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it's not a new wave, it's just you and me

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Brad Marchand prides himself on not being a typical omega. He is, in fact, proud of being kind of a shitty omega, and a dick on the ice.

All the things that the old-school media and sports radio guys love to say about "grit" and "passion", willingness to "play hard", being "hard to play against"... Brad knows that they're thinking about alphas like Z, or even big betas like Looch when they say those things. But he likes to think that he's proven that a 5' 9" omega can be those things too. And while he's proud of his ability to skate and puckhandle and deke, in a perverse way he's even more proud of being a great agitator: chirping, pushing, riding the edge between a clutch play and getting a call from DoPS.

There are other omegas in the league, of course, but they tend to be pure skill players, thought of more fragile, less able to make or take hits. In need of protection.

Brad likes the thrill of getting in guy's faces and making them mad, drawing penalties. Likes proving that he doesn't have to be nice just because he is what he is.

He never wanted to be protected.


When Brad first gets called up to play for Boston, it just so happens that he's the only omega on a team of mostly betas. He decides to ignore it and act like there's nothing unusual about him being in the locker room. Chara starts off by giving him the captainly welcome, saying, "Good to have you with us. Let's play hard out there, eh?" with no apparent weirdness (except how it's slightly crazy that he's literally a foot taller than Brad).

Still, he's a bit wary when Patrice Bergeron, one of the few alphas in the room, comes up to him.

"Hey, just want to welcome you to the team. We're really happy to have you play for us," Bergeron says earnestly. There's no trace of sarcasm or doubt there, and Brad relaxes.

"Thanks man. Happy to be here," he says.

Then Bergeron smiles, and it's like a fucking chorus of angels fills the air with song. Brad can't look away, even as Patrice continues, "It's definitely intense at first, but you'll get used to the pace after a few games. Just keep your head up, eh? You're gonna do great here."

"Uh, cool, thanks," Brad says dumbly, wondering How is this guy real? Patrice just claps him on the shoulder, flashing that smile again (angels!) and wanders away back to his own routine, trailing a hint of alpha musk and some kind of warm spice. It smells really fucking good. Brad shakes his head, trying to clear his senses.

That first game, against the Predators, is a blur; but they win in the end, and Brad even gets an assist. The next few games don't go as well for him. He doesn't produce, he just focuses on backchecking, adjusting to the pace, figuring out this level of play. Mostly he just tries to absorb and learn as much as he can. Still, it's not exactly a surprise when he gets sent back down to Providence, though of course it's fucking disappointing.

That day, he gets a text: Hey. We'll be seeing you back in Boston soon. -Patrice

Brad laughs incredulously and texts back: thanks man but who says stuff like that, ru secretly a serial killer or sumthing

haha no! why would you think that Marchy, I'm hurt the reply says. Then another: anyway even if I was, I wouldn't serial kill you. promise

He laughs and types back, awesome. thx man, ur the best

So basically what they say is true: Patrice Bergeron is a perfect human being. Brad does feel better about himself though, and saves the number into his phone.


As it happens, Brad does get called back up in March. But he doesn't play, and doesn't play. He gets it: they're third in their division, heading towards the playoffs. Why let a rookie fuck shit up?

Nonetheless, it's an opportunity to play hard in practices and get to know the guys better. Chara becomes Z, Shawn Thornton becomes Thorty, possible serial-killer-slash-perfect-human Patrice Bergeron becomes simply Bergy, and so on. Pretty much immediately, because Brad is who he is, he's comfortable enough to run his mouth, chirping with reckless abandon even at heavy hitters like Looch.

This is the reason he gets to go through a couple (okay: it's a lot more than a couple) of the oldest rookie pranks in the world — the unscrewed water bottle, cut laces on his skates, dumb shit like that. Then some genius pulls the oh-so-clever move of dousing his equipment with a bottle of alpha musk. The goal is to get his omega instincts all hot and bothered and make him skate with a hard-on. Like he's never encountered that one before.

That level of uncreativity deserves to get treated in kind, so he shows up early the next day and puts extra-large cups of water under the pads of every guy he suspects might be involved.

Of course, that's when Bergy comes in and catches him red-handed. "Ohh," he says, taking in the scene with a smile. "Pranks, Marchy? That's so totally unlike you." Then he wrinkles his nose. "What is that smell?"

"Look, I left yours alone," Brad says. "Pretty sure you weren't involved in dumping eau de alpha on my stuff, unless you're a way better actor than I thought. In which case, I'll get you back, you asshole." The thing is, now that Bergy's in the room, his natural scent is somehow adding an edge of reality to the musk and it's actually starting to make him horny.

Bergy looks at him with a trace of concern. "I can tell them to lay off, you know. Some of the guys can take it too far sometimes."

Brad laughs. "Bergy. Do I look like I can't handle it? This stuff smells like shit anyway, as you noticed."

"Yeah. Hope it wears off soon," Bergy says, making a face.

"Don't worry, it'll go back to just being my delightful odor soon enough," he says. "Anyway, we're buddies, right? So if anyone asks, you never saw me."

"Saw what?" Bergy says innocently.

"Good, good. On the other hand, if anyone asks me, I'll tell them it was you," Brad says, grinning.

Bergy laughs. "Oh, they'll never believe it. Nobody knows about my serial killing ways except you, remember?" The open, warm look on his face makes something thump hotly in Brad's chest. He clamps down on the feeling, hard, tries to will away his burgeoning erection, and goes back to work.


The season ends with an ignominious 7-game series lost to the Flyers in the conference semi-finals. Brad doesn't play in any of the games, but just watching is frustrating enough. It sucks donkey balls.

Before everyone scatters for the summer, Brad finds a hand-written card in his stall. It says, Thanks for all the hard work this year. We're gonna light it up next season. See you in the fall. -Bergy

He wonders if Bergy means something with all these little personal touches — whether it has something to do with being an omega, or if Bergy is hitting on him or something. Then he laughs himself sick at how unlikely that is.

No, he decides; it's just that Bergy is a really fucking nice person and probably does this kind of thing for all the rookies, making them feel included and special.

Brad spends the summer back in Halifax, hanging out with his family and his dog, and training harder than he ever has in his life.


Then the Bruins draft wonder prospect Tyler Seguin, and Brad is no longer the only omega on the team.

"Oh, hey," Seguin says the first time they meet, his smile wide and uncomplicated. "I'm Tyler. You're Brad Marchand, right? Omega bros!" He holds up his fist to be bumped. Brad obliges.

"But, uh, seriously, how is it, being an omega on this team? You know, the Big Bad Bruins and all that?" Tyler asks him in an undertone. Segs smells warm and sweet, like fresh bread — a good, clasically omega-ish sort of scent. Brad's been told that he smells more like citrus: bright, acidic.

"You'll see," Brad intones. "Mostly, it's fine. The media can say shitty things sometimes, but that goes for anyone. No one on the team makes that big a deal out of it. Except there's, you know, the—" he lowers his voice, "initiation."

"Initiation," Tyler repeats skeptically.

"Yeah. I'm not supposed to talk about it, for sure. Just from one omega to another, eat a lot of carbs beforehand and try to relax. It's not as bad as you might think." Brad pats him on the shoulder with a sympathetic grin. Tyler laughs and shoves at him, but there's definitely a trace of doubt there.

Later, Tyler, who immediately acquires the nickname Seggy, corners Brad and punches him in the arm, hard. "I'm never believing anything you say ever again," he says, a big dumb grin on his face. He must have actually asked someone about it, which is fucking hilarious.

"How dumb do you have to be to have actually believed that?" Brad says. " A number two draft pick ought to be smarter than that. I bet Taylor Hall wouldn't have believed it."

Segs pouts exaggeratedly at him. "C'mon man. What happened to omega solidarity? I thought we were bros."

"Bros just means I get to mock you harder when you're dumb," Brad tells him smugly. "That's how friendship works, man."

They room together on the road of course — he's pretty sure no one even thought twice about sticking the two omegas together. Whatever, Brad can't actually complain. Segs is a lot of fun to have around, wide-eyed and cheerful and always willing to hang out. Plus he's young and dumb enough to find Brad's antics and constant stream of talk funny.

Brad's establishing himself on the ice too. He goes all out, throwing chirps at guys the moment the whistle blows and before the next faceoff, knowing that as an omega, he needs to exceed expectations in a fairly spectacular way.

It's not just agitating: he gets his first NHL goal in November, and then more points come his way; he concentrates on his backcheck, starts making a role for himself on the penalty kill, racks up some sweet short-handed goals. Eventually they move him up from the fourth line up to Bergy's line.

Playing with Bergy just makes him want to push himself harder, be better, until even the Boston media starts to throw him some praise for being that most wonderful of creatures: a good two-way player.

On the other side of the coin, he also gets fined for slew-footing, then suspended two games for a hit. Coach takes him into the office and talks to him about keeping it on the right side of the line while continuing to play his game. "It's not lost on us that you work as hard as any alpha on this team," Julien says, "and your style of play is appreciated in the room. We need that grit, especially coming from someone who the opponent... might not expect to play as hard as you. So keep it up, Brat. Just no more suspensions." The nickname is delivered with a slightly conspiratorial smile.

Brad grins back and takes that as a command to keep doing what he does best.


One game, they're tied in the third period against the Rangers when Brad leans over and says to Bergy, "Next shift."

"What?" Bergy looks over at him, breaking his usual quiet, intense concentration.

"I'm gonna score. Got a feeling."

"Oh, you are, are you?" Bergy says, quirking a smile.

Brad nods. "Yeah. If you pass to me, I'll get it in. Just watch."

"Oy, I think Squirrel's getting a little too big for his boots there," Looch chirps, overhearing.

"Yeah, yeah, your mom was the one saying I was too big last night," he replies easily, but then it's time for a line change and he swings out onto the ice. They're in the neutral zone, jostling for position, when Bergy manages a gorgeous poke check and steals the puck away, and Brad's right there with him for the breakaway. Bergy feeds it to him at the last second and he dumps it in past Lundqvist.

"Told you!" he shouts at Bergy when they're doing the celebratory post-goal hug and helmet-knock.

