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Dick knows the spiel.

Omegas get cherished. Omegas are rare. Omegas deserve to protection and respect from all alphas, not just the one who has managed to claim them for a time. Omegas are special.

From the second that Dick was born, he's had to put up with people praising him for being abnormal. People praising him for being able to stink in a way that makes alphas pant after him and paw at him once he becomes old enough that his body pitches him headfirst into puberty. Alphas panting after him because they like the idea that he goes into heat several times a year and makes a mess of himself because his body doesn’t recognize that breeding won’t happen with him on the best birth control money can buy.

Like most of the population, almost everyone at Haly's circus presents as a beta, but when word gets out that the circus is home to an honest to God omega--

Dick stops being pleased with the praise and the attention pretty quickly. After a while, he realizes that most of the alphas that come calling are only interested in one thing, and it's not how skilled Dick is on the trapeze.

The books say that alphas automatically respect omegas, but Dick knows the truth. That only works with claimed omegas and Dick doesn't want to be claimed and kept by some alpha that can barely focus on anything past Dick's scent.

*

But what Dick doesn't want when he's sixteen changes drastically by the time he turns nineteen.

*

Bruce is a good alpha.

He doesn’t smother Dick when the urge to protect him comes. He lets Dick fly with him at night and because of him, Dick can be good. He can be a hero and help when Batman’s obvious alpha presence puts unwanted fear into omegas that they’re trying to protect.

He’s sweet and clumsy with his affections, with the press of his body against Dick’s and the bite of blunt teeth into the claiming marks that ring Dick’s neck. Bruce doesn’t pressure Dick into anything, even when his heat comes and Dick is a mess and begging for it. Even when Dick claws Bruce’s back with his ragged nails and tries to get Bruce to give him exactly what his body needs, Bruce refuses to hurt him.

Bruce is safe.

Bruce is quiet about his affections, but kind about them as well.

Bruce is the kind of alpha that other omegas dream of having. Kind, dominant enough to make Dick’s hormonal body pitch into overdrive, ridiculously amazing in bed... Aside from how hard it is for the big guy to express emotions unless the heat-lust is driving him, he’s damn near perfect.

But sometimes, when Bruce is being so careful as though Dick might break from even a stern look and his hands shake against Dick’s hips instead of gripping tight enough to bruise, Dick finds himself hungry for something more. Something different.

*

Different comes during an off period with Bruce. It comes in the form of Slade Wilson, an alpha who can make Dick’s knees weak just by looking at him.

*

Slade is...

Slade is almost everything that the government warns little omegas about in the morality tales masquerading as sex-ed tapes in high schools around the country. He’s set in his ways and so old fashioned that just being around him makes Dick want to bare his throat (or something else) for the old alpha to take. He’s big and broad, scarred up from fights with other alphas and he uses that to his advantage.

Dick has met bigger alphas while working with Bruce (both in and out of costume), but few of them carry the same presence.

Sometimes Bruce has that presence. Sometimes, Bruce looks at Dick as though he wants to pin him down and mark him up because he can, but that’s it. It doesn’t go very far beyond a look and later, tender touches that leave him aching for something that he can’t put a finger on.

Slade is different. Slade is several decades older than Bruce is and it shows in his face. It shows in that very first time that he comes to Dick as a proper alpha comes to the omega he plans to court, in the way that he pushes into Dick’s life and his apartment as though he doesn't have an alpha marks appearing as a mostly faded purple against the golden brown skin of Dick’s throat.

“For a hero,” Slade says as he watches Dick reach for a weapon he doesn't have shortly after shutting the door behind him, “You’re woefully unobservant. I could have been waiting to kill you.”

Slade holds up his hands, big palms facing Dick so that the younger man can see that he’s unarmed, and smiles in what’s supposed to be a charming way.

“Lucky for you, that’s not what I’m here for.”

Dick narrows his eyes in a glare and crosses his arms over his chest. “Then what do you want?”

Slade rises to his feet and starts to walk towards Dick, moving slow against his body’s instincts. He stops just inches away from Dick, freezing when the other man's blue eyes get wide and the omega fear scent threatens to flood the room. Slade bares his teeth to growl at Dick, but then the sound dies almost as soon as it starts.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Slade says, voice low and steady as Dick frowns at him and backs up until his back hits the front door with a dull thud. “Think about it, kid. I wouldn’t be here like this --"

Slade pauses to gesture at his clothes (a faded sweater and the most comfortable pair of slacks that he owns) and then waits a second further for Dick to stop smelling so scared before he continues.

“I wouldn’t come to your home dressed like this if I was here to rough you up.”

It’s a lie of course and Dick knows it, but he doesn’t call Slade out on it.

