Erik Lehnsherr met Charles Xavier at a local omegaist meeting. Charles was the secretary. Erik wasn't really the 'get involved' sort on most things, but there was all this... agitation about some sort of forced bonding legislation for people over twenty five and Erik was twenty four and he had absolutely no intention of being bred and to be honest he thought it was demeaning. Still, he'd met Charles, thought he was very staid, and calm, and honestly he wouldn't have pegged the man for an omegaist, he seemed more the type to just nod and take it. He was the sort you'd think would be at home, barefoot and pregnant.
It really showed how much Erik knew, it took him six friendly coffee outings to even notice that the man's pheromones were not that of an omega, but actually a beta. He'd just assumed...
"Do you think it's presumptuous to work in an omegaist movement when you're not one, Charles?"
Charles had blinked, but took it in stride after that. "It's... a difficult question, don't you think? I would never be so crass as to say our existing social construct doesn't have many advantages for both betas and alphas, and disadvantages for omegas, but I find I do not like the role set for myself, and the best way to confront that is by elevating the status of omegas."
Erik quirked his lip as he prodded his steak. He and Charles had gone for dinner and drinks after the meeting. They always went dutch, Erik paying for his own food and drink. It made him feel grounded. "I bet that gets you all sorts of omega tail during heat."
The reaction from his friend... friend - Erik realized very suddenly that they had become friends - was to blush very brightly. "Just because I agree with advocates concerning the ridiculousness of restraining omega sexuality and the easy availability of birth control and heat suppressants does not mean I... take advantage. I cannot escape my cultural conditioning, and I would like a partner, however." He watched Charles' eyes flick awkwardly down at his plate. "A partner, one I could share social and parental duties with in an egalitarian fashion."
"One that would have your children," Erik said, wry. Of course Charles was like any other beta.
"Well, I can hardly tackle the matter on my own!" Charles frowned, looked down at his plate again. "I'm sorry, Erik. I... did not mean to offend. I can't help what I want, and I have always wanted a family, preferably with another partner. I have certain... cultural desires to take care of a partner, see to it that they are comfortable and taken care of, however, I do not think I could love someone who would allow me to keep them in such a way."
"An omegaist who still wants a family?" Erik had to admit he... well he wouldn't have minded children, not if the alpha pulled their weight, picked the kids up from school, or took them, maybe cooked something or did the laundry on weekends. Maybe the alpha would wash and he would fold, or... something. He hated Charles for making him think like that. Of course, he also hated going through heat alone, coming home to an empty apartment, and missing the easy sort of connection he imagined maybe he could have.
It was really too bad Charles was a beta.
"I have to go." His own thought bothered him enough that he had to be away, had to not wonder what Charles might have smelled like had he been an alpha, virile and pumping out pheromones that made Erik feel weak, want to arch up. Damn. He was more than his biology, he was.
"Erik, I'm sorry, I really didn't mean..."
Erik had fled, dinner unfinished, and it took him a few hours to realize that Charles would have had to pay for Erik's dinner, would have had to think how most alphas would have thought that meant you at least needed to get on your knees and suck until your jaw was nearly bursting from their knot. The next day he'd gone online and ordered a beta-shaped toy, one without the huge knot-plugs he was used to.
He decided he and Charles would not go out for dinner next week. Of course, matters ended up beyond his control - Charles had brought a child with him; his... babysitter was sick. About a third of the omegas there cooed over the boy - David - and the other two thirds looked at him like he was the physical embodiment of everything that was wrong with the kyriarchy. Erik did neither.
At the end of the meeting, Charles started to strap David into a little kiddy carrier on his front, the boy curled up into Charles' chest, naturally, as though he was used to it.
"I didn't know you..." Erik started, awkwardly.
David turned his head towards Erik and... sniffed. "David," Charles corrected, instantly, pinching the boy's nose gently. "We do not sniff. This is Erik, and he is my friend, regardless of his reproductive polymorphism."
"Hi." David's voice was nasal, from where Charles had pinched his nose. "It's nice ta meetcha."
Erik smiled. "Hello, David."
For a moment Erik thought... he thought David was inviting him along, but he realized the question was for Charles, and although he'd been planning not to have dinner with him, the thought of going a week without Charles was making him feel a bit annoyed.
"Of course." Charles glanced at Erik, and maybe he caught the look on Erik's face, some strange mix between longing and sadness, but he gave Erik a shy look.