"Yeah, you did," Bergy says, laughing.

After the game ends and they manage the win, he punches Bergy in the shoulder and says, "That goal was all you, big guy. You're a fucking beast, Bergy."

Bergy just smiles and says, "You played great. You told me to pass to you, right?"

"Yeah, man. You should always do what I say, for sure," Brad says with a grin.

"Okay," Bergy agrees mock-seriously. "I'll imagine the C on your jersey, right?"

Even though it's obviously a joke, it's an idea that won't leave Brad alone, when he's home later and jerking off. He can't stop thinking about Bergy, with his stupidly pretty, angel-summoning smile, and imagining him on his knees, waiting for Brad to tell him what to do. Fuck. The images trip through his mind uncontrollably, and before he knows it, he's coming all over himself.

The problem is that Bergy is exactly his type. Tall, solid, obviously hot: his face has strength and character without having too much character, unlike Brad's own more prominent features. It doesn't hurt that his backchecking can make grown men cry pure, sweet tears of admiration.

But he knows that, first of all, it's never going to happen — because Bergy is a hot alpha who the entire world loves, and he is a shitty omega who the world loves to hate. All he has to offer someone like Bergy is buckets of aggravation.

Mainly though, it's because he knows it would end in disaster.

It always has, with alphas.


"What about that guy?" Seggy asks, tipping his head at a tall, stocky alpha on the other side of the bar where they are currently celebrating their latest win.

"What, is that what you go for? Big, dumb and blond? You should talk to Thorty here, he might be down for it," Brad says. Thorty, who is sitting on Brad's other side, punches him in the arm, snorting.

"Not me, bro. Though, no offense Thorty, but never in a million years," Segs says, grinning widely and a little bit tipsily. The guys bought him a couple beers even though he's underage in the US — they're way in the back and no one's looking too closely.

Thorty interjects, "Hey, that's a fucking relief, let me tell you."

Seggy rolls his eyes and picks up his previous thread of conversation. "I meant for you, Marchy. What type of alpha do you go for?"

Brad sits up a little taller. He'd managed to get through the season so far without this topic having come up, but it had to happen eventually. "Yeah, I don't hook up with alphas," he says, going for casual, even though he knows that's impossible.

Segs' brow folds into an adorably confused little wrinkle. "So... you have to date them first or something?"

Brad laughs at that. "Jesus, Segs, what do you think I am? No, I don't have to be wooed first or whatever. I just don't fuck alphas." Bergy, on the other side of the table, straightens in his seat, but thankfully keeps his mouth shut, because he is awesome.

"What, ever?" Tyler says, sounding outraged in the way of slightly drunk people everywhere.

"Not anymore," Brad says, as lightly as he can. "There's plenty of betas and omegas for me to get with, man, you don't have to worry about any lack of action on my part." He meets Tyler's eyes, holding his gaze. Segs gazes back, a little slow from alcohol, a little thoughtful.

He can feel everyone else's eyes on him too, knows they're all wondering what happened to him to make him like this, what fucked him up and turned him off Real Sex. Brad finishes his beer in a couple long gulps and bangs the glass down. "I'm going up for another round. Any of you losers want anything in particular?"

By the time he gets back to the table, the subject has changed, inevitably, back to hockey. He loudly contributes his thoughts on the Red Wings' defense and ignores it when he catches Bergy watching him a few times. He definitely does not want Bergy's pity.

At some point in the night, Tyler tips past buzzed and well towards true drunkenness. He's handsy as fuck when he's like this; his arm migrates around Brad's shoulders and he alternates between playing with Brad's hair and sort of petting his chest. That warm-bread smell is everywhere, soothing. Finally, when Segs tips his head down to nuzzle at Brad's neck, Brad pushes him off gently and announces, "I think it's time to get little drunk Seggy home."

"'M not little, I'm bigger than you," Segs protests, but he goes along easily when Brad hauls him out of the booth. He can feel Bergy watching them with a weirdly focused gaze as they leave, but he can't figure out why.

As they wait for a cab, Segs says slowly, "So you hook up with other omegas, huh?"

Brad looks at him. "Why, you offering?" he says, not all that seriously.

"Welllllll," Tyler says. "I might be, yeah." And he leans forward into Brad with intent.

Just then, an empty cab approaches and Brad flags it down. He gets in too, not quite sure of Tyler's ability to make it home without supervision, and fends off Tyler's wandering hands through the entire ride. When they get to Tyler's address, Brad says, "If you remember this conversation in the morning, we can talk about it, yeah?"

Tyler makes the sad eyes, but goes obediently enough when Brad pushes him out of the cab.

The next time they see each other, Tyler doesn't bring it up, so Brad figures that's that and even manages to keep his mouth shut about it. He's a little disappointed — he hooks up regularly enough, but Segs is hot, and has a certain eagerness to please that hits Brad right in the libido. He's not going to make a big deal of it though. Either Tyler has simply thought better of it or he doesn't remember.

It's less awkward all around if they just pretend it never happened.


That February, as the Bruins make their way steadily towards the playoffs, Claude calls Brad and Tyler in together for a talk. "Guys, this is maybe a little weird to talk about, but I wanted to discuss something with you." He looks between the two of them. "You have a scheduled heat coming up, don't you?"

"Yes?" Brad says cautiously, exchanging a quick look with Segs. Omegas typically go into heat twice a year, spring and fall. There are hormones that can suppress and induce heats, but they only really work to finesse the natural heat cycle rather than completely overwriting it. It's also well-known that when two omegas spend a lot of time together, their heat cycles almost always sync up. Therefore, Brad and Tyler had, before the season started, talked to the team doctors and worked out a schedule to coordinate their winter heats for a time when they wouldn't miss more than one game.

"This is just an idea, and I don't want you to feel pressured," Coach says. "But Rob told me that back in Providence, Marchy, you once played a game the night right before your heat started."

Ah. Now Brad knows what he's getting at. "Yeah," he says. "The opposing team had a bunch of unattached alphas. I could still play fine, but they could smell the heat coming on and it totally messed with them. We won too." It's not cheating, but it's also not exactly the cleanest of plays, not that that's ever really bothered him. He looks Claude in the eye. "Is that what you're thinking, Coach?"

"This is a good year, guys, and we need all the momentum we can get heading into the end of the season," Claude says calmly. "And we'd be up against Montreal." He lets the silence speak for itself.

Tyler says, a bit hesitant, "What about the guys — the alphas on our team? Bergy and Z and Thorty?"

"Z and Thorty are attached, it won't affect them much," Claude says. "I've spoken to Bergy about it, and we're confident that he has the control to play well through any distractions. I might have to move you off his line, Marchy, but just for the one game."

Brad doesn't have to think too hard about it. He's always said he's willing to do anything to prove himself to the team, and if it helps them win against the Habs, he's definitely not going to object. "Sure, I have no problem with it," he says. "They're grown-ups, they should be able to control themselves. If they can't... well, that's on them, eh?"

Tyler looks at him for a long moment, then at Coach. Finally he shrugs. "Okay, yeah. Whatever you need me to do."

Afterwards, Tyler corners Brad in a quiet area and hisses, "Marchy. Have you really done this before? Dude, what if we go into full heat on the ice?"

Brad says, perhaps a bit flippantly, "You take a tiny dose of heat suppressant before the game. If it starts breaking through anyway, you just leave and go down the tunnel. They'll have transportation ready in case you have to go home." He eyes Seggy's visible nervousness and says, "Look, you don't have to do it, I'm sure it'll be fine. I know it's kind of weird."

"It just, uh." Segs winces. "Doesn't seem... very nice? And like, won't it be hard for Bergy?"

"Hockey isn't a nice game," Brad tells him. "And I'm pretty sure Bergy can resist my charms, for sure. He'll be fine."

Segs shoots him a weird look, then says doubtfully, "Are you sure?"

"Hey, it's up to you, Seggy." His smile holds an edge. "But I can tell you that it's pretty fucking funny to see all these big alphas go all stupid when you're on the ice."


In the end, Tyler goes along with it. They follow a careful menu of suppressants and inducers in the week leading up to the game, and when they finally get ready for the game, Brad can feel it buzzing just beneath his consciousness: a swarm of bees, a prickle of intense heat that hasn't yet reached his core. It makes him feel more alert, colors a bit shimmery and weird, sounds just a bit too loud. "Man, we'd better win this fucking game," he mutters to himself, the sensory input making him loose and talkative. It's probably annoying as shit. "The fucking Habs suck anyway. What the hell is wrong with this tape, stupid fucking..."

"Marchy, shut up, seriously," Thorty says, grabbing his head and holding him still for a moment. Looks into his eyes before letting go.

"Sorry, okay," Brad says, shaking his head. Bergy's sort of staring at him — probably amazed that a single person could be so irritating. "You all right there, big guy?" he asks Bergy, right before they go down the tunnel.

Bergy smiles faintly at him, a pale imitation of his usual chorus-of-angels smile but still enough to make Brad swallow hard. "Yeah. You just... play hard out there, eh?"

"You too, Bergs," Brad says, and then they're out on the ice.

The game is... a shitshow. There are quite a number of alphas on the Canadiens' roster this year, and many of them are visibly distracted when Brad or Tyler are on the ice — slower, missing passes. At one point, Martin waves a ref over and launches an argument — presumably about the legality of two pre-heat omegas brazenly wafting their scents around — but he gets waved off and has to fume in silence. Brad is well aware that there's nothing currently in the rulebook against what they're doing.

And the Bruins win it, 7-0.


Brad is giddy with success. He only got a secondary assist, but he can't help but feel like tonight was at least in part his doing. For once, being an omega was an honest-to-god strategic asset on the ice. In some small way, it's a rebuke to all the alphas out there who got all the praise while Brad was fighting and clawing his heart out the whole time to help his team.

All the post-game stuff is an oversaturated blur; then he's rushing through the world's fastest shower and the swarm of bees is rising fast, right under his skin. All of a sudden, Bergy's there, looking slightly pained and breathing in deeply. "Your heat's starting," he says, very steadily.

That particular quiet spice smell of his hits Brad right in the libido, and he entertains a brief, vivid vision of dragging Bergy into the showers and going to town. God.

