,” he muttered under his breath.

 

Viktor laughed nervously.  “I don’t either.”

 

“Why are you doing this?”  Yakov knew his skater, the ice was the only thing that had mattered for a long time.

 

Turning back to his coach and guardian, he shrugged.  “I don’t know...I just know that I have to. H-he needs me.”

 

“And what do you need?”

 

Meeting the aging eyes, he whispered, “To get out of Russia...I remember...where I smelled that scent.”

 

The coach took a long look at Viktor.  “It can’t be the same one.”

 

“What if he was?  What if he’s the one that took my parents?  I don’t even know if they are alive or dead.  They never found the bodies. Just...that smell when we went to pack up my things.”  Viktor hugged himself. “I need to get away.”

 

“I know.  I just want you to be careful.”

 

“I will…”  He paused, flicking his eyes up to his coach then back down again.  “Do you think he’s the same one that sent the letters?”

 

Yakov sighed, wishing he could offer the boy any certainty, “I...don’t know.”

Chapter Text


 

Yuuri woke up in the luxury of first class, thankful for the more relaxing atmosphere during the long journey.  In the end, Yuuri insisted on upgrading his coach’s ticket as well. The trip was sixteen hours and they would all be exhausted in the end.  He watched Viktor from his reclined position. The omega stared out the window, his fingers touching the glass but Yuuri got a sense that he was a million miles away.  He reached over the console and brushed his fingers over the younger man’s arm. Blue eyes turned his way and he watched as Viktor pushed away the frown in his thoughts.

 

“Did you sleep well?”

 

“Much better than I would have in business class or coach,” Yuuri acknowledged.

 

Viktor narrowed his eyebrows.  “You fly...coach? But you’re an international athlete.  You’re a world champion!”

 

Yuuri chuckled.  “My parents do quite well financially and I have plenty of sponsors, but I try to respect their investment.  Short trips are coach. Long trips, business class. Do you always fly first class?”

 

Viktor shrugged, a blush pinking his cheeks.  “I...don’t need sponsors. I have them but...my family left me...I’m well taken care of.”

 

“Your grandfather was from old money, Russian nobility that was able to get their wealth out before the revolution.  I’m aware that you are well off.”

 

Viktor’s blush deepened as he ducked down.  “I don’t really talk about it. It just is. One less thing to worry about.”

 

Yuuri reached out and took the cool hand and gave it a squeeze.  “Yet you are gracious with your fans and sponsors.”

 

Looking out the window, he shrugged.  “When you have nobody, you take what you can get.”

 

Yuuri’s expression softened, a sadness in his smile.  “You...don’t have nobody.”

 

Viktor missed the invitation in Yuuri’s voice, “I know...I have Yakov and Lilia...but they aren’t Mama and Papa.”

 

“You have...me,” Yuuri suggested.  Blue eyes turned towards him wide at the acknowledgement.  “We could...at least be friends.” Some of the sparkle left his eyes as he dropped his chin but Yuuri reached out and lifted it.  “You barely know me. We should at least be friends...to start.”

 

Viktor’s lips parted at the promise of those last two words.  “I would like to know you better,” he whispered.

 

“I don’t quite understand why you did this,” Yuuri confessed.  “It puts your season at risk.”

 

Viktor shrugged.  “It’s kind of my fault...and...I needed to see this through.”  Turning to the window, he added, “You took care of me...and you didn’t know me either.”

 




Yuuri climbed out of the shuttle that brought them from the airport, helping Viktor out after.  The coach watched with amusement, knowing this behavior wasn’t typical of the young alpha. They were at the family entrance, not the resort entrance.  His sister leaned against the wall, an amused smirk hidden by a thin veil of cigarette smoke. Nodding toward Viktor, she asked, “Does Mom know about him?”

 

“Not exactly,” Yuuri muttered only to be greeted by Viktor’s wide eyes.  “I didn’t exactly have time,” he defended.

 

“It takes five seconds to call home,” Viktor huffed.  “What’s she going to think?” Viktor started to waver, he didn’t want to intrude nor show up as an invited guest.

 

“That you’re a friend?” Yuuri suggested but even he couldn’t keep the doubt out of his tone.  He watched the younger man shuffle where he stood.

 

“A friend, huh?” his sister snorted.

 

He glared at Mari.   Not helping.  “Well, we sort of just met.”

 

Viktor huffed in response returning to the van to retrieve his luggage.   Shit!  Taking a deep breath, Yuuri turned to his sister and mouthed, “I’ll explain later.”

 

She smirked and snuffed out her cigarette.  “Does your friend have a name?”

 

“Oh...yeah...Viktor.  Viktor Nikiforov.” Turning towards the omega, he reached for the other man’s hand and smiled when he received it although the prim expression didn’t exactly settle Yuuri’s nerves.  “Viktor, this is my sister Mari...Mari-neesan, this is Viktor.”

 

Releasing Yuuri’s hand, he stepped forward smiling a charming, heart-shaped smile.  “I’m so pleased to meet you!”

 

She chuckled.  “Nice to meet you, too, squirt.  How old are you?”

 

“Almost nineteen?” he supplied in confusion.

 

Mari rounded on her brother, switching to Japanese, “Yuuri!  He’s a baby!”

 

“He’s not a baby,” Yuuri argued.  “I’m only four years older than him.”

 

She snorted at this, “Yes, but you were born an old man.”

 

“Shut up!” But Yuuri’s smile stilled his conviction.  Pulling his luggage behind him, he placed a spare hand on Viktor’s back, guiding him inside under Mari’s raised eyebrow and his coach’s smirk.  They were no help whatsoever.

 

Inside, they paused to remove their shoes.  Viktor watched Yuuri, following suit as he tucked his shoes on to the shelf next to the door.  Looking up, he was surprised at the homey feel of the entry. It looked...traditional. As Yuuri led him on inside, he could see the wall littered with pictures of the siblings growing up.  He stopped to look at Yuuri holding a small poodle, Yuuri himself couldn’t have been more than five.

 

“He calmed me,” Yuuri murmured.  “Before my alpha presented, my anxiety was so much worse.”  He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He’d already noticed the signs of his anxiety rebounding.

 

“It’s getting worse,” Viktor said softly.

 

“At times...it feels like back then.  I have a dog in Detroit. She typically travels with me.  Her name is Cocoa.”

 

Viktor perked at the idea of another dog, already missing Makka, “Why didn’t she come this time?”

 

“She wasn’t feeling well and my roommate took her to the vet.  I guess she’s in heat but it makes her cranky.”

 

Viktor blushed, looking around the room, “Poor baby...I know how she feels.”

 

“Let’s go meet my parents,” Yuuri invited, guiding Viktor away from the picture wall.  He knew they’d be in the resort at this time of day. Leading Viktor through the connecting hall, he opened the door.  The atmosphere changed dramatically. Peace fell away to activity, customers buzzing and the clatter of dishes. “This is the restaurant.  There are several cooks but my mother likes to keep her hand involved, especially with certain customers.” Opening the door to the kitchen, he caught Viktor’s hand and pulled him inside.  “Okaasan!”

 

She turned around and Viktor would have known her to be Yuuri’s mother immediately.  His eyes, round features, and warmth could only come from his mother. “Yuuri!” she greeted, passing the ladle to one of the assistants and going to greet him, hugging him.  He chuckled and hugged her in return. Then her eyes narrowed as she realized he wasn’t alone. “Who is this?”

 

“Okaasan, this is Viktor.  He’s staying with me until Nationals.  Viktor, this is my mother Hiroko.”

 

She studied him for a moment before pronouncing, “Too skinny.  But we can fix that.”

 

“Okaasan!” Yuuri protested, his eyes darting to Viktor in alarm.

 

The younger man glanced down at his body and then shrugged.  “It makes me faster on the ice...but coach is always telling me the same.  It’s hard for me to gain weight.”

 

She snorted in laughter.  “Too bad we don’t have that problem, right, son?”

 

Yuuri blushed and shrugged.  “It’s easier in season.” Taking Viktor’s hand, he asked, “Where would you like him to stay?”

 

She huffed, throwing her towel over her shoulder.  “You never call then you show up with a guest. You figure it out.”

 

“Okaasan!” Yuuri answered in alarm but the look on Viktor’s face said I told you so.

 

“There is always that banquet hall next to your room.  It’s not like we use it anymore.” She waved him off and returned to her pot.

 

Yuuri watched her return to work without giving him another thought before turning and guiding Viktor out.  Viktor leaned in and whispered, “Was that a good greeting?”

 

Yuuri shrugged, his face confusion.  “I honestly don’t know.”

 

Viktor wasn’t certain he was a welcomed guest and he knew the family didn’t want him dating their son, “So far, I’m too young and too skinny.  I’m more nervous than ever to meet your Papa.”

 

Yuuri waved away his concerns.  “Otousan is easy. Come on.” Yuuri took his hand once more and led him through the resort and out a door into the garden.  “He’ll be working in the gardens. Mari manages the onsen portion, my mother runs the restaurant and inn, and my father tends to the grounds and keeps the equipment going.  When I was small, we didn’t have the inn and we were much smaller. It was just us taking care of things. Now, there’s an entire staff. But at least it provided jobs and brought tourists to the area.”

 

They stopped a few steps away from a man in older clothes hoeing a row in the garden.  He reached in his pocket and wiped his brow before turning to see Yuuri, a slow smile filling his face.

 

“Otousan, it’s December!”  Yuuri chastised his father.

 

The older man didn’t seem phased, “I like to keep the rows turned.  How are you, son?”

 

“I’m good.  And you just like to stay out of the chaos created by Mom and Sis.”

 

The older man chuckled warmly and turned to Viktor, “You must be one of Yuuri’s friends.  Figure skater?”

 

Viktor breathed easily, he could see where Yuuri got his kindness.  Nodding, he took the offered hand. “Yes. Viktor. We met in Sochi.”

 

“Oh, a new friend.  Well, make sure you take the time to rest and restore yourself while here.  The onsen and restaurant are open to you.” Turning back to Yuuri, he asked, “Where’s your coach?”

 

“Mari gave him his key and he went to sleep off his jetlag.  I’d be doing the same but I wanted to say hello and introduce Viktor.”

 

Yuuri’s father nodded to the younger man, “Make yourself at home.  You can call me Otousan, Toshiya, or...what is it you would say in your country?”

 

“Papa,” Viktor whispered.

 

The old man smiled warmly.  “Go get some rest.”

 




Upstairs, Yuuri opened the door to his bedroom.  “It’s small but...maybe we can put a futon down in the floor.”

 

Viktor nodded absently, his eyes drifting around the room.  They rested on a poster of him at sixteen, his leg pulled back in a Biellmann.  Glancing back, he spotted Yuuri’s blush. “You...watch me skate.”

 

Yuuri nodded, chewing his lip.  “I mean...I noticed you about three years ago.  I started paying attention then.”

 

A giggle bubbled out of Viktor.  “I was so afraid you’d think I was weird.  I have all of these posters of you in my room back home!  I think I’ve watched you skate since I was about twelve. Now I see you have posters, too!”

 

Yuuri chuckled warmly.  “Yes, I...well, I started collecting your posters that day I saw you skate.  This was the first poster I ordered. I...have one back in Detroit as well.”

 

Viktor hugged himself, a soft smile on his face.  “I think this is going to work just fine.”

 

Yuuri’s eyes widened.  He had no idea what Viktor was after, why he chose to accompany him but he had the feeling it was more than a sense of obligation.  “How about that futon?”

 

Soon, they tugged the mattress into place and it was piled with the blankets.  As Viktor started to settle into the bedding, Yuuri offered, “If you want the bed…”

 

Viktor shook his head.  “No, that’s okay. It’s like a sleepover, right?  I used to carry a sleeping bag over to my rinkmates’ apartments and spend the night.  Usually if both Yakov and Lilia were gone, I’d sleepover with a friend.”

 

Yuuri’s expression was soft as he stretched out in his bed.  “So you didn’t stay by yourself?”

 

Viktor shrugged.  “I tried...to move out.  I was in the dorms for about three months.  I...lost too much weight.”

 

“Why is that?” Yuuri asked with concerned interest.

 

Viktor’s eyes drifted around the room as he thought about it.  “I think I just got busy and forgot to eat,” he replied absently.

 

Yuuri frowned even as Viktor looked away, neither of them believing the lie.  “Well, my mother won’t let you forget to eat,” he stated.

 

Viktor’s attention returned with a giggle and a nod.  “Nope...she thinks I’m too skinny.” Sobering, he added, “I’m not sure she likes me.  Maybe this wasn’t a good idea?”

 

Yuuri turned, capturing the younger man’s eyes, “No, she’s just irritated with me.  I’m bad about not calling. I’m due a lecture...and I’m sure Mari would have delivered it if she wasn’t so distracted by your arrival.”

 

That didn’t help make Viktor feel more settled, “Me?”

 

Yuuri laughed softly, his arm stretching above his head.  “My sister loves to watch me squirm.”

 

Viktor stretched out into the bedding, his eyes growing heavy.  “It must be nice, though...to come home to family. I miss that.”

 

“I’m sure they still think of you,” Yuuri murmured, turning on his side to face Viktor, his hand tucking under his cheek.

 

Viktor smiled softly.  “Thank you...for that. I like to think so as well.  So...you believe in heaven?”

 

“Maybe an afterlife...I don’t know how I’d define it but it seems odd that your consciousness would just disappear like a candle blown out.”

 

“I...like that thought.  My mother...she worked with all of these stories and she says people always try to make sense of life and death.  I...don’t know what she actually believed.” Then he laughed softly, adding, “Papa, he believed in the stories. He would say that the forest calls back those who left it.”  A sniff came unbidden. “I guess...in the end it did just that.”

 

Yuuri reached out and took his hand, giving it a squeeze.  “I’m sorry you found yourself alone. Nobody should feel that way.”

 

“Sometimes I don’t know how to break free of it,” the younger man confessed.  He grew still, his eyes closing and his fingers loosening on Yuuri’s until it dropped down, Viktor shifting to slide his arm under his cheek.

 

Yuuri’s eyes were closed and he thought Viktor had faded to sleep, his breathing evening out when he heard a shift, a soft question slipping from the Russian’s lips in the safety of the darkened air.

 

“Is it okay...for me to be here?”

 

Yuuri was sorry he hadn’t called home, the boy could have used a better welcome.  “Yes, Viktor...I just hope you will trust me with why you are here.”

 

“To help you, of course,” he answered with a sleepy smirk.

 

“Of course,” Yuuri responded.

Chapter Text


 

Beautifully Broken

 

Viktor stretched and blinked up at the unfamiliar ceiling.  He learned a long time ago to sleep anywhere. Traveling with his parents’ for their research or his own skating career, he often found himself in uncomfortable places.  This...wasn’t bad. He was warm and had a cushion for his back. But now it was awkward. He had felt assured where he was, here however… Turning towards Yuuri, he could tell the older skater was still down for the count.  His soft snores ruffled the sheet that half covered his face.

 

Can I get up?  I don’t really know the rhythm of this house.  He strained his ears and listened for sound.  A buzz of conversation came from below. Signs of life.  Pushing back his covers, he considered about whether he should make the bed or fold it away and finally decided it would be better to fold it away.  Carefully stacking the squares of blankets, pillow, and futon, he then went to his suitcase to pull out a clean set of sweats and his shower bag.

 

Glancing back at Yuuri, he sighed and shrugged before easing back the door.  Beyond the closed door, Viktor could hear laughter and conversation below. He moved quickly to the shower before emerging and heading downstairs.  The coach looked up from where he was having tea and waved him over.

 

“I had a feeling we’d see you before Yuuri.”

 

“He’s sleeping hard,” Viktor answered with a sigh, grateful that at least the coach was there.  He looked around a little lost.

 

“You don’t normally travel with others,” the coach observed.  “Always with your coach. Why is that?”

 

Viktor shrugged.  “After my parents disappeared, my coach became my guardian.”

 

Celestino laughed, “That explains why Yakov felt more like your father than your coach.  When you went missing, it was like dealing with a parent.”

 

Viktor nodded, hugging himself and fighting a chill only to fail.  He looked up startled to find a cup of tea placed before him. “Thank you,” he murmured shyly towards Yuuri’s sister.

 

“My mother made it...she’s...not normally this hesitant with Yuuri’s friends,” she apologized.

 

Viktor shifted uneasily, “Did I do something wrong?”

 

Mari felt bad for the young man, so obviously lost, “I think...she’s upset with my brother.”

 

“Yuuri said the same...but it doesn’t feel that way.”  He had hoped Yuuri’s family would welcome him, but he was worried he had made a terrible mistake.  “It’s just...he helped me and I wanted to help him in return.”

 

“Helped you how?” asked the older Katsuki sibling as she took a drink of her own cup of tea.

 

Viktor closed his eyes and then dropped his chin.  “It’s kind of embarrassing.”


She laughed and Viktor felt its warmth.  “I’m sure it wouldn’t be too shocking. Why don’t you talk to me and I’ll help you figure out how to navigate my mother’s moods.”

 

Viktor looked at Celestino who gave him an encouraging nod.  Hugging himself, he turned back to Yuuri’s sister. “I...I’m trying to get my heats regulated.  But...it’s not quite right. So...it sort of hit while I was competing.”

 

Mari’s mouth fell open and eyes widened before she muttered, “You and Yuuri…”

 

Viktor shook his head quickly and answered, “It’s not like that.”   Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, he continued. “I...I didn’t want to stay at the stadium so I walked back to the hotel.  Except, I didn’t make it. Someone grabbed me. If it wasn’t for Yuuri, I don’t know what would have happened to me.” He held her eyes before finishing, “He stepped in and made them run away.”

 

She hummed thoughtfully.  “Yuuri intimidated them. Were they alphas?  You did say you were in heat...or going into heat.”

 

Viktor shrugged uncertain.  “Well...I had been getting these letters from a stalker.  Yakov says someone’s stalking me but this was the first time someone tried to grab me outside St. Petersburg.”

 

She pursed her lips then met Celestino’s eyes.  “The first time... outside of St. Petersburg.  Someone’s tried to before?”  Turning back, she nodded sharply.  “I’ll make sure word gets out that if someone foreign shows up...other than the two of you...we’re informed.  Hasetsu gossip travels fast.”

 

The coach chuckled and added, “Mina’s gossip line is neverending.”

 

Mari grinned, “Very true.  She wants you to stop by, you know.”

 

A nostalgic smile filled the older man’s expression and he nodded.  “I’ll make sure I see her. Don’t worry.”

 

Turning back to Viktor, she refocused her words.  “Now...something tells me you aren’t through with your story.”

 

Viktor sighed before shaking his head.  “I lost my phone and key so Yuuri took me to his room.”  At Mari’s gasp he waved her down in protest. “Nothing happened...well, nothing like that.  Yuuri...he put me to sleep. Only...I guess he used a lot of alpha energy. I don’t know how that works.  So his alpha’s asleep. And that’s why I’m here.”

 

He finished with a shrug as if that explained everything.  Mari studied him and could tell the younger man was the baby she surmised upon meeting him.  “My brother and his superman complex,” she grumbled. “Yuuri...you know he has anxiety.”

 

“He mentioned that.  He said it was bad before his alpha presented, and now that it’s gone...dormant, his anxiety has returned.”  Viktor nodded. “The doctor said that his omega could calm him and might bring the alpha back.”

 

His omega,” she echoed.

 

“Well...I’m not exactly his omega.  But I am the one involved. And I did help him wake up.  So I know I can help him to get better. It’s kind of my fault he’s like this, after all.”

 

“God, Yuuri, what have you gotten yourself mixed up with?” she muttered and Celestino’s chuckle didn’t help.

 

“I shouldn’t have come,” Viktor said softly, his eyes dropping once more.  He startled when he felt a fond hand ruffle his hair and looked up to meet Yuuri’s sister’s eyes.

 

“You are fine, Viktor.  I just know my brother. He gets very attached...and you are very young.”

 

Viktor huffed, “Well, I can’t help my age but I’ve basically been on my own since I was sixteen.  My coach is my guardian but I make my own decisions. Besides, I’ll be nineteen on December 25th. So basically an adult.”

 

“Uh huh,” she answered doubtfully.  “You just take care of you, twerp, and don’t worry about Mom.”

 




Viktor wandered around exploring the lower levels of the family part of the house before crossing over to the working portion.  The buzz of Japanese met him as the workers prepared for the day, cleaning, checking clients out of the inn, preparing foods for the day.  He was startled when he heard his name and turned to see Yuuri’s mother motioning him to follow her.

 

“Here, Vicchan,” she encouraged.  “You eat.” He sat down at the bar in the kitchen and soon had a dish of food in front of him.  “This will make you fatter,” she promised.

 

Viktor didn’t want to upset her already feeling on edge with this woman.  He began to scarf down his food but then felt a hand on his.

 

She hummed in disapproval.  “Slow down. Enjoy.”

 

“It tastes wonderful.  I normally start the day with a meal bar,” he answered, his eyes wide and sincere.

 

She huffed.  “No wonder you’re so skinny!  They must starve their skaters in Russia.  How do they expect you to work so hard without food?”

 

He heard a laugh behind him and turned to meet Mari’s eyes.  “I remember Celestino once saying Mom was the Japanese equivalent of an Italian mama.  Everyone is too skinny and it’s her mission to fix that.”

 

Viktor breathed a sigh of relief.  Maybe things were not screwed up between them.  His eyes then widened as Yuuri came into the space and then he watched Yuuri being fussed over as well.

 

“Sit!  Eat. You need food to keep you going.”

 

“Okaasan, I can’t gain weight before a competition,” he argued.

 

She scoffed in response.  “You don’t see your...friend...arguing.  Eat your breakfast.” She pushed the dish forward.

 

Viktor ducked down and hid his smile.  In his personal opinion, a pudgy Yuuri would be an adorable Yuuri.  A cute little piglet. He shifted his blue eyes to study the older skater and was really quite unaware how open his expression was to those around him.

 

Hiroko pursed her lips thoughtfully before busying herself with kitchen duties.  Mari smirked, her eyes moving from Viktor to her brother. Yuuri...he focused on the dish before him but it was obvious by the shake of his hand that he was affected.

 

After they finished, Viktor offered to help with the dishes but Hiroko shooed them out.  “You have work to do,” she fussed.

 

Yuuri headed upstairs and Viktor followed unsure what to do next and he watched for a moment before he realized Yuuri was getting his practice gear together.  Yuuri glanced back and shrugged. “Coach is likely already there talking with Yuuko and Takeshi.”

 

“So...we’re late?”

 

Yuuri chuckled.  “Not exactly. He lets me sleep until I wake up on my own the first day after travel.  Then we practice. He probably figured you’d prefer to work with me.”

 

Viktor nodded even as he pulled his gear together.  “So...what’s your schedule?”

 

Yuuri hummed thoughtfully.  “I’ll run the five miles to the rink.  Then stretch before taking the ice. Two hours on ice, followed by weights.  Then lunch. Two hours in the ballet studio. Here, it’s with Minako. Then back for another two to four hours practice.  Probably two for today.”

 

Viktor chewed his lip thoughtfully.  “Don’t you go to University?”

 

Yuuri nodded.  “In Detroit, all of that is worked around my classes.”

 

“It sounds so overwhelming,” Viktor confessed.  “I had private tutors and they worked around my schedule.”

 

Yuuri stilled to look over at Viktor, “Didn’t your mother attend University?”

 

“They both did.”  Viktor shone with pride speaking of his parents’ educations.  “My mother had a PhD in anthropology. My father, in Literature but he also took a number of art classes along the way.  Thankfully, they encouraged me to find my own path.”

 

“And what is that?”

 

Viktor shrugged moving to the window.  “Some days it’s just getting through the day,” he confessed.  Turning back to Yuuri, he asked, “Does it sometimes feel like the world just weighs you down?”

 

“Like...it’s heavy, a lot of pressure?”

 

Viktor frowned and Yuuri knew he missed what Viktor was trying to say.  “I...don’t think that’s what I mean although I get that, too. Expectation.  People thinking they have the right to make demands because you are an internationally competitive athlete.  But...I mean something greater...like...a big heaviness...a...ummm...like you need to cry for those who can’t cry for themselves.”

 

“A sadness...you’re sad,” Yuuri surmised.

 

Viktor sighed before shrugging.

 

Yuuri knew he wasn’t fully understanding the young man, but he did worry that Viktor was ignoring what could be causing him emotional pain.  “You miss your family still. Did you see a counselor or a therapist after you lost your family?”

 

Viktor squirmed a little, “I mean...I did?  But I just keep busy. That seems to help. And I have Makkachin.”

 

Yuuri frowned thoughtfully.  “It helps...you to avoid dealing with those feelings.  But they are still there, and still hurting you.”

 

Viktor pouted a moment before shrugging once more.  Yuuri could tell the topic was closed. Instead, he dropped an arm around Viktor and led him outside.  “Let’s get to practice.”

 

Viktor was fine the first mile but halfway into the second, he started losing ground.  Yuuri would jog in place as he caught up. “Why...do you...run so far?” Viktor puffed at one point.

 

“I always have,” Yuuri returned.  “It relaxes me and it gives me the stamina I need.  Do you not?”

 

Viktor shook his head.  “I warm up on the ice.”

 

Viktor was struggling to catch his breath when they arrived and Yuuri led him inside.  He smiled and waved at Yuuko who worked behind the counter getting skates ready to rent out later.  “Hi!”

 

She smiled and called out, “Yuuri!”  Making her way around the counter, she ran to hug him.  Viktor watched the exchange nervously.  Is this his girlfriend?  Does Yuuri already have someone? Maybe he is just being nice to me.

 

Yuuri turned his smiling, warm eyes his direction and reached for him, his fingers sliding into his.  “This is Viktor. He’s joining me while I’m in Hasetsu.”

 

“Oh. My. God.  I know who he is!” she responded, slapping Yuuri’s hands away.  “Hi! I’m Yuuko. Welcome to Hasetsu. I know this must be small compared to the facilities in Russia.”

 

Viktor smiled and shrugged.  “Yuuri said we don’t have to share it, so that makes up for the size.”  He accepted her embrace and felt a little warmth blooming within. Soon, she had her arms looped in both of their arms as she led them through the lobby, letting them go as they approached the locker room.  She chatted the entire way. Viktor was delighted to learn about her husband, her three kids, and the town. His moment of jealousy gave way to a genuine smile as he waved at her, moving back into Yuuri’s space.

 

In the privacy and safety of the locker room, Viktor felt something inside of him shake.  Yuuri was there suddenly, his arms enfolding Viktor. “It’s okay, I’ve got you.”

 

He didn’t know where the emotions came from but he was suddenly overwhelmed and he snuggled into Yuuri seeking his scent.  A gentle shushing came from the other man, not to quieten him but to settle him even as his hands moved up and down his back.  Viktor finally stepped back, shoving the tears aside. “I...I’ve not been away from Yakov or my skating family since my parents disappeared.”

 

“I’m sorry.  I could do this alone,” Yuuri began.

 

Viktor shook his adamantly.  “No...I...I need to be here.”  He then busied himself, taking down his hair and brushing it before putting it back into a ponytail.  He then wrapped the ponytail around until he had a tight bun that he pinned in place. Drawing up his form, for strength, he reached into his bag and pulled out some lip balm, smoothing it over his lips, tilting the container to offer it to Yuuri.

 

“No, I’m good,” Yuuri murmured, blushing at being caught staring.  He moved away, returning to a dressing area where he changed quickly out of his sweat damp clothes before getting ready to skate.  When he came back, Viktor had changed as well, black skate pants and matching shirt. Yuuri’s were navy blue provided by his sponsor.  The younger man had managed to remove all evidence of his earlier tears. You’ve done this too many times , Yuuri realized.  Before they left, Yuuri reached out to tuck a strand behind Viktor’s ear.   You don’t know why you’re here, do you?

Chapter Text


 

Sparkle

 

Yuuri watched from the barrier as Viktor skated across the ice, the younger man losing himself in a story, a happy memory that brought out the sparkle.  The sadness he revealed earlier still weighed in the back of Yuuri’s thoughts as he considered the skater out on the ice. Depression made sense, especially with unresolved grief.  He had already noticed Viktor never said his parents died. They disappeared .  The silverette clung to the possibility that they would return leaving him no resolution.

 

However, as Yuuri studied the puzzle before him, he knew there was much more to the story.   So many layers and I’ve only scratched the surface.  Then he frowned.  If only I could call on my alpha.  The flow of conversation between the two had become an almost unconscious thing, but once Yuuri turned his attention to physiology and the study of the alpha/omega dynamic, the other had become most vocal.  His alpha was strong and Yuuri knew he wasn’t the first to hold this alpha’s blood in his own. Genetic memory passed from alpha to alpha, from omega to omega, as generations passed but other things were lost through the ages, a degradation, like a copy of a copy of a copy.  The stronger alphas and omegas held onto those memories longer.  I miss your voice.  It’s too quiet.

 

A hand on his shoulder startled him from his thoughts and he looked up to his coach.  “It’s different,” he murmured. “Too quiet. I’m too alone with my thoughts.”

 

Celestino sighed, he had hoped Yuuri wouldn’t be as affected by the loss of his alpha.  “You had anxiety before your alpha awakened. Think about before.”

 

Yuuri shrugged, he felt like he was grasping at straws.  “It’s like...losing one of your senses.”

