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An Omega in the Family

Chapter Text

The final year of high school was just around the corner when tensions in the Cunningham household reached an all-time high. After one too many nights lying awake in bed, listening to his parents argue over his well-being, it was all Richie could think to do to volunteer to see the specialist himself. That way, if things had gone badly, it would have been no one’s fault but his. Even when he had stood before them and asked, Richie half-hoped they’d say no to the whole thing – just let nature take its course. Instead, they jumped on the idea, eager to see some improvement in Richie’s condition. The appointment was made, the hotel was reserved, and, on the day in question, the Cunninghams piled into the family car and departed.

The car ride was a silent affair, and all the way there, Richie played the fights over and over in his head, sullen and sick to his stomach.

“Oh, Howard, please – Richie’s just a… a late bloomer, that’s all.”

“Marion, he’s almost a grown man! You and I presented when we were fourteen – aren’t you afraid there could be something… wrong with him?”

Richie hadn’t heard fear like that in his father’s voice before, but it mirrored what he felt, himself. He was an unusual case. Boys usually knew if they were alphas by the time they were thirteen – fourteen for betas. Richie was shy of his eighteenth birthday, and still, no indication, no hormonal markers… nothing. He was a blank slate, and while he’d developed physically, he lacked the drive that usually accompanied such changes. Beyond wanting to kiss girls, or dance with them, Richie had no instincts to speak of, and it was getting to the point when everyone was concerned.

Richie hugged himself to ease the butterflies he felt, staring out the window of the car. The specialist lived three hours away, and charged a small fortune for his services, but his parents had looked so relieved by the possibility of finally getting an answer that Richie supposed they’d find a way to make the payments. Joanie’s small, sticky hand left her bag of Cracker Jacks and found Richie’s hand, squeezing his fingers. She was too young yet to truly appreciate the abnormality of her brother’s situation, but she knew he was nervous about the doctor, and just wanted everything to be okay. There were no jokes or teasing comments from his little sister – only worried glances that seemed too old for her face.

The specialist, one Dr. Whitney, a mild-mannered beta with neatly-combed silver hair, welcomed the Cunninghams to the facility, and immediately insisted on keeping their son in overnight for observation. During the ensuing hours, Dr. Whitney did everything from weighing his patient to administering blood tests, before suggesting the injection. A ‘Cyclic Booster’ he called it. Just the thing to kick start Richie’s development. It wasn’t going to be cheap, the shot, but in cases of delay such as his, the success rate was over eighty percent. The medical team had to get parental consent to administer the treatment – a single needle into the meat of Richie’s upper thigh – a cocktail of hormonal stimulants meant to spur his own system into action. Richie, himself was, at seventeen, too young to sign for it himself, and so, he found himself not asked, or even told, until permission had already been granted.

It was a big needle – the biggest needle he’d ever seen. It hurt in a deep, achy way, throbbing afterwards and bruising purple on his pale skin. He felt a bit flu-like for the following few days – normal, Dr. Whitney assured him – but showed no other ill effects, and so, the Cunninghams returned home, hopes high that finally all would be well, where Richie’s health was concerned.

The shot took effect, as predicted, about four weeks later. One minute, Richie was making a peanut butter sandwich, and the next, he was doubled over the kitchen counter, sobbing and feverishly hot. At the time, he had only his mother for company – he’d begun to feel flu-like again, and had spent the day in bed and on the couch, while Marion tidied around the house and did the laundry. With the world spinning and the floor lurching beneath him, it was all he could to call out faintly for help, before collapsing to the floor.

When Marion saw the state of her son, she could tell immediately what had happened. The shot was working – forcing his body to change when it would not do so naturally. She approached, disbelief in her eyes, her nostrils flaring at the first whiff of a familiar, musky-sweet smell, and spoke like she was afraid, voice low and wavering.

“Richie… Richie, dear – how do you feel?”

On the ground, Richie writhed, turning to look in Marion’s direction proving too much for his cramping muscles and weak limbs.

“I’m – I’m burning up!” he slurred, desperate and frightened. “M-mom, I’m… I can’t stand up.”

“Yes, you can – I’ll help you. Take my hand – you can lean on me, that’s it.”

Head lolling, Richie stumbled blindly along, clinging to his mother. His legs felt like Jell-o, and he was shivering all over, like he’d got the chills. Marion smoothed his hair back of his damp forehead, as she eased him down on the sheets. She pulled his covers up over him, shaking her head and blinking back a flood of anxious tears.

“Is this… how it’s supposed to feel?” Richie gasped, back arching in pain. Honestly, there was no easy answer. Marion hadn’t been privy to Howard’s experience – though from what she’d heard, life as a beta was generally stable, even from its earliest presentation. Marion saw more of herself than Howard in Richie as he thrashed and cried, clutching at his abdomen and doubling up with pain. When she’d been younger, she’d experienced intense reactions to presentation, herself. Until she bonded with her husband, she’d suffered greatly with every cycle.

“Mom – I feel… really weird,” Richie mumbled, disoriented. “I think… I feel like I’m… I think I need to use the bathroom…?”

“I’m sorry to have to ask you this,” she blushed, mortified to discuss such things with her son, “… but is it your… behind? Do you feel… wet?”

Richie looked away but managed a humiliated nod -a nod which confirmed his mother’s fears. She paled and took a shaky breath to settle her nerves.

“That’s – fine. That’s normal, son. Nothing to be afraid of – I’ll just get you a towel. Don’t worry.”

Her hands shook when she returned, coaxing her son to lift his hips so she could set the cloth beneath him.

“What’s wrong with me, Mom?”

His eyes were unfocused and he looked terribly ill – chalk-white and sweating profusely.

“Nothing’s wrong – everything will be just fine,” she insisted, and rubbed a soothing circle on her son’s belly. If he was feeling what she thought he was feeling, it would help with the pain. When he fell asleep, she cried. He looked so young and vulnerable, there in the bed. It broke her heart, and she prayed that somehow, some way, she was wrong. She had to be. She just had to be.

“My son is not an omega, Marion – that’s ridiculous! Cunninghams –”

“Howard, please, keep your voice down!”

“Cunninghams have been betas for the last five generations – at least!”

“Howard, I know but – what other explanation is there? I know the signs, I – I can smell one of my own kind! Richie takes after me in his looks – his complexion – why shouldn’t he be like me in this too?”

“Why shouldn’t – because it’s a life of misery! Infertile. Never married. Passed over for jobs. There’s no future for a male omega, not in this country – not anywhere in the civilized world!”

“I know!” Marion’s voice cracked, so thick was it with grief. “I know but he’s our son! Oh, people are going to be so cruel to him!”

Richie sat in the next room, listening to his parents grieving.

He was an omega? He’d never heard of it – a real life male omega. It was the stuff of freak shows… medical books. He’d always assumed they’d be like… eunuchs, or something, but he felt the same. Was the same, except for the way he felt – tingly, overheated… damp.

His stomach growled and he sat up, cringing at the way the towel clung wetly to his soaked pajama bottoms. He was starving, all of a sudden. As if she’d read his mind, his mother appeared in the doorway with the completed peanut butter sandwich from before and a freshly-poured glass of milk on a tray. Richie all but inhaled the snack, stopping only to force out a hasty ‘thanks.’ She nodded, face grim.

“It helps,” she said. “To eat. And… here, this helps, too. Don’t… don’t show your father. Open it in private.”

She pressed a paper bag into his hand. There was something heavy and firm inside. She couldn’t meet his eyes, when he looked at her questioningly.

“I’ll take your plate,” she muttered, and cleared the dish away. “Your father wants to speak to you.”

Richie had just enough time to stuff the paper bag under his pillow and pull his blankets up to his chin before his father knocked on the door-frame and slowly entered the room. He looked… scared, actually – scared like Richie had never seen him.

“Dad,” Richie asked, “Am I… am I in trouble?”

“No. No, none of this,” he waved his hand vaguely in his son’s direction, “is your fault.”

He sounded exhausted – like a man who’d had all the fight knocked out of him.

“I’m… really sorry, Dad.”

“No, Richie, don’t apologize. If anyone needs to apologize, it’s that screwy doctor. I’m going to call him and have him arrange for someone to visit you. There’s no reason this change needs to be permanent.”

“Permanent?” Richie’s eyes widened. “But Dad, I… presented. Of course, it’s permanent.”

“We don’t know that! Maybe this is just a reaction to the drug that quack prescribed.”

“I don’t think so,” Richie mumbled, but let his father go on speaking.

“And then they’ll counteract the shot they gave you with… well, they’ll have something – some kind of antidote, I’m sure.”

“But what if it’s true – what if I really am…”

“No Cunningham’s ever been anything but a beta – it’s our stock, going back generations.”

“Mom’s an omega.”

“Your mother’s also a redhead, which is a recessive trait. The chances of her passing two recessive traits on to one offspring are slim to none – the doctor said so when I asked him.”

“You – you asked? So you were afraid I might be like this even before I presented?”

Richie didn’t mean to show so much of his feelings then, but he found himself unable to mask the hurt in his eyes.

“I just want what’s best for you, son. That’s all.”

Howard patted him on the shoulder stiffly.

“We’ll get this taken care of. I’ll call that doctor right away.”

Richie nodded, staring down at his bedspread.

“Sure,” he replied.

Reluctantly, Howard left his son to his devices, but not before awkwardly asserting that no one else would be visiting him for a while. Once the door was closed and privacy was ensured, Richie felt under his pillow for the bag and drew out the mysterious object. It took him a minute to realize what it was, and then his cheeks flushed red with embarrassment.

It was a smooth, glass object, flared at the base, and unmistakably shaped like… well. If there was any doubt, the stab of need he felt in his gut – utterly alien and unwanted – made it very clear.

His mother had bought this for him – gone out and asked, and probably implied it was for herself, too, to spare him the shame. An omega for a son… no, she’d have rather let the salespeople think she was bitter and unfulfilled at home, that her beta husband couldn’t meet her needs. Richie felt sick, even as he gave the thing an experimental touch, gauging its weight and breadth.

“Jeez,” he muttered. “That doctor better be able to fix this.”

He wrapped the object back up in its paper and stuck it under the pillow again. There was no way he’d do… that to himself. It was bad enough to even think about it.

His body writhed against the sheets, frustrated at his inaction, but he did his best to ignore it, curling up to fall asleep. In dreams, at least, he hoped he’d still be normal.

Sleep, didn’t come until he’d soaked his pillow through with tears, until it was wet as the sheets.