"Tell me something I don't fucking know," Brad says, fighting hard not to lean in closer or climb Bergy like a tree. "Fuck, I have to—" He wrenches himself away, heading for the exits in a cloud of mounting arousal before he does something he'll really regret.

Seggy's right behind him — "You too?" he asks, though the answer is obvious. Segs is flushed, his pupils dilated.

"Uh, yeah," he chokes out. "Hey Marchy, could I, uh, come with you? I really, really hate riding out a heat alone."

At this point, that sounds really fucking good to Brad. "Yeah, okay, c'mon," he says. "I'll take care of you, Seggy," and Tyler's eyes darken even further.

Halfway through the ride to Brad's apartment, he's half on Brad's lap and nosing insistently at his neck. It's driving Brad crazy. "The things I'm going to do to you," he murmurs in a haze. "Gonna wreck you, gonna hold you down and make you come over and over. You ready for that, Segs?" Tyler half moans, half sighs against him.

Once they get inside, Brad barely remembers to grab a couple of Gatorades and powerbars before they're somehow in his bedroom. He shoves Tyler down onto the bed and crawls on top of him. He's a gorgeous, disheveled, needy mess. "Marchy, please— can you just..." he says breathily, and Brad has to kiss him.

He's so responsive, arching up beautifully and gasping against Brad's mouth while Brad undoes his pants and yanks them down. The sweet, musky smell of his heat-induced wetness hits Brad like a sucker-punch and he breathes in deeply, so horny he can barely stay upright. "Fuck, I've just got to—" he mutters, half delirious with it, as he gets Tyler's pants all the way off, shoves his legs up and then finally gets his mouth on Tyler's wet and dripping hole.

"Oh fuck," Tyler chokes out, strangled, followed by a long, shocked moan as Brad gets his tongue inside him, thrusting as deep as he can. He tastes pure omega, hot and tight and desperate — so fucking good.

Brad licks into him, tongue-fucks him for a good ten minutes as Tyler trembles and wails through it. Brad's sure that his own pants are completely a lost cause, probably soaked all the way through, but he can't tear himself away long enough to get his clothes off. Eventually, he knows that Tyler probably needs more to fill the heat-driven instincts churning through him right now, and forces himself to pull away.

"Wha—?" Tyler slurs, looking down in confusion.

"Get your shirt off," Brad orders, and goes to work on his own clothes, of which there are far too many. He feels it too: the wetness on his own thighs, the ache inside, but he can wait.

Once Tyler's finally gotten naked, Brad rakes his gaze up and down his body, then tells him, "Turn over. You're gonna be good for me, aren't you, Segs?"

"God, yeah, yes," Tyler whines as he flips over onto his belly, revealing the long curve of his spine and the swell of his ass. "Please—"

"Yeah, that's good," he breathes. "You're so wet, you need a knot so bad right now, don't you?" He gets a handful of ass and squeezes. Tyler just arches up into his grip and gasps, "Yeah, c'mon..."

He goes right for two fingers, knowing that Tyler can take it easily at this point. Tyler whines and spreads his thighs farther apart, silently pleading, so he adds a third finger and pushes in. A few firm thrusts and Tyler's so loose and ready that he goes to four. He crooks his fingers and Tyler cries out loud.

Brad makes him comes like that, shuddering and clenching tightly around Brad's fingers. Afterwards, Segs turns over and blinks slowly up at him, come-dumb and still at least half-hard. He asks tentatively, "What do you want me to do? For you?"

Brad considers, the heat zinging through his veins making him desperate for something to stretch him open and fill him up, and says, "I want to hold you down and ride your dick till I come. How does that sound, Seggy?"

"That... sounds good," Tyler breathes.

And it is. It's pretty great, in fact. And that's just the first round. In between breaks for brief naps and lots of Gatorade, they make use of a whole variety of toys, wringing more and more pleasure out of each other's heat-frenzied bodies. Brad definitely makes good on his promise from earlier. As it turns out, Tyler loves getting held down. Which is fortunate, because Brad is pretty into doing the holding.

By the end, when the heat finally breaks, the whole bed is a minefield of wet spots and Brad doesn't care at all. He collapses onto a vaguely dry area for some badly-needed rest.


When he wakes up, it's just barely light out. Segs has insinuated a leg between his and is gazing muzzily at him. "What's up, Seggy?" he murmurs.

"You're pretty toppy, huh?" Segs says softly, eyes only half open. He doesn't sound all the way awake.

"Uh, yeah," Brad says, yawning.

"Is that why you don't sleep with alphas?" Tyler doesn't look like he's judging, just sleepy and curious. It's terribly cute.

"Got it in one, Seggy," he replies, half-smiling. "Got tired of being told I just never had the right alpha show me how I really like it."

Tyler nods seriously. He looks very young right now. "That sucks, dude."

"I know, Segs. I liked being with you, though. You were perfect," he says, and Tyler smiles back.

"Thanks for staying with me. I hate being alone during heats," he says, then yawns himself, which seems to signal that he's all talked out. Tyler lets his eyes fall shut and burrows into the blankets. Brad shifts closer, lets his hand fall where it just touches Tyler's outstretched wrist before following suit.


When he and Segs show up together at practice, the usual suspects wolf-whistle and applaud. "Nice of you lovebirds to show up," Thorty says, grinning.

"Rookies in love, so adorable," sighs Ference.

"Getting some kinky omega-on-omega action going, eh?" Looch smirks.

Brad flips them all off, but he suspects he's probably got something of a smug grin on his own face. What can he say, they won against Montreal and then he got to have tons of awesome sex.

Bergy's been pretty quiet all through practice, so Brad finds him after and gives him a nudge. "What's up, Bergs? You look like someone punched your dog."

Bergy blinks and gives him a little half-smile that doesn't reach his eyes. "Oh, I'm fine. Just a little tired, I guess. How are you feeling?"

Brad smirks. "Not too bad."

"You and Segs, huh?" Bergy says lightly.

"Eh, you know, it's not some big thing," he shrugs. "Just bros helping each other out. He's a nice kid."

"Yeah. He's great."

An awkward silence sidles up and flops between them. Brad can't take that without a fight, like much else in his life, so he says, "So, Bergy, hey. We should, I dunno, go see a movie or something. Hang out. Go try out a new restaurant, whatever. Feels like I haven't seen that much of you lately, Bergs. And that's sad. I miss you, big guy."

"I see you all the time, Marchy," Bergy says, but something in his face seems to brighten a little.

"You can always stand to see more of me, I'm irresistable," Brad declares. "Next road trip. Let's plan to get lunch, just you and me, eh? I'll make room for you in my crowded schedule," he says, and winks obnoxiously.

Bergy seems a little taken aback by this blatant display. Still, his smile turns more genuine and he says, "Yeah, sure, Marchy. Let's do that."


Then it's the long grind of March. They're winning more often than not, which means that he and Segs do plenty of celebrating. Usually he'll wingman if Segs wants to pick up — Segs goes for alphas, mostly, women and men, he's not picky about that. A couple times, when they both strike out and they're particularly giddy from a win or down from a loss, they hook up. It's... easy.

"This is okay, right?" Segs asks him the second time, after they've both come and are starting to fall asleep.

"Yeah, course. Just... don't go falling in love with me, okay?" he murmurs. "I'm not..." good for that, he thinks, but doesn't say.

Tyler looks at him for a second before huffing out a laugh and then letting his eyes drift closed. "Yeah. Okay. Don't worry about it. No non-bro feelings shall come between us, Marchy, I promise."

"Yeah. Well. Good," he says, relaxing. It's not that he doesn't like Tyler, a lot, or even love him as a teammate and friend. It's just that the idea of someone being in love with him is deeply terrifying. Brad has embraced who he is, but he knows better than to think he's loveable.

"Do you think I'm loveable?" he finds himself asking, at a late breakfast with Bergy. Bergy's brows lift towards his hairline and Brad says hastily, "Don't answer that. Let's rewind ten seconds and pretend I never opened my mouth, eh?"

Bergy has actually followed through on his promise for them to spend more time together, and it's been a real boon to Brad's mental health. As one would expect, Bergy is a fucking rock, and always listens to Brad's sometimes frantic ramblings with the patience of a saint. Now he just says cautiously, "Okay. Did something happen, or...?"

"Nah. Just thinking. You know I say whatever dumb thing comes into my head sometimes." He moves some potatoes around his plate, then glances up at Bergy, who wears an expression of concern. It looks fantastic on him, just like everything else.

"I know there's a lot of pressure on everyone this time of year," Bergy says. "Just have to try and tune it out, you know?"

"Yeah, sure." He sits and chews for a while. Then the brain/mouth filter fails again and he blurts out, "It's just... you know, I know I'm a dick, right. Like, on the ice, I like doing it, it's how I've always played. I have fun doing it, but I know it's objectively kind of shitty. Does that, like, make me a bad person?" Man, if he was telling this to anyone except Bergy, he'd get so much shit for it forever. But Bergy's probably never seriously chirped a guy in his life.

"The stuff you do on the ice, it's part of you, sure, but it's not all you are," Bergy says, leaning forward and looking Brad earnestly in the eye. "You have a lot of passion, you bring a lot of heart to the team, every day. I love playing with you, you're a great guy. You're unique." He smiles, like a glorious sunrise.

"Thanks, Motivational Speaker Bergeron," Brad mutters, but a warm, pleased glow fills him nonetheless.

"So, sure, maybe haters are gonna hate, but we love you, Marchy," Bergy continues, solemnly, then laughs when Brad flicks a balled-up straw wrapper at him.

"All right, I get it. I'm the best, and also adorable," Brad says. Bergy kindly doesn't point out this statement's absurdity, just smiles and goes back to eating. Yes, it's true: Bergy's actually the best.

By this point, Brad is very used to the slightly heartsick pangs he gets whenever he spends time with his center. He sighs inwardly and resigns himself to having more soppy dreams about Bergy's ridiculous face.


They come out of the regular season first in the Northeast, and it's straight on to the playoffs. The series against Montreal is brutal and nerve-wracking. It's a battle to stay focused and calm, to go from one game whether it's a win or a loss and just moving forward to the next game, the next shift, the next play.