 

“It’s temporary...more like your ears being stopped up,” the coach countered.

 

Yuuri sighed, turning back to Viktor.  His coach wasn’t wrong but it was still...annoying.  He focused his attention on the skater to keep his thoughts from tumbling around anxiously.  The mournful song played as Viktor told the story of a time gone by.  “He misses them.”

 

“His rinkmates?” Celestino asked in confusion, also studying the skater.

 

Yuuri shook his head.  “His parents...he never let them go.  They still live in his memories.”

 

Celestino watched the younger skater out on the ice, whatever the motivation, the program was gorgeous.  “Did you ever learn why he came with you?”

 

“I don’t think he even knows.  He talks about the one that stalked him, feeling safe.  He then steers the conversation to me, saying he owes it to me to help me through...whatever this is.”  His eyes followed the form gracefully arch his back holding his skate as he held the form of the Biellmann.  “He’s so innocent, Ciao Ciao. Like he’s been suspended in his childhood.”

 

“And yet, he’s not.  He’s very aware of his...allure,” the coach countered.  “Perhaps he’s just a late bloomer.”

 

Yuuri shook his head.  “I think...he stopped that day.  Frozen in time.” Viktor set up and landed his triple axel.  “I...I don’t know if I should do this.”

 

The coach rested his eyes on his skater.  “You’re already there, Yuuri. Besides, Viktor may have childlike attributes, but he’s still grown.  Young, but grown still the same. He knows what he wants as much as you or I...he just lacks the experience.  And he won’t get it if those around him continue to shelter him.”

 

“Do you think that’s the problem?  He’s been sheltered?” Yuuri asked.

 

Celestino nodded.  “The boy has clearly been placed in a glass tower...but even Rapunzel found a way to escape her prison.  That’s what the tower becomes once they outgrow it. Let him make his own mistakes, Yuuri.”

 

Yuuri had to agree with his coach’s logic, but there was one hitch to that plan.  “I just...don’t want to be that mistake.”

 

The coach shrugged.  “I don’t think you could be, Yuuri.  He cares about you...that’s evident. The boy couldn’t hide his regard if his life depended on it.”

 

Yuuri chuckled.  Has everyone noticed?  “He barely knows me.”

 

Celestino laughed, “Then get to know each other.  That’s how these things normally start.” Sometimes he wondered how his favorite student managed to get to class on time being as oblivious as he was.  “And Viktor is clamoring to know you.”

 

Yuuri blushed at the observation.  He knew, but his mind wouldn’t let him accept it.  As Viktor came to the barrier and accepted the water bottle, Yuuri smiled down into those blue eyes.  “I guess it’s my turn.”

 

On the ice, Yuuri worked through his warm up thinking about the music Viktor skated to.  It wasn’t his Firebird routine.  Maybe his sights were already on next season.  Yuuri moved into his starting position, knowing at this point, Celestino had already delivered his critique.  The edge of the rink blurred out in his vision but something called him and he knew where Viktor stood. Closing his eyes, he lifted his arm and counted out his time.  

 





Viktor watched from the sideline, his eyes studying the form before him.  Yuuri’s grace caught his eye at an early age and he couldn’t believe he was here practicing with him on this day.  But Yuuri was so much more than the personae he showed the public. He had already been unfailingly kind towards Viktor, patient, nonjudgmental as the omega prattled on.  He could have pushed Viktor away. He instead invited him to join him, to help him even.

 

And the omega was terrified.   What if I can’t help him?  What if his alpha stays locked away inside?

 

A soft purr from within startled him and he looked around to see if anyone else heard it.  Coach Celestino was focused on his skater making note of errors he wanted Yuuri to work on.

 

Don’t fuss, little one...you are in control.  It was then that he realized the purr was laughter from inside.  

 

You’re one of them.  Viktor shivered, worrying the voices he fought so hard to keep in the background of his thoughts were coming forward.  He moved back from the barrier.

 

The voice from within him, the voice that purred spoke softly.  It was different from the last times, this felt like a friend. No...they...are different.  I am me...I am you. A part of you.

 

Viktor took a step away from Celestino.  He wanted to talk to this one, but wanted to make sure he was safe.   My...omega?  Mama said she talked with hers!  But you’ve been so quiet.

 

Yes.  The others scare you.  I didn’t want to be a part of that.

 

The others...they are like my Papa.  The sentence hung there half question.

 

Mmmm, maybe.  Your Papa had his own struggles, but if the others were there, they only added to it.

 

Viktor hung his head, closing his eyes for a moment.  Fear and grief washed through him. Yuuri remained focused but the Coach glanced his way in concern.  Viktor waved his attention off. I...don’t want to be like him or like my dedushka.

 

And you may not be.  That remains to be seen.  I’m not from them. I come from your mother.

 

Viktor considered those words then focused on Yuuri.   His alpha is asleep because of me.

 

His alpha will wake in his own time...but it is good you are here.

 

Viktor found comfort in the voice’s certainty.   I just knew...I needed to be.

 

It is as much for your sake as for his.  Just let things happen and trust your instincts...and listen for my voice.

 

It’s different from the others.

 

Da, it is.  I am you.

 

Yuuri settled into his closing motion, his eyes seeking Viktor out.  The omega shivered, something in tune to the alpha on ice. Skating up to the barrier, Yuuri accepted the water bottle from his coach and listened to the critique offered.  Viktor smiled at the gentle, guiding words of the Italian coach.

 

So different from his own.   Yakov...he would have yelled at me for going off in whimsy.   His eyes slid over the ice.  He knew he needed to practice Firebird .  No one would knew how personal the piece was to him, its tie to both of his parents, their research into the legendary sirins of old, theories that remained unproved.  I wonder what remains at the old house.  He thought about the cottage where he grew up at sitting at the edge of the northern woods, the trees holding their own stories in the whistle of the wind.  Baba Yaga and the stories of the sirins. His parents chose that place due to their proximity to the source. He shivered as he considered how close they were to those woods.

 

A touch on his shoulder pulled him from his thoughts and he looked up with a blush towards the concerned coach.  “Are you okay?” he asked.

 

So different from Yakov .  Viktor nodded.  “I was thinking about Firebird .”

 

“Why don’t you show me?” he prodded gently but Viktor could see the deeper concern in his eyes.   Did he tell Yuuri?  Viktor sighed, nodding, returning to the ice.

 

On ice, Viktor appreciated the silence.  The voices stayed away as if the frozen scape sent them into hibernation.   Like Yuuri’s alpha , he thought.  An answer came back with that accompanying purr, not exactly .  Viktor wrinkled his brow and considered those words.   They don’t like the ice.   He received no response.  Moving into position, he began working through the practiced movements, losing himself into the story while muscle memory took over.

 

Without the pressure of competition, without the pending heat, Viktor’s execution was flawless.  Yuuri watched him both in awe and with a critical eye. His coach leaned forward and murmured, “That one can surpass you if he gets over his jitters.”

 

Yuuri kept his eyes locked on the lithe form gliding brilliantly across the surface, “I know.  He doesn’t have my stamina but he has his own complexity.”

 

“Each skater should skate to their gifts.”

 

Yuuri gasped at that moment pulling the coach’s eye.  “Did he just do a quad flip?”

 

The coach knew he’d have to check the video to be sure on the take off, Russians had a bad habit of cheating the rotations, but it certainly looked like it.  “Well, shit!”

 

“Indeed…”  Yuuri turned his grin to his coach.  “He’s going to be fun to compete with.”

 

The coach snorted in laughter.  There were two types of competitors.  The ones who sabotaged their fellow skaters, getting into their heads.  Then the ones like Yuuri who sought to compete against the best version of another skater and pitting their skills against them.  Yuuri’s was the best kind. The young skater encouraged those around him, quietly. It hadn’t always been that way. At first he’d be caught up in his own anxious thoughts and the others around him would become another obstacle for him to fight through.  The medicine...that helped. With the medicine, he forged comradery, still humble but his slow smile would disarm others.

 

Viktor skated to the barrier and took the water even as Celestino nodded to Yuuri to get back on the ice.  Blue eyes lifted to his and Yuuri felt himself blush as they flitted over him. Viktor remained unaware of his telling response.   So innocent .  He smiled encouragement and the younger man blossomed in response, his shoulders drawing in and his expression offering a shy smile in return.

 




Back home, Yuuri led Viktor to one of the advantages of coming to Japan for this short period of time.  “The onsen is one of the things I miss most when I’m away.” Then he blushed and added, “I mean, I miss the people more, my family, Minako, the Nishigoris.  But I also miss soaking away my aches and pains in the hot spring baths.”

 

Taking Viktor through the preparations, he led the younger man into the steaming hot spring baths.  The omega clutched the towel around his hips, his eyes shyly looking away from the patrons in the indoor baths and through the doors to the landscaped paths leading towards the outdoor baths.  “Why are they so empty outside?”

 

“Probably because it’s cold, but that makes it all the better for us.”  Removing his own towel, he folded it and placed it on a nearby rock. Yuuri hissed as he stepped into the water, vapor rising up but failing to obscure the alpha’s finer attributes.  Yuuri glanced back and smirked. Viktor jerked his eyes away, blushing profusely at being caught staring at Yuuri’s ass. Taking a seat, Yuuri motioned a place on the rock shelf next to him.

 

Viktor shyly folded his towel as he kept his back to Yuuri.  Covering himself on instinct, he waded deeper and then sank down on the rock shelf.  “You know I’ve seen you,” Yuuri pointed out wryly, his eyebrow raised thoughtfully.

 

Viktor lifted his eyes in surprise.  “Wh-when?”

 

“I took care of you...that night.  You don’t need to hide from me. I won’t hurt you.  You are safe here. Safe with me.” He then motioned the facility and added, “I guess I don’t think about how awkward it can be.  I grew up around nudity.”

 

Viktor studied his lap beneath the water, the minerals obscuring him beneath the surface.  “I...have not. Even in the locker rooms I hide.”

 

Yuuri thinned his lips and nodded.  “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

 

Viktor nodded reaching down to his ankles.  Yuuri was struck by how childlike Viktor appeared at that moment.  Blue eyes watched the opposite side, studying the figures obscured by steam on the glass of the bath house.  “I...I feel safe with you. I just…” Viktor drew his knees up and sighed, finally leaning back, his eyes tracking up to the sky.  “I only skate, Yuuri. After I left the academy, I focused on skating.” Turning his eyes to Yuuri, he added soberly, “Yakov...he watched out for me.  Everybody saw that Yakov was my guardian, and because of that, no one was going to ask me out.  He’s terrifying.”

 

Yuuri frowned trying to hold a serious expression but failed, a grin breaking through.  Viktor blinked then joined in, a giggle slipping from his lips. Then Yuuri laughed and he didn’t know what happened but suddenly Viktor was leaning into his space.  The steam rose around Viktor adding to his ethereal appearance. Yuuri swallowed. Both men studied the other’s lips. Viktor chewed his, unsure, his eyes flicking back up to catch Yuuri’s brown orbs.  “What’s it like?” he whispered. “To...kiss someone...like that.”

 

Yuuri was at a loss for words.   How do you describe intimacy to someone who hasn’t experienced it?  Rather, he leaned in.  The kiss was a gentle flutter, a soft brush to tease the younger man, to give him a taste without pushing too deep.  He tasted the sweetness of Viktor’s gasp. And then the younger man’s lips parted, inviting Yuuri to deepen the kiss.  A soft tongue traced the seam and Viktor breathed over it. They barely touched but Viktor’s eyes opened wide as Yuuri drew back, blush-kissed cheeks holding onto his innocence.  “You’re sweet,” Yuuri whispered softly.

 

Turning back to face the glass wall, he stretched his head back and groaned.  “I’ve been overprotected. I’m naive.” A pout settled on his lips.

 

Yuuri’s hand slid down Viktor’s back feeling the other man relax to his touch.  “What...do you want?” Yuuri asked.

 

Blue eyes turned their intensity in his direction and Yuuri couldn’t let go of those eyes.  “You,” he whispered.

Chapter Text


 

Someone to Watch Over Me



You…

 

Yuuri knew once that word filled the air, he was too far gone to let go.  However, he also knew their time was limited. Viktor had to return to his life, to his career.  And he had to return to Detroit. Halfway around the world...how is this even going to work?

 

Lying in bed, he knew the omega slept nearby, his steady breathing told him the younger man was unaware of the worm digging into Yuuri’s thoughts.   He’s going to leave.  Either he’ll realize the fraud that is me or the world will rip us apart.  We can’t do this.

 

A soft murmur in Viktor’s sleep stilled Yuuri’s thoughts.  “Papa…”

 

Yuuri turned on his side and studied the sleeping form and he could see silent struggles in the other man.  Brow furrowing, tiny jerks of his body. But what if...you need me as much as I need you.  What demons plague you, Viktor? I’m so fucked up, how can I help you?  What if I make it worse?

 

Viktor turned to his side tucking his hands under his cheek.  The long silver braid rested over his shoulder. Yuuri remembered earlier, after they returned to his room, Viktor sitting in the middle of the futon braiding it as he talked animatedly.  Giggles coming from his lips, a blush on his cheeks. They both knew they stood on the precipice and Viktor was about to tip over, pulling Yuuri with him.

 

And Yuuri...was afraid.  Not of the fall itself, but of hurting others along the way, of not being enough, of failing.   You give your love so easily that it astounds me no one has tempted you before.  Why me? Because I took care of you one critical night? It could have been anyone...I’m...just Yuuri.  I...am no one.

 

Viktor’s words floated back into his thoughts.  “I feel safe with you.”

 

Is that enough?  Am I...enough?  Then his thoughts circled back.  What are you afraid of?   He didn’t know if that question was for Victor...or himself.  

 

Yuuri shifted over and stared at the walls, shadows moving with the wind, trees outside of the window passing over the moon.  His eyes fluttered and finally he slipped off to sleep.

 




Viktor woke up before Yuuri, his eyes sliding over the sleeping form, his expression wistful.  He’d hoped Yuuri would have kissed him some more but after they came back to the room, Yuuri seemed...shy.  That’s what it was, Viktor decided. And he didn’t want to push into the older man’s space so he chattered to fill the silence.  Viktor hugged himself with a soft smile. Yuuri doesn’t mind it...I know I’m...not normal.

 

Pushing up out of his bedding, he quietly put it away and slipped outside to get ready for the day.  After a quick shower to wash off the sleep, he dressed in comfortable workout clothes and went downstairs to join Yuuri’s coach.

 

Ciao Ciao ...Viktor giggled at that nickname.   What would Yakov think if we all gave him a nickname like that?  He could imagine the old man grumping at them.  Viktor took a seat next to the Italian coach offering a bright smile as a good morning.

 

The coach chuckled as he drank his coffee.  “You’re chipper this morning.”

 

“Why shouldn’t I be?” he asked.  

 

The coach shrugged, pulling up his tablet and forwarding the critiques from Yakov.  “We have a few things to work on today but overall, looks positive.”

 

Viktor scanned through the email clarifying things with his temporary coach before setting his phone down.  He dropped his head shyly when Mari sat down.

 

“What’s wrong, squirt?” she teased.

 

Viktor shrugged.  “Probably nothing...I’m not sure.  Yuuri...he was just shy last night.”

 

Both coach and sister chuckled at this, drawing the blue eyes up.  “Well, I don’t know what you were after, but Yuuri...he’s always going to have moments where he is bold and full of confidence and others where he is shy and unsure,” his sister offered.  “Just...stay close. If he didn’t want you here, he would have told you as much.”

 

The coach snorted at that.  “I’ve seen it often enough. But you’re fine.  If he’s pulled back, it’s more out of concern for you.”

 

Viktor nodded, a frown on his face as he sipped his tea.  His eyes flicked up as Hiroko came into the room. “Good morning,” he greeted.

 

She offered him a strained smile which brought a frown to Viktor’s lips that he hid behind his cup.  I’m not used to people not liking me.  He knew he could be a bit odd but most found that endearing.

 




Viktor was determined to win her over and as he finished his breakfast, he gathered his dishes and approached the kitchen, stilling at the voices.  

 

“I don’t know why you’re so stirred up?”

 

He sees us.  He’s from the wood.

 

“What does that even mean?”

 

There was silence then a whispered, He’s here.

 

Hiroko turned to see the pale boy standing in the door.  Sighing she waved him in. He scurried into the room placing the dishes on the counter with trembling hands.  “Y-you see them, too. Y-you hear them.”

 

She huffed turning back to her pot.  “I don’t know what you mean.” Picking up the spoon, she stirred, not necessarily because it needed it, but because it was something to do.

 

Viktor wasn’t being put off by a badly covered lie.  “I thought...I was the only one. I thought...it was part of my Papa’s madness.”

 

She stilled her hand stirring the pot at those words.  “I’m not mad,” she spit out, an angry huff coming from her lips.

 

“That’s not what I mean...it’s just that...they keep telling me to go into the wood.  Why? What’s there?”

 

She turned to look at him with an odd expression.  “When did they start telling you this?”

 

“Right after my parents disappeared.  But...I’m afraid. What if I...disappear too?”  His voice faded to a whisper with those last words.

 

She studied him then nodded to the stool.  “Sit down.” In a moment, a fresh cup of tea sat before him.  “It’s not like that, you know. They...can’t hurt you.”

 

Viktor wasn’t convinced, and he thought she didn’t sound so certain either.  “Are you sure?”

 

“Maybe at one time they could but their power has dwindled.  Maybe it’s because fewer people believe in them. There is power in belief.  Maybe there is something more scientific...that’s what Yuuri would say. Or it could be that they never really had any power at all.”

 

Viktor frowned, that can’t be true, they must have had some powers still.   “Then...what happened to my parents?”

 

Hiroko was at a loss for words.  She didn’t know the story. “Perhaps...that’s what you need to learn.  What do you know?”

 

Viktor stared at the cup.  He never talked about it and now...she was sending him back there.  It wasn’t that he didn’t think about it. Getting lost in the past was one of the reasons he had Makkachin.  To keep him grounded to the present.

 

“I...don’t know much.  I was close to sixteen and someone knocked on the door.  My parents looked...worried and sent me upstairs. It was late.  I wasn’t to come out until the next morning. I heard shouting then silence.  I waited for them to come after me. Morning came and went and still not a sound.  Then night fell. I was too scared to leave. Yakov came looking for me the next day.  He had one of the senior skaters with him. Mikhail was about to retire and had already accepted the offer to assist with the junior skaters.  I was still in that group, though not for much longer.

 

“When they found me, I couldn’t speak.  It was like everything was locked up inside.  There were police in the house and I was taken out in an ambulance.  They put me in the hospital for three days observing me, hydrating me, getting me to eat, trying to get me to talk.  When I did finally speak, I couldn’t tell them much. After that, I went to live with Yakov and Lilia. I never found out what happened to my parents.”

 

She sighed, her eyes straying to the others before focusing on the boy in front of him.  “I started seeing them when I presented. My family didn’t know what to think. They...tried to lock me up.  It was Toshiya that got me away from them. My parents, that is. But...I don’t talk about them .  People look at you strangely when you talk about them.  My husband and children are aware. I was afraid...you being so young, you’d stir it all up again.   They told me you were coming.  I covered up my fear with anger towards Yuuri.  I mean, he didn’t exactly give us a warning. People...they are nice enough when they think you are normal.  But when you see them ...you aren’t exactly normal.”

 

Viktor nodded in understanding.  He’d learned a long time ago to keep his voices secret.  “Do you...talk to your omega?”

 

She shrugged turning back to her pot and Viktor worried he’d stepped into something personal.  “That’s different. And the same. I wonder if they come from the others.”

 

“My mother was an anthropologist.  She studied the connection between the others and our secondary genders.  I think her work was...controversial. I’m not sure everyone agreed with what she was saying.”

 

Hiroko frowned at the thought.  “Perhaps people become comfortable in their own normal.  No one likes it when you shake up their beliefs.”

 

Viktor hummed in agreement.  After a moment, he added, “I’m sorry my coming here upset you.  I...wanted to help Yuuri. And...a part of me needs to stay close to him.  I can’t exactly explain it.”

 

“Yuuri’s protective over you...like Toshiya was to me,” she said quietly.  “But you’re both quite young.”

 

Viktor considered her words before pointing out, “It sounds like you were young as well.”

 

A warm chuckle slipped from her lips.  “I suppose we were. We...made a lot of mistakes.  In our youth, we didn’t know how to make everything work.  However, we figured out how to come together in the end.”

 

“Thank you,” Viktor murmured quietly.  “I know it’s not easy to share...about them.”

 

She nodded, turning to look at Viktor thoughtfully.  “Yuuri...he knows about them, but he still doesn’t exactly...believe in them.”

 

Viktor drew his shoulders in and nodded, his expression sober.  “I suppose it’s hard to believe when you don’t see them or hear them.”

 




Yuuri found Viktor sitting on the beach as he jogged and pulled off the trail to sit next to him.  “Are you okay? I woke up and you were gone.”

 

Viktor offered him a weak smile.  “I just have a lot on my mind. Are you...okay?”

 

The alpha considered those words and then sighed.  “Honestly? I can tell my anxiety is worse. Sometimes I don’t know what is true and what are the lies my anxiety feeds me.  It...makes me scared.”

 

“I sometimes...don’t know what’s real and what’s not.  That’s why I have Makkachin. She keeps me grounded. I...miss her.”

 

“I miss Cocoa.  She knows how to take care of me when my anxiety has me a mess.  It took a long time to get to a stable place in my head.”

 

Viktor picked up a pebble and tossed it towards the surf.  “And I messed it up.”

 

Yuuri let his arm slip around Viktor’s form.  “No, you didn’t. I don’t regret helping you. I’d do it again.  But...it takes time to find my new normal.”

 

Your normal...is that a thing?  A normal just for you? Because I always feel anything but normal.”

 

“I think...it’s a matter of being comfortable in your own skin and accepting yourself.  I have anxiety...to the point where I take meds. If I’m still struggling after Nationals, I’ll go see my therapist, my endocrinologist, and other specialists if necessary to settle myself.  But I know these thoughts that are invading are a battle I’ve fought before. And once I learned how to reach out to others, I found my way to the other side.”

 

“Your parents?”

 

Yuuri chuckled and then shook his head.  “I mean, my sister...she knows and is supportive.  But my mom? She just says I’m just being Yuuri. She doesn’t acknowledge my mental weaknesses.  I think...it makes her uncomfortable. My dad knows how to calm me by having me do mundane tasks, waiting it out.  And it works...but it takes time. And I don’t always have that time. It was Coach that got me the help I needed.”

 

Viktor studied the water watching the froth move in and out, making deposits, smoothing out the sand.  “How...do you know you need help?”

 

Yuuri considered those words before answering.  “I suppose it was when my thoughts became self-destructive.  Anxiety can work you into a state of depression. So...I was in a bad place when Coach had me committed.  And I was there for several weeks. My parents weren’t happy. My mother...she only sees bad things coming out of those places.  It’s where I needed to be, however, and in the end, I learned better ways to take care of myself.”

 

Viktor seemed to mull those words over and Yuuri knew he had something to say but he wasn’t quite ready yet.  Giving the younger man a squeeze, he rested his forehead against Viktor’s. He’d wait...Viktor would tell him in time.

Chapter Text


 

Hanging by a Moment

 

Yuuri felt Viktor’s form relax into his arms as they watched the movie on his computer.  It had started out as skate videos but then Yuuri pulled up Netflix, finding the classic black and white film Viktor had wanted.  They slowly hugged into each other as the film went on, sitting up, to lying down, to entwining limbs by the end credits. It was also Viktor who suggested they turn out the light, narrowing their world, covering themselves in a blanket, giving them the excuse to cuddle in closer.  Yuuri felt his body thrum with desire and wondered if Viktor felt it, too.

 

The man in his arms turned on that thought, nuzzling into his scent, as if reading his mind.  Leaving no guess, the Japanese man could feel the younger man’s innocent need. Yuuri pressed a kiss onto the top of his head.  “What do you want?” he whispered.

 

Viktor hummed in his arms.  Blue eyes looking straight ahead, he asked shyly, “Will you...kiss me?”

 

Yuuri pressed his cheek against Viktor’s head in an unspoken yes.  That slender form moved up his body until their lips met. Viktor surrendered so easily into Yuuri’s embrace and soon Yuuri shifted his body, laying Viktor back onto the small bed, their legs tangling together.  Viktor was warm and giving in that moment, but Yuuri could feel him fighting for more. Fingers toyed with the hem of Viktor’s shirt. As they pulled apart, Yuuri’s eyes studied the younger man’s eyes. “Is this okay?” he asked, smoothing his hand along the edge of Viktor’s shirt in emphasis.

 

Without hesitation Viktor nodded, leaning up to kiss him further, his lips parting.  Blue eyes widened in surprise when he felt Yuuri’s tongue sweep inside even as hands slid beneath his shirt, resting on the taut muscles of the Russian’s stomach.  Leaning back onto the bed the younger man felt himself become lightheaded. Viktor was drowning and couldn’t think of a better way to go, intoxicated on Yuuri’s kiss, his own fingers tentatively slipping beneath Yuuri’s shirt before sliding up his back.

 

Breaking the kiss slowly, Yuuri pushed up on his elbows and studied the man beneath him.  Blinking, he focused on Viktor’s expression and scent. Eyes blown, lips parted expectantly.   Definite arousal, no hint of hesitance .  Viktor’s hands were still in his shirt but now settled on Yuuri’s waist enjoying the small amount of pudge as he experimentally pressed his fingers into the flesh.  “Viktor…” He slid his hand down the omega’s cheek, his fingers picking up on the heightened temperature of the other man.

 

He heard an impatient huff and then the younger man’s hands pulled free and slid up the front of Yuuri’s shirt, one snaking around his neck and pulling him in for another kiss.   Oh, you’re not done.

 

They traded shallow kisses, Yuuri holding back.   He’s young.  I don’t want to push too hard.

 

A frustrated groan pulled Yuuri from his thoughts.  He focused on Viktor, the flush of his face ran down his neck and under his shirt.  Beneath him, he saw Viktor arching, canting his hips against Yuuri’s thigh. The beautiful pink lips opened and rose up to chase Yuuri’s kiss, deepening instantly, hungrily seeking him out.

 

Yuuri was more than aware of the rutting against his leg, the shallowing of Viktor’s breath as he chased after his pleasure.  The blue eyes were beginning to haze over, heavy lidded. He tasted his own name on Victor’s lips, smelled the heady intoxication of the younger man’s scent.  “Yuuri…” The word came out like a plea.

 

“Viktor,” he whispered, shifting his knee and hearing the groan of the other man as the angle improved the friction the silverete sought, his head falling back revealing Victor’s long, slim throat flushed with pleasure.  Watching the younger man find ecstasy against him had Yuuri moaning even as he ducked down to trail kisses down that column, his tongue teasing around Victor’s scent gland.

 

As his tongue flicked against the raised pulse running over Viktor’s gland Yuuri heard the younger man’s breathing became stuttered and more labored.  Then his breath hitched, blue eyes blinking back in surrender before warmth flooded him in his release. Viktor stared up at the ceiling catching his breath, his hands clutching Yuuri close.

 

Yuuri studied Viktor realizing what happened, his appreciation of the exquisite beauty of blissful Viktor soon chased away by intense guilt.  I pushed him...he wasn’t ready.   Shit!  “Viktor?” he asked softly.

 

“Vitya,” came the breathless but dry reply.  The blue eyes cleared by remained sleepy, taking in Yuuri’s questioning gaze.  “I think by this point, you can call me Vitya...it’s...more familiar.”

 

Yuuri dropped his forehead to Viktor’s shoulder.  “Sorry,” he breathed. “I didn’t realize...I shouldn’t have pushed.”

 

“I...I’m okay,” Viktor answered softly, his fingers sliding into Yuuri’s hair.  “Unless...you don’t...want me.”

 

The incredulous laugh that came out of Yuuri was self-deprecating at best.  “Want you? I don’t deserve you. You are too perfect.”

 

Viktor snorted at that response.  “I’m far from perfect...but maybe...with help...I can find my own kind of normal.”

 

Yuuri smiled at those words, relaxing his body over the top of Viktor’s, feeling the younger man’s hand tangling into his hair, the other sliding down his arm.  The older man felt...anchored. “I’m...a mess.”

 

Again Viktor laughed.  “Technically, I’m a mess.”

 

Cinnamon eyes looked down at the angel in his arms.  Blissed, drowsy bedroom eyes. Perfection. He shook his head, finally realizing what he meant.  “Oh, shit...I should...you need…”

 

Viktor’s arms tightened on him before he could escape.  “Not just yet. Stay here with me.”

 

“Okay,” Yuuri murmured.  Soft fingers fluttered through his hair and he felt his body completely relax in the younger man’s embrace.  They remained for the longest time in the silence, both staring into the darkness, Yuuri listening to the beat of Viktor’s heart, Viktor to Yuuri’s breath.

 

“You’re scared,” Viktor said quietly, like an observation.  “Of me?”

 

Yuuri laughed this time, that ugliness slipping inside curling in his gut.  “No, Vik...Vitya...I’m scared of me. I’m scared of hurting you with my anxiety, of believing the wrong thought and it turning out to be the lie.  My anxiety can get hold of me, turning all my thoughts around, and I act on them. Sometimes hurting the people around me.”

