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Misunderstandings, Madness, and Something Close to Home

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Ask him on any other day and Niall would say that he loves being an omega. Compared to all the horror stories he used to hear growing up in high school and to the awful pornos he’d stumble upon in the dead of night, being an omega is one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Just meeting other omegas, Niall has never been in a more accepting and kind community of people, regardless of the fact that omegas make up less than 5 percent of the global population.

Where he lives, omegas also get seen first at hospitals and clinics, whether they are pregnant or not, get complimentary massages at any athletic institution, and have special swim times at every public pool. Niall can’t begin to describe just how good it feels to watch the other two orientations get out of the water and sit jealously at the edge while the omegas continue to swim. Life is good.

Ask Niall today though, he would say that being an omega is the worst thing that ever happened to him. 

It’s just around the time for his company’s annual networking event, where they meet with a whole host of other companies and try to form lifelong partnerships or something ridiculous like that. At past events, Niall would show up for a couple hours, try and make friends with people who weren’t prejudiced assholes, and then he’d head off back home to leave the networking to people who were better at that kind of shit.

This time, if Niall even takes a step inside the building where the event is being held, he needs to be accompanied by an alpha, when before he could show up and leave on his own. And, why? Because there’s a story drifting around that another omega got cornered by an alpha at one of the past parties, and they didn’t get hurt but they quit their job and sued the company for harassment and neglect.

Now, Niall has never seen anything like that at any of the parties he’s been to, but he’s glad that the omega ended up okay and that they even got compensation for their pain. Niall just wishes that it all didn’t end up having an effect on him.

See, all the big brains at HR came up with the bright idea that everyone would be safer (more like they could avoid another lawsuit) if omegas just brought their alphas with them to the next event. Which is totally fine in Niall’s books for people who like that kind of stuff, but he is firmly in the don’t-need-no-alpha club so it’s a problem for him.

And all the friends Niall could ask are too newly mated to say yes, or out of the country, or just not alphas so they can’t even help. He is seriously shit out of luck.

“I can ask around.” His friend, Liam, has said on more than one occasion, such as now, while they’re both heading home from work. Liam falls into the camp of too newly mated but he and his girlfriend are the cutest couple Niall’s ever seen so he doesn't really want to ask anyway. “I mean, Zayn is single again.”

“Zayn is an asshole.” Niall groans and pillows his head against a subway pole, and then he grimaces and pulls away because the pole is clammy, like the last person who was touching it had sweaty palms. Niall wipes the back of his hand across his face and then swipes that down on his pants. “Put him down as a last resort.”

Liam beams at him and Niall tries to hold back a scowl, because he’ll have to be dead desperate if he chooses Zayn to accompany him. He’ll probably try to grope Niall’s ass for the first half hour and then he’ll get so wasted drunk he’ll throw up in a potted plant or something. Worse still, he’ll just laugh in Niall’s face when he asks him to come.

Niall sighs and pointedly changes the topic of conversation for the rest of their ride home, trying to get his mind off his impending deadline, but the second he shuts his apartment door behind himself, it’s the only thing he can think about.

Niall cracks a beer, or three, to try to get his mind off it, but instead he winds up on the internet.

Craigslist is probably the last thing he should be doing, but instead of closing out of the page, he finds himself clicking the post button with an apprehensive feeling settling in his stomach.

He puts the ad under personals, because it doesn’t quite fit anywhere else, and he puts the title as Alpha Needed, because, even though it’ll probably bring the wrong kind of attention, any kind of attention is the kind Niall needs at this point. At least that’s what he tells his less than sober self.

It’s weird filling in the information; his height, his age, his email and his orientation. He puts the location as the hotel where the event will be taking place, and stalls when he gets to the body of his ad. Short and sweet is probably the way to go so, biting his lip, he just starts to type.

need an alpha (like the title says) and needs to be available all day nov 12
we can talk about payment and terms in person
NO mate bonds whatsoever
dress nicely

Niall sits back and looks at what he’s written. It’s not bad, honestly, and it gets him across clearly, which is the really important part. For a second, Niall wonders if he should add a clause about not being an asshole, but he thinks better of it and just clicks post.

Niall shuts his computer down after that and heads off to bed to sleep off the alcohol he’s consumed. He has work tomorrow after all. Which, when Liam gets on the subway a few stops after Niall got on, grinning and waving at him, Niall can barely muster up a smile of his own. He’s too busy staring down at his phone.

“What’s wrong?” Liam asks, shifting in close to Niall’s side.

“I think I’ve done something stupid.” Niall says, and he tilts his phone enough so that Liam can see the 23 unread messages he now has in his inbox.

It takes the rest of their train ride for Niall to explain himself and around himself, and Liam is still shaking his head while they climb the steps of their office building. “This is a bad idea.” Liam says, always the voice of reason, but Niall shrugs his shoulders helplessly.