Somehow they emerge triumphant, and then it's off to an exhilarating, lopsided sweep of the Flyers. Then another rollercoaster against Tampa, and after that, it's the fucking Canucks...

Then they win the fucking Stanley Cup.

It's dreamlike at first, the crush of teammates and assistant coaches and equipment guys all rushing out and hugging in random, hysterically excited groups. Then it's like a million fireworks lighting his brain up from inside.

He doesn't come down from that particular high for days.

They're at Foxwoods getting spectacularly drunk and celebrating, and the lingering high of winning combined with copious shots makes Brad fizzily happy and very, very affectionate. "Tooks!" he shouts, and wraps himself around a rather surprised Tuukka, who suffers it for about two seconds before pushing him away. Tuukka says something complicated-sounding in Finnish, and Brad makes a face. "I don't speak that, Tooks," he complains.

"You're ridiculous, Squirrel," Tuukka says, but he sounds fond.

"So what else is new?" Timmy says, coming up beside them.

"Timmy! Timmy fucking Thomas!" Brad says, and kisses him right on the mouth. Tim sputters in outrage, and Brad cackles madly. Then he runs into Bergy, and Brad beams. "Patrice! Hey! We won the fucking Cup!"

"I know!" Bergy beams right back.

"You and me, Bergs, we are fucking amazing," he says, bursting with a fierce swell of joy that he gets to be a part of this moment and share it with Bergy, right here.

"You and me," Bergy echoes, grinning back wide and brilliant. He's fucking beautiful with joy.

"Jesus," Brad blurts, blinking dumbly, nearly blinded by the vision before him.

"No, Marchy, it's just me," Bergy laughs, and Brad can't help it. He really can't remember why sober-him had always thought this was such a terrible idea. It's Bergy. He's the pinnacle of human perfection.

"Come here," he orders, and hauls Bergy in for a kiss.

He's not sure what he meant it to be, but right away it's clear that this for real — neither of them are messing around. He pushes up hard against Bergy, who's pliant and responsive and smells amazing, like always. Brad puts a hand on the back of Bergy's head and tightens his fingers into the soft hair there, and Bergy lets out a near-silent moan, a soft exhale against Brad's mouth.

Brad doesn't want to stop. He's dimly aware that they're making out in the middle of a club at Foxwoods, of all places, but he's struck by the sense that if he stops, he might never get this again. And that's unbearable. So he just works to make it as good as possible while he can. Bergy seems pretty fucking into it, making these little noises as Brad teases and licks.

But then Bergy pulls away and takes a step back, staring at Brad with wide, dark eyes. He looks... worried.

Brad's stomach drops. Shit, shit, shit...

Bergy starts to say, "Do you, ah—"

Then Segs appears out of nowhere, throwing an arm around Brad and swaying. "Marchy! There you are, I've been looking for you everywhere," he says dramatically. Then he perks up, looking between him and Bergy with interest. He leans in close to Brad's ear and whispers loudly, "Shit, did I just cockblock you? Sorry bro, I'll just—"

"No, shut up," Brad hisses. He's probably blushing, and he refuses to meet Bergy's eyes. He is both too drunk and not drunk enough to deal with this. "I need more alcohol," he announces. "Umm, see you later, Bergs." And he absconds, towing Segs towards the bar.

"I knew it! I knew he was into you," Tyler crows, when they finally get to where more drinks and blessed oblivion can be found.

"Who?" Brad demands.

Segs rolls his eyes. "Bergy, obviously. Who else were you just making big heart eyes at?"

"You don't know what you're talking about," Brad says. He feels a little sick, and it's mostly not from alcohol. "I think I might have really fucked up there."

"You're only fucking up if you don't hit that like the fist of God, holy crap," Tyler tells him, but he's drunk as hell, so Brad puts zero stock in his opinions. Instead he puts some serious effort into getting good and wasted — so drunk that he's still drunk the next day, which at least gets him out of being interviewed for the DVD. Also, he's so epically hungover once it wears off that he almost forgets to think about kissing Bergy.



Brad manages to mostly avoid Bergy after that, even through all the press obligations and the continuing celebrations. Even when he can't, Bergy never brings it up. Eventually, enough time has passed that it's probably safe to think the whole topic will be safely relegated to mere drunken shenanigans. Just Marchy being an idiot, something that everyone can laugh about in the future.

Back in Halifax, whenever he finds himself dwelling too pathetically on those scant minutes of ecstatic face-sucking, he goes out and drinks until he can't feel feelings. He hooks up with betas and absolutely doesn't compare their aggressively neutral scents to anyone else's. He gets a tattoo and thoroughly enjoys his day with the Cup. It still blows his mind that they won it.

Bergy texts him at one point, which sends a spike of panic through him until he actually reads it. It says, simply, Hope you're having a good summer.

He sends back a picture of his tattoo, which is now correctly spelled, thank you very much.

that's a good look. If we win again next year you'll have to get another one, Bergy replies.

hey hopefully in a few years ill run out of space
ill have to get one on my face

Sure. like mike tyson

yea itll be great. itll def help me pick up

There's no response for a while, then, I'm sure you do fine as you are.

Brad has no idea what to say to that, so he just sort of awkwardly lets the conversation die. But after that, sometimes he texts Bergy with just normal stuff — things he finds funny, hockey gossip, goofy pictures, whatever, and Bergy responds with equally normal banter. He's going to get their friendship back on a totally safe, platonic ground, for sure. He has to.



The season starts again with more of a whimper than a bang, but then they string together a run of 10 straight wins throughout November. They're dominant throughout the rest of year too, only Brad isn't producing as much as he'd like. He's playing hard and making shot attempts, only without all that much to show for it, and it's frustrating as hell.

He takes some of his frustration out in a game against the Islanders by mouthing off more aggressively than usual, even for him. Nothing is exactly off-limits on the ice, but there's an unspoken line somewhere around the area of family members. Brad crosses the line, douses it in figurative kerosene and sets it defiantly aflame. The looks of disgust he gets are weirdly validating. At least he can do this.

On the bench, Bergy side-eyes him and then visibly decides not to say anything. Good, Brad thinks, suddenly viciously angry at Bergs too, without being able to name any particular reason why.

It's kind of a relief when, after a hard check and maybe a bit of a late shove in the third period, Collins, one of the D-men, grabs Brad and says, "We're going," with a grim nod.

"Yeah, we're fucking going," Brad snarls back, and flings his gloves off.

The guy's an alpha — he's got at least four inches and twenty pounds probably on Brad, so it's not the prettiest fight. Brad won't be voted the winner of this one, but even getting punched in the face is fucking cathartic. Finally the officials break it up and Brad stews in the penalty box, nerves prickling, unable to keep still. He kind of wishes the fight had gone on longer.

When he gets back to the bench, Thorty says, "Nice one, Marchy," and the guys clap him on the shoulder, but the game remains a chippy, frustrating mess and the Bruins end up losing in overtime. Brad keeps silent, angry with himself and at the world.

Collins is loitering outside the visitor's locker room, and steps forward when Brad emerges. Brad narrows his eyes and asks warily, "What do you want?"

"Just seeing if you'd be interested in coming home with me," Collins asks, bluntly, with a half-shrug.

"Are you fucking joking?" Brad demands.

"Hey, it's up to you. Just thought I'd ask," Collins says, but then he gives Brad an obvious once-over and visibly scents him. He raises an eyebrow. "The way you were just playing? Looked to me like you've got some frustrations you want to work out, that's all. Might do you good."

"Oh god, you're one of those alphas that can't fucking resist a challenge, aren't you? You get bored by omegas who roll over and present all nice. Then you meet a mouthy asshole like me and you're just fucking dying to see if you can make me take it. Right? Well, you can fuck right off." Brad bares his teeth, feral.

Collins gives him a long, cool look. "You're missing out, trust me."

He glares, furious beyond his ability to express. "Get out of my face now, and maybe next game I won't fucking punch you again."

Collins shrugs again and turns away, thankfully letting it go without too much posturing. But as he strolls off, he shoots back, "Hope you've got some other way of working out all that anger, if you're not getting it fucked out of you. Call me if you change your mind, eh?"

"First of all, no fucking way, and secondly, I don't have your fucking number, dumbass! I'd rather set my phone on fire than have your fucking number in it!" Brad practically screams after him. There is, fortunately for Brad's sanity, no response.

When he turns around, red-faced, full of inexpressible rage, and panting hard, Bergy's poking his head out from the doorway and staring at him apprehensively. "Did you hear all that?" Brad demands.

"I think everyone heard it," Bergy says. "Uh, are you okay? I mean... that was kinda..." He flinches slightly at Brad's expression.

"Alphas! Jesus fuck!" Brad rants. "Some of you fuckers can't let go of this idea that what someone like me really, truly needs is a single ride on your magical fucking dick and I'll be overcome with special feelings and, like, turn into a whimpering puddle of omega just begging to take it! Trust me, I'm not like that. I would know!" It's totally unfair to be shouting this at Patrice of all people, but he's never had a good brain-to-mouth filter and he's pissed and he just keeps going.

Bergy, to his credit, just stands there once Brad winds down, giving him a moment to take stock of the scattered pieces of his dignity lying in shambles around the metaphorical table he just flipped. Finally Bergy makes a face and says quietly, "Sorry. You know I... I would never think that. About you."

Brad deflates, helpless in the face of Bergy's concern. "Yeah, Bergs, I know. I didn't mean you. It just gets fucking old over the years, you know?"

"Yeah. I..." Bergy looks conflicted, and Brad suddenly really wants to know what he's going to say. Except then Bergy doesn't — instead he lets the silence draw out awkwardly long and fall away. Finally Bergy shakes his head and says, "I'm gonna head back to the hotel. Are you coming?"

"Yeah. Okay. Let's fucking get out of here," Brad agrees, tired out with the embers of resentment still simmering deep inside him. They don't talk any more as they head out.


February rolls around once more, and it's time to go into heat again.

