Yuuri’s sitting at his desk late at night when the clock on Yuuri’s laptop clicks to midnight and a notification set for that day makes a small ‘ding’. Yuuri’s eyes are drawn to it out of instinct, and he almost goes back to his chat with Phichit without thinking, the meaning of the notification not clicking in right away. He’s just trying to enjoy a night of relaxation before his day off tomorrow; he and Victor have decided he needs a break from training to let his muscles rest and repair.
He pauses halfway through typing something to his friend when it finally sinks in. The ‘Start Planning for Heat’ notification is still hanging in the corner of his screen.
Honestly, he’d totally forgotten about it. Years ago he’d set up a strict schedule with his doctor for when he’d need to go through his Omega heats. Because of his high-level athletic profession, he’d been given a more stringent schedule, and instead of the usual once-a-year planned heat that most Omegas went through, he’d been given the go-ahead to suppress his heats down to once every two years.
‘Yuuri?’ Phichit’s message dings through on their chat.
He deletes what he’s been writing and quickly types out a ‘brb’.
He pulls up his calendar to check. It can’t possibly be two years. But the notification tells him otherwise.
After checking his calendar it’s official: he has one month before he should have his heat. It couldn’t possibly come at a worse time. He’s training with Victor right now - this is his big year and the Cup of China is only a couple months away. He doesn’t have time to take a week off for a full-blown heat.
But he can’t ignore it. It’s still a little controversial for Omegas to keep their heats to once a year, if only because there are health concerns. The truth is, most Omegas just don’t have the time to have the usual four heats a year. Suppressing heats for two years is as far as doctors are willing to go unless there are severe medical problems. His calendar doesn’t lie; Yuuri definitely hasn’t had a heat in two years.
He’s thankful to his calendar for planning and reminding him of the dates it should happen because he would have forgotten. Of course, there’s always a bit of wiggle-room for when he should have it, but that room is only a couple weeks wide.
Right now, his schedule says that in 37 days from now he should be finished with his heat. It’s less than 20 days after that he’ll be competing in the Cup of China. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for training. Even if he stops his suppressants now his heat won’t come on for a week. But that probably won’t leave him enough time to get things ready.
The schedule that he has set already is still probably the best option, but even thinking about taking the time off from working with Victor seems such a waste.
He really doesn’t have another option, though. If he had been smart about it, he would have had his heat during the spring when he wasn’t training.
He stares at his computer screen blankly for a moment, trying to think of another way out of this. He can’t just stop his heat for a few more months. As soon as the Cup of China hits, it’s going to be continuous work until at least after the Grand Prix Final, if not longer.
He also knows that suppressing for that long has physical detriments for Omegas, and he wants to be at the peak of his ability going into the competitions.
He sighs loudly, realising that he really doesn’t have a choice.
There’s a lot to get ready in time for his heat. He thinks for a moment about what he did two years ago, and it comes back quickly as he’s staring at his chat. Phichit.
Two years ago, he was living in Detroit and rooming with the Thai skater. He’s had heats where he keeps himself locked away in his room by himself. He doesn’t really mind it, but having someone there, even if it’s a Beta like Phichit, does help a bit.
Four years previous, after just having moved to Detroit, he’d hired a professional Omega-helper for his heat. He had planned to do the same thing the second time, but when he’d mentioned it to Phichit, his friend had offered himself. They’d both had the time and Celestino had been understanding.
Even though Phichit is a Beta, he’d been so helpful during his heat. Yuuri groans, wondering what he’s going to do this time around.
Japan is a little more conservative in their beliefs about helping Omegas during their heats. Detroit has a surplus of people willing to be bought as play-things for a week. They are much more rare, and much more expensive here in Japan. Not to mention, Yuuri is living in a small town, so the selection, if any, will be small.
He supposes he could get through the week by himself - something most Omegas in Japan do - but thinking about the past few years and how much easier and less stressful the week had been with someone there next to him makes him think twice about going solo.
Phichit sends him another message: ‘ everything okay?’
Yuuri should probably tell Phichit. However, he’s concerned that if he tells Phichit he’s worried about doing the week solo, and so close to competitions, that Phichit will offer to fly out and spend the week with him again. He can’t make Phichit do that, no matter how much he’d prefer the company.
He slowly types out his message to Phichit.