Chapter Text

Richie sat on the floor in his room, his back to the door, trying to ignore his parents’ pleas for him to come out from hiding.

“I’m not going!” he said childishly, hating the desperate edge to his voice that made him sound like a little kid.

“Sweetheart, the law is the law – there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Marion sounded as heartbroken as Richie felt.

“No way – Dad, I don’t want to go!”

“Your mother’s right, Richie. You can’t just break the law because you disagree with it.”

“Maybe – maybe it won’t be so bad! I made some dear friends in O.P.T.”

Yeah, Mom, but you’re a girl, Richie thought bitterly.

“Please come down, Richie. Your mother’s made coleslaw.”

Coleslaw. Coleslaw couldn’t fix this. A million bucks or a lifetime of doctor's visits couldn’t fix this. Dr. Whitney had re-examined Richie and confirmed it. Omega. Just like that, his hopes and dreams for his future had gone up in smoke.

Sullenly, Richie emerged from his room, hanging his head so his parents wouldn’t see his eyes, red and puffy from crying. No point in it really – when he saw the letter on the kitchen table – the one that told him he’d be forced to attend O.P.T. come Fall – the tears started up again.

O.P.T. Omega Preparatory Training. In other words, a curriculum of combined home economics, parenting, and health classes, with a focus in maternal biology and child-rearing. There was no equivalent program for boys – there were virtually no documented male omegas in America – the medical team had estimated that, at most, there were currently less than twenty, spread all over the States. Most were institutionalized – a few were homeless, their whereabouts known of only vaguely. In and out of trouble. In and out of hospital. Miserable lives lived in the margins of society, and usually ending in suicide. With so few cases, there was no need to design a program for such situations.

Female alphas were just as rare, but at least alphas just had to take medicine to keep their hormones in check until they were legally married. They could integrate. They didn’t have to go to any programs or special classes.

Richie decided he wasn’t hungry – not for coleslaw – not for anything. He took the letter and left the house, walking aimlessly until he found a quiet spot to read it over. He was still sat there, numb and hopeless on a park bench, when his friends found him.

“Hey Richie, how are you feeling? Haven’t seen you around for a few days.”

Richie stuffed the letter into his jacket pocket hastily.

“O-oh. Hi Potsie. Ralph. Uh… yeah, I’ve had a bit of a cough, so I’ve been taking it easy.”

“What’s with the letter?”

Richie paled.

“What letter?”

“The letter in your pocket!”

Potsie made a grab for it and Richie twisted away, only to twist right into Ralph, who swiped the paper with ease.

“Oh, please, don’t read –”

Richie fell silent, watching with growing dread as the cheerful grins faded from Potsie and Ralph’s faces.

“O.P.T.?” Potsie said at last, his voice low with concern, “Why would you get put in O.P.T.? That’s for –”

“Remember two summers ago, when you and Ralph presented as betas, and you asked me why I’d been so quiet about it?”

“Yeah, and you said you hadn’t, yet. So what?”

“So, remember how I told you my Dad found that clinic upstate?”

Both boys nodded, brows furrowed in confusion.

“Well… I went. And I got this… booster. To make me present.”

Richie was met with blank stares.

“I’m an omega,” he clarified. Potsie shook his head.

“That’s impossible. Only girls are omegas.”

“That’s not true,” Ralph interjected. “I saw in a magazine once, they had this whole story about it. Female alphas. They’re rare and they only want to love other women. They’re really tough too – they’ll fight and stuff – like she-wolves.”

“What sort of mag-” Richie blurted out. “No. Never mind, I can guess. Look, it’s nothing like that! It’s just… I don’t know. Chemical. I can’t understand it exactly. It just means I smell a bit different, but if I’m on my suppressants, it shouldn’t be noticeable.”

Potsie leaned in and gave him a curious sniff.

“He’s right,” he shrugged, looking at Ralph in disbelief. “You really can’t smell him.”

“So, wait, wait – this means you’re not allowed to come back to high school? Richie, it’s senior year!” Ralph interrupted. Richie nodded glumly.

“The law’s the law. I can’t just break it because I don’t like it.”

“Well, sure but… what good’s all those girly classes, anyway? It’s not like you’re going to be someone’s wife or something – are you?”

“No!” Richie’s eyes widened and he shook his head fiercely. “Nothing like that. I can’t even have children.”

It just slipped out, that particular admission, but once he said it, it hit home for the first time. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it. Seventeen was too young to be thinking about kids, for him at least, but… he’d always presumed he’d have the option.

“You mean, you can’t at all… like with a woman?” Ralph looked somewhat horrified at the gravity of the situation.

“That’s what they said. Men aren’t designed to be omegas, so the chemistry’s all wrong.”

“Wow,” Potsie murmured. “Doesn’t that bother you?”

“Well, sure,” Richie answered. “But what can I do about it? Apparently that’s just the way it is.”

He left out the part about him being discouraged to marry or adopt children of his own. It felt like he’d burdened his friends with enough for one day. As they walked him home, he begged them not to tell, and they swore they wouldn’t. He waved goodbye to them and headed up his street alone, hands in his pockets, shoulders slumped. He caught sight of himself in a car’s side mirror as he passed it, and it made him pause. He looked… softer somehow. Weaker. It made him sick, to see himself like that, and he turned away in disgust.

“Great,” he muttered. “Now I’m even starting to look like a girl.”

He was overreacting of course, but he felt awful, and was unwilling to stop wallowing in his misery when it was the only cheap semblance of comfort he had.

When he got home, he found that his mother had left some of her things on his bed. Old workbooks, school pictures… souvenirs from her O.P.T. days. He appreciated her efforts to help him, but the thought of looking through the items made his head hurt. Instead, he lay down on the floor and stared at the ceiling.

It had been over a month since he’d seen Dr. Whitney, and the visit felt both longer and shorter ago than that. Longer in that the carefree boy he’d been seemed lost to him now, a stranger compared to the empty, broken young man who’d taken his place. Shorter because it still, often, felt like nothing more than a terrible dream that he found himself praying to wake up from, to no avail.

For the first time in his life, Richie felt utterly adrift. No plans, no goals, and now, no high school to look forward to. Instead, he had a future of baking cakes and changing diapers for children he couldn’t even have.

He didn’t want to look at his mother’s old things, but he couldn’t think of anything better to do, so, with a heavy heart, he opened the nearest book – a copy book in which were written question responses to something called Rules of the Home. He tried in vain to swallow the lump in his throat, and prepared himself to learn how to knit a baby blanket.

Chapter Text

“Oh, they’re beautiful, Richie!”

“They look scrumptious! Your family’ll love them!”

“I wish I could get mine to turn out so good!”

Richie smiled at his classmates, shrugging his shoulders.

“Heh, thanks girls. And, Susie, for what it’s worth, I think your cupcakes turned out fine.”

The blonde omega girl blushed and giggled at the attention.

O.P.T. had been in session for going on a month, and with Halloween just around the corner, the class had been prompted to bake festive cupcakes. They had a base of yellow cake, dyed orange with food colouring, and they were topped with orange frosting, with chocolate chips arranged on top to make little Jack-o-Lantern faces. Richie had mentioned the project to his family a few days before, and they’d been eager to try them. He supposed their enthusiasm was their way of supporting him – showing him they still loved him, even if he was an omega. His mother had certainly grown close to him, taking pride in him whenever he showed off a new domestic skill. Joanie was just happy for all the extra sweets he brought home, and Howard, having been a cook in his time in the military, was able to find some common ground with his son. It was all tinged with an undercurrent of sadness, but at least, from day to day, things in the Cunningham household were peaceful.

Mrs. Woverton, an omega in her fifties, with a kind, weary face and a body that bore the signs of a hardworking life as a mother of six children, had initially been wary of seeing Richie enter the feminine enclave of O.P.T., but he had been polite and solemn, and willing to learn, and his masculine presence had actually been good for the girls. They got to practice socialization around boys without threat of harassment or danger from teenage betas with delusions of grandeur, or predatory alphas sniffing out the newly-presenting. Thus, Mrs. Woverton sometimes had Richie play a part – if they needed to practice how to dance or how to court politely, Richie was the stand-in for every hypothetical man in each situation. While Richie appreciated her giving him an alternative, there were certain aspects of the curriculum he couldn’t skip, so he’d had to pick up baking with the rest of the students. To everyone’s surprise, he wasn’t bad at all – the girls doted on him, encouraging him to blossom in his new role in the classroom. For many female students, O.P.T. represented a soft, gentle refuge, safe and secluded from the roughness of the wider world. Richie was probably in the most danger of being hurt out there, so it followed that, in time, he came to value the security that O.P.T. provided, regardless of his earlier doubts.

On the day when Mrs. Woverton had her students bake the Halloween treats, Richie had done his best, and managed to make a dozen cupcakes, four popcorn balls, and a crepe paper centerpiece that looked like a little black cat. He, and the girls, packed their spoils away in bags to take home, chatting all the while about Halloween plans: parties, dances, costumes, and the like.

Richie was deep in conversation with three girls, Susie, Rose-Mae, and Darlene, and was describing the design he had planned for his Halloween costume, when suddenly Rose-Mae, the quietest and most hypersensitive of the group, came to a stop by the parking lot.

“What is it?” Darlene asked, brow furrowed.

“Shh,” Rose-Mae whispered, eyes wide with fear. “Can’t you smell that?”

The students sniffed the air.

“Your senses are sharpest,” Susie hissed back. “What’s that smell – alphas?”

“No,” Rose-Mae shook her head. “Alphas smell stronger. Betas. Two or three of them. They’re… eager.”

She blushed and shuddered, looking at the ground.

“I could smell it since class started,” she went on. “Someone’s missed their suppressant for the day. Daddy says an omega who doesn’t take her suppressant is asking for it.”

She looked like she might cry.

“I took mine!” Darlene insisted. “Susie?”

Susie nodded, and then turned to Richie, face pale.

“You did… didn’t you?”


Richie thought back, and his own blood ran cold.

“Oh, no. I thought I had – I was going to, but then Dad wanted me to mow the lawn before school and I must’ve forgotten.”

He shifted uncomfortably and, sure enough, felt the tell-tale trickle of moisture run down the back of his legs.

“Oh, God,” Darlene trembled. “They’ll kill us.”

“But at least they’re not alphas,” Richie questioned, “so that must count for something, right?”

Rose-Mae shot Richie a look of disbelief.

