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Caniformes

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Caniformes – Chapter 1

“Arising from Caniformes (Order Carnivora) and Simiiformes (Order Primate),” Cas tilted his voice to his lecturer’s timbre, “and often called, in formal environments, the Lupins and the Simians, or Lupine Sapiens and Homo Sapiens, or to simplify further often called the wolves and the apes by every day folks, the Pack and the Troop, dogs and monkeys, or most frequently on the street - us and them - ” He lowered his chin and raised one eyebrow at her. He had heard her outburst and intended to make sure she knew it. “– we evolved independently in parallel to produce two species that bear remarkable resemblance in ontogeny, capacity, and function to each other despite our very different philological lineage. In other words, while we are all just people, human people, and we look almost the same, we aren’t the same. Simians are recognizable by their rounded ears, their tanned skin, and their long dexterous fingers. Lupins uniformly have points to the tips of their ears, have pale skin that doesn’t tan no matter how much time they spend in the sun, and generally have short and somewhat furry (Hobbit-like) fingers.” He held his hand in front of his face and examined his own thick fingers. “There are more anatomical differences below the surface, but these are the easiest to look for when you meet someone for the first time and want to check him out. Or her. Whatever.”

He was babbling. He stopped speaking to collect himself, and true to expectation, the exasperated woman across his office desk huffed an annoyed sigh into the break. “DOCTOR Novak,” she said with as much disdain as she could fit into two words, “Don’t give me a ninth-grade science lecture. Give me my son back!” Her voice had risen in volume and intensity as she rose from her chair and leaned menacingly over the desk. “I have been very patient with you, but my patience has run out! My son is a minor, and you will return him to me this minute, or I will have the police collect him and charge you with RAPE!”

Castiel wasn’t remotely intimidated, but his Facility didn’t need a protest lawsuit right now, and the boy needed to stay where he was. This is why it’s bad policy to allow Simians to adopt Canine children, he reminded himself. They just don’t understand. You spend your whole adult life educating people about the needs of the Pack. You build the facilities and support structures, the communities and the laws that will protect them. Endless hours spent in research and in front of Congressional committees and eight years into it, you find yourself in front of a woman who should most definitely know better, with your cock still damp from having been tied inside her son’s channel, trying to explain to her why he needs this. Trying to calm her, bring her back to the front part of her brain. That reptilian side of the brain: both species share that. Emotions run high sometimes, and Castiel wasn’t helping. His calm was revving her up even worse. He sighed.

“Mrs. Lister, Jeremy is sixteen years old. You knew this day was coming when he presented as an Omega. I remind you again that as a Lupin, he is a fully-grown adult now. He entered The Facility of his own accord, on his own two feet, with full agency to do so. He is in good hands…”

“It’s not the HANDS I’m so worried about, and you know it, Doctor!” She interrupted, still not retaking her seat. “I know what goes on back there. You wrap it all up in medical words, but you and your dogs are raping him while you keep me here in this office, talking! I’m not leaving until you give me my son back!”

Castiel ran a hand down his face in frustration, then schooled himself back to calm. “Jeremy is in Heat, Mrs. Lister, and he needs care. He is too old – too developed – to go through it alone. The risks are real and substantial. I am very sorry that you and I had no opportunity to discuss Jeremy’s care before he checked himself in, but I assure you that he’s exactly where he needs to be. If he leaves with you, and he doesn’t get the care he needs, he faces physical, mental, and emotional complications – possibly irreversible ones.”

Castiel allowed his voice to grow firm and authoritative. “No one, I repeat NO ONE, is being raped on these premises. Jeremy is being closely monitored with cutting-edge equipment. He’s being repeatedly knotted by highly trained professionals who have only his best interests at heart. That may sound like rape to a Simian, but I promise you it’s not. Jeremy will be claimed – temporarily claimed” he was quick to interject as he saw her face darken again, “by three of our staff-members who will also serve as his instructors over the next twelve weeks.” Castiel paused to allow the new information to sink in, then added, “One of those three instructors is me. I had only just come untied with your son when I was called to my office to speak with you. I assure you, Mrs. Lister, your son is fine. He’s responding well to the claiming process, we’ll provide you and your husband with his full test results, and his Heat is running its course as well as can be expected. But he will not be leaving The Facility for the next three months. He needs this training period more than most wolves his age. To be completely frank, he is woefully behind his peers in understanding his own biology and his place in the Pack. He is in a vulnerable position right now. Were I to allow you to pull him out before he completes the process, he runs the very real risk of insanity and permanent physical damage. It is imperative that you understand this, Ma’am, Omegas can DIE from Heat-distress if they do not receive the care they need.”

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

 

Castiel strode aggressively through the white, over-lit hallway, bursting through swinging doors with a purpose. A portion of his brain that sounded a lot like Dean, noted that he probably looked just like one of the characters from Dr. Sexy responding to a STAT call, and he chuckled to himself despite his stirred state-of-mind. It had taken way too long to get that woman, who never should’ve been granted a Wolf pup to raise in the first place, to give up her tirade. Cas had finally managed to hand her off to Billie and escape. Billie and Charlie would take care of everything; calm her and explain where her Primate maternal instincts were leading her wrong – much better than Castiel was doing. The ignorance that still suffused every part of the common populace was exhausting to Castiel. It’d been five long years since he and a few fellow researchers had started their crusade to apply their findings to real people – to try to lower the mortality and insanity rates of young Lupins.

The Pack had lost so many Omegas over the last 200 years; corresponding with the cultural shifts that brought the Pack out of their rural, forested communal villages and into the cities; corresponding to the Lupin rejection of their old ways in attempts to assimilate with the Primates. 200 years of utter abandonment of Pack wisdom and common cures, their stories, their rituals, their practices, their sacred way of life had resulted in a rapidly disintegrating population of Wolves, trying so hard to be what they’re not, wasting away and going crazy in back allies. They’d traded their sense of Pack for the shiny glass and steel skyscrapers and horseless carriages that the Apes had, and the Pack was suffering for it. Castiel fumed every time he thought about it, and it was raising the hairs on the back of his neck as he busted through another swinging door on his way back to check on the boy. Wolves are not Apes. They need the Pack. They need the hierarchy, the claiming, the discipline, and the sex. Wolves need to be bathed in the semen of their alphas and need to feel the iron-hard hand of their Dominants on their flanks. Every scientific study over the past twenty years showed the same result, in unequivocal terms: Wolves are not Apes.

Cas finally arrived back at the South Wing where new arrivals were processed. He walked straight into the control room between rooms 107 and 108 and addressed Dr. Harvelle who only glanced up at him briefly before turning back to her screens. “How’s he doing?” he asked her.

“He and Jo just untied. The Claim reads strong and clean – not as strong as yours, but... She did a good job with him. He’s clearly straight. Reading his stress-levels and body language, I don’t think he’s ever been with a man before. He was much more relaxed with Jo. Course, he’s only sixteen…might not have been with many people at all yet.”

Cas just Hmmm’d in response. He’d picked up one of the clipboards and was scanning through the readings. Hormone levels, pheromone spikes, musk releases, heart rate all normal for an adolescent in Heat after a solid Claim-Fuck. Cas glanced through the one-way glass into the room. Jo was standing now, dressed in a robe and leaning over the boy’s head. One hand stroked gently through his hair, and he subtly leaned into her touch. Cas couldn’t hear her words, but he trusted her to care for the pup.

Cas had known Jo almost as long as he’d known Dean. Those two were practically a matched set, always together, nearly siblings in their closeness. She was barely more than a pup herself in some ways, but once she presented as an Alpha and her penis had unsheathed for the first time, she learned quickly to harness the power that her secondary gender brought with it.

Jo was good. Very good. Jeremy’s body looked like it had melted into the thin mattress. He was utterly relaxed. Cas resisted the instinct to enter the room and assert his more dominant claim which was fresh enough to pull at him. He wasn’t needed here right now, and everything was under control. He looked back at Ellen in front of the glowing screens.

“Is Jo the last?”

Ellen took a moment to respond and looked a little distracted when she looked up from the report that had her focus. Then her brain caught up with the question. “Uh, yeah. Yes Alpha. Benny followed right after you. No complications, everything went text book. We’ll let him sleep a bit, then we’ll have Charlie clean him up and get him fed before showing him to the dorm. Usual process except we sped it up a lot due to his Heat and in case that nutcase tried to break him out. Was that really his mother storming the castle? What was that all about?”

“Yes.” Cas ground his teeth a bit, then released the tension in his jaw with intention. “She’s not Pack. I have no idea how an Ape couple adopted a wolf-pup, but she apparently tracked him here, as you say, ‘stormed in’, and demanded that we stop raping her son and release him back to her custody. There may be trouble if Billie can’t get her to understand.” He ran a hand down his face again, pressing a bit into his eyes to extinguish the premature premonition of losing everything he and Bobby and Benny and Dean had built.

He blew out a breath and stiffened his posture. That wasn’t going to happen. They’d built it so carefully. They had allies in Congress, in the State Legislature and even locally who had painstakingly put laws in place over the years to protect the Pack from just this sort of Primate interference. They were solid. They were fine. Young Omegas like Jeremy would never again have to face the cold, awful claws of insanity in the face of ignorance and fear. Never again. Cas caught Ellen’s concerned, maternal look and huffed a laugh.

“I’m worried about you, Alpha,” she admitted with a shrug. He smiled kindly and placed a firm, calming hand on the back of the Omega’s neck. Ellen, Dr. Harvelle, was a shining poster-child for the possibilities that were within reach of an Omega who got all the care they needed to thrive. She’d persevered through all the bias and assumption that an Omega was just not capable and come out on the other side a world-renowned researcher with a PhD and a bedside manner unlike anything the betas or alphas could mimic.

Nevertheless, she was still an Omega and still prone to the needs of that designation. An Alpha’s firm touch went a long way to keep her grounded. Castiel never let a single interaction go without touching her. They both needed the connection, and with every simple touch, the Pack grew stronger. Ellen had faced the world alone for too long. Now she was Cas’ to care for, whether she knew it or not, and he took that responsibility seriously. Ellen took a few breaths of the Alpha’s scent and then shook herself a bit. “Cas, we’ve got this. Aren’t you supposed to be somewhere else? I thought Dean was waiting for you.”

“He is,” Cas admitted. “I needed to swing by and check on Jeremy before I lock us in for the afternoon. I, um, I think I need this time more than Dean does, and it may take a while. Did someone check that the suite is well-stocked? It’s not time for our ruts yet, but you never know….” Cas trailed off. He was looking back into the room beyond the glass which had been darkened. Jo was seated to the side, quietly cleaning a probe while the pup - no not a pup anymore - the Omega slept peacefully. Cas’ eyes really didn’t register what was in front of him though. His mind was elsewhere.

Ellen looked up at him knowingly. “Yes, Alpha. Fully stocked. You’re good-to-go even if one or both of you trips over into Rut.” She paused, then continued carefully, “Do I need to have medical on stand-by?” In the room beyond, Jo stood and opened the door to a quiet knock from Charlie. The redhead smiled as she entered. With no prelude, Charlie approached the sleeping form and began to gently wipe him down with warm cloths. A surge of pride passed through Cas. These people were so Good: Good at their jobs, good with each other, good to their clients. Charlie couldn’t have known that her boss was watching her work, and yet every touch was gentle and careful. The staff of The Facility, all of them, genuinely cared about their clients and about each other.

Cas couldn’t repress an overwhelming feeling of pride in what they’d built together. The mission of The Facility was understood and shared by everyone involved, from Becky at intake, to Sam the Lead Enforcement Officer, from Research to Outreach and everyone in-between. Cas heard Ellen chuckle again and mutter quietly, “Better get going, Alpha, or you may find a less compliant Sub in your suite than you expect.” Cas brought his attention back from where it had wandered with the realization that an inability to focus was a classic symptom of a growing need to Scene. Ellen was right, he needed to get going.

He tightened his hand on the back of her neck just a bit in gentle remonstration, lest she forget her place, then released her. “Let him wait,” he chuckled darkly. Cas was actually hoping Dean would be a bit bratty today. He needed the release that comes with an intense scene, and no one brought that side of Cas out better than his alpha-Sub, long-time research and business partner, but never-more-than-friends-who-scene-together…where was he going with this? Oh yeah, down the rabbit-hole that was his relationship with Dean. Cas turned on his heel despite is previous statement, and left the room. Dr. Harvelle was right. She and Jo and Charlie had young Jeremy well-in-hand. Billie obviously had Jeremy’s mother lined out if Charlie’s presence in the processing room was anything to go by.

Over the next couple of days, Jeremy’s bonds with Cas, Benny, and Jo would be used to help him adjust to his place in The Facility and his classwork. He would be evaluated, examined, and tested, physically and emotionally. Today’s Keller Test results would be fed through the computer algorithms to determine Jeremy’s tertiary gender designation. So far, Cas knew he was a healthy, if somewhat mal-adjusted, straight male Omega. The Keller Test would tell whether he was Submissive, Neutral, or Dominant. Cas could almost always call the results before they came out. He was famous for it, but ethics forbade him from using that instinct where clients were involved. There was too much possibility of damage being done by proscribing a designation to a Wolf that turned out to be wrong. The data was never wrong. Cas would wait for it.

His mood darkened and settled as he left the South Wing and headed back toward his own suite of rooms in the East. Dean had probably already been waiting for him when Cas and Mrs. Lister were shouting at each other what seemed like ages ago right next door. Dean was not patient when he got the itch, and Cas was late. He was stopped twice on the way: once by Becky to sign Jeremy’s matriculation form, and once by Bobby to confirm that Cas would be at tomorrow’s Board meeting. Neither interruption took very long, but Cas was antsy by the time he reached his door. He stood just for a moment outside, took a calming breath, assumed his Alpha-Dom persona, schooled his face, then turned the knob and walked in, letting the door close and lock behind him. The only words that made it to the hallway before the door latched were, “Up, Sub. Over the arm of the sofa. Ass in the…” He didn’t open the door again for the next sixteen hours. As it turned out, a call to have Medical on stand-by would’ve been a good idea.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 2

THEN:

Dean was a nineteen-year-old undergrad majoring in Secondary Education at a small, private university in the heartland; one that catered to Lupins. He was nearing graduation and stopped in at the local dive to celebrate with a few classmates. Dean liked living in a town comprised mostly of Pack. The rules were different here than out in Main Street USA. The bar, for instance, took custom from wolves who were still legally under-age, honoring the tradition that Lupins reached their maturity and majority at 16. The party had fizzled out, though – too close to finals. One-by-one, his stressed friends vanished to cram for their tests in the last few hours before finals.

Dean was about to shrug it off as a lost cause and join the great cram-fest, but was stopped on his way out the door when he caught sight of his professor for Gender Studies stomping the rain from his boots under the awning outside. “Good evening, Dr. Novak,” Dean said politely. He held the door as the professor approached.

“Ah, good,” said the doctor. “Just the lad I was hoping to see here. Are you leaving?” he asked.

Confused, Dean frowned a bit and replied, “I was about to, I guess. My friends all took off to study, and I felt a bit guilty, so…” Dean trailed off and looked down. His teacher always left him feeling a little off-kilter, as if he knew something shameful about Dean and was waiting for the right time to reveal it. Dean hoped this wasn’t that time. Why would his teacher be hoping to run into a specific student out of so many?

“Very wise decision.” Dr. Novak held his gaze for a second longer than seemed customary, but Dean couldn’t look away. Was he in trouble for something? He’d turned in his project and both papers. Oh God, maybe he’d bombed the assignments. Then the prof continued, “However, if you can spare a few moments before you leave, I’d like to speak with you. I’ll buy you a drink if you’ll join me. It won’t take long, I promise.”

Dean considered the offer, his brow still furrowed. Was his teacher making a pass? Was this one of those skanky ‘situations’ that everyone warned Dean about? They all said he was too pretty and needed to stay alert to inappropriate advances. He imagined stuffy, droll Dr. Novak trying to back the young alpha into an alley, and the thought made him laugh. Whatever this was, it wasn’t that.

“Something funny?” asked Dr. Novak, raising one eyebrow in a way that made Dean reconsider his initial evaluation that the good doctor was a dweeb.

“No, uh, sorry professor,” he stammered. “I can stay for a few minutes. What do you want to speak to me about?”

“Your future, Dean. I have a proposal for you.” Dr. Novak led Dean to a booth at the back of the bar. He looked extremely comfortable sliding into the seat. He looked like he lived here. Actually, come to think of it, he always looked at home. Interesting. Dean’s wolf cocked his head, thoughtful.

Once seated, the professor caught the eye of the bartender, raised two fingers, then dismissed him entirely. Huh. That wasn’t the kind of communication Zeke usually responded well to. Dean’s wolf cocked his head the other way and furrowed its brow. Dean watched the interaction and filed it away for…he wasn’t sure what.

He was knocked out of his reverie when those deep blue eyes turned on him. “I want to ask if you’ve considered graduate school, Mr. Winchester. I know you’re graduating. Frankly, I think I have a great place for you in my project, and I’d like to pitch it to you – see what you think – that is, if you don’t already have a plan for after you graduate.”

Dr. Novak stopped talking abruptly and just looked at Dean. Dean sputtered. The fuck? A minute ago, he thought he was about to get reamed out for unacceptable work and now the professor wants to give him a job? Two beers were set on the table. The teacher thanked Zeke, who’d left the bar to deliver them himself. Huh. Dean had never seen him do that before. “Any time, Alpha,” responded the bartender. Dean was a quick study where people were concerned, and he heard the capital “A” in the bartender’s pronunciation of the honorific. He ran quickly through what he knew about his teacher and realized he’d really never seen him before.

“I haven’t got my after-grad plans in place just yet, but I’m looking for a post out west,” he mumbled, fidgeting. What? It’s not like he hadn’t been trying, but jobs just always seemed to open up for Simian applicants. Lupins were seen as too unpredictable and violent, especially alphas, and it was hard to land a teaching job without prior experience. “I don’t really have the money to keep on with school though, even if I wanted to. I was barely able to swing four years of under-grad.”

“I wonder if you would do me the courtesy just to hear me out? I think most likely, there are a few options that can be taken advantage of in terms of tuition and expenses.”

Seriously? Who talks like that? Dean was intrigued though, and as he said, he was approaching graduation without a job, so…whatever. He nodded, sipping his beer.

“As I’ve mentioned in class, I’m heading a research project that will study issues of gender, sexuality, pack hierarchy, and the population decline of healthy viable Canids in North America. It’s a huge endeavor, probably biting off more than I can chew, but if I can pull it together, it could mean a great deal to Lupins everywhere. The scope is pretty small right now. The funding for the full study I have planned is not there, but if we can just get our teeth into it, I really think it could be important.” The professor had forgotten his drink and was leaning across the table, earnest and entreating.

“Sounds, um, cool. But what does it have to do with me?”

“Dean, my interest in you is two-fold: one is professional and the other...” He paused, glancing up at the ceiling as if choosing his next words carefully. “First, I don’t know if you realize this, but you are a top-notch researcher. You’re quick and insightful, you know how to keep digging until you get to the root of an issue, and then you explain it in a way that’s just – captivating. I always look forward to reading your papers. I want you on my team, Dean. I’m convinced that you would do great things. Our funding is small, but I have enough for a small staff. You’d be paid for your work and given an office plus room and board. All I ask is that you consider my offer. I can show you the premise if that would help you decide.”

Dean was in shock. Then he burst out laughing. Dr. Novak waited for him to quiet again. “I’m completely serious.” His dark tone was unlike any Dean had heard from him before. It sent a shiver up Dean’s spine and made his eyelids flutter. He took another drink. “You said two-fold, Professor,” he reminded his teacher. “What’s the other?”

“First of all, please call me Castiel. Or Alpha if you prefer. I’d like to work closely enough with you that we become comfortable in one another’s presence.” He paused long enough for Dean to nod. Castiel? Really? Yeah, OK, Dean could do that. “Second, Dean, I want to scene with you. Regularly. I believe you and I are ideally suited to keep each other balanced. I have had a terrible time of late finding anyone who fits the bill – at all, actually.” Castiel had held Dean’s eye through his offer, and he looked to be serious, but what the fuck?

Dean didn’t respond. He didn’t even blink, so the Alpha continued. “I don’t know to what degree my reputation has filtered into the undergraduate classes, but you may know that in terms of Keller scale scores, the um…well the scale had to be redrawn after I took the test. It’s an uncomfortable position to be in as it means, among other things, that I find it extremely difficult to find a satisfying partner.” Dean still hadn’t moved. Castiel’s voice had begun washing over him in a way he couldn’t explain, and he was mesmerized at the images his brain was supplying. “Omegas, even strong ones, are too delicate for the practices I prefer. Betas really don’t interest me at all. What I really want is a young, strapping alpha who’ll let me… Are you OK Dean?”

“Uh yeah,” Dean’s eyes snapped back into focus. He wiped his chin when he realized he’d drooled a little. Jesus, how embarrassing. “Hold on. What makes you think I’m the right person for you? I haven’t even taken my Keller test yet. Don’t you warn us in class to never assume someone’s tertiary gender until there’s data to back it up?” Dean was just throwing out words. He needed to stall long enough for his brain to click back into gear and tell him what the hell was happening right now.

“Very good, Dean,” his teacher praised, and Dean blushed. Dammit. “Yes, ordinarily that’s true, but I have been blessed with an uncanny knack for predicting the outcome of the Keller test. I don’t really need it to know where the data places you on the spectrum. Although,” and Castiel angled his head to allow the raised eyebrow to have more effect, “you will need to complete your evaluation prior to the launch of any sexual activities between us. I may know your tertiary gender, but the test also pinpoints predispositions for a variety of kinks, and I would need to know those as well.”

“Kinks…” Dean whispered to himself. He was half-chubbed and leaking just a little. Then he shook his head out like a dog and slapped his palm on the table. Finally, his upper brain had woken up. The Alpha across from him didn’t flinch. He just waited calmly for Dean’s response. “No but, seriously, did you just offer me a job so you can get your rocks off all over me? What the hell? Is it even legal to ‘launch sexual activities’ with a dude who works for you? You may have my gender pegged (I doubt it, but whatever), but you don’t know me. I ain’t that kind of a girl.” Dean moved to the end of the booth seat and started to stand.

“Dean, please hear me out. It’s not like that. I’m being 100% genuine with you and completely honest. There is nothing untoward about my proposals. They each exist independently of the other. You are free to accept both, either of the two, or neither. And yes, it’s perfectly legal. Courts have ruled that where Lupin Dom/sub relations are critical to the health, well-being, and sanity of the wolves involved, there is a waiver for all conflict-of-interest claims unless there is evidence of abuse. It’s not illegal for you to accept a position in my project team and in my bed simultaneously. I assure you, my health and well-being are at risk if I can’t find a suitable scene partner.” Castiel lowered his chin and looked at Dean with dark eyes. “I expect you’ve struggled with the same problem.”

Jesus Christ what this guy could do with his voice. And his eyes. And…fuck it all! Dean scooted back into the seat. “You know you sound like the worst type of cheesy romance novel about Lupins in Heat. You know, the ones written by Simian housewives with too much porn on their computers?” Dean muttered it nearly under his breath, but the professor heard him, and Castiel chuckled.

“You read those, do you?” the doctor teased.

Dean leaned back and resumed nursing his beer. “Tell me about your research project. Let’s start with that.” Castiel lit up, leaned forward and began speaking with the lighthearted excitement of a child.

 

Two hours and two more beers later, they were still deep in discussion: “You don’t understand, Dean. Yes, there are studies that hint at all of this, but their conclusions contradict each other, they really don’t focus on the right things, and there’s no peer review going on at all. We need to dig into the ugly guts of it all. For instance, we know that traditional Pack families who follow hierarchy and Pack Discipline in the home have much lower rates of mental illness, especially among the Omegas. We know the difference in the rates, but we don’t know WHY! Is it something about the stability, everyone knowing their places? Is it the open sex or the corporal punishment?”

“Cas, there are literally thousands of studies, like I said…”

Castiel cut him off, “But nothing ties them all together. That’s part of what I want to do here. I don’t just want to add another study on top of the rest that gets buried in some dusty file somewhere. Dean! I want to do all of it!” He was shouting and gesticulating, the passion uncontainable as his life’s ambition poured out of him and all over Dean in a deluge of words.

“We’re going to pull those studies together, separate the real data from the crap, and then build from there. We need massive numbers and deep investigations. I want to track individual subjects for years. We’re going to find out not only why Lupins behave the way they do, but what to DO about it when it’s harming them. I need volunteers for test subjects, and we’re going to need a test facility where they’ll be safe. I’m going to build a training resource center.

“We need to pull the sex workers out of the back allies and put them in clean, safe rooms - provide a place where people can manage their Ruts and Heats with professional care. We need legislation to protect us from the fear and ignorance of the larger population. We need sanctuaries where any Lupin can seek respite, get a scene, have a good, hard spanking, whatever they need. Can you imagine a world where Omega Submissives can have successful professional careers? What if we find a way to keep them balanced all the time? Wouldn’t they be as capable of leading fulfilling adult lives as the rest of us?

“And what about all the things we just don’t know? Everyone just makes assumptions, Dean. Like, why is the Posterior womb only capable of single births? Why do nursing Omegas stay fully balanced without needing to be adjusted? We don’t know these things because all the research has been geared toward treating our lineage as a disease; drumming all trace of our heredity out of us. We’re not Apes, Dean! We’re never going to be apes! It’s time we started LEARNING ourselves, so we can SAVE ourselves!”

In later years, when Dean tried to nail down the exact moment he fell hopelessly in love with Alpha-Dominant Doctor Castiel James Novak. He always came back to this one. Dean was hooked. He was all in. He had it bad. How, oh how had he never seen this side of his boring professor before?

 

“What do you need from me, Cas?” Dean broke in. “Do you know where you’re going to start? What’s your budget? This is going to take money - a whole hell of a lot of money. Do you have a plan for funding?” Dean watched Castiel’s face turn sheepish.

“We have a grant from the University’s research fund for next semester, and I was planning to make enough progress to support refunding it again after that.” The Alpha ran a finger over his upper lip, back and forth.

“Oh my God, Cas!” The nickname had come easily and immediately. Dean had fallen into the circle of Alpha, and now he too was completely at home. “You don’t have a plan at all! ‘Aight,” he pulled a napkin to him and dug a pen from his backpack and started to scribble notes, “I’m on it.” Dean looked up at Castiel without lifting his head. He knew he looked coy, but he also knew he was so gone, and he was “on it” in more than one sense. “This’ll be my first assignment. I’m going to secure you funding. How much do you need?”

They talked until closing time, then agreed that the rest could wait. Castiel held the door for Dean and offered him a ride back home, but Dean demurred. Not yet, he thought. “Hey, Cas,” he called down the sidewalk, “about the other thing… seriously, what makes you think we’re, what’d you say, compatible?”

“It’s easy Dean.” Cas came back toward Dean slowly, like a hunting cat, his eyes deep, dark pools in the evening light. “I’m the most Dominant Alpha ever to be tested using modern tools, and I find you irresistible. I suspect that when you test, we may find that you fall as far off the scale as I do - in the opposite direction.” Dean began to draw himself up, but Cas put a firm hand on the back of his neck, and all resistance failed him. “Just consider it. Please.”

“I’ll take your stupid test under one condition,” whispered Dean. When Castiel cocked his head for him to continue, he finished, “That you anchor it for me.”

“I can do that,” Cas assured him.

 

NOW:

Dean would be fine. As a Board-licensed physician, Castiel was equally capable to treat wounds as he was to inflict them. In fact, Dean looked spectacular. He lounged on the sofa, laying on his side with his long limbs stretching like a cat. Castiel huffed at the feline image in his head as he bent over the back of the sofa and bandaged the gouges on Dean’s back. How could someone so innately Canine look so much like a cat when he relaxed? “Better?” he asked.

“ ’M awesome,” Dean slurred. He would be asleep soon, Cas predicted. Castiel allowed himself the luxury of taking in the beautiful lines of Dean’s long, pale body. He felt so much more grounded and present after their afternoon, and night, and morning together. They’d put their scening off too long – a sacrifice of dis-jointed schedules and too many responsibilities. Dean’s role as Director of Training kept him on his toes round the clock, and Castiel’s title as Facility Director spoke for itself. The irony of running an institution predicated on providing Wolves with the resources to keep themselves balanced and healthy, but then failing to take advantage of those resources often enough for themselves was not lost on either of them. There just wasn’t enough time in the day.

“Do you have anywhere you need to be today Dean?” Cas queried although he was fairly sure he knew the answer.

“Uh, yeah. Got a Sub class at four. I haven’t pulled my notes together yet or even looked at my syllabus to see what I need.” Dean grunted as he tried to rock himself to a seated position. Cas’ restraining hand on his shoulder and the dawning realization that his ass was much too sore for sitting sent him rolling right back down onto his side with an “Oomph!”

“Easy there, Tex,” said Cas with a smirk when he spotted Dean’s pained expression. “Not yet. You need a solid two- or three-hour nap first.” Cas was in too good a mood to argue, so he imbued his words with his full Alpha-Dom authority. Dean’s Sub melted back into compliance, relaxing his head down onto the arm-rest and cat-stretching again. “Besides, you wrote the curriculum for this class. You can do it with your eyes closed. Sleep, then eat, then prep, THEN teach. I don’t want to see you with your head in your notes before 2:30. I’m speaking as your boss, your Dom, and your friend, and I’ll know if you disobey. I’d be happy to reawaken the sting in your ass if I need to, Dean.” Cas finished his instruction with a hint of humor that Dean didn’t find funny.

“Yes, Sir. I’ll be good. Think I’ve had enough sting for a while.” He strained his neck to assess the color of said ass before slumping back down. Cas was finished with the bandage on his upper back. He walked to the closet and pulled out a clean blanket.

“Sofa or bed?”

“ ‘M good right here…” Dean mumbled. Cas pulled the blanket over him, retrieved a bottle of water and a couple of Ibuprofen from the kitchen. He nudged Dean into swallowing the pills, set the bottle on the coffee-table, kissed Dean’s forehead, then left the suite for his adjoining office. It was only after the door to his office closed behind him that he realized he’d kissed his friend, and he sucked in a startled breath. Dammit. That was outside of a scene. Had Dean noticed? Was Dean awake enough to realize? Cas quickly scrambled through an assessment of the possible damage. They didn’t do that. They weren’t together. They were many, many things to one another, but they could never be THAT.

Cas’ own Keller score placed him as the most Dominant Alpha ever to be tested. He was a near-perfect corollary to Dean’s Submissiveness. They matched in a satisfying Yin-and-Yang. Dean was the only wolf Cas had ever met who could take what he needed to dole out. And vice versa. Dean’s need to be controlled, beaten, and fucked was insatiable. They had started scening together almost as soon as they met; the hunger in their eyes matching one another so perfectly they could communicate instantly without words. Both of them wanted, needed the other.

But. Both wolves were alpha. They weren’t mates. Couldn’t mate. Only betas could mate with their own designation. It wasn’t fair, and it hurt so badly that despite their mutual desire to connect and the perfection of that connection, they never spoke of it. Never. Not once. To admit to each other in words how desperately they felt pulled to be lovers in every sense of the word, was to be confronted at last with the finality of how fruitless the attempt would ultimately be. It couldn’t be. To make matters worse, any day now either of them was likely to chance across his True Mate. So many Omegas came through The Facility each session. How neither of them had been confronted by his True Mate yet was a bafflement to everyone. Yet it was bound to happen, even for wolves as far into the edges of the chart as they.

Cas slumped into his desk chair and put his head in his hands. He loved Dean; was IN love with Dean. He had been for years, maybe from the moment he first saw Dean. Nothing could come of it though. As soon as his True Mate entered the scene, Cas would be compelled by instinct to mate with them. And what would happen to Dean? How could he initiate a relationship with no future? He could never do that to Dean. His love. His only love. Oh God, this situation was hopeless.

A foolish part of Castiel longed for the day that one of them would meet and mate with their True Mate and put an end to the agony. He also dreaded that day. Watching Dean Claim some hapless boy would destroy Cas. Utterly. There was nothing for it, though. He had proven to himself numerous times that he was incapable of walking away and unwilling to move forward. He was stuck. They were stuck. So, they researched together, wrote grant proposals together, co-authored legislation bills, served on community outreach committees, scened together to keep each other balanced, built up The Facility, aka The American Caniforme Research Institute, and silently loved one another with all their hearts. It would never be enough, but it was better than nothing. Maybe.

 

Just as he had done for the past eight years, Cas swept thoughts of Dean from his mind and got back to work. He went methodically through emails, sorting, answering, deleting. He made several phone calls. Checked up on Jeremy and the two other Omegas who had matriculated at about the same time. Everyone was stable. Cas wouldn’t be needed for another few hours to work with them. He pulled a tray of peanut butter and crackers from his mini-fridge and ate them slowly, washing them down with a bottle of water, ignored the strain in his gut pulling him to return to the Sub in the suite next door.

Cas spent two or so hours at the mundane tasks of a Facility Director. It was officially Administrative boredom. This was not what he got into research to do, but it was what he needed right now – mundane, mindless tasks: schedules and rosters, budgets, funding, approvals, reviews, planning. Cas was finally starting to lose himself in the mindlessness of his work. It took several minutes for his conscious mind to clue in to what he was beginning to smell.

Before he was even aware, Cas’ body went rigid and his nose began huffing, straining toward the door into the exterior hallway. When his mind caught up, Cas white-knuckled the desk and began salivating. His world rocked and his axis tilted. What the fuck? What was that scent?

Cas stood without thinking, zombie-walked to the door and left the office, passing directly into the hallway outside. He didn’t remember doing so. Pupils blown wide and red streaks starting to spread across his vision, he moved down the hall, slowly at first and then with increasing speed as the scent grew ever stronger. Cas was unaware of being spoken to. Bodies in his path were merely barricades to his destination and were moved aside with no more thought. It wasn’t until a pair of strong arms encircled him from behind and stopped his forward progress that Castiel realized how far he’d travelled. He was back in the South Wing, steps away from the Omega changing room where new clients were bathed and prepped for their initial tests and C.F.’s.

“What’s your hurry there, Cher?” rolled the smooth voice of Cas’ colleague from between his shoulder blades. Cas looked down at where his hands were already trying to pry Benny’s fisted grasp from his solar plexus. Cas was confused and horny. Why would Benny be stopping him from getting to that scent?!? That delectable, unbelievable scent. What the fuck was that smell?!

Another pair of arms appeared near Benny’s, and Cas looked to the side where Sam stood rooted to the ground, braced and ready to tussle if Cas started fighting. Fighting sounded like a really good idea. He had to break free, and there would be hell to pay for these two. Cas would make heads roll, but not right now. Right now, he had to get to that scent. It was inside his head now, inside his body. His cock was rock hard and leaking. Growls, starting from his gut worked their way through his clenched teeth. Every fiber strained toward getting through that door. Getting to his Omega. His Omega. Oh. OH! Oh, Fuck!

It dawned on him that he didn’t have an Omega, not one of his own anyway. Cas grabbed lucidity like a lifeline and held on. He stopped straining against the arms around him. He looked down again. There were now four fists holding him. The growling stopped. Jesus, did he really sound like that?

“Someone get Ellen, and find Dean!” That was Sam shouting, his mouth too close to Cas’ ear for comfort. Someone else took off down the hallway. All four pairs of arms began tugging, jerking him to another door, not the one he wanted, but the next one back up the hallway. Cas didn’t exactly cooperate, but he wasn’t fighting with his full power either. Benny huffed an appreciative laugh into the back of Cas’ head.

“There you go, Alpha. Easy does it Brother,” Benny soothed. “We’re going to get you to your mate, but we gotta check some things out first. You will thank us later.” Benny and Sam were methodically easing Cas toward the room next to the changing room. Had Cas not been out of his mind with want and lust, he would have named it the “Scenting Room.” For the moment, he didn’t give a fuck what it was called, only that it wasn’t where he needed to go. True Mate matches were common enough in The Facility that a process to protect both parties had been developed and practiced (and put into practice) often enough, and everyone knew the routine, knew the signs. Everyone but Castiel took up their roles without question. The other two pairs of arms, Cole’s and Garth’s it turned out, were also leading him the same direction. Four on one, and it was still quite a challenge. Cas was Cas after all. With a final shove, all five men tumbled through the door. Garth managed to slip back out, pull it shut and lock it before Cas threw off the other three and regained his equilibrium.

Locked in, locked away from the scent of mate, Castiel’s instincts warred with each other. His fight instinct told him to defeat every wolf in the room, dominate and conquer. The fresh air in the scenting room, though, also cut the intensity of the odor enough that Cas managed to get almost full use of his faculties back. He shook his head, sloughed the remaining hands from his person, and stood panting in the middle of the room. Benny, Cole, and Sam arced around him, blocking him from trying to burst through the door.

“Castiel?” Sam tried. “Are you with us, man? Talk to me.” Cas said nothing, just heaved deep, jerky breaths and tried to come back to himself. That was a mate-scent? It was indescribable. Incredible. Nothing he’d ever experienced or researched had prepared him for this. He was animal response. He was millions of years of instinct crammed into a human package. He hadn’t even seen this individual, and he knew. He knew unequivocally. Mate. Forever. Mine.

“She’s fine, Cas,” soothed Benny. “She’s right next door. She responded before you did, so we knew it was someone on premises. They’ve got her. She’s not going to get hurt. She’s being washed and changed. She’s being prepped. For you. Give us just a bit, and we’ll pipe your scents through the ducts just to be sure.” Benny’s voice floated over Cas, eliciting images. Bathing: water sluicing over creamy smooth white skin. Skin that belonged to Cas. Prepping: a firm, wet dildo pressed sweetly in and out of a welcoming orifice. Cas’ orifice. She. They’d said ‘she’. Cas’ mate was a woman. He’d always wondered. Cas, as a pansexual, would’ve had no way to know what primary gender he’d be matched up with by the Universe. Secondary and Tertiary were no-brainers; he’d get an Omega-Submissive, but he’d always wondered if it’d be a girl or a boy. God, now he was babbling in his own head.

Sam’s radio crackled with Bobby’s voice. When Sam acknowledged, Bobby continued, “Sam, Ellen’s got Becky starting the paperwork. We’re notifying the girl’s parents. They only just dropped her off about fifteen minutes ago. They shouldn’t be too far away yet. We should try to hold him off until they respond in case they want to speak with him first.” At the words, “hold him off,” Cas started growling again, low in his throat. His Wolf didn’t like that idea at all.

“Uh, yeah. Thanks Bobby. Has anyone told Dean yet?” Sam asked quietly. The room was not large and Sam couldn’t have spoken softly enough to keep Cas from hearing. Cas’ head whipped around at the mention of Dean’s name, but he didn’t move. His eyes burned into Sam’s. Sam immediately lowered his gaze.

“Yeah, but when Meg told him…he split. She didn’t know where he went, but his car’s gone. Looks like he really left.” Sam blew upwards into his long bangs which fluttered with his frustration. His big brother had bolted. Sam wasn’t surprised; disappointed, but not surprised. Everyone knew how Dean felt - everyone but Cas. The two of them, dancing around each other for years and years, acting like each was alone in their feelings when everyone who knew them knew the truth. Frustration wasn’t the word. “Okay then, we’re doing this without Dean,” Sam muttered back into the radio.

Ellen’s voice came through on the heels of Bobby’s. “Hey Sam. We’re ready over here. She’s ready. Have we heard from her folks yet? Should I start the scent fans?”

“Hold off on the fans a bit, Ellen,” Sam replied. “I don’t know what the status is on her parents. How old is she anyway?” he added as an afterthought. Cole was blocking the door, and Benny stayed just out of arms’ reach of Cas as the Alpha huffed and panted and tried to keep himself stable. Cas knew, with the brain-power he had left, that he had to wait until everything was ready, vetted, and signed, but God-above it was hard. Literally. Pre-come leaked through his trousers in a constant dribble. There was a keening in his ears that his forebrain suspected was coming from his own throat.

“Paperwork says she’s seventeen. Probably just graduated high school,” came Ellen’s voice. “She looks younger though, maybe fifteen if I had to judge from her face. We better wait for her alpha to sign off before we let Cas at her.”
There was a challenge in those words that Cas’ Alpha wolf sussed out immediately, and he jolted into motion toward the radio, captured it from a surprised Sam’s hands and growled into the transmitter, “I’m her Alpha, Ellen! No one has a say but me, you got that?!”

“Hear you loud and clear, Alpha!” Ellen shot back, un-cowed. For an Omega, she was annoyingly hard to intimidate. Cas relinquished the radio and began pacing the perimeter of the room, looking for a way directly through to the girl he needed. Mate. Forever. Mine. His wolf paced with him. He began shucking clothing as he walked.

“Hold on there, Cowboy,” said Cole. Cas snarled heatedly at him, and he took a step back. “Alpha, I mean. We’re gonna get there soon, but you gotta hold out a few more minutes. No one’s going to try to stop you. She’s yours. Your mate.” At that phrase, Cas actually purred. “We just need a few things in place first, Alpha. Please try to stay calm, and uh, maybe keep your clothes on just a bit longer…”

Fuck that. Cas was losing the battle to keep his Wolf at heel. He glared at Cole, resumed pacing and pulled his button-down over his head, popping a couple of buttons in the process. The shoes came off next.

“They’re working as fast as they can. I swear, Alpha.”

“Cole, man, just shut up. You’re distracting him more than you’re helping,” offered Benny. The radio crackled back on to the sound of Bobby’s voice. “All right fellas. I got alpha Anderson and his mate here. They’ve been apprised of the situation, but it seems like they need a little convincing. I told ‘em who she was mating with, and they don’t believe me. Ya hear that? They think I’m lyin’! Can Cas talk right now? They wanna talk to him.”

“Jesus, Bobby, really? It’s all we can do to keep him from killing us and breaking through the wall! He’s holding on by the skin of his teeth right now!” Sam cried. “They want to have a discussion?!”

Cas had about had it with waiting. He grabbed a chair, stalked toward Cole at the door and brandished it like a weapon. “Move beta. Right now.” His voice was remarkably calm, but scarce was a simple beta capable of refusing his Alpha authority. Benny slid into position to replace him as Cole dropped to the side. Benny put his hands up in front of him in supplication. Cas growled at him, but didn’t attack.

“Where’s Dean when we need him, dammit.” Benny muttered acridly.

They all froze when a knock sounded from the other side of the door. Bobby called through, “Alpha? You in there?” Bobby clearly meant Cas’ sentient mind, not the room. Everyone in The Facility knew he was in the room.

“Robert Singer, open this door! Immediately!” Cas ordered.

“Soon, Alpha. Hold onto yourself just a bit more.” Cas was getting very tired of hearing that phrase. “I got an alpha here wants to have a short word with you. I want you to talk to him. You may not believe me now, but you’re gonna thank me later. I swear, Castiel. You need to talk to him. He’s your mate’s father.”

“Open the door.” Cas growled at Benny.

“Come in Bobby. Real slow.” Benny spoke through the door. The lock clicked from the outside, and the door cracked open. Bobby’s head peeked through, and was followed by his body. After Bobby, and guarded by Bobby’s bulk came a man, an alpha of medium build. Cas drew himself to full height and postured at the man for all he was worth, snarling. Sam and Benny joined Bobby wordlessly as a human shield between the two alphas. Cole resumed his place by the door.

The man seemed unaware of the danger he’d placed himself in - himself and the others in the room. Castiel was holding his humanity by the thinnest of threads. Blood and destruction poured from his scent. Cas’ wolf was ready to kill to get out of the room and take his mate. This was crazy.

“All right, man. You see him here. I know you recognize who that is. Ya believe me now?” Bobby was trying to end this quickly and without bloodshed. Cas didn’t care either way. He took a step toward the man, and everyone in the room stiffened further.

“Seriously, dude, this is crazy!” said Sam. “Get out. Sign the damn paper, and let him mate your daughter. You know you can’t stop it even if you wanted to.” The man looked completely out of his element.

Benny took pity on him. “Look brother, I know you wanna protect your daughter, do what’s best for her, but believe me, she couldn’t be in better hands than to have Dr. Castiel Novak as her True Mate. She’s gonna be safe, I promise. She’s gonna be fine. You just gotta let this happen now.”

The man met Cas’ bloodshot eyes, which couldn’t have been easy for him, even as a full alpha in his own right. “You promise not to hurt her?” he asked. “You swear you’ll take care of her? I didn’t bring her here to get hitched. I don’t believe in this True Mate crap. I mean, uh, I never did before. Is he for real?” He directed this question at Sam on his right.

“Completely,” deadpanned Sam.

“Right. Um, yeah, uh right. I guess. Jesus, I’m not prepared for this.”

“Aaand, that’s enough,” interrupted Bobby. “You gonna sign? Cause we don’t really need it, just a formality really…”

“Bobby stop.” Cas’ voice sounded forced, and everyone froze again. “What’s your name?” he asked the man standing between himself and everything he wanted.

“Reginald. Reginald Anderson.” Reginald seemed finally to be aware of the precarious position he was in. His voiced quaked a bit, and he took a couple steps backward.

“Reginald Anderson,” Cas spoke with more control than could be believed of one in his position. “Your daughter is my True Mate. She is mine, and I will brook no challenge to my claim. I assure you, however, that she will be cared for for the rest of her long life, will want for nothing, and if it is within my ability to make her happy, she will be happy. Period.”

“Thank you, Alpha.” Reginald whispered. He had backed to the door and stood pressed against it, his hand behind him fumbling with the knob. “That’s all I wanted to know. I…I’ll sign the paper. She’s yours, Alpha. Please, please be good to her…she’s a good girl…” Reginald babbled his way from the room, and everyone but Cas breathed a sigh of relief.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 3

 

THEN:

The university seminars and punditry were Castiel’s idea. They provided the perfect audience to really discuss these issues in an open, honest, safe, and professional way. Each seminar not only allowed his team the opportunity to educate the public, both Apes and Wolves, but the registration fees brought in a lot of money for The Facility’s maintenance. Usually, all four Facility Leads attended the panel discussions, either giving lectures about the results of their latest research or taking free questions from the students in attendance and chipping away at the ignorance and fear between the two species. Even after years of public outreach, there always seemed to be more misinformation than good.

On the other hand, the Conventions were PURE DEAN. Raucous, coarse, obscene sometimes, and flavored with an air of titillation, they drew a completely different crowd. The Cons didn’t just raise money, they rolled in it. Cash absolutely poured in from Conventions. As much as Castiel hated the idea that a huge portion of their annual budget came from drunk Simians drooling over his colleagues (his Dean) and getting off on the Lupin spanking demonstrations, he couldn’t deny the fact that the Cons provided an educational route to a different, but still necessary-to-reach demographic. Plus, he had admitted once, they were fun. Dean was beautiful, and charming, and care-free, and willing to talk about anything. Lupins and Primates alike adored Dean and his brother Sam and reveled in the carefree party atmosphere. Dean hired a house band to rowdy up the crowd, and then he and his brother appeared on-stage like Rock Gods basking in the adoration of their fans.

The crazy thing was that they had fans, tens of thousands of them, maybe hundreds of thousands, and more every day. Everyone knew and loved Sam and Dean. And Dr. Novak was famous for his research and his, well, his Bad-assness? Well-respected in the scientific community long before he published his ground-breaking research, Cas’ fame sky rocketed afterward. His straight-forward manner and his gravitas lent just the air of respectability the issues required to pull them out from being crude and inappropriate frat house fare to being acceptable dinner-table conversation and activists’ rallying-cries.

Cas was invited to participate in TV news-show debates as a pundit for the legitimization of Canid traditional pack behaviors in public. He also became a regular on Late Night and Morning talk shows as a medical professional on a mission to correct the thinking patterns of two entire cultures that were still steeped in ignorance and bias. He was persuasive, calm, passionate, erudite, and sweet. He always gelled easily with his interviewers, making everyone feel comfortable and at home. And yet, out of his mouth dropped the coarsest language that television audiences had ever been permitted to hear over public airwaves.

Here was this nerdy-looking professor with a perpetual classroom demeanor casually using phrases like “ass-fucking” and “Claim fuck” and “Anal slick” right out in the open - right there on the morning TV shows. But his cause was so dire and his passion for the subject so intense, that they just let him. Audiences were riveted. It was ratings gold for the networks. Give people the sex that always sells, but couch it in terms of public health; make it respectable.

Cas’ testimony in front of Congress in defense of the “Lupin Public Facilities Establishment” bill was telecast in its entirety. Cas spoke for two hours on the history of the degradation of Omega mental health and how critical it was that Lupins be provided safe sanctuaries in public spaces to give and receive spankings, Mating bites, Domination fucks, and the like. In the end, Congress approved the funding, new public facilities began to pop up in the bigger cities, and the television networks high fived all ‘round.

Cas was proud of his work to build public awareness and gain acceptance. But he washed his hands and rolled his eyes at the whole Convention circuit. To Cas, that was just Dean scratching his itches.

 

NOW:

Dean sucked down the two fingers of whiskey like it was mother’s milk. Yikes, that’s a gross analogy, he thought. Even his thoughts were starting to slur and lose coherence. The scene in his head wasn’t fading though. It ran on repeat, over and over and over again:

Dean had just been waking up on the sofa, feeling sore and deliciously relaxed. Feeling balanced and solid, and – Fuck! – really fucking sore. Cas, as usual hadn’t held anything back. His ass and the backs of his thighs were bruised. Beautiful, beautiful marks from his Dom. Like kisses. Like a brand. Dean had hissed as he reached around and touched the hot flesh of his ass. He’d managed to gain his feet and stumble to the bathroom to pee and check the damage to his back. Cas had applied bandages, and Dean knew there’d be hell to pay if he removed them. He sighed at the missed opportunity to see and just let them be.

There was a pounding at the door. Dean painfully pulled his sweats back up over his ass. He opened the door to find Meg, out of breath. “Thank God!” she over-emoted as usual. Seriously, he hadn’t been in hiding. Thank God? She shoved her way in, saying “Cas’ True-Mate is here. She’s here right now! It’s going down RIGHT NOW!” Meg was getting hysterical, but Dean had grown cold and still. “Dean! Did you hear me?! You gotta come, man! He isn’t going to listen to anyone but you. I saw him. His eyes were, like solid red. He’s lost it. He’s going to hurt someone. Wait, where are you going?”

Dean had turned on his heel. His head was buzzing and his heart was pounding in his ears. He walked away from the hysterical beta. He entered the bedroom, grabbed his clothes, which a disconnected part of his brain registered had been laundered since yesterday afternoon. God, Cas really thought of everything. He dressed without answering Meg’s question. She fell silent, trembling by the door; the room full of tension that he didn’t try to comprehend.

Dean tied his boots in place, grabbed his keys from the side table and met Meg at the door. “Let me get this straight,” he addressed her much more calmly than he felt. “Cas is meeting and mating his True Mate right now?”

“That’s what I said! Dude, you don’t need your keys. Just, c’mon before there’s blood everywhere.”

Meg’s face fell slack with disbelief when Dean nodded firmly, and then walked past her and out the exit turnstile nearby. She hovered in the doorway, unmoving, but Dean just kept walking without looking back. He started up his car, and silently apologized to his Baby when her tires peeled on the roadway as he hit the blacktop outside. It wasn’t Baby’s fault, but it was time for a drink.

Hours later, he was definitively sloshed and mumbling nonsense into his chronically empty glass. “Zeke! C’mon man. ‘Nother one.” ‘Snockered’ may have been a better word.

Zeke hung up the phone and looked over his shoulder at Dean, his eyes full of pity. The fuck? “Sorry, Dean. I’m cutting you off. Sam’s on his way to pick you up, take you home to sleep it off. If I put a glass of water in front of you, you gonna drink it or toss it at me?” Dean just looked back at him, his eyes red and swollen. “Thought so.” Zeke turned away, saying softly over his shoulder, “Just be sure to get some water in you before you pass out, alpha, or you’re gonna hate yourself.”

(Too late), Dean’s wolf pointed out, as Dean lay his head on the cool wooden bar.

 

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

 

JUST BEFORE NOW:

“This isn’t a good idea,” Benny repeated. Cas was alone in the scent room. The fans had been turned on and the electrodes attached to his chest recorded his powerful response to the young Omega’s scent. They all agreed, when the electrodes’ receptors spiked off the chart, that leaving the room had been the safe thing to do. If Cas had been difficult to control with just a whiff of Omega scent in the hallway, he would’ve been completely unmanageable when hit with her full, unmitigated odor. Her heart rate was likewise, off the chart.

Based on the readings, the two wolves were unmistakably True-Mates. The Omega’s familial alpha had signed the release ceding her ownership to Castiel, a formality that wasn’t legally required, but smoothed the path to full ownership after the bite. Billie found the Andersons a comfortable room to await news of the outcome, although she warned them their daughter wouldn’t be available for them to visit for days at the very least. Nevertheless, they settled in to wait.

Cas and his Omega were both dripping with lust and ready to go, but the team had unearthed a … snag.

17-year-old April Anderson was dropped off that morning by her parents for her Keller test. The test hadn’t even started, and in fact her parents were barely out of the parking lot, when April began showing mating-response signs. Now, with a Dominant Alpha pacing within a locked room, his nostrils full of the scent of his Mate and muttering “Mine” over and over again while searching for a weakness in the drywall, the staff was discussing how to manage the Keller test the young girl still lacked without getting them all killed by said Alpha.

“He’s going to be pissed when he finds out we made him wait just so she could be knotted by two others before we let him out of the room.”

“Yeah, thanks Cole.” Sam rolled his eyes. “He’s going to be pissed anyway, and if we don’t go ahead and run the test, he may never be capable of letting anyone else near her. He can’t do the test all by himself. We need three different individuals, or we can’t build the chart.”

What had started as a research project – running Kellers on volunteer Canids to gather data – developed rapidly into a community service for all wolves to verify their tertiary gender. The process couldn’t take place until the individual reached full sexual maturity, usually about three to five years after presenting a secondary gender. The Keller test involved putting the test subject through three rounds of penetrative sex, fully to completion with fluid exchange and knotting (when alphas were involved), and then evaluating their vitals, hormone levels, behaviors, and physical responses.

It was a genius system, virtually fool-proof when proctored by a competent doctor. Dr. Harvelle was the best. Under her administration, a whole population of Lupins were being carefully directed to exactly the course of care and balancing that was right for them. Without the test, the special proclivities that came with the tertiary gender were anyone’s guess. Guessing wrong had proven fatal to some wolves. Bobby, Benny, Cas, and Dean had partnered in expanding the scope of The Facility to give all wolves a safe, clean, and reliable place to learn their own special needs definitively. It was their life’s mission. There was no way Castiel Novak, visionary of the project, was going to allow his own mate to skip the crucial life-saving test.

Unless. “You know, True Mates are pretty much always a perfect fit with their partner,” Bobby interjected. “We know Cas’ tertiary gender is Profound Dominant, and his secondary is Deep Alpha. Maybe we can let them go ahead and mate. I mean, if she’s for Cas, then she’s, what… Profound Sub and Deep Omega, right? Do we really need the test? If it’s important to him, he can schedule her later.”

“We have to ask Cas what he wants to do.” Sam was decisive as he slid off the desk he’d been perched on. “I’m going to talk to him.”

“Be careful, Sam!” Jo called after him, but no one made a move to stop him.

Sam stood outside the door, listening through the intercom. High-pitched huffs, growls, and occasional shifting of furniture sounded through the speaker. “Alpha?” he called softly. Cas responded immediately.

“Sam? Let me out right now!” A thump whumped against the door. “Where is she, what’ve you done with her?!” He sounded close to tears.

“Alpha, I can have her ready for you as soon as you say, but I have to ask you a question first. Can I, I mean, do you think I can talk to your uh, your Doctor side or your Alpha, not your wolf? Alpha, it’s important for your mate. For April.”

“April? My mate’s name is April!?”

“Cas, FOCUS! Please Alpha, just listen to me.” Sam was beginning to doubt this plan would work.

“Sam! Speak!” Cas ordered, clearly gritting his teeth in effort. Yeah, so here goes nothing. Sam expected at the very least to be looking for a new job tomorrow.

“You see, Alpha, she hasn’t had her Keller test yet. That’s why she’s here today. You were actually scheduled to anchor for her, you know, but now... Well, we, we all think we should go ahead with the test as planned. That way you can still anchor, finish up with a Mating-Claim, not just a Claim Fuck like usual. The data will all still be usable and you’ll start your lives together with all the information available to you to give her everything she needs. What d’ya think? Alpha?”

Cas had gone too quiet. A couple of minutes dragged by. Snuffling noises meant Cas was still right by the intercom, but Sam couldn’t guess his state-of-mind. He was about to give up when he heard Cas whisper, “Who?”

Sam knew this was the most dangerous part. If Cas allowed the test, but then lost it later when his wolf wanted revenge on anyone who’d touched his mate, people could get hurt. “Who do you want, Alpha?”

“I, I think Garth for first traunch,” whispered the Alpha, his voice shaky. “Then Dean. I would be okay with Dean.”

Sam breathed a sigh of relief to hear Garth’s name. The beta was so mild and sweet, he was impossible to be angry with or jealous of. He’d treat April well and kindly. But Dean. Choosing Dean was fraught with danger. Dean was cocky and assertive and hyper-sexual, plus he and Castiel worked side-by-side every day. And of course, there was that thing between them, that not quite relationship. It would be an explosion waiting to happen. Also, Dean had taken off. Sam had an inkling where he was, which if correct would mean Dean was likely too soused to test anyway. Sam had another idea.

“Dean’s gone for the day, Alpha. I think he’s probably drinking. Would you let me do it in his place? You know I’m careful. I promise not to fuck this up. Can you wait that long? We can push through quicker if you need us to.” A pause. “Alpha?”

“Dean’s drunk? He left … me?” Castiel’s voice sounded bereft, and Sam didn’t know what to do.

“Alpha? Let me. I won’t let you down, I promise.”

“Sam. Yes, I’ll wait. I’ve got hold of the wolf now. I need some water. Please. Sam, please be careful. Don’t hurt her. I…I can wait. I’ve waited so long to find my Mate, I… can hold him for a while longer. Just, please Sam. Don’t hurt her…” Cas’ voice faded away with a whoomph that sounded like his legs had given way. Sam could picture him sitting against the wall below the intercom. A rush of sympathy filled him. The melodrama was unlike the great Alpha. He had to be significantly outside of himself to sound like a teenaged drama queen.

He turned to see Jo striding up with a bottle of water and a key. She unlocked just the tray slide and pressed the water through. Standing back up and grabbing Sam by the hand, she pulled him down the hall with her.

“Charlie’s getting April,” she said while tugging him along. “Garth’s already in the green room. Mom’s working out how much time she needs between sets. Usually, there’s about two hours between each round, but you know…Cas is already impatient. I can’t believe you pulled that off.” She glanced back at him severely. “Wouldn’t wanna be you right now though. Don’t fuck up is putting it mildly.” Sam just huffed and followed her into the control room.

“You heard?” he asked Ellen when they walked in, but it was Jo who answered.

“Fuck yeah! We had the intercom feed on. That was fuckin’ brilliant, right Mom?” Jo did a little spin-dance thing, and Sam rolled his eyes.

“Language, Jo. Please,” Ellen responded. Turning to Sam, her tone turned serious. “Sam, Garth’s going to try to work quickly. We think that making April wait as long as we have will help. We think we can start your round after just half-an-hour. She should be able to respond to both of you. Charlie is explaining everything to her now. I messaged Charlie while you were talking to Cas, and she’s on-board. She says the girl’s anxious and horny, but okay. Sounds like we’re a go, but it all depends on you. Garth’s got it easy. After waiting so long, April will willingly bend over for anyone with a dick on the first round. After that’s worn off, though, she’s not going to be as receptive to you. You’re not Mate, and she’ll know it. You will have to be assertive. No hesitation, none of your sweetness. You have to get in there and take her hard and fast, understand?

“Yeah, I get it.” Sam got it. He knew the risks. He just didn’t have a choice. Dean was gonna feel the rough side of Sam’s paddle when the dust cleared though. Sam was absolutely sure of that.

 

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

 

“She’s ready. Again.” called Charlie through the intercom. The last word mumbled under her breath, but everyone heard it. Finally. There were other projects going today. There were classes and seminars scheduled. There was supposed to be a Board meeting. There were other Omegas matriculating into Eval and Training. There were three other Keller tests on the docket, but everything had come to a screeching halt over the mating of Dr. Castiel Novak, heart and soul and spirit behind The Facility. Known and loved by all, he was their Alpha. His long-term failure to mate had been a worry on everyone’s mind through the years. Today was a big deal. No one wanted to be left out.

Sam took up a spot in the Green room. He fluffed Garth’s cock casually, speaking to him softly. The first round was a milk run: if the testee was an Omega, the first round just called for him or her to be fucked. Simple. Didn’t need to knot, so a beta would do. Didn’t need to Claim, so it didn’t have to be a Dom.

The testor’s designations were fed into the computer along with the sensors’ readings, and the algorithm did the rest. Did she submit to a beta-Neutral? The algorithm factored in a certain weight toward her level of Submissiveness. Did she try to Dominate an alpha-Sub? Easy calculation for the computer program. It needed a certain number of variables though. That’s why three rounds were required. Sometimes the findings were obvious, just validation of what everyone already knew. The sensors didn’t lie, though. Some Subs tried to pass themselves as Doms. The computer caught them every time, and the subsequent training taught them why it’s harmful to try to escape their own designation.

“Okay, Garth. You’re up. She’s in place. You’ve got this, man. Go get ‘er.” Sam shoved Garth gently toward the door. Cole pulled it open when the light flashed green, and Garth walked through.

The room was brightly lit. It was large enough to serve multiple purposes and hold a variety of instruments and equipment. Garth walked purposefully to the bed in the center. Both he and the girl were naked. She lay on her back watching him approach and writhing. There was a soft mewling sound coming from her throat, and her eyes were lust-blown.

She’d been fully aroused for over an hour waiting to be taken, waiting to be mated, and in her lust, she was beautiful. Garth wasted no time. This was not his mate, this was just his job. Everyone on staff took turns in Keller testing. No one could skip an assignment based on their own sexual orientation or gender.

Basically, the way it worked was, Dr. Harvelle referenced the tables and determined which designations were needed to evaluate a particular candidate, reviewed the staff options and made assignments. When your assignment came up, you fucked or bent over to take the fucking. Whoever, however, whenever. It was not a bad gig for a wolf. A Canid’s libido is roughly 5 times that of even the randiest primate, and they are incapable of an internal sense of sexual shame. Sexual congress for a Lupin is both less and more important than it is for a primate. But we digress. There’s fucking going on.

Garth mounted the bed from the end and crawled awkwardly on hands and knees up to where the girl lay. Her eyes tracked him, but she made no move to reach out to him or to push him away. She showed no fear or revulsion. Her pulse quickened and her breath became shallow. Garth knew careful notes were being taken. Every sensor was recording every signal her body put out. Some were reading his own responses as well, for calibration purposes. It was all very complicated.

Garth leaned gently over her and kissed her mouth. He caressed her cheek softly. She shifted her head into the touch, and spread her legs just a bit. He reached down and guided his hard cock to her soft folds. This time would be missionary position and vaginal penetration. Garth pressed in with his hips until he encountered the barrier. She squeaked minutely, and then gasped loudly and moaned as her hymen broke. Ah, shit, thought Garth. She’s a virgin. Jesus, Cas is going to kill me. Too late now, he thought, and he began to fuck her in earnest.

It really wasn’t sexy at all. Just a routine test fuck. Garth pumped mildly in and out until the friction built in his cock. The Omega made almost no noise after her initial deflowering, but she breathed more and more heavily and squeezed her eyes shut. Just before Garth toppled over and spilled inside her, he felt her vaginal walls pulse and squeeze his cock as her orgasm throbbed through the walls surrounding him. He followed her, pumping through his release until they were both spent and semen leaked out of her around his flagging cock.

Garth gently guided her chin up until she looked him in the eyes. She was flushed and open. She was catching her breath, but murmured a soft, “Thank you, beta.” Garth smiled sweetly down at her. Kissed a benediction to her nose and her forehead, checked again that she was okay (she looked happy) then pulled out of her warmth, climbed off the bed and left the room without another glance.

Charlie entered the room on the heels of Garth’s departure. She carried a strange electronic meter about the size of a large cell phone. Lights on it blinked, and occasionally it beeped. Charlie spoke soothingly to the Omega while passing the meter in the air all around her body, pausing a bit near her head, her breasts, each armpit, her groin, and near her feet.

When she finished, she glanced at the one-way glass, just a mirror from this side and evidently received a response of some kind, for she nodded and tucked the meter into its holster on her hip. Then she pulled an orange juice bottle from a small fridge in the room and brought over a blanket. Charlie climbed right into the bed next to the girl, pulling the blanket over both of them. She cracked open the juice, put one arm around her young charge, and helped her to drink it.

“You did great, sweetness,” Charlie cooed softly. She smiled and continued, “We’ll give you about half-an-hour to rest. If you need a toilet, I’ll take you. You hungry?” The girl shook her head, took another sip of juice and snuggled in.

“Is it time for me to meet him?” she asked Charlie with big eyes, trusting completely.

“Not yet,” Charlie reminded her. “You have one more test round before you get to see your mate. You’ll like Sam, he’s nice, and he’ll be good to you.”

The Omega huffed sulkily. She’d waited a long time. It had felt like hours of beating her fists against the changing room door while Charlie did her best to calm her, knowing that her True-Mate was just outside the door had exhausted the girl. She didn’t want to wait, but she was tired. She slipped into an easy sleep while Charlie held her close and stroked her stomach with the lightest possible touch.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 4

THEN:

 

“How ‘bout you in the tan shirt, on the end of the row.” Benny pointed him out, then waited for the microphone to make its way to the young man. He looked Simian from up at the front of the seminar classroom.

“Uh yeah, hi. Thanks for coming all the way out to Maryland,” the man began. They all acknowledged his politeness with a nod. “I’m a senior here studying Public Relations. I was wondering if you could explain the difference between a Domination Bond and a Claim Fuck and why you don’t consider them rape.” His blush was visible from the front of the room, and Benny thought it adorable. Benny heard Bobby shift at the end of the panel table and deferred to him with a gesture. The question really touched on both Benny’s and Bobby’s areas of expertise, so it didn’t much matter which of them answered.

“That’s an important question, young man,” began Bobby. “For wolves, as you no doubt already know, sex is not just a matter of pleasure, intimacy, procreation, connection, or love expression as it is for primates. Of course, it serves all of those purposes in our intimate private relationships with our special loved ones, but for us as a community, sex is one of two essential means of establishing hierarchy in our Pack, (um, the other being corporal punishment). And hierarchy is the core of establishing a balanced stable state-of-mind for individual wolves.

“Now, there is no such thing as a Domination Bond, as you put it. There’s the Domination Fuck…” Bobby interrupted himself parenthetically with a wave of his hand. “For all of you Primates who don’t like that word, I hate to be blunt, but the door’s over there. It’s a perfectly serviceable word, and there’s not another one that means the same thing, so if you’re going to stay, get used to the word ‘Fuck’. Say it out loud with me: FUCK. One more time: FUCK! Good, okay, that’s out of the way. Where was I?” The audience and the other panel members were still laughing as he picked the thread back up.

“Right, the D.F… Stay with me here, it’s a little complicated. A Domination Fuck asserts or reasserts the hierarchy between two individuals in a way that creates a chemical response, a hormone release, in both of their bodies which reinforces the hierarchy. It’s a means for the Top to “put the Bottom in their place” (he used finger-quotes to clarify), “It keeps uncertainty out of the interactions between them, but it doesn’t create a bond between them after the act is completed. Domination Fucks are used a lot during Omega or Sub training to help keep the student in the right state-of-mind to be receptive to the staff. Many traditional families also use the practice at home as part of their Pack Discipline regimen.

“The Claim Fuck, or C.F. for short, is different in that it creates a very real and measurable, although temporary, chemical connection or Bond, between the two individuals that they carry with them when the act is over. The Mating Claim, which involves the act of placing a scarring bite upon the Bottom’s body during the act of aggressive fucking, is the most intense version of Claim Fucking, and is of course, permanent. Claim Fucking is an act of domination and aggression, not sexual pleasure. It has a great deal in common with the Simian concept of rape, in that it’s most definitely more about power play than about sexual satisfaction. It is exclusively hierarchical in purpose.

“I guess, C.F.s have that in common with the Dominance Fuck too,” he added, looking at his colleagues for a confirmation nod, “but here’s the difference between these two practices and rape: The Claim Fuck only produces a viable bond, and the Dom Fuck only provides a sense of stability between them if the Bottom submits willingly to the Top. For wolves, the act of domination, done with respect, authority, and healthy intent, triggers the release of a variety of powerful hormones and body responses that then trigger responding releases within the willing submissive.

“If the appropriate authority to Dominate or Claim is not present, and if the submissive isn’t capable of rolling, there’s no connection (and in this case, when I say submissive, I really mean whoever’s the Bottom at the time). In our facilities, we monitor all testing and training interactions closely for signs of distress hormone from the Bottoms. Everyone receives assertiveness and self-defense training so we can keep one another safe. Omegas and Subs are trained that they have full agency over their own willingness when it comes to Tops who don’t have authority over them.

“For instance, as an alpha, I couldn’t just grab a strange Omega on the street, knot her against her will, and produce a Claim bond between us. Behaving in that way is rape - pure and simple. But if she is in an imbalanced state and her custodial alpha stakes a claim over her body, she will submit willingly. Then even though the act is aggressive, the outcome is very different. One is harmful and destructive. The other brings peace, mindfulness, stability.”

 

NOW:

 

There was already a battle underway when Sam opened the control room door. Voices, all raised, hit him from several directions at once. A smaller man might have stepped back into the hall at the volume, but Sam wasn’t small. Nevertheless, he slipped through without being much noticed and let the sound wash over him, trying to figure out the cause of the ruckus.

“Second round. We’ve been over this. She needs a knot! Period!” Bobby had a vein standing prominent in his neck. They were all stressed.

“She’s covered without a knot, I’m telling you, Sam’s dominant enough to make up the difference! Jesus, just let me do my job!”

“Cas picked Sam - and Garth, come to think of it. You wanna be the one to tell him we swapped ‘em for someone else?! To Claim Fuck his mate? You’re suicidal, Bobby.” Jo was definitely pushing the boundaries of acceptable discourse to a superior, but everyone was stressed.

“You wanna try to explain to him later that we hafta start the whole rigamarole all over again ‘cause the data’s fucked?” Bobby turned on Jo. Jo just huffed and headed for the door muttering under her breath. Bobby wasn’t having it. “Wanna say that loud enough for the whole class?” he used his alpha voice.

I said, “It’s your funeral,” Jo shot back and disappeared through the door.

Benny was slouched down in the rolling office chair in the corner with one hand on his brow. “Where the fuck is Dean? We need ‘im for this. Hey, Sam!” shot Benny, noticing him standing there with wide eyes, his checklist loose in his hand at his side. “You seen Dean? Can you fetch him, Brother? This is right down his alley. It’s gonna be a cluster-fuck without him.”

“Uh, yeah. I see that. No, actually I haven’t seen Dean since yesterday morning. I heard he took off, and my calls are going straight to voicemail.” Sam looked around at the group, noting the tension that hadn’t abated at all. “I think I know where he is, but he’s probably not in any condition to work a Keller at the moment…or maybe even his own feet right now.”

“Can anyone here really say they’re surprised?” Bobby added. “He’s had it so bad for the Alpha for so long, I’m surprised he even still eats off his own fork sometimes. No way he was gonna handle this; not without some liquid enhancement.”

“What do you need Sam?” Ellen looked up dolefully, her face was flushed and her eyes a bit glazed. “Shouldn’t you be fluffing by now?”

“Uh, it’s the checklist, Ellen.” Sam seemed hesitant to bring it up in front of two Directors. “It’s blank. Did you maybe give me the wrong one? We could just talk it through?” He looked around the room, noting that Benny and Bobby both had hard eyes on Ellen. “Or, uh, maybe you’ve laid it out somewhere, and I just picked up the blank one by mistake…” Sam trailed off for a moment. Benny had sat up straight and was nailing Ellen with his eyes. He looked…pissed. “Like, just let me know, are we going vaginal or anal on this one? And do I do a full C.F., or just my usual dominance? Is she gonna have a plug in?”

“Ellen?” Benny broke in, one eyebrow at full attention and his mouth a hard line.

Dr. Harvelle was flustered and searching around the desk where she kept her forms, but didn’t come up with anything. She didn’t meet Benny’s eye. He resumed, “Did you send Sam into a test with our esteemed Alpha’s True Mate without instructions?”

“Of, of course not alpha…It’s just… here somewhere…it all happened so fast. I know I did it. I. Maybe…” She stopped and looked at the floor. Her face had gone pale.

“Is that why Garth didn’t know he had a virgin on his hands? Christ, woman! This is not just any Omega!” Bobby was shouting at her and she cowered.

“Hold up!” Sam held a hand up between them. “Ellen,” he started, kneeling and speaking as kindly as he could, “when was your last Release? Are you over-due?”

Ellen looked up at him, stricken. Without speaking, she reached into her desk drawer for her phone. They waited while she pulled up the Lupin App that Omegas used to track their Balance Adjustments, among other things. She was muttering to herself and shaking a bit. “It’s not been that…I mean, I know I had an appointment with…” Ellen sucked in a breath when the calendar came up on the screen. Balefully, she admitted, “It’s been three weeks, Sir.” She met his eyes, knowing she was in trouble.

Benny took over. “What’s your schedule? Every two weeks, right?” Ellen nodded slowly. “So, you’ve been administering a highly technical and complicated test to extremely vulnerable Lupins for A WEEK outside of your schedule and you didn’t think to mention it?!” Yeah, Benny was pissed. “You could’ve damaged somebody, Omega! You could’ve done something unfixable! What HAPPENED!?”

“My Dom was sick,” she murmured, almost too softly to hear. “He was sick, and we were going to reschedule, and then I…forgot.” She finished speaking and looked down. There was nothing more to say.

Bobby stood. “Sam, to answer your questions: it’s anal, expect her to be untouched, come inside her, full Release if you can swing it. And yes, it’s a C.F. with full domination. You need to cow her and bond her. You can’t knot her,” he glanced meaningfully at Ellen but didn’t resume his previous argument, “So you gotta give her all you got. No holds barred. Also, use a bit of pain to tweak her. I think you should see if you can draw her out without touching her clitoris. You got it?” He looked at Sam intently until Sam nodded. He looked thoughtful for a moment, then glanced at the empty form in his hand, tossed it unceremoniously onto the desk in front of Dr. Harvelle, turned to the door and disappeared without a word.

Bobby turned his attention to Benny. “You want to take care of this, I take it?” Benny nodded decisively. Bobby regarded him for just a moment, then turned the doorknob and said over his shoulder, “I’ll send Cole in. You’ll need it documented.” And he left pulling the door closed behind him.

Ellen seemed to realize just how much shit was about to splatter across the proverbial fan, and she shrunk down in a little in her chair, her eyes on the curled papers Sam had left.

“Who’s your Dom?”

“Travis,” she said softly.

Benny scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Of course, … And who’s your Alpha?”

Ellen looked up sharply at this question, surprised that he’d need to ask. “Jo.” Her response was sharp with disbelief. Omega custody always fell to familial alpha until mating or unless court orders altered that.

Benny held her eye with a razor-sharp glare. “Your daughter let you get this far out of balance?”

“Alpha…” she protested, then realized she had nothing. “Uh, it’s not like…I mean, she didn’t…know,” she finished up lamely, looking back at her feet. Shoelaces suddenly seemed very interesting.

The door opened, and Cole stepped in, looking expectant and eager. Benny didn’t give him an opportunity to speak. He held his hand out in expectation and waited a moment. “Hand me your paddle,” he said, when Cole seemed slow on the uptake. Cole’s hand strayed protectively to the elongated pocket down the outside of his jeans leg. He looked baffled. Borrowing an Enforcement Officer’s paddle was much like asking to borrow a policeman’s sidearm, and Cole didn’t want to comply. One look at Benny’s face convinced him the normally laid-back alpha was in no mood to argue. Benny smirked humorlessly and raised one eyebrow. That eyebrow said, “Or else…”

“Uh,” Cole said shrewdly. He balked for just a moment, then produced the paddle and laid it, handle first in Benny’s outstretched hand. Benny’s smirk deepened to smugness. He silently congratulated himself on killing two birds with one stone.

Beta-Doms had a well-earned reputation for being over-bearing alpha-wanna-be’s, and Cole was starting to fall into the trap of throwing his weight around, demanding attention and obeisance without the alpha authority to back it up. Really, it just made him look like a prick. Benny knew it was time to knock the beta down a peg. If only they could all be like Sam, he thought. Sam’s sense of protectiveness and care seemed to extend to everyone around him, especially Omegas. He was the most popular trainer and E.O. at The Facility. Even after having their backsides busted until they wailed, the Omegas he’d paddled adored him. He just cared so much about them and they respected, no, loved him for it. Cole was no Sam. Not yet anyway, maybe not ever.

“Keep the record for me,” Benny instructed him. “Also,” he swung the paddle loosely, “make a note in the record to follow up with Travis and Jo. This whole episode reeks.” Benny turned to Ellen who hadn’t moved, while Cole sputtered a bit behind him. Benny ignored him. He knew Cole would obey. “I’ll catch up with those two later. Right now, I’m going to set you back to rights.” Benny lifted Ellen’s chin until she met his eye. She looked ashamed. Good. “I’m going to take care of you, Doctor.” His voice was not loud, but there was iron in it. Ellen nodded as much as his grip allowed.

“On your feet. Turn around. Clear the desk.” He was suddenly all business. Cole shuffled around a bit by the door, getting his cell phone in order. Sulking. Benny gave Ellen enough time to make a clean space on the desk. “Kick your shoes off and put your palms flat on the desk.” She complied wordlessly.

“Why am I about to paddle your ass into next week?” Benny’s voice was mild. He might’ve just been curious, but his hands were business-like and efficient as he lifted the back of her skirt and tucked it into the top of her blouse, catching it on her bra strap. He edged the fingers of his left hand under the elastic of her panties and swept them to her ankles.

Ellen answered at once. She was already steadier, the tension sloughing off her like a flush of water. “I skipped my adjustment appointment, and I, um, I got flustered and confused, and I could have hurt someone?”

“That’s right,” agreed Benny, bringing the paddle powerfully down into sharp contact with the lower half of her right cheek, right where the crease with her thigh marked the bottom of her ass. It was meant to sting and throb. Heat suffused quickly through Ellen. She sucked in a quick breath and lowered her head between her arms, bracing herself for the long haul. “This behavior is not acceptable from you,” he reminded her conversationally, applying another swing with a pop to the exact same spot. Ellen held position, but squeezed her eyes shut. “You don’t have the luxury of slipping up, Omega. Too many vulnerable people rely on your good judgment. Yes?” He swung again. Ellen whimpered, but answered with a nod. “All right, then. Let’s get this done.”

Benny began a steady, hard rhythm. It went on and on. He struck the same spot over and over again, never varying the speed, intensity, or location. Ellen struggled to get her breath right. Just when she let a breath out, another blow would land, and she’d suck in with no control. She feared hyperventilating, but Benny was watchful, and Ellen’s panic was unnecessary. The stinging burn built and spread from her backside, into her middle. She could feel the building Release. She focused on it with all her might, trying to grab it and force it to explode. The strikes kept landing. Benny had nothing more to say. Ellen was on her toes, pressure in every breath and muscle building as each hit popped and echoed in the small room. It seemed to go on forever.

Finally, the heat began to crescendo. Ellen keened and dropped her head onto her hands, offering her ass fully to the will of the alpha behind her. The Release, when it came, took her breath away. It spread with a concussion, out from her center and into every part of her body. She shuddered and groaned, low and deep, and loud. Benny landed one more strike, for good measure. Then flexed his arm and handed the paddle back to Cole.

Ellen was bent flat over the desk, panting into her folded arms. Her right butt cheek was practically glowing red, slightly abraded, sure to bruise.

“Better?” asked Benny.

“Yes, alpha,” breathed the doctor.

“All right, Cher. You’re OK now. Just breathe for me. Get yourself together.” Benny released the back of her skirt and retrieved her underpants from where she’d kicked them across the room. He handed them to her. “Look at me, sweetness.” She looked up through tear-filled eyes. “Can you do this now? Or do I need to get Charlie to finish the test?”

“NO! I mean,” she lowered her gaze and found herself a tissue from the box in the corner of her desk. “I can do it. I just. I didn’t realize it had gotten so bad.” She swung her head from to side. “I honestly just forgot. I haven’t done that before.” She looked up at him again. “It won’t happen again. Forgive me?”

“You’re forgiven Omega. We still need to take care of your punishment, but let’s get Cas hitched first. The rest will keep.” Benny was back to his calm, soothing self. He wasn’t angry at Ellen, but both knew that an infraction this potentially dangerous couldn’t be allowed to pass with just a balance adjustment. Ellen’s Release may have restored her equanimity, but she had yet to atone for the mistake. That would be a very different spanking.

With her head pulled back out of the fog and her body fully under her own control again, Ellen slid her panties back into place and retook her seat. If she leaned to her left a bit, well, she just needed to list to port right now. OK? She met Cole’s eye and nodded. He typed a quick response into his cell phone, then held it out for Benny to sign the screen.

“Am I excused, alpha?” Cole huffed.

“You can go,” Benny gruffed at him. “But Cole, we’re gonna have a chat later.” Cole blanched, mumbled an almost respectful response, and fled. Benny shook it off. Priorities. As the Facility’s Director of Behavioral Studies, Benny was responsible for the E.O.s. The Enforcement Officers reported to him directly. He was beginning to regret hiring Cole. It looked like he just wasn’t suited to the job. Not like Sam. Sam spoiled his boss. In the same position, Benny mused, Sam would’ve accepted the alpha’s decision, monitored the punishment dutifully, giving it his full attention, and offered the Omega comfort when it was over. Sam operated on compassion and instinct. Cole seemed to just want to hit people. Enough of this.

Benny texted Bobby and discovered that, as exciting as Cas’ mating was, Bobby had picked up the dropped reins that were needed to keep The Facility running. Someone had to keep the lights on. In the short time since he left Benny, he had contacted the Board members and cancelled the meeting, rescheduled the afternoon classes, and checked in on the other recently enrolled Omegas. Good. Next, Benny called in to the Green room and spoke to Jo.

“Yep. He’s fluffed and ready. Get a move on though, he’s growling at me.” Jo sassed. Thin ice, young alpha, thought Benny, but he let that go too (for now), and he turned to the room beyond the one-way window. Ellen was speaking softly into her intercom, talking to Charlie. She looked up and caught Benny’s eye. Her gaze was clear and steady. She was back. She nodded. Everyone’s ready. Benny returned her nod, and stepped back, crossing his arms and leaning his butt against one of the narrow tables full of monitoring equipment. Normally, a number of assistants helped out in here, but Dr. Harvelle could run this room by herself, and Benny wanted to observe her at work.

Benny couldn’t help the self-recrimination running through his mind. Dean would have handled this all so smoothly and so much faster. How much had Castiel and his new mate suffered and waited because Benny, not Dean had been running the show. But then, he reminded himself, when shit had got real, Benny stayed and slogged through. Dean had fled. Benny sighed. He couldn’t blame Dean at all. He was only human. A certain aspect of this mating felt like a death in the family.

Benny’s train of thought stopped when the light above the door turned green and the door inside the test room burst open. Sam came through like a rhino bent on destruction. He wasn’t sultry or seductive, he was decisive. He was a conqueror. Ellen shivered a bit, her eyes on the Dominant approaching the bed, but she kept working, her hands moving easily across the monitors.

Sam was naked and glorious. His erection stood out from his groin, red and angry. His eyes blazed. He wasted no time. Taking hold of the Omega’s ankles he tugged, pulling her off the end of the bed while flipping her onto her belly. She yelped and grabbed for the head board, but missed.

“NO!” she shouted in a breathy high-pitched voice. “You’re not my Mate!” The girl sobbed and kicked out at Sam, but he held fast. He bent her across the end of the bed and leaned over her, biting her on the ear and growling, full of menace. His cock pushed up along her crack and he leaned deeper, pressing it into her.

“Be still!” he directed and the authority in his voice was unquestionable. She trembled, but stopped struggling. His right hand took hold of her hip. His left held her firmly by the shoulder, more firmly than strictly necessary. The Omega whimpered again. It was pitiful, and she looked over her shoulder with wide eyes, but remained motionless otherwise. “Eyes front unless I tell you to look at me.” Sam was stern, commanding, and utterly in control. She snapped her head forward and closed her eyes for good measure.

In the control room Benny whispered, “Damn…” and blew out an impressed breath.

Sam didn’t look down or use either hand to line himself up. He rutted like a dog, fast, hard, and painful, searching by feel until his cock sank into her channel. She was swollen and slick, open and welcoming. Her ass embraced Sam’s groin, and she pushed back slightly at the feel. The Dominant slapped her ass and repeated, “Be still!” She froze immediately.

Sam planted his feet, gripped her tight and plunged in, fucking deep and meaning business. The Omega went completely slack. Her body jolted and shifted with each punch. She had stopped trembling. Instead, a continuous punctuated moan emanated from deep in her throat, throbbing with the Dom’s hard thrusts. She curled her toes and went boneless.

The girl’s first orgasm brought with it a powerful Release from her Omega gland, the concussion visible to everyone watching and spiking the instruments under Ellen’s care. The second flooded her neocortex and her adrenal glands. Wave after wave of hormone release reached out into the room and grabbed onto Sam’s as her conscious mind let go of all intent. A bond struck between the two of them instantly, and they both gasped, shocked at the recoil. Sam redoubled his efforts. Rushing to completion.

He came with a howl as she reached her third climax on the after-shocks of the second. They screamed their release into the room, subsumed with pleasure. Then Sam collapsed on top of her and panted shallowly, his vision blacking out for a moment even as his cocked slipped from her ass. It had taken no time at all. Or maybe it had taken hours. Sam didn’t know.

Ellen breathed out very slowly, glanced over her left shoulder at Benny and remarked, “That girl was a virgin an hour ago.”

Sam sucked in a breath and rolled off the Omega. April, he reminded himself. Her name is April. He pushed her hair gently behind her ear to get a look at the side of her face where it was tucked into her arms – to check if she was OK. The trembling had returned. Sam ran a hand firmly over her back. The bond between them lit with pleasure even as she leaned slightly into his touch. He chuckled softly. “Yeah,” he whispered just for her, “me too.”

She peeked at him from over her arm, clearly uncertain. “It’s okay, April.” Sam continued his touch and helped with his other hand to pull at the blanket Charlie was spreading out over them both. He leaned a little further onto his side, creating distance for her. “You’re fine. This was good. You were so good for me. Your Alpha is going to be pleased…so proud of you. You did great.” He eased her up and back onto the bed as he spoke gently into her ear and dragged the blanket along with them. He rubbed at her legs underneath the cover to check for stiffness, and then moved on to her shoulders and arms when he found none. She was in really good shape. She was strong and pliable. He found faint bruises on her shoulder and hip from his grip, but otherwise, she was perfect. “You’re perfect,” he told her.

Charlie was moving calmly around the bed, wielding the peliomometer as she went. She hummed to herself with satisfaction. Glancing at the mirror for just a moment for some sign only she could see, she nodded and put it back in its holster. Charlie brought a chocolate bar and a cereal bar, holding them out for Sam to choose. He picked the chocolate, unwrapped it and fed April small pieces.

“What about my Alpha?” she asked timidly. “My mate? Is he going to be angry with me? Charlie said to let you… That is,” April began to worry herself into tensing up, shoving toward the end of the bed as if to flee the scene of her ‘crime.’ “She said I should let you have me. Like that other beta, before. But you weren’t like him.” She was crying now, panicking and reaching toward Charlie. “Oh God! Oh, Charlie, what’d I do?!?”

Sam shushed her quietly and eased her back down. Her bonded body responded and went easily, confusing her flustered mind. “Alpha’s not angry, sweet girl,” he assured her. Charlie stepped up and crawled onto the bed to bracket her, stroking her hair and murmuring sweet assurances in her ear. April stopped fighting and protesting. She slowly relaxed. She ate the small bits of chocolate that Sam fed her, and she began to listen to the comforting words they wrapped around her head like soporific balm. She soon fell back asleep.

In the booth, Ellen waved Benny over to look at the readings blinking on her monitor. As she slept, April’s slick production was beginning to go into over-drive, and her temperature was rising. A quick check of the readings from Cas’ electrodes showed that he too was starting to show the signs of a triggered cycle. Benny grunted his acknowledgement. “We need to speed this up, get them mated, and get them somewhere private. I don’t really want to have to watch these two at the height of their Heat and Rut. And once they’ve ramped all the way up, there’s no way we’re going to be able to move them to a private room.”

“You may not want to see it, alpha,” said Ellen flushing, “but I kind of do. Just imagine Cas, in all his dominance, completely unleashed.” Ellen’s eyes glazed over as her mind supplied images, “It’s going to be glorious.”

“It’s going to cost us a fortune in broken equipment if it all goes down in here.” Benny rolled his eyes. “How long before we can let Cas at her?”

“Her body needs at least another hour to process Sam’s Claim and rest.” Ellen responded.

“All right, then. Set the count-down clock. We’ll get Cas to the Green room in about 30 minutes. I don’t imagine he’ll need any fluffing.” Ellen chuckled and thought, yeah, probably not.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 5

THEN:

“Hi Dean! Hi Sam!” she shouted into the mic cheerfully. “You’re my favorite, Sam, I want you to know, but my question is for Dean.” The two men shoved each other playfully on-stage, ribbing good naturedly as if keeping score. “So, if you’re an alpha, but also a Sub, like, do you usually do the pitching or the catching in bed?”

Dean smiled in her direction, although he couldn’t really see her well with the lights in his eyes. He considered the question a moment as if it weren’t the single most frequently asked question at conventions. “So, it really depends on the situation and the circumstances. When I’m working, it’s all about the needs of whoever I’m with, you know? When it’s just for me…” he stopped and chuckled, a little abashed “I guess it still depends on who I’m with and what I’m looking for. I like to switch it up. A word of warning though for you alpha and beta-Subs out there, and any primates in the audience, this is for you too – anal sex is way more complicated for non-Omegas. If you don’t have a channel, you have to be very careful with that stuff. Before you play, get yourself trained. Don’t get hurt.”

Dean’s relationship with his boss – no, relationship wasn’t the right word – Dean’s intimacies with Dr. Novak were not a publicly disclosed thing. That was private. As far as the public knew, they were close friends and colleagues, although Dean was aware there was a subset of the fanbase that had begun a “shipping” campaign, insisting the two were closer than friends.

“Do you prefer one over the other, though?” she persisted.

“It’s actually kind of hard for me to know.” Dean leaned forward on his stool, frowning in thought. “I spend so much of my professional time fucking…and being fucked,” he admitted with a tilt of his head, “that I think my own personal needs are often met at work without even trying. I can tell you that outside of work, I Bottom more often than I Top, but if I wasn’t in this line of work, I mean, who knows, right?” Dean had no intention of relating just how rarely he wanted to Top his partner in his private life. That’s what ‘Private’ means after all.

Dean enjoyed showing off on-stage. It was so much more fun than those boring, interminable seminars Cas dragged him to. Honestly. How do you make talking about fucking up into someone’s ass so hard that slick literally splatters out onto everything a boring subject? It’s like all those dullards have no sexual response whatsoever once you get them into a classroom. This, on the other hand was awesome. Dean shifted his focus across the room to the microphone set up on the opposite side of the stage from the first to listen to the next question.

“Hello, my name’s Janine. I’m a beta-Sub from Portland. My question is for both of you.” She paused to let them nod for her to continue. “So, I don’t have an alpha right now. My folks are both betas, we don’t have any other family close, and I’m single. I know there are Lupin centers opening all over the country, but Portland doesn’t have one yet. I’m kind of struggling ‘cause I can’t find a Dom who gets me. There’s a matching service, but they keep matching me up with pussies, uh sorry, excuse me…I mean, they keep matching me up with Doms who won’t go hard enough for me. Is that a big deal? Like, should I just settle for what I can get, or…?” She trailed off, looking at the boys on the stage in misery.

Sam started first, “Hi Janine. Thanks for your question. It was brave of you to ask, and it’s the kind of question that could wind up helping a lot of people, so I’m really proud of you.” Dean nodded his agreement. “I want you to remember that you shouldn’t ever just settle for care that isn’t right for you. Yes, it’s a big deal if you can’t get your bitch stroked the way she’s demanding. There’s a reason you feel those needs, and it’s really unhealthy for you to ignore them.” He fixed Janine with a stern look for even considering taking on a Dom that she didn’t respect. At least he hoped he was glaring at her. The lights were fucking blinding.

“Janine,” Dean broke in, “Do you have your Keller score?”

“Yes, alpha,” she answered promptly.

“And the matching service has it too?”

“Yes, sir, I included the full report with my application.”

“Dicks!” said Dean vehemently. “Look, I know it’s hard to find a match sometimes, but Portland’s not that small. I know there’s gotta be someone who fits with you. What’s your Sub-rating, if you don’t mind telling me, and my brother, and a thousand perfect strangers?”

“Um, no, I don’t mind. It’s um, that is, I’m a Profound, rating of 15.” She had turned bashful when the audience laughed at Dean’s clowning.

“Yeah, no,” opined Dean, “That’s not so rare. You shouldn’t be having trouble. Are you in the one-on-ones later? We can make an assessment and give you some resources, get you squared away.”

“Yes, alpha. I have a ticket for 1:30.”

“Great!” said Dean, winking at her cheekily, “I look forward to it.”

Sam broke back in, “Thanks Janine, see you in a bit. And for anyone else out there who’s having trouble finding a match. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT settle for less than you need. If you are having trouble getting it, contact us by website or phone call. It’s a free service. It really works. We have the most extensive networking system in the world, and we don’t FUCK around with PUSSIES!” Sam was pissed that the community services in so many places were still so often lackadaisical and backward.

The audience broke into boisterous applause. Yep, thought Dean, this is awesome.

 

NOW:

 

Moving Cas from the Scenting room to the Green room was no easy task. He was irritated and impatient, barely holding his wolf back by the scruff of its neck, and he’d stripped his clothes off some time ago, unwilling to pretend at civility any longer. He was single-minded and completely lost in the mandates of his anatomy and internal chemistry. It took four alphas, plus Cole to escort him safely into the Green room with a minimum of property loss or personal injury. Castiel growled and snarled at everyone. Benny considered trying to fit a muzzle on him before the transfer, but decided that would just piss him off.

The chemistry behind the True Mate bond was not one that was fully understood yet. Many Lupins didn’t believe it really existed, writing the anecdotal evidence off as heat-of-the-moment mating due to an alignment of Heats and Ruts that just made mating seem like a REALLY good idea at the time. But those wolves hadn’t seen what the staff at The Facility had seen. Too many times, wolves who weren’t anywhere near one another would suddenly go feral at a scent that had no effect on anyone else, and make a bee-line toward someone who was careening their direction as well. They would crash together, all teeth and claws and claiming; mating on the spot with no shame or hesitation, caring not a fig about who might be caught as an unwitting witness, and showing no regret afterward. When that happened, evaluations done on the pair later always showed a near perfect correlation of genders and proclivities, even down to the intangibles. The same Universe that made life so hard on the Canid species sometimes, clearly had a genuinely sappy heart as well to give them this. The problem was, wolves had to be in scenting distance of each other to trigger the reaction. There was no way to predict a match on paper (yet).

