Pulling at his leather jacket, Dean attempts to keep the worst of the chills at bay. Rain pours down, practically a sheet of water before him. The small awning above protects him a little. Although, with each gust of wind the spray soaks Dean and his brother Sam.
The tattered pamphlet in his hand is tucked under the leather to protect it from the elements. He doesn’t really need it anymore; Dean memorized the words days ago. The bold print at the top roams through his thoughts.
Omegas welcome in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Three small paragraphs below discuss how the descendants of Angels were opening their border for the first time to any unclaimed omega willing to mate an alpha from their land. In return, two requests may be granted.
Sammy huddles behind Dean’s frame, searching for warmth. The newly presented beta shouts over the storm, “Dean, you don’t have to do this,” his fingers tapping where Dean holds the announcement tightly. “We’ve made it two years on our own.”
“The rainy season has begun, Sammy, and we’ve got six silver coins between us.” He doesn’t add what they both know to be true. If Sam had presented as an alpha he could have found real work or attended school to better their place in the world. Unfortunately, the dream was gone and now Dean had to buck up to keep them both alive. Turning to face his brother, Dean puts on a faux smile, “hey, think of this as an adventure.”
“I don’t know, Dean, promising to mate a strange alpha angel seems …sketchy.”
Placing his hand on Sam’s shoulder, Dean chuckles. “Let’s cut the shit, Sammy. If we stay here pickpocketing isn’t going to do it anymore; putting out for one mate is way better than the alternative the Land of the Plains can give me.”
He can do this; Dean will mate an alpha angel to give Sam a better life. A true home for Sammy. That’s all Dean requires to fulfill the promise he made their father.
With a flick of his wrist, Dean brandishes the paper. “On the back it promises I have the final say; angels require consent to mate even a lowly mortal omega like me. Do you think any alphas around here would give me any form of choice if they knew?”
“No.” Sam throws his shoulder against the building, a pout on his lips. At 16 the younger Winchester should be laughing and learning, but schools for betas cost money they don’t have. One of the wishes he will ask the angels is for a real education for his brother.
A female voice breaks through the rolling thunder, “Hey! Hey, you two want something to eat?”
Dean looks up, a blonde girl leans over the railing of a porch. The next swift blow gives Dean enough scent to identify her as an omega. He shouts back, “We don’t have much money.”
“Never said anything about paying, dummy.” She grins, pointing to the stairs leading up to her. “Come on! I’ve got a fire you can warm up next to while you have dinner.”
Glancing over at Sam gives Dean his answer. The brothers' last meal was yesterday afternoon; he can hear the beta’s stomach rumble over the racket of the storm. “Okay.”
Only slightly anxious, Dean follows behind the omega girl. She’s small, but entering through an unknown door is dangerous. The girl might have friends waiting. Once the door slams behind them, the silence in the room puts Dean on edge. However, he doesn’t spot another living soul. A small kitchen with a large roaring fire allows him to breathe easier. The light is dim, but the heat from the fire feels amazing.
“I’m Jo Harvelle.” The omega sticks out her hand, shaking Dean’s first then moving to Sam. “I’ve got rabbit stew, sound good?” She points to the square wooden table with four chairs. “Grab a seat, and I can bring ya a bowl.”
Sam rushes, tipping over the chair he’s so excited for a hot meal. Jo giggles as she preps three servings, taking a seat once they all have a bowl and cup of water.
After she’s taken a few bites Jo gives Dean a blatant sniff, “You don’t smell like an omega?”
“What’s it to you?” Dean gruffly replies, chewing on a rough piece of meat. The delicious stew is filling his empty belly.
“I saw the Angel Announcement, you can’t go unless one of you is an omega. This one,” Jo points her spoon at Sam, “definitely smells of a beta, but you don’t really have a scent.”
The girl’s feeding them, so Dean really has an obligation to tell her the truth. “Eulo paste.”
Her eyes double in size, “Holy shit! Doesn’t that stuff burn?”
“Yeah,” he tugs down his shirt revealing the rashes of red from the paste, “but it does the job.”
A second later Jo adds, “Don’t you have to put it everywhere?”
Swallowing hard, Dean nods curtly. “You get used to the pain.”