“Don’t you know anything? Betas are worse. Alphas are beasts, but they won’t hurt you on purpose – they’re drive is to protect. They’ll fight over you first – give you time to get away. Betas… betas just want to have their fun before the alphas show up.”

She shuddered again, and opened her mouth to continue speaking, only to be cut off by the ring of a bicycle bell.

Three teenagers, all boys a year or two younger than Richie, rolled up and surrounded the quartet in a half-circle. They leered at the girls, but when they saw Richie, their eyes went from hungry to hateful.

“Well, well, boys. Looks like the rumours are true! Richie Cunningham’s a wet-bottomed little slut after all,” the cockiest boy – who looked to be the leader – said with a sneer. “I can’t believe they let you in here with these little flowers. Don’t you know they’re going to bear the future of America in their bellies? What good are you gonna do for this country?”

Rose-Mae was chalk white and shaking. Susie started to cry, and the boys circled closer.

“Look at him,” one of the others exclaimed. “He’s pissed himself.”

“That’s not piss, idiot,” the leader grinned. “He’s aching for it. Poor old Mr. Cunningham. Can you imagine what it must feel like, knowing your son wants to drop on all fours for the first fella he sees?”

“Who cares? I don’t want him,” the third boy interjected. “I want the busty blonde one.”

Susie wailed, clinging to Darlene, and Richie found himself stepping between her and the boys protectively, even as fear made his ears ring.

“Get lost,” he forced out, and hated the sound of his voice, for it wasn’t his own – weak and shaky.

“Ooh, he wants to fight, now? Those girls don’t want you, Cunningham. They want a real man, just like you do. They want potent American seed, don’t they, boys?”

The leader made a lewd gesture, grabbing himself through his jeans. Richie glared at him, disgusted.

“I say we save our meat for the pretty girls, and let Cunningham lick our boots, instead.”

Richie wasn’t sure quite what happened, next – only that his fear and dread reached a peak that nearly made him lose consciousness with its intensity. All of a sudden, a smell like nothing he’d ever smelled all but knocked him to his knees, and he sagged, helpless, against his classmates.

Through heavy-lidded, glazed eyes, he watched as the three boys turned in sudden, wide-eyed, terror.

“If you don’t scram in the next five seconds, I’m gonna make sure you don’t got any meat left, you hear me?”

He knew that voice – Richie knew that voice. He struggled to focus through the haze.

“F-Fonzie?” he croaked out, swaying on his feet. Dark eyes met his and flashed a warning, before Fonzie hopped off his motorcycle and took a step towards the boys.

“One... two... three...”

Suddenly, the would-be attackers looked like the gaggle of spotty fourteen-year-olds they were, and, when Fonzie got to four, they turned tail and ran like cowards.

The girls flocked to Fonzie, except for Rose-Mae, who positioned herself in front of the now incapacitated Richie, who was sinking slowly down the school wall.

“Thank you for intervening,” she said coolly, “but that’s enough. Go home.”

“‘scuse me?”

“Rose-Mae is right,” Darlene asserted. “We appreciate the rescue, but we don’t… we don’t owe you for it.”

A look of understanding crossed Fonzie’s face and he recoiled.

“Eyy, what kind of guy do you think I am? Some kind of low-down beta, sniffin’ around girls that don’t belong to him?”

“It’s not us we’re worried about,” Susie insisted. “Richie’s not taken his suppressant and –”

“You’re never supposed to tell!” Rose-Mae spat. “When you tell you invite danger, Susie!”

Richie groaned weakly from where he sat on the ground.

“Well, lucky for Richie, he ain’t exactly my type,” Fonzie huffed. “But I ain't gonna let anybody walk home lookin’ like that.”

A hand seized the front of Richie’s shirt and dragged him to his feet.

“C’mon, Cunningham. I’m takin’ you home.”

“Home?” Richie echoed. His head was swimming. All he could smell was leather and musk and man.

“Yes, home. Get on the back of the bike – wait – wait – lemme put down a rag first. Don’t want you makin’ a mess of the seat.”

“Oh, gosh, I'm sorry –”

“Yeah, yeah, just get on the bike and lift your feet.”

“My… my stuff… pop… popcorn balls.”

“You’re not makin’ sense.”

“He means his stuff from school - I can bring them to your house later, Richie,” Susie suggested.

“Right, okay, good, let’s go,” Fonzie interrupted. “Lift your feet, I said. You wanna lose your shoes?”

Richie slumped forwards, uselessly.

“For the love of – hold onto me, would ya? I don’t need you fallin’ off half way there.”

Once Richie was secure, Fonzie turned back to the girls.

“You three need any help getting’ home? I can drive along beside you three an’ scare off the riff raff.”

“No,” Darlene said firmly. “Thank you. It’s nice of you to… to not take advantage.”

“Eyy, it’s the least I can do.”

Fonzie turned and made for the road back towards the Cunninghams. From the O.P.T. to his destination was about a fifteen-minute ride, and Richie was all but dead weight.

“Mm… where’s my car?” Richie slurred, nose pressed up against the back of Fonzie’s neck.

“Back at the school. You can pick it up when you can pick yourself up off the floor.”

The bike rounded a corner. Richie’s breath hitched.

“You okay back there, Cunningham?”

“Feels good,” he mumbled. “The engine… rumbling…”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s enough. A simple yes or no is fine.”

“Nngh… you smell… different, Fonzie.”

“So do you. Forget it.”

The bike rounded another corner. Richie’s breath tickled Fonzie’s ear.

“Oh… oh! Does it always f-feel like this to ride – ah… gosh!

“Stop talkin’, Red.”

Richie tried his best to obey the will of the alpha, though he couldn’t stop the soft sounds of pleasure he made each time the bike moved just so beneath him. Fonzie grit his teeth, cringing as the unmistakeable length of Richie’s erection bumped up against his ass. This was why he took suppressants and steered clear of omega girls. Clinginess was one thing, but Richie was acting like a totally different person – not even like a person, really. Like some kind of animal, or a man possessed.

The whole point of seduction, of getting women to respond to the Fonz, was that the women were willing and interested. There was nothing personal or real in alpha ruts, or the way omegas threw themselves at any man who smelled good to them. Add to that the very real risk of pregnancy, given the hyperfertility of omega girls, and it just wasn’t worth trifling with.

Richie was another problem entirely. When the Cunningham kid didn’t show up for high school, it was only so long before rumors started going around, especially when Potsie and Ralph started turning up at Arnold’s without their friend. Still, there was a difference between hearing that Richie was an omega and smelling the slickness on him. He certainly smelled like an omega – a smell Fonzie associated equally with young teens who hadn’t learned yet to manage their cycles, and older women in the peak of their breeding years, all married and off-limits with alphas of their own to keep track of them. Always feminine, always in groups, usually setting each other's hormones off. Each scent was slightly different but they were all similar. Richie’s scent was similar too but stronger – headier. It was beyond weird, and the pheromones were playing havoc with Fonzie’s judgement so much so that he was glad to have his daily suppressant in his system. He shuddered to think of the ugly scene that would’ve befallen Richie had he not come along. The kid was so far gone that he’d be helpless against an attack, totally unable to resist.

By the time Fonzie rolled up to the Cunningham’s house, Richie was a shuddery mess. He couldn’t get off the bike, and Fonzie had to all but carry him to his front door, where they were met by a frantic Marion and Howard.

“Oh, Richie!” Marion sobbed. “Are you – is he –?”

“He’s okay, just shook up, is all. He didn’t take his medicine.”

“Richie, you have to take that thing – didn’t your mother and I tell you –”

“Sssorry…” Richie mumbled. “M’gonna fall down.”

“You’re not, you’re fine, your folks got you now,” Fonzie insisted, handing the teen off to his parents.

“Eyy, I’m serious, now,” he said, staring the Cunninghams right in the eyes. “Don’t let him miss that suppressant again. If I hadn’t’ve smelled him an’ gone over there, he’d be in pieces. Him an' his three little classmates.”

“Thank you for returning him safely,” Marion sniffed, turning to look at her husband, concerned. “Howard –”

“No problem,” Fonzie shrugged, and before they could go all soft on him, turned and walked back to his bike. He took a look at the seat and cringed. Richie had oversaturated the rag and his slick was all over the leather. The scent of it hit Fonzie like a freight train and he swore as he drove his bike back to his place.

He’d have to clean it soon, or he’d be fighting off intruders all night seeking the source of that sensual odor. Still, other things took priority. As soon as he got home, he locked himself in his room and took himself in hand. Some things were ingrained in biology – went back as far as the dawn of time, when alpha, omega, and beta first came to be. Suppressants took the edge off, cleared his mind, but they didn’t make Fonzie immune.

That he came shamefully quickly wasn’t surprising. Omegas were hardwired to work up any alpha that got close. However, the feeling of tension coiling hot in his gut didn’t dissipate, and that was, frankly, scary. Fonzie was experienced enough in sex and romance to know the first signs of a bond – he’d been avoiding such an attachment all his life. He could avoid it this time, too, he was sure, but the feeling was uncomfortable, to say the least. He’d have to take extra care to avoid running into Richie around town. Frequent contact would just make things worse. Still, he knew if Richie was in trouble, he’d have to intervene. To do otherwise would be inexcusable…

… which was, of course, another sign of a bond.

“It don’t matter. I’m not bondin’ with Richie Cunningham, of all people, no matter what,” Fonzie muttered, glowering at the evidence to the contrary, still splattered in his hand.“No way, no how.”

Chapter Text

Richie approached the garage anxiously, trying to put on a brave face. He clutched his little bundle in his arms, hands trembling. He was hypersensitive, even with his suppressants working. That day he’d missed them had triggered a full heat – his first – and he’d spent it miserable, writhing around in bed, unable to cope. Before he’d presented, he could count on one hand the number of times he’d ever had to touch himself – but he wasn’t ignorant of what that entailed. Still, nothing worked – nothing drove that heady smell of Fonzie's alpha pheromones away. In the end, in desperation, when he hadn’t been able to eat or sleep for nearly two whole days and was running a fever, he turned to his mother’s ‘gift.’ The shame he felt at using it was less than the shame he felt at how easily his body accepted the intrusion.

That had been two months ago. Since then, Richie had taken his suppressants religiously and hadn’t missed a single one. The urgent need had faded into something more typical of an adolescent male’s sex drive, and he felt human again, in all ways but one.

Whenever something startled or alarmed him, his instincts told him to find Fonzie. It didn’t make sense to him at first, so he broached the topic with his mother one evening as he helped her with the dishes, being sure to rinse each one carefully, just as Mrs. Woverton taught him.

