The last thing Katsuki had expected upon walking into some dusty old bookshop was the fist of scent that punched him square in the gut.
Reeling in the open doorway, fingers wrapped with crushing force around the handle, Katsuki inhaled a shuddering breath against the onslaught, his knees buckling. Eyes huge and scavenging the small store for signs of this - this oppressive, mouthwatering musk, Katsuki stalked inside, the door shutting behind him with a great gust of frigid winter air.
Nostrils flaring with the hunt, with the deep, earthy scent so unlike the sickly sweet ones of most Omegas, Katsuki approached the cashier desk and looked around. He didn’t see anyone, but fuck if his mouth wasn’t watering with a flavor of Omega he’d never encountered in his life. The unbridled strength of it alone had him reeling – reeling and wondering what idiot was out there, leaving their scent utterly unrepressed.
“Oiy!” Katsuki slammed a fist on the counter top, his skin tight with barely contained restraint against the force of this Omega scent. Who the actual fuck? “You got a customer here. You can’t smell me? Goddamn.”
“Wow,” said a smooth, melodic voice from one of the tall stacks. “Aren’t you a charmer.”
“I don’t give a sh-“
Around the corner came a short, stocky guy with a perplexed smile and large green eyes. His hair was a riot of deep green curls, his frame dwarfed in a thick, oatmeal-hued, cable knit sweater with leather elbow patches. Katsuki hadn’t even realized until now that people still wore corduroy pants.
Looking at him, Katsuki was consumed with the overwhelming compulsion to encompass this person in his arms and bury his snarling mouth into the crook of his fragrant neck.
“I’m sorry?” the guy said, his eyebrows raised in question as he came around to stand behind the counter. “Are you okay, sir? You look a little red and –“
Teeth bared, Katsuki lofted over the counter, spilling pens, cards, and knick knacks in the fray as he landed, spun the stranger in his arms and slammed his back against the ridge of the desk. Hands slammed down on the surface either side the Omega’s waist, Katsuki caught his own scent pluming through the air like clouds of smoke, overtaking everything else, a fire that consumed as much as he wanted to gorge himself the nameless person caged in his hold.
A shiver skated down Katsuki’s spine as he leaned in to sniff, waiting for that throat to be bared, for the Omega to prostrate himself, to wilt beneath the force of his scent, of the power radiating from within Katsuki like a forest fire. Katsuki’s eyes flicked to the stranger’s face for a brief second, widening as he realized that gaze was not averted, but lancing right through him like a sword.
Katsuki didn’t have time to react before the Omega’s hand rocketed up. The palm strike cracked Katsuki square on the noise, pain streaking through his eye sockets. Stumbling back a half step, Katsuku dropped his hand from his nose to bare his teeth, but something inside him snapped his mouth shut, as if he couldn’t dare act with aggression towards his –
Katsuki couldn’t think. Not when his entire face was pulsing in time with his heartbeat, which was racing up towards his throat and prepping to dive at the nameless Omega braced before him with two scarred fists poised in front of his face.
Did this nerd just stop a powerful Alpha in his tracks without so much as an Omega whimper of anxiety?
“Tell me your name,” Katsuki said, still standing, still wading through this thick, humid rainstorm and lightning scent that drenched him to the bone. He winced as he pinched his nose and tipped his head back to stop the blood. Copper rolled down his throat, while ironically exposing his own neck to the Omega like some kind of pathetic weakling. “Please.”
“Are you done?” the guy said, his voice taut, his fists raised and ready.
“Dunno,” Katsuki said. What was this truth shit pouring out of him like this person deserved it?
Something primal and deep, forged of fire and ash spoke from gut, echoing through his veins.
He deserves it. He deserves so much. He smells like summer in the middle of winter.
“Didn’t know I was doing it ‘til I’d done it.”
“I’ve heard that one before.”
“You’re a helluva hard-ass for an Omega, know that?”
Was Katsuki grinning? Katsuki sucked in through his nose, swallowed the congealed blood and realized that, yeah, he was fucking grinning over this little asshole who’d nearly broke his nose upon first sight.
