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Murphy laid spreadeagled on the bed of furs, Gustus pressed into his side. He felt the Omega’s fingers trace the planes of his chest lazily, but he was too spent to do anything but groan, and grimace when the warrior’s thick beard tickled against his jaw.

“It itches.” He grumbled, placing a hand against Gustus’ cheek to push him away, “actually it feels like someone stuck wire on your face.”

The Omega grunted. “I am not going to cut if for you boy.” He shifted his weight onto the Alpha, effectively pinning him down. Murphy snarled, but he was weak, so much weaker than the Trikru warrior, his muscles thinned by an existence spent in space and years of halved rations while he was in the Skybox.

Criminals had shown they were not productive members of society, so they did not deserve to eat as much as law abiding citizens. He remembered times when the Alpha guards had tied him to a chair and made him watch as they ate the food allotted to him.

Gustus’ soft whirring cut through Murphy’s angry thoughts and he blinked up at the warrior, feeling his mate’s soothing influence seep through their bond. The snarl that had begun to shake the bones of his chest abated as his rage trickled away, and he purred in response, lifting onto his elbows to rub the warrior’s cheek with his.

The whirring increased and Murphy shook his head in puzzlement, wondering how such a big man could produce that kind of sound. Then his head emptied of thought as Gustus’ hand slid down between them to grasp his cock and he groaned, heat pooling at the base of his spine.

“I want you to fill my ass with seed again,” The Omega mumbled, before he brought their lips together in a rough kiss. He’d claimed he would not trigger his heat this time, but considering his appetite for sex, Murphy was starting to have doubts.

“I am tired,” he whined, pulling back. He truly was, even if his shaft was responding to Gustus’ attention. His rut had simmered down to warm embers that glowed deep inside his belly, and his muscles felt pleasantly leaden.

“And hungry,” he added with a pout.

Gustus had learned quickly that his newly bonded mate liked to complain. A lot. And yet, as he released Murphy’s cock and ran his hands along the young boy’s hips, massaging his flesh and running the pads of his thumb along the deep divots of the Alpha’s bones, he couldn’t ignore how thin he was, how starkly his ribs pushed against his skin.

“I will cook.” He declared, pulling away and rolling off the bed. He grabbed a pelt as he stood and threw it across the Alpha’s midriff, before scanning the floor for his discarded pants.

“You can cook?” Murphy’s voice brimmed with disbelief and the warrior snickered, rolling his eyes in the skai boy’s direction.

“How did you survive so many months in the wild?” He wondered aloud, tugging his pants up and striding to a nearby table. He would ask a Beta to bring them some boar and he would make his famous stew. Even Heda lined up like a rank-less warrior when he cooked that dish at the communal fires during festivals. His Alpha could repay him later, with his mouth around Gustus’ cock or his own cock twitching inside the Omega’s tight ass, buried to the hilt and pushing the button deep inside him with each stroke. The warrior’s pants tightened with the thought.

“I was lucky.” Murphy quipped, falling back onto the bed and snuggling into the fur Gustus had thrown over him. The memory of a rope tightening around his neck flashed through his mind, and shivers raced down his spine, chilling him for a moment. He was grateful that Gustus had not asked about the scar, and surprised at the gentleness with which the hulking warrior had caressed the ruined flesh of his throat.

Perhaps, he thought as he listened to his mate putter around the small hut, this wouldn’t be so bad after all.

********************************

Abby growled her way across the small hut then turned, striding back towards the bed that took up one of the room’s corners.

Back and forth like the ocean’s tide.

Back and forth like a caged beast.

She almost expected a furrow to appear on the floor, having lost count of how many times she had already retraced her steps that night. The hut was small and simply furnished, a bed, a table with two chairs and a small hearth, but Abby made vigorous use of the space Heda had so graciously assigned her. She was grateful that the hut was far enough from the huts where the offered Alpha’s had been taken that she wasn’t forced to hear the sounds they would make in their rut, but she could not escape the presence of her own pup, buried deep inside her chest and she didn’t want to.

It would be gone soon enough thanks to Lexa, Commander of the Blood.

Abby’s mouth soured at the thought of the Omega, and she tried not to think that Clarke was now alone with her and helpless. She could feel the agony of her pup’s rut through the maternal bond connecting them, count all of Clarke’s heartbeats like only an Omega mother could. They were pained and frantic, coating the back of Abby’s mouth with heat and copper. She shook her head, fighting back the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks and halted at the table, grabbing the bag of incense Nyko had left with her to lessen the redolent smells filling the village.

She threw a generous handful into the flames that danced merrily in the fireplace, watching the white smoke spring to life and spiral upwards as the mixture of scented herbs caught fire.

The burning reeks of heats and ruts receded, but did not fade completely, and Abby thought they had seeped into the hut’s walls and in every other building in the small village. Going outside wouldn’t change a thing, and even if the sounds of celebration had subsided, she ran the risk of crossing paths with late night revelers. The Omega knew that some of her own people had joined the grounders around the bonfire that had been roaring in the village’s square to celebrate the newfound Alliance, but she was not in the mood for a party.

It had been several long hours since she had injected the Alpha’s with the rut-inducing drugs, a handful more since they had been chosen during the ritual the grounders called the Showing and taken to different huts, to await their Omega and the mating.

She still could not believe how different these Omegas were from those she had grown up with on the Ark and from herself. They possessed the utmost control over their bodies, or so it seemed, and the grounder Alphas looked at them with a mixture of protectiveness and awe that was unknown to her.

Abby knew that she had been lucky with Jake, and that he had loved her dearly in his own way. But they had been more friends than passionate lovers, perhaps due to the fact that they had played together as pups and basically grew up in lockstep. And when he’d asked her to be his mate, it had seemed the most logical thing to accept. The safest thing, considering how badly Omegas were generally treated outside of their heats.

After Clarke had been born, Abby had gone on suppressants, conscious that another pup would be a drain on the Ark’s resources even though Jaha had assured her that she and Jake would get a permit for a second one if they wanted. They had thanked their friend and declined, unwilling to take advantage of their position to get special treatment. Then they had been submerged by their duties, and sex had become more like a bother than something to look forward to.

She had tried to teach Clarke to be kind and compassionate and explained to her how she should treat an Omega mate if she found one, but this was not what she had wanted for her pup.

Anger bubbled into her gut, and Abby could not tell how much of it was coming from her Alpha daughter and how much of it was her own rage. She clenched her fists, nails digging into her palms, leaving crescents that immediately swelled with droplets of blood.

She felt Clarke’ heart rate spike and her own followed, filling her ears with the thunderous noise of rushing blood. Abby bent over with a wave of nausea, the searing agony of her pup’s change setting her own spine on fire. The Omega opened her mouth to scream and someone knocked at the door.

“Abby?” She cursed under her breath as Marcus’ voice drifted inside. He was the first person who had looked favorably on the deal the Commander had proposed and the last person she wanted to see.

The knocking came again, more insistent this time. “Abigail?”

“Go away!” She flung herself at the door with an animalistic roar just as the handle was beginning to turn, her daughter’s fury taking over, and slammed all of her weight against the wood, welcoming the pain that made her shoulder throb, wishing that it would be as easy to keep the world out.

She expected Marcus to insist, but silence descended right outside the hut, and she thought she heard a soft groan and the scuffling of feet, then a foreign scent drifted under the wood. She stepped back, brows furrowed then bent forward with a sob when she felt a shift in the emotions coming from her daughter.

Abby’s knees hit the floor with a hollow thud, and this time she let the tears spatter freely to the ground below, wrapping her arms around her chest suddenly cold.

Soon Clarke would be gone from her chest and the hole that her pup had helped fill when Jake had died would tear back open and swallow her whole. Great shivers shook her frame and she rocked back and forth as she had done on many sleepless nights, cradling her baby to her chest.

Back and forth like the ocean’s tide.

Back and forth like the pendulum of an ancient clock, keeping track of time long past its owner’s death.

It wouldn’t be long now.  

********************************

She watched him out of the corner of her eye as she took another sip of the burning piss the Skayon had named “Monty’s Brew”. Echo was torn between admiration at the stinging strength of the alcohol and wanting to strangle whoever had invented the cocotion. She felt like layers of her insides were stripped off whenever she swallowed some, but the watered down insult that the Trikru passed for beer was even worse. She wished there was some mead at hand, but merchants caravans from the North would not come for a few weeks yet. No matter - he would be hers she had no doubt of that, and she would bring him back to Azgeda, to her aunt’s court.

First though, she would have to make sure he put on some weight, or the Great Cold would kill him. He was scrawny, like all of the skaikru , body too lean and face gaunt with years of backlogged hunger. Echo had heard the rumors, and talked to some of the Skai People at the feast. It had been almost funny, watching their eyes grow as round as saucers at the amount of food weighing down the long tables that had been erected in the village’s square.

There had been whole boars and deer, slowly roasting on spits as thick as a man’s forearm and trays of vegetables and freshly baked bread. Echo had to give it to Lexa - she knew how to organize things with style.