Of course, that’s a fib Dean’s been telling Sam, but the discomfort is a hundred times better than an alpha discovering his omega status in a dark alley. He sticks close to Sam, and everyone who passes them assumes both brothers are homeless beta kids. People leave them alone. An omega without an alpha would never be ignored.
“Eulo paste can only be made on the Fae Islands,” Jo announces through a mouthful of food.
Giving her a hard stare, Dean spits out, “Has to be made by fairies, doesn’t mean you can’t buy it from tradesmen here in the Plains.”
Needing to break the tension Sam asks, “Why did you invite us in?”
Jo lowers her gaze to the table, “I’m going to present myself when they open the pearly white gates of Heaven tomorrow. Thought maybe we could go together,” she picks at her fingernails, “less scary in a group.”
“You don’t have anyone to go with you?” Sam queries, his eyes soft and gentle.
“My mom owns the tavern in town. She’s all I have, but her health lately has been declining, coughing up blood. I’m going to request medical care for her and supplies to keep her business thriving while I’m away.”
Dean gives her a pat on the shoulder, “I’m going for a home and schooling for that awkward mess.” He tips his head towards Sam, who's shooting him a stern bitch face. “You can join us; the alphas who want a pretty female omega won’t take a second glance at me.”
“The word around here is Sheriff Mills won’t let anyone line up until dawn. I suggest we get up slightly before then and reach the gates when the line starts forming.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Dean had seen the posters all over town warning omegas to steer clear until sun up.
The border between Heaven and The Plains runs for over a thousand miles north to south. Only three gates exist along the route; one at the northern and southern tip and the one Dean, Sam and Jo were going to try, which rests dead center. According to the pamphlet, all three would be admitting omegas. The sheriff of this town was smart creating her own set of rules for the chaos of tomorrow.
Later that evening the door bursts open as a middle-aged omega enters. Her harsh appearance and wicked stern face tells Dean exactly how an omega ran a bar by herself. “Jo,” the woman put together her own serving of stew as she exclaims, “introduce me to your friends.”
“This is Dean and Sam Winchester. Dean’s an omega who’s planning to take the angels up on their offer.”
An unspoken conversation flitters between the two women before Jo’s mom speaks again, “My name is Ellen Harvelle. Good luck tomorrow.” With that the older omega sweeps up a hidden set of stairs with her meal.
“She doesn’t approve.” Sam’s expert eye stating the obvious.
Fiery eyes tear into Sam as Jo counters, “Would you choose this if there were any other options? One year ago today those same gates opened, and 100 betas crossed inside; most haven’t been heard from since.”
“Seriously?” Sam squeaks.
“They were brought in to prep for the omegas. A couple have come back to visit family, they say the land on the other side of the stone walls is beautiful.” She hands Dean and Sam a blanket each. “Tomorrow will be a long day. Sleep by the fire to stay warm, and I’ll wake you when it’s time to go.”
The brothers push the table to the side making room for their make-shift beds on the rough wooden floor. Dean turns his face to the fire, watching the flames lick upward. The bright dance entrances him as he waits for Sam to fall asleep.
Instead of soft snores a question comes from behind Dean where Sam rests. “Are you afraid?”
“Not really,” Dean’s not lying, “maybe nervous. I could be mated by tomorrow night.” If he were up to it he would add the other emotion rattling around under Dean’s skin; excitement.
Sam tosses around a bit before continuing, “What if it's all a ruse? The crap about consent could just be fluff to get a bunch of desperate omegas to cross into their lands.”
Rolling to face the beta, Dean cups his brother’s chin. “Do you want to hear a secret?”
“Mom used to talk about Angels. Before mating Dad, she met an angel traveling through the Plains on their way to the Fae Islands.” Dean watches his brother’s eyes staring with rapt attention. Sam was a baby when she died so all his memories of her are the stories Dean shares. “At bedtime when she would tuck us in, Mom would kiss my head and whisper the same thing every night.”
“What?” Sam’s hazel eyes are shining in the shadows cast by the fire.
“An angel waits for you, Dean Winchester.”
Twenty minutes later and Sammy finally submits to his exhaustion. They’ve been traveling for days to get here, mostly by foot. Not easy but they made it just in time, and a safe place to sleep was a huge bonus.
