The tent was decorated with the distinct air of display, rich furs and spiraling antlers spanning the walls with other specialties of the East tribe in an almost overwhelming coverage. Hannibal found it mildly impressive but mostly blatantly impractical, given how much must be taken down and packed away for every move. All the tribes in their corner of the world were nomadic more or less, but this one had established itself as the strongest in the eastern forest-lands as Hannibal's had done similarly in the Western plains. That Hannibal's was the stronger between them however, was also well established.
The other chief himself was sitting the centre of his tent dressed in a robe stitched with some sort of leaf-inspired motif. His appearance was marginally more commanding than that of his surroundings, a hint of bulky muscle visible under the fine fabric and a sculpted countenance that quite emphatically stated alpha. Hannibal had only met him in person a handful of times in the years since he'd taken up his own chiefhood, various trading missions and other delegations providing the opportunity, but always previously on his soil. This now was his first time in the foreign tribe, but much less than being daunted he had arrived that evening like one coming to his right.
"I am glad you made it safely," Chief Arzah said with a polite nod of his head, which Hannibal returned.
"I apologise for the lateness of myself and my party, we were inevitably delayed." That was a lie, the only delay had been intentional on Hannibal's part as a further reminder that they met on his terms and nobody else's.
"Well I'm afraid you've missed dinner, but no matter. Your guards have been allocated spaces in the sentries' tents, and I have arranged for some more food to be brought to them. As for you, I hope that you will stay and join me for supper?"
Hannibal gave a small smile, taking the empty stool in front of him without waiting for permission to sit. "Thank you very much."
Arzah tapped a few times on a short drum on the floor, and the tent flap opened as a two young omega girls ducked inside each with a generous serving of steaming stew, dressed in simple white shifts which would have been deemed inappropriately revealing among Hannibal's people. Arzah didn't try to hide the way his eyes traced the curves of their bodies, Hannibal deliberately casting his eyes away as he accepted his meal with a brief thanks. He balanced the thick wooden bowl on his knees and took a small sip with the smoothly carved spoon.
"What do you think of our food, hmm?" Arzah asked as the girls slipped out again.
"Quite good," Hannibal replied, which somewhat surprisingly was true. "Though different, certainly."
"Ah well, I don't suppose we could have matched your delicacies exactly."
The shifting of Arzah's eyes during that statement betrayed his discomfort, and Hannibal smiled inwardly. His tribe were not the only one by far to execute prisoners and criminals, though they were the only who ran such events in accordance with their feasts. It was one side of their reputation that that had rather aided their expansion and conveniently reduced the numbers of those willing to oppose them.
They were halfway through their meal before the eastern chief began cautiously, "So allow me to address the reason I have invited you."
Hannibal nodded, not speaking but motioning for the other alpha to continue, which he did with a little cough.
"I believe you must have heard the rumours from the edges that there other peoples, strange peoples, coming into these lands and trying to take what is not theirs. In light of these, I propose a strengthening of the bonds between our tribes."
Hannibal frowned. He knew of the talk going around, yes, but had not found cause to give it much thought. His people were known for their prowess as warriors, after all, though he supposed it was quite a different story for the quieter people of the east. "How exactly do you mean?"
"You are unmated, no?"
That caught him off-guard. "Indeed."
"And so is my son."
Hannibal blinked. The implication was obvious, though certainly not one that he cared for. Hannibal clearly had the upper hand in any negotiations here, and there was nothing that Arzah's tribe could offer his aside from the adequately profitable trade that was already flowing. Any marriage between them would be a decidedly one-sided exchange of benefits.
"I am not open to a mate at the moment," he replied just a little stiffly, courtesy keeping him from expressing his annoyance at the near-insulting offer.
"Ah, not so hasty. I didn't expect you to agree straight away, but merely allow me to persuade you!"
Arzah broke into a smile that was both open and bland, and Hannibal held back a sigh. Brief as their past interactions had been, they had been enough for Hannibal to surmise that he was the more intelligent among the two of them. There had been only one reason why he'd made this visit himself instead of delegating to a subordinate as he usually did, and that had been a piece of recent news that the East tribe had gotten itself a new advisor with some admirable shrewdness. It was a decision he found himself fast regretting. Perhaps he had been too hopeful in thinking that Arzah had enough mind to take good advice.
"We shall see," he said simply, turning his attention back down to the food, thoughts already going ahead to how he would excuse himself as early as possible the next morning.
"Yes," the other chief murmured, "indeed we shall."
* * *
The tent that Hannibal was shown to for the night was simple, but large enough. There was a sleeping pallet in the centre piled with several soft furs, a stool and a basin off to the side with a few other homely items. He removed his travelling clothes gladly and let them fall as he stepped forward to light the candle by the pallet, stripping down to his undershorts and stretching with a soft exhalation of relief. He was turned away from the flap when he heard a sound behind him.
A boy had slipped through, an omega, dressed in the same light garment as those who had brought the supper. His shoulders were hunched and he stood shifting from foot to foot, clutching a dark cloth bag that he was wringing between his hands. His eyes fell briefly on Hannibal's bare chest as the alpha turned, then darted quickly up to his face as if embarrassed to be caught looking.
