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Like A Wildfire Deep Inside

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Alex stared out the window, disinterestedly watching the scenery go by. His social worker, Mr. Fairchild, was driving him to Virginia of all places to a family that was his last chance. If this didn't work out, the state would have to intervene and fix the problem. The problem being that Alex was an upstart omega. They had tolerated it so far, but after what had happened in his last home, this was it. If he got sent back, it was off to one of the omega rehab facilities. And Alex would rather die than go to one of those places. 

They pulled onto a street lined with large homes. Great. His new foster family was rich. Alex bet they were a bunch of omegist assholes. He couldn't wait to get kicked out. Mr. Fairchild kept driving and turned onto a small road that wound it's way up into the hills and the forest. Then the house came into view. It was larger than any of the other houses that they had passed. The worst part was the gate that surrounded the property. Alex's heart started pounding. If Alex needed to make a quick getaway, the gate would prove to be a problem. He closed his eyes and thought, please don't be as bad as the last one. 

The car stopped. Alex opened his eyes to see a couple standing on the lawn. The man was huge. And an alpha. Perfect. The woman was smaller, but held the same air of alpha. Hmm. Unexpected. Alpha-alpha pairings weren't the most common, and while it certainly wasn't illegal (unlike omega-omega pairings), some circles frowned on it. But those groups were becoming less and less common. Although living with two alphas wasn't exactly a thrilling thought for Alex. He had quickly learned that many alphas believed that omegas were well beneath them and deserved to be treated accordingly. And while the alpha-alpha pairing might suggest that they were more liberal in their beliefs, Alex wasn't taking any chances. As far as he was concerned, alphas were not to be trusted until proven otherwise. 

He grabbed his backpack and duffle bag and started to get out. Mr. Fairchild stopped him.

"Now, listen here. The Washingtons are your last chance." Alex refrained from rolling his eyes, knowing that it would just incense the beta into another rant about how he was just some low-life omega who should be grateful for any scrap of attention his betters threw his way. There was no reason for Mr. Fairchild to lecture him again. Well, besides the fact that he assumed Alex was an idiot because of his dynamic. "If you get kicked out, it's off to the omega rehab center for you, which is where you should have already been sent, in my opinion. That way, at least, some alpha would get you, and you could serve your purpose." Alex clenched his fist and tried not to punch Fairchild in his stupid face. "Instead, you're here wasting a respectable family's time. Do not mess this up. Understand?"

Alex finally did roll his eyes. "Yes, I understand. Can we go now?"

"Do not speak to me that way, you little omega shit," he seethed. 

Alex turned to him and snapped, “Oh my god, you are such an asshole," and then opened the door and exited the car. Fairchild wouldn't dare say anything in front of his new foster parents. Alex couldn't help the small smile. For once, he had gotten the last word. 

Mr. Fairchild joined him and walked him over to the Washingtons. 

The female alpha smiled and said, "Hi, sweetie. My name is Martha and this is George.”

George smiled and quietly said, “Hello.”

"Alex," he supplied. 

"It's very nice to meet you, Alex. We're incredibly excited to have you here. Do you have any other bags?"

Alex shook his head. 

"Okay. Is that everything, Mr. Fairchild?"

"It is. And Alex, remember what I said."

He walked back to the car. Alex flipped him off behind his back, so the Washingtons wouldn't see. 

"Alrighty," Martha said. "Why don't we go inside and you can get settled. Does that sound okay to you, Alex?"

Alex nodded and stared at the ground. He didn't want to be with these alphas. Once he was inside, he knew what would happen. They were acting nice now, but as soon as they were in private, they would quickly put him in his supposed place as some lowly omega that was lucky they were kind enough to have him here (but only because it made them look good, they didn't really want him here). It happened at every other home, so why would this one be any different?

They walked into the house. It was enormous, bigger than anything Alex had ever been in. It reminded him of the houses his mother used to clean. Suddenly, there was a lump in his throat, just like every other time he had thought of his mother. He pushed it away because he was not going to cry in front of these people and make them feel justified in their prejudices. No way. 

"So, this is the foyer. We don't use it much. It's kind of just here to look fancy or something," Martha joked. When Alex didn't react, she kept going. "This way to this half of the house, which isn't as extravagant as this room. Honestly, we don’t use the other half. It’s mostly guest bedrooms and offices that George and I use. We also have a small library over there if you ever want to use that.”

They walked through an entryway across from the front door and into a living room. Book shelves lined the walls. Well-worn couches sat in a U shape with a flat screen tv across from it. It looked like something out of those home decoration magazines, except it looked more lived in. They walked across the room, through a large doorway, and entered a spacious room that was mostly kitchen with a small dining table at the back. Sunlight filtered through the bay windows that were behind the dining table. There was another door by the dining table and stairs on the other side. 

"Your room is upstairs," Martha informed him. They walked over to the stairs and headed up them. A hallway led down to a large room filled with bookshelves and what looked like a pool table. Martha must have noticed him looking because she said, "That's our game room. You're more than welcome to use it any time you'd like."

Alex, somehow, doubted that was true. She was probably just saying that to seem nice, so he'd let his guard down. Martha and her husband, George, who strangely hadn't said anything, walked over to a door on the right and opened it. 

"This is your room. There's a private bathroom in here, too. I hope you like it," she said.

"Thanks," Alex muttered.

"Why don't you get settled, and we'll go get dinner ready, alright?" she said.

Alex nodded before watching them walk back downstairs. When the couple was out of sight, he went into his room and closed the door. He was relieved to see a lock and quickly locked the door. The tension drained from his shoulders for the moment. He turned around to inspect where he would be living. The room was nice if not plain. There was a double bed, a bedside table, a desk, a wardrobe, a closet, and a door that led into a bathroom. 

Alex threw his bags on the bed and sat down. He pulled out a small journal, the only one to have survived of the few that his mother had bought him. The last one she had gotten for him. He rubbed the cover with his thumb before opening it. He started writing. The journal was about halfway filled, and he was currently in the middle of a story he had been writing for the past few weeks. It was about an omega who was the leader of a rebellion against an oppressive regime. Alex loved the stories that he had written, but this one was his favorite. As far as Alex knew there wasn't anything like this in print or on screen. Omegas were never the action hero. They were always the simpering idiot that needed rescuing and was always crying. Alex could never get through anything with that kind of representation because that's not what omegas were like. It was just what alphas thought omegas were like. And even in the stories that didn't portray omegas that way, they were always side characters. Never the main one. Alex hoped he could change that. Someday he would publish a bunch of books about omegas being actions heroes, or the chosen one, or other countless tropes that usually only applied to alphas. And on top of getting omegas better media representation, he would become a lawyer to sue cases on discriminatory laws, especially ones targeting omegas. After doing that he would run for office and start making laws that would further omega rights. That was the plan anyway. He just needed to finish high school. Once he turned eighteen, he was a legal adult. No one would be able to control him or his future (that wasn’t entirely true, but, for now, he was ignoring that fact). All he had to do was make it there. Two more years. Just two more years. 

Alex wrote for forty-five minutes before Martha called him for dinner. He contemplated not going down, but didn't want to push their limits the first day. 

When he got downstairs, he went over and sat down. A large bowl of salad sat in the middle along with a pizza. It looked homemade. 

"I hope you like pizza and salad," Martha said as she sat down. "Oh, wait, are you a vegetarian or vegan? I’m sorry. I should have thought to ask before we made dinner.”

"No, ma’am, I’m not a vegetarian or vegan,” Alex replied softly.

“Oh, good. I’m glad we didn’t screw this up on the first day. And none of this ma'am stuff. Please, dear, call me Martha," she said.

Alex just nodded. That was when George joined them at the dinner table. They dished up food and started eating.

"Alex," George said. It was only the second time that he had spoken since Alex had gotten here. "I was hoping that we could talk about some house rules."

Alex tried not to sigh. Well, that was nice while it lasted. 

"The only rule that we really have is that you communicate with us. Tell us when you’re upset or if you don't like something or if you need something, and we'll talk about it. And Martha and I will be following the same rule. Does that sound good?" George finished.

“I guess. And that’s the only rule? Nothing else," Alex asked skeptically. That couldn't be the only rule. Maybe it was a trap. A way to make him feel safe only to get him in trouble later for rules made up on the spot. 

"That's it."

"No 'do exactly as I say when I say it' rule. Nothing like that?"

"No. Nothing like that. We believe that we should be a house of equals. That means that if you cross any of our lines, we'll sit down and talk about what comes next. And the same goes for you. If we cross any of your lines, we'll sit down and talk about it. Alright, son."

"I'm not your son," Alex snapped before he could stop himself. He winced and looked down at the table. There was no way George wasn't going to be mad. No alpha he'd ever met would have tolerated what they thought was some great insult. After all, how dare an omega talk back to an alpha like that. Yeah, there goes the Washington’s hospitality. Nice going. You managed to mess it up in an hour. That has to be a record.

"Alright. I won't call you son. I'm sorry if I upset you," George said softly.

Alex glanced up and furrowed his eyebrows. "You’re not mad?" he asked.

"No. I crossed one of your lines, and you told me. Now I'm going to respect it."

Alex frowned before returning to his food. 

"I was thinking that tomorrow we could go shopping for school supplies and anything else that you need. How does that sound, Alex?"

He shrugged and muttered, "Fine."

"Do you need anything?"

He shook his head.

"Do you have a cellphone?"

"No," he murmured. 

"We'll get you one, then. What about a computer?"

“Nope.”

"Then we'll get one of those, too."

"You don't need to spend that much money on me, ma'am, er, Martha," Alex replied.

"Well, I want to spend that much money on you. Besides, you need a cellphone in case you need to call us or have an emergency. And you need a laptop for school. Okay?"

Alex nodded but felt a knot in his stomach. He didn't want them to buy him nice things. They could hold it over his head, saying 'you have to do what we say, look at how much money we spent on you.’ As if he was an investment. Something they would put money into and then he’d do exactly as they said. 

"And, do you want more clothes? It didn't look like you had that many."

"Um, no. I'm fine."

"Are you sure?"

Alex squirmed, knowing the answer Martha wanted. If he gave the wrong answer, would Martha be angry? "I guess a few shirts and pants would be nice," he hedged.

Martha smiled and said, "Then, we'll go to the store and buy you some."

The table was silent for a little bit as everyone ate. Then George asked Martha how her shift had been at the hospital where she was a nurse. She told a story about how a patient had somehow gotten a penny stuck in his nose. As she told the story, she filled Alex in on who people were. They were an odd couple, Alex couldn't help but think. Even though Alex wasn't part of this conversation, they included him. They weren’t just talking over him like he didn't exist. They certainly could have, but both of the alphas insisted on keeping him as involved as possible. He wasn't sure what to make of it. After dinner, they cleaned up. Alex asked if he could go to his room.

"Of course, dear. You don't have to ask," Martha said. "And we can leave some time after breakfast, if that sounds good with you."

Alex hummed in agreement before running upstairs. 

 


 

Martha and George went into the living room and turned the tv on.

"That went better than I thought it would," George finally said.

"It did," Martha agreed. "I hate how he's so afraid of us, though. You can just tell that he's had terrible experiences with alphas and authority figures, in general, and now he's living with two and probably feels that he has no back up."

"It will just take time to earn his trust. And we'll do everything in our power to be worthy of that trust," George replied.

Martha sighed. "Yes, we will. Because that young man deserves nothing less than our absolute best."

They watched tv for awhile before heading to bed. Martha couldn't sleep though. She kept thinking back to the young omega upstairs that was now under their care. He was so small. If she had to guess, it was probably from malnourishment. She only knew the very basics of his circumstances. His mother had died two years ago and a few months later a hurricane came. Then he was sent to America, supposedly for a better future, and had been bounced around from foster home to foster home. She knew that he had disciplinary issues. Mr. Fairchild had warned them that he was an angry, unruly omega that was hard to "keep under control." Martha frowned at the phrasing. She loathed when people talked about controlling omegas. It was gross to imply that they needed to basically own these people. And, of course Alex was angry. The world had taken so much from him in such a short amount of time and then seemed to keep taking and taking. Martha decided that she didn't care much for Daniel Fairchild. What Alex had said, 'no 'do exactly as I say when I say it' rule,' was circling around in her head. It bothered her that Alex had been treated that way, especially to the point that he was so skeptical he thought they were lying. She wanted him to feel safe here. Of course, it would take time. Martha had known that going in. She just hadn't anticipated how much time it would take. The redheaded alpha hoped that Alex would feel safe here, feel safe around them, know that neither of them would ever hurt him or demean him or treat him as less than them. She sighed. They would do it. It would just take time and hard work. Martha rolled over and tried to sleep.

 


 

The next day, breakfast went much the same as dinner. Martha and George kept a constant flow of conversation while Alex would contribute short muttered answers every once in awhile. Martha and Alex went shopping, and the trip was uneventful. Although Alex had gotten more clothes than he had anticipated. They also got sheets and a comforter for his bed as well as some decorations. Martha wouldn't let him see how much they had spent on him. He played with the hem of his t-shirt with what felt like the weight of an elephant on his chest. Martha assured him that it was fine. They could definitely afford to spend the money, and they wanted him to have these things so he was comfortable. Alex couldn’t believe that, but didn't argue the point either. He didn't want Martha to think that he was ungrateful. 

Alex actually really liked Martha, much to his surprise. She was funny and intelligent and told great stories about weird things she had seen as a nurse. She had even made Alex laugh a few times. When they got back to the house, Martha helped him unload his stuff and put up his decorations. Overall, the shopping trip had been fun. Maybe this placement would be different from the others. Maybe. 

It was a long weekend since Monday was Labor Day. Alex arrived on Thursday, so they had the weekend to fall into a routine and get used to each other. For the most part, Alex stayed in his room and avoided the Washingtons. They'd eat together, and on Monday, Alex joined them after lunch to watch a movie. Although he sat as far away from them as physically possible and curled into a tight ball. But, as far as Martha and George were concerned, it was progress. As soon as the movie was over, Alex scurried back up to his room.

He sat on his bed and read one of the books he had secretly taken from the bookshelves in the game room. It was some eight hundred page biography on one of the founding fathers. It was actually pretty interesting, and Alex found himself becoming absorbed in it. He jumped when George called him for dinner. The clock on his bedside table read 6:13. Geez, he didn't realize that much time had passed. He set his book down and headed downstairs. Dinner went on as it usually did, but Alex was lost in thought. He had really let his guard down while he was reading. He hadn't let himself get that absorbed in a book since his mother was alive. Alex had been completely unaware of his surroundings for three hours. His door had been locked, but still anything could have happened. It unnerved him that that had happened. The Washingtons hadn't shown him anything but kindness and not once had they been omegist. Most of his foster parents had shown their true colors within a day or two of his arrival, so maybe they actually were the kind couple they portrayed themselves to be. Or George and Martha were particularly good actors waiting for him to relax around them. Alex decided that it was way too soon to tell. He wouldn't let himself space out that badly again. Dropping his guard now would in all likeliness prove to be a mistake. After dinner Alex thought about watching a movie or a tv show with the Washingtons before vetoing the idea. He had already made the mistake of not being vigilant; he wasn't going to leave himself so vulnerable again. It was better that he was in his room with a locked door between him and his foster parents. Of course, they probably had a key to his door, but at the very least it would give him time to run or hide. 

He ended up reading late into the night, and didn't fall asleep until two in the morning. 

Chapter Text

His alarm went off at 6:30 AM. Blarg. Alex got up and took a quick shower. He had to take deep breaths to keep the pressure in his chest at bay. He had been to enough new schools to know the routine by now. Everything would be fine. He would do his work and show everyone what a good student he was, how smart he was, and he would be valedictorian. Ok. Do the work. Get good grades. Join clubs. That was all he had to do. Alex got out and got dressed. After drying his hair out as well as he could, he pulled it up into a ponytail.


"You can do this," he whispered to himself. "Just go in there and blow them all away."


Breakfast was business as usual until Martha started grabbing her purse while Alex was still eating.


"Um, Martha?" Alex hesitantly asked.


She turned to him and said, "Yes, sweetie?"


"Um, what are you doing?" he inquired, then winced at how stupid he sounded. Clearly she was packing up for work.


"I'm grabbing my stuff to go to work," the redheaded alpha replied, no hints of condescension or sarcasm. "George will be taking you to school. Is that okay?"


"Um, yeah, I guess," Alex murmured. His heart felt like it was going to pound out of his chest. Oh god. He was going to be left alone with George. What if he tried something once Martha left? Alex was somewhat sure that Martha wouldn't do anything to him. But he hadn't been left alone with George yet. Maybe he was just pretending to be nice in front of his wife and the moment she was gone, he was going to hurt Alex. No, no, no, no, no. Okay, if George tried anything, he would run away. And this time he wouldn't be found.


Martha must have noticed his panic. "I'm sorry," she spoke softly. "We should have discussed this with you last night. I can take you if you want."


"Won't you be late for work?" Alex asked.


"A little bit, but it won't be a big deal."


"No, it's fine. Really. I don't want you to get in trouble with your boss."


"Are you sure? Because I don't mind."


Alex nodded.


Martha sighed. "Alright, if you're sure. Alex if you needed anything, don't hesitate to call me, okay?"


"Okay," Alex answered.


Martha kissed her husband's forehead and said goodbye. She went over to Alex and was about to do the same when he flinched away from her.


"I'll see you this evening. Have a good day at school, Alex."


He didn't reply, just stared down at his plate. Martha and George shared a worried look over his head before Martha left for work.


Alex felt the pressure in his chest build as he waited for the inevitable. His hands shook. He glanced up, but George hadn't moved. He was eating his breakfast and scrolling through his phone. Alex pushed his food around his plate. If he tried to eat anything else, he would definitely puke.


"We should probably leave in about twenty minutes. We need to get to school early, so we can get your schedule and whatnot," George spoke suddenly after a few minutes of awkward silence. Alex jumped so violently that he dropped his fork onto the floor.


"Sorry," he muttered as he bent over to pick it up.


"You have nothing to apologize for, Alex. I'm sorry that I startled you, though," he replied.


Alex didn't say anything for a long moment before mumbling, "May I be excused?"


"Of course. And Alex, you don't have to ask permission. Dinner is really the only meal that I'd like it if we all sat together until everyone was done. Even then it's not a requirement," George said.