Dean sits up, facing the flames, too pumped for sleep to come. Those words from his mother are repeating in his thoughts. He never got the chance to ask her what she meant, but ever since he saw the flyer Dean had a compulsion driving him to the gates. A touch of hope flickers in his heart, encouraging him onward. Their father would never have approved; who gives a damn really, the asshole vanished leaving Dean in charge, so his opinion is moot.
Yanking his leather jacket from off the chair Dean retrieves a glass vial from the inside pocket. Might as well dose up in case anything goes wrong tomorrow. The security of Jo’s kitchen gives Dean the freedom to remove his clothes without concern. A thought flashes through his mind. If all goes well, he might never have to paste himself up again. What a glorious gift that would be!
Quietly so not to disturb Sammy, Dean places his clothes on the table and uncorks the vial.
“Nearly forgot,” he mumbles, snatching his leather belt and placing it between his teeth.
Oddly enough the scent of Eulo paste reminds Dean of sugar candy. Although, the second his finger dips into the murky yellow goo the burning begins. He’s learned to move fast. Biting down on the old leather, Dean rubs the glop over his neck, cock, balls, and between his cheeks. Anywhere the omega scent permeates.
Per usual his vision goes blurry as he battles to stay conscious over the pain. Dean’s heard the sensation of Eulo paste compared to being set on fire. He agrees. It takes several hours for the blaze across his flesh to calm into a constant dull ache. No way he was going to sleep tonight anyways.
After redressing, Dean lies down on his blanket watching the shadows. A tiny sliver of hope remains among the burning of his skin.
The room is darker; the fire only a few remaining embers. A voice from the shadows is hissing, “Time to get up!”
Jo carries a satchel of bread and cheese in case they get hungry, a canteen slung over Sam’s shoulder holds water. Dean leads the way, having mapped out the gate's location when they first arrived in town. The trio time it perfectly, appearing at the gate exactly as the pink light of dawn stretches over the wall. The sun is rising from Heaven.
Dean’s stunned the rain has stopped, but he’s certain the downpour will return soon enough to soak everything he and Sam own.
A couple dozen mortals have begun a line within the boundaries of two gold ropes. Dean tips his head to the alpha woman in the sheriff’s uniform. Jo mumbles, “Morning, Jody.”
“Be safe and follow the rules,” Sheriff Mills replies, nodding to the end of the forming group.
As soon as they step behind the last person, the gold ropes grow to a few feet behind them; Sam’s eyes follow the bewitched string. “I’ve heard their magic surpasses even the strongest of fairies.”
“Guess we will find out soon enough,” Dean responds, his voice tight with nerves. His heart still has faith; however, his stomach twists with anxiety.
As the sunlight builds, Dean can fully take in the gigantic wall beside them. The Angel border rises fifty feet into the air, no windows, no breaks. A solid gray stone structure that is smooth to the touch. The gate literally looks like pearls from a necklace his mom use to own. Glimmering white with a massive lock to one side and a silver hinge on the other, when it swings open the entrance will be close to ten feet wide, plenty of space to bring in whatever the angels desire.
The flyer had no exact time for when they would be let in, only the date, so Dean preps for a long wait, praying he’s wrong.
As the morning wears on a majority of the line sits in the grass chatting amongst themselves. Dean’s grateful Jo woke them up before dawn because the line stretches out at least a mile behind them with maybe a few dozen ahead.
A male omega who isn’t much bigger than Jo sits directly in front of their group. He’s been eyeing the blonde for a bit, and Dean’s almost ready to move between his new friend and the creepy stares of the stranger.
“You know they have an age requirement?” The guy practically yells, startling Sam and Jo who have been picking at the grass.
Giving a magnificent level of sass, Jo growls, “I am aware. All omegas presenting themselves at the gate must be between 18 and 30.”
“I don’t think you're old enough,” the new guy huffs, pointing at Jo.
“Well, hate to break it to you,” Jo leans into the stranger's personal space, “my 18th birthday was two months ago so screw you.”