One of the Azgeda warriors nudged her in the ribs, lifting a jug full of sloshing liquor and she looked down at her cup, noting it was empty. She had been too caught up staring at the dark haired Skai Beta to realize she had brought an empty cup halfway to her lips. The warrior filled it up with a snicker.

“That one strike your fancy eh?”

“He’s pretty.” She said, taking a swig of the brew and grimacing around it.

“True. Thin though. Careful when you ride his cock tonight, you might break him.”

They all laughed at that, loud enough that he and his friends glanced their way. The boy’s brows drew down in displeasure, and she saw his jaw twitch. He clearly thought they were making fun of the Skayons. Echo stuck her tongue out at him, then blew him a mocking kiss, and he jerked his heated gaze away, cheeks stained red with embarrassment.

He clambered somewhat unsteadily onto his feet and strode away from the light of the fire, waving his friends back when they tried to follow.

“Aw,” the warrior next to her grinned, “the pup got offended.”

Echo stood with a smirk and handed him her cup. “I think I know a way or two to make it up to him.”

She wasn’t surprised to find him in the deep shadows beside the Great Hall, eyes trained on the door of Heda’s hut. Echo had noticed the way he’d looked at the blonde Alpha during the Showing - how he’d shaken with anger at the way she was displayed for all to see, while his eyes drank in her naked body, turning to dark pools of bottomless desire. The Azgeda Beta could not fault him, since Wanheda had turned out to be as enticing as the stories made her out to be. Echo had felt the Alpha’s power slide across her skin, and grown wet and aching from it. No Alpha call had ever moved her that way.

She would have gladly slipped into Klark kom Skaikru’s bed, but the blonde was not for her, nor him.

She didn’t bother masking her footsteps, and he whipped around as he heard her boots scrape against gravel.

“What do you want?” he growled with a show of teeth, as aggressively as any Alpha, “you’ve been hounding me all night.”

Echo stepped forward, until she was almost nose to nose with him.

“You know what I want,” she placed a hand on his chest, broad despite his leanness, “or rather, who.”

He grabbed her at the wrist, fingers blissfully digging into her flesh, and she let out a small moan, pushing forward until her arm was trapped between them, her breasts brushing the front of his jacket. She had to hide a smile when he didn’t pull away, but didn’t speak further, watching the conflict play across his features.

His dark eyes went from her to the the shut door, then back to her and Echo thought she could hear the soft crackling of his teeth as he flexed his jaw.

“I…” he swallowed and let her go, but she kept her hand in place and he did not step back.

“You cannot help her,” Echo closed the distance between them, hand lifting to cup his cheek, lips stopping inches from his mouth and they breathed each other in for a scattering of heartbeats.

“But I can help you.” She whispered, ghosting a kiss across his mouth.

“Help me do what?” His voice was shaky and rough, and she heard his body shift more firmly into her own.

“Help you forget her.” She brought their mouths together and grunted when he took the kiss from her with a furious swipe of his tongue and a flashing of teeth. His arms went around her and he pulled her into his chest roughly, pushing her back against the Great Hall’s wall.

Echo nuzzled into his neck and smirked. He would be hers by dawn.

And she would be his.

*******************************

Abby sat at the small table, waiting for the inevitable.

The fire had died down to glowing coals that haloed everything in a reddish hue, and a chill had entered the hut, but she was too lost inside her own gloomy thoughts to care. Her fingers picked restlessly at the rough surface of the wooden table, and she stared sullenly down at the plate of food a Beta had left a while ago, and that she couldn’t bring herself to touch.

Abby’s ears strained at every sigh of the wind, dreading it would bring sounds to go with the storm of emotion bleeding through the bond with her daughter. Yet she scanned every whisper of the breeze and could not stop. She had spent the better part of an hour trying to steel herself for the severing of their bond, while battling with her biology, as the Alphas’ calls filling the night sparked the first timid flames of a Heat low inside her belly. Like everyone else she had gone off the suppressants, because they simply didn’t have any more to go around, nor means to manufacture them, but she’d thought her cycle was months ahead.

However, being in the presence of so many Alphas in rut had affected her badly and for a moment she regretted attending the Showing ceremony even though Marcus had offered to do so in her stead. He’d maintained that Heda would have understood her absence, but having come face to face with the formidable Omega leader, Abby wasn’t so sure. Besides she owed it to the kids who had volunteered, even though they had been blindfolded and probably too lost in their rut to be aware of her presence. She had forced herself to witness their sacrifice, pumping out as many calming pheromones as she could to try and ease the agony of their change, and her mouth had soured with the knowledge that it had made no difference.

Then, after Clarke had been chosen by the Commander herself, after she’d had to see the grounder girl tease and fuck her pup in public, trying to bend the Alpha to her will Abigail had fled, managing to find refuge in the deep shadow of some bushes before she’d had to empty her stomach.

Titus had materialized at her side, offering assistance and a place for her to spend the night, but even if his tone had been mild, almost warm , Abby had not missed the satisfied gleam that had smoldered deep inside his eyes, or the condescending smile.

She had been glad when he’d left her at the hut, mentioning he would send someone to her bearing the treaty between their people before walking out into the night. Betas usually did not have a smell, but he reeked of so much hubris she had surreptitiously scrubbed at her nose.

She grabbed a heel of bread, tearing it to pieces angrily as burning tears threatened to spill down her cheeks again. The Omega pulled back from the table, chair scraping noisily across the floorboards, but as she was beginning to stand her knees buckled and she had to grab onto the table for support. A lance of white-hot pain speared through her chest, and her heart faltered as she felt something rip from her rib cage with such force the world dimmed around her for an instant.

Searing cold spread within her as Clarke’s small flame, which had always burned inside her breast, winked out like it had never existed. Abby’s teeth clicked shut, biting into her tongue, but not even the warm taste of her blood could thaw her and they began to chatter softly.

The Omega let herself slide to the floor, hiding her face in her hands as the shock of the severing numbed all of her nerve endings. She knew that she was crying, but everything felt distant and out of reach as her mind reeled with the staggering reality of being truly alone with its own thoughts.  

She was dimly aware of the door opening and closing, and someone coming closer, stopping a few steps away from her. At first she thought it was Marcus and she clambered to her feet in haste, throat constricting with cold, focused anger. She knew that taking her pain out on him wouldn’t really ease anything, but she’d had warned him about not wanting to see him and he had come into the hut regardless. He could deal with the consequences.

When she truly took in the intruder, she startled back with a gasp of surprise. It wasn’t Marcus, like she had expected, but rather a tall girl, swathed in a cloak so long it bunched around her feet, dragging on the floor. The newcomer confronted her, dark brown eyes full of serenity, unflinching in the face of her cold fury. Abby felt it writhe out of her in trickles that tainted the air with a metallic aftertaste, chilling her tongue and making her teeth ache. The Omega frowned, failing to pin the girl’s age down, but her guess was that she must be in her twenties still, only a handful of years older than Clarke.

The thought of her pup made her grimace, and she turned away trying to hide how upset she was. Walking briskly, she put the table between them, relieved when the newcomer didn’t move to follow.

Abby took advantage of the increased distance to study her further, noting traces of deep red among the brown mass of unruly curls on her head, and how soft her mouth looked, as if always on the verge of a smile. Or ready for a kiss.

The Omega swallowed thickly, cheeks splashed with red as she tore her gaze away and wondered where the stray thought had come from.

“Who are you?” She asked, oddly relieved that her voice wasn’t shaking.

“I am Luna,” the girl frowned slightly, then added, “kom Floukru. I am chief of the Floukru. Titus sent me.”

That piqued Abby’s interest. The Beta had probably sent the girl with written treaties for her to sign on behalf of her people. She had noticed the lack of books and paper around the grounder village, but chalked it up to limited resources more than anything else.

“Have you brought our agreement then?”

“Sha,” the girl nodded, but her next move made air leave Abby’s lungs in a strangled woosh.

Luna had a hunch that the kind of agreement she was bearing was not the one the Omega expected. She had to repress an annoyed snarl at that, knowing that she probably had Titus to thank for the misunderstanding. No matter - she would have to woo the Omega, although it would have been best if Abby was aware. Still she wanted this, had chosen of her own free will when Lexa had suggested during a closed council that one of their own should mate the Skaikru leader. At the thought, her cock stirred under her cloak as the effects of Nyko’s herbs spread through her body and her rut began in earnest.

And now the reason why Titus had insisted one of the Beta guards gave her his cloak became apparent. She would throttle the man next time she saw him. She had almost done so with the Skai Alpha she had found pounding on Abby’s door some time before, and only contented herself with trussing him because killing Kane would have put an end to the alliance even before it started. He had seemed oblivious to the Omega’s pain, and Luna had wondered how it was possible since she’d felt Abby call to her for comfort from across the village. Even now waves of the older woman’s suffering lapped like water against her skin and underneath she detected the warmer edges of the Omega’s heat, both things making her ache with the need to protect the woman who stood before her.

