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I'll keep a bonfire for you

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Geno glanced up when one of the athletic trainers tapped his shoulder. "Hey Geno, they want you up front for a minute."

He frowned even as he bookmarked the page and set his reader aside. "Something wrong?" he asked.

The trainer shook his head apologetically. "I'm just the errand boy, sorry." He didn't follow Geno forward, instead continuing back toward the sealed-off rear compartment of the plane.

Most of the guys he passed on the way to the front were asleep, a smart move with at least ten hours to go before they landed in Sweden. The night outside the windows was pitch-black, not even the twinkle of stars or glow of the moon to break up the darkness.

He didn't really start to worry until he caught sight of Sidney huddled up with Rick the physical therapist and Dr. Harner. That sweet scent he'd been smelling for the last little while suddenly took on a whole different context when the medical staff wanted to talk to the only two alphas on the plane. Abruptly, he remembered trainer-Chris and Beau walking past him towards the back, just after that scent started filling the air...

"What happen, what problem?" he asked as soon as he dropped into the seat beside Sidney. Dr. Harner grimaced.

"Medical need-to-know - Beau's an omega," he stated bluntly, and Geno's stomach dropped. No one was required to announce their dynamic to anyone but necessary medical personnel, although it was hard not to notice the alphas. It was hardly taboo to talk about, but to be told someone else's dynamic because of medical need was...never a good sign, to put it mildly. "You probably haven't noticed because he doesn't have a regular heat cycle."

"He had a panic-heat?" Sidney demanded, incredulous. "Here?" It took Geno a minute to connect the dots Sidney had, but it made sense. Omegas with irregular heat cycles almost always had panic-heats, but only when they were stressed or worried or scared. None of which Beau should be feeling on a plane over the Atlantic surrounded by his team.

"No, he doesn't panic-heat," Dr. Harner corrected. "He safe-heats, which, I don't know if you remember your high school biology classes at all, but it's just about as bad as panic-heating. Same heat fever, same inability to break it solo. The main difference - well, except that safe-heats are so rare and last longest - is that only alphas can break them. We're far enough out now that we don't have time to turn back and get him a therapy alpha - it started about a half-hour ago, and his temperature's already climbed to 105." He leaned across the aisle and leveled both alphas with a no-nonsense look. "This is not something I'd normally ask of either of you, but I'm legally required to demand it. At the rate his fever's been climbing and as quickly as the heat set in, he'll be at risk of irreparable brain damage within the next hour. One of you needs to ride it through with him, I do not care which. And if one of you is not enough, I will send in the other."

"There is a significant chance of permanent bonding with this sort of heat," Rick piped up from over Dr. Harner's shoulder. "I don't know the exact numbers, but it's much more likely to happen than not." He waved his phone at them, which looked like it was displaying a text message. "Bear in mind, Chris says he's no longer coherent."

Sidney's expression congealed, and Geno agreed. Not coherent meant begging forgiveness after the fact, not asking for permission beforehand. They might've thought to get Beau to sign a generic emergency consent form before it got that far - for that matter, it might be a required part of his medical paperwork, given his circumstances - but Beau didn't have time for Geno to dwell on it. Firmly shoving his questions and doubts to the back of his mind to be dealt with later, he nodded. "I'll do," he said. "Is my linemate," he added when Sidney opened his mouth to object, probably on principle. Whatever his personal preferences for sexual partners, he was a good captain. And Beau was still his linemate, at least until Duper finally retired and Beau moved up to Sidney's wing.

Dr Harner didn't give them time to argue about it, in any case. "You've got half an hour. If the fever hasn't broken by then, never mind the heat itself, Sidney, you'll have to go as well." Everyone nodded unhappy assent, and then Geno rose to follow Harner back to the rear compartment. All planes were required to be equipped with a scent-sealed compartment for emergencies, though it was still a huge scandal if one ever needed to be used. Geno had a minute to collect his bearings while Dr Harner unsealed the compartment, but it was all for naught when Geno stepped inside.

He didn't notice trainer!Chris slipping by and sealing the compartment behind him again. Beau's sent was thick in the air, sweet but with the faintest sour taint that set all his alpha instincts, usually well-leashed, leaping to attention. This was a distressed omega, nevermind how the heat had started. Beau was sweat-drenched and writhing weakly on the narrow bed, skin flushed red and eyes, when Geno caught sight of them, glassy and unseeing. "Oh, Sunshine," he murmured softly in Russian as he stepped up and hovered a hand over his helpless linemate. "I'll make this better, I promise."

---

Sidney couldn't get his mind to settle, unable to focus on anything more than checking his phone obsessively as he waited. He wasn't surprised when Dr Harner fetched him from his seat by Flower again half an hour after he'd left with Geno. "I'm sorry, Sid. Geno's not enough - we need you to go back."

Sidney swallowed hard. This wasn't how he'd planned for any of this to go, when he'd bothered to make vague plans at all for a future bondmate. But he knew his responsibilities, and they were friends as well as team, and he'd suck it up and deal with the consequences after everyone was alive to deal with them with him. "All right."