Granted, Katsuki had come at this guy with the deep, instinctive intent of finding submission in the Omega, but – well, that’s what an Alpha did when they…
When they came across the one scent that didn’t just smell different from all the rest. But called to the beast within him, both tempting and soothing and taunting in tandem.
“I don’t want to have to throw you out.”
Katsuki blinked, realizing his nostrils were flaring, his gaze going foggy and dazed as he leaned in towards the stranger’s fists to catch the scent drifting from his wrists. Thunderstorm, ozone, electricity.
The hairs on Katsuki’s arms stood on end. His attention flicked up, past those hands with inexplicable layers of scars, met wary forest eyes.
“You’re not gonna throw me out,” Katsuki said. “You feel it too.”
The Omega’s straight, serious brows bunched together, a frown tugging at his lips, his stare narrowed, and head cocked. He dropped his hands with a sudden soft laugh, shaking his head and dragging fingers through his wild mess of curls.
“Gosh, okay. Okay, I get it. I’m sorry for the mix-up, but –“
“What’s your name?” Katsuki said, wanting to press closer, to rub his cheek against the unmarked line of this Omega’s freckled neck. “I need to know. Now.”
“Listen,” the stranger said with a placating smile as he leaned one hip against the counter and folded his arms, body language closed from Katsuki, so beyond anything he’d ever experienced from an Omega that Katsuki was beginning to wonder just what the fuck this pine and wet earth musk actually was. “This is all a big misunderstanding. I know that I kinda stink –“
“You smell like I want to roll in you naked,” Katsuki said, clenching his teeth against the words even as the Alpha in him offered them up to this person for which his body was crying out. Just where the hell was his mouth running off? Just who the hell was this person and why was Katsuki losing his goddamn mind within ten minutes of meeting him?
Well. He knew.
Deep down, he knew. But this couldn’t be real. People didn’t just –
“That’s really, uh, sweet? And all. But I can’t actually, you know –“ The omega waved a hand vaguely in the air, glancing to the ceiling, not in submission but pure awkwardness as his cheeks pinked up. He met Katsuki’s eyes and shrugged, lips pulled in a closed mouth smile. “Can’t smell you.”
“I can’t smell you,” the stranger said, shrugging once more as he hefted a sigh and shoved his sleeves up to his elbows. The chunky sweater revealed thick, muscular forearms. A hot, liquid pull curled up low in Katsuki’s gut.
“Can’t smell me,” Katsuki said flatly, starting at the Omega’s arms.
“Yeah, uh.” The guy laughed a little. “Got my nose shattered in a fight as a teenager. My nasal cavity is all collapsed and stuff. I can barely smell, hardly taste a thing, and I snore like a buzz saw.”
“You can’t smell me?”
The Omega's attention flicked to Katsuki’s throat, lingered. Looked up, met Katsuki’s wide eyes.
“Nope. I’m sure you smell great and uh, stuff?”
“You – you can’t smell what’s going on here?” Katsuki said, his world dropping from beneath his feet. "Between us?"
He was going to tear down this entire fucking store with his bare hands. Set the fucking world on fire. How could this one person not smell him? Omega’s had been fawning over him since he was fourteen and showed no signs of stopping.
But this one person. This one Omega whose scent had nearly taken Katsuki to his knees from the first moment, had no clue that they were… That they were -
“What do you mean? What’s going on?”
“Tell me your fucking name or I’m going to rip someone's throat out,” Katsuki said between his teeth, fists clenching at his sides to keep himself from yanking the collar of that ugly sweater aside to lave the flat of his tongue over the gland apparently working in overtime to drive him utterly fucking crazy.
The Omega smiled, obviously confused.
“Because you’re gonna date me and then mate me and I’m never gonna let another person even fucking look at you for the rest of your life.”
The guy stared at him for half a second before he burst out laughing, his smile wide and beautiful and lighting his eyes up like sunlight through a thick canopy.
“What? I’m sorry, who are you? Is this a prank? Did my friends set you up? Wait, you’re not a prostitute are you? They didn’t hire you because they knew my heat was coming and wanted me to get laid, because this is the last time I’m gonna let them get away with –“
“Haaah? I’m not a hooker!” Katsuki gawked. Did he really have such little effect on this person? How the hell was he supposed to convince this Omega that everything Katsuki felt was true? Talking? What the fuck Alpha loser did that shit anymore? “I’m Bakugou. Bakugou Katsuki? I’m motherfuckin’ Ground Zero, dammit!”