 

Viktor studied the older man in his arms.   Somehow that gives me comfort.  We are both prisoners of intrusive thoughts, your’s just come from within.   “Don’t...be afraid.  Just hold onto me. I’m...scared, too. Of the thoughts, the voices…”  He took a deep breath, gathering courage before pushing out his confession.  “I’m...like your Mama.”

 

Yuuri remained still, waiting for understanding.   My mother...how...like her?  “You...talked to her.”

 

“I walked in...while they tormented her.  Not...exactly tormented, but she was agitated.  I think my presence stirred them up and made her uncomfortable.”

 

Yuuri blinked several times before he realized what Viktor was talking about.  “They’re real?”

 

Viktor shrugged.  “Maybe...it depends on your perception of reality.  But both your mother and I can perceive them. And...I’m scared that that will scare you away.”

 

Yuuri remained still, processing the confession, knowing what his mother had faced when she was younger.  Could I protect you like my dad protected my mom?   He already knew the answer.  He’d protect Viktor or die trying.  Drawing a deep breath, he released it slowly.  “I...am not scared of what you hear and see...I’m scared I won’t be enough, that you will need me and I’ll fall short.”

 

“Just be yourself, Yuuri.  You’re so strong and noble...and I can’t imagine that falling short in any way.”  He then squirmed a little before confessing, “The stickiness is starting to bother me.  Can you get up now?”

 

Yuuri blushed and chuckled, rolling back on his knees and helping Viktor to his feet.  “At least everyone will be in their rooms.”

 

“Thank god!” Viktor hissed looking down at the dampness of his clothes.  Glancing over at Yuuri, he could see the other was a mess, too. “Maybe...a shower,” Viktor suggested.

 

“You go first,” Yuuri offered.  “I need to…” He motioned to his own state, still hard even after the conversation.

 

Viktor’s eyes widened and his blush grew.  Chewing his lip he motioned Yuuri towards him.  The scent of desire returning. “Together.” Reaching for his hand and the robes, he dragged the older man after him.




In the bathroom, Yuuri knew that it was one thing to shower together and another to deal with his...little problem.   Well, not LITTLE.   He could will it away but then his eyes were gifted with the lovely form of the silverette, his long hair sliding down his body as Viktor peeled away his clothes making a face of disgust.  Looking his way, Viktor pointed out, “You could get the shower started.”

 

“Oh,” Yuuri replied, blushing at being caught staring.  He moved to adjust the water flow and then nervously began undressing.  He turned his back towards Viktor. How do I do this?  Stepping into the shower, he faced the corner, closing his eyes and feeling somewhat mortified...until he felt long fingers slide around him, pressing a kiss into his shoulder.

 

“How can I help, my Yuuri?”

 

“Vitya…”  Yuuri felt himself pulled back into Viktor’s embrace, long fingers sliding down his body before nervously taking his length.

 

“I don’t know...what you like...I need you to help me,” Viktor murmured but those fingers felt good as they slid up and down his length and a soft moan slipped from Yuuri’s lips.  Another kiss pressed into his shoulder. The pace was quick and Yuuri could feel himself slipping down that rabbit hole of desire, leaning back in Viktor’s arms, his hand covering Viktor’s hold on him, the steady rhythm pulling him over the edge.  He released, the shower wall would need to be scrubbed and he couldn’t let his sister take care of it. Knees buckling, he felt himself lowered gently, still in the younger man’s arms.

 

“I’m...scared,” he confessed as he stared at the shower floor watching the water swirl around him.

 

Viktor pressed another kiss into his shoulder, “I know...it’s okay.  I’m scared, too.”

 

“I...don’t know how to make this work.”  He turned to take in the face of his lover.  “We live half a world away from one another.”

 

Viktor sighed as he thought about it.  “For now…”

 

There was a promise in those words.  Yuuri relaxed in his hold and was surprised when he felt soap being spread over his body followed by a washcloth and several kisses.  “We’re really doing this,” Yuuri half asked in disbelief.

 

Viktor giggled softly so as not to be overheard.  “I think we already did this.”

 

The laugh that bubbled up out of Yuuri felt like half hysteria.  He was an alpha without an alpha, and he was being seduced by this omega innocent.  Everything was turned around and topsy turvy in his world. Hysteria felt like the correct response.

 




Back in the bedroom, Viktor eyed the futon with a thin smile.  He knew where he belonged and it wasn’t on the floor. With determination, he dropped his robe and slid on a clean pair of underwear before moving across Yuuri’s bed.  The older man took in his choice and merely nodded in acceptance. Equally clad in his own underwear, Yuuri stretched out next to him pulling Viktor’s head to rest on his shoulder.  Both had to agree that this felt right.

 

“Mari’s going to kill me,” Yuuri stated into the night air.

 

“That’s because I’m a baby,” Viktor giggled before nuzzling into Yuuri’s scent.

 

After a moment of contemplation, he added, “Mom’s going to kill me, too.”

 

Viktor hummed, the list of who got to kill Yuuri was longer than the man could possibly know.  “Don’t forget Yakov,” Viktor added with a yawn.

 

Yuuri’s body tensed, pulling the little omega closer to his side.  “Shit! The entire Russian team is going to kick my ass!”

 

“Probably,” Viktor quipped snuggling closer.  “It’s okay. I’ll stand up with you. I’ll protect you.  Nobody’s going to do anything to your ass but me.”

 

“Oh, well, I’m glad I have a warrior omega at my side since my alpha seems to be on vacation.”  Yuuri tapped Viktor’s nose, teasing the younger man.

 

Viktor leaned up to press a kiss into Yuuri’s lips.  “We can take on the world...together.”

 

“Together…”  That word echoed off Yuuri’s lips.  I love you.  He waited, half expecting the answering growl of his alpha.  He only heard silence, and then the even breathing of Viktor asleep in his arms.  I’m not alone, though...not with you.

Chapter Text


 

I Get to Love You

 

It was clear the next morning something had shifted in the relationship between the two skaters.  The awkwardness of finding themselves thrown together under strange circumstances transformed into a different sort of awkwardness of new lovers.  Viktor’s giggly blush pretty much told all, Yuuri’s patient sigh and fond smile told the rest. That morning, Mari cornered her brother after assessing the situation.

 

“He’s a baby.”  His sister’s monotone voice and expression belied the actual anger she felt towards her brother.

 

Mari was never one to mince words.   Yuuri shook his head as he rested his eyes on the man across the room.  “Not really. He’s nineteen. He just...lacks experience. But he knows what he wants.”

 

She followed his gaze towards the Russian.  From her point of view, he was little more than a boy toying with the ends of a braid.  But she also knew her brother to be an honorable man. Sighing, she returned back to her brother.  “Are you ready for this?”

 

He shrugged, his eyes also resting on the Russian.  “I don’t think I’ve got much of a choice. Viktor is pretty much an unstoppable force.”

 

His sister rolled her eyes.  “You seem to be his willing victim.”

 

With a slow grin, he nodded.  “Something like that.” He thought of how he had practically died in Viktor’s arms last night.  It would have been a good death.

 

“What about when he goes home?”  She never meant to be cold, but Mari was a creature of the here and now, dealing in facts while others lived in fantasies.

 

The smile died off his lips instantly and he felt a chill run up his back.  Hugging himself, he murmured, “I don’t know...but we’ll just have to figure it out.”   We have to, I can’t live without him.

 

She leveled a gaze of disbelief at her brother and groaned.  “Good luck,” she responded doubtfully, walking off with an eye roll.

 




Viktor stretched out in the dance studio while he watched the teacher flirt with Yuuri’s coach.  Stretching forward through his straddle, he met Yuuri in the center propped on his elbows. Leaning in with a conspiratory grin, he murmured, “They are like a younger version of Yakov and Lilia,” he whispered.

 

“Bite your tongue!” Yuuri hissed.

 

Viktor quirked his eyebrows, clear amusement in them.  His eyes went back to the couple clearly enjoying what they believed to be a hidden flirtation, “Yes...a lot jollier, but I live with them.  They have this scary adult flirt going on in the shadows.”

 

Yuuri froze in position, grimacing, “Fuck!  I’m now going to have to scrub my brain. You brat!”

 

Viktor’s giggle rang across the room which drew Minako’s attention.  “You’re supposed to be stretching, not flirting,” she singsonged.

 

Viktor caught Yuuri’s eye roll.  The Japanese skater mouthed the word hypocrite and Viktor smirked.  Minako wasn’t fooled, however.  “I saw that, Yuuri. For that, you can give me fifty fouettes.”

 

Yuuri scoffed, rising, “Only eighteen more than Swan Lake .  You’re getting soft, Minako-sensei.”

 

Minako scowled, but then a smile broke over her lovely face.  “Cheeky brat!”

 

Yuuri winked towards Viktor, clear amusement written on his face.  Viktor relaxed in the interplay between teacher and student. He met the coach’s eyes across the room and saw the amused fondness settled between them.

 




Viktor didn’t hide from him any longer in the dressing room, becoming more comfortable with his own body under Yuuri’s attention and care.  He felt safe and less exposed. Changing in the alpha’s presence, he asked the question that had been tugging at his thoughts. “So...what’s the history between those two?”

 

Yuuri grinned.  “Stubbornness and a little fear of commitment for the most part.”  He moved to sit across from Viktor on the benches. “So, several years before I was born, the two of them were involved in an affair.  It was scandalous in that Ciao Ciao was caring for his invalid mate.” He saw Viktor’s eyes widen and took the younger man’s hand. “It’s not what you think.  Francesca had been in a car accident that left her in a vegetative state, the doctors knew she would never recover, never come back.. Her family accused Ciao Ciao of shutting down life support so that he could have his little fling with the Japanese omega.

 

“Minako was upset by all of the attention and ran back home, presumably to take care of her father.  He was an alcoholic and a bar owner. She now runs that bar but he’s since passed away. Not long after she returned home, mom had me and I became her project.  She occupied herself with developing my skills and making me her protege but once she introduced me to the ice, I think she saw a way to return to what she left behind.”

 

He paused, thinking of his teacher’s life.  There were many times he walked in on her, dancing for herself and was struck with the sorrow in her movements, the intense regret.  “Except...she can’t quite let it go. She doesn’t want to be hurt by the media like before. I think Celestino understands and he just waits.  Both flirt outrageously with others but neither go to bed with anyone else. So...every year when I come home, Celestino comes with me and they spend an exorbitant amount of time together.  She’s past the time of heats but they still…” He faded off leaving the implication in the air.

 

“So...a lot like Lilia and Yakov.  Except, they are together...most of the time.  Sometimes he has to stay elsewhere because he’s made her mad.  Like really mad .  Then she focuses on me and works my ass off.”

 

Yuuri laughed, “Same...when Minako has something bugging her, I always catch the brunt of it.  Thankfully, it’s made me a better dancer and skater.”

 

“If she’d just join up with your coach, they’d make a great partnership.”

 

“I agree...and there isn’t really enough work in dance for her in this town.  Even in Fukuoka, she’d do better. She just...can’t seem to let go.”

 

“I wonder if your coach will ever give up on her.”  Viktor was thinking more of his stand-in parents, Lilia and Yakov, forever trying to make it work, forever failing, forever trying again.

 

Yuuri hummed, “I don’t think so...they convinced me that sometimes there is that one person that loves you no matter what and they become your safe place.”

 

“Like soulmates,” Viktor suggested hugging himself, his expression becoming dreamlike.

 

Yuuri rolled his eyes at those words.  “I don’t know about all that...but there can be that one person who ideally fits you better than anyone else.”

 

“Don’t spoil my dreams, Yuuri!” the younger man pouted.

 

Yuuri grinned, reaching towards him and gathering him in his arms, unsurprised when those long legs wrapped around him, kissing him deeply and tasting the younger man’s sigh.  “I could possibly start believing in soulmates,” he whispered as their lips parted, the younger man nuzzled up into his scent. He heard a squeak and felt Viktor’s arms tighten around him.   We’re such a mess...but I like having you here with me.

 




Unfortunately, time was a cruel master and ticked on without regard for soulmates.  Their time was winding down. Viktor had to return to Russia, meeting his coach in Moscow.  Yuuri would have to follow his coach to compete in his own nationals before returning to Detroit.  College classes, his best friend, and dog all awaited him on the other side of the globe. But neither wanted to leave the other.  Echoes of we’ll figure it out and we’ve got work to do competed in their conversations as they settled into each other at night.

 

Yuuri’s family gave them space after dinner.  He was glad to see his mother more accepting of Viktor, almost protective like his sister.  She watched the young omega with thoughtful regard. Mari kept giving Yuuri warning glares and it both amused and terrified him.  She’d decided Viktor needed the protection of a big sister even if it meant crossing her little brother in the process.

 

His father remained steady, but Yuuri found himself observing how the older man watched over his mother, as if studying for the future.  It was the little things, listening to her rambling her frustration about the others and giving her a safe place to talk about the beliefs that most people would lock her up over.  He hated that she needed that, that her beliefs were so threatening that society would regard her warily.  I was one of those people.   He frowned, now thinking how both he and his sister would discuss her “crazy beliefs” behind her back.  No wonder his mother retreated from everyone. Even her own children betrayed that trust.

 

Turning his attention to Viktor, he knew he wouldn’t dare betray that trust.  The others were apparently something real even if he couldn’t understand it, even if he didn’t see them.  Viktor was somewhat afraid of them and Yuuri couldn’t help but wonder what they told him. The omega wasn’t comfortable talking to him about them.  Not yet. But he hoped one day he’d open up. The younger man needed that, a safe place, someone to trust. Let me be that person for you.

 




It was their last night and the family remained scarce.  They took their meal alone, teasingly feeding one another with chopsticks.  Viktor’s giggle and blush had become Yuuri’s life blood and he didn’t know what he was going to do without a daily dose.  He hated knowing Viktor would be donning his armor once more, the icy exterior meant to keep everyone away, the false smile for the press, the flirtatious wink that meant nothing.  Yuuri knew there was so much more to him. He always knew. He could see it in the younger man’s skate. If words failed, a skater knew that the ice could speak for you.

 

Alone in their room, they sat facing one another in bed, legs butterflied out.  They craved a greater intimacy. Something more than their initial touches, their flirting along the edge of sexual love.  Viktor’s fingers danced up and down Yuuri’s forearms as he looked for his words. Yuuri waited, knowing they had to come from Viktor.  He was in the more vulnerable position.

 

“I...I want to be yours,” he whispered.

 

Yuuri knew he wanted nothing more than this.  Those words acted like fire to his skin, but still he resisted.  “Vitya...I-I can’t...we can’t bond. You’re too young.”

 

Viktor huffed.  “Your mother was younger than I am now when your father bonded her.”

 

Cinnamon eyes shot open, taking in the frustrated look on the beautiful Russian.  Apparently the two omegas had been talking more than Yuuri realized. He needed to use reason.  “If we bond, we can’t be apart for quite some time...and we both have competitions on opposite ends of the world.”

 

Viktor whined softly, his shoulders dropping, a pout forming on his lips.  “You...want me?” The scent of rejection slowly seeping from his body.

 

Yuuri pulled the man into his arms, “Absolutely.  I just…” He took a deep breath and began again. “ We have to be realistic about our situation.”

 

Viktor steadied himself.  The notes of depression tangled with the scent of desire.  “Our situation is that with or without a bond, I’m your mate,” Viktor declared.  It left no room for argument. Victor mad his claim on the alpha.

 

Yuuri smiled at those words.  It was the first time either had used them, said that magic word.   Mate .  But Yuuri knew it was true, he wouldn’t let anyone have Viktor.  “I’ll give you anything up to that...right now. We can take our time and find the right moment to bond.  I won’t make you sacrifice your career. We have to figure this out...together.”

 

“I don’t want to live like Minako and Celestino with stolen moments here and there,” Viktor countered.  The fear of a life of regret and self denial was real. Yuuri could smell it on Viktor’s skin, but he knew it was real for himself as well.  “But...for now, I need to take something of you back with me. To make me feel safe. To make me feel...yours.”

 

Yuuri understood the words, but he wanted to make sure that Viktor did as well.  “You want...to feel claimed.”

 

Viktor nodded even as he drew his shirt off.  “Make love to me, Yuuri. Truly. Completely. Make me yours.”

 

Oh god.  Yuuri wanted to protest.  It was too soon. Viktor was too young.  And Yuuri himself had only had casual partners.  This was so much more. “Vitya…”

 

Viktor was quick to hush Yuuri’s fears.  He ran hands down Yuuri’s arms, then raked a finger through the thick black hair.  “I won’t regret you. I...I get to love you. That’s what I want.”

 

Yuuri studied the man, his brain analyzing the facts but then, Viktor sat before him, waiting.  He drew his own shirt off, reaching for the other man, pulling him into his lap, lips lifting to meet Viktor’s.  Yuuri smiled into the kiss. Viktor was tiny, almost an elfin creature. Then they would move in closer to one another and he was met with the stark reality...Viktor was tall.

 

Viktor shifted in his lap and Yuuri placed a stilling hand on his hips.  “Patience,” he whispered into the kiss. “I want to take this slow.”

 

Viktor nodded, nervous, excited, unsure, certain.  He felt all of the contradictions bubbling up inside of him but he knew he wanted this, wanted Yuuri.  Yuuri deepened the kiss and Viktor gasped as he felt those fingers sliding up his torso until they began teasing his nipples.  Yuuri slipped away from the kiss, Viktor grabbing air with his breaths.

 

Yuuri’s lips migrated along Viktor’s chin, nipping and kissing at the skin until he reached Viktor’s ear and that hidden scent gland just behind.  Viktor gasped as Yuuri slid his tongue over the gland, teasing out the scent and then breathing him in. It was subtle, meant for lovers and often forgotten.  Yuuri planned to map out Viktor’s entire body, however, and find all of those secret places.

 

Viktor’s fingers were sliding up and down Yuuri’s back, his wrist making contact, wanting to make sure everyone knew he belonged to Viktor.  He didn’t know what to do and felt inadequate but Yuuri kept distracting him, his tongue and teeth doing things to him he didn’t expect. In his mind, he thought making love would begin below the waist.  Yuuri was quickly letting him know that was where things ended, not began. He whined, wanting more, wanting to do more, and not knowing the language to express that need. Yuuri seemed to understand, though, and took his hand sliding it up and over his breast.  Viktor focused on teasing that nipple, paying attention to Yuuri’s own gasps, trying to learn what he liked...and secretly fearing he wouldn’t be enough for the alpha.

 

Except it wasn’t secret at all, Viktor’s scent told Yuuri more than the omega realized, the fears slipping in and letting Yuuri know the younger man needed more guidance, more grounding, more checking.  As Yuuri pulled back to study the omega, he asked softly, “Are you still okay? Do you still want this?”

 

Viktor nodded adamantly.  “I want you, my Yuuri. I’m just...I don’t know what to do.”

 

“Follow my lead...making love is just a dance,” Yuuri answered softly, putting it in terms Viktor understood.  The younger man began answering the touches, the movements Yuuri made, mirroring the actions and learning Yuuri held nothing back, his expressions, his gasps, his moans telling all.  Soon Yuuri was easing Viktor back into the mattress, his hand going to the waistband of Viktor’s sleep pants and underwear. “Is this okay?”

 

Viktor nodded, lifting his hips as Yuuri began to carefully remove the pants that were a barrier between them.  When Yuuri returned to him, he was also without pants, and Viktor nervously let his fingers slide down the bare skin of Yuuri’s ass.  Then he felt a moment of boldness, his hand grabbing hold of that fleshy globe and squeezing. He heard Yuuri chuckle, against his neck which was gaining Yuuri’s current attention.  “I love your ass,” the omega confessed.

 

“Great asses are one of the benefits of figure skating,” Yuuri pointed out, his hand sliding down to cup Viktor’s cheek in reply.

 

“Da,” squeaked the reply and Yuuri smirked at the omega beneath him.  Then the younger man gasped as Yuuri teased his fingers over his smaller omega length.

 

“How do you want this?”  Yuuri’s voice was husky and dark.

 

“I...don’t understand,” Viktor blinked, not sure where his question was leading.

 

Yuuri ran his finger over Viktor’s length, thumbing the slit.  Watching the younger man hold himself back from bucking up, squirming in desire.  “Do you me in you...or do you want to fuck me?” he asked holding those blue eyes and then watching them widen with understanding.

 

Viktor licked his lips, taking in the possibility, “I...can do that?”

 

Yuuri grinned and nodded.  “Yes, you can do that...if that’s what you want.  My body is yours.”

 

Viktor was left amazed at the alpha above him.  Willing to share sexuality in every form with him.  Something in the little Russian sprang to life, thinking of that ass, kneading it...but he wanted to be more confident first.  “I think...this time I want you in me...but next time…”

 

Yuuri surged forward, kissing him at the promise of a next time.  “Anytime,” he whispered as their lips parted. He then pushed up on his knee, reaching into a drawer to pull out the lube and a small box of condoms.  “I know you produce your own slick,” he explained to the questioning gaze, “but I don’t want to risk any tears...especially before a competition...Yakov would murder me…”  Viktor nodded soberly in agreement which made him laugh nervously. “Shit, okay...well, I want to make sure I don’t hurt you...and, well...you know it can help with pleasure.”  Again Viktor nodded, but now his eyes sparkled and Yuuri felt himself relax.

 

Yuuri then squirted some into his fingers and warmed up the slick substance between the two hands, one going to Viktor’s length and the other sliding behind, seeking out the pucker of muscle, circling the ring on contact and feeling the body tense up.  “You have to relax for me, Vitya. Sex is about trust and communication.”

 

“I’m...trying?” Viktor offered, but his body remained rigid.

 

Yuuri sighed sliding down the other body.  Viktor wasn’t ready for this part yet and Yuuri would need to work to help him to relax.  He pushed Viktor’s knees up and ducked down, his lips grazing the other man’s inner thigh.  He knew of another scent gland and he was aiming for it. He would mingle their scents in every location if he had the opportunity.  Licking into the gland at the juncture of the inner thigh, he heard Viktor gasp at such an intimate act. Yuuri smiled, leaning his forehead against the long thigh muscle, knowing the power in those legs.  Bringing his wrist up, he began to scent the omega, sliding his scent up the thigh muscle until it reached the inner gland. A whine escaped those lips, pheromones screaming want. Yuuri grinned, feeling the body in his arms relax, the only tension remaining was that of desire.  He leaned in and sucked a mark just beneath the gland and listened to the beautiful noise created by his Vitya.

 

Sliding up his lover’s body, he kissed into his lips, his wrist continuing to seek out all of the points of contact for scent...wrist, neck, under the arms, behind the ear until their combined scent seeped out of Viktor.  It was temporary but for several days Viktor’s body would scream claimed to any alpha that attempted to approach him.  Somewhere deep within him, Yuuri felt a low growl at the thought of another alpha daring to smell his Vitya.

 

As the body beneath him trembled with anticipation, Yuuri once more took the lube and refreshed the slickness of his touch.  He reached down Viktor’s body, this time holding eye contact. “I’ve got you...trust me,” he whispered. Viktor’s body let him in, relaxing to his touch, Yuuri circling the ring of muscles before dipping inside experimentally.  Viktor’s mouth parted at the contact, Yuuri’s name slipping from his lips. Yuuri smiled softly, letting all of his love show in his expression as he slowly sank his finger deeper.

 

Viktor was no stranger to the intrusion, he was an omega after all, but it had always been by his own hands, his own fingers, the incredibly small toy he kept in his nightstand, smuggled in after his first heat.  Trusting his pleasure to another was much harder than he anticipated. Yuuri’s eyes, however, disarmed him, the lovely brown flecked with reds and golds, gentleness and concern in every expression. Viktor knew he could relax into Yuuri and he allowed him in, allowed the breach, allowed the touch.   Only Yuuri.  Always Yuuri .  Viktor knew he belonged to this alpha, this man...and no one else, vowing only to know his touch.

 

Yuuri teased the entrance with a second finger, still holding Viktor’s eyes, waiting for invitation and then smiling at the soft yes slipping from Viktor’s lips.  Sliding past the barrier, Yuuri let Viktor breathe through and settle on the second intrusion, his other hand sliding over the younger man’s length.  Then a nod encouraged Yuuri to continue, his fingers slowly opening him up and grinning as Viktor surged forward in his arms, pulling him into a hungry kiss.  At this moment, he found the omega relaxed enough for a third. He wanted to get four in before he replaced his fingers with his own girth. Yuuri had nothing to compare himself to, but he was an alpha, he suspected the toys Viktor used were smaller than he was and he didn’t want to hurt the younger man.

 

A keening please slipped from Viktor’s lips and Yuuri slid in the fourth, the omega now moving against his hand, seeking...more.  And Yuuri knew he was about ready. Asking one more time just to keep him safe and secure, he whispered, “Are you sure?”

 

“Would you just fuck me already?” Viktor cried out in frustration.  Yuuri chuckled but also knew several in the house probably heard them.  He tried not to think about it, and the lecture or three he would get in the morning.   You are anything but a baby, my Vitya...and you’re “Mine,” he breathed aloud as he removed his fingers.  He heard Viktor’s echoing “yours” and knew this was another defining moment cementing them together.  Again, within him he felt some small fire, a flicker of his alpha coming back, but still laying dormant.  He tried not to think about the time they would spend apart and focused on the here and now, on making sure Viktor knew he was wanted, his omega knew he was wanted.

 

Reaching for the condom, he opened the package with his teeth and rolled it onto his length, adding more lubricant before he lined up.  A needy moan left Viktor’s lips as he pressed into the omega, slowing as he moved deeper to ease the stretch. Victor’s eyes were half lidded, lips parted as he focused on Yuuri within him.  Then Yuuri seated himself in, feeling the omega’s warmth surround him. He gave an experimental pull and push and Victor groaned softly.

 

Their bodies found a natural if not desperate rhythm, Yuuri filling him only to almost pull out, Viktor’s needy pleas, his hips lifting to meet him.  He watched the younger man fall apart beneath him, overwhelmed by need and emotion, tears seeping from his eyes. He could feel the tension within the small body, hear the quickening of his breath, the desperate cries of his name, see the man lost in passion beneath him.

 

“I’m so close, Yuuri,” he whispered, his voice hoarse in his need.  Yuuri leaned forward to kiss those words down his throat, his hand sliding down to help Viktor find the edge he needed, moving up and down that length in time with Yuuri’s hips meeting Viktor.  “So...cl…” Those words cut off with a gasp as Viktor released, his orgasm pooling into the planes and valleys of his torso.

 

Yuuri felt the younger man’s body spasm around him in release and it was enough to pull him on over, leaning in to kiss him again as he filled Viktor.  His kisses trailed down to Viktor’s ear and he laid his cheek on the pillow catching his breath. Viktor clung to him, also working at breathing.

 

“Wow!” the omega finally whispered.

 

Yuuri grinned.   Wow, indeed .

 

Then Viktor did something that surprised him, sliding his hand into his own seed and then running it along Yuuri’s neck.  “Mine,” he whispered.

 

Yuuri wasn’t sure how the dynamic kept switching on them, the one in charge always trading places, Viktor effectively disarming him and taking control.  But one thing Yuuri knew for certain. For always, he’d be “Yours…” The word came out in a whisper as he turned to kiss those fingers, licking around the cum that clung to the surface.

 




Viktor and Yuuri were both packed before they headed down for breakfast.  Viktor was waved into the kitchen by Yuuri’s mother. Mari dragged Yuuri out back.  In the safety and privacy of the family yard, she rounded on him.

 

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

 

Well, at least it’s not the lecture I had expected.  “I don’t…”

 

She leveled a gaze at him.  “I’ve been an alpha longer than you and even I am not considering any kind of commitment at my age.  I smell him all over you. I smell you all over him. I know that you two parting can be serious. It can be harmful.  I have to know that you are prepared for this.”

 

Yuuri shrugged, a slow grin settling on his lips.  “You don’t understand, Mari...I committed myself to him the first moment I laid eyes on him.  This...is just sealing the deal.”

 

She softened, and for a moment Yuuri saw his sister actually express an emotion, “He’s...so young.”

 

“I know...but he’s been through a lot.  I know he has struggles. I know they sometimes make him regress in his maturity but I want to be a part of his normal.”

 

And like that it was gone, a puff of her cigarette and Mari was back to her stoic self.  “His normal...Yuuri…”

 

He shrugged turning away, his eyes going to the back of the house, the kitchen where his mother led the omega.  “I wanted to meet him...I didn’t expect things to move so quickly but...that’s Vitya...Viktor.” He blushed, sighing at letting go such an intimate name.  “I love him, Mari...that’s all there is to it.”

 





In the kitchen, Hiroko handed Viktor a cup of tea, studying the young omega critically.  “You...are very young.”

 

Viktor squirmed a little under her gaze.  He still wasn’t sure where he stood with her.  “I...look young. I sometimes...act young. But I’m nineteen.”

 

She thinned her lips.  “Nineteen is very young for babies...I know this.  I was heavy with Mari at nineteen.”

 

Viktor felt a blush rising up on his cheeks.  “I...do not have any plans for babies in my immediate future.  I skate. And...I’m on birth control. I don’t think either of us are ready for babies at this time.”  He took a sip of tea then shrugged. “Yakov would kill us both if I turned up pregnant.”