She saw a frown form on the Omega’s brow and, realizing she had lingered too long, reached for the clasps holding the cloak closed, letting it fall to the floor with a whisper of soft cloth.

Abby took an involuntary step back as the girl let the cloak drop to the ground almost without sound. Her hand went to her mouth, in an attempt to stifle the exhale that whistled through her teeth, and her eyes widened in disbelief.

Underneath the cloak, the girl was naked, line upon line of angular script inked across her skin. The redolent smell of the girl’s rut, which had been dampened by the cloak hit the Omega like a freight train, and she felt her heat coalesce into a red ball inside her stomach. Luna was undoubtedly Alpha and the heavy-looking cock well hung between her slim thighs only confirmed what Abby’s nose was telling her.

The Omega raised her hands, backing hurriedly away until her back hit the wall. She let out a small whimper as the Alpha’s musk filled the room, salty like the saline solution she used on patients aboard the Ark but lighter, as if sunlight itself was trapped within it.

She felt the pulsing ball inside her expand, engulfing her stomach and racing like burning fuel up her spine. Her heart was in her throat with fear and more than a thread of desire lacing through as her body responded to the Alpha’s potent call.

Yet there was something different about Luna, her scent lacking the metallic tang Abby associated with the Ark’s Alphas. She had perceived it even on Clarke and the other kids as the rut descended on them, as if the violence they were capable of had taken tangible form around their bodies. But Luna smelled... controlled .

Abby shook her head, clearing her mind with effort. The Alpha had not moved, but she caught the hint of a sheen glistening weakly all over her taut body in the coal’s dying light.

“Stop that,” the Omega intimated, instinctively releasing a wave of soothing pheromones, to try and take the edge off the Alpha’s smell, “what is the meaning of this? Why are you here?”

“Titus hasn’t told you about the Fifth Alpha?” Abby blinked in confusion and Luna added, “you know him, the bald Beta with a permanent case of the grumps?”

The Omega couldn’t help but bark a laugh at the girl’s cheeky sense of humor and some of the tension left her shoulders , “he...they...only demanded four,” the frown that had been creasing her brow since Luna’s appearance deepened, “he asked me and Kane if we were mated but…” she halted as realization sank like a ball of lead into her stomach.

Luna watched as Abby connected the dots, the Omega’s expression turning thunderous.

She stooped down, collecting the cloak and throwing it around her shoulders, hoping that her gesture would ease some of the woman’s fear. She smelled it, bitter like smoke after a battle underneath the Omega’s simmering heat, and knew that Abby would be more receptive to her explanations if she didn’t feel threatened. She had seen how the majority of the Ark’s Alphas behaved and couldn’t fault her for being wary. She sat down, doing her best to not appear intimidating and gestured for the Omega to take the seat across from her.

“You can come closer. I don’t bite,” she winked and grinned, “unless you want me to.”

Abby grunted at the joke, rolling her eyes at the Alpha, but she took a chair nonetheless, lowering herself on it slowly and ready to bolt out of it at the barest provocation.

Luna’s smile turned gentle and she nodded her gratefulness. It was a start.

“There are five aspects to the All-Mother,” she began once she was sure she had Abby’s full attention, “the Alphas who volunteered among the Skaikru symbolize four of them and were marked as such,” she lifted a hand, counting off on her fingers, “healing, protection, nourishment, lawfulness,” she brought her hand down flat onto the tabletop, “I am the final one, that holds the other four together.”

She opened the cloak just enough to show the brand above her heart, “this glyph roughly translates as… reciprocity, even if it must feel like you gave way too much, and our people not enough. I am Heda’s way to tell you that now that we received it is our turn to start giving back. In reciprocity.” She paused and reached for the plate of food, breaking off a bit of cheese and popping it into her mouth, to allow Abby to digest her words.

Encouraged by the fact that Abby didn’t seem inclined to interrupt, she swallowed and pressed on, “life here is harsh as your people have discovered. Only together we can survive. Together we can bring life and stability to our people,” Luna licked her lips, trying to choose her words as carefully as she was able, “by mating. By bringing new life into this world.”

“They branded you.” Abby’s voice was thick with revulsion, gaze rooted to the brand marring Luna’s skin, and before she had time to think it through, the Alpha reached across the table to take one of the Omega’s hands in both of hers.

“No,” the Alpha shook her head, “I chose of my own free will as did the ones you sent to us.” She stood, still holding Abby’s hand in hers, and walked around the table, stopping in front of the seated Omega and sinking to her knees.

“I am the fifth aspect of the All-Mother. I am your alliance. The salvation of your people and mine.”

Abby watched in amazement as the Alpha knelt before her, an open, pleading expression on her face, so unlike the Alphas she was accustomed to, who would just take whatever they wanted.

Even Jake had in a way, for when he’d asked her to be his mate, he’d done so with self-assurance, convinced she would not refuse. Luna wanted the same thing from her, that much was clear, and yet she was not demanding, rather offering. Although Abby was sure that refusal would mean breaking off the newborn alliance.

She had admired her daughter’s strength when Clarke had volunteered, even as she had strenuously opposed her and, faced with a similar sacrifice she choice if she was capable of the same fortitude.

The Alpha’s musk prickled inside her nose, but Abby knew this time it wasn’t Luna’s conscious doing. She felt the girl’s strong, calloused hands burn with the onset of her rut as they clasped hers and saw beads of sweat shine at Luna’s hairline, before snaking down her forehead. Her own heat was a living thing inside her gut, and with every breath she took the cold that had rimmed her bones with frost receded, warmth and light blooming inside her instead.

Places that had been dark and deserted since Jake’s passing came back to life and the Omega leaned forward, mouth open and nostrils flaring.

“I had a mate,” she croaked, but her voice lacked the heat of opposition, “I don’t need another.”

“I know you had one,” Luna’s thumbs drew soothing circles on the back of her hand, “and that he is gone. I… never wanted a mate before myself. I never felt the need to fill my bed with someone that would be more than a passing lover, never wanted pups before. And then I heard of you, and saw you. A fisa fallen from the sky. You carry the gift of life and death in your hands. Hope for all of our people, as does Wanheda.” She let her eyes fill with genuine awe as she tangled gazes with Abby.

Luna wanted to tell the Omega about the gift of  the Sight, and how she had been dreaming of her for weeks, instantly knowing that they were destined for a collision course like shore and sea, that no matter how long it took they would end up meeting, but that could wait.

“Heda wanted me to take a mate for the longest time,” she laughed ruefully, thinking back to all the times Titus had paraded Omegas around Polis when she visited, or simply stuffed them into her bed, “she hounded me to take one. But none of the people I met calls to me as deeply as you do.”

“Are you trying to seduce me, Alpha?” Abby asked, her tone lighter. The girl brazen demeanor was oddly endearing and she found herself smiling down at the Alpha who grinned back, saying nothing.  

She was aware that Luna had been holding her hand for long minutes now, conscious of how close they were, and the realization that a part of her craved more of the Alpha’s touch scared her to death. And yet it had been so long since she had been touched by anyone with care, since she had felt another’s lips lay kisses everywhere on her, since someone had filled her belly with seed. Her cheeks flushed with embarrassment and desire at the last thought.

Even with Jake shared heats had become rare occurrences after Clarke’s birth and sex outside their respective cycles passionless, as if they were more at ease as friends than lovers, despite what they had shared.

“I am too old for pups,” she grumbled as images of children with her eyes and Luna’s unruly hair filled her mind, making her heart tender with desire.

“We will have them only if you want to,” Luna replied, before lowering her eyes to the floor, “we don’t even have to sleep together unless you want to,” she felt a lump of ice grow to fill her throat as she muttered the words out, “Heda will be content with seeing the mating bite on our throats. Whatever else happens, is between us, even if it’s nothing.”  

“But I wouldn’t be content with that,” Abby husked, all too aware of the aching loneliness haunting her heart, waiting to pounce on her and consume her if she refused Luna’s offer. Jake’s death had hit her hard and she’d become cold and clinical. She had buried her feelings and the things troubling her heart under long hours in the med bay, struggling to remain soft enough so that her pup would know how it was to be treated with kindness.  

She was tired of hiding the holes that life had dug inside her chest, wanting them filled and finally healed. Hope flickered inside her chest, and loneliness receded.

“I think I forgot how to just... be with someone.” Abby’s voice quivered with her confession and Luna knew the Omega wasn’t referring to sex, or at least not only to that. She had the impression that the healer had kept up a strong facade through many years, first for her pup and her patients and then, once she had come to Earth, for her people as a whole. The Alpha knew how demanding it was to be the leader everyone looked to in times of need, especially when there was nobody to lean on, be fragile with. They could do that for each other.

“I’ll be gentle,” Luna whispered back, raising a shaky hand to stroke Abby’s cheek, “nothing has to happen that you don’t want.” She pulled her fingers back just as the Omega leaned into her touch and smiled gently. “how long since you have eaten?”