Coincidentally, the game right before it's scheduled happens to be against the Islanders, again. Brad's not thrilled to be facing Collins, that asshole, although he supposes it's at least guaranteed that his smell will affect Collins' game.

And it does. Brad can see the moment when Collins scents him. Every time they're on the ice together, whatever direction Brad skates in, Collins' head keeps turning to follow. And it's paying off — during a moment of inattention, the Bruins steal the puck from him and tear into a breakaway that ends in a goal.

"You little shit," Collins says, half-admiringly, as Brad skates by him, trailing pheromones. "You've got some nerve, you... omega whore."

Brad just bares his teeth in a fake smile. They're fucking winning because of him, he can handle some asshole throwing slurs. Collins launches a few more taunts at him as the game wears on and Brad continues to ignore him.

But then halfway through the third, the whistle gets called and Brad's skating towards the bench, when suddenly a fight breaks out. Not too shocking, considering the score is 4-1 now in the Bruins' favour, except how it's fucking Bergy with the gloves off, trying to jab at Collins and mostly failing.

The refs break it up before too long, and Bergy skates off to the box, looking uncharacteristically pissed off. Collins snarls at Brad as he passes by: "Oh, so that's why you turned me down, eh? Can't fight your own battles now, gotta make your pretty alpha do the work for you, huh, asshole?"

"Fuck. Off," Brad snarls back, outraged all over again. He lets the anger carry him through the rest of the period — they win, but he avoids the press, hurries through the locker room and shower, until he's finally able to corner Bergy and figure out what the fuck happened.

The approaching heat is starting to fill his body with buzzing warmth, and it makes him reckless enough to pull Bergy into an empty side room. "What was that, Bergs? What is going on with you? Also, that was a seriously shitty fight, you could have at least won."

Bergy just looks at him, a bruise beginning to bloom along his cheekbone. "Sorry," he says quietly.

"Yeah, you should be," he says, the flames of righteous anger amply fanned by adrenalin and arousal. "I can take care of myself out there, you know. Leave the brawling to Thorty. Or to me, I could've taken that asshole just fine."

"I know. Look, I know," Bergy says, sounding frustrated. "I lost control. It's just that— you smell really fucking good, and I—" He breaks off, breathing in raggedly and looking away.

Brad's hormones scream at him to jump the hot alpha who is right there filling the air with pheromones, thereby ruining their friendship forever. Instead, he tries to think of something to drive Bergy off, and naturally opens his big mouth. "You fucked up, Patrice. You need to be taught a fucking lesson. You know, I get told a lot that omegas like me just need a good fucking, but I think alphas like you, what you really need is an omega to put you in your place. Don't you?"

He expects Bergy to look shocked or creeped out or angry. What he doesn't expect is for Bergy's breath to stutter and his eyes to widen, and he really doesn't expect Bergy to say, "Yes. Yes."

"You— what?" Brad manages.

There's a desperate, pleading quality to Bergy's expression that goes straight to Brad's dick and makes it impossible to think rationally. Then Patrice says, "God, Marchy, please—" and everything else fades away; any question of what he's going to do abruptly folds down into only one possible choice.

"Okay. All right, yeah," he breathes, lightheaded and reckless with the rapidly impending trainwreck of heat nearing. "Yeah, you're gonna come home with me and let me do whatever I want with you. Yeah?" Bergy swallows hard and nods.

Brad wants to kiss him badly, but if he starts anything now they'll end up spending his entire heat in the Garden, which is an even worse idea than the bad idea they're gleefully skipping towards. Instead he grabs Bergy by the arm and pulls him out of the room.

He vaguely recognizes that they're bolting past people, and it's probably really obvious what his intentions are. Somehow no one says anything or stops them. But he knows they'll be paying the price for all this once his heat breaks.

Then they reach the waiting car, where Bergy's scent fills the vehicle with an intoxicating musk, and he's pretty sure this will be worth anything he might have to pay.


The moment they reach his bedroom, he pulls Bergy into a hard, rough kiss. Bergy practically melts into him and it's such a fucking rush, pouring reckless wildfire onto the blaze of his heat. "Ah, fuck," he pants, "I was going to drag this out more, but fuck, I want your dick in me right now. C'mon—" and he's undoing buttons with lust-shaky hands. Bergy's no help, staring at Brad like he's about to impart the secret to a truly perfect defensive system or something. "Bergs. C'mon," he says sharply.

Bergy snaps to attention then, shedding clothes until they're both naked. And if his smile is enough to summon angels, then this is worthy of a whole orchestra of fucking forty-foot tall seraphim. "Fuck," Brad says reverently. "Lie down, I'm gonna ride you so hard. Need it, now."

Bergy just obeys, without a word, already breathing hard. God. Trying to keep his head, Brad says, "Bergy. I'm clean — do I need a condom here? I trust you." Bergy stares at him for a second, then shakes his head, so Brad climbs up onto him and reaches back to line up Bergy's cock with his own sopping, aching hole. Then he sinks down. The feeling sends an intense burst of pleasure scraping across his heat-crazed instincts, and punches a groan from his mouth. "Ohhh, I needed that so bad," he sighs.

"You feel... really... good," Bergy groans, sounding almost drunk.

"Yeah? Just wait till I've got your knot in me," he says roughly, tipping forward to bite sharply at Bergy's collarbone as he starts to move his hips. Bergy's so solid under him, letting him set the pace, only writhing slightly and gasping as Brad nips and licks at his neck. His cock is so deliciously thick inside, too, pressing on what feels like every pleasurable nerve in Brad's wide-awake and singing body. He hates to admit it, but this part — the actual dick part — of fucking an alpha is just different from fucking betas or omegas. Better, deeper, more intense.

He's rapidly fucking himself towards his first orgasm of the night, his hole leaking crazily and greedy for every bit of friction, his dick so hard it hurts. A sudden urge makes him find Bergy's hands, pull them up roughly over his head and pin his wrists to the bed. Bergy doesn't attempt to fight it, just lets him have what he wants, and that's intoxicating on its own.

"You gonna give me what I want, Bergs?" Brad pants harshly, pushing down on Bergy's wrists a little harder.

"Yes. Anything," Patrice gasps, staring up at Brad like he's hypnotized. "Anything you want, just, please—"

Then as ever, Brad can't help the words spilling out of his mouth: "Good, yeah, fuck— I want your fucking knot stretching me open and plugging me up, Patrice, you gonna give it up to me? C'mon, let me have it, Bergy—" And as he thrusts himself harder on Bergy's dick, he feels it — the sudden thickening at the base as the knot swells up. "Ohhh, god, yeah. Yeah, that's it, that's good," he mumbles, chasing that wave—

Then it crashes over him — he's coming, a loud wail slipping out of his mouth, and he slams down hard, feeling everything ramp up to a whole new level of intense, shivering pleasure as Bergy's knot gets forced inside him.

He's almost shaking apart, his body clenching uncontrollably tight around the huge new presence inside it, and each spasm squeezes more zings of pleasure up and down his nerves. At the same time, Bergy arches and strains upwards, his wrists still trapped underneath Brad's hands, crying out as an orgasm is pulled from him too. His knot throbs, his dick twitches as he releases pulses of come deep inside Brad. It goes on and on, an long, drawn-out series of seismic aftershocks.


Once Brad's vision finally clears and he can think again, he finds himself tipped forward and resting on Bergy's broad chest. They're still tied together, will be for probably another ten minutes. "Jesus," he says, because he has to say something.

"Are you... Is this okay?" Bergy says faintly. He still looks shellshocked, like his world's been shaken to pieces by that particular earthquake.

"Yeah? Why? Am I, like, crushing you?" Brad asks stupidly.

Bergy stares at him, brows knitted. "No. But... I thought... you always said you don't fuck alphas. So..."

"Oh. That," Brad says. "Well, it's a choice I made when every alpha I tried to hook up with insisted on trying to manhandle me. Push me around, hold me down, that kind of thing. I'm, uh, super not into that. So it's just way easier to deal with betas and omegas, you know?"

"Oh." There's a long pause, then Bergy says hesitantly, "I'm not. That kind of guy."

"Yeah, I'm getting that," Brad says, wondering if he left any bruises on Bergy's wrists. "I've never actually been with an alpha during a heat, you know," he sighs, rocking slightly and savoring the little burst of promising pleasure. "I've been fucking missing out." Bergy moans and bucks up against him, and he's already feeling the tide of desire starting to rise again.

The knot goes down enough for them to separate and Brad scavenges his kitchen for quick sustenance. Once they're adequately hydrated, Brad contemplates the possibilities spreading out in front of him. His skin is prickling and his thighs are a wet mess. Right now, it all feels amazing and powerful.

"You know, Patrice, I still haven't punished you for how you acted in that game," he says thoughtfully. To his delight, Bergy's breath catches, and he licks his lips almost unconsciously. "You want me to?"

"Yeah. That's... yeah." Bergy's pupils are blown, and he's already semi-hard. They've been sitting up on the bed, so Brad goes to straddle Bergy's lap, then shoves him till he's lying flat. "God, I'd really love to tie you up," Brad says, raking his eyes across the alpha lying prone underneath him. "But I haven't done that before and I don't wanna fuck it up, so you're just gonna have to hold onto the headboard. And don't let go."

Bergy obeys immediately, raising his arms over his head and grasping the solid headboard with both hands, causing the muscles in his chest and arms to flex. Hell yes. There's so much he could start with that it's almost dizzying, but Brad isn't the type to dither: he leans forward and takes Bergy's mouth in a hard kiss. Making out is a whole panoply of hedonistic sensation: stubble scraping on skin, warmth everywhere, and the comforting, arousing scent of musk rising like a fog.

When he sits up again, Bergy is looking at him with such an intense, almost longing expression that Brad shivers. To cover up his momentary discomfort, he scoots back until he's kneeling between Bergy's thighs. "Remember, don't let go," he warns, before grasping Bergy's cock at the base and taking a light lick. Then he goes to town.

He makes it wet, going deep and sucking hard. Bergy's good throughout, doesn't move much besides letting out a few gasps and whimpers. Then Brad carefully lets his teeth scrape across the head, and Bergy goes tense all over and keens.