“It probably doesn’t mean anything,” Marion assured him. “I noticed other boys before your father, especially before my suppressants helped settle me.”

“But I’m on my suppressants, and I still feel it,” he said. “Mom, if it's a bond... what am I gonna do?”

“Don’t tell anyone,” she suggested. “It’s more than likely nothing. If it isn’t… we’ll deal with that if we must, but for now, just try to persevere. I know it’s probably little comfort, but I love you very much, and think you’re doing a fine job adjusting.”

It was a comfort, in a way. In other ways, it wasn’t. He was good at pretending he was alright – certainly the girls at O.P.T. were none the wiser. Still, he had this… instinct, this pull that made him want to see Fonzie if for no reason other than to say hello to him.

Richie knew he ought to thank Fonzie for rescuing him, but he couldn’t find the words – not until it was almost Christmas. Mrs. Woverton had her students baking and cooking for weeks, and in the bundle Richie carried with him were shortbreads, gingerbread men, and sugar cookies.

“Hello?” he called out hesitantly. A mechanic he did not know approached him with a look of confusion on his face.

“Can I help you?”

He noticed the uniform that Richie wore – the same unsightly grey and pink combination the girls at O.P.T. had been wearing for decades – and his eyes widened.

“You the Cunningham boy?”

Richie’s face reddened but he managed a nod.

“I’m here to visit Fonzie,” he said. The mechanic shrugged and called back into the garage.

“Hey, Fonzie – that omega boy’s here to see you.”

Richie could hear other employees laughing as Fonzie rolled out from beneath a car and got to his feet, wiping grease off of his hands. He looked mad, and his scowl deepened when one of his coworkers muttered something about ‘alphas and their fan clubs.’

“Eyy, Cunningham, what’re you doin’ here?”

Richie opened his mouth to reply, but Fonzie shook his head.

“Nah, on second thought, let’s take a walk. C’mon.”

Richie followed along at Fonzie’s feet until the older man came to a stop in an alley couple of blocks away. It was out of the way of the chilly winter wind, but it hadn’t been shoveled, and pristine, white snow crunched underfoot.

“What?” Fonzie sighed finally, his breath fogging up the frosty air.

“I wanted to say thank you for… well, for rescuing me, I guess. I made these – I thought you should have them. Like an early Christmas present.”

Fonzie stared at the bundle, visibly torn between disgust and curiosity.

“Open it,” Richie urged. “Go on.”

Fonzie opened it. Jolly little cookies, decorated and neatly arranged, stared up at him. He re-wrapped the bundle, shuddering.

“Why are you doin’ this, really? Did your parents put you up to this?”

“Oh, no – in fact, my mother discouraged it.”

“Oh, she did, huh? An’ why’s that, then?”

Richie blushed and looked away. That said more than enough.

“No – no way, Cunningham. I want no part of this, you here me? What I did back there, that’s the same I’d do for any of those little girls in O.P.T. I don’t want to be some animal, but that don’t make me a hero, got it?”

“S-sure,” Richie agreed. “Only… I’m scared, Fonzie. I’m scared and I’m lonely and I don’t have anybody to talk to.”

Fonzie faltered at that. It’s a trick. It’s a ploy to get you to let your guard down. It’s –

“You got your mother. You got the other omegas at O.P.T.”

“I don’t want to talk to them – that’s the problem. I want to talk to a man, but there’s no men out there who understand what it’s like –”

“An’ I would? I’m not like you –”

“No, but you listen to me when I’m talking. Do you know what it’s like, Fonzie? I was a normal guy – a late bloomer, sure, but normal. Now I don’t even feel like a real man – I study women’s work, I do women’s chores, and since Potsie and Ralph started getting pushed around for staying friends with me, I don’t even know anyone but women. And before you make it into some joke – it’s not funny. I don’t know them like I’m supposed to – I feel like I’m intruding. Like they’re all part of some… some sisterhood, and I’m just tagging along. They’ve been kind to me, sure, but it’s still rotten, Fonzie.”

Fonzie’s face was serious. He took a step towards Richie, voice lowered.

“First of all,” he said, “I would not joke about this. Second, you’re still as much a man as you were before. If you weren’t, maybe things’d be different.”

It was Richie’s turn to get quiet.

“What do you mean?” he asked. “Different how?”

Fonzie grimaced and pulled away, hands in his pockets.

“It doesn’t matter. You’re a man. An’ you’re an omega. It shouldn’t be possible, but it is, an’ it’ll probably ruin your life.”

“Gee thanks. And it does matter. I’m scared, Fonzie – I think… I think I might’ve started to bond with you.”

Fonzie froze, blood draining from his face.

“You did not,” he hissed. “Bonds don’t count unless they’re acted on.”

“I know that! But… I noticed you.”

“Yeah, well, maybe I noticed you too – maybe I didn’t. It don’t matter, Cunningham, because I’m not interested.”

“I wasn’t interested in boys until this either –”

“That’s not what I mean,” Fonzie snapped. “I’m not interested in boy omegas. I’m not interested in girl omegas. I’m not interested in little green omegas from Mars – I’m not interested, okay, an’ I’m never gonna be.”

Richie frowned.

“But you’re an alpha,” he argued stubbornly. “Your biological imperative dictates that you settled down and have a family. That’s what alphas do.”

“Oh yeah? Yeah – right – well, lemme tell you somethin’, Cunningham, now, you listen real close. Bein’ an alpha don’t mean a thing in this world. You think an alpha’s some knight in shinin’ armor gonna ride in an’ sweep you off your feet – think again. That’s what alphas do. Yeah, sure they do – didn’t stop my old man from walkin’ out on me, so maybe the kind of alphas that’d go out with a Cunningham – maybe they’d do the whole white-picket fence thing but me? I wouldn’t.”

Richie stood, silent, eyes wide as he took the information in. Fonzie’s chest was heaving – he looked madder than Richie’d ever seen him, and all Richie could think was that he wanted to comfort him – to take away whatever made him so upset.

Even if it’s me.

“I’m sorry, Fonzie,” he murmured. “I shouldn’t have said anything. I should just... I'm really sorry.”

“Yeah, well, that’s fine, just don’t do it again, alright?”

“I just… you act like you’ve broken bonds before – or… pre-bonds, I guess. How do you do it?”

Fonzie sighed.

“Can’t you ask your parents?”

“I’m asking you.”

He shrugged.

“You can ignore it. Just let it burn itself out. Gets easier every time.”

“Potsie told me you can neck with somebody and it’ll tell you if it’s a real bond or not.”

“Potsie’s not exactly an authority in such matters.”

“I know, but… maybe we could… try?”

Fonzie snorted, shaking his head.

“Do you hear yourself? No way – that is playin’ with fire while standin’ ankle deep in gasoline. Stupid. Tell Potsie to sit on it – his advice is garbage.”

“But you would – if I was a girl – you’d try it.”

“I would not – I told you, I don’t waste time with omegas. They’re always too busy gettin’ attached.”

“And you aren’t? Come on – tell me to my face that you didn’t want to, when you smelled me, even a little bit.”

Fonzie recoiled, shoving Richie away.

“That ain’t me, wantin’ it! That’s just the alpha talkin’. The Fonz don’t answer to nobody – ‘specially not some smell on the breeze. You don’t want it either – it’s just chemistry an’ all that. The Fonz ain’t nobody’s experiment – you wanna figure out who you are as an omega, you be my guest, but keep me out of it.”

“I had my first heat, after you saved me,” Richie interrupted. “My first heat, Fonzie. You were all I could think about.”

“Zip it, Red. I am warnin' you right now -”

“Why won’t you admit you felt it too? Is it so hard for you to be honest – to maybe make me feel for once that I’m not alone – that other people see me as something more than a… a side show?”

“You’re seventeen,” Fonzie said flatly. “So, there’s your first reason why I won't. You’re confused – you’re too new to this to know what you want. Reason number two. Number three, your family would throw you out. Number four, it’s illegal. Number five –”

“And what about when I’m eighteen, huh? What about then? I’m not gonna stop being an omega, Fonzie.”

“No, but you might stop bein’ an idiot.”

Richie made to reply when suddenly, Fonzie’s eyes went wide and the older male took hold of Richie, pulling him close. A split second later, an icicle fell from the overhanging roof of the building Richie had been standing beside, plummeting to the ground and shattering.

“Oh my gosh – I could’ve been killed!” Richie breathed, inadvertently clinging to Fonzie. Fonzie, whose focus had narrowed, and whose arms were tight around his waist.

“Watch what you’re doin’ next time,” he muttered, but didn’t pull away. He leaned in, nosing at Richie’s neck. “Damn it, Cunningham, quit doin’ this.”

“Doing what?”

“You’re sendin’ out… signals. Like you need protectin’.”

“Well, given you’ve saved me twice now, maybe I do.”

“Don’t,” Fonzie growled. “This ain’t funny. I’m not your protector an’ I don’t wanna be.”

He nuzzled Richie’s neck again, inhaling his scent.

“Don’t want to be, or are scared to be? Because, heck, Fonzie, I’m scared too – I’m terrified. I feel like I’m burning up when I’m close to you.”

“Stop actin’ so naïve.”

“I can’t help it. I’m inexperienced.”

Fonzie groaned with effort as he forced his arms to loosen. Richie turned to face him so that they stood chest-to-chest. Richie’s breath was hot on his face, full lips just inches away.

“This is the worst idea Potsie’s every had,” Fonzie grimaced, and closed the gap between them.

Chapter Text

Joanie wandered into the kitchen just in time to see her brother putting the finishing touches on a pair of thick bacon sandwiches.

“Hey, thanks! Is that one for me?”

She’d picked it up and bit into it before Richie could stop her. He rolled his eyes.

“It is now.”

He moved back over to the stove to fry another strip of bacon. Joanie followed, munching happily.

“Who’s that one for?”

Richie kept his eyes on the pan.

“It’s for a friend.”

“I thought you didn’t have any friends anymore. Potsie and Ralph have been really rotten to you, huh?”

“No, they – it’s not their fault. They’re being bullied for spending time with me.”

Joanie considered this, sucking grease from her fingers.

“So, it’s not for them, and it’s not for me. Sooooo who’s it for?”

“I told you, a –”

“Does this friend have a name?”

Richie glared at the bacon.

“Sure, he does.”

“He, huh? So, it’s not some cute girl from school?”