Castiel paced in the Green room, every muscle tensed. His cock was engorged and enormous. Slippery spots on the floor where he’d dripped pre-come were scattered from one side of the room to the other. His eyes were nearly completely red, and he kept one hand wrapped firmly around his erection as if ready to guide it to its target. He tried the door every time he passed it and huffed like a beast when it remained locked. He knew she was in there, and he only had one thought in his head. Mate.

Ellen kept an eye on him through the closed-circuit feed. “Charlie, you and Jo clear out of there as soon as she’s in place. I don’t want anyone else in the room when he enters. We’ve got to trust that his instincts will keep them both safe until the bite takes hold.” There were instances they’d all read about where an alpha accidentally maimed his own mate once lost to the fever pitch of Rut and mating drive. But this was Alpha. He wouldn’t hurt her. Castiel had never caused any injury that he didn’t intend. Ever. Property damage happened on occasion, but never unintentional harm to a wolf. He was the ultimate ideal of a Dominant Alpha in control.

Charlie finished positioning her - belly-down, resting on her shoulders, ass up, face pressed into the bedding, feet spread wide. She was a perfectly presented gift, and her mate should zero in on her ass as soon as he entered the room. The Omega writhed and moaned, turning her head to one side. “Hurts, Charlie,” she complained. “Everything’s on fire…please. I need…”

“Shhhh, Baby. You’re okay. You’re going into Heat. I know it hurts. Your Alpha’s coming. He’ll make it all better. He’s going to mount you, okay? It’ll feel weird at first. He’ll knot you, so it won’t be like Sam. It’ll be better, I promise. Way better.” She stroked April’s back softly and repositioned her backside where April had let it drop, trying to thrust her hips into the mattress in response to the Heat driving through her veins. “He’s going to bite you, and you’re gonna want him to. It’ll make you feel so much better, but don’t be scared if it hurts and bleeds when he does it. Just…let him. Promise me? Don’t fight him.”

“Okay, Charlie,” she replied in a tiny voice. Charlie scanned the room quickly, checking that all the instruments were set correctly, and everything was in place. Then she gestured Jo out of the room and followed her into the control room. There was no way she was going to miss this.

The control room was packed. It looked like everyone had the same idea. Bobby put his finger to his lips to remind the two women to avoid distracting Ellen from her work. Dr. Harvelle glanced around the room to make sure all was in readiness. Then she reached over with a shaking hand and released the door lock to the Green room, turning on the green light.

Everyone watching seemed to freeze and stop breathing in anticipation. Alpha-Dom Doctor Castiel Novak wasted no time. He threw open the door and burst through it. As expected, his eyes zeroed in on his target, and he was on her in a second, all motion and aggression. Completely feral, Alpha snarled and clawed at her body, man-handling her into the placement he wanted and shoving his cock as far in her channel as it would go. He mouthed at the back of her neck, chewing aggressively, but not breaking the skin. He shook her by the back of her neck with his teeth like a terrier with a rat. The Omega went completely pliable under his attentions.

One large hand circled completely around her small middle, pulling her body into his, and the other braced them both, straight-armed against the bed as he drove his cock into her, hard and fast and relentless. The growling continued, deep and raw from his throat, and she answered with a high wail. She strained her head up and back, seeking his face and baring her throat to him. The arm around her middle shifted to reach all the way across her chest to grasp her opposite shoulder, pulling her torso off the bed entirely and bruising a hand-print into her upper arm. Her arms dangled loosely, and he held her up, their weight on their knees and his one braced arm, his thrusts driving them up the mattress. They both edged awkwardly forward on their knees to stay balanced. He used her hard and mercilessly. It was an act of complete ownership, acknowledged chemically by both bodies. His mouth sought the side of her throat, and he sucked and teethed, teasing bruises along her throat.

She cried out and thrashed her head against him. The Alpha roared, and he slammed her down against the mattress, driving her face into the bedding with the force of his weight, fucking into her harder. He grunted loudly with his effort, each thrust driving his burgeoning knot into her channel ruthlessly and then dragging it back out again, covered in her profuse slick. He continued rutting into her open channel. Any resistance from the Omega forgotten or abandoned. She submitted. She was his. Utterly.

Sweat ran down the two bodies. Their coupling an aggressive blur of motion, thrusting and grunting, and building. She moved her lips, silently at first, and then whispering the same words on repeat, “Alpha, Mate me!” she said it over and over, the Alpha’s thrusting put sharp punctuations in the words as her volume increased, “ALPHA! Mate Me!... ‘M Yours!” and she came suddenly. A spasm that originated from her Omega gland and passing through her cunt and her channel bathed him in slick, a baptismal benediction of their union.

The Alpha’s mouth found her right shoulder, and he took her between his teeth, right at the curve where her neck became her shoulder, just above her collarbone; high enough it would be difficult to hide with a shirt. He tightened both arms around her and pulled her into his body, mindlessly shoving his knot in once more where it locked and stayed with a powerful grunt from each of them. He covered her body with his own, flattening both against the bed, crushing her small frame, and he came, throbbing. His bite sank into her flesh deeply, and the Mating bond burst into place with a punch that made both of them cry out, the Alpha’s lips pulling into a rictus and flexing against his straining voice without pulling his hold free. His hips continued thrusting and grinding through his orgasm. He moaned and rocked into her, thoroughly debauched and utterly lost to instinct.

The Omega went completely still under her Dom’s weight except for her uncontrollable trembling. She barely breathed. Sweat, blood, spit, slick, and come bathed her, covered them both. She lay boneless, trembling from the Adrenalin, but peaceful, spent and exhausted, waiting on her Master’s will. For a few moments they simply breathed together, shallowly, then his hands began to release their tight grip. He started stroking them up and down her sides, his palms big enough to almost wrap around her at the waist. His strokes were tight and firm, leaving white, bloodless trails where they’d passed and then pulling folds in her flesh on the way back down. He breathed in heavily through his nose and seemed to realize that he still had his teeth buried in the flesh of her shoulder.

Slowly, he released his bite and pulled his head back to look at the damage. He flattened his tongue and licked hard slowly across the bleeding wound. The Omega responded by tucking her head and tensing her body. She moaned in pleasure, and he felt an aftershock ripple through her channel and massage his cock where it was tied fast. He shuddered at the sensation and his cock released another spurt of come deep inside her ass. Then he pulled himself carefully up onto his arms, allowing her to breathe easily at last, looked down upon his mate and said in a rough awkward salutation, “Hello April, welcome home. I am Castiel, and I’m a very lucky man.” It was iconic Cas, but Dean wasn’t there to roll his eyes and call him a dork.

His mate twisted around enough to regard his face and get her first real look at the wolf she’d just tied her life to. His eyes were Cerulean blue, deep and beautiful and concerned. She allowed herself to feel the Mating bond now attached deep in her middle, right at her center-of-gravity. It felt, weird. Like an elastic cord that stretched from its starting point at her spine about even with her belly-button and extended through her naval and attaching at its other end to the Wolf whose huge cock was tied to her ass. She closed her eyes and collapsed back to the bed, exhausted and unable to hold herself up any longer. She still felt too warm, her ass and her cunt both still throbbing and wet with her Heat, and now she was sticky.

Her Mate’s hand reached gently around her and guided her body to the side so that he was no longer lying on top of her, and they relaxed into a more comfortable spooning position. He didn’t remove his arm, but tightened his grip, holding her close. He laid gentle kisses along her neck and throat, occasionally passing a flat tongue across the mating bite and stroking her hair with his free hand. She just breathed and felt the newness of it all, taking it in; his touch, the firm lines of his body behind hers, his large cock tied tightly in her channel still pulsing occasionally as he completed his release. She felt utterly safe, safer than she’d ever felt before.

She felt completely naked in more ways than just physical. She was aware that the couple were being watched, but more than that, she was aware that he could feel her inside his head, as she could feel him. She examined the feeling carefully and felt his wonder expand as she pushed at their new bond. He returned the sensation, and it felt good - really good. She sent a stroke down the length of the bond and he shivered at the touch inside his mind. His responding touch included a huff of amusement and a tightening of his grip around her body.

The door cracked open slowly. Jo cautiously slipped just her head in. After a moment, she followed with the rest of her body. Cas spotted the intruding alpha and growled deep and low in his throat, a warning and a promise. “Right, sorry,” said Jo. “I’ll get Charlie, instead.” She backed out of the room. Charlie replaced her immediately. She moved easily around the room, never looking directly at the tied couple and never getting closer than strictly necessary. Charlie had years of experience dealing with possessive alphas who were still tied after Claiming an Omega. She had told the alphas in the control room it was stupid to try to send Jo in first, but nobody listens to the beta.

Charlie pulled a clean blanket from the shelf and passed it to Castiel, approaching the bed slowly, keeping clear of the Omega’s side of the bed, keeping her eyes down, extending her arm as far out as she could so he could lean backwards and take it from her. She began taking peliomometer readings while he worked to spread the blanket over his mate and himself. She looked toward the control room and was about to put the meter away, but was notified somehow through the glass, and she ran the readings again. After the second run-through, she evidently received a green light to holster the meter.

Once it was stowed, she pulled two bottles of juice and Castiel’s favorite protein bars from the fridge. Approaching the bed again, she stopped when the Alpha started to growl at her. This kind of possessiveness was common from several of the alphas on staff, but she’d never seen Cas do it before. She stood completely still, her eyes down. After a minute or two of tension, Cas’ hunger and thirst seemed to rear their objections. “Hand me those,” he said with a gruffer-than-normal voice. Charlie stepped forward slowly and put the snacks into the hand that reached backward to her, then repeated the action with the drinks after he’d set the snack bars on the bed behind him. “Charlie,” Cas intoned, breaking her out of the glaze she’s slipped into, probably a response to the high oxytocin levels suffusing through the room. “Go away.” Cas meant it, and she fled.

 

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

¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬

Sam pulled the door open and stepped into the cool, dark dive-bar. His eyes adjusted quickly, and he walked in. “Hey Zeke,” he greeted with an upward thrust of his chin.

“Hello Sam,” replied the bartender. He didn’t pause his work, but did glance up briefly.

Sam stepped up to the bar, approaching the spot where his brother had his head down nestled into his arms. Sam picked up a loose wipe rag from the counter, flipping it around a few times until it was coiled tightly on itself. He flicked it out expertly to snap perfectly right on the seat of Dean’s ass with a loud “Pop!”

“THE FUCK?!?” Dean jerked off his barstool, immediately awake and alert, also pissed. He spun around, rubbing the pained spot with his hand and fixed Sam with an alpha glare. “Dammit Sam! Fuck, that hurt! You EVER do that to me again, I swear I’ll rip both your balls off!” Dean’s eyes were red from drinking, not alpha hormones, so Sam wasn’t especially moved. He knew his older brother too well to be much cowed by him anyway. Knew everything Dean was capable of, and even in his deepest alpha state, Sam wasn’t scared of him. They just didn’t work that way.

Sam congratulated himself on a well-executed strike. Just like a pro, he thought, then chuckled because, I mean, Sam’s job was to strike people on their asses, so yeah, he was a pro.

“S’not funny, Dude,” Dean protested. “I’m still bruised from last night. That was way outta line.” God, Dean got bitchy when he was drunk and morose.

“I don’t even wanna know about last night. But you totally deserved that pop, man. You cut out and left all of us high and dry. We needed you there.”

“I seriously, seriously don’t wanna talk about this with you right now. Or ever. With anyone. Ever.” Dean sank back down on the barstool and started to lay his head back down.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Sam hauled him back up with a grip on his upper arm and frog-marched him to the door. “I’m taking you home to sleep it off. Then we ARE going to talk whether you want to or not. Thanks Zeke!” He called over his shoulder as he helped his brother through the door.

“Of course, Sam.”

Sam drove mechanically, his mind on the matter at hand, not his driving. He’d walked the short distance to the bar from The Facility which was located right on campus, so he just grabbed Dean’s keys and parked his brother in the passenger side of his own car. “Try not to puke,” he instructed as he slid into the driver’s seat. Dean glared at him, but didn’t speak.

At the house they shared, Sam practically had to lift Dean out bodily and carry him to his bedroom, one arm pulled over Sam’s shoulder and most of Dean’s weight supported by his brother’s strength. Sam unceremoniously dumped him in his bed and started removing shoes. When Dean spoke, Sam wasn’t certain Dean really wanted to be heard; his voice was so quiet.

“Did he go through with it, Sam?” Sam’s heart broke for his big brother. He looked up to the head of the bed. Dean’s body was slack, but his head was lifted, looking back down the bed, meeting Sam’s eyes. His whispered voice sounded broken.

“Yeah, Dean. He did. I’m so sorry, man.”

“Whatever,” Dean tried to brush it off. Right. As if. “Was bound to hap’n sooner or later.” He dropped his head back to his pillow. He spoke to the ceiling. “I guess I’m in the market f’r new Dom. Oh, hey Baby Brother, you’re a Dom…y’all all run round t’gether right? Y’know anybody wants to beat a alpha ass every now an’ then? Not right away, ‘cause I seriously think I’m good f’r a few weeks at least… Went out with a bang and shit…”

Sam didn’t answer. He pulled Dean’s boots off for him, then unbuckled and removed his belt, sliding it through the loops and around his body. Then he went for the button on Dean’s jeans. Dean stopped him with a hand to his wrist. “Leave it.”

Sam huffed up at his bangs. Dean was in for a world of hurt over the next few months. Sam wanted to be patient with him, but… Sam pulled his wrist out of Dean’s grasp and went right back to work. “You’ll be asleep in no time, and I’m not going to leave you to sleep in denim. Just take them off and go to bed.” Sam succeeded in slipping the jeans down both legs and over Dean’s feet, taking his socks with them. Dean closed his eyes, harrumphed and rolled onto his side. Sam sucked in a quiet breath when he saw Castiel’s marks down both of Dean’s thighs. Wow. That was… Yeah. Sam shook his head. None of his business is what it was, it was none of his business. Dean had to know he’d flashed his bruises at his brother, but he seemed not to care.

Sam was an E.O., so he knew impact bruises and abrasions. He knew Dean’s body, too. Sam had been called in to correct almost every member of the staff at one point or other (some bratty Subs more often than others. Thanks for that Dean), and too, he’d grown up with Dean. Sam knew in precise calculable terms just how much force over how long it would take to leave marks like that on his brother’s thighs. He suspected that Dean’s dark underwear hid even more severe damage. Cas always focused on the ass when he punished. It’s something you knew about the people you worked closely with.

“You want me to bring in some Arnica for the bruising?” Sam asked softly.

“I said leave it!” Dean answered without turning back over. Sam left the room and closed the door. He texted Benny to let him know Dean was safe at home and to check on Cas. Sam had skipped out on witnessing the mating, too concerned about his brother’s state-of-mind and getting him home. Sam wanted to be there for his brother. He hurt so badly for him. He wanted to try to fix everything. Maybe nothing would have to change. The Facility staff included a number of workers who were mated outside of work. Their society didn’t even pretend to expect monogamy where hierarchical or therapeutic sex was involved. There was no reason on paper that Castiel and Dean couldn’t carry on scening as they always had, except that Dean’s heart had just shattered into a million shards of glass, and once Cas emerged from his Mate/Rut craze, his would follow.

Sam grabbed a beer from the fridge and headed to his room. It was early, but he was done for the day.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 6

THEN:

Sam punched Dean in the shoulder affectionately when both brothers were loaded into the SUV, heading back to the hotel nearby. He teased, “You know, I’ve heard you spin some of your answers a little before when they get kinda personal, but I’ve never heard you straight-up lie like that before. Something you want to talk about?”

“The fuck are you talking about, man?” Dean wasn’t really listening. He was deciding between different cuts of steak for dinner and trying to remember if the hotel restaurant had more than one type of pie.

“When that girl asked you if you’d rather Top or Bottom,” Sam replied, fixing his too-astute eye on his brother’s face. “You said you switch it up depending on who you’re with, even in your free time.” He paused a beat, then continued when Dean didn’t respond. “Dean, when was the last time you were with someone new in your free time? Never, right? Not since college? Dude, you are so monogamous, it’s like, you could be a Baptist preacher or something. And yeah right – as if Castiel would EVER Bottom. Like, I can’t even picture how that would work.”

Dean snorted. “Mind your own fucking business, Sam, and quit picturing us fucking. It’s creepy.” There was alpha warning in his voice.

The alpha tone had no effect on Sam. In public, Dean’s persona tilted toward the alpha. He was confident, assertive, and pretty damned cocky. But from his private relationships, Dean’s Submissive wolf took what it needed. The Doms in his life who knew him and cared about him stroked his wolf in private, freeing him from having to show a submissive side to the world. Sam was a major part of that matrix, and he knew it. It’s just how they rolled.

“See? That’s what I mean. You’re way too touchy about the subject to even talk about it with me. You never used to keep stuff from me. C’mon, Dean. Lighten up. You can trust me, man. And I really think you’re holding stuff in that you need to talk about to someone.” Dean still didn’t respond. He was typing into his cell phone, his face a hard line. “If you can’t talk to me, at least try talking to Jo, okay? Dean?”

“Jesus, Sammy! Can you just drop the touchy-feely crap? Please? I don’t really feel like lighting candles and playing Yanni and going full Dr. Phil with you about who I’m fucking in my free time! Why do you care?”

Dean’s mistake was ending his tirade with a leading question. Sam took it as permission to continue. “I care, big brother, because you being hopelessly in love with your scene-partner is not something you can avoid dealing with like this. One or both of you stands to get really hurt.” Sam was ready to stop all the bullshit deflecting and get serious with this conversation, make Dean face it head on for once, so he turned his Dominant voice all the way to the “ON” position and spoke directly to Dean’s Sub. “Just tell me, yes or no, are you in love with Castiel Novak?”

Dean visibly struggled with his Sub wolf to keep it from rolling onto its back in submission and start spilling everything. “None of your fucking business, Sam,” he finally managed.

“I’ll take that as a ‘Yes.’ But Dean, you need to get your head into a place where you can admit it straight up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I think it’s great. If it would help, I can paddle you into the right head space.” Dean’s eyes darted to the paddle handle sticking out of Sam’s leg pocket and his tongue moistened his lower lip nervously. Sam was never without it, and it wasn’t a bullshit offer. Sam was good at his job. He knew how to work Dean into a deeper connection with his wolf. Dean shuddered, but didn’t speak. He put his hand to the car door and unbuckled his seatbelt. “We’ll talk later,” Sam added as the SUV pulled up at the hotel door. “I’m serious, Dean! This conversation is not over!” But Dean was already through the sliding door and bolting to the elevator in the lobby.

Dean’s mind buzzed with frustration and upset: Nope, nope, not gonna happen. Nope. Sam can just butt the fuck right back out again. Him with his stupid beta-Dom, ‘tell me right now’ fucking voice. I’m the fucking alpha here. Who does he think he is? I don’t owe him a Goddamned thing…Butt the fuck out. He was starting to repeat himself while he paced and muttered in his hotel room, so he headed for a shower and decided on a solo dinner in his room to avoid giving his brother another chance to ambush him.

He was just dressing in sweats when someone knocked heavily on his door. Ah, shit. He rolled his eyes and considered leaving Sam in the hall to fester, but his big-boy brain reminded him it wouldn’t do any good in the long run. Sam was a pit bull when he got his teeth into something he’d decided was important and never let go until he got what he wanted. Dean’s whole body sighed in resignation, and he slunk to the door, checking the view port before twisting the doorknob to release the lock. He didn’t pull it open, though. He just walked away and took up a spot at the other end of the room, his posture defiant: arms crossed, chest out, chin high and firm, feet spread just enough to make him look as big as he could. Dean was by no means a small man, but against his moose of a 6’4” brother, he’d need all the posturing he could manage.

Sam pushed the door open and entered, allowing the spring to slam it closed again behind him. “Really, Dean?” he admonished. His brother’s childishness was not helping. Sam held up the bags of fast food takeout and set them on the small table along the near wall. “We need to talk.”

“I was planning on steak for dinner tonight, thanks for asking,” bratted Dean.

“That’s fine. I’ll eat mine. You can order up room service or wait until we’re done talking and go find whatever you want. I don’t care, but you’re not leaving this room until I’m satisfied.”

“Little too kinky for me, little brother. I’m not into incest,” Dean pushed. He knew how this was likely to go, and he knew he wasn’t going to win, but he could never seem to help it when his mouth took off on him like that.

But Sam ignored the remark, digging into one of the bags and spreading out his food. “Just tell me this, Dean. Why won’t you admit you have feelings for Cas? It’s not like you to be ashamed of, well, ANYTHING.”

“What do you want me to say?” Dean didn’t relax his stance or his defiance. There was no point to this conversation. Nothing he could say was going to change the circumstances. He told Sam, “Nothing I could tell you is going to change the circumstances.”

“What circumstances? You gotta know he cares about you just as much as you do him.”

Dean scoffed loudly and turned to face the window. He felt shame spread through his body, and he didn’t want his brother to see it on his face. “Right. Of course.” Dean took a shaky breath. THIS is why he never had this conversation. “Sam, he’s Castiel Fucking Novak. He’s the greatest Lupin researcher like, ever. He’s a fucking genius, and he’s powerful and important. He saves lives. I’m just his scene-partner. I get him off so he can focus on his job and do it right. It’s not an L-O-V-E, LOVE thing. It’s…therapy.” He turned back to see how his words were being received.

“Jesus, would you listen to yourself? You really do have your head so far up your own ass you don’t see it. Yeah, man, he’s ‘Castiel Fucking Novak’,” Sam rolled his eyes, but then they hardened and pierced Dean with intent, “But you’re Dean Fucking Winchester! Dude, you two are so freakin’ perfect for each other, it’s, it’s crazy.” Sam straightened in his chair and took up an official-looking expression. Shit, here it comes, thought Dean.

“Dean, I want you to talk to Castiel. Tell him how you feel, and see what he says.”

“No.”

“Dean.”

Dean broke. “I said NO, Sam! You don’t get it. It doesn’t matter if I love him! It doesn’t matter if he was stupid enough to love me back (which he doesn’t). It. Can’t. Happen.” Dean advanced on his brother slowly, punctuating every word with an air jab of his pointed finger. “How would that even work? Huh? ‘Boyfriends?’” he finger quoted and imbued the word with sarcasm. “Marriage and mating and pups? Not equipped!” He gestured at his midsection.

“What happens when his True-Mate shows up? Or mine?” Dean sent his voice into a high register and affected a simpering expression, “Oh, look, I’m really sorry. I know we’re True-Mates and your hormones are in overdrive and what I’m saying will ruin your life and all, but I’m already kind of off the market with this alpha dude over here – who I’m not Mated to – and I’m totally resisting my own instinctive drive to Mate you ‘cause, I just really love this dude soooo much that I can throw millions of years of evolution out the window for him. Sorry ‘bout the fact that you’re triggered now with me and you can’t ever Mate anyone else and you’ll go insane with want and need and…”

Sam’s stern face gave way to pity. “Jesus, Dean. Is that what you think? Look, alpha-alpha couples aren’t common, but they do happen sometimes. There’s gotta be a way.”

“There isn’t!” Dean interrupted him. “You want me to confess?! Fine! I am completely lost on Cas. I love him with all my heart and soul and body. I have since the beginning, and it’s not ever going to change. He doesn’t love me. Not like that. I mean, yeah, he loves me. He’s Alpha, and he loves all his pack. He loves you and Bobby and Garth and even Meg, but not like, LOVE, love. Not like I love him. And even if he did, it wouldn’t matter. You say there’s gotta be a way, but there isn’t. Sometimes I think about nothing but this. I’ve been over every possible crappy scenario there is, man!” Dean’s voice cracked and his eyes moistened. Damnit! “It. Can’t. Happen. So just drop it!”

Sam was rendered speechless. Dean felt the tiniest spike of smugness. His brother had insisted on pushing. Serves him right.

Sam’s voice was quiet and kind when he spoke, “I’m glad you told me, man. I’ll help however I can, but just…” He stopped speaking, not knowing what he wanted from Dean. This sucked, and his heart went out to his big brother. “I know one thing, though. You’re totally wrong about Cas. He’s just as gone for you as you are for him.”

“Really, Sam? He told you this?” Dean was raw and wrung out. He wanted out of this conversation like, yesterday. “Like, just walked right up to you and threw it on the table: ‘Sam, I have it real bad for your brother.’ No? Damn right, no!”

“What are you, in the fourth grade? No. Okay? He didn’t write me a note and pass it in class and say, ‘Hey Sam, I like your brother, do you think he likes me back? Circle Yes or No.’ But, Dude. Seriously. Seriously?!”

“Listen. I’m not in denial. I know you think I am, but I get to see him in a way no one else does. He’s not anybody but himself when we’re… scening… together. I would know if he was, like, in love or whatever. I would know.” Dean was done. He stalked into the small bathroom and slammed the door.

Sam sighed. Picked up his meal, leaving Dean’s on the table, and left.

 

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

 

NOW:

The audience in the control room all started breathing again at the same time. Meg was the first to speak. “Goddamn, that was hot.” She was nothing if not classy.

“Jo, I want you to go in first. See if you can get the readings. I expect Cas may try to attack, and I want some strength in the room,” decided Bobby.

“Guys, he can’t attack. He’s kinda tied down right now. Better send me in. He won’t feel threatened as much by a beta,” Charlie supplied.

“I’m not taking any chances with your safety, Charlie. Be ready, but let Jo go first,” the alpha wasn’t changing his mind. Whatever, thought Charlie.

After the two ladies had left through the Green room door, Benny cleared his throat. “I believe y’all all have work that needs attending to. Thanks for coming and all, but party’s over. Everyone back to your own stations. Get moving. Let’s let Dr. Harvelle finish up without the zoo getting in her way.” He started herding them out, but pulled Travis and Cole to the side before they made it out the door. He was about to lay into them when Jo pushed back through the exiting bodies. Good, he thought. Set ‘em all back on their heels at the same time. He gestured Jo over.

Once the room was clear but for the five of them, Benny checked in with Ellen. “You got this, Sugar? You need anything before we go?”

“I’ll be fine, alpha.” She looked over her left shoulder, still leaning that way quite a bit. “Thanks for your help. All of it.” Ellen put enough meaning in the words that he heard what she meant. “Is it all right if we settle up later? Tomorrow, maybe? Or, whatever you think, of course, Sir.”

“Don’t worry about it right now. I want you focused on nothing but this.” He gestured with his chin at the Processing room where Castiel was up on one elbow, leaning over his new mate, slowly licking along her throat and still lazily pumping his hips just a bit, ignoring Charlie. “Tomorrow is just fine. I’ll get Sam to take care of everything. When those two are ready to move, call me. I want to help with that.”

Benny turned back to his three charges who were looking confused and decidedly nervous. He made his voice iron. “Come with me.” And he left the control room, not bothering to hold the door for them.

They wound up in one of the empty Omega classrooms, which was outfitted with all kinds of standard dungeon punishment equipment. He faced them. “You three are all due a serious Come-to-Jesus meeting, and we’re gonna do it right now. I want your full attention while we talk, so I want you to go ahead and strip from the waist down and face me. Shoes, socks, underwear…everything. You can leave your shirts on.” Benny knew that the quickest way to make a lasting impression on a non-Omega was through humiliation, and he wanted to make this impression last. Half dressed, asses hanging out, standing shoulder to shoulder was damned humiliating.

It took a moment or two for the three of them to process the order and realize he was serious, then they quickly complied, still baffled. Two beta-Doms and an alpha-Neutral stood in front of Benny with wide eyes and genitals exposed. “I’ll start with you, Travis.” Benny placed himself directly in front of the beta. “You Dom for Dr. Harvelle, correct?”

“Yes, alpha,” said Travis, still not aware of where this was going.

“When was her last balance adjustment? Do you know?” asked Benny with an eyebrow raised.

“Oh. Um. It was, I guess… uh. Yeah, I was sick, like a week-and-a-half ago, I guess it’s been now. We had scheduled a spanking, but I had to cancel. Told her to reschedule with another Dom through Becky. Did she not…?” It was dawning on Travis where this was going, and as he made the connection, Jo followed suit.

“Wait,” said Jo. “Didn’t you check up on her after you got back to work?!”

“Did you?” Benny fixed his gaze on Jo. “Travis may be her assigned Dom, but damnit Jo, you’re her alpha. This is primarily on you! So, your mother, with all her responsibility and everything she’s got on her plate and all the wolves who depend on her has TWO, count ‘em, TWO wolves placed to watch over her and neither one of them could be bothered to notice that she was out of balance for a WEEK!” He paused and let the guilt and discomfort sink in long enough that they were both very uneasy.

“It’s unacceptable for any Omega, but it’s downright dangerous for an Omega with her responsibilities. Shut up!” he snapped when Travis looked like he was going to say something. “No excuses. I’m not even gonna ask what you’ve got to say about this, because there’s nothing TO say. You’re both in the wrong here, and you know it. You’re both getting strapped for this. I trust it’s not going to happen again.” Benny gestured to the spanking bench in the corner and selected a leather strap from several hanging on the wall. “Travis, you’re up first. Put your ass on the bench for me.”

“Yes, alpha,” Travis responded glumly. He didn’t hesitate to get into position though. He knew he had it coming and just wanted to get to the other side. Benny stepped up, flexed the strap between his hands, giving it a quick but thorough look over, and then reached back and laid it down hard on Travis’ backside. The beta grunted and flinched, but didn’t break position. Benny took up a steady rhythm of heavy strikes, leaving red welts across his butt, but not breaking the skin. Travis squeezed his eyes, and grunted in time with the landing blows, holding tight to the hand bar. After fifteen hard strokes, Benny stopped, helped him rise, and told him the punishment was complete. Beta-Doms don’t respond to lengthy reprimands the same way a Sub or an Omega would. Better to keep it short and powerful. Make an impression hard and fast, and then be done.

“We ever going to have to do this again?” the alpha asked him sternly. Travis shook his head and sniffled, not really capable of speech for the moment. Benny accepted it. “Put your clothes back on, beta,” Benny told him, “then sign the form and leave it on the desk. You’re excused.”

As Travis was leaving, Benny turned his attention back to the two remaining culprits standing beside one another, still uncomfortably nude from the waist down. “Just hang on,” he said to Cole, noticing the beta’s impatience. “You really don’t want to rush me through this, I promise.”

“You ready, Jo?” he asked, as if any answer but, ‘Yes, alpha’ would be acceptable.

“Yes, alpha,” she said, her eyes still on the floor in front of her. Without looking at him, she approached the spanking bench and lay across it, her bare ass lifted higher than her short stature was accustomed to. Benny wordlessly adjusted the bench settings, lowering her to the correct spot so her abdomen and back didn’t take any strain. “I’m sorry, alpha,” she managed miserably. “I don’t know how I let that happen. Is she, better now? I mean, did someone take care of her already?” Jo was craning her neck around, seeking Benny’s eyes with her own.

“She’s fine now Jo. She and I had a little chat between rounds one and two. With your permission, I’m planning to see to her punishment too.” Jo nodded her acquiescence. “All right then. Don’t go bugging her about it. She’s balanced, and she’s well in hand, so I want you to let it go, ya hear?” Should’ve told Travis that too, before I let him go, thought Benny. Man, I’m getting sloppy in my old age.

“Yes, alpha. And Benny, I’m really very sorry. It won’t happen again.” Had Jo been an Omega or a Sub, Benny would have added an extra swat for using his name during a punishment, but alphas didn’t work that way, so he let it go.

“I know, sweet girl. We’re going to take care of it right now, once and for all. I trust you to see to your Omega Mom from here on.” He took up his spot, and readied himself. “Here we go, brace yourself,” and he swung the strap. He laid twenty hard swats against Jo’s trembling ass. She took it very well for an alpha. She broke position a couple of times, and she didn’t even try to stop the wails and the free-flowing tears, putting all her focus in staying on the bench and just not making a run for it. Alphas did not do well with corporal punishment generally. Most of the time, it was counterproductive, but Jo was young enough that her body still remembered what it was like to be a pup, and her transgression had been egregious. She deserved this strapping and Benny gave it to her in full.

She was limp and sobbing when he stopped. He laid the strap across the bench, and placed his hand tenderly on her back, rubbing lightly. “You’re all done, my little alpha,” soothed Benny. “You did great. I’m proud of you. C’mon, now, it’s all over. Just breathe. You’re all right. It stings, but you’re not damaged. You’re just fine, sweetheart.”

She looked up at him with snot, spit, and tears making a mess of her face. “Stings?!?” she managed. “Oh, my God, Benny!” she sniffled hard and hiccupped. “I think you flayed my ass off!” Benny chuckled. She was fine. That’s the sassy Jo he knew and loved. He helped her stand.

“Watch the sass, there, alpha,” he scolded good-humoredly. “I can lay you back over and have another go if you need it.”

Jo’s face went even whiter and her hands covered her striped backside. “No, please. I get it. Shutting up now.”

“All right, then. Get dressed, give me a hug, sign the damned form, and get out of here.” Benny hugged her tightly. He loved the little alpha a lot, and he hated punishing her.

Benny took a deep breath to re-center himself. This one wasn’t going to be so straightforward.

“Cole,” he started, meeting the beta’s eye coldly. “Do you remember back at your pre-hire interview, I asked you a question about how you saw the role of the E.O. in the Pack? You remember your answer?”

“I think I said something like how the E.O. brings the structure of the Pack into focus, puts the nails in the boards that hold the structure together. Something like that. That’s still how I see it, alpha. Something wrong with that?”

“Maybe I’m just starting to understand that you’re focused mostly on hitting those nails, and not so much on watching out for the integrity of the boards.”

“We done with this analogy now, alpha? ‘Cause I don’t know what you’re on about.”

Benny growled fiercely at him and stepped right up into his space. “Watch your tone with me, boy! I’m not about to put up with it. Sam may let you off-leash a bit, but rest assured, I’m gonna choke right up on that fucker until you get the picture.” Benny was seething, and Cole was barely resisting stepping backward out of the direct line of Benny’s brutal eyes. “You don’t like that analogy, fine. Let me just lay it out for you. I’ve seen you brutalize and intimidate your charges unnecessarily for the last time. You are here to ENFORCE the rules. You are to apply appropriate punishment where it’s warranted – and at the staff’s direction ONLY, not whenever you feel like it, however you feel like it. You’re a fucking train wreck, man – and a lawsuit waiting to happen if you don’t get reined in. I’m beginning to think you don’t have any fucking idea what your role here is.” Benny stepped back. Cole stood motionless, in shock.

“Now. That said, you’ve got a lot of potential. I’ve seen you act well on instinct when you aren’t trying to be something you’re not just to impress somebody. You’ve got good responses, when you just get the fuck out of your own head – your own expectations. I don’t know who put those on you. None of my business. But Cole, if you don’t figure it out, and soon, you got no place here. Am I clear?”

“Crystal clear, Sir.” Cole was not happy, and he wasn’t taking the message well.

“Way I see it, you got two options right now,” said Benny reasonably. “You can lay your ass across that bench and take the strapping you deserve for being a domineering asshole, or you can get dressed, clear out your locker and leave for good. I’m serious, beta. Your choice. You decide right now if this role is for you or not.”

“Jesus, Benny,” breathed Cole. “I don’t want to quit. I like it here. If you weren’t happy with my work, you could’ve just said.”

“I did just say. And I don’t remember ‘whining and self-pity’ being one of the two options.”

“All right, all right, I’m going.” Cole shuffled toward the bench.

“Excuse me, beta?” Benny was so done with this conversation. He wasn’t getting through, and part of him said he should just cut it short right now, fire Cole, and skip the punishment. There was no use strapping the boy if he wasn’t going to make it as an E.O. anyway. Benny reminded himself that there was a steep learning curve for many of their new hires. Most of these pups had been raised without the traditions and Pack standards to fall back on. He resolved to keep trying with Cole. There really was a spark of potential in the beta, if he could just get over not presenting as an alpha. It was a common problem.

“I’m sorry, Sir. I meant, ‘Yes, alpha.’” Cole adjusted the height of the bench for himself, then draped his body over it, settling in like he’d done this a few times. No doubt he had. Probably had a domineering alpha bring him up. That would explain a lot. Benny resolved to recruit Sam to work with him more regularly as a mentor; try to draw out any protective instincts from deep within him; try to build up his confidence. But that was for later. Benny picked the strap back up and inspected its integrity again. He took a couple of swooshing swings. “I’m not gonna warm your ass up before we start, so brace yourself. We’re just going to jump right in to the main event like I did with Travis and Jo. You hear me?”

“Yes, alpha,” came the muffled reply. Cole’s face was buried in his crossed arms.

Without further conversation, Benny swung down hard. His fourth punishment in as many hours, and his arm was really feeling it. This is what we have E.O.s for, he thought. Why am I doing this myself? Cole’s body jolted forward, and his arms came unfolded. His hands reached for the holding bars where they should’ve been from the outset. He yelped and sucked in quick, fast, loud breaths. His body was too tense. “Relax your butt for me, or this is gonna hurt way more than I intend it to, beta.”

Cole just groaned. He tried, but relaxation was beyond his reach at the moment. Benny smoothed his hand over Cole’s clenched cheeks for a few passes, until the beta managed to loosen up just a little. “There you go. You can do this. You’re going to be fine. It’s just a spanking… breathe for me, man.” Cole took in a lungful and let it back out. He managed to keep his butt unclenched. Barely.

Benny took his position again. He wasted no time applying the strap back to the beta’s ass. Benny and Cole both wanted to be done with this experience. Benny was as methodical as usual. His arm was hard, giving no quarter. If it was worth doing, he was going to do it right. The strap popped loudly across the beta’s reddening backside, landing precisely where the alpha wanted it, leaving stinging welts up and down the curve of his ass. Cole stiffened again, but Benny pressed on. Better to get it over and done than to keep trying to relax the man who was in too much pain to make any conscious decisions about his body tension. Cole cried out with each stroke. Like Jo, he let himself voice his pain, the snot and tears flowing freely.

At last, Benny stopped swinging. He strode away long enough to hang the strap back in its place, then helped Cole stand. “That wasn’t a good time for me either, Brother,” Benny told him. “I don’t want to have to bend you back over that bench, but I will if you force my hand. Totally up to you now. If you got a question about how to handle a situation with one of the students or staff, and you’re not sure what we want from you, you come ask me. Or talk to Sam. No more going off half-cocked and swinging first, asking questions later. I mean it, Cole.” Benny fixed the beta with a piercing eye, trying to assess where his head was at right now. He really couldn’t tell. It didn’t bode well, but the next few interactions would tell if Cole’s ass would send the message up to his brain.

“All right, get dressed and get back to work. I want a one-page report from you by end-of-day tomorrow on what we talked about here today, and what changes you plan to make. NO, complaining.” Cole had almost broken in with a whiny complaint, but thought better of it, and stayed quiet, pulling his pants back into place. Benny let him go, shaking his head.

 

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

 

Dean had never in his memory regretted anything as much as he regretted waking up. His stupid, fucking, stupid digital clock, in its stupid sarcastic, judgmental glaring red laser lights announced that morning was just about gone. Dean didn’t even get a brief respite of blank space in his stupid mind before everything crashed down in his memory, in full technicolor. Nice. He was supposed to be at work right now. He was supposed to be at the front of his Sub class, guiding young hearts and minds, leading them into a grand and glorious future, teaching them the wonders and freedom of fully embracing their submission, owning it, loving it…

Dean hadn’t called in to let his team know he was…incapacitated this morning. He jammed the heels of his hands into his eye sockets, hoping to just spring the little fuckers free so they’d stop pulsing in his head, and he rolled onto his back….Aaaaand, he rolled right back onto his side. Damnit Cas!

Dean breathed in deeply through his nose and let the pain pass through his body. He deliberately relaxed, letting go of each muscle group one-by-one, counting slowly, and breathing evenly. His head throbbed and nausea sent him dashing to the toilet before he’d finished the routine. Christ, he thought, wiping his mouth with the hand towel he’d swiped from the bathroom and stumbling back toward his room. Could things get any suckier?

“Mornin’ Princess,” Benny’s voice floated from the kitchen as he crossed the hall. Yep, now it’s suckier. Dean groaned, but reversed his path and headed to the coffee pot in the kitchen. Benny and Pam were seated at his kitchen table with Sam. Great. The shrink is here. For me. By the look of things, they’d all been comfortably ensconced and chatting about him, strategizing no doubt. Dean filled a mug with old coffee, killing the pot. He rinsed it out and replaced it under the brewer. He inspected the sludge in his mug. Part of him urged himself to drink it black as punishment for his weaknesses, but he expected his stomach would probably reject it as-is, so he dumped a crap ton of milk in. He straightened his shoulders, schooled his face, and turned around to face the jury.

“Morning. What brings half the Behavioral Department to my house this morning?” he snarked, sitting at the only empty chair and sipping his sludge.

“We’re worried about you, Dean.” Pam said bluntly. “You seem to have taken Castiel’s mating pretty hard, and I want to offer to talk through it with you. When you’re ready.” She noted his closed-off body language and the green tinge in his face and knew it wasn’t going to be today. “Also, we wanted to just check on you. Make sure you’re okay.” She reached for his hand where it rested next to his mug. He didn’t draw away from her touch (‘Cause he’s a touch-slut, all right? Sue him), but he didn’t look at her or thaw any either.

“All right, well… you’ve seen me. I’m fine. Hungover as hell, but fine. Just, I probably need to take the whole day off.” He directed this last to Benny who, since Cas was indisposed, was officially Dean’s boss for the moment. “I’ll be back tomorrow. Pick up where I left off with the Subs. We’re in good shape, they can afford to lose a couple of days. I’ll make sure they catch up in no time. I think today was mostly practice anyway.”

“Dean, stop babbling,” Sam broke in.

“Take the week, Dean,” said Benny. “I want you to do whatever you need to to get your head back in this game, and I won’t listen to any arguing. You’re no good to anyone fucked up like this. I’m not letting you anywhere near the Sub class or the Test Center until Pam signs off on your mental state. You got me, Brother?” Dean nodded, miserably. “Call Becky and schedule any services you need. I mean it. You’re important to all of us. Frankly,” he admitted, “Yesterday taught me just how much we all depend on you. We can’t do this without you, but we need you at your best. Not wasted, exhausted, strung out, miserable….”

“Thanks Benny, I think he’s got the picture,” said Pam. Dean shot her a grateful look.

He liked Pam, really. They got on well, had partnered any number of times in demos and training classes. They gelled, flirted, sassed each other. But Dean had never ‘used her services’ as a psychologist as such. He wasn’t sure how successful talking things out could be. It’s not like he had issues he didn’t understand and needed help sussing them out. If anything, Dean was too self-aware. He didn’t need a psychologist, he just hurt. The grown-up that lived really, really deep inside him told him there was nothing he needed but time. And distance. (And Cas. ((Seriously, shut the fuck up. Right now.))) …counting parentheses in his head made it throb again.

“All right. I’ll take the week. Sleep it off. But seriously, folks, I’m fine.” Dean looked around, and realized no one was buying it. God. Fuck them. He didn’t need this bullshit. Dean scraped his chair back rudely and stood, leaving the undrinkable coffee. He left them all sitting there and returned to his room, slamming the door way too hard for his tender condition. Let them finish talking about him and what’s best for him and how to ‘help’ him and… Just. Jesus. Don’t they have better things to be doing right now? Dean fell face down on his bed, wallowing pathetically. When had he turned into a thirteen-year-old Omega? Oblivion sounded pretty good right about now. He closed his eyes and sought refuge in sleep.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 7

 

THEN:

“SUBMISSIVE” – Dean wrote in big block letters on the chalkboard at the front of the room. Then he underlined it and turned around to face the students, still holding the chalk in his hand as he wandered a few steps forward. “Welcome to your first day of Sub class. We’re gonna have a good time together, going to learn a lot, grow in confidence and power, gonna braid each other’s hair and build a camp-fire where we all hold hands and share our darkest fears… Nah. I’m kidding of course.” Dean’s class laughed nervously. They would soon begin to shed their tension borne from the unknown – just a bit. Obviously, if their instructor could make jokes right off the bat, how bad could he be, right? He’s either pretty fucking cool, or a complete psycho. They were optimistically hopeful for the former.

The rumors about Sub class, usually from teens whose best friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s big brother had been through it, was that it was practically an orgy of bending over, being endlessly fucked and spanked and screaming, “Thank you, sir, may I have another!” The class was understandably scared out of their wits.

“No, what we’re going to be doing in this class is giving y’all the resources and skills to go back into your own lives in the environments you know, with the people you care about and be your authentic, Submissive selves. Now, note that I didn’t say ‘subservient,’ or ‘passive,’ or any of the other synonyms your cell phone will bring up for you. In fact, let’s do that: get your phones out and Google the word, ‘Submissive’ and let’s make a list of synonyms up here on the board.” Dean headed back to the chalkboard and waited. “Just shout ‘em out to me. I want everything Google has to give you.” A couple of voices started at once and Dean began to write.

“Compliant”, “Docile,” “Obedient…”

The list took a few minutes, and by the end, most all of the students were speaking up. Dean noted who seemed reticent to join in and made a note for himself to check their profiles for shyness ratings. He had ways to draw them out that weren’t confrontational.

“Okay, good. Y’all did great. I think that’s the longest list any of my classes has ever come up with. I think some of y’all clearly strayed into the Urban Dictionary…but it’s cool.” Dean began working through the list with his chalk, ruthlessly crossing out the vast majority of contributions. He left, ‘compliant’ and ‘obedient’ alone and faced the class once more.

“For all of the Canid species, all the way back to the first dog-like whatever… foxes, I guess? … the submissives of the pack have shown a certain set of behaviors. It’s instinctive, and it’s necessary. A pack made up of all lead-dogs wouldn’t be a pack at all, right? For us Lupins,” he gestured around and included himself, “the instinct has crystallized into a formal set of behaviors that are controlled by the wiring inside our brains and our endocrine systems. It isn’t voluntary, it cannot be altered, and it’s somehow determined before birth. For those of you interested in the research, I can hook you up with some really long, boring reports. For the rest of you, just know that we’re still digging hard into the physiological and psychological pre-sets that determine the tertiary designations for all of us.” Dean smirked at them, “As for me, my ‘hypothesis’,” air quotes from Dean, “is that my Mom ate too many Brussels sprouts while she was carrying me, and it turned me Submissive. I hate those nasty little balls of green slime!” Several students giggled.

“So, being Submissive isn’t something we control, but what IS it? ‘K, well, in essence, it’s a need to demonstrate ‘Compliance’ and ‘Obedience,’ or rather, by having Compliance and Obedience drawn from us by an appropriate authority figure, or Top.” He underlined those two words on the board. “For wolves (meaning us, meaning the two-legged kind), submissiveness shows itself in the need to be ‘Taken-in-hand,’ or ‘Directed.’” Dean paused, thoughtful, then continued, “Even for Subs who want to be good for their Doms, those who really choose to be obedient, they need to have their wolves sparked with some kind of an initial Dominant trigger; a voice, a direction, or an action that their wolf responds to. Just being good to a Dom is not enough to stroke the Sub wolf. It has to react to something.”

Dean marked out a new section on the board with a “T” table. Above the left side he wrote, “Lupin,” and above the right, he wrote, “Simian.” “I wanna make this VERY clear to all of you. Submissiveness as it works out for wolves is NOT the same thing as what the apes are doing. We’ve all seen the movies and read the books out there about ape BDSM practices. “50 Shades” sold, like how many copies? Right? So, let’s take a look… Can anyone tell me an aspect of the Simian form of submission? Don’t worry if you’re right or not, we’re just makin’ a list here. Shout some words out at me.”

Someone said, “Service,” and someone else said, “24/7,” then “Bondage.” Dean heard a contemptuous voice from the back shout, “COLLARING!” and Dean made a face as he wrote that one. Apes trying to mimic Lupins had been using collars on their submissives for decades, and it rubbed wolves the wrong way every time. Collars were for dogs, not people. It was Dean’s only real point of contention with what the Primates did.

They continued filling out the list with Dean writing as fast as he could. When the voices petered out he dropped the chalk and walked around his desk, resting his butt against it. His face went serious. “Y’all listen up ‘cause this is important. What the apes do when they live a Dom/sub lifestyle is different from what it is for us. BUT. And get this now because I’m going to have zero tolerance for any kind of disrespect about their practice in my classroom…yes, that means I will spank your ass…what they do is awe-inspiring at the very least.

“Everything they do is done by connecting through direct communication with one another without any kind of biological base-instinct or bond connections. Most apes who live this way will tell you that they feel it’s a personal affinity or drive of theirs, that they are inherently dominant or submissive, but in the human version of the Primate Troop, there’s no definitive hierarchical structure that’s maintained through this kind of behavior. Submissives among our ape colleagues place themselves voluntarily into the Service of their Dominants – capital “S” Service. That’s not what YOU can expect to do with your Doms. We’ll get into the differences more later. In fact, I’ll be bringing in a Simian guest speaker who lives “The Lifestyle” as a 24/7 Submissive to share his experience with us and answer our questions. He’s a really interesting guy. I think you’ll like that class.”

Dean stood again and returned to the chalkboard. “No, what we do is, like I said, different.” He began scribbling a few words on the board under the title, “Lupin.” For Lupin Submissives, the best correlation I can give, and don’t hate me for this – I’ll explain in full over the next few weeks – is that we’re a little like naughty pups when we’re in this state. It’s not a matter of providing the Dom with ‘the gift of our Service.’ It’s that we need to be ‘Taken-in-hand,’ - controlled and corrected and dominated. I guess you could say that in the Simian version, the focus is on what the Submissive can GIVE to the Dominant and vice versa, while in the Lupin version, it’s about what the Dominant has to ELICIT from the Sub to pacify the needs of both their wolves. In a way, it’s not true submission at all, you see, because it isn’t voluntary.

“Frankly, I think the Simian way is deeper, more real, and certainly more of a gift…but, we’re stuck with our biology, sooooo…it is what it is. I will warn you all that playing BDSM with the Primates is a very risky endeavor. I do not encourage cross-species power-exchange play. Seen too much go wrong with that dynamic over the years. Now, it is possible to set up your own households to mimic what the Primates are doing, if you and your Dom wanna do that, but just know – it’s harder than just going with your instinct. Way harder… Remember, this is complicated shit. That’s why we need three months to teach it to y’all. Pay attention, and you’ll do fine.”

Dean continued with the class, introducing important topics one-by-one to pique the class’ interest, get them looking forward to the weeks to come, not be scared of it. Just before time ran out, and they’d finished their practical exercise, the class was putting their clothes back on and getting their breath back, several unsatisfied slow-pokes grumbling that there hadn’t been enough time on the buzzer. Dean broke in with a loud voice over the hub-bub.

“Another point for y’all to think about! Look around you. Notice there are no Omegas in this class. Someone give me a guess as to why that is.”

“Because separating us out keeps us from getting distracted and fucking them all the time?” shouted a mouthy alpha-Sub in the back whose erection was still hanging out of his pants.

“100% wrong, Neil. Thanks for guessing, and get your chubby buttoned in before I come back there and smack it. No. Omegas are in a class by themselves because they are in a class by themselves. They deserve the highest level of attention and respect we can give them. You lot (much as I love you), can get by just fine on instinct and reading through a pamphlet from your high school Health teacher. You’re not going to go insane if you get this wrong, you’ll just be really uncomfortable. And by the way, Neil, and anyone else who thinks Omegas are toys to play with – I am 100% deadly serious. You get zero warnings in this class or anywhere in this Facility. You keep your body parts and your comments to yourselves or your ass will pay the price. Do it twice, and you’re kicked out for good. While you’re a student here, you fuck only when instructed, and you are NOT going to be allowed to fuck any Omega students. I’m gonna teach you respect if I have to pound it into you. Clear?”

“Yes, alpha,” the class responded in chorus.

“Neil?”

“I said, yes alpha,” Neil shot back testily. God. Alphas, thought Dean.

“If you’re an alpha, your first responsibility is to protect and honor the designations who submit to you. PROTECT, not FUCK. Fucking is secondary, and there are safety rules we’ll go over later.

“One last thing, Hey! Listen up! Ever notice that when we write, we only capitalize Omega and only alpha when referring to a Pack Alpha, even when it’s an honorific on someone’s name?”

“And at the beginning of the sentence,” called a beta girl in the front.

Dean needed to learn all of their names. “Yeah, and at the beginning of a sentence, you grammar nerd.” He winked at her playfully, and she blushed crimson. He called out to the class who was starting to gather their belongings to leave, “For next time, each of you is to write two pages about why that might be. Why do Omegas merit a capital letter, and you don’t? You don’t have to do any research. I want your opinions on the matter. Think it through for me and hand it in tomorrow. Yeah, yeah, you guys are killing me. Go on, class is dismissed, get out of here.” The grumbling faded as they hustled out of the room and either to the parking lot to head home or up to the dorm if they boarded on-site.

Dean grinned as he erased the board. He really loved teaching. I’ve got these fuckers, he thought.

 

NOW:

 

Cas came back to himself slowly, floating gently back to Earth on a blissful cloud. He was fairly certain he’d slept at least a little, for returning to consciousness was like waking up from a long sleep. He knew where he was and the essence of what had happened, although many of the details were fuzzy. Probably for the best. He vaguely remembered using his bluntly trimmed nails as claws and chewing (chewing?) on the Omega’s neck. His body was still vibrating a bit, just a gentle buzz. He hummed with pleasure and stretched out, arching his back to work out the kinks. It was very rare that he had the opportunity truly to feed the beast inside him. If he could have seen the great, hulking wolf right now, it would look bloated and sated, lolling on its side with distended belly, picking unconcernedly at its teeth with a toothpick and belching. The wolf was utterly satisfied, for once.

Cas reached out to the small Omega spooned in front of him. She was lovely. Her features were even and delicate. Her hair a dark blonde, medium length and sleek. He remembered pale blue eyes, although for the moment, she slept, and they were hidden. He stroked her face and hair with the lightest of touches, in awe at the feelings she already elicited from deep inside him.

Cas was aware he’d come untied from the girl. The wetness that covered the mattress where their groins had met was cold and sticky. It was becoming uncomfortable. As much as he’d love to stay curled up around his mate and never move again, Castiel was a very practical man. He could feel the stirrings of his Rut, triggered prematurely by the Mate-Scent, starting slowly to ramp up again. He was back from the fog of Claim/Mate/Mine, but still had to contend with another three or four days of Mate/Breed/Fuck before his body would be purged of the powerful hormones driving him to reproduce.

Castiel estimated he had somewhere between 15 and 45 minutes before he succumbed to his Rut and felt compelled to take her again. She looked exhausted, so probably a shower would have to wait. But a change in venue was definitely in order, a sponge-bath at least, and maybe something more to eat. Castiel sighed in happiness. Happiness felt really nice. He hugged his mate close for a moment, then sat up slowly, careful to pause in case he became dizzy.

As he sat, his bare legs dangling over the side of the bed, getting his bearings, Ellen opened the door from her control room and slipped in. “Alpha,” she said simply, sniffing the room for signs of aggression pheromones, getting a feel for how safe he was to approach. She balanced between keeping her eyes focused down, and surreptitiously scanning his face for signs he might attack.

There was no need for the trepidation. Cas was back to full control. “Come in, Ellen,” he told her gently. “I trust everything went well? How is she?”

“Yes, Alpha. Everything’s just great. You both did really well. She’s very strong, and from preliminary data, you look to be a good match. Not that that would be a surprise, but it’s really lovely to see a couple come together like that. I’m happy for you.” While she spoke, Ellen filled a wash bowl with warm soapy water and wheeled it on a cart over to where Castiel sat. She handed him a clean washcloth. “I expect you want to do the honors, Alpha.”

“Thank you, Ellen. You’ve done an excellent job watching over us both. You have my deepest gratitude.” The Alpha touched Ellen’s hand in a quick connection, then wetted the cloth in the soapy water and began sponging off his mate’s limbs. She moaned obscenely when he washed between her legs, and he chuckled at her. “Had quite a day, hasn’t she?”

“You both have. I’m sorry that your mating took so long. We couldn’t think what to do about the Keller test, and I think it all worked out okay, but it couldn’t have been easy to wait so long with her scent in your wolf’s nose.”

Castiel rinsed the cloth off and started wiping her back and buttocks after rolling her gently over and out of the wet spot. “It was – difficult, but you and the others made the right call. I’m glad it’s done. I certainly wouldn’t want to share her now that we’re mated.” He was thoughtful for a moment, engrossed in staring at her damp skin. “Gives me new respect for wolves who undergo the test after they’re mated. I never realized what a sacrifice it is to know someone else has a claim on your mate.” Castiel paused again, thinking. He stood on the slippery floor and began washing himself the same way he’d cleaned his mate. It would have to do for now. There wasn’t time for anything else. She was stirring, chilled as the warm water cooled on her flesh.

“Help me remember, Ellen, I know I chose Garth and Dean to test with her, but it seems like that’s not what happened. Who…?”

Ellen stepped in quickly with an answer. “Sam took the second round. It’s Sam who’s got Claim on her right now. We’ll take care to keep him away from her until the Claim wears off. I’m sure you won’t need him close to her for anything. You’ll be able to care for her just fine on your own over the next few weeks.” Cas nodded. Yes, he could most definitely do that. The problem would be when he needed to go back to work, having to tear himself away from her. That wasn’t going to be easy.

“Does it look like she’ll be rating out at the edges, like me? Can you tell anything yet, Ellen?” Cas ran a single finger down the delicate line of the girl’s face, peaceful in sleep.

“I can’t really say yet for sure, Alpha, but I don’t think she’s extreme; rare maybe, but not…we’ll just have to wait and see.” Ellen fidgeted with the bathing bowl, and Castiel could tell she was troubled by something. He lowered his head to grab her eye, and raised his brows in question.

“She was a virgin, Sir. Garth took her vaginally, and Sam through her channel. I fucked up, and didn’t leave that for you. It got hectic today, and I was unbalanced, and I’m sorry. Um, Bobby had to take over with the test instructions to Sam, and he didn’t think about it. It’s my fault for letting my adjustment lapse. I fucked up. Sir, I’ve got an appointment tomorrow with alpha Lafitte for my atonement, but I wanted to let you know so you can add to it. You should, Sir. I damaged your property.” Ellen’s verbal diarrhea took Castiel completely by surprise.

“Shh, shh. It’s all right, Ellen. I’m not angry. There’s nothing we can do about it now. I’m sure Benny will do a fine job of covering for whatever misdeeds you owe without input from me.” He pulled her face upwards gently with a hand under her chin. “Are you balanced now?”

“Yes, Alpha.”

Cas turned back to April. “She doesn’t look old enough…and a virgin. How old is she?”

“She’s seventeen Alpha. I can’t account for her still being a virgin. This last year her Heats must’ve been intolerable. Sir, her parents just left. They waited until we knew the outcome and that she came through healthy and safe. They seem to care for her. I don’t think they are the kind of people to deny her access to an alpha, and she looks healthy. You’ll have to ask her.”

Ellen saw his eyes go soft as he met his mate’s eyes, just fluttering open and focusing up at him. His eyes stayed locked on the girl’s, but he spoke to Ellen. “I love her so much, Ellen. I only just met her. I…I don’t even remember if I’ve heard her name, but I already love her like she’s been a part of me my whole life.”

“April, Alpha. Her name is April, and it looks like the feeling’s mutual. So how about you go over to the closet and grab a couple of robes, get yourselves moderately decent, and take another snack and drink from the fridge. You two were asleep for two hours. I’m going to call Bobby and Benny to give you an escort back to your suite.”

The Alpha nodded vaguely, but didn’t move as Ellen stepped back out. He couldn’t tear his eyes from the depth of his mate’s pale blue eyes. They were bottomless, weren’t they. They were…beautiful.

“Alpha,” she said softly, sitting up, “I’m cold. The doctor said there was a robe in the closet?” She hopped down from the high bed, breaking their staring and followed the Alpha who shook off his reverie to meet his Omega’s needs. They clothed themselves and he helped her select a snack.

After they finished eating the small protein bars, he looked seriously at her, taking both of her hands and sitting on the edge of the bed to put his eyes nearer her level. “My apologies, April. It was rude of me to talk about you like that, as if you weren’t right in front of me. I don’t know what to say…Everything feels very awkward to me right now. I don’t really know you at all, but I feel as if I know you more intimately than I’ve ever known anyone. It’s very strange. Please, be patient with me.”

It was the strangest speech from an Alpha she’d ever heard, and she didn’t know quite what to do with it. She settled for sending a caress through the Mating bond, straight into his mind. A confirmation that she too, felt intimately connected to him. She settled herself in his arms, tucking her head against his chest beneath his chin. He responded by wrapping her tightly and resting his chin atop her hair and sighing. Yeah, they both thought, this is good.

The intercom crackled on. Bobby’s voice was too loud and it disturbed the peace of the Processing room. “All right, folks. We’ve got your Honeymoon suite all set up. Whenever you’re ready, just head out the door through the Green room, and we’ll get you safely back home.” Castiel shook his head in light amusement. Honeymoon suite?

He led his mate through the door, holding it open for her with one hand and keeping hold of her hand with the other. Castiel had no intention of letting go of her in public; not even if this wasn’t really public, not even for a moment. He found Benny and Rufus waiting outside the door.

“Mazel Tov,” said Rufus gruffly with as much warmth as he ever had, and he took the lead down the hallway.

Bobby joined them, and they set off for Cas’ private suite. “The escort isn’t necessary, Bobby.” Cas grumbled. Bobby just grunted back at him. No one else was in the corridor and Castiel suspected they’d cleared it deliberately. Christ, he thought, what did I turn into under the mating hormones that they think THIS is necessary?

Once safely delivered to the Novak suite, everyone made themselves scarce very quickly. Bobby reminded Castiel he need only call or text if they needed anything and that Bobby, himself would be checking in periodically to make sure no one needed bandages. Bobby suspected he had a pretty good idea what kind of play any True Mate match of Castiel’s would want to get up to. Cas wasn’t for the weak of heart. The Universe would not be cruel enough to match him with a mealy, delicate Omega. Of course, if she did turn out to be too mild for her mate, there was always still Dean, but that wasn’t a consideration right now.

The Rut/Heat cycle hormones and the smell of Omega slick were getting thick enough to smell in the air, so with a last reminder to Cas to leave the hormone sensors on in the whole suite, he beat it back to his own office.

Truly alone at last with April, and her blue eyes, her silky, silky hair, and her slim build, Cas didn’t try to fight off the building need. Standing in the foyer where they’d been left, he lowered his chin and fixed a predatory gaze on her face, stripping off his robe as he stood. “I want to take you, April.” He said it matter-of-factly, like he was mentioning it had started to rain, but the look in his eyes spoke differently. His eyes were the window to his wolf. The wolf had cast aside its toothpick, licked himself obscenely, and risen to full glory once more. Its head was low, eyes fixated, ears pointed forward toward its target.

“I want to take you right here on the hard, cold tile floor, but I’m going to ask you first. I want to hear your answer when I ask. You’re going to answer me out loud, do you understand?” Cas was enjoying the slow build in his gut, in his groin. There was a fire in his belly, but it simmered rather than exploded, and he reveled in the control he somehow maintained even as his Rut caught hold of his genitals and swelled them obscenely.

“Yes, Alpha. I understand. I want you to…”

“Not yet, Omega.” He stalked toward her very slowly, holding her eye like a predator does its prey. “Mind that you follow my instructions exactly. I will always tell you exactly what I want. If you obey me, in word, action, and thought, you will be rewarded. For every act of disobedience, you will be punished. For some things, you may get no warning. I expect complete submission from you. You will not say ‘No’ to me.” He narrowed his eyes as he continued striding forward very slowly, not quite reaching her although the distance wasn’t far. “Do you understand me?” His voice was cold iron scraped over gravel.

She whimpered, but whispered, “Yes, Alpha. I understand.” She breathed shallowly. A dribble of slick broke free and ran down the inside of her right leg and all the way to the floor. Her eyes had gone golden, masking most of the blue. Her cheeks were flushed, and she trembled.

“Good girl.” He took the last step and drew himself up to loom over her, using his immense Alpha-Dominant power to make his position as her mate abundantly clear. “April,” he intoned. “May I fuck you on the cold, tile floor until your back is red and raw, and you’re gaping with my seed?” He reached for her, one hand sweeping her thin robe off her shoulders to pool on the floor, and the other grasping her hair at the back of her head and craning her head back sharply.

It wasn’t really a fair question, since he’d already fed her the correct answer, but April’s wolf was a horny bitch, and she’d waited long enough. “Please, Alpha! Please fuck me on the floor. I want you to take me right here.” There was barely enough breath control for her to get the words out, and his arms swept her literally off her feet. She hit the floor hard with an ‘Ooomph’ although the hand in her hair protected her head more tenderly than might should have been expected.

He put three fingers to her mouth and she took them in immediately, sucking them and slaving them with her tongue. Her eyes slipped closed and she lost herself to the sensations rocking back and forth between them through the Mating bond. “Open your eyes,” he told her sternly. “Look at me. Always at me.” She snapped them open and found his face. “I expect you to stay focused on me at all times while I touch you unless I tell you otherwise or your position makes doing so impossible. That is a rule, and I WILL punish you if you break it. You’ll not get a warning.” As he spoke, he pulled his fingers from her mouth and drove them deep into her. She locked her eyes on him and groaned, almost a growl, driving her hips up and back to pull him in deeper.

The Alpha chuckled darkly, pulling his hand away and spanking the side of her thigh, leaving a perfect hand-print. “You take what I give you, and nothing else. It is not your decision how fast, how hard, or how deeply you get fucked. Or even if you get fucked at all. You are mine. Your body, your pleasure, and your pain belong to me to do with as I will.” He resumed fucking her roughly with three fingers in her pussy. The slick ran copiously down the crack of her ass, and she cried out, trying so hard to hold his gaze and keep herself still at the same time. She wondered with what little thought she had left if the noises coming from her throat were permitted. He hadn’t said to be quiet, and she didn’t think she could stop them in any case. She thought that if he didn’t take her within the next twenty seconds, she would explode. She didn’t have any control left, and the pain was building again.

“That’s my very good girl,” he told her. His eyes had lost all but a tiny ring of blue around he iris. A mix of Alpha red and blown wide black pupil changed his visage entirely. She hoped her eyes were responding with a ring of gold, but they would do whatever they were going to do. She couldn’t tell, and she couldn’t worry about that now.

Castiel held back long enough to turn his wolf into a slathering, demanding beast again. Then he released hold of it. He snatched his fingers out of her wetness and thrust them back into her mouth. She tongued at them hungrily, taking whatever he gave, just as he’d told her to. He lined his cock up and pressed slowly into her hot, silken center, testing her resolve, giving her a chance to be good for him…or not. She growled again, and whined high in her throat, but she didn’t close her eyes, and she didn’t press her hips up to meet his.

“Good, good, good girl. So good for me. How did I get so lucky?” The question, of course, was rhetorical. He fucked her powerfully, smoothly, and rhythmically, not really in control, but apparently, his wolf wanted to draw it out as long as possible. Her ass and shoulders squeaked against the tiles as his thrusts drove them relentlessly, but slowly across the foyer floor. “Close your eyes, Omega.” He spoke harshly, unable to avoid allowing his wolf to speak for him. They broke their gaze, and he tucked his head over her shoulder so he could really get to work, picking up the pace with a slow build into a ruthless pounding, curling his mass around her tiny form.

She clawed at his back, trying to find purchase somehow. She felt like she was falling, endlessly falling through space. Her whole body zinged with a pleasure she couldn’t have known before today. She kept her eyes tightly closed and felt his mouth close around her right nipple, sucking harshly. She was so tired. Too tired to process. Too tired to feel, and yet, the ceaseless thrusting continued, and it felt sooooo good. “Alpha, help me!” she wailed. “I’m falling! Help me.” She finished weakly, hardly catching her breath.

“Fall, Omega! That’s a good feeling. You’re safe to let go. Let go and fall! I’ll catch you!” She came with a scream that felt like it ripped from her throat. Her Alpha caught her, and held her tight through the pulses that went on and on. Slick was everywhere. Maybe it was Alpha come, she realized they were tied again, although he was still thrusting and grunting heavily. Most of his weight rested on top of her, pinning her down. It didn’t feel confining, though. It felt like a safe place to let go of herself. She floated, blissful and took what her Alpha gave her, slowly drifting away into a safe cocoon of sleep. He never let her fall, and when she awoke, daylight was breaking through large windows over an enormous white bed. Her Alpha snored softly beside her, his hair ridiculously messy, but his embrace warm and snug. The Omega drifted back to her cloud of sleep.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 8

 

NOW:

Castiel’s wolf was frolicking when he awoke. He kept his eyes closed for a few more minutes, watching the great black wolf roll in the warm grass joyfully, letting the sun warm its belly while the grass took care of that itchy spot in the middle of its back, flinging its huge head from side to side and snapping at its own tail at each apex, only to flip back to its feet and bound across the flower-strewn lawn in ecstasy. It was a few minutes of pure bliss. Cas was smiling when he opened his eyes to find a pair of pale blue ones, laughing at him.

“Have a good dream, Alpha?” she asked him. Castiel hummed happily and pulled her warm body on top of his.

“Not as good as what I’ve woken up to.” He kissed the tip of her nose. Castiel could feel his Rut pulling his attention back down south, and he could think of no reason to deny the urge, intrigued to discover that was an urge and not a demand, a soulful pull toward the warmth of her crotch, but not the usual mindless fire inside his gut. It was almost like observing another alpha’s Rut.

He lifted her hips easily, and wiggled a bit as he lowered her back down, angling himself to spear her on his engorged cock, and they shared a low guttural moan of deep satisfaction. The sensation that sang to him through the Mating-bond was so new and delightfully strange. He could feel her pleasure as he filled her. He could send satisfaction right back through the bond, and it became a reverberating, echoing, building harmonic of pleasure passed back and forth between them as they fucked leisurely.

Cas was in no hurry; a novelty considering he was still mid-Rut. It was the strangest Rut he’d ever experienced. His wolf, usually so insistent and demanding, so severe, couldn’t be bothered to stop skipping in the sunshine. Cas rolled his eyes at the big dog, and pulled his Omega’s hips down hard, burying his knot while he drove his hips up into her smooth cunt again and again and let the smooth, wet warmth embrace him.

He built speed and power slowly, taking his time, working himself into a slow but steady frenzy. Cas felt her Omega gland Release again as she came hard, clutching his shoulders and calling out. Her eyes never left his face. He thrust a few more times, slow and hard, grinding her groin against his on his upstroke before clenching his jaw and following his beautiful mate over the edge with a load groan. After, they spooned tenderly together, speaking saccharine things and petting one another’s wolves who lay curled together in the soft grass.

Cas’ Rut only lasted for a couple more days, and April came back to Earth shortly after. It was a strange cycle for both of them. Their wolves seemed content to couple slowly and sensuously instead of the usual hard-driven pounding Claim that makes the Romance books about Lupin-love 100% accurate. Two weeks after that, two weeks that saw them both keeping isolated from the rest of the world, holed up in Castiel’s small but well-appointed suite, Castiel accepted a cup of coffee and a smile from his mate in his suite’s small kitchenette.

“Thank you, April,” he purred at her, touching the small of her back. He rarely stopped touching her when she was within arm’s length. She poured a glass of juice for herself and began to take a spot on the floor next to his feet, but he raised her gently and motioned toward the empty chair. “Not right now, love. This is about you, and you’re entitled to be a part of it. Go on Ellen. You were saying?”

Ellen and Bobby sipped their coffee, and the four Canids went over the results of April’s assessments. April found the discussion well out of her depth and intimidating, so she opted to listen without comment for the most part. To Cas, none of it was particularly surprising, but he was advised he’d have to find an inspired way to provide true punishment for the girl’s Sub training without sparking her intensely Masochistic pleasure response. “It’s not going to be easy, Alpha. She still needs frequent Balance Adjustments – probably about twice a week – so you can’t just give her creative pain-free punishment.

If you whip her, she’ll probably Release for you, but she’ll enjoy it too much, it won’t be effective as punishment, and her ability to learn may be hampered. On the flip-side, she tested extremely low for brattiness. She’s a good girl who will try to please her Dom. I don’t expect she’ll deliberately break many rules.”

“Would you suggest working in her Releases as part of a system of rewards?” Cas asked. “If she enjoys impact-play, and she needs it to Release, I see no reason it can only be applied as punishment. Maybe we can find something else she dislikes for that. There’s no rule I’m aware of that says Ozzies can ONLY be punished corporally.

Bobby nodded. “That’s true, but you might want to talk it over with Benny. It may be an easy fix to just work pain and Release into her play time. I expect there may be a curveball we’re missing. I get the sense she’s not that simple.”

“What my Alpha father always said, is that,” interrupted the Omega, “…he said he could only get me to fully Release when I was in trouble for something, but I don’t like to break Alpha’s rules.” She stopped speaking abruptly and looked at her hands in her lap. Cas didn’t like seeing her so uncomfortable in a talk that had so much direct impact on her life. He sent her support and comfort through the bond, and she nodded at him silently, but didn’t say anything more.

It was a strange puzzle, but Castiel was determined to deliver everything his Omega needed. He spent late evenings researching ways around the Omega-Sub’s highly Masochistic base-setting. He tried a few things out with April and discovered the key lay in her sense of guilt when a rule was broken. When he struck her for play or stimulation, she loved it, moaning her orgasm to the sky and thanking her generous Alpha for providing, but she never Released. However, when her Alpha-Dom applied the same strap with a stern visage and a harsh voice after she failed to meet his requirements, she cried out piteously, her Omega-gland Released completely, and she swore to behave, seeking forgiveness. She and Castiel agreed that she needed many, many rules, too many to adhere to, too many to remember; providing opportunities to fail, seek harsh reprimand, and then find absolution and Release.

His relationship with April mostly stable, for the next few weeks, Castiel began slowly increasing his work responsibilities while keeping his main focus on getting to know April. For the time being it was easier to continue to live in the Facility suite provided to him as Director and Institutional Pack Alpha. Cas planned to move his mate into his own home for good once her Ozzie training was complete. He focused most of his hours on orienting his Omega to his preferences and his strict rules and helping her learn how to make her way around The Facility. Slowly, he also began scheduling some meetings and tried to catch up on email – so much email.

Cas was disappointed to see that Dean had declined his meeting requests, filing his reports electronically just prior to the meeting time. He missed seeing the green-eyed Sub, missed his goofy sense of humor and lack of respect, missed his razor sharp analysis of the goings on in the world. He just missed Dean. Somehow, wherever Cas was and whatever he was doing, he found himself trying to share his thoughts, observations, or experiences with Dean, only to realize that his favorite alpha wasn’t there. It was unnerving to say the least. He felt like his left arm had been removed somehow. His texts went unanswered and his calls went straight to voicemail.

The two hadn’t seen each other since before the Mating. Cas thought he caught the back of Dean’s head as he entered rooms on several occasions, but didn’t intentionally pursue his friend. They were just on different schedules, right? Busy, like always.

But no, as the weeks passed, Castiel saw and spoke to the rest of his Facility Pack just like normal, but never ran into Dean. Sometimes he kept April close, occasionally he left her alone in the suite, and sometimes he left her with Meg or Charlie. She seemed to be making friends with both women. Cas wasn’t sure how good an idea a friendship with Meg would be, but he wasn’t about to try to control his mate’s relationships. Maybe April would turn out to be a good influence on the bratty nurse. But wherever Cas was, it seemed Dean wasn’t. What’s more, he began to hear and see signs that Dean’s work was suffering. It was most definitely not like the alpha to submit poorly thought out reports, skip crucial planning meetings, or fail to register the new round of research volunteers. He even canceled two scene sessions with Cas. THAT was really strange. Dean usually jumped at the chance to get his freak on with the Big Bad Wolf himself.

Despite his fierce reputation, the Alpha was truly a very patient man. Perhaps, if you’re the most dominant of Dominants, it isn’t necessary to yell a whole lot to get your way. At least, that’s what Cas always found. But Dean’s behavior was beginning to irk him. He made a note to seek him out soon.

It came to a head on a Tuesday, late in the afternoon. “Alpha,” Jo barged in to Dr. Novak’s office just as he was clearing up to head back to the suite. “I’m glad I caught you. I need to know, are you planning to enroll your mate in this session of the Ozzie class? We’ve held it up a couple of weeks to make sure she didn’t miss anything. Dean didn’t want to get started and make her wait a month for the next one.”

“I don’t understand, Jo. The Omega-Sub class was scheduled to begin two weeks ago was it not? Surely you haven’t postponed a whole class just for one student. We don’t do that. We never do that. Besides, I’m perfectly capable of seeing to April’s Ozzie training myself since she missed the enrollment period. I’d expected to, in fact. Whose decision was this, and why was I not consulted?!” He was not himself. He felt constricted in his own skin, and he was quite irritated. He felt as if he hadn’t scened recently, which was ridiculous. He and April shared an intense session just yesterday afternoon that had been immensely satisfying. She was so GOOD for him. The white coat still only halfway off went right back on, an unconscious attempt to posture and intimidate the young alpha. It worked. Or something did, maybe it was just Cas.

Jo stammered, clearly not expecting his snippy response. “I, oh, well. We thought you would wanna…I mean, I know you can, but you’re so busy, and Dean’s such a good teacher. Plus, she’ll make friends with the other Ozzies. It’s good for her socialization, so we just...”

“I asked you questions, Jo. You’re babbling, not answering.” She didn’t get to finish her thought.

“Yes, Alpha. Um, I guess it was Dean’s call to postpone the start, and I didn’t realize that he didn’t ask you about it. I guess?” Her inflection went up at the end of her statement, a clear indication she had no idea what to say, what he was looking for. He hated when people tried to mollify him.

“That’s it!” he snapped, heading briskly to the door. “I’ve had enough. Where’s Dean? I’m getting to the bottom of this right now!”

“I…” was all Jo knew to say. She’d never seen Cas so, cranky.

Cas passed out of his office and into the corridor just in time to see Dean approaching the exit to the parking lot. “WINCHESTER!” he bellowed. Dean, almost to the turnstile, tucked his head immediately at the sound and looked for a moment like he would keep going, but then turned slowly and walked gravely back up the hall.

“Yes, Alpha?” Dean was perfectly respectful except for how he wasn’t.

“You put eight Omega-Subs in a holding pattern for two weeks instead of starting their class. I want an explanation. Right now.” The Alpha gestured Dean into his office, shooed Jo out, and closed the door in her face.

“We were waiting for you and your mate to come down from the clouds, or whatever. Wanted to let her take part. Ya know, if that’s what you wanted,” Dean shrugged and faced the wall, studying the diplomas he’d seen thousands of times, adopting an air of nonchalance although the tension across his shoulders gave away the lie.

“And what have the other students been doing for the last two weeks?”

“Orientation, mostly. We’ve got them doing some practice exercises and working out as a group in the gym.” Dean really sounded like he didn’t give a rat’s ass.

Cas just stared at Dean for a moment. What the hell? “Why did you not seek my permission to alter the schedule?”

Dean lit up with fury and spun to face Castiel. “Because I’M the fucking Director of Training, that’s why! I’M directing their training. That’s MY JOB! That’s what I’m here for! I shouldn’t have to run every miniscule decision past you. I don’t need a fucking babysitter!” He planted his fists on the desk and loomed over it, getting right up in Castiel’s face.

What on earth? “Dean, what’s gotten into you? I don’t understand this behavior.” Cas was unnerved by the Sub’s reaction. There was a raw rage etched deep in the lines around Dean’s mouth and eyes.

“Whatever.” Dean deflated and turned to the door, placing one hand on the knob and looking at the floor. “From now on we’ll stick straight to the training schedule as posted. If you want your girl in the class, have her there tomorrow at eight. Can I go?”

“What? No! Sit down and tell me what’s going on with you.”

“No. You asked me a work question, which I answered. It’s past my shift, so I figure I’m off the clock and under no obligation to hand over my personal life just ‘cause you feel like playing Oprah.”

“Why are you so angry with me? Have I done something wrong?”

Dean scoffed rudely. “Nope.” He popped the ‘P’. “You’re peachy. I’m just really hungry. I’d like to go home now.” As usual, he could have quit while he was ahead and not given away the whole kit and caboodle, but his mouth was a little bitch which betrayed him. As usual. “Just go on back to your sweet submissive Omega mate.”

“Ah,” said Castiel coolly. Inside, he began to squirm uncomfortably as if this conversation was starting to scratch at an area he needed to keep undisturbed. Dark still waters moved menacingly beneath the surface. He adopted a stoic face and proceeded as if he had no emotions in play. “I understand. Dean there’s no reason to feel threatened by April’s and my Mating. It needn’t have any effect on my scening with you. I’ve been looking forward to reconnecting with you, and I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear about that.” Inside, Cas’ wolf was beginning to pant uncomfortably and whine, pawing at Cas’ leg to get his attention, but Castiel ignored him. “In fact, I was very disappointed that you canceled two scenes with me. You could clearly use the opportunity to let off some steam.”

“Threatened? Fuck you, Castiel!” Dean was livid. Cas’ wolf lowered his ears and snarled, incensed that the Sub would speak to his Dom like that, but Cas didn’t allow any sign of his turmoil to show on his face.

“I can smell the Cortisol you’re putting out. You need to scene. Badly. It’s not good for you to get this stressed.” Cas was really struggling to keep everything he’d always hidden from Dean locked beneath his stoic visage.

“Fine. I’ll check if Raphael is free.” Dean turned to go again.

“What?! No, Dean! Raphael would be a terrible Dom for you. Look, as your boss, your friend, your Alpha, and your Dom, I insist you let me…”

“I don’t want you to TOUCH me!” Dean lied, rage pouring from his eyes. His wolf threw himself against Dean’s chest and demanded he walk the declaration back, but he stood firm. “You’ve got NO say in this, Castiel! You’re my boss, and yeah we’ve been friends for a long time, but you ain’t my Alpha, and you’re not my Dom unless I agree to it!” Castiel’s wolf let out a mournful whine, sitting next to his knee and looking up plaintively into his face. Something was terribly, terribly wrong, and the wolf didn’t like it at all. “My play time is none of your Goddamned business!”

Castiel was at a loss. He couldn’t make heads or tails of Dean’s behavior or his ire. This wasn’t the time or place to call the submissive down. He needed to understand. Flummoxed and desperate, and beginning to panic, he pleaded, “I don’t understand. What do you want from me, Dean!?” his cool demeanor finally cracking under the simultaneous onslaught from his Sub and his wolf.

Dean went still, focused on the wall again, refusing to look at Castiel. He sucked in a deep breath as if steeling his nerves. “I want you to sign my transfer papers to work for Henrickson in Dallas.” Dean’s voice had grown still and cold again, belying the fact that a bomb had exploded in Castiel’s head. (The Sub’s leaving,) cried the wolf in Cas’ mind, (You can’t let this happen - tie him up! Don’t let our beautiful Sub go!) “The new Facility down there isn’t drawing the clients it should, and their statistics are crap. Victor thinks it has to do with the training department. He offered me a job. I’m gonna take it.”

“What!?” Cas sputtered. “Nonsense! You can’t leave. You’re needed here. You run…everything, almost. We’re lost without you. I’M lost without you. What on Earth are you talking about?! All the classes, all the studies…”

“You can let me transfer to Dallas, or I’ll just quit and go to work for Gordon.” He sounded so defeated.

“Dean!” Castiel was appalled.

“It’s your choice, Alpha.” Dean turned to face him, taking a shaky breath. “It’s only ever been your choice.” He finally met Castiel’s eye, green met blue, and then the green overflowed. He wanted to stop talking, but couldn’t. “Just answer me this: all this that we’re doing here, all the precision and scheduling, the research and training, all the control and the trust…if it doesn’t give us any damn choices, about our own lives, ‘bout our own destiny, if in the end, we’re still just slaves to our own bodies…what’s it any good for? What’s the fucking point?”

“Oh, Dean.”

“You know what, man?! You can take your self-righteous, holier-than-thou, big-bad Dominant PITY and cram it up your ass! I don’t want it!”

“Dean, no.” Castiel was shaking and pale now. His wolf leaned heavily against him, seeking comfort that wasn’t there to give. “You can’t leave me.” He stopped and caught Dean’s eye again reaching across the desk but not quite touching him. “I love you.”

Castiel’s voice was meeker than Dean had ever heard it before, and he wanted. He wanted so badly to accept the invitation that lay on the other side of those words. But he couldn’t. He was forced to shove his own wolf out of the way. It steadfastly blocked his path, leaning in heavily and bracing against being moved, but he managed it, barely. He had to stop this conversation in its tracks. It couldn’t be allowed to go down that path, couldn’t allow himself to consider it. He would shatter.

Shoving right into Castiel’s space, Dean fumed. “You don’t get to say that to me! Not like this. Not now! Not after…” Dean was breathing hard through his nose as he snapped his mouth closed. He closed his eyes, forcing more tears to fall shamefully down his cheeks. How had he turned into this? Who WAS he anymore?

He continued after a moment, in a voice utterly devoid of emotion, “I’ll have Jo and Sam get the Ozzie class started for you tomorrow at eight and let Ellen know to reschedule all my test appointments. I…” There was nothing left to say that wouldn’t destroy his resolve and shame him to his core. He closed the door behind him.

Motionless in the office, Cas stared blankly at the door through which his love had vanished. Castiel’s wolf lifted its head, and howled.

 

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

 

Bobby found him late that night, sitting at his kitchen table, idly stroking his Omega’s hair as she leaned against his leg. She looked exhausted and miserable. Bobby put her to bed, then confronted his friend. “Heard about Dean from Jo. Heard he’s leavin’. You wanna tell me what’s going on?”

“I was so stupid, Bobby.” Cas lifted his gaze, wholly bereft, and met the older alpha’s concerned eyes. “And now it’s too late.”

“Well, fuck,” agreed Bobby.

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

Six weeks went by. Dean breathed through his nose, fast and shallow, his lips closed and pulled tight across his teeth. He grunted as the strap added another line across his flank. Tears had sprung up. He let them fall freely. There was no shame in crying through a strapping. It was cathartic and kinda the whole point. His grip turned white on the hold bar as he held on with all his substantial strength, and his mind raced. Another stroke landed. Another stripe. This time an open-mouthed shout. Maybe the next stroke will knock me out of my head, he thought.

The punishment was going wrong. All wrong. Yeah, it wasn’t fun, it hurt like hell, and he would most decidedly find a way to avoid riling up this particular beta again, but he wasn’t living in his Submissive. He shouldn’t have been able to occupy his alpha mind right in the middle of a punishment that he had coming to him. That’d never happened to him before. It was fucking with his head. It was entirely the wrong persona for the situation, but he just couldn’t get there. And God, he needed so badly to get there. He moaned in frustration.

In the six weeks since his move to north Texas, Dean had yet to try out a scene partner. He meant to. He had logged onto the Facility Scheduler several times, only to back right out again. He couldn’t bring himself to do it. This one was a freebie, in a way: not requested, but granted nonetheless. Only, it wasn’t enough, and Dean had no idea what to do about it. He held on tightly, let the tears splash across the wooden spanking bench, and hoped better times were coming. Please, God let better days be coming.

The strap stopped falling. Dean didn’t try to rise. He just lay with all his weight on the bench and breathed, the tears didn’t abate.

“Do you have something you’d like to say to me, Sub?” Ruby’s voice was silky and pretentious. She was such a bitch.

Dean realized that he was holding his jaw muscles so tightly he couldn’t answer at first. His mind bounced back and forth between: ‘give her the answer she wants’ and, ‘be a little shit.’

“You hit pretty hard for a beta,” he ground out.

She didn’t rise to the challenge though. She knew what he was doing and she refused to be baited. She was here to apply punishment, not stroke his wolf into blissful submissive oblivion. Cas would’ve humored my wolf, he thought. Aaaargh! Stop it! Enough! God, I need help. His mind was racing again, and he dissolved into sobs upon the bench.

Ruby misinterpreted the outward manifestation of Dean’s inner turmoil. “Well, hard-hitting or not, your backside is practically glowing, soooo, once I hear the three words I’m looking for, we’ll be done here”

The words, ‘Kiss my ass’ sprang immediately to mind, but Dean was fairly certain those weren’t the ones she was expecting. He sighed and reined in his tears. There was no use dragging this out. It was a lost cause where his Sub was concerned. “I’m sorry, beta,” he finally gave her.

She grinned at him. “Thank you, Dean. Perhaps you’ll remember from now on that just because you were hot shit up in Kansas doesn’t mean you’re anything whatsoever in Texas. Down here, you answer to me, got it? If I say an Ozzie’s earned a punishment, then you agree with me. It’s how it works around here and don’t you forget it. Next time you interfere with my training techniques, you’ll walk away bloody.”

Wow. Dean didn’t even try to enumerate everything that was wrong with her tirade. She had it all backwards and upside down. And he’d be on a slow spit in hell before he’d let himself walk past an Omega being punished unfairly. He stood up from the bench and forced himself to move with dignity despite the fact he’d left it on the leather cushioned bench, left it back in Kansas in Castiel’s spartan office. She didn’t have to know that. He checked in with his wolf, but got nothing but his great grey back and a cold shoulder. The wolf still wasn’t speaking to him.

 

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

 

“Hey, Bro!”

“Ah, Gabriel,” Cas intoned as he entered his office to find his older brother slunk low in the visitor’s chair with his feet crossed upon Castiel’s desk. “Get your feet off my desk.”

“You look like you were dragged through a paper shredder,” offered Gabriel helpfully.

“Backward.”

“In a wind tunnel.”

“While it’s raining.” Those crossed feet hadn’t moved.

Cas waited with enduring patience. He’d learned through the years that Gabe needed to be Gabe and any attempt to alter his behavior was ultimately fruitless. “Have you finished?” asked Castiel tonelessly.

“While being swarmed by bees.”

“Thank you for your assessment, unsolicited though it was. It’s good to see you too.” Cas settled into his chair and regarded his brother. The Omega looked really good; healthy and balanced, but there was a tightness about his eyes. “So, to what do I owe this honor? And get your feet off my desk.”

“I came by to see if you’d seen THIS yet.” Gabriel flung a folded newspaper directly into Cas’ chest. He caught it mechanically but didn’t even glance at it before laying it on his desk. “I’ve seen it.” He kept his eyes on his brother, his face impassive. Gabriel raised an eyebrow. Below on the desk, and unacknowledged by her younger son, Naomi Novak’s face peered stoically from the front page underneath the damning headline that read, “LUPIN CONGRESSWOMAN BACKS BILL TO DEFUND WOLF-AID, Certain To Face Off Against Her Own Son Again.”

“We were aware of the rumors months ago. We have allies where we need them. The bill won’t even make it out of committee. She’s just posturing, probably trying to solidify Primate alliances on The Hill.” Castiel sighed tiredly and spoke in a monotone. It’s all he’d been able to manage for six weeks now – the six weeks since he’d lost Dean.

“You’re going to tell me this doesn’t bother you?” Gabe wasn’t buying it, but Cas had long since given up on understanding their mother.

“What do you expect me to say? Naomi has made her decisions and chosen her own path. I have no more control over her life choices than I do yours.”

“So, it’s ‘Naomi’ now?”

“She hasn’t been much of a mother in a very long time,” Cas wasn’t giving Gabriel the emotional response he wanted, so he tried another tack.

“I just wanna know what you’re going to do about it. You want me to arrange for some well-positioned pipe bombs? I know a guy.”

Cas huffed a small laugh. It felt nice. “Keep your pipe bombs under wraps, big brother. Please. I beg you.”

“Whatever you say. You’re the boss.” Right. As if Gabriel Novak had ever acknowledged an Alpha’s claim over him, much less his baby brother’s.

Cas took a deeper look at his brother and spoke again, “You didn’t come here to talk about our mother. You knew I was already on it.” Gabe just quirked a smirk at him. “What do you want? And get your Goddamned feet off my desk!” Cas abruptly shoved the Omega’s feet, toppling his brother unceremoniously out of his chair and onto the floor.

Gabe didn’t respond to his rude upheaval. He merely stood, pulled the chair back upright and made himself comfortable again, tossing one of Castiel’s stress balls to himself as he spoke. “I’m worried about you, Castiel.” He paused, and after a moment rested both feet, crossed at the ankles upon Cas’ desk. “Not sleeping very well, are you? Having trouble concentrating on your work? Word around the halls says you rarely eat in the cafeteria with the Pack anymore, and I wonder if you’re eating much at all.” Gabriel delivered the whole thing without once looking away from the ball as he tossed it into the air, caught it and repeated again.

Then he caught the ball and held it, fixing his brother with his eye and becoming serious. “Are you taking CARE of yourself, Castiel? And I don’t mean dental hygiene. ‘Cause, man, you really do look like crap.”

“I’m fine Gabriel, and it’s none of your business.”

“Aaaaaand, THAT’s the biggest load of horseshit you’ve ever tried to cram down my throat.”

“Gabe.” Cas tried. He really did, but his brother was right, and he was too tired to keep up a front. Had it been anyone else in the world running this intervention, Castiel would have had no trouble keeping his Alpha-Dominant persona firmly in place. But his brother knew how to read Cas better than anyone. (Not better than Dean), spoke his wolf. True. Not better than Dean. But Gabe was good. Gabriel knew when to press and when to brat and when to wait it out and say nothing at all. This time he waited silently and just looked Cas in the eye, his head low and his brow lifted in expectation.

“I really, really miss him,” Cas admitted although it was news to no one.

“So go get him.”

“I can’t. He left me. HE left me. He walked away, Gabriel. He made it abundantly clear he wants nothing from me, and he moved a thousand miles from here. I can’t follow him. That’s not what he wants.”

“I’ve never known you to walk away from ANYTHING you want without a fight, Castiel. I watched you on live television confront your own mother in congressional committee and call her delusional in front of the whole world. I never expected to see you act a coward.”

“What do you want me to do? He left. I’m Mated. That’s all there is, end of story. Besides, I couldn’t do that to April. I love her too much, and she’s so good to me. I couldn’t do that to either of them.”

“STOP. Stop coming up with bullshit excuses! Just. Here, listen…try this: say you got to CHOOSE for yourself, Cas. Just imagine that your wolf could point his muzzle toward what he wanted most in the world and could just keep traveling until he reached it. If you could have what you want, just for you…what would it be? No bullshit this time. There’s no rules, there’s no biological mandate…just you deciding what’s best for you. What do you WANT, Castiel?”

“I want Dean! I have wanted Dean forever, but…”

“No but, Castiel. You can’t imagine what it’s like to have what you really want ripped away from you to where you can’t ever get it back. Not ever. You’ve got a chance to fix this. I didn’t get that chance. Look at your wolf right now. What’s he doing?” Gabriel was intent on keeping Cas’ eyes locked with his.

Castiel’s wolf stood tall and stubbornly resolute, daring to hope that his master would act on his brother’s words, but Cas barely glanced at him. “Gabriel, I can’t. What would I even say? How would it work? How would I talk to him? God, I want…!” Castiel pushed his hands through his hair and then rubbed at his face in frustration. How was it possible to love two such different people with all his heart? He loved them both, needed them both, equally. Differently, but equally.