“I don’t have any other options.” Niall speaks in a low voice as they step into the elevator, tipping his head back against the wall. “It’s practically tomorrow.” It’s not, they still have one day left of work before Saturday, but it feels that way. “And it’s mandatory attendance.” Again, not really, but sometimes it seems that way, as the people that don’t show up to the event find themselves conveniently reassigned to external branches of the company.

So Niall has to go, and he has to bring an alpha.

“At least let me help you vett the alphas.” Liam offers, and Niall nods his head. Out of the two of them, Liam has more experience with alphas, being one himself. If there’s anything out of sorts, he’s more likely to spot it than Niall is.

So they pour over Niall’s laptop at lunch time, picking a nice little corner of the cafeteria with their backs to the wall, and it’s a good thing too because at least half of the messages Niall got come with a shiny, new picture of an oversized cock. They both gag at the first one and Niall wants to give up there, but Liam makes them go on, and by the fifth and sixth pictures, they’re kind of over it.

“You can’t meet with any of them.” Liam says by the time they’re finished, slamming Niall’s computer shut a little harder than he’d like Liam to, but some of those messages were explicit in the worse way and Niall feels kind of violated even though he didn’t include a picture.

“Some of them weren’t bad!” Niall tries gently, plying his hands together in his lap. “There was Laura, and Willie, and that Harry guy. They were okay.”

“You’re not coming with someone whose name can be turned into a dick joke.” Liam narrows his eyes, and Niall has to give him that.

“Alright, Laura and Harry then. I’ll ask them to meet with me tomorrow, at lunch.” That’s half an hour for each person, to tell them the deal and arrange payment if they want it. It settles something in Niall, knowing that things might turn out okay.

Liam proofreads the email Niall sends to the two alphas over his shoulder and gives him a little frown after it’s sent but Niall doesn’t meet his eye. Niall will do what he has to do to get by, and maybe Laura or Harry will become a great friend of his because of this. That, or a fuck buddy, either one works for Niall.

And then, because things seem to be going great on Thursday, of course things go awry on Friday, and Niall does not get to go to lunch, does not get to go meet either alpha, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. He’s stuck in the office all day long.

Niall doesn’t even get to send them an email explaining why he didn’t show up until he’s on the train ride home from work and, by then, Laura has already sent him a scathing message full with claims that she’s looking for a ‘serious connection’ and Niall is ‘wasting her time’ and he needs to ‘get a life’. So, she’s out then. Niall doesn’t want to be involved with anyone that prone to theatrics.

Niall blocks her contact from his emails and pulls up Harry’s email address—his second to last resort, because Zayn still holds the coveted spot of dead last resort—and he drafts something sloppy in line with the shaking of the subway car.

so so sorry i flaked on you today ! was stuck in meetings at work all day with last minute stuff ! i understand if you dont want to come tomorrow but i do need you

A desperate ending, but maybe that works for some people. Either way, Niall’s feeling way too drained after a long day at work to think of something better, so he just sends it and vows not to check his phone until he gets home. He’s not going to be the kind of guy that checks every five seconds while waiting for a reply.

Because Niall waits, Harry’s answer (thank god, he sent one) ends up being sent more than 15 minutes ago by the time he checks it, only a few minutes after Niall sent his own, but whatever.

totally understandable! i figured you stood me up because you were nervous but work makes me feel a bit better. i know it must be weird meeting some random alpha you met online but i promise i’m not some freak! here, my friends even vouched for me

He’s included a link to his email, and better still, a little see you tomorrow at the end of the email.

Niall almost can’t get over the fact that he will be meeting Harry far more last minute than he would have preferred. But, at least he’ll get to meet Harry at all before taking him to the party, and he’ll have a chance to get accustomed to his presence.

Niall waits until he gets to his laptop before opening the link, and it turns out to be a video, posted that day, around three, when Niall was elbow deep in case files. There’s a niche little apartment in the video, with orange walls and fairy lights and theatre posters on every spare inch.

Just do it, please,” a voice is saying, the person behind the phone, and the camera zooms in on this person that is half hiding their face, half trying to glare the pants off the filmer. “C’mon, Louis, I’ve gone to every one of your performances this semester.”

Fine,” Louis growls, crossing his arms tight in front of himself. “Harry is a terrible, awful human being, who will go behind your back and tell the Light Major you’re crushing on that you’ve been in love with him since first year, and ruin your life.”

The video dips suddenly, panning to a pair feet, as Harry, presumably, turns the phone around. And then he’s there, smiling blithely. “That’s not true.” He laughs and the video ends there, and Niall finds himself half stumped into silence and half near something like love.

Not that he loves Harry already, but the video humanizes him, makes him seem fun to hang out with for a coffee or a pint alike. It lets Niall find out what Harry looks like as well, a painfully pretty smile and a certain artfulness to his hair that he makes look effortless. And it gives Niall a link to his facebook, so he stalks Harry until his stomach won’t let him anymore, until he’s too hungry to go on.