Abby blinked, surprised. She had expected the Alpha to do away with niceties and lean in demanding a kiss now that they seemed to have reached a tentative understanding, but the girl had pulled back, inquiring about her wellbeing instead. It seemed that Luna really meant what she had said, and the Omega found that she liked that a lot.

“I am not sure.” She replied with candor. She had a vague memory of eating something in the early morning, but then her stomach had clamped shut with worry and even the mere sight of the heaps of food at the feast had been enough to make her nauseous.

“Then we eat,” Luna sentenced, before standing and pulling her to her feet. Abby had a second to register what was happening, but no time to oppose the Alpha’s arms slipping around her waist as Luna swiftly moved behind her, sitting down and pulling her onto her lap.

“Eat.” The Alpha repeated, pulling the plate towards them and pointing, “or I swear I’ll feed you myself.”

Abby felt heat rise up her neck to spill across her face, and she was grateful for the fact that Luna had wrapped the cloak tightly around herself before sitting. Still, she was acutely aware of the girl’s hardening bulge poking her ass, and squirmed a little, pressing her thighs together as she felt her underwear grow uncomfortably damp. She saw Luna’s slender fingers reach for the food, obviously meaning to go through with her threat and swatted the Apha’s hand away with an exasperated sigh.

“Fine, fine! I’ll eat,”  she picked up a piece of bread then froze, realizing that she’d hit the Alpha even if it had been in jest. The Omega’s back clenched and she bit her lip, dropping her gaze to the tabletop, afraid to see the familiar, primal anger twisting Luna’s face. She’d seen it lurk inside Marcus’ eyes every time they disagreed, a dark cloud hanging over her head right before the downpour, and the grounder Alpha had seemed so different thus far that she didn’t want the illusion to end.

“Abi,” it was the first time Luna said her name, and on the girl’s tongue it acquired a softer, liquid lilt that sent ripples down Abby’s spine.

Luna tightened her hold around the Omega’s waist, purring reassuringly, her other hand finding Abby’s own and taking it gently, entwining her fingers with the healer’s. She had smirked at Abby’s display of willfulness when she’d slapped her hand off the plate, enjoying the small defiance, but her smile had curled into a sneer as she had felt the Omega seize with fright in her arms.

“I would never hurt you,” a slight burr clung to her words at the thought someone may have, “I will never hit you.” She squeezed Abby’s hand lightly, then let silence descend around them, feeling the Omega gradually slump against her.

When she was sure the woman had calmed down, she disentangled her fingers slowly, picking up the piece of bread Abby had dropped on the plate and holding it up to the Omega’s lips.

“Eat,” she urged softly, her eyes never leaving the Omega’s. Abby leaned in and took the bread in her mouth without arguing further, closing her eyes as she chewed. Luna took that chance to enjoy the look of undiluted pleasure that crossed the older woman’s features. That bread was a typical Trikru treat, its dough enriched with nuts and dried raisins. The Alpha had seen the gruel that passed for food among the skayons and she promised herself she would have Abby taste even better dishes once she took her to see the ocean and her lands. She vowed she would make her mate happy, even if it took her a lifetime. She felt a tingle where Abby’s lips had brushed her fingertips, and rubbed them together with a small sigh, a steady throb building between her thighs.

“Why are you doing this?” Abby asked almost shyly, breaking her train of thought. She had angled her face slightly downward, so that strands of brown hair descended like a curtain to obscure her features, but Luna could still see the Omega’s eyes, attentively measuring her actions.

“Aren’t mates supposed to take care of each other?” Luna replied with a playful smile, deciding she would feed a piece of tart cheese to the Omega next. She couldn’t wait to see Abby’s face as the bitterness spread into her mouth.

“What if I am too old for you? What if you are too young?”

Luna laughed and Abby huffed at her amusement, a frown digging small creases on her forehead. “I am not that young,” the Alpha stated, carding a hand through Abby’s hair, “Alphas my age already have sired pups. More than one litter in some cases, too.” She leaned forward and nuzzled against Abby’s clothed stomach, right below her breasts, savoring the Omega’s warmth. “And you are beautiful, not old.” She mumbled, voice roughened by desire and cheeks flushed by her rut.

“Flatterer,” Abby looked down at the girl, fondness spreading inside her, heart pounding at the feeling of Luna’s lips against her stomach despite the layer of clothes separating them. When the Alpha’s eyes met hers, pupils blown out by a hunger no amount of food could sate, Abby’s body quickened, slick seeping through her panties and down her inner thighs. The Alpha looked indomitable and restless like the sea Abby had only seen movies and scientific recordings on the Ark, taut like a spring ready to release in a heartbeat and yet there was something tender and soothing in the way Luna’s hands moved on her never making her feel threatened. Even with Jake, who had never raised so much as a finger on her, there had always been a darker undercurrent, but the tension building between her and Luna was of an entirely different kind.

“Is it working?” The Alpha flirted, coyness filling bottomless eyes with flakes of swirling gold.

“Yes,” Abby sighed. She moved before she could reconsider, choosing to trust the instinctual part of herself over the clinical. She stood, but only so that she could turn to face the Alpha fully then, throwing one leg across Luna’s lap she sat back down, straddling the girl and pinning her to the chair. Resting her forearms on Luna’s shoulders, she closed the distance between them, lips brushing against the Alpha’s, tongue flicking out to trace Luna’s lower lip.

Luna almost jumped when Abby turned to straddle her, feeling the Omega’s mound drag briefly against her bulge. She had not expected the Omega to take things in her own hands so abruptly, but welcomed the change. She had always liked her lovers to have fire and she was sure that Abby would prove more than an equal match for her, in and out of bed.

As the woman’s tongue dragged slowly across her lower lip, the part of her that had held her Alpha urges back to avoid scaring Abby away, snapped and an animalistic whine spilled from her chest as she readily parted her lips, desperately inviting the Omega to a deeper exploration.

Abi ,” she groaned, hands falling to the Omega’s hips, gripping them firmly. Then she had no more breath to talk, as it was stolen from her lungs by an ardent flick of the Omega’s tongue, as it delved into her mouth, seeking to tangle with her own. She obliged gladly, sucking and nipping, teeth dragging across the Omega’s lips as they got lost into one another for long moments.

They were forced to break away, panting raggedly to fill themselves with air, then Abby was rocking her hips, grinding against her and Luna moaned, tugging at the hem of Abby’s shirt with eager hands, quietly begging the Omega with her eyes.

Abby pulled back, gasping for breath, her heat growing to a fire that raged higher with each swipe of Luna’s expert tongue. Her shirt was drenched, so soaked it clung to her back and she picked at it fastidiously, before hooking her hands at the bottom to peel it off and throw it to the side.

Immediately, she felt warm, calloused hands palm her stomach and breasts, kneading her nipples through the fabric of her bra and she pressed into the touch, nuzzling her face into Luna’s neck. She had to stifle a laugh as she felt the Alpha’s fingers move to her back to engage in a fight with the clasps of her bra, Luna’s constant purrs turning into a low snarl as she helplessly tried to tug them loose.

“What is this evil thing?” The Alpha grumbled to herself, “bindings are much simpler to get rid of.”

Abby didn’t have time to think of an adequate retort, the sound of ripping fabric making her gasp and shiver, hips jerking as her sex gushed with arousal. There was a flash of annoyance at the thought that Luna had just shredded her best bra, but everything was forgiven as she felt the Alpha’s nails scratch her back, before the girl’s hands moved to toss the ruined fabric away and cup her freed breasts. She kissed Luna’s neck, the Alpha’s musk clouding her thoughts, then her tongue darted out and she licked the salt off the girl’s skin with a satisfied hum.

Luna quivered as she felt Abby’s lips graze the side of her neck, smirking secretly when her hands tore the fabric of the healer’s strange bindings to shreds, causing the Omega to melt with her display of strength. Her nails scratched down Abby’s spine, before she brought her hands around, palming the Omega’s full breasts, watching her nipples harden into quivering buds she yearned to suckle and bite.

The Alpha angled her head to give Abby’s lips more access and stilled when she felt the older woman’s tongue slide along the swollen gland under her jaw.

Abby felt the Alpha stiffen under her and stopped what she was doing, realizing she had licked across the scent gland buried under Luna’s jaw. Her mouth filled with drool at the idea of biting into it, binding the girl to her so that all the empty spaces between her bones would stop hurting, but she would not do it without Luna’s explicit permission, even if their mating was part of the alliance.

She made to pull back. but then Luna’s hand was clasping the nape of her neck firmly, pushing her into the warm crook of the Alpha’s throat.

“Do it.” Luna whispered into Abby’s ear, lips latching onto her earlobe and sucking lightly, “I want to be yours, Abi.”