“OK, then, sounds like you’ve got some strategizing to do. I’ll leave you to it. Good talk.” He smacked his palm on the desk and stood, Gabe’s normally chipper demeanor appearing from nowhere as if the intense and piercing version of his brother had never been. It threw Castiel. He sat motionless and stared at his office door, reminiscent of weeks ago. He sat long enough for his Omega to come looking for him and find him rocking wordlessly. She knelt to hold him tightly, offering all the comfort she could to her grieving Alpha through their shared bond, and then she took him to bed.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 9

 

THEN:

“Our guest speaker today has asked me to keep his introduction short, so I’ll just quickly mention that he is a practicing physician specializing in Lupin development, he’s a renowned research scientist who has, almost single-handedly turned everything we thought we knew about Canids on its ear.” (Castiel cleared his throat uncomfortably at ‘single-handedly,’ but didn’t interrupt.) “He’s the founder of a massive specialized research and implementation facility for the betterment of Lupin lives across America, which is now expanding to include three new facilities in as many states, and he’s been a long-time advocate and activist for the enactment and defense of laws protecting wolves’ rights to live authentically as wolves. Please welcome our esteemed guest lecturer today, Alpha Dr. Castiel Novak!”

The large seminar room erupted in applause as Cas took his place at the lectern and picked up the slide projector remote, fiddling with it a little.

“Wow. Thank you for the kind words.” Castiel stood stiffly. He was annoyed at his friend. They’d agreed to a simple hand-over of the podium, and now he had to sacrifice some of his precious lecture time re-humanizing himself to the student audience. He looked out at the assembly. The room was crammed full, even to bodies standing along the back and down both sides. “I didn’t, um, realize that ‘General Human Anatomy’ was so popular a course these days.” The class chuckled as a group. Clearly, many of those in attendance weren’t enrolled in this course. Evidently, his celebrity and reputation preceded him. Castiel didn’t mind the class-crashers; the more people, especially Primates, he got a chance to talk to, the more ignorance fell away. Fame and charisma could be useful.

“When I took this course as an under-grad, we didn’t even fill a room a quarter this size. I thank you all for coming. I hope to be of use to you in your growing understanding of the beautiful living, breathing entities that make up the Lupine Sapiens Omega population.” He removed the mic from its stand and stepped off the podium so he could pace and move freely. Movement always soothed his wolf and helped him think more clearly. As he spoke, Castiel settled into his element. This is where he was most at home in his professional life; in front of a class, speaking passionately about his work.

“I trust some of you will continue on in the same direction I followed, going on to become doctors or scientists. For those participants, I implore you to keep an open mind about wolves and to learn everything you can to assist you in your work. We desperately need ape allies. We actually need all the help we can get to keep our movement headed in the right direction. For those whose interest in the subject is less professional, please know that you are equally welcome here and equally important in helping us to become free to be, as Dr. LaMarque stated, ‘our authentic selves.’ So, let’s begin.”

He pressed his remote’s button and brought up a drawing upon the large screen of a male Omega’s lower abdomen, including genitalia, digestive tract, and reproductive structures. “Your class is far enough into the semester that I know you’ve learned about the reproductive structures of your own Homo Sapiens’ anatomy. (And by the way, parenthetically, I will be mostly using the terms Apes and Wolves to distinguish between the populations. It’s just easier that way. Please note that I am aware you are not apes any more than we are wolves. I reject the notion that Homo Sapiens are somehow more entitled to the terms, ‘human’ or ‘people’ and I will not be using those terms. I do beg your forbearance and ask that for the purposes of this lecture, you please just go with it.)” Most of the class chuckled. Not all, but most. Good enough, thought Castiel.

“So, as you’ll notice on the screen, the male Omega wolf is strikingly different in form than the same region of a male ape. His penis is smaller, both in girth and length than is average for an ape, although of course, there is a significant range of what’s ‘normal.’ In general, Omega’s penises are between two and four inches when fully erect. Also, the scrotum and testicles are less prominent. However, the myth that male Omegas lack paternal fertility, is just that: a myth. Male Omegas DO produce fertile sperm, and they can impregnate females, producing viable offspring. It rarely occurs because of the numerous other contributing factors that funnel male Omegas away from opportunities to father pups, such as social, biological, and psychological drives for him to take a receptive role in sexual encounters. But they should be respected and honored as one of only two gender designations among sentient beings on this planet with the capacity to play both maternal and paternal roles in reproduction. The other being, of course, Lupin alpha females, but since today’s topic is Omega anatomy, we’ll leave the alpha ladies for another lecture.”

He clicked his remote again, and the next slide focused in closer on the posterior uterus and channel. “As you can see, the male Omega has developed maternal reproductive organs. We’re not going to get into the evolutionary theories about how the posterior uterus came to be, but I will be including links to some of the most promising research on the topic with your professor for him to share with you all.

“The anatomy of the posterior uterus, ovary, cervix, and channel can be seen in this image in fairly good detail. It resides just above the sigmoid colon and posterior to the small intestine which, unlike in apes, winds its way around a small depression where the uterus lies. They essentially occupy the same space until pregnancy advances far enough that pressure from the growing uterus forces the entire digestive tract into a caudal position. So, the developing fetus is positioned on top of its mother’s intestines. Omegas frequently suffer from digestive difficulties during late pregnancy, and this is the primary reason. It’s vital that the Omega mother practice a regular exercise routine to strengthen the pelvic floor and uterine musculature to prevent the uterus’ support structure from getting lazy and just laying on the intestines.

“The Omega’s posterior womb is associated with one ovary, seen here. The ovary and Fallopian tube mimic that of female humans, with the exception that there is no pairing. Incidentally, and we still don’t understand this, Omega pregnancies through the Posterior uterus never produce multiple births…only singles. There are several research projects underway to discover what prevents multiple fertilization from single eggs as happens occasionally in Primary uterus pregnancies, but they’ve not been completed yet. These are exciting days to be a Lupin researcher. We’re making enormous discoveries all the time, and I encourage you all to consider adding your voices and talents to the search.” He grinned, blushed, and cleared his throat. “Sorry, commercial over. I get a little excited sometimes. Where was I?”

“So, the cervix, also a virtual replica of the female’s structure, leads to the Omega channel. The channel, like the posterior uterus, is unique to Lupin Omegas. Both primary genders have these structures, and both are fertile through them.” He changed slides again. The new image showed the same male diagram, but now also included the female Omega reproductive system as well. The female’s primary womb, with its dual ovaries and classic T-shaped Fallopian tube structure could be clearly seen, but she also had the identical posterior womb as the male.

“Yes, it is possible and not at all uncommon for an Omega female to carry pregnancies in both wombs simultaneously. It’s riskier, of course, and birth-weights of the pups carried this way are usually a little lower than those of single-uterine pregnancies. There’s just not a lot of space in there and having pups growing both above and in front of the digestive tract does uncomfortable things to the Omega in question. But Lupin gestation takes a mere 31 weeks in comparison to the 40 weeks that you Homo Sapiens endure.

The shorter gestation supports larger litters; plus, Omega females are generally rugged and strong. Too, they have a very high tolerance for pain, and they heal quickly. This kind of pregnancy is every-day stuff to our strong and beautiful Omega women.” Cas smiled at a young ape lady in the front row, and she blushed. “There is a short window for fertilizing both wombs at once. Once the pregnancy hormones ramp up, they stop all further ovulation for the duration of subsequent pregnancy and nursing. So that means it’s not possible to have staggered pregnancies at the same time. Usually, both wombs are fertilized during the same cycle of the Omega’s Heat, when she is most receptive and most fertile.”

“Let’s talk about the channel for a few minutes.” Castiel clicked to the next slide. It was a photograph of a male Omega’s ass as he lay on his back with his legs spread obscenely. His small cock was erect and standing proud over the man’s pubic hair. His balls were pulled up close to his body, out of the way of any activities. The Omega’s anus gaped open. It was drenched with slick which covered the entire region and appeared to be flowing freely from the red, puffy orifice. The camera flash showed the glare of wetness down the cheeks of his buttocks. A frisson of energy passed through the room at the titillating image.

“This is the male Omega in full arousal. The muscles of the anus relax, the production of channel fluid, a natural lubricant we call ‘slick,’ goes into overdrive, and the entire region swells, both interior and exterior. What you can’t see from the picture is that as the channel swells inside the Omega’s body, it pinches off the rectum’s access to the anal channel. Let me make clear, while the digestive system and reproductive channel share the same orifice, only one has access at a time. It is in all ways the same type of mechanism that keeps the male bladder from passing urine through the urethra while the penis is fully erect.

“When penetrative sex occurs, the partner’s penis fills the Omega’s channel, not their rectum. Of course, if sex is attempted with an Omega who is not in the least aroused, rectal penetration may occur, and it can do significant damage to the Omega. This usually only occurs in cases of rape of the Omega. On the plus-side, Omegas are extremely responsive to sexual signals from their partners and Pack-mates. Their refractory time is nearly immediate. Not that I’m encouraging anyone to try to take an Omega by surprise to see if you could catch their channel off-guard, (Doing so is rape. Don’t even think about trying it.) but from a hypothetical standpoint, as long as the Omega is even remotely willing to couple, the channel will prepare itself, pinch off access to the rectum, and lubricate itself quickly enough that the couple need not be concerned about ‘hitting the wrong hole,’ even if they go from ‘zero-to-sixty’ in a matter of seconds.” Cas air-quoted twice. He found over the years that using some everyday language in his lectures cut through the tension and stuffiness of the subject, letting him communicate better.

“Controlling this response is the Omega gland. It’s located near the Omega’s lower mid-spine, anterior to it and attached to it through connective tissue and numerous ducts. It’s just about even with the naval. The Omega gland connects directly to the Reptilian center of the brain, where involuntary response and instinctive behaviors arise. It also has direct connections to the posterior reproductive structures, creating a hormonal super-highway connecting the Omega’s instinctive impulses from their brain with the mechanical structures of their channel. This gland controls so much of what an Omega experiences in his or her life, that essentially, regardless of the lack or presence any other classically ‘Omega’ anatomical structures, having this gland is what makes an Omega, an Omega.

“One aspect of the Omega gland that we have struggled most to reconcile our modern civility with, is its constant output of a stress hormone that is unique to the Omega, called Omesol. Over time, if allowed to build up, Omesol creates a disturbance in virtually every organ system in the body. Omegas often describe its initial effects as similar to living in a fog and having a swarm of bees stuck in their head. From there, if allowed to continue to increase in concentration, the effects worsen. Its purpose is unknown. Some have postulated that since it keeps the Omega dependent on regular care from the Pack, it prohibits the most fertile members of the Pack from venturing away independently. It ties the pup-producers into a specific, subservient place in the societal structure. Again, let me reiterate, this is an ongoing struggle within the wolf-pack in general. As modern humans, we value the humanity and agency of every member of the Pack, and are striving to over-come our past failings. But there is simply no way yet developed to render an Omega completely independent. Their level of this hormone MUST be constantly managed. Omegas who are allowed to go too long without releasing the build-up of Omesol, face dire consequences to their health and sanity.

“I’m getting off the subject of anatomy now, but I believe it’s vital that the ape population be educated about this most misunderstood part of wolf societal behavior. The wolf practice of stimulating a ‘Release’ in the Omega, that is, manufacturing an artificial situation that causes a sudden release of adrenalin which neutralizes the Omesol, is the single most controversial aspect of our societal Pack behavior. There has yet to be developed any safe substance which can be administered to the Omega, including direct injection of Adrenalin, which is at all effective in reducing Omesol levels. Until we develop one, or one of you develops one, we are limited to behavioral remedies.” Castiel clicked to a slide that showed a table of gradually worsening symptoms of Omega hormone poisoning. He didn’t read it to them, but he let them scan it for themselves while he continued to speak.

“There are three effective means of stimulating a Release: intensely satisfying sexual stimulation, intense and sudden fear response, or intense and prolonged pain. Obviously, you’ll have noted that they all have in common the need for intensity, but also obviously, where a pleasurable route can be taken, that’s much preferred. That makes sex the pathway of choice for many. But that precludes the idea that the Omega in question has a safe partner to participate in sex with, and it’s important to note that this is also the least reliable route. The certainty of Release through sexual orgasm is not at all sure, even when the Omega is very well satisfied.” Castiel played up the end of that sentence, and the audience of students outright laughed.

“One note to be aware of: unlike orgasm through masturbation, a hormone Release CANNOT be achieved alone. An Omega can’t Release him- or herself; they have to be acted upon by another individual. Believe me, many, many have tried. All fail.

“The option of scaring the daylights out of the Omega is forbidden by Pack law. The Omega’s reactions are impossible to control, and real harm can be done psychologically and physically when the situation becomes uncontrollable like that.

“That leaves prolonged physical pain as the safest, most reliable, and easiest to administer route for many Omegas. They tolerate it well, again, heal quickly, and it also often fills a psychological need deep in the Omega’s psyche, especially for the Ozzies, the Omega-Submissives. And of all the techniques to deliver pain, spanking is the least likely to cause injury, so it is the most common technique. Spanking and paddling are easily the most ubiquitous form of these techniques, although when combining triggering a Release with administering a punishment for misbehavior or training, strapping, caning, and switching are sometimes utilized.”

Castiel was aware that his reference to the Pack’s use of Domestic Discipline sent an unhappy riffling of tension through the apes, but he decided not to explain himself unless it came up during the Q&A. Wolves were not apes, and he was here to teach them about Omegas, not give a full treatise on everything Pack.

“Any questions so far?” Hands shot up all over the room.

 

NOW:

Castiel was lunching with Billie in the cafeteria. He’d decided Gabriel was at least right about that. He mustn’t let his depressive state impact his connection with the Pack. Billie was ostensibly finished eating, while Castiel had just started, but she remained, toying with the oil droplets floating in the juice her serving of green beans left behind. They’d talked through the latest developments from Congress; from his mother. Damn his mother. The issue was annoying, but well in hand. And now the two were just chatting idly. Cas noted her reticence to get back to work. It was unlike the highly motivated beta who served as the Facility’s PR manager, and he wondered about it just a little. Maybe she was just enjoying reconnecting with the Alpha. It’s true that a little connection meant a lot in the Pack.

“Hey boss!” said a voice from behind him. Cas turned to find Balthazar with a full tray.

“Ah, Balthazar. Please join us. It’s been much too long, Omega. What have you been up to?” As Balthazar sat, Castiel caught a lightning-fast interaction between him and Billie; just a slight raising of a brow and a slight nod in return. Had he not been watching at just the right time, he would have missed the exchange. Oh. Now he understood why Billie was still sitting despite her empty tray. As if to confirm his suspicions, she suddenly excused herself and stood, clearing her lunch. Cas watched her go.

I’m being ‘managed,’ he realized. Has the Pack put some kind of watch on me? I may have been down lately, but surely a round-the-clock watch isn’t necessary. He thought back over the last few days and realized that since his conversation with his brother, he hadn’t been left alone for more than a few minutes. He found himself offended, but as always, chose control. He vowed to find the wolf who was orchestrating Project Watch Alpha, though. He had three prime suspects, maybe four.

“Did you know, Alpha,” began Balthazar with his mouth full, “that mating regulations governing Lupins are completely separate, legally, from marriage laws that apply to humans in general?” Cas nodded at him. Yes, he knew mating regulations well, as he’d helped author many of them. They didn’t interfere in any way with state or federal marriage laws. “So, for instance, if I got married to the beautiful Julia today, I could still Mate with Julianne tomorrow, and both unions would be legal.”

“Yes, that’s true Balthazar. Are you considering either? I thought you liked your relationships non-committal?”

“Oh, well, yeah, I mean, that’s me, isn’t it? I’m not one to settle down. You know me. But I mean, just hypothetically. As wolves, we have the option to Mate for life with that one special person, yadda-yadda, but Primates don’t have that. All they have that fills the same slot is marriage, right? But what about if a wolf wanted to get married? We’re human too, just like the apes.”

“Of course we can marry, Balthazar. Many Lupins marry to demonstrate their love and devotion to their mates outside of their Mating-bond commitment. You know this.” Castiel was confused. He couldn’t figure out what Balthazar was driving at. But Bal seemed barely interested in his own topic of conversation. He stuffed food down his gullet like a man starving. Castiel scented him discreetly, checking for signs of impending Heat or imbalance, but found nothing untoward.

“But you know,” Balthazar angled a very cunning glance at Castiel, “there’s no law that says a wolf has to Mate and marry the same individual.” He slurped up the last of his pasta. “Excuse me, I’m late for a scene. Got a new alpha client, and she’s really hot! Must dash. ‘Ta, alpha.” And just like that the Omega was gone.

Cas just sat there with his mouth hanging open. When had he lost his grip on the pulse of his Pack? What was that even about? Balthazar, married?! No way. Even Mating seemed unlikely unless he found his True-Mate. Bal was The Facility’s most requested Omega scene partner. He had clients who came from three-hundred miles away every couple of weeks to scene with the sexy Omega or hire him twice a year to work through their Rut. Balthazar was a Neutral, but he loved sex and could play any role from delicate Sub to Topping from the Bottom. The Alpha had never known him to seek an actual relationship with anyone.

Castiel didn’t remain alone for long. Dr. Barnes swung by his table, and saw that he was finished eating. “Are you ready for our appointment Alpha?” she asked. “It’s just about that time. I was heading back to my office now. We could walk together if you’ve finished eating.”

No. He wasn’t ready to spend an hour talking to the shrink. The Board had expressed grave concerns about his mental stability and demanded he sit down with Pamela for a professional assessment. It was a formality, he told himself. He was fine, and he’d make her see that, but he wasn’t looking forward to it in the least. There was no getting out of it, so he simply stood and carried his tray back to the front to drop it off. He followed her out into the corridor.

As they emerged, a class of Omega-Subs was passing into the lunchroom. It wasn’t the one April attended. Hers was weeks ahead of this one. These Ozzies were still wearing their light-blue tunics, designating them as third-week students. Castiel let a quick reminder that the color-coded uniforms were Dean’s idea, (and it had been inspired) cross his mind. With the tunics that were changed out weekly, everyone in The Facility could spot the Ozzies at a glance and knew what level they’d reached in their training. It allowed them to be treated with kid-gloves early on, and then more strictly as their capability developed.

Several of the Ozzies squealed when they spotted the Alpha. They broke ranks and clustered around him, seeking connection. He smiled affectionately and hugged each in turn, offering tender touches and gentle words of encouragement and acceptance. They were so sweet and vulnerable at this stage, and it added an endearing glow around each young face. “Go and get some lunch, now. We need you well fed. I’m sure your Dom has big plans for you after lunch. You all be good, now, do you hear?” He smiled as they made their way in.

As the last passed through the door, Cas swatted him on the ass simply for being last. It was a gentle reminder to keep up and remember to stay in a Pack. The Omega boy yelped from surprise, and hustled to catch up. Castiel chuckled indulgently, then nodded as Sam followed his class in to eat lunch. Sam smiled back, but his smile didn’t reach his eyes. And just like that, Castiel was back in his depressing constant awareness that Dean had left not just Castiel, but also Sam and all his friends and family. Cas knew Sam blamed him for Dean’s departure. Hell, Cas blamed Cas for Dean’s departure.

Pamela waited patiently, and they resumed their trek to her office. To Castiel, it felt like walking to his own guillotine.

“Make yourself at home, please Alpha,” she gestured. “This needn’t be formal in any way. In fact, I was just about to stop by for a chat when Bobby told me to call you for an assessment.” Ah, yes. No doubt it was also Bobby who put the Pack on 24/7 Cas-watch. “I am very worried about you. I’m sure you’ve noticed that everyone is. You are a very good Alpha, Castiel. You notice everything. You take care of everyone, and I’m just wondering…” She sighed heavily. It was a touchy situation. A shrink had to get through to the uncomfortable parts of a patient’s psyche, but alphas were notoriously closed off, and this was not just ANY alpha. This was THE Alpha. She could screw this up badly if she wasn’t very careful.

Pamela sat in a soft chair across from where he perched stiffly on the sofa. “Castiel, who takes care of you?”

Cas was taken by surprise. That was not a question alpha-Dominants get asked. Ever. He thought for a moment. “Well, I guess everyone does to some extent. Certainly, my needs are met when I find connection with my mate, when we stroke one another’s wolves through scening. But also, when I work with clients; the tests, the training, and the contract scenes all give to me as much as I am giving to others through them. Does that make any sense? Plus, I’m sure you’re in on whatever is going on with the Pack…how someone ‘just happens’ to be with me all the time? Watching over me?”

She smiled a private smile, proud of him for catching on to the plot. “Yes, Alpha, that’s all true, but I mean, who takes care of you? -Not just where do you get your needs met?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

She was silent for a long beat, thinking about how to break through his walls. She really wanted to talk to his wolf. She knew one direct route, but it was kind of a low blow to go that way. Pamela threw caution to the wind. “Cas, tell me about your relationship with Dean Winchester.”

“What? No. No way. That’s private. No, I mean, it’s over and done with. There’s no point.”

“You said it’s private, but you were never private about your friendship with him. You were best friends for years. You never tried to keep your relationship as scening partners private. Neither of you ever slept with anyone but each other outside of work. So, what’s private about it Castiel?”

Cas didn’t respond. He was embroiled in an internal struggle and a little too preoccupied to speak. Dean wasn’t Castiel’s best friend. That was Benny; had always been Benny. Dean was…something different.

“Castiel, you’re in love with Dean, aren’t you?”

He looked at her, straight into her eyes and held her gaze. “You already know the answer to that,” he accused.

“I do,” she admitted to him, still holding his eye. It was difficult not to break the stare, but he needed to be able to read the honesty from her wolf right now, to know he was safe enough to let himself be vulnerable.

“Does everyone?”

She nodded slowly, but said, “Everyone but Dean.”

Castiel reeled. EVERYONE knew? Of course they did. He’d failed to keep himself under control. His great black wolf was always pushing, always demanding, always wanting and never caring who got in the way.

“I don’t know what to do about it,” he admitted miserably. “Dean was right to leave. I’m a menace. I hurt everyone I know. I’ve tried so hard for so long to figure out how to control myself by feeding my wolf, learning how to teach others to feed and stroke their wolves, but it didn’t do any good…” he was stopped by a sob. Then clenched his eyes, suppressed the crying, and continued. “It’s too much. I can’t hold it all back. He’s too big and too demanding, and I can’t control him. I thought being Mated would satisfy him. April gives me everything. She trusts me implicitly to give her whatever she needs, and she lets me do whatever I need. WHY is that not enough?! What more do I have a right to demand?! God, I’m the most selfish man I know.” He sucked in a breath. “My mother was right about me. It’ll never be enough. Nothing is ever enough.”

“Castiel, look at me.” She waited until he met her eyes. “It’s not selfish or a sin to love someone. It’s a gift. Always. Loving Dean does not harm him. There’s no greater blessing a person can give to another than his love. Look, as I said, you take care of everyone, and you use up everything you are and everything you have on this Pack. And, Cas, I mean the whole American Lupin Pack. You are the least selfish human being I’ve ever known. It’s a cop-out to look at what you’re going through and take it all on yourself.”

He stiffened at the word ‘cop-out.’ Who did she think she was to tell him what he felt? But Pamela didn’t give him a chance to break in. “I suspect if you had had the chance, you and Dean would’ve Mated within weeks of meeting. You’re that perfect for each other. But you couldn’t, so you both stuffed all that love and desire to build a life together under wraps, took what you could and just pretended the rest wasn’t there. Am I right?”

He nodded. It was all out of the bag anyway. No use trying to hide anything anymore. Maybe she’d be able to teach him how to move on.

Wait, she said, “you both…” No. That wasn’t right. This fucked-up mess was Castiel’s alone. Wasn’t it?

Pam watched his face and guessed where his mind had taken him. She took pity on his inner dialogue. “Alpha, everyone knows you’re in love with Dean, except Dean.” A pause to make sure he was listening. “It’s not really my place, but this is out of control, and it needs to stop. Listen to me. Everyone also knows that Dean’s in love with you, except for you.”

Castiel gasped. He actually gasped, and his world reeled for a second time. That’s not possible.

“You two knuckleheads have provided this Pack with years of amusement as you danced around each other, completely oblivious. Both of you have your heads up your asses about the truth. I mean it Castiel, and this is serious. Don’t - please don’t - write this gift off as a weakness or selfishness. It’s the most important thing in your life right now. More important than your research, more important than your Pack, more important even than your adorable, innocent young Omega. Don’t lose this, Alpha. Don’t let go of Dean Winchester. It will destroy you both and take the rest of us with you.”

Castiel just stared at her. He couldn’t think at all. She wasn’t telling him how to move on, she was telling him to HOLD on. It didn’t compute. His wolf was suddenly standing as large as he could, with his head low and his ears forward, intent and focused and so, so hopeful.

She kept on, battering at the defensive wall he’d held up for so long, “All of your life has been about control. You don’t trust your wolf. You don’t trust yourself. You build walls around yourself with data and structure, and you’re right! For most Lupins, you’re right. It’s what we needed to do, all of this; to get back to our roots and instincts, to find a path to civilization that goes straight THROUGH our wolves instead of around them. We’d forgotten who we are, and it was killing us. But you’re forgetting some crucial points, Alpha.” She leaned way forward, nearly into his space, ignoring the tears that were flowing freely down his face.

“We are not only our biology. We’re seriously fucked if we forget who and what we are at our core, but we’re so much more than that. We’re also people. We need intimacy, and not just the chemical kind. We need someone to talk with on our own level. We need someone to love simply because they are endearing to us, and not just because we share a Mating-bond.

“It’s got to be so much harder for you wolves out on the fringes of the scale. I wouldn’t know, as a beta, I can connect on the same level with most wolves I meet. But you, Castiel you’re both a Profound AND a Deep. There aren’t enough wolves out there that you can truly connect with for you to have the luxury to throw one of them away.”

“I don’t know what to do,” he whispered. “Dean was so angry. I don’t believe he loves me like that. How can you be sure?”

Pamela laughed at him. Actually laughed. At him. “Oh Alpha.” She let herself end with an affectionate chuckle and sat back upright in her chair. “You’re too close to it all to see it for what it is. If it happened to Benny or Jo or Meg, you would have figured it out for them, then locked them in a room with whoever they were in love with and refused to let them out until they’d straightened themselves out. And don’t think I didn’t consider doing just that to you and Dean over the years.

“I have a few questions for you to think about and then I’ll let you go until next week. I want to talk again after you’ve had a chance to mull this conversation over for a while.” Cas didn’t think ‘conversation’ was the right word. He’d barely managed to get a word in edgewise. “Just think about this: Why was Dean so angry with you if he’s not in love with you? What does he have to be angry about at your Mating unless he loves you? Also, why did he leave if not to protect and try to heal a broken heart? Another question I want you to think about long and hard, Alpha: Could you have acted any differently when you encountered your True-Mate? Are you angry with yourself for succumbing to the biological mandate? Are you angry with her? Just think about it Castiel.”

 

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

 

Cas returned to his suite before April was released from class. She was doing well with Jo as her instructor. She was learning the basics of Omega obedience, her own sexual range and how to control it, also how to please both Doms and Alphas. She wouldn’t be using those skills separately like some of her classmates no doubt would, but some of the distinctions were important.

His mate was a quick study when she applied herself, and she accepted her paddling well when she was caught with her focus wandering. Learning to accept correction gracefully was a critical part of the class. Even the most astute students and the best-behaved couldn’t avoid the paddle. It was a given in the class. Sometimes the instructor set the class to competitive games in which the winner received an orgasm in the manner of their choosing and the last-place loser got paddled hard in front of the class.

Castiel had worked closely with Dean to build the structure of the class. It was essentially an artificial form of domestic discipline applied to a classroom setting. All punishments were public and on-the-bare. (E.O.s needed always to be able to see the damage they inflicted.) The rules were explicitly stated. Follow them well, and you would be rewarded, break them and you would be punished. For instance, if the rule for a particular game was, don’t come in last, then everyone knew someone would be using the bench at the front of the room.

Despite the strictness and the constant application of the paddle, the students enjoyed their work. They were learning so much, and they bonded closely with each other as friends. They were light-hearted and playful, reveling in the freedom of letting their wolves be themselves and knowing they’d be guided in the way their alpha wanted them to go. Jo was never unfair. She was gentle and kind, offering support and positive reinforcement more often than she took them to task. They hated disappointing her more than anything.

Well, April hated disappointing Jo almost more than anything. For April, a standing rule in her home was that any punishment meted out upon her person by a party outside of her home would be delivered again twice-over by her Alpha when she returned to him. That’s just exactly how he put it to her, in his gravelly deep voice. She shivered with pleasure when he read this rule out to her, but she’d come to hate it in the last few weeks.

April let herself into the suite promptly at 4:33. She went looking for her Alpha immediately and found him moving laundry into to the dryer. It still never ceased to amaze her that the Facility Director and all-around important Alpha did laundry and housework for himself. He was too cute for words. “I’ll do that, Alpha.” She stepped forward to take over, but he was already finished and turning on the machine.

“No need, Sweetheart, but thank you for offering. How was your day?” As he turned to face his Omega, April saw that his eyes were red-rimmed and his face was puffy. He’d been weeping again. She hadn’t noticed, but then, he often muted the bond during his work day to keep from distracting her. She wanted to ask him about it, but refrained for the moment. She knew his house rules, and it wasn’t time yet.

“I learned a lot today. We talked about Omega instinct and how to fight it when the wrong Top gives us an order, you know, one that doesn’t have the authority. Alpha Jo says she’s going to teach us self-defense, so we can fight if we need to. Oh, and I got to thirty minutes without coming today. That’s the longest yet.” She sparkled with excitement, so Castiel let her youthful enthusiasm wash over him, a balm for his upset spirit.

“Good girl. And I know you can do even better. Would you work on it with me tonight? I would love to see just how far we can push your training. “

“Of course, Alpha. Anything.” She settled into his arms, still standing awkwardly next to the rumbling dryer. She moved easily with him as he guided her into the kitchen. “But I also got three paddlings today, Alpha. I’m sorry, Sir.”

He held her away from him so he could see her face. “What were they for?”

April dug the punishment report from her pocket and handed it to him. He held it but he didn’t unfold it, waiting for her to tell him. Verbal confession was a big deal to him, so she met his eye, carefully and said, “I left my homework report here in the suite when I left this morning, that was the first. Then I came in last place at the memory game. Do you know that one? Alpha gives us a long set of complicated instructions and we must wait until she’s though with all of them before we start, then execute them exactly as we’re told and in the right order. It’s really hard!” she whined.

“I know it’s difficult, April, but learning to listen carefully to instructions from your Top is very, very important. I’m surprised and disappointed you lost that game. Last place? You deserved to be paddled for that. And the third?”

This one was the hardest for her to admit. It was actual misbehavior, not simply failure to succeed like the other two. She felt very guilty, and knew she was going to get it. She ducked her head very low and mumbled something incomprehensible.

“Unacceptable, Omega,” he corrected her sternly and lifted her chin. She still couldn’t meet his eyes, but she spoke clearly the second time.

“I fought with Veronica and Jimmy. They were being little punks, and I got in trouble for yelling at them to shut their stupid faces.” She bit her lip.

Castiel almost laughed out loud, but stopped the outburst from bursting out. She was so young and innocent and sweet. He sighed and released her face.

“What was it all about?”

“I’d rather not say, Sir. It’s embarrassing.” She pouted and turned her back on him.

“April.” That’s all he said, but there was so much communicated in that one word; that and the persistent command he pushed through the bond.

“They were teasing me that with our age-difference, you and me, there’s no way we have any kind of relationship but parent-child, like a…a Daddy-thing or something. I told them both it wasn’t like that, but…it got pretty ugly. I said some things I shouldn’t have said.”

“All right. I know how much it eats away at you when you feel guilty, so we’re going to take care of this right now.” He opened the report so he could determine what the stroke-count should be and whether she’d Released during her previous run-ins or not. “Afterward, I want you to take an Epsom-salt bath and relax while I make dinner. Go ahead and get yourself placed.” According to the report, she was given 10 for forgetting her homework, just 5 for losing the game, and 20 for arguing in class. He owed her 70 tonight and could expect a substantial Release. She was a little over-due. He reminded himself to ask her more about the fight over dinner.

April was already naked and kneeling on the floor in front of the chair he preferred. It had low, wide armrests that didn’t get in the way during an over-the-knee spanking but provided enough structure that cuddling afterward was supported. He sat and reached for her wrist, tugging gently to have her rise and place herself on his lap.

His wolf loved this part. Having his warm, young, compliant mate naked over his lap made almost everything right with the world; almost everything, for as long as she was there. He touched her bottom gently, just inspecting the damage the paddle had done over the course of the day. It wasn’t bad, just a little redness left now. There were no abrasions or bruises. Good. He intended for her to feel this, but he didn’t want her hurting in the salt bath.

“I’m extremely disappointed with you, Omega. You’ve already paid for your transgressions, and I believe you’ve learned your lesson. But I need to know I can trust you to meet your obligations to me when we’re apart. And I can’t have another wolf leaving a bigger imprint on you than me. It upsets the balance between us. Take a deep breath, you’re getting 70 right now.”

He lifted his arm up, made his hand a flat plate of warm steel and brought it down hard. She barely moved, but he saw the line of tension that formed across her shoulders. So good for him. His mind went and broke the rules again, reminding him that Dean’s shoulders did exactly the same thing at the start of a long spanking. Castiel managed to push the thought away and concentrate on the job at hand, pun intended.

He spanked her hard and quickly, not so fast that it would be over too soon, but fast enough that she would struggle to deal with one blow before the next rained down. It was a spanking meant to create a feeling of building, rising, ever increasing tension. He didn’t ask her to count or think or anything at all except just take it. He wanted her in her Sub mindset. He wanted to activate her deepest self, pull up all the guilt and then let it wash out of her once and for all in a gush. It was a spanking designed to Release both her Omega gland and her Deep Submissive.

She began to struggle, kick, and cry out. She begged for him to stop, but he cinched her back in by her waist, caught hold of her flailing arm, pinning it to the small of her back and kept on. Her ass was glowing red now, from the fullness of the roundest part to the tops of her thighs. He felt it coming as much as she did. The Mating-bond was thrown wide, and while he didn’t experience her pain and impending Release the way she did, he could sense it all.

She Released with a deafening scream right at 60, leaving him free to quicken and deliver the last 10 in a rush, overwhelming her. She broke into uncontrollable sobs as he stopped and began to rub gentle circles on her back with his left hand while his right rested lightly on her throbbing backside. He let her cry out the last of her guilt and waited for her to come back to him.

Somewhere in the middle of all of that, his cock had stiffened. He knew she could feel it against her belly, and he wanted. He pulled her to stand in front of him, supporting her with his large hands, to check her face. Was she too far gone? No. She was fine. (That’s my strong Omega.) She met his eyes, sniffling hard and still hiccupping, trying to bring the crying under control, but there was raw lust in her eyes. He stood and swept her up in a bridal carry, dumping her unceremoniously on the sofa. She yelped when her ass hit the leather, but didn’t protest.

Castiel made quick work of his buckle, button, and zipper, pulling his cock out and letting his pants fall just enough to avoid scraping her flesh with the rough metal. She let one leg fall off the sofa’s edge, and put the other over the back. His wolf breathed out in admiration. Their Omega was so limber and willing. Castiel mounted her like an animal, thrusting fast and hard. It was the same tempo he’d kept with his hand, but it worked for this too. Her ass was too sore for much contact right now, but with her legs as wide as they were, he could get to her cunt just fine.

There was no play, no kissing, no holding or touching or caressing. He was feral and powerful and they both loved it. His Omega craved his knot, wrapping her legs around his back as he got close, but he denied her this. He loved to ride the power of the wolf in him while keeping enough control to snap it back when he wanted. It was an exercise in control for himself just as much as what his mate experienced in class. She came hard, digging her nails into his shoulders. He pounded her through her orgasm, reveling in the pulses of tension he could feel massaging his cock, then he pulled out before his knot locked into place. Her feet and legs were forced to separate as he pulled up onto his knees, stroking himself to completion.

He painted her belly and pussy with his copious seed while she writhed beneath him. Now sated, his Omega’s ass covered with his hand-print and no one else’s, and his Omega painted with his come, he slowly stopped stroking and breathed himself back down.

April was soon delivered, exhausted, to the bath, and Cas wiped down, redressed, and cooking spaghetti in the kitchenette. That’s when everything inside him collapsed with no warning.

 

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Castiel knew how to make spaghetti. Dean taught him to blanch and crush fresh ripe tomatoes, to select tender herbs and cut them with scissors so they wouldn’t bruise. Dean knew everything about cooking. Castiel wanted to make a wholesome meal for his mate. She’d been so good for him, and she deserved it. She would emerge from her bath relaxed and sleepy and very, very hungry. He planned to have the meal ready to share by then. For the two mates, dinnertime was a very special part of their day. It marked an important change of persona in their interactions with each other. Cas aimed to have any corrections or Releases for the day meted out and over with by dinner time so they could both come to the table with nothing hanging over them, no reason they needed to occupy their Secondary or Tertiary gender spaces. He wanted it to be a time that Castiel Novak and April Novak, though separated in age by nearly twenty years, could come together as two Mated adults and share a contented meal together.

He liked to share the joys and stresses of his day and to hear hers. He liked to be domestically intimate with her. It was often a struggle, but they were getting better at it as they got to know each other. He admired so much about her spirit. He loved how spunky she could be and how she saw everything with a perspective his jaded age had robbed from him.

He chopped fresh garlic while he opened up the Mating-bond, checking on her state-of-mind and sending her assurance of his love. Love. It was the strangest emotion. Not really a single emotion at all, but a cluster of everything that ties one person to another in an unbreakable bond. It was regard, affection, admiration, respect, amusement, pride, endearment, lust, wonder… it was strange and hard to nail down, but unmistakable never-the-less.

Castiel had loved April from the moment the Mating-bond snapped into place. He never wanted to be without her. But it was a completely different kind of love. He’d heard new mates describe it so many times. It was not like most other types of love: neither learned nor earned, it was present just because. It couldn’t be questioned or broken. It just was. It was similar to the instant and unbreakable love that a parent feels at the birth of a child although not the same love as that at all either. His love for April was carnal, hungry, and raw, not parental, but it came from a similar place in his heart. Nothing could ever destroy it. It was pure and whole.

Castiel didn’t see it coming. One moment he was stirring the red sauce, musing over his mate, and the next he’d flung the pan across the kitchen to splatter like blood against the wall with a loud clunk and rattle. His breathing felt torn from him with a gasp and his legs gave way. He crumpled on the floor in the mess, the spilled tomatoes burning his arms where they’d splashed in his violence. He tucked himself into the tightest ball he could manage and sobbed great loud, ugly, heaving cries of raw unmitigated pain.

In no time, April was tucked in with him, still wet and naked, and now coated in red sauce, but tangling herself into his tight coil. He grabbed onto her and wept harder than he’d ever done before, rocking back and forth. She cried into his chest and just held on tight, letting him have a release of his own. Not speaking, not asking anything of him, but staying close, a warm, loving body for him to hold onto, keep him from flying apart.

After an unknown length of time, he quieted and stilled. She spoke softly into the silence. Now was the time - according to his rules, even. It was suppertime and that meant he didn’t need her submission. She could speak openly and freely, so she did.

“I met him once, Alpha. Did you know? Before he left you?” Castiel didn’t answer. He had nothing left to answer with. He just listened, letting her soft, sweet voice sooth him. “He came here to collect some of his things that he’d left. He didn’t know I was in the back, and he let himself in with his key. I was surprised and a little scared when I heard someone out in the living room, but I went out to check. I, Alpha, I’m sorry, but I was home alone, and I was naked. I expected it must be you, so I went to check. He was there with a box and he was putting books and CDs into it. He heard me and turned around. He saw me, like this.” She gestured at her nudity. Castiel still didn’t speak, but he clutched her and smoothed her wet hair. How could he be angry with her when he was in this state and there was spaghetti sauce dripping down the far wall. The pool underneath him was a little warm, but not hot enough to burn anymore. It’s amazing how quickly sauce cools when it’s spread over every surface of the kitchen.

She went on, “He was kind to me Alpha. He was sweet and gentle. He told me he was happy for us. I knew him of course. I knew all about both of you before I ever came here. I thought I might be lucky enough to pull one of you for my tester, but I never dreamed I’d Mate with one of you. And Castiel,” she used his name so rarely that it broke through his trance, and he looked down at her. “I never dreamed in a million years I’d be the cause of you losing your best friend and your only love. No, don’t.” He’d begun to protest. He loved Dean, he could admit that to her if he had to, but Dean wasn’t his only love. That wasn’t fair. But she kept on, not letting him break in. “I saw it when he spoke to me, Castiel. I knew in that instant what you are to each other, and I knew it was never going to fade. I see the same pain in you every moment of every day, and I saw it in him for just the few moments I had in his presence.”

She paused and stroked a red stripe down his chest tenderly. “What I don’t understand is why you’re letting yourself do this to yourself, to me, to Dean, to Sam and everyone here who loves you, and that’s everyone here. Castiel, we can’t go on like this. No, please listen to me. I give you my trust with no doubts and no questions asked. I trust you completely. Why can you not trust me too? Aren’t we two sides of the same coin? Isn’t that how True-Mates work?”

“I trust you, April, but this isn’t about you,” his voice was gruff from crying.

“Not about me? Of course it’s about me, and you and Dean as well, but don’t you think for one second that I am not being torn apart by all of this too. You owe me more, Castiel. I deserve a strong wolf who will give everything he has to for me. You deserve the same from me. Isn’t that what you told me? Right now, you’re broken. I never know from one day to the next what state you’ll be in, and Castiel, God! It’s all for nothing. All this pain and drama, for nothing.”

He just looked at her blankly. What was she talking about? Nothing?

“You and I can never be partners, my Alpha. We’re too far apart on the spectrum. No matter what we do or say, we’ll always have a power difference between us. Always.”

“April, no! I can’t live without you!” He was shaking and had started to cry silently again. “Please don’t leave me. Please…”

He’d misunderstood her completely, so she flooded the Mating-bond with love and comfort. No, no sweet little Alpha, not going anywhere. She held him tightly until he calmed back down a little, humming to him soothingly. This is going to be a hard sell, she thought, but I have to try, for all of us.

“Just listen to me Castiel. You told me that learning to listen is important, right?” He nodded mutely. “Okay, look, you love me. I know you do because I can feel it through our bond. But more than that, you treat me with respect and so much gentle care. You are so careful with me, I see it all the time. You give me the dominant hand that I crave and need, you knot me with so much passion and strength, and it’s perfect. You love me, Alpha. Please say it for me?”

“I do. I love you so much, my sweet Omega.” He was barely holding it together.

“That’s right. And I love you too. Just as much, but in a mirror image. We’re a perfect fit for each other as mates. But we can never be partners, can never be equals. My love, I am not your equal, nor you mine. Do you understand?”

He thought he did, so he nodded, but he needed more. He still didn’t know where this was going, and he was so spent.

“You love your brother, right? You’d do anything for him? I don’t know if you know this, but even though he’s older than you, from what I’ve seen of the two of you, Gabriel is who he is because of you. That’s how strong your bond is with him. And yet, being his brother doesn’t mean you love me any less. If anything, having a supportive brother who watches out for you makes you a better mate for me because you’re a better person for your time with him. Still with me?”

“I am. I think I may have an idea where you’re going with this, but Baby, it’s too big. I need you to say it straight out for me. I couldn’t bear it if I were guessing wrong. Please, April, just say it.”

“Good little Alpha,” she praised. “Okay, I need you to trust me more than you’ve ever trusted anyone in your life, way more than you trust yourself because I know how far that goes, and it’s not very far. Castiel, I need you desperately, but I need you whole. You aren’t EVER going to get over loving Dean Winchester. That’s not something that stops. You’re mourning as if he’d died, but he’s still alive, Castiel. Meanwhile, you’re falling deeper and deeper into the abyss, and you’ll destroy yourself, me, Dean, everyone.”

“Please tell me what to do? I’m so lost. April, please…” It was a singular moment of vulnerability for the great Alpha, one that would never come again, and April held it close with the awe that it deserved.

“Take me with you tomorrow. We’ll go shopping together. We’ll choose a ring. Then you bring me back here and leave me with Jo.”

“What?”

“Go get him, Castiel. Bring him home, and marry him. And don’t you ever, ever doubt that this is the right thing to do. I need you, Alpha. I will NEVER leave you, or stop loving you, or doubt your love for me, but Dean fills something for you that I can’t. You need to fix this. Go get Dean and bring him home.”

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 10

NOW:

“Alpha Novak!!!” Becky screeched as she flew toward him down the corridor just outside his suite. He was escorting his Omega to class after a tense and silent breakfast. Neither had wanted to burst the delicate bubble of hope that hovered just above Castiel’s head, so they barely breathed in one another’s direction this morning. It just seemed so susceptible to...but Becky Rosin had no such compunctions.

“Calm yourself, Omega!” Cas snapped out with stern Alpha authority. He took hold of the back of her neck as she slid to a stop before him, and he pulled her face close to his. Wide brown eyes met blazing blue. “There are rules that govern how we comport ourselves in public spaces in this facility, are there not?” She nodded quickly and broke his gaze to study the floor, but didn’t speak. “Would you please remind me what they are?”

She was breathless from the mad dash to catch him, but too, from standing before him in his anger. She was so excitable, and she’d fucked up again. She took a gulping breath and told the floor, “No running, no yelling, no horseplay, no unauthorized sex.” His grip tightened on her neck to an almost painful degree, but he didn’t say anything more. Becky risked a sidelong glance at his face. It hadn’t softened. She whimpered.

“I’m sorry, Alpha. I thought I might miss you this morning, and I need you to sign the security release for the new Omega Coordinator? He’s meeting Rufus at the foyer at 6:45, and he can’t get in if we don’t have the form signed.” Becky managed the whole thing without a breath and at top speed.

“I see,” responded Castiel, removing his large hand from her neck. “And pray-tell, why would a text message or phone call to me not have sufficed? I’m certain either method would have served us better.” He pulled a pen from the pocket of his white medical coat and held his hand out for the form, which Becky handed him.

“I didn’t think of that, Alpha,” she gave back extremely sheepishly.

Castiel scanned and signed the form quickly. He knew the name on it, had selected Jo’s replacement himself, and felt The Facility was lucky to have hired the new Coordinator. He clicked and pocketed his pen, handed the clipboard back to the excitable Omega, and fixed her once more with his eye. “To assist you in remembering in the future, please submit a Punishment Order for yourself and present yourself to any E.O. of your choosing. Enter it as a ‘4-C’ level. Omega, I will not tolerate this kind of behavior. Screeching in the hallways is a particular pet-peeve of mine. I am confident that you knew that as this is neither the first nor the second time we’ve had this conversation. Will there need to be another?”

Oh shit, he was doing the eyebrow thing. “No Alpha! No, I’m so sorry. It won’t happen again, I swear.”

“Thank you, Omega. See that it doesn’t. If it happens again, you’ll be answering to me directly. And Becky, the Coordinator is a ‘She’, not a ‘He’. Jody’s a woman.

“Oh.”

 

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Rufus burst forcefully through the door to the entrance foyer startling the middle-aged beta woman who was studying the arrangements of plaques on the wall. She spun to face him and dropped her bag. “Shit,” she swore and stooped to pick it up again.

“You the new hire?” he asked aggressively.

“Um, yes,” she managed and stuck a hand out for him to shake. “Jody Mills. I’m going to be the Omega Coordinator and Dorm Mom.”

“I don’t care what ya’ are, just as long as you follow my rules. So listen up! I hate going through this shit twice.” He left her hand hanging there awkwardly and turned to the security desk.

“Uh, right.” She put her listening face on and straightened up, following behind him.

“This here’s the employee entrance. We stagger the employee start times because the entrance process takes some time. You’re in the 7:00 a.m. pool. That means your butt walks through THAT door every day between 6:55 and 7:00. Not earlier, not later. Got me?”

“Got it,” answered Jody. She was a beta, and she could smell that he was as well. He wasn’t going to get a ‘Sir’ from her just because he was cranky and authoritarian. That was going to have to be earned.

“You got your ID?” He held out his hand.

“Uh, yeah, it’s…” she had it ready in her pocket and handed it over to him.

“First thing we gotta do is get Mark here to scan your ID and issue you a Security Badge with your picture and thumbprint.” He handed the ID to Mark through the slot in the glass.

“Please stand on the line and look at the camera,” Mark told her. He grabbed a quick and terrible shot of her face, then took her thumb print using a touchpad on his desk. “Give me just a minute,” he told her and wandered toward the back of his small room to make the badge.

Rufus addressed her again. “He’ll issue you an Employee ID number that will tie in to your medical monitoring records through that badge. Every day at 7:00, you swipe in at one of these kiosks, like this,” Rufus used his own badge to open the little kiosk door. He entered the tiny space and ushered her in as well. It was too tight for two people, so she hovered in the doorway to observe. “Process works like this: you let it read your thumb print here on the screen. Don’t be a dumbass and try to read a different thumb than the one you just gave Mark.” Jody chuckled while Rufus put his thumb upon the designated spot on the screen. It lit up and his name and personal data appeared on the screen.

He turned and caught her eye, “You ever do this and somebody else’s name pops up, you call me immediately. No fucking around. Got me?”

“Yep.”

“Ok, so now it’s a two-step process from here. Security and Medical are looking for an ID match and to check that all your chemical, birth control, & medication levels are normal, and that you’re not sick. So you…and it don’t matter which one you do first…you spit into one of these tubes, up to this mark,” he filled the tube to the mark with his saliva. It wasn’t much as it was a small tube. “Snap it all the way closed. It makes a God awful mess if you don’t get it closed, so listen for it to snap.” He demonstrated clearly. Seemed simple enough to Jody. “Then you shove it in this slot and close the lid. You see the screen says, ‘Received?’”

“Yes, I see,” Jody responded politely.

“Yep, so then you grab one of these cups and pee up to this mark here.” Rufus casually unzipped and pulled his penis out with one hand, aimed at the inside wall of the cup and filled it just to the mark, then capped it with one hand and tucked back in. Jody was impressed with his control. “You got more to give than the cup holds, you just aim into that little basin behind you.” Jody turned and saw a tiny urinal on the wall at the back. Oh yeah. THAT would be convenient for women. She imagined trying to squash her thighs and torso close enough to the wall to get positioned correctly and resolved to ask another female employee how it was done. But Rufus demonstrated, saving her, “You just pull it out by this little handle on the bottom and straddle. Then shove it back into the wall when you’re done.” Better, thought Jody.

“The pee-cup gets shoved into this hole here, then press the Go button.” Rufus continued his tour. “Wash your hands and wipe down anything you touched and any drops you scattered with one of these wipes here. Then wait for your results. It doesn’t take very long.” As if to prove him right, the screen blinked green and flashed, “Entrance Accepted, Rufus Turner (Security Director).

“Then you take the samples back out, throw ‘em in the trash right here, and you’re good to go. And for the love of all that’s holy and sacred, clean up after yourself. None of us is your mama, and nobody wants to stand in someone else’s pee.” He motioned her back out of the kiosk and approached the turnstile at the end of the foyer. “If you get the green light, just swipe your badge here, scan your thumb again, and push through the turnstile. If there was a problem with the test or your readings were off, the door over yonder to medical will let you in. They’ll figure out what’s wrong and get you squared away. If your ID doesn’t jibe with our records, the screen in the kiosk will tell you to go see the security window. Hey, Mark!” he shouted over Jody’s shoulder, “you got this beta’s badge done?”

“Yes, sir, Rufus. Right here.” Mark slid the badge to her through the slot with her ID. She reached for them, but Rufus got to them first and held them up in front of himself, holding her attention by holding her credentials hostage.

“DON’T lose the badge. Don’t come to work without it. The system screens for anything abnormal: drugs and alcohol, pregnancy, STDs, hormone imbalance, infections and illness, all kinds of science-medical crap that I don’t have to know. Don’t do ANY drugs that are not on your medical profile and keep up with your birth-control. We’ve never had an accident here and we don’t want to start now.” His eyes remained sharp as he spoke, not fucking around in the least. “When you’re on your own time, you fuck who you want, but you gotta report every instance of unprotected sex or sex with a new partner to your supervisor and medical immediately when you get to work next shift. They’ll assess your risks, limit your sexual contact with clients however they need to, and run tests for STDs until they’re sure you’re clear. Most of us just stick to fucking other Facility staff. Keeps the tests simple and keeps it all in the family, but it’s up to you. You go off and fuck some stranger you got no idea what they might be carrying and you can just kiss ANY sexual contact onsite goodbye for the next six months.” Jody just smirked at him. She was happily Mated and monogamous on her own time. It wouldn’t be a problem.

“Don’t try to bring your pee in with you in a cup or baggie. The temperature won’t be right, and you’ll get busted. Happens all the time; new folks don’t wanna use the kiosk to pee, then they’re stuck out here ‘till I come smack their ass for being stupid dumb-shits.”

“Mornin’ Rufus,” said a cheery red-headed beta woman on her way in the door headed toward one of the kiosks on the other side of the foyer. There were five on each side.

“Morning Charlie,” Rufus called back. “Oh hey, Charlie!” he stopped her from stepping in. “You mind walkin’ in with Jody here. It’s her first day.”

The beta’s eyes widened and her face lit up, “Absolutely! I mean, no, I don’t mind. I’m thrilled to meet you again. I’m Charlie!” She extended her hand. Jody shook it.

“Jody Mills. I met you at my interview.”

“That’s right. That was me. Okay, I’ll be out in a sec. You cleared already?”

“No, not yet. I just need my badge,” Jody looked at Rufus expectantly.

He handed it to her saying, “You got 10 minutes from the time the kiosk releases you until the turnstile will lock you back out and make you do it all over again, so don’t be screwin’ around in here too long.”

“Thanks Rufus. I appreciate your help.” Jody told him sincerely. She liked him a lot. She expected they’d get along swimmingly once they got to know each other. Jody always preferred a straightforward, even gruff personality if it was genuine, to someone who was hard to read and fake no matter how nice they could seem.

“OK, then, you know what you’re doing in there?” Charlie nodded to the kiosks.

“I think I’m good,” Jody responded, watching Rufus disappear through the turnstile.

“All righty. See you in a sec.” Charlie stepped in and pulled the door closed, and Jody entered the one next to Charlie’s. More employees had come in, and the kiosks were filling fast.

It was going to be a whirlwind first day. Jody dropped her pants and positioned the cup.

 

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

 

Castiel felt fidgety. His body carried way too much energy to be sitting in the conference room discussing income streams, budgets, and future Capital plans, but he kept himself contained and focused. Dean taught him years ago that none of his dreams would ever amount to anything without funding and thorough planning, and he’d been right. It was Dean, learning how to tap into the deep pockets of wealthy Lupin alumnae of the college that made their first research project an unmatched success. Castiel paid attention and never again made the mistake of skipping over the dull stuff.

But today sucked. Sitting here through the interminable details sucked. Last night he’d given up trying to clean up and just left the red-orange mess in the kitchen to dry and stain the walls, ordering April a meal from the cafeteria. He couldn’t have eaten if he’d tried. The kitchen was officially closed, but there was always someone on-staff ready to whip up a grilled cheese sandwich for the Heat/Rut rooms. Cas felt guilty for leaving the mess in his kitchenette for the Facility janitors, but it was beyond his capability to manage. He’d mopped up most of the liquid. April assured him with a gentle laugh that it was fine for the Facility Director to let the cleaning staff do their jobs once in a while.

After showering them both clean, he had made love to his mate gently and sweetly. He wanted her to feel how deeply honored he was by her trust in him and to connect their wolves. He had kissed down her throat to her Mating-bite, sucking the scar into his mouth and tenderly torturing it with his teeth and tongue while thrusting slowly into her. She had clung to his back and moved with him easily. Her pleasure spiked when he bit down harder on the bite-scar and she came with a startled gasp. (Oh, that’s interesting,) his wolf perked up and took notice. (Wonder if that would work without a cock up inside her and when she’s wearing clothes.)

(Down boy), Castiel thought to his wolf. (Not the right time.) He had finished up by knotting her, and they’d spoken quietly together very late into the night as he caressed her hair and skin. He needed her reassurance that it hadn’t been her distress talking earlier. She was right, he’d realized, he didn’t fully trust her. Hell, he still didn’t really KNOW her. But he expected (demanded) that she trust him. It was unbalanced and unfair. The Mating-bond stood wide open. She was all there to be examined under his wolf’s sharp eye. There was no ulterior motive, no deception. April watched him watching her with cautious optimism. She was a book open to be read, and she was clearly fearful that he’d reject her proposal out of a misguided attempt to do the noble thing (which was very much in his nature) his wolf pointed out unkindly.

But Castiel was through being noble. The more he put together all the conversations he’d had in the last few weeks that had touched on his feelings for Dean, the more he realized what a ‘Tool’ he’d been. (Is that the word Dean would use?) (Yep, that’s the one. Maybe douchebag.) They’d all tried to get through to him. Everyone had been pointing him toward this decision. He’d been stupid and blind, determined to push through something that couldn’t be pushed through and convinced no one would feel its impact but himself. He’d lain awake for hours, holding his miracle-of-a-mate in his arms, listening to her reassure him time and again that she wanted Dean in their pack. She’d called him her Mate-in-Law. She’d sworn the three of them could make it work and tempted his wolf with how delicious it would be to have two Subs to play with, two that belonged to him for good. The wolf had needed no convincing. If wolves packed for travel, his bags would already have been stuffed in the car and he’d be panting out the window, nose in the wind.

Castiel was convinced too. After fighting it so hard for so many years, after seeing no way past this conundrum and repressing everything he felt for Dean for so long, his tiny teenaged mate entered his life and swept all his excuses to the side. Just marry him. It was so simple! The controlled part of his brain, the one that he was loathe to acknowledge for the moment since he blamed it for EVERYTHING, spoke up like a little white conscience of an angel perched on his shoulder. It pointed out that not knowing what kind of True-Mate lay in Dean’s future could be a sticking point. What if whoever Dean was destined to meet wanted Dean all to himself? It was a fair point. Cas certainly wanted Dean all to himself. What damage would it do to Dean’s future relationship with his mate if they forced a previously cemented marriage to another man on top of it against the unknown mate’s will?

April shushed him and stroked his face. Castiel had been unaware that he was speaking his worries out loud, but she whispered comfort into his ear. “We can do this, sweet little Alpha. Dean would not be True-Mated to someone unreasonable or overly possessive. It would be a bad fit. We just need to take each day as it comes; do what we need to do for the three of us, and when we become four, then we’ll make it four. We’ll all adjust. Trust me, please, and go to sleep. You’re so tired, little Alpha.”

 

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

 

It wasn’t as easy or simple as just packing up and heading to the jewelry store or the airport. April couldn’t afford to miss class. Jo was introducing self-defense techniques and assertiveness training. While Cas had no doubt that his mate could be assertive when she ought to be, he wanted her to have the jargon and rules of The Facility’s policies under her belt so she could avoid any misunderstandings that could get her in trouble. And Castiel also had commitments he couldn’t just ditch, much as he wanted to. He was still closely involved as a Claimant-trainer in several of the students’ training. He had a session later in the morning with young Jeremy, and another after lunch with Cecelia. After that, he needed to put in several hours of work on his own at his computer doing administrative drudgery and he owed the medical wing two hours of clinic time before the end of the day. For right now, the staff meeting was finally drawing to a close. He cleared his throat.

“If I may, before you all scatter for the day, I need to apologize for my behavior of late. It’s no secret, I’m sure, to any of you, that I have been inappropriately distracted and distraught. I’ve been allowing my personal life to interfere with my work as a professional. I am sorry for the burden my actions have placed upon you all, and I assure you that I have a plan that will alleviate the problem one way or another. Some of you, especially alphas Bobby and Benny have been picking up my slack without complaint. To you, I say a heartfelt thank you. I appreciate your bearing with me through this troubling time in my life, and I humbly ask if I can burden you further by asking you to continue covering for me for a little while longer.”

It was Castiel-speak, formal and awkward, but it cut right through the attendants’ activity. Those who had been shuffling papers or beginning to rise from their chairs froze. Every eye focused on Cas at the head of the table. He looked around the room, briefly meeting every eye before continuing his speech. “As you know, I am recently Mated. My taking a mate, while it is a blessing to me and to April, my lovely mate, it has also been the catalyst that has driven a wedge between me and my long-time friend and work partner. What’s more, it’s damaged this Facility’s stability by driving Dean to transfer to another state and toppling a line of dominoes which are still rippling through us six weeks after his departure.” Castiel gestured to Jo near the other end of the conference table and nodded at her before he spoke further.

“We’ve moved Jo Harvelle into the position of Acting Director of Training, and replaced her as Omega Coordinator with a highly qualified and personable beta-Neutral named Jody Mills. Some of you know Jody already, at least by reputation, but I urge all of you to get to know her better. Jody will be a wonderful asset to the Training Department, and she starts work today. While I’ve offered Jo the job of Training Director full time, she’s communicated to me that she will not accept the position, but would be happy to take an assistant role under another Director’s leadership. The Board has agreed to create and fund such a position contingent upon finding the right wolf to head the department. This of course leaves us with a hole still in the Training Director’s chair. I intend to rectify this vacuum by going personally to Dallas and bringing our Director of Training back here to re-fill the post where he belongs. I will need all of your assistance to cover my appointments and commitments in my absence.”

He stopped speaking, looking around at the motionless wolves at the table. No one moved.

“Um. Please?” he prompted.

“What are you saying, Alpha?” Billie tried.

Cas frowned at her as if she’d spoken Cantonese. “I’m saying I want to go to Dallas and convince Dean to come home.”

“But what are you gonna tell him that would convince him to do that?” inserted their Head Nurse Meg, leaning far forward in her chair.

Castiel considered bullshitting them, but they all knew the truth anyway, apparently. So, he sighed and went for broke, busting through eight years of deception. “I’m going to ask him to marry me, and offer him his old job back.”

The room went nuts. Papers literally flew into the air in the rush of bodies to reach him and shake his hand or hug him. The feeling of relief was palpable, like when the news of a ceasefire finally makes it to the front lines and everyone can stand down. Then Sam worked his way to Castiel, his face carved from stone. Castiel braced himself. He wasn’t going to back down no matter what Sam had to say, so he faced the beta-Dom directly, making no move to posture. Castiel respected Sam a great deal, and prayed they could soon be brothers.

“Don’t you dare do this to him if you don’t mean it, Castiel,” bit Sam. “I’m serious. He’s been through enough over you. If you flash a ring in his face and then balk at the first sign of trouble, I’ll end you.”

“Sam. Please. I hear you. I do. And you’re absolutely right.” The room was just about empty now as the crew headed to their various appointments. Jo punched Cas’ shoulder on her way back to pick up his mate’s class from their time at the gym. Cas kept his eyes on Dean’s brother. He needed Sam’s buy in, and he deserved this from Sam. “I’ve been a fucking coward. For years. I deserve all your anger and suspicion, all of it. I won’t even try to convince you I don’t. But I’ll make you the same promise I’m going to make to Dean and April: I’m all in for this. I am utterly committed to building a relationship with your brother based on mutual love, respect, and equal partnership, and I’m not ever going to change my mind.”

“Tell me how you’re going to make it work,” Sam demanded, not softening to Castiel at all. Cas was ready for this, so he started talking. By the end, Sam was on board. He shook his head slowly at Cas though, trying to picture what kind of reception Cas had waiting for him in Dallas. “He’s really, really pissed at you, man. I just don’t know…”

It was another fifteen minutes before Castiel managed to make it back to his office to prepare for his session with Jeremy. He felt wrung out. Charlie had promised him she’d put her head together with Becky and Ellen to get his appointments divvied up. All he had to do was get through today, and he was a free man.

“All right, Omega!” snapped Castiel as he closed the door behind him and found Jeremy kneeling in position in the center of the practice room, naked on the floor mat. “Let’s see what you remember. I’ll know if you haven’t been practicing.” Cas let just a trace of a nudge eek through his temporary Claim-bond to remind the Omega that his Dom could sense deception. “Position 4.”

The Omega kept himself on his knees, flattened his chest to the mat, pulled his spine into a downward, concave bow, and lifted his hips. Number 4 was indeed a presentation position, but his ass shouldn’t be angled outward. This position was primarily for spanking, not fucking. It required that the spine stay just slightly bowed up like a cat or mostly flat, not pulled downward to display his hole like Jeremy had done. Standing near Jeremy’s right shoulder, Castiel brought the switch in his hands down sharply along the crack of his ass, directly against the Omega’s hole. If he was going to display it so flagrantly, who was the Alpha to miss such a lovely invitation. The Omega screamed and tucked his butt under to protect it.

“Let’s try that again, shall we? Position 4, Omega.” This time the Omega-Neutral remembered the correct angle of his spine. His form was good, but Castiel noted that he still held more tension in his muscles than he should. He would learn to relax with time and trust. Cas sent praise and pleasure to him through the bond. “Very good. And now show me position 12.”

The Omega flattened himself and rolled onto his back, pulling his knees to his armpits and holding them there with the insides of his own elbows. He was obscenely on display. Number 12 was Castiel’s personal favorite during scenes. It wasn’t good if you wanted access to an Omega’s penis or clitoris, but you could initiate any type of anal play from this position. “Relax your head Jeremy. Just set your gaze on the ceiling. You don’t need to worry about where I am. Your Alpha will tell you if they want your eyes on them. If you don’t hear that instruction, keep your gaze straight in front.” Kneeling down on one knee, Castiel slowly pushed two fingers into the Omega’s ass. He was already well-lubed and prepped. He felt young and ripe. The Alpha thrust aggressively into his hole for a few moments, watching the response in his face and his cock, feeling for an increase in slick. Cas could tell the moment Jeremy stopped thinking and just relaxed. “As a Neutral, you won’t need to learn Submission to a Dom to feed and stroke your wolf,” Castiel let his voice drop in timbre to let his Alpha communicate directly with the boy’s Omega brain, “But as an Omega, your pleasure and your pain belong to your Alpha. YOU, Jeremy, belong to the pack Alpha. Right now, until your custody is decided, that’s me. You don’t need to think about anything but pleasing me.” Castiel added a third finger and picked up the pace, watching the Omega begin to pant. “Don’t think, just answer…what does your Alpha want from you right now? What would please me?”

“Ahh, God. Oh… nnnn, just… hold position and relax, keep my eyes straight ahead, please, Alpha…Ahhhh! Just feel whatever you want me to feel.”

“Good boy. Very good. Do you want to come today, Omega?”

“Please, Alpha, YES!”

Castiel chuckled darkly. The Omega had too little control still. It wasn’t time for rewards like that. “I’ll tell you what, sweet boy. If you can come off just my fingers, just like this in the next five minutes, it’s yours for the taking.” Castiel reached over and pulled hard on one nipple, stretching it painfully while he kept three fingers thrusting fast in and out of the boy’s anus. He made no move toward the Omega’s prostate. It was virtually an impossible task, but Cas had seen Omegas do it before, so he worked hard to give the boy what he could by way of friction.

“You’re tensing up again, Omega. I need you to concentrate on staying relaxed. You need to focus.”

“AALPHA!!! PLEASE!!!” He wasn’t going to get there and the teasing was driving him crazy. Cas fed him encouragement through the bond they shared and let Jeremy wash his frustration back over the Alpha.

“Time’s up, I’m afraid.” Castiel was only a little disappointed as he removed his fingers. “Maybe next time. You need to keep in mind that the pleasures of your body belong to me. If I choose to grant you a climax, you’ll receive one. If not, then not. However, you’re doing really well, considering how far behind you were from the others who grew up in Pack homes with an Alpha. Let’s see…show me Position 7.”

They continued. Near the end of the hour Castiel finished the session with a light spanking to check the Omega’s emotional response to correction through the bond and examined his anus and channel with a speculum for signs of wear or irritation. He looked good: at ease now and fully balanced. His records showed he’d Released yesterday evening during a punishment paddling. Perfect.

“I’m very pleased with your progress, Omega.” Cas let his Alpha voice do the talking again. “Just keep doing what you’re doing. Try to focus on the specific rules that are hardest for you and practice those positions. I’ll see you again as soon as I can, but I may be gone for the next couple of sessions. Do you have any questions for me?”

“No Alpha. Thank you for taking so much time with me.”

“You’re very welcome, sweet Omega. You’re worth it.”

 

Castiel headed back to his office after dropping Jeremy off where his Omega class was assembling in the lunch room after their private sessions. On the way, he paused to observe Cole’s work in the hallway. He had Meg holding her ankles with her slacks and underwear near her knees. Her backside was already quite red as Cole’s paddle fell several times in quick succession. Her vulva peeked between her cheeks red and swollen, but Cas had no reason to believe that was Cole’s doing. Castiel didn’t announce his presence or interfere. He was merely curious. He knew Meg Masters well enough to be confident she’d earned the reprimand, but he also knew that Benny had expressed concern over Cole’s domineering behavior, and Cas wanted to observe for himself.

“All right,” Cole said in a neutral voice, tucking his paddle back into its pocket. “Up you go.” He helped her to balance as she stood. Neither wolf had noticed Castiel off to the side yet. Cas watched Cole search her face with his eyes while he wiped the tears from her cheeks. “You’re okay, now. It’s all over. I’m really proud of you, Meg. You did great, Sweetheart.” Cole tucked the moist tissue into his pocket and stepped back, indicating she could get dressed again. “Do you have any concerns or questions? You know why that was necessary, right?”

She just nodded, and gave him a shy hug. Cas marveled. The only time Meg was ever shy was just after a spanking. He was a bit envious of Cole’s place right now, considering how rarely Meg graced any of them with this kind of vulnerability. Cole hugged her back and chuckled softly. “Go on then, back to work.” He kissed the top of her head.

Castiel was very pleased and was about to say so, when Sam stepped out from a recess Cas couldn’t see from his vantage point. “Really good, man,” Sam told Cole. “That was way better. You see how she was so relaxed when she left? That’s what you’re looking for. You can’t think of it as punishing people for being bad. That makes you work from an angry place. You gotta think of it as helping them work through their guilt. Totally different mindset.”

Castiel shifted and both beta-Doms turned to notice him. “Very good work, both of you.” It was short and sweet, but it was just the right message for them both. They nodded with a warm “Thanks, Alpha” and moved on, still conferring with their heads together. Cole looked back over his shoulder at Castiel with a pleased half-smile.

Castiel returned to his office and booked a flight to Dallas/Fort Worth. Maybe it really was that simple.

 

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

 

Castiel deplaned with the rest of the passengers into the humid Texas airport. He always flew coach, so he was right in the middle of the herd that headed toward baggage claim. He couldn’t justify spending The Facility’s precious money on giving himself a little more legroom for a 500-mile flight.

He ignored the frisson of energy that passed through the throng as he made his way to the baggage carousel. Many people, both wolves and apes recognized him. The wolves who didn’t know him directly could still sense his Deep Alpha designation and dominance through his scent and bearing. No one approached him, but a number of cell phones tracked his movement and wherever he walked an open space magically appeared all around him. Castiel was accustomed to the phenomenon, and ignored it all. He had much bigger fish to fry.

For one, there was a ring box burning a hole in his pocket. Too, he felt fragmented at the vast distance that now separated him from his mate. He could still feel her through the Mating-bond, but only distantly. Castiel clutched the box in his pocket, worrying the smooth velvet with his thumb while he waited for his luggage. The big black wolf paced – back and forth, back and forth, swinging his huge head like a lion. (Stop that, you’re making me nervous,) shot Castiel to the beast.

Castiel finally collected his luggage and hailed a taxi. “American Caniforme Research Institute,” he told the driver. “Do you need the address?”

“Nah,” said the large man behind the wheel. “I go out there two, three times a week.” The driver inspected him through the rearview mirror. “You don’t look like the usual scared wolf pup I usually drop off though. You’re older.”

“Yes, that’s right,” agreed Castiel but offered nothing further. The driver let it drop and got down to business. Castiel closed his eyes and tried to rehearse what he wanted to say. It didn’t do any good. His mind was blank. God-fucking-damnit! This was a terrible idea! Cas just breathed hard through his nose. (I can do this,) he thought. (You fucking BETTER do this!) his wolf interjected. (Shut up,) Castiel explained.

Cas directed the cabbie to drop him off at the employee entrance. He badged in as an employee, since the networks between facilities were all connected to the same database, and he went to meet with the Facility Director, a former colleague of his from Kansas, Victor Henrickson. It was a courtesy call. As Alpha, Castiel didn’t need Victor’s approval to transfer Dean back to Kansas, but it would be a douche move to do it without giving Henrickson a head’s-up. No Director deserved to be blindsided like that.

“Alpha Castiel Novak!” Victor greeted him effusively. “I haven’t seen you in forever, man! What brings you to Texas? You should’ve told me you were coming, or is this some kind of a surprise inspection from the home office?”

“Nothing like that.” Castiel extended his hand for Victor to shake. Henrickson was a good man. Cas liked him. “I want to talk about Dean. If you have a few minutes?” Yeah, dropping in without calling ahead wasn’t a good idea. There was never enough time in the day for a Facility Director. Cas could’ve shown up only to find the Director was deeply involved in something he couldn’t extract himself from. It looked like Cas was lucky as Victor ushered him into the office and closed the door.

“What do you want to know, Alpha?” Victor prompted.

“To start with, how’s he doing? As you know, Dean’s important to me, and we didn’t leave things between us in a very healthy state. I’m worried about my friend. Is he scening?”

Victor seemed to take a minute to try to read Castiel’s question for hidden agenda. He answered directly, though, “Not that I’m aware. If he is, he isn’t doing it here. There’s nothing in the schedule with his name on it and he hasn’t reported any offsite sexual activity. Maybe he’s got a side piece that just whips his ass without the sex. That wouldn’t have to be reported.”

Castiel felt physically ill. He knew Dean. Sex was a major component to his submission. If he wasn’t having sex, he wasn’t doing any of it. It’d been almost three months since Castiel’s last scene with Dean. He had to be in agony by now. Cas’ wolf lowered his ears and growled at the Alpha, demanding he fix this. (I’m working on it,) he reminded the wolf.

“How has he been doing at adapting here, at fitting in?” Pshh, Dean Winchester could fit in anywhere. Anywhere.

“Tell you the truth, Alpha,” Victor looked dead serious, “His heart’s not in it. He spends all his time arguing with his colleagues. He’s doing the bare minimum he has to to not get his ass fired. He’s…I hope you don’t mind if I speak frankly, I know you’re friends with the guy…but he’s not the Dean Winchester I knew in Lawrence.”

Castiel took it in. He let his gaze fall to the front of Victor’s desk where a long scratch mark marred the front surface. He breathed. He processed. Finally, he looked up and spoke. “Victor, would your training department be too adversely affected if I transferred Dean back to Kansas?”

Victor scoffed. “You’re the Alpha, Cas. You’re going to do whatever you want, aren’t you?”

Castiel just looked at him, waiting.

“Nah. I’ll be all right. It wasn’t working anyway. And look, he came to me a couple of weeks ago with some recommendations for changes. I think he’s right on a lot of what he said. What say, I put in a request for some staff upheaval, maybe gonna need a couple extras on the staff, you take your boy home, and we call it all even?”

It was extortion, and Castiel didn’t really need to acquiesce to it, but he did want to preserve Victor’s good will. “I can do that,” he agreed. “Call Donna in the business office and tell her what funds you need. Ask her to shoot it straight through to me for approval.” Castiel stood. He felt dirty. He extended his hand for Victor to shake once again, vowing to himself to check more deeply into the goings on in the Dallas office. “Thank you for your understanding. Please let me know if I can be of assistance during your transition.”

“Always a pleasure, Alpha. Don’t you want a tour while you’re here? The staff and students would love to see you.”

I’ll just bet they would, thought Cas with a bitter taste in his mouth. “No thank you, alpha. I really don’t have time at the moment. Do you happen to know where I might find Dean just now?” Castiel was overwhelmingly grateful that a dominance fight hadn’t been required to bring Victor to heel. He’d been aware of the manipulation tactics, and it was something he could willingly give. If Victor had chosen to dig his heels in more, Castiel might’ve been forced to take him. He hated doing that. It was bestial.

“Dean’s off today.” Victor’s reply broke through Cas’ thoughts. “He’s probably at home. I’ll get Bela to pull up his address from the file, if you need it.”

“Thank you. That would be very helpful.”

Twenty-five minutes later, Castiel stood outside Dean’s apartment door, willing himself to knock and just get it over with.

Finally, he forced his fist up and out and…

 

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

 

Dean decided to sleep in on his day off. Fuck it. He had the next two days off too, in fact. His plans for the long weekend were intricate. He was going to sleep until two, jack off at least three times then get up and shower, change the sheets (yeah, ew!), and eat whatever was in his fridge. He was going to dress to the nines, drive to Fort Worth where the really hot cowboys were and then hole up in an old-fashioned honky-tonk for the rest of the day, dance, flirt, get shit-faced, and hopefully let some beautiful blue-eyed, black-haired wolf fuck him into the fucking mattress.

He was at step four, with his mouth full of a nuked bean burrito left over from three nights ago when someone knocked on his door. The fuck? Everyone he knew in Dallas was at work right now. Prolly some fundraiser or magazine salesman. Whatever. Dean pulled the door open without checking the peep hole.

He froze. His vision did that crazy dream-scape special effect thing from the movies where it looked like his visitor was both closer and further away than he really was. Dean couldn’t breathe. His eyes locked onto a pair of concerned bright blue irises that weren’t looking away. He stumbled backward unable to feel his legs moving him, tried to speak but couldn’t get anything out, and just noted the concern growing more intense as the blue eyes seemed to get taller very quickly. Then everything went black.

“…hear me? Dean!” Something struck his face.

“Dude! Enough with the slapping, already!” Dean opened his eyes to find his head cradled in Castiel’s lap, his body strewn carelessly on the floor. “I’m okay! Cas, I’m okay! Jeez, let me up.”

“Go slowly, Dean. I don’t want you to pass out again,” the Dom chided. Right. Pass out. Again. How fucking humiliating.

“The fuck are you doing here, Castiel?” Dean sat up slowly and shifted away from Cas to get some air and space and just, it’d be easier the further away he was. He didn’t try to rise off the floor, though. The floor seemed the safest place right now. Castiel followed his lead and remained sitting on the crappy, thin apartment carpet.

“I came to check on you. I’m worried about you, and it’s been a terrible few weeks without you. I needed to know you’re okay. Are you okay, Dean?”

“They suddenly don’t have phones in Kansas? There are easier, cheaper ways to do this, man.”

“I needed to see you for myself,” Cas admitted. “I need to talk to you.”

“Ah. Right. Yeah. Talk to me. Where’s your mate, Alpha? You didn’t leave her five-hundred miles away, did you?” Dean leaned back onto the foot of the couch and let his head fall onto its seat.

“I did. She’s with Jo mostly, but she’s staying in the dorm until I get back.” Cas kept his eyes glued to Dean’s beautiful face. Dean wore a mask of anger, resentment, and hurt right now, but his face was as beautiful as ever. Cas had missed him so desperately, he couldn’t look away. “Dean, I know it hurt you deeply when we Mated.”

“NOPE!” Dean cut in. “Not gonna dredge that conversation back up. Just. Don’t go there, Cas. Talk about something else, anything else. Not that.”

Castiel sighed and changed the subject. “I spoke to Victor. He said you have some suggestions for changes here in Dallas?”

“Man, this whole place is jacked up!” Dean sat forward, suddenly full of vigor and passion. “They’ve got Alistair and Bela fucking up the whole training department. They’ve got it all wrong, and they’re beating and scaring the shit out of the Omegas and the Subs! You gotta rein this shit in fast, Alpha, or we’re going to lose everything.” Dean finally made eye contact again, “YOU’RE going to lose everything. God, they think it’s all about forcing and throwing their fucking weight around and yelling their asses off and throwing ass-beatings left and right! There’s, like, there’s no compassion. No one tries to understand where the students are coming from, what they’ve been through, what they’re scared of… It’s just. It’s fucked up, that’s what it is. They’re building an assembly line of Omega fuck-holes to sell to the highest bidder. I’ve about got my final report ready to send up to Kansas. You can take the damned thing with you hard copy now. This place needs an overhaul or a razing.” Dean’s rage focused in on Castiel. “How the FUCK did you let it get this bad, Alpha? This is on you!”

“I didn’t know. Dean. I didn’t know. I haven’t been down here since we opened it, and the reports from Victor don’t make it look anything like…” Castiel stopped. (No excuses, Alpha.) Dean was right as always. This was on Castiel.

Dean scoffed, “Victor! Victor Henrickson wouldn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. He lets Alistair make all the hiring choices, except for mine, and good ol’ Al fills all the empty spaces with his sadistic cronies. It’s sick. That man is a menace!”

“I’ll take care of this, Dean. Fixing Dallas is now my second-highest priority, and it’ll get taken care of. Immediately.”

“Second-highest? You serious? What the fuck is more important than the cluster-fuck going on down here?!”

“You are.”

“What!?”

“You are, Dean. You are my highest priority right now.” Cas huffed a laugh in self-deprecation. “Pamela even told me so.”

“No. Whatever you’re selling over there with your fucking blue eyes, I ain’t buyin’. NO!”

“Dean, just listen to me. Please. We need to talk. We left everything so broken between us. It’s tearing me apart. From what I’ve heard, it’s doing the same to you. Victor said you’re not scening at all. Just, please hear me out. If you want me to leave once we’ve talked, I’ll go. I know you’re very angry, and I want you to tell me why. Do you know? What did I do wrong, Dean? Please. It’s killing me.”

“What did you do?!” Dean lifted himself to the seat of the couch. He found that he suddenly preferred a bit of a height advantage if they were really going to have this conversation. “You got fucking MATED, man! You threw me over and got MATED to a teenaged virgin you’d never even fucking MET!” Dean’s eyes were wild and he white-knuckled the edge of the couch.

Good. Now they were getting somewhere, thought Cas. “Oh, yeah, and then you threw out that you love me to manipulate me into staying in Kansas and keeping me as an offseason spare fuck! Fuck you, Castiel!” He was on his feet by the end of the tirade, looming over Castiel with violence etched in every clenched muscle. Cas wasn’t concerned about the violence. Dean couldn’t harm him, but he ached for the pain Dean was in.

“That’s all true, except...” Cas forced his voice to stay calm and rational, and not trip into Dominant tones. If he had any chance of convincing Dean he was capable of an equal partners’ marriage, he couldn’t sway Dean now with his power advantage. Dean hated it when Cas chose calm while Dean was furious, but Castiel saw no other way. “I deeply regret telling you the way that I did, but I don’t regret the words. I wish I could go back to the beginning and throw all of my fear away and just have told you from the start. I wish I’d been brave enough to be honest with you years ago, but I can’t change what I’ve done.”

Dean was breathing hard with the exertion of his rant and still hulking over Cas, but now he just looked confused. What the hell was Cas saying? “Cas, what the hell are you saying? You lost me.”

Castiel’s eyes went wide, he breathed in deeply through his nose, set his mouth, screwed his courage to the sticking place, stood up, and just went for it. “I know you’re angry. I’ll do whatever you need me to do to make up for the pain I’ve caused you. But, Dean, I HAD to Mate with April. I didn’t have a choice and you know it! You would’ve done the same. You would’ve done the SAME DAMNED THING!! When you confront your True-Mate, whenever he shows up and sweeps you off your feet, you’ll fall just as hard as I did, and YOU KNOW IT! You KNOW how this works!! So, WHY are you so angry with me?! I’m in love with you, Dean Winchester, but that couldn’t stop what happened! Nothing could have. Dean, I need to know, are you in love with me, too!? Please, I need to know.”

Dean stepped backward and landed hard back on the couch. His mouth hung open. Those blue eyes. He didn’t know what was going on with his own eyes, but he couldn’t look away from Castiel’s blue. Castiel’s fury seemed all Alpha. His eyes should be swamped by red, but they weren’t. They were deep, ocean blue like always, like when he was just Cas.

“What are you asking me?” Dean’s head was swimming. He was knocked back to when he was nineteen years old and expecting to wait tables after graduation because no one would hire an alpha Lupin to teach high school, and then was magically saved by a pair of blue eyes and a couple of crazy proposals. He needed to figure out what the hell was happening right now, but his brain had shut down. He looked to his wolf and found him alert and upright for the first time in fucking weeks. Fucking traitor.

Castiel took a step closer, but didn’t try to touch Dean. “I’m asking you whether you are in love with me, as I am in love with you, Dean.”

“REALLY!? Like this!?” Dean broke away and put the couch between them. No way was he gonna fold like some cheesy rom-com. No way. “You wanna do a big, romantic reveal after eight FUCKING YEARS and you got your mate underneath you, and now you want to come running into my arms with a fucking, ‘I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU!?!”

“Then just tell me, if you don’t love me back, why are you so angry? Why won’t you at least keep on as my friend and scene-partner if it’s not that?” Maybe Pamela had been way off the mark. It had all made sense in Castiel’s mind back in Lawrence, but now the idea that Dean might love him back seemed preposterous.

“OF COURSE I’M FUCKING IN LOVE WITH YOU, YOU MORON! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, CASTIEL!?! You may be un-be-fuckin-lievably blind, but there’s NO WAY you did not know that!”

“Dean, please. I didn’t know. I swear.” Cas put his hands up to show no ill will and advanced slowly. “Did you? Did you know about me before I told you? I’ve loved you since before we spoke in Zeke’s bar for the first time. You spoke to me through your eyes in class and the papers that you turned in…they were, captivating. I fell so fast and so hard. For you. I’ve loved you forever.”

Dean was struck dumb again. Cas had him there. He hadn’t known. Castiel had hidden his feelings too well. Hidden them just as Dean had done. They both did this. “Just, please Dean. Put yourself in my place for a moment. We both made the same mistake. We were both wrong to lie to each other for so long, but if it had happened the other way around, could you have done any differently?”

Dean’s anger and his resolve crumbled. No. He would’ve grabbed hold of whoever the Universe set in front of him and he would’ve fucked the daylights outta the guy and bitten a hole through his neck. Dean knew he would. He had no idea what it felt like, but he’d witnessed it too many times to think there was any choice in the matter.

“I’m not really mad at you, Castiel. S’not your fault. I can’t be mad at her either. What’s her name? Erica? April! She’s innocent. Truth is, if she’s that right for you, I’ll probably love her too. I’m just. I’m too sad and broken to think. I love you.” He lifted his chin from where it’d fallen against his chest and met Cas’ eyes with a look that was world weary, hopeless. “I love you, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make any fucking difference, because of our FUCKING biology! Really? This is what it comes to? We both pop a knot so that means we’re just screwed?! What the FUCK do we do now? I can’t. Cas, I just can’t be your side piece. I need more than that. I need you, all of you. I can’t get by on just dribbles of your mate’s leftovers.”

“It doesn’t have to be like that, Dean.” Cas moved in and took both of Dean’s hands in his own. “Come home to Kansas with me. We’ll work it out between us. I love you Dean, and I’m totally all in, completely committed. If you just say yes, you’ve got me forever.”

“What are you talking about? You aren’t going to just dump April. Dude, I saw you two together. Even if I wasn’t so pissed, you would’ve been nauseating the way you look at her.”

“No, no, Dean. It’s all April’s idea. She’s the one who sold me on it. It’s perfect. She’s all in. I’m all in. We get you, and then the only thing that’s not set is how your True-Mate will respond when we find him, but we’ll deal with it. We’ll deal with it DEAN! It’s like how sometimes a True-Mate might already have a kid when they get Mated. You don’t throw the kid out, you just make the Pack bigger. You just take your mate as they are and accept their family as Pack.”

Castiel was bobbing with excitement, trying to make sure Dean was with him, but he couldn’t slow down. He was like a snowball crashing down the slope. “Right now, my Pack is just me, April, and my brother, plus my estranged bitch of a mother, and a cousin I have legal custody of but have never actually met who lives as an ex-pat in Bolivia. I want a Pack, Dean, with you. I want you and me to Alpha a Pack together! God, I’m doing this all wrong…FUCK!”

“Castiel. Man, you need to breathe or I’m going to be picking YOU up off the floor. Just, take a breath and start over. You lost me again.”

Castiel closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Time seemed suspended for a moment, and he was blessed by the Universe with a moment of crystal clarity that would imprint itself in his mind forever. He released one of Dean’s hands, and lowered himself to one knee, reaching into his jacket pocket for the small velvet box.

Dean’s face lost all the blood that gave it any color, and he clutched at Castiel’s hand. No, nope, no, there’s no way this is going where his imagination had dared take him only in the dark and only in the middle of the night and only in that spare few minutes between being awake and asleep. But then Castiel produced a velvet box, and he flicked it open awkwardly with his free hand. Dean wasn’t about to grant him use of the other one by releasing it. Dean was transfixed by the platinum ring nestled in the blue velvet. Blue like Castiel’s eyes. All of the hurt and resentment and fury faded as he lifted his eyes from the ring to his love’s blue, blue eyes. He saw that those blue eyes had overflowed, and Castiel just let the tears fall. His own green eyes answered back tear for tear.

“Dean Michael Winchester. I have loved you forever with a love that is deep, and timeless, and pure. Will you do me the honor, the unbelievable honor, of becoming my beloved husband?” Castiel’s voice didn’t shake. It held true for him thanks to the support of the great black wolf inside of him who leaned with all its weight against Cas’ heart, holding him steady.

Dean on the other hand, was a mess. His hands shook, and his legs were jelly. He let himself fall to his knees, level with his love, closer to those blue eyes, and he leaned against Castiel’s strength, just as he had always done, just as he had permission now always to do. He kissed Castiel hard on the mouth, then shifted to just breathe against him.

“Is that a yes?” asked Cas, looking very worried in case there was some way he could be misreading this. “Dean, we’ll figure out how to work out the pack dynamics. I’m not asking you to share my mate. I know she’s not yours. How does Mate-in-Law sound for the two of you? I don’t know how it’ll all come together, but we’ll work it out. Right? Please tell me we can work it out.”

Dean began to laugh at Castiel’s babbling, his joy, tears, and relief all overflowing. “Dean!”

“YES, Castiel! It’s a YES. Castiel James Novak, I will marry you if you EVER stop babbling and give me that ring!”

Cas couldn’t get the ring on Dean’s finger fast enough.

Dean admired it, spinning it round to see the flush-set stones from every angle. “I’ll have to change my business cards again. I just got them printed for Dallas.”

Cas lazed on the couch next to him, lost in a blissful stupor and dropping kisses every now and then. “No, you still have a couple of boxes back home in the store room. Just throw away the ones from Dallas. This city sucks!”

Dean laughed, “I agree, but I still need new cards. I want them printed with my married name, “Dean Novak, PhD.”

“No Dean. One thing I want to ask of you, please don’t change your name. ‘Winchester’ suits you. And I…how do I ask for this?” Cas sat up straight on the couch and pulled away enough that Dean could look him in the eye without going cross-eyed. “Our marriage. I want you for my partner. Equal partners. I’ll still Dom for you as often as you want. We can discuss how we want to apply Pack Discipline in our home, but you and I will be equals. Right now, we’re not. I’m a Dom. You’re a Sub. I don’t have anything I can sacrifice to you in order to even up the power imbalance except my name. I want to give up my name for yours. I want to be Castiel Winchester. Please Dean?” Castiel was worried. He looked to Dean like he’d rehearsed this part of the speech many times. Pshh, of course he had, he was Cas.

“Aight.” Dean accepted.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 11

THEN:

“If you are NOT a ticket holder for the One-on-Ones, you need to leave the area immediately! The Fire Marshall will begin moving everyone out in five minutes if the walkways aren’t cleared, so if you don’t have a ticket, you need to find somewhere else to be!” The Convention Coordinator had some lungs on her, and she put them to good use, herding the crowds away from the corridor down which The Facility contingent had gone.

Jo slipped her head back into the room they’d been given to serve as Command Central. “It’s a total zoo out there. I think we’re getting too big for hotel venues. Maybe next time book a convention center, Dean, or a stadium.”

“I don’t book the venues, Pipsqueak. Not my fault. YO! Charles! What room am I going to, man?” He shouted over Jo’s shoulder, but close enough to her ear that she grimaced and then belted him one upside his head. “Ow! Dude, that was uncalled for,” he complained.

“Tell that to my eardrum,” Jo shot back. “Oh wait, that’s right, you can’t because I’m fucking deaf now!”

“Pipe down, bitches,” mothered Charlie handing them each a room assignment and client list, “Or I’ll make you two work together today.” Dean elbowed Jo hard in the ribs and shot her a wicked grin before scuttling off to compare assignments with Benny.

Jo just sighed and turned to Charlie. “How is he so good at this when he’s still just four years old? How fair is that?”

Charlie laughed at her and moved off to continue handing out sheets.

Once settled in the appropriate room up on the top floor, Sam and Dean began moving the furniture as far out of the way as they could. The table and extra chairs got unceremoniously dumped into the hallway. It didn’t leave as much room as they wanted, but it would do. The bed was bolted down, so unless they wanted to pay for the damage (which they didn’t ‘cause Cas would kill them), it wasn’t going anywhere.

They’d booked the top two floors of the upscale hotel. It wasn’t ideal, and it cost a fortune. Letting the hotel fees eat away at their profits hurt, but the threat of noise complaints from the primate lodgers in the hotel meant they had to create a whole floor-thick buffer between the One-on-One sessions and the apes’ delicate sensibilities. Castiel had insisted, though. It was necessary not to burn bridges between the two populations now that relations had finally been showing some signs of improvement over the last few years.

Sam’s phone lit up and chirped with a text. “Meg’s escorting our first victim up the elevator right now.” Dean just rolled his eyes at his brother’s pathetic attempt to be funny and turned to studying the client’s registration form.

“’Kay, looks like the mom registered her Omega son. He’s, oh wow, he’s only thirteen. Say’s here he’s never had a release since he presented over a year ago.” Dean whistled long and low. “Presented at, like 11, I guess. That sucks. Poor pup. He’s still got three years of unaided heats to wade through before he can get some help from an alpha.” Dean looked up from the paper and checked his brother. “You ready?”

“Yep.” Sam was always ready for this.

Meg knocked on the door, but didn’t wait for them to answer. Her key card let her in, and she escorted a haggard middle-aged woman through and closed the door behind the two of them. “Alpha O’Neida, this is Sam Winchester and his brother, Dr. Dean Winchester. Sam, Dean; Rachel O’Neida. She’d like some help with her adolescent son. He’s in the hall, waiting.”

“Don’t call me Doctor, Meg,” Dean griped in a tone that made it clear to the client that he’d made the same request many times before.

“Thanks Meg,” Sam interjected before she could respond. Dean could be a jerk sometimes. “It’s really good to meet you, alpha O’Neida.” Sam extended his hand, and she took it. “Meg, would you mind keeping the young man company? I’m sure he’s nervous and uncomfortable in the hallway alone.”

The nurse smiled at him, nodded, and let herself back out. The door snapped shut as Dean was finishing his greetings with the woman. She had a good firm handshake. Dean thought she might be a Domme.

“Please, call me Rachel,” she told them. “It’s a real honor to meet you. They don’t let us choose who we get to see, but I’m so glad that Steven drew you two. I just know you’ll be able to help him. I hope so, anyway. Someone’s got to.”