“I’m not allowed to go after the girls at school, Joanie, I told you. Omegas aren’t supposed –”

“Yeah, but that’s impossible – what are you gonna do – be alone for the rest of your life?”

Richie carefully removed the bacon from the pan and set it aside while he took two slices of bread out and started spreading mayonnaise on them.

“Pass me the lettuce,” he muttered. Joanie held up her greasy hands and he sighed and got the vegetable for himself.

“You didn’t answer my question,” she commented.

“So? It’s none of your business.”

“Hey, don’t be mad at me because your friends all left. I’m trying to be nice – make it feel like people still care about you.”

“I’m not in the mood.”

The teasing spark left Joanie’s eyes and she sighed heavily.

“It’s no picnic for me either, you know,” she admitted glumly. “Kids at school… they say… really bad stuff about you sometimes. Mom told me not to fight back, but it sure feels lousy hearing them say all that they’re saying. You’re my big brother, you know, and they… they say some really mean things.”

Richie looked over at his suddenly saddened sister and wiped his hands on his jeans before patting her on the shoulder.

“I’m sorry. You shouldn’t be treated poorly because of me being… what I am.”

“Neither should you.”

“Yeah, well. Life isn’t always fair, I guess.”

Richie hesitated, then continued, avoiding Joanie’s eyes.

“It’s for Fonzie, by the way. The sandwich.”

“Fonzie? Why?”

“Well, he… rescued me –”

“That was months ago! Didn’t you thank him already?”

Richie nodded.

“I just… he’s one of the only people who still acts like I’m a human being.”

“Some friend. He didn’t even come to your birthday party!”

“He was out of town – that’s all. He would’ve come only – he had… work. Out of town. Listen, I’ve got to get going.”

Joanie seemed unconvinced, but didn’t press him further.

“Well, have fun,” she shrugged, pulling away and heading towards the door. “Don’t stay out too late. Mom and Dad’d start having kittens if you have to walk home in the dark.”

Richie tried not to think about how strange it was, that his world had shrunk to something so small. He never used to think twice about going where he pleased, or staying out late. Now, he had to be in before sundown, walk in groups whenever he could… it was a real drag.

He mulled the topic over as he put the sandwiches in a paper bag and drove over to the garage. He’d gotten good at timing his visits so he could catch Fonzie on his lunch break, but the sad truth was that, typically, Fonzie just had to catch sight of him and he’d turn around and go back inside, knowing Richie felt uncomfortable following him into the garage on account of his coworkers and their comments.

Things had been strained since the kiss. Potsie’s advice might’ve been the problem – maybe you couldn’t tell a bond from a normal crush by kissing. Maybe you could, but Richie’d just been right, and there was a bond forming between him and Fonzie. He wasn’t sure. Either way, it was nothing like any of the kisses he’d had before. For one thing, he’d been so worked up by it that he’d gone to sleep running a temperature that night, and had to launder his drenched sheets in the morning. For another, he’d had been lonesome – really, deeply lonesome – ever since, and it had gotten so bad that the girls at school had asked him if he’d been attacked again, since he kept crying, seemingly at random.

Fonzie had given him a taste of something amazing – a kind of primal security that made him weak in the knees – and then he’d turned and walked away, like it didn’t mean a thing to him. Maybe he was right. Maybe Fonzarellis really couldn’t live up to their alpha instincts.

Still, Richie had decided that he was through with feeling abandoned. His friends were gone. His dreams were gone. Being the best omega he could be wasn’t what he’d wanted out of life, but it was all he had left to cling to, and cling he did, with the same iron grip as held his paper-bagged sandwiches as he stepped out of his car and approached the garage.

“Hey, Fonzie!”

He gave a little wave when Fonzie stepped out into the midday sunshine.

“I brought you lunch.”

Fonzie sighed and reluctantly approached. Richie thrilled at that – he wasn’t being abandoned – not yet at least – not this time.

“What’d you make?”

“Bacon sandwiches.”

Fonzie swore under his breath, and swallowed his pride, extending a hand for his share. Think of it all what he may, even Fonzie had to admit that, since his days in O.P.T. Richie made a damn good sandwich. The boys polished off their meals in silence, which Richie broke after swallowing his last mouthful.

“Wanna go for a drive?”

“As it happens, I do not.”

“We don’t have to take my car. We could take your bike.”

“You don’t just get to invite yourself onto my bike, Cunningham. Besides, you’re banned.”

“Banned? Why?”

“You ruined my seats last time.”

Richie, predictably, went red up to the tips of his ears.

“About that – well, about… us, I mean…”

“There ain’t no ‘us.’”

“Well, there could be. I’m eighteen, now, you know.”

Rather than shrug the implications off, Fonzie started pacing, jaw clenched, brow furrowed.

“I know.”

“You didn’t come to my party.”

“Didn’t think you’d want me there.”

“Oh, come on – Fonzie, I invited you, didn’t I?”

“You invited me to do a lot more than come to a birthday party, too. It’s a good thing I don’t listen to your invitations.”

Richie shook his head.

“This is stupid. Since when am I braver than you? You’re an alpha – you’re the Fonz – and I’m – I’m the one willing to test this out, to see if this is a real bond?”

“What, you wanna say I’m a coward? Fine. Go ahead, if you’re man enough, I dare ya.”

It was just an expression – not meant as more than a dismissal – but it made Richie flinch as though he’d been slapped. Fonzie’s eyes, for the seconds before he averted them, betrayed the guilt he felt.

“I didn’t… I didn’t mean it like that. ‘course you’re a man, Cunningham, I just –”

“I know. I know what you meant.”

“I know… I know people ain’t been kind to you lately. I wasn’t tryin’ to –”

“It’s… fine. Really.”

Richie didn’t sound like it was fine. He sounded hurt. Fonzie ran a hand over his face and cursed.

“Okay,” he ventured. “You don’t believe me? You think I don’t see you as a real man? Come to my house tonight. I was gonna work on my bike, tune her up, that kinda thing. You come over an’ I’ll teach you.”

Richie brightened.

“You will? Oh, gee whiz, Fonzie, that’s really something!”

“Yeah, yeah. Look, just… don’t spread this around or nothin’ alright? Don’t want people getting’ the wrong idea.”

“Sure. Sure okay. See you tonight… about… eight o’clock?”


“Good. Great!”

Richie walked home, grinning like an idiot, but as the day wore on, his grinning turned to anxiety. His parents kept him on such a short leash that leaving the house would be almost impossible without being noticed. Deciding it was best to face the problem head on, Richie went to speak to his mother, only to find that Marion had, at the last minute, stepped out to borrow a cup of sugar from one of their neighbours. Instead, he found his father sitting on the sofa, reading the evening paper.

“Hi Dad,” he said softly. Howard looked up.

“Hi, son.”

“Dad… there’s something I’d like to ask you. Only… I think you’re going to say no.”

“Well, how do you know that? You haven’t tried me, yet.”

“Can I go out tonight? Please?”

“Richie, you know it isn’t safe –”

“But this is important!”

Howard waited for a further explanation, but Richie shook his head. The Cunningham patriarch sighed and patted the couch cushion next to him. Richie took the hint and sat down.

“Son, what’s this all about?”

“Dad… when you met Mom, how’d you know you wanted to bond with her?”

Howard thought for a minute.

“There was the usual instinctual response,” he admitted. “But it was more than that. Lots of people make the mistake of going for someone just based on chemistry – in reality, it’s as much about love as biology. Your mother was the first omega I ever noticed who didn’t want a tall, burly alpha – she just wanted a man who’d make a life with her, treat her right. She didn’t ignore me, so I got to know her, and I discovered she had all sorts of qualities that I admired.”

“Looks you mean?”

“Looks, sure. Behaviours, too. I saw she was kind, devoted, funny… warm-hearted, motherly… everything a guy could hope for in a wife. I guess she saw good things in me too, because it all worked out, in the end.”

Richie nodded, eyes on the floor.

“Look, son, it’s been a while since we talked like this, man-to-man. I can’t pretend to know… how you feel about your situation. I know society asks a lot of you – too much, if you ask me. Making a boy give up on love before he’s even had a chance at it… it’s unfair and it’s un-American.”

Howard sighed heavily.

“I guess what I mean is, if you’ve met a girl at that school of yours who sees something good in you, don’t feel like you have to follow the rules to the letter. There’s nothing in the law that says you can’t find a nice girl. Only that it’s discouraged.”

Richie shrugged.

“Maybe I’m sick of being discouraged at every turn.”

Howard patted his shoulder fondly.

“You’re stronger than that. You’re a Cunningham, and you’re my son, and you are stronger than that.”

Richie bit his lip, nodding. He was torn – his father’s show of kindness made him want to tell the truth, but he knew his parents had been through enough of late.

“Richie,” Howard added. “You can tell me anything. I know I’m a beta but I’m still your father. Try to trust me?”

Richie nodded and, preparing for the worst, replied.

“It’s… I think I might have a bond. Not with an omega.”

That only meant one thing. Howard’s face went through a few expressions before settling on weary resignation.

“You mean another man.”

Richie wilted with shame.

“I didn’t choose it,” he insisted. “Please believe me, Dad, it’s the omega in me, it’s –”



“Who is it, Richie? Not Ralph. Not... please – if you ever do one thing for me in your life – don’t tell me it’s Potsie.”

“It’s…” he swallowed hard. “Not a beta. It's an alpha.”

Howard paled. A man that could out-class him? How'd he protect his son if anything went wrong? Visions of hypermasculine predators filled his mind and made him see red.

“Richard – that’s…”

Dangerous. Stupid. Crazy.

“Fonzie,” Richie interrupted softly. “It’s Fonzie. I’m sorry, Dad.”

Howard didn’t speak for a very long time – so long that Richie wanted to turn tail and run. When he finally worked up the nerve to do it, Howard shook his head slightly.

“Well, you could’ve done worse,” he admitted grudgingly. “At least he’ll be able to keep the worst of the scoundrels at bay. I mean, unless you count him as one of them, but… no. No, not everyone can be an academic or have a perfectly clean slate. He’s employed, and he’s… well… you could’ve done worse. You could've done better too, but then I suppose every father thinks that when his kids start settling down. Science is science. Who am I to argue with that?”

Richie shrugged.

“The law does.”

“The law wasn’t written for male omegas, Richie. Have you ever actually read up on it? For all we know, you’re not even included in it.”

“Doesn’t stop people from wishing I was.”