Once he assures himself that Harry is a real person, not a serial killer or something, only then does Niall send him one final email.

see you tomorrow outside the hotel at 10am ! dont be late
ps the video was cute

And then he goes to make himself some supper, because hunger waits for no man.

Niall barely sleeps the night, and he wakes up way too early, but he uses that time to choose his outfit carefully, the first one for when he meets Harry and then the next for the event itself. He keeps the second one in a garment bag and takes a cab to the hotel just so he doesn’t risk it getting too wrinkled.

Niall’s lucky that all the companies rent out the hotel and nearby ones for the event just so that there’s a room for each employee in case people get too drunk or they’re from out of town. Niall’s taking advantage of that now, booking one of those rooms, because he’d prefer getting to know Harry in private, rather than chat with him in the dining hall and risk someone seeing.

Niall leaves his fancy suit upstairs and comes back downstairs just in time for 10 o’clock. He watches it come and go by five minutes, and then he starts to sweat because what if Harry isn’t coming. What if he changed his mind? What if he was just a really good catfish? Niall will have to call Zayn at this point, and he doesn’t want to think about what’ll happen if Zayn refuses.

Niall’s coming apart at the seams, just a little bit, which is why it’s the perfect time for a cab to roll up to the front drive and for Harry to step out of it, all legs looking long in blue jeans. He has on a loose white shirt and his hair is tucked tight under a hat in such a way that makes all the ends curve up. God, he really is attractive.

Niall watches Harry pay the cabbie through the window and then he squints around as it drives off, looking lost. Niall steps forward, “Harry?”

Harry looks at him and then he’s walking over, stepping in, closer than Niall would’ve expected, but he doesn’t quite mind it. Harry looks better in person than he did online, in a way that makes Niall wish that this was more than just a one day thing. Harry looks like the kind of alpha that Niall would give in to, given the right circumstances.

“Niall?” he asks, and Niall nods his head. “You’re cuter than I thought you would be.”

“You thought about me?” It’s kind of a stupid question, but Niall still goes all giddy when Harry bobs his head, a grin spreading across his lips. “Should we go inside?”

Niall feels like he’s got Harry right up on his back as he weaves his way through the hotel, into the elevator, all the way to his room. Niall unlocks the door, itching to say something, but the second they step inside, Harry pushes him face first into the wall. Harry buries his face against Niall’s neck, and Niall clutches at the wall and tries to hold in a groan.

Clearly, there has been a serious misunderstanding somewhere, but Niall can’t figure out where he went wrong.

“Um,” he starts, his voice going high and thready as Harry spins him around, cups his cheeks, and presses their mouths together sweetly. He kisses like a dream, like he’s hungry and he wants to eat Niall whole. “Wait,” Niall mumbles, pulling his mouth away, but Harry just draws his lips down Niall’s neck instead. And then he’s lifting Niall up, in his arms, pinned between the wall and his chest. “Oh my god,” Niall wheezes.

Harry kisses him again and he palms a hand down Niall’s chest, pulling at the buckle of his pants until it comes loose, and then he’s carrying Niall over to the bed. Harry sets Niall back on his feet but only so he can push Niall’s pants and boxers down to his knees.

This is going so fast, it’s making Niall dizzy, and he knows that he could stop Harry if he really wanted to, push him away and bite at him hard enough that he jumps back. Niall just doesn’t understand why he isn’t. Why he doesn’t want to.

Harry spins Niall around and, with a hand on his back, he bends Niall over until Niall has to plant his elbows in the bed before his face lands in it. Niall hiccups when Harry kicks his legs apart. “Good boy,” Harry purrs, his hand patting at Niall’s back before it slides down, down, both of his hands coming down to cup Niall’s ass in his palms.

When Harry spreads his cheeks and bares his asshole, Niall feels like he’s out of his body, because he still doesn’t know how he got here, but when Harry tuts, Niall snaps right back into himself, feeling his hips jump a little in Harry’s hands. “Baby,” Harry says softly, sweeping a thumb over Niall’s skin in such a way that makes him shiver. “You’re not even wet yet.”

Give it a minute, Niall thinks, because he is well on his way there.

But Harry doesn’t seem inclined to wait because Niall can feel him shift and then Harry’s mouth is on his hole, and Niall can’t help but let out a surprised little moan.

Harry licks him in slow swipes, digging his tongue in deeper with every pass, and he keeps Niall spread with a firm grip on his ass so that he can lick straight at his core. Niall just tangles his fists in the sheets and tries not to whine too loud, tries to keep his hips still because, if he doesn’t, he’ll end up riding back on Harry’s face like a whore.

Still, when Harry finally moves away, Niall’s hips buck involuntarily backwards before he can help it, seeking out Harry’s tongue. And, if Harry was worried about him not being wet enough before, Niall is soaking now, spit dripping through the crack of his ass and slick puddling down his thighs.

Niall chokes when Harry runs his hand over his hip, when he palms lower down to get a fistful of Niall’s hard cock, sticky at the tip. “Please,” Niall gasps out. He doesn’t even know what he’s asking for.