Alex just looked at him for a moment with his eyebrows slightly furrowed and a small frown, like George was a puzzle that he simply couldn't figure out. After Alex rinsed his dish off and put it in the dishwasher, he ran upstairs. Once he was in his room, he locked the door and took a deep breath. The pressure eased as the immediate threat was gone, relatively speaking. Alex grabbed his backpack and loaded it with his school supplies. He thought about putting his journal in there, but then decided not to. He didn't want to lose it or have it get damaged. Instead he grabbed the book he was reading (not the biography, he had finished that over the weekend), and put it in. Alex put on a hoodie and walked downstairs. George was still eating, so he darted into the living room and sat down on one of the couches. A few minutes later, the other man walked into the room and asked if he was ready to go. Alex nodded and they headed out to the car. The drive was silent and took a little under ten minutes. The entire time Alex waited for something bad to happen. Something bad had to happen. It always did. But the drive was uneventful. When they got to the school, it was 7:24. Classes didn't start until 8:00, so they had plenty of time to get his schedule and for someone to show Alex around the school. They entered the front office and the receptionist directed them to the counselor office. Mr. Seabury was an unassuming man. He was an alpha and had the haughty air of one. Or at least the ones Alex had met were like that. In passing he noted that neither Martha nor George were that way.


The man looked up when they entered.


"Ah, Mr. Washington. To what do I owe the pleasure?" he said. Alex couldn't help but frown. He was standing right next to George. He had seen Mr. Seabury look at him when they had gotten there. But the alpha didn't even acknowledge his existence.


"My foster son is starting school today. We're here to get his schedule," George replied.


"What's his name?" he directed the question at George.


"Alexander Hamilton," Alex snapped.


Mr. Seabury finally looked at him. "I was not speaking to you," he said coldly. "His name?"


"Your kidding, right? I just told you my name. And stop acting like I'm not here."


"Mr. Washington-"


"I'd have to agree with Alex on this one," George backed him up. Alex glanced at him surprised.


"Alright," Mr. Seabury sighed. He turned back to his computer and started typing. The printer started up. Mr. Seabury handed Alex a piece of paper. "Your schedule, Mr. Hamilton."
Alex looked at it and immediately noticed something wrong. It listed him in Algebra I, Geography, Biology, Sophomore English, Home Ec, and two more classes that had omega in the title, but he had no idea what they even were.


"I'm sorry, but this is a mistake," he said.


"Excuse me?" Mr. Seabury demanded.


"My schedule. I should be taking AP Calc, AP US History, AP English Composition, and why am I even in biology? I took AP Biology last year. I got a 5 on the test. I should be in another AP science class or at the very least one of the advanced science courses. And I'm not taking Home Ec or any of these other 'omega' classes," he said.


"Omegas are not allowed to take AP or advanced courses, and they are required to take Home Economics and the omega classes," Mr. Seabury replied coolly.


"That's such omegist bullshit. My test scores clearly show that I should be in AP or advanced classes. The classes you've given me aren't going to challenge or teach me. And having classes specifically for omegas is idiotic because I'm guessing that there aren't alpha or beta classes, are there?"


"Well, no-"


"So, this is clearly discrimination, and I demand that you change my schedule to what it should've been from the beginning."


"That is enough. I will not change your schedule. Omegas are not equipped to deal with the material or stress that the advanced courses you're discussing entails. Your schedule is what omegas take. You are taking these classes and you should be thankful that we have such a comprehensive curriculum for omegas. You're lucky that you're getting an eduction at all. In most places, you wouldn't have these opportunities, so stop being such an ungrateful, little omega-"


"No," George interrupted. "Alex will be taking the classes that he says he should be taking. And I have to agree with him that your curriculum is discriminatory. I donate a lot of money to this school because I was under the impression that this was an excellent school, but if you can't even give my foster son a schedule where he'll actually learn, then I'm going to pull him and no longer donate money here."


Mr. Seabury didn't say anything for a long moment. "Alright. Mr. Hamilton, what classes do you feel you should have?"


Alex listed the classes that he knew he wanted to take. "Do you have an AP Chemistry class? And if you do, will it fit in my schedule?"


"Yes to both."


"Then, that one for my science course."


"And your other three classes?"


"Um, what classes do you have?"


"Home Ec-"


"No. I already know everything they teach in that class. It'd be a waste of everyone's time. And before you say anything, I'm not taking any of those bullshit omega classes."


Mr. Seabury gave a long suffering sigh. "Alright," he said tightly. "From your transcripts, it looks like you haven't fulfilled our requirement of a year of gym, so I'm putting you in one."


Alex felt a twinge of irritation. Mr. Seabury had looked at his transcript and deliberately put him in classes that were below the college level that he was clearly at when it came to academics.
"I'd like a study hall if that's possible."


"Juniors get one study period, so I'll put you in one. You have one class left."


"What classes are available that period?"


"Pottery," no, "marketing," definitely not, "music composition," that one.


"I'll take the music composition class," Alex said.


Mr. Seabury sighed again.


"Are you sure about this schedule? Four AP classes will be too much for an omega, like yourself, to handle," Mr. Seabury patronized.


"I took three college level classes last year and passed with flying colors. Taking four this year makes sense," Alex argued.


"Fine," he snapped.


He printed Alex's new schedule and begrudgingly gave it to him.


"Aaron Burr will give you a tour of the school before classes, so you'll wait in here for him. Have a nice day, Mr. Hamilton," Mr. Seabury sneered.


Alex flashed him the most sarcastic smile he could and then walked out. He and George stopped in the front office.


"I believe that this is my cue to leave. I'm working from home today, so I'll pick you up after school. If you need anything don't hesitate to call Martha or I, okay?" Alex nodded. "Alright, have a good day at school, Alex."


George started to leave.


"Uh, George," Alex said. "Um, thanks, for you know, backing me up with Mr. Seabury. I really appreciate it."


George smiled softly. "Of course, Alex. I know you don't believe this yet, which is fine, but Martha and I are on your side. I'll see you after school."


"See you after school," Alex echoed quietly.


George left, and Alex was alone. He wasn't sure what to make of what had happened in the office. George had actually stood up for him. Not only that but he had let Alex fight his own battle. He had only stepped in when it was clear that Alex wasn't going to win. He hadn't tried to commandeer the meeting. That was the first time that a foster parent had stood up for him and allowed him to keep his voice. A large part of him was still skeptical about the Washingtons. It felt like it was way too good to be true. There was going to be a drawback at some point. Some price for their kindness. But a small part of him couldn't help but think (hope) that the Washingtons really were this kind. That maybe they could be something close to a family. He shook the thought out of his head. Alex knew better than to get his hopes up. This had happened before and every single time was a disappointment. No, it was best to expect the worst.
The doors to the office opened and a guy walked in. He was a beta and appeared to be an upper class man.


"Pardon me, are you Aaron Burr, sir?" Alex asked as he got out of his chair.


The guy turned and said, "Depends on who's asking."


"Oh, right. I'm Alexander Hamilton. Mr. Seabury told me that Aaron Burr would be giving me a tour of the school. So?"


"Ah, so you're the new kid. Nice to meet you, Alexander," he greeted.


"You too. And it's Alex," he said.


"Alright, Alex. We have about twenty minutes before class starts. Can I see your schedule?" Aaron asked.


Alex handed him his schedule as they left the office. As Aaron was looking at it, he furrowed his eyebrows.


"Is something wrong?" Alex asked.


"How did you get this schedule?" he inquired instead of answering Alex's question. His tone was one of mild curiosity, not an angry one that Alex would have expected with this kind of question.


"I'm not sure I know what you mean," he replied.


"Omegas aren't allowed to take AP classes, so how do you have four?" he asked. Again, there was no indignant anger at the mere idea of Alex taking these classes. He sounded almost disinterested, like he didn't really care about the answer; he was just asking for the sake of asking.


"Well, Mr. Seabury didn't give me those classes at first. I argued with him and he eventually gave in and gave me the right schedule," Alex replied.


Aaron hummed as they turned down a hall. "Can I offer you some free advice?"


"I guess."


"Talk less."


"What?"


"Smile more," he finished.


"You've got to be kidding me," Alex said.


"Look, you want to get ahead?"


"Yeah."


"Then, keep your head down. Don't argue or let people know what your beliefs are. You'll only make enemies. If you keep to yourself, high school will be easy," he said.


Alex stared at him for a second before saying, "I hope you won't be offended if I don't take your advice. That's just not who I am."


Aaron sighed, but didn't say anything further on the matter. He gave Alex a tour and took him to where all of his classrooms were. They got done about seven minutes before class was going to start.


"Thanks for the tour, Aaron," Alex said.


"I hope you reconsider my advice," he replied.


Alex just shrugged.


"I'll see you in class, Alex," he said before leaving.


Alex walked into his first class, which was APUSH. The class was set up seminar style, which Alex really liked. He picked a seat on the side that faced the door in the middle of the row. He hoped he wasn't stealing someone's seat, but he didn't really give a fuck if he was.


No one was in the classroom, not even the teacher, Alex glanced at his schedule, Ms. Jackson. He pulled his notebook and pencils out and arranged them on the desk. Then, since he still had a few minutes left before class started, he grabbed his book and read.


A few minutes later, Alex looked up when someone said, "Who are you?"


In front of him was a young woman in her late twenties and was a beta.


"I'm Alexander Hamilton. I'm new here. I just got put into this class," he replied.


She smiled. "Ah, so you're the 'recalcitrant, disrespectful omega' that Mr. Seabury was telling me about." She winked at him. "Good for you for standing up to him. The 'no omegas in AP classes' thing is too old fashioned for me. I think that anyone who is willing to work hard and learn should be here. So welcome to APUSH, Alex. I'm sure that you'll make a great addition to the class. You don't have too much to catch up on since school only started two weeks ago. But we're five chapters in. Do you have a textbook?" Alex shook his head. Ms. Jackson walked over to a bookshelf and grabbed a thick textbook and handed it to him. "You can have it for the rest of the year. By next week I want you to catch up, so that means read through chapter eight. And I'll excuse you for all of the assignments for the past two weeks. And until you've caught up, all your assignments will be graded on participation. The course load is heavy, but I imagine you'll do fine. I'll let you get back to your book now. Oh, and if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask."


"Thank you, Ms. Jackson," Alex said sincerely. He was already liking this class. He kept reading and only glanced up when the first bell rang. After a couple minutes, people start to trickle into the class. Alex just vaguely noted that people were coming in, including Aaron Burr, but didn't acknowledge any of them. Well, until someone stood in front of his desk and didn't move. He glanced up and saw a bushy haired alpha in a magenta sweater of all things (which was ugly as fuck in Alex's opinion).


"Can I help you?" Alex asked in an attempt to be polite.


"What are you doing?" the alpha demanded.


"I'm baking muffins," Alex replied sarcastically. "What does it look like I'm doing?"


The alpha frowned, clearly unhappy with his tone.


"You're an omega," he stated.
Alex gave him a startled look and exclaimed, "Wait, what? I'm an omega? Holy fuck. Why didn't anyone tell me?” Someone who had just walked in snorted. He then rolled his eyes and deadpanned, “Seriously, though, what’s your problem?”


"You can't be in this class," he sneered.


"Yet, here I am," Alex said, liking this alpha less and less.


"Omegas aren't allowed in this class," he said.


"Well, I'm in this class. Get over it."


"I give you two days before you realize that you’re incapable of taking this class. Omegas don’t have the capacity to handle college level classes, that’s why the school doesn’t allow them to take these advanced courses,” he snapped before starting to walk away.


"Hey," Alex called. "What's your name?"


"Thomas Jefferson."


"Well, you, Thomas Jefferson, are a dick," Alex announced. "And not the fun kind."


The kid who had just sat next to Alex burst out laughing. His two friends joined him in laughing. Alex sank down in his chair when he realized everyone was glancing over at him and the three guys sitting next to him.


Jefferson stormed away and sat down in a huff.


"Oh, man, I haven't seen someone verbally thrash Jefferson like that since freshman year when him and Angelica got into that argument about feminism. This is definitely going to be the highlight of my day," the kid next to him chuckled. He had curly hair and a smattering of freckles. He was also an alpha. "I'm John Laurens." He held his hand out.


"Alex," he replied and shook his hand and then quickly withdrew from the contact and tried to subtly move away. If John noticed, he didn't say anything.


"You're new, right?" he asked.


Alex nodded.


"Cool. Where'd you move from?"


"New York," Alex muttered.


"Nice. Oh, this is Lafayette," he gestured to the beta on his left, "and that's Hercules Mulligan," John pointed at the alpha sitting on the other side of Lafayette.


"Those are some names," Alex said.


The two chuckled. "Oui, they are quite outlandish," Lafayette chuckled.


"You're French?" Alex asked.


"Oui," he replied.


"That's cool. Are you an exchange student?" Alex asked in French.


The three boys raised their eyebrows and didn't say anything for a moment before Lafayette broke out into a large smile.


"You're fluent?"


Alex nodded.


"That's wonderful. These two losers only know a few words. It's nice to be able to speak to someone in my native language. And to answer your question, I'm not an exchange student. I moved here a few years ago from France," Lafayette continued.


Alex was about to reply when Hercules groaned and complained, "Guys, come on, we can't understand French. How do John and I know that Laf isn't talking shit about us to Alex if we can't understand you?"


Lafayette smirked and teased, "You don't."


"Are these idiots bothering you?" a voice from Alex's right asked.


He turned to see a pretty, female beta take a seat next to him.


"Eliza Schuyler," she introduced herself.


"Alexander Hamilton," he replied.


"Eliza, come on, don't make us look bad in front of the new guy," John said. "Besides, your words wound me, my darling Eliza."


She raised an eyebrow and said, "I think you'll survive, Laurens. Besides, you just don't want me to embarrass you in front of him because you think he's cute."


John blushed and stuttered, "N-no. Shut up."


Alex sank down in his chair and wondered when class was going to start. The late bell had rung right after Eliza had shown up.


"Aw, Eliza, I think you embarrassed both of them," Hercules teased.


She laughed. "Sorry, Alex. I couldn't help myself. John is just so easy to make fun of."


"Hey, I resent that," he exclaimed. Eliza just laughed harder. "Oh, Eliza," John said suddenly, clearly over Eliza's teasing. "You missed Alex's verbal beat down of Jefferson. It was the best thing ever."


"Shut up, Laurens," Jefferson called across the room.


"Fuck off, Jefferson," John replied, not missing a beat.


"Language," Ms. Jackson reprimand from her desk.


"Sorry, Ms. Jackson," John said. "Anyway, Jefferson was harassing Alex because he was an omega in an AP class and was being his usual asshole self-"


"John," Ms. Jackson scolded half-heartedly.


"Sorry. Anyway, Alex was going toe to toe with him. And Jefferson's about to storm off when Alex asks for his name. After Jefferson tells him, Alex says, 'You, Thomas Jefferson, are a dick. And not the fun kind.'"


Eliza cracked up. "Oh my god. That's the best thing I've heard all day. Alex, you are officially my new best friend."


"It wasn't that great," Alex said.


“I don’t know, man, it was pretty great," Hercules disputed.


Alex was about to say something in response when Ms. Jackson called the class to attention.


"Alright, class, as I'm sure you've noticed we have a new student. I'm not going to make him introduce himself because I think that's dumb. His name is Alex. And this is the only time that this will be brought up in class, but if I hear any derogatory language about Alex being an omega, you will be kicked out of class. If I hear it from you again, I will be bringing up disciplinary charges, and I will be gunning for your suspension. Understand?"


The class nodded.


"Speaking of which, Jefferson, get out of my room. I expect you to be in library writing a nine hundred word essay on why discriminatory language and behavior in the classroom is inappropriate, especially for an AP class. I have high expectations of your maturity, and if you can't meet them, then you should not be in this class. Got it?"


"But, Ms. Jackson, you're giving him special treatment," Jefferson argued.


Ms. Jackson narrowed her eyes. "I don't tolerate any hate speech in my classroom. I was very explicit about this on the first day of class. I figured you would be smart enough to know that that applied to dynamics too."


"Ms. Jackson-"


"Jefferson, what are you still doing in my classroom? Get out," Ms. Jackson ordered.


Jefferson grumbled as he grabbed his stuff and stormed out of the classroom.


"Alright, now let's move on to the tobacco economy," Ms. Jackson said. She lectured for about half the class while engaging everyone with discussion questions before giving them a worksheet to work on that was due at the end of class. Eliza worked quietly next to him, every once in awhile turning to the girl next to her to talk about a question. John and his friends worked on the other side of him. Well, work might be an overstatement. They talked to each other about various things, none of which included the worksheet.


Alex started working by himself. He knew the answers to most of the questions and the parts he didn't know he looked up in his textbook. He was done with about fifteen minutes left of class. No one else seemed to be done yet since most of the students had been talking with each other more than working. Alex got up and walked to Ms. Jackson's desk.


She looked up when he approached and asked, "Did you have a question?"


"No, ma'am. I'm done with the worksheet," he said as he handed her the piece of paper. She quickly scanned it and breathed out a little, "huh."

"Good job. This looks very well written. You can have the rest of class for free time," she said.


"Thank you," he said quietly.


He thought about pulling his book out and reading, but dismissed the idea as soon as it came into his head. He should get started on getting caught up in this class. He opened his notebook to a new section and flipped to the first chapter.


"Dude, are you done already?" John asked.


Alex glanced over at him. "Yeah," he muttered.


"Damn. How'd you get done so fast?" the alpha asked.


Alex shrugged. "I already knew most of the answers and I looked up the stuff I didn't know."


"He was also working and not goofing off like you three," Eliza chimed in.


"Why am I friends with you? You're always mean to me," John teased.


"'Cause I'm the only person you know with an ounce of common sense," she replied.


John stared at her for a moment before shrugging and saying, "Fair enough."


Alex quietly snorted at their banter. They both turned back to their work. Alex got about a third of the way through the first chapter by the time the bell rang. He packed up his stuff and was about to head out when Ms. Jackson called his name.


"I wanted to apologize for bringing up the whole omega thing at the beginning of class. I know that you probably didn't want to bring attention to it. I wasn't going to say anything, but I saw what Thomas said to you, and I wanted to make it clear that that kind of behavior wasn't going to be tolerated. I hope I didn't make you uncomfortable," she apologized.

"It's fine," Alex replied. "I understand. Was there anything else?"


"Two more quick things. I read your responses and they were very well written. You have quite the knack for writing. Also, if you don't want to lug your textbook around all day, you can leave it here and pick it up after school," she said.


"My next period is a study period. Could I bring it back at the end of the that period?" he asked.


"Sounds good with me. I'll let you go now," she said.


“Oh, before I go, I was wondering what you knew about student council,” Alex said.


“I’m the faculty member that runs it. We meet before school on Mondays and after school on Wednesdays. I’m guessing you want to join,” she replied.


“I do. Am I allowed to?” Alex asked. It wouldn’t surprise him if they didn’t allow omegas into student council since they didn’t let them into advanced classes.