“Tell us about your son, Rachel,” Dean prompted, ushering her to sit in the only chair.

“He presented as an Omega pretty young. He wasn’t quite twelve when he had his first Heat. And it was bad. He got such a high fever that we almost took him to the hospital. It was…” She trailed off and her eyes glazed over in memory. “It was bad.”

“And then?”

“The doctor examined him after his Heat ended, and she told us everything looked normal. Said he’d weathered it just fine, told us he’d Released in full, and that all his Omega organs were perfect, hormone levels in target range, everything. My mate and I, we just took it as natural that we would be able to read his tension and body language for a few months and figure out a good Release schedule for him. That’s always worked really well with Carlos, my mate. He’s Omega too.”

Sam and Dean sat on the edge of the desk side-by-side and listened intently without interrupting. It was important to allow a client to tell their whole story.

“With Carlos, we never did any formal evaluations or anything, but I always know when he’s ready. I can see it in the way he holds his face and shoulders. Sometimes he brings me the paddle and just asks me to take it out of him. It’s so easy. But Steven. I couldn’t read him at all. He got bad so slowly, we probably missed the window where it’s easy to take care of. I don’t know. Now, nothing works. He is so miserable. He doesn’t even talk anymore. Can’t go to school. He tries to Release himself all the time, but of course, that doesn’t work. He’s covered in bruises, and I can’t make him stop. Can you help him? Please, try.”

“Just relax, Rachel. We’re going to do our best to help your son feel much better.” Dean met her eye, but didn’t try to touch the alpha. “Your mate is Omega?” he asked, and she nodded. “Can you tell me which of you is Steven’s mother?”

“I’m his father. Carlos is his mother. Does that make a difference?”

“Maybe,” answered Sam, standing up. “There aren’t always similarities between Omega Release patterns in families, but when there are, they usually pass from father to son and mother to daughter. So, it’s actually YOUR birth family we want to look at. Tell me, if you don’t mind please alpha, do you know of any Release patterns from the Omegas in your immediate birth Pack that are peculiar in any way? It might help us narrow down what Steven’s body needs.”

“No, not really.” She thought for a moment, fidgeting with her skirt uncomfortably. “I guess I had an uncle who could only Release if the paddle and his ass were wet. My other uncle always spanked him in the shower. That was pretty weird.”

“Not really,” Dean assured her. “A layer of water intensifies the sensation, and it’s really not uncommon at all. Have you tried that with your son?”

“No. I didn’t think of that.” She looked ashamed, but Sam was quick to jump in.

“Don’t beat yourself up, Rachel. There’s no guarantee that’s what’s going to work, but it just goes to show that sometimes you’ve got to be creative. Shall we invite Steven to join us?”

It was over an hour later that they finally struck gold with the poor pup. He’d taken quite a beating by then; nothing that would harm him long-term, but there was just no way to do this, except to jump in and do it. Dean kept him calm, took down notes, watched for reactions in his face and body, and ran the peliomometer. Sam worked the paddle. Water was not the answer, neither was activating a Submissive state through scolding or domination. Different positions made no difference, but Sam wasn’t one to give up. The young boy was so distraught. He didn’t say a word, and barely even grunted at each strike of the paddle. His eyes, though. His eyes said everything. Aged beyond his few years, his eyes spoke of pit-deep torment, and Sam was going to get him out of that pit if he had to jump in himself and drag him out bodily.

Sam was just about to switch to the strap, against Dean’s objections. The kid was just a pup after all. Then he decided to try one more thing. He needed both alphas’ approval, so he left the boy trembling on the bed and gestured them to the corner, speaking softly. “I want to try something risky. Have you noticed he holds his breath at the wrong part of the stroke?” Rachel just looked at him, confused. Dean chewed the inside of his cheek and glanced at Steven. Sam went on, “Usually when a wolf takes a stroke from a paddle or whatever, they suck in a breath or blow one out when the pain hits. If they’re going to hold their breath, it’s just before the paddle falls. Steven takes a breath at that point, then holds it through the pain.” Sam turned to Steven’s father, “Rachel, will you allow me to try an experiment with Steven? I want to restrict his breathing slightly during the strikes. If this works, he’ll be only the third Omega I’ve ever seen who needs breath-restriction to affect an Omega gland Release, and certainly the youngest. And too, if it works, you will need to take him to trained professionals for his balance adjustments. This is not something you or your mate can do at home.”

It was a testament to her trust and her desperation that she agreed. Dean grudgingly went along too. It wasn’t right that a boy so young should have to suffer so much just to stay sane. Sam hooked up a heart monitor and oxygen sensor to the restriction belt that he placed around the catatonic Omega’s neck. If Steven even began to approach danger, the belt would release its grip automatically. Dean cinched it in, checked the boy, and nodded to Sam who began methodical strokes against the back of the pup’s upper thighs. Dean increased the belt’s tension slowly while Steven’s face turned red and his mouth opened breathlessly. Sam picked up his pace and power to match. It took only a few more strokes, and then…

The pup’s entire body convulsed suddenly and silently. Sam dropped the paddle and leaned over to hold him securely through the violent tremors while Dean snapped the quick-release on the belt around his throat. The pup sucked in a long rasping breath. Then he screamed in pain and thrashed wildly for a few moments longer, and his eyes rolling back in his head. And then. Just like that, it was over. Steven pulled in on himself and curled up fetal position, crying softly. Dean reached awkwardly behind himself and over his own head to reach the meter he’d left on the side table. His readings showed a normal, fully-balanced, recently Released adolescent wolf-pup. He grinned up at Sam who was heaving deep breaths and sweating, shaking his head in relief.

Rachel swooped in. “Steven? Stevie, baby? Can you hear me?” Sam released him to his father as she cradled the weeping pup in her arms. She rocked him, looking frantically between Dean and Sam, uncertain whether it had worked or made things worse.

“It’s okay, Rachel.” Dean leaned over her and stroked the boy’s hair. “He’s going to be fine now. That worked perfectly. He needs a few minutes to get himself together, but he’s okay now.” Dean met Sam’s wide, scared eyes and mouthed, ‘Wow,’ at him. “That was, whewwww, that was something else.”

“THANK YOU!” she wept against her son’s head.

The whole day went like that. Everyone agreed drinks at the bar were in order. Dean wished Castiel had come to this one. He could’ve used his friend’s support tonight. He could use a release of his own.

“I heard about the boy, the Omega kid? You know he would’ve been dead in a month, right? If you and Sam hadn’t figured out his block?” Gabriel came up behind Dean and slung an arm across his shoulder.

“I know,” Dean responded soberly. “I figured two months, but it’s all the same end anyway. Sam’s the one who cracked him. Dude, that scared the shit outta me! And why’d he even have that stuff in his bags, anyway? Who travels to a Con and thinks, ‘Gee, I wonder if I’m going to need some asphyxiation belts?’”

“Scared myself pretty badly, too,” Sam added as he approached his brother and the Omega, sucking expansive draws from his longneck. “Just remember, Dean, next time you wanna give me shit over traveling to Cons with six cases of equipment, now you understand why I do it. You just never know.”

 

 

NOW:

 

“Embouchure, please, Sir! I need some pressure, PLEASE! Just… A little…” Dean was more than frustrated. His Dom was torturing his mouth with pathetically flimsy kisses. Had been doing it for much too long already. Dean couldn’t manage a lip-lock at all, try though he might.

“Hmm-mmm,” Cas didn’t even try to fix his performance. He continued to tongue at Dean’s open mouth with almost no pressure against his spit-slick lips. “You take what I give you, and you Submit to my will.”

“Arghhh! Sir! Just, FUCKIN’ KISS ME!”

Dean was flipped onto his belly faster than his synapsis registered the shift of light. The middle of his thigh lit with heat and pain as if sparked by a fire-cracker. “I knew you’d likely formed some bad habits, my bratty Sub, but I expected better than THIS,” the Dom scolded, his hand falling repeatedly in the same hot place on Dean’s leg.

The spanking didn’t last long. It was a precursor anyway; just an appetizer for what was to come, Dean knew. The Dom began gently stroking his Sub’s round ass, thoughtfully. With one hand in constant contact with Dean’s ass, the other pulled one leg out to the edge of the bed, made a deliberation of hooking just his big toe over the edge, pressed enough weight against the back of that heel to clearly communicate, ‘Leave it just like this,’ and then repeated the action on the other side of the bed.

Dean was prostrate and spread-eagled. He was still wearing the size six plug that his Dom prescribed for him hours earlier just before taking Dean out for a celebratory steak dinner with a one-beer limit. One thigh already felt sun-burned. Dean took quick stock, and then nestled in. He relinquished himself to his wolf, and just lay back to enjoy the show.

 

“I wonder if I could perhaps entreat you to tell me, my beautiful Submissive, to whom does this lovely perfect ass belong? Hmm?” He ghosted a hand across Dean’s bare backside and watched chill-bumps spread from his touch.

“It’s yours, Sir. All yours.”

“Indeed? Well then, my next question should likewise be an easy one for you to answer, obedient Submissive. In the long weeks since I last laid my straps across this delectable flesh – this flesh that belongs to me – has anyone, anyone at all laid hand or implement upon this ass?”

“Uh…” Dean started sweating. It was too early in the scene for a reaction like that, he knew well.

His hesitation earned him a pop right beside the plug in his asshole with Cas’ extremely springy lap-cane, and Dean squeaked. He didn’t close his legs though. His Dom had told him to keep each big toe crooked over the sides of the bed. No ties were needed to keep Dean where his Dom put him. Ever. Sometimes they tied him for fun, to let him enjoy struggling against the tension, but they were never needed to keep him in place.

Castiel’s face appeared in Dean’s peripheral vision, his mouth near Dean’s left ear. “I asked you a simple question, Dean Winchester.” The lap-cane snapped on either side of his hole again. Goddamn! That stings! The plug didn’t cover nearly enough. “Who.” POP “Touched.” POP “This.” POP “Ass?”

“JESUS!” screamed Dean. “I was working under Alistair and RUBY. I didn’t have a fucking choice!”

“Who touched this ass, Dean Winchester?”

“Yeah, fuckin’, now I know why you don’t want me to change my name! You get off on saying it just like th… AHHHHHH! CHRIST! FUCK!!”

“I advise you to think very carefully about how much you want to brat at me this evening, my pet. We’ve a very long drive ahead of us to get back to Lawrence.”

“We’re driving home?” Dean asked amid shaking breath and sniffles.

“Oh yes, unless you would prefer I hire someone to drive your car all the way back to Kansas so you and I can fly.”

“NO! Yes, please let’s drive. Please.”

Castiel nodded, “And while you don’t have any power to lessen the soreness of the ass I plan to make you sit upon, you may just have the ability right now to make it oh, so much worse if you continue to brat at me. Make your decision, Dean. It doesn’t matter much to me either way. I’m not going to ask you again to answer my question.”

“RUBY, all right! Fucking Ruby and Bela and Alistair all took it out of my ass, but mostly Goddamn-fucking RUBY! I HATE THAT BITCH!”

“I see. Thank you, Dean. So, from what I understand, the marks I left on you last time, that you promised me to hold close to your heart forever, were neatly expunged from your flanks because my SLUT of a Submissive bent over and let THREE wolves strike THIS ass! The one we’ve just confirmed belongs TO ME. Have I missed something?”

“I’m sorry, sir! I didn’t want them to. I tried to be good so they wouldn’t have an excuse, but… OW!”

“Dean, we’ve established that Ruby and Bela are both betas, yes?”

Dean sobbed just a bit and nodded into the mattress. He’d not been afforded pillows for this evening, just a flat bed and a fitted sheet over a protective layer of plastic.

“I have no intention of carrying that thought through to its conclusion, pet. I’m sure you’ve made the logical leap. And so, what shall I do with you now?” The Dom ran his cane painlessly across his Sub’s thighs, ass, and back, letting it drag all about, leaving shivers in its wake.

Dean waited a beat to answer his Dominant. He knew what Castiel wanted him to say. He knew he would say it. He knew that pausing just long enough would pull from his Dom just that little bit more…

Dean listened to Castiel’s tension, despite not being able to see him. This was a dance, practiced and performed again and again until they’d perfected it to each wolf’s mutual satisfaction. Just before the cane would’ve been lifted in aggravation, the Sub submitted, “I need you to punish me, Sir.” Dean pulled the words from deep within his depths. Truer words had never been spoken.

Castiel took a moment for himself to let those words wash through him, fill him to completion, fulfill his wolf, and steel his muscles. “I can do that for you, pet.” His voice reached its lowest depth, down where the fires burned hottest.

Something very cold was pressed against lips. “Open and receive.” Dean allowed a medium-sized piece of ice to slide into his mouth. “Suck it. Do not chew. Do not choke. Use your tongue to work the sharp edges off, and then give it back to me. Work quickly.” Castiel moved away toward the foot of the bed. Dean felt the plug pulled out and away. He felt…wrong without it. Too exposed. Too open.

Castiel’s hand appeared once again in front of his mouth, so Dean spit the rounded ice cube back into his hand placidly. He kept his head facing the headboard, his chin resting on his crossed arms. The Dom had not said Dean couldn’t look, but this way he could just feel. That was better than watching. Castiel spread Dean’s cheeks with one hand and pressed the ice against his anus with the other. He held it there for a moment, then slipped it inside, pressing it in deeply with two fingers. Dean’s butt and thighs tightened up at the sudden cold within him. He concentrated on breathing evenly and not flinching.

The Dom pumped his fingers in and out of Dean’s hole, lubricated only with melting water and the trace of synthetic slick that remained after the plug was removed. It wasn’t enough, and he felt raw. Dean wanted so badly to shove back against the warm fingers, take them fully inside him and melt the goddamned ice cube, but he refrained. He hadn’t been given permission to participate yet. He hoped very much he would be.

Castiel broke into his thoughts with an indication he was reading Dean’s mind. “By the way, my Sub, I grant you permission to come tonight whenever you like. You needn’t hold your orgasms back whatsoever, but you do not touch yourself or actively chase friction.”

Dean met this news with a sinking feeling. It was code for ‘your dick is not getting any attention from either of us tonight.’ So wrong, Cas. So very wrong.

The fingers withdrew from his ass, leaving the ice pushed far up inside. Dean resisted the impulse to push it out, but he was squirming with discomfort. Meanwhile, his Dom’s permission had reached his cock, and it was hard enough to hurt. Castiel left him just long enough for Dean to consider turning around to look for him. Then his Dom’s warm fingers were pushing something else into his hole. It was moist and firm, neither warm nor cold, and it was smaller than the plug had been. It fitted right in, just far enough to butt barely up against his prostate.

What? Oh. Warm. Quite warm. Oh shit. Ginger. His Dom gave him ginger. Dean hadn’t had a figging in years. He whimpered and shifted his hips before he processed he needed to move. It tingled and heated him, even as the ice continued to cool him deeper inside. Dean clenched hard, and gasped as his muscles juiced the ginger and left him a panting, sweating, writhing pool of Submissive.

“Now count for me, Dean. I’ll hear you speak every stroke or we’ll start over at One.”

The cane landed across his ass before he was ready, if he was ever going to be ready. “ONE!” he shouted on the exhale that rushed out of him. He clamped his toes against the sides of the bed like his life depended on it.

“Good boy.” He struck again just a little lower on Dean’s round ass, leaving two distinct marks. “Two,” breathed Dean, tucking his face in his arms. The ginger was starting to really activate the nerves inside his ass. Dean sent melty thoughts to encourage the ice to release enough water through to wash out the foul root, but it just made him concentrate more on the sensations inside of him. Meanwhile, the outside needed his attention as well: “THREE!”

“I believe we’ve discussed more than a few times in the past how I feel about you accepting correction from other wolves, My Sub.”

“FOUR!”

“I’m not at all fond of sharing my pets. Your ass is mine, and mine alone, correct?”

“FIVE! Ahhhhh!”

“CORRECT?”

“SIX! YES, SIR! CORRECT! OHHHH! SEVEN!”

“And yet, you’ve let those filthy, incompetent, lazy, brutish, thugs tarnish this piece of meat that I marinated so carefully.”

“Eight!”

“In case it’s not been made clear enough to you, let me explain:”

“Nine! TEN! ELEVEN!!! Shit! Fucking SHIT!”

“You are the custodian of my property, Dean Winchester. You are to keep it healthy, safe, protected, and OUT OF THE GRIMY HANDS OF THOSE MONGREL DOGS!!! DO I MAKE MYSELF CRYSTAL CLEAR?!?”

“AHHHHHHH! Tw..TWELVE! CRYSTAL, SIR!” Dean’s ass wasn’t so much ON fire as it WAS fire. The ice and ginger warred with each other on the inside. Every stroke forced Dean to clench and release more of the evil juice to spur his nerves into higher panic. Every blow across his backside left a new angry welt. Soon they crisscrossed a pattern of agony. The Dom continued laying them out until they blended nearly together, and Dean could barely whisper out a count. Sometimes he missed a number or two, but his Dom was enjoying him too much to take him to task. Castiel praised himself for his lenience.

“You don’t seem as eager to brat at me anymore, pet. Perhaps the lesson is beginning to sink in.”

“Yes, Sir! I’ll be good. I promise!” Dean’s cock was still rock hard and leaking. He managed a bit of unintentional friction against the bed, but it wasn’t enough.

“On your back, Dean.” Dean complied with jelly-limbs. It took him a hot second to turn himself. The Dom peered into his eyes, critically. “Color?”

“Yellow, Sir! Hurts…”

“Good boy. I’m going to give you a break from the pain in your ass.” Castiel eased the ginger from Dean’s rectum. It was mostly spent. A dribble of water following spoke for all that was left of the ice. “Pull your knees up. I want you in number twelve.”

Dean’s muscles were shaky, but he’d never failed to find strength for whatever his Dominant wanted. A flat tongue pulled against his rim, dragging slowly and torturously. He did it again. Again. Dean moaned like a whore and dripped pre-come onto his own belly. “Mmm, ginger,” enthused Castiel.

“Don’t touch yourself, Dean, but come whenever you like.” Castiel lubed his cock and thrust into Dean’s hole, driving in with one long shove and holding there. He stood up proud on his knees, towering over Dean’s coiled body, his height alone a statement of dominance. Dean panted fast, keeping his eyes on his Dominant as he’d been trained. He could do this. The burn of the ginger had mostly faded, but the Alpha’s cock drove the last of it just a bit further upstream to tug and play at a new set of nerves, ones that had been lulled into complacency by the ice. Castiel lowered himself onto one hand above Dean’s shoulder and fucked him slow and deep. The red Alpha hue of his eyes overtook all but a small center of blue just around his enlarged pupils. He was breathtaking in his power, his control, and Dean’s wolf rolled over in complete submission and trust, his tongue lolling and a whine emanating from his throat.

Castiel took Dean’s left nipple into his mouth and bit down hard with no preamble, never letting up his rhythmic fucking. He sucked and bit until Dean’s breathing became rough and throaty. “Ahhhh!” the Sub screamed. The pain was intense, so intense he couldn’t distinguish pain from pleasure. It was all one. He was one with his wolf; one with his Dom.

“Good Dean!” Castiel spoke around the tortured nipple between his teeth. He let go to look Dean in the eye. “Scream for ME and ONLY ME!” He moved his head and worried the other side harshly in the same manner. Dean felt Castiel’s knot pressing against his rim, demanding entrance. Rising up over his Submissive, the Dom took hold of Dean’s hair and jerked his head back, forcing the strained Sub to fight to maintain eye-contact, and the knot slammed into place in Dean’s too-tight hole. It was too much. Alphas don’t take knots. They don’t. It’s not…

Castiel pulled harder and fucked just that much harder as the knot swelled them into a firm and unnatural tie. Dean’s hands flexed and grasped at nothing as his orgasm drove the last of his voice into a powerful and hoarse scream. He clenched around the knot that did NOT belong inside him and shot a copious stream of alpha come across his belly, up his chest, and onto his own face.

Castiel grunted low and moaned in unguarded lust. He licked a broad tongue across Dean’s chest, taking in Dean’s thick semen and pressing it against Dean’s tongue with his own. He coiled his muscles and stuttered his hips. Then he followed Dean’s orgasm with a powerful one of his own. His seed shooting warm and full, inside the alpha-Sub, with his mouth firmly attached to Dean’s in a primal kiss, more bite than kiss, clutching at his Sub’s shoulders and driving his knot that much deeper. Dean was going to ache for days, but it was so, so worth it.

Hours later they were still awake, cuddling, caressing, reconnecting in a way that showed how desperately they’d both missed this. Their voices were soft and off-center in the way that voices become in the middle of the night, when inhibitions fall away.

“Tomorrow we’ll sleep in late,” Castiel predicted. “Would you make omelets if I asked you nicely?”

“Mmm-hmm. Anything you want. Missed cooking for you, Cas.” Dean nuzzled his hair against the bottom of Castiel’s chin and reveled, purring softly.

“I missed you cooking for me too,” Cas chuckled. He was thoughtful for a minute or two. “Oh, did you bring your enema bag to Dallas, or is it still at your house?” Dean looked up at him quizzically. Leave it to Castiel to throw a non-sequitur like that at him at three in the morning. Cas caught his puzzled look and arched an eyebrow. “Last time we knotted, you had a few days of anal incontinence before your muscles tightened back up again. I’m just trying to save you that embarrassment.”

Dean rolled his eyes and snuggled back in again. “Too late on the embarrassment front, Cas. Thanks for bringing it up. Really appreciate it.”

“I’m sorry, Dean. You’re right. We’ll talk about it in the morning.”

“Not going to be better in the morning, man.” The silence lengthened again. Each man wondering if the other had fallen asleep. Castiel broke the silence with an observation.

“Your apartment smells like mold. Why’d you move into such a hole, Dean? You can afford better.”

“Uh.”

It hadn’t been meant as a trap, but Castiel knew every quirk and tell the Sub tried to hide, and that was not a hesitation borne of sleepiness. There was suddenly tension in Dean’s body that’d not been there moments ago. “Dean?” He moved his fiancé away from his chest so he could look him in the eye.

“I mean…it’s cheap. And it was available, came fully furnished.” Dean stopped talking and looked away from his intended. The silence stretched uncomfortably long, and he was forced to look up again, meeting Castiel’s eye. Castiel looked confused. The gears were almost visibly shifting in his head as he tried to work out what had Dean so awkward. Dean saw the moment it clicked: from confusion, to a flash of understanding, to a drawn-down brow of fury. Dean scrambled to the end of the bed and began rapid damage control.

“It’s not like that. It was cheap. It was furnished. I needed something fast. Cas, WAIT!”

But Cas didn’t wait. He got up from the bed and stormed into Dean’s bathroom, throwing drawers open and closed with increasing violence when he failed to locate what he wanted.

Castiel and Dean had always had a close relationship, but they’d never needed to bring Pack hierarchy into their association outside of scening except under two circumstances. Dean wasn’t an Omega, and only struggled to follow Pack rules when his Submissive wolf hadn’t been stroked recently. Except for when he chose to be bratty, he didn’t require much discipline. Castiel had only two points of contention against Dean’s behavior that ever spurred him to bring Dean to heel from a hierarchical Pack perspective. He HATED when Dean talked down about himself. Cas had been known to reprimand Dean with a few well-directed swats against his ass simply for body language that Cas thought stepped over that line. The other action that Castiel could not abide was when his Submissive decided for himself that he deserved punishment and brandished it upon himself. THAT was a Dom’s job.

Castiel appeared back in the bedroom door. “Where is it, Dean?”

“I threw it away. It’s gone.” Dean answered without thought and regretted it almost before the words made it out of his mouth.

Castiel did not speak. He stood in the open door and narrowed his eyes at his Sub, his jaw a hard line of steel. After the briefest of minutes, Dean broke like 200-year-old porcelain. “It’s in my underwear drawer, stuffed in a sock in the back.” He sagged onto the bed, boneless and defeated. Castiel crossed to the dresser and rifled through the top drawer, pulling out the offensive item.

Cas settled on the edge of the bed and looked at Dean. He neither spoke nor moved. He simply waited, livid. Dean hesitated. “You’re not supposed to spank me when you’re pissed. I think we should talk it over, wait until you’ve calmed down.” Dean had to try. It wasn’t going to work, but he had to try.

“I appreciate your concern. It’s a valid point. However, you may rest assured that I am in complete control of myself. If you choose, I will honor your use of your safe-word should you like to employ it in this moment. If not, then I expect you over my lap immediately. It’s your choice. Your punishment can be postponed until tomorrow if you fear for your safety.” Cas was so mad he was vibrating, but Dean would burn slowly in Hell before he’d use a safe-word with Castiel. Cas, for his part was genuine in his offer, but that was not an option Dean allowed himself. Castiel would never harm him. Hurt, yes. Harm, never.

Dean hung his head and moved to place himself over his Dom’s lap, hoping like hell Cas wouldn’t choose to lay that evil implement across his ass, still crisscrossed with cane-marks.

“I thank you for this show of trust.” Cas cinched him close by his waist. “Although you may well come to regret your decision before I’ve finished. I am extremely angry with you right now.” Every muscle of Castiel’s contact with Dean agreed. Dean could feel it. Cas was pissed.

“Answer a question for me Dean. Whose job is it to determine if a Submissive deserves punishment?”

“His Dom’s.” Dean wisely chose not to mouth off. This wasn’t a Dom/sub spanking, per se. There would be no hot, kinky Alpha-on-alpha sex after this. He was in real trouble, not in some manufactured scene meant to drop him carefully into Sub-space and then retrieve him back again, refreshed. This was Pack discipline.

“Very good. And once his Dom has determined punishment is warranted, who decides what form that punishment takes?” Castiel was holding Dean’s least favorite wooden-handled hairbrush in front of his Sub where he wouldn’t be able to avoid looking at it. He hated that thing. Hated it. Why hadn’t he thrown it out for real?

“His Dom does,” Dean responded miserably. He’d been so careless to let Cas sneak up on him with that ‘your apartment smells moldy’ crap in the middle of the night. So careless.

“Indeed.” Castiel stroked his hand across Dean’s swollen and blistered backside. “His Dom does. Dean, did you select a miserable, moldy, roach-infested slum for your residence to punish yourself for some perceived transgression?”

“yessir.”

“And did you outright lie to me when I asked you to point me to your hairbrush?”

“yessir.”

Dean couldn’t stay still. He’d be damned if he was going to fight the punishment that his wolf felt he fully deserved, but it didn’t stop him squirming like a pup. “Very well, Dean. Do not cover yourself with your hands. Do not move your feet. I do not want you to count. I simply want you to suffer.”

Castiel rained sharp, hard, fast blows upon Dean’s upper thighs, just below the crease of his ass, where the sting was the most intense, and where his cane hadn’t reached earlier. Dean was howling in no time. Years of training made Sam an expert at this, but no one delivered a spanking like Castiel did; not once he was angry. He covered both thighs until the skin abraded against the wooden brush and deep purple bruises blossomed. Dean moved from howling to bawling to whatever that state is past bawling where you can’t breathe or stop crying and the hiccups come unabated through your tears. He dug his toes into the old, thin carpet and clutched at Cas’ pants-leg. Dean screamed until the pain and guilt washed over him and he couldn’t stand his own skin anymore, wanted it flayed from his bones.

It would not have been a surprise to have the cops come pounding on the door.

Snot and tears mixed together on their trek down to his chin. He was a hiccupping, crying mess when he realized the blows had stopped. “I..I’m sor..ry! (Hiccup) …Fucked…(Hiccup)…everyth…thing…u – u – up!” Castiel stayed still with a hand on Dean’s lower back, and just listened to him. The process wasn’t finished with just the spanking. Dean needed to break before Cas could rebuild him.

“I…wa - as…so (hiccup)…weak! I… (hiccup)…thought…I…lo – lost you…and I (hiccup) was...too …wea…weak. I…jus’… broke! Couldn’t (hiccup)…do anyth…anything right…Fuc…fucked…up (hiccup)…everything. ‘M not …Alpha…like you! (hiccup). Cas… I … couldn’t…an’ I ran! (hiccup) I’m so…sorry!...I’m no…(hiccup)…good! No good…for you! I’m so…Sorry!

“Oh, Dean! You lovely, sweet, brilliant, perfect, beloved man! You really don’t know how wonderful you are. How can you even think that? If I could just show you the man I know and love. If I could hold up a mirror for you that reflects the real you.” Castiel praised and petted his beloved. “Do you remember, Dean, why Submissives mustn’t ever punish themselves? Do you remember what I’ve told you before?”

Dean’s breathing was calming. “Because they get (hiccup) get it wrong. Feel...guilty over the wrong…thi...(hiccup) things. Don’t…don’t know (hiccup)…when to…stop.”

“Very good. You are so wrong about this, Dean. You aren’t weak. You were mourning, and you did the best you could. I did too. I hurt you. So very badly. I didn’t realize what I had done until much too late, but you! You are NOT weak! Dean, you are so strong, and I love you so much. Baby, I didn’t bear up any better. Half of my work had to be done by Benny these last weeks because I fucked up everything I touched. Do you think I deserve to live in a dank hell-hole? Do I?”

Dean shook his head vehemently.

“And neither do you. You are my beloved, cherished, sweetest love. I alone will decide when you deserve to be punished. Capiche?”

“yessir. I capiche (hiccup), Alpha.” Castiel hoisted Dean up onto the bed and manhandled him to lay nearly on top of himself, Dean’s chest resting over Castiel’s heartbeat and Dean’s hip bearing most of his weight beside his Dom’s on the bed.

“I dislike punishing you like that, Dean. But I will do it every time you make that particular error. Am I understood?”

“Yes, Sir.” Dean was coming back to himself slowly. Cas found a box of tissues on Dean’s bedside table and cleaned his face.

“So,” continued Castiel sleepily as if the previous interlude had never happened. “I think we should sleep late tomorrow, then have omelets for brunch and pack up your stuff. We’ll stay at a hotel tonight. You’re not sleeping here again, Baby. It’s not clean. Oh, and we will need to pay a visit to the crew here and put the fear of God into Victor Henrickson. Heads are going to roll tomorrow Dean.” Dean fell asleep tucked safely in his Dom’s secure hold and letting his soporific voice rock the Sub gently away.

 

The omelets were perfect. Dean ate his standing up, nervously expecting Cas to tell him to have a seat. He leaned one hip against the kitchen counter and regarded Castiel as he ate. The Alpha, oblivious to Dean’s apprehension, sent a text message to Victor demanding that he assemble an ‘All Hands’ meeting in the cafeteria at two. Dean wasn’t thinking about the screwed-up center in Dallas though.

“You know once we announce the engagement, the whole world’s gonna be watching us to see if we fuck it up, right?”

“Well, then we’ll have to be sure we don’t fuck it up, won’t we?” Cas waited for Victor’s acknowledgement to come through, then set his phone on the table, took his last bite, and stood, carrying his plate into the kitchen and dropping it into the dishwasher. “Thanks, Baby. That was delicious.”

“I’m serious, Castiel. We need to figure some shit out. How is this even going to work?”

“Dean, relax. We will work it out. We’re going to talk about everything, negotiate everything just like we’ve always done, but we need to involve April. She’s Alpha-mate. That makes her part of the leadership of the Pack. She gets a say, too.” Cas wiped down the stovetop while he spoke. “Please trust me. Trust us - all three of us. I know I’ve been a horrible coward where you’re concerned, but I swear to you,” Cas dropped the cloth in the sink, wiped off his hands, and took Dean by his upper arms, looking him in the eye, “I’m not going to change my mind about this. I told you. This is a done deal for me. Whatever the world throws at us, we’ll handle. You and April and I are going to figure out what works for us and do it. OK?”

“Yeah, OK. I’m just nervous I guess.”

I know, Dean. I’m scared too.” Cas tucked the O.J. back in the fridge, then leaned over and kissed his fiancé. “I set out the enema bag in the bathroom. Go take care of yourself. I’ll go out and buy some boxes.”

They packed quickly. Dean had left most of his material possessions at the house he shared with Sam in Kansas. Part of him expected to return some day, no doubt. They talked as they worked.

“What’s it like, Cas? The mate-scent?”

Cas looked up from the book he’d opened and started to peruse instead of packing into the box at his feet. “It’s indescribable. I wish I could be more specific. It was like a direct line that passed straight by my conscious brain and spoke directly to my wolf. It was…indescribable,” he finished lamely.

“Thanks, man. That really clears it up for me. But, like, what does it feel like to be Mated? Can you really feel her through the bond?”

“I can. It’s muted at this distance, but I could feel that she was angry earlier and that she’s in pain right now.”

“Dude! You mean right now?”

“Dean,” said Castiel, setting the book into the box and reaching for another, “you already know this.”

“I know, but it’s so much closer now, with you…” he gestured at Cas. “It feels like I should somehow be able to feel something too.” Dean turned to the wall and began pulling out the nails he’d hammered in only a few weeks earlier. “So, aside from being True-Mates, do you like her?”

“Yes, I do. And I really think you will too. At least I very much hope you do. I suppose that’s one challenge we need to consider: what to do if my mate and my spouse despise one another.”

Dean laughed. “Yeah. I wouldn’t try to put the cart before that horse. We prolly’ll wind up ganging up on you together.” Cas didn’t think that prospect was very funny, but Dean thought it was hysterical.

“And, she’s what, twenty years younger than you?”

“Eighteen years younger.”

“You’re twice her age. What do you talk about? Have you even heard of any of her favorite groups? Doesn’t it feel like having a pup in your house?”

“For one,” Cas enumerated with his fingers, “She and I admittedly have a lot of getting to know one another yet to do. I do know that she likes to write, and she plays the piano. Two, no. I don’t know any of the musicians she prefers, but I’m interested in listening to what she likes, at least to give her music a chance. And three. She most definitely does NOT feel like a pup to me. She feels like a luscious, ripe, sensuous Omega whom I enjoy knotting whenever I get the chance.”

“Damn! Down boy!” Dean teased, palming his crotch through his pants. Then he refocused and popped out another nail. “Ripe, huh? Thinking of breeding, Alpha?”

“Constantly.”

Castiel’s casual admission made Dean turn and look at him. Cas was blushing furiously. Cas. Blushing. Furiously. “Did I touch a nerve? Does my Alpha-Dom fiancé have a breeding kink?”

“Maybe.” Castiel moved from the bookcase to begin working on packing the entertainment center. He acknowledged Dean’s smirk with a sigh. “But it’s too soon for pups. We need to get through the next two projects first. That’s another two, maybe three years on before we’ll really be ready to start a family.”

“We? You mean you and April?” Cas had clearly said, ‘WE need to get through the projects.’ April wasn’t working on Facility projects.

“All three of us. We. Dean, I know we haven’t talked it all through yet, but this is one thing I know I want to ask for. Please consider it. I want you to co-parent any pups April and I have. I want you to be their parent as much as their mother and me.”

Dean stared at Cas and chewed his lower lip. “Does April know that? Would she go for it? You can’t ‘Alpha-Dom’ her into a decision like that, you know. She’s gotta make up her mind for herself.”

“I know. I worry that she might feel pressured, but we’ve got the Mating bond to help us understand one another. I think…I think I can put it to her straight and get a straight answer and be okay with it either way.”

Dean watched Castiel work through the complicated issue in his head and said, “Everything we do is going to be like this, isn’t it?” He dropped the hammer onto the cheap, beat-up coffee table, not caring if it caused more damage. “It’s hard enough to work through a relationship with just two wolves. We have to balance the needs of three.”

“I promise you both,” swore Castiel with a somber countenance, “that I’ll endeavor to refrain from any manipulation tactics to get what I want. I’ll just ask for it, straight out.”

“Manipulation?! You?!”

Cas nodded, and Dean burst out laughing. He doubled over and held his sides, laughing until tears leaked from his eyes.

“I fail to see what’s so funny.”

“Oh, my God. Whew, that’s awesome! No, it’s…it’s just. Baby, you gotta know. I love you so much. I do. It’s nothing against you, man, but you’re the easiest human being in the world to manipulate. It’s not the other way ‘round. It’s, you’re just sooooo predictable. You always go for whatever is best for others and for the most people. Always. I love that you’re worried it’s going to be you tryin’ to pull the puppet strings. I bet you dollars to donuts that pretty, ripe, young thing has already got your number, big-time. She’s known you three months, and she’s weaseled her way through every defense you’ve got. I bet you. I bet you whatever you want.”

“Very funny. I’m glad you’re getting such a kick out of my discomfort,” Cas deadpanned.

“Hey, don’t talk to me about discomfort, Cas. I’m going to walk funny for a week.”

“Good.”

 

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

 

At the stroke of two o’clock, the Alpha-Dominant Castiel Novak entered The Facility’s lunch room like the apocalypse falling upon doomed humanity. He wasted no time, addressed no one, although every eye tracked him as he descended upon Alistair and Ruby who stood side-by-side.

“You two.” He shoved his index finger in their faces. “You’re fired. Get out.”

Castiel didn’t wait to see their reactions. He’d rendered his decision. It was final. He moved on. Turning his back on them told them he didn’t consider them adversaries worthy of his attention.

He advanced upon Victor who stood waiting near the top of the room, surrounded by his staff. The air was electric as the employees picked up the Alpha’s outrage, noticed his red eyes. Castiel didn’t slow, and he didn’t speak. He grabbed the front of Victor’s shirt, dragging him a few feet and dropping him to his knees. He ignored the alpha-Dom’s squawk of surprise and roared directly into his face. Victor struggled to gain purchase with his feet, attempting fruitlessly to land a punch in his own defense.

Dean snatched an apple from the end of the food line, tucked himself in at the edge of the crowd and awkwardly started up his phone’s camera with one hand pointing it at the grappling alphas. Gabriel would kill Dean if he didn’t capture this moment. Gabe would have to put up with the sound of Dean crunching through his fruit, though. He was hungry.

“NO! Alpha, listen to me, NO!!” Victor was still trying to fight him off, but Castiel wasn’t having it. He flipped the subordinate and threw him to the floor on his belly and his chin. Before he even had a chance to get his hands beneath himself to regain some height, Victor felt the enraged Alpha plant one hand between his shoulder blades, pushing him down, and a foot crashing down between his legs, way too close to the merchandise. Victor scrabbled harder, desperately seeking escape. He’d never submitted to a Dominance Fuck and he didn’t intend to allow that to change. He hadn’t counted on Castiel in the full force of his rage, though. His entire staff looked on in awe at the raw brutal canine power.

Dean nudged the beta man next to him and smirked. “That’s my Alpha!” he crowed with a cocky grin.

Castiel shifted his foot back and dropped his hips and legs to cover Victor’s. He snarled and growled in the alpha’s ear, menacingly, and wormed a hand beneath them to work at Victor’s leather belt. Victor roared defiance and redoubled his fight, throwing his head back in attempt to catch the Alpha with a blow to his chin. Cas caught the back of his head with his free hand, forcibly rotated it and slammed Victor’s cheek against the floor. His cheekbone fractured with a sickening crack, and he screamed.

“STAY DOWN!” roared the Alpha.

“LIKE HELL!” Victor shouted back at him, trying to roll.

Castiel succeeded in freeing the belt and whipped it out of Victor’s loops one-handed. He tossed it aside and scooted down Victor’s body, tearing his pants down his hips without unbuttoning or unzipping them. He ignored the scraped flesh as he divested the alpha of his pants and ripped his boxers to shreds.

Victor took that opportunity to work his hands into place and begin to push himself up, his chin and cheek mottled with blood and bruises, his face grimacing in pain. Castiel worked at his own belt and pants fastenings rapidly, allowing Victor a moment of hope, thinking he’d perhaps fought the threat off. Then he shoved his slacks low enough to free his cock, hooked his feet underneath Victor’s shins and thrust his torso forward again, flattening the alpha back to the ground with a scream as his chin took another hard hit.

They stilled, panting hard. Their eyes fully transitioned to alpha red, their chests heaving. Castiel’s nostrils flared. He could see the side of Victor’s face where he lay, beat. Castiel saw him tremble, fighting internally with his own wolf to keep trying. The Alpha moved slowly, sitting up across Victor’s thighs. Victor whined and struggled, but weakly this time. Castiel spread the alpha’s cheeks with each hand and let a long, ropey string of saliva land directly on his asshole. Then he aimed another string at his cock, rubbing it in with one hand.

“STAY DOWN!” he demanded.

“Alpha, NO!! NO!!! DON’T!!!” Castiel mounted him, shoving his cock in brutally hard, all the way in until the tight friction of unprepped alpha and too little lubricant ground him to a stop. He pulled back and pounded back in, pressing a hand to the flat of Victor’s back and creating a vicious rhythm. Victor screamed, but the Alpha’s voice drowned him out.

“LOOK AT THEM, VICTOR HENRICKSON!! LOOK AT YOUR STUDENTS! LOOK AT YOUR PEOPLE! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THEM? IS THIS WHAT I TAUGHT YOU? IS IT!?” the great black wolf demanded, thrusting painfully.

“NO, ALPHA! PLEASE!”

“I TRUSTED YOU! You tried to EXTORT me, and then I learn you’ve done THIS!” Cas gestured at the assembled mass of onlookers. “YOU! You just lie there and you TAKE it, alpha!” Castiel thrust into him painfully again and again. Victor screamed and then finally stopped fighting, curling tensely but submitting his body, his wolf, and his will to his Alpha-Dominant. Castiel wasn’t being exactly cogent, and most of the clients and students didn’t know what he was so pissed about, but the employees understood. Many had spoken to Dean over the weeks of their unease at the treatment of the students and lower staff.

Castiel pulled out before his knot caught and stroked himself quickly to orgasm. His come shot across Victor’s ruined ass, up his back and all over the back of his torn shirt. “Do not change your shirt until you return home tonight. What you’ve allowed to occur here is a travesty, and you WILL correct it! YOU will correct it. DO YOU HEAR ME?! You have two months.”

“Yes, Alpha, please.” Victor sobbed into the floor. Several betas moved in to assist him as Castiel collected Dean and departed with a single backward glance. He HATED this part of his Alpha role, but sometimes it was the only thing that worked.

Once in the deserted hallway, Castiel tightened his grip on Dean’s arm. He dragged the alpha-Sub in through the first unlocked door he found, slammed it, and crowded Dean up against the wall. Castiel’s eyes were still red. He made quick work of Dean’s blue jeans, unfastening them and shoving them down with his boxers, stepping on the crotch to force them to Dean’s ankles.

“I’m totally onboard with you here, Alpha, but ‘m not sure I’m entirely open for business right now. How’re you even…? Jesus, Cas, your refractory period is crazy!” Cas had lowered his own pants and freed his cock, which was fully hard and angry red.

Cas mouthed hungrily at Dean’s mouth, still panting from exertion and adrenalin. His words were breathy and desperate. “Just let me. Please Baby. I need to touch you, now. I feel tainted.” Cas pressed his groin up against Dean’s and took both cocks in one large hand, twisting across both heads and smearing pre-come on his down-stroke.

Oh hell, yeah! Dean brought a hand up to join the party and drove his hips into motion. He responded to the Alpha’s words and touch with greedy, sloppy kisses, wrapping his free arm around his love’s shoulders and pulling him in close. “You were so HOT in there, my Alpha. Made me hard just watching you; knowing you can even do that. So hot, knowing you’re mine and soon everyone’s gonna know it!”

They didn’t last long at all. Frantic desperation drove first Cas, then Dean quickly over the edge, leaving a splatter of come in a thickening puddle on the floor and dripping down their hands as they moaned and huffed against each other’s mouths and ground their hips into their overlapping fists.

Dean kissed Castiel chastely as he pulled away to re-dress and find a tissue or something. He noted that Cas’ eyes were back to blue. His wolf sated and soothed again. Castiel accepted the Kleenex Dean handed him and knelt to clean their mess off the floor.

 

Dean drove the Impala while Castiel navigated. He didn’t tell Dean where they were headed just yet, but Dean trusted him. He was more interested in the way the sun glinted off of the diamonds in the new ring on his finger. It kept drawing his eye. “You’re awfully thoughtful over there, Dean. Take the next right up ahead. Penny for your thoughts?”

Dean chuckled and took the turn where he’d been directed. “It’s just, we never even dated, man. I mean, sure, we know everything about each other, right? We’ve shared Ruts and stayed over at each other’s houses, and we know we work well together. You’re my best friend. But, that doesn’t get us used to making a relationship work. Don’t we need to date for a while before we go out and get married?”

“You want to go on a date?”

“No, Cas. I mean, yes. I’d love to go on a date with you, but that’s not what I mean. Doesn’t it feel like we’re skipping a few steps? Going straight to getting hitched? Should we maybe slow down a little?”

“Turn left, then right into the parking lot ahead. I don’t want to rush you, Dean. Like I said, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it together as equals. If we’re not both ready, then we wait until we are. It’s that simple. We can have a long engagement, or just…just date and hold off on getting engaged for the time being. For me, just to be clear, I know what I want. I don’t feel the need to practice managing a relationship with you, and I don’t want to wait. But if it’s what you want, we’ll do it your way. I’ll do anything for you, Dean. Anything. Even let you go if it’s what you want.” Castiel’s wolf paced in alarm. (Please don’t let him go. We NEED him. Don’t give him that choice! What’s wrong with you?)

Dean couldn’t take his eyes off the ring. It looked so right on his left hand, like it had always belonged there and he’d only just now found it. He parked in a spot facing a long flat institutional building and squinted to read the lettering above the door. “Cas, what…? The Federal building? You want to get married right now?! What the fuck?”

“No, no, Dean. Civil marriages are performed at County Courthouses, not the Federal Administration building. I didn’t mean to alarm you. I probably shouldn’t have surprised you with this either given the conversation we’re having, but I thought… If you don’t want to do this now we don’t have to.” Cas was at a loss, but Dean couldn’t help him since he still didn’t know the plan. He just arched one eyebrow at his fiancé and waited for an explanation.

“I was going to submit an application to establish our pack. We don’t have to. I need to go in because I still haven’t filed April’s Change of Custody form, but we don’t have to do the other. I can wait until you’re ready, Dean. I mean it.” Castiel watched Dean’s face with so much concern and understanding.

Dean met his eyes, searching for anything to help ease his unrest. Was he overthinking? That was usually Castiel’s job. Dean wasn’t sure if it was just cold feet or morning-after regret. Didn’t he want this with Castiel? Wasn’t it what he’d ALWAYS wanted? He looked to his wolf, beseeching. If anyone could cut through the cloudy crap in Dean’s head, it was his lean, grey, green-eyed wolf. The wolf, like Castiel, knew what it wanted, and he jumped at the chance to say so. (You don’t think you deserve him, and you’re scared. Cut the shit. Marry the guy, and make yourself happy for once.) The wolf was smug as hell, but he was right.

“Let’s do it,” shot Dean. “We can talk about naming a wedding date later, but you’re right. I want THIS right now.” He popped open his door and stepped into the humid Texas heat.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 12

 

THEN:

 

The panel table sat upon a raised shaded dais at the front of the open-air auditorium. They were part of an “International Cultures” festival at the University. Bobby took it in stride, as he did everything, but Castiel took offense at being lumped in as an International Culture, especially right here in Lawrence where the population was 75% Lupin.

“Relax Cas. All publicity is good publicity,” waxed Bobby. “It’s just another Q&A panel. Don’t really make a difference why we’re invited. Just take advantage of the opportunity.”

The timing wasn’t great, so Dean and Benny had both begged off. Their classes and Keller test schedules gave them a good excuse. Cas brought Pamela and Sam in their places. Everyone took their seats and the moderator began on time. Gratitude for small favors, Castiel reminded himself.

“Thank you all for coming today. This panel is sponsored by the Alumni Committee. I want to thank our panelists for taking their time…” She droned on, enjoying the sound of her own voice. Castiel shot Bobby an accusing look which Bobby ignored. At last, after an endless pointless introduction, she opened the lines for questions and the first attendee stepped forward. He was very young, probably still in high school.

“Hello, I’m not a Lupin, but we’ve studied you guys in school, and I have a lot of wolf friends. I want to know the difference between an Omega and a Submissive. Aren’t they kind of the same thing? Thanks.”

The moderator spoke needlessly as Castiel started to respond, “Dr. Singer, would you like to take this question? The difference between an Omega and a Submissive?”

Yep, she was officially on Castiel’s list. He didn’t want to be here and he’d be damned if this useless waste of carbon and water was going to lead this parade. Luckily, Bobby didn’t care either way. He knew Cas’ body language well, and sat back in his chair, ignoring the moderator’s prompt, ceding the response to the grumpy Alpha.

“They’re very different aspects of Lupin gender, actually. ‘Omega’ is a term that describes a Secondary gender designation. It’s primarily physiological, in that there are anatomical structures that make someone an Omega and chemicals produced that are unique to an Omega’s hormone mix.

“The term ‘Submissive’ has little to do with anatomy exactly, although concrete brain wiring plays an important role. It’s a Tertiary gender psychological base-setting or set of behavioral and psychological predispositions. However, you may have noticed in your interactions with your friends and their families, that many of the behaviors and reactions to those behaviors stemming from both of these designations seem to overlap quite a bit.”

“What Dr. Novak is saying, in layman’s terms,” broke in Pamela with an eye on the Alpha to watch his response. He found he didn’t mind when Pam spoke up, he just didn’t like the moderator. When he gestured her on, she continued, “Is that although they both come from very different parts of the wolf, a lot of the behaviors look the same. You’ll notice that Subs and Omegas both get spanked a lot, generally. They both have to follow somebody else’s rules. They both have to submit to sexual dominance from those above them in authority and rank. It may seem like they are the same, but they’re not.

“The Omega’s behavior is driven by the hormones being produced by the Omega gland as well as some specific anatomy. In addition to requiring regular balance adjustments to Release the buildup of Omesol, they also need a solid base-structure of Pack hierarchy to thrive. Omegas cannot live independently. Legally, they are required to maintain a custodial relationship with an alpha for their entire lives. Even if there was a pill they could take to Release them, they still must have a stable Pack or family and know their place in it. An Omega’s place in the pack is always going to be under the care and authority of everyone else in the pack except the pups. They crave and need that oversight. Their place is well-defined and super-supported through Pack discipline and Claiming, and it needs to be reinforced regularly. The way we reinforce that place is through physical contact, regulation and rules, Claim-Fucks, Dominance games, and of course reward and punishment. An Omega who is supported thusly in their home pack, can be successful outside the home as a fully functional adult member of society. Without that support, they cannot. It’s that simple.”

Pamela looked to Sam. He was an expert on Submissives, and could fill in the next portion well. “Oh, okay. The Submissives, then. Yeah, a lot of it looks the same on the outside. There’s still some rules and rewards and punishment going on, but it’s not based on their anatomy very much, like we’ve said. For a Shallow Submissive, meaning not very strongly Sub, all of their needs can be met behind the bedroom door. You wouldn’t even be able to tell just by meeting them that they’re Submissive at all. They behave just as assertively as anyone else in public. The more Profound Submissives are going to require more attention, but once their needs are met, they’re just like everyone else in public. Omegas can’t really do that. Even though Omegas are fully functional, they’re still going to need to be treated like Omegas, in public and private both.

“It’s harder to explain than I realized.” Sam laughed at his own perceived ineptitude, but pressed on. “Wolves just kind of get the differences instinctively, but it’s kind of like describing the difference between the colors red and green to someone who doesn’t see colors. Maybe it’ll make more sense with some examples.

“So, my brother Dean. He’s a Submissive, but not an Omega. He doesn’t need any balance adjustments because he’s not producing Omesol. He doesn’t need to be constantly reminded of his proper place in the pack because his psyche isn’t constantly searching for structure and proof of the structure. He could live mostly independently without rules or anyone holding a Claim on him. What makes him a Submissive is a need to have control of some part of his life taken over by someone else at pretty regular intervals, usually his sexual behavior but also sometimes just his behavior in general. My brother is a brat, meaning he deliberately misbehaves to elicit the controlling behavior that he needs from an appropriate Dominant. He craves being taken-in-hand and made to submit to the will of someone who’s authority ranks higher than his. And it’s not just a craving, it’s a need. These episodes of submission aren’t constant, but if a Sub goes longer than what’s normal for that individual without a scene of some kind, it effects their brain chemistry and makes them miserable. Eventually, it makes everyone around them miserable. We have a saying, ‘If the Sub ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy’. Most unmated non-Omega Subs go out and find themselves a matching Dom, and they get together regularly as scene-partners. We’re in the planning phase of building a wing in the Research Institute on campus to provide matching services and contract sex-workers.”

“Here’s the quickest answer I can give to illustrate,” said Bobby. “We train both Omegas and Subs to hold specific sexualized presentation positions. They all learn the same ones. The all get rewarded for holding them well and punished for messing them up.

“The Omegas might be put into those positions regularly: any time, any place, public, private, doesn’t matter, it’s all about what the person needs, but once they’ve held the position long enough and well enough that their rank in the pack is crystal clear and the hormone response we’re looking for has taken place, they get released. They don’t have to do it very long or very well. You put them in their place, fuck ‘em or spank ‘em or whatever, and then you move on. Everyone’s stable, everyone’s happy.

“The Sub uses the same positions as part of their scening. They may need to willingly hold the position well and for a much longer time as a demonstration of their complete submission to the Dom. A Dom is not gonna try to make a Sub drop into one of those positions just anywhere unless that’s part of an agreement they’ve made together, but neither would an alpha ask an Omega to hold one of these positions with just their willpower for a long time. For an Omega, it’s anywhere, and any time. For a Sub, it’s only during a scene, often in private, and always under the watchful eye of a Dom who has been granted authority by the Sub themself.”

“Next question!” called the moderator. Castiel enjoyed that she wasn’t going to get much time to speak. His Pack was awesome.

“Yes, hello. I was wondering, what a beta-Neutral is like? Are they even really Lupin at all?”

“Beta-Neutrals are certainly Pack, like all of us,” answered Castiel before the moderator could speak. “They make up the largest portion of the Lupin population, at roughly 28%. They get somewhat of a bad rap. They often get overlooked simply because they don’t have the same extreme need for specialized care that wolves at the fringes of the spectrum have. A beta presentation at puberty displays as several days of intense sexual arousal, severe dehydration, and a pheromone release that is really quite unpleasant to smell. Luckily, the odor is a singular event. This presentation is often termed a ‘mini-Heat’ or ‘beta-Heat.’

“Interestingly, it’s really only the beta-Neutrals who ever marry Primates successfully, so there is certainly something to be said for their adaptability. Maybe that’s why they have the reputation for being the most apelike of the Lupins.”

NOW:

“What’s taking so long, man? It’s not tax-code. Looks like it’s only three pages long.” Dean pocketed his cellphone and stood upright from the leaning stance he had assumed against the wall, approaching Castiel where he stood working to fill out the “Pack Establishment” form. Starting a new pack was a federal process, so it didn’t matter where they submitted the application from. Dallas would do just as well as Kansas. They would still need to file a “Request for Pack Residence” application with Douglas County when they got back, but that was straightforward enough once this step was completed.

Dean looked past Castiel’s arm and found the form still mostly blank. Cas had filled in the Pack name, application date, and planned establishment location, but that was all. Dean turned baffled eyes on him.

“There’s no way to list both of our names as Alpha, Dean. I had been so sure I could just put us both down, but the form is clear.” He pointed to the instruction above the blank space. It said, “List one name only to establish the Pack’s Lead Alpha. Only alpha candidates are eligible.” Cas was crestfallen. Dean shook his head at his oblivious fiancé. He let his head drop to Castiel’s shoulder and just laughed at him softly. “This is serious, Dean. Why are you laughing? I promised you an equal partnership, and I meant it.”

“I know you did, Baby. I know.” Dean raised his head and looked into Castiel’s eyes. “Cas, look. C’mere and sit down with me for a second.” He tugged Cas to the seats in the corner, and he stifled a grunt as his weight settled stiffly. Cas brought his form and his pen and let them both dangle sadly. Dean couldn’t help but chuckle and hug him. How could one person be both so frighteningly dominant and so awkwardly endearing?

“Cas, listen. You’re still letting your mother set the rules about this. She really did a number on you. You still seem to think that equality for wolves is the same as equality for apes. I know you don’t really want a position above me, above everyone. It’s one of the things I love about you. You know your place, and you play the role we need you to play really, really well. I know if you could choose, you would just make us all the same so none of us would have to feel less than anyone else. But do you really want to be one of them? Think about everything you would have to give up in order to be an ape. It’s not worth it. We aren’t them.”

Castiel lowered his eyes in thought, and Dean dropped his head under Cas’ gaze to catch his eyes again. “It’s not like that. The hierarchies work. They really do, and you and I, we spent nearly a decade proving it to ourselves; proving it to the world. You’re such a dork sometimes. It’s like you believe everything you’re selling to the other wolves when you’re selling, but you just won’t buy it for yourself. Let it go, Castiel. I mean, yeah, I want to be your equal, you know? I want to be your husband and have a partnership where I matter as much as you do. But you know I’m not fit to be Alpha, not for more than just me and Sammy. I need you in that chair. I need you to do it for me.

“Think about it. We didn’t make it fifteen minutes after you said ‘equal partners’ before we broke it. You remember? Yesterday before we left for dinner. I said I didn’t believe The Facility back home missed me, that they probably worked better without me. You remember what you did?” Castiel’s eyes grew wide in realization. He’d acted on reflex like always. “We weren’t scening, but you swatted me – whole buncha times it seemed like. You know why? Because I needed you to, so you stepped up. You always step up. It’s Pack Discipline, and we can’t pretend we don’t both need it. I don’t wanna lose that part of our relationship.”

Dean ran a hand over Castiel’s clenched fist, enticing him to relax. “We’ve always fit together. I do something stupid and self-destructive, and you set me right. THAT’s what I want from you. I want a Dom, and a pack Alpha, AND a Husband. Is it too much to ask? Is it, Castiel? Baby, we can be each other’s husbands, and still do THIS.” Dean nodded his head toward the form in Cas’ hand. “Here, give me that.”

Dean grabbed the form and carried it back to the table. He filled in the blank for Pack’s Lead Alpha with, “Castiel James…” then he stopped. He turned and looked at Cas who’d followed him. “Are you keeping your middle AND birth-pack names, or one or the other?”

“Novak was my father’s name. My sire was a rich privileged drunk who got himself killed when I was just twelve in a pointless duel with another alpha. That name means nothing to me.” Cas wrapped his arms around Dean’s waist from behind and rested his chin on Dean’s shoulder, appraising the papers on the desk before him. “My mother named me James for her Omega brother who died at 22 from Omesol poisoning.”

Dean kissed Castiel’s cheek and turned his pen back to the page. “James it is, then.” He finished writing out, “Castiel James Winchester,” then he looked at his intended. “You good with this? ‘Cause I think it’s perfect.”

“More than good, Dean. You’re right, as always. It’s perfect.” He nuzzled against Dean’s cheek. “What would I do without you?”

 

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

 

Dean listened through his cellphone as his brother’s phone rang several times before the beta picked up the call. He stood nervously beside the hotel room desk, fidgeting with a pencil on the flat surface, rolling it back and forth anxiously, spinning it, his eyes glazing past the pencil. One foot crossed the other and rested on a toe while he leaned his outer thigh against the wood veneer of the desk and waited impatiently. He’d put this off too long.

“Hey Dean! I was just about to try calling you. What’s up?” Sam seemed cheerful. Dean imagined he heard a lead of expectation in his voice. Maybe it was real. No doubt Cas had informed the staff as to why he’d taken off to Dallas. That would be just like him. Not that Dean minded. Better they knew through Castiel than make Dean come out with a big announcement.

“Hey Sammy. It’s good to hear your voice. Uh, yeah. Sorry I didn’t call on Friday, and uh, happy belated birthday, man. Things got kinda, busy here.”

“Thanks, but um…” There was definitely an air of expectation this time, but Dean didn’t know how to do this. He wasn’t ashamed or afraid. He knew he’d have Sam’s full support about his engagement, but he was a little embarrassed to have fought his brother so hard over his feelings for Cas for so long only to cave to Castiel’s entreating blue eyes in just an instant. He kind of hated when Sam was proven right over him. “What kind of busy, Dean?”

“I, well, I guess you know that Cas is here with me. He’s…that is, I’m moving back to Lawrence and taking my training job back. We’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon. Driving up. It’ll take us a couple of days because he wants to stop in OKC, check out Gordon’s new place.”

“Is that all the news you have for me? Did Cas say anything else besides, ‘please come back to Kansas’?”

Dean breathed in and let it out loudly, turning his glance to the ceiling. Here goes. “Yeah, he did. He did, Sammy.” Why was this so hard? Cas stepped out of the bathroom, naked, wet, and rubbing a towel over his hair. Suddenly, Dean found it was indeed hard. His cock thickened at the sight of a wet and heat-reddened Alpha just feet from him.

“Dean?” prompted Sam through the phone.

“Yeah, Sam. Cas proposed to me.” Dean met and held Castiel’s eye, and Cas smiled warmly at him. Dean felt the warmth surge through him, bolstering him “I said yes. We’re getting married, Sam. I’m coming home, and I’m going to marry Castiel.”

Sam had obviously pulled his phone away from his ear and covered it with his hand. Dean heard his voice shout, only a little muffled, “He said YES!” followed by a cacophony of cheering from the other end of the line. Dean blanched, his eyes growing wide. He put the phone on speaker and set it on the desk so Cas could hear too. Castiel chuckled and stepped over, kissing Dean on the temple. He grinned like the cat who ate the canary and turned away to get dressed. Smug bastard.

Finally, Sam’s voice returned through the line, “Sorry about that, man. Everyone was on tenterhooks waiting to find out how it went. April kind of scared us. She said the Mating-bond seemed to flare up like Cas had murdered you late last night, like y’all had had a fight or something? Anyway, I’ll go ahead and cross that off my worry list. You sound like you’re still alive. Whatever it was she felt, please keep it to yourself. I really don’t want to know.”

The noise of the crowd died suddenly, and Dean suspected Sam had entered another room and closed the door. “I’m happy for you guys. I told him before he left that I’d kill him if he screwed this up, but I don’t think he will. It feels right to me. You know, I’ve always said that.”

Dean looked over and raised an eyebrow at Cas to confirm that Sam had really threatened him. His fiancé just smiled sheepishly and pulled on a pair of boxers.

“Thanks Sammy. That means a lot. You’ve always had my back, and I appreciate it. Don’t worry though. This thing goes south, and I’ll kick his ass myself.”

“Sure you will,” Sam laughed.

“Seriously, Sam. He’s on his best behavior. We’re not going to screw this thing up.”

“I know you’re not,” said Sam in all seriousness. “I’m happy for you both, I really am. So, uh, when you say you’re coming home, are you coming back to the house, or moving straight in with Cas?”

“Funny you should ask. We dropped by the Federal Building this afternoon and applied to establish a pack together. We decided to file as Winchesters. We’re gonna live at the Novak estate and change the name. Cas said April’s still living in The Facility suite. He hasn’t even shown her the house yet, the dork.” Dean smirked when the Alpha growled at his choice of moniker. “So, once we get back we’ll move both her and me in at the same time. That’s the plan anyway.”

The phone was silent as Sam processed the news. Dean waited for him, knowing he’d have questions. “Winchesters, huh? I didn’t see that coming. Is Gabriel going to have to change his name? Dean, are you sure about this? Seems kinda sudden.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. I know it’s sudden, but like you said, it feels right. No, Gabriel and Naomi are going to stay Novaks, but they’ll be registered under the new pack, along with cousin Bolivia, whoever that is, some Omega related to Cas who needed a familial Alpha named on his custody papers. Cas talked to Gabe before he left, I gather. Says Gabe’s cool as long as he doesn’t have to move out of the manor. He likes the pool.”

“And what about me?” Sam seemed uncertain.

Castiel rejoined Dean near the phone. His expression told Dean that he’d step in and make the proposal to Sam if Dean wanted him to. Dean shook his head. His brother. His conversation. “Sam, Cas is Pack Alpha. We’d like you to join us, but you’d have to submit to him as Alpha. Not physically, of course, but just an oath transferring your allegiance from me to him. You don’t have to accept. I can stay your familial alpha if you want, you know, just in title. Or, shit, I guess you’re free to cut ties completely if that’s what you want. You’d be free to do whatever. It’s just. We talked, and we really want you to join us. You don’t even have to move. Our house is close enough to the manor to meet the legal locality requirements for an established active pack member. And of course, we wouldn’t have to even think about your name, ‘cause, Winchester.”

“Wow, Dean. I’m honored. Seriously did not see this coming. Can I think about it? What… how long can I take to think it over?”

Cas spoke to him, “Take as long as you like Sam. The invitation will always be there whether you accept today, next year, or never. Whatever you choose, we’d be honored to have you. Either way, you’re family. Nothing’s going to change that.”

“Okay, thanks. I appreciate the offer. I need to get some, um, processing time on this. Damn, you two don’t do half-measures do you? Go big or go home, right Dean?”

“Right Sammy!”

“Hey look, I gotta get back to my Ozzies. I left ‘em too long and no doubt I’ve got some paddle-work to do to bring ‘em down off the rafters. Be safe driving home, Dean. Take lots of breaks so the bruises on your ass don’t turn into bursitis. Take care of that Alpha of yours. And congrats! I’m really pleased. This is a very good thing. See you soon.”

“Bye Sam!” Dean hung up the phone and turned to Cas. “How’d he know about the bruises on my ass?” Castiel burst out laughing.

“Come on. I’m starving. Let’s get something to eat. What would you like? Steak?”

“How long have you known me, Cas?”

 

After they’d eaten, it was time for Castiel to call home too. Dean wasn’t sure whether he should give them privacy or not. Cas was dialing right out in the open room, so Dean decided it was a good time for a shower. When he emerged from the bathroom, Castiel was propped against the headboard, bare-chested and wearing sweatpants. His phone lay on the bedside table facedown and plugged in to the charger. Cas was flipping through TV channels with the remote.

“You know you didn’t need to make yourself scarce just then, don’t you?”

“I just figured you might want a private moment with your mate, and I needed a shower, so… You know this is going to be all kinds of awkward right at first.” Dean flopped next to Castiel on his belly, not remotely interested in sleeping on his back yet. Cas shut the TV off and dropped the remote next to his phone. “We’re going to have to feel each other out and get to know where everybody fits. Even just day-to-day domestic stuff is likely to be difficult until we know each other better.”

“Yes, I’m sure that’s true. How are you feeling about it right now? Do you want to talk about it?”

“Just, please believe me when I say I’m committed to making this pack work, and don’t freak out if we hit some snags at first. You and April have the Mating-bond to help you understand each other. I don’t. The way I figure it, we’ll probably screw everything up at first. Please don’t start doubting everybody and everything just because we need some time to adjust.”

“That’s fair. I do perhaps jump to conclusions too quickly on occasion. What else? Do you worry about possessiveness or jealousy? Do you worry about apportioning time?”

“Yeah. I mean, I don’t feel jealous of you two right now. Your relationship with April kinda seems to take a different place in my head than mine with you does, I guess. It’s just a different thing entirely; like how I’m not jealous of your bond with Gabe, or you of me and Sam. But that’s while we’re still 500 miles apart, and plus the sex thing makes this…more vulnerable. I took it pretty hard when I knew you were with her before. I couldn’t even stay in the same town. Now that we’re together, man, and now that we’re real, I feel solid – like nothing could come between our bond, not even a mate. But once we’re all living in the same house? I don’t really know.”

“I understand. Lupins are extremely skilled at compartmentalizing. However, I’m clearly asking much more of you in this relationship than you are of me. I need to be aware of any signs of jealousy from myself as well as you and April. We need to keep talking about everything, even the uncomfortable feelings that we both usually avoid. There will be rules that will help us keep the boundaries where they belong, but I need you to promise to keep the lines of communication open. I need you to tell me what works for you and what doesn’t. You can’t just make me guess what’s in your head, and then blame it on me as Alpha if I fuck it all up. Promise me?”

“I promise. You know how much I hate talking about feelings, but this pack could go sideways so fast if we don’t all talk to each other. I get it.”

“What else Dean?”

“What’s my role? Where do April and I rank against each other?”

“I would never try to place you below an Omega-Sub. Her Keller chart looks much like yours – very high scores for submissiveness and masochism, only she’s not a brat, like you are.” Cas smirked and cocked an eyebrow at him, popping his ass lightly with his left hand.

“Ow! Bruises and welts and shit! Be careful!”

“Outside of pack dynamics, I think we’ll find our places organically. We just have to move around each other carefully at first and make space for the others, like any new housemates have to do. It’s my fervent hope that the two of you will bond as family without much effort. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.” Castiel shifted up onto his hip to face Dean more fully. “Within the pack structure and as far as pack discipline goes, you outrank her, so you’ve got authority to correct her as you need to. Anything that comes up that you aren’t comfortable handling or you think might cause friction in your relationship, you can refer to me.

“You need to be aware, April has a Release block, and it’s a doozy. She can’t Release unless she feels she’s being punished justifiably for some transgression. She’s not a brat, so I have to practically manipulate her into breaking rules just to get her into a guilty mindset. I’ve set her about a million rules to follow every day – everything from how far the toes of her shoes need to be from the wall when she lines them up by the door, to how long she’s allowed to stay in the bath, to when she can sit at the table for meals and when she should kneel on the floor and be fed. It’s a shame because with her level of masochism and her affinity for pleasing me, if she didn’t have the block, we might be able to just about dispense with punishments altogether, and just affect Releases through play. But she’s built a subconscious block against Release if it’s attempted just through impact-play.

“I did manage to Release her a couple of times during sex, but those were both partial. Her Omesol output is through the roof. There’s no way to keep her balanced through sex alone.”

Dean listened carefully. Talk of Omegas and Subs, balance and Release unlocked “Director of Training” mode. “Sounds like she takes a lot of work.”

“I know, and it’s not going to be fair to you. You need to tell me if I start neglecting you, Dean. You deserve my full attention too”

“No, Cas. That’s not where I was going. I mean, yes, and thanks for that. I’m sure a brat like me will be able to find SOME way of getting your attention when I need it.” Castiel shared a smirk and complete agreement with Dean over the image of Dean acting up to spark his Dom’s attention. “No, but are you going to be able to handle her all by yourself? This one could just fire up your possessiveness, but if you need help, Sam or I, either one could step up with her Releases. If we’re going for full pack dynamics, I mean.”

“Thank you, Dean. Maybe someday, once we’ve unearthed all the land mines that are sure to trip us up, I’ll be comfortable allowing you to share that responsibility, but for now, I don’t feel like it’s a fair burden for you to take on. Let’s try to keep the lines from crossing so much at first.”

“Got it. Clean boundaries. So, I’m okay to discipline within the pack ranks, but not do balance adjustments. Sam too?” Cas nodded, and Dean approved. “That sounds good. I agree.”

“Oh hey, I just thought of something: do I get to discipline your mother? ‘Cause I really, really want to do that. Please Castiel? No one needs a strap across the hips like the Congresswoman from district 3. Oh, and Gabe! What about Gabe?”

Cas laughed and reached for Dean, hugging him across his shoulders in affection. He stayed cuddled in close once the hug ended. “No, you don’t have disciplinary authority over Naomi. She’s grandfathered as a widow Alpha-Mate and as such, doesn’t fall in a direct ranking line with the rest of us. Gabriel is a different story. He’s active Pack and Omega, so yes, spank him when he needs it.”

“One outta two ain’t bad.”

“Sam’s position relative to yours is trickier. Assuming he accepts our offer, it’s a bit of a judgment call. I’ll most likely leave things the way they are between the two of you because it seems to work so well. As Co-Pack alpha or Vice Pack alpha, or whatever you decide to call yourself, you have the right to ask for redress on the issue if you don’t like it. Doesn’t mean I’ll change my mind, but we can talk about it.”

“Nah, I like what Sam and I have going. I look after him, and he looks after me. Like you said, it works.”

Cas stroked Dean’s back with a featherlight touch. They both turned quiet and contemplative. It had been a long day.

“Hey, Cas.”

“Yes, Dean.”

“I don’t wanna fuck her, okay? At least not at first, not recreationally.”

“I know. Will you be all right with the C.F.? She’ll need it from you as an alpha in the Pack. If you want, we can use The Facility’s processing room to keep things more clinical. It’s purely Hierarchical Claiming, not recreational sex.” Cas searched Dean’s green eyes for signs of discomfort. “You know I would never ask you to sacrifice your sexual orientation for me. I would never do that.”

“Yeah, I know. Thanks for humoring me and just letting me put that out there. I’ll be fine with the Claiming. Done it hundreds of times on chicks. It’s not the same as having private fun sexy times.”

Castiel smiled, his eyes crinkling at how adorable his fiancé’s choice of words were. “No, it’s not. And I’m not humoring you. I want to know everything that concerns you. Even if you think it’s obvious, or understood, or inconsequential. Nothing you want to bring up is out-of-bounds. Understand?”

“Mm-hmm. I hear you. And same goes for you, oh great self-sufficient Alpha.”

“Did you mean what you said at the Federal building? That you really want me to take the lead role?”

“Of course, I did.” Dean pillowed his cheek in his crossed arms and closed his eyes, enjoying the touch on his skin. “I’m not gonna need the kind of structure that April will. But I trust you to take the lead. You go be Alpha, and I’ll back you up. You know my Submissive side, Cas. Sometimes I’m going to need to be told what to do. I’ll deny ever saying that in the morning, but we both know it’s true.”

“In that case, kiss me and go to sleep. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us tomorrow.”

“Yes, sir, Alpha, sir,” Dean sassed.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 13

 

THEN:

 

“Thank you so much, beta Shurley. The Caniforme Research project will make very good use of your contribution. Your $5 million is going to save a lot of people. This puts us over the top to begin construction of the first wing of the project and then some. We can’t thank you enough!” Dean gushed, threw himself into an energetic handshake with the beta, and then turned it into an impromptu hug. Chuck Shurley, check still in-hand, patted the alpha awkwardly on the back.

“OK, then. Um, you’re welcome,” the bearded middle-aged alumnus responded uncomfortably.

“Dean and I need to head out real quick,” Benny broke in. “Sorry to dash outta here, but we’ve got a curriculum meeting that we can’t miss. Thanks again, Chuck. Please enjoy the refreshments, and make yourself at home. You’re welcome here any time.” Benny hustled Dean through the door and exchanged a meaningful look with Bobby before he pulled it closed behind him.

“Let me add my thanks, beta Shurley,” began Bobby. “I know how important this research is to you and your pack; to all of us, really. I don’t know what we would do without donors like you.” Castiel handed the beta a cup of coffee with sugar and cream, and nodded his agreement. Bobby continued, “Of course it may wind up being all for nothing if the next bill off of Nilson’s desk gets through. You heard about that?”

Chuck nodded, sipping. It would be a disaster for Lupins if it passed. All forms of Claiming and Domination sex, including Mating, would be outlawed, listed as Rape by law. A wolf could be jailed and convicted for claiming their own mate. It was a catastrophe that was gaining support quickly and was the talk of the whole Lupin community.

“I heard that Senator Livestone was the best possible swing vote,” Cas piped in. He had been watching closely, and if the wolves could pull in one more swing and force an immediate vote, the bill would be doomed.

“That’s what I heard too,” said Bobby. “So, I called his office yesterday.”

“You did?!” Cas was surprised. Usually they talked strategy among themselves before stepping into politics directly.

“Uh, yeah. Sorry Boss.” Bobby didn’t look sorry, and Castiel suspected he’d been left out on purpose. He wondered if Dean or Benny knew. Bobby turned to Chuck. “Interesting things you hear when you call up random senators every now and then just to chat, just doin’ your civic duty and staying informed. Seems like Livestone really wants to support the Lupin cause; wants to very badly. In a completely different and unrelated side-note, Senator Livestone is up for re-election this year. Also, on a third completely unrelated vein, Senator Livestone’s campaign believes he would have a very good shot of winning the election if it could raise, oh, maybe about $5 million by the end of the month.”

Bobby stopped talking and stood, looking at Chuck expectantly. Castiel was appalled. “NO.” He placed himself between the two men. “Robert Singer, we are NOT doing this. It’s corruption, and it’s wrong! I won’t have any part of buying a vote – not even for this!”

“It’s not our money, Alpha. You may have noticed that our kind beta friend still has the check. A promise to donate is not a donation until the funds are deposited. Until then, well, folks are well within their rights to change their minds – maybe give it to someone else, instead.”

“I said NO!” Castiel was livid. Bobby knew Cas was going to be the sticking point, but there was no other way. He and Benny had talked it through. They needed to move strongly right now and make sure the opposition knew how deep their pockets were. They couldn’t afford to keep nickel-and-diming their way through Congress, always playing defense. It was time to go on offense. Chuck Shurley’s money was a God-send at just the right time, and while Dean would be devastated to lose what he’d schmoozed so long to get, it was the right decision.

“Castiel, listen to me. Everything we’re wanting to do here is important. And we’re gonna do it, I swear, just like we said. The four of us are gonna take this country by storm… shake it up. We’re gonna break every rule the apes put in front of us, and we’re not gonna stop until we get EVERYTHING we need to be strong and vibrant as the people we know we can be! In twenty years, they’re going to award you the Nobel, and you’re going to learn some Swedish and fly to Stockholm to accept it, and we’re never going to have to look back again. But until then, none of our plans amount to a hill of beans if Congress rips it all away from us before we even get started.

“I know you don’t like it. I know you’re not an ‘Ends justifies the means’ kind of guy, but this is how it’s done, Alpha. You want to lose everything and have nothing at the end of the day but your integrity? Yeah, it’s important. I’m not saying it ain’t, but your integrity ain’t gonna matter worth a can-to-shit-in to some Omega dying on the streets, sellin’ himself for scraps.

Castiel’s jaw couldn’t get any tighter. Chuck just stood to the side, still awkwardly holding the check in one hand.

Bobby went on. “Dean couldn’t be part of this. He can’t make the jump, and I wouldn’t want him to. Benny and I, look, I’m sorry we went behind your back. We both owe you our hides for it, and we’ll pay, but this is worth it.”

“You’re asking me to commit an act of political corruption. Bobby, I can’t do it. I can’t!”

“No, I’m not, Alpha. I’m not. You know what it is, I know what it is, Chuck and Livestone and every asshole in Congress who thinks they can walk all over us know what it is, but the law don’t. This ain’t illegal, Castiel. It’s politics. Look, you read Doris Kearnes Goodwin, right? Abe Lincoln did this stuff. Abraham Fucking Lincoln! Come on, Alpha! If it’s good enough for the Sixteenth, who are you to…”

“NO! Bobby, ‘Everybody else is doing it’ is never going to be reason enough to throw out our integrity!”

“All we’re doing,” Bobby spoke softly, gently, bringing Chuck into the conversation, “is turning down a contribution that a good friend of ours offered. Maybe, we just don’t really have a need for it at the moment. So, then, that good friend of ours thinks to himself, ‘Gee, this money’s kinda eating a hole in my pocket right now. I really want to do some good with it, make a difference in the world. I wonder if there’s another good cause out there that could use a check this size?’”

Bobby met Chuck’s eye. Chuck nodded at him, and Bobby nodded back, shook his hand, looked longingly at the check as Chuck tucked it back into his blazer pocket, then escorted him out the conference room door.

Castiel stood rooted to the floor, looking down. He could’ve stopped them, but he didn’t. He could turn them in, but he wouldn’t. There was no official wrong-doing anyway – no evidence of any laws broken. Castiel had never felt so dirty. Did it really HAVE to be this way? Bobby and Benny sure thought so. They’d told him years ago it would eventually get ugly.

Bobby stood in front of him, and Castiel turned blazing eyes on him. He’d been manipulated, and he felt like a fool. Bobby jumped in. “I’m heading out for drinks with Sam, Benny, and Dean to celebrate the defeat of a certain Senate bill. You’d be welcome to join us, but you’ve got some soul-searching to do tonight, Alpha. You need to ask yourself how important this vision of yours really is. Maybe re-read “Team of Rivals,” maybe spend some quality time with your Omega brother and thank the Universe that he’s still here and sane for you to talk to. Benny and I will present ourselves for reprimand in the morning. After that, we’ll talk.”

Bobby slammed the door on his way out. Castiel flinched. He felt he should’ve responded, but he couldn’t think of anything to say. He was pretty sure he’d just been grounded.

 

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

 

NOW:

Donna perched on her mate’s lap in the lunchroom, snuggling close, enjoying having her beloved close enough to her that they could share lunch most days. She worked a hand down the front of Jody’s pants and wiggled her fingers into the warm, wet sweet spot that never failed to turn Jody’s cheeks crimson and her eyes dark.

“Now that’s just downright unsanitary,” complained Rufus as he joined the ladies and noticed what they had going on downstairs. Jody laughed but grabbed Donna’s wrist and held her in place when her mate started to slide her hand back out. Her eyes told her Omega that she’d very much appreciate it if she’d please continue. Their entire conversation lasted only a few seconds and was concluded without words, but they both got their points across. Donna resumed her work with her finger-tips, and Jody resumed feeding her mate.

“Hey, Rufus. It’s good to see you again. Everything okay?”

“Yeah. It’s hunky-dory. Damn, you work fast, girl. I’ve been trying to get in this Omega’s pants for three months. She won’t give me the time of day!”

“That so? She seemed pretty easy to me,” snarked Jody. She turned her eyes to her mate. “You turned Rufus down? He’s hot. Of course, you know I like them a little seasoned.” Donna threw her head back and laughed.

“You callin’ me old, beta? Besides, you’d kick my ass if I even LOOKED at another wolf, and you know it.”

“That’s true,” Jody admitted and planted a kiss on her mate’s mouth.

“Oh, it’s like that, is it?” protested the Security Director. “Y’all coulda just told me you were mates. Didn’t have to play your damn games with me. Damn!”

They both broke out laughing. Jody shoulder-checked him and reminded him that if he’d bother scenting either of them it would’ve been perfectly clear. Then she leveled him with a steely eye and told him in all seriousness that she’d personally castrate him if he so much as looked in Donna’s direction again.

“Ma’am, yes ma’am,” shot Rufus digging into his lunch.

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

 

Dean and Cas slept late the next morning, and went for a mid-morning swim in the hotel pool. They decided to consider this time before they needed to leave for Kansas a mini-vacation, so they lunched on heavy Texas barbeque and traded steamy blow-jobs in the shower. In no time, the Impala, packed with the few possessions Dean bothered to bring with him, headed north toward Oklahoma with Dean at the wheel and Castiel riding shotgun.

He pulled into a gas station in Richardson to fill the tank and stock up on snacks, taking offense at the judgmental looks he got from Cas at his selection of beef jerky and Big Red. “This is road food, and I don’t want to hear it. Road trip equals road food. Period.”

“Eat whatever you want, Dean, but don’t complain to me when it makes you uncomfortable a hundred miles up the road.” Cas had somehow located the exact brand of protein bars he kept stashed around The Facility, and he paired it with a Vitamin water.

Dean just shook his head. “This marriage is never going to work, man. It’s like I don’t even know you.”

Castiel grinned at him and slipped back into the car.

“Dork.”

They drove through the suburbs at a fairly good clip. Early afternoon was a good time to get on the road, traffic-wise, so they made good time. Dean kept his box of old tapes handy, but wouldn’t allow Cas to touch them, selecting each new selection according to some pattern only he understood.

“So, I got a question for you,” started Dean, turning Metallica down to allow conversation. Cas looked up from his phone where he’d been reading emails. “Would you allow April to marry, if she found a guy that she loved and wanted to? Or is this great married-not-mated experiment for Tops and alphas only?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.” Cas turned to look through the windshield. “It wouldn’t be fair to forbid it out-of-hand. I suppose we’d have to keep the option open, wouldn’t we? Although it would have to be a marriage approved by her familial Alpha, and since that Alpha is also her mate…it’s not especially likely that she’d get an approval.”

“Yeah, maybe for most alphas that’d be hard, but you’re an open-minded guy. Don’t you think you could weigh the benefits and give the guy a shot?

“You’re making fun of me, Dean. I don’t much appreciate it. And besides, it’s a valid question. Why should the Tops alone be allowed to define their life-long relationships outside of the Mating-bond? If we tell April she can never marry even though we’re doing it, doesn’t that make us hypocrites?”

Dean laughed. “Sorry. I’ll stop provoking your predictable sense of justice. No, come on. You can’t make everyone equal, Babe. Omegas are just always going to need a simple hierarchy. If she tried to add a marriage outside of our Pack, her loyalty would be split in two. It couldn’t work.”

“Well, then we’d just have to insist that she only marry within the Pack,” concluded Castiel.

“No good. That leaves Gabriel and Sammy up for grabs. You wanna share your mate with either of those numbskulls?” Dean changed lanes to pass a heavily loaded eighteen-wheeler and accelerated to move on ahead of the building traffic. It felt good to let his Baby open up and run.

It took him a minute to realize that his fiancé was quiet and tense. Dean looked across at him. “Something I said? You know I was just teasing.”

“It’s a touchy subject.” Dean looked at Cas again, eyebrows raised. Cas sighed. “I’ve already shared my mate with your brother. You weren’t there when we mated, remember, so Sam performed the second traunch of her Keller test. His Claim should be just about worn off by now, but I didn’t much like leaving her in Kansas knowing there was another wolf who had claim to her.”

Dean didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t been aware that Cas had asked for him to do the test. Would that have changed anything? Probably not, he decided; at least, not for the better. If anything, Cas would have been even more distant and possessive, and Dean would’ve left town even sooner. Then Castiel saved him from his darkening thoughts by quirking a little smile and adding, “You know, she could always marry my cousin in Bolivia. Neither of us has any emotional baggage with him.”

“One of these days I want to get to the bottom of whatever story is behind Cousin Bolivia. There’s gotta be some family drama there that you’re not sharing.” Dean was relieved to have the conversation turned. There were powerful mines in waters like these, and he didn’t think they were ready for all of them.

“My lips are sealed. Bolivia’s story is his alone to tell.” Castiel was quiet for a few more miles although he didn’t return to his emails. He reached across the bench seat and took Dean’s hand, resting both of theirs together beside Dean’s thigh. “I’m very happy to have you back, Dean. I missed you terribly.”

Dean pulled Cas’ hand to his lips and kissed his fingers. “I love you, too,” he said, and he set their hands back where Castiel had placed them and drove on.

Castiel’s musing broke the silence some time later. “Do you think we need to worry about Alistair and Ruby? I’ve got enough contacts in the industry that I’m sure I’ll know where they both end up.” He met Dean’s eye for a moment. “I don’t know either of them at all really. What do you think, Dean? Are they dangerous?”

“Yes. Both of them are dangerous separately, but if they stick together, they’re bad news times twenty. I wish I knew where they are right now. Tell you the truth, they’re probably heading the same way we are. They’d fit right in with Gordon’s new set-up.”

“And isn’t that just what we need?” lamented Cas. “Everyone who’s ever had a grudge against me all holed up in one place. This visit’s going to be just peachy.” Castiel leaned into the window and frowned.

“Hey now, don’t go all Grumpy-Cat on me here. We’re still on vacation until we get home. Road trips are supposed to be fun. And you can’t use ‘peachy.’ That’s my word.”

Dean drove and just thought for a bit. “Don’t worry about them, Cas. We don’t know what they’re going to do. We don’t know where they’ll end up. We may never even see them again. Worrying’s not going to do us any good anyway. Just take it as it comes, okay? How’s that for ‘peachy?’”

Dean changed the subject tangentially, “Have you checked in on Victor? How’s he doing?”

Cas stretched in his seat and took a deep breath. “I haven’t spoken to him directly. I want to give him some space to process the D.F. and get his head right. I talked to Bela this morning while you were downstairs hunting for real coffee. She said that physically, he’s going to be fine. The worst damage is his broken cheekbone, which apparently looks God-awful but isn’t too bad. Although there’s also substantial anal tearing he needs to recover from.” Cas shot a sidelong at Dean and added sheepishly, “I probably shouldn’t have broken his face, huh?”

“You did what you had to do, man. You know that a D.F. only works if you let your wolf out. Looks like your wolf was pretty damned pissed off. I think a broken face isn’t too high a price for him to pay for the mess he’s made down here. I was kinda surprised you didn’t fire him on the spot, to be honest.”

Cas shook his head. “He’s a good man. Mostly. Maybe he isn’t right for the directorship. Maybe he’s in over his head, but you can’t convince me that his intentions aren’t good. I think he got played by Alistair. He put his trust in the wrong wolf and didn’t keep his hands on the reins like he should’ve. I don’t expect he’ll make that same mistake again.”

“Yeah,” laughed Dean. “Prolly not.”

“Of course, he might still quit. I humiliated him badly in front of his entire staff and a lot of the clients. He may not recover his equilibrium. Some wolves aren’t strong enough to make it back from that.”

Dean kissed Cas’ knuckles again. He liked having Castiel’s hand in his. It felt like direct contact with his wolf, right there easy to get to when he wanted to pet its furry head. “Whether Victor pulls himself back up or not isn’t your responsibility, Babe. He’s got to make his own way. Though if he does quit, then we have to contend with Bela.” Dean shot a meaningful look across the seat. “Watch out for that one, Castiel. She’s not evil like Alistair, but she’s cold and ambitious. I think she’ll hook her wagon to anyone who’ll help her get ahead. She wants a directorship. Wants it bad. I suspect she’s working with Victor because she thinks he’s weak and won’t last long. I’d advise that you don’t feed that beast unless you know how to put it down if it turns rabid.”

“And by the way,” Dean continued after a minute, “Gabe says your D.F. was all kinds of hot.”

“You filmed it!?”

“Yep. It might be making the rounds back home, purely off-line of course. That is, off-line except for the email I attached it to.” Dean’s proud smirk was too much. Castiel just shook his head.

“I can’t believe you sent it to my brother. I can’t believe he said it’s hot. That’s…That makes me somewhat uncomfortable, Dean.”

Dean laughed. “Yeah, I’ll bet.”

 

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

 

They made it almost two hours into the trip before Dean needed to pee and walk the stiffness out of his legs and ass. Fucking Doms and their fucking wooden-handled hairbrushes. The brush was worse than the cane, if you asked Dean. It shouldn’t be, but it was.

Just south of the TX/OK border, he spotted a State-run rest stop and signaled for the exit, nudging Castiel to let him know he should slip his shoes back on. Dean pulled in behind a line of cars and then found a space near the end of the long line of parked cars next to an old-fashioned station wagon. Dean arched his back and stretched his arms over his head when he got out. Castiel did the same.

“You smell that? Somebody’s cooking something delicious. Damn, that smells good! They got picnic tables with grills out here somewhere, I guess?”

“Um, I don’t know. I don’t smell anything,” Castiel replied in a distracted voice. “I see maps. You go on ahead. I want to get a map of Oklahoma if they have one. I’ll catch up.”

Dean went on, but turned and walked backward so he could shout a taunt back. “You’ve got maps on your phone, Cas. We don’t use paper anymore, you know.” Cas waved him on and continued searching the racks.

Dean couldn’t get over that smell. It was like every delicious meal he’d ever eaten all rolled together into one. It was getting stronger as he approached the large rest-room complex. (We need to crash whatever party’s going on where they’re cooking that) supplied Dean’s wolf. Dean agreed. He wanted in on it. Bad. But first he needed to empty his bladder. Dean spotted the men’s room, but scanned further to see if there was an alpha/beta room as well. Nope. Of course not. Fucking Texas. Men’s room it is.

Dean rounded the corner and stopped abruptly. The odor he’d been drooling over didn’t get weaker as he approached the men’s rest-room, it got exponentially stronger. And it wasn’t a food odor at all. It was…indescribable – delicious, sensual, enticing, sumptuous, and indescribable. Dean whined and gripped the wall. His cock hardened in his jeans. He could feel the red spreading in his eyes, and his fingertips went suddenly very cold. His breathing shallowed to a quick panting, and he WANTED.

He took two steps forward into the men’s room, turning right to find a single long room with metal stalls down one side, and urinals and wash sinks down the other. Three or four men occupied the open space, but none of them… he scanned, none of them…were… where was he? Where was that smell coming…from? He found himself a couple of yards down the walkway when he spotted the black-haired man pressed against the far wall. Dean froze and stared at him. Shocked, wide green eyes looked back into his own. The man’s chest was heaving. He looked young, twenty-two maybe. He was dressed in baggy sweatpants and a hoodie, and he’d plastered himself against the back wall like his life depended on not moving.

Dean heard a strange sound echoing through the long room, a whine that oscillated in pitch and volume. It was a sound of desperation, and he looked to the man’s throat to see if it was coming from him. It wasn’t. His green eyes were turning a bright golden color even as Dean slowly approached, but his throat wasn’t moving. That sound? Dean froze again when he realized it was coming from his own throat.

Somebody near him spoke something in urgency. There was motion all about him that he couldn’t focus on. There was suddenly shouting that he didn’t understand, and the next thing Dean knew, he was standing only two feet in front of the black-haired, green/gold eyed man and breathing hard. His fingers twitched, flexed. Every muscle stood rigid and ready. He was ready. The younger man opened his mouth to speak but Dean didn’t wait to hear his voice. The sight of those lips opening sparked him, and he launched himself at the man and kissed him with teeth and growls and hardened lips, grabbing at the man’s shoulders to pull him in tight, trying to lower him to the ground so they could… so they could Mate.

Dean’s brain caught up to him, and he pulled back and growled, slamming a hand down on the back of the Omega’s neck to force him down onto his knees. The Omega had other ideas. He slammed the heel of his hand into Dean’s jaw, splitting Dean’s lip and sending his head flying back. He was thrown off balance and fell back, holding onto the man’s hoodie by the shoulder and catching his descent.

Dean recovered quickly, rearing up and using his grip to gain purchase on his Omega’s shirt and shoulder. He slammed the man into the wall and roared a full-throttled alpha-voiced scream into the Omega’s pale face. He was met with a glancing knee to the groin. Only the movement of Dean’s leg as he shoved himself forward, catching the knee-jerk and sending it off-center saved him from crumpling to the ground in agony. The glancing blow sent his erection throbbing with want and pre-come dripped into his pants. He roared again and grabbed a handful of black hair, wrenching it back and down to bare the Omega’s throat, slamming his mate’s head into the wall. WHY? Why was his mate fighting him when they should be knotting already?! Betas fought Mating sometimes, the Dominant ones did, but this boy was Omega. Everything about the tussle felt wrong. Then a voice he knew well broke through the buzzing in Dean’s head.

“DEAN! KNEES! NOW!”

Dean released his hold and dropped to his knees without thought.

“STAY DOWN!” Dean crumpled and whined in misery. WHY!?

Castiel took Dean’s place in front of the Omega, and lifted the younger man bodily from the wall. Turning away from Dean, he slammed the man to the ground on his back, knocking the wind out of him. The Omega clenched his eyes in pain and grunted the breath out of his lungs.

Castiel put a knee on the man’s chest, and then looked to Dean. “What’s the meaning of this?! Answer me, Dean! What the hell’s going on here?”

“He’s my Mate, Alpha! Don’t hurt him. HE’S MY MATE!” Dean scrabbled to the man’s head, and ran his hand through that soft black hair. He shoved Castiel’s knee, and Cas, staring in shock, removed it.

“Your mate?”

“GET OFF OF HIM!” A rush of motion and another scrabbling body announced the arrival of yet another wolf to interfere, but Dean wasn’t having it. He stood over his mate’s supine form and roared at the newcomer with all his might. The Omega, for his part wasn’t taking it lying down either. He was regaining his breath and attempting to stand, using Dean’s pants-leg to crawl his way up.