Luckily, Harry does.

Harry reaches down and he pulls Niall’s pants the rest of the way off his legs, then his shoes and his shirt come off, and Niall groans helplessly as Harry hoists him up by his hips onto the bed. Harry settles him properly on the bed so that Niall’s knees are in the sheets and his face is buried in the comforter and his back is bowed in an obscene curve.

Harry pushes Niall’s knees apart again, until his hips start to ache with the stretch and he can feel cold air just ghosting against his wet hole, but aside from a soft little noise, Niall says nothing, and he does nothing. He feels more naked than he’s ever been before. Liam’ll kill him if he finds out about this.

“Still with me, baby?” Harry asks, his palm settling back on Niall’s ass to stroke over his hot skin. Harry squeezes his cheek and it makes Niall quiver, but then Harry isn’t doing anything else, at least not until Niall nods his head and speaks.

“Still here,” he says, in a meek, breathless voice.

“Good boy,” Harry claps his hand against Niall’s hip and, against all efforts, Niall jerks against the bed at the pinch of pain, and an involuntary moan spills from his throat. Niall can hear Harry freeze behind him and he tries to go still too but a reedy whine comes out anyway. “You like that?” Harry’s voice drops low.

Niall shakes his head. He doesn’t, like it that is, but as much as he can lie to Harry, he can’t lie to himself. And his asshole is already blooming open from the sharpness of Harry’s touch. Harry chuckles above him and, when his hand strokes over where he hit, Niall’s knees buckle.

“I think you do.” Harry says, and Niall goes stiff when Harry’s hand moves away because he knows what’s coming. And sure enough, when Harry spanks him this time, it’s a bright, stinging pain. It makes Niall cry out loud and wanton.

Niall squeezes his eyes shut out of shame. He should be leaving, not pushing his hips back until Harry hits him again, but it feel so good, drool dripping down his chin so that he’s leaking at both ends.

“I think,” Harry starts slowly, his fingers scratching gently over the bruise Niall can feel just starting to bloom on his ass. It occurs to him, now, that he’s going to have a problem sitting tonight. He wonders if it’s worse that he doesn’t mind the reasons behind it. Harry’s thumbs tuck under the crease of his ass and he spreads Niall’s cheeks wider, “that you want more, don’t you?”

Niall shakes his head again. He doesn’t know what Harry means, exactly, but he has an inclination, the way he’s forcing Niall to bare his hole. It’ll hurt, and Niall doesn’t want it to hurt, but then Harry is slapping his cheek again and Niall can feel his whole body shake at the force of it. He collapses on the bed and Harry has to pull his hips back up again, his arm tucked around Niall’s waist.

“Okay, baby, okay,” Harry coos at him, and he keeps his holding Niall hips up until he stops shaking. Niall didn’t even realize he was shaking until Harry starts to pull his hands away. “You don’t have to.”

And Niall doesn’t know what possesses him, but he gasps out again, “Please.”

Harry’s silent for a moment, and then his hand is sliding through the crack of Niall’s ass, until three fingers cover his hole. “You want it.” Harry says, and it’s not a question, but Niall answers him anyway, the feverish nod of his head.

Harry’s free hand drifts down to Niall’s thigh, shifting it further out until Niall is so close to the bed that his chest is almost touching it, and only then does Harry slap at his hole.

It’s such a startling pain that Niall flinches, hard. Harry ate him out before, so his hole is all sensitive now, and the bite of pain from his slap radiates out over Niall’s skin, makes his feet kick up a little before he settles.

Harry waits one beat more before he just starts unleashing on Niall’s asshole, every spank of the flat of his hand against Niall’s rim making him choke on a cry that gets caught in his throat and never quite makes it out.

Blood rushes in Niall’s ears but, just above that, he can hear the sounds he’s making, desperate little mewls and punched out whines, and beyond that, the wet shlick of Harry’s hand against his soppy hole. If he could, Niall would be flushing splotchy, but all his blood is already busy filling his dick and gathering in his ass, struggling to keep up with the heavy pump of his heart.

By the time Harry’s finished, Niall’s asshole feels hot and swollen, plump like it’s furled up tight to protect itself. The bed is wet at Niall’s knees and the inside of his thighs are coated, and he can’t imagine what Harry sees, but Niall lets his knees slide apart until he’s flat on the bed, with his ass out enough that he looks ripe for the taking.

“You did so good,” Harry whispers, ducking down to lip at Niall’s ear, and Niall manages to gather enough strength to twist his head and meet Harry’s mouth for a sloppy kiss.

As they kiss, Harry loops his arms around Niall’s waist again, his palms just cupping Niall’s stomach, and he moves them both up the bed, away from the wet spot, until Niall can put his forehead on a pillow when they break apart.

“Almost done now,” Harry says, shifting away, and Niall twists his head to watch Harry strip out of his clothes. When Harry slides off his jeans, his cock bobs out heavy, because he isn’t wearing any underwear, and because he’s been touching Niall (and not himself) for the past half hour, and because his face was in Niall’s ass about ten minutes after they met and he’s probably never tasted anything so sweet.