 

She laughed, the warmth filling the space and Viktor felt himself relax.  Slowly, she’d let her guard down with him. The others still clamoured around them and he realized their close proximity invited that but he, too, relaxed in her presence.  They had a kinship between the two of them. He did wonder if his coming of age, coming of awareness of the others , made his father’s struggle more pronounced.   His struggle is not yours , his omega reminded him.  He was still getting used to her voice but there was a comfort in that.

 

“I...know you don’t like to talk about them ...but sometimes, I don’t know who to talk to,” he said softly.

 

“Perhaps...in time it will be easier.  I...don’t want to end up back where Yuuri’s father found me.”

 

Viktor had learned about the asylum and how Toshiya fought the commitment and brought her home with him.  He knew of similar stories regarding his own father, the way his father’s family would step in and tear him away from his mother, his mother begging them to just let him be.  He knew...of the lithium and other drugs that had been forced into his father, silencing him for a time but not silencing the others , their voices clamouring unchecked.  His mother would slowly unfurl him once again when he came home.  He’d forgotten all of that but now he remembered. Remembering was easier now.  Yuuri’s presence and his omega’s voice made it easier. The knowledge that he wasn’t alone made it easier.  He was thankful for Hiroko although it took time to gain her trust.

 

“It’s going to be hard to be away from him,” he admitted.

 

She hummed in agreement.  “It’s hard for a mother...I can’t imagine being away from my mate.  We haven’t spent a night apart since he took me away from that place.”

 

Viktor hugged himself.  He didn’t know how to do this...all of this was new.   But he had to try and he knew Yuuri was there for him. “I think...he believes us now,” Viktor murmured softly.

 

The older woman’s face softened.  “It’s hard to believe in what we don’t see.”

 

“My mother believed...she...she watched over my father.  I see that now. So much is more clear now.”

 

“Then...it was good that you came.  I doubted at first. The others, they are so...active when we are close.  Are yours...this strong?”

 

Viktor thought back as he considered her words.  “When...I’m in St. Petersburg, it’s stronger. Even more so when I’m near the wood.  My father refused to move away from the wood. He felt the need to remain near. You must also be close to where they...originate.”

 

“Like a gateway.”

 

Viktor nodded.  He didn’t know how to respond to a world where the lines blurred between myth and reality.  But thankfully, he no longer had to worry about being alone in that world. He knew another...seer, another listener.  And he had someone to stand beside him. It was good that he came.

Chapter Text

Take On Me

 

Viktor stared out the window of the plane, his thoughts going back to his parting with Yuuri.  It had been so difficult to let him go; Yuuri had hugged him close and promised they’d be together again.  Viktor knew the words were honest, but he couldn’t help the hopeless, empty feeling taking over his body. He indulged in the alpha’s embrace, greedily nuzzling into his scent, burying himself in it.  He now sat curled up in his seat, clutching onto a fuzzy blanket he stole from Yuuri’s room, breathing in Yuuri’s scent...their scent. It probably needed washing considering what occurred under that blanket but the omega needed his scent, needed to feel close to his missing alpha.

 

First Class accommodations gave him the space he needed and no one invaded his cocoon.  Had he been more aware of himself, he would have noticed the concerned looks of the attendants, the other passengers.  He would have tried to stifle his scent, which thankfully didn’t flood the plane with distressed omega. His fist balled up over his heart even as he curled up, drawing his knees up to his chest.  An elder lady watched him from across the aisle, leaning over to whisper to her mate, “This one is having a hard time.”

 

A flight attendant overheard the woman, her eyes wandered to the young man.  Leaning over, she asked if he needed anything.

 

For a moment his persona faltered, My Yuuri, his thoughts screamed.  Viktor flashed her his false smile, through years of practice a refined art. It worked perfectly.  “I’m...going home.” She nodded and brought him a sparkling water then offered him a pillow. He drank the liquid but couldn’t bring himself to use the sterile pillow.  Pulling his blanket over him, he continued staring out the window.

 

The reflection that peered back at him was his, but younger and equally lost.  The boy in the glass was desperately seeking another. Mama?  Papa?  Locked into that memory, Viktor slipped out of the present and into the past.  He was no longer on the plane, high over Eastern Russia, but in his childhood home.  He peeked over the railing of the staircase, looking down on the entryway of their house.  The door was open and wind blew leaves into the space, the fireplace cold, and the others whispered.   You need to go into the wood.  It’s safe in the wood. He was afraid of their voices, shrinking back, his own worries screaming back in panic.  His bare feet cringed against the cold wooden floor as he backed up against the wall. What if the wood took my parents?  Where were they?  He turned, running to his bedroom and slamming the door shut against the voice of the others .  He curled up and waited, watching the sun elongate through the room, dustmotes reflected in its beams.  The sun was later replaced by the moon. Viktor continued to lie on the floor, cold, shivering, tears falling intermittently.  Then...Yakov arrived, whisking him away protectively.

 

Someone bumped a seat in his row, startling Viktor pulling him back to the present.  Viktor blinked out of the memory and realized the plane was deboarding. He needed to shake off the... dream?   Sometimes it felt less real but at others, he felt like he was there and had to fight his way back to the present.   He mentally made a list of what he needed to do, grounding himself in mundane tasks. Finally, he had his luggage and headed down the connecting hall with his suitcase in tow.  He was homesick for Russia...and heartsick for Yuuri. As he approached the exit, he heard a bark, his mouth breaking into a heart-shaped smile. Makkachin!   Yakov remembered and now stood holding the lead to his dog.  Viktor broke into a run, bursting through the door and kneeling down before his puppy.  “I’ll never leave you again. You have to just travel with me, boy! I need to keep you close.”

 

“Come on, Vitya,” his coach urged, voice gruff, heavy hand on his shoulders.  “Let’s get you back to your room.”

 

He’d gone into the airport bathroom right after the flight and fixed his face but he knew his exhaustion showed.  He was sure his scent was distressed to a point. Nodding, he let his coach guide him to their ride. Then he was in his room, sharing with Georgi.  His rinkmate studied him with a frown then looked at Yakov. “You wouldn’t let me go off before a competition to get laid.”

 

Viktor blushed profusely but Yakov’s voice cut through the drama.  “Enough, Gosha. Viktor’s...trip...was necessary and has nothing to do with you.”

 

The older skater huffed.  “Whatever. I’m going down to the bar.”

 

As he left, Viktor turned to his coach and asked, “What’s with him?”

 

“Anya,” Yakov replied.  “In and out of that relationship faster than the last.”

 

“He hasn’t found his soulmate yet,” Viktor suggested.

 

Yakov grunted a laugh.  “Is that what he is? That Japanese skater?  Your soulmate?”

 

Viktor blushed, shrugging self-consciously.  “It’s...not impossible. I...really like him.”

 

Yakov patted him on the back.  “He’s the first person you’ve shown an interest in.  There were extenuating circumstances. Just because he rescued you…”

 

“It’s not just that,” Viktor protested.

 

The old man sighed.  “Your mother…”

 

“Would understand,” the young skater cut in, first drawing to his full height before shrinking into himself, his voice becoming small.  “You know I’m like him, like...Papa. He needed Mom to keep him tied to the world. Maybe...Yuuri is the one that I need.”

 

“Vitya...you just met the boy,” the coach argued weakly, worry in his voice.

 

Viktor shrugged, not sure how to make his coach believe him.  “I know, Yakov...and I know...he’s my mate. I can’t explain it.”

 

“Vitya...you spent maybe two weeks with him,” the old man argued.  He normally just let Viktor spin off in his hysterics, letting it play through waiting for the eventual calm that would set in.  But the old coach knew his student well and could tell this was different.

 

Victor shrugged, hugging himself with his arms.  “Sometimes...you just know.”

 

The old man sighed, weary from not just this conversation but from dealing with Viktor’s dramatics.   The boy is tired.  He’ll cling to his myths in his exhaustion.  “ Rest up from your flight, Vitya...and tomorrow we practice.  Order dinner in tonight.”

 

The younger man knew he was being shut down.  It was not the first time Yakov played this card of ignoring him until what he didn’t like disappeared.  He sighed, curling up in bed as his coach closed the door behind him. He pulled the stolen blanket over him, breathing in the familiar scent.  Taking out his phone, he reached out.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I’m here.

 

He smiled as the dots danced before his eyes.  Yuuri had been waiting for him.

 

Yuu-chan/ How was your flight?

 

Viktor-bunny/ I slept it away.

 

Close enough...he doesn’t need to know that I disappeared.

 

Yuu-chan/ I’m in Tokyo.  Two more days until competition.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Probably about the same here.  I haven’t really caught up with the clock.

 

Yuu-chan/ Are you okay?

 

Viktor could see in his mind the concerned look Yuuri would hold.  Viktor drew in a shaky breath and swallowed the sob. I’m not.  I’m not okay.  I don’t belong here.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I will be.  Just tired.

 

The reply was slow and Viktor almost dozed off beneath the warmth and the scent of the blanket, letting himself drift, remembering their touches, their kisses.  Then his phone buzzed pulling his attention back.

 

Yuu-chan/ You’re not.  I wish I could be there with you, be there to take care of you.

 

Viktor smiled as he studied his lover’s words.  Only two weeks but Yuuri could see right through him...even across the miles.

 

Viktor-bunny/ You’re supposed to believe my lies.

 

Yuu-chan/ You’re supposed to be honest with me.  We don’t lie to each other. It’s okay to show me your weakness.  I’ll help you find your strength.

 

Viktor blinked at the promises.  Then he reached back.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Are you okay, Yuu-chan?

 

Yuu-chan/ Yuu-tan...with all that we shared, when it’s just us, Yuu-tan...my Vitya.

 

Viktor smiled, loving the intimacy they shared, how Vitya had become an intimate name when spoken from Yuuri’s lips.  “Yuu-tan,” he whispered to the words glowing on the phone.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Yuu-tan...I like that.  But you didn’t answer me.

 

Again he waited, letting Yuuri pull his thoughts together.  Finally, his phone vibrated once more.

 

Yuu-chan/ I’m okay...not great, but okay.  My competition isn’t as strong as the Grand Prix series so I should be okay.

 

Viktor huffed at that statement.  Yuuri would never see that he had the potential to leave all the competition in the dust with just the simplest of moves.  His jumps were just the icing on the cake, his technique, his artistry were untouchable.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I’ve got some good competition but I should be able to handle it.  I need to secure my place, make it to Europeans and Worlds.

 

Yuu-chan/ I believe in you.

 

Viktor ran his fingers along those words before responding.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I believe in you, too.

 

Viktor snuggled up with Makkachin under his blanket, the poodle snuffling along his master’s form before settling down to sleep.

 




Viktor found his focus on the ice.  It was always easier on the ice. The voices quieted, the memories of ghosts silenced.  Mask in place for the few members of the press standing around, he focused on his routine, listening to the calls from his coach.  He could feel the ice becoming his armor once more.  Yuuri, I need you to thaw me out.  I’m ice without you.

 

Wrapping up on Yakov’s whistle, Viktor skated to the edge, taking his guards from his coach.  Yakov grunted before calling out to the stragglers, “Dima, Vanya, Gosha, time’s up!”

 

Viktor watched his rinkmates join him, Dmitry and Ivan listening stoically to the coach’s criticism before heading down the hall to the locker room, barely glancing at the younger skater.  Georgi hung out a little longer. “About tonight...Anya…”

 

Yakov cut him off, “Leave her alone, Gosha...I need you focused and not mooning over a girl who has made her lack of interest perfectly clear to everyone except you.”

 

Viktor’s sympathy for his rinkmate rose at the harsh admonishment from Yakov, but died quickly when he saw the dark eyes turn his way with something more cunning than just jealousy.  Georgi started to say something more but Yakov had seen where his gaze rested and gave him a warning look. With a huff, the skater walked hard steps down the hall.

 

Viktor’s eyes studied his roommate.  “He’s avoiding me. Or he’s fighting with me…entirely one sided.  But he’s not...telling me something, Coach.”

 

“Vitya…”  Yakov’s voice was lower, a sure sign he was going to lie or lie through omission.

 

Viktor’s eyes narrowed on his coach.  He then realized everyone was keeping something from him.  His rinkmates were avoiding him. “What aren’t you telling me?”

 

The old man shoved his hand through his hair...lack of hair, frowning, looking for a way out of this conversation but seeing no escape route.  With a resigned sigh, he murmured, “Lilia...found another letter.”

 

Viktor felt his breath leave his body and turn cold.  For a moment he thought he even saw a puff of white hang in front of him.  “What...did it say?” Viktor asked quietly.

 

Yakov closed his eyes and tried to deflect, “It’s not important.  Don’t get distracted from why you’re here...”

 

Viktor shook his head, standing firm.  “No. If this involves me, I have the right to know.”

 

The coach studied the boy...the young man thoughtfully.  The father in him wanted to protect him but even he didn’t know what they were dealing with.  It felt like more than a stalker, more than a crazed fan. And given the circumstances behind the boy’s parents’ disappearance...he shook off his thoughts.  “Lilia...turned it over to the authorities,” the coach hedged.

 

Sharp blue eyes followed Yakov’s glance as it moved around the empty ice.  “But she read it before then,” Viktor prompted, not put off by the dodge.

 

Yakov nodded, resigned to Viktor’s demands.  “They promised...not to send a hired hand next time.”

 

Viktor hugged himself, remembering the men in the alley.  It never felt...sexual. He never really thought it had to do with his heat.  The heat was just...bad timing. One of them seemed to be supervising, the other trying to subdue him.  He tried to remember the details. An arm restraining him as he struggled to get away. A hand moving over his mouth.  Then, Yuuri...“Why...do they even want me?”

 

That had been the question for months.  Ever since the first attempt to grab him in St. Petersburg.  He was now driven to and from the rink, rarely going elsewhere.  Viktor had never been one to go out, but still knowing that he had to stick to a strict itinerary, being chaperoned everywhere had him feeling...trapped.  Already he missed the freedom he enjoyed in Hasetsu, the small town full of familiar faces gave him a safety allowing him to let his guard down. “Do you think it has anything to do with Mama and Papa?”  Viktor had asked this before...with the first letter and the second. His coach always denied the connection but Viktor could see him wavering in his stance, dark eyes looking away. “I’m not safe here,” the omega surmised softly.

 

“We’ll protect you,” argued his coach.  “I promised your parents...if anything happened to them, that I’d protect you.”

 

Viktor blinked at the wording of that statement.  It was something new. Always before, the coach said he’d been named guardian should anything happen to them.  There was never a mention of protection. “They knew...someone was threatening them as well. What...do they want?”

 

“I...don’t know.”  The coach looked genuinely helpless.  Sighing in resignation, he took Victor’s hand in his own.  “They never said. They worried about you, they wanted to make sure you were taken care of.  That’s why I went looking for you when you didn’t show. But they never said who it was.”







Viktor watched Yuuri skate in the livestream video.  Georgi sat nearby, quietly contemplating his omega rinkmate.  “I can’t stay,” he said quietly to the older man.

 

“We’ve all talked about it, how to keep you safe,” the older skater argued softly.

 

Viktor looked over to Georgi.  Usually he considered the man self-absorbed to the level of a black hole, but he warmed feeling the other man’s concern for him. “I know...but it’s an impossible situation.  If one of us lets down our guard, I’m gone...and no one has any idea who it is or...what they want me for.”

 

“You’re going back to him, aren’t you?”

 

Viktor nodded.  “It’s the only solution.  Russia...isn’t safe for me.  Not right now. Besides, I don’t want you carrying that guilt.  Any of you.”

 

“What will you do?”  The older skater no longer avoided him, no longer fought with him.  The truth was out and now Viktor knew everyone was frustrated with the effort of keeping him safe.

 

He shrugged.  “Switch homerinks...and maybe go to university.  Mama would like that.”

 

“She would,” Georgi agreed.

 

Viktor considered a new life, studying next to Yuuri, learning...to not be afraid.

 




Viktor talked to his coach.  Viktor yelled, the coach yelled.  Viktor stood his ground. After several hours of negotiation that would mirrored Yalta, Yakov reluctantly agreed with his plan.  “I’ll call Celestino and make the arrangements. We have paperwork, a visa to push through, but we can make it happen. Plenty of our athletes are leaving Russia to train in America these days.”

 

Viktor nodded, relief that it wasn’t a major fight...well, it was, but it also ended peacefully.  He knew inside that meant the coach was worried he couldn’t keep Viktor safe as well. He pushed through, seeking a positive to help the coach feel more at ease with the decision.  “I think...I want to go to university. Yuuri can help me balance skating and studying, but I need...something more. I get lost outside of the ice. I need something else to ground me.”

 

Yakov nodded in agreement and Viktor knew he was making mental lists.  “University would be good. Your mother would approve. We’ll get your school records in order.  The academy should have all the credentials you’ll need.”

 

“I’ll need to take exams,” he reminded the coach.

 

Yakov waved a hand, Viktor had done excellent in his schooling, exams would prove no problem.  “We can start the process while we’re waiting on your visa. But...in St. Petersburg, like in Moscow, you’re in lock down.  You go nowhere without an escort.” The coach also made a note to inform Celestino of the letters, the attempted abductions, hopefully he’ll be just as protected in his new city.  “You’re from Russia, how dangerous can Detroit really be?”

 

Viktor nodded, glad his coach agreed.  Willing to accept his temporary confinement with the promise of escape in the future.   Now...to talk to Yuuri.




Viktor held his phone in his hand, suddenly feeling its weight.   What if...he doesn’t want me there?  Sighing, he shoved that thought aside.   He’s my mate...he definitely wants me.  How to word it, though ...he decided to go directly to the point.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I can’t stay here.

 

There was a pause in the response and Viktor waited.  He was warming up, preparing to skate his short program, but he needed to settle this.  Finally, his phone buzzed.

 

Yuu-tan/ What do you mean?

 

Viktor looked around to make sure no one was watching him before tapping out the words.  A few skaters, mainly people hoping to be his competition, were looking at him incredulously.  Yakov just shook his head. Only Viktor Nikiforov would use part of his six minutes to text. The press would certainly use this.  Viktor just winked as if he had this event already won.

 

Viktor-bunny/ There was another letter.  I’m going back to St. Petersburg to pack my things and take care of the paperwork but Yakov is already talking to your coach.

 

Yuu-tan/ You’re coming to Detroit?

 

Viktor looped around, watching as a skater missed a lutz.   Maybe I assumed too much.  He worried his lip as he considered his options.   I can’t be by myself.  We’ve tried that. I lost too much weight.  He remembered how angry Yakov had been at that weigh-in until he realized it wasn’t a choice on Viktor’s part.  Viktor couldn’t keep grounded on his own. He drifted off into his memories or lost himself in the voices.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I don’t know where else to go.  Is that okay?

 

Yuu-tan/ Of course it’s okay!  We have room.

 

Yuu-tan/ Come home to me, Vitya.

 

Chapter Text


 

Back in the Water

 

Yuuri stood near the rail, scratching his arm nervously.  A heavy hand rested on his shoulder and he looked up to see his coach frowning at him.  The dark eyes went to the arm, turning red with irritation at the scratching. Yuuri grimaced and stopped.  “Sorry, I hadn’t noticed.” He took a deep breath in, “I’m okay. Really,” he stated although he wasn’t sure who he was trying to convince.

 

“About Viktor...”  The deep Italian voice began slowly.

 

Yuuri nodded.  “He contacted me.  I’ve already called Phichit.”

 

Celestino looked at his favorite student.  “Is this okay?”

 

Yuuri eyes darted up in surprise, shocked at the question.  “Why wouldn’t it be okay?” He had been anticipating the conversation.  A new student, his chief rival on the international circuit, but Celestino knew that with a few rare exceptions skaters loved other skaters.  Competition lived on the ice and died at the barrier wall...well, except for those American girls...

 

The coach sighed.  “He’s very young.”

 

Oh.   Yuuri blushed, of course his coach wasn’t thinking of the ice he was thinking of...off ice.  “He’s nineteen...and we’ve already...he’s…ummm,” Yuuri fought for words, his cheeks brightening.

 

The coach chuckled.  “Thanks for the overshare.  But seriously, I understand...don’t let it become like Mina and me.”

 

Yuuri nodded, his smile bittersweet.  Scratching at the edge of his hair, he huffed out in frustration.  “I’m going to have to do makeup.”

 

“Hives?”

 

Yuuri sighed before grunting his affirmative.  He watched his coach go off to get the makeup bag.  He returned to find Yuuri sitting before the mirror.  Handing him a Benadryl, the coach began to expertly sort out Yuuri’s makeup.  “Is it better with him near?” he asked as he laid out the pallet, picking up the beauty blender and starting with concealer.

 

Yuuri could do his makeup, could do it well...except when his anxiety had his skin crawling.  Phichit had actually commented on it, saying that the judges didn’t want to see a trash panda on the ice when he saw the wing tips had turned into full on Cleopatra eyes.  He blinked up towards the light overhead before murmuring, “I can tell a difference. I didn’t realize he calmed me as much as he did.”

 

“He pulled your focus off of yourself,” the coach suggested.

 

“Maybe...I’m not sure.  Yesterday was a struggle, I didn’t make one of my quads, and I couldn’t fully get out of my head.  Today...is worse. It’s like...when my meds are wearing off slowly.”

 

“But you took your meds,” the coach confirmed, half question, half statement.

 

Yuuri huffed out a “hai” in agreement.  “It’s just my body chemistry is off.”

 

“I didn’t realize how much a difference the alpha’s presence made for you.  Mine...never talks. I didn’t even know that was a thing before you.” He continued with foundation, smoothing the surface of Yuuri’s skin.  “Eyeliner?”

 

Yuuri looked in the mirror with a frown before nodding.  He followed the coach’s direction allowing for the liner while he continued the flow of conversation.  “I don’t know if the dialogue is the real issue. I mean, it helps...but there is a stabilizing factor.  Like my instincts are dulled and I don’t know how to respond.”

 

The coach stepped back and surveyed his work, humming with approval.  “Your color is better...let me set it and then we’ll finish stretching.”

 

Yuuri closed his eyes and held his breath while the powder was brushed over the surface.  Finally he glanced at the mirror with a frown. He hated makeup, keeping it minimal, unless he cried a lot or, like today, was blotchy.  “Do you think he’ll be able to tell?”

 

The coach snorted.  “All this so your boyfriend won’t figure out you’ve got hives.”

 

Yuuri leveled a gaze at the older man.  “I don’t want him to worry. He’s got enough on his mind.”

 

Celestino sobered.  “A stalker...and it doesn’t sound like a fan.”  He thought back to the conversation he had with Yakov, not wanting to share the scarier details with his student at that moment.

 

“I may have said more than I should have to Phichit.  He’s already digging around for information on Viktor’s parents.”  Yuuri smiled, thinking of his friend’s antics. Having moved to America, Phichit decided the best way to learn the language was through television, unfortunately he found Ghost Hunters and Ancient Aliens , becoming an amateur detective.  Yuuri’s laugh died quickly, thinking of how often he would mock his friend chasing nonsense, but now Phichit could get hurt if he’s not careful.  This wasn’t fiction on “reality” TV...Viktor’s threats were very real.

 

“So you think there might be a connection?  It’s been what...three years?”

 

Yuuri shrugged.  “I...just want to keep him safe.  The more you know…”

 

His coach thinned his lips knowing Yuuri was downplaying the situation.  They slipped out of the room and into the waiting area, Yuuri waving at a few familiar faces.  He didn’t do well with the social aspects at the best of times but he could usually fake it. Today, he was just pushing through.  Everyone else seemed to pick up on it and stayed out of his space. Well, everyone except…

 

“Katsuki Yuuri!”  The excited squeal from the blond... what was it people called him?  Chicken nugget? Yuuri fought to push that random thought along with its accompanying smirk away.  Minami’s spastic energy was the last thing he needed on a day like this...however, it appeared to be unavoidable.

 

“Minami,” he greeted evenly, moving into his stretches.

 

The younger skater practically bounced in position, obviously star struck.  “Did you see me skate?”

 

“Ummm,” Yuuri scratched at his hairline trying to avoid the makeup.  “Yesterday?” He could see the immediate disappointment in the other skater’s face.   I suck at this.  And today I suck worse than others.

 

The eyes watered and the mouth formed an instant pout, “Oh, I thought…”

 

“It must have been when I had to fix my makeup,” Yuuri squeaked.

 

The boy looked at Yuuri with renewed interest.  “I didn’t realize you wore makeup. My coach says I should wear it too, but I don’t know...and maybe we can...”

 

“Sometimes?”   Just please go away.  Just stop talking to me.   Yuuri spotted Celestino talking to Minami’s coach.  Soon, she was calling the boy over and Yuuri mouthed a thank you to his coach receiving a grin in answer. He loved the younger skaters, and wished he could interact with them more, interact with them better.  He remembered how supportive the older skaters, specifically Daisuke Takahashi, were when he was just coming up. Resuming his stretches, he ignored everyone else until his coach approached.

 

“Ten more minutes.  And you have a text from your boyfriend.”  His coach held out his phone which really surprised him.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I’m watching you.

 

Yuuri felt a smile tease his lips.

 

Yuuri/ Only me?

 

Viktor-bunny/ I only have eyes for you.

 

Yuuri felt himself relaxing under the cheesy flirting.  And he may have just sang that in his head.

 

Yuuri/ Then I’ll focus on you while I skate.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I look forward to it.

 

Yuuri/ Coach is holding out his hand for my phone.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Davai!

 

Yuuri smiled, thinking about his Vitya before handing the phone over.

 

“Better?” the coach asked.

 

Yuuri nodded, although he had to wipe a tear away.  “Much.”

 




Yuuri found his center on ice.  Ignoring the itchiness, he lowered his head and focused on one person.   Vitya .  The music began and he moved smoothly into his program.  It wasn’t perfect but perfection was a myth. A flawless program was so rare that it seemed out of reach and almost ridiculous.  Sometimes the artistry came from the minor imperfections leading to an unplanned motion to cover a flaw. He downgraded one jump, he stumbled on a landing for another.  But his spin sequences were so close to perfection that he couldn’t help but smile. His step sequence spoke of being in love, the difficulty amazing but his cool motions and confidence left the audience in awe.  He had a greater understanding of that idea than ever before.  I love him.  As he settled in the close of his program, he wondered if the cameras picked up on his smile, wondered if others were curious about the secrets behind his eyes.   Vitya .

 

In the Kiss and Cry, he received his phone back to see a text from his...mate.  Blinking away the overwhelming emotions, he focused on seeking out the one person whose texts meant everything.  What he found was a litany of words detailing out his program. He watched me.   The texts were an exact play of play, Vitya writing in response to every motion on the ice.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Your spins are so beautiful, Yuu-tan!

 

Viktor-bunny/ Hold on...you’ve got this!

 

Viktor-bunny/ Damnit!  I bit my nail off!

 

Viktor-bunny/ Yuu-tan...is that smile for me?

 

And then his scores were posted securing him first place.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Congrats!  And I see you with your phone.  Answer me!!!

 

Yuuri chuckled, a blush hidden behind all of the makeup heating up his face.   Bossy.

 

Yuuri/ Thank you...I needed you with me today.

 

Viktor-bunny/ It was the best I could do.

 

Yuuri/ It means the world to me.  Now...one more skate for you.

 

Yuuri/ You’ve got this.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Thanks.  Watch me!

 

Yuuri/ No one can tear me away.

 

He smirked at that cheesy line.  God, they were a cheese festival.  

 

Viktor-bunny/ I hope the paperwork comes through fast.  I miss you already.

 

Yuuri’s expression softened.  He missed the omega, too. How did one person affect him in such a short amount of time?

 

Yuuri/ Call me once you get home.  We’ll figure out what you need from my end.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I will!

 

Sliding his phone in his pocket, he knew he had press obligations and sponsors to attend to.  The business side of skating quickly pulled his attention. Putting his game face on, he began sorting through the questions at the press conference followed up with requests from a couple of sponsors to attend to before he left Japan.  There was a photoshoot in the morning for Mizuno, an interview with Morooka, and a meeting with his business manager to look over some new endorsement contracts. He worked them all around Viktor’s skate.

 

Soon, we’ll be together soon.

Chapter Text

Papa Don't Preach (or is it, Lilia don't preach)

 

Viktor stepped into the parlour of the St. Petersburg manse to be greeted by Lilia’s eyes surveying him critically.  She inhaled and the dull anger roared within her. “You still smell like him. I trust you used some form of protection.”

 

The omega blushed profusely.  He did just spend the last week rolled up in a blanket with his/their scent infused in it but that was beside the point.  “I, ummm, of course? I mean, I’m on suppressants...and they include birth control.”

 

She clucked in disappointment turning on her impossibly high heeled shoes.  “I don’t want to know what they use for sex education at the academy these days.   Always use a barrier method.  You don’t know where the alpha has been.  If you have sex with him, you’re having sex with every person he’s had sex with…”

 

At this point, Viktor chose to check out.  I can’t believe we’re having this conversation.  He squirmed uncomfortably, peeking over at his coach hoping for intervention but the old man busied himself with going through the mail.  Grimacing he ducked his head and waited for her to finish.

 

“Ummm...Yuuri’s not like that,” he argued.

 

“They are all like that...best to be safe,” she argued.

 

“Can I...go to my room now?” Viktor squirmed.