‘Sorry. Just realised I have to start planning for my heat. Seems like it wasn’t that long ago I had my last one.’
Phichit’s response is quick. ‘Oh! Is it that time again? Have you looked into getting a companion? I wish I could be there to help you again.’ He sends a winking emoji too, and that makes Yuuri blush a little.
‘I’ll figure it out.’ Yuuri replies to him. ‘I’m just worried about taking a week off of training.’
‘What did Victor say?’ Phichit types back to him.
That makes Yuuri stop. He’ll have to tell Victor about his heat. He doubts Victor even knows he’s an Omega. He uses scent-masking soap and takes suppressants, so he’s always mistaken for a Beta. It’s easier to be taken seriously in professional sports if he identifies that way.
He’s pretty sure Victor is an Alpha, but his scent it mild and Yuuri has only really noticed his natural scent when he’s close. Sometimes Betas will wear Alpha cologne so they come across as someone more dominating though, so it’s not out of the question that he’s a Beta, but somehow, Yuuri doubts that Victor is that kind of person.
His facetime rings with Phichit’s caller ID. He probably waited too long to answer and Phichit is worried about him. He answers, glad to see his friend’s face when the call picks up.
“Hey!” He says to Phichit, giving him a small smile.
“I just want to make sure you’re okay,” Phichit tells him, looking into the camera a little troubled.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Yuuri tells him, and he finds it isn’t a lie. “It just snuck up on me. It definitely wasn’t in my training regime.”
“Ah, that’s too bad,” Phichit says, leaning back. He’s obviously sitting in his bed. Yuuri feels a surge of affection for his friend. The fact that he’s willing to call Yuuri this late at night to make sure he’s okay is nicer than Yuuri thinks he deserves sometimes.
“Yeah. But I can’t do anything about it, so….” Yuuri shrugs.
“Have you talked to Victor?” Phichit asks again.
“No,” Yuuri tells him and he can see Phichit’s brows furrow. “I forgot about it until about five minutes ago. I’ll talk to him tomorrow or something.”
“Yeah?” Phichit says.
Yuuri isn’t sure he’s actually going to talk to Victor about it. He’ll try asking for a week of vacation. Maybe he’ll be able to convince Victor to go back to Russia for that week. His coach doesn’t need to know that he’ll be spending a week with a dick of some sort, real or silicone, shoved up his ass.
“If he gives you any shit, I’ll talk to him.” Phichit says firmly.
“Thanks,” Yuuri says, and he means it. “Don’t worry about it, though. I’ll figure something out. I’ve been doing since I was thirteen.”
“If you really need it, I could try and make some time to come out and help you,” Phichit offers what Yuuri was afraid he would.
“No, no,” he says quickly. He knows Phichit’s offering because they’re good friends; neither of them have any particular romantic feelings towards one another. Phichit usually prefers female Beta’s anyway. And Yuuri…Yuuri doesn’t really have preferences. He’d probably be happy living his whole life without a sexual partner. It’s usually only during his heats that he craves sexual intimacy. “No. I’ll be fine. You have training. I don’t want to take you away from that. Plus, I’m sure I’ll be able to find someone. If not, I’ve made it through alone before.”
Phichit sighs. “Yeah, I know you have. But that doesn’t mean it doesn't suck. It’s always better if you have someone to help you through it, right? You don’t want to hurt yourself with the Cup of China coming up.”
“Yeah, I know,” Yuuri says, running his hand through his hair. It’s not like he has any friends here in Hasetsu he can call up and ask. He’ll just have to do some research. “Hey, can I call you tomorrow?” Yuuri asks. “I kind of want to start planning tonight.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s fine,” Phichit says, a little surprised. “Make sure you get some sleep tonight, though, okay?”
“Yeah, okay.” Yuuri agrees.
“And tell me if you need anything. Seriously, Yuuri. Anything.”
“Okay, okay. Yeah. I will.” He promises. He doesn’t tell Phichit that he won’t ever ask him to fly out to Japan. They say their goodbyes and Yuuri ends the call.
He stretches in his chair, then does a search on his laptop for his ‘Heat’ folder. Inside are blank copies of legal documents, should he decide to hire someone, and some other necessary files, but what he’s looking for is his checklist.