There was a place, buried deep inside Abby’s chest, that had hardened like a multifaceted diamond around all the hurt and grief she’d accumulated throughout the years. She had kept it buried, hidden and out of sight, but at Luna’s words it broke into a thousand pieces, each shard poised to bleed her dry. She let out a muffled, broken sob, each cut burning, like a thousand fires, bones turning to ashes within the sheath of her muscles and then her teeth bit down, harsh and cruel like the emotions ripping her insides to shreds.

Victus and blood spurted across her tongue and she swallowed Luna’s essence, feeling it run like saltwater down her throat. She was dimly aware of Luna’s teeth piercing her neck, a flash of pain electrifying her spine for an instant, but then her nose was full of the girl’s scent, and her mind swirled with the Alpha’s thoughts.

Images flickered across her vision - a village huddled atop great cliffs, the ocean roaring white and foamy down below, and small ships braving the waves to fish and ride the wind filling their colorful sails.

Pain trickled away, and she slowly pulled back blinking the room back into focus. She felt lightheaded with the intensity of the connection and when their eyes met, she could tell that Luna felt the same way.

“The sky…” the Alpha licked her lips, voice thick with disbelief, “is it really so black and limitless?”

“Is the ocean really that blue?” she countered, a soft smile tugging at the corner of her lips. She could see it whenever she closed her eyes, and the blood roaring inside her ears became the crashing of a stormfront against bleached cliffs.

“I will take you to see it,” Luna affirmed, leaning in to lick the blood trickling down Abby’s chest, “if you want?”

“I would like to,” Abby smirked, running her fingers through Luna’s curls, “but first perhaps… you could just take me .”

“Ah,” Luna jogged her hips upwards, dragging her bulge across Abby’s mound and the Omega whimpered, “turning my own flirts against me.”

Before Abby could reply, Luna gently pushed her off her lap, standing and backing her towards the wall as she shed her cloak.

She was aware of how erect her cock had become as they kissed, and the cool air of the room hardened it further. Clear droplets of pre-cum already coated its tip, and slowly dripped down her shaft. She grinned when she noticed that Abby’s eyes had widened slightly as the Omega took her all in.

Abby’s breath came in short, ragged bursts as she watched the Alpha shed her cloak, revealing herself again. Luna’s skin was tanned, and lean muscles flexed and jumped as she stalked up to her, hips swaying seductively. The angular letters covering her body only heightened its beauty, and the Omega could not tear her eyes away, legs growing weak as she registered the thickness of Luna’s cock. Its tip shimmered with pre-cum and she wondered how the girl would taste on her tongue, if the saltiness of her skin would be matched by that of her seed.

Luna’s hands went to the healer’s hips as she pressed firmly into her, bracketing Abby against the wall. She began to grind slowly, feeling the heat gather between the Omega’s legs despite the pants she was still wearing.

“You’re overdressed,” she growled, scattering open mouthed kisses along the older woman’s collarbone, causing the healer to arch into her body, head thrown back and eyes fluttering close in pleasure.

“Be a good Alpha and help your mate then,” Abby shot back, hips rolling forward, clawing a guttural moan out of Luna’s mouth. She pressed herself back into the wall, shuddering as the uneven wood scraped between her shoulder blades and reached down, fingertips grazing along Luna’s shaft before cupping the girl firmly and fisting upwards in a slow, almost lazy pump.

Luna’s fingers slid along the waist of her new mate’s pants and she unbuttoned them hurriedly, faltering when she felt Abby’s hand close around her shaft. She moaned and jogged her hips, keening softly as the Omega began to pump her cock in the most tortuous way possible.

“What are you stopping for?” The Omega chuckled, fingertips stroking the swollen tip of Luna’s member, “do you... need a hand?”

Luna covered Abby’s smirking mouth with her own, biting harshly on her mate’s lower lip with a snarled warning. Abby only tugged her cock harder in response and the Alpha pulled the unbuttoned pants off the Omega’s hips, rolling them down Abby’s legs along with her underwear, breaking the heated kiss to kneel down and lick every inch of skin she bared. It wasn’t long before the fabric pooled at the Omega’s feet and she could step out of it. Luna missed the feeling of Abby’s hand around her cock, but as the Omega stood before her, naked and quivering with nowhere to run, the Alpha focused on a bigger prize.

Luna grasped Abby’s hips firmly, hand sliding between her legs to cup her sex and squeeze, before following with her mouth. She licked her mate’s drenched slit with abandon, tongue unfurling to  paint long strokes, pushing through Abby’s folds and exploring her sex from swollen, throbbing clit to dripping entrance. The Omega tasted sweet yet cool and soothing where Luna had expected scorching heat. She thought she could drink of her forever, but her mate’s legs were quivering too badly and she feared Abby would spill onto the floor if she didn’t fill her soon.

Abby moaned and thrust against her mate’s searching tongue willingly, arousal quickly coating Luna’s lips, gushing into her mouth. The Alpha pulled away and made a show of licking her lips slowly, never taking her eyes away from the Omega’s. They were responding to one another, bodies aching with need, but having mated before helped their minds retain a measure of clarity as she rose to her feet and they began to map each other with deliberate touches, soft moans and high pitched sighs filling the room.

Luna felt Abby’s fingers rub a spot along her shoulder, and noticing the Omega’s perplexed frown she giggled.

“Don’t worry, they did not tattoo the terms of our alliance on my skin. A good wash will take care of the ink,” she pecked Abby’s forehead, “perhaps you could help?”

“If you are good, perhaps I could,” Abby replied, voice dripping with mirth.

Luna growled, slotting herself firmly between her mate’s legs, cock scraping along Abby’s slit. Without speaking, she fitted her hands under the older woman’s ass and lifted, using the wall to help herself. Abby gave a surprised yelp, but then her legs wrapped around the Alpha’s waist hands going to her shoulders for support.

Luna groaned, feeling the heat between Abby’s legs against the tip of her cock, and she had to fight against herself to not thrust forward and bury her shaft inside the Omega in one stroke. The woman was so soaked for her, Luna was quite sure her sex would take her cock easily, but she couldn’t guarantee her own legs wouldn’t buckle if she was sheathed inside Abby’s welcoming heat too suddenly

Abby couldn’t help the hiccup of surprise at being lifted so swiftly, but she had quickly realized what Luna intended and clamped her legs around her mate’s hips, drawing the girl flush against her. She gasped when the engorged tip of Luna’s cock began to push at her entrance, and rolled her hips forward, craving her mate’s thick shaft inside her. She had not been with anyone in so long, and the emptiness in her belly was of terrible proportions, an impossible void that seemed to suck life away from her.

She hid her face into the safe, damp space of her mate’s neck, sucking on the mating bite and nodding against her skin to tell Luna she was ready.

The Alpha’s cock entered her slowly, or at least as slowly as Luna managed, but then the Alpha’s arms slackened momentarily, trembling with the effort of holding her up, or perhaps overwhelmed by sensation, and Abby slid down on her hard length, taking every inch of her mate’s shaft inside her.

The burn of the stretch was quickly forgotten as Luna began to move inside her, thrusting deeper with each snap of her hips. Abby’s fingernails dug grooves on Luna’s shoulders and she promised herself to soothe them later, when they were somewhere more comfortable.

“Goddess,” Luna panted into her ear, “you’re perfect.”

“Stop flattering me, dear,” Abby bit her mate’s earlobe, tugging it lightly between her teeth, “you’ve already gotten inside my pants.”

Luna dipped her head, nipping and sucking along  the dips of Abby’s collarbone as she thrust, hips jerking in an increasingly faster rhythm until neither of them had any breath left to talk. Abby’s eyes shut tight as the first edges of her release began to ripple down her spine. She felt heat gather at the base of the Alpha’s cock and knew the knot was about to form. It wasn’t usually this fast, but they had danced around each other for most of the night, and their bodies were tired of being denied fulfillment.  

She would take it, she would take everything Luna gave her.

The thought was enough to send her over the edge and she came, clamping hard around Luna’s throbbing cock, head thrown back and mouth open in a soundless scream.

The Alpha stilled inside her, cradling her as she shook and whimpered in the throes of her release, then as her walls ceased their mad fluttering, she felt Luna begin to pull out and her head whipped up.

“What are you doing?”

“I…” Luna tried to gather her thoughts, but the pounding in her cock was becoming unbearable, the tightening of her balls painful, “I am natblida ,” she gasped through gritted teeth, “even if you took the tea to prevent it, pups may still come.” Abby’s eyes were dark and the woman looked so beautiful and open like that, impaled as she was onto her cock that it took Luna all of her self-control to not empty herself inside the Omega’s womb.

She barked in pain when Abby’s hands left her shoulders and grasped her ass, nails raking her skin.

“Don’t you dare pull out.” The healer hissed, eyes clouding with the beginning of a raging storm.