"I like pizza," Erik said, finally, and then he felt like an idiot, but Charles grinned, grinned so wide it must have ached.
"It would be a shame to waste a common appreciation of starchy tomatoes and cheese..."
Then ended up at one of those places that catered to haggard omegas and their broods; it was loud, and shiny, with blinking lights and screaming children and Erik hated it... but Charles looked in his element, making certain David's shoes were laced and he was off running while he and Erik enjoyed most of a cheese pizza between the two of them - two huge slices set aside for whenever David had finished running himself ragged.
"What about his... mom?" Erik tried. Betas usually mated heterosexually, would have had to in order to have a child. "Omega?"
"Both," Charles answered, "Omega mother." He sighed, prodding the rapidly cooling cheese of his slice with his finger. "We met in college. Believe it or not, suppressants were still rubbish back then, even though it's only been about four or five years, it was still better to have someone to... help you through; even with pills and suppressants..." He shrugged, awkward. "She didn't even realize until almost fourteen weeks, which isn't completely unusual, to be honest, we talked about the options for a week or two, I had the money..." The money for an abortion, Erik could hear the word hanging in the air even unsaid. "After eighteen weeks it gets tricky, and twenty? It becomes quite impossible. By then we would have had to go out of the country and Gabby's visa was in jurisdictional limbo because she was Israeli, not American, so she couldn't leave or else she couldn't come back and... She ended up keeping him, signed full custody over to me and moved back home. She's married now."
Erik realized, numbly, that he felt bad for both Charles and this 'Gabby' girl now, being put into that circumstance.
"Sorry," Charles apologized, taking a bite of pizza.
"No, it's alright. I'm sorry it happened. You... you do love him though?"
"David? More than anything. It gave me an appreciation for single omegahood, however." He shook his head. "I don't know what David will end up being... polymorphically speaking, but regardless I don't want him going through what I did, as an alpha, beta, or omega."
"I'm sorry I implied you used omegaist philosophy to get laid."
Charles made a gesture that Erik interpreted to mean he was forgiven. "I actually don't... sleep with omegas casually during heat anymore, suppressants, birth control, or otherwise. I suppose there's a perception that it's... hot, I suppose. Omega laid out and panting for it... but I find it makes me a bit uncomfortable now, with all that potential responsibility. I'd have kids again in a heartbeat, but not if my omega didn't want them."
Sometimes Erik felt as though Charles had this perfect little playbook, and Erik really would have just jumped across the table and let Charles fuck him if he kept talking like that. It scared him exactly how much he found himself falling for Charles; Charles the beta, Charles the single father, Charles the omegaist, Charles the adorable grad student with horrible fashion sense.
Erik had a dream a few nights later, where he went into heat and Charles, adorable, brown haired, blue eyed, beautiful Charles fought off an entire city's worth of alphas and bred him through the whole heat, until there was no way Erik wouldn't end up with his friend's child. It disturbed him how easy it was to fall back into kyriarchical modes of thinking, even with his omegaist leanings. He'd ended up waking up, sweating and wet, fingering himself as he wondered how Charles had helped his last omega through her heat, with his fingers, maybe, or his tongue - he had a nice tongue - maybe with toys... He came, shaking and trembling for reasons that had nothing to do with heat or the urge to reproduce, just an aching sort of want he'd never felt for anyone before.
Angel came to their next meeting while she was in heat, no suppressants at all. She was more radical than Erik - which generally was saying something, and she subscribed to the school of thought that alphas should just fucking control themselves, that, biology or not, there was nothing that forced an alpha to push an omega to the floor, ass up, and breed them. In her opinion, it was a kyriarchical construct not worth entertaining. Erik thought she was probably right, but it still didn't keep him from feeling weirdly nervous for the girl, worried some alpha would take her on the streets regardless.
The fight on the topic had been heated - no pun intended - Erik had taken Angel's side on the matter, it shouldn't be anyone's concern but hers how she was, pheromones or not.
Charles didn't take a side in the debate, he just... took notes, and took notes, and got paler and paler and sweatier and sweatier, he'd ended up removing his tie, undoing a few buttons, before he finally just... fled. Almost no one noticed, too caught up in the argument. Erik followed, concerned for his friend's health. Charles wasn't outside the little meeting room, he was all the way outside, sucking in air, trying to breathe through his mouth, chest panting, rising and falling.