First things first, he’ll need to make sure he can get the time off from training. Unfortunately, that’s the thing he’s most worried about. He doesn’t want to talk to Victor about this, but he doubts Victor will let him off easily.
He’ll also need to either book a hotel room or he’ll need to order some supplies off the internet to make sure his room here is scent-proof enough to stay. If he IS going to hire someone, he’ll need to meet and sign papers with them before he goes off his suppressants.
He counts back on his calendar from when he hopes to start his heat. In two weeks time he’ll have to stop taking his suppressants. And then it will be a week of waiting for his body to flush out the synthetic hormones before his heat starts.
That week before the heat will be hectic too. He’ll probably start nesting. He did last time, at least.
Thinking about what he has to get ready, he panics a bit. There’s already so much prep he’ll have to do. It means he’ll spend the day training, and then instead of relaxing in the onsen, he’ll have to be getting things ready. He sighs again because it’s such a hassle. The pleasure of a heat is nice, but he’d rather just suppress them until his life is a little more stable.
He goes to bed not long after, knowing he’ll need his rest for tomorrow. He’ll probably spend the whole day planning. And he’ll need his strength to deal with Victor.
“Soooooo,” Yuuri starts, poking at his breakfast the next morning. It’s just the two of them this late in the morning. Victor is awake, but still looking sleepy sitting across from him. They’re not supposed to be training today, which usually Yuuri is grateful for, but now that he knows he’ll be out of commission for at least a week, he almost wants to suggest they do a little bit today.
“Mmnn?” Victor yawns.
Yuuri doesn’t want to talk to Victor about this, but the sooner he can secure his week, the better. He needs to plan around that time. “You haven’t been back to Russia in a while. Aren’t you missing St. Petersburg? Your family?”
Victor scowls at that. “We’ll be returning for the Rostelecom Cup soon.”
Crap. Yuuri had almost forgotten about that. “You don’t want to go back to visit sooner?” Yuuri asks, pushing his egg around his plate with his chopsticks.
“No,” Victor says slowly, looking more alert. “Why.”
“Oh. No reason.” Yuuri says, refusing to meet Victor’s gaze. There goes Yuuri’s hope that he could just get Victor to take a vacation himself.
“Yuuri-” Victor starts, hand creeping across the table towards Yuuri’s hand.
“I need a vacation,” Yuuri says without preamble. He’s usually not this forward, but he really does need to start getting ready. With his training schedule, two weeks before he goes off his suppressants is pushing it.
“What.” Victor’s voice is hard, and it makes Yuuri look up. This time Victor really is frowning. “Yuuri, I hardly think that you need a vacation. You took a lot of time off before I came here. Do you not think you need to train for the Cup of China?”
“No, no,” Yuuri tries to do some damage control. “I’m happy to keep working. I just- I need a week. Just seven days. We can work around that, can’t we?”
Victor sighs and pushes his breakfast away. “I’m going to need a reason,” he says.
“I just need it.” Yuuri says. He would rather Victor be exasperated at him for demanding time off than having to tell Victor what he needs it for. He has a feeling that, although Victor probably doesn’t care what his secondary gender is, it might change something between them. He doesn’t want to risk it.
“Yuuri, we can’t just take a week off.” Victor tells him. “You’re still not completely ready for the next competition. Taking a week off would be dangerous at this point. It could make you complacent, it could ruin the good work you’ve been doing, it could set us back three weeks.”
Yuuri already knows all of this, but he just doesn’t have a choice. “I know.” He tells Victor. He doesn’t want his coach to think he isn’t serious. “I’m sorry, it’s personal. I just need to have the time off.”
“Not good enough, Yuuri,” Victor says, lips pursed. “I came here to help you, and now you’re trying to get out of training. How do you think that reflects on me as a coach?”
That hurts Yuuri. He doesn’t want Victor to feel like that.
Victor continues, “Do you not want to skate for me-”
“I have to have my heat,” Yuuri blurts out. Shit. He didn’t want to tell Victor that, but he was panicking, he can’t have Victor thinking he’s not grateful for his coaching.
It’s quiet in the room. Victor is just staring, open-mouthed, at Yuuri.
“Crap,” Yuuri says quietly. “Look, I don’t want to take time off, but I can’t suppress my heat for any longer without some detriments,” he decides to tell Victor.
“You’re an Omega.” Victor says with a blank face.