It was a chaotic mess. Everyone shouting, everyone reaching, punches thrown, kicks landed, hair tangled into someone’s fist.

“ENOUGH!!!” announced Castiel. The wolves froze. “Dean! KNEES!...and STAY THERE!” Dean dropped again. He was bleeding from several places, but then so was the Omega. There was flesh under Dean’s fingernails.

“Is this your Omega?” Castiel asked the spare wolf. “Answer me!”

“Yes, he’s my son! What the HELL are you doing to him?”

Castiel had the Omega in a head-lock. Dean’s wolf didn’t like it at all, and he growled menacingly at his Alpha. He was answered with a roar from his Dom that snapped his jaw shut. “Help me!” Castiel directed at the mate’s father. “They’re mates. We need to get them out of here before they kill each other. Alpha, HELP ME! Take your son! Can you hold him?”

“What? Mates? But they’re fighting! Why would they be fighting?” The Alpha took hold of his growling son with an arm across the chest and began to drag him out of the rest-room. Castiel lifted Dean off the floor and carried him bridal-style, pinning his arms to his sides. Dean didn’t fight him. They were moving in the same direction as his mate, so he was good with it for now.

Dean ignored the soothing noises coming from his Alpha and kept his eyes locked on the black head of the Omega in his father’s grasp in front of them. As they exited the rest-room, he barely noticed the crowd of people pressing forward and the State Troopers keeping them in check. Dean didn’t care about any wolves but one, and he didn’t care about the Simians at all.

The older Alpha called to Castiel over his shoulder as they struggled down the path toward the parking lot, “I’m parked at the end. I can get him into the car, but I can’t keep him there!”

“I’ll follow you. We’re parked this way too,” answered Castiel. “If I can get him inside the car, it should cut enough of the scent that I can talk him down!”

“Bring them over here!” hollered one of the cops, directing the two wolves toward a short line of State Troopers’ cars. Two more cop cars pulled into the lot as the group approached. Cas noticed the cop who was directing them had ears that were slightly pointed. He was Pack. It was an unexpected gift, and Castiel took it.

The father wrestled his son into the back seat of one of the cars and slammed the door, ordering him to STAY PUT with all the Alpha authority that he possessed. Castiel did the same with Dean in the car next to it. The police had followed at a distance, and they approached when both car doors closed. Castiel waved them to keep their distance.

“It’s not safe yet. We don’t know what they’ll do, but we need to get the cars’ engines going so they can have air conditioning. It’s too hot in there without it.” A couple of the Troopers moved forward and got the air going in each car. Dean was sprawled along the back seat with his head pulled up to the window, watching the vehicle beside his closely. He tensed when the engines both roared to life, but Cas spoke firmly through the open driver’s-side door. “We’re not leaving Dean. Your mate is fine. No one’s going to take him from you. You just need to hang on for a while until we figure this out. Can you do that for me, Dean?” Dean’s wolf whuffed at Castiel in response, and he began to kick off his shoes and pull his shirt over his head. Castiel wiped the sweat from his face, checked that Dean was secure, and turned to the other Alpha.

He extended his hand to the Alpha as he rounded the police car’s bumper. “Castiel Novak. I think they’ve chosen a poor place to try to pull off a Mating, but I’ve seen worse.”

“Jerry Lancet. That didn’t look like any Mating I’ve ever seen. Those two were tearing each other apart.” There was a great THUMP from the backseat of the cruiser behind Alpha Lancet. Both Alphas roared at the young man in unison, and he stilled again. “That’s Michael, my son. You’re Dr. Novak? We’re on our way to an appointment with you right now. This is crazy.”

“Yes, Michael Lancet. We’re doing a Keller test and a psych Eval on him. You said Michael was having some unusual issues at college, correct?” The sound of Dean’s whining was getting loud enough to work its way out of the car. Castiel stilled him with a look. “Look, we don’t have much time here, and we can’t keep them in the cars for long. Long story short, I know that Dean is an alpha-Sub, and I suspect Michael to be an Omega-Dom. I believe that what happened in there is that Michael’s Dom was reacting to Dean’s alpha, and the two just got onto the wrong wavelengths – thus the fighting.”

“That actually makes some sense. Michael’s hot-headed, although I’ve never seen anything like that outta him before. But…a Dominant? He’s Omega. There’s no such thing. Is there?”

“Dean called Michael his mate back in the rest-room. I think we have to assume that that’s what they are. Do you have any objection to allowing them to Mate, assuming we can make it safer for them both?”

Michael was up against the glass again and beating on it. “OPEN THIS DOOR! THAT’S MY MATE, GODDAMNIT!”

“I don’t know! What if you’re wrong? What if they kill each other?”

“There’s a Lupin Resource center in Oklahoma City. If we keep them in separate cars, but within sight of each other, we might be able to get them there. Here’s my cell number. We’ll keep a phone line open and on speaker so we can communicate the whole way, and they can both hear what’s going on. It’s the best I’ve got unless you want to just open the doors and let them scamper off into the bushes to knot and tie.”

“We’ll never make it to OKC with them in this condition.”

Castiel sighed. He looked at Dean who was rubbing his forehead back and forth across the glass, keeping his eyes downcast. His lips were moving. If Cas had to guess, he was soothing himself with Metallica. Castiel hated to do this, but he didn’t see any other way. He needed to keep Dean and Michael safe, and he needed resources. Cas waved the cops over. He made short work of explaining his plan and requesting their help. Within ten minutes, two Texas State Troopers were speeding north, their lights and sirens running, carrying four desperate Lupins to see what Oklahoma City had in store.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 14

NOW:

“Oh, Jesus!” shouted Dean

The sound of Dean’s orgasm, followed by the smell, turned the Trooper’s eyes wide. He kept his car centered on the Highway, but focused his vision into the rear-view mirror and the back seat.

“Oh, Jesus!” the officer mirrored, rolling down his window to capture some fresh air. “Is that really necessary?! What the hell’s wrong with him?” The Winchester Pack had drawn the short straw and ended up with a Primate cop driving them north.

“He’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with him,” Castiel replied calmly glancing back at where Dean was sweating and panting, entirely nude and covered with his own release. “He’s just occupying his Submissive wolf right now. It’s the best place for him to ride this out.” Dean began cleaning his hand with his tongue, his eyes closed.

“What about the smell?! How’m I gonna get that smell out of my car?!”

Cas considered his options. He shouldn’t antagonize the guy. The Troopers were really going out of their way to help. Of course, the argument could be made that as protecting public safety was their job, and Lupins were part of the public, it was their responsibility to assist. But they could’ve just dropped the two wolves off in the closest jail cell and made them face their mating there. Cas was grateful for the ride to a decent facility, even if it wasn’t one of his.

“Unfortunately, I’ve found the only way to get rid of a smell like that is to cover it with one that’s stronger. Be glad you don’t have a Canid’s sense of smell.”

The officer shot Cas an alarmed look, but Cas calmed him with a gesture. “Relax, I’m joking. The Caniforme Institute will pay the cleaning bill. We can get your car back to normal, I promise.” Turning his gaze back over the backrest of the cruiser, Castiel addressed Dean loudly. “How are you doing back there, Dean? Do you need some water?”

“Need to pee.” Dean had rolled into a ball on the bench seat, his back toward Castiel, his breathing still too shallow for Cas’ liking.

“Oh, shit! He’s not gonna pee back there is he? That’s not a thing y’all do, right? Marking stuff?”

“Uh, no. We don’t mark things with urine. You’re thinking of Labrador Retrievers. Look, just pull over. We’ll give him a minute and see if Michael needs one too. I don’t want them to lose sight of each other.” Cas directed the next into the cell phone on the seat beside him, “Alpha Lancet, did you hear that? We’re going to pull over and let Dean out for a second. You can do the same for Michael, but just don’t let them out at the same time.”

“Gotcha, Alpha. I hear you loud and clear.” Cas could hear the Lupin officer discuss it with Alpha Lancet quietly through the phone. It sounded to Cas like they were all ready for the stop.

“Dean, we’re stopping. I’m going to get out too and make a phone call, so you’ll lose the connection with Michael for a few minutes. But he’s going to be right behind us. You can see him, right there. He’s not going anywhere, okay?”

The triggered wolves had begun the trip by calling out to each other through the open line, not caring at all that their obscene promises to knot and mate in all kinds of positions were making the Troopers extremely uncomfortable. Cas left them alone. Without face-to-face interaction between them, they abandoned the antagonism, letting the horniness take over. They just needed an outlet, and it was a long drive. As the trip stretched on though, they had both retreated into their own heads, frustrated with their inability to find satisfaction with just their voices.

“K.” Dean going monosyllabic wasn’t a good sign. Castiel was worried. The car pulled to a stop, and Cas checked that the other cruiser had matched its pace, stopping well back in case either of them made a break for it. Having them in separate cars helped lengthen the time they could be suspended in this state as it eliminated their access to the Mate scent, but they couldn’t keep it up forever. The Omega especially was vulnerable to permanent psychological scarring if forced to wait too long once triggered before being bitten.

Cas cracked his door open and stepped out into the crunchy grass and gravel. He picked up his own phone in one hand, still live with the car behind, and carried with him Dean’s phone which he’d been using to text Bobby and Benny in the other. He pressed the Call button as the officer slowly opened Dean’s door and helped him out.

“Who did that to your ass, man!?!” the cop held Dean by the arm to get a good look at the bruising, but Dean broke his grip with a cranky snarl and hobbled barefooted up to the nearest tree.

“Dean! Shoes would’ve been a good idea!” Cas hollered at him just as he heard Benny answer at the other end of the line. Dean flipped him off as his stream started up loudly.

“You people are crazy!” muttered the cop. “You know public urination is a ticketable offense, right?”

Cas ran a hand down his face and took a deep breath, praying for strength and patience. Benny heard his sigh. “Going that well, is it?”

“Please tell me you’ve worked out where we’re going and what to do next. I can’t get enough of a signal out here for anything but calls and text messages. Did you get hold of Gordon?”

“Hey Cas, it’s Bobby.” The call was clearly set on speaker between the two. “Look I don’t think you wanna go to Gordon’s. Not for this. I don’t trust the guy farther than Charlie can throw him.”

“Hey!” echoed a protest from some distance away. Cas assumed they’d assembled an emergency team to pull Dean through this with his new mate. It made him feel warm and a little less alone.

“Plus,” Bobby continued as if there’d been no interruption, “I’m looking at some of the audit reports and inspections from down there, and it’s not good. Long term we need to take action against him; looks like he’s running more of a trafficking program than training and support. But for right now, we’re just focused on getting Dean somewhere safe.”

Dean was making his way back to the car slowly. Great, thought Cas, now he’s limping. Cas met him halfway and guided him to the open car door, helping him sit and picking up one of his feet to check it. Cas found several sticker burrs that had attached themselves brutally to the bottom of Dean’s foot. He propped the phone between his cheek and shoulder and began to pull them carefully out. Dean lay backward across the seat and just allowed the attention.

“Where would you suggest then, guys?” He asked the group. “We need somewhere that’s staffed by Lupins so we don’t scare the daylights out of everyone. Is there a Lupin hospital?”

“Keep heading on into OKC, Cas” said Benny. “We’ve got a couple of good contacts there who might have a dungeon we can use. All you need’s a room with a bed and a lock, really. In fact, they probably don’t really need the bed if you think about it.”

“I’m not sending Dean to mate in somebody’s basement, Benny! Find something suitable!”

“C’mon Alpha,” Benny protested. “Wolves do this all the time. You think every mating happens with electrodes and heart monitors and Pelio-readings?”

Cas growled through the phone at him, finishing with Dean’s feet, and shoving him rather unceremoniously back into the car and closing the door. “You didn’t see them, Benny! They would’ve torn each other apart if we hadn’t broken them up. We can’t do this without the right support in place. A hospital would be better than a house, but what I wouldn’t give for a fully-equipped processing room right now!” He sighed heavily again. As Dean’s Dom, it was Castiel’s responsibility to provide for his needs, and his inability to do so was tearing him up.

“Hold on a second, Benny,” said Castiel. He caught the officer’s eye. “Can you get him some water? And keep an eye on him. You don’t have to stay in the car if it makes you uncomfortable, but please don’t let him out.” The Trooper nodded, sensing Castiel’s level of frustration meant he’d have no patience for any push-back. Cas picked his way across the space between cars and signaled that Michael could be let out.

The Canid Trooper opened Michael’s door and the wolf shot out, making a bee-line toward the car that Dean was in. Cas growled and dropped both phones. He tackled the Omega as he tried to dart past and squashed him face-down into the prickly grass and hard-packed dirt. Lucky for Michael he hadn’t stripped yet like Dean had done. “Don’t even think about it,” Cas breathed into his ear as the Omega snarled and bit at his attacker. “I’m going to get back up and hand you to your Alpha. You’re going to walk to that tree right there, do you see it? You’re going to take a leak or jack yourself off or whatever you need to do, and then you’re getting right back into that car.” Cas started pulling him off the ground to hand him over. “You pull another stunt like that, and your wolf is going to get up close and personal with mine. You don’t want that, I promise you, Omega.”

“Sorry, Alpha,” said Michael’s father, taking his son by the arm and leading him away, the Omega whining pathetically.

Cas dusted himself off and picked his phones back up. He’d maintained both connections somehow. “Benny,” he huffed into Dean’s phone. “Just tell me, what the fuck are we doing? Where am I going?”

“Okay, Alpha,” Ellen’s voice broke through. “I’m texting you the address of the county hospital about thirty miles north of where you are right now. Just forget OKC. There’s nothing worth driving for there. This place has what you need. There’s a Lupin wing that has an H/R room that’s free. I’ve told them to hold it for you and to have some muscle on hand in case things go sideways.”

Cas watched as Michael finished up by the tree and then watched the Alpha place him into a presentation position with his hands braced against the bark and his ass out. Michael took about fifteen stinging swats from his Alpha before being frog-marched back to the car. Alpha’s face was grim and weary. He wasn’t going to be able to do this much longer either. Cas didn’t bother to tell him that spanking would have no effect on a True Mate-triggered Omega. It’d probably made the Alpha feel a little better though. That was something at least.

“All right, Ellen. Let’s do it. And, hey, before I rejoin all those listening ears, did you find any suggestions about how to approach this mating without either of them losing an eye or a testicle?” Cas nodded to acknowledge Alpha Lancet as he walked up, still sweating and grim. He put the phone to speaker and held it in his palm.

“Omega-Doms are extremely rare. There’s not much about them in the medical journals or our own research links. From what little I’ve found, it looks like your best bet is to get Dean into a Submissive state and let the Omega direct the mating. It’ll be a C.F. that’s Topped from the Bottom, but it should still form a viable bond. As long as the more submissive partner submits, it doesn’t matter whose penis is where. Question is, will Dean’s alpha be able to get out of the way?”

“Thanks Ellen. I can’t believe we never thought to prepare for this eventuality. We always knew Dean’s designations. I owe both of them a debt for this mess.”

Bobby’s voice came through the line. “Just bring those boys home safe, Cas. Don’t beat yourself up. None of us saw this coming, including Dean. There’s plenty of blame to go ‘round, and none of it’s going to help right now.”

“Thanks Bobby. Thank you everyone. We’re heading back out now.” Cas hung up and checked that the address had come through by text. He looked up at Alpha Lancet. “You heard?” The Alpha nodded. “Any reservations? Now’s the time to say so if you have them.”

“I can’t stand in the way of this.” The Alpha looked completely out of his depth. “I had no idea he might be a Dominant. Never even crossed my mind, but it makes so much sense. Everything. Dr. Novak, do you think they’ll be okay? Can they do this? Not just the mating and claiming, but from now on, bonded for life as an Omega-Dom and Alpha-Sub, can they do it?”

“Alpha Lancet, I know Dean very well. He and I are engaged to be married. You and Michael should both know that before we get to the hospital, although at this point nothing’s going to sway either of them from finishing it up if it kills them both. I have every intention of marrying Dean as planned despite his being mated to your son. As Dean’s Pack Alpha and husband, I will accept Michael into my pack, and I’ll be there to look after them both. I know it’s unusual, but I’m convinced it can work. If anything, having a larger support structure may help them build a more stable mated relationship.

“So you understand, I will not interfere in the Mating bond between them. The relationship they build is theirs to foster and grow as they see fit. It’s none of my business, and I mean that. Sir, your son could not have been granted a better man as alpha-mate. Dean is a wonderful, caring man who I expect will fulfill your son in every way.” Cas looked straight into his eyes to allow him to read Cas’ wolf. “What I’m trying to say is that you should allow this mating, despite your trepidations and allow Dean and me to take responsibility for your son from here out. I swear to you we’ll take good care of him whatever specialized care he needs as an Omega AND a Dominant.”

The Alpha stared at Castiel as if he’d grown a third head. “Married?! How the FUCK am I going to explain this to Michael while he’s lost in his wolf and jacking off all over a Texas State Trooper’s back seat?!” He looked at Castiel for another moment or two, but Cas had no advice for him. Eventually the Alpha blew out a breath, swore vehemently under his breath and spun on his heel to return to his own car. He twirled his finger in the air over his head in a ‘Move ‘em out’ signal and shouted back, “Let’s get this show on the road! It can’t get any weirder than this!”

Cas realized as he returned to his seat that that’d been the strangest version of Alpha change of custody approval he’d ever witnessed. He wondered if it would stand up in court if the matter were ever pressed. He gave the patient Trooper the new address, and they headed out again. Thirty miles was doable. Thirty miles was nothing. Cas turned around and looked over the back rest.

“DEAN!” Cas called back in the Alpha-Dom voice that Dean responded to unconsciously. “Do NOT touch your cock! The next time you come will be when you mate your Omega. I need you to wait, Submissive. Michael needs you to wait for him.” Dean groaned and rolled back and forth. He drew his hands up by his chin and clutched his fingers into a tight knot. “Very good. Do you need me to bind you? Would it help?”

“No, I can do it. I’ll be good, just hurry, Alpha. It hurts so bad!”

Castiel turned back to the officer. “Step on it, please.”

 

The group arrived at the county hospital in twenty minutes. It was a very long twenty minutes. Castiel and the Trooper had listened in agonized silence as Alpha Lancet tried to get through to Michael that his new True-mate was already engaged to the Alpha from the rest-room and had no plans to call off the wedding. Surreal didn’t even touch this experience for Castiel. For the moment at least, though Michael didn’t care.

There was a cluster of white-uniformed employees at the emergency bay, so the officer pulled up there. “Thank you, sir. I will be contacting your department head to commend you for your outstanding public service, but I won’t keep you now. I know you need to get back to Texas.” Cas jumped out and shooed the orderlies out of the way. He was pleased to see mostly Lupin staff on-hand. He pulled Dean out by his arm and slung an arm under his to support him on the way in.

“This way, Alpha,” said an assertive beta nurse. Cas appreciated her efficiency. He needed to get Dean out of the hallway before Michael came through. She led them to a small surgery-prep room with a lockable door. Cas deposited Dean on the gurney in the middle of the room and then stooped down to look at his eyes. Dean sat slumped over, too still and too compliant. He didn’t look present at all. Cas snapped his fingers in his face, and Dean’s alpha-red eyes locked on Cas’ blue ones.

“Hang in there, Dean. We’re just about ready. We’re getting your mate all prepped for you. Then you can knot him. Are you ready, my friend?” Dean’s eyes cleared a little more as Castiel spoke to him. The nurse placed electrodes on his chest and took some quick readings.

“Wanted it t’be you, Cas,” slurred Dean, but Cas shushed him. That wasn’t a good place for his mind to go right now.

“Michael is beautiful, Dean. He’s tall and strong, with green eyes, just like yours. You’ll have the most beautiful pups together. Close your eyes, my love. Picture his face. He’s all for you, and he’s perfect for you. He’s going to make you so happy.”

“So happy,” murmured Dean in a drunken whisper. The nurse cleaned Dean’s wounds with antiseptic and bandaged them quickly. She seemed to be stalling, waiting for a signal that Michael was ready. Castiel’s phone buzzed in his pocket. It was Ellen, so he answered and put it to his ear, moving away from Dean.

“I’ve got the hospital tied in on another line. We’re going to do this remotely, okay Alpha?” Cas didn’t answer. He just waited for her to continue. This was Ellen’s specialty, and he knew when to follow her instructions. “They say Michael’s already prepped. Apparently, he did it himself on the drive up. Cas, I want you to stage Dean as if he were the Bottom, just like we do when Alpha-Subs mate Beta-Doms. It’s no different except I want you to give him a solid spanking first. He needs to be in his Sub mind when Michael enters the room. Once Michael takes him in hand, we don’t expect there to be any other snags, but we’ve already seen that his alpha wants to jump up and confront the challenge at the very beginning. We can’t let that happen, so we have to get him past that initial point of confrontation. Do you understand? Do you agree?”

“Yes, Ellen. Good idea. Would you suggest I set up a scene, or just take a go at him?” Cas was too nervous to think clearly.

“I have no idea, Alpha. Truth is, you know the answer to that better than anyone. We just need to get him thinking submissively. Okay, we’re into the closed-circuit feed now, thanks to Charlie. Whenever you’re ready, go ahead and get him into the H/R room. We’re tied in to the instrument readings and we’ll be able to see everything and communicate if we need to through the nursing staff there.”

“Thanks, Ellen. We’re moving through now. I’ll talk to you after it’s all done. Wish us luck!” He hung up and put the phone in his pocket. The nurse had Dean on his belly and was spreading an Arnica ointment onto Dean’s backside and thighs. “Let’s go, we’re up first,” he told her.

Another nurse was guarding the door, and he fell in with them as they exited, leading the way down the hall to the Heat/Rut room, opening the door and ushering them through. Dean made a bee-line for the bed, looking around for his mate, and looking very disappointed and confused.

Castiel assumed an Alpha-Dom stance and made his voice very firm. “He’s not here just yet Dean. He’s coming soon, and when he does, you’re to follow his instructions, do you understand me Submissive?”

“Cas…” Dean whined. Castiel placed his hand on the back of Dean’s neck as he would an Omega and squeezed firmly. He leaned down to hear a nurse’s whispered notification that everything was ready as soon as Dean was. She told him to take his time and then exit through the far door. He nodded and refocused on Dean. His love. His fiancé. Dean trusted him with his Submissive wolf, trusted him with his heart. Dean needed him strong. They could do this. Cas knew all hell was likely to break loose when Michael realized the kind of Pack he was joining, but right now Castiel needed to focus on Dean. His eyes were drawn to the bandages which proved Michael could beat the crap out of an alpha if he felt motivated enough. Cas felt the full weight of responsibility to make sure that didn’t happen again, at least, not until Dean wanted it to. That was for later, though. Focus, Castiel; don’t fuck this up for him.

“I said, do you understand me, Submissive?” Cas used his voice to show no quarter. Dean nodded, his red eyes wet with unshed tears. “Good. Now there’s just the matter that’s yet to be settled between you and me, and then your mate will Claim you.” Cas took it as a good sign that Dean didn’t protest who was meant to claim whom.

“You behaved atrociously at the rest-stop, and I won’t HAVE IT, DEAN!” Cas could hear the uncertainty in his own voice. Fighting in public wasn’t something he would normally be expected to call an alpha down for, but it’s all he could come up with on the fly. Focus, CAS! “You’re getting a spanking for this, Submissive, right now!” Cas sat on the edge of the bed and tugged Dean’s wrist, trusting his Sub’s conditioning to kick in and take him there. He didn’t seem to have far to go. His eyes were nearly over-flowing, but Cas couldn’t tell if that was just the stress of waiting or not, and he couldn’t take the chance. Dean stumbled toward his Dom’s lap and fell over it clumsily with a pitiful sob.

Dean’s backside was still too swollen and bruised to really spank. Cas wouldn’t have even considered it under normal circumstances. He ran his hand over Dean’s abused flesh. “Don’t keep count, Sub. I just want you to feel this spanking and think about how sorry you are for disappointing your Dominant.”

He lifted his hand and brought it down with a SMACK! upon Dean’s purple ass. It wasn’t hard, no harder than he would spank an eight-year-old pup, but Dean flinched and shouted out. He repeated the action at the same strength several more times, listening to Dean’s breathing and the gruffness of his shouts. His Sub writhed on his lap and too quickly began to cry in earnest; much sooner than he normally would’ve done. Castiel took it as confirmation that the drive up had served Dean well. So much waiting with his consciousness within the realm of his wolf had already done most of Cas’ job for him, and the light spanking took him the rest of the way. Dean cried and apologized, promising his Dom never to let it happen again. He sounded genuine to Cas.

Castiel stood him up and held him by his hips, looking deeply into Dean’s tortured eyes. (Please forgive us, beautiful Sub), sobbed Castiel’s wolf. (Get a grip on yourself!) Cas told him mercilessly. Dean couldn’t be allowed to see a chink in his armor right now. If memory served, from what Cas had experienced, Dean wouldn’t remember this part anyway, not once the Mating bond formed.

“Dean.” He made his voice cold steel and his Sub responded by sucking in a quick breath and locking his eyes on his Dom as he’d been taught to do. “I expect you to obey your mate, Michael. If you EVER attack him again like that, you’ll get far worse than a spanking. From BOTH of us, do I make myself clear?”

“yessir.” It was Dean’s small voice, the one he used only after a particularly successful chastisement. Castiel pronounced him ready. He prayed he was ready.

Castiel wasted no more time. He stood and pointed to the bed. “You wait right there, and don’t you move until Michael tells you to!” Dean scurried into position, lying flat on his back and casting pathetically sad eyes at Castiel as he turned and walked out through the door.

Cas pressed his back against the door of the small control room, dropped his head into his hands and wept, shaking. That was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do in his life; harder than calling out his own mother on national television, harder than allowing under-handed deals with Congress to lubricate the way through a corrupt system. He loved Dean so much and this, more than anything he’d ever been part of could cause him to lose Dean forever. Mates had that power, and Michael could turn out to be ruthless in his possession of Dean. Castiel sobbed into his hands, letting his legs give way and settling against the floor. Someone laid a blanket across his shoulders and sat close in beside him, lending the support of a strong body.

“He’s ready, let the Omega in, now,” one of the attendants said through a microphone. Cas looked up through blurry eyes and watched the closed-circuit feed. He couldn’t look away. He needed to know that Dean was safe.

An arm went around his shoulders, and a soft voice murmured in his ear, “We’ve got him, Castiel. He’s going to be fine. We’ve got alphas staged at both doors ready to pull them apart if it gets violent again.” Castiel recognized her voice. He turned and found it was Anna leaning into him, holding him close and speaking comfort. Anna. He hadn’t seen her since she’d graduated from the Omega-Sub training program’s very first class and entered nursing school, Cas’ recommendation paving the way despite her gender.

“Anna!” he breathed, hugging her tightly.

“Let’s watch! We haven’t had a mating here in months. This is exciting. I’ve NEVER seen an AS/OD mating before. That was brilliant to prep him with punishment. Look!”

But he was already watching mesmerized.

 

Dean felt horrible. He’d fucked it all up. Again. Like always. All he had to do was obey his Dom, and he couldn’t even do that right. There was a pesky part of his brain that wanted to break in and say he hadn’t been issued an order, and there had been no disobedience, but Dean didn’t give it a chance to voice. There MUST’VE been an order. He’d just forgotten. Maybe a rule that he’d broken. Castiel had never punished him without reason. He wouldn’t, so it had to be Dean’s fault.

Dean’s attention was drawn by movement. He saw the door open, and his mate stepped in. Michael. It was a strong name for an angelic visage. He was so beautiful. His body was young and sculpted. Dean’s cock, hard and leaking as it had been for hours, twitched. Michael stood at the doorway, his head tucked low, but his eyes hard and cold on Dean’s face. Golden-rimmed eyes. Omega. Mate.

Dean was overwhelmed. He wanted to go to his Omega and claim him. He wanted to drive him into the ground on his knees and mount him fiercely, but Castiel ordered him to stay and wait. Ordered him to obey. Why was Michael waiting? Didn’t he want Dean? He’d fought Dean off in that long concrete room. Maybe he didn’t want Dean for his mate. Maybe Dean had fucked this up too. He writhed in misery and cried out a long, agonized whine from low in his throat.

Michael’s eyes widened in surprise. At the sound from his mate, he broke away from the door as if it burned him and stepped quickly to where Dean lay moaning. Michael looked alarmed, and he shushed Dean, climbing on the bed and straddling his thighs.

“Shhh-shh. It’s okay, little alpha. I’ve got you. Shhh. Are you going to be good for me this time? I don’t want to have to strike you again. That wasn’t fun for me, either.” Michael’s voice was soft and soothing. Dean nodded rapidly and mumbled promises to behave. “Good, good alpha. My good boy. Are you ready? I’m going to talk you through this real slow. You just listen to my voice and do exactly as I say.”

Michael’s movements were so slow and measured, Castiel was transfixed. Could you actually complete a Mating-bond like this? He moved to stand beside Anna behind the Head nurse’s chair. When she noticed him, she stood and directed him to the chair. He accepted it in a trance-like fog, unable to tear his eyes from the screen. Michael was a revelation.

Michael leaned down over Dean’s face and wiped the tears so carefully from his face with his thumbs. “Open,” he told Dean in a whisper. Dean took Michael’s thumbs into his mouth and sucked his own sorrow from them, keeping his eyes on his mate’s. Neither man blinked. They both moved in slow-motion, as if under-water. Michael smiled at Dean as he removed his thumbs and stroked them through Dean’s hair. “Keep your incredible red alpha-eyes on me, Baby. Just listen to my voice. I’ve got you. I’m not going to let anything bad happen to you. Not ever. You can trust me. You’re so beautiful. My Mate, My Mate,” he whispered and ran his hands in a line down Dean’s throat and across his chest. The effort not to buck up into his touch was clear on Dean’s face, but he was conditioned well; a perfectly trained submissive. “My good boy,” praised Michael letting his hungry eyes and hands explore his new mate.

Michael tweaked a nipple lightly and then slapped Dean hard on the thigh when he closed his eyes in pleasure. Dean’s eyes sprang open again. His cock dripped another drop of pre-come onto his belly. Dean could feel Michael’s slick gathering in the valley where his own thighs were pressed together by Michael’s. “Keep your eyes open and on me. You ready, Dean?”

“Yes, Michael, ‘M ready,” Dean whispered, but he made no move. He waited for instruction, for permission. He could be good. Oh, please let him be good enough. His Mate smiled down at him.

“I’m going to ride you now, Baby. I want you to match my pace with your hips. Can you do that?”

Oh hell, yes, he could do that. “Yes, Michael.” Dean spoke louder this time. The waiting and control were killing him. Michael lifted himself and placed his hole directly over Dean’s cock. He paused in place, poised and just barely touching the tip of Dean’s wet cock with his ass, holding Dean’s eye, testing him. A small stream of slick tickled as it ran the length of Dean’s erect cock. Dean didn’t move, didn’t blink, struggled to keep breathing. He could be good. He could. A drop of sweat ran down Dean’s face from his forehead. He was trembling with the effort of waiting.

“Very good, my alpha,” breathed Michael. “You’re being so good for me.” He began lowering himself slowly onto Dean’s cock. It wasn’t a perfect alignment. A lesser sub would’ve shifted his hips or even reached to correct the angle with his hand, but Dean kept still, kept his eyes on his Dom. His Dom. My Dom, he thought. Be good for my Dom, for my Mate. Be good.

He gasped as his cock caught painfully on the edge of his Mate’s rim, then righted with a twist of Michael’s hips and slipped into his channel. Dean curled his toes, the only outlet he had except for his voice. He moaned obscenely and surrendered, letting the wolf inside him hold the Omega-Dom’s eyes. It was too much for Dean. He was utterly over-whelmed, so he let go; let go of everything, let his wolf own this moment, trusted his wolf to make it right for them both.

Michael knew. Michael knew the instant Dean submitted to him completely and turned himself over to his wolf. Michael knew the wolf. They were True Mates. Michael felt he knew Dean’s wolf like he knew his own, and he directed the lean grey beast with just his eyes and his hips, riding Dean’s cock in sensual rocking circles. Dean’s hips moved on their own as Michael moved over them - his cock the physical manifestation of the link that was forming between them.

Michael picked up the pace, bracing himself with his arms on Dean’s shoulders and never breaking the eye contact that tied one wolf to the other. Dean groaned in pleasure and torture, picking up the pace of just his hips as his Dom had instructed. Michael smiled.

“Now move, Baby. You’re free to move. I release you. Fuck me hard. Show me what my alpha can do!” Dean didn’t need to be told twice. The alpha wolf flipped his Omega onto his back and covered him with his body, driving into him again and again with a roar of pent-up passion. He gathered the Dom’s hands in his own and held them fast to the bed over Michael’s head, fucking into him powerfully.

Michael threw his head back and screamed in pleasure and abandon. “FUCK ME! HARDER! C’MON ALPHA! OH, FUCK YEAH! FUCK DEAN!!!” He wrapped his legs around Dean’s waist and tried to hold on as the alpha released the hours and hours of frustration through his pelvis. Michael’s head butted up against the metal bars of the institutional bed as Dean fucked him, but neither of them cared. Michael used Dean’s grip on his hands to transfer them to the bars and they held tight, a tangle of fingers all white-knuckled together.

Dean’s orgasm was building. He wasn’t going to last long after waiting for hours. He drove into his mate brutally hard and forced his knot past Michael’s tight rim again and again, pounding into him. “BITE ME, ALPHA!” screamed Michael as he came untouched between their stomachs. Dean didn’t even try to aim. His wolf was in charge for the moment, and the wolf didn’t care where the bite-scar landed. He bit down hard into the meaty flesh of Michael’s left shoulder where it flattened out, well-clear of his neck. His knot popped past Michael’s rim one last time and stuck fast. Dean’s wolf continued to grind mercilessly away until he came with a moan that he ground out around his teeth. Their Mating-bond pierced through the last of the barriers between the two men as it wrapped them together in a cocoon of tight warmth and burrowed into their bodies. Dean’s hips undulated in time with his voice, using his grip on the bars to rock their two bodies up and back, letting the aftershocks roll through both of them as one.

 

The alpha and the Omega stilled together. Castiel watched them, wondering if Michael had somehow directed that too. Could he speak to Dean through the Mating-bond? After what he’d just witnessed, Castiel wasn’t sure Michael didn’t possess some kind of angelic power over Dean. Castiel watched through the feed as Dean released his grip on his mate’s shoulder and pass his tongue over it three, four, five times before stilling again and laying his head on his mate’s broad chest.

Castiel sagged in the chair. He felt his perfect life just might be slipping away, and for the first time felt more than just a little empathy for what Dean must’ve gone through when Cas met April. Watching another Dominant take his Sub, his beloved, and knowing things would never be the same had been devastating to watch. Castiel’s wolf was beside himself. Cas didn’t try to soothe him though. Now was not the time for Castiel’s comfort. It was for Dean. Cas excused himself from the room and felt his phone buzz in his pocket before he’d even made it out the door, reminding him that the closed-circuit feed had been patched through to Kansas. They’d all seen it.

He let it ring and left the building. It was dark out now. Cas found a bench next to a small pond just outside the main entrance, and he sat, his elbows resting on his knees, and he just sat.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 15

 

THEN:

“Coming up right after the break, Doctors Castiel Novak and Dean Winchester from the American Caniforme Research Institute are here to discuss the rape and assault charges against Monica Reye. We’ll be right back.” The director motioned that they’d cut the live feed, and the A.D. ushered Dean and Cas into the tall, straight-backed chairs.

“Hey guys!” Kaitlyn gushed. “I’m glad you could make it. I think this is a very important case for our times, and I know you do too. I expect you’re eager to get your message out to the public.”

Castiel shook her hand and nodded, “Yes, we are. The decision in this case could mark a turning point for the status of Lupins in America – for good or for ill.”

“I’ll be asking you fairly straight-forward questions about your views on the case, and if you’re okay with it, we’ll just go from there. I want to warn you I plan to play devil’s advocate, maybe run it a little bit confrontational. I think it would be helpful to give you a chance to address the concerns that we monkeys are apparently having with this case head-on. You know I’m an advocate for your cause, and I always will be, so don’t be thrown if get a little feisty on you here.”

“Let’s do it,” chimed Dean as a technical assistant fixed his mic.

In no time, they were coming off the commercial break. “Kaitlyn in the Morning” theme music piped in and then faded. “Welcome back! And a warm welcome, as always, to my favorite guests, Dr. Castiel Novak and Dr. Dean Winchester of the American Caniforme Research Institute. Thanks for coming, fellas!” She really was much too chipper for this early in the morning. It was unnatural.

Dean addressed her with a flirty wink, “We’re only your favorite because we always talk about sex when we’re on your show.”

“That’s true!” she laughed. “But today’s topic is pretty serious, and I want to ask you about it. There’s a new amateur video circulating on YouTube and other sites showing California native, alpha Monica Reye of Sacramento. It’s gone viral this week, and it has led to her arrest. She’s being charged with rape and assault of her own mate, Benjamin Reye. A warning to sensitive viewers, we’re about to show the video in its entirety, and it is extremely graphic, so please use your discretion.” She paused for a polite moment to allow those more sensitive viewers to call their whole families into the room to watch as well. The video feed cued up. “As the video starts, you’re seeing here, apparently, Monica Reye in a foot-chase with her mate Benjamin down Beamon avenue. The eye-witness is filming with his cell-phone. He follows the pair into Nigel Park where, right here, Monica tackles her mate violently, and forces him to the ground. He appears to be struggling quite strongly, but isn’t able to break away. She’s going to pull – or actually tear – his pants and underwear off of him, and then proceed to have forceful intercourse with him, obviously against his will.

“Gentlemen, I know you’ve seen this video. It’s really quite disturbing to a lot of viewers. Senator Nilson’s office has issued a statement condemning the alpha woman’s actions in the strongest terms. I understand that Mr. and Mrs. Reye are Lupins, and I just have to ask, what do you make of this?” She stopped and looked expectantly at Dean and Castiel.

“Holy **BLEEP** that was HOT!” shot Dean, fanning himself dramatically.

“You can’t be serious!” Kaitlynn was *shocked*. “Hot?! How is this not a clear-cut case of spousal rape?!”

Castiel leaned forward and spoke directly to her in his calm, clear, professor’s voice. “Kaitlynn, what Dean is trying to communicate, in his sophomoric way, is that for Lupin mates, this behavior, that Simians find so disturbing, is really a perfectly healthy display of loving spousal affection.” He pressed on, over her obvious attempt to interrupt, “I have to start by mentioning that YouTube is already rife with videos very similar to this one and there appears to be no out-cry over those. The only evident difference about this one is that what we have here is an alpha WOMAN apparently assaulting her Omega MALE mate. I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to suggest that it’s really more an issue of misogynistic bias at play as to why alpha Reye has garnered so much attention, and the thousands of others where the male wolf plays the aggressor, haven’t.”

“Further,” he continued. “When I watch this video, I’m as aware as you are that it COULD be an act of illegal, unconscionable assault, and so I’m watching for certain tell-tale signs from both participants to indicate one way or the other. In this case, I can tell that it’s a consensual act in a couple of ways: One, the Omega’s got slick staining the crotch and back of his pants, a stain that is actively growing from the start of the video to the point where he is divested of his clothing. That doesn’t happen if the Omega isn’t aroused. Assault is not arousing to Omegas. Two, in what appears to be a violent and ruthless act of throwing the Omega to the ground, what you’ll notice if you look carefully, is that the alpha’s arm swings up at just the right moment to take the brunt of the impact for her Omega’s fall. She’s protecting him from injury, and you’ll note from the police reports released today, that while alpha Reye’s arm was quite scraped up, Benjamin has no injuries whatsoever.

“And third,” Castiel held up a finger to forestall her, and Kaitlynn snapped her mouth shut as Dean smirked - everyone responded to Cas like that. “Benjamin may be writhing, but he clearly places his body, voluntarily, into the classic Omega presentation position. His backside is angled outward to provide his alpha full access to his anus and channel, and his back is bowed downward. An Omega who wasn’t receptive would never take such a pose as this. It is cat-nip to an alpha, clear and unequivocal invitation. And I have to say, I agree with Dean – it is pretty hot.”

Kaitlynn smiled discreetly, and allowed Dean a chance to add his two-cents. “We don’t encourage pack dominance games – and that’s what this is, just a dominance game between loving mates – we don’t encourage wolves to play these games in public places. For one, because the Primate population isn’t accustomed to them. Many apes find them quite disturbing, and we don’t want to see anyone arrested unjustly. But even more so because Primate children can be badly scarred by witnessing this kind of an act. There’s a time and place for everything, and it’s critical that we protect each other’s pups. We’re all one big human pack, after all. I’m not worried about the Simian adults: they can grow up and get over it. We have sex, they have sex, everyone has sex. Adults have sex, let’s stop pretending we don’t. But Primate children aren’t wired the same as Lupin pups. This is completely inappropriate and unacceptable behavior to display in a park where children who are not used to witnessing sex between their Pack adults might be forced to see it. They could charge her with public indecency or lewdness, but not assault, and definitely not rape.”

“So, your only concern about this is that there might be children present? What about Benjamin?”

“Well it looks to me like Benjamin’s wolf is getting a pretty thorough stroking right there,” Dean responded lustily his eyes on the screen which was playing the video in a loop. “And I’d like to point out that Benjamin is not the one pressing charges. His Omega status makes him a juvenile in the eyes of the law, giving the state the right to act on his behalf. The same state that expects him to behave like an adult, classifies him as a child so they can step in where they aren’t needed.” Dean switched effortlessly into activist mode, his disgust at the way the system’s double-standard hit Omegas from two directions driving him to lean in and drive the point home.

“OK, just humor me here, I’m changing topics a bit. I want to clarify for myself and my viewers – I have to ask – I’ve heard you say that about wolves several times in the past. Can you just help me understand? Benjamin’s wolf; the one that’s ‘getting a stroking? Is it metaphorical, or is there a substantive other personality within him that you’re referring to when you say that?”

“It’s both,” Dean explained, unconsciously dropping his fierce tone and slipping into the persona he’d used in grad-school when he taught under-graduate freshmen, how he speaks to his classes at The Facility. “For Canids, unlike Simians, the disparate parts of a person’s psyche are very close to the surface. We can’t just shove our emotions and less-than-conscious selves under-wraps. We have to deal with them every day in a very real and present way because those other parts make active decisions for us all the time. Sometimes our higher brain function is in play, and sometimes we have to act from a deeper part of our psyche. It helps us to be conscious of the different aspects of our own selves. One way we’ve found to help us gain access to the instinctual side of ourselves, the ‘ID’ I guess, is to imagine it as a beast inside us that we can interact with; even speak to and listen to, learn to visualize. That’s the part we call ‘The Wolf.’ We now understand it as powerful enough to consider it another aspect of the ‘self’, and we call it the Tertiary Gender. Every Lupin has one.

“We teach pups, from a very young age to begin to imagine themselves as some form of quadruped Canid species. We bring in hundreds of pictures of wolves, and foxes, jackals, coyotes, even domestic dogs and dingoes, and get them combing through the images to find just the right one that feels to each child like a visual representation of who that pup is inside.”

Dean paused to see if the talk-show host wanted to add a clarifying question, but she signaled for him to continue. “Of course, they all want to be the Big-Bad wolf!” He laughed. Castiel chuckled. “Over time though, they hone the image in their heads until it really suits them, and they practice seeing and interacting with just that image. Practice and a good likeness make us really good at it, until over the years, it becomes almost so real we forget it’s not. It’s a way of looking directly into our deepest needs and wants, and can be a very powerful tool. If you’re not honest with yourself about who you are - who your wolf is - the ‘wolf’ won’t be able to speak to you, so it’s important to be realistic.” Dean nudged Cas hard enough to make him correct his balance on the tall chair. “Not all of us ARE the Big-Bad wolf like Cas here.”

Kaitlynn laughed with him.

“When we talk about getting our wolves stroked, we mean that we are accessing those deep desires and giving in to whatever the desire is. It feels very, very good to be able to partake in whatever pleasures are most instinctive for us, and it’s a necessary part of staying mentally healthy. My wolf, for instance, really loves Dominant, well-hung male alphas who **bleep** the **bleep** outta me. It’s a thing with him, and I see no reason to deny him what he wants.” Dean’s flirtatious demeanor was back.

“Well, can you tell me what your wolf looks like then, Dean?” Her face had flushed a bit. The two Lupins looked at each other uneasily, then Castiel explained.

“There’s no way you could know this, but that’s an extraordinarily personal and uncomfortably presumptuous question. A Lupin wouldn’t dream of asking another wolf that.”

Dean broke in to clarify, “It would be like if I asked you what your areolas look like.” She gasped and sat back, crossing her arms over her chest protectively, and Dean grinned. “Exactly! So, we don’t talk about it like that. Casual relations would never ask, and our most intimate relations wouldn’t ever need to ask, because they will have ‘seen’ our wolves for themselves, ya know? Like your husband probably already knows what your…” Dean gestured toward her, and then stopped talking, pretending not to see the stern look laced with dark promise that Castiel shot him. Filters, Dean. Get some filters.

“So back to Benjamin Reye. What you’re saying, is that being chased and taken forcefully by his mate in public is a need for him, for his wolf? That THIS is just normal interaction between the two Lupins?”

“Absolutely. And I would go further and say that the alpha’s getting as much out of this experience as the Omega. For a Dominant alpha, the chase and capture of a mate is incredibly satisfying.” Cas eyed the footage still repeating on the screen.

“Pshh!” Dean snorted playfully. “Down boy!”

 

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

 

NOW:

 

“What the FUCK was that?!” Meg threw out. “There’s no way that worked.”

“They’re gonna have to do it again. That was no Claim-Fuck, it was just a D/s scene. All he did was ‘Dom’ him. They’re gonna have to do it again.” Sam repeated, staring into the screen with a critical eye. Dean looked very relaxed, but there was no way. Mating did NOT work like that. They had the Submissive side of it covered, thanks to Dean, but there’d been no aggression or possessiveness from Michael. Mating did not work like that; it had to be a CLAIM. Always. If the Top didn’t take ownership, the Mating bond would fail to spark.

“You think maybe Michael did it on purpose to rub Alpha’s nose in it; force him to have to watch it all twice?” Garth asked.

“Guys!” Charlie interrupted, her eyes on Ellen, not the screen. Ellen’s face was inches from her monitor, her hand was up and out toward them all in a shushing gesture, and her lips were still in an “O” like she’d finished speaking, but then got distracted before re-setting her face. Her brow was pulled low in concentration.

“What is it Ellen?” asked Bobby, moving to stand behind her.

“It’s…their eyes. It’s hard to be sure because of the black-and-white feed, but I think their eyes are retracted back to normal. And look, I believe…yes, they’re both body mirroring. Watch their hands.” She pointed. Bobby checked for himself. The two wolves on the screen talked softly with each other as they worked to find a comfortable post-coital position to wait out Dean’s knot. Michael gestured as he spoke, flexing his left hand expressively, and Bobby saw Dean’s fingers twitch in response. The fingers of his left hand.

“I’ll be damned,” Bobby breathed. “It can’t be.”

“I’ve never seen anything like that. You can’t Mate with a D/s scene,” Benny reaffirmed, meeting Meg’s eye and then Bobby’s. “Can you? Not one like that…” Bobby shrugged and turned back to the screen.

“Kinda looks like you can under the right conditions,” Ellen supplied. “We need readings.”

“Hello? Oklahoma?” Bobby spoke into the conference phone on the table. “Ellen, what’s her name again?”

“Cheryl. Head nurse’s name is Cheryl.”

“How ‘boutcha, Cheryl? You still there?”

“I’m here. Go ahead.”

“You guys planning on getting in there to take some Pelio-readings for us some time this century?”

“You want us to do it now?! We usually wait until the couple falls asleep so no one gets bit. I ain’t putting one of my nurses at risk.”

“No, we’ve only got about fifteen or twenty minutes – tops – before the bond stops effervescing and burrows down deep. After that, all your readings are gonna be muddy. I need you to get them now. Do you have somebody powerful?”

“No, belay that!” Charlie broke in. She looked at Bobby apologetically but didn’t back down. “We tried it your way last time,” she reminded him, then turned and spoke into the phone. “Cheryl, do you have a beta-Sub on staff?”

“We’ve got an Omega-Sub. Will she work? Will she be safe in there?”

“Even better! Yeah, she’ll be fine. An Omega-Sub is no threat at all. They’ll barely notice she’s there, plus they’re still tied. Just tell her not to make eye-contact and don’t speak unless she has to. Dean’s familiar with this part. He’s done this hundreds of times during C.F.s”

A familiar voice came through over the speaker, and most of the wolves in the Kansas control room perked up. “Charlie, it’s Anna. Remember me?”

“ANNA!” It came from all directions in stereo, but only Charlie continued on, “Wow, Omega! Is that really you?”

“Yep. I’m a nurse now. I’m so excited Dean came here for his Mating. That was amazing!”

“I know, right? Anna, we need to get the peliomometer readings right away. Can you do that for us? If you don’t have one, just use Castiel’s. He keeps one on him all the time. You there, Cap’n?”

“Uh, no. Alpha stepped out for a minute. I think he needed a few moments to himself,” said Anna.

The Lawrence Kansas group exchanged charged looks. “He’s not answering his cell phone,” Pamela told them all.

“Okay, never mind. Anna, do you have a meter?” Meg asked her, taking over from Charlie.

“Hi Meg! I thought that was you. Yes, ma’am. I have one. I’ll get the readings right now.”

“Do you need me to talk you through it?” Meg checked.

“No. I’ve got it. Just give me a few…” She trailed off as she pushed through the door. The alpha guard stepped in with her, but Anna shoo’d her back out again.

Anna approached the murmuring couple with her head lowered. She held the meter out and watched its face to make sure it was picking up a solid reading. The naked wolves on the bed ignored her as she made the first pass from their feet toward their groins, still locked tightly together.

“Anna?!” Dean exclaimed. “Holy shit! What are you doing here? What, you work here? As a nurse?” She nodded shyly at him and blushed. Anna’s crush on Dean had never abated. She found herself just as thrown by his masculine beauty and presence nearly five years later as she’d always been in class. Sex with Dean during her training class had been the hottest she’d ever experienced, even up to now, years on, and after she’d Mated to a wonderful alpha.

Michael broke in with a growl that pulled Anna back to the present and made her step back. “Michael, shut it!” Dean commanded, all alpha. “She’s a friend and one of my ex-students. She’s not trying to steal me away. Besides, she’s Mated already. Can’t you smell?”

Michael huffed without trying to scent the Omega, but at least he stopped growling. Dean rolled his eyes, but gestured kindly to the nurse to continue her work. She smiled at him and finished the readings quickly, then she prepared a tray for them with wash-cloths, warm water and soap, bottles of water and cereal bars. She left the tray on the small table beside the bed before exiting back the way she’d come in.

Dean winked at her as she slipped back through the door, and she blushed anew.

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

Castiel sat still. Occasionally his phone buzzed in his pocket, but he ignored it. Then, a pair of nurse’s shoes appeared on the ground in front of him, and he looked up. Anna stood before him with two steaming mugs held together in one hand by their handles, and a manila folder in the other. Castiel accepted a mug of tea from her, taking it carefully so he didn’t spill either and helping her recapture just her own cup’s handle. He sat back on the bench, and she joined him.

“I owe you an apology, Alpha,” she told him seriously. “I just found out you and Dean are married, and now he’s Mated that Omega. I was insensitive back there. I’m sorry.”

“Engaged, at this point. Not married yet. You don’t owe me an apology, Anna. You were excited. It’s understandable, and you didn’t know.” Cas sipped his tea. “Is that their Mating log?” He indicated the folder with a jut from his chin. She handed it to him, and he flipped it open.

“So, the Mating-bond took?” Anna nodded, and he continued, perusing the print-out, “I wasn’t sure. They looked sated, but I have never seen anything like what Michael just did. It was extraordinary. It was like he could read Dean like a book and pushed every one of his buttons. I’ve known Dean for years, and I can’t read him like…” Cas looked up and caught her eye. No. This wasn’t a burden he should be putting on the young Omega. He closed the folder. “Is this my copy?”

She nodded, but qualified, “I thought you were married already. If you’re not Dean’s Alpha yet, maybe I should give it to him.” She didn’t meet his eye, unsure whether her comment might be taken as a challenge by the Alpha, but he shrugged.

“We’re registered Pack, so I’m his legal Alpha even though we haven’t married yet. I’ll take it.” He bent to catch her eye. “Thank you, Anna, for helping Dean and Michael through their Mating. It was a strange affair, and I felt better knowing that there was a caring and highly competent staff present watching over them. You’re important to us. You’ll stay in contact from now on, won’t you?”

She nodded. “You know where to find me, Alpha. I really like it here. It’s small enough that I’m not overwhelmed, and my mate takes good care of me.”

“It was lovely to see you again, Omega. I’m so proud of where you’ve taken your life. I know you’re an excellent nurse. You were always so empathetic and caring. I’ll be in in a few minutes to help wrap things up and make arrangements to get those two transferred.” Castiel flipped the folder back open. “Have they shown any signs of triggering a cycle?”

“Not yet, Alpha.”

“I see. Then we should probably move them as soon as we can.”

“I was going to tell you,” the Omega stood and faced him. “We’re going to send a couple of guys to pick up Dean’s car and bring it here. They found his keys in the pocket of the jeans that were with the rest of his personals when the Trooper dropped you guys off.”

“Are they heading out soon? You probably want to see if Alpha Lancet wants to ride along too. He’s around here somewhere I believe, unless he rode back with the police. I haven’t seen him since we arrived.”

“No, he’s here. Somewhere. I saw him earlier. We’ll make the offer if we can find him.”

“Thank you, Anna.” Castiel took a gulp of his cooling tea, but didn’t accompany her back inside. He left the file folder on the bench next to him and went back to studying the pavement at his feet.

Some time later, as the air was turning cooler and damp, Castiel became aware of a figure leaning against a tree a short distance away. An occasional bright orange spot and the smell of smoke spoke of a cigarette. Cas sighed and stood to make his way to the Alpha, stopping well-short of the other’s position.

“I didn’t notice you inside,” he commented quietly. “Did you come in and watch?”

“No.”

Cas nodded. For himself, he wouldn’t have forgiven himself if he’d chosen not to witness the act and something awful had happened, but he understood why a father would struggle to watch his son take a mate.

“It went well,” Cas told him. “The Mating. It’s a strong bond. There was no further violence. The bite seems to have taken hold. It went well.” He finished lamely.

“That’s good. I guess.” The Alpha took a drag from his cigarette. In the light, Castiel caught a glimpse of his drawn face. The Alpha leaned against his tree, and kept his gaze toward the hospital building where his son’s new bond was pulling him away from his father.

“Knew I’d lose him one day, just as soon as he presented Omega. I knew it was gonna be hard, but this? I don’t even know what to think about this.” Alpha Lancet looked to Castiel. “You watched it?” Cas nodded in the darkness. “You really believe in all this dom-sub hoo-doo? You think that’s what’s eating Michael? So tell me. Is my boy a Dom?”

“Definitely,” Cas answered firmly.

The Alpha just nodded and took another drag. “Explains a hell-of-a-lot. He probably thinks so too. Probably thought so the whole time. Probably tried to tell me, but I was too busy being a hard-ass to try to understand my own son.”

“Alpha, Michael’s not damaged. He’s not broken in any way. He’s fine, and he’s Mated now. We’re going to look after him.”

“Are you?” Alpha Lancet tossed his butt into the dirt and ground it out with the ball of his foot. “Are you going to look after him?” There was anger and challenge in his voice and a clear threat in his eye as he looked up at Castiel, a pair of small red circles pulling in around his irises.

“We are. Both of us.”

“Really?” He was aggressive and posturing. “Tell me, Alpha Novak, you already have what you wanted. Got yourself a little breeding bitch of your own just a few months ago, didn’t you? Got yourself a husband of your own choosing; the love of your life, no doubt. What do you need Michael for, huh? Gonna stick him in the basement and keep him knocked up? Bring him out for whatever rich-folk parties you people get up to and pass him around as a party-favor?” Jerry Lancet stood up straight from his tree and took several aggressive steps toward Castiel. Castiel didn’t tense or retreat. He just sighed sadly.

“We would never do that, Alpha. It’s not like that at all. I know you have no reason to, but I’m asking you to trust Dean and me, trust the bond your son just created with my fiancé. You were driving all the way from north Texas to Kansas to get your son’s evaluation. Why did you register with us? There are four other testing sites closer to you than Kansas. There must be something that made you believe you could put your faith in us more than the others. I’m asking you to listen to that voice now.”

“Don’t give me that salesman shit. Be straight with me Castiel Novak, am I ever gonna see my son again? ‘Cause if I don’t hear from him regular, or I get one whiff that he’s being abused or neglected by you people, I’m ripping him out of there so fast you’re gonna piss yourself, and taking him straight back home. I don’t give a fuck who gets hurt in the process, long as I get to him. His mate can trail along behind, I don’t care, but I’m not leaving my son where he’s not safe.”

Castiel responded patiently. “You can see him any time you like. You’re welcome to visit us in Lawrence, or Michael can travel back to see you and your family in Texas. We would never keep him isolated from his birth-pack. I know this is frightening. We’re all trying to find new footing, but I promise you, there are no evil designs to harm your son. Quite the contrary.”

“I don’t get you.” Jerry scanned Castiel’s face like it was a puzzle he could work out if he tried hard enough. “Do you just NEVER get mad? I’m challenging you, called your mate a bitch, threatened your pack, and you just stand there and take it. That what passes for a Dom in Kansas?”

“You’re a good Alpha to your Pack, Jerry. Raising Michael must’ve been quite a challenge, especially considering you didn’t know his tertiary gender. But it’s obvious that you love him deeply and want what’s best for him.” Cas maintained his control, refusing to be provoked. So many people misunderstood what Profound Dominance meant. Shouting at folks and muscling them around was an affectation, a show that weaker Doms put on to prove their place. Castiel didn’t need the show. He was Alpha because he was Alpha. “It’s going to take some time, but I believe this arrangement is going to be ideal for Michael once he learns to trust the Pack hierarchy. We’ll help him.”

“Right. Help him. Beat him, you mean. Listen, take it from me, I already tried that and it don’t work on Michael. Just pisses him off.” Jerry Lancet’s face showed how difficult the admission was; how hard it was to admit he’d failed his son.

“Yes, I imagine that’s true,” said Cas. “No, I think your son will need a different kind of care. One that lets his Dominance stretch out and strokes his wolf, but gives his Omega enough structure to feel secure. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but Dean and I, we don’t give up easily, and there’s a whole network of people and resources to help.”

The Alpha changed tacks. “He’s not gonna be last, Castiel – in rank, I mean. You try to put him on the bottom of the Pack pile, and you’re going to have to answer to him. He ain’t gonna take it.”

“I agree. He’s Omega, but he certainly ranks higher than my brother. And as much as I’d like to promote my Omega-mate to a loftier position, she really belongs at the bottom, whether I like it or not.”

“You got no idea what you’re in for, do you? I gotta say, I wish you luck. That boy’s a handful-and-a-half. I think you’re full of it about this Dom shit, but I know he’s got a brat-streak a mile wide. He’s going to push you and challenge you till you wanna strangle him. I kinda expected him to be in jail by now in his life.” The Alpha’s candor helped Castiel to understand his deep worry. That’s all this was. Jerry Lancet had been handling Michael almost single-handedly his whole life, and now he was being forced to hand over his only son to strangers. He was scared. Michael was a handful, and the Lancets weren’t equipped to help him, but he was deeply loved.

“Jerry, may I have your permission to call on you and your mate for advice about Michael? You know him better than anyone. I want what’s best for him, and I appreciate that you do too. Will you help us?” Castiel had no intention of acting upon any advice from Jerry, but he needed the Alpha to feel involved, at least a little.

Anna approached them trailing two betas. “Alphas, Tom and George are leaving now to get Dean’s car.” She addressed Alpha Lancet. “Would you like a ride back to your car as well? If we need to, I can scrounge up another driver and bring yours here too. Just give them your keys and a description of the car.”

Castiel was still holding Lancet’s eye. Jerry postured a bit longer, testing Castiel’s resolve, but ultimately conceded to the higher-ranking Alpha, “I’ll help however I can. It’s going to be a roller-coaster, Alpha. He’s a good kid underneath it all. Maybe you and Dean can bring that side out of him. Lord knows, I didn’t see it often.” He turned to Anna. “I’ll go too. I think we’re finished here.”

 

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

 

Dean wasn’t sleepy, and he could remember every moment. Every single one. Weren’t wolves supposed to have memory black-outs of the humiliating behaviors they displayed while under the inebriating effects of a Mate-scent? Still tied chest-to-chest with his Omega, Dean wormed uncomfortably until he pulled first one, then the other of his knees out to either side and under Michael’s legs which were locked around Dean’s waist, hooked at the ankle. Dean sat upright on his sore ass with his legs bent sharply back at the knee, breaking Michael’s foot-lock, and he scowled at his mate. “You could at least TRY to help me maneuver. This is SO not comfortable.”

“How can you be cranky right now? I’m floating on a cloud, and I don’t ever wanna come back down.” Michael stretched his arms lazily over his head, and then brought them round to run them firmly down the length of Dean’s chest. “Damn, you’re beautiful.” Michael told him in a drunk whisper, and he followed it up with a touch to Dean’s mind through their new link.

Dean tried to stop the half-smile, but he couldn’t. “At least help me get my feet around. Feels like my knees are gonna break. That’s the absolute LAST time we knot face-to-face.”

“You could’ve just settled on my chest, alpha, or don’t you think that’s manly enough?” Dean checked Michael’s face, but he knew before he saw the glint in his mate’s eye that he was only teasing. Dean could feel it through their Mating-bond.

“Very funny,” grumped Dean. He finally succeeded in working his legs back out straight in front of himself and tucked each one underneath Michael’s shoulders. He leaned on his hands, braced just behind his bottom. The knot tugged uncomfortably. Dean looked down at his dick where it disappeared inside the tight channel of his mate and felt it surge again with another small release. He couldn’t resist thrusting just a few times, pushing himself forward with his hands against the bed. Michael’s spent dick twitched slightly in response.

Michael closed his eyes and moaned. “Thought you wanted out. We’re never going to untie if you keep on doing that.”

“When did I say I wanted out?” asked Dean thrusting again slowly. “I just don’t want to limp around for a week because my knees got twisted outta socket.”

Michael sat up, reaching to run his fingers through Dean’s brown hair. Dean closed his eyes and ‘Mmmmm’d.’ Then he opened them and looked into Michael’s clear green ones. “You’re incredible. You’re…so…” Dean ran out of words, lost in the green. He settled for trying out his new appendage in the form of a nudge through the bond.

“Nnnngh!” Michael responded and wrapped his arms around his mate. They stayed that way for several breaths. Then Dean spoke, his face close to Michael’s bleeding bite and the smell of blood cloying in his nostrils.

“I want to learn everything about you. Tell me something I should know.”

“What do you want to know, Dean? Should we play twenty-questions?” Michael kissed Dean’s neck and trailed his lips up behind his ears, straining forward enough to pull uncomfortably on their tie.

“Let’s do it ‘Quid Pro Quo, Clarisse’.” Dean leaned his head enough to allow Michael better access and Michael obliged, huffing a laugh. “I’ll go first. How old are you?”

“Twenty-three,” Michael whispered. “You?” He nibbled Dean’s earlobe.

“Twenty-seven.” Dean pulled back from Michael’s embrace. “You can’t just ask me the question I asked you. You have to come up with a new one.”

“Ah. But I wanted to know your age too. How about we both answer each question, and then ask a new one on our turn? Good?”

“Mm-Kay,” mumbled Dean, working his lips and tongue over Michael’s bite and holding onto his waist. “Your turn.”

“What’s your favorite group?”

“Nuh-uh! No. I’ll school you on everything Led Zeppelin if you don’t already know, but we are NOT in Junior High school. Try again!” Dean pulled back and fixed a stern alpha eye on his mate. Michael narrowed his eyes slightly, then clenched his channel around Dean’s cock, bringing a huff out of Dean’s lungs.

“All right, let’s see. What’s your orientation, alpha?”

Dean raised his eyebrow. “I’m gay,” he told his mate. The assertion felt oddly out of place. It seemed a strange thing to have to tell someone who was already close enough to have a knot tying them together, but, yeah, Michael needed to know this stuff.

“Hmm. Okay. I’m Bi-. Pretty equally both ways. Your turn.” Michael ran massaging hands across Dean’s shoulders and down his back, kneading the muscles as he went. Dean arched his back.

“Where do you feel it when I do this?” Dean pulsed a long, oscillating wave down the bond, and smirked.

“Oh shit, ahhhh! Damn, alpha, we’re never going to come unknotted.” Michael gathered Dean up in his arms, brought him close, and leaned back to lay them both together, helping this to time get Dean’s body situated. He worked them around until he and Dean lay mostly on their sides, Michael’s right hip and thigh taking most of the weight. He looked into Dean’s face and kissed the tip of his nose. Dean smiled a simple, genuine smile with no sarcasm or snark. Michael smiled back and said, whispering again, “I feel it in my O-gland. From there it spreads everywhere, mostly my dick, but also everywhere. Feels very good. Do it again.” Dean repeated the action, and Michael let his eyes close. “Again.”

“Quid Pro Quo, Clarisse,” Dean reminded him. Michael giggled, and returned the favor. Then he did it again, and again. And one more time. Dean panted and thrust his hips into his mate’s channel. “Yeah. That does feel pretty good.”

They lost themselves in receiving and delivering pleasure. Dean’s cock thickened again, and his grinding, circling thrusts picked up speed and intensity until he shoved Michael onto his back and began driving into him with a purpose. He couldn’t get much of a stroke going with the knot still locking them tight, but he ground hard against the Omega’s channel and grunted with effort. Michael wormed a hand between them to stroke himself, and Dean lifted up on his arms to give him room. With his other hand, Michael pulled Dean to him by the back of his neck and kissed the side of his mouth; the side that wasn’t split from their fight in the rest-room.

The strokes between their Mating-bond links continued unabated, growing stronger as their bodies responded to the pleasure of each other and they both came within moments of one another, a hot, sweet, tingling release that left both men over-sensitive and breathless.

“You haven’t answered your own question yet, Dean,” the sweaty Omega reminded his mate, panting.

Dean pushed Michael’s damp hair off his forehead, trying to remember what the question had been. Oh, right. “Feel it in my head. Kinda deep behind my sinuses and then also way deep in my prostate. …and everywhere.”

“My turn. My middle name is Quentin. What’s yours?”

“Quentin? Seriously? Yeah, Okay. That’s um… a cool name.” Michael’s face had gone flat like he was 100% done with taking shit over his name. “Uh, my middle name’s Michael.” Dean confessed, and then he smiled.

“Good name.” Michael’s and Dean’s hands traded easy strokes as they rolled back to their sides. Both wolves sticky, sweaty, and beginning to grow uncomfortable. Michael kissed Dean again, languidly avoiding putting pressure on Dean’s injured lip.

“You got any siblings?” asked Dean, deliberately avoiding any topic that might ramp their wolves back up.

“One younger sister named Rachel. She’s eighteen. Presented beta. Lives with my folks at our Pack in Grand Prairie.”

“I’ve got a younger brother. Sam. Also beta. He’s awesome. You’ll get to meet him soon. We work together at The Facility, and he lives close to where we’re going to be living...” Dean sensed Michael’s malaise and trailed off. Right. Touchy subject – where they’d be living evoked reminders that there was already a pack established that included more members close to Dean than a new mate could be expected to be comfortable with. Did Michael remember the information his Alpha shared on the drive from Texas? Dean suspected he did.

“Yes, I know about Sam. You two do those conventions together. I’ve watched some of them on YouTube.”

“Your turn.” Dean hoped to steer the conversation away from their living arrangements until they’d come untied at least. He didn’t think it was a topic best broached while he couldn’t put some distance between them if it turned heated.

“OK.” Michael graciously chose to table the conversation for the moment, but Dean could feel the tension in his mate, not released, just stored. The discussion was going to have to happen, just not quite yet. Neither wolf was looking forward to it.

“What’s your defining sexual kink?”

“Defining…? Yeah, okay. Uh, masochism, I guess, which makes you a sadist, I suppose.”

“No, not especially,” Michael shrugged. “I mean, I’ll definitely do that for you. I enjoy pleasing my partner. Always have. But it’s not really my thing exactly. I get off on dick-size. I like ‘em big enough to really stretch me, make me FEEL it.”

“That’s your defining kink? Size? Dude, I’m not sure a bi-sexual Omega can really claim a size-kink is defining. That’s like, just how Omegas are. Hey,” Dean propped himself up on his elbow. “Have you had your Keller done yet? That’d tell us some of your kinks.”

“Not yet. We were on our way to Kansas just now for the test when a certain sexy-as-fuck alpha way-laid me.”

“Oh, wow. Really? Well, I’m fairly certain there’s more to you than a size-kink.” Dean sensed his knot beginning to slip free at last. He put a hand on Michael’s hip and eased himself out, careful not to force it. He didn’t want to hurt his mate’s rim. Dean had plans for that part of Michael’s anatomy, and wanted to avoid as much soreness as possible. They separated, each sitting up and easing out of the wettest parts of the bedding. Michael made a pained face, but sent reassuring strokes through the bond. He wasn’t hurt, just stretched, just like he liked to be. They wound up sitting side-by-side against the headboard. Neither spoke for a bit. Michael began wiping down his own belly and groin with the warm, but rapidly cooling water Anna had left for them.

Dean regarded him pensively. “How’d you learn to Dom like that? If you haven’t had a test yet, you probably haven’t been through a training class, right? Michael, what you did just now, that was amazing. Where did you learn to do that?”

Michael smirked a side-eye at him and cocked an eyebrow. He pulled a fresh cloth from the table, wet it, wrung it out and began cleaning his alpha before he spoke. Dean leaned back and straightened, spreading his legs to grant him access. “You probably don’t want to hear the details, but I had a few mentors in college. Girls mostly. They let me try some things, and we played pretty hard sometimes. Most of them didn’t believe I could Dom until I showed them, then all bets were off, and we got into some raunchy shit. Couple of them were masochists. Most of them were brats. I feel confident that I’ve got YOUR number, Dean Winchester.” Michael tossed the cloth over his shoulder and moved his body over Dean’s, enticing him into a kiss. It started out slow and gentle, but when Michael nipped at Dean’s lower lip and demanded entrance to Dean’s mouth with his tongue, Dean melted, scooted his ass to lie back down, and let Michael take the kiss from him.

“You got any more in the tank, alpha? I’m young and horny. I think I can go one more round,” Michael teased, grinding his hips down against Dean’s flaccid, over-sensitive cock. “You wanna see what being Dominated by an Omega is like from the other side?”

“I can’t, Michael. I’m done.”

“We don’t really need Little Dean’s participation, sweetheart.” Michael continued the circling motion of his hips, kissing Dean’s throat, ignoring Dean’s protest grunt at being called “Little,” and his own cock was starting to respond. “I’ve got this. You just lay back and let me.” Dean’s eyes were wide. He’d never been fucked by an Omega. Even in his exhausted state, the offer was a fantasy-come-true. (Yes, yes, YES!), his wolf commented helpfully. He nodded silently and spread his legs further apart.

“Be careful, Michael,” he whispered. “I’m pretty sore from…recent activities.”

Michael fixed him with an unreadable look. Possessiveness, maybe. Figures. It hadn’t been Michael who put Dean in that state. His eyes narrowed again and his jaw set. He went to work opening Dean up with extreme care, collecting slick and spent come from his own leaking hole to lubricate Dean. One careful finger thrust deep inside Dean became two, became three. Michael kept his eyes on Dean’s face as he moved his fingers in and out, taking his time, scissoring them, listening for any signs Dean was in pain, watching his face and slowly grinding his cock against Dean’s hip.

Dean panted and writhed, pulling one knee up high to help Michael reach whatever he wanted to. Dean’s cock twitched but stayed frustratingly limp. He slid a hand down to massage his own balls, but Michael nudged it back out of the way, gently. “Not this time, Baby. This time is just for me, understand?”

“I…yessir.”

“Are you ready? You gotta tell me if I’m hurting you, got it? Masochist or not, I need to know what you’re feeling down here.” He pulled his fingers out and swiped a thumb across Dean’s rim.

“I’m ready,” Dean nodded. “Just go slow and be careful.”

“Turn over on your hands and knees. I want to see that ass presented to me.”

Dean maneuvered into position and looked back over his shoulder. Michael met his eye and placed a hand on his back, then focused on lining himself up with Dean’s hole. “I don’t like these marks on you, Mate,” Michael chastised. “These are not my marks, but we’ll discuss it later. Breathe out now and relax.”

He pushed in agonizingly slowly, pausing frequently to assess Dean’s condition and check in. Dean settled his chest on the soiled bed and closed his eyes, taking in the sensations. His anus and rectum were still sore from Castiel’s knotting two nights ago, but not enough to cause real pain when Michael breached him, just enough to awaken every nerve and light him up inside. He felt the welcome familiar stretch of sore muscle give in to Michael’s intruding cock. It was blissful. Dean moaned and pushed back.

“That’s my boy,” Michael praised him, beginning to move rhythmically but slowly in and out of Dean’s hole. He held Dean by the hips and moved the alpha in counterpoint to the motion of his own thrusting. “Just let me…”

Afterward, Dean lay still, resting in his mate’s arms with his head pillowed on Michael’s chest and slowly fingering the bite mark on his own shoulder – way up high almost on his neck. Michael wanted his mark clearly visible and unavoidable for everyone, particularly a certain Dominant pack Alpha. Dean had never heard of a Mating where an alpha received a bite-scar, but it seemed fitting to him, and he felt proud to carry his Omega-mate’s mark. Someday soon he needed to let Michael in on why the location he chose to leave his mark was a good one, and what he was bound to find on Dean’s opposite shoulder from time-to-time. They had time, though. They had a lifetime, and the information would keep. A deep sense of satisfaction settled into the alpha’s wolf and they both fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter Sixteen

 

THEN:

“You’re a disgrace, Castiel!” she hissed. “You and your disgusting perversions. You make me sick! You make me ashamed that I’m your mother!” Castiel was angry enough that deep pink spots formed on his upper cheeks, and his teeth ground in his head as he took his mother’s abuse. “You’ve got them all brain-washed somehow into your repulsive, delusional freak-show of a cult. I want you out of this house! Today!”

“No. I’m Alpha, and that means it’s my house more than it is yours. I’m not leaving Gabriel with the likes of you.” Castiel held on to calm by the barest edge of his finger-tips. Another shove would push him over. He was so, so angry. He could handle what she said about him, but when she turned her venom on his grieving brother, Castiel usually lost it.

“Gabriel! Yes, Castiel, let’s talk about Gabriel. You fucked him, didn’t you? Your own brother. Are there any depths that you won’t sink to? I’m so grateful that your father is dead, so he can’t see what you’ve turned into.” Her scotch sat abandoned on the desk, and a vein stood out prominent in her neck.

Castiel advanced on her dangerously, narrowing his eyes in fury. “I Claimed him, Mother! Because he needed me to. I’m not SLEEPING with my brother! There’s a difference, and YOU KNOW IT! How can you be so fucking delusional? Your own brother is dead. He died in agony, screaming for you to help him. And your son?! You were just going to let Gabriel follow the same path, meet the same end and wash your hands of the whole damned thing, telling yourself that it’s such a shame?! ‘Poor Gabriel, if only there was something that could be done?’ Just so you don’t have to – how did you put it? ‘Sink into the depths of depravity?’ So you can sip tea with the monkeys and wear your stupid derby hats at brunch! Fuck You! Fuck your whole judgmental, kowtowing perversion of who you are! You’re a WOLF, damnit! Stand up and act like one!”

“I am a human, Castiel. I am a civilized, decent human-being, and I am disgusted that you could even THINK that I would partake of this lifestyle of groveling on the floor and rutting like dogs. Do you know what we look like to the rest of the world? We look like animals, thanks to you. We look like bestial animals who crawl in the dirt and tear red meat apart with our teeth and fuck any hole that slinks by us.” Her lips drew back from her teeth in a rictus of disgust.

“I can promise you one thing,” she spoke low and her body shook. “When I win this election – and I will – I’m going to tear down everything you put up. Everything, Castiel. You’re not going to win this one. If I can’t force you to act civilized, at least I can prevent you from spreading your pestilence to the innocents of the world.”

“We’ll see, Mother.” Castiel turned his back on his mother and left the room. He needed to check on Gabriel.

 

NOW:

Dean woke slowly. He was warm and so, so comfortable with his body curled around his mate’s. The scent from the neck in front of his nose was already shifting, merging with his own into something unique and new. Dean’s was taking on aspects of Michael’s scent too, no doubt, but of course, he couldn’t smell himself.

As he came awake, he realized with dawning awareness: first that he and Michael weren’t in the room where they’d mated – morning light streamed through the windows – second, that they were both clean and fully-dressed in nurse’s scrubs, and third, that the bed clothes keeping him snug were all clean and soft. The bed itself was different. They’d been cleaned up, dressed, and moved during the night without waking up at all. At least Dean hadn’t awoken.

He realized one more thing as he blinked his eyes open and focused on his mate: Michael snored. It was a soft, buzzing snore, and Dean found it immediately endearing. Dean’s right leg was pushed between Michael’s and his right arm cinched up around Michael’s waist and tucked under his weight. Dean left a soft kiss on the back of his mate’s neck and then settled for just breathing his new scent.

The door to their room cracked open and a Simian nurse slipped in, carrying breakfast trays. Dean’s back was to the door, but he turned his head and smiled at her. Everything just felt so right to him in this moment. His wolf was sated, his arms full of contented mate. Then his stomach rumbled when the smell of bacon hit his nose, and he realized how famished he was.

Michael stirred when Dean pulled away and sat up, but he just curled more tightly into the covers and pulled his pillow over his head. Dean’s wolf melted and turned enormous puppy eyes to his mate. Dean himself rolled his eyes and reminded the wolf, (bacon!). The nurse, a young Primate woman with the cheekbones and full lips of a Choctaw Indian, moved efficiently, readying the roll-away table and bringing it up to Dean, so he could reach it.

He whispered to her, “You don’t have to serve us; we’re not sick,” even while he accepted the breakfast and pulled off the plastic cover.

“We’ve been keeping a close eye on you two overnight. Seems like they were pretty surprised you didn’t trip over into your Rut cycle. There’s an alpha wolf out there pacing the floor. I don’t think he slept at all even though we offered him a bed. He belong to you?”

“Yep, he’s mine,” Dean laughed softly. The back of Dean’s mind pushed at him…was Castiel still his? Would Cas ask for his ring back? Were they still engaged? Dean heard it, but he pretended not to. He remembered everything; remembered telling Cas he wished it’d been him, not Michael. There wasn’t a thing he could do in this moment but cling to Michael and assume he still had Castiel. His ring glinted in the morning light.

“Well, he’s scaring the locals, so we may need you folks to move on once we’re sure you’re in the clear.”

Dean began eating, or rather, stuffing his face would be a better phrase. He was starving, and everything tasted so much better than it usually did. Hospital-style scrambled eggs, bacon, a heavy biscuit and gravy, plus O.J. and coffee. It was maybe the world’s least interesting breakfast, but to Dean, it was ambrosia. The nurse tidied up a bit, although nothing was out of place, so Dean engaged her. “How’d you guys get us cleaned up and moved without waking us up?” She continued to move things pointlessly about, but she smiled wider. Dean was aware of the phenomenon ever since Sam pointed it out to him at a convention once: people, especially women, seemed very often not to want to leave his presence. He couldn’t account for it, but he’d seen it often enough to know it was real.

She smirked at him, crows-feet evident at the corners of her eyes. “Nurses and orderlies are fuckin’ ninjas when it comes to that stuff. Ninjas.” She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. Was she preening? The nurse pushed the door open, but paused before stepping out into the hall.

“Hey!” Dean called as she started to leave. Michael startled at the noise and hit Dean in the face with a pillow. She turned back and hesitated again at the door. “I just wanted to say thanks. Would you let the team know? I don’t even know who to thank, but it’s just, yeah, just thanks.” Dean ended with a grin, and the nurse smiled back at him.

“It’s a good thing you’re pretty, because I don’t see you winning any eloquence awards,” she teased.

“You think I’m pretty?” Dean flirted.

“Jesus Fucking Christ, Dean! Shut the fuck up! Everyone thinks you’re pretty, and you know it! God!” Michael rolled over and kicked him in the shin.

The nurse fled, laughing, and letting the door swing shut behind her.

“Look, Mikey! Breakfast!”

Michael’s hand shot out faster than Dean could think and took a vice-grip on his testicles through the scrubs, squeezing and pulling downward. Dean squeaked and nearly knocked his roll-table over. He breathed swiftly through his nose and sat very, very still as Michael disabused him swiftly of his mistake. “My name is Michael. It’s not Mike, not Mickey, NOT Mikey! Understood?”

“Fine! Understood! Let go of my balls, MICHAEL! You’re not gonna get any pups outta those if you pull them off! Geez, you’re a grouch in the morning.”

“I’m just really tired,” Michael complained, letting Dean go and sitting upright next to him.

“Whatever.” Now that his boys were in the clear, Dean was pissed. “Rule One from your alpha is ‘keep your temper in check’. That was out of bounds, Omega. I’m dead serious.” Dean fixed him with a firm alpha countenance and a no-nonsense tone-of-voice.

Michael looked at him. The warring factions in his head were evident on his face as his jaw clenched and twitched. His wolf didn’t like being spoken to that way. (Rules? We don’t need no stinking rules! We MAKE the rules!), but his Omega response went deeper, pulled from a much more ancient bedrock inside of him, and it purred at the firmness in Dean’s voice. It sensed safety and protection. In Dean, his Omega detected trust, security, structure. Maybe when he was with Dean, the Omega intuited, Michael’s wolf wouldn’t need to fight so damned hard all the time.

Michael wasn’t ready to trust that deeply yet, but he kept the door open. He searched Dean’s face, looking for clues to his intent. His Omega had been wrong before where his Dominant wolf had served him well most of the time. What would his life be like if he could relax and just be, trusting his alpha to provide him a place in a pack and hold him safe and cherished forever? Did he want to live like that?

For his part, Dean had years of experience helping Omegas to adjust to the disappointment of an unwanted designation. No one ever wanted to present Omega. He knew roughly what was going on in his mate’s head. He felt confirmation through the mating bond, and he took advantage of the extra resource, sending Michael a sense of stability and support that he couldn’t’ve communicated with just his eyes and voice. Michael let his eyes drop to the bed, a long-suffering look of concentration held in his brow as he struggled to decide how to respond. It was a deep dive into the Omega’s core, and Dean gave him several minutes before prodding him back to the surface.

“Where did you go, Michael? You still with me? C’mon, just talk to me for a second.” Dean eased himself around so that he was sitting facing his mate, the remainder of his breakfast abandoned. Dean lifted Michael’s chin with his fingertips to try to regain his eyes, and Michael’s eyes hardened. He jerked away and growled softly, not a threat, just stating his position. “All right, then. I get it,” Dean acquiesced. He leaned back a bit, giving his mate some space. “I’m not going anywhere, babe. We’ll figure it out. It’s going to take time, but I believe we will learn to trust one another. Someday. For now, breakfast in bed. Don’t get used to it.”

Dean swooped out of bed and retrieved Michael’s tray, arranging it as the nurse had done his and rolled the tray over to his mate, who accepted it as a peace offering. Michael wanted this to work, knew it HAD to work, but it wasn’t going to be easy. “I’m sorry, Dean. I don’t like that I get like that sometimes. I don’t want to hurt you, but sometimes I can’t control myself when I get pissed.”

“Just eat. We’ll work on control later. I’ve got lots of ideas, some of them I know you’ll hate, but some are fun. And I’m sorry about the nick-name. Won’t happen again.” Dean winked and Michael stared at him. That wasn’t the reaction he’d expected at all. Where was all the ‘you’re not sorry yet, but you will be’? Where was the ‘It better not happen again’, or ‘I’ll give you something to be sorry about’? “You don’t mind if I call you ‘babe’, do you?” Dean asked abruptly. Michael barely responded, but Dean took it as permission and nodded to himself smugly.

Dean chugged his juice and then finished the bacon. The coffee he rejected out-of-hand. Maybe he could text Cas to make a run for something drinkable. No. Not yet. He and Michael needed to get through something together before he let Cas in. Michael used the bed remote to raise his side and was digging in. This double-occupancy hospital bed was a surprising luxury. Dean planned to stay here until they kicked them both out.

“What d’you think, man? Any sign of a Heat coming on?” Dean prompted. He wanted to slide casually, non-confrontationally into the easy dialogue they’d shared last night. This could get hairy if he wasn’t careful. Probably would get hairy anyway.

“No,” Michael answered, his mouth full of eggs. “I just had one about three weeks ago.”

“My Rut’s not due till July. Maybe it’s too far to trigger. I don’t know. Never been able to call these things. Sometimes they trigger, and sometimes they don’t.” Dean got up and began searching through the cabinets for their clothes. Should be in here somewhere. Yep, found ‘em. “They’re going to kick us out of here if we’re not sick or in need of any care. We need to figure out what comes next. Of course, we can still take a few weeks to ourselves to get used to each other and the bond, Heat or not. It’s our due, and I plan to take it.”

Dean dumped the contents of the plastic bags onto the bed and began rummaging through them. All of his stuff was there except his car keys. An initial panic gave way to the assumption that Cas had taken them to get his car back. He’d ask before he flipped out. Dean looked up and met Michael’s eye. Michael stopped with his fork half-way into his mouth.

“What?”

“We have to talk some things through before I let Castiel in. I need you to be clear on how things stack up, and where we’re all going.”

“Going? You mean Bum-fuck Oklahoma isn’t our new home?” the Omega spouted with a straight face.

“You know, it’s not necessary to turn every conversation into an opportunity to be an asshole, Michael, and Bum-fuck Oklahoma took good care of us yesterday. A little gratitude might be in order.” So much for sliding in casually.

Michael dropped his fork back onto the hospital tray and rolled the table out of the way. Then he sat up straight and turned his body to face Dean. “All right. Let’s do this. You belong to me. I’m not sharing with that dick. He’s gonna get over it, and that’s final.”

“So, you remember about my engagement to Cas.” Dean was trying to be very careful, but he knew that his discomfort was evident through their newly shared bond if Michael figured out how to read it. Cas still wanted him, right?

“I remember everything, Dean. Doesn’t mean it’s going down that way. My claim is stronger than his, and I’m your Dom.”

“Look, I know you don’t like it. I know it’s not fair to you, and I can’t fix that, but he’s my pack Alpha, I’m in love with him, and I AM going to marry him. That means he’s going to be your pack Alpha too, whether you like it or not. Sometimes shit just doesn’t come out the way you want it to, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting screwed in the deal. This could be the best damn thing that ever happened to you, but you are never gonna know if you don’t give it a chance.” Dean shimmied out of his scrubs and shook out his jeans. His boxers and jeans were both pretty crusty with dried pre-come, so he opted to skip the boxers, go commando, and change as soon as he got his luggage back. Then he rethought it all and decided maybe the scrubs should just stay put.

Michael ogled him as he stood deliberating half-naked and slid off the bed and onto his knees. He crawled on all fours toward Dean, his eyes hooded and seductive. “We should take advantage of the room while we’ve got it, don’t you think, Submissive?” Michael placed his hands on Dean’s hips and maneuvered him back to the edge of the bed, keeping down on his knees and watching his mate’s eyes through his lashes. Dean let the clothing fall from his grip and braced himself on Michael’s well-muscled biceps.

“That’s a good idea. I like this idea,” breathed Dean. Michael shoved his hips so that Dean’s weight was supported by the edge of the bed, and he licked the length of Dean’s cock from his balls to the tip, craning his neck to get underneath. Dean spread his feet apart and moaned. His cock took no time to jump on that train. Michael watched Dean’s face as he took as much of Dean into his throat as he could in one go. Size-kink wasn’t going to be a problem for them as mates; Dean was equipped. And Michael loved having a challenge to over-come. He wrapped his hand around the bulge where Dean’s knot would pop and squeezed hard enough to pull another moan out of his mate.

Michael pulled his mouth away, letting a ropey string of saliva break between his lip and Dean’s cock, but he continued massaging the knot. He plunged his voice into its lowest, Dom-register and spoke straight to Dean’s Submissive wolf. “You don’t move, understand? I’m going to make you feel very, very good, but you’re to stay absolutely still for me.”

“Yes, Sir. Can I make noise?”

“I want to hear everything, Dean. Your voice is the sexiest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” Michael licked him like an ice-cream cone and then went back to work, his head bobbing smoothly, his tongue a flexible, masterful paint-brush inside his mouth. Dean gripped the edge of the blanket and closed his eyes, groaning his pleasure. Jesus, this guy and his mouth. Dean’s chest and face broke out in a sweat as Michael brought his other hand up to cradle Dean’s balls while massaging his knot and working his lips up and down and twisting off the head only to come right back to lodge Dean deep in his throat again. He hummed a tuneless note around Dean’s cock and Dean’s responding whine was several octaves above where he’d intended.

As Michael pulled back again, his teeth scraped the side of Dean’s dick in a way he couldn’t possibly have known lit Dean up with the perfect ratio of pain/pleasure that Dean had never been able to describe just right for Cas. His hips bucked violently forward, and he had just a moment of heavenly face-fucking before Michael pulled away, letting him go and standing up. Michael wiped his mouth with the back of his arm and turned away from Dean.

“No, no, please! I’m sorry! Come back, I didn’t mean to! Please Sir, you can spank me for it, but please don’t stop! Sir, please!”

“I told you to be still.”

“So, you’re just going to leave me like this? Can I at least finish up for myself?” Dean had his hand hovering close to his erection, but he didn’t dare touch without permission.

Michael turned to meet his eye and raised one brow. “What do you think?” He disappeared into the bathroom and Dean heard him start pissing loudly into the bowl.

Damnit! So close. So fucking close. Dean leaned back on his arms and rocked a bit in an attempt to control the urge to just take himself in-hand. He turned around to face the bedding and ducked his head onto his crossed arms, breathing heavily. He could do this. He just needed the Submissive wolf to take a hike for a bit, get back into his own head again.

Dean was pulling the hospital scrubs over his achingly hard dick when Michael returned to the room with an overly concerned look on his face. “Are you all right, Dean?”

“Yes, Sir!” Dean shot testily. “I’m peachy.”

They still needed to talk. What was supposed to be a relaxing interlude had turned Dean all around in his head, and now the conversation was probably going to come from a completely different place.

(Oh shit!) thought Dean to his wolf in a moment of epiphany. (The rat-bastard planned it that way.) He almost laughed. He almost offered the Omega a high-five for guts and ingenuity in a tight situation, but Dean needed to regain the upper-hand. He couldn’t let on that he knew what Michael was up to. Letting a manipulator know you were onto them only drove them deeper underground. Dean needed Michael out in the light where he could see him. He crammed his dick and his Submissive both away to handle later. Dean was the king of manipulation tactics, and nobody messes with the king. The wolf resisted, but Dean aimed a swift kick at it, and it fled.

“All right. Fine. Play-time’s over, then. I get it,” Dean snarked. Michael just smirked at him. This was going to be easier when his dick wasn’t tenting the front of his scrubs and leaving a wet smudge on the front. He couldn’t even take himself seriously like this, so he climbed back in the bed and pulled the blanket to his waist. Outta sight, outta mind, right?

Dean shook himself back into himself, metaphorically, and started over. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Michael, please talk to me. What do you want from this relationship? What do you want from me? No one’s asking you to stop being yourself or to give up all your power.” The conversation’s hard turn clearly threw the Omega. He stood with his back to Dean, his head bowed and his arms bracing against the counter-top. Dean could see him taking several deep breaths. “Baby, whatever you need, we can make it happen, but you’ve got to tell me, not throw demands out there and expect we’ll cave to a temper-tantrum.”

“We,” Michael breathed, picking up on Dean’s implication. “What I want is YOU, Dean.” Michael turned around, crossed his arms, and leaned his butt against the counter. “I don’t want to share you. I waited for you all my life, and I only just got you, and already I’m not enough for you? How do you even know that? You haven’t given me a chance.”

“I already know that you and I fit together in a way no one else ever could. You are the missing piece of me. You’re my home. You get me in a way no one else ever has. I feel like I could say or do anything, and you would understand what it means and where it’s coming from. That doesn’t become a lesser thing when I marry Cas. It isn’t that you’re not enough, but I can’t choose who I love, Michael, and I need him as much as I need you. Just, differently.”

Michael huffed a frustrated, disgusted breath and turned away again. Dean went on, hoping against hope that he could find the right words. “I believe that in time we’ll come to trust and love each other, you and me. There’s no part of my marriage with him that takes away from you. It’s all additive. You get me. I get you. And we both get to have a big family to watch out for us. I get two Doms, which is probably necessary to keep a Sub as profound as I am balanced out. You get pups, if you want ‘em, and you get a Dominant mentor if you don’t just chuck him out on principle.

“Baby, trust me. Please? I promise he’s not going to try to control our mated relationship. That’s between you and me. We decide everything. And fuck anyone who tries to tell us how it’s gotta go between us. Just you and me. You see this?” Dean touched the bandage on his shoulder. “He is NOT going to like this, but it’s none of his damn business. This is you and me.”

“And big Daddy watching over everything we do,” spoke Michael with venom. “What do you even see in him? He’s a tool!” Michael spun around and advanced on Dean. “I’ll tell you another thing: I’m not doubling-up with that asshole to Dom you. That’s MY job!”

“Michael!” Dean stood up and postured over him, his eyes hard and flinty. “You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to like Castiel. But I’ll be DAMNED if you’re not going to show him the respect he deserves as pack Alpha! And before you go all “Parent-Trap” on him and leaving lizards on his canteen, let me explain one more thing. You, sir, are an Omega in my household. You belong to me, and we both belong to Castiel. You wrap your head around it quick and it’ll be so much easier. Fight it, and it’s gonna be so much harder on you. You aren’t going to win this. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re miserable with us or not; with me or not.”

Dean backed up a step and noted that Michael’s eyes had gone wide and a circle of gold surrounded the irises. Good. An Omega response was what Dean was going for.

“So, with the information you now have about what is and what isn’t on the table for negotiations, do you know what you want from me?”

Michael calmed himself visibly. It was a demonstration of his level of maturity that soothed Dean’s worries a bit. The Omega swallowed as if he was trying to remove a lump in his throat, and he dropped his gaze to the floor. “I don’t know how to accept this, Dean. It feels like a kick in the gut. I can’t trust you…not yet. How do I know it’s even going to work? You know, I’m not a simple man. I’ve got issues underneath issues. I know I do. And I need you.” He looked up, and Dean’s heart broke to see the agony flooding the mating bond reflected in the tears streaming from his eyes. He was frightened and hurt. Not even mated for 24 hours and Dean had already broken his heart. He kicked himself internally and bit the inside of his cheek until he tasted blood.