Niall wants to return the favour now, wants to suck Harry down to the root, but instead Harry climbs back onto the bed behind Niall and he puts his thumbs back to Niall’s ass to spread his cheeks. “You look ready for my knot.” Harry rumbles, and Niall’s spine curves.

He wants that. He wants Harry to plug him up and make him leak. He wants to smell like Harry, inside, even in front of his boss tonight.

Niall pulls his knees up under himself again until he’s presenting, and Harry lets out a surprised little chuff but then he’s sliding his thumbs up to Niall’s rim. Niall shivers as they dip gently in. “More,” he breathes, shifting the pillows aside so he can curl his fingers around the edge of the mattress.

Harry doesn’t disappoint him, pulling his thumbs away but only so he can slide two fingers straight into Niall’s ass instead. Normally, it would take a long time to work up to Niall being as loose as he is now, but Harry presses a third finger in and he pumps them all slowly to the feeling of no resistance, what with Niall having been warmed up as thoroughly as he was.

“I think I’m ready.” Niall says, because if nothing else, Harry is persistent with his prep, which would be nice in any other situation, if Niall wasn’t already soaked with slick. As it is, Niall giggles at the absurdity of it all, a little gone in the head with Harry’s gentle fingering, the way he’s just rolling the tips of his fingers against Niall’s prostate.

“Oh yeah?” Harry asks, and it sounds like a taunt, but before Niall can worried about being spanked again, Harry slides his fingers free and he buds the tip of his dick up to Niall’s hole.

Niall’s body unfurls around the cleave of Harry’s cock, and his body makes space inside for the length of it as Harry slides deeper and deeper, deep until his hips are against Niall’s ass. He’s so big, god, Niall feels like he’s choking on just how long Harry is, like the tip of him is in his throat.

Harry pulls out and, this time, he thrusts in. Niall moans low, “Oh.”

Harry’s hand finds its way back to Niall’s chest, his palm on Niall’s stomach, a steadying hold on Niall’s body as he starts to move. It takes a minute but Niall comes to be grateful for it because Harry fucks like he knows it’s the one thing he’s good at, and he’s cocky about it, laughing against Niall’s ear when Niall’s breath goes shaky.

“I thought you were ready for it.” Harry says, pulling Niall’s earlobe between his teeth gently, and Niall trembles, all the way down to his toes. He thought he was too.

Niall bites at his lip but a reedy noise comes out of him anyway, pitching high at every particularly good thrust—which is each one—because Harry is talented at what he does. And Niall doesn’t think he would care if his boss, or his parents, or Jesus Christ himself was knocking on his door. Right now, he doesn't want to be anywhere else but here.

Which is why it comes to an end, not suddenly, but Harry’s thrusts start getting sharper until it starts to sting the growing bruise on Niall’s ass, and his nails start biting into Niall’s stomach until they drift down to Niall’s hips and dig in, and even Harry’s teeth snap at Niall’s shoulder until Niall dips it out of his reach with a breathless plea.

Harry sounds ridiculous when he comes, letting out a shout that dissolves into a growl, the feeling of it buzzing against the nape of Niall’s neck. Niall can feel Harry shooting off inside him, and he matches the back-and-forth rut of Harry’s hips until he slows down, until he stops, and then he chokes when Harry’s knot seals off inside of him.

It feels immense, bigger still when Harry drops his weight on Niall’s back and presses himself deeper.

Niall whimpers. If Harry falls asleep like this, hot against Niall’s back and pinning him to the comforter, Niall is going to kill him the second they get unstuck.

But then Harry is rocking his hips and Niall struggles for breath. “Like this,” Harry grunts, shifting like he’s trying to fuck Niall with his knot, like he’s trying to move Niall up the bed with the force of his rut. “Come, like this.” Niall nods his head. If Harry wants, Harry will get. Niall is learning that now.

Niall puts his face in the sheets and lets himself be knot-fucked, hard, into the bed, until he comes, gasping and untouched, making a mess of his crotch and another wet spot in the sheets.

Harry practically purrs after that, sniffing at the back of Niall’s neck and rumbling softly at whatever smell he finds there, settling heavy on top of Niall. Niall only lets it happen because it feels nice, because Harry reaches underneath them and coaxes another orgasm from Niall’s dick while they’re still knotted, this time a slow one that makes Niall squirm throughout. Harry pins Niall with his weight so that he has to take it, cursing and spitting as he gets more and more overwhelmed.

It’s a couple more minutes after that before Harry slides his dick free and Niall hunches his hips at the feeling of slick and come oozing out of him. It’s kind of disgusting.

Niall slides off the bed and waddles into the bathroom, and he grabs a wad of toilet paper to clean himself up. He’s just throwing that out when he catches sight of himself in the mirror and, god, he looks like he’s been mauled.