The Omega’s laughter stilled, then, as he surveyed Katsuki with lips softly parted, awe in his expression for the first time. A sudden swell of musk and impending rain swamped Katsuki’s sense, left chills along his skin and electricity sparking in his chest.
“O-oh,” the Omega said, mouth opening and closing as if he didn’t know what to say.
So he had a weakness for heroes, huh? Katsuki at least had that going for him right now.
“Yeah,” Katsuki said, squaring his shoulders, chest puffing out as he eyed the Omega narrowly. “So I’m a fuckin’ catch, alright? You at least owe me one damn date –“
“Midoriya,” the no longer stranger finally said, his face flushed, his eyes flitted across Katsuki’s scowl. “Uh, Midoriya Izuku. Bookshop… owner?”
“Good, great, hi, what’s up. Now you can go out with me.”
Midoriya blinked, as if coming out of a dream. His scent abated to a softer glow. That wrinkled brow and confused smile returned as he cocked his head.
“Sorry, can I ask why you’re here in the first place? Can I help you find something?”
“I’m lookin’ for a pet dog.” Katsuki’s nose scrunched as he sensed Midoriya’s bewilderment. “For fuck’s sake, I’m obviously looking for a book.”
“Oh, well –“ Midoriya vaguely gestured behind him. “I have those.”
“No shit, shortstack. I got a stakeout for a couple days comin’ on. Need shit to keep me going.”
At this, Midoriya noticeably brightened, his gaze attentive on Katsuki’s face as his arms finally uncrossed.
“Really? What do you like to read?”
Katsuki shrugged, looking over Midorya’s head at the vast, high shelving units, testing his own ability to not stare at this Omega like he wanted to strip him of those bulky clothes and lick him from top to bottom.
“Non-fiction. War, biographies, that kinda stuff.”
“Hmm.” Midoriya turned his back to Katsuki, and what the fuck was he thinking doing that? Did this guy have zero sense of self-preservation or was he that confident in his ability to fend off the stronger, larger breed with his own puny strength? “A couple of things come to mind, but – Are you sniffing me?”
“Yeah,” Katsuki said, his timbre husky, his nose just an inch from Midoriya’s lush curls. God, how did he smell like summer, like spring and life and sun when it was so bitterly cold outside?
With a sigh, Midoriya walked away and disappeared into the shelves that smelled of parchment and dust, and dreams in printed word.
Like a hound on a trail of a fox, Katsuki followed, his hands itching to touch.
He’d never felt anything like this. Not remotely. As a hero, he took high-quality suppressants for his ruts, and rarely had the time or inclination to even look at another Omega. While it was true he found himself the target of many an Omega’s attention – he’d simply never been interested. Ever.
By twenty-five, he’d come to terms with and had very little problem with the fact that not only did he have little time for a mate, but the inclination was also missing. And that had been fine.
Katsuki leaned lightly against a shelf, ankles loosely crossed as he considered the compact Omega with the winning smile, suspicious eyes, and a palm strike like a professional MMA fighter.
Could he seriously not smell Katsuki’s scent? He knew his was especially potent, that of an Alpha firing on all cylinders, his glands practically steaming with power, aggression, perfection.
And Midoriya here was acting like they were going for a fucking stroll through the park, rather than whimpering and averting his eyes, chin tilted to offer his neck. No shivers or quakes or any damn thing Katsuki had ever seen or heard or read about.
Katsuki was half-way in love, his own Alpha body entirely decided on this one enigmatic person, and the Omega was content to sell him a fucking book and send him home.
“All Quiet on the Western Front?”
Katsuki frowned, a remnant expression of his thoughts.
“Heard of it. It’s fiction, though, ain’t it?”
Midoriya hummed in thought, lips pursed as he turned and met Katsuki, still clutching the book to his chest.
“Yes and no. The writer was drafted to the military as an eighteen year old and this book, among some of his others, focuses less on the physical side of how war destroys a person, and more on how you go into it as a civilian, and come out of it something altogether different.”
