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Matter Over Mind

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Mike knew of course that Harvey was an Alpha.

Harvey would leave nobody in any doubt about that. He paraded the whole unbonded-Alpha-thing around like one of his exquisite suits. He exclusively travelled with Beta Car, he flew by BetAir only and he never stayed anywhere else but in strictly Beta-run hotels, neither on a business trip nor on vacation.

Only other Alphas and a couple of Betas worked at Pearson Hardman, which made the firm a perfectly safe environment for someone who wanted to stay unattached and thus free of that kind of responsibility, like Harvey clearly did. He made no secret of the fact that he could go out for a fuck anytime he wished, could fuck a Beta or an even an Omega – while not in her or his heat or even if they were in heat, if he felt especially daring or celebratory – in expensive and very discrete clubs or that he could pick up the random Beta at a bar or at his gym whenever he felt like it. That was the way he liked it and he made sure everyone in his vicinity knew.

Mike had overheard a conversation between Harvey and Klyman once in the mens' room. Unaware that Mike was in one of the stalls, Harvey had let the other senior partner in on his plans for the evening. He wanted to celebrate, he'd said, since he'd closed a huge merger everyone else, including Jessica, had thought quote-uncloseable-unquote – the biggest deal of his career. So he'd even forgone his α-suppressants that day, because quote-fucking on supps isn't as much fun-unquote, and he might even quote-treat-unquote himself to quote-a true Omega-unquote at quote-The Heat Club-unquote, since this was a very special occasions, after all, and it merited special celebration.

"Have you ever..." Klyman had leant in closely and whispered something into Harvey's ear.

"No, of course not." Harvey had given the other man an irritated look. "It's nothing that I've ever been interested in. And I am able to resist that little pheromonal urge, after all. Therein lies the sport, mate. Mind over matter."

Both men had shared a knowing look and a brief, harsh laugh. Mike hat blushed fiercely in his stall and he had had to wait a couple of minutes before he could safely return to his cubicle. Not before washing his hands and face thoroughly with the scent remover he always carried with him and spraying some pheromone inhibitor onto his wrists and neck.

He had taken his suppressants last night and the night before and every night for the last ten years.

Mike knew that Harvey hadn't lied about skipping his supps that day – he would never have talked like that to another person, let alone at the firm, if he were on them. Harvey cherished his cool and control above everything else, and admitting to a fellow senior partner that he was thinking of submitting himself to quote-that little pheromonal urge-unquote that night was something he would never have done under normal circumstances. Which, by the way, was the final proof that Harvey really was unbonded. Mike supposed that Harvey was on some kind of alpha birth control, as well. Harvey would never risk uncalculated consequences to any of his actions.

Harvey should have known about Mike. He read people for a living, after all.

But with probably the strongest Ω-suppressants on the market and Mike's apparently supreme acting skills, Harvey had been fooled. He had been led to believe Mike was a Beta. Mike certainly behaved like a Beta and Harvey had never caught so much as a whiff of Omega from him.

*****

Mike had never bonded either. He'd been on suppressants for the most part of his adult life and he took great care to keep his true identity as an Omega a secret. Only very few knew or had known. His grandmother had known, of course, who had resigned to simply not talking about or even mentioning it anymore, and Trevor knew. Jenny, too, Mike suspected, assuming Trevor had told her at one point of time or another.

He let people believe that he was a Beta, he even had a forged certificate as well as a hacked entry in the US Presentation Database to prove it, knowing full well that nobody would buy Alpha from him and thus knowing as well that he'd never make senior partner at Pearson Hardman – or at any other law firm, for that matter. Only Alphas were named senior partner, everyone knew that. He'd be lucky to make partner at all. He'd even consider himself fortunate to be promoted to senior associate one day. The good thing about that was that his status would most likely never be thoroughly examined. His secret was fairly safe.

Or it would have been, if he could have stopped what was inevitably going to happen to him during the next couple of days. They were staying in San Francisco on behalf of an important client the firm was representing as defense attorneys in a difficult trial and said client had requested Harvey to be present in person.

The last two weeks they'd spent on the West Coast working on that trial had been intense to say the least, even more so with the jetlag and that heavy cold Mike had still been fighting off before they'd left New York. He'd pulled three all-nighters this week and two the week before. They'd barely had time to eat – and if they had had time, Mike was far too tired to bother even though he was insanely hungry almost all the time. So at first, he attributed his feeling on edge for the last couple of hours to work-related stress.