“People wish for a lot of things they’d be better off without. Don’t misunderstand – I can’t relate to this. I’m as good as useless to you right now, as a father, but… if the only thing I can do in this world is hold my family together through all of this, then I’m going to do it.”

“That’s not useless at all. That’s really… really great. Most fathers would throw their sons out for this – disown them, even. Honestly, I’d expected you to… to belt me or something.”

Howard’s arm came around his son’s shoulders awkwardly.

“What good’d that do?”

Omegas were touchy-feely by nature, and the hug, however stiff, was enough to make Richie’s eyes fill with tears.

“Oh, gosh, I hate how easy it is to set me off!” he sniffed, feeling around his pockets for a handkerchief. Howard passed his over, wordlessly.

“Where were you headed tonight? Is Fonzie taking you out?”

Richie blew his nose and shook his head.

“He was going to let me come over and teach me about his bike.”

“His bike, hmm?” Howard considered. “Hmm… well, I haven’t changed my mind. It’s too dangerous for you to be out after dark.”

Richie recoiled, betrayed.

“But Dad –!”

“Get your coat.”


“Your coat, son. I’m not having you out on your own. I’ll drive you to Fonzie’s myself. When you’re ready to come home, you give us a call.”

Richie hesitated, blushing. He lowered his eyes.

“I might be… late. Coming home.”

Howard sighed again. The boy was hopelessly transparent. For the first time in a long time, he saw something of himself in his son. Nervous, awkward, stomach in knots, worrying over his bond with Marion, when it was still little more than a passing spark.

“Well… if you’re too… busy with the bike to make it home tonight, you can call tomorrow morning, and I’ll drop by and get you then. Just don’t try to make your way home by yourself, alright?”

Richie’s voice caught in his throat, coming out strained when he answered.

“Dad, when I say I might be late… when I… I mean… what if…”

“I know what you mean, Richie. Just… don’t rush into anything. Try… try to do the right thing – whatever that proves to be. Just, promise me, you’ll give things a lot of thought. Bonds are very serious. It’s not the sort of choice you should make quickly.”

“I know,” Richie nodded solemnly. Howard’s smile in response was nothing short of wistful.

“I know you do. You’re a good kid. Come on – better not leave him waiting.”

Chapter Text

Richie swallowed hard as he knocked on the door, fidgeting anxiously. He wished his father would just drive away already, but he knew Howard would wait until he was sure it was safe.

The door opened and Fonzie was there, his scent comforting and warm enough that Richie nearly swooned.

“Hi Fonzie,” he said instead. Fonzie just nodded, eyeing the family car.

“You… uh… told your old man?”

Richie nodded.

“He wouldn’t let me go out after dark by myself.”

“Good move – smart… but look, I think you’d be better off goin’ home.”

Richie’s face fell.

“What? But Fonzie –”

“Yeah, I had a think, see, an’ you should stay with your folks. My bike’s not worth keepin’ you out all night –”

“Now you’re just talking crazy – your bike’s worth everything to you! Listen, my Dad… he knows, Fonzie.”

Fonzie paused, frowning. He narrowed his eyes.

“Exactly what did you tell your father?”

“Enough. He trusts you with me.”

Fonzie snorted.

“Huh. An’ here I always thought your dad had a brain.”

“He does have a brain! Look, are we going to stand out here all night? I’m cold – I’m getting goosebumps.”

As if on cue, Howard called over.

“Goodnight, Richie. Goodnight, Fonzie.”

“Goodnight!” Richie called back, waving. The car rolled away, leaving alpha and omega alone on the front step.

“You gonna let me in?” Richie asked softly, and Fonzie stepped aside. He led the way across the room, not bothering to turn on a light.

“Bike’s through here,” he explained. “If you want, we can start with some easy stuff. I can teach you how to –”

He turned back to glance at his guest and the words shrivelled up on his tongue. He stared, frozen in place. Richie was pulling his shirt up and off over his head, looking every bit the gawky teenage boy. There was no style, no teasing – just a lot of elbows and pale, smooth skin, and freckles here and there – enough to be charming. He threw it unceremoniously aside and raised his eyes, shyly.

“Teach me what?”

Fonzie’s mouth was, suddenly, dry enough that it took him two tries to get his tongue to articulate a reply.

“I’m givin’ you ten seconds to get your shirt back on. Then I’m callin’ your parents.”

“Fonzie… I don’t want to work on your bike. I want to sit on the couch and neck.”

“Yeah, sure you do. Well, it takes two to tango, and the Fonz don’t feel like dancin’.”

“You’re being chicken –”

“An’ you’re bein’ stupid, thinkin’ you’ll maybe come over, maybe walk into the lion’s den, maybe try to have your fun an’ learn somethin’ new about yourself. You wanna neck? Alphas don’t neck with omegas, Richie. We breed them.”

Richie tried and failed to keep the nervousness out of his face. Fonzie shook his head.

“Yeah, scares you, don’t it? It should. Have you ever seen a bond go wrong, Cunningham? It’s real ugly. The alphas, we get cold, see – real mean an’ cruel, leavin’ everyone who needs us to fend for themselves, but the omegas – oh, you fall apart. You come to us needin’ somethin’ to cling to and when that somethin’s gone, you’ve lost the strength to stand up by yourselves.”

“Why do you assume it’d go wrong?”

“You got eyes, don’t you? Ever looked around and seen anythin’ like what you’re suggestin’? No – you haven’t, an’ that’s because there’s no white picket fence an’ neat lawn in the cards – not for male omegas, an’ not for guys like me. Want my advice: stay home. Spend time with your folks. Make a life there. Someday your sister’ll get married an’ you can help her take care of the kids. Leave alphas alone before you get your heart broke or worse.”

“I didn’t come here for advice. I came because I… I can’t stop thinking about it. About you. I don’t care if I get my heart broken – it hasn’t stopped me coming around so far! Do you really hate me that much that even after that – that kiss – you still won’t entertain the thought of –”

“Damn it – it’s because I don’t hate you. You think I wanna sit here an’ watch you throw your life away? I know how this goes down – everythin’s fine until it isn’t. You’re still in dreamland, thinkin’ it’ll be all sunshine and roses.”

“You’re not your father,” Richie interrupts.

“Course I’m not my –”

“Then why not try? Prove him wrong – prove everyone wrong!”

Richie stepped closer. He smelled like summer, sweet and earthy.

“Please,” he whispered against Fonzie’s mouth. “Don’t make me beg. I would – I would beg. You’re the best chance I have of finding a home… being cared for. Don’t take it from me again.”

Fonzie leaned into that smell, inhaling deeply. The pheromones were doing a fine job at wearing down his self-control.

“What do you mean again? I never –”

“You treat me nicely, and then push me away. You don’t have to – I’m not going anywhere. You can’t get me to leave – I’ve bonded with you. It happens sometimes – without consummation. One-sided as it is, I can’t leave, not unless you really break it – break me. If you want to, go ahead, but be brutal about it – there’s no other hope of me letting go.”

Fonzie shook his head, hand inadvertently coming up to settle on Richie’s upper arm – not pulling him close or pushing him away. Just touching, because instinct had him needing contact.

“You know I don’t wanna do that,” he said quietly. “But if I go through with this, there's no quick fix, no easy way to go back. I'm an alpha - not some beta you can fool around with. It'll change how we think about each other - if you regret this –”

“I won't. And I won’t blame you if it doesn’t work out.”

Richie inched closer, until his bare chest brushed up against Fonzie’s t-shirt.

“Last chance to back out,” he mumbled. “I’m already a goner, but you can still –”

“Shut up, Cunningham.”

The kiss was good – mind-numbingly, toe-curlingly good. A surging feeling of warmth spread through Richie as the kiss deepened – a sense of belonging, of homecoming, of safe safe mate yes safe. It was erotic, but it was more than that – it was a building heat of pure bonding affection like nothing either boy had ever felt.

“Oh my gosh,” Richie moaned as Fonzie’s lips moved to his neck. The alpha wasn’t holding back, sucking and nipping with teeth and tongue so that Richie knew he’d have the mother of all hickies to show for it. Marking me – he’s marking me, he thought deliriously, arching into it. His arms were limp at his sides – he was so overwhelmed he couldn’t think what to do until Fonzie moved his hands for him, untucking his shirt and sliding them under the barrier of cloth.

“Oh,” Richie murmured again. “I’m touching you.”

There was wonder in his voice, so much that it made him sound a little ridiculous. Fonzie’s laugh tickled his neck.

“You’re warm.”

“So are you. How far d’you want this to go?” Fonzie asked before taking Richie’s earlobe in his teeth. Richie struggled to remember how to speak.

“I th-thought you said that – ah – alphas don’t just neck.”

“I said what I said but I’m askin’ you now. How far?”

“F-far as you want it to.”

“Those are dangerous words, Cunningham.”

“You’re not going to hurt me.”

“Of course, I won’t. But that don’t mean other people wouldn’t take advantage. You should know better than to say things like that to an alpha.”

“I wouldn’t say it to anyone else. I mean it, do whatever you want.”

“What do you want?”

“You. All of it. Everything.”

Richie could feel Fonzie’s interest, hard and hot against his own. He rocked against it experimentally and Fonzie growled into his neck. Fonzie’s hand, his grip strong and possessive, settled on Richie’s lower back, made him tremble, and when it slipped lower, made them both gasp.

“You’re soakin’ wet.”

“Sorry –”

“Nah, it’s good. It’s real good…”

Fonzie tugged at Richie’s waistband.

“Take these off.”

Richie fumbled with his buttons and shoved his jeans down past his thighs. Fonzie stepped back to give him room to step out of them. The alpha looked more dishevelled than Richie’d ever seen him, chest heaving, eyes burning with need, shirt untucked and lips swollen and wet.

“Those too,” he gestured, and Richie blushed. He’d never gone this far with a girl and the idea of it suddenly caught up to him, making his hands shake. Shutting his eyes, he peeled off his underpants. They were drenched and the smell made Fonzie groan in appreciation.

“C’mere,” he insisted. Richie obeyed, letting himself be kissed again, deep and dirty and wickedly good. Fonzie’s hand found his butt again, and he barely had to touch it to have Richie whimpering, hypersensitive with arousal. Fonzie’s calloused fingers traced over Richie’s cleft, then dipped into that wet heat, coating themselves in viscous, slippery lubrication.

“You smell so good,” he slurred into Richie’s ear, and slid two fingers in past the knuckle without resistance. Richie was tight, but his omega instincts made him relax and accept the intrusion, trusting his alpha completely.