Dick licks his lips, pink tongue flicking out to wet them, and he focuses on steadying his breathing. Soon, the feeling of crawl-outta-your-skin fear starts to dissipate and Dick can roll his shoulders back against the door and make his body go a little loose.

“I want to know why you’re here,” Dick says as Slade continues to stand there, looking at him with hunger radiating from his very core. “You’ve been staying out of my way for months now. I can’t remember the last time you crossed paths with me or my team. So why--”

Dick waves his hand at Slade and bites at his bottom lip until the flesh there starts to turn red. “Why this?”

Slade answers with a question of his own. “When was the last time that you had an alpha all to yourself? When was the last time Wayne took care of you?”

Dick sucks his teeth and the glare that he directs at Slade holds more than a hint of betrayal. “How is that any of your business?”

“It’s not.” Slade reaches for Dick, brushes his fingers of his right hand over the side of the omega’s jaw until Dick tilts his head and leans into the light touch. “Not yet. But I can smell your skin, how long it’s been since Wayne gave you what you needed and it’s taking everything I have not to push you up against the door and give it to you.”

It’s Slade’s turn to lick his lips and he tries not to lean forward when he does it.

Dick pushes out his chin and gives Slade a challenging look as they stand together in the narrow entryway of his apartment.

“So why don’t you do it then?” Dick asks and his mouth shapes the syllables slowly. “You’re an alpha, used to taking what you want with your strength and that damn scent. I know you’ve done it before so--”

“Is that what you want?” Slade’s fingers press into Dick’s skin and he watches the omega shudder for him. “Are you giving me permission to do anything I want?”

Dick opens his mouth and then closes it without speaking. He repeats that action several times over a few seconds until Slade isn’t almost growling and the sound vibrates through the air. When Dick speaks, his voice comes out with a breathy note to it. “Within reason.”

“If your old alpha comes after me for this, I won’t take it easy on him,” Slade warns, but the thought of fighting over Dick, of fighting Bruce Wayne for an omega’s attention, makes Slade grin sharply. “This isn’t going to be a one-time thing either.”

He looks into Dick’s eyes, checking for the slightest hint of hesitation, and then reaches down to curl his fingers against the side of Dick’s hip above the waistband of his jeans in an obvious gesture of possession. “How often do you go into heat?”

Dick swallows noisily and a dark blush steals across the bridge of his nose. “One week every two months,” he says without meeting Slade’s good eye.

“Birth control?”

“A shot every three months and I have condoms in my nightstand.” At that, Dick does meet Slade’s gaze even though there’s sadness lurking in the depths of his blue eyes. “Bruce, um... Bruce pays for everything even though I usually go through my heats alone these days.”

Dick shrugs when Slade steps forward, crowding him against the door in what’s honestly supposed to be comforting.

“It’s fine, Slade. It’s... fine.”

“It won’t happen again,” Slade promises, mouth made reckless by the internal alpha instinct and the look in Dick’s big blue eyes. “I’m not asking to be your alpha, nothing permanent like that, but I’ve seen how bad heats get. You shouldn’t have to deal with it by yourself.”

Dick squeezes his eyes shut.

“I-- Th-thank you, Slade.” He looks uncomfortable for a second and then he offers Slade a smile that’s a little wobbly around the edges. “We could... We could try this, especially if you’re not going to handle me like I’m about to break. If you can wait a minute, the bedroom’s in the back.”

Slade says, "Good to know,” and then leans in to kiss Dick as though he's been doing it every day of his life instead of for the first time. Crushing Dick against the door with the weight and width of his body, Slade licks into Dick's mouth with a low growl rumbling through his broad chest. Slade pulls Dick in close until their bodies press together without a gap between them.

"S-Slade," Dick says in an embarrassingly breathy murmur as Slade hefts him up as though he doesn't weigh a thing and starts to press hard, sucking kisses into the skin of his throat over the almost faded marks left behind from his last run-in with an alpha.

The display of strength and possession makes Dick's body react and Dick bites back the urge to bare his throat and whimper as he feels slick start to dampen his body. It's been so damn long and Slade is more than alpha enough to set off that all too embarrassing reaction that Dick hasn't had to deal with in months.

Clutching at Slade's broad shoulders, Dick groans at the first press of the alpha's teeth into his skin. The pain trips some kind of instinct in the back of Dick's mind and he rocks close, rubbing against Slade's body as his body goes into overdrive at the alpha's nearness. Slick with his body's natural lubricant, the presence of Slade's body between his legs makes him ache.

"F-fuck," Dick hisses, reaching up to flatten the palm of one hand over the back of Slade's head. He pants through another bite, whining despite himself as his body responds with another gush of wetness that signifies a definite trip to the laundry once Slade has left him. "If we're going to do this here, at least let me take my pants off first."