Dean took his mate in his arms and held on tightly. They were almost the same height. Dean stood less than an inch taller, and their frames had about the same musculature. They fit perfectly. “Shhh. Baby, we’re gonna be okay. We’ll figure it out. I’m not going to forget about you, or stuff you off in a corner somewhere. I swear. You’re not second to him.” Dean felt Michael tuck his head down into his neck and scent the alpha. Dean bared his throat a bit more to give him room. “We’re going to take care of each other, okay?”

Michael clung to him, pulling comfort from him through their bond, and he cried, grieving the loss of his short-lived victory, angry that his Omega presentation had robbed him once again of the power to own or hold anything for himself, blind to the fact that the Alpha at the other corner of the triangle faced the same painful loss. A powerful designation was no protection against THIS, but all Michael saw was a pack of alphas wrestling his property away and stomping his face in the mud. For every impulse his Omega provided that promised home, or health, or happiness, he faced 20 more that promised grief, or loss, or pain – promised powerlessness.

 

 

Michael and Dean wound up curled back in the bed in the same position they’d been in when Dean awoke with the sunrise. They talked about unimportant things and petty matters; favorite cars and sports teams, preferences for different brands of beer, just let the tension fade for a bit. Dean received a text from Cas asking him to check in when the two weren’t ‘indisposed’. Castiel’s word - indisposed. Dean ignored it. He considered cuddling with his mate to be a version of indisposed. Cas could wait. If Cas intended to waltz in and utter, ‘Dean, we need to talk…’, then that could wait too. Michael needed his full attention.

“You’re so beautiful, Michael,” Dean whispered into his ear. You’re going to give me the prettiest pups someday. Would you like that, baby? Do you want pups with me?”

“Yeah,” Michael whispered back. “I want a whole litter. They’ll have green eyes like their Daddy.”

“Like their mother,” Dean amended.

“I don’t want to wait, alpha.” Michael rolled over and pushed himself up on an elbow. “I wanna try at my next Heat. I’m only a couple of months ahead of your cycle. Maybe we’ll sync-up and we can really go for it. Can you just imagine? A dark-haired, green-eyed little girl with freckles and dimples?”

Dean could imagine. She looked just like Michael in his head. The freckles he could live without, but the eyes… “We need to wait for a bit. I’ve got a couple of research projects going that need me around at all kinds of crazy hours. Lemme work through those, and then we’ll do it. I’ve…I’ve always wanted to be a Daddy. Never expected to get the chance.” Dean breathed into a sob, letting it hide in his exhale. Michael heard it anyway and pulled him close.

“Hire an assistant to pull the hours, and do this with me. Please, Dean.”

“Aren’t you jumping the gun just a bit? An hour ago, you were ready to kidnap me and run from the pack house. Now you’re settling in with a litter? I assume you mean to raise them in Alpha’s home, right? Or are we still on the lam?” Dean pulled back so he could look at his mate.

“Do I have a choice?”

“About where you live and whose pack you belong to, no. About when we try for pups, yes. I just want to be sure you’re not asking to get knocked up while still thinking you might be anywhere but Kansas in the Winchester Pack house. You seem to have settled a bit fast there.” Dean wanted everything out in the open. If it meant picking another fight before the last had even cooled, he would do what he had to do. The sooner Michael gave in to the reality of his situation, the better.

Michael confessed, “I’m not sure how this is going to work. I don’t have a job or a degree. I got kicked out of college for being an asshole, and I don’t know what to do next. I’m too tired and wrung out to fight about it. But I know I want your pups. I want anything and everything you’ll give me, Dean.”

The phone on the bedside table rang. Dean picked it up. “I’ve got fresh hot coffee, Dean,” Castiel offered. “Are you ready for me to come in and meet Michael formally? I’ll wait if you’re still tied or in the middle of…anything.”

Dean sighed and looked to Michael. The phone receiver was loud. He knew Michael had heard. He indicated that it was Michael’s call. He’d tell Cas to head back to Kansas without them if Michael asked him to. It wouldn’t fix anything in the long run, but it’d buy them some time alone together.

Michael shrugged and nodded his head. “Let him in. Let’s get this over with,” he said darkly.

“Door’s unlocked, Cas. You know our room number?”

“I’ll be right there.” Cas hung up, and Dean did as well.

Dean sat up and checked he was dressed. Not a good idea to have both of his Doms distracted by nudity on their first meeting - their first official, formal meeting. He looked at Michael and said, “Whatever you do, I’ll back you up as long as you’re not a dick about it, and it’s not to tell Cas to take a hike. Got it? You know what I mean.” Dean added the last part because Michael looked to be testing the statement for loopholes, and Dean realized there were many.

The knock on the door came as it cracked open. Castiel carried a tray of coffee cups, and Dean couldn’t really stop himself from diving for them. “This one’s yours, Dean.” Cas indicated by tapping his finger against the side of one of the cups. “I didn’t know what Michael might like, so I just got a regular brew and some cream & sugar packets.” Dean saw Cas’ eyes flick quickly away from the square gauze taped to his shoulder.

“Thank you, Sir. I drink mine black,” Michael called politely. Dean worked both cups from the tray and carried them to the bed, handing Michael’s over.

Castiel turned his back on them to set the cup-holder on the counter and pulled his own cup free. “Anna hired some local boys to go fetch your car, Dean. It’s in the parking lot now. Here are the keys.” He tossed them across to Dean, who snatched them out of the air one-handed against his chest. “I expect you’ll want to look it over for damage, but I didn’t find anything amiss.” He took a couple of steps so that he stood in the exact center of the room and looked around. “The hospital told me we have an hour to remove ourselves now that they’re sure you’re both fine and no one’s in cycle.” Dean wasn’t listening. Strangers drove his Baby without his permission. Cas was going to pay for that.

Castiel read Dean’s face and sighed. “It was the best way to get your car here. Now we don’t have to scramble, and we can just go home.” Turning to face Michael, “Your father rode with them. He transferred your luggage to Dean’s car and went on home, but he’ll be calling you in a couple of days to check in. He’s worried about you.” Castiel stepped up and extended his hand. “It’s wonderful to really meet you, Michael. I’m Castiel. You can call me Cas if you like, or Alpha if you’d rather. I’m flexible.”

Michael hesitated, evidently weighing the outcome of calling the Alpha a name of his own choosing, but he opted to play it safe. “My name’s Michael.” He accepted the hand coldly with an over-firm grip which Cas had been expecting. The Alpha didn’t respond to the blood-draining squeeze. “I remember everything from before Dean and I mated, so you don’t have to rehash it all over again.”

Michael released his grip and set his coffee down, standing to face the intruder. “My mate Dean tells me that you’ve already established a pack residence in Lawrence, with you at the helm, and that you’re planning to marry him and run the pack from there. That’s what Dean, who is my mate, said.”

Castiel’s lip twitched. Dean couldn’t tell if it was irritation or amusement. He had no real argument with Michael’s tactic so far. It was far too clumsy and obvious to be a real power move. When Michael made a move, probably no one would see it coming. More likely he was just trying to feel out Cas’ impulse control, and that seemed fair to Dean. He sat back, sipped his coffee and watched the show.

“That’s right,” agreed Castiel cheerfully. “Your mate Dean will be second-in-command behind his pack Alpha. That’s me. I’ll be your mate Dean’s husband, and his Alpha, as well as his Dominant from time-to-time. And that means,” Castiel made sure that his blue eyes bored into Michael’s green ones, “that as Alpha, husband, and Dominant to Dean, who is your mate, I will also be playing the role of pack Alpha for you personally. Whether or not you require a Dom is yet to be determined, and of course, you will not be asked to participate in our marriage.” Dean turned his face to the floor briefly to hide the relief in his eyes. The wedding was still on, apparently. Castiel paced slowly, like a lecturer before a classroom and continued. “As an Omega, and a mate to my husband Dean, you will be expected to comport yourself according to the rules of my household and to any rules that your mate Dean, as your alpha, sees fit to hold you to.”

“I understand, Alpha,” Michael answered stiffly. “And may I ask what these house rules are?” Castiel turned in his slow pacing and counted them out on his fingers, checking every now and then that he still had Michael’s full attention. Michael just stared at him as if he were an alien. Dean snorted his coffee, his eyes closed to take in the aroma and the steam. His sense of relief that Cas still seemed to be on the marriage train was swiftly being replaced by uneasiness as the tension in the small room elevated between the two rivals. He and Cas had discussed and agreed upon rules over dinner on their very first evening as a couple. It was a fluid and easy conversation, as the two of them had a remarkably similar idea of how domestic pack life should be established and maintained. The five rules that Cas agreed to came straight out of Dean’s graduate thesis on the subject, but the details were particular to the Winchester Pack, and Dean was very proud of what they both wanted to build. He bit his lip. Right here was where the rubber met the road.

“Rule Number One: Like every member of the Winchester pack you are required to make a vow of allegiance to the Alpha. That’s me,” he reminded Michael. “…to submit to my authority. In the case of all Omegas, to submit to my Claim physically, and to obey me in all subsequent matters unless commanded to break public law, ethical standards, your personal code of morality, or in protection of the health and safety of yourself or another person.

“Rule Number Two: To the extent that you can, keep yourself in healthy, hygienic, balanced, and groomed condition. Care for yourself, both your body and your spirit, is your own responsibility. Negligence or deliberately causing harm to yourself will not be tolerated. Any time you need help in this regard, you need only ask. Omegas are not expected to fulfill their balance requirements on their own.

“Rule Number Three: Show respect and obeisance for every wolf who stands above you in rank in the pack, and show consideration and give assistance and protection to every wolf who stands below you in rank. A little respect and a little kindness toward one another go a long way. We are a family, and we put family before all others. Always. Disrespect, bullying, and bratty behavior will lead to a swift punishment every time.” Michael’s face flattened as the Alpha spoke, but he stood statue-still and listened carefully.

“Rule Number Four: Show care for the property of the pack. Do not behave destructively. Do not cause undue damage where it can be avoided. Keep our home clean, tidy, and well-appointed so that it may be a home to us all.

“Rule Number Five: Do not lie. Do not withhold information. Do not prevaricate or deliberately cause deception of any kind in any way. Do not manipulate. Ask for what you want directly, and your requests will be given full consideration. Your needs are important, because you, Michael, are important to this pack.”

Cas turned back and faced Michael whose face had grown dark. Dean wanted to warn him off, but he knew better. If Michael was going to throw a tantrum, maybe better to go ahead and draw it out of him.

“Oh, is that all?” the Omega snapped.

“No, Michael. Those are Pack Winchester standing house rules that every member must adhere to. Dean and I talked them out and enumerated them together. Each Omega and each Submissive can expect to have others set by their Top. You will be expected to follow all of the rules that apply to you, and I trust Dean to communicate the appropriate rules to you at the appropriate time.”

Dean cut in. He felt Cas should know where they stood in reference to his rules. “I’ve given him his first already, Castiel. He’s got a temper on him, and it’s something we’ll have to work on together.”

Cas nodded and addressed Michael again. “The house rules can be simplified to: Be obedient, be safe, be respectful, be neat, and be truthful. They are easy to remember in that light. Have you any questions?”

“Just one. Do you want me to cram them up your ass all at once or one at a time?”

“Damnit, Michael!” Dean placed himself in front of the Omega and held the back of his neck with a firm hand. Michael ignored the stirrings of his Omega deep within him, and he snarled at Dean.

Castiel didn’t look perturbed, but Dean was embarrassed and angry. Cas ignored the Omega and spoke softly to Dean instead. “I’m going to get the luggage from the car so that you can both change before we leave. I’ll wait in the hall until you’ve finished with him. Just poke your head out when you’re ready.” Cas kissed Dean on the cheek and stepped out, letting the door close. Dean turned to face Michael and found him in tears again.

“I thought you were going to back me up?!” He sounded utterly betrayed.

“I said I’d back you up if you didn’t act like a dick! That was a DICK move, Michael.” Dean let go of Michael’s neck and stormed away from him, too pissed to touch him just now. “He’s bending over backward to bring you into the pack and you tell him to… What the fuck?! Seriously?!”

“I thought you were different, but you’re just like the rest of them! I mean it, Dean, he can take his vow of obedience and shove it up his ass! I’m not joining this fucking pack!”

Dean watched him storm about, kicking things and swiping items off the counters. It was quite a tantrum. When Michael took a breath, Dean broke in. “What works on you Michael? I can just keep taking swings until I get your Omega where you need it to be, but you can save us both a lot of time and pain if you just tell me now. Hairbrush, slipper, leather belt? What do I need to use?”

“Fuck you!”

“Okay, have it your way.” Dean kicked at the pile of clothes that had wound up on the floor until he unearthed Michael’s jeans with a wide brown leather belt through the loops. He removed it and stood to speak to his mate. “What you have to understand is that he’s Alpha. No matter who he meets or comes up against, or what their training is, or what they’ve been through, he always wins because he’s Alpha. You can’t beat him. He’s more stubborn than you are, and he genuinely wants you happy and secure. You can fight him as long as you need to, but in the end, he’s still Alpha.”

“And what about you? Did he defeat you too ‘because he’s Alpha’?” Michael was crying in earnest. He couldn’t stop, and he didn’t know what he was feeling, just that he hated it.

“He didn’t defeat me. He cares for me. He listens to me, just like he’ll listen to you as soon as you start acting like an adult and not a four-year-old. Tantrums are not a good look on you and they never work on Castiel.”

“So then, you’re gonna strap me into submission? It won’t work. It never works.”

“No, this isn’t to get you to comply, not directly at least. That’s your decision. This is just standard consequences. You break a rule, there’s a price. And we’re really consistent, Michael. There’s always going to be a price. What you said to my fiancé just now? That was rude and disrespectful. It embarrassed me, and it should embarrass you too. You’re better than that. You broke my only rule to you so far by losing your temper and being a jerk in a tense situation where all you had to do was listen.”

Dean gestured to the side of the bed with the belt. “Bend over. Let’s get this done.”

Michael didn’t move for a moment, so Dean followed up, “You want some trust between us? This will help. I swear. You can trust that I’ll never take a punishment too far. I’ll never harm you, and I will deliver what’s proportional to the misbehavior. You can trust me not to let you get out of control, not to let you get away with bad behavior that will tear you down inside. I’m gonna take good care of you Michael. Right now, you don’t even recognize your own Omega, but you need to. You’ve shut it out, and that’s why you’re miserable. Now, get yourself into position, or I’ll put you there.”

“Why you and not him? I didn’t say it to you.”

Dean side-eyed him for a moment. “Did you want a response from him, Michael?”

“I didn’t say it to you!” Michael insisted petulantly.

“He knows you were trying to provoke him, and I’ll bet that confrontation is coming – soon, no doubt. But for now, your behavior is my responsibility, and because he’s only your Alpha indirectly until you’ve pledged to him he’s giving me the chance to help you before he has to step in.” Dean took hold of Michael’s upper arm and guided him into position bent over the bed. Michael didn’t resist. Maybe he was in shock. Dean wanted to believe that a part of Michael knew he needed this. “That’s not to say that he won’t ever be the one to punish you, but now’s maybe not the time.

“Drop ‘em, Omega. In this pack, we don’t ever spank over clothing.” Michael’s hands slowly took hold of either side of his scrubs and pushed them down his hips. He put his head into his crossed arms and stood still. “Very good. I need you to count them out for me. I’d like to try for a Release, but if it doesn’t happen, we’ll stop when you’re done anyway. I’ll know when it’s enough. Trust me, babe. I’m good at this.”

Dean touched Michael’s lower back to ground him and then brought down the first stroke. “One.” Michael responded on cue. Dean kept the strikes at a medium strength level. As an Omega, Michael could be expected to take quite a bit, but Dean didn’t know his tolerance yet. They worked their way up to ten without a Release. Michael sobbed out his counts, and his legs trembled with his crying. Dean kept watch over him through their bond. He found Michael’s emotions a whirlwind of confusion. He was remorseful and scared, angry and penitent. Mostly, he was ashamed, but a wave of pride kept sweeping over and swamping the more vulnerable emotions. Dean kept it up until the waves of shame and pride faded and the remorse and penitence took over. Michael was sobbing an apology over and over, still dutifully counting the strokes. “19!” he cried. “20!” His body Released right at the stroke of 20, and Dean dropped the belt.

“Shhh, baby. We’re all done. You’re all right now. You did great. C’mere.” Dean worked himself and Michael up onto the bed and let Michael lie on top of him and cry. “It’s okay. I’ve got you now. I’m not ever going to let you go, sweet Omega.”

“Why do I feel this way, Dean?” Michael sobbed, clinging to the alpha. “I hate being Omega! It’s not right for me. I can’t…” He couldn’t continue speaking, so he just shoved the knot of tangled emotions through the mating bond and into Dean’s lap in a twisted pile. The demand was clear, ‘Help me know what this is. Help me, alpha.’

“You’re all right, really.” Dean sifted through the messy pile and found nothing alarming. He pulled at one particular strand and fed it back to Michael. “This is anger. You’re mad about how little control you’ve had over this whole situation, right? Baby, we’re not taking your power away. We’re just giving you the structure you need to thrive. You get a say in this pack. I swear. Check through the bond if you want. I’m not lying.”

He moved on. “This one is relief. I don’t know, you tell me, maybe relief that your Omega got a steady hand for a change? When’s the last time someone did that for you? Outside of sex, I mean.” Michael just held Dean tighter. “Baby, everything you’re feeling is perfectly normal. You’re scared and ashamed of yourself, and your ass hurts, but all of that will get better with time. I’ve got you now. If you can’t trust Alpha, then at least don’t be a jerk to him, and we’ll work on it. Trust me. Focus on me.”

Dean hugged him tightly and nuzzled the top of his head. “I gotta say, switching between being your alpha and being your Submissive might just give me whiplash, but it’s a trip, you know? I think I’m going to love the unpredictability of you, my friend.” He lifted Michael’s face and kissed his tears away, looking into his clear green eyes. The gold rim was gone. Michael looked very young and sad. “You ready? It’s not really a long drive from here, not compared with starting from Dallas. We’ll take breaks. You and I both need it to keep our butts from hating us. One rule you haven’t heard yet,” Dean worked them both to sitting and kept his arm around his mate, “more a policy than a rule: when it comes to spanked backsides, the rule is if you earn it, you gotta sit on it. That means it’s gonna be a long ride for both of us. No lying down.”

Michael chuckled sadly, snuggling his face into Dean’s chest and scenting him. The alpha scent – the Mate scent – helped. “Come on, Michael. Let’s get dressed.”

They hadn’t even made it out of the parking lot when Castiel, in the shotgun position, commented without looking up from his phone, “That bite isn’t going to scar, you know. Alphas don’t take to scarring the way betas and Omegas do.”

“Well then, I’ll just have to keep putting it back every time it heals, won’t I?” Michael snarked from the back seat, fitting his headphones over his ears and squirming in his seat. Dean rolled his eyes and stepped on it. It was going to be a long drive home.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 17

 

THEN:

 

Castiel climbed the stairs to his brother’s old childhood room. He knew Gabriel would be there. His brother hadn’t entered the room he’d shared with his mate since the accident. Cas slipped in quietly and then worked himself gently behind the curled figure that sat rocking back and forth on the mattress. Castiel leaned against the massive headboard and wrapped his legs around his brother’s grief-stricken body, pulling him in to rest against Castiel’s chest; embracing him with as much of himself as he could, including the Claim-bond that still chimed strong and true between the two brothers.

Gabriel allowed himself to be moved however the Alpha liked, nestling his face into his brother’s chest and weeping shamelessly. Castiel let his anger with their mother fade to a slow simmer and focused on holding Gabriel. He needed to get Gabriel through this. The Omega wasn’t going to be able to do it alone. Castiel ran gentle fingers through his blond hair and whispered meaningless nothings at him: “I know, sweet one. I know. I’m here. I’m not going to leave you.” They didn’t mean a Goddamned thing. Nothing could fix Gabriel. He was too broken.

Two years. They’d only had two years together. True mates had never been so perfect for each other. She was witty and loud, too clever with her tongue even for Gabriel to keep up. She could snap out an insult that left the receiver flummoxed for days trying to work it out. And she was beautiful and sleek. She made Gabriel look like a troll, he’d often lamented with pride in his eyes. Gabriel had worshiped her like she’d built the earth with her bare hands, just for him. Maybe she had.

And they’d waited to start a family – had only just decided it was time to try for a pup. Gabriel glowed. Marina glowed. Castiel had shamefully burned with envy to see their happiness. That kind of bond, it seemed, wasn’t for the likes of Cas Novak. Now there was nothing. No pup. No mate. No chance ever to mate again, although Gabriel wouldn’t have been one to take a second chance if it was offered. He was done. He’d had his perfect, and now it was gone. All that was left for him was the grieving.

 

NOW:

 

“You wanted to see me, alpha?”

“Come on in, Sam. Have a seat,” Bobby stood and gestured Sam into one of the visitor’s chairs in his office. “I want to get your take on the shit-fest in Dallas. You get a chance to read over it all yet?”

“Yes, I did.” Sam sat forward in his chair, attentive, sweeping his hair back from his eyes. “I don’t like how this all went so bad for the last year, and nobody noticed. I have a couple of conclusions where we can go from here.”

Bobby nodded, listening. Sam’s ability to jump straight to the problem, weed through the details, and come up with practical solutions made him just about Bobby’s favorite go-to fix-it guy. “What bothers me most is not that it went screwy, but that no one raised any alarms.

“Henrickson had to know. He had to be lying to us on the conference calls and all that. Even if he didn’t know why or who was behind the mess, there’s no way he wasn’t aware of it. And he deliberately hid the problems from making it into his reports. Look, see, here’s the status report from last quarter; there are no customer complaints reported at all. That’s just ridiculous. Even the best public service facility gets complaints. But they’re not entering them into their system. That’s on Victor. We had to go digging into the website’s database ourselves to find them. And you know what we found? Hundreds. Hundreds of complaints that were never logged into Dallas’ local system, so they don’t show up on the reports.”

Sam flopped the report onto Bobby’s desk in disgust. “I don’t know if he was worried about his job, or of looking bad, or if somebody was holding something over him. Maybe he’s just that incompetent. Whatever it was, we need to redesign the system so that online complaints come straight here, not through the local facilities first. And we need better oversight of the Directorships at all three locations. Anybody checking up on Vegas and Boston yet?” Bobby just grunted. He was working on it.

“Also, you know Charlie’s pretty much our whole IT staff? What with that AND running her coordinator position, it’s too much for one person. Maybe when we were just one site she could swing it, but not now. She can’t do it all. She’s got all the systems integrated and automated, and they all run through here for control, but it’s too much. Not even Charlie can handle that much.”

“Sam, I want you to go to Dallas. I want you to lead the cleanup crew and organize an audit. We’ve got to fix this mess now. Alpha’s orders. You saw the medical pics of Henrickson after Cas got through with him, right? We can’t let that happen to anyone else. This stops. Right now.”

“Um, I’ll go, alpha, if you need me to, but I was thinking. I’d like to send Cole instead. I think he’s up to it, and I believe it would be really good for him to see that place; work out how to fix it.”

“You wanna send a probational newbie who’s already on your boss’s shit-list to fix this clusterfuck?”

“He’s not a newbie, and he’s not on probation anymore. Bobby, I just think, nothing can demonstrate to him how to perform his job right better than witnessing firsthand how things go when you do it wrong. And I want to give him the opportunity to redeem himself fully. He’ll never get that while he’s here under my wing.”

“I don’t know, Sam. It’s a big risk. You’re putting yourself on the line just going to bat for him.”

“Forget about me. Look, send Pamela Barnes and Rufus Turner with him. Between the three of them, they’ve got the whole gamut of screwed up issues covered, and they’ll watch out for each other. It’s not that I don’t want to go…I mean, I don’t, but that’s just because I like it here. If you tell me I’m going, I’ll pack my bags today. You and Benny know you can count on me, but I think…” Sam paused and frowned, thinking.

“Spit it out, beta.”

“I’ve been invited to join the new pack, Castiel’s pack. I think I’m going to accept, and I’d like to be there when they form it. I kind of want to be in on the ground floor, if you know what I mean.”

Bobby took it in for a minute, then he smiled warmly at Sam. “Of course. I understand. I’ll talk it over with LaFitte, and we’ll figure something out. You mentioned anything to him about Cole yet?” Sam shook his head.

“Not yet. I wanted to run it by you first. The way I see it, if you say no, it’s no. I didn’t want to waste his time.”

Bobby looked up at Sam from where he’d been scanning through the reports. “You know Benny out-ranks me, right?” There was a funny, amused light in his eye.

“On paper he does, but I’ve got eyes, alpha. You run this place. Anyone who doesn’t know that is blind.”

 

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

 

Dean checked through the rearview mirror that Michael was distracted inside his headphones. He appeared to be asleep. He glanced across the bench at his fiancé and nudged his thigh, getting his attention.

“Have you thought about how to issue an engagement announcement? Or when?”

Castiel took a moment to make the jump in focus from the status report on his cell phone to Dean’s question. When he did, he shut off his phone and set it on the seat beside himself. “What do you think, Dean? You’re the one with all the social media and public relations expertise.”

Dean scoffed. “Expertise? No, no, I’m just naturally charming and charismatic. Don’t confuse being adored by the public with skills at P.R.”

Cas leveled him with a look that clearly said his ‘Bullshit detector’ had been activated, but his eyes swam with pleasure. He leaned far across the bench seat and kissed Dean’s cheek before returning to his own seat. “All right Mr. Adored, what do you suggest in your limited expertise, then?”

Dean grinned. He was beautiful when he smiled, and Castiel realized sadly how much time they’d lost – time that they could have been sharing moments of gentle happiness just like this one. “I say let the real expert do it. Give it to Billie to manage.”

“Done. I’ll send her an email right now; tell her to propose a timeline for release and recommendations for how best to break the story.” He began pecking out a message on his phone. “Will we be a breaking story, Dean? I’m never sure how much anyone cares about our private goings-on, or why.”

“Yes, it’s going to be a big story, my love.” Dean glanced at him, reached for his hand, and pulled it to his lips for a kiss.

“BLECH!! Get a room!”

Cas’ face hardened as he pulled his hand back, but Dean laughed and reached over the back of the seat for a fist-bump from his mate.

“It’s probably already out by now anyway.” Dean picked up the thread from before they’d been rudely interrupted. “Everyone at home knows, and we’re not exactly leak-proof. Timing this may be moot, but we need to decide how to respond to the rumors. You ready for the media attention? We could deny and dodge for a while if you want.” Dean kept his eyes on the road, giving Cas space to think.

“I’m ready when you are. I can’t think of any reason to deny it. I’m proud to be your fiancé, Dean.”

“Just kill me now. Please, God,” from the backseat.

“That’s enough, Michael. You’ve made your point.” Dean met his eye through the mirror, sternly. A little snark could be awesome, but a whole road-trip of it would kill them all.

“Yes, Mother,” grumbled Michael. Cas shifted as if he was about to turn and lambaste the Omega in the back, but Dean stilled him with a hand to his thigh and a slight shake of his head. They’d get there. Patience, Grasshopper.

“Holy shit! Have you two seen what’s on YouTube?!” Michael thrust his phone up to the front seat and sat forward to reach. Dean listened but didn’t try to watch the video. Castiel focused on the screen as Michael hit the play button. It was the rest-stop in Texas. The two Alphas could be seen manhandling their charges across the sidewalk and sweating up a storm, shouting to each other. Michael’s and Dean’s injuries made obvious bloodstains on their torn clothing.

“Aww, you carried him out like a sweet little cub…” Michael watched from an angle he hadn’t been privy to before.

“Are there more of these?” asked Castiel.

“Yep,” Michael responded, pulling his phone back and scrolling through the related prompts to the right of the screen. “This one’s got over two million views already. And it looks like someone got a little bit from inside the bathroom. Ooh, nice hit, dude! Wow, I look HOT! Damn, look at my eyes!”

“Yes, Michael, you’re very beautiful.” Cas deadpanned, then he turned to Dean. “Do you think this should change our plan to announce the engagement. We might just confuse people what with two matings and a marriage all at once.”

“Nah. They’ll figure it out. Kind of crazy though, isn’t it? I’m nearly thirty and you’re…old.” Cas spluttered in indignation. “What are the chances we all hit dead-center at the same time? Have you turned up the prayer-circles or something?”

“You know I’m not religious, Dean, and I’ll show you old.” Cas’ Dom voice ended on a throw down at Dean’s Sub and was rewarded with a shiver from the driver.

Michael growled, looking up from his phone. There wasn’t any brat-natured snark in his tone this time. His wolf was responding to Castiel in a very real way. He meant business. No one speaks to his Sub in that tone. No one, but Michael.

Castiel and Dean both looked around. Michael’s lip was fixed in a snarl, and he was centered on the long bench seat, his eyes golden and staring down the threat before him. Dean shot a glance at Cas to see if he should pull over. If it was going to go down right now, they couldn’t do it in a moving vehicle. But Cas presented his flat palms in a calming gesture. He didn’t defer by dropping his eyes, but neither did he challenge Michael’s claim, and his eyes stayed blue. “My apologies, Omega,” he soothed. “We haven’t established boundaries yet, and that was premature. You have a Claim on your Submissive. I will respect and honor that Claim until we’ve built a foundational structure of boundaries. Please forgive my trespassing.”

A tense few seconds passed. Dean scanned the shoulder for a clear, grassy space. Then Michael released a long breath and ducked his head into his hands. “Yes. Boundaries would be good. How about we start,” he lifted his head and focused back on Cas but without the golden tone to his irises, “with you don’t get to talk to him like THAT, and you don’t touch his ass. Ever.”

Cas huffed gently. “I’m afraid that’s an unacceptable restriction. Have you SEEN his ass?

“GUYS! Really?! Right now?! I’m driving. You’re gonna make us crash!”

“We’re just having a calm, adult conversation, Dean. Mind your own business,” Cas shot at him.

“My own…?” Dean stared at him in disbelief long enough that Cas jumped to grab the wheel.

“I’ve got it!” Dean shoved him back to his side.

“I have seen his ass. It’s a beautiful shape; so firm and round – so spankable, so fuckable. Thing is, I haven’t seen it any color but purple yet.” Michael continued, utterly affronted while Dean blushed and scrunched down just a little in his seat, “Because of you, Alpha, I had to Claim my mate while he was covered in someone else’s fucking marks. MY Mate. MY Submissive. NOT YOURS.” Michael’s voice was calm, but very firm.

He went on. “What gives you the right to claim anything but his place in the pack beneath you and the ring on his finger? He steps out of line, you just let me know, and I’ll take care of it. You two can have your stupid domestic marriage: do laundry, make grocery lists, crochet effing curtains together for all I care, but keep your fucking hands off my mate.”

Cas responded in-kind, calm but firm, “The word ‘marriage’ connotes a conjugal relationship, Michael. I will be willing to offer you some allowances as his mate, but I will not cede all sexual and Dominant contact with Dean to you. That is off the table. Period.”

“Oh well, gee, thanks for the scraps.” Then Michael addressed Dean. “You see? I told you it’d be like this. He gets whatever the fuck he wants, and I get whatever dribbles off of you two. This is Bullshit!”

“It’s not scraps!” Dean insisted. “And I’m not a rump roast for the dogs to fight over! Jesus!” Castiel was about to speak up in his own defense, but Dean put a finger in his face and forestalled him. “I want a month with him, just us; just Michael and me – before his Eval., before his training. We need it to establish our footing and get ourselves solid. I can’t believe you would try to start divvying me up like Thanksgiving leftovers on the day after we mated. What’s wrong with you, man?”

Cas looked down and pulled both lips in-between his teeth. He glanced up at Dean without lifting his head. “I’m sorry, Dean. You’re right.” Dean kicked his head back slightly to nudge Cas into offering Michael an apology too. Castiel’s eyes flicked back at his fellow Dominant, and he sighed.

“Michael, I’m sorry. Dean’s right. You two deserve some time alone.” He sat subdued in the tension surrounding him. Michael didn’t respond other than to scoot back over behind Dean and resume watching the landscape fly by with his headphones fixed back in place, shifting occasionally on his sore backside.

Cas offered, “You may use the Facility suite, if you like. I’m moving April to the manor when we get back, so the suite will be empty. It’s much bigger and more comfortable than your own rooms there, Dean. You would also be welcome at home. There’s an H/R suite as well as the guard house, or the guest house… or the pool house.”

“Fuck me,” whispered Michael in a perfect Gordan Ramsay.

 

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

 

Gabriel was a sneaky bastard when he wanted to be. Dressed innocuously with his ballcap pulled down low, he worked his way down the damp, dark concrete-sided hallway. He kept his flashlight off and darted past the infrequent lightbulbs spaced out along the long corridor, checking every door that he passed. Most were locked and still. A few opened to empty, barren medieval concrete cells with grated drains in the floor and dripping walls. Some had moldy flat mattresses on the floor, others had nothing. What a fucking hell-hole.

He couldn’t hear anything but dripping water and a buzz from the open bulbs, but he knew there were people here. He’d been following this lead long enough to be sure. Above him, several floors up was a state-of-the-art Lupin Facility, shiny, glossy, and pristine, boasting all the amenities a wolf might need to get their fix and get their head screwed on right. But underneath…

This is where the unclaimed wound up: those who had no pack, who were brought in shivering, starving, lost to their Heat and the buildup of omesol and cortisol; those who were vulnerable and alone; those who wouldn’t be missed. Gabriel had watched Gordon’s men bring them in with promises of food and comfort, support, balance, and Release only to have them disappear without a trace a few days later.

There was money to be made in the sex-slave trade – lots of money; significantly more than anyone could make by offering training classes and scening. Trembling, frightened, drugged-up Omegas made the perfect slaves. Keep them on the right regimen of drugs and they stayed compliant and wet, ready for anything, in a permanent Heat state. Add in the high tolerance for pain and the fast healing, and it was a gold mine.

Gabriel used his tiny camera to grab an image of an empty cell as he passed it. Empty wouldn’t bring a conviction, though. He needed to find the people. The prisoners. He pulled up sharply at the sound of approaching feet, tucking himself back into a doorway. The latch didn’t budge, and he had nowhere to go without catching their attention. He prayed his scent-blockers were still strong enough to cover the smell of his adrenalin and cortisol. The door jamb was deep and shaded from light, and Gabriel used every trick he knew to keep himself utterly still and silent.

Three figures, two walking and one being dragged, approached and passed him, looking neither left nor right. They had no reason to believe anyone else was down here with them. “She’ll sleep it off in an hour. Get Gordon. He wanted to take a look at this one.”

They unlocked one of the cell doors and tossed the limp figure inside, then closed and re-locked it before beating a hasty retreat. It seemed as if even the dregs of the earth wanted to spend as little time down here as possible.

Gabriel waited for them to leave and then crept silently to the cell where the small figure had been cast. He ran his hands over it, checking the lock and latch. He risked using his flashlight long enough to work the lock open with his pick, the light held tight in his teeth. The door swung loudly on its hinges, and Gabriel moved fast. He put his flashlight back into his pocket, slipped his arms underneath her tiny frame and lifted her as if she weighed nothing. She practically weighed nothing, but her dead weight made her awkward to carry. Gabriel chose the fireman’s carry so he’d have a hand free and began picking his way back the way he’d come, toward the back of the building, not the front. He and Gordon shouldn’t be running into each other this way. He moved quickly, but took a moment to check the girl’s pulse as he went. She had a strong heartbeat. That was good but not unexpected. Sex-slaves didn’t sell for much if they were dead.

Gabriel worked his way methodically back up three floors in the dark. This side was unguarded. Apparently, the security team didn’t think anyone would be hunting for a way INTO the dungeon, and hadn’t thought to secure it; either that or there were hidden cameras that Gabriel’s scoping had missed, in which case he was a dead man. He made it to the garbage chute and moved as fast as he could. He eased the limp form in past the lip and let her go, letting gravity slide her body to his partners waiting at the bottom. He listened for the gentle thump and was just about to step onto the seat himself, when a heavy hand came down upon his shoulder and arrested his motion.

“This area is off-limits to clients, Omega. That was explained to you at orientation. Come with me.” Gabriel forced himself to breathe normally, or at least, in no more of a panic than an Omega on his way to an ass-beating might be under normal conditions. How much did this guy know? Had he seen Gabriel with the girl? Had he seen Gabriel drop her to his compadres? He tried to figure a way to warn them, but there was no way to get his phone out this close to the alpha guard. He’d have to trust them to figure it out and get her to safety without him. He wished he’d stashed his camera in her pocket before letting her fall. If that was found on him, if they checked the picture files…

“In here,” gestured the guard.

Gabriel was ushered into one of the punishment rooms. This facility had several – more than were warranted by its size. The idea made Gabriel physically ill. At the far end, Gordon stood leaning against a heavy steel spanking bench, inspecting his fingernails. Gabriel adopted his best defense, an obstreperous swagger and smirk. He greeted the alpha as if nothing could possibly be amiss. “Hey, alpha! Nice digs you got here. I haven’t been in this one yet. Damn! Is that a St. Andrew’s with spikes?” Gabriel affected loud and obnoxious like a cloak and prayed hard to the Universe.

Gordon looked up at him with distaste and scowled. “On your knees, Omega.” The command came from a place that knew its own power and expected to be obeyed. Gabriel dropped where he stood, spreading his knees wide and leaning his head to one side to bare his throat. His gaze dropped to the floor. “You were not in class today. Explain yourself, Maurice.”

“I have no excuse, alpha. I played hooky. My ass was sore from yesterday, and I just couldn’t make myself go through it today.”

“Your ass was sore?” Gordon stood and walked slowly toward the Omega. Gabriel kept his eyes trained on the alpha’s feet without moving his head and listened for the sound of the guard by the door. Was he still there? Probably. It would be unlike Gordon to leave himself unguarded. “And you thought racking up more misconduct would help it to recover? I thought you were smarter than that. Hmm, guess not. Peter, I think our Omega miscreant needs a stronger lesson. Take care of that for me, will you please?”

“Of course, alpha,” the guard at the door replied.

Gabriel’s jackal leveled an unimpressed look at the Omega. He’d about had enough of taking punishments that didn’t take him where he needed to go – punishments he hadn’t even had the fun of earning. (Just go along with me here, please Buddy, just one more), Gabriel entreated. He needed to cave fast so he could get through the punishment and get locked back in his room before Gordon and his goons discovered the missing prisoner. Gabe was under no illusions that they’d figure out it was him once they put their heads together.

Gordon strode out and the alpha guard picked Gabriel up by the scruff of his neck and began shackling him face-first to the St. Andrew’s cross that Gabe had spotted when he entered. Crap. This was gonna hurt. The spikes weren’t long, but they were everywhere. There was nowhere to rest his body without a sharp tang of metal digging in and sending a trickle of blood down his skin.

“This is my favorite one, Maurice. I’m glad to know you have such good taste in furniture. You comfy?”

“Let’s do it,” mumbled Gabriel.

 

He’d not had to fake his submission at all against the onslaught of the whip and that God-forsaken cross. Tossed carelessly back in his own well-appointed room, Gabriel cursed the damned thing and pushed himself off his cot with shaking and bleeding arms. They’d eventually get around to sending medical to check him over, but he needed to be gone by then.

He didn’t have anything in his room that he couldn’t abandon, having planned not to return to it when he left this morning, so he worked the lock open with his pick and checked carefully for guards. There were none. Gordon needed to keep up appearances with the real “clients” that he was running an above-board training institution, and goons stalking the halls gave off a bad vibe. Bad for business. It worked for Gabriel who slipped out of his room, straight into the bathroom next door and through his emergency escape route like a black cat at midnight. Or like a jackal. A really fucking stealthy jackal.

 

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

 

Castiel’s phone pinged with a text message and then another and another in short succession. He opened the first and sat straight up in his seat in alarm, skimming through the rest of them as fast as he could read. “How close are we to Oklahoma City, Dean!”

“We’re close, Cas. ‘Bout twenty miles south of Norman. OKC is just past there. What’s up?”

“It’s Gabriel. He’s in some kind of trouble. The team says they lost contact with him and they need to take off to make the rescue.” Cas turned wide eyes on Dean. “Did you know he was on a job in Gordon’s place? What rescue? What the hell’s going on?”

“Dunno, man. Are you sure it’s Gordon’s? OKC prolly has more than one hell-hole in it. He could be anywhere.”

“No, it’s Gordon’s training school. They’re clear about that. How long until we can get to him?”

Dean called back over his shoulder, “Michael, use your phone to navigate me to the…shit what’d he name it? Fuck, just do a google search on Lupin training facilities in Oklahoma City. I’ll know it when I hear it, and take me there. You got it?”

“I got it, hold on, bad signal. Give me a minute.” Michael held his phone aloft to try to increase its reception. “What’s going on?”

The front seat ignored him as Castiel typed frantically into the phone, then gave up and hit ‘dial’.

“Ash!” he shouted. “What’s going on? Have you got him? Is he safe?!”

“No, no, we’re on our way, but we can’t get there that fast. It’s what…how much longer Dean?”

“I don’t know! Maybe forty-five minutes? Michael, you got anything?”

Castiel returned to his conversation. “We’re maybe forty-five minutes south of you right now, Ash. What do you need?” Cas listened intently, his hand to the opposite ear to block out the road noise and help him concentrate. “Yes, get her out of there. Take her straight to Lawrence and call for Bobby and Pam. Can you leave someone to rendezvous with us?”

“Dean,” Michael spoke urgently, but softly to keep from drowning out Castiel’s conversation, leaning forward into Dean’s space. “Is it the OLS? What, the Oklahoma Lupin Society?” he said hesitantly, searching the website for the full name.

“Yeah, that’s it. Navigate me to their main campus. How long?”

“Showing almost sixty miles traveling northwest. It’s outside the city on the other side.”

“Find me the fastest route and don’t let me miss any turns.”

“You got it.” Michael hunkered back in the seat to work out the route. He was dying with curiosity, but he knew an emergency when he saw one, and this was his pack; his pack in trouble. He didn’t even notice the irony.

“C’mon Gabe, damnit! Check-in, you stupid son of a bitch.” Cas was beside himself with worry. He checked and rechecked his phone messages, checked and rechecked that Dean and Michael knew where they were going. “I’m going to kill him when I get hold of him. He did this without telling anyone. Even Bobby didn’t know.” Cas was muttering for Dean’s benefit ostensibly, but he wasn’t really speaking loud enough to be heard. He just needed to keep talking himself through this. He couldn’t lose Gabriel. He couldn’t. Not after everything they’d been through.

Then his phone chirped, and he was on it like a duck on a June bug. “It’s Gabe! He’s out! Dean, he’s sending an address. We need to get there fast, though. He says he’s not secure.”

“Here, give it to me, I’ll put it in my Nav.” Michael reached up and took the phone from Cas, who relinquished it so Michael could grab the address.

It didn’t take long from where they’d worked their way around the main freeways and high traffic. Michael’s directions cut more than ten minutes off the map’s estimate and in no time, Dean slid to a stop in a spray of gravel outside a crusty dive-bar. Gabriel appeared from the bushes nearby and dove into the back seat on top of Michael who couldn’t get out of the way. He pulled the door closed, and Dean floored it.

Untangling themselves, the two Omegas ended up side-by-side, both bloody and filthy, Gabriel panting and sweaty, and Michael wide-eyed with shock.

“You do this often?” he asked the blond Omega.

“All the time,” Gabriel huffed.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 18

THEN:

“Dad,” called Dean coming into the kitchen. John Winchester looked up from his newspaper. “I need my own room. I can’t do the alpha exercises with him in there. It’s embarrassing.”

“I’m not a rich man, Dean. I don’t have another room to give you.” John folded the paper and set it down. “Why is this such a big deal? Explain it to me. You’ve shared a room with Sam his whole life. You’ve been naked together plenty of times, bathed together, had both your bare asses spanked together. I know you both jack off in there. Please explain why this is so different.”

“Come on, Dad. It’s just different. It’s the knot. It’s weird-looking, and having him there creeps me out. It’s like he’s watching me or something. Can you at least tell him to give me some private time to go through all the exercises alone?”

“I’m not going to do that, son. I want you and Sam to figure this out on your own. You need to understand why it bothers you so much, and then talk to your brother. He may very well present as an alpha too, and then it’s going to be even more important that you know how to work your concerns out with him. It might even be important to him, if he is alpha, to have had a role-model to look up to. You know someone had to show you the ropes too, Dean. It’s important to learn control. Those exercises are about more than your knot, alphas learn best by watching older alphas maintaining their own control. He’s your brother. He loves and cares about you. Give him a chance, Dean. I know he’s got your back, just like you do his, and I’d bet he doesn’t think your knot is weird-looking. He probably just sees it as part of you. It’s you he cares about, not your dick.”

 

 

NOW:

Michael couldn’t enter through the employee’s turnstiles, so they headed for the main entrance when they got back to The Facility. April was vibrating next to Charlie in the foyer, and when she spotted Castiel, she launched herself toward him with a full-on springboard leap, grabbing on with both arms and both legs and an obnoxiously high-pitched squeal. He caught her under her thighs with a grunt and a chuckle, bending his legs for the extra support. “Easy, Kitten,” he admonished playfully. “I’m getting too old for that kind of thing.” Dean just ‘Mm-hm’d’ loudly enough to be heard and guided Michael around the couple and toward the small assembly of well-wishers for the first of the introductions. Gabriel limped along behind unobtrusively, no longer bleeding, but looking somewhat like a slash-horror victim. Cas had lent him a change of clothes that he wasn’t going to ask Gabe to return.

April wasted no time. She kissed her mate’s face and throat, letting go with her arms, leaning back a bit, and beginning to work at his belt buckle, trusting that he’d hold her up like always. He did. He also leaned in and sucked a bruise into her throat, backing her against the wall under the grand foyer sign and pushing the skirt of her tunic up her thighs with both hands.

“Nope!” interrupted Charlie bravely. There was a reason she was staged out here with April. “Alpha, it’s great to have you home, but you gotta go through that door right there, then walk about forty-five more feet and through the door on the left before you do that. “ALPHA! CASTIEL!” she shouted at him to no avail. Gabriel caught Dean’s eye as he was giving Meg a hug in greeting and gestured. Dean rolled his eyes and walked back to collect the horny couple. He and Gabriel each crooked an arm through one of Cas’ elbows and steered him toward the door that Charlie held open for them.

Cas gripped his mate’s ass and continued kissing, sucking, and biting wherever he could latch onto. “Jesus, Castiel,” griped Dean grabbing at his belt loop to keep his pants from hitting the floor while he walked, “Act like you’ve been in public before! This is embarrassing.”

“It’s good to have you back, Dean!” shouted Becky from behind the desk.

“Hi Becky! Bye, Becky.” They made a strange entourage stumbling down the hall. Dean with one arm guiding his future husband, the other holding up his trousers, Gabriel limping and still bleeding a bit, Castiel oblivious to everything but his mate and his hormones. Michael trailing behind them all, shaking his head in wonder and mild disgust.

They got Cas and April squared away in the bedroom of Castiel’s suite with little trouble and left them there. Then they relinquished custody of Gabriel to a very angry-looking Bobby Singer before heading on to the cafeteria to resume introductions. Dean kept an arm around Michael’s waist through all the fanfare, and nuzzled into him every few minutes, checking his scent and their bond for signs he might be overwhelmed by Dean’s enormous Facility family.

“Jody! I heard you made the big switch! Welcome, my dear,” gushed Dean releasing his mate long enough to give her a massive Winchester hug. He was delighted that one of his best advisors from his undergrad days had joined the staff. He’d been pushing to bring her on-board since she and their business manager, Donna mated a couple of years ago. God, it felt good to be home.

Sam came in after Dean and Michael had made a full circuit around the room, and he hugged his brother hard, wrapping him up in his vast embrace. Michael stood awkwardly to the side, waiting and feeling unbalanced while they laughed easily with each other until Dean turned back to him and bathed him in his alpha’s glorious smile.

“Sam, this is Michael Lancet, my mate. Well, Michael Winchester now.”

Sam stuck a hand out and shook Michael’s hand firmly, his grip solid and not remotely confrontational or posturing. “Welcome to the Pack, Michael. It’s great to have you both home.” Sam’s face was warm and open. He exuded genuine welcome, and Michael felt, for the first time, a sense of home from this new place that Dean loved. It almost made him falter, but he caught his voice in time as he thanked Sam, side-eyeing his mate to see if he’d noticed. The smirk of victory on Dean’s face said he did.

“Where’s Cas?” Sam looked around.

“Fucking,” responded Michael flatly.

“Ah, right,” Sam didn’t seem surprised or put-off.

“That normal for him?” Michael asked Sam.

Sam laughed heartily, “Pretty much. Come on, you two, let’s go talk.”

 

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

 

Gabriel sat naked on Bobby’s exam table, swinging his bloodied legs. Castiel had cleaned him up somewhat in the car, switching places with Michael so that he could work on the wounds while Dean drove, but there were so many, and Gabriel insisted they couldn’t afford to stop long enough to really dress the minor ones.

“You get a chance to check over the Omega girl yet? I assume she made it here already. She’s safe, right?” Gabe chirped.

“Shut up,” Bobby said tersely, stitching up the deep lash-marks in Gabriel’s back with a gentler hand than the tones coming out of his mouth. “Whatever you have to say, I don’t want to hear it.”

Gabriel sighed and looked around, wincing when Bobby applied more antiseptic. Several tense minutes went by. “Could you at least tell me how she is?” he tried.

Bobby looked at him fiercely out of the corner of his eye. “She’s alive,” he told the Omega.

For all intents and purposes, Gabriel Novak had no occupation. He was a ward of his brother and had no income, produced no product, answered to no employer, but right now, his ‘not-boss’ was more pissed than Gabriel had ever seen him; pissed enough that even Gabe was cowed. A little.

Once he was stitched up, cleaned off, bandaged within an inch of his life to resemble a Hollywood mummy, started on the good pain-killers and some huge antibiotic horse-pills, Gabriel was tucked securely into a clinic bed and told in no uncertain terms that if he left that bed for any reason other than urination or defecation, he’d have what remained of the skin on his back flayed off in inch-wide strips.

“Don’t make me hand-cuff you. I’ll do it in a heart-beat if I even think you’re going anywhere.”

“Yes, Bobby,” Gabriel answered out loud. To his jackal he said, (As if hand-cuffs could hold us if we wanted to bolt). The jackal giggled manically.

 

Bobby joined the team in the smaller conference room on the first floor. “Where’s Cas?” he asked, taking his seat.

“Probably still tied,” answered Benny. “He’ll be here when he gets here. I don’t doubt he heard the whole story on the way anyhow.”

Bobby turned his attention to Ash, a small beta-Sub who shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He didn’t like coming out of his hole and making any kind of official appearance where cameras might catch an image of him, but he hadn’t been quick enough to slip back out the door after delivering the girl.

“What happened? I need to know everything.” Bobby’s voice was alpha enough to make Ash even more nervous if that was possible.

Ash recounted awkwardly: how Gabriel approached him with an assignment four days ago, asking him to keep it on the D.L.; how he’d only brought in two other conspirators and made sure no one contacted the team leaders or the Facility connections – at that, Ash glanced at Bobby before ducking his head back down – how Gabe said he’d been secretly scoping Gordon’s place for a long time now, making silent midnight outings to stake it out on his own, only bringing in help when he was ready to move.

Gabriel had entered the OLS claiming to be a lone wolf Omega in need of several days of refresher classes and a Release, telling them his custodial alpha lived too far away to see to his needs. At night, he went searching the place, looking for secret doors and back-ways, hunting for a way to sneak harvested Omegas back out again. He’d contacted Ash this morning, and texted him the instructions to gain access to the trash-chute – told him to be ready for a rescue.

“That’s pretty much it, alpha. Only, we expected Gabe would be with the girl when she came tumbling down the slide, but he wasn’t. We waited as long as we could, but then we just had to get out of there. He’s okay, ain’t he?”

“He’s fine right now, but he might not be after Castiel or I get through with him. Depends on which of us gets to him first.”

“Can I go now, Bobby? You know I don’t like being out in the lights like this.”

Bobby nailed him to his chair with his eyes. “He ever pulls a stunt like this again, Ash, and you don’t call me, you’re going to share equal parts in whatever punishment he earns himself. Am I understood, beta?”

“Yes, alpha. Loud and clear, Sir.”

“Go on, get out of here.”

Ash scuttled past Castiel making his way through the door. Cas barely got a “Hey!” out before the beta was gone. He turned his bewildered gaze to the others.

Pam stepped in. “He didn’t know enough to keep him here, Castiel. We’ll get the details from Gabriel, who’s fine, by the way.” She answered the question before Cas could ask it.

“Not after I get finished with him,” Cas responded darkly.

“Yeah, apparently, there’s a line for that,” said Benny, barely raising his gaze from where his cheek rested against his palm.

Cas raised his eyebrows at Benny. “The line starts and ends with me. I’m his Alpha and his brother. Nobody else touches him. And I’ll remind everyone in this room that Gabriel’s presence here and the reasons behind his presence here are confidential as always. He is visiting this Facility because his Alpha brother works here and brought him here for medical care, and that is the only reason.” Cas swept his gaze across every pair of eyes to be sure his message sank in sufficiently, pausing with an intimidating presence.

“Have a seat Alpha.” Bobby gestured Cas to his place at the head of the table opposite Benny. “It’s good to have you back. It’s been a crazy few days, and we need to catch each other up. Congratulations, by the way. We’re – all of us,” Bobby looked around and included the rest of them, “ – very happy for you and Dean. And that’s sincere, my friend. You both deserve to be happy.”

“Thank you, Bobby. It’s been a long time coming. Too long, no doubt. But I want to assure you all that Dean and I will do our level best to keep our private lives out of the board room and out of all Facility business affairs. I should tell you that, as Dean is also newly mated, he’ll be taking a month-long leave-of-absence. He is, however, officially transferred back to Kansas for good. So, there’s that. I guess, uh, mission accomplished, so to speak.” Castiel blushed as he wound his little speech up, but he couldn’t stop smiling.

“You big sap!” teased Meg happily.

 

Castiel didn’t stay long in the conference room. They debriefed, briefly, then tabled the rest until tomorrow. It was late, and everyone was a bit overwhelmed. Cas stopped by the clinic to check on Gabriel. He didn’t stay there long either. Gabriel wouldn’t look at him, and Cas wasn’t ready for the discussion they needed to have. He kept his voice low and non-confrontational. He let Gabe know that the issue wasn’t closed, but that he was beyond relieved to have his big brother safely home. He kept a hand on Gabriel’s shoulder, touching his flesh where his clinic gown had pulled down. They both needed the touch.

“Just one thing, though. Everyone in this business knows me, which means most of them know you. What if you’d been recognized? What would we have done if they’d really hurt you? God, Gabe. I couldn’t live through that.”

“I’m sorry, little brother. I didn’t mean to scare you. Thanks for coming for me. But can we please do this later? Please, Castiel.”

“Sure, Gabriel. Get some sleep.” Castiel squeezed his shoulder gently then turned the light out as he left, making sure there would be a guard on the door. He wouldn’t put it past Gabe to sneak out before dawn. He was a sneaky bastard when he wanted to be.

 

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

 

Castiel made a bee-line back to his suite. As he’d guessed, they were all present and accounted for, sitting around the kitchenette table, each with a shot-glass in front of them and the bottle already half-empty. They raised a toast to him as he entered, a rousing chorus of, “TO THE ALPHA!” to which he bowed gallantly. Even Michael had raised his glass. He was already drunk no doubt, thought Castiel.

April slid off her chair and onto the small pillow that he kept there to protect her knees, offering the space to her Dom. He walked up behind her and picked her up under her arms and sat in the chair, snugging her onto his lap, smiling and reaching for a glass.

“Welcome home, Winchesters!” said Sam, a bit too loudly, and someone refilled his glass.

“No, not yet, Sammy. Gonna go back home tomorrow, start grabbing our stuff and moving it into the big house. Then we’ll be home.” Dean was already slurring. Cas found it adorable and kissed his pretty mouth.

Then he checked in with Sam. “You’re moving in with us? I take it that’s a yes from you.” Cas drained his shot-glass in one go. He had a bit of catching up to do.

“Actually, I plan to stay put. I like my house. It’s been in our family for a long time, and it’s my home. But yeah, if you’ll have me, I want to join you. I want to join your Pack. I accept your gracious offer!” he said, raising his glass in another impromptu toast.

Everyone cheered and upped their glasses to clack loudly against his. A new bottle appeared on the table as if by magic.

“Oh, oh, formal introductions, all around,” Dean insisted. “Castiel, you never introduced me to your mate. That’s not right, man.”

“I’ll do the honors,” said Michael, standing. “Don’t look at me like that, Dean. I’m not always an asshole.” Dean gestured him forward graciously.

“Ok, let’s see. Uh, I’m still learning all this shit, so let me know if I fuck it up.”

“Oh, we will!” laughed Sam. Tipsy Sam was really fucking loud, thought Michael.

“Uh-huh. Um, as our illustrious leader,” Michael assumed a haughty announcer’s tone, and if he had to hide a bit of sarcasm inside the tone, that was his own business. “Winchester Pack Alpha, and all-around badass Dominant mother-fucker, we have Alpha Doctor Castiel Novak, er Winchester, or whatever the fuck his name is today, PhD, etcetera, etcetera, whatever, whatever.” Everyone cheered. Cas ducked his head in humble acknowledgement of the high praise, and wondered if Michael was up to something, what with his dramatic about-face in attitude. More likely, he was drunk and feeling no pain or inhibitions.

“Next in line, and hot as all kinds of fuck, MY MATE – and not Castiel’s – the only alpha I know sporting a genuine mating bite, the one who looks so much better naked and sweating than wearing hospital scrubs but who can give me a hard-on even in scrubs, my very own Submissive, Dean Michael Winchester!” This time there was more laughter than cheering. Dean took a half-hearted swing at his mate, but didn’t connect and decided just to go with it and drink.

Sam refilled the glasses while Michael worked out who was next, nodding his head at each in turn. “So then, let’s see, uh Alpha, alpha, beta, Oh. Yep, next in line is this monstrous dude who I do not know yet, but who is ALSO not Castiel’s mate and certainly not mine, but who keeps giving me more whiskey, so how bad can he be, my Mate-in-Law, Samuel Something Winchester!” Sam slugged his shot, then stood and grabbed Michael in a drunken bear hug, rocking him for a moment just to irritate his brother.

“Dude, paws off the Omega!” shouted Dean. “Stick to doling out the goods.” Sam released Michael with a laugh and sat back down to pour them all fresh drinks.

“Then there’s, fuck I don’t know, I think there’s three of us in the O-pool. Wanna arm-wrestle for the top spot, kid. You look pretty strong to me.” He rested his elbow on the table near where April sat, and she laughed.

“You’re on,” she said and took hold of his hand. Castiel moved out from under her to let her get a solid base beneath her. Dean cleared away the extra glasses to make room for them, and Sam squatted down beside the table, his hand around the two of theirs.

“Don’t embarrass me, Baby,” Dean advised.

“No chance,” sassed April. “He’s got no chance. What I didn’t tell any of you before today is that I hold the weight-lifting record for Lawton High School, and went to Nationals last year. Bring it!”

Sam released their hands and shouted, “Go!” simultaneously. Michael was caught off guard, but April was on her game and had his arm nearly at the touch-point before he even engaged. Then he stiffened his arm and pulled. It was over in a heart-beat. April, laughing, took defeat well and admitted that she’d never lifted weights in her life.

“Had you going for just a second there, though didn’t I?” she flirted. Michael winked at her and Castiel somehow magically seemed to just appear between the two of them, lifting her back up and pulling her down onto his lap once more.

“So, to continue with the intros,” Dean picked up where Michael had left off, “because the dude shouldn’t have to introduce himself: newly established at the top of the O-pile – that’s what you called it, right? Oh yeah, pool, the O-pool. What kinda fucked up name is that? Seriously, what does that even mean? – Is MY Mate, and not Castiel’s, he winked at his fiancé, who grinned back at him happily. The dude who out-surlys little old blue-haired librarians – don’t fight it baby, you know it’s true – the one Omega who single-handedly defeated the Grand champion weight-lift title holder of Lawton, Oklahoma in man-to-man combat, or whatever. My Sexy-as-fuck whether he’s naked or not – preferably naked – Dominant, Michael Quentin Lancet Winchester!”

“Quentin?” shouted April. “Seriously? Quentin?”

“I totally take back any and all flirting I may have done or thought about aiming your way. Fuck you! Quentin is a perfectly honorable name.” Michael drained his glass with a snap of his head and slammed it back down on the table.

“Flirt with her again, and I’ll rip your balls off and stuff them up your channel,” mentioned Castiel casually in passing as he refilled the glasses and emptied the bottle.

“We can’t forget Gabe,” said Dean. “…who is at this moment suffering grave bodily trauma and who currently has a dark cloud named ‘Castiel’s belt’ hanging over his head. Um, all hail Gabriel Allen Novak!”

“All hail Gabriel!” they shouted.

“Oh, but soft! What is this fair young maiden?” Dean crooned, taking April’s hand.

“Not a maiden, Dean. Sorry to break it to you, but she’s fucked.” Sam giggled, “Like literally fucked. You know ‘maiden’ means virgin, right? So, yeah well, Garth took care of that little imperfection. And even if Garth had missed the mark, I picked up where he left off. We popped both cherries in one day. So now she’s definitely not a maiden anymore.” Everybody but Castiel laughed. April laughed loudest and brought Cas’ hands up to her breasts, leaning back to plant a kiss on his cheek. He took it like a good sport, but reminding him that Garth took her maidenhood and Sam held her first Claim was not Sam’s best decision of the night. He was drunk though, so his reflexes toward self-preservation were a bit slow.

“Okay, okay, I got it!” Dean broke through the laughter and good-natured ribbing. “Introducing, in the anchor position, our lovely, beautiful and talented, and most definitely not a maiden, the only one who actually IS Castiel’s mate! And somehow the only girl in the whole fucking mix – seriously guys, how did that happen? - April Anderson Novak Winchester!”

Dean stooped to give her a hug. He liked her. They’d been sitting around drinking and just goofing off for at least an hour when Castiel showed up, and Dean had been watching the young Omega. She was funny and vivacious. She didn’t take a lot of crap from Michael, and she seemed completely at home in her skin. He held her tight for a moment, and he whispered in her ear before he released her, “If I have to share him, I’m glad it’s with you.” Then he released her and looked meaningfully into her eyes. Hers were wide blue pools of liquid emotion as she looked up at him and nodded. It was a bit unfair since she was clearly inebriated, but he chucked her on the chin anyway. She slapped at his hand good-naturedly, and Castiel shooed Dean away.

They ordered out for Chinese food and made the mistake of letting Dean choose the movie. Before “Apocalypse Now” ended, Sam disappeared into Dean’s suite across the hall, Cas and April went to bed in the Novak suite’s only bedroom, and Dean and Michael were both fast asleep, tangled together on the couch. They never got around to pulling out the fold-away bed.

 

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

 

Dean and Michael were awakened early in the morning to the sounds of a severe spanking coming from Castiel’s bedroom. It went on long enough to break into their dreams and shepherd them to groggy wakefulness. Michael groaned and pressed his face into Dean’s neck. April’s cries echoed across the living room, through the small kitchen and back again. It didn’t help that Dean’s body responded to the familiar sound of a certain Dominant Alpha’s hand landing like iron upon a firm pair of buttocks with a tell-tale tightening in his groin. He moaned and reached for his mate’s morning wood to make sure he wasn’t the only one. Michael batted his hand away and sat up.

He rubbed at his sore neck and turned around to assess his Submissive, quirking an eyebrow at how erect Dean was already. “Because of that?” he queried, gesturing to the bedroom with his head.

“Mm-hm,” Dean murmured. “Please, Michael.”

“Damn, you are a masochist.” Michael dropped his voice to a whisper and reached for Dean’s hips, clad in just boxers, “You like picturing yourself over his legs? His hand coming down hard on your ass again and again until you’re crying out like that? That getting you hot, Dean? Is it?”

“Yeah,” Dean responded again, rolling his hips in Michael’s grip. “Please Michael.”

Michael sighed, rubbed his aching forehead. He released Dean’s hips and disappeared around the kitchenette wall to look for aspirin. Dean adding a dose of the complicated reality of their pack dynamics to his hang-over was not how he’d hoped to spend the morning. Rules of the game: don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer. Michael reminded himself to remember that one.

He was just finishing off his pills with a tall glass of water, the bottle of Ibuprofen still in his hand when another hand appeared by his, held in space as if requesting a dose for itself. He looked up. It was April. She was nude. Her eyes puffy and red; tears and nose still running freely. He dumped a couple of tablets into her hand and handed her the bottle, then left her to it.

Castiel was kneeling, fully dressed in front of Dean on the couch, kissing him soundly when Michael returned. He suppressed a growl. He knew that kissing was going to have to stay on the allowable list, but he didn’t like it. He considered turning away but couldn’t make himself leave, so he stood awkwardly next to the kitchen table and waited until Castiel finished murmuring something to his mate and stood back up.

Castiel turned and met Michael’s eye. There was a brief frisson of something confrontational between the two Doms, but they both kept their mouths shut. The Alpha passed Michael and began pulling breakfast ingredients out of the refrigerator. Dean headed to the bathroom, and April started brewing coffee. Everything was so fucking perfectly domestic it creeped Michael out. He didn’t know where to go or what to do. This wasn’t his home, and he didn’t know how to get back to the easy camaraderie of last night. Maybe he should just stay drunk all the time.

“Michael, are you hung-over this morning? Would you like anything in particular for breakfast? I’m just toasting bagels, but there are eggs we could scramble if you’d rather. You need to get something in your stomach if you’re queasy.”

“I’m okay, Castiel. Just a headache and a little bit of an upset stomach. It’ll pass. Um, yes. Eggs would be good. I can cook them.” He moved to press in beside the other two, but Cas directed him to the table.

“There’s really not room in this tiny kitchen for more than one cook. And despite Dean’s opinion about me, I really can put a meal together when I have to.” Cas gestured for April to take her place on her pillow and began to crack the eggs. Michael wasn’t disturbed by the Omega-Sub’s position as she knelt easily and rested her hands on her thighs. Overtly submissive behaviors were extremely common in Lupin households, where the Pack was safe to meet the needs and desires of its members without being judged by the standards of “Normal” people like Naomi Novak. Michael’s home was not like this, but he knew how things worked in Traditional packs. He’d stayed with friends who lived this way, and he was used to it. Castiel placed four glasses of O.J. on the table, and then brought over the coffee pot, followed by three mugs. He offered his mate a sip of juice, and then resumed cooking. Michael filled a coffee mug for himself and one for his mate.

Dean joined them, collecting the bagels that had been toasted and halved and a couple of different condiments from the fridge before sitting down to Michael’s right. He leaned in for a kiss. Michael planted one firmly on his lips, then took hold of his face and moved to scent him, noting the obvious smell of sexual release on the alpha. A glance to Dean’s blue-jeaned crotch showed that his erection was gone. Michael’s wolf bristled. He maintained his grip on Dean’s chin and reached the other to press against his mate’s crotch. “You’ve made a grave error, Submissive. THIS belongs to me, and you don’t touch it without my permission,” Michael hissed quietly into Dean’s ear.

Dean was torn. His wolf wanted to roll over, plead mea culpa and ask to be punished, but they’d not established roles or rules yet. He was under no one’s thumb, not even his own mate’s, until negotiations were completed – not officially anyway. Any play they engaged in up to that point was purely voluntary on both their parts. Michael seemed not to understand that. Dean let his forehead fall to Michael’s shoulder, and he sighed. “Let’s talk it through today, all right? I want this with you, Michael. You know I do, but we’re not there yet. Soon, baby, but not yet.”

Dean shifted to kiss Michael’s throat and offer him a physical apology in case he needed the reassurance. He could sense Michael’s growing discomfort along with his pounding headache and sensed another tantrum might result if he didn’t move to head it off quickly. Cas set a platter of scrambled eggs on the table and sat down to feed himself and his mate. He watched Dean’s and Michael’s tense interaction, but stayed out of their business as he’d promised to do. Eventually, Dean sat back up, leaned down to his right to kiss April on the top of her head and then started in on breakfast. Michael visibly struggled with having been rebuffed, but regrouped and kept his control, eating slowly and without enthusiasm. His eyes never left his plate, but as he ate his face began to lose its green tinge.

“So Cas, what was all of that about this morning, with April? I gotta say, that’s a hell of a way to wake up.”

Cas delivered another forkful of eggs to his Omega calmly. “She’s got a few of those coming to make up for our time apart. It seems that my Omega-Submissive didn’t believe that my rules for her stay in effect whether we’re together or not. It’s been explained to her now in a way that she understands. Right, Kitten?”

“Yes, Alpha.”

“Good girl.”

 

The long, awkward breakfast eventually ended, and Cas and April left the suite for the day, leaving Michael and Dean alone with the dishes. “You want a tour of the grounds?” asked Dean, drying his hands.

“I want to know why you keep telling me ‘we’ll get there,’ and ‘soon, baby, but not yet.’” Michael tossed his drying cloth to the side and confronted his mate. “Dean, talk to me. We’re mates, and I can feel your Sub respond to me. We’re naturals together. What are you waiting for? Are you worried I’m going to get our roles fucked up? I mean, yeah, we did when we first met, but it’s been copacetic since the Claim took hold. I don’t get it.”

“I know. But this is a big change for both of us, and there are a lot of dangers that’ll mess with our heads if we’re not careful. I’m feeling all right this morning after last night’s party, but you are still miserable and hung-over. Are you certain you want to do this right now?” Dean moved into Michael’s space and batted his eyes at his Dom. “If you want, I could blow you and put you back to bed until the hang-over wears off.”

“I have a better idea,” Michael offered mysteriously, then worked his thumbs quickly over the screen of his phone. “You want to wait to talk until my headache is gone, fine. I can do that. Going back to sleep sounds like a fucking great idea, but we ARE going to hammer this shit out today, Dean.” Michael walked Dean back to the sofa and smirked at him. A ping on his phone sent him glancing at it briefly, then casting it on the side table. “I know one sure cure for a hang-over headache that works on me every time, and that’s to have a massive cock jammed down my throat. You game? We had some unfinished business from back in Bum-fuck.”

“Won’t that make your headache worse?” Dean asked feeling his cock start to swell at the pictures his wolf supplied him.

“You just let me worry about that.” Michael stripped off the boxers and T-shirt which was all he had on, and sat naked on the edge of the sofa, waiting on Dean’s decision.

Dean’s decision was a no-brainer. He dropped-trou and pulled his Henley over his head. His Submissive had a rule: if the Dom was naked, the Sub should be naked. Anything else felt wrong to him. Michael arranged Dean’s hips and started by running his flattened tongue around and all over Dean’s cock and his balls. Dean gripped Michael’s shoulders. He tested through their bond to make sure Michael was really okay, and then gave in to the sensations as Michael took much of Dean’s engorged cock into his mouth, bracing himself with one hand on Dean’s ass, and the other holding the side of his thigh.

He started slowly. He worked Dean’s cock with gentle pressure from his tongue against his hard palette and sucked his cheeks in. Dean moaned and put a hand against the back of his head, gripping the black hair but not guiding or forcing him, just holding on. Michael worked him methodically. He varied the pressure and speed and depth. He sucked and hummed, licked into the slit on the head of his cock, and then plunged back down deep enough to cut off his air supply and make his eyes water. Michael could feel Dean through their Mating-bond. He worked him for a while in studious silence. He could feel every time Dean was close to coming and every time, he backed off, releasing his hold on Dean’s cock and sucking a bruise into his inner thigh or nuzzling his face into the stiff hair at Dean’s pubis.

Dean whined piteously, trying like hell to hold still and not drill his mate’s face like he wanted to. Finally, Michael looked up at him, spit moistening his lips and cheeks, spit and pre-come running down his chin. “Fuck my face, Dean,” he said. His lust-filled eyes matched the words from his mouth and the firm certainty Dean felt through the bond. “Come on, baby, do it. I want an alpha cock shoved down my throat.” Dean saw that Michael had a firm hand wrapped around himself and was stroking his own cock. When had he let go of Dean’s ass?

The alpha didn’t need to be told twice, he speared Michael’s face and bore into him. Michael relaxed his throat and found Dean’s hands, placing them in his hair, encouraging him to go for it. Dean did go for it. He held back at first just enough to find the point where Michael’s capacity to receive him limited his stroke, and then he fucked hard in between those spit-slick lips.

“Michael, Sir?” Dean worked out his words between thrusts. “Can…can you do that thing you did with your teeth? Ah, fuck! Please, sir?” Michael’s grip on Dean’s thigh tightened and he adjusted his lips to let his teeth drag just right. “Oh, fucking hell! Yeah, baby, just like that!”

Dean didn’t hear the suite door open, but he heard it close, and he heard his brother’s voice call out, “Oh, hey guys. So, I hear you’re making omelets. That’s great, I’m starved.”

Dean snapped his head around, eyes wide, just about to lay into his brother, one, for not knocking, and two, for coming on in and striking up a conversation when neither suite occupant was free for discussion at the moment. It’s not like they weren’t bare-assed naked in full view of the door and clearly indisposed, but he froze at a simultaneous hard swat to his ass and a death-grip on his testicles. He stopped pre-berate and looked back at his mate. Michael still had Dean’s cock in his mouth. His eyes were doing the talking; his eyes and their bond link. Dean saw lust and certainty. Michael breathed hard through his nose, kept a hard lock on Dean’s eyes and slowly, but deliberately began to work Dean’s hips back into motion.

Behind them, Dean could hear Sam rifling through the refrigerator, could feel the awful juxtaposition of relationships crashing together. He sent confusion and alarm to Michael, unable to speak in words. It’s not that Sam had never seen Dean in the throes of sweaty passion before – he had. Sam had seen Dean moan like a whore while being ruthlessly fucked by alphas during their Keller tests, had seen him shamelessly rim a beta-Dom who had a playful streak and bet Dean he couldn’t make the beta come without penile stimulation in a Dominants class. (Dean won that bet.) But this was different. This was private, not work, not pack hierarchy or domination games. Dean’s mind spun furiously, while his Dom kept his unflagging erection moving steadily in and out of his mouth. A couple of things were clear: Michael wanted to keep going and Michael wasn’t surprised or alarmed at Sam’s presence. His Dom wanted this. Wanted Sam there. Sam had to know what was going on, had to know more than Dean did. Dean questioned with his eyes and through the bond.

Michael’s gaze was sure. His eyes were fierce with command. Dean’s Submissive wolf had no problem understanding the Dom’s instruction, and Dean’s Sub always complied with that particular tone of…eye. Dean wound his fingers hesitantly back into Michael’s hair and made a few strokes with his hips on his own, listening to the sound of Sam chopping omelet ingredients behind him, feeling Sam’s eyes on his ass, never straying from Michael’s eyes which had sprung crow’s-feet in the corners. He pulled at the bond, looking for what was driving his mate. He found lust and command, satisfaction and pride – so much pride. Pride in Dean? Pride in himself? Dean couldn’t tell.

Sam began to hum quietly to himself, and Dean closed his eyes. It was too much. He couldn’t do this. His hips stuttered, and he whimpered. What was Michael doing? It was crossing the streams of his designations and the different levels of his psyche. It was overwhelming. Was he trying to find Dean’s limits? Trying to make him fail? And what the fuck was Sam’s role in this? Michael growled in his throat, bringing Dean’s focus back to him, but a part of it never left his brother. Michael’s eyes hardened, and he reinforced Dean’s hands in his hair, pulling himself in for a few strokes.

The order was crystal-clear: ‘Fuck my face, Submissive, as I told you to do!’ Dean clawed his way out of his own mind and practically threw his wolf into the forefront. He was close after being edged for so long before. If the two were conspirators in Dean’s torture, then their timing was impeccable. Any sooner and Dean wouldn’t have been capable. Giving over to a Dom had never been this hard, but by God, if it’s what his Mate wanted, he was going to fucking give it to him if it killed him. Sam he would deal with later. His grip in Michael’s hair went white-knuckle tight and he drove in ruthlessly, pumping his hips with no thought to how deep was safe for his mate. He felt it coming, and he tensed, throwing his head back and roaring his release to the ceiling.

Dean narrowed his eyes and poked again at the bond. Michael was panting and obviously spent. He felt so much smugness and pride from his mate. Size-kink my ass, thought Dean – his first cogent thought since Sam walked through the door. The asshole is an exhibitionist.

“I think Cas is out of butter,” said Sam.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 19

 

THEN:

 

“Come on, Sam! Like you mean it! They’re just going to laugh at you, if you do it like that.”

“I know, Benny. I’m trying, but you’re not Omega OR Sub, and I can’t get my mind there. This is just so weird!”

“I can’t judge your practical skills without feeling it for myself, and I’m not putting any E.O.s on the floor who haven’t convinced me they’re ready. So far, you’re not convincing me of crap. You get one more chance, beta. Talk to me. What’ve I done to earn this punishment, and how are you gonna get me through it?”

“Right. Okay.” Sam cleared his throat and closed his eyes, working through the scenario from the practice sheet. Benny was a beta-Sub who’d been caught sucking off his boyfriend in the washroom. It was a level 5-B rule infraction calling for 30 to 50 hard pops with a paddle. Anywhere along the curve of the buttocks or backs of the thighs was the target zone, but not the anus. The inside of the thighs and sit-spots shouldn’t be targeted either, not for this one. Bruising was acceptable, abrasions were virtually unavoidable, if he maxed out the count. The beta was going to feel it for several days, but wouldn’t necessarily have trouble sitting as long as his posture was good.

Sam just had to forget that it was his trainer’s backside bent over the bench. It’s a beta-Sub, he told himself. His wolf knew better and paced uncomfortably. Just have to jump in and do it. Sam pulled himself together.

“Do you know why you’re in this position, beta?” Sam ground out. Benny played along.

“There’s a ‘no unauthorized sex’ rule, and I broke it, Sir.”

“That’s right. I’m going to punish you for it, right now, and then afterward, I’ll expect you to apologize to me and to your alpha. As long as it never happens again, once we’re through here, the matter’s closed. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir. I understand.”

“Very good. All right, take a breath and try to keep your muscles relaxed. I’m going to warm your backside up with my hand, and then I’ll switch to the paddle. Don’t move from this position until I release you.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Fuck! This is Benny. It’s alpha. Fuck! Sam’s wolf was balking again. Beta-Doms in a natural setting did not paddle alpha-Doms, especially not when said alpha-Dominant was the beta’s boss and trainer, all-around nice guy, and hadn’t broken any rules. Sam clenched his jaw and hoped muscle memory would get him through his practical exam since his wolf wasn’t there for him. He stepped up and struck Benny’s ass with his hard palm. Then he did it again. He overcompensated for the fact that his wolf wasn’t guiding his strokes. They were maybe harder than they should’ve been, but Benny had just chastised him for being too soft.

Once Benny’s, uh, the beta’s ass was a solid shade of pink, Sam pulled the paddle from the pocket of his cargo pants. He didn’t want to jinx it by talking right now. He’d already explained the process, and if he said the wrong thing because he was nervous, it would only make things worse, so he stayed silent. Sam laid down methodical swats with the paddle, letting the muscles in his arm find the right calibration point, counting them out in his head. He’d decided on 35. He was thinking hard, making sure he hadn’t missed anything while he monitored the man’s condition and kept up his routine. This was a punishment on a Sub, and the culprit could be a masochist. Sam realized after reaching 17 that he should have made the beta-Sub count out loud. Vocalization kept the spankee from slipping off into Sub-space and riding it out in the comfort of an altered state of mind. Fuck! He was going to fail.

Sam stopped at 20 and went for damage control. “Very good, beta. I’m proud of you. You’re doing well. He rubbed the sting out just a bit and pretended that he had meant to pause here all along. He swiftly adjusted his plan in his head and barreled bravely on. “You’ve got 20 more swats coming to you. I need you to count them out for me. Out loud. If you miss a number, we’re starting over, so keep up.”

Benny was still doing his part. He was in pain, and he was staunchly suppressing a wave of rage that was nearly visible in its intensity, but he grunted out a “Yes, Sir.” Sam picked back up from One.

“One!” shouted Benny as the paddle fell. “Two!” Sam listened to the tone of his voice. It would sound different in a real-world situation. As tough as alphas were, they weren’t built for this, and Benny was struggling. Sam kept at it though. Benny had prepared him beforehand to make sure he would ignore the ‘alpha-whining’ as Benny put it. “I’m not gonna break, Sam. I may sound like I will, but I won’t. You just do what you gotta do.”

“19! Fuck!” One more. Jesus, just one more. Sam brought down the paddle squarely in the middle of his boss’ backside. “TWENTY!”

After it was over, after the apology and the aftercare, and all the paperwork, they convened in Benny’s office. The adrenalin was slow to drain from Sam’s muscles, and his eyes were wide.

“You did fine, Sam. You passed the practical and the written. I’ll go over my assessment with you, but I wanted to calm your nerves and get that out of the way. Welcome aboard, beta. We’re lucky to have you.”

“Thank you, alpha. Whew, that was harder than I thought it was going to be. I’ve done that hundreds of times in training, but never on you. Please don’t ever make me do it again.”

Benny laughed. “We’ll see. I have no intention of giving any B.J.s in the bathroom, but what would you do if Castiel called me down for something and assigned you to administer the consequences? Could you do it?”

Sam thought about it seriously. “I believe I could. It would be real that way, not made up. Benny, my wolf just wasn’t having any part of this, and I need him if I’m going to do it right. I funnel everything through him. He directs my arm, and it’s his guidance that helps me keep the spankees safe. Honestly, I didn’t feel like this was a fair assessment of what I would really do because I had to wing it.”

“I know you did, Sam. That’s part of the test. I already know what your wolf can do. I’ve seen it literally hundreds of times. I needed to know what the real Sam would do in that situation. I need to know who you really are under stress. I could feel how difficult it was for you. If it makes you feel any better, it was no picnic for me either.” Benny shifted in his padded office chair.

“I’ve never told you this, beta, but when you applied for the training program, I was against letting you in. As Dean’s brother, I was afraid of how you might be around him and all of his colleagues. Thought you might try to take advantage, and he might let you. Nepotism can turn into something real ugly, real fast. But Bobby and Cas both vouched for you, so I was willing to give you a shot. You may have noticed I was a bit harder on you than the others.”

“Yeah, I wondered about that.”

“But you never brought it up. You never complained where I caught wind of it, not once.” Benny nodded at Sam. “That shows real grit. Sam, you have a core of steel underneath a layer of compassion. You’re perfect for this line of work. Don’t let that go to your head, and if you tell anyone I said it, I’ll deny it and put YOU on that goddamned bench.”

Sam blushed and laughed. “Thanks, alpha. Thanks for giving me a shot. I won’t let you down.”

Benny just nodded and pulled his notes in so he could go over his assessment with Sam in detail. An Enforcement Officer was never finished learning, whether he had his certification or not. Continuous growth and improvement would be an ever-present expectation.

 

NOW:

 

“Wait. Hold up a second.” Dean stared hard at his brother who was holding a bowl of unbroken eggs he’d pulled from the fridge and appeared much less disturbed about the scene he’d just witnessed than Dean thought he should. “What do you mean, you guys’ idea? This was NOT my idea. I didn’t know anything about it.” Dean was safe again and back in his comfort zone with his Henley and Levi’s where they belonged.

“Michael told me last night, well texted during dinner, that you were wanting to try out a little bit of public scening. I told him maybe you two should ease into it, you know? Maybe start with semi-public, or just trusted friends, see how you both react. I volunteered because you know I’ve got your back and Michael seems to trust me a little. I’m safe. We decided on making the first run-through pretty non-confrontational in case it got weird. He just texted me this morning he was gonna pull the trigger, and then you’d be cooking breakfast. It all seemed legit.”

In case it got weird?! Damnit, Sam! Did it never occur to you to include ME in your text conversation? So, all evening, while my mate was tucked up with me on the couch all snuggly-like, and I thought he was just distracted by some stupid App on his phone, he was really conspiring with my brother? That sound about right?”

Sam’s face paled, and he set down the bowl he was holding. His eyes darted, unfocused, as he worked backward to determine how and when he came to believe that Dean was aware and onboard for the plan. Dean saw the moment he got to the beginning and realized Michael had lied to him about Dean’s involvement. His jaw set and twitched. “He told me you wanted him to work out the details and surprise you. Dean, man, I’m so sorry. That must’ve been awful for you. I had no idea. FUCK!” Sam was livid and pacing in the tiny kitchen. For Sam pacing only bought him about a step-and-a-half, so he stopped and faced Dean rather than just spin awkwardly in place. “Alpha, may I have permission to discipline your mate, please? He lied to me.”

“He lied to both of us. He’s blowing through Pack rules one by one at a pretty good clip. I thought I was a brat, but Jesus. He busted number three back in Oklahoma and now it’s number five. Look, I’m not really mad at you. You were stupid to assume you had my consent without asking me directly. Don’t ever fucking do that again, you got me?” Sam nodded regretfully. “But you were played. This is on Michael. He’s barreling on through as if we already had all of our negotiations and roles set, when we haven’t even talked about it once. He doesn’t know my limits.” Dean scrubbed a hand down his face and met his brother’s eye again. “We have to have that talk today or everything’s gonna go sideways. Yeah, Sammy, go ahead and take the reins. I’m too pissed at him right now anyway. You have no idea what that did to me. I’m…I need a minute.” Dean sighed heavily, and Sam put a hand on his brother’s shoulder, his eyes full of compassion.

“I’m so sorry, Dean. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’ll be fine. Look, you go do what you do, and I’ll make you an omelet. We’ve already eaten. You okay with eating by yourself?”

“No problem. Thanks, man. After what I did, you don’t have to cook me breakfast.”

“Stop beating yourself up. Cooking is my comfort zone. It’ll help bring me back to myself. Just…go explain Pack justice to my brat of a mate.”

“Will do.” Sam’s eyes hardened again. He could hear the shower running, but Michael had had enough time to get himself clean, so Sam didn’t wait for him to exit on his own. He went on in through Cas’ bedroom door and into the en-suite bathroom. Dean began humming to himself as he reviewed the prepped ingredients Sam had selected for his omelet. Ham, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, green onions; Dean’s wolf perked right up, thinking Second breakfast sounded like a pretty good idea. (That’s because you’re a glutton) Dean pointed out. He decided to add bell peppers, but regretfully only prepped enough for one omelet.

Sam stormed straight into the bathroom and pulled the shower door open. Michael had his head back in the stream of heated water and was allowing it to run down his whole body, rinsing away the last of the soap. His eyes were closed, but he startled and squawked at the sound of the stall door being pulled open. He squawked again when Sam’s enormous hand wrapped around his bicep and hauled him out of the shower. “What the fuck?” Michael protested.

Sam leaned in and turned off the water without releasing the Omega, then he straightened. He fixed his Dominant eyes on Michael and narrowed them menacingly. “Michael Quentin, did you set up a new scene with your mate without his knowledge or consent, and then involve me in it as well without telling me he didn’t know a damn thing about it? Did you lie to Dean and me?”

“What? No! I mean, fuck, I didn’t ask him about it first, but he’s my Sub, Sam. I don’t need his permission to add spice to our scenes. Besides, I knew he was gonna love it. I’ve seen enough of you two on the internet to know he’s a show-off.”

Sam’s eyes were flinty and cold. “You don’t know anything about him. What you saw, what he shows in public is just a small part of himself. Dean’s actually a very private man where his Sub is concerned, and his trust is very hard to earn once it’s broken. You fucked this up bad, Michael. And what’s even worse is, you brought me into it thinking I was helping my brother take a new step. You fucking lied to me! You broke his trust, and you did the worst thing a Dom can do to a Sub, you put him into an unsafe situation and left him unprotected to fend for himself. And you dragged me into doing it with you.

“Officially, I’m going to spank you for breaking our Pack rule number five – ‘Don’t Lie,’ but what you’ve got to work through with your mate goes way deeper than that. You hurt him, Michael. I hurt him too by just going along with you. That was stupid of me. I know better. But you need to learn to communicate with him or you’re not ever going to be able to trust each other, True-Mates or not.”

Michael was dripping all over the floor. He looked taken aback, like he’d never considered the idea that his plan was flawed. Hadn’t Dean performed magnificently? I mean, sure, he’d taken a minute to find his footing, but that was just because it was a surprise, wasn’t it? In the end, when it came right down to it, he’d loved it. Hadn’t he? Michael had felt so proud to watch his mate, HIS Mate, perform. Michael probed for Dean with his side of the Mating-bond, but found that he couldn’t quite get to his mate. He was blocked. Dean had shut him out. He went cold. Michael hadn’t known it was possible to do that. How do you close it off? Why would you ever want to? In a flash, the magnitude of what he’d done – his hubris – crashed down on him, and he clutched at Sam’s arm to keep himself upright. Dean was so pissed he didn’t even want Michael’s bond link. Fuck.

Sam watched him dispassionately, waiting for his mind to process and catch up. He kept his grip on Michael’s arm grounding. When Michael’s eyes suddenly went frightened and wide, Sam simply raised his eyebrows without saying anything. For Sam, this moment was a test of Michael’s mettle. Is this boy just a young, untrained, cocky-but-well-meaning Dom with a good heart who runs his life on gut instinct and brash self-confidence; a boy who makes fixable mistakes left and right out of ignorance? Or is there a dark, ugly, manipulative side of Michael that hurts and wants to make those closest to him hurt too? The former, Sam could work with. We’re all human. Nobody’s perfect. But the latter meant war. Nobody harms Dean on purpose and gets away with it. Nobody. Sam waited for the verdict with a blank face. Michael had to make the next move.

“FUCK, Sam! I didn’t…look, you have to know…I didn’t mean to scare him, or hurt him. I would never! Dean means everything to me!” Michael unleashed a torrent of regret as his eyes filled with tears. “He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I just wanted to surprise him and challenge his Sub with something exciting, not break him. Now he won’t even let me through the Bond-link. FUCK! What have I done? Sam, did I ruin everything? Did I lose him? Did I hurt him?! FUCK!”

Sam growled at him and tightened his grip. Michael snapped his mouth closed. On paper, in their respective charts, Sam and Michael were doubtless both Dominants, and they were close enough in age that it made no difference, but Sam outranked Michael outright in Secondary gender and also in Pack hierarchy, training, and experience. Michael’s Dominant wolf lowered his ears and head, averted his eyes, and tucked his tail between his legs. The Omega standing in Sam’s grip, naked, wet, and cold was no match for a pissed-off Sam Winchester.

Sam walked Michael into the bedroom and sat on the edge of Castiel’s bed, pulling Michael over his lap in one movement. Michael whimpered, and then tensed when he heard the unintentional sound escape his throat. “You’re not going to be happy with Dean or just in yourself until you learn where you fit in the Pack, Michael, and you learn to embrace it. You’re an Omega before you’re a Dom, and I’m going to start emphasizing that for you right now. When we’re through here, you’re not to make another move as his Dominant until the two of you have talked through your roles and agreed on rules. I’ll expect you to apologize to me and to Dean. Do you understand, Omega?”

“Yes, Sam. I understand. I’m so fucking sorry.”

“I know you are.” Sam didn’t need to say more. He was satisfied that Michael was genuinely remorseful now that he was on the same page as Dean and Sam. Without further pause, Sam cinched Michael in by his waist and spanked him hard on his upturned ass. The layer of moisture on his skin would intensify the pain, helping Sam get his message across. Sam rained his swats down evenly and mercilessly, covering Michael’s backside and the tops of his thighs thoroughly. Sam was a strong man, and his right arm got plenty of practice in his chosen occupation. He didn’t worry about finding Michael’s pain tolerance as Dean had. Sam knew Omegas; knew what they could take and how to listen to their breathing.

The beta-Dom ignored the growing heat and sting in his own hard palm and continued methodically, hard, painful, stinging blows that built on one another until Michael began to kick and squirm. Michael tried to take it with a stiff upper-lip, but it hurt, and his body moved without his permission. Soon Michael was in tears. Ugly, snotty tears ran unchecked down his face as he cried out. Castiel’s lovely white bedspread took on dark spots where Michael’s wet body and his tears marred its perfect sheen.

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Fuck! Please, Sam, I won’t do it again! PLEASE STOP! It HURTS! OW! OW!”

Sam paused with his hand resting on Michael’s hot flesh. “Tell me what you’re sorry for, Omega.”

“I’m sorry I lied to you and Dean! I’m so sorry I took him through a scene he didn’t know about. I should have told him what I wanted, and talked to him about it. I should have given him a chance to say yes or no. I didn’t know it was new for him. Please, Sam, please don’t spank me anymore. I get it! Please! I’m sorry!”

Sam landed another solid round on the Omega’s ass and then paused again.

“I know you’re sorry, Michael. We’re almost finished, but I’m giving you a few more for calling my name during a spanking. You call me Sir, or beta-Dom, whichever you prefer, but you don’t have the standing while you’re over my knee to use my name. Do you understand this rule? Learn it now, because it’s a hard limit everywhere in our Pack and this facility.”

“Yes, Sir.” Michael was meek. Sam took a moment to take in the difference between meek Omega Michael and his usual Dominant presentation. It was a jarring contradiction. How must it feel to BE Michael and have to navigate the waters of his psyche with top currents pulling one way while the undertow dragged him somewhere else. Sam resolved to be an anchor for Michael. They were Pack now, and that meant Michael was his to watch out for.

Sam finished his spanking with a flurry of 10 or 12 more stinging blows. He didn’t allow for any mercy based on the red glow Michael’s ass was already giving off. Sam knew the quickest way to affect a behavior change in an Omega was to strike hard on the first lesson and then be consistent in reminders when they were needed. Omegas, especially brats, only altered their behavior when the consequences for not doing so outweighed the pull to misbehave.

Sam stopped and smoothed his hand over Michael’s bare, red bottom, easing the sting just a little. He wouldn’t bruise, and the pain wasn’t going to last long enough to make him uncomfortable for more than a few hours. This type of spanking hurt fiercely, but mostly just in the moment and then faded quickly. Sam knew Dean planned to have “The Talk” with his mate today and didn’t want to sabotage Michael’s ability to negotiate fairly for himself by forcing him to remain in his Omega mindset if that wasn’t where he would be spending most of his time.

“All right, Omega. Take a minute to get yourself back together. I’m in no rush.” Michael’s breathing was erratic as he continued to cry harshly into Castiel’s now less-than-pristine bedspread. Sam wrapped his left hand around Michael’s ribs and held him tight. “When you go back out there, just talk to Dean. Apologize for your mistake. Let him know you care about him. You know what to do. He loves you, and he’ll forgive you, but you need to listen to him and include him in your plans.”

“He loves me?” Michael sounded about 13 years old, his voice small and unsure.

“Of course he does. Dean doesn’t do anything half-way. And Michael, once you two get to know each other better, you can throw some challenges at him. You’re right that as his Dom, you have some freedom, and you don’t always have to ask his permission. But that’s later, when you know each other enough to have built up trust. You’ll know what not to do. You’ll be able to hold him safe. You’ve got the idea right, and I’ve seen how he responds to you. Your Mating-scene was fucking amazing. I want to talk to you about that later. Not now. Just, for the love of God and my brother, slow the fuck down. You’re not ready for this kind of thing yet. I don’t even know if he can do it – wants to do it. You have to know that first.” Sam listened to the Omega’s sobs as they slowly dwindled and he stroked over his lower back and down his legs. “You ready?”