Yuuri sighs. Here it comes. Now that Victor knows, he’ll treat Yuuri differently. Kinder. He doesn’t want to be treated like he’s weaker, more fragile. “Yes. I’m an Omega. It doesn’t change who I am. Just means that I have to take a bit of time for a necessary biological function.”
“You’re an Omega,” Victor says again.
Yuuri stays quiet, noticing that Victor isn’t even really looking at him.
“And you’re going to have your heat.” Victor says slowly, as if he’s trying to convince himself of what Yuuri has said. He blinks several times, and then there’s a big smile on his face, as if he wasn’t just told that Yuuri needed to take time off for sex. “Ah! Well, I suppose it can’t be helped, can it? What days is it? I’ll make sure to plan our training around them.”
Yuuri certainly didn’t expect him to take it like this - like it’s no big deal. “Oh. Well, if everything goes according to plan, I think it will start on Monday the 10th, which means I should be finished by the 17th.” He’s definitely embarrassed that he has to give Victor the dates, but it’s better if they’re clear about them now.
“So far away?” Victor asks.
“Well, yeah,” Yuuri says, scratching the back of his head nervously. “I need to spend some time planning it first, you know?”
“Oh. Really?” Victor asks, leaning across the table in interest. “I’ve helped Omegas in heat before, but I didn’t know that there was so much planning involved.”
That sounds a little strange to Yuuri. “Did they not ask a few weeks in advance?”
Victor pauses to think about it, one finger lightly resting on his lips. If he’s not sure about it, then out of the three secondary genders, he's definitely not an Omega. Victor answers after a moment, “Yes. They did. Is that part of the planning?”
Yuuri flushes because an image of Victor helping an Omega in heat flashes in his mind and his imagination helpfully supplies a fantasy where he’s at the centre of it. He gathers enough wherewithal to push the fantasy aside and say, “Well, it’s not like you can really consent during a heat. But there’s more to planning it than that. A lot of people don’t have someone to help them through it.”
“Really?” Victor asks, looking interested. “Let me help you, then.”
Yuuri freezes. Victor’s just said it so nonchalantly, like it’s no big deal. Is he seriously offering to help Yuuri with his heat? That’s crazy.
“I’m good at planning things,” Victor says and Yuuri’s heart falls.
He’s just offering to help plan Yuuri’s heat, not spend it with him. Of course. Why would Victor ever want to spend Yuuri’s heat with him? He’s getting far too presumptuous with Victor living with him.
At the same time, Victor wanting to help plan Yuuri’s heat is just as strange. It’s not something Omegas let others be privvy too, with the exception being mated pairs. “Uuum. No, it’s fine. I know what I’m doing.” Yuuri tells him.
Victor pouts, slumping across the table. “But Yuuuri, I’m your coach. I’m supposed to help you with things like this.”
“No. Not really,” Yuuri tells him. Celestino had never inquired about his heats. The only time they’d talked about it was when he’d first signed on and told him his schedule so they could work around it, and then briefly the time Phichit had requested some time off too.
“Why nooooot?” Victor whines.
Yuuri can give him all sorts of reasons: He’s not a part of it. It’s too embarrassing. It’s none of his business. It’s not professional to force your help on an Omega. Victor doesn’t actually have any idea what kind of things Yuuri needs to plan.
The list is long. Yet, there’s something comforting about Victor asking to help. Even if he did agree, he’s not sure what he’d get Victor to do. Most of it would be too embarrassing. “I’m fine. I don’t need help. It’ll just be easier for me to do it myself without having to explain everything to you.” That’s the best answer he can give - not outright rejecting Victor, but being reasonable at the same time.
“Fine,” Victor pouts.
They sit in silence while Yuuri finishes the last of his breakfast.
“I didn’t know.” Victor finally says, looking up at him from where he’s still draped over the table.
“Most people don’t. And I like it that way.” Yuuri tells him.
“Since I know about you now, do you want to know what I am?” Victor asks him, eyes keenly fixed on Yuuri’s face.
“No. That’s fine. I don’t need to know,” Yuuri says, standing and grabbing his empty plate. The truth is, he’s actually very curious. But the answer shouldn’t matter, so there’s no point in finding out.
“Okay,” Victor responds. He doesn’t follow Yuuri into the kitchen.