"Hello?" Hannibal greeted a little quizzically. "Do you have a message?"
"Um," the boy replied softly, seeming to have a little trouble getting his words out. He looked a little older than the servers had been, but still a good deal younger than Hannibal. "No. I—I'm here on behalf of our tribe. And our hospitality." He gave a little hesitant smile. "Compliments of the chief."
The phrase sounded blocky, rehearsed. The boy's eyes darted away as he spoke it to flit nervously around the tent, a few soft brown curls falling down across his face which he didn't bother to brush away. It took Hannibal several seconds to realise what it meant.
"Is this what Arzah means by persuading me? Because a hundred boys and girls thrown at me will not make me think that his omegas are any better than my own people's."
A little too much harshness laced his tone and the boy flinched, drawing back. "Well if—if you want," he stuttered, eyes wide, "I can go back and—and tell them you don't like me, and—"
He started to tremble slightly, and Hannibal felt his face soften. He took a cautious step forward, raising a hand to gently tuck those curls aside then letting his fingers linger on the smooth cheek beneath. "I didn't say that," he replied quietly.
Because he did like him now that he looked, really, and he took advantage of the omega's averted gaze to rake his own downwards. The thin shift did little to hide the boy's lithe form, and the flickering light equally little on the brightness of those blue eyes. Hannibal may have prided himself on his control and ability to keep his head above his baser instincts, but he never claimed to be made of stone. And this particular piece of temptation was just a little more than he was equipped for right now.
"What's your name?" he asked, running his hand along the omega's jawline to pull him to face Hannibal again.
The boy swallowed visibly before replying, "Will."
"Have you done this before, Will?" Hannibal paused a moment to find an appropriate word. "Entertaining guests?"
Will froze for a few seconds as if afraid to answer, then made a tiny shake of his head. Hannibal couldn't help his sharp intake of breath, and Will opened his mouth again hastily, apparently misinterpreting the reaction. "Well if you want someone with more ex—experience," his cheeks flushed as he stumbled over that word, "Like I said I can go back if you want and ask—"
"Will," Hannibal cut in firmly, but not harshly this time. The boy's jaw clicked abruptly shut, and Hannibal let his lips curls upwards in a slow smile. "I don't want you to go back."
Hannibal lowered his arm to wrap around Will's waist, gently leading him over to the sleeping pallet as the omega dropped the bag to the ground and automatically pressed up again his side. Hannibal gently urged him to raise his arms as he reached down to lift the shift up and off, inhaling acutely again when he saw that the boy was completely nude underneath it. He quickly shed his own shorts and stepped out of them, pulling their bodies flush together, skin on skin.
"You're beautiful," he breathed, drawing a blush to Will's cheeks again. He leaned forward and buried his face in the crook of that slender neck, breathing in deeply and nearly gasping at the musky scent of pure delectable sweetness mixed with a distinct tinge of growing arousal.
He had never been with an omega before. There had been betas male and female as well as the occasional young alpha, but unmarried alpha-omega couplings were held in much higher significance in Hannibal's tribe as they seemed to be here. There were always those on the edge of scandal who ignored convention, but the identify of the chief's future mate was so scrutinised that this had been one pleasure unfortunately denied him by his position. Until, at least, this admittedly excellent facet of Arzah's hospitality.
He laid Will down on the furs with soft coaxing touches before finally bringing their lips together, teasing his tongue between supple pink lips as he urged those knees to bend and part. New as this body was to him, he had trained in his youth as a medic with a penchant for anatomy and otherwise had heard enough ribald campfire tales to know where to begin. He trailed a hand down Will's chest, past his toned stomach to the dip between his legs, then slowly eased two fingers inside.
The omega was already slick but Hannibal curled his fingertips upwards until he heard the first gasps, massaging firmly over the tender lubrication gland until they became moans. Will was almost dripping down his hand, the scent of his excitement near-overwhelming as he panted, "Oh, please, oh," into Hannibal's mouth until the alpha lost his patience. He pulled his fingers out with a low sound of his own and reached down to stroke himself a few times, spreading the lubricant over his shaft though not that they needed it.
"Are you ready?" he asked, pressing open-mouthed kisses down that well-defined jawline.
Will took a deep breath and nodded, biting his lower lip between his teeth. "Yes, I—yes."
Hannibal couldn't hold back his own gasps on his first push in, forcing himself to pause for several deep breaths to keep his body under control. The omega wasn't just tight, he was clenching and unclenching around him, internal muscles flexing and gripping to draw him in deeper. It was nothing like taking a beta, and it was sending sparks up Hannibal's spine that would have him soon humiliating himself if he wasn't careful.
They moved together, setting a pace drawing dual groans and the slap of skin on skin loud enough that there would be no mystery to anyone outside exactly what was being going on within. Their scents were mixing together now, heavy in the air, and Hannibal was almost drunk with it. It had been some time since he'd last allowed himself to indulge, to take so simply his enjoyment in another's body. He felt lost in the haze of their coupling, Will's knees bracketing his ships and hands hot on his skin, gripping at the alpha's back as the rocking of their bodies stroked again and again over the small vestigial erection between them.