Katsuki slipped the book from Midoriya’s hold, his stomach clenching as his fingers brushed against his chest. Bowing his head, Katsuki flipped through the book as Midoriya continued to speak with a rising sense of passion to his pleasant, lilting voice.
“It’s one of my favorites. Growing up, I’d wanted to be a hero for – well, forever. As long as I'd known what one was. And when I found out I couldn’t be, I was devastated. Things got dark for me, I got into a lot of fights, I was so full of anger and bitterness. I’d take on anyone, guys twice my size –“
“That makes sense now.”
“But after reading this.” Midoriya’s voice trailed off, and when Katsuki flicked a look up, he saw Midoriya was also looking at the open pages in Katsuki’s hands. “After I read this, I thought, maybe I don’t want to be broken like that. Being a hero from a young age is the same as being thrust into war. Sure, you choose it, but you don’t choose what happens to you once you're there.”
“I love being a hero,” Katsuki said, scowling. “There’s nothing wrong with it. I’m the fuckin’ best.”
Midoriya huffed a sound of amusement through this nose and raised an eyebrow at Katsuki, the corner of his mouth quirked.
“You sure are. And that’s good. The country needs you. All the same, I read it and I felt like, maybe there’s more for me than this kind of future, this end.” Midoriya’s lips curved slowly, his lashes lowered, dark and thick as he spoke in another tone altogether. Reverent. “I want that quiet rapture again.”
“Hah? What’re you-“
“I want to feel the same powerful, nameless urge that I used to feel when I turned to my books.” Midoriya raised his gaze to Katsuki’s, and his scent rose up like the first rain hitting a long dead ground, filling Katsuki’s senses with clean musk and humming skin. “The breath of desire that then arose from the colored backs of the books shall fill me again, melt the heavy, dead lump of lead that lies somewhere in me and waken again the impatience of the future, the quick joy in the world of thought, it shall bring back again the lost eagerness of my youth.”
Midoriya leaned in, his eyes bright, intent.
“I sit. And wait.”
Katsuki sucked in a breath, entranced, falling. He swallowed hard, his eyelids growing heavy as that scent cradled him, roused the Alpha that had been lurking, waiting for this with a patience Katsuki himself did not recognize.
“That’s –“ Katsuki licked his chapped lips. “That’s from the book?”
“Mhm.” Midoriya’s attention flicked to Katsuki’s mouth, then back up. “Well, this has been a day.”
“I think I’m in love with you.”
Midoriya’s smile was instant. Fuck, he had a dimple in one cheek. Midoriya patted Katsuki on the shoulder as he brushed past and made for the desk once more.
“I’d say you're sweet but I’m not sure I can say that since you tried to pounce me about five minutes ago. And, for the record, you’re not in love with me.”
Katsuki followed, bringing the book up to his nose as he trailed behind. The pages smelled of Midoriya, clung on to his earthly scent.
“You really can’t smell me?” Katsuki said as he approached the opposite side of the counter. He was absolutely positive this was not how it went in the movies or books.
“You just don’t give up, do you?” Midoriya said with a breathy laugh as he shook his head and rung up the purchase. “Anything else?”
“Just a date.”
“I can buy you a date.”
“Yes, but you can’t purchase me. Insert your card, please”
Katsuki gritted his teeth as he fumbled with his wallet and did as he was told. They completed their transaction in silence, Midoriya all the while with a pleasant, if not a little amused, expression on his freckled face.
With his bagged book in hand, Katsuki hung back at the desk, openly staring at Midoriya. Again, there was no aversion of eyes, no head tilt of submission. He just met Katsuki’s fiery gaze, a steady, sturdy rock.
“I’m going to come back,” Katsuki said, his face stern.
“Enjoy your stakeout,” Midoriya said, finding the actual nerve to wave at Katsuki as if he were a child heading off to school.
“You’re gonna get on my nerves real fuckin’ fast, aren’t you, Omega?” Katsuki gritted out as he turned on his heel and headed for the door.
“Not if you don’t come back!” Midoriya called cheerfully. “Bye!”