Brad pulls off with a wet pop, heady with the rush. Bergy looks pretty wrecked already, eyes slightly wild, cock flushed and straining. Brad moves back up over him and kisses him again, then moves to his neck and nuzzles, breathing in his scent, feeling like he could get drunk from it. Then he selects a tender spot and bites down, kind of hard. Bergy moans helplessly, arching his neck for more.

"Fuck, Patrice," he says, "you love this. You love getting marked up and used by an omega, don't you?"

"Yeah," Bergy gasps.

"You really are perfect," Brad tells him. Then he moves, climbing off Bergy entirely, and goes to the nightstand to rummage, emerging with a sizeable dildo. He brandishes it at Bergy. "Look, Patrice, you were bad today, and I don't think you should get to fuck me again just yet. But I'm still in heat and dying to get a dick in me, so I'm gonna use this until I decide you've earned it. Got it?"

Bergy shivers and nods, hands still firmly in place above his head. Brad straddles him again, but facing the other way, to give Bergy a better view. He really is pretty desperate to get filled by now, his hole dripping eagerly. So he doesn't bother with too much teasing before lining the dildo up and pressing it in, reveling in the easy stretch.

He gets a bit lost in the heat-fog-pleasure of it, riding the dildo steadily and letting himself moan wantonly as it fills him. It's certainly not the same as having a real alpha's cock, but the kick of having Bergy's desperate gaze on him makes up for it. It's such a kick that before all that long, he feels another orgasm start to build. "Ohhh, I'm gonna come," he says breathily. "You wanna see?"

"Yeah," Bergy chokes out, so Brad clumsily turns and rearranges so they're facing each other. He fucks himself with one hand and jerks his dick with the other, and Bergy's staring, rapt. It's enough to push Brad over: his orgasm quakes through him, his come striping Bergy's chest and neck.

"Fuck," Brad sighs, slowly coming down from the dizzying high. He gingerly withdraws the dildo, shrugs, and chucks it aside, off the bed. He's not going to be needing it again this heat. Bergy's got his eyes shut now, looking more wrecked and desperate than ever. "Please, Brad, please..." he moans, thrusting his hips helplessly against nothing.

"Mm," Brad hums, taking in the view of Patrice all marked up with his jizz. He swipes a couple fingers through the mess and holds them up to Bergy's lips. He quirks an eyebrow when Bergy glances at him, and Bergy opens his mouth. The feeling of Bergy's tongue swiping hotly across his fingers is enough to bring a fresh gush of wetness between his legs, and the ache inside intensifies once more.


He spends a good ten minutes stretched out over Bergy, just kissing him roughly and working on his neck as he slides their dicks together in a slick tease. Whenever Bergy tries to thrust too fast or too hard, he backs off, taking the sensation away, and bites a bruise into Bergy's skin. By the end, Bergy is a moaning, begging mess, and it's gorgeous. He hasn't moved his hands at all, besides the rhythmic clenching of his knuckles.

"Fuck, Patrice. You're being so good," Brad sighs. "You are so fucking obedient. I love it."

He's pretty desperate himself by now, his heat demanding a real knot — no more fucking around with silicone. He positions himself over Bergy's cock and then shifts, works just the tip in. He can't help a loud moan, but forces himself not to move further. "You want more?" he pants. "Maybe this is all I'm gonna give you."

"Please, no, Marchy, fuck, please," Bergy begs, and then starts to slip into French, incoherent and whimpering and beautiful.

He can't resist that. He takes the rest of Bergy's cock in one sweet slide, and it's even better than the first time. Bergy is going completely to pieces, fucking up with true desperation as he groans; Brad lets him do most of the work, relaxing into the frantic pounding.

Then he feels the knot start to grow, pushing insistently at the rim of his hole, and he grits out, "Yes, yes, knot me again. Fucking do it, put it in me. C'mon, do it." He thrusts down and the knot pops inside, finally, triggering a hot wash of ecstasy throughout his body as Bergy cries out and comes hard.

Even if he's a shitty omega, can't ever submit himself and take it like omegas are supposed to, he still loves this. Brad keens helplessly and shifts against the knot plugging him up. It's just so good. He gets a hand in between their bodies and lightly fists his dick, trying to make it last, shaking and helpless against all the intense sensation, until he finally gets swallowed by pleasure and comes.

This time he actually passes out for a brief period. When he comes to, Bergy still hasn't moved his hands. "Jesus. You can let go already," Brad says blearily. Bergy groans a little as he obeys and stretches his probably aching arms, finally settling his hands on Brad's ass.

"Nice," Brad says with a smirk, but Bergy's too wiped to do anything but blink dazedly at him.

They nap like that, although it's an unbelievable mess when they wake up and have to separate. Brad's just starting to feel an inkling of dread at what's going to happen after his heat breaks. He stole their team's star player for his completely selfish sexual desires, without warning. Claude puts up with a lot from Brad, but he's pretty sure this is not going to go well.

He tries to push it all away. He gets Bergy for this one heat. He's going to enjoy it as much as possible.

They fuck a third time, slow and easy, on their sides and basically spooning. Brad lets Patrice thrust into him and mouth gently at the back of his neck, and it's a whole different set of sensations and emotions that wash through him when they both come again.


In the morning, Brad forces himself to leave the warm nest of his bed while Bergy naps, takes a deep breath and calls Julien. "Bergy's with me," he says, when Claude picks up.

There's a long silence. "I see," Claude says, finally.

"Look, this is completely on me, and I'm sorry. I screwed up. I just..." he trails off helplessly. How can he put any of this into words?

Claude gusts a long sigh. "Okay, Brat. This isn't great, and I'm not happy with either of you, though I can't say I'm really all that surprised. Bergs said he'd be able to handle it, yesterday's game, but I maybe should have known better."

"It really is my fault, I swear," Brad says desperately. "It won't happen again. I— this— it's a one-time thing, I just lost my head, and the heat and everything. I'm an idiot sometimes, you know that. Don't blame Bergy, eh?"

"It's one game," Claude says. "Not the end of the world. We'll manage, we're not in danger in the standings at the moment, so we'll just say Bergy's out with a bad flu, something like that. Look, I understand, but you can't do this again, Brat. Management needs you to control yourself, whether it's not taking stupid penalties or something like this." He sounds resigned, though not completely furious. So that's something.

"Yeah. I know. I'll do better, I promise."

"Good. I'll see you both in two days, yes?"

"Yeah. Uh, sorry again. Bye, Coach," Brad says, and hangs up, heart thumping. Jesus. The media, too — if they have an inkling of this... and plenty of people probably saw them leave together. He takes a few minutes to hyperventilate.

And yet... there's an unsated, needy buzz going under his skin still, and it means that he's still got time.

Two days.


He throws himself into fucking Bergy like it's the end times. He's probably being weird and manic and desperate, covering Bergy in biting kisses, holding him down like that means he'll be able to keep him. He loses count of the times they fuck, the number of orgasms they coax out of their overheated bodies, the minutes he spends physically tied to Bergy, panting and ecstatic.

"God, Brad, I—" Bergy says once, sounding drunk with it; they're knotted together, Brad's got both hands tangled in Bergy's hair. They're covered in sweat and come.

Brad shuts him up with a fierce kiss, suddenly terrified of what he might say.


The heat breaks, as it must. Brad wakes up and he's clear-headed, light, and starving. He feels worn out, almost transparent. He watches Bergy sleep. It's creepy of him, but nobody will ever know, so it doesn't matter.

Eventually, Bergy shifts and opens his eyes blearily. "Morning," he says, after a pause.

For one terrible moment, Brad thinks about being extra cruel and final, saying something cutting and kicking Bergy out. But his heart quakes away from doing that to Bergy, who deserves only the best. "You hungry?" he says instead.

"Yeah. Starving," Bergy says. "Brad, I—"

"I'm gonna shower, okay?" Brad interrupts. "Then we can go to this diner nearby. Really good waffles. And everything else, really. And we can eat a whole mountain of food."

"Okay," Bergy agrees, and Brad climbs from the wreck of his bed to clean himself up.

They go to the diner and order a lot of things. Brad downs a cup of black coffee, then another. A huge pile of food arrives. They work through it methodically.

When there's a significantly reduced amount of food on the table, Brad girds himself and says, "This was a mistake."

Bergy's eyebrows draw together. "What?"

"You. Me. Heat. It was a mistake. A bad idea. An error."

A long silence stretches between them. Then Bergy asks quietly, "Why?"

Brad shakes his head. "A lot of reasons." He pauses, then goes for the kill. "Look, I... I think you want more from me than I'm prepared to give," he lies. He watches Bergy's face and sees the moment when he gets it.

In a way, it's true. Patrice is not built for casual relationships — and Brad suspects no one had ever done for him what they'd done during his heat. Brad wants to be the one to give it to him, wants it more badly than he can say. But he can't be. There's a million reasons why — the media, and the team, and NHL politics are only the first of many.

Bergy stares at him, searching his face. Brad's not sure what he finds, but in the end Bergy just makes a tiny hurt sound and then says, "All right."

Brad gets the check in silence. Outside the diner, Bergy looks at him, starts to say something, stops. Then, ever polite, he just says, "See you at practice," and walks away.

And that's that. Brad goes home and lies on the couch, staring at the ceiling until it's time to get to Ristuccia for practice. He can't face going into the bedroom, where the wreckage of his bed will reek of their combined scents, a stark reminder of the thing they had that he just flushed down the fucking toilet.


Coach rides them hard in practice as punishment. Some of the guys try to chirp him about the heat, but when Brad doesn't really respond, they apparently sense that it's a sensitive topic and mostly leave him alone. He goes looking in the media to see if anyone caught wind of what happened, but aside from a few wild blog rumors, they seem to have escaped that nightmare. Probably because no one seriously believes that Saint Patrice would be so dumb as to fall prey to Brad's omega wiles, which... fair enough. It's a sort of relief.

Now that Brad's managed to go and do the right thing, he has to distract himself from how much it sucks by hanging out with Segs and drinking a lot.

He focuses on the games. There's always the ice, and the never-ending battle for points.