His hair is ruined from the pathetic effort he’d made this morning to style it (this morning, god, it feels so long ago), but even worse, there’s a mottled bruise high on his throat that he’s going to have a hell of a time trying to cover for tonight. There are other marks, on his stomach and his hips most prominently, and a mark of his shame on his right cheek when he twists to look at it.

There’s no way he can make an appearance looking like an extra off an orgy porno so he’s going to have to make a run to the drugstore before the event tonight. Niall sighs, but there’s nothing he can do about it right now, so he just pads back into the main room.

While he was gone, Harry moved the dirty comforter to the foot of the bed and now he’s got the top sheet on his lap, looking like the sweetest thing to come home to.

For a second, just a second, Niall thinks about running for the hills, but his feet guide him over to Harry instead and, when he gets close enough, Harry reaches out and pulls him in, lifting Niall up and settling him on his lap.

They stare at each other for a minute and, while Niall is working out the words in his head to ask Harry how the fuck they came to be here, Harry props his chin on his fist and peers up at Niall through his eyelashes. “Baby, you have got to be the oddest omega in heat I have ever seen.”

“Heat?” Niall snorts the word out. It’s funny because unless he’s two months and four days ahead of schedule, no, he is not in heat. “You think I’m in heat?” That actually kind of explains it because, if Niall had been in heat, he would have been insatiable, and everything Harry has done up to this point would have been perfect. Niall would have needed it.

But he isn’t in heat.

Harry shoots him an incredulous look. “Yesterday, you missed our meeting because you had last minute plans at work to settle up. Like a heat schedule?” Which, okay, Niall will give him that. “And, in your ad, you specifically said no mate bonds.” Niall shrugs. He just thought that, after a night of acting like they were together, some alphas would get the wrong idea. “Your ad said you needed an alpha, Niall, and we met at a hotel. I mean, yeah, obviously. That’s what I thought it was for.”

Niall almost feels bad about breaking the truth to him. “I needed an alpha to accompany me to my company’s networking party.” Niall shrugs and pulls at the sheet between them gently. “New company regulations mandate that every omega have an alpha with them at all times, so.”

Harry’s mouth drops open and a look of shock-horror pales his face. “Oh my god.” He looks around, at the mess they made, at the mottled bruise on Niall’s throat, at his own incriminating hands. “Oh, my god.” Harry slides Niall gently but firmly out of his lap and puts an inch of space between them. “I’m so sorry.”

“Harry,” Niall tries to interrupt him but Harry just keeps blathering on with apologies, until Niall claps a hand over his mouth. “It’s okay.” Niall shrugs, again. He needs to stop doing that. “It was a misunderstanding.”

“Yeah!” Harry says, sounding manic behind Niall’s hand. He pushes it away and then he stands up, starting to pace until he realizes he’s still naked. Niall enjoys watching Harry’s dick bounce as he pulls his jeans back on. “Sure, it was just a little misunderstanding.”

Niall swallows down a laugh as Harry frantically snatches his shirt off the floor and he tries to twist it back where it came off inside out, his hat also tangled up in it. “Why are you freaking out?”

Harry hunches over like Niall swung at him, trying to make himself smaller as he gives up on his shirt. “Because I basically,” he starts in a hiss, but then something must come to him because his face goes blank. “Oh god.”

And then he’s stomping back across the room, toward Niall, and Niall has to be careful not to flinch away because he doesn’t want Harry to feel worse than he does, but Niall still chokes a little when Harry grabs him by the hips.

Harry flips him over like a hot cake and Niall stutters out a laugh. He’s starting to get used to this position. “I need to make sure I didn’t hurt you.” Harry says, his hands back on Niall’s ass, spreading his cheeks so that his fingers can probe gently at his hole.

Niall shudders and just tries not to enjoy it too much. Harry’s trying to do the right thing, so Niall stays as still as he can while Harry pushes and prods, but Niall kicks him away when Harry dips his fingers just a little too deep, because if he’s not going to follow up, Niall doesn’t even want to risk going there.

Harry is wide-eyed when Niall rolls onto his back again, but Niall is over this victim game. “I’m fine, Harry. I swear.” Harry nods head numbly and, because that seems to be the end of it, Niall shifts over and crawls into Harry’s lap. He likes the bite of denim against his skin.

But when Niall dips to kiss Harry, he only gets a soft noise back and the faintest press of Harry’s mouth. Niall pulls away and he frowns. “You were literally spanking my asshole about forty minutes ago, Harry. I think you can kiss me back, now.” It’s funny but that actually makes Harry smile, makes him lie back against the bed until Niall has to put his hands in the sheets to hold himself up, and when they kiss this time, it tastes like satisfaction.

“Wait,” Niall says, after Harry has rolled them over and pushed his jeans back down to the knee. Niall pulls away and looks up at Harry carefully. “Does this mean you don’t have a suit?”

Harry’s brow furrows in confusion, “A suit?”