 

She reluctantly released him with a call for laundry.  “And sort it.”

 

“Yes, Lilia,” Viktor agreed before running up the stairs and disappearing into his room.  

 

She waited for the young man to leave before turning back to Yakov. The tall woman studied him critically.  “So what kind of damage control are we looking at?”

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the alpha dodged.

 

She narrowed her eyes to slits, but still the fire in her pupils burned him from across the room.  “Does he know? About the letter?”

 

Yakov sighed, rubbing his head in irritation.  “He knows. He wants...to go to America. Detroit, to be exact.”

 

“That city is a nightmare!” she declared.  “We can’t let our Vitya go there!”

 

Yakov spread his arms wide, showing her the hopelessness of their position.  “Well, we can’t keep him safe here.”

 

Huffing she turned her head to the side, “First you let him traipse off to Japan and now...the States?  Do you know what it’s like there?”

 

Yakov rose, walking over to her.  He put gentle hands on her arms, hoping to calm her.  “Lilia, do you think his parents would want him locked away from the world?”

 

She refused to make eye contact, knowing she could hold out longer if only she didn’t look at him.  “They wanted him safe. They said as much.”

 

“And...he’s not safe here.  I’ve...already contacted the coach out of Detroit.”  He hoped that hearing Vitya was only changing hands, had a place to land, would help her.

 

“He’s going to be with that alpha ,” she pointed out with distaste.

 

Yakov sighed, “He is...and there is nothing we can do about it.  He’s a good boy, they are good together. His coach speaks so well of the young man.  He works with the younger skaters at their rink, and you know how strict they are in the States when working with children.”

 

He watched as her lips twitched, a sign that she was considering his words.  “They trusted him to us,” she insisted.

 

Yakov sighed, choosing his words carefully.  “We can guide his decisions but in the end, he’s an adult.”

 

Her eyes slowly moved back to his face, then widened, “Yakov!  You probably encouraged him to go to the States!”

 

The old coach huffed.  When she was like this, there was no reasoning with her.  “Would you have him locked away in a tower forever? He wants to go to college...like his parents.”

 

“We have universities here,” she argued.

 

“And someone would have to shadow him around campus.  He would never stand for that, being hedged in constantly.  When he was in Japan, he...was happier, freer. Maybe...if he is less afraid, he’ll stay...in the present more.”

 

He could see her wavering in her stance, albeit reluctantly.  “What if he needs us?”

 

“I’m sure Katsuki’s parents asked themselves the same question.”

 

She scoffed but didn’t shake off his hands, “Bah!  He’s an alpha!”

 

“And they are still his parents.  Viktor isn’t weaker because he’s an omega.”  He stepped closer and reached out to trail a finger down her chin.  “No one would make the mistake of thinking of you as weak.”

 

“Not twice,” she spat.  Her expression settled into a frown, her eyes going up the stairs and he knew she was hurting.  “He’s...our baby. Out of all of them, we’ve had to watch over him, protect him more.”

 

“And it’s time for him to find his own feet.  Celestino has an excellent reputation. I’ve checked Katsuki out.  He’s got his struggles but everyone says he’s unfailingly kind. This is what Vasilisa would have wanted for her son.  This is what Andrei would have wanted.”

 

She rested a head on his shoulder, letting him run a hand up her back, “He’s so young…”

 

“He is...but he’s lived a lifetime of experiences.”  Yakov started rocking back and forth, knowing how hard it was for his omega mate to let go of those she loved.

 

“But...last time he went out on his own, he lost so much...what if…”

 

“I’ve talked to his coach about it but they’d already noticed a lot of Vitya’s struggles during his stay in Japan.  Trust me when I say that boy isn’t going to let Vitya go hungry. I like him, if he were here I would have him in the rink working for us.”

 

Lilia sighed in defeat, “You’re not going to back me up on this, are you?”

 

Yakov shook his head slowly, his expression grim but firm.  He wanted Viktor safe...and if that meant America, so be it.  “I don’t want him to disappear.”

 

She thinned her lips stubbornly.  “He’d better stay in touch.”

 

“I heard from him several times a day while in Japan and his coach sent video daily.  That will continue.”

 

She huffed.  “He contacted you , not me.”

 

“I contacted him first ,” Yakov pointed out.  “The phone does work both ways.”

 

She walked off grumbling and Yakov rolled his eyes, disappearing into his office.  He had too much paperwork to fill out in order to make sure Viktor was safe.

 




Upstairs, Viktor stared out the window.  “My life is going to change, Makka...I’m both excited and scared.”

 

The poodle boofed in reply, rearing up on the window sill to look out.  The window looked to the north, toward the wood. Closing his eyes, Viktor could hear the chatter in the background of his mind.  They picked up once Viktor sensed the danger he was in but it was worse in St. Petersburg. Come to the wood.  It’s safe in the wood.  We can keep you safe.

 

He pushed away from the window and stretched out across the bed.  “Papa? Is this how it was for you?” The question hung in the air, Viktor’s fingers tangled into his hair.  His eyes fluttered before he slipped away into an exhausted sleep.

 

Two hours later, his phone vibrated.  Makkachin huffed, licking Viktor’s hand and across the face of the phone but his master turned on his side and continued to sleep.  The poodle circled before settling back down, letting Viktor sleep.

 

Morning arrived in darkness, and Viktor shifted as the house started to come to life, the murmurs of conversation from the other occupants.  He stretched, reaching for his phone and frowning as he discovered smudges that looked suspiciously like dog saliva. He glared at Makka before wiping it clean on his shirt.  Checking notifications, he saw he missed a call from his Yuuri. His eyes widened.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Are you awake?

 

During the delay, he rolled over, digging under the covers for his lost socks.  Crawling out of bed, he studied his reflection. His hair stuck out and Viktor frowned at the rats’ nest that formed where his hair met the pillow.  “This is what I get for not braiding.”

 

He frowned at the still silent phone before trouncing off to take a shower.  He turned on the water to warm up before slowly drawing off his clothes. Hugging himself, he frowned at the slow realization of Yuuri’s scent weakening.  I need...to go to Detroit.  I need my Yuuri.  He felt unsettled and unhappy.

 

Stepping into the shower, he swallowed, forcing his thoughts into the routine.  If I stay too long, it’s hard on the skin, hard on the hair.  Keep focused and get the job done. He continued the dialogue in his head, listing each routine he followed as he worked through his self care.   Yuuri’s going to think I’m weird if he knows I do this.   He stepped out of the shower, wrapping himself in a towel.  He started when Makka padded into the room, phone between his teeth.  It took a moment for Viktor to realize it was ringing.

 

“Oh!  Yuuri!”  He answered and then stood shocked, realizing it was a Facetime call...and Viktor was not exactly dressed.  “Ummm, Yuuri?”

 

The brown eyes were both fixed on the image and trying to allow the younger man his modesty.  “My timing is a bit off, it seems,” he observed.

 

Viktor ripened into a deep red, covering his face with his hand.  “Makka brought me the phone. I answered...and it was Facetime.”

 

Yuuri’s embarrassment abated in the face of his loneliness for the omega.  “I just...needed to see you. Are you okay?”

 

“I’m...well, okay, but not great.”

 

“Same here.”  Yuuri then turned the phone around the room.  “So...this is my room in Detroit.”

 

“Oh...it’s...small, but not as small as in Japan,” Viktor determined.

 

Yuuri’s voice came from behind as the phone surveyed the room, “The bed is bigger.  A queen.”

 

“Good...Makka sleeps with me.”  His mouth then fell opened before covering his face once more.  “I’m sorry, Yuuri...I’m just assuming.”

 

“Viktor…”  Yuuri came back into the view.  He waited and when the omega didn’t respond, he changed his tone, murmuring, “Vitya.”

 

Viktor peered between fingers V’ed over his eyes.  “I just...we’ve already been sleeping together.”

 

Yuuri sighed, an indulgent smile settling on his lips.  “Is that what you want? I mean, we have a third room but it’s sort of taken over by Phichit and my obsession with computers.”

 

Viktor considered the possibility of space, “So...it’s a study?”

 

Yuuri smirked, the room was less of a study and more of a game room.  “Something like that.”

 

“I want...to sleep with you,” Viktor hissed, before hiding again.  A warm chuckle answered his response and he peeked out again. “Is that okay?”

 

Yuuri nodded.  “More than okay.  Now...are you safe?”

 

Sober now, Viktor straightened and looked around the bathroom, considering his situation.  “For now. In the letter they said next time they wouldn’t send hired hands. They were the ones that tried to grab me in Sochi, Yuuri!”

 

Yuuri frowned into the phone, “Stay calm...remember, you’re safe now.  I’m sure Yakov has something in place to keep you that way.”

 

Viktor pouted.  “Basically, house arrest.  I can’t go anywhere but home and to the rink...and that’s only with Yakov at my side.”

 

Yuuri had to admit he liked the sound of that plan, even if his boyfriend hated it.  “Can you hold on a little while longer?”

 

Viktor nodded.  “I can.” He shifted uncomfortably, his eyes drifting towards the window no longer fogged up from the shower.  “Yuuri?”

 

“Yes, sweetheart?”

 

Viktor blushed at the endearment, stilling a moment, losing focus until he felt a tongue on his hand.  Glancing down at Makkachin, he remembered what he was going to ask. “They are louder now...or maybe, I’m not as used to them after being in Hasetsu.”

 

Yuuri sat still but Viktor could tell he was thinking.  “But you said you saw Mom’s...well, whatever they are.”

 

“We call them others.  And yes...I saw them...they belong to that space.  They talked to her...I could hear them and see them, but I wasn’t the focus.  These talk to me.”

 

“Will they...lessen if you are here?”

 

Viktor considered what he dealt with in Japan before nodding.  “Lessen but not totally go away. I’ll hear...echoes of their existence?”

 

Yuuri didn’t push his words aside but instead made the only suggestion he knew to make.  “I can’t imagine trying to focus with a litany of voices in my head. Between my alpha and the negative anxiety talk, it’s enough to keep me on edge.  Maybe...talk to Mom.”

 

Viktor’s eyes dropped from the phone. He had only just got Hiroko to like him, he didn’t want to risk that.  “She doesn’t like to talk about them.”

 

Yuuri knew the younger man was hesitant, but he also knew that there was only one person they knew that could help.  “She will...if she’s in private. Send her a message and ask her a good time to talk. Then it’s up to her.”

 

Viktor nodded, appreciating that Yuuri took him seriously.  “Thank you, Yuuri.”

 

“I didn’t do much,” he argued, running his hand over the back of his neck.

 

“You pointed me the right direction.”

 

He then heard his coach call his name.  “I’ve got to go, Yuu-ch...Yuu-tan.” He was gifted with the view of Yuuri, bashful and blushing, his chin dropping at the familiarity.  “I’ll see you soon.”

 

“Soon,” Yuuri echoed and then the call disconnected.

 




The next few days drove home how restricted his life had become to Viktor.  After tasting freedom, he fought hard to not rebel, knowing it would worry Yakov and Lilia, all of his rinkmates, and most importantly, Yuuri.  He also wanted to make sure he gave Lilia nothing to complain about as he was afraid of her following him to Detroit. The last thing he needed was her having the sex-talk with Yuuri.  Sliding into the persona of ice prince, he focused on press obligations, paperwork, practice, and preparing for exams. He knew he was distant, but he felt himself more grounded, more present.  He focused on getting out of St. Petersburg and back to Yuuri...back to his mate.

 

In the safety of home, he messaged Yuuri, Mari, and Hiroko.  The constant chorus of voices in the back of his head tormented his sleep and he felt exhausted.  Turning over, he pulled out his phone and texted Yuuri’s mother.

 

Viktor-bunny/ They won’t be quiet.

 

Mama-chan/ That’s how the others were when you were here.  Maybe because you’ve been away.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Is it better now?

 

Mama-chan/ Yes, they’ve settled down.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I just need to get to Detroit.  It will be easier there.

 

Mama-chan/ For awhile...but someday you will have to face them.  They are not demons.

 

Viktor-bunny/ No, but they won’t leave me alone.  I just want it to be quiet.

 

Mama-chan/ Tell them.  What could it hurt?

 

Viktor blinked at those words.   Could it be that simple?   Closing his eyes tight and fisting his hands, he said in frustration, “Just be quiet!  I need to sleep!”

 

The voices buzzed in confusion and then they settled into a sort of hum in the background.  Wrapping around Makkachin, he rubbed his cheek into the poodle’s fur. With a soft sigh, he drifted off to sleep.

 




Viktor stared at the documents in his hands.  A temporary visa that would be followed by a visa allowing him to work with Coach Celestino and take classes at Wayne University.  Yuuri had helped him figure out what he needed. Yakov pulled strings to expedite the process, convincing the FFKK that Viktor was working on improving his step sequences under the tutelage of Japan’s Ace.  It wasn’t a total lie. He’d have to renew it in a year but he could use his time at Nationals to take care of the process.

 

Packing up his room, he looked around at the boxes and clothes.  Yakov would ship them off after Viktor was safely on a plane headed to Detroit.  He was nervous and excited, his hands flapping in jitters. A buzz on his phone brought his attention to the present.

 

Mari-neechan/ Hey, squirt!  Baby brother said you’re leaving soon for Detroit.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Yes.  My visa finally came through.

 

Mari-neechan/ Don’t let him bully you.

 

Viktor smirked at that.  Yuuri wouldn’t bully a fly.

 

Viktor-bunny/ Don’t worry.  I can handle myself.

 

Mari-neechan/ Sure you can, squirt!  But seriously, my brother can get stuck in his head and when he does, he can be an ass.  If you need me to jerk him back in line, let me know.

 

He smiled at the thought of a secret weapon.

 

Viktor-bunny/ I will.  Thanks.

 


 

 

Viktor stood ready to board the plane, his goodbyes already said.  He stared out the window watching his best friend get rolled out with luggage to go into the cargo-hold.  The poodle would sleep through the trip, his vet assured him. At their new home, he’d have a playmate.

 

Boarding the plane, he rubbed his hands together with trepidation.  It was a new start and he was both scared and excited. I’m coming home, Yuu-chan...my Yuu-tan.

Chapter Text

  Wayfaring Stranger

 

Yuuri stared out the window impatiently, large drops of rain falling from a heavy gray sky.  Phichit peaked over his laptop monitor as he watched his friend tap his feet and tug at his sleeves, now frayed and worn from worry.  Scratching at the side of his face, the redness of another angry bout of hives made their appearance.

 

Phichit set his computer aside and approached his friend, pulling his hand away from the damaged skin.  “Come here. Let’s see if we can fix this.”

 

Yuuri murmured an apology, “It’s just...I’ve been waiting for him for so long.”

 

His friend smiled and nodded slowly, “You’ve been apart two weeks.”

 

Yuuri shook his head.  How could he explain what it felt like to find the missing piece of his life?  Especially without using words like soulmates .  But Viktor was his mate and already very much a part of him.  And Yuuri missed his presence, his touch, and the calming touch the omega had on him.

 

“It feels like a lifetime and then I only received a taste before he was taken away again.”

 

Cocoa whined, bumping into his leg forcing Yuuri to kneel down and tend to her.  Refocusing on the dog’s needs took his mind off of his own. “What’s wrong, girl?  Do you need to go outside? Maybe a little walk before I go to the airport? Viktor is bringing his dog Makkachin.  You’ll have a new friend. You’d like that, won’t you?”

 

The chocolate brown poodle bounced around excitedly and Yuuri found his smile.  Leading the dog to the door, he reached for the leash and hooked her up. “I’ll be back soon.”

 

“No worries.”  Phichit held up his phone, “Just playing with Chris in Perfect World.”

 

“What character did he decide on?”  Yuuri shuffled his feet into shoes at the door, smiling as he thought of Chris in an on-line game.

 

“Cleric.  Could be a useful connection.  I’m just helping him get leveled up.”

 

“Well, you kids have fun!” He waved and caught Phichit’s eye roll.  However, he turned before revealing his own smirk. Nice move, Chris.

 

Outside, he let Cocoa have some slack, following her down the familiar trail.  He had time. Waiting felt like an eternity but he knew his boyfriend would be there soon.  The alpha and dog skirted around a familiar bush and he looked around as Cocoa found a place to squat.  Once she was satisfied, they continued their walk. Soon they will have another dog joining them on this trail.  And...Vitya.

 




Viktor shifted impatiently in his seat high up in the air.  The flight attendant handed him his cup of tea and asked if he was okay.  The omega squeezed his shoulder together and smiled. “I’m just excited. I haven’t seen my boyfriend in two weeks.”

 

Her dark eyes sparkled, “Two weeks?  Where have you been?”

 

“With family tying up loose ends.  I’m going to attend university and he’s waiting on me to join him.”

 

“How very exciting...and adventurous.  Attending university in another country.”  She rested her arm on the back of the seat ahead of Viktor.  “Is your boyfriend American?”

 

Viktor giggled and shook his head.  “Japanese. But I met him in Russia.  Then spent time with him in Japan. But it’s time to return to school.”

 

“Well, I’m glad for you.  Now, if you need anything, just let me know.”

 

He watched her walk down the narrow aisle, pleasantly chatting with the others on the long flight.  Taking a sip of his tea, properly jammed, he imagined Yuuri’s nose scrunching up in response. “Thank you,” he whispered, although she was already out of reach.  He was surprised when she glanced back and smiled. Good flight attendant.

 




Yuuri stood impatiently in the McNamara Terminal of the Wayne County Airport.  He had Cocoa on hand, her service vest in place and her working stance keeping her watchful of her person.  The AirFrance flight from St. Petersburg to Detroit had only a short layover in Paris, but he knew Viktor would be exhausted.  Fifteen plus hours. Even first class would seem small.

 

He then heard the announcement for his mate’s flight and drew up short. Cocoa heeled next to him sitting pretty and alert.  A little girl approached and Yuuri watched the mother admonish her gently, explaining that the dog was working and couldn’t play right now.

 

“Can I pet it?” she whined.

 

She shook her head.  “Not while working.”

 

Yuuri smiled her direction appreciatively, seldom in the States would people respect his dog’s service animal status and it was reassuring each time he met an understanding person.  Cocoa would have allowed it but she knew what the vest meant. She was on duty, alert.

 

It took over half an hour for the plane to taxi into place and disembark.  Yuuri shifted back and forth, waiting impatiently. He needed his Viktor.

 

And then he was there, blue eyes finding him and a heart-shaped smile pushing away the exhaustion in the omega’s expression as they ran towards one another.  They touched one another’s faces and as Viktor’s fingers trailed through the makeup covering the blemishes formed by the hives, he murmured, “Rough day?”

 

“Always, when I’m away from you,” Yuuri breathed as he sought Viktor’s scent, feeling Viktor’s answering nuzzle.  They remained like that for some time until Cocoa barked in protest. Yuuri laughed, leading his mate down. “This is Cocoa.”

 

Viktor reached out to introduce himself.  “Hello, little lady. Makka is going to love you.”  She barked in response and Viktor giggled, pleased. “Let’s go find my things and rescue my Makka.”

 

Viktor led him through the airport, something he apparently had researched ahead of time and figured out where to claim his baggage and dog.  It took some time but they made it through customs and Yuuri called Phichit to pull up the SUV.

 

Yuuri saw Viktor eye the enormous car with the PTA bumper stickers and quickly explained.  “We borrowed Coach’s soccer mom van so we had plenty of room. Phichit and I share a smaller SUV.”

 

Viktor shrugged nervously.  “I can’t drive,” he confessed with a blush.

 

Yuuri squeezed Viktor’s hand reassuringly.  “It’s okay. I didn’t learn until I came here.”

 

The omega shook his head.  “No, Yuuri...I can’t drive,” he reiterated, stressing the can’t.  “I drift too much. It’s not safe.”

 

Yuuri nodded, finally understanding, Viktor reaffirming his tendency to dissociate.  “No problem...I’ll take care of you and show you other ways to get around. But most of our daily tasks are a walk or a bike ride apart.”

 

Viktor sighed in relief.  And then Phichit drove up beside them and they were caught up in the chaos of loading the van with Viktor’s belongings, two dogs, and the people.  Phichit relinquished driving privilege and settled back with the dogs so that Viktor could ride next to his mate. Yuuri carefully maneuvered into traffic.

 

“Oh, you’re a good driver,” Viktor cooed.

 

Yuuri rolled his eyes.  “Well, anyone is compared to Phichit.”

 

“I learned from the best!” the Thai skater argued.

 

“Grand Theft Auto is not a drivers’ ed program,” Yuuri quipped back.

 

Phichit sucked his teeth in playful annoyance.  “You’re no fun, Mr. Sensible.”

 

Viktor watched the interplay between roommates with interest.  “Maybe I’ll try Phichit’s program.”

 

“Oh lord have mercy on us all,” Yuuri groaned.  

 




Arriving at the apartment, the van was surrounded by several of Yuuri and Phichit’s friends, who helped carry everything inside.  “This building is full of foreign students,” Yuuri explained. “We are here from all different backgrounds and we tend to take care of each other.”  He then introduced Viktor to several and the Russian tried to keep track but he felt his exhaustion setting in and quite overwhelmed, offering tired smiles of “thanks”.

 

In the apartment, Viktor smiled at the older architecture fitted with new appliances and fixtures giving it a quaint feel.  Three bedrooms shared two bathrooms. Yuuri showed Viktor their bathroom and the omega started unloading his carryon bag, setting the taps for a warm shower.

 

Once all cozy in his pajamas, he found the room he’d share with Yuuri.  The alpha was making room for Viktor.

 

“Sorry,” he apologized.  “I thought I was ready for you but I failed to open enough space.  We store our costumes in the third bedroom closet but keep the rest in our spaces.”

 

Viktor shook his head.  “I probably brought too much.  And there are boxes being shipped.”  He started wringing his hands in tired distress.

 

Yuuri left his task and gathered the omega in his arms.  Smoothing his hair, he murmured reassurances. “It’s fine.  We’ll figure it out. For now, you need to rest.”

 

Viktor eyed the bed feeling foreign and lost.  “Will you...will...you lay down with me?”

 

Yuuri smiled indulgently.  “Of course. Let me take a quick shower and I’ll join you.”

 




In Yuuri’s absence, Viktor began building a rough nest, needing a secure place to ground himself.  He tucked in familiar items he had brought from home, blankets that he loved, and wove in Yuuri’s scent using the sheets.  He then climbed in, calling Makka to join him, the light-colored poodle being chased after by a dark. Makka picked his way into the nest, familiar with Viktor’s habits.  Cocoa however paced back and forth, sniffing the unfamiliar structure until Viktor leaned over and lifted the poodle into the space. The lithe omega curled up with Makka and soon found Cocoa making her own space in the nest.  It was a lot for the queen size bed but Viktor felt calmer being surrounded by the warm fluff of the two dogs.

 

Yuuri entered the room and stopped short, seeing the nest, analyzing space and knowing it wouldn’t support all of them.  “Hey, sweetheart, you okay?” he began softly.

 

Viktor nodded an affirmative but his whine told a different story.

 

“Do you want me in your nest?” he prodded gently.

 

A more insistent nod answered along with a hand reaching for him.

 

Yuuri nodded in acceptance and then gave a firm command for Cocoa to leave the bed.  The brown poodle barked in answer before jumping over the nest wall. The alpha knelt down to scratch her head, murmuring his thanks for watching over his mate.  Then he added, “Go to Phichit.” Another answering bark and she ran off down the hall.  

 

Looking up at his mate, he offered a smile.  “I didn’t want to make her feel as if she did something wrong,” he explained.  “It’s just that...the bed’s too small to accommodate everyone.”

 

Viktor’s eyes widened and he then looked around, taking in the space.  He had to choose. With a sigh, he urged Makka, “Go play with Cocoa.”

 

The champagne poodle was more reluctant to leave but finally exited with a huff, throwing a glance at Yuuri over his shoulder, sniffing as he exited.  Viktor giggled. “He’s not used to being second.”

 

“Sorry,” Yuuri apologized.  “We’ll look for a better solution.”

 

Viktor huffed at that, reaching for him.  “Yuuri, come here.”

 

The alpha was careful of the walls as he made his way into the nest only to be pulled into Viktor’s arms, lips demanding and claiming a kiss.

 

As they parted, Viktor murmured from where he was settled against Yuuri’s scent gland, “I missed you.”

 

“I missed you, too,” the alpha whispered.  “It was as if I left a part of me behind at that airport. I haven’t felt quite right since that day.”

 

“I feel the same.  I’ve been lost without you.”  He pulled back, looking into Yuuri’s eyes.

 

Yuuri sighed, smoothing his hair and resettling Viktor into an embrace.  “ I want to do so much to reassure you that you’re mine, to assure myself that you’re here.  But the sensible part of me says you need to rest.”

 

Viktor ran his fingers along Yuuri’s jaw.  “I’m not going anywhere.”

 

The omega’s eyes fluttered shut, settling into the turn of Yuuri’s neck.  Yuuri quietly scented him, his wrist sliding under the omega’s sleep shirt, sliding up and down his back until he heard the contented rumble of Viktor’s purr.  Yuuri sighed, a smile on his lips and he felt himself slip into the first restful sleep since they separated.

 




Yuuri slowly came back to consciousness deep in the night.  It was dark in their small room, and would normally have been chilly for the man from Southern Japan, however there was a warmth growing in the body beside him.  The younger man writhed in his sleep, tugging Yuuri back to reality. His Vitya moved restlessly against his body in his sleep, needy and aroused. A whine stuck in the back of the Russian’s throat, and Yuuri could see the slight sheen of sweat on his alabaster brow.  “Please,” he whimpered.

 

Resolve melted away, had his alpha been present he would have growled in delight at such a pretty feast presented to him.  But instead of seeing the sparkle of sapphire eyes, glowing with lust Yuuri plainly saw that those eyes were closed. Yuuri would happily, greedily give him pretty much anything he asked for...but only if the younger man was aware of the asking.  Fighting down his own arousal, he reached up and smoothed a hand through his mate’s hair. “Vitya,” he said, his voice soft but firm.

 

“Yuuuriii,” the other whined.  The body moved in, the erection of the omega very obvious, and Yuuri could feel the pain in it.

 

“I need you to look at me, sweetheart.”  He put a firm hand on the shoulder, hoping to pull the younger man to consciousness before it went further.  “I need to know you’re awake and can consent.”

 

Viktor’s eyes appeared heavy as they blinked, slowly opening up to take Yuuri in.  “Yuuriii,” he breathed as if he just realized this wasn’t a dream. He reached up and touched his cheek, seeking to reassure himself that they were together again, that the painful separation had finally ended.  “You’re here.”

 

Yuuri smiled softly.  “Yes, sweetheart, I’m here.”

 

The omega blinked away the sleep in his eyes, his smile remaining soft.  “I need…” He faded off, his cheeks dusting pink.

 

“What do you need?  I am yours to command,” he offered, cradling Viktor in his embrace.  He lowered himself to rub his lips against the omega’s temple.

 

Viktor sighed at the contact, a soft smile on his lips as he worked out his words.  “Will you...I need to feel you...in me.”

 

Yuuri chuckled, it was deep in his chest and he felt Viktor sink deeper into him.  “Are you asking me to fuck you?”

 

Viktor’s body clenched and his breath hitched.  Yuuri pulled back to the younger man over. The man in his arms made a face at the crude choice of words but Yuuri wanted to be sure that was what he wanted coming from a sleepy state.  He’d learned first hand and through Yakov’s communication with both him and Celestino that his omega dissociates. The words cut through the chase and made it clear, forcing a response from Viktor.

 

“Sex...yes...that’s what I want.”  He reached out and touched Yuuri’s cheek.  The omega rolled onto his back and reached for Yuuri.  “I want to feel you in me.”

 

Yuuri chuckled, leaning over the omega to kiss his forehead, his nose, his chin, dropping little phrases in between.  “Don’t worry, my Vitya...I’ll take care of you.” Those blue eyes fluttered in surrender as Yuuri found his lips, tenderly urging them open.

 

Viktor’s fingers played with the hem of Yuuri’s shirt, pushing it up but then he pulled it back down, nervous fingers scrunching into the fabric.  Yuuri pulled back allowing the omega to free him from the shirt, before leaning forward to resume their kiss. Viktor massaged into the skin of Yuuri’s back, his fingers working their way up to Yuuri’s strong shoulders.  “Yuuri,” he breathed as the alpha broke the kiss. “I want...I need…”

 

Yuuri waited, letting Viktor collect himself, a patient smile on his lips.

 

“Can we…”  He closed his eyes, huffing in frustration.  “I want the rest of our clothes off.”

 

“So impatient,” he teased.

 

Viktor whined softly in frustration.  “It’s just that...I need to feel your skin against mine.”

 

Yuuri nodded, pulling back.  Giving Viktor room to maneuver and undress, he slipped out of his own pants and underwear.  Watching his mate undress solidified how cognizant Viktor was for consent. The body moved with a quick determination, there were no hesitations in his actions, and his eyes spoke of the real desire he felt.  Those clothes out of the way, the omega climbed into his lap. Yuuri’s hand slid down the younger man’s back. “Do you want to do it this way?”

 

“In your lap?” Viktor asked, curiosity wrinkling that lightly freckled nose.