Michael nodded, and Sam helped him stand. Standing together shifted their dynamic back to a more equal footing. Sam held Michael’s shoulders and looked into his eyes. “You’re going to be great for my brother. I’m so happy for you both.” Ignoring Michael’s nudity, Sam pulled him into a tight hug, then released him to get dressed and went looking for his breakfast.

 

Dean plunked a plate of eggs in front of his brother. “Well?” he prompted.

“He did good,” Sam said succinctly, digging into his food. Looks like Dean had scrounged up real butter somewhere. It was delicious, and Sam realized how much he’d missed having Dean close. “He’s just getting dressed now. I’m going to scoot in a second and let you two talk. You gonna be okay with your half of that? You need me to stay?”

“Nah. We’re going to clear out of here and head over to pick up some of my stuff. Hey Sam, I was thinking. Would you mind letting me and Michael have the house for the month? You could stay in my suite here or at Cas’ place. I’m sorry to ask, I’m not trying to kick you out of your own home, but I don’t think Michael’s ready for the whole Winchester Pack experience, and I get the feeling he’s overwhelmed by the number of people here. I want go somewhere quiet where we can be alone for our honeymoon; really alone, you know? We could stay at a hotel…”

“No, no, that’s a great idea, Dean. I don’t mind clearing out. I’ll come by tonight after work, pack up some stuff and bring it here. I’ve stayed here so often, it’s practically both of ours anyway. This is big for you, man. I’ll do whatever you need. You just gotta ask. You know that, right?”

“Thanks, Sammy. Yeah, I know.”

Sam finished his omelet, rinsed his plate off and disappeared to get to work before Michael surfaced. Dean went looking for him. Michael was dressed and groomed, standing next to Castiel’s huge picture window and looking pensively out at the expansive grounds, one hand rubbing his ass. Dean stopped in the doorway, admiring the lines of his mate’s body. He was breath-taking. He was so perfect. Dean realized he couldn’t feel his mate through the bond and remembered slamming it closed in a fit of pique. He cracked it back open and sent Michael a tentative tendril. Hesitant. Careful. Questioning.

Michael sobbed and hung his head without turning around, and Dean crossed the room and took his mate in his arms, holding him tightly. “It’s okay, baby. I know. I’ve got you, now. Shhh, shhh. You’re okay.”

“I’m so fucking sorry, alpha. I’m so sorry. You don’t even know. I would never hurt you like that, not on purpose. Can you ever forgive me?”

“Shhh, Michael. Of course I can. It was just a mistake, right? Look at me. Right?” Michael struggled to meet his alpha’s eyes, but he nodded. “Hey, I’m okay. I’m not really hurt, just a little freaked out. You didn’t break me. I could’ve stopped you with a Red-light if I needed to. Michael, look at me!” Michael’s green eyes finally made it all the way up, but it was so hard. Dean held him at arm’s length by his shoulders as Sam had done, so that they could look at each other. “If I’d called out ‘Red’, would you have stopped the scene?”

“Of course I would. I’m not a monster, Dean.”

“Of course you would. That’s what I’m saying, Michael. I’m okay. I didn’t safe-word. I’m not hurt. You fucked up. You went somewhere with me before we were ready, and you lied to me and to Sam – to Sam directly, and to me by omission. Michael, lying by omission is just as punishable as any other kind of lying. I hope you understand that. But you took your punishment, and now it’s over. Now we move on. Are you good?” Michael let his eyes drop again. It didn’t feel over.

“I still feel so guilty.” He tucked back into Dean’s embrace, and Dean accepted him.

“Well, there’s a couple of ways we can go with that. I think your Omega is just not accustomed to the process. You’ve been taking punishments through your wolf, and that’s why they just piss you off and don’t work. Am I right? Michael?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. What Sam did, it felt different than when my Pop used to do it.”

“That’s good. Sam’s really good at putting people in the right mindset. Believe me, I know. My ass has been at the wrong end of that paddle plenty of times. It sucks, but it works. For me, it works. I think it’ll work for you too once you get used to it. So, if you don’t feel ready to move on, maybe your Omega still feels like it owes something to me, too. If you ask me to, I’ll spank you as well. I wasn’t going to, but if that’s what you need, I’m here for you.”

“NO! Please, no. I don’t need another spanking. I promise.”

Dean laughed. “That’s what I thought you’d say. Okay, the other approach, since we have this Mating-bond between us, is, I can let you in on what I’m feeling. You go digging around in there until you see for yourself that I’m really not damaged. You’re going to see that I was scared and disturbed, confused, pissed-off, hurt…really fucking surprised. You’re going to see it all, but you’re not going to see me broken, because I’m not. You want to try that? It might make you feel worse at first, but I think it’ll be good in the long run. It’s your call. I’m willing to let you try.”

Michael hesitated, but then nodded. He hated being shut out of Dean’s mind. Hated it. Normally their mutual probing into each other’s minds only skimmed the surface; hit just the top-level immediate emotions. Dean wanted Michael to dig deeper. He frowned in concentration and reached up toward Dean’s head with his bond connection. It was hard to find his way at first. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he closed his eyes and felt around for it like a blind man in a strange house.

Dean’s emotions swirled about him. Everything Dean said was true. It was all here, and Michael sobbed again when he found the bundle of pain that he’d put Dean through. But he really was all right. Dean was not harmed, not really. What made Michael cry out, though, was that over all of it, surrounding and embracing everything that Michael saw and touched was a rich expansive ocean of warmth that actively reached out to him. It touched him, held him, rocked him, stroked the part of Michael that explored Dean’s psyche. It was everywhere, and it was beautiful. Like a magnet, wherever he went, the ocean rose to greet him, welcoming – rich and warm like comfort food. It knew Michael, accepted and wanted him – treasured him. Here was evidence that was undeniable. Dean loved him. After all the crap Michael’d pulled, all the bratty demands and breaking Dean’s trust as a Sub and failing him so disastrously in just their first few days mated, Dean loved him.

Dean loved him.

Michael broke. He cried into Dean’s chest. Dean picked him up and carried him to the bed, whispering to him as he lay beside his mate. “I promised you a nap, remember? Shhh, just go to sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Michael cried himself to sleep.

 

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

 

Dean stayed with Michael until he was deeply sleeping, then went across the hall to organize the crap in his own small suite. He logged onto his work computer and spent just a little while scanning through correspondence for only the most pressing issues. He set his “Out of Office” email alert to indicate he would be out of touch for the next month and redirected people to Benny, Jo, Jody, and Charlie depending on their issues. He kept a feeler out for Michael. Dean couldn’t see Michael’s dream, but he could tell that his mate was dreaming. There was a vague impression of swirling colors that never coalesced or came into any kind of focus. Once he’d boxed up his few personal possessions that he had any expectation of needing in the next month, he leaned over his laptop for one more thing.

Dean checked Castiel’s work calendar. He found that Cas should be alone in his office right now. The alpha scuttled unannounced to check, his box of books and stuff weighing him down. Castiel looked up when the door opened, and stood, smiling warmly at his fiancé. Dean put the box on his desk and let himself accept Castiel’s embrace, hugging him back. Cas kissed him. It was chaste at first, just a greeting, but Cas soon pressed for more, and Dean opened for him. Dean would always open for him. With his hand on the back of Dean’s head, Castiel took to kissing Dean like a man on a mission, like a man dying of thirst. Dean melted into his body, fitting himself in exactly where he belonged and kissed back.

Actively kissing Castiel back without asking for permission or receiving instruction was such a new thing for Dean. He checked himself. It was true that he was allowing Cas to control the kiss, but he wasn’t fully submitting to him as he’d always done during their years of scening. It seemed he didn’t need any practice to make the switch from exclusively scening to full fiancé mode. His wolf was happy. His alpha was happy. Dean didn’t NEED anything Lupin-related in this moment. He just really wanted to kiss his Alpha fiancé.

Dean’s throat made a growling noise and he pressed harder against Cas, forcing him to step back into his own desk. He shifted one hand over Castiel’s ass and clung to it, the other holding him across his shoulders. Dean’s tongue plundered Cas’ mouth as he strove to take the kiss from his Alpha. Castiel laughed through their kiss – a laugh of pleasure and delight, then he accepted the challenge and fought Dean for control. Their brief war ended when Cas reversed their positions and flattened Dean’s back against his desktop. Dean’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he gave way, willingly giving everything his Dom demanded. They stole several minutes from Cas’ busy schedule just making out like teenagers. Cas rutted his boner against Dean’s inner thigh, but made no move to do more. He’d promised Michael he wouldn’t, and Castiel kept his promises.

Eventually, they were simply holding each other and breathing the same air. “It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve done that, Dean. I’ve missed you.” Cas nuzzled Dean’s temple.

“I love you, too, Alpha,” murmured Dean, petting Cas’ dark head. “Let me up. My back’s killing me. I think I’m on your stapler.” Cas hauled him to his feet and pecked his lips for good measure.

“Is everything all right with you and Michael this morning?” Cas straightened his white coat and adjusted himself in his slacks.

“It is now.”

Cas raised his eyebrows as he retook his seat, urging Dean to continue.

Dean leaned his ass against the desk. “We had a bit of a mess this morning right after you left. Michael got his wires crossed and pulled Sam into it with us. It was kind of fucked up, but we’re okay now I think.”

“What happened?”

Dean related the whole sordid mess to his Alpha. He didn’t cover for Michael or try to spin it. It was one thing to know that Cas wouldn’t actively interfere in Dean’s relationship with Michael, and it was a good thing. But as Alpha, he still deserved and needed to know what went on in his pack, and he wasn’t going to be above stepping in if he felt it was warranted. Dean agreed whole-heartedly, and he gave himself over to Cas’ leadership. If Michael didn’t like that, it would just be too bad.

Castiel was thoughtful when Dean finished relating the events of the morning. “If he’s an exhibitionist and you’re not, it could mean trouble. And I may have a chat with Sam. He knows better. Do you need anything from me?” he asked Dean.

“Well, we’re going to need to have you and Michael negotiate custody of me eventually.” Dean rolled his eyes to show how much he was looking forward to THAT experience. “But I don’t need you to speak to him about this morning. I’m not really opposed to the idea of putting together something more…public. It’s kind of meh for me, but if it’s his thing, I think I can swing it. He just took me by surprise, that’s all. We’re going to sneak out of here as soon as he wakes up, head over to Sammy’s house and start packing up some of my crap. I figure we’ll live there for the month, get out of your hair, keep the distractions to a minimum and hammer our issues out. That cool with you?”

“Whatever you want, Dean. I’m going to miss you. I just got you back, and you’ll be gone for another month.” Cas watched him with a sharp blue gaze. The Alpha was thinking through something, that much was obvious, but Dean wasn’t ready to discuss it.

“Don’t be ridiculous. We’ll be around. I’m not moving to Zimbabwe. Don’t forget, we’re on for New York in two weeks. I got a note this morning. Billie accepted that Broadway premiere invite from what’s-his-face that you like so much. Be sure to remind her we need four tickets now, not two, and to figure out clothes for April and Michael. I’m not doing the shopping.”

“Right! Nicholas Maraby’s new play! I forgot he’d invited us. Are you sure you still want to go? I don’t mind if you skip out. I know plays are not really your thing, Dean.”

“I’m in, baby.” Dean adopted a cunning, coy look that put Castiel on edge. “You know Billie only accepted to give me a chance to flash my new bling at the TV cameras and start a buzz, right? She hasn’t released anything to the press. I think she’s going the sneaky route and letting the rumors build before we confirm our engagement officially. I bet you 200 bucks she’s scheduled us both for “Good Morning America” on the morning after the premiere. You just wait and see. She loves to make you squirm, Alpha.”

Dean leaned down and kissed Castiel sweetly; more than a peck, but not meant to start anything. Then he whispered, “I’ll see you soon.” He stood and moved away. “Text me all you want. Take care of my Mate-in-Law, Cas. That’s my girl too, now.” He collected his box and headed toward the door at the back of the office that led directly into Castiel’s suite. “And Cas?” Castiel looked up, his eyes warm. “We’ve got this. I’m still yours. I don’t remember telling you that after Michael, but I should’ve. I love you, Alpha. I’m going to fucking marry you. You got that?”

“I hear you, Dean. I love you, too. Ditto and all that.”

“You big sap!” Dean exclaimed unfairly. He’d started it. Why was Cas the sap?

 

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

 

It was lunchtime by the time they pulled into the driveway not far from campus where Dean and Sam had grown up. “We’re home, Baby! You miss it?”

“I’ve never been here before, Dean. How could I miss it?”

“Not you, Michael, the car. She’s my first love, and she’ll always be my number one Baby.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

Michael rolled his eyes as he pulled the handle and grumbled under his breath, “…have to share you with a fuckin’ Pack Alpha, and now I have to share you with a goddamned car? What’s next, a goldfish?” He lifted his head and called to Dean who’d opened the trunk, “Hey Dean, you got any pets?”

“No pets,” stated Dean, slamming the trunk closed and handing Michael his bags.

“And you’re not sleeping with the car, right?”

Dean laughed. “It’s really not that kind of a relationship, Michael. Your spot is safe. I promise not to throw you over for a Chevy. Good enough?”

“I suppose.”

“C’mon. Lunch! Let’s see what Sammy’s got in the fridge.”

“Yikes!” said Dean as he found nothing but greens, soy, and other non-food items in Sam’s refrigerator. “Scratch that. We’re going back out. You want a beer? How about a greasy burger joint and a cold brew?”

“Yes, please.”

“Kay, drop your stuff through there, that’s my room – I mean our room – and give me a minute in the can.” Dean kissed Michael’s lips and left him. Michael transferred all the bags into the room indicated. It was the master bedroom. He looked around. There were a few knick-knacks and bits of stuff showing that Dean lived here, but Michael was most interested in the family photos on the walls. In the largest one, clearly a professional portrait, four wolves sat posed together. It could’ve been any family from anywhere, but for the pointed-tipped ears. There was a man and a woman leaning into each other. The man, bearded with salt-and-pepper hair held a blond boy of about seven on his lap. Michael recognized Sam’s dimples and his hazel eyes. The woman’s eyes sparkled just like her son’s. She was blond and pretty, her arm around a ten- or eleven-year-old Dean. Dean’s hair was cropped very short, and his green eyes were entrancing, even as a child.

“What do you think?” Dean’s voice startled Michael.

“You have a beautiful family, Dean.”

“Yes, I do.” Dean snuggled into Michael’s back, wrapping his arms around his mate and placing his chin on Michael’s shoulder. “My mate, in particular, is just stunning.”

Michael chuckled. “Flatterer. No but, really. Will I get to meet your folks, Dean?”

“Mom died shortly after I turned 14. Sam had just presented as beta. She died in a fire at work. It was on the news. There was supposed to be an emergency exit on the second floor, but there wasn’t, and they couldn’t get out. Six other wolves died that day. It was…awful.”

Michael turned alarmed eyes on his mate. “My God, Dean. I had no idea. I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah. Thanks, man. I still miss her a lot. My old man is still around, but he’s so lost in the bottle, he may as well have died when she did. He gave the house to me when I turned 17 and walked away. I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, but we drop a line every now and then. He’s a good man, and I miss him, but I can’t help him. Sam and I both tried, but he doesn’t want any help. He just wants to wallow and wait to join Mom, you know?”

“So anyway, enough about that. Let’s go get lunch and talk. We have a lot to talk about.”

“Okay. Take me somewhere good. I need a cheeseburger, and I need it now.” Michael read Dean’s need to separate himself from the sadness the family portrait evoked, and opted to ride his enthusiasm for red meat out of the hole they’d dug with each other. He followed Dean back out the door and hopped into the shiny black muscle car pretending to be a family sedan.

Caniformes – Chapter 19

 

THEN:

 

“Come on, Sam! Like you mean it! They’re just going to laugh at you, if you do it like that.”

“I know, Benny. I’m trying, but you’re not Omega OR Sub, and I can’t get my mind there. This is just so weird!”

“I can’t judge your practical skills without feeling it for myself, and I’m not putting any E.O.s on the floor who haven’t convinced me they’re ready. So far, you’re not convincing me of crap. You get one more chance, beta. Talk to me. What’ve I done to earn this punishment, and how are you gonna get me through it?”

“Right. Okay.” Sam cleared his throat and closed his eyes, working through the scenario from the practice sheet. Benny was a beta-Sub who’d been caught sucking off his boyfriend in the washroom. It was a level 5-B rule infraction calling for 30 to 50 hard pops with a paddle. Anywhere along the curve of the buttocks or backs of the thighs was the target zone, but not the anus. The inside of the thighs and sit-spots shouldn’t be targeted either, not for this one. Bruising was acceptable, abrasions were virtually unavoidable, if he maxed out the count. The beta was going to feel it for several days, but wouldn’t necessarily have trouble sitting as long as his posture was good.

Sam just had to forget that it was his trainer’s backside bent over the bench. It’s a beta-Sub, he told himself. His wolf knew better and paced uncomfortably. Just have to jump in and do it. Sam pulled himself together.

“Do you know why you’re in this position, beta?” Sam ground out. Benny played along.

“There’s a ‘no unauthorized sex’ rule, and I broke it, Sir.”

“That’s right. I’m going to punish you for it, right now, and then afterward, I’ll expect you to apologize to me and to your alpha. As long as it never happens again, once we’re through here, the matter’s closed. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir. I understand.”

“Very good. All right, take a breath and try to keep your muscles relaxed. I’m going to warm your backside up with my hand, and then I’ll switch to the paddle. Don’t move from this position until I release you.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Fuck! This is Benny. It’s alpha. Fuck! Sam’s wolf was balking again. Beta-Doms in a natural setting did not paddle alpha-Doms, especially not when said alpha-Dominant was the beta’s boss and trainer, all-around nice guy, and hadn’t broken any rules. Sam clenched his jaw and hoped muscle memory would get him through his practical exam since his wolf wasn’t there for him. He stepped up and struck Benny’s ass with his hard palm. Then he did it again. He overcompensated for the fact that his wolf wasn’t guiding his strokes. They were maybe harder than they should’ve been, but Benny had just chastised him for being too soft.

Once Benny’s, uh, the beta’s ass was a solid shade of pink, Sam pulled the paddle from the pocket of his cargo pants. He didn’t want to jinx it by talking right now. He’d already explained the process, and if he said the wrong thing because he was nervous, it would only make things worse, so he stayed silent. Sam laid down methodical swats with the paddle, letting the muscles in his arm find the right calibration point, counting them out in his head. He’d decided on 35. He was thinking hard, making sure he hadn’t missed anything while he monitored the man’s condition and kept up his routine. This was a punishment on a Sub, and the culprit could be a masochist. Sam realized after reaching 17 that he should have made the beta-Sub count out loud. Vocalization kept the spankee from slipping off into Sub-space and riding it out in the comfort of an altered state of mind. Fuck! He was going to fail.

Sam stopped at 20 and went for damage control. “Very good, beta. I’m proud of you. You’re doing well. He rubbed the sting out just a bit and pretended that he had meant to pause here all along. He swiftly adjusted his plan in his head and barreled bravely on. “You’ve got 20 more swats coming to you. I need you to count them out for me. Out loud. If you miss a number, we’re starting over, so keep up.”

Benny was still doing his part. He was in pain, and he was staunchly suppressing a wave of rage that was nearly visible in its intensity, but he grunted out a “Yes, Sir.” Sam picked back up from One.

“One!” shouted Benny as the paddle fell. “Two!” Sam listened to the tone of his voice. It would sound different in a real-world situation. As tough as alphas were, they weren’t built for this, and Benny was struggling. Sam kept at it though. Benny had prepared him beforehand to make sure he would ignore the ‘alpha-whining’ as Benny put it. “I’m not gonna break, Sam. I may sound like I will, but I won’t. You just do what you gotta do.”

“19! Fuck!” One more. Jesus, just one more. Sam brought down the paddle squarely in the middle of his boss’ backside. “TWENTY!”

After it was over, after the apology and the aftercare, and all the paperwork, they convened in Benny’s office. The adrenalin was slow to drain from Sam’s muscles, and his eyes were wide.

“You did fine, Sam. You passed the practical and the written. I’ll go over my assessment with you, but I wanted to calm your nerves and get that out of the way. Welcome aboard, beta. We’re lucky to have you.”

“Thank you, alpha. Whew, that was harder than I thought it was going to be. I’ve done that hundreds of times in training, but never on you. Please don’t ever make me do it again.”

Benny laughed. “We’ll see. I have no intention of giving any B.J.s in the bathroom, but what would you do if Castiel called me down for something and assigned you to administer the consequences? Could you do it?”

Sam thought about it seriously. “I believe I could. It would be real that way, not made up. Benny, my wolf just wasn’t having any part of this, and I need him if I’m going to do it right. I funnel everything through him. He directs my arm, and it’s his guidance that helps me keep the spankees safe. Honestly, I didn’t feel like this was a fair assessment of what I would really do because I had to wing it.”

“I know you did, Sam. That’s part of the test. I already know what your wolf can do. I’ve seen it literally hundreds of times. I needed to know what the real Sam would do in that situation. I need to know who you really are under stress. I could feel how difficult it was for you. If it makes you feel any better, it was no picnic for me either.” Benny shifted in his padded office chair.

“I’ve never told you this, beta, but when you applied for the training program, I was against letting you in. As Dean’s brother, I was afraid of how you might be around him and all of his colleagues. Thought you might try to take advantage, and he might let you. Nepotism can turn into something real ugly, real fast. But Bobby and Cas both vouched for you, so I was willing to give you a shot. You may have noticed I was a bit harder on you than the others.”

“Yeah, I wondered about that.”

“But you never brought it up. You never complained where I caught wind of it, not once.” Benny nodded at Sam. “That shows real grit. Sam, you have a core of steel underneath a layer of compassion. You’re perfect for this line of work. Don’t let that go to your head, and if you tell anyone I said it, I’ll deny it and put YOU on that goddamned bench.”

Sam blushed and laughed. “Thanks, alpha. Thanks for giving me a shot. I won’t let you down.”

Benny just nodded and pulled his notes in so he could go over his assessment with Sam in detail. An Enforcement Officer was never finished learning, whether he had his certification or not. Continuous growth and improvement would be an ever-present expectation.

 

NOW:

 

“Wait. Hold up a second.” Dean stared hard at his brother who was holding a bowl of unbroken eggs he’d pulled from the fridge and appeared much less disturbed about the scene he’d just witnessed than Dean thought he should. “What do you mean, you guys’ idea? This was NOT my idea. I didn’t know anything about it.” Dean was safe again and back in his comfort zone with his Henley and Levi’s where they belonged.

“Michael told me last night, well texted during dinner, that you were wanting to try out a little bit of public scening. I told him maybe you two should ease into it, you know? Maybe start with semi-public, or just trusted friends, see how you both react. I volunteered because you know I’ve got your back and Michael seems to trust me a little. I’m safe. We decided on making the first run-through pretty non-confrontational in case it got weird. He just texted me this morning he was gonna pull the trigger, and then you’d be cooking breakfast. It all seemed legit.”

In case it got weird?! Damnit, Sam! Did it never occur to you to include ME in your text conversation? So, all evening, while my mate was tucked up with me on the couch all snuggly-like, and I thought he was just distracted by some stupid App on his phone, he was really conspiring with my brother? That sound about right?”

Sam’s face paled, and he set down the bowl he was holding. His eyes darted, unfocused, as he worked backward to determine how and when he came to believe that Dean was aware and onboard for the plan. Dean saw the moment he got to the beginning and realized Michael had lied to him about Dean’s involvement. His jaw set and twitched. “He told me you wanted him to work out the details and surprise you. Dean, man, I’m so sorry. That must’ve been awful for you. I had no idea. FUCK!” Sam was livid and pacing in the tiny kitchen. For Sam pacing only bought him about a step-and-a-half, so he stopped and faced Dean rather than just spin awkwardly in place. “Alpha, may I have permission to discipline your mate, please? He lied to me.”

“He lied to both of us. He’s blowing through Pack rules one by one at a pretty good clip. I thought I was a brat, but Jesus. He busted number three back in Oklahoma and now it’s number five. Look, I’m not really mad at you. You were stupid to assume you had my consent without asking me directly. Don’t ever fucking do that again, you got me?” Sam nodded regretfully. “But you were played. This is on Michael. He’s barreling on through as if we already had all of our negotiations and roles set, when we haven’t even talked about it once. He doesn’t know my limits.” Dean scrubbed a hand down his face and met his brother’s eye again. “We have to have that talk today or everything’s gonna go sideways. Yeah, Sammy, go ahead and take the reins. I’m too pissed at him right now anyway. You have no idea what that did to me. I’m…I need a minute.” Dean sighed heavily, and Sam put a hand on his brother’s shoulder, his eyes full of compassion.

“I’m so sorry, Dean. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’ll be fine. Look, you go do what you do, and I’ll make you an omelet. We’ve already eaten. You okay with eating by yourself?”

“No problem. Thanks, man. After what I did, you don’t have to cook me breakfast.”

“Stop beating yourself up. Cooking is my comfort zone. It’ll help bring me back to myself. Just…go explain Pack justice to my brat of a mate.”

“Will do.” Sam’s eyes hardened again. He could hear the shower running, but Michael had had enough time to get himself clean, so Sam didn’t wait for him to exit on his own. He went on in through Cas’ bedroom door and into the en-suite bathroom. Dean began humming to himself as he reviewed the prepped ingredients Sam had selected for his omelet. Ham, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, green onions; Dean’s wolf perked right up, thinking Second breakfast sounded like a pretty good idea. (That’s because you’re a glutton) Dean pointed out. He decided to add bell peppers, but regretfully only prepped enough for one omelet.

Sam stormed straight into the bathroom and pulled the shower door open. Michael had his head back in the stream of heated water and was allowing it to run down his whole body, rinsing away the last of the soap. His eyes were closed, but he startled and squawked at the sound of the stall door being pulled open. He squawked again when Sam’s enormous hand wrapped around his bicep and hauled him out of the shower. “What the fuck?” Michael protested.

Sam leaned in and turned off the water without releasing the Omega, then he straightened. He fixed his Dominant eyes on Michael and narrowed them menacingly. “Michael Quentin, did you set up a new scene with your mate without his knowledge or consent, and then involve me in it as well without telling me he didn’t know a damn thing about it? Did you lie to Dean and me?”

“What? No! I mean, fuck, I didn’t ask him about it first, but he’s my Sub, Sam. I don’t need his permission to add spice to our scenes. Besides, I knew he was gonna love it. I’ve seen enough of you two on the internet to know he’s a show-off.”

Sam’s eyes were flinty and cold. “You don’t know anything about him. What you saw, what he shows in public is just a small part of himself. Dean’s actually a very private man where his Sub is concerned, and his trust is very hard to earn once it’s broken. You fucked this up bad, Michael. And what’s even worse is, you brought me into it thinking I was helping my brother take a new step. You fucking lied to me! You broke his trust, and you did the worst thing a Dom can do to a Sub, you put him into an unsafe situation and left him unprotected to fend for himself. And you dragged me into doing it with you.

“Officially, I’m going to spank you for breaking our Pack rule number five – ‘Don’t Lie,’ but what you’ve got to work through with your mate goes way deeper than that. You hurt him, Michael. I hurt him too by just going along with you. That was stupid of me. I know better. But you need to learn to communicate with him or you’re not ever going to be able to trust each other, True-Mates or not.”

Michael was dripping all over the floor. He looked taken aback, like he’d never considered the idea that his plan was flawed. Hadn’t Dean performed magnificently? I mean, sure, he’d taken a minute to find his footing, but that was just because it was a surprise, wasn’t it? In the end, when it came right down to it, he’d loved it. Hadn’t he? Michael had felt so proud to watch his mate, HIS Mate, perform. Michael probed for Dean with his side of the Mating-bond, but found that he couldn’t quite get to his mate. He was blocked. Dean had shut him out. He went cold. Michael hadn’t known it was possible to do that. How do you close it off? Why would you ever want to? In a flash, the magnitude of what he’d done – his hubris – crashed down on him, and he clutched at Sam’s arm to keep himself upright. Dean was so pissed he didn’t even want Michael’s bond link. Fuck.

Sam watched him dispassionately, waiting for his mind to process and catch up. He kept his grip on Michael’s arm grounding. When Michael’s eyes suddenly went frightened and wide, Sam simply raised his eyebrows without saying anything. For Sam, this moment was a test of Michael’s mettle. Is this boy just a young, untrained, cocky-but-well-meaning Dom with a good heart who runs his life on gut instinct and brash self-confidence; a boy who makes fixable mistakes left and right out of ignorance? Or is there a dark, ugly, manipulative side of Michael that hurts and wants to make those closest to him hurt too? The former, Sam could work with. We’re all human. Nobody’s perfect. But the latter meant war. Nobody harms Dean on purpose and gets away with it. Nobody. Sam waited for the verdict with a blank face. Michael had to make the next move.

“FUCK, Sam! I didn’t…look, you have to know…I didn’t mean to scare him, or hurt him. I would never! Dean means everything to me!” Michael unleashed a torrent of regret as his eyes filled with tears. “He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I just wanted to surprise him and challenge his Sub with something exciting, not break him. Now he won’t even let me through the Bond-link. FUCK! What have I done? Sam, did I ruin everything? Did I lose him? Did I hurt him?! FUCK!”

Sam growled at him and tightened his grip. Michael snapped his mouth closed. On paper, in their respective charts, Sam and Michael were doubtless both Dominants, and they were close enough in age that it made no difference, but Sam outranked Michael outright in Secondary gender and also in Pack hierarchy, training, and experience. Michael’s Dominant wolf lowered his ears and head, averted his eyes, and tucked his tail between his legs. The Omega standing in Sam’s grip, naked, wet, and cold was no match for a pissed-off Sam Winchester.

Sam walked Michael into the bedroom and sat on the edge of Castiel’s bed, pulling Michael over his lap in one movement. Michael whimpered, and then tensed when he heard the unintentional sound escape his throat. “You’re not going to be happy with Dean or just in yourself until you learn where you fit in the Pack, Michael, and you learn to embrace it. You’re an Omega before you’re a Dom, and I’m going to start emphasizing that for you right now. When we’re through here, you’re not to make another move as his Dominant until the two of you have talked through your roles and agreed on rules. I’ll expect you to apologize to me and to Dean. Do you understand, Omega?”

“Yes, Sam. I understand. I’m so fucking sorry.”

“I know you are.” Sam didn’t need to say more. He was satisfied that Michael was genuinely remorseful now that he was on the same page as Dean and Sam. Without further pause, Sam cinched Michael in by his waist and spanked him hard on his upturned ass. The layer of moisture on his skin would intensify the pain, helping Sam get his message across. Sam rained his swats down evenly and mercilessly, covering Michael’s backside and the tops of his thighs thoroughly. Sam was a strong man, and his right arm got plenty of practice in his chosen occupation. He didn’t worry about finding Michael’s pain tolerance as Dean had. Sam knew Omegas; knew what they could take and how to listen to their breathing.

The beta-Dom ignored the growing heat and sting in his own hard palm and continued methodically, hard, painful, stinging blows that built on one another until Michael began to kick and squirm. Michael tried to take it with a stiff upper-lip, but it hurt, and his body moved without his permission. Soon Michael was in tears. Ugly, snotty tears ran unchecked down his face as he cried out. Castiel’s lovely white bedspread took on dark spots where Michael’s wet body and his tears marred its perfect sheen.

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Fuck! Please, Sam, I won’t do it again! PLEASE STOP! It HURTS! OW! OW!”

Sam paused with his hand resting on Michael’s hot flesh. “Tell me what you’re sorry for, Omega.”

“I’m sorry I lied to you and Dean! I’m so sorry I took him through a scene he didn’t know about. I should have told him what I wanted, and talked to him about it. I should have given him a chance to say yes or no. I didn’t know it was new for him. Please, Sam, please don’t spank me anymore. I get it! Please! I’m sorry!”

Sam landed another solid round on the Omega’s ass and then paused again.

“I know you’re sorry, Michael. We’re almost finished, but I’m giving you a few more for calling my name during a spanking. You call me Sir, or beta-Dom, whichever you prefer, but you don’t have the standing while you’re over my knee to use my name. Do you understand this rule? Learn it now, because it’s a hard limit everywhere in our Pack and this facility.”

“Yes, Sir.” Michael was meek. Sam took a moment to take in the difference between meek Omega Michael and his usual Dominant presentation. It was a jarring contradiction. How must it feel to BE Michael and have to navigate the waters of his psyche with top currents pulling one way while the undertow dragged him somewhere else. Sam resolved to be an anchor for Michael. They were Pack now, and that meant Michael was his to watch out for.

Sam finished his spanking with a flurry of 10 or 12 more stinging blows. He didn’t allow for any mercy based on the red glow Michael’s ass was already giving off. Sam knew the quickest way to affect a behavior change in an Omega was to strike hard on the first lesson and then be consistent in reminders when they were needed. Omegas, especially brats, only altered their behavior when the consequences for not doing so outweighed the pull to misbehave.

Sam stopped and smoothed his hand over Michael’s bare, red bottom, easing the sting just a little. He wouldn’t bruise, and the pain wasn’t going to last long enough to make him uncomfortable for more than a few hours. This type of spanking hurt fiercely, but mostly just in the moment and then faded quickly. Sam knew Dean planned to have “The Talk” with his mate today and didn’t want to sabotage Michael’s ability to negotiate fairly for himself by forcing him to remain in his Omega mindset if that wasn’t where he would be spending most of his time.

“All right, Omega. Take a minute to get yourself back together. I’m in no rush.” Michael’s breathing was erratic as he continued to cry harshly into Castiel’s now less-than-pristine bedspread. Sam wrapped his left hand around Michael’s ribs and held him tight. “When you go back out there, just talk to Dean. Apologize for your mistake. Let him know you care about him. You know what to do. He loves you, and he’ll forgive you, but you need to listen to him and include him in your plans.”

“He loves me?” Michael sounded about 13 years old, his voice small and unsure.

“Of course he does. Dean doesn’t do anything half-way. And Michael, once you two get to know each other better, you can throw some challenges at him. You’re right that as his Dom, you have some freedom, and you don’t always have to ask his permission. But that’s later, when you know each other enough to have built up trust. You’ll know what not to do. You’ll be able to hold him safe. You’ve got the idea right, and I’ve seen how he responds to you. Your Mating-scene was fucking amazing. I want to talk to you about that later. Not now. Just, for the love of God and my brother, slow the fuck down. You’re not ready for this kind of thing yet. I don’t even know if he can do it – wants to do it. You have to know that first.” Sam listened to the Omega’s sobs as they slowly dwindled and he stroked over his lower back and down his legs. “You ready?”

Michael nodded, and Sam helped him stand. Standing together shifted their dynamic back to a more equal footing. Sam held Michael’s shoulders and looked into his eyes. “You’re going to be great for my brother. I’m so happy for you both.” Ignoring Michael’s nudity, Sam pulled him into a tight hug, then released him to get dressed and went looking for his breakfast.

 

Dean plunked a plate of eggs in front of his brother. “Well?” he prompted.

“He did good,” Sam said succinctly, digging into his food. Looks like Dean had scrounged up real butter somewhere. It was delicious, and Sam realized how much he’d missed having Dean close. “He’s just getting dressed now. I’m going to scoot in a second and let you two talk. You gonna be okay with your half of that? You need me to stay?”

“Nah. We’re going to clear out of here and head over to pick up some of my stuff. Hey Sam, I was thinking. Would you mind letting me and Michael have the house for the month? You could stay in my suite here or at Cas’ place. I’m sorry to ask, I’m not trying to kick you out of your own home, but I don’t think Michael’s ready for the whole Winchester Pack experience, and I get the feeling he’s overwhelmed by the number of people here. I want go somewhere quiet where we can be alone for our honeymoon; really alone, you know? We could stay at a hotel…”

“No, no, that’s a great idea, Dean. I don’t mind clearing out. I’ll come by tonight after work, pack up some stuff and bring it here. I’ve stayed here so often, it’s practically both of ours anyway. This is big for you, man. I’ll do whatever you need. You just gotta ask. You know that, right?”

“Thanks, Sammy. Yeah, I know.”

Sam finished his omelet, rinsed his plate off and disappeared to get to work before Michael surfaced. Dean went looking for him. Michael was dressed and groomed, standing next to Castiel’s huge picture window and looking pensively out at the expansive grounds, one hand rubbing his ass. Dean stopped in the doorway, admiring the lines of his mate’s body. He was breath-taking. He was so perfect. Dean realized he couldn’t feel his mate through the bond and remembered slamming it closed in a fit of pique. He cracked it back open and sent Michael a tentative tendril. Hesitant. Careful. Questioning.

Michael sobbed and hung his head without turning around, and Dean crossed the room and took his mate in his arms, holding him tightly. “It’s okay, baby. I know. I’ve got you, now. Shhh, shhh. You’re okay.”

“I’m so fucking sorry, alpha. I’m so sorry. You don’t even know. I would never hurt you like that, not on purpose. Can you ever forgive me?”

“Shhh, Michael. Of course I can. It was just a mistake, right? Look at me. Right?” Michael struggled to meet his alpha’s eyes, but he nodded. “Hey, I’m okay. I’m not really hurt, just a little freaked out. You didn’t break me. I could’ve stopped you with a Red-light if I needed to. Michael, look at me!” Michael’s green eyes finally made it all the way up, but it was so hard. Dean held him at arm’s length by his shoulders as Sam had done, so that they could look at each other. “If I’d called out ‘Red’, would you have stopped the scene?”

“Of course I would. I’m not a monster, Dean.”

“Of course you would. That’s what I’m saying, Michael. I’m okay. I didn’t safe-word. I’m not hurt. You fucked up. You went somewhere with me before we were ready, and you lied to me and to Sam – to Sam directly, and to me by omission. Michael, lying by omission is just as punishable as any other kind of lying. I hope you understand that. But you took your punishment, and now it’s over. Now we move on. Are you good?” Michael let his eyes drop again. It didn’t feel over.

“I still feel so guilty.” He tucked back into Dean’s embrace, and Dean accepted him.

“Well, there’s a couple of ways we can go with that. I think your Omega is just not accustomed to the process. You’ve been taking punishments through your wolf, and that’s why they just piss you off and don’t work. Am I right? Michael?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. What Sam did, it felt different than when my Pop used to do it.”

“That’s good. Sam’s really good at putting people in the right mindset. Believe me, I know. My ass has been at the wrong end of that paddle plenty of times. It sucks, but it works. For me, it works. I think it’ll work for you too once you get used to it. So, if you don’t feel ready to move on, maybe your Omega still feels like it owes something to me, too. If you ask me to, I’ll spank you as well. I wasn’t going to, but if that’s what you need, I’m here for you.”

“NO! Please, no. I don’t need another spanking. I promise.”

Dean laughed. “That’s what I thought you’d say. Okay, the other approach, since we have this Mating-bond between us, is, I can let you in on what I’m feeling. You go digging around in there until you see for yourself that I’m really not damaged. You’re going to see that I was scared and disturbed, confused, pissed-off, hurt…really fucking surprised. You’re going to see it all, but you’re not going to see me broken, because I’m not. You want to try that? It might make you feel worse at first, but I think it’ll be good in the long run. It’s your call. I’m willing to let you try.”

Michael hesitated, but then nodded. He hated being shut out of Dean’s mind. Hated it. Normally their mutual probing into each other’s minds only skimmed the surface; hit just the top-level immediate emotions. Dean wanted Michael to dig deeper. He frowned in concentration and reached up toward Dean’s head with his bond connection. It was hard to find his way at first. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he closed his eyes and felt around for it like a blind man in a strange house.

Dean’s emotions swirled about him. Everything Dean said was true. It was all here, and Michael sobbed again when he found the bundle of pain that he’d put Dean through. But he really was all right. Dean was not harmed, not really. What made Michael cry out, though, was that over all of it, surrounding and embracing everything that Michael saw and touched was a rich expansive ocean of warmth that actively reached out to him. It touched him, held him, rocked him, stroked the part of Michael that explored Dean’s psyche. It was everywhere, and it was beautiful. Like a magnet, wherever he went, the ocean rose to greet him, welcoming – rich and warm like comfort food. It knew Michael, accepted and wanted him – treasured him. Here was evidence that was undeniable. Dean loved him. After all the crap Michael’d pulled, all the bratty demands and breaking Dean’s trust as a Sub and failing him so disastrously in just their first few days mated, Dean loved him.

Dean loved him.

Michael broke. He cried into Dean’s chest. Dean picked him up and carried him to the bed, whispering to him as he lay beside his mate. “I promised you a nap, remember? Shhh, just go to sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Michael cried himself to sleep.

 

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

 

Dean stayed with Michael until he was deeply sleeping, then went across the hall to organize the crap in his own small suite. He logged onto his work computer and spent just a little while scanning through correspondence for only the most pressing issues. He set his “Out of Office” email alert to indicate he would be out of touch for the next month and redirected people to Benny, Jo, Jody, and Charlie depending on their issues. He kept a feeler out for Michael. Dean couldn’t see Michael’s dream, but he could tell that his mate was dreaming. There was a vague impression of swirling colors that never coalesced or came into any kind of focus. Once he’d boxed up his few personal possessions that he had any expectation of needing in the next month, he leaned over his laptop for one more thing.

Dean checked Castiel’s work calendar. He found that Cas should be alone in his office right now. The alpha scuttled unannounced to check, his box of books and stuff weighing him down. Castiel looked up when the door opened, and stood, smiling warmly at his fiancé. Dean put the box on his desk and let himself accept Castiel’s embrace, hugging him back. Cas kissed him. It was chaste at first, just a greeting, but Cas soon pressed for more, and Dean opened for him. Dean would always open for him. With his hand on the back of Dean’s head, Castiel took to kissing Dean like a man on a mission, like a man dying of thirst. Dean melted into his body, fitting himself in exactly where he belonged and kissed back.

Actively kissing Castiel back without asking for permission or receiving instruction was such a new thing for Dean. He checked himself. It was true that he was allowing Cas to control the kiss, but he wasn’t fully submitting to him as he’d always done during their years of scening. It seemed he didn’t need any practice to make the switch from exclusively scening to full fiancé mode. His wolf was happy. His alpha was happy. Dean didn’t NEED anything Lupin-related in this moment. He just really wanted to kiss his Alpha fiancé.

Dean’s throat made a growling noise and he pressed harder against Cas, forcing him to step back into his own desk. He shifted one hand over Castiel’s ass and clung to it, the other holding him across his shoulders. Dean’s tongue plundered Cas’ mouth as he strove to take the kiss from his Alpha. Castiel laughed through their kiss – a laugh of pleasure and delight, then he accepted the challenge and fought Dean for control. Their brief war ended when Cas reversed their positions and flattened Dean’s back against his desktop. Dean’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he gave way, willingly giving everything his Dom demanded. They stole several minutes from Cas’ busy schedule just making out like teenagers. Cas rutted his boner against Dean’s inner thigh, but made no move to do more. He’d promised Michael he wouldn’t, and Castiel kept his promises.

Eventually, they were simply holding each other and breathing the same air. “It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve done that, Dean. I’ve missed you.” Cas nuzzled Dean’s temple.

“I love you, too, Alpha,” murmured Dean, petting Cas’ dark head. “Let me up. My back’s killing me. I think I’m on your stapler.” Cas hauled him to his feet and pecked his lips for good measure.

“Is everything all right with you and Michael this morning?” Cas straightened his white coat and adjusted himself in his slacks.

“It is now.”

Cas raised his eyebrows as he retook his seat, urging Dean to continue.

Dean leaned his ass against the desk. “We had a bit of a mess this morning right after you left. Michael got his wires crossed and pulled Sam into it with us. It was kind of fucked up, but we’re okay now I think.”

“What happened?”

Dean related the whole sordid mess to his Alpha. He didn’t cover for Michael or try to spin it. It was one thing to know that Cas wouldn’t actively interfere in Dean’s relationship with Michael, and it was a good thing. But as Alpha, he still deserved and needed to know what went on in his pack, and he wasn’t going to be above stepping in if he felt it was warranted. Dean agreed whole-heartedly, and he gave himself over to Cas’ leadership. If Michael didn’t like that, it would just be too bad.

Castiel was thoughtful when Dean finished relating the events of the morning. “If he’s an exhibitionist and you’re not, it could mean trouble. And I may have a chat with Sam. He knows better. Do you need anything from me?” he asked Dean.

“Well, we’re going to need to have you and Michael negotiate custody of me eventually.” Dean rolled his eyes to show how much he was looking forward to THAT experience. “But I don’t need you to speak to him about this morning. I’m not really opposed to the idea of putting together something more…public. It’s kind of meh for me, but if it’s his thing, I think I can swing it. He just took me by surprise, that’s all. We’re going to sneak out of here as soon as he wakes up, head over to Sammy’s house and start packing up some of my crap. I figure we’ll live there for the month, get out of your hair, keep the distractions to a minimum and hammer our issues out. That cool with you?”

“Whatever you want, Dean. I’m going to miss you. I just got you back, and you’ll be gone for another month.” Cas watched him with a sharp blue gaze. The Alpha was thinking through something, that much was obvious, but Dean wasn’t ready to discuss it.

“Don’t be ridiculous. We’ll be around. I’m not moving to Zimbabwe. Don’t forget, we’re on for New York in two weeks. I got a note this morning. Billie accepted that Broadway premiere invite from what’s-his-face that you like so much. Be sure to remind her we need four tickets now, not two, and to figure out clothes for April and Michael. I’m not doing the shopping.”

“Right! Nicholas Maraby’s new play! I forgot he’d invited us. Are you sure you still want to go? I don’t mind if you skip out. I know plays are not really your thing, Dean.”

“I’m in, baby.” Dean adopted a cunning, coy look that put Castiel on edge. “You know Billie only accepted to give me a chance to flash my new bling at the TV cameras and start a buzz, right? She hasn’t released anything to the press. I think she’s going the sneaky route and letting the rumors build before we confirm our engagement officially. I bet you 200 bucks she’s scheduled us both for “Good Morning America” on the morning after the premiere. You just wait and see. She loves to make you squirm, Alpha.”

Dean leaned down and kissed Castiel sweetly; more than a peck, but not meant to start anything. Then he whispered, “I’ll see you soon.” He stood and moved away. “Text me all you want. Take care of my Mate-in-Law, Cas. That’s my girl too, now.” He collected his box and headed toward the door at the back of the office that led directly into Castiel’s suite. “And Cas?” Castiel looked up, his eyes warm. “We’ve got this. I’m still yours. I don’t remember telling you that after Michael, but I should’ve. I love you, Alpha. I’m going to fucking marry you. You got that?”

“I hear you, Dean. I love you, too. Ditto and all that.”

“You big sap!” Dean exclaimed unfairly. He’d started it. Why was Cas the sap?

 

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

 

It was lunchtime by the time they pulled into the driveway not far from campus where Dean and Sam had grown up. “We’re home, Baby! You miss it?”

“I’ve never been here before, Dean. How could I miss it?”

“Not you, Michael, the car. She’s my first love, and she’ll always be my number one Baby.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

Michael rolled his eyes as he pulled the handle and grumbled under his breath, “…have to share you with a fuckin’ Pack Alpha, and now I have to share you with a goddamned car? What’s next, a goldfish?” He lifted his head and called to Dean who’d opened the trunk, “Hey Dean, you got any pets?”

“No pets,” stated Dean, slamming the trunk closed and handing Michael his bags.

“And you’re not sleeping with the car, right?”

Dean laughed. “It’s really not that kind of a relationship, Michael. Your spot is safe. I promise not to throw you over for a Chevy. Good enough?”

“I suppose.”

“C’mon. Lunch! Let’s see what Sammy’s got in the fridge.”

“Yikes!” said Dean as he found nothing but greens, soy, and other non-food items in Sam’s refrigerator. “Scratch that. We’re going back out. You want a beer? How about a greasy burger joint and a cold brew?”

“Yes, please.”

“Kay, drop your stuff through there, that’s my room – I mean our room – and give me a minute in the can.” Dean kissed Michael’s lips and left him. Michael transferred all the bags into the room indicated. It was the master bedroom. He looked around. There were a few knick-knacks and bits of stuff showing that Dean lived here, but Michael was most interested in the family photos on the walls. In the largest one, clearly a professional portrait, four wolves sat posed together. It could’ve been any family from anywhere, but for the pointed-tipped ears. There was a man and a woman leaning into each other. The man, bearded with salt-and-pepper hair held a blond boy of about seven on his lap. Michael recognized Sam’s dimples and his hazel eyes. The woman’s eyes sparkled just like her son’s. She was blond and pretty, her arm around a ten- or eleven-year-old Dean. Dean’s hair was cropped very short, and his green eyes were entrancing, even as a child.

“What do you think?” Dean’s voice startled Michael.

“You have a beautiful family, Dean.”

“Yes, I do.” Dean snuggled into Michael’s back, wrapping his arms around his mate and placing his chin on Michael’s shoulder. “My mate, in particular, is just stunning.”

Michael chuckled. “Flatterer. No but, really. Will I get to meet your folks, Dean?”

“Mom died shortly after I turned 14. Sam had just presented as beta. She died in a fire at work. It was on the news. There was supposed to be an emergency exit on the second floor, but there wasn’t, and they couldn’t get out. Six other wolves died that day. It was…awful.”

Michael turned alarmed eyes on his mate. “My God, Dean. I had no idea. I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah. Thanks, man. I still miss her a lot. My old man is still around, but he’s so lost in the bottle, he may as well have died when she did. He gave the house to me when I turned 17 and walked away. I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, but we drop a line every now and then. He’s a good man, and I miss him, but I can’t help him. Sam and I both tried, but he doesn’t want any help. He just wants to wallow and wait to join Mom, you know?”

“So anyway, enough about that. Let’s go get lunch and talk. We have a lot to talk about.”

“Okay. Take me somewhere good. I need a cheeseburger, and I need it now.” Michael read Dean’s need to separate himself from the sadness the family portrait evoked, and opted to ride his enthusiasm for red meat out of the hole they’d dug with each other. He followed Dean back out the door and hopped into the shiny black muscle car pretending to be a family sedan.
Caniformes – Chapter 19

 

THEN:

 

“Come on, Sam! Like you mean it! They’re just going to laugh at you, if you do it like that.”

“I know, Benny. I’m trying, but you’re not Omega OR Sub, and I can’t get my mind there. This is just so weird!”

“I can’t judge your practical skills without feeling it for myself, and I’m not putting any E.O.s on the floor who haven’t convinced me they’re ready. So far, you’re not convincing me of crap. You get one more chance, beta. Talk to me. What’ve I done to earn this punishment, and how are you gonna get me through it?”

“Right. Okay.” Sam cleared his throat and closed his eyes, working through the scenario from the practice sheet. Benny was a beta-Sub who’d been caught sucking off his boyfriend in the washroom. It was a level 5-B rule infraction calling for 30 to 50 hard pops with a paddle. Anywhere along the curve of the buttocks or backs of the thighs was the target zone, but not the anus. The inside of the thighs and sit-spots shouldn’t be targeted either, not for this one. Bruising was acceptable, abrasions were virtually unavoidable, if he maxed out the count. The beta was going to feel it for several days, but wouldn’t necessarily have trouble sitting as long as his posture was good.

Sam just had to forget that it was his trainer’s backside bent over the bench. It’s a beta-Sub, he told himself. His wolf knew better and paced uncomfortably. Just have to jump in and do it. Sam pulled himself together.

“Do you know why you’re in this position, beta?” Sam ground out. Benny played along.

“There’s a ‘no unauthorized sex’ rule, and I broke it, Sir.”

“That’s right. I’m going to punish you for it, right now, and then afterward, I’ll expect you to apologize to me and to your alpha. As long as it never happens again, once we’re through here, the matter’s closed. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir. I understand.”

“Very good. All right, take a breath and try to keep your muscles relaxed. I’m going to warm your backside up with my hand, and then I’ll switch to the paddle. Don’t move from this position until I release you.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Fuck! This is Benny. It’s alpha. Fuck! Sam’s wolf was balking again. Beta-Doms in a natural setting did not paddle alpha-Doms, especially not when said alpha-Dominant was the beta’s boss and trainer, all-around nice guy, and hadn’t broken any rules. Sam clenched his jaw and hoped muscle memory would get him through his practical exam since his wolf wasn’t there for him. He stepped up and struck Benny’s ass with his hard palm. Then he did it again. He overcompensated for the fact that his wolf wasn’t guiding his strokes. They were maybe harder than they should’ve been, but Benny had just chastised him for being too soft.

Once Benny’s, uh, the beta’s ass was a solid shade of pink, Sam pulled the paddle from the pocket of his cargo pants. He didn’t want to jinx it by talking right now. He’d already explained the process, and if he said the wrong thing because he was nervous, it would only make things worse, so he stayed silent. Sam laid down methodical swats with the paddle, letting the muscles in his arm find the right calibration point, counting them out in his head. He’d decided on 35. He was thinking hard, making sure he hadn’t missed anything while he monitored the man’s condition and kept up his routine. This was a punishment on a Sub, and the culprit could be a masochist. Sam realized after reaching 17 that he should have made the beta-Sub count out loud. Vocalization kept the spankee from slipping off into Sub-space and riding it out in the comfort of an altered state of mind. Fuck! He was going to fail.

Sam stopped at 20 and went for damage control. “Very good, beta. I’m proud of you. You’re doing well. He rubbed the sting out just a bit and pretended that he had meant to pause here all along. He swiftly adjusted his plan in his head and barreled bravely on. “You’ve got 20 more swats coming to you. I need you to count them out for me. Out loud. If you miss a number, we’re starting over, so keep up.”

Benny was still doing his part. He was in pain, and he was staunchly suppressing a wave of rage that was nearly visible in its intensity, but he grunted out a “Yes, Sir.” Sam picked back up from One.

“One!” shouted Benny as the paddle fell. “Two!” Sam listened to the tone of his voice. It would sound different in a real-world situation. As tough as alphas were, they weren’t built for this, and Benny was struggling. Sam kept at it though. Benny had prepared him beforehand to make sure he would ignore the ‘alpha-whining’ as Benny put it. “I’m not gonna break, Sam. I may sound like I will, but I won’t. You just do what you gotta do.”

“19! Fuck!” One more. Jesus, just one more. Sam brought down the paddle squarely in the middle of his boss’ backside. “TWENTY!”

After it was over, after the apology and the aftercare, and all the paperwork, they convened in Benny’s office. The adrenalin was slow to drain from Sam’s muscles, and his eyes were wide.

“You did fine, Sam. You passed the practical and the written. I’ll go over my assessment with you, but I wanted to calm your nerves and get that out of the way. Welcome aboard, beta. We’re lucky to have you.”

“Thank you, alpha. Whew, that was harder than I thought it was going to be. I’ve done that hundreds of times in training, but never on you. Please don’t ever make me do it again.”

Benny laughed. “We’ll see. I have no intention of giving any B.J.s in the bathroom, but what would you do if Castiel called me down for something and assigned you to administer the consequences? Could you do it?”

Sam thought about it seriously. “I believe I could. It would be real that way, not made up. Benny, my wolf just wasn’t having any part of this, and I need him if I’m going to do it right. I funnel everything through him. He directs my arm, and it’s his guidance that helps me keep the spankees safe. Honestly, I didn’t feel like this was a fair assessment of what I would really do because I had to wing it.”

“I know you did, Sam. That’s part of the test. I already know what your wolf can do. I’ve seen it literally hundreds of times. I needed to know what the real Sam would do in that situation. I need to know who you really are under stress. I could feel how difficult it was for you. If it makes you feel any better, it was no picnic for me either.” Benny shifted in his padded office chair.

“I’ve never told you this, beta, but when you applied for the training program, I was against letting you in. As Dean’s brother, I was afraid of how you might be around him and all of his colleagues. Thought you might try to take advantage, and he might let you. Nepotism can turn into something real ugly, real fast. But Bobby and Cas both vouched for you, so I was willing to give you a shot. You may have noticed I was a bit harder on you than the others.”

“Yeah, I wondered about that.”

“But you never brought it up. You never complained where I caught wind of it, not once.” Benny nodded at Sam. “That shows real grit. Sam, you have a core of steel underneath a layer of compassion. You’re perfect for this line of work. Don’t let that go to your head, and if you tell anyone I said it, I’ll deny it and put YOU on that goddamned bench.”

Sam blushed and laughed. “Thanks, alpha. Thanks for giving me a shot. I won’t let you down.”

Benny just nodded and pulled his notes in so he could go over his assessment with Sam in detail. An Enforcement Officer was never finished learning, whether he had his certification or not. Continuous growth and improvement would be an ever-present expectation.

 

NOW:

 

“Wait. Hold up a second.” Dean stared hard at his brother who was holding a bowl of unbroken eggs he’d pulled from the fridge and appeared much less disturbed about the scene he’d just witnessed than Dean thought he should. “What do you mean, you guys’ idea? This was NOT my idea. I didn’t know anything about it.” Dean was safe again and back in his comfort zone with his Henley and Levi’s where they belonged.

“Michael told me last night, well texted during dinner, that you were wanting to try out a little bit of public scening. I told him maybe you two should ease into it, you know? Maybe start with semi-public, or just trusted friends, see how you both react. I volunteered because you know I’ve got your back and Michael seems to trust me a little. I’m safe. We decided on making the first run-through pretty non-confrontational in case it got weird. He just texted me this morning he was gonna pull the trigger, and then you’d be cooking breakfast. It all seemed legit.”

In case it got weird?! Damnit, Sam! Did it never occur to you to include ME in your text conversation? So, all evening, while my mate was tucked up with me on the couch all snuggly-like, and I thought he was just distracted by some stupid App on his phone, he was really conspiring with my brother? That sound about right?”

Sam’s face paled, and he set down the bowl he was holding. His eyes darted, unfocused, as he worked backward to determine how and when he came to believe that Dean was aware and onboard for the plan. Dean saw the moment he got to the beginning and realized Michael had lied to him about Dean’s involvement. His jaw set and twitched. “He told me you wanted him to work out the details and surprise you. Dean, man, I’m so sorry. That must’ve been awful for you. I had no idea. FUCK!” Sam was livid and pacing in the tiny kitchen. For Sam pacing only bought him about a step-and-a-half, so he stopped and faced Dean rather than just spin awkwardly in place. “Alpha, may I have permission to discipline your mate, please? He lied to me.”

“He lied to both of us. He’s blowing through Pack rules one by one at a pretty good clip. I thought I was a brat, but Jesus. He busted number three back in Oklahoma and now it’s number five. Look, I’m not really mad at you. You were stupid to assume you had my consent without asking me directly. Don’t ever fucking do that again, you got me?” Sam nodded regretfully. “But you were played. This is on Michael. He’s barreling on through as if we already had all of our negotiations and roles set, when we haven’t even talked about it once. He doesn’t know my limits.” Dean scrubbed a hand down his face and met his brother’s eye again. “We have to have that talk today or everything’s gonna go sideways. Yeah, Sammy, go ahead and take the reins. I’m too pissed at him right now anyway. You have no idea what that did to me. I’m…I need a minute.” Dean sighed heavily, and Sam put a hand on his brother’s shoulder, his eyes full of compassion.

“I’m so sorry, Dean. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’ll be fine. Look, you go do what you do, and I’ll make you an omelet. We’ve already eaten. You okay with eating by yourself?”

“No problem. Thanks, man. After what I did, you don’t have to cook me breakfast.”

“Stop beating yourself up. Cooking is my comfort zone. It’ll help bring me back to myself. Just…go explain Pack justice to my brat of a mate.”

“Will do.” Sam’s eyes hardened again. He could hear the shower running, but Michael had had enough time to get himself clean, so Sam didn’t wait for him to exit on his own. He went on in through Cas’ bedroom door and into the en-suite bathroom. Dean began humming to himself as he reviewed the prepped ingredients Sam had selected for his omelet. Ham, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, green onions; Dean’s wolf perked right up, thinking Second breakfast sounded like a pretty good idea. (That’s because you’re a glutton) Dean pointed out. He decided to add bell peppers, but regretfully only prepped enough for one omelet.

Sam stormed straight into the bathroom and pulled the shower door open. Michael had his head back in the stream of heated water and was allowing it to run down his whole body, rinsing away the last of the soap. His eyes were closed, but he startled and squawked at the sound of the stall door being pulled open. He squawked again when Sam’s enormous hand wrapped around his bicep and hauled him out of the shower. “What the fuck?” Michael protested.

Sam leaned in and turned off the water without releasing the Omega, then he straightened. He fixed his Dominant eyes on Michael and narrowed them menacingly. “Michael Quentin, did you set up a new scene with your mate without his knowledge or consent, and then involve me in it as well without telling me he didn’t know a damn thing about it? Did you lie to Dean and me?”

“What? No! I mean, fuck, I didn’t ask him about it first, but he’s my Sub, Sam. I don’t need his permission to add spice to our scenes. Besides, I knew he was gonna love it. I’ve seen enough of you two on the internet to know he’s a show-off.”

Sam’s eyes were flinty and cold. “You don’t know anything about him. What you saw, what he shows in public is just a small part of himself. Dean’s actually a very private man where his Sub is concerned, and his trust is very hard to earn once it’s broken. You fucked this up bad, Michael. And what’s even worse is, you brought me into it thinking I was helping my brother take a new step. You fucking lied to me! You broke his trust, and you did the worst thing a Dom can do to a Sub, you put him into an unsafe situation and left him unprotected to fend for himself. And you dragged me into doing it with you.

“Officially, I’m going to spank you for breaking our Pack rule number five – ‘Don’t Lie,’ but what you’ve got to work through with your mate goes way deeper than that. You hurt him, Michael. I hurt him too by just going along with you. That was stupid of me. I know better. But you need to learn to communicate with him or you’re not ever going to be able to trust each other, True-Mates or not.”

Michael was dripping all over the floor. He looked taken aback, like he’d never considered the idea that his plan was flawed. Hadn’t Dean performed magnificently? I mean, sure, he’d taken a minute to find his footing, but that was just because it was a surprise, wasn’t it? In the end, when it came right down to it, he’d loved it. Hadn’t he? Michael had felt so proud to watch his mate, HIS Mate, perform. Michael probed for Dean with his side of the Mating-bond, but found that he couldn’t quite get to his mate. He was blocked. Dean had shut him out. He went cold. Michael hadn’t known it was possible to do that. How do you close it off? Why would you ever want to? In a flash, the magnitude of what he’d done – his hubris – crashed down on him, and he clutched at Sam’s arm to keep himself upright. Dean was so pissed he didn’t even want Michael’s bond link. Fuck.

Sam watched him dispassionately, waiting for his mind to process and catch up. He kept his grip on Michael’s arm grounding. When Michael’s eyes suddenly went frightened and wide, Sam simply raised his eyebrows without saying anything. For Sam, this moment was a test of Michael’s mettle. Is this boy just a young, untrained, cocky-but-well-meaning Dom with a good heart who runs his life on gut instinct and brash self-confidence; a boy who makes fixable mistakes left and right out of ignorance? Or is there a dark, ugly, manipulative side of Michael that hurts and wants to make those closest to him hurt too? The former, Sam could work with. We’re all human. Nobody’s perfect. But the latter meant war. Nobody harms Dean on purpose and gets away with it. Nobody. Sam waited for the verdict with a blank face. Michael had to make the next move.

“FUCK, Sam! I didn’t…look, you have to know…I didn’t mean to scare him, or hurt him. I would never! Dean means everything to me!” Michael unleashed a torrent of regret as his eyes filled with tears. “He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I just wanted to surprise him and challenge his Sub with something exciting, not break him. Now he won’t even let me through the Bond-link. FUCK! What have I done? Sam, did I ruin everything? Did I lose him? Did I hurt him?! FUCK!”

Sam growled at him and tightened his grip. Michael snapped his mouth closed. On paper, in their respective charts, Sam and Michael were doubtless both Dominants, and they were close enough in age that it made no difference, but Sam outranked Michael outright in Secondary gender and also in Pack hierarchy, training, and experience. Michael’s Dominant wolf lowered his ears and head, averted his eyes, and tucked his tail between his legs. The Omega standing in Sam’s grip, naked, wet, and cold was no match for a pissed-off Sam Winchester.

Sam walked Michael into the bedroom and sat on the edge of Castiel’s bed, pulling Michael over his lap in one movement. Michael whimpered, and then tensed when he heard the unintentional sound escape his throat. “You’re not going to be happy with Dean or just in yourself until you learn where you fit in the Pack, Michael, and you learn to embrace it. You’re an Omega before you’re a Dom, and I’m going to start emphasizing that for you right now. When we’re through here, you’re not to make another move as his Dominant until the two of you have talked through your roles and agreed on rules. I’ll expect you to apologize to me and to Dean. Do you understand, Omega?”

“Yes, Sam. I understand. I’m so fucking sorry.”

“I know you are.” Sam didn’t need to say more. He was satisfied that Michael was genuinely remorseful now that he was on the same page as Dean and Sam. Without further pause, Sam cinched Michael in by his waist and spanked him hard on his upturned ass. The layer of moisture on his skin would intensify the pain, helping Sam get his message across. Sam rained his swats down evenly and mercilessly, covering Michael’s backside and the tops of his thighs thoroughly. Sam was a strong man, and his right arm got plenty of practice in his chosen occupation. He didn’t worry about finding Michael’s pain tolerance as Dean had. Sam knew Omegas; knew what they could take and how to listen to their breathing.

The beta-Dom ignored the growing heat and sting in his own hard palm and continued methodically, hard, painful, stinging blows that built on one another until Michael began to kick and squirm. Michael tried to take it with a stiff upper-lip, but it hurt, and his body moved without his permission. Soon Michael was in tears. Ugly, snotty tears ran unchecked down his face as he cried out. Castiel’s lovely white bedspread took on dark spots where Michael’s wet body and his tears marred its perfect sheen.

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Fuck! Please, Sam, I won’t do it again! PLEASE STOP! It HURTS! OW! OW!”

Sam paused with his hand resting on Michael’s hot flesh. “Tell me what you’re sorry for, Omega.”

“I’m sorry I lied to you and Dean! I’m so sorry I took him through a scene he didn’t know about. I should have told him what I wanted, and talked to him about it. I should have given him a chance to say yes or no. I didn’t know it was new for him. Please, Sam, please don’t spank me anymore. I get it! Please! I’m sorry!”

Sam landed another solid round on the Omega’s ass and then paused again.

“I know you’re sorry, Michael. We’re almost finished, but I’m giving you a few more for calling my name during a spanking. You call me Sir, or beta-Dom, whichever you prefer, but you don’t have the standing while you’re over my knee to use my name. Do you understand this rule? Learn it now, because it’s a hard limit everywhere in our Pack and this facility.”

“Yes, Sir.” Michael was meek. Sam took a moment to take in the difference between meek Omega Michael and his usual Dominant presentation. It was a jarring contradiction. How must it feel to BE Michael and have to navigate the waters of his psyche with top currents pulling one way while the undertow dragged him somewhere else. Sam resolved to be an anchor for Michael. They were Pack now, and that meant Michael was his to watch out for.

Sam finished his spanking with a flurry of 10 or 12 more stinging blows. He didn’t allow for any mercy based on the red glow Michael’s ass was already giving off. Sam knew the quickest way to affect a behavior change in an Omega was to strike hard on the first lesson and then be consistent in reminders when they were needed. Omegas, especially brats, only altered their behavior when the consequences for not doing so outweighed the pull to misbehave.

Sam stopped and smoothed his hand over Michael’s bare, red bottom, easing the sting just a little. He wouldn’t bruise, and the pain wasn’t going to last long enough to make him uncomfortable for more than a few hours. This type of spanking hurt fiercely, but mostly just in the moment and then faded quickly. Sam knew Dean planned to have “The Talk” with his mate today and didn’t want to sabotage Michael’s ability to negotiate fairly for himself by forcing him to remain in his Omega mindset if that wasn’t where he would be spending most of his time.

“All right, Omega. Take a minute to get yourself back together. I’m in no rush.” Michael’s breathing was erratic as he continued to cry harshly into Castiel’s now less-than-pristine bedspread. Sam wrapped his left hand around Michael’s ribs and held him tight. “When you go back out there, just talk to Dean. Apologize for your mistake. Let him know you care about him. You know what to do. He loves you, and he’ll forgive you, but you need to listen to him and include him in your plans.”

“He loves me?” Michael sounded about 13 years old, his voice small and unsure.

“Of course he does. Dean doesn’t do anything half-way. And Michael, once you two get to know each other better, you can throw some challenges at him. You’re right that as his Dom, you have some freedom, and you don’t always have to ask his permission. But that’s later, when you know each other enough to have built up trust. You’ll know what not to do. You’ll be able to hold him safe. You’ve got the idea right, and I’ve seen how he responds to you. Your Mating-scene was fucking amazing. I want to talk to you about that later. Not now. Just, for the love of God and my brother, slow the fuck down. You’re not ready for this kind of thing yet. I don’t even know if he can do it – wants to do it. You have to know that first.” Sam listened to the Omega’s sobs as they slowly dwindled and he stroked over his lower back and down his legs. “You ready?”

Michael nodded, and Sam helped him stand. Standing together shifted their dynamic back to a more equal footing. Sam held Michael’s shoulders and looked into his eyes. “You’re going to be great for my brother. I’m so happy for you both.” Ignoring Michael’s nudity, Sam pulled him into a tight hug, then released him to get dressed and went looking for his breakfast.

 

Dean plunked a plate of eggs in front of his brother. “Well?” he prompted.

“He did good,” Sam said succinctly, digging into his food. Looks like Dean had scrounged up real butter somewhere. It was delicious, and Sam realized how much he’d missed having Dean close. “He’s just getting dressed now. I’m going to scoot in a second and let you two talk. You gonna be okay with your half of that? You need me to stay?”

“Nah. We’re going to clear out of here and head over to pick up some of my stuff. Hey Sam, I was thinking. Would you mind letting me and Michael have the house for the month? You could stay in my suite here or at Cas’ place. I’m sorry to ask, I’m not trying to kick you out of your own home, but I don’t think Michael’s ready for the whole Winchester Pack experience, and I get the feeling he’s overwhelmed by the number of people here. I want go somewhere quiet where we can be alone for our honeymoon; really alone, you know? We could stay at a hotel…”

“No, no, that’s a great idea, Dean. I don’t mind clearing out. I’ll come by tonight after work, pack up some stuff and bring it here. I’ve stayed here so often, it’s practically both of ours anyway. This is big for you, man. I’ll do whatever you need. You just gotta ask. You know that, right?”

“Thanks, Sammy. Yeah, I know.”

Sam finished his omelet, rinsed his plate off and disappeared to get to work before Michael surfaced. Dean went looking for him. Michael was dressed and groomed, standing next to Castiel’s huge picture window and looking pensively out at the expansive grounds, one hand rubbing his ass. Dean stopped in the doorway, admiring the lines of his mate’s body. He was breath-taking. He was so perfect. Dean realized he couldn’t feel his mate through the bond and remembered slamming it closed in a fit of pique. He cracked it back open and sent Michael a tentative tendril. Hesitant. Careful. Questioning.

Michael sobbed and hung his head without turning around, and Dean crossed the room and took his mate in his arms, holding him tightly. “It’s okay, baby. I know. I’ve got you, now. Shhh, shhh. You’re okay.”

“I’m so fucking sorry, alpha. I’m so sorry. You don’t even know. I would never hurt you like that, not on purpose. Can you ever forgive me?”

“Shhh, Michael. Of course I can. It was just a mistake, right? Look at me. Right?” Michael struggled to meet his alpha’s eyes, but he nodded. “Hey, I’m okay. I’m not really hurt, just a little freaked out. You didn’t break me. I could’ve stopped you with a Red-light if I needed to. Michael, look at me!” Michael’s green eyes finally made it all the way up, but it was so hard. Dean held him at arm’s length by his shoulders as Sam had done, so that they could look at each other. “If I’d called out ‘Red’, would you have stopped the scene?”

“Of course I would. I’m not a monster, Dean.”

“Of course you would. That’s what I’m saying, Michael. I’m okay. I didn’t safe-word. I’m not hurt. You fucked up. You went somewhere with me before we were ready, and you lied to me and to Sam – to Sam directly, and to me by omission. Michael, lying by omission is just as punishable as any other kind of lying. I hope you understand that. But you took your punishment, and now it’s over. Now we move on. Are you good?” Michael let his eyes drop again. It didn’t feel over.

“I still feel so guilty.” He tucked back into Dean’s embrace, and Dean accepted him.

“Well, there’s a couple of ways we can go with that. I think your Omega is just not accustomed to the process. You’ve been taking punishments through your wolf, and that’s why they just piss you off and don’t work. Am I right? Michael?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. What Sam did, it felt different than when my Pop used to do it.”

“That’s good. Sam’s really good at putting people in the right mindset. Believe me, I know. My ass has been at the wrong end of that paddle plenty of times. It sucks, but it works. For me, it works. I think it’ll work for you too once you get used to it. So, if you don’t feel ready to move on, maybe your Omega still feels like it owes something to me, too. If you ask me to, I’ll spank you as well. I wasn’t going to, but if that’s what you need, I’m here for you.”

“NO! Please, no. I don’t need another spanking. I promise.”

Dean laughed. “That’s what I thought you’d say. Okay, the other approach, since we have this Mating-bond between us, is, I can let you in on what I’m feeling. You go digging around in there until you see for yourself that I’m really not damaged. You’re going to see that I was scared and disturbed, confused, pissed-off, hurt…really fucking surprised. You’re going to see it all, but you’re not going to see me broken, because I’m not. You want to try that? It might make you feel worse at first, but I think it’ll be good in the long run. It’s your call. I’m willing to let you try.”

Michael hesitated, but then nodded. He hated being shut out of Dean’s mind. Hated it. Normally their mutual probing into each other’s minds only skimmed the surface; hit just the top-level immediate emotions. Dean wanted Michael to dig deeper. He frowned in concentration and reached up toward Dean’s head with his bond connection. It was hard to find his way at first. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he closed his eyes and felt around for it like a blind man in a strange house.

Dean’s emotions swirled about him. Everything Dean said was true. It was all here, and Michael sobbed again when he found the bundle of pain that he’d put Dean through. But he really was all right. Dean was not harmed, not really. What made Michael cry out, though, was that over all of it, surrounding and embracing everything that Michael saw and touched was a rich expansive ocean of warmth that actively reached out to him. It touched him, held him, rocked him, stroked the part of Michael that explored Dean’s psyche. It was everywhere, and it was beautiful. Like a magnet, wherever he went, the ocean rose to greet him, welcoming – rich and warm like comfort food. It knew Michael, accepted and wanted him – treasured him. Here was evidence that was undeniable. Dean loved him. After all the crap Michael’d pulled, all the bratty demands and breaking Dean’s trust as a Sub and failing him so disastrously in just their first few days mated, Dean loved him.

Dean loved him.

Michael broke. He cried into Dean’s chest. Dean picked him up and carried him to the bed, whispering to him as he lay beside his mate. “I promised you a nap, remember? Shhh, just go to sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Michael cried himself to sleep.

 

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

 

Dean stayed with Michael until he was deeply sleeping, then went across the hall to organize the crap in his own small suite. He logged onto his work computer and spent just a little while scanning through correspondence for only the most pressing issues. He set his “Out of Office” email alert to indicate he would be out of touch for the next month and redirected people to Benny, Jo, Jody, and Charlie depending on their issues. He kept a feeler out for Michael. Dean couldn’t see Michael’s dream, but he could tell that his mate was dreaming. There was a vague impression of swirling colors that never coalesced or came into any kind of focus. Once he’d boxed up his few personal possessions that he had any expectation of needing in the next month, he leaned over his laptop for one more thing.

Dean checked Castiel’s work calendar. He found that Cas should be alone in his office right now. The alpha scuttled unannounced to check, his box of books and stuff weighing him down. Castiel looked up when the door opened, and stood, smiling warmly at his fiancé. Dean put the box on his desk and let himself accept Castiel’s embrace, hugging him back. Cas kissed him. It was chaste at first, just a greeting, but Cas soon pressed for more, and Dean opened for him. Dean would always open for him. With his hand on the back of Dean’s head, Castiel took to kissing Dean like a man on a mission, like a man dying of thirst. Dean melted into his body, fitting himself in exactly where he belonged and kissed back.

Actively kissing Castiel back without asking for permission or receiving instruction was such a new thing for Dean. He checked himself. It was true that he was allowing Cas to control the kiss, but he wasn’t fully submitting to him as he’d always done during their years of scening. It seemed he didn’t need any practice to make the switch from exclusively scening to full fiancé mode. His wolf was happy. His alpha was happy. Dean didn’t NEED anything Lupin-related in this moment. He just really wanted to kiss his Alpha fiancé.

Dean’s throat made a growling noise and he pressed harder against Cas, forcing him to step back into his own desk. He shifted one hand over Castiel’s ass and clung to it, the other holding him across his shoulders. Dean’s tongue plundered Cas’ mouth as he strove to take the kiss from his Alpha. Castiel laughed through their kiss – a laugh of pleasure and delight, then he accepted the challenge and fought Dean for control. Their brief war ended when Cas reversed their positions and flattened Dean’s back against his desktop. Dean’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he gave way, willingly giving everything his Dom demanded. They stole several minutes from Cas’ busy schedule just making out like teenagers. Cas rutted his boner against Dean’s inner thigh, but made no move to do more. He’d promised Michael he wouldn’t, and Castiel kept his promises.

Eventually, they were simply holding each other and breathing the same air. “It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve done that, Dean. I’ve missed you.” Cas nuzzled Dean’s temple.

“I love you, too, Alpha,” murmured Dean, petting Cas’ dark head. “Let me up. My back’s killing me. I think I’m on your stapler.” Cas hauled him to his feet and pecked his lips for good measure.

“Is everything all right with you and Michael this morning?” Cas straightened his white coat and adjusted himself in his slacks.

“It is now.”

Cas raised his eyebrows as he retook his seat, urging Dean to continue.

Dean leaned his ass against the desk. “We had a bit of a mess this morning right after you left. Michael got his wires crossed and pulled Sam into it with us. It was kind of fucked up, but we’re okay now I think.”

“What happened?”

Dean related the whole sordid mess to his Alpha. He didn’t cover for Michael or try to spin it. It was one thing to know that Cas wouldn’t actively interfere in Dean’s relationship with Michael, and it was a good thing. But as Alpha, he still deserved and needed to know what went on in his pack, and he wasn’t going to be above stepping in if he felt it was warranted. Dean agreed whole-heartedly, and he gave himself over to Cas’ leadership. If Michael didn’t like that, it would just be too bad.

Castiel was thoughtful when Dean finished relating the events of the morning. “If he’s an exhibitionist and you’re not, it could mean trouble. And I may have a chat with Sam. He knows better. Do you need anything from me?” he asked Dean.

“Well, we’re going to need to have you and Michael negotiate custody of me eventually.” Dean rolled his eyes to show how much he was looking forward to THAT experience. “But I don’t need you to speak to him about this morning. I’m not really opposed to the idea of putting together something more…public. It’s kind of meh for me, but if it’s his thing, I think I can swing it. He just took me by surprise, that’s all. We’re going to sneak out of here as soon as he wakes up, head over to Sammy’s house and start packing up some of my crap. I figure we’ll live there for the month, get out of your hair, keep the distractions to a minimum and hammer our issues out. That cool with you?”

“Whatever you want, Dean. I’m going to miss you. I just got you back, and you’ll be gone for another month.” Cas watched him with a sharp blue gaze. The Alpha was thinking through something, that much was obvious, but Dean wasn’t ready to discuss it.

“Don’t be ridiculous. We’ll be around. I’m not moving to Zimbabwe. Don’t forget, we’re on for New York in two weeks. I got a note this morning. Billie accepted that Broadway premiere invite from what’s-his-face that you like so much. Be sure to remind her we need four tickets now, not two, and to figure out clothes for April and Michael. I’m not doing the shopping.”

“Right! Nicholas Maraby’s new play! I forgot he’d invited us. Are you sure you still want to go? I don’t mind if you skip out. I know plays are not really your thing, Dean.”

“I’m in, baby.” Dean adopted a cunning, coy look that put Castiel on edge. “You know Billie only accepted to give me a chance to flash my new bling at the TV cameras and start a buzz, right? She hasn’t released anything to the press. I think she’s going the sneaky route and letting the rumors build before we confirm our engagement officially. I bet you 200 bucks she’s scheduled us both for “Good Morning America” on the morning after the premiere. You just wait and see. She loves to make you squirm, Alpha.”

Dean leaned down and kissed Castiel sweetly; more than a peck, but not meant to start anything. Then he whispered, “I’ll see you soon.” He stood and moved away. “Text me all you want. Take care of my Mate-in-Law, Cas. That’s my girl too, now.” He collected his box and headed toward the door at the back of the office that led directly into Castiel’s suite. “And Cas?” Castiel looked up, his eyes warm. “We’ve got this. I’m still yours. I don’t remember telling you that after Michael, but I should’ve. I love you, Alpha. I’m going to fucking marry you. You got that?”

“I hear you, Dean. I love you, too. Ditto and all that.”

“You big sap!” Dean exclaimed unfairly. He’d started it. Why was Cas the sap?

 

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

 

It was lunchtime by the time they pulled into the driveway not far from campus where Dean and Sam had grown up. “We’re home, Baby! You miss it?”

“I’ve never been here before, Dean. How could I miss it?”

“Not you, Michael, the car. She’s my first love, and she’ll always be my number one Baby.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

Michael rolled his eyes as he pulled the handle and grumbled under his breath, “…have to share you with a fuckin’ Pack Alpha, and now I have to share you with a goddamned car? What’s next, a goldfish?” He lifted his head and called to Dean who’d opened the trunk, “Hey Dean, you got any pets?”

“No pets,” stated Dean, slamming the trunk closed and handing Michael his bags.

“And you’re not sleeping with the car, right?”

Dean laughed. “It’s really not that kind of a relationship, Michael. Your spot is safe. I promise not to throw you over for a Chevy. Good enough?”

“I suppose.”

“C’mon. Lunch! Let’s see what Sammy’s got in the fridge.”

“Yikes!” said Dean as he found nothing but greens, soy, and other non-food items in Sam’s refrigerator. “Scratch that. We’re going back out. You want a beer? How about a greasy burger joint and a cold brew?”

“Yes, please.”

“Kay, drop your stuff through there, that’s my room – I mean our room – and give me a minute in the can.” Dean kissed Michael’s lips and left him. Michael transferred all the bags into the room indicated. It was the master bedroom. He looked around. There were a few knick-knacks and bits of stuff showing that Dean lived here, but Michael was most interested in the family photos on the walls. In the largest one, clearly a professional portrait, four wolves sat posed together. It could’ve been any family from anywhere, but for the pointed-tipped ears. There was a man and a woman leaning into each other. The man, bearded with salt-and-pepper hair held a blond boy of about seven on his lap. Michael recognized Sam’s dimples and his hazel eyes. The woman’s eyes sparkled just like her son’s. She was blond and pretty, her arm around a ten- or eleven-year-old Dean. Dean’s hair was cropped very short, and his green eyes were entrancing, even as a child.

“What do you think?” Dean’s voice startled Michael.

“You have a beautiful family, Dean.”

“Yes, I do.” Dean snuggled into Michael’s back, wrapping his arms around his mate and placing his chin on Michael’s shoulder. “My mate, in particular, is just stunning.”

Michael chuckled. “Flatterer. No but, really. Will I get to meet your folks, Dean?”

“Mom died shortly after I turned 14. Sam had just presented as beta. She died in a fire at work. It was on the news. There was supposed to be an emergency exit on the second floor, but there wasn’t, and they couldn’t get out. Six other wolves died that day. It was…awful.”

Michael turned alarmed eyes on his mate. “My God, Dean. I had no idea. I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah. Thanks, man. I still miss her a lot. My old man is still around, but he’s so lost in the bottle, he may as well have died when she did. He gave the house to me when I turned 17 and walked away. I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, but we drop a line every now and then. He’s a good man, and I miss him, but I can’t help him. Sam and I both tried, but he doesn’t want any help. He just wants to wallow and wait to join Mom, you know?”

“So anyway, enough about that. Let’s go get lunch and talk. We have a lot to talk about.”

“Okay. Take me somewhere good. I need a cheeseburger, and I need it now.” Michael read Dean’s need to separate himself from the sadness the family portrait evoked, and opted to ride his enthusiasm for red meat out of the hole they’d dug with each other. He followed Dean back out the door and hopped into the shiny black muscle car pretending to be a family sedan.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 20

 

NOW:

 

They shared a booth in the back of Dean’s favorite local joint. Every surface was covered in a thin sheen of oily grease, but the beers were cold and the burgers cheesy. Dean relaxed. He was back in a place where everyone knew him. These were his people, and they understood each other. Dean felt the last of the tension that he’d carried for six weeks drain out of his back, only realizing once it faded that it had been there at all. Big cities and Dean Winchester, it seemed, were not a match. He didn’t mind visiting, and there were two decently-sized burgs within driving distance when he wanted them, but Dean found respite in the small and the everyday, in the familiar. He liked his little hometown. He liked that he knew that everywhere he went in this town, his kind would be welcome.

They sat on opposite sides of the booth. Dean had hesitated, weighing the virtues of sitting side-by-side for canoodling purposes versus across from one another, which allowed for better face-to-face interaction. It was a business lunch though, really, so the canoodling would have to wait. Dean even restrained himself from slipping out of his shoe and molesting his mate with his toes as he was sorely tempted to do.

Michael took a long draught from his bottle, and then set it on the table and regarded Dean. “This where you tell me to knock off all the posturing and stop trying to stake my claim on you? You know, stop trying to get rid of him?”

“Do you need me to?”

Michael looked down at the table and fidgeted with the label on his beer. “Maybe.”

“Hey,” Dean’s voice was gentle. He reached across the table for Michael’s hand. “You know by now that this is how things are. I don’t want you to just roll over and not defend what’s yours, not ask for your place at the table. I wouldn’t let you get sidelined. But we have a lot of years together on the horizon – if we’re lucky we do. It’s going to take all of us working together to make it work for everyone.”

“Well, that’s terrific for you and him, but making it work for everyone isn’t exactly my highest priority. Bottom line, Dean, is that if push comes to shove and it doesn’t work like you and Castiel want it to, it’s the marriage that breaks, not our Mating-bond. He needs to know that pushing me around and making demands is not…he’s not really working from a place of strength. That’s all I’m saying. I’ll only be pushed so far. I’m not going to take any crap from that man. I don’t give a shit who he is.”

The Lupin waitress set their burgers down in front of them along with a large basket of hot fries. “Need anything else?” she asked. Dean shook his head at her, worried the distraction would knock the conversation off the rails.

He sighed. “Michael, I…I hear you. You know what? You’re right. You and me, we’re a lock. We’re Mated, my friend. I’m yours, you’re mine till the end of time, okay? So, why are you so fucking defensive? He couldn’t take me away from you if he tried – and he isn’t trying.”

“Right.”

“Look, forget about Castiel’s side of things and look at me. Sweetheart, I’m as committed to being with Cas as he is with me. Quit thinking this is all him shouldering in on you. I’m NOT giving him up, and I know you don’t understand that. Hell, I don’t really understand it myself. I’m in love with him. I spent nearly a decade in a miserable half-existence. I knew I’d meet you one day, Mate you, love you, pups, white pickets, whole nine, and I knew that when that happened, I’d lose him. How do you build a relationship with someone you know is going to get ripped out of your grasp? No, don’t do that. Don’t tune me out, man, you need to hear this.”

Michael was leaning back in his booth with his eyes closed and his arms crossed. He looked to be moments from bolting. He opened his eyes and refocused on Dean, but there was defiance and hurt in his glare. Dean didn’t back down. “You Mated me, Michael. You Mated me, and this is me. You get nothing more or less than exactly who I am.

“I am a fucking flawed individual with a passion for fixing people and a ramped-up sex drive. I drink too much beer, I don’t go to the gym, I get off on having my ass whipped. I look nerdy in reading glasses. Nothing I do is ever going to be good enough. And I’m in love with Cas. You got a problem with him and me, you need to bring it to me, and we’ll work on it together. You got it? I’m not giving him up. I paid my dues for years thinking I could never have him, and now I have a second chance. Baby, I love you so much, but I love him, too. I know that hurts you. I don’t see any way that it wouldn’t.

“I’m not gonna leave you in the cold. Like I said, you get a place at the table, and you get a place in the bed. You get a say. What I’m asking for is for you to take a huge leap of faith with me that what we have between the two of us is strong enough to make it work with all four of us. That starts with you giving up on the fantasy that you’re going to get me all to yourself. I’m sorry, Michael. You have a right to be angry about that, but it’s just how things are. Take me or leave me; this is me.”

Michael picked up a fry and ate it, his eyes focused past Dean’s shoulder. Dean dug into his burger. He wanted to keep the tension level as low as possible, and eating was a good way to bring a sense of normalcy into the mix. His eyes never left his mate though. In the end, Michael was right, it was the marriage that was vulnerable, and Michael’s buy-in was key.

After a moment, Michael brought his focus back to Dean. “What’s it going to look like? You’re asking me to agree to something, and I can’t picture it. The way it looks is you two are setting up as Mom and Dad, and the chick and me, we’re the pups. That’s not sitting well with me. I’m not a pup, Dean. She wants to go along with it, fine. She can do whatever floats her boat – I don’t care – but it’s not for me, and I don’t care if I am an Omega or not. I’m not a pup.”

“Agreed. You’re not a pup. So, let’s not do that Mom and Dad and pups thing. That’s pretty freaking creepy. Let’s start with just you and me, okay? We’ve got a month to work it all into something we’re comfortable with and can build on. Then we add in Cas and April. One step at a time. Can you do that? For now, just focus on us.”

“You don’t feel it, do you? The possessiveness. The jealousy. You’re sharing your husband just the same way I’m sharing my mate, but you and April are BFFs for some reason. What the fuck is that?”

“I just don’t feel possessive. I don’t know why. I don’t see her as an adversary, more like a little sister. I can’t explain it to you. Just be thankful I don’t get possessive, and she seems not to. We don’t need that much more complexity. Just, please, Michael? One thing at a time?”

Michael took a bite from his burger and chewed it slowly, holding Dean’s eye and thinking. “All right. One thing at a time.”

“Thank you.”

“You need me to go along with this though,” Michael inserted after a few bites, with his mouth full. “Let’s just all be real clear. You can say over and over again that it’s a done deal, and I just have to bend over and take it like a good Omega. But truth is, I don’t. If I don’t jump on the bandwagon with you, that wagon’s going nowhere. I hold all the power, and if you two don’t acknowledge that, you might find me a lot less willing to comply. I don’t care how many times you spank me for it.”

“Are you threatening me, Omega?”

“Aren’t you doing the same?”

It was a tense stand-off. What Michael said was only partially true. He held a lot of weight in whether this thing went sideways or not, but ‘all the power’? No way. Not all of it. “Look, I’m not going to take a mouthy Omega and not respond. Once we get past today, I’m going to take a bratty attitude as a request for some disciplinary attention. You’re GOING to learn your place, but we need to finish our negotiations first. We’re still just at step one of that. Finish your lunch, and then let’s pick it back up at home.”

Michael smirked at him. Clearly, he thought he’d won a victory. Dean just wanted him to quit seeing their relationship as adversarial. They should be a team, damnit.

“How’s the bruising on your ass healing, Dean?” Michael changed the subject, again with his mouth full. Dean excused him. He didn’t have the greatest table manners himself, and it wasn’t a high priority for him.

“It’s only been about four days. I think they’ve gone mostly yellow and brown, but they’re still there.”

“Let me see.”

Dean only hesitated long enough to work out in his head if his mate should reasonably have the authority to inspect another Dom’s handiwork. He concluded quickly that yes, Michael should have that right. Dean stood up next to the table and turned outward. He unbuckled his belt and shoved everything down to mid-thigh, holding the back of his shirt tail up out of the way and craning his head around to see for himself.

He wouldn’t have done this in Dallas. There were too few wolves and too many misconceptions. Here, no one cared. Michael reached a hand to him and grasped one cheek firmly, working the muscle in a strong massage. “Still sore?”

“Only a little.”

“The marks don’t jibe with each other. These look like switch-marks, and this was something flat.” Michael ran his hand over Dean’s ass and thighs respectively. Dean shivered as chill-bumps spread out from Michael’s fingertips.

“Yeah. It was a cane and then a hairbrush. Two separate events.” Dean pulled his boxers and jeans back into place and took his seat again, resuming his meal.

“What for?”

“I don’t know where the boundaries are going to be when they all shake out. It’s probably not my place to say, except I’ll admit that the caning was for fun, and the hairbrush wasn’t.”

“Ah. Bit of a brat yourself, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am.” Dean winked at Michael, who couldn’t help blushing and couldn’t stop the small smile that twitched into place briefly before he suppressed it. How did Dean do that? Michael wanted to be pissy and resentful, but Dean was disarmingly adorable.

“You ready?” asked Michael, upending his beer. “I’d like to get home and get busy ‘Negotiating’ you.”

“Very funny. I think we should stick to talking though. I’m tired of having to say, ‘not yet’. I want to get our cards on the table and then have some fun. You with me?”

“Will that get your knot in my ass sooner?” Dean nodded confidently and dropped some cash on the table. “Then let’s do it. I hope you’re ready for me. I drive a hard bargain.”

“Good.” Dean let Michael guide him out with a hand on his lower back. Some things wouldn’t need to be negotiated. Some things between them just came naturally.

Dean started his car and put it into drive. “Do you own a car, Michael?”

“No, but I have a license. We need to go back down to Grand Prairie for my stuff soon. It’s not a big hurry. I was scheduled to be up here for the testing and the twelve-week Omega training class, so I packed for several weeks.”

“Would it be all right with you if we do that after our month in solitary? I kind of want to stay quarantined with you as much as possible.”

“That would be fine, Dean.”

“And we need to buy you a car. The bus service here doesn’t go everywhere, and there will be times that you’ll need to move around on your own.”

Michael stared at Dean. “You want to buy me a car?”

“Well yeah. You need one. You said you’ve got a license. We can get that transferred to Kansas any time. I think we have ninety days to switch your custody and your residency. I don’t know. I’ll look it up.” Dean noticed Michael still looked shocked. “What?”

“You plan to just go out and buy me a car. Just like that? Exactly how rich are you, Dean? I mean, I saw your house. It’s nice, but it’s not fancy like the rich folks.”

Dean laughed. “No, the house was my dad’s, remember? Sam and I live there, but now I’m going to give it to him and move in with Cas. I guess it’s not a secret really. I’ve uh, done pretty well for myself. The gig at The Facility doesn’t pay all that much in salary, but I’m part owner, so it brings in a steady stream from distributions. We reinvest most of the profits back into the research and services. The purpose of that place is to make it affordable for most everyone and give scholarships and waivers to the rest. That leaves not a lot of income distribution for the investors and owners, but it’s all in the manifesto so investors know what they’re getting into.

“Actually, most of the money came from the book deals. I’ve done three of them now. Thinking of starting to work on a fourth, but that’ll probably get tabled for a while, now that I’ve got you.”

“Book deals? You wrote books? I didn’t know that.”

“And you call yourself a YouTube fan,” Dean scoffed. “Dude, I plug the books at every Convention, like over and over. Go back and watch one.”

“I guess I didn’t realize they were books you’d written yourself.”

“Hey, I’m a fucking scholar, all right? I’ve got a PhD and shit. Maybe I should make you call me doctor!”