“Of course. Nothing explicitly states that omegas aren’t allowed to be part of student council, and as far as I’m concerned if it doesn’t say you can’t, then you can,” Ms. Jackson said with a small smile.


Alex gave a small laugh and said, “Thank you.”


“Will I be seeing you at tomorrow’s meeting?” she asked.


Alex smiled and said, “Yes, ma’am.”


“Fantastic. Class is going to start soon. I’ll write you a note so you don’t get in trouble. Mr. Seabury likes to roam the halls and pounce on unsuspecting students who are late and give them detention. This way you won’t get in trouble if he catches you. I’ll see you later, Alex. I hope you have a good rest of your day,” Ms. Jackson said.


He thanked her and told her goodbye, then headed upstairs to the library. The library was like the rest of the school. It was big with ceiling to floor windows and seemed to be brand new. This school was hands down the nicest school Alex had ever seen, much less attended. He quickly checked in with the librarian and then found a table to work at. It was right next to a window that overlooked the forest the school was by. He pulled out his new phone and headphones Martha had gotten him. After turning on Pandora, he started taking notes for APUSH. By the time the bell rang, he was almost done with the second chapter. His next class was gym (ew), which sucked a lot. The coach was a giant asshole. He was one of those teachers that had a few favorites and treated everyone else like shit. Alex was most definitely not one of his favorites. He didn't know anyone in that class. He had AP Chem next, which he shared with Eliza and Lafayette, who both insisted that he sit with them. He got a few snide remarks from people, but otherwise it was a fairly boring class. Eliza promised to give him her notes from the first two weeks after school so he could copy them down within the next few days. After Chem, everyone had lunch. Eliza and Laf dragged him to the lunchroom and made him sit with them. John and Hercules showed up pretty soon, quickly followed by two girls. The older one an alpha, the younger a beta.


The alpha looked him over before asking, "Who's this?"


“Alex. He's new," Eliza answered.


"Is he that omega you were gushing over earlier?" she teasingly asked.


Alex's face heated up as Eliza spluttered before saying, "Shut up, Angie."


"Sorry, Alex," John said. "Angie is a bitch."


"Yep," Angie agreed. "I'm Angelica Schuyler."


"Schuyler?" Alex asked.


"My sister," Eliza supplied. "And that's Peggy, who's genderqueer, so use they/them pronouns."


"Okay," Alex agreed. "It's nice to meet both of you."


"So, you’re the omega everyone's talking about?" Peggy inquired.


Alex shifted. "I didn't realize people were talking about me."


"Yeah, of course they are. For one thing, omegas aren't super common in our school. And on top of that, you've already argued your way into AP classes and destroyed Jefferson. Both of which are awesome," Peggy answered. "So, what's it like being an omega?"


"Peggy, that's rude," Eliza chided.


"What? I'm just curious," they argued.


"Eliza, it's fine. I'm used to people asking questions. Everyone's always curious. Might as well get this part out of the way," he said.


John frowned. "Alex, if you don't want us to bombard you with questions about omegas, we'll all understand. You being forced to answer questions isn't a requirement for you to hang out with us or anyone for that matter."


Alex stared at John for a moment. He wasn't much like any of the alphas that Alex had met. John didn't have that air of overconfidence that accompanied alphas who were told their entire life that they were better than everyone else. Even Hercules and Angelica had that air although it was muted. Alex liked that.


"Shit, I didn't mean it like that. I'm sorry, Alex," Peggy said.


"I appreciate the thought, but I honestly don't mind. I'm sure sooner or later you guys will have questions. And if you don't ask now, then you'll do that weird thing where you open your mouth to ask me something then change your mind because you're afraid to offend me, but then you do the same thing a few times before you either ask or I tell you to just fucking ask. I find that entire thing incredibly annoying, so just ask now so we can avoid it," Alex rambled.


"Alex, don't take this the wrong way, but that's super fucked up," Angelica said. Alex opened his mouth to protest, but Angelica kept going. "You aren't some circus sideshow freak where we get to gawk and ask embarrassing, intrusive questions. And the fact that you have this expectation pisses me off. If someone asked me about my vagina, I would punch them in the face."


Alex stared at her with wide eyes. "Don't get me wrong," he said eventually. "I agree with you, but it's happened so many times that I'm apathetic to it. Also, I'd rather give people accurate information on omegas than have them get their facts from a shitty, omegist source. So, seriously just ask. Besides, I doubt I'll be here for very long, so you might as well ask while you can."


"What do you mean you won't be here very long, mon ami?" Laf asked.


Alex winced. He hadn't meant to say that. He fidgeted with his sleeves afraid to reveal that he was some poor, foster kid. These people had been nice so far, and seemed pretty liberal about omega issues, but Alex didn't know them. They probably just thought it was funny that some omega had told Jefferson off. They were more than likely keeping him around because they thought he was entertaining and would dump him when they got bored. That had happened at the other schools the few times he had tried to make friends. He was an argumentative, feisty omega. To them, he was a novelty, something rare and new and shiny to play with, then throw away when he stopped being interesting. This group was probably the same way, and once they found out he was a foster kid, he wouldn't be new and shiny anymore. They'd look at him and think, "He's not worth our time. He's damaged goods."


"Um, I have to go, actually. I just remembered that I needed to meet with Ms. Jackson about an assignment," he said as he grabbed his sack lunch the Washingtons had packed him and his backpack and got up and dashed out of the cafeteria.


"Alex, wait," Eliza called. "You don't have to leave."


But he was already out of the cafeteria. Alex marched down the hallway as he took long, calming breaths. God, what was he thinking? Making friends was the last thing he should be doing. It never worked out. Either he left or they were just being nice because they wanted something from him. He shouldn't have sat with them. That was so stupid. They probably thought he was some naive, gullible omega who attached himself to the first people who showed him an ounce of kindness. No, it was best to be alone. The only person he could count on was himself (and his mom, but he wasn't going there). He couldn't get close to anyone here, including the Washingtons. It was best just to keep to himself.


Alex nodded decisively. He walked into Ms. Jackson's room.


She glanced up and smiled. "Hey, Alex, what's up?"


"Would it be okay if I ate lunch in here?" he asked.


"Of course. You're more than welcome here any time," she replied.


"Thanks, Ms. Jackson," Alex replied.

Chapter Text

Alex worked on his notes for APUSH during lunch. It was quiet. Ms. Jackson didn’t bother him. Every once in awhile, he would ask a question that she would answer, but overall there was little conversation, which was fine with Alex. The past weekend had lulled him into a false sense of security. He wasn’t going to let it happen again. He couldn't trust these people. They would just hurt him in the end. They always hurt him in the end. When lunch ended, Alex bid Ms. Jackson farewell and headed to AP Calc. He was one of the first people there and sat down in the second row by the windows. His teacher glared at him the entire time, clearly unhappy to have him here. Alex pulled his notebook out and opened it. Someone plopped down into the seat next to him.

“Hey, Alex,” John said.

“Hi, John,” Alex replied politely.

“Listen, I wanted to apologize about lunch. We’re all really sorry that that happened, and just consider the whole thing forgotten,” he said.

“It’s fine,” Alex said cooly.

“Okay, cool. Would you want to eat lunch with us tomorrow?” he asked.

Alex stared at him for a moment. “What are you guys after?” he said.

John stared at him blankly before asking, “What?”

“What do you guys want from me? People don’t just hang out with me. They always want something from me. So what do you guys want?” Alex asked.

“We don’t want anything from you, Alex. We just want to hang out and be friends. That’s it,” he answered.

Alex narrowed his eyes. “Excuse me if I don’t believe you,” he said before turning to fully face the front of the room.

He heard John sigh. “Well, if you change your mind, you’re welcome to hang out with us,” he muttered.

The late bell rang and the teacher called the class to attention. Alex glanced around and saw Jefferson and the kid he sat with in APUSH, Madison or something. There were a few people from his AP Chem class, but otherwise he didn’t recognize anyone. About two thirds of the class were seniors and the other third were juniors. Almost everyone was an alpha with a handful of betas. He was, of course, the only omega. It was weird. He had yet to meet another omega.

“Class, as I’m sure you’ve noticed we have a new student. He’s an omega and shouldn’t be in this class. Omegas are barely capable of comprehending basic math, much less the complexity of calculus, but he’s the Washington’s little street urchin, and the Washingtons are influential people, so here he is, taking up space and resources. I don’t want any of you to help him with the work. If he’s going to be here, he has to prove that he deserves to be here on his own merit. Not by mooching off of hard working alphas as I’m sure he’s doing in his other classes and had planned to do for this class. So if I see or hear about one of you helping him in any capacity, I will give you a zero for two tests. Okay?”

“Mr. Lee, you can’t do that. You were the one who said that we needed to talk and help each other if we wanted to understand calculus. How can you take that resource away from Alex just because he’s an omega?” John protested.

“Mr. Laurens, Alex shouldn’t even be in this class. He’s wasting everyone’s time. He should be in a more basic math class that’s better for someone of his intelligence, and he should be taking the omega classes this school so generously offers. At least then he can learn how to be a good omega for his future alpha,” Mr. Lee ranted.

"That is such bull-"

“John, it’s fine. Well, no it’s not, but I just want to learn math. So, let's just move on and start class,” Alex interrupted.

Mr. Lee whipped his head and glared at Alex. “Omega, you will not speak in this class without express permission from me. And you will address me as sir. And you will not speak to your betters the way you just spoke to Mr. Laurens. You will not interrupt, and you will address them as Alpha. Otherwise I will kick you out of class. Is that clear?”

“Yes,” Alex said in a taut voice. “Sir,” he finished sarcastically.

“As for everyone else, you will address our new student as Omega. Not Omega Alex or Omega Hamilton, just Omega,” the alpha said.

Fire gripped his chest. Alex knew what Lee was doing. He was trying to dehumanize Alex. Make everyone believe and act like Alex was less than them.

“That’s ridiculous. I’m not calling Alex that. You’re intentionally trying to degrade him, so he’ll drop the class because you think you’re so much better than him and you get off on bullying anyone who you think is less,” John argued.

“Mr. Laurens, I will not hesitate to kick you out,” he said.

Alex raised his hand.

“Yes, Omega,” Mr. Lee said.

Alex felt his eye twitch. “Alpha Laurens,” Alex addressed John tightly. “Please, let this go. I would like to actually learn some calculus today.”

John huffed, but didn’t say anything more. Mr. Lee finally started class. He put a warm-up on the board and let them work on it for about ten minutes. They were learning limits, which was something Alex already knew fairly well. Afterwards, Mr. Lee started lecturing.

“Who here knows what an infinite limit is?” he asked.

Alex raised his hand. Mr. Lee ignored him. “Anyone?” he asked.

John sighed before raising his hand. “Yes, Mr. Laurens. Do you know the answer?”

“No, but Alex,” a glare from Lee and a slight kick from Alex cut him off, “Omega,” he spat, “knows the answer. So, you should call on him.”

Mr. Lee sighed before snapping, “Omega, please tell us in all your infinite wisdom what the answer is.”

“An infinite limit is when there is a vertical asymptote and as the function approaches the x value it goes to infinity since it can’t ever reach that x value,” Alex answered smugly.

“Mr. Laurens, what did I say about helping the omega?” he reprimanded.

“What?!” John exclaimed. “I didn’t even know the answer. How could I have helped him? This is absurd. Just acknowledge that he knew the answer.”

Mr. Lee looked livid, but turned and continued with the lecture. By the time class was over, Alex was ready to enter the void and not deal with anyone because fuck people. And not in the fun way. Alex watched Jefferson walk out of the room looking absolutely tickled. When was today going to be over?

He left and made his way to AP English Composition.

“Hey, Alex, wait up,” John called. Alex ignored him and kept walking. It was a futile effort because John caught up. “Where are you headed?”

“AP English Comp,” he answered.

“Cool. That's my next class, too. Mind if I walk with you?” he asked.

“Well, we’re both walking that way, so it's kind of unavoidable,” he said.

Neither of them said anything until they sat down.

“So, about Lee,” John started.

“Look, John,” Alex interrupted. “I appreciate you standing up to Lee and all, but next time don’t. I can handle myself. I don’t need you defending my honor or something.”

“That wasn’t my intention. I just couldn’t stand the way he was treating you. How are you not pissed?”

“I am pissed. I’m furious. Of course, I am. That entire class was humiliating. And once upon a time, I would have tried to beat the living crap out of Lee. But going into a blind rage doesn’t make anything better. In fact, if anything, it makes things about a hundred times worse. The best revenge is proving them wrong. I didn’t argue with him today because I’ll get to see his stupid face at the end of the year when I have a one hundred percent in his class, and I get a 5 on the test. That is what will piss him off the most. Not getting angry and giving him exactly what he wants. Okay?”

John paused. “I hadn’t thought of it like that,” he admitted. “I can’t say I’m okay with everything that happened and not saying something, but if you don’t want me to, then I won’t.”

“Say something about what?” Hercules said as he sat down next to John. Laf and Eliza sat down in the row behind them.

“Mr. Lee-“ John started, but cut himself off. “Is it okay if I tell them?” he asked Alex.

Alex raised an eyebrow. No one had ever asked him that before. “Yeah, I don’t care,” he answered.

But John didn’t get the chance to as the teacher called the class to attention. Alex felt a pit of dread settle in his stomach as he waited for the teacher to say something about him. But all the teacher said was, “We have a new student today. His name is Alex. Now, today, I’m going to be handing out AP writing prompts and you and the people sitting around you will work together to write a response. You have all of class to work on this. It’s due tomorrow at the beginning of class.”

Alex breathed a small sigh of relief as the teacher didn’t say anything. He definitely could have handled a repeat of Calc, but he didn’t want to. He opened a notebook and looked at the prompt the teacher had handed him, planning on just working alone.

“Alex, why don’t you join our group?” Eliza asked.

“I think I’m just going to work alone,” he said.

“Sorry, Alex,” his teacher said. “But, this is a group project, so you have to work with a group.”

He sighed before turning his chair around to sit at Eliza and Laf’s desk.

“So, what were you going to say about Mr. Lee,” Hercules asked.

“Oh, right. So, Mr. Lee is the biggest, bigoted asshole in existence,” John ranted. Alex thought that was an exaggeration. John regaled the other three with everything that had happened in Calc. “And then when Alex was the only one who knew the answer and was actually right, he accused me of telling Alex the answer. I didn’t even know what we were talking about. And he wouldn’t even acknowledge that Alex was right,” he finished with a huff.

“What the fuck?” Eliza exclaimed. “That’s awful. Alex, I’m so sorry something like that happened to you.”

He shrugged. “It’s not your fault. And that’s not exactly the worst thing someone’s ever done to me,” he answered.

“What do you mean?” Eliza asked, looking at him with her big, sad, brown eyes. Alex tugged at his sleeves, not wanting to reveal some of the shitty things people had said and done to him. Eliza must have noticed his discomfort because she quickly backtracked. “You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.”

“Are you going to report him?” Laf asked.

“No,” Alex said.

They all immediately exploded, exclaiming things like, “What? Why not?”

“You have to.”

“Why would you not report him?”

Alex flinched at the sudden increase in volume. The four quieted down when they saw him flinch and shrink into his chair. There were a few moments of awkward silence before Laf sighed and asked, “Mon ami, why would you not want to report him? He should not be allowed to treat you so terribly.”

“Okay, let’s say I do report it. What are they going to do about it?” he asked.

“They’ll fire him,” Hercules said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Except they won’t. The school has bigoted policies about omegas, so why would anyone do anything if I went and cried about how a teacher wasn’t being nice to me? They’d tell me that I shouldn’t take those classes if I wanted to be treated like some delicate flower. And they’d either do nothing or take my complaint as a sign that I can’t handle advanced classes and pull me out. So, no, I’m not going to do anything about it because at best, they’d do nothing, at worst, they'd take away my opportunity at a real education,” he answered.

No one said anything. They just stared at him with wide eyes. Alex shifted and looked down at the writing prompt. He grabbed his pencil and started writing notes in his notebook.

“Could we work on the assignment?” he asked.

A beat of awkward silence before John said, “Yeah, actually I had an idea on what we could do.”

After that, they worked on the essay, and the subject of Mr. Lee wasn’t brought up again. At the end of class, Alex packed his bag and started heading out.

“Alex, mon petit lion,” Laf called before he could leave the classroom. He stopped, not wanting to be rude. The four came up to him. “What class do you have next?” he asked.

“Music composition,” he said quietly.

“Cool, that’s what we have next. Angie and Peggy have it, too,” John said.

Alex tried not to sigh. It was just his luck that he would have a class with the very people he was trying to avoid. He did have to give them points for persistence, though. Most people would have taken his cold attitude and steered far away by now.

“Mind if we walk with you?” he asked.

Alex shrugged noncommittally and started walking to class. The other four followed and talked around him. He didn’t join in and the others didn’t make him. They entered the band and choir room. There weren’t any desks and a piano sat in the front off to the left. They all took a seat and waited for class to begin. He didn’t really want to talk, so he decided to get some work done. Alex pulled out his Chem notebook and pulled out the packet that the teacher had given them.

"Alex, you know that's not due until Thursday next week, right?" Eliza asked.

"I know. I just want to get a head start on it," he answered softly.

"Okay, but we always have a bit of free time at the beginning of class, so if you wanted to read or something, you could," she said.

"I'd rather be productive," he replied before tuning everyone else out and working. He was so focused that he didn't notice the teacher come in and call the class to attention. He was only broken out of his reverie when he heard, "Mr. Hamilton."
He jumped and looked up to see the teacher and the class staring at him. He felt his face heat up as he put his packet away and muttered, "Sorry."

The teacher smiled. "That's quite alright. What were you working on?"

"Chemistry," he murmured.

He laughed and said, "I wish I could get that into chemistry. Well, welcome to our class. My name is William Billings. The students typically call me Mr. Billings, or Mr. B, or just B."

"Your name is Bill Billings," Alex couldn't help but say with a small smile.

Mr. Billings laughed again and said, "It is. Poor planning on my parents part. Now, today we're gonna talk about writing lyrics."

The class was really fun. Mr. Billings was funny and eccentric. Alex really liked him. They were basically practicing writing poetry, which was something Alex loved. He didn't really talk to anyone, which he preferred. For the most part, Alex really enjoyed himself. The only thing he didn't like was Jefferson, Madison, and some of their friends were also in the class. They were all assholes, except maybe Madison. The beta was really quiet. Nothing happened in class, but just their presence was enough to annoy Alex. Burr was also in the class, but Alex wasn’t really sure what to make of him. Alex couldn't really get a read on him. He was nice enough on the tour, but he'd also told Alex to "talk less, smile more." As if he hadn't heard that a thousand times. As if people hadn't told him over and over, "You know alphas don't want an opinionated omega. Maybe keep those things to yourself," or "Oh, sweetie, you're such a pretty omega. You should smile more." He couldn't tell if Burr meant it like that or not.