He and Bergy still connect there. Bergy's too good to let something like interpersonal conflict to mess with his game, and he controls play and passes to Brad like he always has. It's off the ice where he catches Bergy looking at him and has to turn away, or automatically goes to touch Bergy and has to stop himself. It's like a bruise that he can't stop poking.

"So, what's going on with you and Bergy?" Tyler asks finally. They're at Brad's place, idly playing video games and drinking beer.

"Nothing," Brad says, glaring at the TV screen.

"Everyone knows you spent your heat with him, which, good for you, bro! I didn't ask before because I know we don't talk about feelings and stuff," Segs continues. "But I'm trying to be a good friend, so tell me: why are you both acting all miserable all the time now?" He lowers his voice to a sympathetic whisper. "Was it terrible?"

"No!" Brad growls. "It was not terrible. It was just a terrible idea."

"What, just because you're teammates?"

"There's more to it than that," Brad says. "Can we not talk about it? Ever?"

"Yikes. Oookay. Fine," Tyler says doubtfully. "But the way you're both going, don't be surprised if you get a nice talk from Z, and that'll be way worse than opening up to me about it."

"Oh, shut up. I'll cross that giant bridge if it ever comes to me," Brad groans, and concentrates on shooting avatars in the head as Seggy laughs at his pain.


The weeks drag on. They're playing really well in general, but Brad can't get all that excited about it. Even hockey isn't as fun as it's always been, when Bergy's always so close, right next to him on the bench but further away than ever. Something's going to break, even Brad knows that, and he's not sure how he can prevent it.

It's the stupidest thing in the world that does it, of course. From across the room, he happens to see Bergy and Segs talking, Bergy with that earnest expression that he wears so well; then Tyler makes a dumb grin and slings an arm around Bergy's shoulders. Bergy smiles back.

Brad gets speared through the heart with a lightning bolt of pure, ugly jealousy.

It's absolutely insane. When he feels his hands clench involuntarily into fists, he does a swift about-face and leaves the room.

"I am losing my mind," he says out loud, when there's enough distance. His heart is still pounding stupidly.

"That makes it sound like you had one in the first place," Johnny jokes, then sobers slightly when he sees Brad's face. "Woah. Something up?"

"Nope," Brad says through gritted teeth. He has to do something, get over this somehow, because he did this to himself and he's still being the worst. Even more than usual.



Brad dresses up just a little and goes out, alone.

At the bar, he downs a shot, then scans the room and quickly picks out a tall, not-terrible-looking alpha who's nursing a Guinness. "Hey," he says, going up to the guy and propping himself up at the bar next to him. "I'm Brad."

The alpha gives him a quick once-over, subtly scenting him, then nods genially back. "Marty. You want something to drink? I'll buy."

"Eh, I'll have what you're having. Thanks," Brad says easily. The guy's scent has an undertone a bit like coffee beans, not at all unpleasant. Marty gets the bartender's attention and orders another pint, and hands it over to Brad.

Marty eyes him, then says rather drily, "How 'bout them Celtics, huh?"

Brad laughs. "Really? That's what you're gonna lead with?"

The alpha shrugs. "I mean, I know who you are, but I don't really follow hockey. Sorry. More of a football, basketball fan."

"Ah, you're missing out on the best sport in the world. But that's okay. Not really what I had in mind to talk about anyway." He tips his head to one side and tries to look even moderately seductive.

Marty smiles. No angels are summoned, but it's not bad. He seems nice enough.

They actually do talk a little bit about the Celtics, as Brad drinks his beer. Marty has Opinions about Ray Allen. Brad doesn't really care, but he takes the opposite position and argues with him lightly more out of habit than anything else. Thankfully, Marty doesn't appear to be one of those alphas who can't handle it when omegas disagree with him, and he takes it in stride.

When Brad's done, he raises his eyebrows and nods at the door. "So, you wanna come to my place? Get a coffee?" He wiggles his eyebrows suggestively.

Marty quirks a smile. "Sure. Lead the way," and follows him out of the bar.

The cab ride back to Brad's place is mostly silent. Halfway through it, Marty slides a hand onto Brad's knee. After some internal debate, Brad decides to let him keep it there.

Once they're at Brad's apartment, he actually does make coffee, partly out of nerves. He really hasn't hooked up with an alpha, other than Bergy, since his QMJHL days. He's gulping black coffee and talking about something random and stupid, when Marty tugs the mug out of his hand and puts it down. He crowds Brad against the counter, looks him in the eye without saying a word, then leans in and catches his mouth in a kiss.

Being pinned like this automatically makes Brad's hackles rise, but he forces the feeling away and tries to focus on kissing back. He must be successful enough, because Marty pulls back and says, "Let's take this to the bedroom."

Brad continues to keep his instincts in check as they shed clothes and get on the bed, where Marty lays him down and gets on top. "Mm— you smell good," Marty says, breathing deeply and mouthing at Brad's neck. Brad shivers, and it's not completely from feeling weird and awkward.

After an eternity of getting his neck mauled, he can't help himself and blurts, "Uh, hey, can we just... like, get on with it?"

Marty draws back and regards him. "Sassy, aren't you?" he says neutrally.

"Uh, yeah," Brad says, just barely able to keep from rolling his eyes. "Sorry. Just, would like to get fucked now, please and thank you. Condoms and lube are in the nightstand there."

Marty half-smiles, but Brad can tell that he doesn't mean it. Somehow Brad's sparkling charisma is failing to win an alpha over — what a surprise. Still, Marty gets the supplies and dutifully prepares his dick for banging. Brad closes his eyes, inhales the scent of alpha musk, and pretends the undertone of coffee is a little more complex and spice-like. That, pathetically, gets him going enough to let out a relatively genuine moan when Marty slides in.

It's fine, it's all fine, it's better than a lot of experiences he's had with alphas when he was younger. And then in an act of supreme irony, Marty takes hold of Brad's wrists and pins them to the bed over his head. Instantly, his mind floods with sense-memories of Bergy writhing under him, the shift of his wristbones under Brad's hands, the smell, the knot pressing into him... Fuck.

The vividness of it carries him through his orgasm. Marty grunts and comes not too long after. Wisely, he doesn't even attempt to knot with Brad, just pulls out and pragmatically goes to dispose of the condom. Then he just says, "Mind if I use your shower?"

Brad shrugs. "Go ahead."

He stares up at the ceiling while the shower runs. That... didn't really go according to plan, he thinks dully, and sighs. It's going to be a long road back to normalcy.


Marty gives Brad his number, although he doesn't sound all that excited about it. Which is fine, because Brad isn't planning to call him. Instead he resorts to getting drunk probably more than is good for him.

It's the last few weeks of the regular season. They're going to make the playoffs again. Brad continues to feel like he's losing his mind.

And lo, it comes to pass that Big Z pulls him aside after practice, sits him down, and stares deeply into Brad's eyes. "Tell me everything," Z commands.

Brad frowns at him, arms crossed protectively. "No? Look Z, if I wanted to do that, I'd get a therapist. Which maybe would be a good idea, but ugh. Ugh."

Z looms. He's not scary. He's just... very present, in a way that implies that he will continue to be present until you do what he wants. Brad breaks in an embarrassingly short time. "Okay, okay, Jesus." He takes a deep breath. "I hooked up with Bergy."

Z raises an eyebrow. "And?"

Brad groans. "And then... I... kind of... dumped him. After."

"Why?" Z asks, looking skeptical.

"Why? Why is everyone asking me that?" Brad demands. "Am I the only person who can think of the many, many reasons why it's a bad idea? I'm a shitty omega. I'm, like, the worst omega, definitely in the league, if not in the freaking world. Bergy, on the other hand, is literally a perfect human being! I'd be in so much trouble with Coach, the media would go up in flames, everybody would be calling for my head! And then Chia would probably trade me in a heartbeat. Are you not seeing the problem here?"

Z lets out a big sigh and looks sadly at Brad. "Why do you feel so much that you do not deserve this, Brad?"

"What?" Brad says, taken aback.

"You are not a shitty omega. You are simply an individual, with your own unique history, likes, dislikes. So is Bergy. He is, of course, a wonderful person and teammate, but he's not perfect either. For example, he's been hung up on you for years, but apparently hasn't been able to tell you this, which seems to me very stupid."

"What?" Brad says, again.

"I'm not saying it would be easy. You're right, the media would go crazy for a while, if you go public. You would get chirped mercilessly, although I think you enjoy that," Z says, smiling slightly, then gets serious again. "And who knows what can happen with GMs? I doubt Chia would move you, but trades do happen. It's a fact of the NHL, not the end of the world."

"Can we go back to the thing where you seem to think Bergy's been pining after me? Are you crazy?" Brad says blankly.

Z looks at him pityingly. "He was very excited when you got called up for good."

Brad stares. And keeps on staring.

"Think about it. Personally, I preferred when you two were more cheerful. Makes the locker room atmosphere better," Z says calmly, like he hasn't just overturned Brad's entire worldview. He claps Brad on the shoulder and gives him a sympathetic smile. "Good luck."


"I warned you," Seggy says in exasperation, when Brad calls him and, in slightly hysterical tones, relates the tale.

"You're the fucking worst," Brad tells him. "I thought we were bros."

"Anyway, he's right, Bergy's been gone on you forever. Who knows why," Tyler continues. "I sure can't imagine."

Brad says firmly, "You're all insane," and hangs up.

He takes out all his memories of his interactions with Bergy from over the years and examines them in a new light. He's still extremely doubtful — it just seems impossible. But he does keep thinking about it, even as the schedule grinds on and the oncoming playoffs demand more and more attention.

Then they lose to the Capitals in 7 frustrating, tough games, and just like that, the season is over. It fucking blows.

"Shit," he says glumly, contemplating his stall when it's time to clear out for the summer.

Bergy there too, and looks over with a rueful half-smile that doesn't look happy in any way. "Yeah," he agrees.

Yeah, Brad thinks. Shit.


He continues thinking over the summer. He thinks about the base of misery that's been lying underneath all of his other emotions since February. He thinks about expectations and consequences. He thinks about Bergy's smile when he's really, really happy, like the one he used to get after a truly sweet goal, or when they won the Cup. He thinks that maybe sometimes Bergy would also get that smile when Brad said something stupid to make him laugh.

