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voyons donc, je veux votre confiance, à quoi qu'il arrive

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The scientists like to think that the differing dynamics evolved some time in the far past, at some point when the human population was at risk and the development of various dynamics assured the continued existence of humans.

No one really knows, though.

It was so long ago that it seems as though there were always some dynamics - alpha, beta, omega, gamma, null.

If Patrick Kane hadn't loved hockey so early on, he would have gone into biology to try and figure it out.

Learning is cool.

As it is, he tries to figure out what people think about why there are alphas and betas and gammas and omegas and nulls. It gets interesting after a while.

When he's in middle school, before differentiation, Rachel tells their cluster of friends that according to her dad, alphas and omegas are like Adam and Eve, meant to be together.  Betas are like Lilith, and gammas - well, no one talks about them.  And nulls?  She says her dad says they shouldn't be allowed.

Mikey's mom is a null. He slugs Rachel.

(Patrick thinks that she deserved it, even if his dad always told him not to hit girls.)

Later, when he and Mikey are sitting outside during gym after finishing their laps, Mikey says that his mom is a null and his dad is a beta but that doesn't mean that they're not in love.

Pat nodded and told Mikey that he agreed. People are different; love is different. What is love to some people might not be to others, but what matters is that you're happy.

Mikey had snorted and called Pat a sap, but he knew that it meant something to Mikey all the same.

When Pat hits 15 while he's playing for Honeybaked and starts feeling strange about things, he asks Verbeek in the most round-about way he can think of and Patrick hustles him off to an endocrinologist where he's tested and three days later, he gets a phone call telling him that's he's an alpha.

He starts taking the required alpha classes where he learns about shit that he had hoped he wouldn't have to worry about.  Since both of his parents are betas, he thought he would have gotten lucky.

Betas don't have to worry about scenting and compatability as much.  They don't have to worry about inadvertently imprinting on someone, roping them into a life they don't want.  They don't have to worry about everyone insisting that they have to find an omega or be lesser.

He doesn't want to be an alpha, until he does a few years later.  It comes as a surprise.

He's playing with the Knights still, a NHL hopeful, when he comes on some guys muscling Corey Syvret, trying to get him to show his throat and Pat, he just sees red.

Before he knows it they're all kneeling to him, throats bare, and his teeth are locked in a grimace instead of ripping out their throats. He turns to make sure that Corey's all right and Corey sinks against him, smelling kind of like talcum powder and thanks.

They take his non-attention to scamper, and Pat's glad, because he wanted to make them beg, make them whine and scrape and give, and he can smell the anger all over himself.

Corey whimpers and butts his head against Pat's head, even though he's a fair few inches taller, and Pat doesn't know what to do for a second, until his instincts kick into high gear.  He crowds Corey back to his own room and stays with him until he smells calm and quiet.

Corey thanks him once he's okay, thanks him for making them leave and thanks him for not taking advantage when he was all up in Pat's space; he's not ready for a mate, he doesn't want it yet, and it's certainly not Pat.

Pat would have been offended if Corey hadn't been laughing and he starts to laugh too, because Corey just doesn't smell right.

Corey thanks him for taking them back to Corey's room, because it smells familiar and it's not strange, like Pat's room would have been.  They decide to stay in and watch movies and get room service, a luxury that they normally wouldn't have, but they figure they deserve it.

After dinner, they have sex, and it's not like - Corey isn't paying him back, or anything, but it feels good.  Corey is wet and ready and wanting, and yeah, Pat's not going to say no.

They don't knot. They stay friends, even after Pat is the first overall pick to the Blackhawks and Corey stays with the Knights.

He is fucking overwhelmed the first time that he walks into the locker room, because there are so many smells that are new and he doesn't know how to act yet, still a pup in the league of things, and jesus, it's like he's never played hockey before.

He can't walk without tripping, can't manage to stay still, and it's not until he settles in his carrel and closes his eyes for a minute that he can collect himself.

Someone settles down next to him and he can't stop himself from a little sniff, and he knows they're an alpha, too.  They smell like smoke and apples.  He opens his eyes and looks.

"You'll be fine," Dave Bolland says. "You get used to it. It's rough, at first, but you get through it."

"Thanks," Pat says.


Pat snorts. "My parents think I'm not ever going to mate."

Dave laughs, low and deep. "Nah, you will, kid. It takes time. Enjoy what you've got now. Play good hockey."

He gets up then and wanders off to talk to some of the other guys, and Pat mulls that over.

Play good hockey.

Yeah, he can do that.

In the end, he plays all right hockey. They don't make it to the playoffs.

When they're out, officially out, he's working like a maniac, determined to be better. He's been on the stationary bicycle for too long, his legs feel like jelly, but he has to keep going, keep going, until Jonathan Toews comes into the gym and stares him down, equally perturbed by their ousting. Jonny Toews has crazy eyes most of the time, dark and intense, and he'd be good captain material if he would lighten up, just a little.  Now, though, his eyes are big and wide and dark, and having them focused on him alone makes Pat shiver a little.

Pat stops and pulls out an earbud.

He thinks Toews is going to tell him that he'll beat Pat next year in points or whatever, but Toews just looks around uneasily for a second before talking.

"We'll be better next year," he says, "we'll get better. You and me - we can do this. We can be more than just rookies, ouias?"

"Yeah," Pat says, "I'll be better."

"Okay," Toews says with a nod, and quieter, as though Pat cant hear him, "pis moé," and leaves.

Toews doesn't smell like much of anything, really. Pat wonders if he's a gamma.

He doesn't ask.  (Even if Toews is kind of hot in his freaky, intense way; like, scary hot, how he can glare you down at the bench and make you listen, even if he doesn't smell like alpha or beta or anything, really.  It doesn't make Pat hot at all. No.)

As long as they play good hockey, it's doesn't matter.

They'll play amazing hockey.