When the final bell rang, Alex gave a small sigh of relief. He was ready to go back to his room, lock the door, and ignore the world. He glanced over to the piano and bit his lip. He hadn't played in years. His mother had taught him. She had cleaned houses for the rich people in their town, so sometimes she would take Alex with her. When that happened, she would take a break at some point and teach him how to play piano in whatever house they were in. After she was gone, he had played less and less until he stopped all together.

Alex suddenly had the undeniable urge to play the piano. He slowly packed up and waited for everyone to leave. Mr. Billings left with the rest of the class, so it was just Alex. He got up and cautiously walked over to the piano. Once he sat down, he placed his fingers on the keys and let the music flow out of a part of his mind that he had locked away to stop the pain that always accompanied. He and his mother never had much, but the time they had spent together playing the piano were some of the best memories Alex had. He felt the stress, the anger, the anxiety of the day melt away. Playing made him feel more relaxed than he had in years. When he was done, he sat there with his eyes closed and his hands resting on the keys, feeling the cool ivory against his skin.

Someone cleared their throat. Alex jumped so hard he fell off the bench.

"Oh my god. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," the voice belonged to John. He ran over to Alex and held his hand out to help Alex up. He stared at the ceiling for a second before hauling himself up, completely ignoring the offered hand.

"It's fine," Alex said.

"I just didn't want you to open your eyes and see me staring like a creep. Not that I was being creepy. I just came back for my hoodie 'cause I left it here, and I heard you playing, and it was so beautiful that I wanted to listen. You're an amazing pianist by the way. Where'd you learn? Not that you have to answer, I'm just curious, 'cause you're really good, so you must have had a really good teacher. Although you're a really good student, so I'm sure that's a big part of it. And you're really smart, like that scary intelligence that you just watch in complete awe, so I bet you were a natural. Anyway, I didn't want to make a comment because I thought that would startle you and that it'd be weird, so I thought that clearing my throat was the best option, but you fell off the bench, so clearly it wasn't. I'm really sorry. And I've just been word vomiting, so I'm going to shut up now," John finished with his face completely red.

Alex chuckled before beginning to laugh so hard his eyes were watering. "I'm sorry," he gasped, "I'm not laughing at you. That was just kind of adorable and funny," he started laughing again. "Seriously, that was kind of amazing. I'm glad I got to witness that."

He looked over to John and saw that he was smiling softly and silently shaking from laughing.

"Well, I'm glad my complete and utter lack of a filter amuses you," he said.
They stayed like that for a moment, just basking in the humor before Alex felt a pit of dread in his stomach as he realized that school had gotten out ten minutes ago. Crap, George was probably waiting, and he was probably pissed that Alex was keeping him waiting.

"I need to get going. My ride is probably waiting," Alex said quietly.

A flash of disappointment danced across John's features before he was smiling again. It had happened so quickly that Alex wasn't sure that he had seen anything at all.

"Alright. I'll see you tomorrow," John said hopefully.

"Uh, yeah, I guess," Alex said, trying to brush John off because he was supposed to be avoiding him, not having moments with him. He grabbed his backpack and marched towards the door.

"Hey, Alex," John said gently. Alex stopped, but didn't turn around. "I know, well I think I do at least, that you're cautious. That you're hesitant to hang out with us. And I can't say that I understand because I know I speak from a place of privilege, so I don't have your experiences of how people have treated you. I just want you to know that if you ever want to, you're always welcome to hang out with any of us. And hanging out with us once isn't a contract. You can not hang out afterwards. Just we're here."

"Thanks," Alex muttered before scurrying away. He didn't know what to make of John Laurens.

When he got outside, Alex spotted George's car parked out front in the pick up area. He hurried over and got in the car.

"I'm sorry if I made you wait. It won't happen again," Alex said quietly as he stared at his lap, waiting for the yelling to start, the threat of punishment.

"It's okay. I don't mind waiting," George said.

"You're not mad?"

"No, not at all. So how was the first day of school?"

"Good."

"You like all your classes?"

For a brief second Alex thought about telling him about Mr. Lee, but threw the thought out. He wasn't sure how his foster father would react and didn't want to find out.

"Yeah, I do. My APUSH teacher, Ms. Jackson is really cool, and Mr. Billings, my music composition teacher, is really funny."

"I'm glad. No problems?"

"Um, a few. But nothing I couldn't handle."

"Okay. But you can come to us if you just want to talk or if you want help with something."

"Okay," Alex said, knowing that that was never going to happen. The drive was uneventful, and when they got back to the house, Alex ran up to his room and locked the door. He breathed a sigh of relief and set his backpack down. He flopped onto the bed and groaned. It had been a very long day, and it was only the first day of school. All he wanted to do was sleep, but there was so much work he had to get done. After a moment of just burying his face in his pillow, Alex got up and got out his school stuff. He sat down at the desk and started doing his homework and getting caught up in his classes. He hadn't even realized how much time had passed until there was a knock on the door.

"Alex, sweetheart, it's Martha. I just got home, and dinner will be ready soon. How was your day?" she asked through the door. Alex felt bad for a second, but then realized that there was no way in hell he was letting the female alpha into his room.

"It was good. I'll be down in a few minutes," he answered.

"Okay, I'll see you downstairs," she said and then walked away.

He finished up the sentence he had been writing before getting up and going downstairs.

Dinner was on the table, and Martha and George were sitting down. Alex sat down.

"So, how was school?" Martha asked.

Alex shrugged. "Good," he murmured.

"Did everything go smoothly when you were getting your schedule? Did you get all of the classes you wanted and everything transferred from your last school okay?" she asked.

"Um, there was a slight hitch, but I got it worked out," Alex said.

"What happened?"

"Um, well, the counselor, Mr. Seabury, wasn't going to give me any advanced or AP classes because the school has a policy that prohibits omegas from taking those classes. I managed to convince him that I should be in AP classes, though. Although George convinced him more than I did," he said.

"What?" Martha exclaimed.

Alex flinched. Oh god. She was mad that he had argued with the counselor, that he had dragged George into this, that he was taking classes that he shouldn't be allowed to take. What was she going to do? Was she going to send him to his room without dinner? Hit him? Something worse? Oh god. Oh god. He knew this was too good to last.

"Alex. Alex, sweetheart," Martha's voice sounded distant like it was at the end of a tunnel. "Breathe, sweetheart. You need to breathe."

Breathe? Why was she telling him to breathe? Then, he realized that he was hyperventilating. He gasped as he pushed his fists into his eyes.

"Are you back with me, sweetheart?" Alex gave a small nod. "Okay, that's good. Now, can you take some deep breaths? In for four, hold for seven, and out for eight. Can you do that?" Alex breathed as instructed. "Okay, that's good. Breathing like that makes your brain switch from a sympathetic response to a parasympathetic response."

He breathed like that for a few minutes before he felt calm enough to take his hands away from his eyes. Martha and George were crouched on either side of him, giving him worried looks.

"Sorry," he croaked. "Am I in trouble?"

"No, you're not in trouble. You'll never be in trouble for something like this, okay?" George said.

Alex nodded hesitantly. "Martha, are you mad that I argued with the counselor and got into AP classes?"

"No. No, of course not. I wasn't angry with you. I was mad that the school did that to you. That never should have happened. You shouldn't have to argue for your education. You should get it just like everyone else. Is anyone else giving you trouble?" she said thickly.

Alex shrugged, not wanting to tell them about Jefferson or Mr. Lee.

"Would you please tell us?" Martha begged softly.

"There was a kid, Thomas Jefferson, who told me that I shouldn't be in APUSH because omegas were incapable of understanding college level classes. It's fine though, I argued with him and then the teacher sent him to the library to write an essay on why discrimination isn't appropriate in the classroom," Alex bit his lip. Should he tell them about Mr. Lee?

"Did something else happen?" George asked.

"I mean, yeah," he reluctantly said. "But, you have to promise not to do anything about it."

Martha and George glanced at each other before Martha said, "We won't do anything unless we feel that you're in danger. Does that sound reasonable?"

"Yeah, I guess," Alex paused, not entirely sure what to say. He recapped everything that had happened in Calc and then said, "It wasn't fun, but I'll get through it. And you don't need to do anything because I'm not in danger. Besides a few snide remarks from other students, that's it."

They were both frowning. The two alphas got up and sat back down at the table.

"I'm not sure how I feel about not doing anything. A teacher shouldn't be allowed to treat you like this. It's abuse-"

"He didn't touch me," Alex cut George off, then winced. “Sorry."

"It's fine. But abuse can be more than physical. What he's doing is emotional and verbal abuse, and that's not okay. You should not have to worry about a teacher mistreating you. I'm not comfortable letting you be in a classroom with this man," George said.

"I'm really not in danger. I'm sure he's just trying to make me drop the class. When he realizes that I'm not going to, he'll lay off. Please, don't say anything. They'll think that I need to run to some alpha to solve my problems, and the school will take it to mean that I shouldn't be in AP classes. And without AP classes, I'm never going to get into college and be anything more than someone's possession. Please, don't do anything," Alex begged.

Martha sighed heavily. "I don't like it, but okay-"

"Martha, do you really think-"

"George, let me finish. We won't report it, but only if you promise that the moment it gets any worse, you come straight to us. Does that sound like a good compromise?" she said.

"Yeah," Alex agreed.

"I suppose," George said. Nothing more was said about Mr. Lee or Alex's panic attack for the rest of dinner.

After they had finished eating and cleaning up, Martha asked, "Alex, do you want to watch TV with us?"

Alex tugged at his shirt sleeves. A part of him did want to watch TV with them. They had been kind to him so far and not in a patronizing way. But, he didn't want to let his guard down. Not now when everything could still go so terribly wrong.

"I have a lot of homework I need to do," he said quietly.

"Okay, sweetheart," Martha said. "I hope you're very productive."

"Thanks. Have fun watching TV," he said quietly before running upstairs to his room. Alex worked until around twelve thirty before going to sleep.

Chapter Text

John watched Alex walk out of the band room. He couldn't help the small smile that played on his lips. He had gotten Alex to laugh, not just a little chuckle, but a full blown laugh. And he had called John adorable. His smile grew. Alex, maybe, thought that he was cute. He grabbed his hoodie and headed out. His dopey grin wouldn't leave. When he got outside to his friends, Angelica said, "Why do you have that stupid grin on your face?"

John tried to school his features but was quickly proven to be a pointless endeavor. He shrugged in response.

"Why do I need a reason to smile? Can't I just be happy," he said.

"I guess, but that's not what this is," she said.

"I bet it has something to do with Alex," Eliza teased.

His face heated up. "That's, that isn't what this is about. I, I just. Shut up," he grumbled. His friends laughed at him. "Why am I friends with any of you? Fine, yes, it's about Alex. We had a... moment or something in the band room."

"When are you going to ask him out?" Peggy asked.

"I'm not," John said.

"What? Why not?" they said.

"He's just very skittish, I guess. I don't know his past, but I don’t think he's had very good experiences with people, especially alphas. He doesn't even believe that we just want to hang out with him because he seems cool. He's convinced that we must want something from him. Asking him out would be a mistake. For one thing, he'd probably think I'm just trying to get into his pants. And he definitely wouldn't join our friend group, thinking that it was some ploy to help me fuck him. And I doubt we'd ever earn his trust after that. We just need to be patient. Let him make the decision to hang out with us. If I do ask him out, I want him to trust me. Okay?" John ranted.

Peggy raised their hands and said, "Okay, geez. Protective much."

"I'm not- that's not what-"

"John, it's fine," Hercules interrupted. "Alex seems like he's been through a lot, and you don't want us to add to that. There's nothing wrong with that."

John nodded, but wasn't sure he believed him. Protectiveness could be a double edged sword. He didn't want to be that alpha that thought that they could swoop in and rescue the helpless omega and solve all their problems and woes. It was dumb and omegist. Alex could definitely handle himself. He didn't need John to make everything better. But John also didn't want to see him get hurt either.

He shook his head as he got in his car. He had known Alex less than a day. What was he doing? He needed to stop acting like this was some rom-com where they would bond and marry and live happily ever after. This wasn't a movie. Alex clearly had trust issues, and getting through that may never happen. And Alex may not even feel attracted to John. It could be very one-sided.

He sighed. There was definitely an attraction there though. For John, at least. It wasn't just that Alex was attractive, which he was with his lithe, short frame, soul penetrating chocolate eyes, tan skin. But it wasn't just that. Alex had a fire in his eyes that felt like they could burn the world down if given the chance. He was probably the smartest person John had ever met. After just knowing him for a few hours, John knew with absolute certainty that Alexander Hamilton would change the world. His passion was exciting to witness, and it was contagious. When Alex had talked in APUSH, it had made John excited about the tobacco economy. There was just a grace to him that left John feeling like a peasant in the presence of royalty. And there was a protectiveness that Alex inspired in him. But it wasn't that John wanted to wrap Alex up in a blanket and hide him away from the evil outside world (as it is, he knew that Alex wouldn't appreciate that since he was a fighter, someone who would do what it takes to survive). He just wanted the idiots like Jefferson and Mr. Lee to see Alex as the brilliant person he so clearly was. How they could be so blind to everything that Alex was baffled John.

He was shaken out of his thoughts when he pulled into the Schuyler's driveway. Their house (it was a mansion despite their protests) was three stories with a gray stone exterior. The architecture was graceful and elegant, but the inside was warm and inviting. They always came over to the Schuyler home after school to do homework and just hang out. Honestly, John preferred to be here than at his own home. He got out of his car and grabbed his backpack. The five of them made their way into the house and sat down in the living room. John was working on some of his Calc homework when he huffed. Fuck calculus.

"Why did you guys let me take AP Calc? This was clearly a mistake," he said.

"I'm pretty sure I said that taking AP Calc would be masochistic and you shouldn't do it your junior year. To which you responded, 'Fuck you, Angie. I can do what I want.' And then signed up for it anyway," Angelica said.

"You should have bitch slapped me, then," he said.

"I can bitch slap you know, if you'd like," she offered with a smirk.

"I would actually rather do that than Calc," John said.

Laf snorted and said, "Please, Angie, please, bitch slap John."

John glared at him. "Laf, seriously? Why are you betraying me like this? I thought we were friends."

"John," Hercules said. "You just said you wanted to get bitch slapped."

"I didn't say I wanted to. I said that I would rather get bitch slapped than do my Calc homework. You people need to learn how to listen."

"Angie," Peggy called. "Do it, do it," they chanted.

"What the fuck guys? Why am I friends with any of you?" John complained with a smile on his face. They just continued to laugh at him. "I need new friends."

"I know who you want to be 'friends' with," Angie said in a sing-song voice. "Alex."

"Oh my god, not this again," John groaned.

"We're just teasing," Eliza reassured him. "We'll drop it if you want."

"Please do," he begged. "My darling Eliza, you are the best. Also, have you answered the APUSH questions because I've been stuck for the past two days and it's due tomorrow."

Eliza laughed and the subject was dropped. They worked on homework for a few hours before they had to head home. When John went to bed that night, he tried not to think of brown eyes alight with passion.

 



The next day was slightly better since he didn’t have to talk to Mr. Seabury and none of the teachers made him introduce himself to the class. Lee was a dick, which Alex suspected was par for the course. But it was Wednesday, which meant that he could go to his first student council meeting. He let Martha, who was picking him up today, know that he was going to the meeting and would be done later.

He packed up from Mr. B’s class and started to walk out. As he was walking to Ms. Jackson’s room, Angelica caught up to him and asked, “Hey, where are you headed?”

“Ms. Jackson’s room. I’m going to the student council meeting,” he answered.

“Oh, you are. That’s cool. I’m in it with Eliza and John,” she said.

“It feels like you guys are stalking me. I can’t seem to do something in this school without one of you being there,” he said.

“Maybe it’s a sign that you should hang out with us,” she said.

“You guys are persistent. I’ll give you that,” he said.

She laughed and said, “Yeah. We’re all pretty stubborn. From what I’ve heard and seen, you would fit right in.”

They got to the classroom and sat down where Alex sat during APUSH.

“Why, Ms. Angelica Schuyler, are you accusing me of being stubborn?” he teased. “I assure you, I am nothing of the sort.”

Angelica snorted. “Sure, whatever helps you sleep at night, Hamilton.”

Before Alex could retort, John and Eliza walked in and sat down next to Alex.

“Hey, Alex,” Eliza greeted.

“Hey,” he said softly, suddenly feeling self-conscious as more people shuffled into the room and stared at him.

John opened his mouth to say something when Jefferson walked in, took one look at Alex and exclaimed, “No, get out.”

“Excuse you,” Alex asked incredulously.

“You can’t be here. You’re in all my AP classes. You aren’t allowed in student council. You’re just some dumb omega who got lucky, but you don’t get to come in here and ruin this,” Jefferson seethed.

Alex stood up and said, “I am not stupid. In fact, I’m positive that I’m way smarter than you.”

Jefferson scoffed. “No, trust me, you are no where close to being even half as smart as me.”

Alex was about to retort when Ms. Jackson walked in and saw what was happening. “Alex, I’m glad that you’ve decided to join us,” she said. “Is there a problem here?”

“Yes, there is, Ms. Jackson,” Jefferson said. “It’s one thing for him to be in AP classes. The only one he’s hurting is himself when he inevitably fails, but when he proves to be unreliable, like all omegas, we’ll all feel the repercussions. Someone will have to add his work on top of theirs and as a result neither will be done well since that person will have too much to do. Therefore he needs to not be allowed to be part of student council.”

“You’re making arguments based on bigoted ideas that have never be substantiated. You’re letting your emotions and prejudice cloud your judgement, which invalidates your entire argument,” Alex refuted.

“Alex makes excellent points. None of your claims can be backed up with real evidence, voiding most of your argument,” she said.

“I don’t know, Ms. Jackson,” another kid, one that Alex hadn’t met yet, said. “I have three younger siblings who are all omegas and an omega mate. They’re always forgetful and tend to mess up any task you give them, no matter how easy it is.”

“Anecdotes do not count as evidence. In fact, personal experience used as evidence is often misleading. In psychology, it’s called availability heuristic, which uses memories that immediately come to mind and set that as the norm. For example, if you knew someone who got into a plane crash and concluded that planes were too dangerous to use, it would be a false conclusion. Planes are the safest mode of transportation, as many studies have shown, and using the one example of someone getting into a plane crash to categorize all planes as dangerous is illogical. So, sorry, but your claim can't be substantiated,” Alex said.