So, after they get another orgasm or two a piece, they go out, and they get Harry a suit for tonight, and while they’re at it, they stop by a drugstore to get some cover-up for the worst of Niall’s bruises. Niall sits on the bathroom counter of the hotel room so Harry can put some on for him, but for every one that he hides with makeup, Harry sucks another one lower down, into the skin of Niall’s thighs, of Niall’s hips.

Niall resolves to avoid sitting for the night, because he’ll have a hard enough time explaining why he winces every time, god forbid he gets hard.

The event starts sooner than Niall expected it would, but having wasted the day away having sex, he can’t really complain about it.

Niall straightens out Harry’s rented suit for the tenth time and he strokes his thumb carefully across Harry’s cheek. “Just, be nice. Be yourself. It’ll be fine.” Though, Niall wonders if he isn’t trying to comfort himself more than he is Harry.

Harry tucks his hand neatly under Niall’s suit jacket. Niall can still feel it creasing but he lets it happen anyway. “Stop stressing. You’ll be fine.” Harry smirks, putting his mouth to Niall’s ear. “I know what you taste like, so I probably know you better than anyone here.”

“You’re gross.” Niall pushes him away, but Harry’s words do make him feel better. With one last breath, Niall leads the way into the conference hall.

It’s already packed with people from the different companies, and still, somehow, Niall’s boss picks him out of the crowd and beckons him over. Niall isn’t going to subject Harry to boring shop talk so he gestures for Harry to go and join the circle that the IT nerds have made by the food table. They’ll talk about weird shit but they’re harmless, mostly.

Niall goes over to meet his boss, ready to make nice with whoever he’s currently talking to. It’s some guy with a round stomach and wrinkly hands, and he looks like he could be Niall’s boss’s boss but Niall doesn’t recognize his face so, not his company.

Niall’s boss though, he pulls Niall in by the shoulder and hugs him into his side like a proud father would his son. “This is Horan. He is, by far, one of our best employees.” Niall smiles shyly but he doesn’t interrupt as his boss lists a veritable novel of his accomplishments.

Niall is too busy watching his boss and basking in the compliments that he doesn’t notice the old guy isn’t very impressed until he cuts in rudely with a snort. “Despite the fact that he’s an omega?”

Niall’s boss hesitates, and then he’s pulling his arm stiffly off of Niall’s shoulders so he can cross them in front of himself. “Not that that makes a difference,” he says, defensively, and Niall can feel his own hackles rising in response. His boss has been good to him, despite all the restrictions that have been passed down to him by the higher-ups, and the way that he’s defending Niall now is another point on his chart. Niall likes his boss. He does not like this old asshole.

“They’re just so sensitive, nowadays.” The old guy says, waving around his drink so much that it splashes out and wets the floor. Niall wonders if he should make an excuse to leave and get a napkin, or just plain make an excuse to leave. His tongue is going bloody by how hard he’s biting it. The old guy looks at Niall wryly, “It’s almost too much of a hassle to hire them,” and then he’s looking away, like he can’t stand Niall in his sight. “Is his alpha here? I wouldn’t want him to get hurt.”

The way he says that makes Niall want to punch him, his job be damned, because it sounds like a threat. Like if he catches Niall coming out of the bathrooms, he’ll do something where no one can see them.

Niall’s spine stiffens and he has to interrupt them there, because there’s a sour taste in his mouth that he wants to spit out. “He’s here.” Niall says rudely. He misses the expression on either of their faces when he glances over his shoulder to where he left Harry. Except, Harry isn’t standing there anymore. Niall tamps down on the fear just starting to creep up his throat and he looks around furtively, trying not to seem frantic. “He’s, um.”

“Here,” and then there’s a hand on his hip and Niall startles a little. But it’s only Harry. He steps in close behind Niall and, putting his other hand at Niall’s side, he pulls Niall back into his chest.

Niall swallows a sigh of relief and then he’s instantly annoyed by the calming effect Harry has on him because he’s known this guy for about two days. Harry shouldn’t be able to do this to him already. Niall sneers over at the old guy, “See. He’s here.”

The old guy doesn’t even look at him though, and he talks right over Niall’s head, as though Niall is too stupid to understand him. “He might be decent at work, but does he fulfil his duties at home?”

Niall starts to take a step forward because he’s going to knock this old alpha fuck on his ass and then quit his job, but Harry pulls him back firmly and keeps them pressed together, as though he can tell what Niall was thinking. He even wraps his arms around Niall’s waist like he’s going to physically hold him back.

Niall is ready to fight Harry too if that’s what it takes but then Harry is laughing above his head. “Oh yeah,” Harry purrs, “He fucks me really good every night.”

It takes a second for Niall’s brain to process exactly what Harry said. It takes a second for everyone’s brain to process what Harry said, and then the old guy’s face dissolves into pure shock. Hell, even Niall’s boss looks shocked, but probably not for the same reasons. He probably isn’t used to hearing about his employees’ sex lives.