“Oh!” Richie keened, knees buckling. He clung to Fonzie for support, burying his face in the other male’s shoulder. The smell of leather, musk, and raw, masculine power was making him dizzy. “Oh, Fonzie…”

“Yeah, you like that?”

He fucked deeper with his fingers, slowly easing in a third. Richie was blushing a deep pink now, flushed past his shoulders.

“P-please, I need –”

“What? You need this?”

Fonzie kissed his throat again, over the mark he’d made.

“N-no, I –”

“How about this?”

Richie whined when Fonzie suddenly pulled away, leaving him cold and desperate, only to put his hot mouth on Richie’s trembling upper thigh. He licked a stripe over to his erection, sucking the head and putting more force into the thrusts of his fingers. Richie managed to stammer out a warning, which went unheeded, and then the building heat overwhelmed him. The warmth and the wetness was wrung out of him so thoroughly that, when Fonzie withdrew his fingers, Richie collapsed, sinking to the floor in boneless exhaustion. He cracked an eye open and stared at Fonzie’s hand. His fingers were slick – Richie’s omega juice running all the way up to his elbow. Richie’s orgasm had made him ejaculate anally – something Dr. Whitney had said could happen in some cases, where female omega physiological impulses tried to make do with male anatomy, though Richie had never experienced it when experimenting by himself. Fonzie sniffed at the liquid, which smelled sweet, musky, and unmistakably sexual, and followed it up to his wrist with his tongue. Their eyes met, and just like that, Fonzie dropped his hand and left the room, returning with a wet towel, which he used to clean up Richie’s mess, and a spare pair of underpants, which he gave to Richie to wear. He flopped down on the couch and beckoned for Richie to join him, and they sat in silence, listening to the hum of crickets outside the window.

“Hey,” Richie breathed after a while.

“Hey yourself.”

“You didn't - I mean, uh… we’re still not bonded.”

“I know that.”

“Mrs. Woverton says the alpha has to actually put his – put it inside to –”

“I know. What we did, there, is called takin’ the edge off.”

“I liked it.”

“Sure you did.”

Fonzie was deep in thought, an uncharacteristic, far-away look in his eyes. Richie scooted closer and, when he wasn’t rebuffed, snuggled up against the side of Fonzie’s jacket.



“Why’d you say yes?”


“To me. Why’d you say yes to me?”

Fonzie sighed.

“You ask a lot of questions, Red.”

“I just… I want to know where we stand.”

Fonzie looked over, face slack in disbelief.

“Where we stand?”

“Well, we’re not bonded.”

“No. You wanna leave now, I won’t stop you.”

“I don’t want to leave. I want to stay… only… I’ve never gone steady with another man before. What am I supposed to do?”

“Whatever you usually do – look, Cunningham, I ain’t the type to give you my jacket or a class ring or somethin’. I’m not changin’ who I am – I can’t. An’ I think you’ve changed enough already.”

Richie frowned.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Look, the Richie Cunningham I know used to play softball, an’ hang out at Arnold’s, an’ laugh an’ hang out with his friends. I hate that school they got you in. It’s makin’ you into some frail little –”

“I thought you liked protecting me.”

“I do – that’s just biology talkin’. But I want to see you be yourself. Relax. I just had my fingers inside you – you can stop lookin’ at me like I’m gonna break your nose.”

Richie tried to school his face into an expression of relaxation, but he couldn't get past 'visible unease.'

“I’m sorry… the truth is, I feel like the old Richie’s gone on vacation. Actually, this is the most I’ve felt like myself since before all this omega stuff.”

The redhead turned, sitting up a bit so that he could face Fonzie more easily, the alpha’s arm adapting to maintain hold of his shoulders.

“Remember how different everything was when I was a junior. Me and Potsie getting into scrapes – say, do you remember the time Potsie put a brassiere on the bathroom radiator?”

“I do. Why?”

“I don’t know… lately I just remember all these old things. I guess I feel like people are gonna forget about them, if I don’t. Forget about the old Richie… it’s sort of silly, I guess.”

“Nah, I understand what you’re tryin’ to say,” Fonzie nodded. “I’m different from who I was in high school too. I don’t run with the Falcons anymore… guess I’m more of a lone wolf, eyy.”

He tightened his hold on Richie and tried to get him to smile. When that failed, he gathered Richie up and pulled him close, so that he could speak right into his ear.

“The only way folks’ll forget you is if you let ‘em. You gotta go out there. Be the old you. Be the new you, too. Put ‘em together.”

Richie shrugged.

“Omegas aren’t supposed to. Better to be invisible – it’s safer that way.”

“Yeah, well, you have me to protect you now, like you said. So if you wanna go out or somethin', you have someone to watch your back.”

Richie grinned.

“You mean that?”

“Eyy, all I’m sayin’ is if we’re actually doin’ this, I want you to remember how to say no. Alphas can be rough – there’s a reason so many omegas wind up with betas.”

“Sure, that makes sense.”

Fonzie rubbed Richie’s bare arm absently.

“If you wanna do this, then we’re doin’ it right. You wanna go to Arnold’s, tell me an’ I’ll be there to keep an eye on you. You wanna go to the movies, you go with me, understand?”

Richie nodded, tracing a seam on Fonzie’s jacket with the tip of one finger.

“Hey, Fonzie? Could you maybe take care of the bullies that have been bothering Potsie and Ralph? And Joanie – they’re treating her really badly at school.”

“Done. You want anythin’ else?”

Richie blushed. Fonzie rolled his eyes.

“Cool your jets, Red. We’ll start like this an’ if you hate it –”

“– or you hate it.”

“Or I hate it, whatever. We can break it off.”

Fonzie’s voice softened, and he thumbed at the bruise forming on Richie’s throat. Richie’s breath hitched and he chuckled nervously.

“Want to come over to my house on Sunday for brunch?” he blurted out.

Fonzie stilled his hand.

“You’re nuts, Cunningham.”

“I guess, but I still want you there. I’ll make pancakes.”

“Yeah? What else?”

“Mm… eggs, bacon, toast, hashbrowns… fruit salad if you want it.”

“An’ what’ll your folks get to eat, hmm? Tell you what, I’ll have a couple pancakes, an’ then take you out for the afternoon.”

“If I’m good, can I be dessert?”

“Jeez – tone it down a little,” Fonzie snorted, “Stop tryin' so hard, I’m not goin’ anywhere.”


Richie’s grin was infectious, and Fonzie gave in, responding with one of his own, in spite of his doubts. Richie wasn’t the only one who was starting to feel bonded, in the aftermath of shared intimacy.


Chapter Text

Richie tugged at his collar once more on his way up the front steps. He was sure he looked ridiculous, and it made him blush. His jeans would be unwearable until they were thoroughly laundered, and the pair Fonzie lent him were clearly not his own. Even with his shirt buttoned to the top, the bruise on his throat was visible. Any doubts he had that he was somehow being subtle vanished when Joanie, upon opening the door, stared at him with eyes the size of dinner plates.

“Holy smokes – what happened to you?” she snickered. “Hey, Mom, look at Rich–”

“Not on the doorstep, dear. Richie, where’s your… friend?” Marion, more sensitive to her son’s situation, interrupted.

“He’s just parking his bike – here.”

“Hi, Mrs. C.”

Fonzie looked uncharacteristically sheepish as he ventured up the front steps. Richie felt a surge of affection for him, avoiding the impulse to hold his hand.

“Hello, Arthur. Come in, both of you. I know you’d said you’d cook, Richie, but I couldn’t sleep very well last night, so I stayed up and readied breakfast instead. I hope you like French Toast.”

She ushered them in and sat them at the table, puttering to and fro, bringing out dishes. Joanie sat across from her brother, eyes narrowed, intrigued by the most recent development in his affairs.

Harold, when he arrived, greeted his son in the usual way, taking his place at the head of the table and praising Marion’s cooking. All in all, everything seemed surprisingly normal.

“So,” Howard said, half-way through his breakfast sausage, “what are your plans, Fonzie?”

“Plans, Mr. C?”

“Yeah, what does the future hold for you?”

Fonzie thought for a while, pushing a slice of banana around with his fork.

“I’m hoping I can open my own auto shop, at some point, but right now –”

“What are your plans for my son?”

Richie choked on his orange juice, coughing as it sputtered out his nose. Marion handed him an extra napkin, cooing and fawning over him as he regained his composure.

“Uh, your – your son?”

“Let’s not beat around the bush, here. Either you’re serious about Richie or you aren’t. If you aren’t then we need to have a talk, but if you are… then we need to have a talk.”

Harold gave Fonzie a pointed look.

“Sure, we can talk,” Fonzie shrugged.

“After breakfast,” Howard suggested. “Unless you’re finished, in which case, let’s take this upstairs.”

Fonzie looked down at his half-eaten breakfast and rose from his chair.

“I’m ready to talk if you are.”

“Oh, believe me, I’ll be doing most of the talking.”

With the Cunningham patriarch and his prospective alpha both gone, Richie looked over at his mother, eyes wide.

“Why do I feel like I accidentally invited Fonzie to an interrogation?”

“Your father’s just being protective. It’s his job, given your status. My father was exactly the same with Howard.”

“Yeah?” Joanie was visibly excited to hear the juicy details. Marion chuckled.

“Yes – as I recall, your father was very nervous. He was told to be good to me, and not to stray. That sort of thing. Don’t worry about it, dear – it’s a tradition as old as time itself. I’m sure Arthur suspected it, and he certainly knows how to handle himself.”

“But how’s it supposed to work for Richie? It’s not like they’re fixing to get married.”

“Joanie has a point,” Richie added. “It seems too good to be true – everyone being so understanding and… and decent about all this.”

“Richie, you’re our son!” Marion exclaimed. “What sort of parents would we be if we turned you out on your ear? And after you’ve been through so much, to take away your one chance at happiness? No… it’s not what either of us hoped for you but it’s up to us to come to terms with it, not for you to have to fight your nature. You’re an omega. You’re meant to be bonded. If the law doesn’t understand that – well, it will have to – omegas need partners – we’re designed to devote ourselves to one person for our whole lives.”

“Well, sure, but… people will talk. I don’t want you guys to suffer because of me.”

“Oh, Richie, we don’t want you to be alone forever,” Joanie interjected. “I know I complained about the comments before, but I can take them if I have to.”

“I talked to Fonzie about that – he’s going to try to talk to everyone – make them be nicer to you. I can’t promise anything but… well, I think he could do just about anything.”