When he entered the courtroom behind Harvey and their client for final statements and verdict and Mike sat down, though, he felt his palms turn sweaty and a shiver run through his body. He was feeling slightly light-headed and he could somehow feel his skin, which was pretty irritating. He swallowed hard. Hoping against hope that he was wrong, he searched his memory – four nights ago, five nights ago, six nights ago... Shit. There it was. Six nights ago. He saw it in his mind, as clear as day: the night he had forgotten to take the pill. He was going to go into heat. It had already started.

"Shit", he hissed behind clenched teeth.

"Problem?" Harvey, who was sitting on the other side of the client, turned his head slightly in his direction. "Tell me you didn't forget to bring the Lockheart briefs."

"No", Mike muttered and inhaled shakily. "No. Everything's fine. I've got the files right here."

He wiped his hands against his legs and closed his eyes briefly. This just couldn't be true. His heart fluttered in his chest and he could hear the rush of blood in his ears. How was he ever going to get away with this? How was he going to get through the next couple of days?

Harvey leaned back in his seat. "Well, let's hope this finishes quickly. I have an appointment with my tailor this afternoon. Want to look good tonight when I go celebrate my victory."

The trial did proceed quickly and Mike managed to hand Harvey the correct files whenever he needed them despite his increasing restlessness.

Midway through opposing counsel's final statement Mike noticed Harvey shifting in his seat uncomfortably. He pushed his own chair a fraction further away from Harvey's the next time he handed Harvey a file. A faint layer of sweat had appeared on Harvey's temple and that sight made Mike dizzy. He wanted to lick that sweat away and taste it, he wanted to feel that skin against his tongue, could feel it almost, he--

From the corner of his eye he saw how Harvey's nostrils flared and how his breathing sped up. He cleared his throat and clicked his ball pen.

Mike's pulse quickened even more and the skin at the nape of his neck began to prickle. He was quite sure that Harvey hadn't been able yet to make out that it was him, Mike, emanating those pheromones. Not yet, not even while sitting so close to him. He had scrubbed his skin and hair meticulously with body wash in the morning as usual. Plus, he was wearing a scent inhibitor and one of the strongest brands at that. One of those really expensive ones that not only blocked an Omega's scent but also diffused it and made it difficult for any Alpha to trace its exact source.

Mike knew that it was only a matter of time, though. Artificial chemistry held only so much against the natural one. It wouldn't take long before Harvey would notice who those obviously distracting smell was coming from.

*****

Final statements came to a close and the judge ruled in their favor, as expected. Harvey grinned smugly as he nodded his goodbye to opposing counsel. But when he turned back to Mike, the grin had disappeared from his face.

"I've to get out of here", Harvey hissed, his whole body tense. "There's an Omega going into heat somewhere in this room."

"Yeah, Harvey, listen", Mike answered quickly, gathering the files into organized piles. "Since you're at the tailor's this afternoon, I was wondering if I could have the afternoon off as well, I really need to catch up on some slee-"

"No", Harvey interrupted. "I need those contracts proofed by tonight" – he handed Mike a stack of papers – "and I also need the research on McGraw completed by then."

Mike groaned inwardly. All he wanted to do was crawl into bed and hide under the covers. And wank himself into oblivion, even though he knew that wasn't going to happen. From what he remembered, wanking during a heat didn't bring relieve at all, let alone blissful oblivion, quite on the contrary. He was in for a shitty afternoon, evening and night – and he was lucky if it lasted only that long. His last heat before he went on the suppressants had lasted four days.

"Wait in the suite for me so we can go through what you've found tonight." And with that Harvey had picked up his coat and left. They were staying at Beta Towers, a posh business hotel in the city center, and Harvey had booked himself into a suite where they worked in the evenings and nights.

"Shit, shit, shit and fuck", Mike muttered under his breath as he walked out of the courthouse and towards one of the Beta cabs lining up in front of the main entrance. He only hoped he'd make it to the office and back to the suite in time. He'd do the research first and then retreat to the hotel – if he'd make it there in one piece. Everyone would be able to smell him by then. And he would be attracted by every goddamn unbonded Alpha in the city.

He winced as he felt the first traces of swelling and wetness at his hole. It made his cheeks blush and his dick harden. He was so fucked.