“If you get with pup…”

“Then your All-Mother willed it.” Abby cut her off, and Luna moaned all of her desire at the finality of her mate’s words. Then the skayon’s mouth was on hers, tongue thrusting harshly against her own, claiming the kiss for herself. The Alpha’s chest quivered with a rumble and she ground her hips in a tight, circular motion, coating her forming knot with Abby’s slick. She felt the muscles of her mate’s opening resist briefly before they stretched, to snapped around her blistering hot flesh as she pushed one final time, and as her knot popped inside the Omega she came with a howl, shooting thick ropes of her cum deep into Abby’s womb.

Abby felt spurt after spurt of Luna’s cum fill her belly and another orgasm swept her away like flotsam on the tide. She pressed down hard against the Alpha’s cock, mewling weakly when Luna’s knot rubbed a particular spot on her front wall and clenched impossibly tight, gasping at how thick the Alpha’s shaft felt inside her, as her quaking muscles milked her of every drop.

Ever so slowly Luna’s hips stopped moving and Abby slumped forward with relief, back aching from having scratched repeatedly against the wooden wall.

The Alpha’s arms tightened around her reassuringly as they both struggled to regain their breath and the Omega turned her head to the side, nipping softly along her mate’s jaw.

Luna jogged her hips lightly and she moaned, instinctively grinding her own body forward in response. She couldn’t fathom how Luna had managed to stay upright while holding her in her arms.

“As fun as this was,” she grunted, voice cracked with thirst, “my back hurts.”

“No round two?” Luna’s smile seemed to illuminate the entire room and Abby quirked an eyebrow, a grin dawning on her lips. They would be tied for some time and she could tell that her mate had more to give her from the way Luna’s cock still pulsed inside her slit.

“Take this old woman to bed first, then we will see.”

*******************************

Clarke woke to the feeling of gentle fingers, sliding along her ribs and then lower, stopping to rub gentle circles on her belly.

“Five more minutes…” she mumbled, burying her face into the furs with a small groan. The fingers kept touching her insistently, skating back up between her breasts and to her shoulder, before the blonde felt lips kiss everywhere on the side of her face that was reachable.

“Mmm.”

She turned slightly, nuzzling into warm skin, and hot breath ghosted along her jawline, then a soft, wet tongue flicked her earlobe, whispered words she yet couldn’t understand coaxing her to wakefulness.

The first thing Clarke noticed when she finally opened her eyes was the absence of the rut’s painful gnawing along her bones, the all encompassing need to fuck her mate and breed her.

Her mate.

The concept was still foreign enough for her mind to give it pause, but even though the sleepy part of her insisted that this was all a dream, Lexa’s emotions, pulsing in a tight bundle at the base of her skull told her it was true.

She felt sore and achy from too much sex, but the heaviness pervading her muscles was pleasant and satisfying. Her Omega cuddled into her side, body lifted on an elbow so that she could look down at Clarke and the blonde smiled when their eyes met, right before her jaws were cracked wide open by a powerful yawn.

“Good morning, Klark ,” Lexa bent down to rest her forehead against hers and Clarke took a shuddering breath, heart quickening with her mate’s closeness. The Omega’s eyes were full of the verdant green of new spring, bright and soft and open, a stark contrast from the brooding hunter green, bronze-specked and smoldering like a forest on fire of the night before.

The blonde closed the distance without thought and fiery sparks filled her lungs as they kissed. It was gentle and leisurely, lacking the urgency of their mating, but it settled the little kernel of doubt that still squirmed inside the Alpha’s chest. This was real, Lexa was real.

“We’re mated,” she blurted stupidly against the Omega’s lips, and Lexa pulled back blinking slowly.

“Sha,” the brunette buried her face against Clarke’s neck and the blonde realized she was trying to hide a blush. Her arms went instinctively around her mate, and Clarke held her tightly, nails lightly scratching down Lexa’s back.

“I am sorry Klark,” the Omega’s voice was somewhat muffled, but the words still reached Clarke’s ears and she coaxed Lexa’s face up so that they could look each other in the eyes. The brunette’s hand rose, stroking her cheek and Clarke whined softly.

“I wish there could have been another way,” Lexa murmured, “when I had heard what you had done...when my people started to call you Wanheda, I knew I wanted you to be the one.” Her fingers moved along the curve of Clarke’s neck until they found the mating bite, “although All-Mother knows I wish we could have come together under different circumstances.”

If Titus heard her say these words out loud he would have a fit, but just because they may make her look weak that didn’t mean they were less true. And Lexa didn’t care about being weak in front of her Alpha, at least not when they were alone like this, souls bared like this. She felt Clarke’s seed pulse deep inside her belly and she wanted them to be more than mates out of necessity when the pup or pups came. But to have that she needed Clarke to understand that what she had done, had been the only road left by their people’s mutual stubborness, the only way to avoid more bloodshed.

Clarke let Lexa’s words sink in, eyes never leaving her mate’s. Just hours before she’d have dismissed the Omega’s apologies as an easy excuse to smooth things over between them. Part of her still felt keenly hurt by the ritual they had been subjected to, and volunteering for it had not helped prepare her for its brutality. But now that they were mated Clarke could feel the sincerity behind Lexa’s actions, and even a sliver of fear. The Omega was clearly afraid that, with her rut settled, Clarke would keep her at arm's length until their biology forced them in the same bed again. Yet the blonde wanted this to work, she wanted her and Lexa to eventually be happy with their mating, not look at it like something to regret for the rest of their lives. Perhaps she wasn’t ready to say it out loud, but she wanted to love Lexa, find a life and a place among the grounders.

Clarke and her fellow Alphas had bought survival for their people, and they all deserved something that went beyond that. They deserved to live.

“What’s done is done,” she placed her hands on Lexa’s shoulders and flipped them over, leaning down to kiss the mating bite she had left on the Omega’s neck, more to hide the wetness veiling her eyes than anything, even though she felt a pressing need to keep touching Lexa, “but where we go from here is up to us.”

She raised her gaze in time to see a single tear run down Lexa’s cheek, then the Omega nodded and Clarke’s chest was flooded with relief.

“And where would you like to go?” Lexa couldn’t help but tease the Alpha a little, her heart swollen to bursting with relief. Clarke was willing to accept her apology, ready to work with her to build a relationship that went beyond need.

“Down,” the blonde replied promptly, a smug gleam brightening her eyes to the azure of a summer sky. Lexa let out a small gasp at the implication, and felt her sex ache in anticipation as Clarke moved to shimmy down her body.

“Wait,” she managed, licking her lips, “I have to leave soon...there are…” she felt the Alpha’s tongue lick between her breasts and her words evaporated, hips rocking into her mate in response. Clarke was only half-laying on top of her, but Lexa felt her mate’s cock brush against the top of her thigh and start to harden. “Meetings,” she gulped, “things we..n-need to see to,” Clarke’s teeth closed around one of her nipples and she let out a harsh pant, “before winter…”

“I don’t know much about Earth’s weather,” Clarke crooned, letting Lexa’s hardened nipple fall from her mouth with a wet pop, “but I am sure we can fit in a quickie.”

She felt herself harden at her own words, but as tempting as the thought of Lexa’s tight heat around her cock was, that was not what she was after, not this time.

Besides, now that her rut wasn’t fogging her mind anymore, she needed some time to adjust to the idea of having a cock. She had read the medical manuals, and listened to her mother’s explanations, but knowing that once she had a mate her member would become permanent and actually going through the whole thing were quite different things.Having never gone through a full rut before meant she had never really known how a cock between her legs would feel. If she was completely honest, she wanted to play with it a bit, but without Lexa watching. She didn’t want her Omega to think she was completely green (because she wasn’t!) and she didn’t know what her mother had disclosed of the Ark’s practices regarding cycles’ regulations and suppressants.

Ignoring Lexa’s protests, which were becoming weaker by the second anyway, she brought her head back down, flicking and nipping every inch of her mate’s breasts that she could reach. Still, the Omega’s words had rung true and, aware that they were pressed for time, she left the brunette's chest behind, trailing sloppy kisses down her middle.

By the time she reached the spot where inner thigh and pelvis connected, the Omega was a mess of shivers and breathless moans, her legs falling wide open in invitation as any form of resistance was abandoned.

Clarke took what Lexa offered greedily, pressing open-mouthed kisses along the brunette’s slit, tongue unfurling in the most intimate of worships.

She flicked the outside of Lexa’s vulva gently, tracing its contours with the tip of her tongue, and its folds parted for her, delicate and moist like the petals of a rose blooming under a warm sun.

Clarke lapped at the slick glistening along the slit of Lexa’s sex, savoring the taste and texture that were so completely her Omega’s and yet different than what they had been during the heat.

The brunette’s arousal was thinner for one thing, more watery, and the metallic tang she’d tasted before was gone, replaced by a sweeter note. She ran her tongue down towards Lexa’s dripping entrance and then back up, stopping just short of her mate’s clit.

Lexa grunted, frustration building into her belly as she felt Clarke’s tongue explore her folds without really going where she wanted it. Her hand fell onto her mate’s head and she grabbed a handful of pale tresses and tugged roughly, signalling her impatience.