“Look, little omega-“

“Do not call me that,” Alex interrupted.

“I will call you what I like, little omega, because I-“

“Mr. Reynolds, that is enough. Alex does not need to write a twenty page paper arguing on why he deserves to be here. As it is, he has more than proven himself by destroying both of your arguments against him by using logic and proven facts. In fact, he was smart enough to do so without making any counterpoints himself. He outdebated both of you by simply pointing out the flaws in your arguments. This isn’t up for discussion. Alex is part of student council. End of discussion,” Ms. Jackson said. “And I will not tolerate any form of discrimination here. If any of you try to degrade another student for any reason, then you will be dismissed from student council permanently. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Ms. Jackson,” they chorused.

“Okay, good. Now on to business. We need to start planning homecoming,” she said.

An hour later, everyone was packing up and heading out.

“Alex, could I speak with you?” Ms. Jackson said.

Alex glanced over to her and said, “Sure.”

Once everyone had left, Ms. Jackson said, “I’m sorry that you had to deal with that. The way you handled that was commendable, but you shouldn’t have to handled it.”

Alex shrugged and said, “It’s okay, Ms. Jackson. I’m used to it by now.”

She looked at him sadly. “Yes, I’m sure you are, but you shouldn’t have to be used to it,” she paused. “How are you adjusting to being here?”

“Fine. It’s… nice here, I guess.”

“Are you liking school? Is home life good?”

“Besides some of the people here, I like school. And home is good.”

She sighed. Alex figured that she probably wanted more elaborate answers, but knew that Alex wasn’t going to be more forthcoming.

“Alright. Well, if you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to come talk to me. I’ll let you go now. Have a good night, Alex,” she said.

“Thank you, Ms. Jackson. And have a good night, too,” he said before heading out of the classroom and to the front of the school.

Martha was waiting in a car outside. He climbed in.

“How was your day, dear? Did you enjoy student council?” she asked as she started the car.

“It was good. And student council was fun. We’re talking about what days to do for Spirit Week,” he answered.

“That sounds fun,” she replied.

"Yeah, I'm excited. We're starting to plan homecoming stuff. I always liked planning homecoming at my other schools," he commented.

"Good. I'm glad you had a good time. No trouble?" she asked.

"No," he lied. If he told her the truth, she would just pull him from student council to, supposedly, protect him. He had already pushed it by telling them about Lee and Jefferson.

"Okay. If anyone gives you a problem, you can come to us," Martha replied.

"I know," Alex responded.

They pulled into the driveway and Alex got out and walked into the house with Martha. George wasn't home since he was up in D.C. working on some bill that was supposed to be voted on soon. They had dinner and then Alex said that he was going up to his room to work on homework. Martha bid him goodnight and he went to his room. After a few hours of doing homework, he finally went to bed. It was almost one in the morning. Alex couldn't help but think that he should try to go to bed earlier as he collapsed onto his bed. He laid down and tried to fall asleep except insomnia. Fuck. He was so tired.

He couldn't help but wonder if he was going to have to argue with someone every time he ever wanted to do anything. Probably. Alex sighed and turned over onto his side.

A part of him enjoyed arguing. Well, no, that was a lie. All of him enjoyed arguing, but he liked debating ideas, not arguing that he was competent enough. The weight from doing hours of homework compounded with the exhaustion that came from constantly having to fight for everything, from having to constantly be infallible so no one could ever try to tear him away from his goals. God, what he wouldn't give to sleep for, like, a hundred years. Maybe Sleeping Beauty was on to something. He sighed and rolled over again in the hopes that sleep would find him.

Chapter Text

The next few weeks passed in a blur for Alex. He quickly fell into a routine of going to school, avoiding John and his friends, hating Mr. Lee, going home, doing homework, having dinner with the Washingtons, doing more homework, and then sleeping. It worked well for him. He was enjoying the challenge of his classes, especially APUSH. Mostly because of Ms. Jackson. She was truly awesome. He also got to verbally smack down Jefferson, at least, a couple times a week. And destroying Jefferson gave him life. John, Eliza, Hercules, Lafayette, Angelica, and Peggy were always trying to engage him in conversation despite Alex’s many attempts to avoid it. It was the beginning of October when Alex finally sat with them at lunch.

It hadn’t really been on purpose. He, Lafayette, and Eliza were in a deep discussion on hybridized orbitals as they left AP Chem, and Alex had naturally stayed with them to keep discussing it because they were all a little fuzzy on different parts. He hadn’t even noticed when he sat down at the lunch table and grabbed his sack lunch. It actually wasn’t until they had moved on to a different topic of conversation that Alex noticed he was sitting in between John and Hercules with Eliza and Laf sitting across from him. He froze, his whole body stiffening. How had he not noticed two alphas boxing him in? How had he let himself become so oblivious to his surroundings? That was breaking one of his most important rules. What was wrong with him? He needed to leave right now. Except, John got up. Alex glanced over to him.

“Hey, Angie, I’m super stuck on this problem for Calc, could you help me figure it out?” he said as he moved to the other side of the table to sit next to Angelica. Peggy slid over and took John’s spot.

“Hey, Alex, have you finished that essay for AP Comp?” Eliza asked.

He nodded, unable to speak with the lump in his throat.

“Ok, cool. Could you help me with mine? I’m having trouble with this prose we’re supposed to be writing about,” she said. Alex nodded again. Eliza stood up and sat down in between him and Hercules. Having Eliza and Peggy on either side made it easier to breath. His hands still shook, and his heart was still pounding, but the need to bolt was gone. He stayed with them the entirety of lunch, helping Eliza with her essay, and helping Peggy with her AP World History homework. By the time lunch was done the whole thing with John and Hercules was forgotten.

Alex really did enjoy hanging out with them. All of them were smart and funny. They never made him feel that otherness that he felt in every past friendship. It was refreshing. He still felt unsure, still thought that this was all an act and there was some ulterior motive for wanting to hang out with him. But a part of him thought that maybe, just maybe, they wanted to hang out with him because they liked him. If that was the case, he wasn’t sure why they liked him. He was loud, outspoken, and he could admit that he could be obnoxious at times. In all honesty, Alex doubted he would want to be friends with himself if he met himself. That made sense, right? That was one of the reasons that he was so skeptical of their offers of friendship. Why would they want to be friends with him? No, there must be another reason. He could handle them manipulating him to get something, but he wasn’t sure how to approach someone possibly genuinely caring for him. His mother was the only person who truly cared for him. Since she died, the only person he could rely on was himself. The pattern of relationships in his life guaranteed that these new people were the same as everyone else.

And if they did care for him, if the Washingtons cared for him, he wasn’t sure what to do with that. But Alex knew better than to truly hope that he could have real friends and family with these people. He had gotten his hopes up with too many foster parents to be that naive again. It may have been really good for the past few weeks, but Alex knew with absolute certainty that everything would go to shit sooner or later. It always did.

He shook away the thoughts in his head and packed his bag when the lunch bell rang. Alex and John walked to math in companionable silence. John was… interesting. He wasn’t at all what Alex expected. He was an alpha that came from money. Everyone else that fit those parameters had been a condescending asshole (just look at Jefferson). But John was sweet and caring. He was always genuinely interested in what Alex had to say. Not once had John looked down at him, thought of him as less. He was also more than happy to let Alex take charge whenever they worked on school projects together. Normally the alphas Alex interacted with took over and wouldn’t let him contribute at all. And when he did contribute, no one would listen until a few minutes later one of the alphas would repeat exactly what he had said. John didn’t do that. When Alex talked with him, he was always attentively listening, he gave Alex credit for his ideas. It was refreshing to meet an alpha that treated him with respect. Not to mention that when he got nervous, John would ramble on and on, usually going off on random tangents that had nothing to do with what they were talking about. It was honestly one of the cutest things Alex had seen.

They got to class and sat in their usual seats. AP Calc was by far his least favorite class, which sucked because he actually liked the subject. But every single day, Lee proved to be an even bigger dick than he was the previous day. Alex wasn’t looking forward to whatever Lee had in store for today.

The late bell rang. Mr. Lee put the warm-up on the board and turned to the class.

“Mr. Laurens,” Mr. Lee said.

John looked up and said, “Yeah?”

“I want you to switch seats with Mr. Jefferson,” he announced.

“Why?” John asked.

“Because you and the omega are a constant disruption in class.”

“We don’t even talk to each other during class,” John argued. “How are we disruptive?”

“Don’t think I won’t kick you out of class, Mr. Laurens. Now move,” Mr. Lee said.

“But-“ Alex nudged his leg with his foot. John huffed. “Fine, whatever.”

He and Jefferson got up and switched seats.

“Omega stand up,” Mr. Lee commanded. Alex’s eye twitched as he refrained from sighing. He stood up and stared at Lee.

“Thomas, would you take his chair and put it somewhere else?”

Jefferson grabbed his chair and placed it in the back of the room, then came back and sat down. Alex raised his hand.

“Yes, Omega?”

“Do you want me to stand for the rest of class, sir?” he asked, making sure to add a sarcastic inflection on the last word.

“No. I don’t. I want you to get on your knees, and kneel the rest of class. Understood?”

“You can’t be serious,” Alex exclaimed.

“If you don’t do exactly as I instructed right now, I will kick you out of this class permanently,” he threatened.

There was a building fire in Alex’s chest, but he quickly quashed it. He wanted to verbally destroy Lee, but then he wouldn’t be allowed in this class, and the principal would deem him unfit to be in these classes and put him into the dumb omega classes. He wouldn’t get into college with those classes, so he kneeled and yanked his notebook and pencil from the desk setting it on his lap.

“What?!” John yelled. “This is so fucking bigoted!”

“Watch your language and tone, young man,” Lee demanded.

“Oh come on-“ John stopped when he saw the quick glare thrown his way from Alex. “Fine. Can we please just get on with the lesson?”

Alex worked on the warm-up while Lee handed back their first test. When he got to Alex, he slammed it on his desk. Alex flinched back. Mr. Lee smirked. God, that fuckwad. Alex grabbed his test off the desk and set it on his notebook. He looked down at it and the anger melted away. 50/50. A 100%. A small smile spread across his face. The hours spent studying for this test had been time well spent. Suck on that, Lee.

Alex bet that was why he was in such a pissy mood today, why he was taking it to such an extreme. So far, Alex had gotten full credit for every assignment. Lee was probably hoping Alex would do poorly and drop his grade or prove that he shouldn’t be here.

“How’d you do?” John asked. He was sitting behind Jefferson now. Alex held up his test to show him, not really in the mood to have to address John as ‘Alpha Laurens.’ “Holy crap. That’s amazing. Good job, man.” Alex tilted his head to the side in the hopes that John understood that he was asking how John had done. “I got an 86,” he replied.

Alex smiled and gave a discreet thumbs up before turning back and working on the warm-up. They usually spent about ten minutes doing the warm-up before moving on to the lesson. Alex had finished with about five minutes to spare, so he doodled.

“I see you got a 100 on your test,” Jefferson said suddenly. Alex made a noncommittal humming noise, not even looking up. He heard Jefferson huff at the lack of response. There was a long pause; Alex thought that he had turned back to his work and was ignoring Alex, like he always did in this class. “You know,” he continued. “You look good like this.”

“Like what?” Alex asked, then begrudgingly added, “Alpha Jefferson.”

“You on your knees. You make a very pretty sight, Omega. In fact, you should always be on your knees, especially if it’s for me,” he answered.

Ew. Ew. Ew. Gross. Alex needed a shower or like ten. He finally looked at Jefferson. His eyes were dark with a predatory look, as if Alex was some prey that Jefferson had to chase, pin down, and kill. He had seen that look before when people looked at him. It was the look of someone who wanted to hold him down, to fuck him, to dominate him, to possess him. His stomach churned. He hated those looks. Hated it more than anything else because those were the people that didn’t give a fuck about him. They only wanted to own him, to make him submit to them so that way they could feel powerful. They could show him off to everyone as a way of saying, “Look at what a dominant alpha I am. Look at how I own him. He’s my possession and no one else can have him. I’m the one who made him yield.” They were the ones who would preen and expect him to sit there and be docile and well behaved. Who wouldn’t let him do anything without their express permission.

“I’m sure it must be nice for you, Alpha,” Alex said with a smile in the most saccharine voice he could muster. He even fluttered his eyelashes. Jefferson sat up straighter and puffed his chest out. “After all I’m sure someone as bigoted as you can’t stand that an omega like me is so far above you. It must be nice to be able to delude yourself into thinking otherwise,” he finished.

Jefferson clenched his fists, but otherwise didn’t show any outward reaction. He smiled down at Alex and said, “You’re a bit a tease, aren’t you?” Alex rolled his eyes. Jefferson was an idiot if he had bought that act, as if gross sexual harassment was how Alex would suddenly completely change his personality and become the perfect, sweet, docile omega he was supposed to be. “I bet you wouldn’t be talking like that after you had your lips around my co-“

“Shut up, you absolute fuck twat,” John yelled. “For one thing, no one has ever said, ‘Gee you know who would be a great person to date, the guy who just sexually harassed me.’ Also, could you not be a decent human being for like an hour. I know that’s hard for you, but could you not be a creep for the duration of this class because this situation is already disgusting and fucked up-“

“That is enough, Mr. Laurens,” Mr. Lee screamed. “Get out of my class this instance.”

“You’re just pissed that he called out your favorite student on his deplorable behavior,” Alex said.

Mr. Lee was livid as he shouted, “Omega, leave this classroom immediately.”

Alex tried to hold his tongue, he really did (okay, if he was being honest, he didn’t try at all). “Happily. It’s not like you’re a good enough teacher to actually be worth listening to.” He grabbed his backpack and stormed out. John was waiting for him in the hall, and they started walking together. Alex wasn’t sure where they were going.

"You okay?" John asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Alex sighed.

"Do you think Lee will try to kick you out of your AP classes?" John asked with furrowed eyebrows and a slight frown.

"Nah, he won't do anything," Alex said.

"Why not?"

"Because if he tries, I could file a complaint about his behavior. And while that alone would do nothing to deter him, I have a respectable alpha backing me up. They may not respect what I say, but if you backed me up, they'd listen to you," Alex explained.

"People are stupid," John grumbled.

Alex snorted and said, "Yeah, they are."

“I’m sorry,” John said abruptly after a moment of silence.

Alex stopped. “For what?”

“I know that you don’t like it when I speak up in class when Lee is being an asshole. I’m sorry I didn’t do what you wanted me to do,” he paused, took a breath. “It just pisses me off when Lee does that shit to you, or Jefferson is being a creepy motherfucker. You shouldn’t have to worry about what new ways Lee is going to try to degrade you with or Jefferson being disgusting. And I hate that you can’t really speak up in that class otherwise it could jeopardize your standing as an AP student. So sometimes I just can’t help but say something because I know you can’t get angry, so maybe if I’m angry enough for the both of us, you might feel better. Which I realize is stupid logic. Of course, you’re still angry. And you can be snarky as fuck. By the way, what you said to Jefferson was amazing. Anyway, I know you can defend yourself, and I know you don’t like it when I get all up in arms. So, I’m sorry,” he rambled.

Alex stared for a minute. “It’s fine,” Alex murmured. “Actually, it’s…” he looked away and fiddled with his shirt’s hem. “It’s nice… having someone in class who will… you know, stand up for me. Be outraged at everything that’s happening.” He cleared his throat and stared at his feet.

John didn’t say anything for a long moment before saying, “You want to ditch?”

Alex stared at John. “Um, won’t we get in trouble?”

“Nah, they don’t monitor the parking lot, and if anyone asks we can just say that we have a free period. They don’t really give a fuck if we leave during free periods,” he explained.

“Won’t we miss something important in class, though?”

“No. We’re working on our essays in class today, which I know you already have done. And Mr. B is having us watch a movie about Mozart or something. And neither of them take attendance, so we won’t be marked as truant,” he said.

Alex bit his lip. “I don’t know,” he said.

“We don’t have to,” John replied. “I’m just throwing it out there.”

“If we did ditch,” Alex said slowly, “what would we do?”

“Anything you want. We could go to the mall or go see a movie or I could just drop you off at home if you wanted. Just let your… ride know that someone at school is giving you a ride home.”

“That does sound like fun,” Alex admitted.

“It is. I don’t do it often, but I always enjoy my time spent not being at school when I should be. There’s a special warm and fuzzy feeling about it.”

Alex laughed. “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind getting out of school for awhile,” he answered.

John’s blinding smile made Alex’s cheeks heat up. “Okay, cool. Let’s go,” he said.

They walked out to the parking lot. John led the way to his car. Alex’s thoughts screeched to a halt when he realized that he would be alone with John. That John would be driving him and could take him wherever John wanted. That John could take him somewhere isolated and-

“Alex, what’s wrong?” John’s voice broke him out of his reverie. Alex flinched back. “Woah, hey, what’s wrong? Did I do something wrong?”

Alex couldn’t breath. His chest ached. He was going to die. He was going to die because he made a bad decision. He didn’t think this out at all. Why had he agreed to this?

“Alex. Alex. I need you to take some deep breaths, okay. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale,” John kept repeating that over and over. The repetition eventually eased the tightness in his chest, and he was able to breath again. When he got his bearings, he realized that he was curled up against the side of a car with John crouched a few feet away.

“Sorry,” Alex mumbled.

“You don’t have to apologize,” John said softly. “What happened?”

“Promise not to get mad?”

“I pinky promise,” he said.

“Pinky promise?”

“It’s the most sacred of all promise rituals. Breaking one means that the ground will open up and swallow you whole.”

Alex snorted. “I’ve never heard that about pinky promises.”

“Well, it is one hundred percent true.”

He gave John a tentative smile before saying, “I guess… I just realized that… we would be alone… in a car…where you could take me wherever you wanted… and do whatever you wanted. And it freaked me out. Sorry.”

“We can go back inside if you want, but I want you to know that I would never hurt you, which I realize probably doesn’t really mean much for you,” John paused. “My mom died a few years ago,” he said suddenly. “If I ever broke a promise, she would smack me upside my head and then make me go to my room. So I promise that I will never hurt you, Alex. Or may my mother’s ghost come back just to smack me upside the head and yell at me.”

Alex stared. He’d had people make those kinds of promises before and all of them had been broken, so he wasn’t sure why he believed John. He knew what losing a mother felt like. He had made a few promises to his mom since she had died, and those were the ones that had been more important than anything else.

He slowly stood up; John followed. “I believe you. I, I still want to ditch with you, if you still want to.”