 

Yuuri was actually grateful his alpha were not present for this, afraid that he would simply eat the innocent omega up at the moment.  He knew should feel guilty for every plan he formed for debauching the precious man’s soul, but he would, over time, claim this omega as his in every way imaginable...and then go looking for more ways.  Slipping a hand behind his lover, he began teasing open Viktor’s hole. The omega gasped at the touch, but quickly moved back into it looking for more. Viktor eyes fluttered as he began bouncing against that touch, grinding down as he seated himself.  Yuuri watched the scene, licking his lips in delight as the little omega started to come undone on just his fingers. “Someone is needy,” Yuuri teased.

 

Viktor was already slipping into a blissed state.  “Need you…”

 

Once satisfied Viktor could accommodate him, he reached for a condom, tearing the package open with his teeth and rolling it on.  “Let me guide you this time,” Yuuri suggested, waiting for Viktor’s nod before continuing. He used his hands to urge the omega in place, lining his cock up with that slick hole.  “Slowly,” Yuuri urged. “Take only as much in as you can handle and let your body adjust.”

 

Viktor’s face took on an expression of concentration, his lips frowning, his focus narrowing, as he eased over the head.  Then that body stilled, Viktor panting as he breathed through the stretch, before easing down a little further. “You’re...so much.”

 

Yuuri smirked, releasing his hold on one hip to slide up and down his back in a massaging motion.  “No...but you’re not used to me.”

 

“It gets easier?”

 

Yuuri could feel Viktor twitching around him as his body relaxed slowly to the intrusion.  “Your body learns how to work with mine and vice versa. I’m really...average for an alpha.”

 

“Oh,” Viktor responded.  Then morbid curiosity stepped in.  “How...do you know?”

 

Yuuri flicked his eyes up to meet his eyes, gritting his teeth as he focused on the tightness squeezing its way down his length.  “I may have only had casual partners, but I don’t kiss and tell. Especially during sex.”

 

Viktor considered those words.  “Oh,” he murmured, growing quiet, withdrawing and disconnecting.

 

Oh no.  Yuuri sighed, sliding his hand back to Viktor’s hip and giving a small pinch.  “Sweetheart,” he called out softly.

 

Viktor sighed, focusing on Yuuri and the alpha could see the hurt.  He opened his mouth twice and closed it before finally admitting, “I knew you had other partners but...I don’t think I thought of them like that.”

 

“Like what?” Yuuri asked carefully.

 

Viktor huffed.  “Inside you.”

 

“Vitya,” Yuuri began.

 

Viktor shook his head.  “It’s fine. Really. I just don’t share too well.”

 

I had suspected as much.  Only child syndrome.   He could see the lie on the omega’s little face.  “Since we met you know there’s been no one.”

 

Viktor nodded, letting his body sink the rest of the way down on Yuuri.  “I-I’m sorry,” he finally murmured. “I don’t know why that upset me.”

 

Yuuri held himself still, hands resting on the omega’s hips.  “It’s okay, Vitya. Just know we all have a past. And...I may have had other partners but...you’re the only one I’ve loved.”

 

Viktor sniffed, rubbing his eyes and Yuuri could see how overwhelmed he was.  He continued to hold still, waiting for the omega to settle. Finally, Viktor nodded, leaning forward to nuzzle into Yuuri’s scent before he rose up enough to kiss him, slowly exploring those lips.  As they parted, Viktor whispered, his breath close enough for Yuuri to taste, “I’m sorry. I’m ready now if...if you still want...me.”

 

Yuuri reached up to smooth away any remaining tears.  “Always want you,” he answered softly.

 

Viktor exhaled a shaky breath of relief.  “I...was afraid I spoiled this.”  

 

In answer, Yuuri ground his hips upward breathing in Viktor’s gasp.  “Nothing is spoiled. I only wanted to give you the time you needed.”

 

The omega nodded, placing his hands on Yuuri’s shoulders as he pushed up, fingers smoothing over those biceps.  “My Yuuri is strong.”

 

Yuuri blushed but returned the action.  “My Vitya is as well...I just don’t think he realizes it yet.”

 

Viktor pinked up prettily.  “Yuuuuriii,” he cried out softly.  Rising up in his excitement, he felt the pull of Yuuri’s length inside him.  His eyes widened. “Oh.”

 

Yuuri nodded, his hands guiding him back down.  “Start slow, baby, until you find your rhythm and your favorite position.”

 

Viktor blushed at the nickname, but thought of the man underneath him, “What about you?”

 

Yuuri leaned back into the pillows, making himself very comfortable.  “Don’t worry. I’m going to like pretty much anything you do. Just keep me inside.  I can make small adjustments as needed.” Yuuri then tapped Viktor’s hip to get him moving again.

 

Viktor focused inwardly as he adjusted in the rise and falls.  It all felt good. Viktor could feel his body opening to Yuuri, not just accepting the alpha in but pulling him towards something.  He had just found his rhythm when the very tip of Yuuri brushed against something deep within him and fireworks went off. His eyes widened as every nerve in his body sprung to life and rejoiced.  . “Oh god!”

 

“Prostate,” Yuuri grunted.

 

Viktor nodded, and licking his lips began a dance on the alpha’s lap, learning to tighten his muscles around Yuuri, smirking at the groan that came unbidden from his lips.  At some point, he added a twist, “Is this okay?”

 

Yuuri’s eyes bulged.  “Oh god yes!” he responded, his hips answering the omega’s movements with a twist of his own.

 

“Oh,” Viktor answered, his eyes widened.  “I really like that.”

 

Yuuri chuckled but he could feel his building orgasm.  “I’m getting close, Vitya.”

 

The omega blinked before answering with a nod.  He reached down to start stroking himself but he was struggling with the multitask, sex being so new to him.  Yuuri slid his hand over Viktor’s and felt the omega let go and focusing on the rhythm of his hips.

 

“I might need to work on that in choreography,” Viktor quipped.

 

“Don’t you dare, nobody gets to see you this blissed out but me.”  Yuuri felt an echo of his alpha from some hollow space within him but nothing more.

 

He saw Viktor’s eyes sparkle with a little possessiveness, “And that goes for me, too.”

 

Yuuri snorted but then he gasped, “I can’t hold back much longer.”

 

“I’m close, my Yuuri.  Just give me a little bit longer.”

 

Yuuri groaned, his jaw tightening as he focused on not spilling into his omega.  Then he heard Viktor’s breath hitch, “Yuuri?” before Viktor’s warmth spasmed out,  Viktor’s body jerked and Yuuri could feel the orgasm all down his own length. Unable to hold back any longer, he released hard into his lover, filling him and hoping that condom would hold.

 

Viktor remained still for a moment then shivered violently.  Yuuri caught him as he came down, dropping from the high of the orgasm hard and needing the closeness of his Yuuri.

 

The alpha continued to sooth and pet Viktor, the omega curling into his scent and breathing Yuuri in.  Finally, the shaking subsided and Viktor sighed contentedly.

 

Yuuri rolled them over, easing the rest of the way out of Viktor.  He heard a cry of protest from his lover which Yuuri kissed away. 

 

“Let me get something to clean us up.”  He slipped away, moving towards the bathroom.  Dropping the condom into the trash, he reached for a washcloth, warming the water before cleaning the residue of their lovemaking from his body.

 

When he returned to his lover with a clean cloth, he found Viktor curled up.  He carefully unfurled the sleepy omega and wiped him down with the warm cloth.  Viktor managed to koala himself to Yuuri in the process, purring contentedly, leaving Yuuri no other option but to toss the used rag into the clothes pile in the corner.  

 

Lying back, he smoothed Viktor’s hair the best he could.  It would be a mess come morning. For now, he basked in Viktor’s purrs.

Chapter Text


 

Ch. 13:  Somewhere Only We Know

 

Yuuri woke up feeling more together than he had since they separated, the itchy fog lifting.  He still felt the lack of his alpha’s voice but a realization settled in on him. Hearing his alpha was a rarity and he didn’t know anyone else who could say that they had that sort of interaction with their alpha.  At the moment, he was experiencing ordinary , something he hadn’t really explored.  Ordinary was unfamiliar but it wasn’t impossible.  Everyone walked through life in this silence. The quiet unsettled him but then Viktor moved in and settled into that space, filling his world with a new presence and he felt himself growing to accommodate the omega.  He didn’t know what to think of that. It wasn’t unsettling. It was...comfortable, home. Overnight, Viktor had chosen him, made his home in Yuuri’s world, filled his thoughts, wormed his way into his life...and Yuuri was...happy.

 

Viktor slept, a tangle of hair, legs, and arms snoring quietly, wrapped around Yuuri.  Sweet .  Perhaps that was what led to Yuuri’s favorite endearment for Viktor.  Sweetheart .  The older man smoothed the tangles away from that pale face.  So many call you the ice prince.  They don’t see the warmth that burns within you.  How you’ve wore the ice like a shield for so long.  I just want you to feel free.

 

The alpha shifted, his arm holding Viktor now still and asleep.  He eased out of Viktor’s hold and slowly disentangled himself from the omega, watching a little pout form in his sleep.  Yuuri shook his head, a quiet huff of laughter in his chest. He stepped carefully from the nest and found Makka curled up in the corner glaring at him reproachfully.   I need a bigger bed.  He clicked his tongue and motioned towards the bed.  The poodle didn’t wait for him to change his mind, finding a lower side Yuuri suspected Viktor constructed with the dogs in mind, he scrambled inside, settling in reach of the omega.  Viktor didn’t take long to rearrange himself in his sleep, sighing as he settled curled up around the dog. Definitely need a bigger bed.

 

Yuuri made his way into the bathroom and took in the space now that his mate had spread out beauty products across the counter.  And an organization system , Yuuri added to the mental list starting to form.  He wanted his mate to be comfortable and happy. Crowded and fighting for space would not create that outcome.  Pulling a towel from the cabinet, he hung it on the rack and stepped into the shower.

 

As Yuuri soaped his hair, it dawned on him that the itching had subsided.  The magic known as Viktor seemed to have wiped away a number of his external signs of anxiety.  He knew that he’d still have bad days but with Viktor, they felt like hills rather than mountains.  You are already under my skin.

 

He stepped out of the shower and dried off, stepping into the bedroom to grab a pair of running pants and t-shirt.  Combing his hair, brushing his teeth, he checked his image to decide if he could ignore his beard. With a sigh, he pulled the blade out and prepared for a thorough shave.

 

Groomed and ready to face the world, he slipped out of the room, closing it on the sleeping omega.  He found his roommate Phichit sitting cross-legged on the couch. “I didn’t expect to see you so early.”

 

“I went to bed early,” Yuuri argued.

 

“Yeah, but you were also up late vibrating the walls.”

 

Yuuri winced.  “Were we really that loud?”

 

Phichit leveled a stare at him.  “Not quite as thin as Japan but still…”

 

Blushing furiously, the alpha mumbled an apology.  “It’s...been awhile.”

 

“Mmmhmmm...a whole two weeks.  However did you survive so long?”

 

“Peach!”

 

The omega winked.  “Really, I only heard you when I got up for a glass of juice in the middle of the night.  In my room, nothing. You’re good.”

 

The alpha sighed with release.  “Why are we friends?”

 

Phichit shrugged, his eyes laughing.  “I’m hard to resist.”

 

Yuuri groaned as he turned to the kitchen and began putting together a makeshift breakfast.  “Have you eaten?”

 

“Not yet.  Throw me an egg in the mix.”

 

Soon, Yuuri placed two plates of eggs and toast on the coffee table, returning to pour up mugs of coffee.  “Black or milky?”

 

“Milky...lots of milk, please,” the younger man requested.  “How long are you letting Viktor sleep?”

 

“He has an advisor’s appointment at two, so I planned to wake him up at noon.”

 

“He moved quick.”

 

“Money greases the wheels.”

 

Phichit nodded thoughtfully.  It was something he and Yuuri shared, a comfortable place in middle class...although Phichit didn’t find it without Yuuri’s help.  Independence came at a price and he was thankful for those who intervened on his behalf. But he had left his family and their wealth behind to claim it, the price too high to remain.

 

“Is he going to be okay?”

 

Yuuri looked down the hall towards their room.  “I think...there are things that he hasn’t dealt with like the loss of his family.  However, he is determined.”

 

Phichit frowned at the mention of family.  “Oh, did you see the link I sent you?”

 

“Ummm, no?”  Yuuri was reaching for his phone, pulling up the information linked to him.  He read through the article written by Viktor’s parents and translated to English.  “What...am I looking for?” he asked after a few moments, the research proposal outlining what the two would be seeking.  It was listed as pseudoscience by several and Yuuri wasn’t sure what to do with it.

 

“Look who signed on as sponsors.”

 

Yuuri scanned down to the credits.  Several private citizens and then he spotted two organizations that caused him to shiver.  The first, N.I.M.H. , marked it for their omega/alpha studies.  The second, Oracle, a fringe organization that Phichit had remarked on before.

 

“What can you tell me about them?”

 

“The National Institute of Mental Health has two agendas, the one that is shared publicly and then there is their research.  Yuuri, they use rats and mice in their research and are not beyond using…” He took a deep breath before whispering, “Hamsters.”

 

“Phichit…”

 

“You don’t understand.  They have their hands in some shady shit.”

 

“Okay?”  Yuuri settled in to listen to another conspiracy theory, this one complete with programming rats to do their bidding.

 

“I’m convinced they are creating a more intelligent rodent...which is great except...why?  They will exploit them. This is the American government.”

 

Finally, Yuuri raised the question in the back of his mind.  “What...does this have to do with Viktor?”

 

“I knew you would ask.  Absolutely nothing. It just shows their credibility to be shady.  I mean, what have rodents ever done to humans.”

 

Yuuri knew better than to enter that argument.  Instead, he reframed his question. “Okay, so...why do you think they are interested in Viktor’s parents’ research?”

 

Phichit frowned as he studied the laptop screen thoughtfully.  “Well, considering their research involved secondary gender origins…” Phichit faded off, struggling to make the connection.  He looked up at Yuuri with a frown. “Oracle is a fringe research group that has their hands in a number of questionable activities.  NIMH, on the other hand, they are focused on research that tie to mental health but then there is this one area of focus on genomic research.”

 

“Because some mental disorders can be tracked through families, begging the question of nature versus nurture,” Yuuri suggested.

 

“And it was noted in a few biographical articles that Viktor’s father and grandfather struggled with mental disorder...schizoid alpha paranoia.  Viktor is omega and should be immune but having grown up in that household…”

 

“Viktor is fine,” Yuuri stated a little too forcefully.  He swallowed and looked back at the proposal, requesting funds for research in the anthropological connections between Slavic mythologies and the origins of secondary genders.  He scanned through and picked out the focus on the Russian Sirins, including the Firebird (Yuuri recognized Viktor’s ice skate), Alkonost, and Gamayun. Vitya, what do you know?

 

Phichit shifted and began gathering dishes.  “I just thought you’d want to know.”

 

“Thanks, Phichit.  I didn’t mean to bark at you.”

 

The omega nodded but kept quiet, focusing on cleaning up before disappearing into his room.  Yuuri looked up at that door feeling like a heel.  You deserve a better friend than me, Peach.  He pushed himself up and went to the door and tapped softly.

 

“Come in,” came the mumbled invite but Yuuri opened the door with caution anyway.

 

“Peach,” he began.

 

“Yuuri, the stuff Viktor’s parents were into...they were looking at fairy tales and ancient religions.  It’s...going to be hard to believe. If you are going to cast shade every time I show you something, we’re not going to get anywhere.”

 

Yuuri sighed.  “You’re right, Phichit.  I’m sorry.”

 

“I know you like to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground but this is what I do.  It’s another cryptid, another fantastical story...but remember, myth is based on some measure of fact.  So...Viktor’s mom and dad, they were looking for that measure of fact. And Vasilisa Nikiforova was very well respected.  Her husband Andrei, he was a writer and illustrator but he had a PhD in Russian literature. That means he had to be knee deep in Tolstoy.  Have you ever read Tolstoy?”

 

Yuuri chuckled.  “Ummm, no.”

 

“I had to for an honors class back in Thailand.  It was not easy.”

 

Yuuri rolled his eyes.  “What were you, fifteen?”

 

“Fourteen, what’s your point?”

 

“That you were fourteen and reading Russian lit.  In Thailand. What the fuck, Peach?”

 

The Thai omega smirked.  “Well, my teacher bet that I couldn’t make sense of it.  And it was in English. I proved her wrong. I hate it when alpha teachers think omegas can’t do shit.”

 

“And now you’re here.”  Yuuri smiled at his friend.  He knew what the omega went through to find safe haven.

 

Movement from the hallway, and Yuuri looked out Phichit’s door to see his disoriented mate staggering down the hall.  The alpha reached for him, inviting him into his lap. Viktor settled, looking over at Phichit’s computer screen. “Are you reading about my parents?”

 

Phichit’s eyes went wide and he made to close the screen, shifting nervously.  “Oh...umm...yeah? Is that okay?”

 

“What do you want to know?”

 

The other omega relaxed a little, hearing the lack of accusation in Viktor’s voice.  “I’m...trying to figure out who is after you.”

 

Viktor blinked as he considered the implications of those words.  “Oh. You should be really careful.”

 

“I mean, I am...I know how to cover my tracks online.”

 

The younger man sighed, thinning his lips thoughtfully.  “They never found them, you know. They searched the woods around the house and all of that part of town.  Nothing. I just...find it strange that no one could resolve it.”

 

“Were you...close?”

 

Viktor nodded.  “I mean, it was a strange family to grow up in.  My Papa...he was in and out of hospitals, Mama always fighting to get him out.  He’d be good and then start slipping. And I knew…” Viktor took a breath, biting his lip as he glanced up at Yuuri, his expression telling the alpha his worry that this would be their life.  “I...knew he didn’t want this. He just wanted to be with Mama and me, chasing after our passions. Mama said we should always immerse ourselves in what made us happy. But...she needed to know.  What was driving Papa? And his family...I say it like that because I never really interact with them...they just thought he should be institutionalized. And those places aren’t nice.”

 

“No...I suppose not,” Phichit responded, surprised by how much Viktor opened up.  “Viktor...you know, you don’t owe me anything. If this is...private, I can respect that.  I’m just...curious. And Yuuri has taken care of me since I came here so I wanted to help him protect someone he holds dear.”

 

Viktor shrugged.  “I mean...I don’t want it to be out on social media but I suppose you will see soon enough.  I have my own issues.”

 

“I mean, I think we all have things we are dealing with in this house,” Yuuri pointed out.  “But I do trust Phichit with my, uh, weaknesses.”

 

“I know what to keep quiet about.  Don’t worry,” the Thai omega reassured him.

 

“I trust you,” the silverette answered, his eyes wide, his expression open.  “If Yuuri trusts you, I know you are okay. And my parents research, it was very controversial...so some see it as science, and others...not so much.”

 

“I mean, she was an anthropologist.  So making connections with cultures and their stories…” Phichit trailed off when he saw Viktor’s expression.  “I missed it, didn’t I?”

 

Viktor nodded slowly.  “My parents believed that...the secondaries weren’t always a part of us.  They thought that something brought us together and that’s what inspired these myths.  They were looking for the origin story of the alpha and omega. Most people want to believe it’s always been that way.”

 

“And...do you?”

 

Viktor shrugged.  “I mean, some believe in ghosts because it makes sense to them and some believe in them because they’ve seen things.  However, the nonbeliever will refuse to believe even if the ghost is staring them in the face. I’ve...seen too much to not believe.”

 

Phichit’s eyes were wide as he looked from one to the other.  “Will you tell me?”

 

“Maybe...but not now.  It’s...a lot.” A whine and a scratch at the door drew their attention.  “Oh, Makka woke me up needing out.”

 

“I can take care of him,” Yuuri offered.

 

“No, I can go.  You can show me where and it would be good for me to look around.”

 

“Do you want to take a walk towards campus?”

 

Viktor nodded, pushing up.  “Let me clean up a little.” He slipped away leaving Yuuri and Phichit alone for a few minutes.

 

Phichit was quiet for a total of five seconds before he pounced.  “So...Viktor’s seen things.  What kind of things?  You’ve got to tell me!”

 

Yuuri sighed, shaking his head.  “He hasn’t shared everything with me.  Give him time to get comfortable. This isn’t just a random sighting, this was his parents.  Be a little sensitive.”

 

Phichit dropped his chin at the reproach.  “Sorry. I got so excited…”

 

“I know...but you need to learn how to read Viktor.  He was tensing up as he delved deeper into that story.  It...is hard. And he still believes they’re alive.”

 

“We don’t exactly know they’re not,” Phichit pointed out.

 

“No, we don’t...but the probability of them being alive is so small as to be nonexistent.  Back off a little.”

 

Phichit pouted but he agreed.

 




Both dogs on lead, Yuuri led his mate to campus, prepared to show him around.  Viktor kept looking around with wide eyes and the movement created by the wind in the dried grass and leafless trees.  They finally drew to a stop and Viktor refocused on Yuuri. “It’s strange.”

 

“Tell me,” Yuuri encouraged.

 

“I hear them but they are a low hum.  The wind can drown them out. They felt like...more even while in Japan.”

 

“You had mom’s.”

 

Viktor started to nod then shook his head.  “I can tell them apart. It’s like their own...what is it with radio stations?”

 

“Frequency?”

 

“Yes...they are on a different frequency.  I can distinguish them from others. There are others here but...they are different.  It’s...a different cadence. I can almost tune it out...until I notice it. Like the ticking of a clock.”

 

“So...do you feel calmer?”

 

Viktor blinked at the word choice.  “Safer...for now. Calmer? I...don’t know.  It’s quieter but then your mom told me to tell mine to be quiet and it made it better.  So...not calmer. Just more...disconnected. I feel a little...adrift.”

 

Yuuri considered those words.  He wanted Viktor to be comfortable, to want to stay.  “Maybe we just need to get you more settled.”

 

“I’m sure that is what it is,” the omega reassured him, reaching for Yuuri with his free hand and sliding between the other’s fingers.  “I mean...I want to be here. I just don’t want to space out. Do you think Phichit will think I’m weird?”

 

“I mean...it’s Phichit.  He’s kind of got that market cornered with his conspiracy theories and his ghost hunts.  And then there’s me. I don’t do much to take away from that idea.”

 

Viktor giggled.  “Well, I suppose birds of a feather and all.”

 

They continued to walk, Yuuri pointing out the various buildings and if Viktor’s attention drifted, Yuuri didn’t call him out on it.  For now, it was fine. The omega was tired from his journey and unsettled. He did notice the omega’s excitement when Yuuri showed him the library.  And then they were at administration and Viktor was signing up for classes. A quick stop at the bookstore, and they walked back, arms and hands full of new books, supplies, and puppy leashes.

 

Entering the apartment, Viktor ran to the table in excitement to spread out his new supplies.  Phichit came out and leaned against his friend. “Was I ever that excited?”

 

Yuuri laughed.  “Oh, yes...then you discovered Ghost Adventures .”

 

Phichit snorted.  “There are worse things.”

 

“Indeed.”








NOTE:  The conspiracy theory presented by Phichit on NIMH’s research agenda is pulled out of my ass and I loved Secret of NIMH growing up.  Given Phichit’s love of hamsters and other rodents, he would find their research practices questionable.

 

Alkonost and Gamayun .  This link has several popups.

 

Sirin .  A wiki on the general myths.

 

Sirin .  An article including a number of paintings.

 

Winged Creatures of Slavic Folktales .  Popups on this one as well.

 

Story of the Firebird .

 

Just an FYI...there WILL be a story filling in Phichit’s journey to America.  (And a story about how Yuuri and Chris became close...and maybe even a Yuuko and Takeshi story...because we thirsty.)  It’s short but I think I hinted at too much for you not to have that story.



Chapter Text


 

Ch. 14:  Answer

 

Getting to Detroit seemed much easier than settling into his new home.  It didn’t help that each time Viktor arrived home he received a box of his belongings.  He would squirrel away the offending package quickly, but he was running out of places to stash them.  He couldn’t imagine how Yuuri felt, because Viktor himself was quite overwhelmed. He knew that neither of the young men would say anything, but he could only imagine that the hordes of clothing, skating costumes, work out gear, blankets, trinkets from travel, books, and all of his grooming products were piling up.  He sat in the living room staring at the pile with a pout on his face.

 

Phichit had watched the young man slowly grow quiet, and almost terrified of their apartment as the days went along.  Finally, watching the crystal blue eyes settle on the boxes in the corner he glanced over at Yuuri and mouthed what’s wrong .  Yuuri shrugged and nodded his head, indicating that they should slip out to head to the third bedroom.  Looking around the space, he knew it was the solution. “What do you think?”

 

Phichit looked past him into the room and sighed.  “It will take us a couple of days but I agree. Viktor is paying one third of the rent.  He needs his own space.”

 

Yuuri looked at the oversized campus chairs, smaller TV, computer stations, game systems, and a pile of old college books.  “Why did we decide we needed a game room anyway?”

 

Phichit rolled his eyes, there’s no we in this, Yuuri.  I wanted a hamster habitrail. “Because we had an extra room and thought, why not?”

 

“Fair,” Yuuri answered, moving across the room to start disconnecting wires.  “The TV in the main room is bigger anyway.”

 

Phichit nodded from where he started dismantling his own baby.  He had built the computer with his own hands under Yuuri’s guidance.  He knew Yuuri had a similar system to take down but the alpha had a smaller room and wasn’t fond of work in his sleep space.  Phichit thought about the desk in his room. “I can rework the hamster habitat.”

 

“Do you need help with that?” Yuuri asked as he considered the maze his roommate had built across the apartment.

 

“Probably.  Think we can work on it this weekend?”

 

“Sure.”  He remembered last Christmas when they had moved the habitat to the living room and made it part of a Christmas village around the tree.  “They like a good reconfiguration. It keeps them active.”

 

Phichit huffed.  “We should have thought about this before.  I mean...how did we expect to fit a whole person and his belongings in all of the nooks and crannies of this apartment?”

 

Viktor does that, doesn’t he?  He puts himself into all the cracks and fills them. Including me.  Yuuri snorted in response.  “We didn’t think. Personally, I just wanted him here and I didn’t consider the space.  I mean, we stayed together in my room in Japan.”

 

Phichit cocked an eyebrow his direction.  “That was short term and he didn’t have all of his shit.”

 

Yuuri groaned, realizing that a long vacation and living together were two highly dissimilar things.  “And I guess all of my shit was here, too. So...let’s do this.”

 

Viktor looked up as they came into the living room carrying the first load of electronics.  “What are you doing?”

 

“Making room,” Yuuri answered.

 

“Reorganizing,” Phichit corrected.

 

Viktor began shaking his head.  “No, I didn’t mean for you to have to rearrange your lives around me.”

 

Phichit rolled his eyes.  “It’s called living together.  And you pay a third of the rent now.  That means you get a third of the space.  What you choose to do with it is up to you.”

 

“We choose to reorganize the living room.”

 

Viktor sighed, walking over to the first box, raising the loose flap and then letting it fall.  He huffed, and muttered, “I don’t know what Lilia is thinking. She’s sending...more than my stuff?”

 

“What do you mean?” Yuuri asked, now curious.

 

This ,” Viktor stated with frustration, “Is not mine.”

 

Both roommates went to investigate, opening the box.  Yuuri frowned even as Phichit snorted. “What is that?” asked the Thai omega.

 

Viktor sighed thinking of the woman that sent it, “That...is a bust.”

 

“Of whom?” asked Yuuri.

 

Viktor shrugged.  “It sat for some time in the entrance until Yakov knocked it over one last time.  The stand caught his foot and he’d come up with a string of profanity that would make the devil himself blush,” he giggled.  “Or so Tanya, the housekeeper, would say..”

 

“So...Lilia sent it to you?  Why?” Yuuri asked still confused.

 

“Who knows but now I’m not sure I want to open these other boxes?”  He indicated to the piles of items that somehow all made it through customs.

 

Yuuri put an arm around the younger man’s shoulder, “Maybe it was a mistake, mixed in with your things.”

 

“I can’t imagine what it took to ship it here.  That thing is horrendously heavy,” Viktor pointed out.  “No, it had to be quite intentional. Lilia...I love her, but she can be odd at times.”

 

Yuuri snorted at that having seen the severe prima among the skaters.  Picking up his box once more, he moved towards the television. “Indeed.”

 

Viktor huffed.  “So...we’re putting my things into the third room?”

 

“We’re giving you a place to settle,” Yuuri reiterated.  “You deserve your own space.”

 

“I just...I wanted to be with you,” he argued, rising up and walking towards the alpha.

 

Yuuri sat his box of electronics down again anticipating the omega surging now into his embrace.  Phichit rolled his eyes across the room before tending to his own box. “I know...but we need to fit our lives around each other.  And you are a long way away from home.” He rubbed his hand down Victor’s back trying to settle him. “Let us do this.”




Viktor looked around the newly cleared room thoughtfully.  “Can we paint?”

 

“Only if we paint it back.  What color are you thinking?”

 

He tapped his lip thoughtfully.  “I’m thinking burgundy...and maybe purple.  Perhaps a gray sofa. One that turns into a bed in case we have guests.”

 

Yuuri considered the space.  “We’ll need to measure first.  Do you know how much more you are expecting?”

 

Viktor made a face.  “I didn’t know Lilia was going to clean house and send strange objects like a bust my way.”