He thinks that maybe he's been really dumb.


"Hey, Mr. Selke," Brad says. It's a few days after the awards ceremony — he'd texted a quick congratulations immediately after, but figured Bergy would have been inundated with other calls and visitors since.

"Oh. Hi," Bergy says on the other end of the line. "Um, thank you."

"You deserved it," Brad says. "How have you been, you know, besides winning a nice, shiny piece of hardware?"

"Pretty good. Just spending time with family and stuff," Bergy says. He sounds guarded, like he's giving answers in an interview. "How about you?"

Brad's about to say something banal in the same press-speak vein, but then... can't. "Kind of shitty, actually." He huffs a humourless laugh. "Sorry, it's totally unfair to drop that on you, Bergy. But what's the point of lying about it?" He sighs, takes a deep breath. "I miss you a lot, actually."

"Marchy..." Bergy trails off, sounding lost.

A little desperately, Brad charges ahead. "Would it, uh, be okay, if I just called you sometimes? Like, not all the time, I promise. Just, like, once a week, or less, even. I dunno."

A silence falls and Brad's terribly sure that Bergy's going to say no. But then Bergy says, "Okay. Sure."

"Really?" Brad blurts.

Bergy makes a noise that might be of amusement. "Yeah, Marchy. Of course, you can call me, anytime."

"Cool. That's great. Uh, thanks." Merely hearing Bergy's voice sends a slight thrill of longing through him. "Okay, well, I should let you go for now. I mean. Should probably save anything I've got to say for next time, or I might run out, eh?"

Patrice does laugh a bit, then. "I don't think you ever need to worry about that."

"Yeah, maybe you're right," Brad says, relief making him lightheaded. "Well, I'll come up with something better to talk to you about next time then. But yeah. Congrats again."

"Thanks," Bergy repeats.

"I'll talk to you later, okay? Bye, Bergs," he says, and hangs up before Bergy can say anything else. Baby steps, he figures.


He keeps calling, just like he said — about once a week unless there's been absolutely nothing going on. Sometimes Bergy doesn't pick up, but mostly he does, and listens to Brad's stupid stories about his dog's antics or various dramas going down between Brad's hometown friends. He tries to coax Bergy into talking more too, with uneven results. Still, he thinks — hopes — there's warmth slowly creeping back into Bergy's voice with every successive call.

Then, in early August, he's rambling on about somebody's birthday party coming up, and says, "But I'm probably going to have to miss it, because of—" and stutters. "Because of my heat."

"Oh," Bergy says. "Right." It's hard to interpret his tone.

"Yeah, it's that time of the year again," Brad says gamely. He squeezes his eyes shut for a second, feeling like he's hurtling towards a very high cliff and unable to stop. "Do you... I mean... Look, would you be interested, at all, in coming to Halifax? For, you know, my heat. Spending it with me. Again." Then he winces hard and silently mouths, FUCK.

There is a very long silence. Every successive second makes Brad increasingly desperate to learn how to restart time so he can just... redo everything. All of it.

Finally Bergy clears his throat and says, "I can't. No, I— can't."

"Right. Yeah. Shit, sorry, that was stupid," Brad babbles. "Okay, well, that's definitely enough out of me, so I'm going to. Go. Sorry."

He mashes the end call button on his phone. Then he just swears.


"Marchy, you say really dumb things sometimes," Seggy intones, when Brad calls and relates his latest disaster.

"Fuuuuuuuuuck," Brad moans.

"Are you going to survive?" Tyler says, sympathetically. "Do you want me to come visit? We can, like, eat ice cream and watch sad movies." He pauses. "More realistically, we can work out together and get drunk and I'll pat you gently while you cry."

Pathetically, Brad kind of wants to say yes. "No," he sighs. "I'll... be okay. Maybe. But thanks, bro. I appreciate the offer."

"All right," Tyler says dubiously. "But hey, you can call and cry on my shoulder any time. Figuratively speaking."

"Thanks," Brad says, but it's cold comfort. Segs launches into a complicated story about a friend of his who Brad doesn't know, just as a distraction. It helps, a little. Very little.


He stops calling Bergy. Thinking about it makes him feel ill.

His heat comes right on schedule, second week of August. It's the most miserable heat he's ever, ever had. He rides it out, sweating and flushed with spikes of hot yearning, yet consumed the entire time by a paradoxical cold emptiness weighing down his chest.

Even after it finally fucking breaks, the misery remains. Brad spends entire days holed up at home alternating between working out till he's too tired to think and grinding away at mindless video games. Whenever he thinks about calling Bergy again, he calls Tyler instead, who makes sympathetic noises and tries his best to get Brad's mind off things.


Then one evening, his phone goes off and he answers without really looking at the screen, because he's a little bit drunk. Drinking alone at home is sadly part of his new normal. "Hi?" he says absently.

"Marchy?" comes Bergy's voice.

"Oh shit," Brad blurts. "I mean. Hello."

"Hi," Bergy says, in a small voice. "You, ah. Stopped calling."

"Yeah. I didn't think you'd want me to any more," Brad says slowly.

"Oh." A long pause. Then Bergy says, like each word is being painfully pulled from him with a hook, "Brad. Why did you ask me to come spend your heat with you?"

He's too tired and miserable and drunk to say anything except the truth. "Fuck, Patrice. I just... I'm a huge idiot, and you deserve way, way better. But I had a stupid moment of weakness and I just wanted to see you." He laughs bitterly. "This is way too late. But fuck it, you know? I'm stupidly in love with you. Sorry. I just am."

"You... what? But then, why... after last time... you said you weren't." Bergy says, sounding completely bewildered.

"I know, I know. Okay, so I was dumb and I was scared. I'd just talked to Coach and... you're like this perfect alpha, and I'm me. I guess I just thought there was no way it would work out, with all the... everything," Brad rambles. "But so then I sort of lied to you and it's not working out all that great, and Z was all captainly and disappointed at me, and Seggy thinks I'm a moron, so..."

Another long silence, and Brad's about to say something, anything just to fill the space, then Bergy says, "Yes. That was dumb."

Brad's heart implodes. "I know. Really, Bergy, I'm sorry—"

"But, I think we should probably talk about this in person," Bergy interrupts firmly.

"—and I, what?"

"I'll catch a flight and be out there tomorrow. Okay?"

"Whu— uh, okay?"

"See you then," Bergy says, and hangs up.

Brad stares at his phone, wondering if he's living in a hologram or if that actually happened. The alcohol in his system isn't helping determine the truth, but it does help to eventually stop his brain from whirling in circles and to catch some troubled sleep.


In the morning, there's a text from Bergy asking what Brad's address is. So... apparently last night wasn't entirely a hologram.

Some time after that, the doorbell rings, and there's Patrice on his doorstep: solid, looking a little tired, but somehow more attractive then ever. "Hi," he says, and the reality of his presence and, fuck, his scent sends a wash of warmth through Brad's body.

"Hi Bergy," he replies, a bit weakly. "You look, uh, you look really good. I mean, how have you been? How was your flight?"

"Fine. Can I come in?"

"Yeah, yeah, of course," Brad babbles, and ushers him inside. They end up in Brad's living room, sitting awkwardly across from each other. "So," Brad says, then stops. For once in his life, he has no idea what to say.

Bergy smiles, without a whole lot of humour, and says quietly, "Brad... Last time, after you said you couldn't give me... what I wanted. It was hard to hear that, you know?"

"Yeah. I know. I knew that when I said it," Brad says. "I just thought I had to." He shrugs, with a mirthless smile of his own. "Dumb."

Bergy looks him in the eye then, with that earnest expression that always breaks Brad's brain. "But, if what you told me on the phone is true? Then I think we should try again. I don't care about the media or what people think of us. For things that matter, I've always been willing to speak out and take a stand. And I've always thought that you matter."

"Oh," Brad says helplessly. "God, why? I'm such a— and you're so—"

Bergy shakes his head. "Brad. I don't know why you think I'm so perfect or whatever. I'm like you. I tried a lot, you know, when I was younger, with omegas who always wanted and expected certain things from me. And I learned how to act out that role, but somewhere inside I always knew that I wasn't being truthful. I never thought I could, until you."

"Yeah. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean," Brad replies, with a deep sigh. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry I hurt you. I hurt myself too — I guess I felt like I deserved it. But you didn't."

Bergy makes a gesture, opens his hand and lets the apology fall away. "Can I try something?" he asks, and gets out of the chair he's sitting in.

Before Brad can move, Patrice comes to where he's sitting and kneels down right in front of him. Brad's breath catches in his throat.

Patrice looks up at him, heartbreakingly serious. "Do you want me?" he asks, like it isn't obvious.

"I'm really fucking in love with you," Brad breathes, and curls in to kiss him, soft and slow.

It feels a little bit like a redemption.


They make it to the bedroom, where Brad arranges them on their sides, facing each other so that they can make out. Everything's still a bit too raw, and each kiss soothes the sadness that has been settled in Brad's core.

He draws back at some point, mouth still stinging with kisses, and whispers, "Patrice. Do you really mean it? You really want to be mine?"

Patrice nods, eyes soft, and Brad's skin prickles all over. He pushes Patrice flat on his back and climbs on top. "Mine," he tries out, looking down across the landscape of Patrice's body, then back up into his eyes.

"Yeah," Patrice breathes, his face going focused and hot.

They fuck like that, steady and intense, bathed in warm afternoon light. When at last he cries out and takes Patrice's knot into his body, it's... well, he doesn't want to be totally cheesy, but he's pretty sure there are about a million angels getting summoned, milling about in the ether and confused about what they're supposed to do. It's like coming home.

"I'm seriously going to have to learn how to tie you up," Brad mumbles, as they lie together, practically glowing.

"Good," Patrice says drowsily, rocking slightly up into him.

"Perfect," Brad tells him, and sighs, content.

There's going to be a massive outcry from the press and the fans, tough games, trade drama and losses, and who knows what else. Right now, though, he's ready to face it head on and tell everyone to fuck off.

He feels like the greatest omega in the world.