John smiled, this one sadder, but still brilliant. They walked over to his car, which was a 2016 Mercedes Benz. It was sleek and black and looked more expensive than everything Alex had touched combined.

“Holy shit,” he muttered as he cautiously opened the passenger door.

“I know it’s a lot. My dad got it for me for my sixteenth birthday. He said that I needed a car that would provide status or some other bullshit. I think it’s way too over the top, and honestly I feel like a douchebag whenever I drive it. Not that it’s not a nice car, it’s just that… I’m starting to ramble again. Sorry,” he said.

“It’s fine. I’ve just never seen a car this nice up close before. What model is it?”

“It’s an S-Class Coupe,” John said as they got in. “Oh, one quick thing.”

He reached into the back and pulled a purse up to the front seat. Alex furrowed his eyebrows.

“My sister’s,” John explained. He pulled out a small canister and threw the purse into the back. He handed the canister to Alex.

“What is this?” Alex asked as he examined it.

“Pepper spray. If you think that I’m going to be a terrible human being, then I want you to pepper spray me. You won’t need it because I’m not a terrible person, but I thought that it might help you feel more comfortable,” John explained.

Alex looked down at his lap, unsure on how to respond. It was weird. He could always use his words as weapons, know exactly what to say to cut someone. His power of speech was unimpeachable. But that only came when someone was being cruel. His words failed him when confronted with kindness.

“Thanks,” he said.

“So, where do you want to go?” John asked.

Alex shrugged. “I don’t really know the area very well. What is there to do?”

“Mount Vernon doesn’t have too much besides the museum for our first president and some nice hiking trails. But there’s Cameron Run Regional Park, which has a mini golf course and is only a twenty minute drive. Would you want to do that?” John answered.

“That sounds fun,” Alex agreed.

“Cool,” he said as they drove out of the parking lot. Alex quickly texted George that he was getting a ride home from a friend and might be home a little later because they were working on something for school.

John turned on the radio and hummed along to what Alex thought was a Taylor Swift song.

“I’ve never been mini golfing,” Alex commented.

“Really?” John asked. “My mom used to take us there all the time when I was little. I haven’t been in years. My dad thinks it’s dumb and immature to be wasting my time on ‘frivolous activities.’ I’ve been planning on taking my siblings soon, though.”

“My mom used to take me to the public tennis courts, and we’d spend the day playing tennis,” Alex admitted. “Not often. We didn’t have a lot of money to do those kinds of things. She would take me there at the end of school year if I got good grades the whole year. It was one of the few splurges we ever did every year.”

Alex had never told anybody that. It had remained locked in his heart as if he was afraid that by sharing it, the whole thing would disappear.

“That sounds fun,” John commented. He didn’t say anything else or ask questions.

“She died when I was twelve.”

“I was thirteen.”

They didn’t say anything else, just finding comfort in being with someone who knew the pain of losing a mother.

John parked when they got to the park and they headed inside. When they got to the window where they got their clubs and golf balls, Alex realized that he didn’t have any money on him. The Washingtons gave him an allowance, but Alex wasn’t comfortable using it.

“Um, John,” Alex asked hesitantly. “I, uh, I don’t have any money on me.”

“That’s fine. I can pay. Admission is only like four dollars anyway, so it’s not like it’s a big deal,” John replied.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yeah. I honestly don’t mind.”

Alex didn’t usually like letting people pay for him and most of the time wouldn’t let anyone pay for him. If he couldn’t afford it, then he went without. The Washingtons had been an exception because he hadn’t wanted to cause trouble. John was just so earnest about it. Plus, Alex didn’t want to make them leave after driving all the way out here. So, for once, Alex let someone else pay for him without dying on the inside. And, for the first time in his life, he was actually excited to spend time with someone who was an alpha.

Chapter Text

 

John and Herc were walking out of physics to go to lunch. 

 

“I hate Rube Goldberg Machines,” Herc grumbled.

 

“Yeah,” John agreed. They were starting a project where they had to build one to do something. John wasn’t really sure what was happening. He may have spaced out while sketching. Regardless, they were a pain in the ass to build. They had only just started building and all of their ideas were proving to be unworkable. 

 

Fuck, John didn’t want to think about physics anymore. When he and Herc got to their usual table, he was surprised to see Alex sitting across from Eliza and Laf. They looked deep in discussion. Alex waved his hands around wildly as he tried to explain something. John couldn’t help the small smile as it crept onto his face. 

 

He and Herc sat on either side of Alex without thinking about it. 

 

“I’m telling you, that’s a pie bond,” Alex said passionately. What the fuck was a pie bond? 

 

“No, that’s a sigma bond,” Eliza argued. Sigma bond? Oh, oh. A pi bond, not pie. That… didn’t clear anything up. John tuned them out because chemistry made him break out in hives. He couldn’t really understand why they were subjecting themselves to AP Chemistry. Regular chemistry was hell enough. Well, he supposed that if anyone could understand it, it was those three. Eventually, they figured it out. Apparently Alex was right about the pi bond thing and Eliza was right about… something else. Fuck John didn’t know. The three of them moved on to something else. John wasn’t really listening. 

 

He had grabbed his calc notebook to look through some of the example problems. They had a quiz tomorrow that John was not ready for. He glanced up when Laf made a comment about Mr. B’s class. John was about to respond when he felt Alex tense up. Alex had shrunk in on himself and every muscle looked coiled, like Alex was preparing to fight his way out. His breathing was quicker and his hands were trembling. John looked around, not sure what had caused the sudden change. Then he looked over at Herc and realized that Alex was sitting between two alphas. John knew nothing about Alex’s past besides that people had generally been dicks to him, but John had a sneaking suspicion that an alpha or multiple alphas had done some pretty awful things to Alex. He wasn’t sure if it had been verbal, or physical, or, God forbid, sexual, but something had happened. John berated himself for putting Alex in this position. He should have been aware that Alex wouldn’t be comfortable with this. 

 

John made eye contact with Eliza and nodded towards Alex. She nodded, understanding what he wanted without him having to say a word. He got up and sat next to Angelica, who was sitting on the other side, and asked for help with a calc problem he wasn’t getting. Eliza quickly followed suit, getting in between Alex and Herc, and asked for help with the essay they were writing in AP Comp. After that, Alex quickly relaxed although John noticed that his hands still shook. 

 

John hated that Alex was afraid of them, of him. Afraid that they would hurt him. It made his stomach twist into knots. The only omega that John had ever known was his mother. She was the kindest, most loving woman on the planet, as far as John was concerned. She was funny and always knew how to make everything better. She was the main reason he had started researching omega rights since he had seen some disturbing things that had happened to his mom. Nothing violent. His father had loved his mother. John was sure of that, but his father was very conservative and traditional. He hadn’t let Mom work, and she never really talked around any of his dad’s alpha and beta buddies. Their dynamic had been very reminiscent of those weird fifties couples that they showed on TV. The doting omega wife and the powerful alpha husband. Mom had seemed happy most of the time, always smiling and laughing, making sure everyone was taken care of. But, sometimes, John would see her wrapped up in a blanket leaning against a window and staring forlornly at the woods behind their house in the early morning when she thought that no one was awake. He had gone up and asked her what was wrong one time. 

 

“What are you doing up, baby?” she had asked. 

 

He was six at the time. “Momma, what’s wrong? You look sad,” he replied.

 

She crouched down. “Nothing’s wrong, sweetheart. Just sometimes life takes a different path than you expect and sometimes you’re sad about the path you didn’t take,” she answered. John nodded, but he hadn’t really understood at the time. Now he realized that she had been talking about a lot of things. She had been on track to go to culinary school when she had met Dad. They had bonded and gotten married and suddenly she wasn’t allowed to go. She had expected their relationship to be one of equals, but it wasn’t. His dad was firmly in control. And while she had taken to the role of housewife, there had always been a part of her that had yearned for more. John had scrabbled this picture together through stories his maternal grandparents had told after she had passed away and from his own observations. 

 

When he had these realizations, John had started doing research. It astounded him how oblivious he had been to how omegas were treated, to how he had talked about omegas. Until that moment, he hadn’t realized that he was just as bigoted as everyone else, that he stood from a place of privilege, a privilege he was completely unaware of. In the following months, he had caught himself saying omegist things constantly. Once he had noticed it, it was impossible to ignore. 

 

Freshman year he had been on the football team. Everyone, including him, expected him to be quarterback by his junior year. But since John started hearing the omegist comments, he had started to call his friends on it. They hadn’t particularly liked that. By the end of the year, John had quit the football team (much to his father’s dismay), and he was no longer friends with most of his former teammates, which was fine with him. He started hanging out with Herc and Laf after that, and soon the Schuyler sisters had joined them.

 

And now there was Alex. He knew that he couldn’t force Alex to feel safe and comfortable around him, but he hoped that someday, he would feel safe with John. Because Alex deserved to feel safe, and John was pretty sure that Alex never felt safe. At school, he was always hyper-vigilant. He scanned rooms constantly, sat as if a rod had replaced his spine, there was always a tension in his limbs. He didn’t see him outside of school, but the few times he had seen Mr. or Mrs. Washington pick him up, his back was just as straight, his muscles just as tense, he looked at his lap and played with the ends of his sleeves. John knew that the Washingtons were good people. Mr. Washington introduced multiple bills that furthered omega rights, and Mrs. Washington had volunteered at the shelter for people in abusive situations. So John was fairly certain that they weren’t hurting Alex (although he supposed they could be different behind closed doors, but John doubted it). No, John was pretty sure that Alex acted like that because of previous experiences, which made John want to punch the people that had hurt Alex in the throat. 

 

John was pulled from his thoughts when the bell rang. He packed his stuff up and started walking with Alex. Time for calc. Yay.

 


 

John tried not to fume as they walked to the parking lot. God, how was Lee allowed to teach? Honestly, John wouldn’t be surprised if the man was a sex predator. He should be in jail, or at least not be allowed to teach. And seriously, how did anyone like Jefferson? He was such a fuckwad. John shook himself out of his thoughts. He didn’t need to dwell on that now. He could think about it later. Right now, he needed to focus on Alex. After all, he was the one who had actually been subjected to Lee and Jefferson’s treatment. 

 

Alex was following John to his car. He was a little nervous about Alex seeing his car because it was such a douchebag car. John stopped when he realized that Alex was no longer behind him. He glanced back and saw Alex staring wide eyed at the ground and trembling. His breathing shook and his fists were clenched. 

 

“Alex, what’s wrong?” John asked. Alex flinched back. His breathing was getting faster. What just happened? Alex seemed fine just a second ago. “Woah, hey, what’s wrong? Did I do something wrong?”

 

Alex gave a pained whine and stumbled back before sinking to the ground next to one of the cars. John approached cautiously, making sure to leave some space between them. Alex suddenly started gasping, like he couldn’t breath. 

 

“Alex. Alex. I need you to take some deep breaths, okay. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale,” John said gently, trying and failing to remember how his mom had helped him when he had panic attacks as a little kid. He just kept repeating, “Inhale, exhale.”

 

John thought that he wasn’t helping at all when Alex started to breath easier. It was gradual, but eventually he was breathing fairly normally if a little shakily.

 

“Sorry,” Alex mumbled. John’s chest ached at Alex’s apology. 

 

“You don’t have to apologize,” John said softly. “What happened?”

 

“Promise not to get mad?”

 

Why would Alex think that John would be mad?

 

“I pinky promise,” he said. 

 

“Pinky promise?”

 

“It’s the most sacred of all promise rituals. Breaking one means that the ground will open up and swallow you whole.”

 

Alex snorted. “I’ve never heard that about pinky promises.”

 

John felt a small smile creep onto his face at getting Alex to almost laugh.

 

“Well, it is one hundred percent true.”

 

He gave John a tentative smile before saying, “I guess… I just realized that… we would be alone… in a car…where you could take me wherever you wanted… and do whatever you wanted. And it freaked me out. Sorry.”

 

John’s heart broke all over again at hearing his admission. Here Alex was telling him that he was afraid that John would take him somewhere and kill him or rape him or something, and he was concerned that John would get angry. Like John would be offended that Alex thought he could hurt him when that was a perfectly valid fear. Alex didn’t know John, didn’t know that there was no way in hell that he would ever hurt Alex.  

 

“We can go back inside if you want, but I want you to know that I would never hurt you, which I realize probably doesn’t really mean much for you,” John paused. “My mom died a few years ago,” he said abruptly. He wasn’t sure why he started talking about his mom, but the words just escaped his mouth. “If I ever broke a promise, she would smack me upside my head and then make me go to my room. So I promise that I will never hurt you, Alex. Or may my mother’s ghost come back just to smack me upside the head and yell at me.”

 

And John was one hundred percent sure that she would come back just to berate him for hurting Alex. She would have loved him. He felt a pang in his chest. He really wished that she was here. 

 

Alex stared. John waited. Alex shakily stood up, and John followed slowly, not wanting to startle him. “I believe you. I, I still want to ditch with you, if you still want to.”

 

John smiled. Hopefully someday Alex would believe him without the reassurance although John was happy to provide it for however long it took. They walked over to his car, which was a 2016 Mercedes Benz. It was sleek and black and John both loved and hated it. He loved it because it was a nice car and driving it was kind of amazing. He hated it because his dad had gotten it for him to “show off and impress the cute beta girls at school.” It was complete bullshit in John’s opinion.

 

“Holy shit,” Alex muttered as he cautiously opened the passenger door, like he was scared to break it. 

 

“I know it’s a lot. My dad got it for me for my sixteenth birthday. He said that I needed a car that would provide status or some other bullshit. I think it’s way too over the top, and honestly I feel like a douchebag whenever I drive it. Not that it’s not a nice car, it’s just that… I’m starting to ramble again. Sorry,” he said. 

 

“It’s fine. I’ve just never seen a car this nice up close before. What model is it?”

 

“It’s an S-Class Coupe,” John said as they got in. He spotted his sister’s purse in the back seat and had an idea. “Oh, one quick thing.”

 

He reached into the back and pulled the purse up to the front seat. He rummaged through it before finding what he needed. He glanced over and saw Alex had tilted his head to the side and had that cute little crease in between his eyebrows that he got when he was thinking hard about something. 

 

“My sister’s,” John explained. He pulled the pepper spray out and threw the purse into the back, then handed it to Alex. 

 

“What is this?” Alex asked as he examined it. 

 

“Pepper spray. If you think that I’m going to be a terrible human being, then I want you to pepper spray me. You won’t need it because I’m not a terrible person, but I thought that it might help you feel more comfortable,” John explained. 

 

He hoped that it would make Alex feel a little calmer knowing that he could easily incapacitate John. And Alex might trust John a little bit more since he gave Alex something to defend himself with.

 

“Thanks,” he said. 

 

“So, where do you want to go?” John asked. 

 

Alex shrugged. “I don’t really know the area very well. What is there to do?”

 

“Mount Vernon doesn’t have too much besides the museum for our first president and some nice hiking trails. But there’s Cameron Run Regional Park, which has a mini golf course and is only a twenty minute drive. Would you want to do that?” John answered. 

 

“That sounds fun,” Alex agreed. 

 

“Cool,” he said as they drove out of the parking lot. John turned on the radio and hummed along to a Taylor Swift song, specifically “Blank Space”. 

 

“I’ve never been mini golfing,” Alex commented. 

 

“Really?” John asked. “My mom used to take us there all the time when I was little. I haven’t been in years. My dad thinks it’s dumb and immature to be wasting my time on ‘frivolous activities.’ I’ve been planning on taking my siblings soon, though.”

 

“My mom used to take me to the public tennis courts, and we’d spend the day playing tennis,” Alex admitted. “Not often. We didn’t have a lot of money to do those kinds of things. She would take me there at the end of school year if I got good grades the whole year. It was one of the few splurges we ever did every year.”

 

John glanced over. Alex had never talked about his past or his family. This was the first time that Alex had told him anything personal. He had heard a little about Alex from his dad when he was complaining about the Washingtons taking in some “delinquent omega” to make themselves look better. John had rolled his eyes at the time. From what he knew of the Washingtons, they weren’t the type of people to take a kid in just to further their careers. He had thought about asking how his dad knew so much about the Washingtons fostering situation, but he hadn’t wanted to bother with the tirade that would follow. 

 

“That sounds fun,” John commented.

 

“She died when I was twelve.”

 

“I was thirteen.”

 

They didn’t say anything else, just finding comfort in being with someone who knew the pain of losing a mother.

 

They parked and went in. When they got to the window where they got their clubs and golf balls, Alex stopped.

 

“Um, John,” Alex asked hesitantly. John stopped and looked at him. “I, uh, I don’t have any money on me.”

 

“That’s fine. I can pay. Admission is only like four dollars anyway, so it’s not like it’s a big deal,” John replied. 

 

“Are you sure?” he asked.

 

“Yeah. I honestly don’t mind.”

 

Alex nodded and John paid. 

 

“Since you’ve never played, do you know the rules?” John asked.

 

“Kind of. I worked at a golf course when I was a kid, so I get the general gist of golf, which I’m assuming is pretty similar to mini golf,” Alex said. 

 

“Yeah, they’re pretty close. Just hit the ball into the hole in the least amount of hits. Lowest score wins,” John said. 

 

“I hope that whoever invented golf thought, ‘You know what would be fun. Making a game where people have to hit balls into holes. That’s kid-friendly,’” Alex commented as John started his turn. 

 

He laughed and said, “Wait until you play pool. As far as my friends and I are concerned if you’re not making dirty jokes, then you’re not playing it right.” 

 

He hit his ball and it bounced around a little bit before stopping near the green. Alex took his turn and hit his within an inch of the hole. 

 

“Never played before, huh?” John teased. 

 

Alex shrugged and replied, “Beginner’s luck.”

 

“I don’t know. I think you might be hustling me.”

 

Alex laughed. “Don’t you have to be betting something in order for a hustle to take place.”

 

“Fair point.”

 

Alex finished the first hole with a two, and John finished with a four. They went through the course and talked and played. On the eighth hole, Alex laughed so hard he started crying when John hit the ball with so much enthusiasm that it bounced off a tree and flew into the hole on the eleventh hole. Alex turned out to be a natural. He easily crushed John. It was honestly the most fun he’d had in a long time. Alex turned out to be more relaxed outside of school. His humor was subtle, a comment that made John pause before realizing that Alex had made a clever quip. He also turned out to be a master at making dirty jokes.

 

At one point, they had been talking about sports and John had, unthinkingly, made an off-hand comment about how playing with balls was fun. Alex, without missing a beat, winked at him and said, “Yeah, it is.”

 

John had burst out laughing.

 

When they were done, they walked over to the car and got in. 