 

Yuuri snorted and shrugged.  “We could make it work. Also, moving is a perfect time to look at your items and decide if you need them in your life.  You might want to give that a try?”

 

Viktor smiled, “Are you suggesting I Marie-Kondo my life?”

 

“No. Racist.”  He smirked at the Russian giving him a playful nudge and earning a giggle from Viktor.

 

“Think about it though.  You’ve made a very big move, you’ve changed countries, and started the process of defining your future life, one after skating.  It’s a perfect time to see what from your past you want to keep, and what you can let go.” He saw the doubt in Viktor’s eyes, “If you find you want everything from all the boxes here we can make room.  Don’t purge everything now, but be open to letting things go little by little.”

 

Viktor seemed to settle into that idea and Yuuri used that as a means of taking another, skeptical look about.  Surveying the room, he added, “If you want to paint, we should get the stuff this weekend. We can move everything against one corner and work to get the other two walls painted before we move over to the other.  I painted my room blue, so I don’t see a problem with it.” He rubbed the back of his neck as he added, “We might want to consider a bigger bed with the dogs sleeping with us. I did some measuring and I think we can fit a king.”

 

“But this one already smells like you,” Viktor pouted.

 

Yuuri tilted his head to one side, an amused smile on his lips.  “We can get the next to smell like us after one night together.”

 

Viktor blinked and then his eyes widened and his lips formed an O.  “I...I think...okay,” he stuttered, turning away to hide his embarrassment.  He dropped his chin when he felt the alpha’s hand on his shoulder, felt Yuuri turning him to look his way.

 

“You don’t have to hide from me,” he murmured softly, amber eyes lifted up to meet Viktor’s.  “I love watching you figure things out. Part of me wonders if you were allowed to be an adult.”

 

Viktor huffed at that.  “I was allowed ...I just failed dramatically at it.”

 

“Did you ever think that perhaps you simply weren’t ready?”  Yuuri toyed with the omega’s hair, his thumb stroking his cheek.

 

Viktor shifted on his feet, leaning into Yuuri’s touch.  “What if...what if I’m not ready now?”

 

“You aren’t alone this time.  We’re both here to support you.  Phichit is a wonderfully strong omega and he’ll look out for you.  And I...won’t let anything happen to you. For some, it is good to stay by themselves...others need roommates.”

 

“Did you...always have a roommate?”

 

Yuuri smiled, widening his eyes for effect, “ Always .  Coach knew I would get stuck in my head and made sure I had the support I needed.  Phichit is by far my best roommate. We weren’t sure at first, my being an alpha and him an omega, but it turned out to work.”

 

“Maybe they have an Adulting 101 course I can take this semester,” The omega huffed.

 

Yuuri watched with amused eyes, then shrugged, throwing him a bone.  “There’s a lady that volunteers. She teaches students to cook, do laundry, and a number of other things.  I heard some of my classmates talking about it. She even takes them to her farm and shows them how to grow things and make things by hand.  My mother would approve of her.”

 

Victor’s eyes widened.  He had been sarcastic but now he was left wondering if he should consider it.  “Do you think...she’d help me?”

 

“I’ll watch out for the flyers and we’ll get in touch.  You might thrive under a mother’s touch.”

 

The omega turned, studying the blank wall as he considered it.  Finally, he whispered, “I miss my mama...I wonder if I’d be this lost if she was still here.”

 

“I think...she would have found a way to ease you into the world.  She sounds very self-sufficient and I know that she would want that for you.”

 

They began piling things to one side to prepare for painting when Victor stood up, his mind going in places it shouldn’t go.  The question came out before he could pull it back. “You said Phichit was the best roommate you’ve ever had?” He gave Yuuri a pointed look.  One that failed to communicate anything to the alpha.

 

“Yes, we’re as close as two friends can be.  He’s helped me through a lot of my anxiety, and I’ve always had his back.”  Yuuri paused noticing the little frown lines forming around the mouth.

 

Viktor chewed his bottom lip, clearly struggling with his next statement.  Then he blurted out, “Have you and Phichit ever been...you know…” Viktor faded off in jealous embarrassment.

 

Yuuri chuckled.  “Nope. Not even once.  It would be like kissing your brother.”

 

The omega continued to blush but those shoulders relaxed in the reassurance.  “I shouldn’t be this way.”

 

Yuuri shook his head.  “You and I may butt heads from time to time.  I can be pretty stubborn, especially when my anxiety is leading me down a rabbit trail.  However, I never want you to be someone other than yourself.” He drew Viktor closer before continuing, “Even if that means you are jealous and a little insecure.  I will always try to find a way to reassure you and settle you...truthfully. Or we will work together to get past it.” He brushed his lips over the omega’s, before backing up and tweaking his nose.  Viktor blinked in surprise, his blue eyes widening. Yuuri chuckled, fingers sliding into his. “For now, let’s see if we can get you a little more settled. I want to pop open those boxes and see if there are some comfort items for you inside.”

 

Viktor groaned.  “What if...Lilia probably sent me more stuff?”

 

“Then we’ll find some amusement in it and you can decide if you want to keep it, return it, or donate it.”

 

“Oh.”  That solution seemed so simple.  He followed Yuuri back into the living room and went to the box holding the bust.  Pulling away the paper, he studied the face. “He reminds me of my uncle Boris. He was the only one on my mom’s side when the rest of the family wanted to commit my papa.  Maybe...we can keep him?”

 

Phichit leaned against the wall watching the two of them before going over to clear a space next to the bookcase.  “Why not put him out here? Intentional. A conversation piece.”

 

Viktor clearly warmed to the idea immediately, but still has a little hesitation.  “I...kind of like that. But this is your and Yuuri’s space.”

 

Phichit snorted.  “This is the shared space.  It should hold a little of each of us.  When you go through your things, figure out what you want to keep in here and we’ll work to find a place for it.”

 

Viktor turned around in the room slowly.  “Do you think some of my books can go on the shelf?”  His hand ran down the back of the couch and he added, “I have a lot of pillows.  I think some might go with this sofa.” He then looked up at Phichit, eyes wide. “Is that okay?”

 

Phichit giggled.  “We’re going to be living together.  Our scents will mingle. Like family.”  He crossed the room and took the younger omega’s hands into his.  “It’s okay.”

 

Finally settling, he added, looking around thoughtfully, “And I think we need a rug for the floor.  Do you mind if we all go pick something out?”

 

Yuuri slid his arm around Viktor’s shoulder and answered for the two of them, “I think that would be great.  We can do that when we pick out your sofa, our new bed, and the paint.”

 

Phichit snorted.  “I knew that bed would be too small.”

 

“Peach,” Yuuri warned but it was obvious that he lost control when the other omega joined in on the giggles.

 

“We have TWO dogs,” the silverette added.

 

“And there is absolutely no room once you build a nest,” Phichit added.  “I have a king.”

 

Viktor frowned suddenly aware of the other omega’s life and how sheltered he had been compared to Phichit.  “What do you do during your heats?”

 

“Lock the door.”  Phichit responded with a nonchalant air.  “Put out scent neutralizing things throughout the rest of the apartment.  I’m not worried about Yuuri but I still want to respect him and his space.  And with Yuuri here, I feel safe.”

 

“That sounds fair.  How did you end up rooming together?”

 

The Thai man collapsed onto the couch, pulling a pillow into his embrace.  He huffed,, “Now... that’s a story.  Let’s just say for now I was escaping my own ghosts.  Yuuri gave me a safe place.”

 

“It wasn’t easy,” Yuuri added, his voice softening.  “I had to win your trust.”

 

Viktor felt the emotions coming off of the other omega.  “I’m sorry you had to have a safe place, Phichit. Maybe one day we can share stories.  It sometimes helps to have another understanding ear.”

 

Phichit shivered and nodded.  “I’m fine now. Really. It just...brings up a lot of bad stuff.”

 




Viktor stood with a look of satisfaction, and a purple streak of paint on his nose.  The purple and burgundy look he’d envisioned came out beautifully.  Yuuri was assembling the bookshelves that would go against one wall with a chair they managed to fit in the back of their coach’s soccer mom van.  Its burgundy and gray accents would tie in nicely with the other choices. 

 

The couch would be delivered in a couple of days, gray , nailhead trim, exposed feet.  They promised the feet would be covered so they wouldn’t scratch the floors.  They would also have a bed delivered that provided additional storage along with matching dresser with mirror. They threw in the nightstands for free.  Viktor was excited about all of the choices he’d made, Yuuri checking the sturdiness and giving the final approval.  He appreciated that Yuuri looked for quality where it counted.

 

The new bedding was crisp white with a good thread count to go well against the navy walls in Yuuri’s...in their bedroom.  Viktor talked him into a fluffy rug for the dogs and he had a sheepskin rug in his own room.  For the living room, he found a distressed Persian rug at an “antique” store and talked the seller down after pointing out the knots weren’t fine enough on the back of the rug to be what they claimed.  It would do nicely for a college apartment, however, and brought soft warmth to the leather and wood furnishings. Viktor then added poufs to provide extra seating.  The dogs greatly approved of this choice, lounging across them with panting happiness.

 

Yuuri and Phichit appreciated the warmth and beauty Viktor added to their home.  Neither of them could shop beyond functional but with Viktor’s excitement, they were drawn in.  The result was inviting and comfortable. Pillows softened the leathers. Plants spilled over the shelves.  The table was set with placemats and settings for three. It looked like a showroom but it also felt lived in.  Viktor didn’t overshadow their personal choices but found things to accent them.

 

“Have you ever thought about studying design?” Yuuri asked as he moved the bookshelf next to the wall.

 

Viktor shrugged.  “I mean, I was raised by people of taste but my parents weren’t so caught up in their wealth that they were impractical.  Lilia helped me to spot quality but I noticed you were taught that as well.”

 

“My mother.  She said that it was better to buy well once than poorly multiple times.  She’d turn things over and show me what to look for.”

 

“I love your mother.”  Viktor hummed airily knowing she was a kindred spirit after all.

 

Yuuri grinned.  Of course he did.  They were birds of a feather.  “I’m sure she feels the same.”

 




The furniture arrived and Viktor added the finishing touches to the two rooms, his own blankets and pillows.  Pictures were hung on the wall, a floor lamp situated on one side of the couch, the matching stool holding a tray for drinks.  Viktor hummed at the artwork he’d found amongst the things Lilia had sent his way. They were pieces he had admired on several occasions.  When he texted Lilia to thank her and ask her why, she responded, “You needed some Russia with you. I didn’t want you to be too homesick.”

 

He hugged himself as his eyes misted.  Lilia’s love could sneak up on someone and catch them off guard.  And she did truly love each of the skaters in her care but she had a soft spot for a few, those she adopted and took into her heart.  “I miss you, Lilia. You and Yakov both,” he whispered.

 

As he turned around the room, though, he truly felt at home.  With Yuuri and Phichit’s support, he’d made a space for himself in the apartment and added his own touches to the common spaces.  “I’m home,” he murmured, his eyes bright with tears, both happy and sad. 

Chapter Text


Ch. 15:  Deeper Conversation

 

Yuuri leaned against the door facing, his eyes resting on the omega.  The nest the younger man had built was intricate, containing clothes pulled from the laundry to help rebuild their scent, and designed with the dogs in mind.  Curled up in the middle, Viktor slept, his body finally at ease after burning off his nervous energy. Both Cocoa and Makkachin were cuddled around him. Cocoa raised her head to look at her human, a soft whine echoed in her throat, inviting him in. However, Yuuri waved him down with a hand symbol and the poodle cuddled back into the silver hair, huffing happily.

 

Moving back into the living room he saw that Phichit was already loading up their game.  “He sleeps.”

 

“Well, he’s been pretty restless since arriving,” Phichit pointed out.

 

Yuuri hummed as he pulled a pudding pop from the freezer.  “He’s not done well on his own. I’m not certain of this, but I think he’s not had many opportunities to be on his own, to feel his own strength.  I think he’s a little worried.”

 

“Well, we can both make sure he eats,” Phichit pointed out.

 

Yuuri nodded, as he sucked on the chocolaty treat.  “It’s more than that. He...disappears inside himself.  A part of him never left that house in Russia.”

 

“Like he’s still waiting for his parents to come home,” Phichit murmured, sadness in his voice.

 

Yuuri nodded, “Just help me.  A touch on his shoulder if you see him disconnecting from what’s going on around him.”

 

“Sure...no problem,” Phichit promised.

 

Yuuri settled next to his friend, feeling only slightly more secure.  But he appreciated how welcoming and supportive his friend was willing to be.  “Thank you.”

 




Several hours later, a rumpled Viktor wandered into the living room and found the boys sitting on the floor cushions.  Wordlessly, he kicked one over next to Yuuri and curled up next to him, his head in the alpha’s lap, watching the TV screen, images sliding across the screen.  He drifted in and out of sleep, unaware and unconcerned of the images or game. A warm hand slid down his shoulder.

 

“Do you think you’d like to play?”  Phichit noticed Viktor’s eyes glazing over at the screen.

 

The silver head shook slightly but only a hum came out.  Phichit took Yuuri’s eyes in his own, pointed looking down at Viktor.  Yuuri pursed his lips.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

The omega nodded but he didn’t say anything.  He worried a fingernail until Yuuri reached down to pull those fingers away from his mouth.  Blue eyes fluttered shut and he dozed off.

 

Phichit watched the exchange before determining, “We should call it a night.  I think your omega misses you.”

 

Yuuri nodded, his hand smoothing back over the other man.  “I guess we’re going to have to adjust some of our habits.”

 

Phichit rose, putting away the game controllers and towards the hall.  “It’s fine. I have some studying to do before our first classes.”

 

Yuuri watched Phichit leave the room before nudging his lover awake.  “Do you want to eat something before we go back to bed?”

 

Viktor sleepily shrugged.  Yuuri took that as a half-hearted yes, leading his omega to the kitchen.

 

“We can split an omelet,” he suggested as he took the eggs out of the refrigerator.  Some onions, garlic, and fresh oregano pulled off one of the plants under a grow-light were added in and soon they had a crunchy Spanish omelette to share.

 

“Why the chips?” Viktor asked skeptically as he studied the creation.

 

Yuuri chuckled, “Why not?”

 

The omega narrowed his eyes.  “Are you trying to sneak me calories?”

 

“I would never try to sabotage you.  It is actually a recipe I found online and one that Phichit and I indulge in from time to time.”

 

As if on cue, Phichit poked his head out of his room, sniffing the air.  “Did you cook?”

 

Yuuri grinned, setting a third plate on the counter.  “Can’t have you both going to bed on an empty stomach.”

 

Phichit dug in, elbowing Viktor to get him going.  “Yuuri’s a good alpha. Always keeps us fed.”

 

Yuuri hummed as he ate, “I think this is the best it’s turned out.”

 

They both discretely watched to make sure Viktor ate his meal.  “It’s really good,” he finally agreed, sucking the last of the egg off of his fork.  

 

Phichit volunteered to wash the dishes as Yuuri led Viktor back to put him to bed.  “Good night, you two,” he called out. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

 

In the bedroom, Yuuri changed into his pajama bottoms.  Viktor was already snuggled into the matching top. “Were you worried about me?” the omega asked cautiously.

 

Yuuri shrugged, as he faced the wall.  Turning he reached for his mate. “I promised to make sure you took care of yourself.  But tonight...I was just being an alpha making sure you were a well-fed omega. In fact, making sure both you and Phichit were well fed.  Does that upset you?”

 

Viktor tucked his chin down against his shoulder and half shrugged.  “I don’t want to have to be taken care of...but I don’t think I’m there yet.”

 

Yuuri could see the frustration hiding under the exhaustion.  He remembered when Phichit first arrived, he was timid to leave the apartment, then only did so with other omegas until finally finding confidence.  But independence was valuable to Phichit. For Viktor it was being seen as strong, mature. “Phichit and I divide the chores. We just need to get you into the rotation.  It will make you more independent but also you will gain the self-care and just the life skills you need to move forward. How does that sound?”

 

“Like I need that Adulting 101 class,” he huffed, turning away.

 

Yuuri came up behind him, sliding his hands around his middle.  “We all have areas we need to work on but if that is something you think will help, we’ll arrange it.  Phichit and I are committed to helping you find your feet. It’s not unusual for Freshmen to arrive at the university and not have the skills they need.”

 

Viktor pouted and squirmed in the embrace, “I...can do things.”

 

“You can,” Yuuri agreed.  “You did an amazing job personalizing our apartment.”

 

Viktor moved to the bed, climbing into the nest and settling down.  “I know how to cook...and I can do laundry. I just...don’t know how to keep it all sorted out and to keep other things from encroaching on the necessities.”

 

“We do it with routine.  That’s where the chore list helps out.  Why don’t you, Phichit, and I sit down tomorrow and rework the list.”  Yuuri crawled into the nest, taking his spot next to Viktor, watching him settle into the blankets the lying down himself.  “Then you will feel less...kept.”

 

That body relaxed against him.  “That’s what I want. Just to be a part and fit in.  It seems like you’ve both been doing so much to make a space for me and I’m...not sure what I’m supposed to do.”

 

“Be yourself...and we’ll work out the rest.  We just need to have an official roommate meeting.  Phichit and I are already in a rhythm but we need to include you.  That may mean we struggle a bit but that’s part of being a family.”

 

Viktor stared at the walls of the nest unseeing as he considered Yuuri’s words.  “I think...this is what I need. Maybe if I’m responsible for someone else, I won’t drift away.”

 

Yuuri rubbed his back, hoping to pull him back to the present.  “And trust us...we’re not going to let you.”

 

Viktor nodded, reaching down to take Yuuri’s hand and wrap it around his lithe body.  As they settled into the pillows, Yuuri reached over and flipped the lamp switch. In the darkness, the omega pressed his back into Yuuri’s chest.

 

“I’m not easy,” Viktor whispered.

 

“It’s okay...I’m not either.”

 

“Thank you,” he added.  “I...haven’t really had a home in a long time.  Lilia tried but...I couldn’t settle.”

 

Yuuri pressed his lips into the omega’s hair.  “Anytime.”

 




Viktor slung the messenger bag over his shoulder, the things he’d need for class tucked away.  He was excited and scared but Yuuri would walk him to class and that had him wildly enthusiastic.  “Yuuri, hurry! We’re going to be late!”

 

Yuuri glanced at his phone and snorted.  “We’re going to be way early.”

 

Viktor was standing by the door like an eager puppy, dancing on the balls of his feet.  “But we need to stop for coffee,” the omega whined.

 

Phichit met Yuuri’s eyes with a perfectly arched brow.  This was Yuuri’s baby...the other omega was still dressed in his pajamas.  He had another hour before he had to even consider getting dressed.

 

“Fine,” Yuuri indulged.  “Let’s go get your fancy coffee.”  As they headed out the door, Yuuri added, “They do have these devices that make coffee in your own home.”

 

“It’s aesthetics, Yuuri,” the other man argued, ignoring the amused smirk on Yuuri’s lips.

 




Yuuri chased after his boyfriend who walked with deliberate steps towards the Bean Drop on University Boulevard.  The coffee shop was already busy when they arrived and he listened as his mate rattled off the insanely complicated order for a sweet concoction before adding in his own order for matcha.

 

The barista nodded to Yuuri in familiarity and smirked when he saw Yuuri’s hand on Viktor’s back. At their table, Viktor asked coldly, “Old boyfriend of yours?”

 

Yuuri snort-laughed.  “Ummm, no. He isn’t my type.  We know each other from class, however.”

 

Viktor cheered up visibly and Yuuri rolled his eyes as he shook his head.  He knew he was Viktor’s first (and hopefully last) boyfriend but the jealousy thing was something they were going to have to work on.  The younger man threaded their hands together. “Are you mad at me?”

 

He leaned his cheek into that silver hair.  “No...but I need you to trust that I’m not going anywhere.  You don’t need to be jealous. I have friends and a few of them may be exes but none of them have held my attention like you.  You are the only one I want to hold onto.”

 

That seemed to do the trick for the moment because Viktor turned in his arms seeking a kiss.  As those lips parted, Yuuri pressed his forehead to Viktor’s. “Feel better?”

 

The omega nodded and then cheered further as their names are called out.  Yuuri left him at the pub table to retrieve their drinks. He returned with a tray, which also held the lemon blueberry muffin they had decided to share as well napkins and forks.  Back at the table, Viktor placed the muffin precisely between them and took the first bite, his shoulders squeezing together, his chin lifting revealing that beautiful neck swallowing, his eyes closing in pleasure.

 

Yuuri watched and was glad his coat was long, feeling his interest stir.  Fuck .  Not for the first time did he think he was in trouble with this one.

 




Yuuri dropped Viktor off at his first class, Russian Literature.  He took one last chance to tease the Russian at the easy A for cheating, but Viktor insisted that he wanted one class that felt familiar.  He then argued that he also had a calculus course that day so it more than made up for the presumed ease of Russian Lit.  He’d have to cross campus for that class but Yuuri had already taken him around and familiarized him with the locations of his courses.  He had to admit he wasn’t happy to walk alone, but Viktor chastised himself for the feeling.  If I can traverse St. Petersburg, then the Wayne State University campus shouldn’t be intimidating.

 

As he settled in to his desk, he looked around the room.  It was still fairly empty, being early, but there was a nice girl, perhaps a little older, sitting nearby.  He met her gaze and smiled brightly at her. She smiled back politely, then narrowed her eyes. Then the flurry of recognition blossomed and her face translated what he assumed...he was spotted.  “ Y-you’re Viktor Nikoforov ,” she declared in Russian.

 

The silverette smiled, responding “ Da .”

 

She moved a few seats closer, lowering her voice, as if speaking in a foreign language weren’t enough to keep what wasn’t actually a secret.  “ You’re here?  In America?

 

It appears so.  My boyfriend is here and my mother wanted me to attend university.  So yes, I’m here .”

 

She laughed at the ridiculousness of her question, “ Oh, wow!  I’m Natalia, by the way .”

 

He held out her hand, “ It’s nice to meet you.  It will be nice to have someone else that I can converse in Russian with .”

 

They had just shaken hands as the last of the students entered, followed by the professor to begin the class.  Viktor was delighted to find that the majority of the reading were stories he was familiar with and one novel that he had wanted to read but never managed to get to it.  He would have to keep that to himself or Yuuri would tease him endlessly.

 

As the class ended Viktor and Natalia began walking across campus to their other classes.  He was happy to see she was going in his direction, if not to his building. “So, who’s your boyfriend?” she prodded.

 

Viktor smirked, glancing off, his body bouncing with excitement to talk about this in such an ordinary manner.  “Yuuri Katsuki...or Katsuki Yuuri, if you go by Japanese tradition.”

 

“Oh, wow!  He’s so dreamy!  My sister had a crush on him last year.  They had a few classes together.” She paused as he shifted uncomfortably before adding, “But he was definitely not interested.”

 

Viktor snorted at that.  “I think Yuuri is very particular.  And we are mates at this point. So I guess you can consider him off the market.”

 

It was Natalia’s turn to snort.  “I think you’ve been reading too many Victorian romances.”

 

Viktor shrugged.  “I can’t help it. I love all love wishy washy love stories by Jane Austen, even the weird brutal ones by the three Brontes...but don’t think I’m classy, I’m not!  I love a trashy romance as much as I love a brilliant classic.”

 

She erupted into laughter at Viktor’s speech.  “Me, too,” she confessed. “We should do some book trades.”

 

Viktor raised an eyebrow in interest.  “I would actually love that. I never can find enough to read.”

 

“Okay, so next class, you bring your favorite and I’ll bring my current favorite.”  

 

They exchanged numbers before parting for their different classes at the last minute but Viktor couldn’t help the elated feeling that he had made his first friend on campus.

 




Yuuri peeked over his shoulder as he texted Natalia.  “Do I need to be jealous?” he teased.

 

Viktor huffed.  “I’m only interested in you like that.  But it is nice to make a friend that is unrelated to figure skating.  And she speaks Russian.”

 

Yuuri pressed a kiss into his hair, hugging him from behind.  “I’m proud of you. I hope you make many more friends.”

 

Viktor squeezed his shoulders together.  For the first time since his parents’ disappearance, he felt normal.  As he thought about it, he realized he hadn’t drifted once that day. Perhaps college was a good thing for him.

 




“Hi, Yakov,” the omega greeted his coach.  “Celestino went over your critiques with me but I wanted to check in and let you and Lilia know I’m doing great.”

 

Yakov’s gruff voice coughed on the other end, and Viktor would hear them moving around down the line.  “Lilia is right here. Why don’t I put her on speaker?”

 

Lilia barely hid her concern, “Vitya, are you okay?”

 

Viktor smiled at the deep Russian that made him think of his mother quite often.  “I’m good. I went to my classes and have my books. I’ve been busy with homework and skating.  Oh, and I’ve made a few friends. One is from Russia, even. It’s nice...to just be Viktor for a change.”

 

“I’m glad to hear that.  Your mother would be pleased,” answered the prima.

 

“Have you been eating well?” Yakov asked and Viktor winced at his concern.

 

“Yuuri, Phichit, and I have a routine that keeps me on track.  We each have responsibilities that make sure we take care of the apartment and each other.  This is much better than living by myself.” He looked around the apartment that truly felt like a place he belonged.  His eyes note parts of himself all over blending into what Phichit and Yuuri had already contributed. Then he smiled, “Oh, and Lilia?”

 

“Yes, Vitya?”

 

“I found a place for Boris...the bust you sent me.”

 

He heard a very unladylike snort from the Russian woman.  “Did you, now...and will it send your Yuuri into fits of profanity?”

 

Viktor tapped his lip thoughtfully.  “I mean, it might...I’ll let you know if it does.”

 

He could almost hear her smile as the warm Russian came out of the speaker.  “Some of those things I sent came from your mother. I know you must have thought I was crazy but...she handed me some things for safe keeping.  I thought they’d be even safer with you over there.”

 

Viktor frowned as he heard her words.  “Oh...I’ll have to study them further. I didn’t know.  Thank you, Lilia. Good night, Yakov.”

 

They both parroted a good night back to him and then he disconnected.  He returned to the textbook laid open on his desk. He had the e-version on his iPad but he liked the feel and smell of books.  Yuuri raised an eyebrow at the extra expense but Viktor pointed out his pajamas were more expensive. With a highlighter, he tapped his lip as he read the text.

 

Yuuri sat in the corner of the gray sofa with his laptop propped on his knees needing to be close to him after a day of practice and classes.  They both relished in this quiet of the evenings, and would soon curl into each other’s spaces. But first…

 

“Dinner!” Phichit called from the other room.  Viktor giggled. He loved exploring the different cuisines and was already learning to operate in the routines built around him.  Yuuri packed him a mid-morning snack of veggies and humus to take for class and often started the day with eggs and rice. Something mild to break the fast.  For lunch, they returned to either consume left overs from the night before, a hearty sandwich, or something with pasta or rice. Yuuri once more makes him a snack, usually apples and either a caramel or a yogurt dip.  And in the evenings, the roommates traded off cooking. Tonight, Phichit treated them to green curry with chicken and Thai eggplant.  When it was the Russian omega’s turn, Viktor found himself texting Lilia’s housekeeper Tanya from time to time on his nights asking how to make some of his favorite dishes.  There was something comforting in the home cooked meals although there was an exotic flair as each of them were from a different country. And Viktor loved it.

 

Digging into the latest creation by his roommate, he let out a pleased, “ Vkusno !”

Chapter Text


Ch. 16:  Wildfire



Yuuri loved the stability that he’d managed to build around his omega’s life but part of him worried.  He knew that Viktor was safer in the States, further from what had chased him at home. But he still feared the unknown, the unpredictable.  What if this was a false sense of security? Part of him kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, remembering the close call prior. And that worry translated to anxious ticks manifesting into actions.  They began small with his picking compulsively at clothing, then scratching, slowly getting worse. I love him...I just think it would be better if you spoke to me.  He was greeted with silence.  Although his brain was on fire, thoughts breaking through in rapid succession, none were his alpha.

 

Viktor felt the worry before he even noticed the behaviors and hovered, scenting him, hugging him, trying to settle the anxious alpha.  His actions screamed I’m not going anywhere.   And Yuuri knew this if only intellectually, but it was difficult explaining that to his emotions.  He knew how much the omega wanted to be there, that Viktor would never leave his side willingly. However, he feared he’d be ripped away.

 

And it wasn’t his heart he was worried about.  He worried about the physical loss. He worried for Viktor’s safety, even his life.  He rose early in the morning, walked Viktor to class, stopping to get the expensive lattes the younger man enjoyed so openly.  He texted the omega between class, needing that contact, needing to know that he was okay. They caught up to one another after class, meeting at the library or the diner just off campus, walking home for lunch.  Just as he had watched Viktor slowly become less codependent in their relationship, Yuuri had to chastise himself for jeopardizing that progress with his own semi-obsessive behavior. He didn’t want to be that alpha, the one that never let his omega have any space.

 

Yuuri was always there, at Viktor’s side...and part of him worried that the omega would push back in what had to feel like smothering.  But for now, the Russian snuggled into him, happily offering his own support as the alpha struggled with his worries.

 




“It’s the honeymoon phase,” one of his friends, Jules, informed him as they stretched on the barre in the ballet studio.  “He’ll start pushing back soon.”

 

Yuuri froze in his arabesque.  “Do I want that?” he asked.