“Maybe you should,” Michael responded seductively, and Dean laughed. He pulled back into the driveway and parked the car.

“Let’s go. And keep your hands to yourself or we won’t be able to get through this today.”

They took up places at the kitchen table opposite one another. Dean brought a couple of pens and some paper so they could take notes. Michael smirked at him. “Laugh it up, fuzzball,” Dean objected. “You’re gonna appreciate my forethought when you have something important to record and hold me to later.”

“You ever done a negotiation like this before? At college?” Dean asked, switching to serious.

“Not really. We just always went with our gut and told each other to piss off when things weren’t working.”

“That’s fine for one-night stands and college hook-ups, I guess, but it doesn’t work well for long-term or if you want to go deep. So, here’s how this works: we start by defining the environment and structure. That’s why I wanted to get my upcoming marriage on the table right away. That informs everything we do from here on. It also includes both of our ranks in the Pack and what our responsibilities are there. Next, we define our roles between one another, and when to make each one applicable. I think that will be straightforward. I feel like we work together fairly seamlessly. The Mating-bond helps there. You with me so far?”

Michael nodded and drew spirals on his paper.

“Finally, we’ll get down into the details of our likes and dislikes, our hard and soft limits. Our kinks, preferences, and all that jazz. I want to hear what you want from me and how you see us getting there. That part of the discussion is probably going to work better if you take the lead. You good with that?”

“With telling my Sub what his Dom wants from him? Yes, Dean. I’m good with that.”

“Smart-ass,” Dean rebuked. “Don’t forget that the Sub gets to put two cents in as well. I get to set my limits, man.”

“I know Dean. I’m only joking. Go ahead, lay it on me. Give me all the bad news. What’s my curfew?”

“Keep the sass going and I’ll actually give you one.” Dean leveled a look at Michael that reminded him there was a power disparity between them. Michael breathed, worked his jaw, cracked his neck, and nodded at his mate. He could do this. He didn’t have to like it, but he could do it. For Dean.

Dean let Michael find his balance point and then continued. “All right. As a Mated Omega in the Winchester Pack, you’ll be granted full rights and obligations of an active adult pack member. You will take up residence in the Novak manor, soon-to-be-renamed, and will become a ward of the Pack Alpha, Castiel Novak, also soon-to-be-renamed.”

“Can I stop you to ask questions, or do you want me to just write them down?”

“It’s just us Michael. Ask anything you want. If we feel like it’s slowing us down and breaking our train-of-thought, we might start just jotting them down, but let’s try just talking to each other. Did you have a question?”

“Why am I his ward, and not yours?”

“Because he’s Alpha. He is nominal custodian of all the Omegas in the Pack. It’s just how it works.” Dean waited until Michael nodded for him to continue.

“You will be required to complete a Keller test, Omega training, and probably Dominant training as well. I think we’ll most likely put you in with a private tutor for the Omega stuff. I may do it myself, but there may also be a benefit to having someone else work with you on that. I don’t see you fitting in well with the Omega-Neutrals. You’re more likely to lead a mutiny in that class and get them all in trouble.”

“Why do I still have to do the test? Don’t we all know I’m a Dom? Is there really any doubt about that now?”

“No, not in my mind. But the test gives us more than just a definition of your gender, and you’re already enough of a puzzle that we need all the help we can get. Just go with it. It’s not optional, so fighting it is pointless. Incidentally, The Facility is partnering with a lobbyist group to get a law written that would mandate the Keller test for all Lupins. It’s not going to happen overnight. There’s not enough processing centers to… Yeah, sorry. Sidetracked.”

“Resistance is futile?”

“Yes it is, you nerd.” Dean got up and pulled a couple of beers from the fridge. He handed one to Michael after popping the cap. “Just the one,” he clarified. Negotiating while buzzed would be a bad idea, but he figured they could handle two beers apiece without hitting any danger spots.

“Where were we? Yeah, you get your test and your training. You already know about the house rules. I have a few to add to that in a minute. If you break a house rule, any pack wolf who stands above you in rank has the right to discipline you for it. Usually, they’ll check in with me first, but it’s not really required. You are to obey Cas and Sam like you would me where domestic or public behavior is concerned.” Dean took a drink and paused to see if Michael would protest, but he didn’t.

“You’ll get a lot more information about how it all fits together in your Omega training class. Also, just real quick: Michael, you don’t ever have to obey a wolf who isn’t YOUR authority figure. You answer to me, to Cas and Sam, to your instructors in class, and to the leadership of The Facility whenever you’re on campus. If some asshole at the grocery store tries to make you kneel, you can tell him to cram it up his ass, and you don’t have to be polite. Don’t get yourself arrested for assault, but you know what I mean.”

“So, what Sam did this morning? He can do that whenever he wants, even if you don’t know about it?”

“If you break a rule like you did this morning, yes. He’s good about communicating, so he’ll probably let me know, or, like this morning, he asked permission, but yeah. That’s how Pack discipline works. Have you never had something like that?”

“No, it was just my mom and pop and the two of us pups. Pop was in charge. No one else had the right to spank us. We’ve got a big Pack, but it’s kinda split up into families. Like, membership in the Pack is a loose association. Not like this.”

“I think you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds. It’s built to follow our instincts, so we’ll tend to fall into these roles even if we don’t remember how the policies are stated. You still with me?”

“Mm-hm. Go on.”

“We have to figure out a Release schedule for you. The Keller test will help with that, too. Do you know your Omesol production rate? How often do you feel you need a Release?”

“Oh, uh. I’m not sure. Pop did it with a paddle every month or so when I lived at home. While I was in college, I had a couple of alpha friends who made sure I got Released. Most of the time, really good sex works well enough that I don’t need the paddle. We had to check in with the campus clinic once a month to get the level checked, and I never tripped the meter, so I think it’s probably about that often, monthly. Maybe less.”

“Did your father ever Claim you? You know what a C.F. is, right?”

“Yes, Dean. I know what a C.F. is. No. He never felt like it would help, and I think he knew I’d fight it. I’m not good at submission, especially where my pop is concerned.”

“I’ve noticed.” Dean stood again and stretched. “Michael, I don’t know how to make it work yet, but we’re going to need to find a way to put alpha claims on you before you go through training. Your Omega needs one from me and one from Cas. Preferably, you’ll take a claim from your Omega-class instructor too, but that might be too much to ask. Cas thinks you’re a Central Omega and Profound Dominant. That’s going to be a bitch to navigate in terms of getting the C.F. to stick, but it’s really important for the stability factor that the Omega’s looking for. We just gotta find a way to get you out of your Dominant long enough to let your Omega take the claim. I’m dizzy just thinking about it.”

Dean sighed and sat back down. “You want to take a break?”

“Will you knot me?”

“Very tempting, but no. Business first.”

“It’s your loss. Missed opportunity. Sam forbid me from any Dominant behavior with you until we hashed out our agreement, so this is a small window that’s closing fast, alpha. You sure you don’t want in?”

“I’m in charge?”

Michael pulled his shirt over his head and licked his lips lasciviously. “Whatever you want, Dean.”

“Yeah, I’m not turning that down. Bedroom. Let’s go.”

They were both naked by the time they got there and met in the middle of the room in a tangle of limbs and lips. Dean squeezed Michael’s firm ass, and Michael ripped the bandage off Dean’s Mating scar and mouthed over it, sucking painfully. “What do you want, Dean?”

Dean let his head fall to the side to bare his throat and his bite to his mate. “Want you to hit me, baby. I’ll fuck you so good, I promise, but please, just a little. Want to feel what your hand is like. Please, Sir?”

Michael chuckled. Even when he didn’t have to, Dean submitted. It’s just who he was. Michael kissed up his neck and stroked over his ribs possessively. “Not until the bruises are completely gone, my love,” he whispered into Dean’s ear, nibbling. “I don’t want to have to wonder if his are still there under my marks. I want to know they’re mine and only mine. You’re just going to have to wait for it.”

“Nnng, Michael, you said whatever I want. Please.”

“Anything but that. C’mon alpha. Is that all you think about? Give me an order. You want me to stick my tongue in your ass? You like a good, solid rimming?” Michael walked Dean to the bed and pushed him gently onto his back, pulling his legs up and pressing his knees toward his belly to reveal his hole.

“Mm-hmm.” Dean was already lost to Sub-space. If he were in his front-brain, he might marvel at how quickly his wolf rolled for Michael’s voice and touch. Whatever Michael did, Dean was on board. Michael knelt on the carpet and fisted himself slowly while he licked over Dean’s anus. He held Dean’s legs with an arm across the backs of them both, near the knees and began to work his tongue in circles around Dean’s rim, sometimes flattening it and sometimes pointing it and delving right in.

Dean rocked his hips minutely, then remembered he was under no instruction to keep still. He flipped himself onto his knees and rudely shoved his ass into his mate’s face. “Fuck yeah!” said Michael, diving back in and getting to work. His tongue was everywhere. He worked it around and around the tight muscles and pressed it deep inside of Dean’s most intimate place, fucking Dean with its stiffened pointed tip. Dean moaned and rocked against him, impaling himself. Michael kept one hand on Dean’s thigh to stabilize him and kept the other busy with his own erection.

“Are your nipples sensitive, alpha? Would you pinch them for me?”

Dean whined and lowered his face and chest to the bed to free his arms. He had to bow his back just a little, but he managed to work his fingers in and pinch both nipples hard. It was better when a Dom did it, but it still felt pretty fucking awesome, and he groaned again, pushing back into Michael’s face.

“Can you come like this?” Michael asked him, resting his cheek against Dean’s thigh and giving his tongue a break. He rubbed over Dean’s hole with his thumb and then shoved it in as far as it would go.

“Fuck! Michael! Fuck, yeah! Just like that!”

“Is that a yes, Dean?”

“Uh-huh. If you keep doing that. Fingers, Michael. Use your fingers.” Dean was still working away at his nipples, pinching, rolling, pressing, and he was panting hard. Michael spit on his fingers and pressed two inside his mate carefully. He pumped them in and out for a minute or two and just took it all in. His mate, the need, the raw shameless desire. He felt around for Dean’s prostate and rubbed against it on the up-thrust.

“Don’t let me hurt you, baby. If you need me to get the lube out, I will. Do you like it like this?”

“Yeah. Like it to burn a little,” panted Dean. “Just like that. Oh, Fuck!”

“Oh, Holy Fuck, look at you! Get up. I want you to knot me, and I can’t wait any longer.” Michael slapped Dean’s rump lightly as he pulled out his fingers. Dean whined for the loss of Michael’s fingers and the tease of a spanking that wasn’t, but he rolled over and let Michael pull him to standing.

Michael took Dean’s place, bent over the bed with one knee up on the mattress and the other braced on the floor. He had slick rolling from his channel and smeared on both thighs. He reached back wordlessly and spread his cheeks apart with both hands, a clear invitation and instruction that spoke to Dean’s alpha and his Sub alike. Dean didn’t need to hear any words. He lined himself up and pressed in. He let himself sink in as he covered Michael’s body with his own, wrapping the Omega in skin-to-skin contact from their thighs to their shoulders and kissing the Mating-scar on Michael’s shoulder as he folded over.

Dean wrapped his arms around his mate’s chest and pressed his forehead to the back of Michael’s neck as he thrust into the tight, warm, slick channel. Michael propped himself on one hand, reaching the other to stroke his own cock. He rocked back to meet Dean’s hips and deepen the reach of his cock inside Michael’s channel. They both moaned when Dean’s cock struck Michael’s prostate and the Mating-bond rang with electricity.

Dean picked up the pace, teething along Michael’s neck and kissing his shoulder. He sucked tiny bruises as he went and groaned into the bites and kisses. Then he quickened again, standing upright, and taking hold of Michael’s hips, pulling him backward against the motion of his driving hips. Dean’s knot was starting to swell and catch as it was forced in and pulled back out again and again. Michael whined and grunted at the delicious catch, feeling full and complete. Almost complete.

“Come on, alpha! Knot me, damn you!”

“Fuck! Michael! Oh, fucking God, yes!” Dean sped up again, fucking ruthlessly, growling deep in his throat. He let his head fall to his chest as he grunted into his work and felt his thighs start to burn. The Mating-bond warned Dean Michael was close. Michael’s fist flew over his cock, stripping it with blinding speed. He threw his head back and screamed as he came, his channel clenching around the alpha’s knot and securing it in place. The knot held and Dean too, came with a shout. He pumped against Michael’s ass and ground his knot in his mate’s channel as far as it would go, sending come shooting warm and filling deep into Michael. Dean continued to grind against Michael’s ass through his release. Then he stood panting, massaging Michael’s hips with his hands, eyes closed, head thrown back to catch his breath. Dean moved through a couple of aftershocks before folding himself back down over his mate.

“Jesus, Dean.”

“Yeah.”

They stayed like that for a few minutes, breathing and swirling emotions to each other through their bond. “Start working your way up the bed, and I’ll follow you,” Dean instructed Michael.

“I don’t think you have a choice there, buddy,” Michael teased back. “If I’m moving, you’re moving. You’re the one hanging by his dick.”

“Nice. Just, move slowly and be careful.” They eased forward, careful to keep the knot from pulling and worked themselves into a spoon position at the head of the bed. Dean wrapped his arms around his mate and snuggled into him. Michael’s Mating-bite was on the wrong shoulder for Dean to reach with his mouth, so he settled for rubbing a thumb over the scar. It was mostly healed already, and liked the way it felt under his thumb. Sensitive nerves were growing up into it too. Dean could feel Michael react to his touch, and they shared a smile that neither could see but both knew was there.

Dean dozed for a bit while Michael stroked his arm with a light touch.

When the knot slipped free, they reluctantly got up, rinsed off, dressed, and got back to work. Michael found grapes and cheese in the fridge and crackers in the pantry. He put together an impromptu snack plate and filled a couple of glasses with water.

Dean thanked him. “We can’t resist our roles, can we?” He felt very relaxed.

Michael scrubbed a hand through his Sub’s hair, and then sat back down across from him. “Where were we when you distracted me?” Michael asked.

Dean ignored the dig. They really did have a lot of ground to cover.

“All we have left of section one is ranks and responsibilities. We already know our ranks. Any questions there?”

“Yes. You said Sam’s paddled you before, but you rank higher than him. Does that mean he’s not going to be doing that anymore? Just Castiel and me, now?”

“Um, Sam and I are a bit of a special case. We’ve always been close. He knows me really well; knows how to work me through when I’m on a bratty streak; knows how to bust me out of it. If I were any way but how I am, I would outrank him free and clear, and there wouldn’t be any overlap. But he’s profoundly Dominant, plus trained as a paddle-man, and I’m such a freaking submissive brat, that we just about level out when you add it all together. It’s always worked for us for me to be his big brother in every realm of our lives except inside our wolves where behavior is concerned. In there, he Tops me. I’ve taken ass-beatings from him since before he presented. He’s a natural, and it works for us. Frankly, Michael, if you told us both today we had to stop, I don’t think we’d be capable. It’s how we work. It’s just how we roll together. Is that going to be a problem?”

“I, uh, I don’t think so. It’s not the same as Castiel. Sam’s not fucking you, too.”

“God no! And he’s not Domming for me either. It’s only punishment when I need to have my head screwed back on through my backside. I can get kind of out-of-control sometimes. Maybe it won’t be an issue anymore what with having two full-time Doms watching over me, but I suspect he and I will always need to connect that way.”

“I understand. I’d like to request that Sam run it by me first when he wants to punish you. Would that be reasonable?”

“Yes, since the arrangement I have with Sam falls counter to the rankings of the pack, that’s reasonable.” Dean wrote it down as a stipulation of Michael’s on his paper.

“As far as responsibilities go, that’s also pretty straightforward. Everyone does housework. Everyone cleans up after themselves. You meet any professional and institutional obligations you make. You don’t break any laws. Communicate everything to whoever sits above you; that’s me. Don’t hide anything. By the way, I already filled Cas in on what happened this morning. He’s going to follow up with Sam, but he’s not planning to talk to you about it. I told him you’ve already had your discussion, and he’s good with it. He trusts me. And Michael, I’m not going to give him any reason to stop trusting me. We’re not playing games in this pack; none of the ‘two-sides-against-the-middle’ crap that would divide us and breed disharmony just for the sake of stirring the pot.

“So, yeah, communicate everything. At first, I want you to over-communicate. I want to hear everything that bugs you, everything you like, every time you get a hangnail.”

Michael nodded solemnly. Dean felt nothing disturbing through the bond. Michael was either learning to guard his emotions or he was genuinely invested in the conversation.

“Follow all the Pack rules to the letter. I already said that. Be good to Gabe and April. That just leaves my rules, and those are few and simple so far. Number one, you’ve heard. Keep hold of your temper. That includes sarcasm and tantrums. I don’t want to see you roll your eyes or sigh dramatically at anyone in this pack. It’s disrespectful, and I will spank you for it. When you’re upset, you need to talk to me.”

“Right, because I’m always so rational when I’m pissed off. Like you are.”

“There. Just like that. Find another way to say that without the attitude. Try again. I’m giving you a second chance for practice.”

“Dean, I am fairly certain that when I’m angry or exceptionally irritated, I will lose the ability to control my behavior in a rational way.” Michael popped a grape into his mouth.

“Better. And I’ll work on that with you. You CAN control yourself even when you’re angry, you just need practice and motivation. Fair warning, I’ll motivate through your butt, and not in the happy way.”

“Yes, alpha.”

“Next rule: I expect to know your schedule on a weekly basis. I’m not setting a curfew, and I’m not going to make you check in everywhere you go, but you will report to me once a week where you plan to be and when anything changes.”

Michael nodded and began finally to write on his paper.

“Third rule: You will work with me to keep yourself balanced. No one else will be permitted to Release you unless it happens during class incidentally. If you need one, you let me know. Don’t wait for me to come to you.

Fourth rule: You are expected to take an active part in your own well-being. This one overlaps with house rule Number Two, but it goes deeper. Only you know what you need and what it’s going to take to get you there. Don’t neglect yourself, don’t harm yourself, be gentle and easy with yourself, and communicate your needs. That includes figuring out what you want to do with your life from here. If you want to go back to school or find a job, then let’s figure out how to make that happen.”

Fifth rule: This is the last of them for now. We’ll add more as needed later. Fifth rule is, buy in to the well-being of this pack. You are expected to put the needs of the pack as a high priority. You WILL work sincerely with your fellow Doms and you WILL negotiate with Castiel in good faith. I expect you to consider that you and he BOTH have needs that need fulfilling and strive to make a space for him while taking care to protect your own needs. You are also expected to keep watch over all of the Neutrals and Submissives. Our pack will grow over the years if the Universe grants us that blessing, and as a Dominant, you bear responsibility to hold a protective wing over those beneath you. Questions?”

“Where do I sleep?”

“Oh. Um. I don’t know. That one hasn’t come up yet. Let’s see, Cas has the Master Suite. I know he wants to share that with me part of the time. How about this; you and I stake claim to whichever room you want, just for the two of us, and when I’m with Cas, I’ll sleep in the Master with him. You and he stay put, and I travel.”

“What about nights when he’s with his mate? Could you and I take the Master bed on those nights?”

“I don’t know. Probably not. Let’s bring it up when we work out the details all together at the end of the month. That’s an important part of this. It defines space and boundaries. It tells us where Home is.”

“Let’s move on to our roles and how that all works,” prompted Michael.

“All right. You and me. The way I see it, everything sexual or scene-related is your domain. Everything domestic or public is mine. We can talk about scenes beforehand and set some guidelines, but once we know each other better, I’m good with following your lead.

“I’ll be honest with you Michael, I don’t safeword. It’s wrong, it’s unsafe, and I train Subs all the time to use those safewords, but when I’m deep under, I can’t do it. I’m going to need you to know that and watch out for me. If you take me deep enough, sometimes I go completely non-verbal and won’t even be able to answer you. I’m trusting that you won’t hurt me. Can you help me with that? It’s really fucking scary to think about it when I’m out here in my front-brain, knowing that once I’m under, I’m completely at your mercy.”

“Jesus, Dean. I’m…I’ll need to be way more careful. Holy shit. Really?”

Dean nodded. “It’s one of Castiel’s biggest worries. He knows me. He worries that you might get carried away and not notice if I get into trouble. That almost happened this morning.”

“Okay. I get it. I wasn’t listening to you through the bond at all this morning. That can’t happen again. Ever.”

“Shh, don’t stress out about it. Let’s just take it slow and work our way up. I really need to go deep sometimes. I’m not giving that up, we just have to get there slowly. You’re going to hate this, but working with Cas as a mentor would help you.”

Michael nodded somberly. He was beginning to get an idea of how things were going to be in Pack Winchester. He just didn’t know yet if he could live with it. “You hated what I did this morning with Sam. I’m sorry about that Dean. I really am, but it felt so good to show you off. I want so badly to have people watch you be good for me. What do we do about that? What if our kinks don’t align?”

“I didn’t hate having an audience exactly. I hated not knowing why. It was like two totally different parts of myself were trying to be in front at the same time, and it was overwhelming. Michael, I can do public. I fuck people in front of seminar and workshop audiences, in class and in the Processing room. I do that all the time. I can do that for you any time you want, you just gotta give me some idea it’s coming.”

“No, Dean. You don’t understand what I want. I want the private Dean, the one you only show to me and Castiel; I want THAT Dean on display. I want people, select people under controlled circumstances, to watch you at your most vulnerable give yourself to me. Fuck, now I’ve got a boner.” Michael pressed the heel of his hand to his crotch.

Dean’s stared at him with wide eyes and slack jaw. “I don’t know how to do that,” he admitted.

“If we go slowly, would you be willing to try? If I guided you through it and kept you safe and cherished, would you try?” Michael watched Dean’s reaction for signs he was slipping under. He looked to be on the edge. “Alpha!” he snapped. “Stay with me. I need you out front right now.”

Dean shook his head to clear it. “Promise me to take it slow, and don’t hit me with any surprises, and I’ll try.”

“God, you’re incredible,” breathed Michael.

“That’s all I have right now. I’m done. The rest is all you, Sir.” Dean leaned back in his chair and blew the tension of the moment out, letting Michael take the reins was easy.

“Well, then, let’s see. I like most of what I’ve seen from you so far as a Sub. Someone trained you very well.” Michael quirked a brow at Dean, and Dean smiled back sheepishly. “Of course, I will be applying some training of my own. The simple rules of scene conduct are: you stay naked unless instructed otherwise. Your starting position when asked to assume it is kneeling back on your heels, knees apart, hands on your thighs, and head comfortably down. Eyes on the floor in front of you. I want you relaxed.”

Dean got up and walked into the living room, stripping as he went. “We’re not in a scene right now, Michael, but do you mind if I work through it as you talk?”

“Go ahead.” Michael followed him and sat on the ancient couch to remind himself not to hover and instruct, but just to inform. Dean took the position described and adjusted his shoulders, settling comfortably into a modified Position Number 1.

“Toes flat, or up on my toes?” Dean asked. “I don’t have any joint problems yet, so I can do either.”

“Toes flat. I want you at rest.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“You’re not to meet my eyes unless I tell you to. You’re to keep a bend of deference in your neck unless positioned in such a way that you can’t.” Dean nodded in understanding.

“When given an instruction, you have four options immediately available to you: One, comply in full at once. Two, ask a clarifying question if you don’t understand the instruction. You will not be punished for asking questions as long as you do so respectfully, and you don’t use this option to stall. Three, safeword, either Yellow to pause, or Red to stop. Again, you will never be punished for calling out a safeword. I know what you told me, but just know, whether you ever choose to exercise that safety net or not, it’s always there. And four, fail to comply with the instruction and accept whatever punishment you’re due. Any questions?”

“No, Sir.”

“What are your limits, Dean?” Michael went back for his paper and pen and returned to the couch.

Dean relaxed back onto his butt but made no move to get dressed. “I don’t like scat or urine. I don’t want to be pierced, tattooed, or scarred, except I really like this one.” He touched the bite-mark that was still raw and broken. Michael smiled without looking up from the notes he was taking. “Please don’t do anything permanent to my face. That’s not just vanity, it would be detrimental to my career. I don’t like to be slapped. That’s really about it.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah. Well, I like to hurt, you know that. It mixes with the pleasure receptors and makes everything better, but I’m not all that crazy about humiliation. That’s a soft limit, though. If you want to go there, I’m game.”

“What do I need to watch out for with you, Dean? What are your insecurities? You know what I mean?”

“I uh,” Dean took a deep breath and let it out. “Full communication, right? I owe you honesty. Okay. Shit. I have really low self-esteem sometimes. I’m in trouble a lot for talking bad about myself. I don’t know, I just never can quite feel like it’s enough, or whatever. Sam and Cas both whip my ass for that all the time. And I, uh…I punish myself when I feel like I did something bad. Usually it’s something simple like biting the inside of my cheek or making myself sit on a sore bum even if I’m not required to. That kind of stuff.” Dean let his gaze rest on the floor at his feet.

“All right. Thanks for telling me. Is that all?”

“Well, I can be a smart-ass and a brat, but you knew that already.”

“Dean, your rules as a Sub are simple. No one touches you sexually except me or Castiel, and I’ll get some clarification on what he’s allowed later. When it comes to your classes, I want you to pull back and let someone else do the fucking. Again, let’s work that out together over the next few weeks. Clear so far?”

“What about Keller testing? I’m a rare designation, and that makes me valuable as a testing resource. Could you make an exception for testing if I stop fucking and touching in class and stuff?”

“I can accept that Keller testing is a special case. I’ll allow it on a limited basis. Is that acceptable to you?”

Dean nodded. He wasn’t too surprised. He’d been thinking that cutting back at work was coming soon anyway, and he thought he could manage it. “What about reiterating hierarchies in my department?” Dean asked carefully. “I’m head of the department. It doesn’t happen often, but there have been a few confrontations I had to respond to.”

Michael thought about it. It took him a couple of minutes to work through his objection. “Is a D.F. your only recourse in a challenge?” he asked at last.

Dean looked up at him, taking in his discomfort. It didn’t take a genius to see how far Michael’s forbearance was stretching. “It’s not the only option, no. It works fastest, most clearly, most definitively. It’s hard to keep the throw-down going with your ass Claimed by your superior in front of the whole team. Babe, the truth is, I’ve only had to turn to that a handful of times in my career, maybe not even that. It’s not really my go-to, what with my weird mix and all. Folks who work for me generally do their jobs without needing the constant reminders.” Dean left it there. The air between them grew heavy. Without the option to claim his status as nature intended, Dean’s alpha was facing a veritable castration socially. It was a troubling question, but his instinct wanted him to give something sacrificial as a show of good faith, and his wolf wanted him to show his belly. Dean felt the beginnings of the tingle that always came with being good for his Dominants.

Michael took several more minutes to think. He played with his thumbnail with a frown on his face. He knew what the limitation would mean. “I…I don’t want you touching anyone you don’t have to touch. You’re mine, and I want you to act like it.” His hesitance bespoke uncertainty in how far his bar could be pushed, not how badly he wanted this concession. He wanted this concession very badly.

Dean’s gaze remained steadfast, direct. “Is that a rule, Sir?”

“Can you do this?”

“I can do it,” Dean said with no hint at what he thought of the idea. “Is it a rule…Sir?”

They regarded each other for moments stretching into uncomfortable tension. “Dean,” said Michael firmly, going way out on a limb for an Omega no matter what type of pack he might be joining, “I forbid you from touching anyone but Castiel or me in any sexual manner whatsoever except for scheduled vetted Keller tests as part of a three-person panel. Is that completely clear to you?”

“Very clear, Sir. I understand.” It was as if Michael’s possessive hand had taken hold of the back of Dean’s neck and tightened. It was everything Dean looked for from submission, and he felt valued, wanted, cherished. What good were alpha claiming rights anyway? Giving himself to a worthwhile Dom was better than any power rush from a Dominance Fuck.

“You agree to accept the limitations of this rule?”

Dean held his eye. “I accept the rule. I’m cut off except for the Kellers.” He watched the green eyes shift from cautious disbelief to awe-filled victory, and he could sense the ’Good boy’ on Michael’s lips. The air pressure dissipated, and Dean grinned cheekily at him. “I guess I have to get creative next time one of those bastards pushes me. I can probably think of something. Worse comes to worst, I can sic my fiancé on their ass. Nobody wants that.”

“All right,” Michael breathed. He let the moment go with a soft smile that didn’t last long. It was enough for Dean though. Whether Michael had really won what he thought he’d won would become clear soon enough. “Also, no one has permission to discipline you except me, Castiel, and Sam. If you earn yourself a punishment by anyone else, you’ll answer to me, and it’s not going to be pretty.”

“Wait. Hold up, Cas already said he was going to double-up on spankings I get outside the pack.”

“Well then, I suggest you behave yourself when you’re in public or at work so your ass doesn’t get blistered clean off.”

“Shit. Yes, Sir.”

“Third rule: You do NOT punish you. Doms punish you. I imagine you’re familiar with that one already?”

“Yes, Sir. I am.”

“Next. Please me, and you’ll be rewarded. Displease me, and you’ll be punished. I don’t tolerate brats any more than you do, and the outcome will be the same. I expect the time is close at hand when we’ll both be sitting tender due to each other’s displeasure, but I’m okay with that. You?”

“Yeah. I’m good.”

“Dean, I want more than just a Dom/sub relationship with you. I want everything. If you just want to take a walk and hold hands, let’s do that. If you want to fuck me into the mattress just for fun, we’ll do that. It doesn’t have to follow strict rules all the time. I didn’t hear you say anything earlier that made it sound like I’m just here to keep you sane and make your babies. I love you. You’re everything I’ve ever wanted. I want to have your pups and grow old with you, and by God, if I have to do it with a dangler following us everywhere we go, I’ll do that. I’ll do anything for you.”

Dean laughed. “He’s gonna love being called a dangler.”

Michael chuckled too, and then sat next to Dean on the carpet and pulled him close. His face sobered. He kissed Dean’s nose. “I want pups with you Dean. I want to start a family as soon as possible. I wasn’t kidding about that.”

“We should run that by the Alpha. It’s a big change that affects everyone in the pack, and he gets a say, but I’m okay with it, Michael. If you’re sure, and he says yes, I’ll go off my birth control, let it work its way out of my system, and then wait for your next Heat. You need to be through with your training I guess, so we might have to hold off for just a bit…maybe your second Heat.” Dean was trying to think it through. What if Cas said no? How would Michael take that? Where should Dean’s loyalty lie? With Michael, he decided. Where pups were concerned, Michael deserved his support.

“Michael,” Dean whispered. “I want pups with you. I want that so bad. You need to know, Cas and I, we talked about it. We want to have a co-parental structure. We haven’t spoken to April yet, and this is obviously the first time you’re hearing about it. No, just listen. I know you don’t trust the pack yet, but by the time any pups come along you might. Just keep an open mind about it. All of our pups could have four parents, not just two. Just think about it.”

“I’m not giving my pups away, and that’s final.”

“I know. I’m not asking you to. Just consider sharing the work load with all of us. I know what you’re thinking. You think Cas wants to be Dad, set me up as Mom and just raise whatever babies come along as ours, as if they weren’t yours. That right?”

“That’s exactly right, and it’s a hard no, Dean. Our pups are our pups.”

“All right. I hear you. No one’s going to force you into this one, baby.” Dean got up and stretched again. He was wearing out. This shit was exhausting. He leaned over his seated mate and kissed the top of his head. “You got any hard limits, Michael, sexually, I mean, not about giving up your babies. That one I got.”

“If I’m running the show, do you need to know them? When would they ever come up? If you get permission from me to do something, you can assume it’s not a hard limit, right? I guess the only thing I really don’t like is submitting. As long as I’m calling the shots, I’m golden.”

“Can I bite you?” Dean teased.

“On occasion, if I tell you to.”

“Oh.” Dean deflated. Michael was annoyed by the suggestion that he offer his pups up to be co-parented and the idea that he might not be granted agency by the pack Alpha to decide when to start a family. Dean wasn’t going to be able to just cajole him out of that. “Let’s watch a movie. I need a good long break.”

“Fine. But I pick it this time. You have a service or a DVD stash?”

“Both. The DVDs are in that cabinet, and I’ve got Netflix, HULU, and Amazon Prime.” Michael dug and selected “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” and Dean settled in with his Omega, massaging his shoulders to help release the tension. That had been long and difficult, and Michael had weathered it like a trooper. Dean sent pride and satisfaction to him through the bond, and Michael hummed and let his head drop backward onto Dean’s shoulder as the movie cued up. Dean was still naked, so he worked Michael’s shirt off too and let their skin connect, chest to back, and they relaxed in each other’s space like they’d done it a thousand times.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 21

 

NOW:

 

April was feeling pissy. Her butt hurt, and all of her arguing had been for naught. Alpha wasn’t giving in on the question of a daily enema. She didn’t like it. It was uncomfortable, she didn’t think it served any purpose, and she hated having to wake up that much earlier every morning just to make sure she had enough time to get through the intricate morning routine he’d designed for her. She had crafted her excuse for skipping the routine during his absence so carefully, and felt sure he’d go along with just a good-natured shake of his head, only he hadn’t. Now she was looking at morning and evening spankings for a week, plus the additional indignity of having him administer the enema for her every morning during the week, and in her least favorite position to boot.

April stormed through the open classroom door and flung her bag into her wall slot. Jo didn’t look up from where she was clacking away at her laptop near the front of the room, but she spoke sternly. “Pick it up, go back outside, and try entering the room again correctly. You know better than that, Omega.” April closed her eyes and took a deep breath before following the alpha-Neutral’s instruction, reminding herself to act like an adult even though the class was designed to make her feel like a pup. She stopped just outside the door, turned and paused, and then walked back in with deliberate steps at a measured pace. Her mood wasn’t alpha Jo’s fault, and dragging her irritation at her mate into the classroom would only result in an even more painful backside.

Once in place at her assigned desk, leaning forward on her thighs, and keeping her head down, she tried to regain her composure. The room wasn’t yet half full since the class wasn’t scheduled to begin for another ten minutes. Jo closed her laptop and looked up. She obviously read April’s tension and decided to jump right in.

“Okay, spill April. What’s got you in such a twist this morning?”

April looked up at her and debated how much to say. She liked and trusted Jo. They had grown close over the few days that Castiel was gone wooing Dean. She decided to be straight with her instructor. Maybe Jo could help her convince Castiel to change his mind. “I’m in trouble at home for breaking a rule that I shouldn’t have to follow. It’s a stupid rule, but he won’t listen. He always says he wants to hear from me, but when I tell him how much I hate it, he just…he won’t change his mind. It’s not fair.”

“Not fair. I see.” Jo stood up and approached April slowly, her brow knit in thought. “April, are you clear on the concept of alphas and Omegas? Have I somehow misled you in this class about who makes the rules, and who follows them?”

“I know he makes the rules, but there’s no point to this one!” April wailed. “It doesn’t make me safer or better behaved. It doesn’t help me stay balanced or anything. Shouldn’t the rules make sense somehow? Shouldn’t there be a point? He just makes me do it because…because he says so.”

Jo looked around at the Omegas who were already present. Everyone was listening in. “Does anyone have any advice for April? What do you all think about this?”

A smallish, dark-haired young man at the back spoke quietly in answer. “Americans are spoiled brats. I’ve only been in this country for a few years, but I see it all the time.” April growled at him, and Jo put a firm hand on the back of her neck in warning. He continued undeterred. “Back home, Omegas wouldn’t dream of whining about a rule they didn’t like. Omegas know their place; especially the Ozzies. If I acted like that to my Alpha, she would blister my ass for a month, and I’d probably be sleeping on the floor too.”

“Go on, Saleem,” Jo encouraged. More students were taking their places and trying to catch up on the discussion. “What do you think an Ozzie should do about a rule they don’t agree with?”

“You don’t have to agree with it. That’s the whole point. It’s about trust, isn’t it?” he went on rhetorically. “You have to trust that your Alpha is looking out for you even if you don’t understand how. Not wanting to do something doesn’t make it okay to argue about it – that’s what submission is all about. Maybe your Alpha knows you hate it, and he makes you do it to train you to comply even when you don’t want to. Maybe you not liking to do it is all there is to it. Stop being such a baby, and just do what you’re told.”

“Fuck you! You don’t know anything about it!” It was out of her mouth before she realized it was coming. Jo’s hand tightened painfully on her neck and pushed her over to lay across her own desk. She pulled the skirt of April’s orange tunic up to bare her ass and swiftly delivered ten swats with her hand to the already reddened flesh. Releasing the Omega, Jo stepped into her field of vision.

“I don’t care how upset or cranky you are. When you walk into my classroom, you’re to behave according to my rules. Apologize to Saleem.”

“He called me a baby. Why doesn’t he get swats too?”

“I’ll decide when a student’s comments step over the line, not you. I believe he was trying to help you. Now apologize, Omega.”

“I’m sorry.” She wasn’t sorry.

“And go hang your uniform on your hook. As I warned you all last week, and I’m reminding you right now, we’ve reached the second half of your training, and that means that many of the comforts you’ve taken for granted, such as clothing, are now privileges that can be lost for the day if you don’t behave. April, you will spend today in the buff. Perhaps that will help you remember to guard your tongue. There’s good advice available to you in this class if you’re willing to hear it.” Jo returned to the front of the room to begin the class.

This day just wasn’t getting any better. April let a few tears run down her cheeks as she stripped and got up to hang the tunic next to her bag. She knew her ass was a fiery, blazing red, and now everyone who saw it would know just how much trouble she was in at home. She added embarrassment to the list of emotions trying to pull her under this morning, and she sniffed. There was a grimness to the Mating-bond too. April realized that Castiel was reading her well enough to know she’d just been spanked, and that she was in a defiant mood. He wasn’t pleased. Fuck.

Jo started the class with her usual demos and exercises. April was distracted with trying to understand why her Omega and her wolf hadn’t been soothed by the strict treatment over the course of the morning. She normally felt much better after a spanking than she did before it. She shifted in her chair and had to be reminded to sit straight on her pained ass more than once. She complied as well as she was able, but couldn’t completely stop the squirming.

It didn’t hit her until she was running the timer for Alice and Simone – Alpha spanked her this morning and then shooed her out the door with no aftercare. He didn’t pet her or wash her face. He didn’t bring her a glass of water. He didn’t kiss her forehead. He didn’t remind her that he loved her, and he didn’t walk her to class.

April cried silently while the exercise continued, the tears running unheeded down her cheeks. It was evident that her mate was exceedingly angry and disappointed in her, and she started craving absolution in a way that just his hard hand hadn’t pulled from her. April was by no means stupid. She was aware that the vast majority of rules in her home were manufactured to create opportunities for fictional “crimes” just to give her a way through her Release block.

Today was different. Alpha wasn’t scening, she realized. She’d hurt him by choosing to ignore his instruction while he was gone, and he was truly angry with her. He left her to face the day without the closure of his aftercare to make absolutely sure she knew this one was for real. She was in TROUBLE, not just, “trouble.” He was disappointed. Fuck.

The other realization hit her as she switched places with Simone, taking up a presentation position on the mat and handing the timer over. April wouldn’t be getting out of the enemas. She’d be lucky if they remained at just one per day. Fuck.

She settled as the day wore on, and the pain faded to a dull ache. She was still naked. Lunch in the cafeteria meant that staff, clients, and students alike got a good look at Castiel’s handiwork. She found she didn’t mind the eyes on her as much as she wanted to get a chance to see her mate. He wasn’t in the lunch room today. Sometimes they had a chance to eat together, and sometimes their schedules just didn’t jibe. She wished she knew if it was intentional on his part today in particular. He was present in her mind, but she hesitated to poke at him. Distracting him from his work wasn’t going to earn her any points. He’d had his business face on all morning, and she felt very young in comparison.

The afternoon lecture took her out of her worries for several hours. Jo was presenting a talk on Keller charting and April was riveted. She loved numbers and statistics, and she’d been looking forward to this lecture for weeks.

“Does everyone know their Keller test results?” Jo asked the class as she drew a large cross, an X/Y graph, on the whiteboard. “Let me ask that another way. Is there anyone who doesn’t know their test results?”

Three tentative hands went up. “Alpha said it wasn’t for me to know or worry about,” said Joseph.

Jo scoffed. “That’s ridiculous. Of course, I don’t have the authority to release that information to you, but I have the numbers here in my file, and we’re going to be plotting all of your actual data on this graph. If I just happen to drop a few guiding hints to assist you in figuring out which data point is yours, then that’s not breaking any rules directly. No one should be denied their own test results. I’m just sayin’.”

Jo turned back to the whiteboard and labeled the horizontal line, “A, β, Ω” and marked the range from negative 30 through the Y axis at zero, and all the way to positive thirty on the other side. “About fifteen years ago,” she continued, “this chart only went to twenty-five. Who can tell me why it now goes to thirty? Anyone? April, do you know?”

“Um, is it because of Alpha Novak?” April knew the answer but was uncomfortable with how closely this topic touched upon her private life. There were parts of being Mated to the great Dom that she liked, but much of it was disquieting.

“That’s correct. Castiel Novak’s Keller test broke the chart fifteen years ago. He remains, to this day, the only wolf worldwide ever to test higher than twenty-five, whether as an alpha or an Omega, although we have an extremely rare Ω twenty-three here in class with us. Castiel Novak’s Keller rating is 28, by the way, if any of you didn’t know. The chart has been permanently expanded on both sides under the assumption that if it can happen once, it could happen again.

“So, it’s pretty straightforward. Omegas are on the negative side, betas in the middle, and alphas on the right. All betas register at zero. There is no range to the beta designation. Leonard Keller and Alfonse Pelios didn’t know that when they designed the chart back in 1914, so they gave betas a range from negative ten to positive ten. Today, we just skip those twenty numbers in the middle. It’s easier than redrawing the whole chart, and trying to explain to Omegas and alphas why their chart numbers have to change. Any questions yet?”

Not everyone in the class really cared, but the numbers that their tests revealed had such a personal impact on their daily lives, that most of the class was paying close attention. “Okay, we’re going to focus on the Omega side. Remember that in terms of the numbers and titles, everything that I teach you about Omegas also goes for alphas, but in reverse. Understand?” They nodded, and she returned to the board.

“Right here on the left side and moving toward the right, from the end, from -30 to -20 are the Deep Omegas. These guys are the high Omesol-producers, and the exceptionally fertile Omegas. These Omegas crave and demand a massive amount of structure, discipline, and support. There’s also a correlation between Deep Omegas and Submissives. Not all Ozzies are Deep O’s, but they tend that way. In this class, for instance, 68% of you are Deep Omegas.

“From -19.9 to -15 (remember we’re counting backward because we’re moving toward zero), are the standard Omegas. These guys don’t get a descriptive prefix. They’re just Omegas. They show all of the stereotypical, iconic Omega behaviors and usually don’t develop Release blocks or require more than general, reliable Pack structure. Not hard to figure out, right? You know who you are if you’re a standard O.

“Finally, from -14.9 to -10 are the Central Omegas – Central, meaning closer to the mid-line at zero. Some of these guys behave almost like betas. Anatomically, you’re all Omega, but behaviorally and psychologically, the Centrals don’t act very Omega-like. Here in our class, we’ve only got one Central. Usually, they don’t need balance adjustments but once a month or sometimes even longer. I know, I know. It’s totally unfair.” The Deep Omegas in the class protested loudly at hearing that some Omegas didn’t need to be spanked into Release every few days. April tried to imagine what that would be like and wondered if Dean’s new mate would turn out to be a Central. He certainly didn’t seem very Omega-like to her.

Jo continued. “Your place on the chart is determined by your physical reactions, measurable behaviors, and chemical responses during the Keller evaluation. Everything on the X-axis comes from empirical numbers – measurable data, not subjective observation. However, when you do the Keller test, we’re also looking for another set of responses. The results of those responses are plotted along the Y-axis.” Jo labeled the vertical axis “Dom/sub,” and numbered it from +20 at the top, back through zero across the X-axis, and ending at the bottom with -20.

“You guys are all Ozzies, Omega-Subs. That means every last one of you takes a position somewhere in this quadrant.” She circled the lower left section. “For Subs, like Doms, we break the chart down further. The Profound, between -15 and -20 are the truly submissive wolves. We have a few in here with us who fall into that category. In the middle are the Classic Subs, ranging from -10 to -15. Again, all of this applies to Doms as well, but in reverse. And the Shallow Subs test between -5 and -10. Anyone testing within 5 points from zero is a Neutral. We determine your Y-scale placement from a combination of measurable readings and subjective observation, so it’s less concrete than the X-axis results are. However, a Keller test that’s performed correctly will yield reproducible results despite there being a subjective portion to it.

“I’ve got stickers here with your names on them, and when I call your name, I want you to place your sticker on the whiteboard where you think your test scores put you. For those of you who weren’t given that information, I can possibly provide a little guidance without revealing what I’m legally not allowed to reveal. Let’s see what our class range is. I’ll go first.” Jo picked up a little blue circle from the desk and hovered over the board. “I’m a standard alpha with a Keller score of 15, so I’m to the right of the mid-line. I’m also a Neutral with a score of 2. That puts me right here.” Jo stuck her dot just above the mid-line and halfway between zero and thirty to the right.

“Simone, your turn.” Jo held out an orange sticker and Simone took it from her, studying the graph. She placed it, and Jo nodded, smiling. She proceeded to the next student, and soon, brightly colored stickers dotted the lower left quadrant. April blushed when she saw just how far to the left of the rest of her classmates her red sticker was. At least hers wasn’t the farthest toward the bottom. That was Joseph. And two other stickers were about even with hers for Submissiveness. Three stickers had to be placed one on top of the other because three students shared the same numbers. Jo assured them that was perfectly normal.

She played “Hot and Cold” with the three students who hadn’t been given their results by their Pack Alphas. She followed up with a quick discussion of the confusing Z-axis that added a wolf’s Kink Index, but she didn’t try to draw it, and she didn’t reveal any of the class members’ Z-Ratings. Those were private. Soon, the afternoon wore to an end.

April gathered her belongings from her spot on the wall, only remembering that she was nude when she saw her tunic hanging there. She’d been so engaged in the lesson, she forgot. “Alpha Jo?” she called. “Should I dress or go home like this?”

“You may get dressed now, April.” Jo was handing out Punishment report slips to the Omegas who had taken any kind of correction that day. There were always several spankings meted out; sometimes many. Sometimes Sam joined the class to lend a hand when he wasn’t busy with his own class. Jo handed April hers last. “Do you understand now why you were punished this morning?”

“Yes, alpha. I brought my bad attitude to class and made everyone else deal with it. And I was rude to Saleem. But I still think he deserved to be spanked too.”

“Go on, Omega. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Jo kissed April on the forehead and nudged her out the door. April slipped the tunic back on in the hallway and stared glumly at the report slip in her hand. She knew it would add to her total tonight, and she was dreading it already. Fuck.

 

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

 

“That’s enough!” shouted the Alpha. “If we’re going to do this, we’re doing it right, not half-assing our way through like we don’t give a damn! Is that the best you’ve come up with? This is bullshit!”

“Let’s call it a day, here folks…pick it back up tomorrow when we’ve all had a chance to sleep on it.” Benny interrupted his Alpha, sitting upright and stretching his arms over his head. The beta at the front of the room stood frozen and shell-shocked. Great. Thanks, Cas. Castiel visibly struggled to get hold of himself. He clenched a fist that rested on the table and bit his lip, looking unfocused into space and breathing through his nose.

“Benedict, he’s my brother. If you think…”

“I’m under no illusions that you’re gonna let Gordon or any of his cronies outta the line of fire, but we aren’t going to solve this today, and you, my Alpha, are currently too distraught to continue.” Benny met his boss’ eye levelly without blinking or flinching. It took a brave man to do that, and it’s what finally got through to Castiel. Cas blew out a shaky breath.

“You’re right. I apologize everyone. Marcus, I’m sorry. You’re doing the best you can. We’ll…we’ll go at it again tomorrow.” Cas rubbed a hand over his face and around to the back of his neck like Dean sometimes did when he felt in the wrong. “You’re all excused.”

Bobby put a hand on his shoulder as they filed out of the room. “Come with me, Cas. We’re going for a walk.”

“Why does it feel like I’m being led to my execution?” asked Cas flatly.

“Because you feel guilty. C’mon, you just need some air. And a drink.”

“Bobby, it’s 2:30 in the afternoon on a weekday.”

“Yeah, well…it’s five o’clock somewhere. Come on.” Bobby led Cas out through the turnstile and onto the campus sidewalk, heading toward Zeke’s. They talked as they walked, about nothing pressing at first, just idle conversation between friends and some random workplace gossip. “And how’s the new boy fitting in? I haven’t seen or heard much about him, but that Mating video is the talk of the whole community. What’s an Omega who fucks like that like in real life?”

“He’s a challenge, Bobby. Dean seems suited to understand him, and they communicate remarkably well.” Bobby held the door to Zeke’s open for the Alpha, and they took stools at the bar. “I just may kill him before we manage to settle, though. He’s got a smart-ass reply to everything.”

“No offense, Alpha, but it’s not like you to let an Omega run the show. Why haven’t you just explained the facts of life to the boy and ripped him a new one? Sounds like it’d do him a world of good.”

Cas held up two fingers to Zeke. The gesture wasn’t necessary. The bartender had two beers already in hand and was on his way over to deliver them. He nodded solemnly at the alphas, and then left them to talk. Castiel took a good long drink from his pint before he answered Bobby.

“It’s complicated, Singer. I can’t screw this up. He’s not mine yet, he’s Dean’s. And I promised Dean he’d have a free hand. I promised Dean we’d be as close to equals as I could make it. If I go in there like a locomotive and blast Michael out of his shoes, he’s going to resent me forever, and we’re going to have to contend with that from the very start of our marriage. This balance is…I can’t screw it up, and I only get one shot.”

“What’s the kid like?”

“He’s full of piss and vinegar. Probably got a raw deal his whole life, trapped in a body that wants to roll over and hand the wheel to someone else, while his wolf is trying to abscond with the whole truck and drive everyone off a cliff. And he’s been stuck with a family who can’t give him what he needs.”

“Sounds a little like someone else I know…except for the rolling part.” Bobby met Castiel’s eye through the back-plate mirror behind the bar and took a drink of his beer.

“Yes, it does,” Cas conceded. “And he’s trying, Bobby. He’s not a bad kid when he’s not posturing and trying to stake a claim on his mate.” Cas chuckled. “That Omega has no idea what he’s in for once he gets to know Dean. He’s taking a huge bite outta something he’s not even a little bit ready to handle. Talk about grabbing a tiger by its tail…”

“I don’t know. I’ve watched the two of them on that video over and over trying to figure out how the fuck Michael pulled that off. It looks to me like he’s got Dean dead to rights. If you ask me, they’re peas in a pod, and the rest of us oughtta be taking notes.”

Cas sighed heavily. “I can’t let it go too long. Michael needs the stability of the Pack. He’s scratching at the walls and begging for a firm hand. He needs to be Claimed. I don’t think he’s really a brat at all. I think it’s just the desperate cry of a terrified Omega who thinks no one sees him. And I think his wolf has run the show for so long, his Omega’s just gotten lost really deep in there somewhere. Being a brat is a last-ditch effort, not an inborn preset. I suspect he’ll be a completely different man once he gets introduced to his Omega again.”

“There’s the Alpha I know,” nodded Bobby. “I don’t know if he’s a brat or not, but I know he needs you to step up and take him by the scruff. Waiting until he’s decided to jump on board the Cas-and-Dean train is only going to make it harder to adjust later, my friend. You wait much longer and you may lose his respect altogether. Sounds to me like he’s begging you to just do it.”

“Like I said, I only get one shot at this.”

“What does your wolf want to do?”

Cas laughed humorlessly. “He’s wanted to rip Michael’s balls out through his throat since we met, but he doesn’t get to run this show any more than the Omega does. You know that’s not an option.”

“Well, maybe meet him half way, Alpha.”

“I promised Dean a month.” Cas took another drink.

“Did you, now? What exactly did you promise him?”

Cas raised an eyebrow at his friend. “Dean wants a month before Michael does any testing or training; a month just to themselves to get settled after the Mating.”

“Did he say he wanted no contact with you or The Facility? Or the rest of the Pack?”

“No. He said I could text him all I wanted, and that he and Michael would be around. It didn’t sound like he was taking them to ground exactly.”

“Hmm. So, is there any reason to put off the loyalty oaths and the formal establishment of your pack? Could you do that without breaking faith with Dean and Michael? That way, the two of them get the rest of their month already Claimed and established. They have a chance to get settled in the full framework of their pack ranks. Right now, Cas, that boy’s in no-man’s-land. He’s not his father’s anymore, but he’s not yours yet. He’s gonna drown if you wait a month to give him that lifeline.”

“It’s just so hard to know, Bobby. Am I trying to force a bunch or square pegs into round holes? I’ve got a fiancé who’s Deep alpha, just like me. We aren’t meant to fit. I’ve got an Omega mate whose body will break if I let my wolf fully off-leash on her, and I’ve got a Profoundly Dominant rival that I’m willingly bringing into my home who has the power to destroy everything if he wants to. What are we doing? How can this possibly work out? It’s just a dream that’s doomed from the start, isn’t it? Maybe the Universe just doesn’t want me happy.”

“Begging you pardon, Alpha.” Zeke was in front of him. “The thing about tending bar in a place this size is I’m kinda forced to eavesdrop whether I mean to or not. You mind if I offer my two cents? It doesn’t mean anything, and I could be way off base here. You’re under no obligation to even hear me out, but I’ve known you and Dean a long time.”

Castiel nodded for him to continue. Zeke was a trusted friend and longtime confidant. He’d proven he had a knack for breaking down the complicated issues of life into simple, actionable steps on numerous occasions, and Cas valued his insight. Also, Dean trusted him. Dean’s ability to read people at their core and judge the character beneath the surface was unrivaled. If Dean trusted Zeke, then Zeke was good people.

“If I hear you right, and from what I already know about you all, you’ve got the perfect Omega mate for your Alpha. She’s compliant and soothing for the Alpha who feels like it has to fight for consensus everywhere else. The Alpha can spend the day battling it out in a world that just won’t give it what it wants, and then come home to a perfect, willing mate to soothe off the edges and make everything better.

“Then, you’ve got that alpha brat that you’re engaged to marry who challenges your Dominant wolf. The big guy wants someone who won’t break every time he snaps his jaws. Someone who gives him something to snap against, someone who makes his hackles rise in anticipation of a good ass beating.

“And finally, as if that wasn’t perfect enough, the Universe grants you a raw diamond-in-the-rough Dominant right there in your own household to mold and train and guide; someone for your front brain to take under its wing and turn into something glorious. You’re a teacher, Alpha, and the Universe has given you someone who needs desperately to be taught.

“You, Alpha have three distinct personalities you’ve been trying to balance your whole adult life: you’re a professor and mentor, a powerful Dominant wolf who needs a challenge, and a confident, assertive Alpha who demands order and compliance. Now, correct me if I’m way off base here, but it looks to me like everything you’ve ever wanted has just landed in your lap.”

Castiel stared at him slack-jawed.

“And too, before you go worrying about being selfish and taking everything just for you, look at it from Dean’s perspective. He’s got three defining characteristics too. He’s a brat Sub, an alpha teacher, and a big, protective brother. Might not be such a raw deal for him either once you line folks up and put them where they fit. I don’t know much about the two Omegas yet, but I have some suspicions that they just might be getting something out of this arrangement too…this arrangement that you say means the Universe has it out for you. Think about it, Castiel. Do you boys want another?”

 

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

 

“Thanks Meg. Yeah, I sure will.” Dean hung up the phone and returned to the kitchen where his mate was digging through the pantry again looking for something to turn into dinner.

“I texted Sam to stop off for some chicken cutlets on his way over. He’s going to pack up tonight and give us the space to ourselves for the whole month. Least I can do is cook him dinner before we kick him out. But I told him we’re not eating tofu.” Dean pulled fresh vegetables from the fridge and began to put a salad together.

Michael washed a head of broccoli in the sink. “Would you ‘play’ with me tonight, Dean? I’d like to do some experimenting on your stamina; find out where your limits are and what you respond to.”

“Hell yes.”

“Do you need any assurances from me? I promise to keep it simple for now. I want to push you right up to the edge of coming, and then back off again. I wanna see how many times you can do that before you crack, but I’m not planning on any pain play this time, and I’m not tying it to a punishment if you fail. Unless you turn into a complete brat on me, I promise to let you come at the end. One thing at a time, like we said. And I’ll check in with you more than I would normally do, so I can get used to how you respond and what it feels like through the bond.”

“That sounds perfect, man. I’m a little…here, see for yourself.” Dean took hold of Michael’s damp hand and placed it over his crotch, so he could feel the effect his words had on his mate. Michael kissed him sweetly and then rested their foreheads together.

“I fucked up so bad, Dean, and I’m really very sorry. I see now how stupid I was. Please say you still have some faith in me. I won’t ever make that mistake again.”

Dean took hold of Michael’s shoulders and pressed his body against his mate’s. He didn’t answer in words. He just let his bond connection speak for him as they stood together in the kitchen holding tightly to each other.

Dean broke away and went back to the salad, making the switch back into his alpha appear effortless, although it wasn’t. “I just checked up on Gabriel. They took him home today to finish recovering in his own space. It’ll be easier for him there. I’m sure they know he won’t stay long, but maybe it’ll do him some good to spend some time with his brother.”

“What’s his story, Dean? I never got an explanation as to why we picked him up bleeding and broken on the side of the road. Castiel said something about a rescue?”

“It’s all confidential, so what I’m about to tell you is not something you can share with anyone else. Seriously.”

“Who am I going to tell?”

“No, but I mean it. It could mean his life.” Dean held Michael’s eye until the Omega nodded, intrigued.

“Okay. Gabriel works as an inside man in trafficking recovery. He poses as an Omega student, or whore, or whatever and gets inside the real hellholes to scope them out and rescue the slaves inside. He’s got a whole team working with him, and they all report to Bobby. Only the top staff of the Facility even know we’re involved in a rescue program. That’s to keep the agents safe as long as we can. It won’t work like this forever. One day, he’s going to get recognized or the info will leak out because one of us in the know was stupid and talked to the wrong person or the wrong place, and then all hell’s gonna break loose. But he and Cas work very hard to keep his face out of the limelight and the tabloids. Castiel hates it, but he can’t stop Gabe from doing it. All he can do is try to help control how he does it.”

Michael was speechless, but Dean pressed on. “I don’t know what the hell he thought he was doing going it alone like that. Bobby didn’t authorize a strike against Gordon. Gabe did that on his own, and now he’s got Bobby and his little brother to face with an explanation.”

“Little brother? I thought Castiel was older.”

“No, Gabe’s older, but Cas is…well, he’s Alpha.” Dean put the salad in the refrigerator and turned to chopping broccoli. The front door opened, and Sam walked in carrying a couple of grocery bags and a six pack of brown longnecks. “Hey, Sam! Oh good, you brought beer.”

“Here, Michael. Grab this one.” Sam handed Michael the bag with chicken in it, and Michael took it from him and set it in the sink. He moved to the side as Dean took over the prep. Dean was so at home in this kitchen, he seemed to just flow – like a liquid.

“Go on about Gabriel, Dean,” prompted Michael. “If you can, I mean. Is Sam…?”

“Yeah, Sam knows. He’s top-level staff. Plus, he was right there at ground zero when…well, I’m getting ahead of myself.” Dean started the oven pre-heating and seasoned the chicken. “Grab me a beer, please, somebody.” A beer bottle appeared next to the sink, its cap already removed. “Thanks.”

“So, yeah. Gabe did that whole thing on his own and nearly got busted doing it, but he pulled a girl out. I guess Gordon’s got a respectable front going on through the front door and a pile of sleaze leaking out the back. We didn’t know that.”

“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Sam put in. “Gordon’s always given me the heebie-jeebs. He’s just a creepy, disturbing asshole. There’s not much I wouldn’t put past him to do.”

“Why would an Omega like Gabriel put himself at such a risk for strangers? I mean, I get wanting to help, but Jesus, to actually go in there like that and risk getting caught? Is he insane?”

“Yeah, he is a little,” said Sam with gravity.

Dean explained, “Michael, Gabe’s had a shit-ton of crap dumped on him in his life. Not only a delusional controlling bitch of a mother who nearly let him die because she doesn’t want to believe in Omesol poisoning, but, well… He could respond by curling up and going fetal position forever, or he could fight like an Omega. He’s not the giving up kind of guy.”

“What kind of other crap?”

“Just a year or two before I met Cas, Gabriel’s True-Mate died in a car crash. He was devastated. He was really fucked up over it for years. Deep depression, suicidal thoughts, the whole nine yards. Cas didn’t even let me meet him for over a year. Finally, maybe four years after she died, Cas convinced Gabe to start trying to get healthy again, try to see if he could feel human at least. Cas helped him find an alpha to help him through his heats. He’d just been suffering through them alone since he lost Marina, and Cas didn’t think he’d live much longer if he didn’t get some help.

“The thing is, back then, and we’re not talking a long time ago, but back then, the regulations on sex workers were crap. The chick he contracted with was a professional, and she was sweet to him and all, but she’d let her birth control lapse. There was no law then that sex workers keep a meds log or pass any physical tests before they fuck their seed into unsuspecting clients. Gabe got knocked up on the first Heat after he went mainstream again. It was bad. He was so fucking broken...”

Sam picked up where Dean went silent. “To make things even worse, he miscarried the pup after two months. He’d just about reconciled himself to being a mom and getting some psychiatric care so he could be a good parent, and then he lost the baby, and he just… I can’t even imagine. He got a coat hanger out of his closet and dug around up inside himself until he destroyed everything. Castiel found him passed out and hemorrhaging. They saved his life, but they couldn’t repair the damage to his uterus.”

“He’s come a long way since then,” said Dean. “This is all private, of course, but you’re pack now, and you need to know. Sometimes, he still has moments where he just needs to be alone. Cas keeps a close eye on him; keeps a Claim on him so he can feel Gabe’s state of mind for himself. Sometimes the rat-bastard hides it when he starts to sink back under. He’s not ever going to completely heal emotionally, but he tries. Like I said, he fights like an Omega.”

Sam picked it up again. “The work he does helps him as much as it does the Omegas he pulls out. His Mated scent is so faint now, most wolves can’t detect it. Plus, he’s not in any danger of blowing his cover by coming across a True-Mate unexpectedly,” Sam followed his words with a long drink from his bottle. “He told me once that he couldn’t protect his own pup or mate, but maybe he can make up for it by saving someone else’s.”

“Jesus,” was all Michael could say to that. Dean agreed.

They settled the tension left from the horrible conversation by turning on a stupid, mindless sit-com and letting dinner cook. No one had much to say, so Michael brought around more beer bottles and snuggled in to his mate on the couch, letting the alpha-scent speak to him and bring him solace. What must that have been like for Gabriel? He couldn’t imagine the depth of Gabriel’s pain. He didn’t want to.

Dean’s phone pinged with a text message. Michael could tell by Dean’s emotional response that it was from Cas. He found, for the first time, that he really didn’t mind. Dean chuckled softly to himself as he traded texts with his fiancé a few times, keeping one hand petting easily through Michael’s hair and leaving an occasional kiss against the side of his neck. Could it really be this simple? Was there enough of Dean to go around without having to fight for it?

Finally, Dean put his phone on the side table. “Cas wants us up at The Facility at ten tomorrow morning to discuss making formal Pack oaths and planning when and where to do the C.F.s. I told him I’d have to ask my Dom. What say you, Michael? Got a problem with it? It’s just discussions tomorrow: no actual oaths or fucking yet.”

“It’s fine with me, Dean. Ten o’clock.” He nuzzled Dean’s throat, scenting his mate.

“Okey-dokey. I’ll let him know. Thanks, man.” Dean wanted to let Michael know that he realized how hard this was for the Omega, but his wolf told him to shut it for now. Dean listened to the wolf, and stopped at a simple thank you.

“We were supposed to do some packing today, but I’m really not feeling it. Maybe next week,” Dean told no one in particular. The timer buzzed on the oven, and they all heaved one another to their feet for dinner, carrying their drinks to the table.

Dinner was delicious. Michael chalked up Dean’s cooking skills in his growing column titled: “How fucking lucky I am,” and dug in. The complaint column wasn’t short, but the pros outnumbered the cons, and Michael wasn’t stupid.

“I’ve been wanting to ask you, Michael,” started Sam after washing down a mouthful of chicken with a pull from his beer. “Did you know what you were doing when you Mated my brother? I mean, with what you actually did to get the Mate-Claim to stick? Do you remember any of it?”

“I sure do. I remember everything. What do you mean, did I know what I was doing? I just did it, I guess. I didn’t do it by myself, you know. Dean was there too.”

“No, I know, but what YOU did was way off the charts. From everything we’ve learned in the last ten years about Claim-fucks, I mean, there has to be a Claim, you know? It only works when there’s an act of sexually aggressive domination. Just stroking your partner’s wolf doesn’t produce a Claim. At least, no one I know has ever seen that happen before. But that’s what you did. We all saw it, and we’ve got it on video for posterity to study. You did a little bit of shouting when you were close, but you never showed any possessiveness or aggression. Michael, you did something no one’s ever seen before, and we can’t figure out how you did it.” Sam turned to his brother. Dean had stopped eating and was staring at his brother with his fork half way to his mouth. “Do you know Dean?”

“Shit, Sammy. I hadn’t even thought about it. I have no idea.”

“Dean, he Topped you from the bottom, that much is clear. And it was a really sweet D/s scene. I’m glad to know you two work so well together right off the bat, but it shouldn’t have created a Mating-bond, not even with you biting him. We’ve seen couples try that so many times, and it always fails. Then we have to re-set and have them try it again. Can you ever remember anything like that in your research? Anything that worked?” Sam raised his eyebrows at his brother.

Dean took a bite and thought about it while he chewed. He looked at his mate. Michael seemed interested for the sake of being part of something unusual, but he didn’t look rattled. Dean was rattled. He knew Sam was right. He shouldn’t, by all rights, be Mated to Michael right now. Claims just didn’t work that way. He ran back over what he remembered from that day, and couldn’t find enough aggression anywhere in the act to account for the bond. The most aggressive part was when Michael spanked Dean’s thigh. He shook his head at his brother. “No. Never.”

“Well, there’s going to be a full inquiry, of course. If you two are onto something new, we need to know what it is, especially if it means there’s a more civilized way to put a Claim down. The good thing is that the Mating-Claim did take. It’s strong, and clean, and permanent. There’s nothing unstable about it. It’s just a normal, healthy bond. I just can’t make heads or tails outta how it worked.”

“Probably because I’m just that awesome,” said Michael with his mouth full.

Chapter Text

Caniformes – Chapter 22

 

NOW:

The bacon was almost ready. Sunlight coming through the kitchen window made the O.J. glasses sparkle like a Mr. Clean commercial, and Dean was in a frickin’ awesome mood. Conventional wisdom said that a Lupin couldn’t expect to maintain an erection and functional arousal for more than three hours outside of H/R cycles or Mate response, but Michael had stretched him through more than four. Four hours of agonizing just-almost-close-enough-to…but then, no, followed by an orgasm so epic at the end, Dean’s dick was still feeling aftershocks this morning.

And also, nothing but his cock hurt right now. Usually after a night that intense, his nipples, or his ass-cheeks, or the muscles deep inside him would be sore and delicate. Not today, buddy. While he appreciated a little after-burn as much as the next guy, its absence this morning felt like the arrival of spring. He was a little sore where too many hours of stimulation wore at his dick, but Dean owed Michael a massive thank-you breakfast. He’d done everything he said he would, and nothing he said he wouldn’t. He talked to Dean the whole time, watching him from inside and outside, checking in constantly. He even let Dean get up and pace miserably around the house for a few minutes when he couldn’t come down from the precipice on his own and feared he might fall before they were ready.

The bruising on Dean’s ass was fading quickly now. In the past, he always hated how quickly his body erased Castiel’s marks, but right now he couldn’t get rid of them fast enough. He wanted a Michael-spanking, and he was fucking tired of waiting for it. Dean hummed as he cooked. He mixed up a perfect ratio of milk and egg batter to use for French toast and put a pan of real maple syrup on a back-burner to warm, not turning on the fire yet - just getting it ready for whenever Michael emerged.

Michael was evidently not a morning person, and Dean let him sleep in. His imagination took a flight while he cooked, and he could see himself standing over Castiel’s kitchen range just like this, with deeper lines in his face, shouting at the pups to stop running and set the table. He pictured kissing each of his Pack as they made their way in for breakfast: April would be clean and chipper, letting him peck her on the cheek, Cas would be all motion and efficient energy, his ever-present tan trench folded over his arm as he accepted a plate of sausages and a real good-morning kiss from his husband, then turning to shepherd two or three rowdy pups to their places at the table calmly. And Michael. Michael would trudge in with his hair askew and a bathrobe thrown loosely over a T-shirt and boxers, grunt at Dean and take the platter of eggs without speaking. Dean would have to drag him back in by his wrist to get a kiss from his mate, but he would do it. He might also press Michael up against the counter for a minute and grind their hips together while sucking on his throat.

Dean’s fantasy was having a real-life effect. He removed the last of the bacon and turned the burner under the empty pan off to let it cool, then leaned on one arm over the kitchen counter, sliding his right hand down his sweat-pants and taking a firm grasp of himself. He stroked slowly while the image in his mind turned into a vision of his mate flipping around, leaning over the counter-top and ordering his Sub to get to work waking him up properly. Dean imagined the family at the table rolling their eyes collectively and Cas sending a couple of the pups to collect the remaining food platters since their dads were obviously not planning to feed anyone but their own wolves. The image was so utterly domestic and happy while also being hot as fuck, and Dean was lost in his own mind.

“Just what do you think you’re doing? Get your hand off my property, Submissive. Right now!”

Dean jumped and pulled his hand out, turning to face Michael, whose appearance matched the image from his imagination almost line-for-line. “What? You never said I couldn’t…”

“Oh yes, I did. I said no one touches you sexually but me and Castiel. Are you Castiel? Or me? Also, why are you dressed? I told you I expect you naked.” Michael waited impatiently for a response, tapping his foot like a blue-haired librarian.

“I’m sorry, Michael. I mistook your meaning on the first rule. I thought you meant no one ELSE. Wait. Do you mean I don’t get to touch myself, ever? What about when I’m with Cas? Not even in the shower? Dude, that’s an Omega rule! You can’t…what about if I ask for permission? What about when I have to travel for a week or more alone?”

“Stop looking for loopholes, Dean. It’s a rule. You said you were fine with it yesterday, and nothing’s changed. You will be informed about how your rules while you’re with him might be different once we have a chance to talk about it and reach an agreement. For now, just assume that my rules apply at all times. And why are you STILL dressed?” Michael advanced right up into Dean’s space so that his scent filled Dean’s wolf’s nose.

It was difficult, but he battled to stay present. “Nah, Michael. That’s not right. I didn’t agree to staying naked and in-scene all the time. That’s not going to work for me at all. I need it when I need it, but outside of our play-time, I’m just Dean, and I get to wear clothes.” Dean took a step away from his mate to start heating a pan for the French toast and to clear his head of Michael’s over-whelming scent. “I’m sorry about the touching. I misunderstood, and I owe you one for that, but I’m not doing the other outside of our scenes. Besides, I can’t cook naked.”

Michael regarded him, and then he noticed the food. Dean heard his stomach rumble. Michael bit his lower lip, clearly trying to decide if he would look weak for walking a rule back on the second day. “All right. I can be reasonable. When you’re in-scene, you’re naked, and otherwise you have leave to dress as you like. But you are not to touch yourself for any reason except hygiene or health concerns. Your cock and your ass belong to your Doms. Am I understood?”

“Yes, Michael.” Dean left off the ‘Sir’ with great effort. Negotiating was tricky, and sometimes points were made through little tricks and subtle power inter-play. Michael had not confirmed whether Dean had a punishment coming, and Dean wasn’t going to bring it up again. He loved a good spanking, but not when he’d broken a rule for real. It was just different, and he didn’t want his first real experience with Michael’s Dominant hand to be over a fuck-up.

Dean finished cooking and served Michael a steaming plate. He kissed the side of Michael’s head as he brought coffee for him, then he seated himself. They both mulled things while they ate. Both felt unsettled. One important reason that couples like Dean and Michael used spanking in their relationships was that it allowed for closure when something was off between them. But they’d promised to go slowly, and they hadn’t communicated well-enough to make the next steps clear. If the rule wasn’t clear, had a rule been broken, or not?

“Thanks for last night, Michael. That was incredible, and I feel really good this morning. The big breakfast is your thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Dean. And, uh, thanks to you for being so willing to try for as long as you did. That was all you, not me. Breakfast is delicious.”

They were back. Easy and light and effortless. Just like that. They giggled through breakfast and traded forkfuls of food. No relationship Dean had ever had before felt this easy – not even with his brother, and he told Michael that. Michael nodded and leaned across to kiss Dean’s sticky lips. “I’m glad, Dean, me too. But you’re still getting punished for touching without permission.” He stood and cleared both their plates.

Dean felt a spark of energy run down his body and into his dick at the tone of Michael’s voice, and he pulled a long breath in through his nose. Even if his Sub hadn’t been craving a correction, Dean wanted to give this one to Michael. “Yes, Sir.” He took another breath and tried to convince his cock not to harden. He didn’t want to face his first punishment like that, like an out-of-control teenager, but Michael’s stern voice just took him there.

“I’m still not going to spank you until your bruises are gone, so instead, you’ve earned yourself three days of chastity. Today’s Tuesday. You can expect to have no direct physical sexual stimulation until this time on Friday, assuming you don’t earn an extension by breaking more of my rules.”

“Oh, come on! Three days? We only get a month without the rest of the Pack. Seriously? Just fucking spank me already.”

“No. And arguing has bought you another two days. Care to keep going? I know our time is limited, but don’t forget, one thing this month is for is to solidify our roles and how we interact. It’s not just about fucking each other’s brains out.” Michael was clearly wearing his big-boy pants. He was full Dominant, take-no-prisoners, accept no back-talk Big Dog, and while Dean’s wolf whined and groveled, Dean himself couldn’t control his mouth. This wasn’t what he thought he’d been agreeing to.

“I didn’t understand the rule, Michael! It’s not fair to hold me to something I didn’t understand. I’m not gonna do it again, but you gotta give me a pass on the first one. Come on, man!”

“One week, then. I can keep going Dean. I’m not the one in chastity.”

“Shit!” Dean slammed his mouth closed right on top of all the things he wanted to say to his Dom. He appeared to have just negotiated his way out of a week of sex.

“I’ll potentially make one exception this week, Dean. You know what we talked about trying? Seeing if you could bring your private self into a space where others can see you? I’d be willing to allow one episode this week, let you come and everything, if you’ll agree to try it with a small audience for me.”

Dean was torn. He thought he could get there eventually. Hell, his own fantasy not forty-five minutes ago was in front of people. They were all pack, yeah, but he was in his private wolf in the vision, not doing a public show. Why would he fantasize about it if it wasn’t a thing he wanted at all?

“You’ve already done it for me once, you know – when we mated. There were a butt-load of people watching us. They even filmed it, and from what Sam said last night, who knows how many people are watching it over and over as we speak. You can do this, Dean. I think you’ll like it once you learn to let go. And hey, if you don’t, we’ll stop. No pressure. I’m just asking.”

“It’s extortion to take everything away and leave that as my only option all week. I’m onto you, Michael Winchester. I see what you did there,” Dean stated. “But I want to try anyway. You keep it small and just with someone I already trust, and I’ll try. Don’t expect it to be like our mating though. I wasn’t myself that day.”

“Good enough. Thank you for trying. That’s all I ask.”

 

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

 

April was an early riser, so she used the quiet moments just before the sun rose to explore the massive house. It was mostly still dark, but strategically placed lamps and runners lit enough of the hallways that she didn’t trip over anything. Everything felt surreal. She’d been mated to Castiel for almost three months now, and she had had no idea he lived like this. To be truthful, he confessed that he only used a small portion of the enormous space available with any regularity, but even that was massive in scale.

It felt homey though. It was big and very tasteful, but not pretentious. The lines were clean. The wood-working was exceptional. April ran a hand over a cabinet door that fit snug and flush into a perfect alignment with the support. Master carpenters put this home together, and it was warm. It was also empty. It was a house craving a family of youngsters to ride down the bannister and shoot nerf-guns around corners. It was a house in waiting to be a home. April could feel the anticipation.

They drove over yesterday evening and found a delivery truck just leaving the driveway, rumbling out from the big house and passing Castiel’s car by the two-story guard house which Cas said the security team used as a base-office, but where no one had lived for years. The delivery truck was painted with a bigger-than-life image of a grand piano. April turned and watched it leave, and then met Castiel’s eye. He looked very smug.

Cas parked in the gravel before the huge front door instead of pulling into the garage. He wanted April to enter her house for the first time through the main entrance. She might never do so again. God knows Cas hadn’t come in this way for years. It was too grandiose for every day.

Sam met them at the door, handing a set of papers to Cas, and rapping him firmly on the back. “Everything’s just how you wanted it, Alpha. The, uh, the tuner comes tomorrow at three.” Sam looked unsure whether he was supposed to say that in April’s hearing. He didn’t know if it was still a surprise or not.

“Thanks Sam. Will you stay for dinner with us?”

“No, thank you. I’m having dinner with Dean and Michael. I told them I’d pack up tonight and clear out to give them space, but apparently, my food doesn’t meet with their approval. Dean’s sending me to the store for ‘edible’ food. I need to get going so he’ll have time to turn it into a meal before it gets late.” Cas thanked Sam and nodded, and April grinned at him. Sam kissed her cheek and left the two in the grand foyer.

“Alpha?”

“Yes, my dear?” Cas was smirking.

“Why is a tuner coming tomorrow at three?”

He held his hand out to her, and she took it. “Let’s go and find out.”

The new piano was beautiful. Enormous, shining black mahogany, it looked like it had always been the center-piece of the conservatory at the back of the house. April hovered a hand over the sleek wood, not daring to touch it and tried not to breathe too close. “Welcome home, April. I hope you like your homecoming gift. This is all for you. In fact, the whole room is yours. No one else in the house plays, so if you want it, it’s all yours. There’s also a desk over by the window where you can do some writing in peace.”

She turned tear-filled eyes on him. “I don’t know what to say, Alpha. I can’t accept this. It’s too much. I didn’t get you anything. I…Alpha, please don’t laugh at me.”

He continued chuckling happily. “You can accept it, because I’m your Alpha, and I’m giving it to you.” Cas took her in his arms, hunching his shoulders protectively and folding her into his embrace. He let his laughter die away and spoke to her seriously. “Don’t you know that you gave me so much more than a piano? April, you gave me everything. You made it possible for us to build a life I’d never believed I could have. Because of you, we can fill this house with the laughter and love and life that it’s never known. You mean everything to me, and I love you with all my heart.”

“I love you too, Alpha.” She breathed him in and stood nestled in his protective arms. Then she tried meekly, “Does this mean we can skip the evening spanking? It would be a shame to break such a lovely mood tonight.”

“Nice try,” he deadpanned. “In fact, it’s time to get started cooking dinner, so let’s get that out of the way.” Castiel took a seat on the piano bench. “Then we can go check on Gabriel.”

“Right here?! I haven’t even played it yet.”

“It seems an appropriate way to break it in to me. Come on, over you go.”

Once she was bare and over his lap, April couldn’t stop herself from asking. “Are you still angry with me, Sir? Today was very hard because it hit me just how disappointed you were. I’m sorry I disobeyed you and argued about your rules. I’m really very sorry.”

“I was very angry, but I’m not anymore.” Cas made sure his emotions shone true through their link. He wanted her to learn to read him without feeling the need to ask, but she’d been shy and resisted prodding him without his permission. Cas wanted her to feel as safe and welcome in his mind as she was in her own. That would take time though. “I forgive you. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re not still going to go through with the consequences for the week, but no, April, I’m not mad. Are you ready?”

“Yes, Alpha.”

The high ceiling of the conservatory, built to reverberate music acoustically, magnified other sounds as well. Both the smack of Cas’s hand on his mate’s flesh and her responding yelps and groans echoed loudly through the space and down the hall outside. And he didn’t forget the extras for her misbehavior in class.

April rubbed her backside in memory as she crept into the conservatory just as the sun peeked over the horizon and bathed her piano in soft morning light. The dark wood glowed. Her piano. She’d never imagined owning something so beautiful. There was also an upright in the game room by the poker table, but this... This was concert-grade. Professional musicians played on pianos like this one. She seated herself and adjusted her spacing. The height was good already. That had to be coincidence. Castiel couldn’t have known the precise height to set the bench to. Her fingers trembled over the keys.

She hesitated only a moment before bringing them down onto the keys and running a couple of scales and an arpeggio. The tuning wasn’t bad. April hadn’t played in months, and she was rusty. She told Castiel that she played piano, but she neglected to detail just how important the instrument was to her. Running her fingers up and down the board felt like coming home at last from a long vacation. She looked around the room while she played, slipping easily into her warm-up exercises. The acoustics were wonderful. The view unbelievable. From her seat, she looked out the massive panel windows, across the back lawn and down to the little lake where ducks paddled with their ducklings. She felt Victorian although the architecture was all Arts and Crafts Americana.

April shifted into Sonata No. 14, the Moonlight Sonata. Its slow pace allowed the echo to chorus back to her and fill the room without creating a cacophony of notes bouncing back and forth. She dug into it and forced the pace to a deliberate metronome. April sensed Gabriel slip in. She didn’t look up, but she was aware when he settled onto a long sofa beneath one of the windows, watching the sun rise over the lake. The peace of the moment touched her deeply, and she broke out in goose-bumps as she played.

April knew this piece so well. She concentrated enough to keep it whole and alive, but let her mind whirl wherever it wanted as the meditative throb worked into the deepest part of her psyche. One tear broke over her lid and cascaded to her chin. This is what she wanted, what she’d always wanted – not the space or the piano or the wealth, but to be cherished in a home full of life, full of love - a home where everyone mattered.

Her fingers picked up to a slightly quicker pace and danced a bit as she shifted movements. It was still deliberate and measured, but much more light-hearted. What she wanted. April had always known she was different, more extreme even than her mother who was also an Ozzie. Now there was proof. She thought back to the chart from yesterday’s class. Such cold, arbitrary numbers on a graph meant the difference between safety, personal agency, and self-sufficiency or vulnerable need and life-long dependence. Omegas were so very vulnerable to the whims of circumstance. Only pure, dumb luck had placed her here, and it scared her enough that she wrapped her whole being into keeping it close and whole. She would do anything to make this pack a success.

Her fingers changed rhythm again for the third movement, this time flying over the board in a panicky whirl of anxiety. Couldn’t she have survived with just one mate for a pack? Probably, especially if that mate was Castiel, but that wasn’t what she wanted. When she saw her chance to gather more alphas, more Doms close around her, she jumped at it. She wanted a puppy-pile of protectors bolstered all around. She wanted to be safe forever, no matter what. She wanted a cushion on all sides. She wanted a huge family and enough eyes watching over her that she could never get lost or forgotten. All the long nights she laid awake as a child worrying about how to protect herself. Omegas went missing all the time. She presented so young, and the idea that she might need to fend for herself someday terrified her in the dark of her bedroom.

She let Beethoven be the voice of her anxiety, and she let him wash it out of her. Here, she would be safe. Castiel would see to that; so would Dean, and Sam. Even Gabriel. She didn’t know Michael yet, but surely even Michael would come around eventually. Cas thought he was a Dom. She could have three Dominants in her house above her in rank. Three dominants and two alphas, plus a Sub big brother, and Gabriel was just Gabriel. It was more than she’d ever imagined, and it was real. The last two chords punched out, and she let her hands hover for just a second before placing them back in her lap.

“Does Alpha know you play like that?” Gabriel asked.

“Not yet. I’ll show him soon.”

“You’ve got real chops, kid. Got any plans to do anything with it?”

“I want to go to college and study music. My father told me no. Said there’d be no point, but Alpha told me he wanted me to do whatever would make me happy. Do you think he would be willing to send me to school? I’m probably not good enough yet to earn a scholarship. College is expensive.”

“Sounded pretty damned good to me.” Gabriel stood up and meandered toward her. “You tell Cas you want to go to school, and next thing you know you’ll be enrolled at Julliard.”

“No, I don’t want to leave. If I have to choose, I’m staying here, but KU has a music school, and there’s a conservatory only about thirty miles north of Topeka, too.”

Gabriel sat next to her on the bench and she scooted to make room, wincing at what it did to the flesh on her butt. Gabriel noticed. “What’d you do to earn that one?”

“I stopped doing my enema when Alpha went out of town. I thought he wouldn’t really care, but he was pissed.”

“Ouch. You’ll learn he doesn’t do well with direct disobedience. How long are you on the strap?”

“A week. Morning and evening both. In fact, I need to get back. He gets up soon. Will you be at breakfast?”

“Not if I don’t have to be. I’m playing at being injured to buy as much time as I can get.”

“Gabriel, you ARE injured, and he’s not going to punish you until you’re healed. You’ve got a little time.”

“Well the thing is, and you’ll learn this too. If you break a rule, you want him to go ahead and lay you out right then and there. If he does it while his wolf is worked up, he spends a lot of his attention holding back the wolf, and it’s not quite as bad for your ass. If you give him time to calm down and think about it, you’re just letting him make plans and weigh the consequences and go over it all again and again – way worse in the end…on YOUR end. That’s where I am right now. He wasn’t going to strike while I was bloody, and now I’m just figuring out how to stall as long as I can.”

April laughed at him. “Thanks for the advice. Do you have any more for me?”

“Oh, we’ll talk plenty. I’ve got your back, kid, as long as you’ve got mine. We O’s have to stick together. There’s wolves out there who can eat us, you know. Uh, right now, I think you’d better go.” He gestured with his chin toward the door where a dark figure stood. Gabriel picked “Chopsticks” out clumsily on the professional-level piano as April got up to meet her mate and start her day.

“Hey!” he called to her. She turned. “It’s really good to have a musician back in this room. Marina used to play, but her piano didn’t survive when I was, you know.”

“Thanks Gabriel.”

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

 

Dean and Michael slipped into the front door without much ceremony. There were several clusters of wolves waiting to be called through to start their processing. Some would be here for tests, and some just for initial interviews and evaluations. It was a lengthy process. Once scheduled for a test, the wait was six to eight weeks to allow for STD screenings and to allow the mandatory birth control a chance to stabilize. Then, follow-ups before the big day kept everyone on the up and up. Dean was recognized as he strolled in with his mate. Eyes and cell phones followed him as he made his way to the front desk, but no one approached.

“Morning, Becky,” he said cheerfully, leaning against the desk. “Cas wanted us here at ten. Do you know where I can find him?”

“He left instructions to send you two to his suite. He’ll meet you there.”

“Kay. This way, Michael.”

Castiel was already in the suite when they arrived at five ‘till ten. So was Sam, April, and Gabe. Dean jumped right in. “Ah. Gang’s all here, I see. Good. Let’s get this party started.”

“Yes, let’s,” said Castiel while Dean rummaged through his fridge for some juice. Cas waited until they all found seats in the small living room. April took a spot on the floor with her back against Sam’s long legs. Michael sat across Dean’s lap in Castiel’s favorite spanking chair.

“I’ve asked everyone here today because I want to set a date to finalize the formation of our pack. Four of us are flying to New York for a Broadway premiere in a couple of weeks, and we need to have it all done by then.” Michael caught Dean’s eye with a question. What was that about New York? Which four? He didn’t like not knowing. Dean answered back with a grimace and a sheepish shrug. He forgot to tell his mate about the upcoming trip that fell right square in the middle of their month of relative isolation. But Cas was right. They couldn’t take the two Omegas if their C.F.s weren’t in place yet. It was too dangerous.

“Also, April, your mid-season Heat is due in a couple of days. That reduces the time-line even more because you and I will be out-of-reach for three or four days.” April slunk down and blushed. Going into Heat was always embarrassing, but Castiel had a way of just throwing it out there like he was talking about being hungry or tired or any other bodily need.

“Therefore, I propose that if everyone is free, we meet at the house tomorrow evening for the formal oath ceremony and to validate the rankings. Dean, you have three C.F.s to place, and I have two. If we each do one tomorrow evening, then…”

“Wait,” Gabe interrupted, “why does Dean still have three? There’s just April and me. Who am I missing?”

Sam answered for them. “My brother’s mating was a bit unconventional. Even though he placed the bite, according to the readings, the mating sparked from Michael. Michael Claimed Dean, not the other way ‘round. Which means Dean hasn’t actually Claimed his Omega yet, unless…” Sam looked at Dean who was distracted by the tiny hairs on the back of Michael’s neck and wasn’t listening.

“Dean! Pay attention!” commanded Castiel. “Have you Claimed Michael yet?”

“Um, no. I’m gonna need some help with that. We kinda have this thing where even when we try to stay outta scene, my wolf rolls. Can we talk to Ellen and get a game-plan? When do you want to do it?”

“It would help if you paid attention the first time. We want to get all the C.F.s done ASAP. We can save yours with Michael until last and talk it through with Ellen, Bobby, and Benny. Michael, you can help too by working to occupy your Omega when Dean’s…there.”

Dean and Michael grinned at each other. They weren’t worried or feeling rushed. When it happened, it happened. Then Michael spoke up without taking his eyes off his mate. “Actually, there’s a problem with your schedule, Alpha. Dean’s in chastity for the week.”

Castiel raised his brows. “That so? Well, not for this. I’m over-riding that commandment just where C.F.s are concerned.” Dean crowed in victory, and Michael scowled. So much for the Alpha not getting involved. “Dean, I want you to Claim Gabriel tomorrow after the oaths, and then April just as her Heat starts up before we lock ourselves in a day or two after that. All right?”

“Uh, sure Alpha. Is Gabe up to it?”

“Keep him up on his knees and off his back, and he should be fine.”

“And Michael?”

“We can schedule time in the Processing room for Michael’s Claim. It may take some careful staging and a professional manager.”

Dean nodded. Alpha had spoken. C.F.s weren’t a new thing. Despite the fact that the culture was being actively rebuilt from the ground up over no more than the last twenty years, Claim Fucks were such an instinctive hard-wired drive that they’d never disappeared entirely from pack life. Only wolves who had completely forsaken the pack identity, usually beta-Neutrals like Naomi who were unable to feel the instinctive pull, had abandoned Claim Fucking. It was part of being Pack, and they all accepted it as a matter of course. Although many alpha parents balked at Claiming their Omega off-spring even when grown children remained linked to the Pack. Biologically, it was best for the Omega, but culturally, enough disquiet about incest had leaked through from the Ape lifestyles, that some Lupin parents found it distasteful.

Cas continued. “Michael, I will speak with you alone when we’ve finished with our discussion here today, and you need to be prepared for me to place my Claim on you tomorrow evening.”

“Yes, Alpha.” Michael looked a little alarmed. What did Alpha want to talk with him alone about? Were they having THAT discussion today?

“Now. We have the whole pack gathered, so I’ll open the floor to any concerns or questions that anyone would like to have addressed. Anyone?”

“We, um, wanted to know how the sleeping arrangements are going to work at the house,” started Dean.

“You and I take joint ownership of the Master Suite, and everyone else may select whichever room they like best. That includes you Sam. You will no doubt be staying over from time-to-time per Pack business and your responsibilities, so you need a room of your own. Gabriel and I will give everyone tours. Selections are to be made according to Pack rank.”

Michael sat up, and Dean resumed nibbling on his earlobes and the back of his neck. “So, if Dean gets joint ownership of the Master Suite, does that mean that I can sleep with him in there if you’re elsewhere? On a trip or off with your mate or something?”

“Yes, I suppose so. You’re expected to clean up after yourselves, but it’s Dean’s room too. And Dean, as Second-rank, I would appreciate you paying attention and giving this meeting, informal though it is, your full attention.”

“Sorry, Cas.” He patted Michael’s thigh and whispered, “Lemme up” to him. Michael slid to the side. Dean joined Castiel in front of the four others and put an arm around his waist. “I’m here, boss. What’s next?”

“Questions, Dean. We’re taking questions.” Cas was irritated, but April giggled.

“I have another one,” piped Michael, sitting forward again. “So, yesterday at lunch, I asked Dean to tell me what he did to get those bruises on his rear-end. He said he wasn’t at liberty to say. Would you explain to me how you have ANY standing to make my mate and my Sub withhold information about the well-being of his body OR his wolf from me? And, hold on, before you swat me down for being a prick, I’m not being a prick. I want to understand. I feel like I deserve to know what’s what with Dean. I’m responsible for him, for his Submissive anyway. We’re supposed to be all about communication and shit; ‘don’t hide anything’, and all that. So, what gives?”

Cas turned to Dean perplexed. “I never asked you to keep that information confidential. Why would you not answer your Dom’s question?”

“I didn’t know how things were gonna settle between you two. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume y’all would wind up with a ‘Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas’ rule.

Cas shook his head and paced. “Dean, you’re not responsible for following rules that MIGHT be enacted at some point in the future. You are responsible for following the ones you’ve been given at the time. Now I see how postponing this conversation as long as I have has created instability for all of you. That stops today.” He stopped in front of Dean and faced him. “What’s Rule One in this pack?”

“I owe you my allegiance and my obedience.”

“Good. Dean, you disobeyed my direction to you to follow your Dominant’s instructions by withholding information from him. And Rule Number Three?”

“Um, be obedient to the wolves above me in rank and protective of the ones below me.”

“Dean, in terms of your tertiary genders, Michael outranks you, does he not?”

Dean shook his head. “No, where we sit in regard to our wolves - that’s a private matter between mates. It’s not part of the pack rankings.”

“All right, I’ll concede that there is need for clarification of that rule. I’ll not hold you to disobedience with Michael at this time because Rule Three doesn’t make that Pack business. Yet. But you should know that if Michael chooses to hold you to account for keeping information from him, he is perfectly free to do so. That leads us into the issue of Rule Five…” Cas let his sentence lead Dean into responding.

“Don’t lie.”

“You and I discussed this one at length. We were both concerned that we not allow for any variations or versions of prevarication, and we both agreed that withholding information from someone who has the right to know be classified as a form of lying.”

“Yes, we did. But we also allowed that we wouldn’t consider it lying if someone didn’t understand something and needed to get clarification, or misunderstood something and acted on that misconception. I didn’t lie to him, Cas! I told him straight-up that I didn’t know if I had the authority to share that information! You can’t punish me for this. I know you want to. It’s holding me to rules you’re changing after-the-fact. I acted in good faith – good faith to protect YOU I might add.”

The rest of the pack was riveted. If popcorn had been available, April and Gabriel would be munching away while they took in the show. April had never witnessed an alpha called to account in front of her, and she loved it. She especially loved that Dean was defending himself.

Castiel changed tacks. “Michael, thank you for bringing this matter forward. That is exactly the kind of communication I want to see from all of you in these meetings. We’ll hold them frequently at first because it looks as if a number of our rules need to be adjusted. Talking through what happens is the only way we’re all going to understand where those weaknesses are.”

He began pacing again, crossing in front of Dean where his fiancé stood with his arms crossed defensively. “Going forward, let it be perfectly clear, whether you have given me your formal oath or not, each of you belongs to me in terms of the Winchester Pack. I make the final call in this p