Niall just prays he won’t be fired on the spot. He closes his eyes and counts back from ten, and by the time he’s finished, the old guy has stammered some excuse to leave and he shuffles away faster than Niall thought he could move.

Niall looks over at his boss next, to find him eyeing them over his drink. “I actually don’t want to know,” he says, before Niall can even apologize, but then he claps his hand to Niall’s shoulder gently. “Good choice.” He disappears into the crowd after that and Niall has a feeling he won’t be called on for the rest of the night, though he’s not sure if that’s a good thing or a really bad thing.

Niall glances around at the people standing near to them, but aside from his boss and that old fuck, it doesn’t seem like anyone’s really noticed what went down.

Niall pulls himself out of Harry’s arms now and spins around to look at him. He stammers, but he can’t get a single word out.

“I feel like you want to talk to me outside.” Harry says, and when Niall nods, he just puts his hands deep in the pockets of his pants, and he strolls out of the hall, as cool as can be.

Niall follows him close on his heels, and when they get far enough from the crowds, he pushes Harry up against a bare stretch of wall. Niall wants to be angry, but Harry kisses him with the same kind of rage-fury that Niall can feel coursing through his own veins. It’s like they’re trying to eat each others’ mouths and it feels slick and gross but Niall just grabs Harry harder and pulls him closer, wrinkles up his nice suit jacket.

They break for breath and Niall puts his forehead against Harry’s shoulder. “I’m not sorry,” he says, his hand rising to cup the back of Niall’s head. “I hate it when alphas talk like that, like they think they’re better or something.”

Niall does too, but he pushes Harry away and tries to glare at him. He’s not sure how effective it is, with redness from Harry’s kisses all around his mouth. “You could have gotten me fired.” Niall argues, flailing his hand at the door.

Harry just tucks two fingers between buttons on Niall’s shirt and he pulls him in close with it, grinning at him real wide. “You can come live on my couch, if you want.”

Niall bats him away. “Why are you like this?”

“Like what?” Harry cocks his head to the side gently.

Niall means to say annoying. He means to say irritating and obnoxious and confusing. What comes out instead is, “Perfect,” and even Harry looks a little shocked by it.

But Harry’s expression doesn’t last long before he’s pulling Niall in again, more desperate this time, his hands pushing so far under Niall’s clothes that Niall has to bite his teeth in to get him to stop. Niall wants to too, but not here, not so close to everything. And it’s a good thing, because it’s not long before there’s someone nearby clearing their throat.

Niall tips his nose into Harry’s throat because he’s scared it’s his boss, and he doesn’t want to be so flushed when he steps away, but when he looks over, he’s shocked to see that it’s actually Liam standing there. He’s staring at them with wide eyes.

“Liam!” Niall says, pulling Harry by the hand over to him, because if there’s anyone he can look like a fucking mess in front of, it’s definitely Liam. “Hey. Hey how you? Have you, uh.” Or, maybe Niall didn’t think about how awkward this would be, because Liam knows, he helped Niall, and Harry has no idea. But then Harry is holding out his hand and Liam shakes it like it’s nothing. “This is Harry. Harry, this is Liam. He’s my friend.”

“Nice to meet you, Liam.” Harry smiles sweetly and, when he steps back to Niall’s side, he puts his hand at the small of Niall’s back like he’s been doing it for years. Niall ignores the way Liam’s eyebrow arches up a little, just because he likes the way Harry holds him.

“Hi, Harry.” Liam nods at him, and then he looks at Niall with narrowed eyes. “So, how did you two meet? I mean, you seem so close, already.” Niall hears what he isn’t saying, that there’s no one around here to pretend except for him, but he can probably also smell what they’ve been up to. Niall laughs and scratches at the back of his head carefully.

“Well,” Harry cuts in and Niall looks up to see Harry grinning fondly at the memory. “It was all just a big misunderstanding.”

Later on, Harry introduces Niall to his parents like that too, and though he leaves out the other parts, they smile at the story.

But, back at the party, when things are just starting to wind down, and Liam and Niall (and Harry) and a couple of the people they’re friendly with have claimed a couch toward the back of the room, lethargic as the guitarist of the band starts playing sweet chords while the rest of the band packs up.

Back then, when they’re all nursing beers, Liam turns to him. “Niall,” he says, slowly, almost carefully, like he’s trying to understand it himself, and so Niall thinks it’s going to be about Harry and he winces pre-emptively. “Why did the boss tell me to make sure you never leave the company? Did something happen?”

It takes a second for Niall to process the words, that they’re different than he thought it would be, but also because he’s busy being lazy against Harry’s side. But then he can’t help let out a cackle when he realizes, smirk up at Harry fondly. “I introduced him to Harry,” Niall says simply, and he leaves it at that because he likes the way Liam’s brow just deepens in confusion.

“What does that mean?” Liam asks, but Niall ignores him, draping Harry’s arm over his eyes. It’s quite a nice arm, and it makes it easier for Niall to ignore the sound of Liam calling his name afterwards. “Niall. Niall. Come on, Niall!”