She could have sworn that Clarke’s shoulders lifted in mirth at her gesture, but the next moment thoughts fled her mind, her mate’s hot mouth closing around her swelling clit.

Between her mate’s legs, Clarke smirked silently, welcoming the pang of pain that spread across her scalp as Lexa tugged urgently at her hair. It meant that the Omega really wanted her outside of her heat, and she complied eagerly, lips closing around the quivering bud of her mate’s clit. She felt it throb against her tongue and sucked it harshly, eliciting a strangled yelp from Lexa, her own heartbeat accelerating to match the Commander’s.

She circled the sensitive tip with her tongue, then pressed the flat of it against the engorged bit of flesh, painting it with deliberately slow strokes. Lexa’s hips bucked upwards, meeting every swipe of her tongue and the Omega whined, thighs beginning to shake with building pressure.

“Inside...beja Klark… inside,” Lexa groaned between each thrust of her hips. Clarke pulled back, laying tender kisses along the inside of her thighs, hands fitting under the Omega to cup her firm ass and lift her further up.

“If I did, I’d never want to pull out,” she replied, voice dripping with desire, “that wouldn’t be quick, now would it?”

Before Lexa could reply and erode her resolve, she descended on her mate’s drenched sex like a pillager at war. Her tongue worked her mate’s sex relentlessly, swirling around the swollen clit then lapping downward and back up again, the contractions that began to ripple across the Omega’s sex signalling imminent defeat. Clarke’s tongue moved lower, easily slipping past the brunette’s clenching entrance so that she could lave her inner walls, cajoling more of the Omega’s slick out and into her mouth.

She moved one of her hands to Lexa’s mound, pressing the pad of her thumb against the brunette’s clit. Clarke started with feather-like touches, but as the ripples along Lexa’s inner walls increased, she handled her lover more roughly, her fingers pinching and tugging her clit.

Clarke curled her tongue against Lexa’s front wall, wishing that she could reach deeper but not willing to switch places with her hand. Her Omega tasted too good and she wanted to drink every last drop.

Lexa’s fingers flexed into her scalp, scratching lightly and then the brunette unraveled into her mouth with a strangled cry. Clarke felt the Omega’s thighs tremble with the waves of her pleasure, hips jerking upward as she offered herself completely to the Alpha’s hungry mouth. Clarke took everything her mate gave her, slurping greedily, juices dripping down her chin, and when Lexa’s cries tapered off into softer moans, the blonde crawled up her shaking body, pulling her into the harbor of her arms.

Flashes of white light stole Lexa’s sight away as she was swept by her release, her spine splitting with it like a tree trunk struck by lightning. She arched up, reduced to nothing by her own pleasure, suddenly afraid that every part of her would tear off into a different direction.

Then Clarke’s arms were around her, pulling her back together, and she clung to her mate with all the strength left into her quivering body. The Alpha eased her back down onto the bed, and Lexa turned her head, seeking her mate’s lips.

She flicked her tongue along Clarke’s lower lip, requesting entrance and the blonde allowed it readily, their tongues sliding softly against one another as Lexa savored her own taste.

“I have to get ready,” the Omega whispered, pulling back reluctantly, “but I will be back as soon as I can.” She didn’t want to leave, but begged Clarke with a look, hoping the Alpha would understand she wasn’t running away from anything.

“I want you with me,” Lexa added, hands going to her lover’s shoulders, squeezing tightly, “after...after today Skaikru will have a seat in my council. Your mother will be needed back in your camp with winter coming, and technically it should be Kane...but I’d rather it was you.” She didn’t mention Luna, or the fifth Alpha - there would be time to deal with that after she had made sure her plan had gone through and there was an alliance to speak of. Besides Clarke’s mother may want to tell her daughter herself.

“Because Wanheda should stand by Heda’s side?” Clarke said, a hint of mockery tinting her words, but with a genuine smile plastered on her lips.“Because the Omega would like her Alpha within reach.” Lexa leaned in for another kiss, before rolling unsteadily out of bed with a sigh. Her mate was barely out of arm’s reach, but she felt her heart grow heavy at the thought she’d have to be without her, even for a few hours. Anya had explained to her in detail what would happen once she was mated and that, especially in the beginning, she and her Alpha wouldn’t be able to stay far from each other for long. It could become very painful, or so her General had put it, emphasizing that the need to constantly touch each other even out of sex was completely normal.

As she stood, she noticed the erection between Clarke’s legs, and couldn’t help but smirk a little.

“A pity I won’t have time to take care of that until tonight.”

Clarke grunted, following Lexa’s gaze, watching as a few droplets of pre-cum leaked from the divot on the tip. Eating the brunette out had aroused her more than she’d thought possible, and for a moment she regretted not giving in to the Omega’s pleas. The thought that Lexa would be out of her sight, if only for a few hours, made her stomach lurch, and she almost followed out of bed to wrap her arms around Lexa and drag her back on the furs.

“It seems I have miscalculated.” She husked weakly, swiping her tongue across her teeth to gather the last traces of Lexa’s release. She shimmied to the edge of the bed and sat there, watching Lexa walk towards the table that held a water pitcher and a basin for a quick wash.

There was a full mirror next to it that she had not noticed while she was held in the clutches of her rut, but now she appreciated the fact that it afforded her a view of her mate even as Lexa’s back was turned. The Omega was lean and beautiful, her skin sun kissed and every time she moved Clarke followed the ripple of muscles toned by training and a warrior life. She wonder how much softer she looked by comparison. The Alpha’s eyes travelled down her mate’s spine, mentally tracing the lines of the tattoo adorning her back. She wondered what it meant, and made a note to ask when they would have time, in the evening perhaps.

“Can I help?” She asked, somewhat guiltily, worried at the thought that Lexa would now have to rush and trying to ignore the dull throb between her legs. She shifted, resisting the urge to adjust herself, and gasped softly when her cock slapped lightly against her belly.  

“Actually yes.” Lexa bent down, offering the Alpha a full view of her ass, then she turned and Clarke saw she had picked something off the floor. The blonde frowned as the unknown object landed on her lap and, when she lifted it, she realized it was the same pair of panties Lexa had discarded at the start of her heat.

“Uh..you want me...to dress you?” But the fabric was smeared with traces of the Omega’s slick, and surely Heda would want to wear clean clothes for her meetings.

But Lexa had turned back towards the mirror and, dipping a cloth into the water basin, she began to wipe herself down.

“I want you to touch yourself for me as I wash,” she said in a cool voice, as if she was asking Clarke to comb her hair. Her eyes though were anything but cold, “I want you to cum into my undergarments. Perhaps I won’t have time to care for you myself until later,” she added as Clarke’s mouth fell open in muted surprise, “but what kind of mate would I be if I left you to fend for yourself in that state?”

The blonde didn’t need more encouragement than Lexa’s hungry stare, reflected back into her own. She brought the panties to her nose, inhaling deeply of Lexa’s scent. It thoroughly stained the cloth, trapped between the warp and woof and went straight to the Alpha’s head, causing a soft burr to tickle the back of her throat. The fabric was so soaked with the Omega’s musk that one breath of it was all it took for her cock to harden further, to the point it began to ache. Clarke brought her other hand down between her legs, coating her fingers in her own pre-cum before wrapping a hand around her shaft, spreading the silken fluid along its length in rough, twisting strokes. She grunted, watching her eyes darken to a stormy, silver-flecked blue with lust and hunger, jogging her hips up to find more friction. It didn’t take long at all for pressure to build at the base of her cock, for her balls to tighten with heat and the urgency of release. Clarke closed her eyes, tilting her head back, bringing the hand holding Lexa’s panties over the tip of her member, so that when she would release she would do it all over something belonging to her mate as Lexa had requested.

Suddenly her pumping hand was covered by another one and her eyes flew open.

Lexa was standing so close she was almost between her legs and the Omega’s hand kept up the pace she had set without a moment’s hesitation, her other hand grasping the nape of Clarke’s neck, pushing her head forwards so that she was nuzzling into the brunette’s sculpted belly.

“Come for me, Klark.”

She did, screaming her release against Lexa’s cool skin, painting the Omega’s panties with thick spurts of milky cum.

Her mate’s hand didn’t stop milking her until Clarke was empty, then Lexa stepped back, peeling the ruined fabric off the tip of the blonde’s cock with a knowing smirk.

She could only watch mesmerized as the older girl brought the dripping cloth to her mouth, tongue darting out to sample her essence, before she began to suck her cum off the fabric greedily and swallowed it with a pleased hum. Her cock twitched and Clarke came again with a gasp, making a mess on the floor between them.

Lexa’s hand shot out, pushing her down onto the bed, and the blonde flopped backwards with a small whimper.

Her muscles twitched and ached, cock softening and coming to rest against her thigh. Clarke wanted to watch Lexa dress, but she felt like the mush that passed for food onboard the Ark, barely able to lift a finger.