“Of course you do, dear – every omega feels like their bondmate can take the moon down from the sky and hand it to them,” Marion smiled. “I still feel that way about your father every day.”

Richie smiled down at his French toast.

“Thanks,” he said softly. “For… well, just for being the best family in Milwaukee, I guess.”

The sound of Fonzie and Howard coming down the stairs broke up the little heart-to-heart, and Richie turned in his seat, searching the two men for any outward trace of emotion – some indicator of how things had gone.

“Fonzie is taking Richie for a drive,” Howard said firmly. “Richie, if you’d like to come back here for dinner, that would be alright.”

“The both of us?”

“If that’s what you want.”

Richie was unsure of what the tone in his father’s voice meant, and the unreadable look in Fonzie’s eyes left him confused, so he just rose from the breakfast table and mumbled a goodbye, following Fonzie outside and trotting up to his bike.

“What happened? Is it bad news?”

“Later – let’s get someplace out of town first.”

“Is it good news?”

“Cunningham – with me.”

Instinct overrode his doubts and Richie hopped up behind Fonzie on the bike, trusting him implicitly. He clung tightly to his alpha as they drove in silence – past Arnold’s, past the high school, past the outskirts of town. They kept right on driving until they got to a back road which Fonzie navigated with care so as not to damage his bike. Eventually, they came to a stop in a clearing. Wildflowers had sprung up all in the unmown grass, and the air was sweet.

“I didn’t know this place was here,” Richie breathed, eyes wide with wonder. “Do you bring girls here, usually?”

“No way – this place is too special for that. It’s where I come to think – it’s peaceful.”

“That it is. Gee whiz, Fonz, this is really something. I’m glad you showed it to me.”

“Yeah, yeah – look, I need to talk to you.”

Richie turned to look at Fonzie, brow furrowed.


“Your father’s laid some… parameters out. Sort of a road map for our situation. He’s been doing some readin’ an’ apparently in Wisconsin state law, there’s nothing legally binding that applies to male omegas. For all intents and purposes, you don’t exist. Even the existin’ laws definin’ marriage an’ relationships don’t technically apply to you.”

That was a sobering thought. Richie mulled it over, frowning.

“There is, however, nothing to say that a judge can’t rule one way or other, reinterpret this law or that.”

“So… there’s no outright prohibition, but no protection either.”

“Exactly. So if you do go along with me, you’re takin’ on a risk. Not everyone will be as understandin’ as your folks.”

“I know that.”

“I don’t know if you do. Life in this town – it’s sheltered. There are bigots here an’ there, sure, same goes for every town, but the bad apples don’t get too far. It’s different out there, worldwide. You wanna go to college, it’ll be tough. You wanna move to the big city, it’ll be tough. Tough and dangerous, an’ I’m not kiddin’ around when I tell you I’m not sure you can take it, an’ that… that scares me.”

Richie considered his words.

“If it was just me on my own,” he ventured, “I’d agree that it’s too risky. But there’s you, and my family and… I bet if I told Potsie and Ralph they’d learn to understand… I can’t just give up on being happy.”

“You’re stubborn, an’ you’ve got spark, an’ I like that. But you can’t be naïve about this. There may come a day when I can’t be there for some reason, an’ you need to be prepared to handle yourself.”

Fonzie cupped Richie’s jaw with his hand, pulling him close.

“I can teach you how to carry yourself, how to be tough an’ how to get by, but you have to promise you’ll listen to me, an’ take it seriously.”

“Of course. You’re my alpha.”

Fonzie winced, looking away and dropping his hand. Richie reached out, hooking his fingers in the waistband of Fonzie’s jeans.

“You don’t need to be afraid of the word, you know. I know you’ll do right by me. You do right by everybody – you’ve got ethics, Fonzie.”

Fonzie stared down at Richie’s hands.

“You have more faith than brains, Cunningham.”

“You have more worries than sense. Come on, Fonzie, don’t tell me you brought me all the way up here just to talk and feel hopeless.”

Fonzie shrugged. The blue mood didn’t suit him, and, as his omega, Richie took it upon himself to correct it. Feeling inspired, he dropped to his knees. Fonzie raised an eyebrow, and Richie grinned toothily in response.

“Want to?”

Fonzie made him wait for permission, taking time to think it over before making Richie’s day and nodding. Richie’s grin widened and he made quick work of Fonzie’s fly, tugging him out of his jeans. Fonzie’s hand tightening in his hair was enough to make him gasp and look up from his task.

“You ever done this before?”

Richie shook his head.

“I can learn, though – I’m a quick learner.”

“I’m a good teacher,” Fonzie countered. “Watch your teeth.”

Richie rolled his eyes, and opened his mouth.

Chapter Text

Richie had never had a penis in his mouth before, but he found he didn’t mind it much. The taste of his alpha triggered something in him that had him drooling and rock hard in seconds. He stared up at Fonzie’s face as he bobbed his head, pulling back when the urge to smile got too strong. He grinned, saliva all down his chin, and stroked Fonzie off with his hand. A bead of pre-ejaculate appeared at the tip, and Richie lapped at it happily, drawing lazy patterns on Fonzie’s organ with his tongue.

“Enjoyin’ yourself, Red?”

Richie thrilled at the breathless note in Fonzie’s voice. He nuzzled up against the hand in his hair and nodded.

“You taste good.”

Fonzie snorted, shaking his head.

“Omegas,” he laughed, but he said it affectionately.

Richie pressed a dirty, sensual kiss to the head of Fonzie’s cock and reached down to rub the tent in his jeans.

“I’m gonna take these off,” he said, pulling the fabric down and off, wriggling and kicking his legs free. He tossed the jeans into the grass, and followed them with his underpants. He shivered as he got back onto his knees, blades of grass teasing his inner thighs, his testicles, the slick skin behind them, the sticky, dripping globes of his ass, glistening with his natural lubricant. Fonzie traced his cheekbone with the pad of his thumb tenderly.

“Now you just look ridiculous – naked from the waist down.”

Richie stuck his tongue out and pulled his shirt over his head.


“Very. But I feel a bit overdressed.”

Fonzie wasted no time shucking off his clothes. He sank to his knees next to Richie and leaned in, kissing his throat over the bruise and wrapping an arm around his waist. He stuck a finger into that tight, wet heat, curling and angling so he hit Richie’s prostate, palming his chest with his free hand. He pinched Richie’s nipple and the redhead mewled, writhing around in hypersensitive ecstasy. Omegas were more affected by stimuli, generally, but the desperate way Richie was crying out had Fonzie suspecting he was unusual in this aspect of his biology as well, even more responsive than his female counterparts. The needy edge to Richie’s whimpers had the older male wanting nothing more than to bury himself in the clenching warmth of his omega’s hole.

Richie’s breath was hot on Fonzie’s ear as he bucked his hips, driving Fonzie’s fingers deeper.

“Please, Fonzie, don’t make me wait this time. I want to be yours… properly.”

The redhead blushed and spread his thighs for emphasis.

“We can’t go back after,” Fonzie reminded him.

“Do you want to? Go back, I mean?”

“It’s about what you want.”

“No, it’s about what we both want. If you want me to be your equal, then it starts now. I may be an omega but I know my own mind. I want this, but if you don’t, I won’t let you do it.”

Fonzie kissed him softly.

“Course, I want to, whaddaya think?”

Richie let himself be rolled over so that he sat astride Fonzie’s hips. Fonzie grinned up at him fondly.

“You set the pace.”

Richie nodded.

His omega textbook readings had instructions on heterosexual sex between omega and alpha. He assumed it was similar in his case, but now, with Fonzie bumping up against him, he could barely think. Fonzie seemed to sense his hesitance, because he patted his thigh fondly.

“You want me to do it?” he asked. Richie nodded, grateful, and relaxed as much as he could. Rationally, he was terrified – there was no way Fonzie would fit inside him under normal circumstances. Omega biology – especially his – wasn’t normal, however. He knew he’d adjust quickly, but knowing and trusting were two different things. He held his breath, heart racing, as Fonzie pressed up into him in a slow, steady thrust.

“O-oh,” he breathed, eyelids fluttering. “Oh, Fonzie…”

“There you go – you like that?”

“Mm hmm…”

Richie moved hesitantly, and the shift of his hips made him gasp.


Fonzie responded by kissing Richie and rolling him over in the grass. Richie was overwhelmed with feelings – the grass on his skin, the smell of wildflowers and sex, the sticky warmth, the protective weight of his alpha pushing down on him. Down and in, all the way to his soul. He could do little more than tremble and cling to Fonzie’s shoulders, moaning softly as he was thoroughly bred.

Richie came first, crying out brokenly, digging his nails into Fonzie’s back. The orgasm hit hard, and again, he gushed out, omega come spurting out of his hole around Fonzie as normal come shot out of his cock. The messy flood of heat tipped the alpha over the edge. Fonzie groaned into Richie’s shoulder as he spent, sliding easily out of Richie’s dripping hole. He rolled off, flopping onto his back, chest heaving.

“Holy shit,” he said eloquently. Richie nodded.

“Wow… I feel… look at my hand – it’s shaking.”

Fonzie glanced over and nodded, holding up his own.

“Mine too.”

Richie licked his dry lips, trying to compensate for the sudden loss of fluid from his body.

“Does… does sex normally feel like this?”

“Not even close,” Fonzie answered. “Richie that was…”


“Scary. Scary good. Oh man.”

They lay in silence, breathing in the fresh air, for what felt like hours. Chewing his lower lip, Richie glanced over at Fonzie whose eyes were shut, a faint smile playing at his mouth.

“Are you awake?”

“Kinda,” Fonzie mumbled. “What?”

“I think I love you.”

Fonzie sat up, frowning.

“You think you love me?”

“I mean – I understand if –”

“You understand nothin’. After all that, you think you love me? Don’t play games with me, Cunningham.”

“I wasn’t – I just… I wanted to give you an out. I l-love you.”

Fonzie leaned over and kissed him deep and slow.

“Eyy, you don’t need to give me outs. From now on, we’re a team. I’m your alpha. You think I’m just gonna walk out on you?”

As he said it, understanding passed over Fonzie’s face and his eyes widened. Richie stared at him, and his face broke into a wide grin.

“I told you, you’re nothing like your dad,” the redhead beamed. “You’re the tops, Fonzie, you really are. Best guy I've ever known, and you're my alpha - how'd I get so lucky?”

Before Fonzie could reply, Richie punctuated his words with a press of his lips, rolling over into his alpha’s arms, youthful body already revving up for round two.