 

“Thanks,” Alex said. “I really needed this. Especially after what happened in calc.”

 

“Anytime. To be honest, I needed it too,” John said. “You had fun, right?”

 

Alex smiled. “Of course. I… really like hanging out with you.” His face flushed and he looked out the window. 

 

That dopey grin that wouldn’t leave his face that first day he’d met Alex came back. John turned the radio on and started driving. He looked at the time. School had ended about ten minutes ago. Wow. That game had taken longer than John had thought. Although with the way they were talking, it’s not surprising that it had taken so long.

 

They sat in comfortable silence until they got into town. 

 

“You’re living with the Washingtons, right?” John asked. 

 

“Yeah. Do you need directions?”

 

“Nah. I’ve been over to their house before,” Alex gave him a weird look. “My dad’s a politician and the Washingtons have us over for dinner every once in awhile. I’m not sure why. I know my dad doesn’t like them, and I can’t imagine why they’d like my dad.”

 

“I couldn’t answer that for you. By any chance, is your dad Henry Laurens?” Alex asked. 

 

John sighed. “Yeah,” he answered begrudgingly. “I don’t agree with him on anything, just so you know. I know that he’s kind of a conservative asshole, but I’m not like that.”

 

“I know that John. I wouldn’t judge you based on your father. After all if we were judging people based on their fathers, that wouldn’t reflect well on me,” Alex said. 

 

John waited a second, but Alex didn’t elaborate. “Okay. I just wanted to make sure,” he explained. John drove up the small road. God, John forgot how remote the Washington’s house was. He stopped in front of the gate and unlocked the doors. 

 

“I’ll see you Monday?” John asked. 

 

Alex smiled shyly. “Yeah, definitely. Bye John and thanks again. This was a lot of fun.”

 

He watched Alex walk over to the gate, type a passcode in, and head inside. John left once he was in the house. His phone started buzzing like crazy, so he pulled off to the side of the road and looked at his messages. They were all from his friends. Most of them consisted of Get your ass over here right now. Although a few were from early that he must not have noticed asking him where he was. He sighed as he headed over to the Schuyler’s house. They actually lived pretty close to the Washingtons, as did John and Laf. Herc lived about a quarter mile away in a smaller neighborhood. He pulled into the driveway and went inside. His friends were sitting on the couch and floor in the living room.

 

“Where the hell have you been?” Angelica exclaimed as soon as she saw him.

 

“I ditched,” he said simply as he sat on the floor. 

 

“We gathered that much,” she said sarcastically. “But where were you?”

 

Alright, he wasn’t going to get away with a short explanation then. “I went to Cameron Run Regional Park and played mini golf,” he said. 

 

They all stared at him. 

 

“By yourself?” Eliza asked.

 

“No. Alex and I went,” John said, hoping they would drop it. 

 

Peggy gasped and yelled, “What?! You guys went on a date. I thought you said you weren’t going to ask him out. How come you didn’t tell me?”

 

“It wasn’t a date. Lee was being a prick and kicked us out, so we ditched and did something fun,” he explained. 

 

“What did Lee do this time?” Laf asked. Every day, John had ranted for at least twenty minutes about whatever shitty thing Lee had done that day. He didn’t really want to get into it. John was in a really good mood, and talking about it would just make him angry again. 

 

“I’ll tell you guys tomorrow,” he said. 

 

"So, you two had a good time?" Eliza asked.

 

The dopey grin came back although he tried to suppress it. “Yeah."

 

"Dude, you are so whipped," Herc teased. 

 

"I like Alex. Sue me," John said as he rolled his eyes. 

 

"Hey, none of us our judging you," Eliza reassured. "Honestly, if Alex didn't clearly have feelings for you, I would have pushed you so far out of the way it wouldn't even be funny so I could have Alex to myself.”

 

John laughed. "Well, I'm glad I know where I stand," he teased. Then paused and processed the rest of Eliza's words. "Wait, what do you mean he clearly has feeling for me?”

 

"John, have you seen the way he looks at you, mon ami? Don't get me wrong, I don't think he's in love with you, and despite our teasing I don't think you're in love with him, but he looks at you with such overwhelming fondness. It's so obvious that he likes you more than the rest of us, even me, which I'm not sure why he would like you more than me," Laf said.

 

John flipped him off. 

 

"Even if what you're saying is true, that doesn't translate to romantic feelings. And even if it did, I still wouldn't do anything about it, which is where, I'm assuming, this conversation is going.”

 

Everyone sighed. "John, he blushes so much around you. He's clearly attracted to you. I don't think the romantic feelings thing is a problem," Herc said. "So why are you so adamant about not pursuing this when you both clearly like each other?”

 

"No offense, but are you guys blind?" John said. They all started to protest. "No, I'm serious. He almost had a panic attack at lunch today because two alphas were sitting on either side of him. And then, when we were ditching, he realized that we would be alone and I would be driving. He had a fucking panic attack because he was worried I would take him somewhere and kill him or rape him or something. Look, whatever happened to Alex, he has issues to work out, and adding a relationship to that would just turn out bad. When he feels like he can trust me and feels safe around me one hundred percent of the time, then I’ll pursue him. But until that happens, there’s no way in hell I’m doing anything about it.”

 

Angie sighed. “You’re right. We know you’re right. It’s just you’re never interested in anyone, and we want to see you happy. Okay?” she said. 

 

“I appreciate it,” John said sincerely. “But just trust me on this.”

 

They acquiesced and turned back to their homework. 

 


 

When Alex got back to the Washington’s house, he went inside and tried to just run up to his room, but Martha was in the living room having just gotten off her shift.

 

“Alex, sweetheart, how was your day?” she asked with a bright smile. Alex stopped and gave a wane smile. 

 

He… liked the Washingtons. They were kind people, but there was always a part of him that was waiting for the other shoe to drop. In some ways, he wanted it to just happen to get it out of the way. At least that way he could plan and figure out how to best handle the situation, but when he was just waiting in limbo, he was never sure what to expected. 

 

“It was good,” he answered simply. 

 

“I’m glad. Who gave you a lift home?” she asked.

 

“Um, John Laurens,” he answered.

 

She lifted an eyebrow fractionally. “Oh,” she exhaled. “I didn’t realize you two were friends.”

 

Alex shrugged. “We have a lot of classes together. And I’m in a lot of classes with his friends, too,” he said.

 

“I’m glad you’re making friends,” Martha said. 

 

He nodded before saying, “I’m gonna go work on homework.”

 

“Ok, have fun,” she said. 

 

Alex smiled and headed upstairs. He sat down at his desk and got out all of his homework. He pulled out his Calc notebook and opened his textbook to the problems that he had to work on. Except, he just stared at it before his chest tightened. Everything that had happened in Lee’s class came rushing back. 

 

That, that had been humiliating. His cheeks started to heat up again. He knew he should tell the Washingtons what Mr. Lee had done, but if he did, they would go to the school. He'd probably get kicked out of his AP classes. No. He could handle it. It was fine. Despite what everyone seemed to think, it wasn't a problem to handle this. He was more than strong enough to survive whatever Lee threw at him. 

 

Alex bounced his leg up and down, tapped his pencil, looked at an assignment for a few minutes before moving onto a different one and repeating the process. He sighed. There was a rattling in his chest. He shoved his chair back and paced. Fuck. There was no way he was getting anything done. Those goddamn memories kept trying to escape even as he ruthlessly shoved them back into the prison that he had created in his head as he desperately tried not to remember. 

 

Please, just leave him alone. It was over and done. There was no point in thinking about it. Nothing would change what had happened. It had been months, almost a year, since that had all gone down. He was over it now. He was.

 

Fuck Lee. Why did he have to remind Alex, make him think about it again?

 

He glanced over at his phone. He grabbed it and opened up his contacts. It was pretty empty. Martha and George's phone numbers were in there, along with John's, Eliza's, Lafayette's, and Hercules'. That was it. He paused, thought about what he wanted to do and clicked on John's number.

 

Today 4:20 PM

 

Me: Hey

 

Okay. So he just texted John. After a minute, Alex quickly realized that that was a terrible idea. John had gotten kicked out of class for him. They had just spent hours together. Oh god. John probably thought he was some sort of clingy omega.

 

His phone chimed.

 

John :D: Hey :)

 

Some of the pressure in his chest eased. 

 

Me:Sorry. I hope I'm not bothering you. I'm just bored and can't concentrate

 

John :D: ur not bothering me. I'm surprised the gr8t Alexander Hamilton can't concentrate :p

 

Me:You can't spell out "you're" or "great", but you can spell out my name :P And I started to work on Calc, but it just ended up pissing me off.

 

John :D: Ur name is fun. It's so pretentious and ur not. Also ur the only person I know who's grammatically correct while txting... maybe u r pretentious ;) And sorry Lee is a douche nozzle

 

Alex laughed.

 

Me: It's not your fault. Thanks again for taking me mini golfing. That was the most fun I've had in a long time

 

John :D: Anytime. I had a lot of fun 2. And u don't have to keep thanking me, it's what friends r 4

 

Alex felt a grin spread across his face. He bit his lip and texted back.

 

Me:Well, then, thanks for being my friend. 

 

John :D:If any1 should b thanking any1 4 being their friend, I should be thanking u

 

Me: Why?

 

John :D: Um, becuz ur awesome and cool. I'm lucky ur letting some1 as dorky as me hang out with u

 

Me: You are not dorky

 

John :D: Yes I am

 

Me: Ok, you're a little dorky, but it's a cute dorky ;p

 

John :D: Aw, u think I'm cute dorky. U sure know how to sweet talk a guy :P

 

Me:Yeah, well, Laurens I like you a lot

 

John :D: I like you too. I'm glad we met

 

Me: Me too

 

"Alex, sweetie, dinner's ready," Martha called. 

 

Me:Sorry. I have to go. I'm getting called down for dinner

 

John :D: No problem. C u Monday

 

Me: See you Monday :)

 

He put his phone in his pocket and headed downstairs. He sat down and they started dinner.

 

"How was school?" George asked.

 

"Good," Alex replied softly.

 

"Anything exciting happen?" he queried.

 

"No. Same old, same old," Alex lied. 

 

"Really?" he asked. "Nothing you want to share?”

 

Crap. He must have found out about Alex ditching somehow. Maybe if Alex just kept feigning ignorance, he would drop it.

 

“No."

 

"Hmm. That's weird because I got a call from Mr. Lee today that said you were disrespectful in class and got kicked out," he said.

 

Alex froze. Shit. "Are you mad?" Alex questioned quietly.

 

George sighed. "I'm not happy that you lied. I want you to feel like you can be honest with us. So what happened?”

 

Alex shrugged. "Lee was just being a dick like usual. One of the other students was being creepy and John called him out on it. Lee kicked him out. I called Lee out on it, and he kicked me out, too.”

 

"Someone was being creepy to you?" Martha asked. 

 

Alex reluctantly nodded.

 

"And what was this student doing?" she asked, a hint of anger creeping into her voice.

 

"I don't really want to say.”

 

"I'm just going to be imagining it now, and I'm just going to build it up in my head, so please just tell us," she pleaded.

 

Alex sighed. “Fine,” he grumbled before launching into a short explanation of what had happened in calc between him and Jefferson.

 

“Alex-“ George started before Alex cut him off.

 

"Please. Just drop it," Alex implored.

 

They both sighed. "Okay. We'll drop it for now," Martha said. "But, we have to talk about it eventually. Okay?" Martha conceded.

 

"Yeah. Thanks," Alex said. "How was work?”

 

Martha paused before launching into a rant about how some people were incapable of making smart decisions. After dinner and clean-up, Alex went up to his room and read. He even went to bed at a reasonable time (for him).

 

 

Chapter Text

Martha sat in bed and read; George was beside her watching something on Netflix on his tablet.

 

She sighed as she read the same paragraph for the fourth time.

 

George glanced over and paused whatever he was watching. "You okay?" he asked as he took his headphones out.

 

"No. I keep thinking about how Alex said it wasn't a big deal about some kid sexually harassing him. I just... I wish we knew more about his past. Maybe if we knew everything, we could handle it all better. Sometimes, I  feel so lost on how to react or what to say," she said.

 

"Yeah. Me too," he said. "We'll figure it out. Hopefully, Alex will tell us everything that's happened to him, the good and the bad. Until then we try our hardest and be patient.”

 

"I know. I wish I could do more, though.”

 

They both fell asleep a little while later. 

 

Martha was ripped from Morpheus' grip as she jerked upright. Oh god, what had woken her up? A moment later, her question was answered when she heard screaming coming from upstairs. Alex.

 

"George," she snapped. "George." Martha shook him. Sometimes, Martha swore that he died during the night and then was resurrected in the morning. "George," she snapped. He finally woke up and mumbled, “Wha?"

 

Another scream. He bolted up and scrambled out of bed. They ran upstairs. Alex was screaming and sobbing. Martha tried to open the door but like always it was locked.

 

"Grab the key," she ordered. He reached up and grabbed the key off of the door frame and handed it to her. She unlocked the door and ran in.

 

Alex was thrashing around in bed, his hair tangled and sticking together from sweat. His eyes were screwed shut and he was grimacing. His chest rose rapidly and he started screaming again before yelling, "No. No. Please, stop. Please. I'll be good. I promise. Please, stop.”

 

"Alex, honey, wake up. It's just a dream," Martha reassured.

 

He was sobbing, gut-wrenching cries jerked out of his chest. Tears streamed down his cheeks. His litany of "no"s slowly faded into mumbled pleas. Then, the whole process started over as Alex began screaming and yelling. Martha knew that touching him wasn't the best idea, but she wasn't sure what else to do. She ran over to him and shook his shoulder, gently repeating, "Alex, sweetheart, you're okay. It's Martha. No one's going to hurt you. It's just a dream.”

 

He jolted awake, crying out. Alex spotted them and scrambled away, curling up pressed against the headboard. "Don't. Please don't. Please, please, please," he muttered.

 

"No one's going to hurt you. It's Martha. I would never hurt you and neither would George. You're safe. You're safe," she said. It took almost ten minutes of her repeating this while George hovered near the edge of the bed until Alex finally started breathing normally.

 

When some coherency returned to his eyes, he looked at them for a second before hiding his face behind his knees. 

 

"Alex, sweetheart, how are you feeling?" Martha asked gently.

 

He shrugged.

 

"Do you want to talk about your nightmare?”

 

He shook his head. She sighed.

 

"Okay. I could make some tea or hot chocolate if you want some?”

 

Alex shook his head again. 

 

"Okay. Is there anything we can do for you?”

 

"No," he croaked.

 

"Alright. If you need anything, don't hesitate to come get us.”

 

Martha leaned over to lightly kiss the top of his head, but Alex flinched away with a small whimper and curled into himself. 

 

“Goodnight, honey. I lov… hope you can get back to sleep,” Martha said as she and George left Alex’s room. Alex didn’t respond.

 

They went back down to their room and got back into bed. Martha stared at the ceiling knowing that there was no way she was getting anymore sleep. She wished that Alex would talk about what his nightmare had been about. The way he yelled out that “he’ll be good, he promised, just stop” unsettled Martha. She had a few ideas on what had caused those words and all of them were increasingly disturbing. She sighed as she tossed and turned. George was also staring at the ceiling.

 

“We’re not going to fall back asleep, are we?” Martha said. 

 

“No. There’s no way I’m falling asleep after that,” George replied.

 

“Do you… do you think that Alex was… raped?” Martha asked quietly.

 

George sighed. “I don’t know. After that and with how uncomfortable and afraid he is of us, I can’t say I’d be surprised. But that nightmare could have been about something else. I have little doubt in my mind though that Alex has been abused.”

 

Martha felt tears prick her eyes. “I wish I could take all of it away. When he first got here, I thought that he had just been bounced around to so many homes, and people discriminated against him so much, and that was what caused him to be so distrustful.”

 

“We’ll figure it out. Maybe we should talk to Alex about going and seeing a therapist,” George said. 

 

Martha nodded. “Yeah. That’s a good idea.”

 

They talked for another hour before trying to fall back asleep. Neither of them did. 

 

The next morning, George and Martha were in the kitchen cooking breakfast when they heard soft footfalls coming down the stairs. Neither of them looked, not wanting to make Alex uncomfortable. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Alex murmured. 

 

“What are you sorry for?” Martha asked as she set down a plate of pancakes and bacon and sat down. George followed her and they dished themselves breakfast. Alex grabbed one pancake and one piece of bacon. 

 

“Waking you up last night. I didn’t mean to,” he said.

 

“Sweetheart, you don’t have to apologize for that. Nightmares happen to everyone. One time I dreamed that there were spiders crawling around in our bed. I ended up kicking George in the side so hard he cried for, like, ten minutes,” Martha said.

 

“I didn’t cry for that long,” George grumbled. 

 

“Hun, if anything, I understated how long you were crying,” she said as she conspiratorially winked at Alex. He gave her a wane smile. 

 

“I’m still sorry that I woke you up. That doesn’t happen very often. And you don’t need to stay with me or try to comfort me. You can just wake me up so I stop yelling and then leave,” he said. 

 

Martha stared at him sadly. “The only reason I would leave is if you wanted me to leave. Other than that, I will stay with you and comfort you and wild horses couldn’t drag me away. And don’t think that you can’t ask for that. You deserve to have someone take care of you every once in awhile.”

 

“I can take care of myself,” he mumbled in weak protest. 

 

“I wasn’t saying that you couldn’t. But there’s nothing weak about relying on others and allowing people to take care of you when you need support. Lord knows I’ve needed help more times than I can count,” she paused. “Do you want to talk about your nightmare? I know I asked last night, but you were pretty distressed then.”

 

He shook his head and replied, “No.”

 

“Okay. Well, if you ever want to talk, you can come talk to either of us,” she said.

 

“Alex,” George said. “Martha and I were talking, and we thought that maybe you should see a therapist.”

 

“There’s nothing wrong with me,” he snapped.

 

“We weren’t suggesting that there was. We thought that it might help you. You don’t need to know right now, but think about it, okay?” he replied.

 

“Fine. But I don’t need one,” he said.

 

Neither of them responded to that. The rest of the day was quiet. When Alex was with them, he didn’t say much. As it was, he was barely around, spending most of his time in his room. Sunday went much the same.

Chapter Text

By the time Monday rolled around, Alex was ready to be out of the house. He couldn’t stand the oppressive silence. He knew that he had freaked the Washingtons out with his nightmare. Fucking Lee. He hadn’t had that nightmare in months. He thought that he had gotten past this. But, no, Lee and stupid, motherfucking Jefferson had to bring it back to the forefront of his mind. Alex pushed it away as he entered APUSH. It was in the past; he should forget it. 