“The angels have ways of making you tell the truth.” The guy taps Jo’s shoulder. Dean would step in but the guy isn’t much bigger than her, and it’s something to watch. “Harry Spangler.” He holds out his hand so Jo can shake it. “My friend Ed was one of the betas who were let in, and when he came home for a visit he had a lot of stories to tell.”
“Ed lies,” A girl lounging on a rock in front of Harry counters. “It’s fairy magic that will force the truth from us.”
Harry smacks the girl, shoving her, “Shut up, Maggie. Either way nobody better lie is all I’m saying.”
An omega several people behind them shouts, “I heard they make you drink an enchanted tea that makes you crap your pants if you give false information.”
“Nobody asked you, random guy!” Harry shouts back then rolls his eyes, returning to Jo, Dean and Sam. “Ed told me they’ve been prepping for an entire year to get everything ready for us.”
Dean’s nose catches the whiff of mortal alpha, the scent making him gag slightly. The alpha with dirty blonde hair and torn clothes having seen better days, stands on the other side of the golden rope scoffing, “Omega pigs to the slaughter if you ask me. Y’all are stupid to be throwing away your chance at a perfectly good mate right here.” The alpha reaches out his hand, about to snatch Jo’s blonde hair, when the golden rope breaks and one end snaps across the guy's knuckles harshly. “Ow!”
Out of the blue Sheriff Mills appears, grabbing the alpha’s elbow to yank him away from the pissed-off string. The cord returns to its normal position. “Tim Janklow, don’t make me throw you in a cell for the day. The people of the Plains made a deal with the angels. One hundred omegas at each entrance in exchange for the medicine to battle the flu epidemic that hit us hard two winters ago. The angels paid in full, so now it’s our turn. Don’t fuck this up, buddy.”
“I’m moving on, but these idiots should be warned being an angel's slave may not be so great.” He waves off the sheriff’s glare as he stumbles away.
A recent comment worries Dean as he glances back at the crazy long line behind them, “They are only taking a 100.”
“Yeah, but I’m 32 so we are good.” Harry raises his wrist, showing a number scrolled across his palm.
Lifting his own hand, Dean notes the number 34. “well I’ll be damned. What about Sam?”
His brother shows off his own 34, matching Dean’s. “They must be aware that I’m with you. This is some serious show of magical strength.” His brother traces his number with the opposite finger, clearly intrigued.
Maggie tilts in, addressing them, “According to Ed, we have to be approved. They are going to interview us and properly scent us before they make their decision on the 100. Just because you have a low number, Harry, doesn’t mean you’ll be picked.”
“Oh.” Dean’s face falls with the news. All these omegas to choose from; there is no way in hell the angels will pick him. He still wants to try, though.
The crew goes silent as they take in the next big step through those pearly gates. Jo rises to her feet stretching and pumping her legs. Her gaze remains transfixed on the golden rope, “They are already protecting us.”
Everyone’s heads pop up as a chorus of “huh” and “what” ring out.
“The angels empowered the rope to keep us safe while we waited. I don’t think they would care if they planned to harm us anyway.” She rolls her shoulders, swinging her arms up high. “Think about all the trouble they’ve gone to so far, and they haven’t even met us.”
“I agree,” Harry pipes in bouncing to his feet. “Ed assured me, Maggie and I would be safe. Tim’s just a jealous knothead. Don’t listen to him.”
A loud bang has hundreds of bodies pivoting to face the pearly gates. The lock starts clicking and twisting until the humungous door timidly sways inward, revealing two muscular men. Dean assumes they are angels as they glance at each person’s palm, letting the omegas in one by one.
Cheers erupt as the line begins to lurch forward; Dean can scent the overpowering smell of excitement in the air. The adventure has begun, and Dean’s heart is building speed with each step closer to the main gate. His finger is tapping on his precious number. A mate, who will promise to care and educate Sam; what more could Dean ask for.
Strange vibes are bellowing off of Sam so Dean knocks his brother’s shoulder with his own, “Sammy, we are about to go where very few mortals have gone before and you're staring at your shoes. What’s up?”
Chewing on his lip, Sam side eyes Dean as they continue their forward momentum, “I can’t believe no one has brought up the obvious?”
“And that would be?” Dean mutters in frustration, like for once can’t his brother just be happy?
Whispering softly, Sam asks, “Where are all their omegas?”