Hannibal felt it the moment that omega hit his peak. There was no ejaculation, but his inner muscles clamped down almost painfully tight for several, torturous seconds before he let out a keening wail. Hannibal shouted out, the sound involuntarily torn from his throat as sharp fingernails bit into his shoulders, unprepared for the powerful contractions that gripped him through each of Will's shuddering waves of the ecstasy. He felt like every nerve in his body was alight, crackling, but he gritted his teeth and forced himself to hold back and keep moving as Will rode out his climax.
Hannibal was panting harshly and dangerously close to whimpering, hands fisted almost to the point of tearing in the sleeping furs, when the omega finally fell limp under him. He was still snapping his hips almost desperately, unsure of what he should do and what the convention was in this situation, if he ought to stop or pull out. But then Will gently ran a hand up into his sweat-damp hair and whispered still breathless, "You can tie me if you like," and Hannibal felt his self-control snap.
Abruptly he sat back and pulled out, flipping Will roughly onto his stomach then plunging back in to mount him properly. Will cried out, over-sensitive, but it dissolved into a low moan as the alpha draped himself over his back. It barely took half a minute before Hannibal was growling through clenched teeth, exploding and swelling, blind for a long moment except to the roar of his own blood and the rush of his release. It was the first time he'd ever come like this, white-hot pleasure shooting from toes through to the tips of his fingers, centring in that burning point of connection where they locked themselves together in the euphoria of the mating dance.
He dropped his face to bury in the back of Will's neck once he could think again, still gasping softly at the steady pulsing of the omega's body. They lay slumped for several minutes as their heartbeats slowly calmed before Hannibal was willing to move again to gently reposition them on their sides with his arm curled around Will's waist. He inhaled deeply and followed it with a long sigh, revelling in the new scent that was emanating from them now, all contentment and sated desire.
It was some time again before they could pull apart, Will turning when they did and looking up from beneath his curls with a shy smile. He let himself be pulled in close, curling up against the alpha's side as his eyes drifted shut. Hannibal raised his head just the tiny bit to blow out the candle before sinking back down into the furs and slipping off into sleep.
* * *
Hannibal came to waking the next morning with the pleasant feeling of bone-deep satisfaction. He shifted over lazily when he realised that he had been roused by Will slipping out from beside him, half-open eyes following the curve of that lovely backside as the omega stood and reached for the black cloth bag that had been dropped the previous night. It was almost a shame that he still had no plans to marry into this tribe, it might have given him a good excuse for making future visits.
"Good morning," he said, voice low and with the hint of a smile.
"It's still early," Will replied shooting Hannibal a glance over his shoulder. "Breakfast isn't for another hour, though I supposed I could call for something to be taken to you now if you're hungry."
"That won't be necessary." Hannibal rubbed a hand over his face. "There is no further discussion that I wish to have with your chief, I shall gather my party and take my leave as soon as I can."
Will, to his surprise, chuckled. "Oh no you won't."
Will pulled something from the bag, slipping it on before turning back to face the sleeping pallet. "My people may not be as bloodthirsty as yours, but don't think you'd make it two steps out of this camp after deflowering an unmated omega."
That had Hannibal's eyes snapping the rest of the way open, because something was very much not right.
Will stood with his torso straight and shoulders back, something confident and just a little smug on his lips that could only be described as a smirk. The robe he had donned looked nothing like the simple shift that still lay discarded on the ground, crisscrossed in a pattern that looked vaguely familiar. There was not a single hint of the skittish boy who'd arrived with a stutter and a blush that had so drawn Hannibal in.
"You may not think too much of us," he continued, sauntering a few steps back towards the alpha. "You judge us now merely because we are not as competent in the deadly skills, but I do believe that with time you will come to appreciate our abilities in the finer pursuits. Music is quite a favourite of mine, and dance, as well as some other, subtler arts." His grin was positively indecent now as he cocked out a hip and bent an elbow to rest a hand on his waist, very deliberately accentuating the lean length of his body.
Hannibal pushed himself up into a sitting position as realisation began to dawn. His tongue felt numb as he said slowly, "That was no deflowering."
Will snorted, then mock gasped and clutched his chest. "My, you can't possibly be insinuating that a good omega like me would have relations with anyone other than my mate. My father will have your head!"
"Your ...father." Hannibal felt something very heavy settle in his stomach as the recognised the design of Will's robe as the same leaf motif that had been on Arzah's.
"Who, incidentally, is holding a meeting his morning which I really have to get to. I am his top advisor, after all." He gathered his other clothes up and stuffed them in his bag, leaning forward to press a small kiss to the side of a frozen Hannibal's mouth. "I'll see you at the official engagement announcement!" he said cheerily, flashing a final smile as he ducked out through the flap, footsteps disappearing off into the distance.
Behind him, Hannibal fell back onto his pallet with a single, dull thud.