 

John came in, and Alex couldn’t help the small smile that appeared when he saw him. They had been texting all weekend.

 

“Hey, Alex,” John greeted. 

 

“Hey,” he said. 

 

“How was your weekend?” John asked.

 

Alex shrugged. “It was okay, I guess. Yours?”

 

John also shrugged. “My dad got a call from Mr. Lee about me getting kicked out of class. He was pissed. I tried to tell him what had happened, but he wouldn’t hear it.”

 

“Are you in a lot of trouble?” Alex asked.

 

“No. I was grounded for the weekend and had to write an apology letter to Mr. Lee and Jefferson, which is dumb, but whatever. So I did that this weekend. Oh, and he made me make a confession at church on Sunday, which I don’t mind doing them, but I’d rather do them on my terms, not because my dad thinks I did something wrong,” John said. 

 

“That sucks,” Alex said. 

 

John hummed, and class started. The day was uneventful. When lunch rolled around, Alex joined Eliza and Laf and all of them. He sat between Laf and Eliza as they went over the notes from Chem. He didn't interact with anyone beyond a hello until Peggy exclaimed, “Yes. Mom agreed to take me to Costco.”

 

Alex and John looked at each other and said simultaneously, “Costco is the shit,” and then burst out laughing. 

 

“What just happened?” Angelica muttered. 

 

“Nothing, Ange. Inside joke,” John said as he calmed down. Alex was still chuckling. 

 

“You two have inside jokes now?” she questioned. 

 

“Yeah,” he said.

 

Angelica winked at him and gestured over to Alex with her head. John blushed and grumbled, “Shut up, Angie.” Alex wasn’t sure what to make of that whole exchange.

 

The rest of lunch was uneventful and afterward John, and he walked to Calc. Alex stopped halfway there. John stopped too. 

 

“I don’t want to go to class,” Alex confessed. 

 

“Yeah, me neither,” John agreed. “Unfortunately, we have to.”

 

“I know. I just…” Alex trailed off. “Never mind. Let’s go.”

 

John stared at him. “Okay, if you’re sure.”

 

Alex nodded and started walking. What he had been about to say was that last class had sucked. And somehow Lee had made every day worse than the previous, so he couldn't help but wonder what new shit was going to happen. A weight settled in Alex’s chest. It felt like the Earth’s gravity had increased, and he didn’t have the energy to move. He spotted Jefferson as they were walking up to the classroom.

 

“Hey, Jefferson. Come here," Alex yelled.

 

Jefferson looked over at him and smirked. He sauntered over to Alex and John and said, "What's up, darling?"

 

"Don't call me darling," Alex snapped. "I'm going to say this once and only once, okay?" Alex didn't wait for a response. "If you try anything in Lee's class today, or ever, like you did last Friday, after school, I will find you and punch you so hard in the dick that a dentist will have to pick it out of your teeth. Understand?"

 

Jefferson's smile grew before he turned to John. "You should knot Alex soon, or an actual alpha might come along and get this one under control before you can even think about it. Seriously, you should stop with this soft approach, or you'll never get to own this pretty little thing."

 

"Jefferson, shut the fuck up," John growled. "I'm not an asshole like you."

 

Jefferson chuckled. "You act like you're so much better than the rest of us, but I remember when you were just like me. We were best friends after all. I remember you talking about fucking omegas senseless, making them beg for your knot. You act like you're so liberal now, but I see the way you look at Alex. You get the same look in your eyes that you got when you talked about dominating omegas when we were younger. Now you’re tricking poor, little Alex into thinking that you respect him or something like he's your equal. But you want to see him all nice and submissive with his legs spread only for you. In that respect, you're like every other alpha that's come across our little Alex."

 

"Shut. Up," John said tightly. "I am nothing like you."

 

"Keep telling yourself that, John. In the meantime, a real alpha can come along and claim Alex. Make him the sweet, docile omega he's supposed to be, instead of whatever the hell you're doing.”

 

“Don’t talk about Alex like that or I swear to god I’ll make you shut up,” John said as he crowded up against Jefferson. 

 

“John,” Alex warned. 

 

Both alphas ignored him. 

 

“Aw, are you protecting your little omega, proving that you’re a good, strong alpha for him? You’ll keep him safe from the other alphas, make sure no one else knots him, fills him up until he’s all nice and round with child. After all, you only want him knocked up with your kid-“

 

John shoved him. “I told you to shut up,” he said lowly. 

 

Alex grabbed his arm and said, “John. Stop.”

 

“Alex, let me handle this,” John ordered.

 

For a brief second, Alex saw red. He got between the two alphas and shoved them apart. “Do not talk about me like I am some prize to be won. Neither of you has any right to act like you have some claim over me. And for fuck’s sake, stop acting like I’m not here. Jefferson, if you ever talk about me like that again, I’m going to knock in all of your teeth, okay? And John, if you ever act like I’m some damsel in distress who needs some big, strapping alpha to come save them, then you can fuck off,” Alex ranted. He stalked into the classroom, sat down, and waited for whatever fresh hell Lee was going to bring. John followed shortly after. He sat down and didn’t say anything, instead staring at his lap. Alex didn’t acknowledge him.

 

The late bell rung and Mr. Lee walked in a few moments later. He spotted Alex and frowned. “Omega, what the hell are you doing sitting in a chair? I thought I made it clear on Friday that you didn’t get the privilege of one.”

 

“My mistake, sir,” Alex sneered. He got up and pushed his chair to the side, then kneeled and grabbed his notebook. A part of him wanted to point out that chairs were not a privilege. Every student got a chair no matter what, but Alex knew Lee wouldn’t appreciate that.

 

“See, you’re too stupid to even remember how you’re supposed to sit. It baffles me how anyone could think that omegas are intelligent in any way beyond childrearing,” Alex was surprised that Lee knew words as big as baffles or childrearing. “The only thing you’re good for is spreading your legs and having babies. By now you should know that. You are weak, and that is why you are on your knees for me because little omega sluts get on their knees for alphas. And I want everyone to remember what you are.”

 

“Okay. That is straight up sexual harassment,” John said. “You can’t-“

 

“John. Shut. Up. I don’t need your fucking help,” Alex snapped before he could even process that he was saying something. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he knew that he had made a monumental mistake. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. He was going to get kicked out of his AP classes all because he was pissed at John for being a dick. He was such an idiot. Why couldn’t he keep his mouth shut?

 

“Omega. Stand up,” Lee ordered. Alex rose. Every nerve was on high alert as his mind screamed danger. “You don’t get to be disrespectful to your betters. Apologize immediately.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Alex stated with a roll of his eyes. 

 

“It’s fine,” John replied. 

 

Lee huffed and slammed some of his papers down on the desk in front of Alex. John jumped, and Alex flinched. “That’s not good enough, Omega. And Mr. Laurens, please, don’t be soft with the omega. That’s not what they need from alphas,” Lee snapped.

 

“Sorry,” John mumbled. Alex could tell that John was attempting not to roll his eyes.

 

“I’m very sorry, Alpha Laurens. I was out of line. It won’t happen again. Please, forgive me,” Alex said robotically.

 

“As I said before,” John started at he pointedly stared at Lee before sliding his gaze to Alex, “it’s fine.”

 

The rest of class went on as usual without another incident.

 

After class was over, Alex rushed out of there and marched to AP English Comp, not bothering to wait for John. He sat down in Laf’s usual seat next to Eliza. The others came in with John trailing behind them. Eliza looked at him with a raised eyebrow but didn’t say anything as she sat down next to him. Laf took his spot next to John. 

 

“What’s with the new seating arrangement?” Eliza murmured. 

 

Alex shrugged. 

 

“Okay. Fine. Don’t tell me,” she said. 

 

Class started, and the teacher gave them some sample AP essays to grade and discuss. They were supposed to work in small groups of two to three people. 

 

“Eliza, do you want to work together?” Alex asked. 

 

She stared at him for a second. “Sure,” she said finally. Alex understood where her confusion came from. Usually, in this class and APUSH, he and John would work together for partner projects. He hadn’t paired up with Eliza before. 

 

They worked for about twenty minutes before the teacher told them to get with another group and compare the scores they gave each essay. The entire time, Alex didn’t say anything to John, always addressing Hercules and Lafayette when he did talk. John tried to engage him, but Alex would act as if he hadn’t said anything. And yeah, Alex realized that he was being passive aggressive, and this wasn’t how mature adults handled their problems. But fuck it. Alex wasn’t a mature adult, and he was pissed. Besides Alex was afraid, he’d say something to John that he’d regret later when he had calmed down. The bell finally rang, and Alex grabbed his stuff and ran out of the room. 

 

He arrived before anyone else. A few moments after Alex had taken a seat, Jefferson walked in. Fuck. Just fuck. Alex didn’t have the patience left to deal with him. 

 

“Alex,” Jefferson greeted. 

 

“Fuck off,” Alex snapped. 

 

“Is that any way to talk to your future alpha?” he chided with a wide grin. 

 

“I will rip your dick off. Don’t think I won’t,” Alex warned. 

 

Jefferson was about to reply when Angelica came in and said, “Fuck. Jefferson, you’re here. I hadn’t seen you all day, so I thought maybe you had fallen off a cliff or something. Unfortunately, I’m not that lucky.”

 

Jefferson sneered at her. The others trickled in. John sat next to Alex and didn’t say anything for a moment. Alex continued to ignore him. 

 

“Hey, Alex. Listen. I didn’t mean what I said the way I said it,” he stumbled. 

 

“Oh, that’s nice,” Alex said sarcastically. “You didn’t mean to say that I was too weak to handle a simple argument. You didn’t mean to imply that I should let you protect me from every evil in the world because, god forbid, you think that I’m strong enough to defend myself.”

 

“Alex, come on, you know that wasn’t my intention-“

 

“Fuck your intention. I’m sorry if my anger over being told again that I should sit passively since I’m, apparently, too weak and delicate to handle living inconveniences you,” Alex said. 

 

“You know I don’t think that about you,” John argued. 

 

“Do I?”

 

“Yes. You know I respect you. Please, just stop overreacting to this,” John snapped. 

 

Alex glared at him before turning around and staring straight ahead. 

 

“Shit. Alex, I’m sor-“

 

“Stop talking to me,” Alex ground out. 

 

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw John flinch and shrink into himself. “Okay,” John mumbled. 

 

“What the fuck happened to you two?” Angelica asked. “You were making heart eyes at each other during lunch. Now Alex looks like he might kill someone, and John looks like he ran over Alex’s dog.”

 

“Nothing, Angelica,” John said. “Leave it alone.”

 

“I’ll tell you what happened, John can’t handle his omega,” Jefferson said as he got up and walked to stand next to Alex. He grabbed a piece of Alex’s hair and started to twirl it. “If you were my omega, I wouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior.”

 

“Yeah, what would you do? Hit me. Besides, I’m not your’s, and I will never be your’s.”

 

“I’ll make you mine,” Jefferson insisted. 

 

“I’m not an object that you can buy. You don’t get to own me. Leave me alone,” Alex said.  

 

"You are so naive, Alex," Jefferson said. 

 

"Stop touching me," Alex snarled. He wanted to break Jefferson's wrist. God, why did he think that it was okay to touch his hair? It was weird and invasive. If Alex knew that he wouldn't get in trouble, he would beat the living shit out of him for thinking that any of their interactions were okay. But, he couldn't. There was no way that Alex wouldn't get into serious trouble and would get sent away as a result and then it was off to some omega rehab center. No, as much as Alex was itching for a fight, he couldn't.

 

"Is there a problem here, boys?" Mr. B asked. 

 

Jefferson dropped his hand and moved back a few steps. 

 

"Not at all, sir. Alex and I were just talking," he answered. 

 

Mr. B raised an eyebrow. "Really?" he asked skeptically. "Alex?"

 

He paused. "Yeah. We were just talking," Alex confirmed. 

 

"What?!" Peggy yelled. "That's bullshit, Alex, and we all know it."

 

"Peggy, let it go," Alex implored. 

 

"Alex, you can't let him get away with treating you like that," Peggy insisted. 

 

Alex didn't say anything for a moment. "Mr. B, may I go to the bathroom?" he asked. 

 

"Sure," he replied unsurely. 

 

Alex got up and ran out of the room. He walked to the nearest omega bathroom. Omegas got their own bathrooms because people were worried that if they shared bathrooms with the alphas and betas, they would get assaulted. It bothered Alex that their solution to dynamic violence was to separate omegas and not to teach kids that they should respect each other regardless of dynamic. But, no, that would be too hard, too much effort. Omegas should be protected, but they weren’t an alpha’s or beta’s equal. He opened the door and went into the bathroom. It was a private bathroom with a door that locked. He sat down and leaned against the wall. There was a lump in his throat. 

 

You are not going to cry. You are not going to cry. You can handle this. You've managed worse. You are not going to cry.

 

A sob was ripped out of him. He covered his mouth with his hand. Alex's whole frame shook as tears fell down his cheeks. His breath hitched. 

 

Fuck. Maybe everyone was right. Perhaps he was too weak to handle living. Maybe he should let some alpha protect him while he sat by passively and took care of the home. Oh god, was he acting like those omegas on TV that got upset and cried over the smallest of commotions? 

 

He sucked in a big, shaky breath. No. No. You're fine. Get up. You are going to stop crying. You are strong enough. Get up. Get up. 

 

Alex got his breathing under control and stood up. He went over to the sink and splashed water on his face. After his eyes stopped looking like he had been crying, he went back to class. A movie was playing, probably the one from Friday. No one said anything to him. 

 

Alex was grateful when the final bell rang. Music composition made the day a little bit better. The movie was entertaining enough, but he just wanted to go home and curl up in bed. He was packing his stuff up slowly as everyone left. After a few minutes, he was alone except for John, who was also still packing. Alex got up and started to head out. 

 

“Alex, wait,” John said softly. “Please.”

 

Alex stopped but didn’t turn around. 

 

“I’m sorry,” John said. “I shouldn’t have told you to stay out of it and to let me handle it. You were right. I was implying that I need to protect you. And I know that you don’t need my protection or anyone’s protection,” he sighed before continuing. “Jefferson was right about a few things. Until the end of my freshman year, I was an omegist asshole who thought he was better than everyone who wasn’t the same status as him. I’m trying really hard not to be that person, but I know my prejudices can creep up despite my best efforts. And I’m not saying this as an excuse for my behavior. It’s not. And I’m sorry that I accused you of overreacting. You’re entitled to your feelings, and the way you felt about what I said is perfectly justified. I shouldn’t have tried to invalidate that. And I shouldn’t have tried to excuse my behavior and then get mad when you didn’t let me get away with that bullshit. I’m sorry I didn’t just apologize. So yeah.”

 

Alex didn’t say anything for a moment. He finally turned around and faced John. “You’re forgiven. And I’m sorry I accused you of actually being omegist. I know you’re not. I was just angry. I guess that what Jefferson said got to me a little. I’ve had people in the past pretend to respect me to gain my trust only to turn around and throw it back in my face. I guess when he said that you were doing that it struck a nerve, and then you said what you said, and yeah. So my reaction wasn’t completely about you.” 

 

“It’s fine,” John said. 

 

Alex paused and bit his lip. “Was there anything else that Jefferson said that was true?” he asked quietly. 

 

“A few things. We were best friends freshman year. We met when we were younger, and we were both in football. At the end of our freshman year, we had a falling out when we got into an argument. We didn’t talk after that. And he wasn’t lying about how we… how I used to talk about omegas. I did talk about doing those things to them, and that is something that I will always be deeply ashamed of. And…” he trailed off. John bit his lip and looked to the side. Alex waited. “And Jefferson wasn’t lying about the fact that I’m attracted to you. Not the way he talked about it. I don’t want you to be submissive to me,” he frowned briefly. “Not that being sexually submissive devalues a person. Er, my point is is that I’m not that kind of alpha. I’m not attracted to you because I want to dominate you or knot you or some other bullshit. I like you because you’re you. You’re Alexander Hamilton. You’re fierce and driven and hardworking and intelligent. And, you’re, you know, nice looking-“

 

Alex snorted. “I’m nice looking?” he asked with a smile. 

 

John smiled and said, “Yeah. Your face, it’s very symmetrical.” Alex threw his head back and laughed. 

 

“That was the most beautiful compliment I’ve ever heard,” Alex said chuckling. 

 

“Was it symmetrical?” John asked. 

 

That set Alex off again. “The most symmetrical,” he said in between laughs.

 

“Research says that people who are considered attractive have symmetrical faces,” John defended himself. 

 

“Mm, I love it when you talk sexy to me,” Alex said jokingly before freezing. He blushed when he realized what he had said. John had a pink tint to his cheeks as well. “Just so you know, the attraction is mutual. I, uh, I really like you.”

 

“Is my face symmetrical?” John asked with a smile.

 

Alex chuckled. “Yes, very,” he paused. “But, I don’t think I’m quite in a place where I can date.”

 

John smiled softly. “I had a feeling that was the case, which is why I haven’t said anything.”

 

“I, I might get there soon,” Alex said. “For the record.”

 

“When you do get there, and if you’re still interested in me, you can ask me out on a date,” he said. 

 

Alex smiled. “Sounds like a plan,” Alex said. He glanced at the clock. “I should head out. George is probably waiting for me.”

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow?” John asked. 

 

“Yeah. Maybe we could text tonight,” Alex suggested.

 

John smiled. “Yeah. That sounds great. Uh, bye.”

 

“Bye, John,” he said as he started to leave. 

 

When he got to the car, he greeted George. 

 

“How was your day?” George asked. 

 

Alex shrugged. “It was fine,” he replied. “Yours?”

 

“It was good for the most part, although Henry Laurens and I had a meeting today. That man… is frustrating at times,” he said. 

 

“I think that was the politest thing I’ve heard about the man,” Alex commented.

 

“I doubt that,” George said. 

 

“No, I'm serious. In fact, yesterday, John called him a flaming bag of dicks.”

 

George snorted. “That is a colorful insult. Martha mentioned that you were friends with Senator Laurens’ son.”

 

Alex couldn’t help the smile that crept onto his face. “Yeah, we are.”

 

George raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything. 

 

“Hey, um. I was thinking. About what you guys said on Saturday. About therapy. And maybe, you’re right. In that I could, maybe, use it,” Alex said. 

 

“Really?” George asked. Alex nodded. “That’s very mature of you, Alex. I know that it can be hard to ask for help. I’m proud of you.” Alex wasn’t expecting the warmth that blossomed in his chest at the words. “We can talk about it with Martha and figure out a plan.”

 

“Okay,” Alex agreed.