Charles was on him in a moment, nose buried in Erik's neck and he sniffed, long and slow and deep, he could even feel Charles' teeth on his shoulder, prickling through his turtleneck sweater. He was too stunned; stood stock-still. He'd been sniffed before, sure, by assholes who liked to guess when he'd be in heat next, when he'd be ready to have a baby fucked into him, but... not by Charles. He felt... betrayed almost. His sweet Charles.
The other man shoved away, almost violently, put a few paces between them, and then a few more. "Oh God, Erik, I'm so sorry, I... I'm sorry, I never... I mean, I wouldn't... you have to..." He put a hand over his mouth, breathed against it for a moment. "I didn't mean anything by it, it was just... so heady in there."
"You're an alpha?!"
Charles hung his head, completely dejected. "I never meant to deceive you. It's a protected class, you know, polymorphism. I just sort of... pass. I rinse, wear beta cologne, it’s a bit tedious, but for a good cause. They barely let alphas in to college for PhD course work, we’re ‘temperamentally unsuited’, and I... so desperately wanted to do research, be a professor. I'm sorry."
"You sniffed me!"
Charles sat down on the little stone-concrete half-wall, pulled his feet up to his chest and then set his chin on his knee. He looked small and pathetic - which was probably the point. "I would hardly be so crass as to use some typical alpha defense about being unable to control myself, but I was really a bit overcome. It was a very small room, and I left, to get some air."
And Erik had chased him, like an omega in heat. "So... you... fancy Angel?" The idea hurt somehow, that Charles would get worked up over her pheromones like that.
"Not particularly. I mean, she's a lovely girl... woman, omega." He laughed, shook his head. "Person. I can't say she and I would be particularly compatible in any sense."
"That doesn't change pheromones," Erik said, reasonably. He knew there was at least some matching and compatibility to be based on pheromones. "You could still like her smell without liking her. That's the big problem with heat matches anyway, genetic compatibility doesn't mean..."
Charles waved his hand, and at first Erik thought he was just dismissing the entire argument, but instead he could see that Charles looked a bit ill, still. Erik stopped talking.
"I am not attracted to Angel," he said, finally. "And I can't say I found her pheromones particularly compelling except in the very general sense that I find all heating omegas vaguely attractive. I'm certain they are very lovely pheromones, however, nothing wrong with them."
Erik snorted, and Charles finally laughed, his happy little sweet, self-deprecating laugh that Erik loved...
Who was he kidding? He ended up walking over to Charles, waiting for the man to perhaps protest or say he was still having some issues with his control, but when he was finally standing right next to Charles, Charles didn't move or send him away. Erik sat next to him. They both fidgeted.
"Did you like what you smelled?" Erik finally asked. He wasn't certain what he wanted, for Charles to say they smelled perfect together or for Charles to say no, of course not, it was a heat of the moment sort of thing.
"It doesn't matter," Charles answered, still sounding a bit dejected.
"Right." Erik nudged his fingers together. "It doesn't matter. I still like you anyway. It would be... nice if I smelled good to you but not necessary."
Charles boggled at him.
"Come out to dinner with me," Erik said, almost making it an order. "My treat."
"Subversive!" Charles answered, laughing.
"Well, you paid the once, it's only fair."
"I suppose you're right." Charles stood, held his hand out for Erik and Erik took it, running their fingers together for a moment.
"Do you mind people thinking you're a beta all the time?" It really made him curious now.
"No, besides, going on a date with an omega means everyone will be quite impressed with my studliness," Charles laughed at the entire construct.
"So you're... an alpha, pretending to be a beta, using stereotypes concerning alpha and omega sexuality to enhance your social standing among betas by seeming particularly alpha-y?"
"No one said taking advantage of archaic sociological constructs had to be rational. I'd be happy just having them know that I'm dating such a brilliant individual. Intellect is sexy."
"Oh, so we're dating now? I see how it is, next you'll be picking out onesies for our sprogs."
Charles blushed, looked away; god he had been thinking about kids, kids with Erik, and now he was looking like he thought perhaps Erik might call the whole thing off.
"I'm not ready for kids," he said, finally, firmly, but not unkindly.
"And I'm not ready for kids until you are... although I hope you don't mind David. He's a prince, not a handful at all. I'm used to taking care of him anyway."
"Well, that will be handy if we ever do have kids. You can be the house alpha. I'll earn the bacon."
"Yes, dear," he said, a mix of fond and teasing that was so typical of Charles, that just made Erik melt.
They were going to be alright.