 

She laughed pulling her leg into a Y spiral.  “If you want a healthy relationship where you both develop independence.”

 

Yuuri considered the dancer in front of him.  Jules was majoring in counseling and sometimes acted as the voice of reason for her friend.  “Do you think I’m encouraging codependence?”

 

“Maybe?  I mean, the omega seems a little lost without you.  Perhaps you should encourage him to go out with friends.”

 

“He hasn’t made many.”  He thought of Viktor’s days on campus up to today.  “Natalia, the other Russian on campus…”

 

“Oh, she’s in our building.  Nice girl. Music. You’d like her.”

 

Yuuri chuckled.  “I thought I would.  I just...didn’t want to elbow into his one private space.”

 

She smiled knowingly, “So you see it, too...the clinginess.”

 

Yuuri was quiet, studying his dance shoes.  “And I’m worried I won’t be enough.”

 

They dropped down on the floor and moved into a split facing each others.  As she reached to one side, she asked, “Is it still quiet in there?”

 

Yuuri straightened up with a sigh, nodding, “Does yours...talk?  I never asked.”

 

She shook her head.  “You are a rare bird.  I know it happens. I’ve heard of my brother talking about his roommate making the same observation.  It’s just...it seems you only know one or two in your lifetime. And those...are very strong alphas.”

 

Yuuri frowned in disbelief, stretching to the center.  “I am not that strong.”

 

She tapped the floor in front of him, waiting until he looked up at her.  “I heard...from Phichit...that you spent the night with that omega and didn’t lay a hand on him.  And how many times did you take care of Phichit. You...are a man of honor, a good alpha...a strong alpha.”

 

He appreciated what she was doing, but he could never be convinced, “I’m not so sure...in the silence.”

 

“And what does that voice give you?”

 

Yuuri smiled as he pulled his knees into his chest.  “It’s like...having a steady hand on your shoulders. Sometimes...I don’t know what to do.  But he does.” Then he laughed and added, “Most of the time.”

 

Jules thought for a moment, Dumbo has lost his feather and must learn to fly without it.  “Perhaps...this is a good time for you to become confidence in yourself.  Sometimes we have to have time on our own to grow. He’s always been there.  Like a second father.”

 

Yuuri nodded.  “Since I presented.”  His knees fell to the side as he took hold of his feet.  “It was a little disconcerting at first...but my family didn’t seem alarmed by it.  My father told me it was private and to not talk about it.”

 

“Perhaps that is what his father told him,” Jules suggested.  “I mean, considering where your mother had been sent. Things were different back then.”

 

“They were.”  He thought of Mari.  “If my sister hears hers, she doesn’t talk about it.  When I bring it up, she just hums.”

 

“But you’re different.  You have to give voice to your alpha.”

 

“Maybe if I hadn’t, he wouldn’t have fled.”

 

She smiled, reaching out to put her hand on his and then giving them a squeeze.  “It’s got to be hard...being normal.”

 

Yuuri huffed but there was a smile.

 




Viktor laid on his back in the living room, his poodle stretched across his tummy.  Scruffing her ears, he lapsed into Russian as he talked about his mate. “I’m worried about him.  He’s anxious and I’m not providing him the calm he needs. I think I’m the reason he’s anxious. I don’t know what to do, Makka.”

 

The poodle boofed and nuzzled his cheek.  Viktor giggled. He looked up as Yuuri came through the door.

 

“What have you been up to?” he teased as he set his dance bag down and crawled across the floor to kiss his lover.  Makka lifted his head and licked Yuuri’s face in response causing them both to devolve into giggles as Yuuri rolled into Viktor’s space, settling into his arms.

 

“Makka and I were having a little chat,” Viktor answered after he composed himself, nuzzling into Yuuri’s hair.  “How about you?”

 

“Dancing.  Letting Jules psychoanalyze me.”

 

Viktor quirked an eyebrow, hoping that this was the first step of Yuuri opening up about his worries.  “And do you need to be psychoanalyzed?”

 

Yuuri shrugged.  “I still...have doubts.  Not in us, but me. I don’t feel confident.  It’s like...being stripped bare and left vulnerable.  I miss him...that voice in my head.”

 

Viktor studied him, smoothing his hair as he shifted on his side.  “I believe in you. Even if you don’t believe in yourself, I believe in you.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because you were there when I needed you most and you stayed by my side through my most vulnerable period.”  He ran his fingers down the side of Yuuri’s face. “I’m...not the only one that believes in you. My omega does as well.”

 

He laughed at those words.  “Are you telling me your omega is talking to you now?”

 

Viktor shrugged and then nodded.

 

Yuuri blinked pulling himself up onto his elbows, “Since when?”

 

He shrugged, a smile soft on his lips.  “I think...since Hasetsu? She laughs at me, at us.  A lot. I think she finds us amusing.”

 

Yuuri arched an eyebrow, “She?”  He watched Viktor blush and duck his head.  “Does she now?”

 

“Well, I don’t think they really view genders in the same way as us but her voice...sounds feminine...in that deep Russian woman’s voice.”

 

“Mine sounded like my grandpa in a way.”

 

Viktor giggled.  “Maybe mine sounds like my babushka.”

 

Yuuri chuckled at the Russian term and the likelihood that two people had secondary genders that openly spoke...and were boomers.  “So...what else does she say?”

 

Viktor’s eyes dropped away as if he were listening to a conversation in the next room, “Not to worry.  He’ll wake in his own time.”

 

Yuuri laid back, his arms stretched loosely above his head.  “Will it be in time?”

 

“In time for what, Yuuri?”  Viktor walked his fingers up the alpha’s chest before flattening.

 

Yuuri didn’t answer at first but finally, he murmured, “I’m worried that I’m going to fail you.”

 

Viktor stretched over Yuuri’s chest, pulling their chest close together.  “Yuuri, do you remember the voices in the back of my head? Not my omega, but...them?”

 

He nodded, his eyes focusing on his mate who was now looking very serious.

 

“They get louder before there is danger.  I didn’t put it all together. I thought at first...they were trying to distract me.  Now I know...they were trying to warn me.” He chewed his bottom lip for a moment. “I’m going to be okay.  And so are you.”

 




Yuuri woke with a start, sitting up in the darkness of their bed.  In a dream that was fading but not quickly enough he had seen Viktor calling out to him, crying out in terror and Yuuri was powerless.  Long slender fingers slid up over his back, firmly reassuring him that the omega was there. “I think...I need to make an appointment with Dr. Bishop.”

 

“Okay,” the omega answered quietly.

 

Yuuri grabbed Viktor’s hand, pulling it to his lips, “And...I think it might be good if you go with Phichit to the omega defense classes on Monday.”

 

Viktor blinked at those words.  “Is that where...he never said anything.  What is he afraid of?”

 

Yuuri knew Phichit’s background but he also knew it wasn’t his to share.  “Phichit has his own demons he’s running from. He says the classes make him feel more empowered.  Minako made sure I took classes growing up for similar reasons. I was bullied for a long time but only because I didn’t want to hurt anyone.  And then someone tried to hurt Yuuko. I don’t like people hurting the ones that I love...but in case I’m not there, I think it would be good for you to be able to stand up for yourself.”

 

“Okay,” Viktor answered.  “I think that’s a good plan.  I’ll talk to Phichit in the morning and you call Dr. Bishop.”

 




Viktor sat across from Phichit as he studied the brochure.  “I mean, it’s sort of a secret. Some of the students are trying to get out of some shitty relationships,” his roommate explained.

 

The omega thought about the group, the secrecy around, and the vague explanation Yuuri had provided him about Phichit’s life before college.  “Peach, were you...trying to get out of a shitty relationship?”

 

The other omega laughed bitterly.  “That implies that I wanted to be there to begin with.  No...I was bargained off by my own father. If it weren’t for my brother and sister...and even for my mother...I’m not sure where I’d be right now, certainly not university!”  He paused for a moment, caught in a memory. Then he looked up and saw the concerned curiosity in Viktor’s face, “they all helped me to get out of that contract and then I was sent here.  I’m supposed to be disowned but I still hear from all of them...except my father.”

 

Viktor listened quietly, a frown settling on his lips.  He knew of places where that happened, omegas used as bargaining chips and currency.  “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

 

“It’s fine.  Really. Yuuri looked out for me when I arrived.  I didn’t exactly trust him at first. He...handled me like an injured animal.  It was him who suggested that I get a pet. Cocoa was such a comfort to him. I think he was surprised that I picked hamsters.”  He shrugged. “I mean, they are a comfort to me...but I don’t want to rely on a dog to defend me. I want to be strong on my own.  I took my fate in my own hands and escaped. That’s what this class gives me.”

 

“Then...I think it will be a good thing.”

 




Viktor faced off with Phichit and the other omega didn’t hold anything back.  The silverette had his hair wound up into a messy bun and he wore his game face.  The ice prince was in play and the Thai warrior was poking around for weak points.

 

Finally, the instructor separated them.  “Nice. It seems you have good instincts.  Perhaps growing up on the streets of St. Petersburg has made you pretty tough.”

 

Viktor snorted at that.  “Nope. I grew up in limos and private schools.  But I’ve danced since I was three and skated since five.  Training for fifteen years makes you very aware of your body’s strengths and weaknesses.”

 

“And what would you say to those who haven’t been able to train for fifteen years?” the instructor pressed.

 

He looked towards his classmates all seated around the mat.  “That it’s never too late. That omegas aren’t weak. Many alphas want us to think that.  Many alphas want us to be dependent on them. That makes us easy to overpower. We aren’t in the right mental space.  We have to refuse to be defeated.”

 

“Even if your man beats the shit out of you?” a dirty blond omega tossed back at him.

 

Viktor spun on the voice, he was sorry for what this person faced, but stood confirmed.  “Especially then...flip the game. Be smarter. Find your escape. And once you’re out, don’t look back.”

 

“What brings you here, Nikiforov?” the instructor asked.

 

He squared his shoulders and answered, “A stalker.  He has tried several times to grab me but I’ve gotten away.  The last time, though, he hired someone and almost succeeded.  I let down my guard. I thought being in a different city made me safe.  I was going into heat and wasn’t being smart. But a stranger heard my cries for help and interfered with the kidnapping.”

 

There was a collective hiss and then one of the other omegas asked, “Were they grabbing you because you were out on your heat?”

 

Viktor made a face because that wasn’t the point.  “I thought that at first...until I learned it was the work of my stalker.  Besides, my heat would just be an excuse should an alpha choose to attack me.  An alpha can control himself in the presence of an omega during their heat.”

 

There was some discussion and finally one of the others, a male omega, raised his hand.  “My alpha said that my heat drives him mad, that my protests were not valid. I’d already given consent by being there.”

 

“And mine stayed in the room with me through my heat, helped me to sleep after a traumatic kidnapping attempt, and made sure I was safe.  There was no sex.”

 

Phichit smiled at that, hugging his knees.  “He’s my roommate, too. I know he won’t let anyone get to me when I’m in my heat but he’s never made an attempt to...join me.”

 

The two omega roommates could tell they were challenging some misconceptions.  Finally the other male omega asked, “You mean my man lied to me?”

 

“Are you surprised?” Viktor asked.

 

He huffed, shaking his head.  “Nope. But now I’m pissed I didn’t file rape charges.”

 

“So...is there a defense if we’re in our heat?” another omega, this one female asked.

 

“If they don’t back off the moment you say no or stop, then you should hit him where it hurts...or her,” their instructor explained.  “Suit up.” Half of them put on defense armor and the other half practiced on hitting critical points. “ SING for me, students.”

 




Walking back, Phichit pointed out, “You’re instincts are really good.”

 

They both staggered against the wind, causing them to huddle together with a nervous giggle.  “I was alone many of the times they tried to grab me and had to think fast. I tend to be hyper-aware of my surroundings.  For instance, did you notice there is an alpha that’s been following us for two blocks.” He then turned around and made eye contact.  “Do I know you?”

 

The person behind them stopped short, startled by the abrupt greeting he received from the omega.  Emerging from a shadow the alpha awkwardly called out to them, “Hey, Viktor. I thought that was you.”  He nodded to Phichit, still clearly taken off guard. “I’m in your calculus class.”

 

Viktor wasn’t convinced, in fact he narrowed his eyes as his suspicion rose.  “Why did you skulk behind us for the last two blocks?” the platinum blond omega demanded.

 

He shrugged, raising his arm against the wind.  “I wasn’t sure it was you. It’s awful out here tonight.”  He draped an arm around the two of them. They could smell the alcohol on his breath.

 

Phichit immediately stepped out of the man’s reach.  Viktor raised an eyebrow at his friend. “I don’t recall giving you permission to put your hands on me.”

 

“Are you afraid your alpha will find out?” he leered.

 

“No...I’m not afraid...at all.  You’ve been drinking. Perhaps you should call an uber and go home.”

 

The alpha smiled, leaning into Viktor further and turning his back to Phichit.  “Oh, come on. I can show both of you a time you won’t forget.”

 

Viktor snorted, quickly sidestepping his way out of the man’s embrace and to Phichit’s side.  “Not interested,” they both stated clearly but the alpha continued to press.

 

“You two didn’t look like a couple of stuck up bitches,” he huffed.

 

Phichit met Viktor’s eye and muttered, “Life lessons,” under his breath.

 

“Indeed...shall we…”

 

“Solar plexus!” Phichit shouted as he elbowed the alpha in his gut, causing the man to wobble.

 

“Why’d you…”

 

“Instep!” Viktor added, digging slamming and digging his heel into the alpha’s foot.

 

“What the…”

 

“Nose!” Phichit continued, slamming the heel of his hand into the alpha’s nose.

 

The alpha weaved but not before the final blow as Viktor shouted, “Groin!”

 

As he went down, the other two ran off, laughing, exhilarated.  As they drew close, Viktor wrapped an arm around his smaller friend.  “We make a great team.”

 

Phichit pulled Viktor into a stronger hug, “And I don’t feel the least bit guilty for that.”

 

“You shouldn’t...he was a drunken creep.”

 

As they climbed the stairs, though, Phichit began to worry.  “He’s in your calculus class. Do you think he’s going to give you any trouble?”

 

“I’ll have Yuuri meet me after class and talk with my professor until he arrives.”

 

He sighed, unlocking the door.  “Are you going to tell Yuuri?”

 

“That the class went great?  Oh, yeah!”

 




Inside the apartment, Yuuri sat curled up with a book but looked up as they walked in laughing.  Viktor’s smile left his face as he spotted his alpha, the scratches on his arms giving away his anxiety.  With a sigh, he went to his side and took his hands in his lap. “You can’t keep hurting yourself like this.”

 

He glanced away guiltily, pulling free of Viktor’s touch and tugging down his sleeves.  “I just worry.”

 

“I’m fine...and I was with Phichit.  We are a great team.”

 

“Are you now?” he asked curiously, leaning up to kiss the omega’s lips.

 

“Yep,” Phichit added.  “The instructor had us demonstrating.  Viktor makes it hard to find his weak points.  He’s got excellent reactions. It was nice to have a challenge.”  He waved good night, leaving them alone.

 

“I have an appointment tomorrow but I’m missing my second class.  Can you walk home by yourself?”

 

Viktor schooled his expression and nodded.  “Sure. I can handle it.”

 

Yuuri narrowed his eyes.  “Are you sure? Is everything alright?”

 

Viktor put on his practiced smile, “Of course it is.  Don’t worry about it. It’s good for us to do things on our own.”

 

Had Yuuri not been exhausted by the worried energy he’d burnt off he would have noticed the stage smile on Viktor’s face.  “That’s what Jules says.” He lay back against the sofa, rubbing his hands into his eyes. “I’m going to work on this.”

 

“I know,” Viktor assured him quietly, smoothing his hair.  “Let’s go to bed.”

Chapter Text


Ch. 17:  King and Lionheart

 

Viktor crossed campus with Natalia at his side until their destinations forced them to part.  It had become a normal routine for both but when she caught a hint of Viktor’s scent souring she paused.  Wrinkling her nose she grabbed his arm. “Are you okay?”

 

Viktor hemmed for a moment, embarrassed that he had been caught.  “Just an asshole. He’s in my calculus class but he came onto Phichit and me on the way home last night.”  Viktor flicked his hair over his shoulder, attempting confidence. “He was drunk. We kicked his ass.”

 

“Well, good for you.”  Natalie threw a light punch to his shoulder, watching him laugh.  However, the fellow Russian had learned the omega’s smiled well enough to spot the fake ones easily.  “But you seem to be worried.”

 

The shoulders sagged, “He’s sober now and I’m not with Phichit.”

 

She smiled, putting a hand on his shoulder, “It’s broad daylight and you’ll be surrounded by other students.”

 

Viktor nodded, but he wasn’t so sure.  Natalia waved as she left for her own class, and he moved on to his own.  He checked his phone for messages after she left, stalling.  I could just go home.  But then he closed his eyes tight, drawing himself up to his full height.  No, that would mean he wins.

 

Walking into class, he spotted the asshole right away, the bruising around the nose prominent.  He heard two other alpha’s giving him hell. “Yeah, well, I left the other one in much worse shape at that bar.”

 

“Can you believe this guy?  Bar fight,” one of the omegas said next to him.

 

Across the room the alpha turned his gaze to Viktor, his expression turning almost feral and pushed his scent out.  The two alphas sitting near him gagged calling him out on the vulgar behavior. Viktor held his eyes. They both knew the truth.  He sat as far away from the alpha as possible and tried to focus on his teacher. As the class came to a close, Dr. Fine asked him, “Mr. Nikiforov, would you mind staying after?  I’d like to meet with you over your research topic.”

 

“Oh, o-of course.”  The omega scrambled after her and followed her down the hall and up the stairs to her office.

 

“Close the door, please,” she directed.

 

He hurried to do her bidding and then took the chair she motioned towards.  “Umm, what is this about? We don’t have a…”

 

She waved a hand, letting him know to stop.  Instead she took a breath, letting it out. “I noticed the tension between yourself and Mr. James.  And it didn’t escape my notice he was sporting a newly broken nose.”

 

“I...didn’t do that.”  Viktor offered too quickly, then slowly filled in the rest.  “But...I possibly broke his foot,” he said quietly, staring at his hands.

 

She fought down a smirk, “Mr. James is here on probation.  Did you know that?”

 

Viktor looked up, shaking his head.  “I...did not. I don’t really know him.”

 

“He’s been known to target omegas on campus.  There...have been complaints.”  She cast him a challenging look.  “Perhaps you and I can take a walk over to the Dean of Students and file a formal complaint.”

 

“It was off campus,” Viktor argued.

 

She shook her head.  “That doesn’t fly here.  You are both students and I watched him try to intimidate you during class .  I will back you up on that.”

 

Viktor chewed his lip, thinking over his options.  “Phichit was there, too...when he...when he was harassing us.”

 

“You can tell the Dean and they will be in contact.”  She held his eyes for a moment before adding, “We omegas need to stand up and fight against these bastards, make sure alphas know we demand respect.  When they attack one of us, they attack all of us.”

 

He drew in a breath shakily and let it out slowly.  “O-okay.”

 




Yuuri sat across from Dr. Bishop while she reviewed her notes, his thoughts on the omega that he left with Phichit.  They were likely at the rink by now.  I’m not worried.  He’s fine. It’s not like anyone has made a move since we’ve returned.

 

As if answering his fears, Cara Bishop closed the laptop and faced her patient.  “You’re hands are tremoring,” she pointed out. “And you have chewed your nails down.  Your shirt is frayed on the sleeves. If you roll them up, would I see scratches?”

 

Yuuri shrugged, looking away, his eyes sliding out the window unseeing.  “I didn’t think you’d notice.”

 

She inclined her head, “It’s my job to notice, Yuuri.  Now, let’s talk about what has you anxious.”

 

Yuuri held his breath then let it out all at once.  “It’s the silence,” he muttered. “I think I am able to hide it but Viktor asked me about it this morning.  He was worried about the scratches. He fussed about my nails yesterday. He’s the one that suggested I come here.”  He focused on the doctor and added, “I worry I can’t protect him.”

 

“What is it you’re protecting him from?” she asked.

 

Yuuri frowned as he thought about how to word it.  “He...fled here because he had...a stalker. Really, that’s how we met.”

 

“Most stalkers don’t travel,” she pointed out

 

“This one does...or at least hires someone.  He...or they...they aren’t without means. The one that tried to grab Victor...he was hired.  That was in Moscow. The stalker is out of St. Petersburg.”

 

If the doctor found the use of the pronoun they , which Yuuri clearly was using as a plural, odd she kept it to herself.  “Have you seen any signs of them here?”

 

“No...but it’s only been a month.”

 

She waited to see if he would offer more, then pushed him.  “Perhaps...we are inventing obstacles.”

 

“My instincts are dulled,” he argued.  “I can’t respond like before.”

 

She sighed as she studied him.  “We could take you to a neurologist and maybe an endocrinologist and find out if you are in any way incapacitated.  However, this wall you built isn’t in your body, it’s here,” she pointed to her head. “In your mind. So let’s see if we can tear it down.”

 

Yuuri took a breath and let it out slowly.  “I’ve...been twitchy. It’s different with Victor here.  He calms me in so many ways. My mind’s not on fire. But then...I feel so inadequate.  Why...would he want me?”

 

“Why wouldn’t he want you, Yuuri?”

 

He shrugged, looking down at his hands.  “I mean, I’m broken. I’m less than I was when we met.   I’m a mess.”

 

“Hmmm...why don’t you let him decide?  Your job is to work on these anxieties.  So let us talk. And then we’ll decide the next move.”

 

“I-I...he’s here,” Yuuri whispered.  “I’ve done so much to make room for him, to help him to fit into my world...I don’t fit in his.”

 

“Sometimes the answer lies in the middle, Yuuri.”  She leaned forward, putting her hands in front of her, palms facing each other.  “Perhaps it’s a matter of meeting each other halfway.”

 

Yuuri shifted uncomfortably, knowing that he was more concerned with just their ability to compromise.  “It’s just that...I keep falling. And one of these days I won’t be able to get up.”

 

“Talk to me about falling.  Is this on the ice?”

 

Is it?  Yuuri furrowed his brow.  He didn’t have the bruises.  Where… .

 

Yuuri met her eyes before slowly shaking his head.  “It’s in my nightmares. Then I wake up and there are scratches on my arms...and Vitya, he’s soothing me.  And he deserves better than that.”

 

She sat back in her chair, challenging him to see if from another angle.  “What if the roles were reversed? What if it was Viktor that was having these nightmares?”

 

Yuuri looked up, almost startled at the thought of abandoning Viktor to anything, “I-I’d take care of him.”

 

“Of course you would.  Because it’s the alpha thing to do.”  She waved her hand flippantly.

 

His eyes went wide, “N-no!  Because I love him!”

 

She merely smiled, leaning forward to put her pen down.  “Of course, and he loves you. Gender, secondary genders have nothing to do with it.  Yuuri, sometimes we have to accept that people like us, love us even. Do you want to see that neurologist?”

 

Yuuri shook his head hesitantly.  “I think...I want to go home to my mate.”

 

“Maybe let your mate in on these emotions,” she suggested.  “Let him weigh in on these thoughts.”

 




Celestino watched the lithe Russian glide across the ice.  His performances were beautiful, but that would be expected by anyone that came from Yakov’s school.  However, today there was something clearly weighing on his mind. Turning to his other skater he probed, “Phichit, do you know what’s going on with your roommate?”

 

Phichit, who was never good at lying, really tried, “Ummm...maybe because Yuuri’s not here?”

 

The coach huffed.  Why does he even try?  “Try again, Chulanont.”

 

He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly.  “He doesn’t want Yuuri to know. We were...harrassed on our way home last night.  A drunk student. We were fine and took care of it but the alpha is in Victor’s class.  The professor picked up on the tension and dragged him to the Dean of Students. I just...I think Yuuri needs to know.”

 

Celestino grunted in agreement as he watched the skater open up and turn a triple toe into a single, barely hanging onto the landing.  “Yuuri does need to know.”

 




Yuuri lay curled up in Victor’s nest, the omega running his fingers through the alpha’s hair in a soothing motion.  “I have bad dreams, too,” he pointed out. “And I can’t exactly take care of myself long term. You at least can do that.”

 

Yuuri captured the hand and pressed a kiss into the fingers, “But what if you need me and I can’t protect you.”

 

Victor leveled a stare at him.  “Yuuri, I have every confidence that if someone tried to lay a finger on me, you’d tear them limb from limb.  And I’d be in there fighting with you. There’s a reason they haven’t gotten me before. I can be pretty scrappy if I need to be.”

 

Yuuri smirked at that determined look on his mate.  “Are you?”

 

“I mean...not when I’m fighting off my heat.  But I can defend myself.” He lunged at Yuuri and the alpha found himself giggling as the omega straddled him.  “See? I’ve got you right where I want you.”

 

“It does help that I’m your willing victim,” Yuuri argued.

 

“Perhaps...but I’m still the one in charge here.”  He ground down his hips and then winked. “It seems like someone likes that, too.”

 

Yuuri reached up and pulled Victor down into a kiss.  “I like everything about you.”  His fingers quickly found the hem of his shirt and pulled it up over his head, tossing it to the side.  He splayed his fingers against his pale chest, fingers teasing his nipples. Canting his hips up to grind into Viktor, the omega giggled as he fell forward, nuzzling into his neck.

 

“I hope you plan to follow through with that offer,” he teased, his fingers sliding up to rest on his cheek.

 

Yuuri turned into that touch, kissing those fingers.  “I need you.” They kissed, moaning into the connection, Yuuri’s hands sliding down Victor’s back, Victor’s hand sliding underneath Yuuri’s shirt.  The clothes would have to come off. As their lips parted, they separated to scramble out of them, Yuuri cussing at his pajama pant leg that tried to hang onto his foot before he said fuck it and laid back, ignoring the extra length of fabric.

 

And then his omega was back on top of him again, their hips finding a rhythm as they kissed, desperation in their touches.   Yuuri found his hole with the practiced ease of lovers, fingering him open. Viktor rode those fingers, his cries unguarded as Yuuri added a third finger.

 

“Need you in me.  Now!” he demanded.

 

Yuuri chuckled as he withdrew his hand, wiping them on his shirt before settling them on Viktor’s hips.  The younger man was already guiding him in, wantonly sinking onto his cock, his eyes lidded heavily, his lips parted, his hair tangled around his face.  He was completely debauched and Yuuri watched in fascination as the omega took his pleasure on him, riding up and down, Yuuri meeting him half way every other drop.  The groans the younger man released when he did that were completely sinful and Yuuri was glad their roommate had invested in noise canceling headphones. And down the hall Phichit was very glad he had invested in them as well as he put on his favorite mix of lofi hiphop.

 

Yuuri then tightened his hold on those hips before his hands slid up with purpose, flipping them over.  Viktor’s eyes widened with surprise and then a smirk settled over his lips. Wrapping those long legs around Yuuri’s waist, he continued to ride that cock.  Yuuri leaned down, kissing him, meeting those hips with hard thrusts, swallowing the delicious moans as Yuuri hit him just right.

 

“Oh, god, Yuuri...I’m going to cum!”  Viktor was barely holding himself together under the alpha’s thrusting.

 

He spied the face of his lover, flushed, and destroyed.  The younger man was reduced to a panting mess before him, and Yuuri felt something deep within him almost growl.  “I know...let go.”

 

With a hitch of his breath, that body beneath him trembled as he came apart, spilling between them.  Yuuri groaned as he felt Viktor all around him, his walls contracting and spasming while Yuuri continued to move in him.  

 

“You feel so amazing,” he hissed.  And then he buried his cock into the omega and released.

 




They stared up at the ceiling, fingers entwined.  Yuuri’s eyes wide, Viktor almost asleep. “I didn’t use a condom.”  It was barely a whisper.

 

Viktor roused.  “What?”

 

“I...forgot.”  Yuuri felt the post sex high fade into guilt.

 

The omega huffed.  “You’re clean. You checked out at our last appointment.  And I’m on birth control with my suppressants.”

 

Yuuri squirmed, the emotions starting to wave over him.  “But you’re still irregular. Your heats…”

 

Viktor heard the worry in his lover’s voice, knowing that it was the bridge to anxiety.  Taking his face in his hands he looked Yuuri in the eyes, “I’m not in heat now. It’s fine, Yuuri.  The condom was just an extra precaution. One I appreciate...but now, I think we’re fine.”

 

Yuuri drew in a shaky breath and let it out slowly, his hand squeezing Viktor’s hand.  Stupid stupid stupid .  I don’t want to fuck up your career.  Where are you, Alpha? You wouldn’t have let me forget.   He blinked his eyes, small tears slipping out of the corners and he’s startled when he feels Viktor drawing near him.

 

Long fingers stroked his cheeks, turning him to face the younger man.  “Don’t worry.” He kissed Yuuri’s forehead. “I won’t let Lilia murder you.  I think she could hide the body too well.”

 

Yuuri chuckled nervously.  “Not helping.”

 

“Oh, I think I am.”  He knew that levity would help bring Yuuri out of himself.  “Just imagine what Yakov would do to you. I think he could convince Celestino to make your life on ice a living hell.”  He winked, a smirk on his lips.

 

“You really love to torment me.”

 

Viktor nodded, leaning forward to kiss him.  “I’m fine,” he whispered. “Trust me.”