She listened to her partner putter around the room, recognizing the metal clinking of armor being donned and the scuffle of Lexa’s boots as she stomped her feet into them.

Then Heda was towering above her, green eyes boring down, sharp and hawkish, rendered cutting like honed jade by the black kohl smeared across her face. She looked exactly as she had done when they had been alone the first time, and if Clarke hadn’t experienced the softer side of her firsthand, she would have doubted it existed at all, beneath this savagely brooding veneer. Despite the warm reassurance oozing into her from their bond, she felt as helpless as when she had been chained to the wall.

“You owe me new underwear Alpha,” Lexa’s voice was so terribly cold that Clarke shivered, and the flash of her smile so fleeting the Alpha thought she had imagined it. “And the fucking you refused me earlier,” the Commander added, before whirling away and marching out of the room without a backward glance.

The door clicked shut and Clarke moaned, cock hardening so quickly she began to doubt she was out of her rut at all.

********************************

The bucket thumped hard against her thigh and Raven grunted, shuffling the last few meters to the wooden tub she hadn’t noticed while her mind had been clouded by the rut. It sat in a corner of the room on a raised platform made out of pale stone. She heaved the bucket with a grunt, some of the water sloshing out and down her front. No matter, she was gonna get wet anyway soon enough.

This bucket was the last, she noticed with satisfaction, tub filled enough for the both of them to bathe together. Steam curled lazily into the air and she sighed in anticipation.

“It’s ready,” she shot a look at Anya, who had been watching while lounging on the furs, “but you’ll have to come yourself. I am not carrying you to the tub.” Her leg chose that moment to seize up and she swore softly, dropping the bucket with a clatter.

Suddenly Anya was right behind her, fingers going to the clasps that held her leg brace in place.

“Let me,” the Omega murmured in her ear, before pressing a soft kiss to the mating bite on Raven’s neck, “you took care of the bath, now let me take care of you.”

The Alpha purred softly in response, allowing Anya to pull the leg brace from around her calf. They were both still naked, bodies sticky with hours of sex and dried sweat. Her rut was over, but Raven thought its burnt scent would never leave her nose. She ached to scrub herself clean.

They stepped into the bathtub together, clasping each other’s forearms, Anya somehow managing to make it look like Raven was the one helping her lower herself into the water. The Alpha was grateful, relieved that after what had happened with her rut the Omega was determined to stop treating her like she was made of glass. She hissed as the scalding water burned her skin a little, but then the knot of ruined tendons that always ached within her leg gradually eased and she sighed, content to rest her head against the edge of the tub and soak up the heat.

She began to doze off, sliding deeper into the water, but then the Omega was settling into her lap, lips nuzzling along her jaw.

“Hold me a little?” Anya asked, her hesitant, almost shy demeanour a sharp contrast to the fearsome warrior she was in front of others.

“Always.” Raven’s arms went around the older woman’s waist and they settled against each other, enjoying the way water lapped against their limbs, and occasionally whispering apologies and promises into each other’s ears.

“I think I forgot how to love,” Anya admitted quietly, voice shaking, “I will try to remember for you.”

“I’ve never really loved anyone,” Raven replied with a small, hopeful smile. She hadn’t really, not even Finn. There was a part of her she always held back, having been hurt too many times to let someone touch her so deeply. But she didn’t want to hold back with Anya. “Perhaps we can learn together.”

Anya nodded and cuddled close, and they held each other and rested in the water until it grew too cold for comfort.

********************************

Abby snuggled closer to the Alpha, trying to repress a small shiver.

Luna felt it anyway and propped herself up briefly. pulling a pelt to cover their entwined bodies, before she pulled her mate closer, so that the healer could rest her head on her shoulder

Abby smiled against the Alpha’s warm body, fingers idly tracing the letters that stood out in stark relief despite the tan bronzing Luna’s skin. Some of the words were familiar, if spelled slightly differently than the english she was used to seeing in books, while the meaning of others remained unknown.

She felt Luna’s fingers ghost against the back of her hand, before the Alpha took it firmly and guided it to the opposite shoulder.

“The All-Mother is our witness,” Luna read the oath placed on her skin, their entwined hands outlining each word, “our tribes are now one people.” She felt the Omega falter slightly as their fingers brushed the brand over her heart and rumbled gently. “Through sacrifice, skai and graun have met under a truce flag, in the hope of forging an alliance.” The words snaked over her torso, following the swell of her breasts, then curled across her ribs, “We swear to provide nourishment and protection, heal the sick and wounded, each tribe providing what they can in reciprocity while observing the laws of the All-Mother.” Their hands had reached her belly and she concluded with the softest smile, “so we swear and pray to fill this world with new life.” She didn’t need to see the letters to read the treaty, having helped Lexa to jot it down during one of their numerous meetings.

Abby had listened quietly, almost holding her breath as Luna told her what the words meant. At the mention of new life she felt her loins stir, and it was her turn to guide Luna’s hand, placing it flat against her belly.

“I think your seed may have taken,” she whispered, nuzzling timidly against Luna’s jaw. The Alpha rumbled in contentment, hand rubbing gentle circles on her mate’s belly.

Luna felt the Omega relax against her as sleep wrapped around her like an extra blanket, so she pressed a kiss to the top of Abby’s head, settling down to rest herself.

“All-Mother willing,” she murmured fervently, fingers brushing her mate’s belly one last time. She closed her eyes and slept, and her dreams were full of pups, and all of them had Abby’s gentle eyes.

********************************

The column sneaked slowly through the woods, the trees so thick around them that they couldn’t force the horses further than a steady walk. It was good enough for Clarke though, she thought as she held the reins of her mare in a tight fist. She really wasn’t used to riding yet. They were only a half day ride from Polis now and whenever they topped a rise she could see its Tower, so tall it looked like it was spearing into the sky above.

More celebration awaited them all upon arrival, before the Skaikru delegation would return to their camp for the winter. She and the other newly mated Alphas would remain in the grounder capital during the cold season, to get to know their Omegas better, and hopefully fall helplessly in love with them.

Her mother didn’t seem to have such troubles, or so she thought as she watched Abby and Luna ride side by side a few paces ahead. She had been surprised when she had seen a fresh mating bite of her mother’s neck, but Luna seemed intentioned to treat her well, much better than Marcus ever could have. Clarke didn’t need to twist around in her saddle to know the Skai Alpha was riding sullenly meters behind, brooding eyes fixed on the Omega he never truly had a chance with.

She smirked and nodded to herself. Yes, Luna was a far better mate for her mother.

“They look good together,” Lexa mused with a smile as she followed her gaze.

“They do,” her mother laughed at one of Luna’s quips and Clarke’s heart clenched, eyes filling with burning tears at the sound, “you picked well for her,” she choked out, tearing her gaze away and blinking too rapidly. She could not remember the last time she’d heard her mother laugh. When she was little perhaps, and her father had still been alive. But somehow Clarke knew she’d never heard Abby sound so unburdened.

Lexa whirred softly, the sound so small it almost got lost in the breeze sighing through the forest. She wanted to reach out and soothe her mate, but it wouldn’t do for Heda and Wanheda to show that kind of intimacy in public. Perhaps once in Polis they could begin to bend the rules a little.

“I didn’t choose Luna,” she stated gently, the calming whirr clinging to each word, “she volunteered, as you did. She wanted your mother, Klark.”

“I know,” the blonde nodded, and gave a rueful, sad smile, “I can see that.” She would always mourn her father, but she was happy for her mom. They had all given up so much to help their people, perhaps it was true that coming back to Earth meant more than just surviving.

She spurred her horse forward on a whim, perceiving more than seeing Lexa’s worried look as the beast sped up a little, effectively bracketing her mother between Clarke and the other Alpha.

Luna directed her a wary look and she stared back, her mother squirming uneasily between them. Clarke was the first one to nod, breaking into a smile which Luna reciprocated, much to her relief.

“You look happy,” the blonde said, blue eyes moving to regard her mother carefully.

“So do you.” Abby replied, reaching out to pat her forearm.

Clarke twisted back to look at Lexa, almost falling off the horse in the process.

“I think I am,” she murmured slowly, sending a fond smile in her mate’s direction. The frown that had begun to dig a trench between Lexa’s eyebrows smoothed away.

“I intend to keep your mother that way, Klark.” Luna affirmed softly, words ringing true with promise.

The blonde just nodded, then grinned, a gleam entering her eyes.

“I am not calling you mom though.”

She laughed, Luna joining in after a moment of shocked silence, both of them ignoring Abby’s pained grunt.

“I’ll leave you two to bond ,” the woman huffed, rolling her eyes, “I think I should have a talk with my daughter’s mate anyway.”

Clarke groaned, much to her fellow Alpha’s amusement and watched her mother fall back to ride next to Lexa with a mixture of hope and apprehension.

“They will be fine,” Luna reassured, steadying her on the saddle by putting a hand on her shoulder, “it’ll be fine, Klark.”

They rode on towards Polis and their future and, little by little, Clarke started to believe.