Jesse leaned against the cool metal wall as sweat dripped down his back. His skin felt clammy and everything was too hot. If it weren’t for the two men sitting opposite of him, Jesse would have shed his shirt hours ago. Mostly, he had to ignore the soft pounding in the back of his skull. Instead, he focused on the two men sitting aside him and focused on their conversation.
“Dude, I can’t fucking believe that the boss put a punk-ass bitch like you in charge of his Omegas,” Bennett grumbled and sat back with his arms crossed over his chest. His eyes were locked on Jesse.
Typical Alpha behavior, Jesse scoffed and sat forward himself, “Maybe it’s cause boss knows I won’t step outta line and fuck his property. I’m an Alpha that can control his dick and not dry hump a metal door.”
The third in the room snickered, “Dude, he’s got you there.” Bennett flushed a dark red that Jesse figured was more out of anger than embarrassment. Every Deadlock member knew this story by now, Jesse made sure of that. It was no secret that Deadlock recruited Omegas. Out here, in the asscrack of the good old USA, Deadlock ruled. Alphas were attracted to the organization's lack of organization. Freedom from conformity ruled out here, and every man was truly for himself.
Prospects for cute little Omegas out here though ran dry quickly. Many found themselves in sleazy bordellos turning tricks for another hit of some mind-altering drug. Deadlock held more promise. An Omega could find themselves in a very sweet spot if linked to a high ranking member of Deadlock.
Which brought on the need for protection. The boss had, at one time or another, at least four Omegas kept at all times. And with this rise in numbers of Omegas, there came a need to protect them. Rival gangs were the reasoning that the boss gave as he set up a rotation of guards, but Jesse knew better. If an Omega went into heat here, in the bowels of a Deadlock base, they were surrounded by dozens of horny, hormonal, teenage Alphas. It was a recipe for disaster.
Bennett was highly trusted. He was a rising star in the ranks, young and virile, he had not lost a single fistfight. His name was on a short list of asshole Alphas that Deadlock was beginning to trust. That was why he left to guard the Omegas alone.
Then Claire, a cute little blonde Omega, fell into a heat.
Protocol dictated that his first order would be to radio up about the sudden change. Omegas in heat were not just used for personal pleasure, they were wonderful pawns in negotiations. It was hard for rival Alphas to concentrate when they were more concerned with wanting to hump.
Bennett broke protocol. Jesse was the one to find him, nearly foaming at the mouth with his pants around his ankles as he rutted against the metal door of the Omega’s room. Luck was on their side, as the door was locked. Bennett’s lust-addled mind could not break the rut he had fallen into just as he scented the Omega in heat.
It took four other Alphas; stronger, older and more powerful, to wrestle him to the ground and tranq him.
Jesse had managed to get to Claire in time and lead her safely away. Jesse found himself suddenly in the spotlight. Here he was, this scrawny little kid able to withstand the scent of an Omega in heat.
He claimed it was due to his respect for the oath of being a Deadlock member. The gang was his family and he would do nothing to jeopardize that. He gave all the right answers and gave all the right tells. To anyone listening, he was a prime example of how a young Alpha should behave around his superiors.
Jesse lived in a world of Alphas and he was good at disguising himself as one.
Jesse snapped back as Bennett slammed his fist into the other’s shoulder. “Yeah, it’s my fault I act like a man when I scent out a pretty little thing wanting my dick. At least I’m not a fucking eunuch.” He shot Jesse another cold stare. “I got you figured out, McCree.”
Jesse shrugged and leaned back, crossing his legs. “Just you tell yourself that. Guess I am just stronger than you. Ain’t no one found me humping any inanimate objects here, ‘cept my hand.” He smirked. “But I mean, come on, who don’t fuck their fist.”
Bennett scowled deeper and leaned back, “Just do your damn job, McCree.”
Jesse leaned back and the trio fell back into silence. He brought his hand to the back of his neck and worked the sore muscle, trying to ignore other parts of his body that were starting to demand more attention. All week he had been ignoring the signs.
But he was needed here, to watch the Omegas while the boss hosted some bigwigs from the east. He spent his years here trying to build that reputation; taking odd hours, going on dangerous missions and eagerly working the shit jobs just to prove that Deadlock was his world. Being compliant was a trait not shared by a lot of the Alphas.
Jesse was in the lineup when the representatives came walking through. He leaned against the upper balcony, trying to get a glance at these new men. Seven of them came in, dressed in crisply pressed black suits. Even from his distance, the scent hit him like a dump truck. It was pungent and strong and entirely….Alpha. Jesse nearly fell to his knees, instead, gripping the metal banister tighter in his hands as his gaze was locked on the group. He ducked out before anyone could scent him out. He could feel it in his body. His mind screamed out, demanding he mate.
The cruel hand of fate did not dissipate after the first meeting. He chalked it up to the fact they were foreigners. The scent of these men grew more pungent the longer they stayed. Jesse spent his nights drunk on the scent. It was unusually sweet and aromatic, not just the regular scent of sweat and salt, but softer and syrupy. He wished to bury his nose in that scent and lay there, letting it consume him.
Usually, he would high tail it out of the safehouse at the first sign of a heat and hole up for a week, letting it pass. He knew if he stayed, someone would eventually find him out. Space and privacy were limited. He would be ridiculed.
My god, if he got anywhere close to that scent, he would have no shame anymore. Even here, far from the men, he could still hold that scent in his brain. He could feel it calling to him loudly. And he would have no shame in presenting himself to that scent and letting it have him. Breed him.
“So,” he cleared his throat and looked at the two of them. He had to get his bearings, “How long are these assholes here again? It’s been a week.”
“Which assholes are you referring to, McCree?? You’ve been here for years and refuse to leave,” Bennett sneered, “Or do you mean the Yakuza? The ones that we are trying to build an alliance with? They are here until we get a deal. We have spent years building up our reputation and those ‘assholes’, as you call them, are our ticket out of being a damn backwater biker gang and an actual, respected organization.”
Jesse rolled his eyes, as the lecture went on and pressed the back of his head against the metal wall at his back. “Simple timeline was all I needed, damn.”
“Damn, dude,” the voice of the other came to him, but he couldn’t be bothered to remember his name. “You look like shit. You in a rut?”
Jesse cursed, “I ain’t going in a rut. Do I look like I am salivating over the Omegas?” A small voice began to chant in the back of his head over and over, a single word. Mate. It howled and screamed. It blanked out every other conscious thought until the only thing in the forefront of his mind was that singular, primal drive. Mate! He banged the back of his head against the wall to get it to stop and gritted his teeth. “It’s the flu or some shit.”
“If you are sick, get outta here, I don’t want that shit,” Barrett growled.
“I’ve been sick all week. It ain’t a thing,” He mumbled. “Just hot.”
His brain shrieked. His hands were numb and clutched at his sides. His fingernails bit into the palm of his hand, leaving deep crescent-shaped marks in his palms. Mate mate mate…..
“No,” Bennett laughed out loud, “You are. Look at you here. I can smell it, one of those Omegas is in heat. You smell it too, right Paulie?”
Paulie, right. The other was Paulie. Bennett and Paulie. “Ain’t a rut.”
“Naw, Doc gave us all suppressants. I can smell it, but I got my head. You are reacting to that Omega. Smell it, Paulie. That Omega is in there, all wonton and needy.”
Jesse resisted biting his lower lip. He could not give himself away. Bennett stood up and meandered over. His scent wafted by, sending a shiver up Jesse’s spine. “Wanton,” Jesse growled out. “Wonton is food, wanton is needy.” He looked at Bennett, his eyes glassy.
Bennett smelled feral. Animalistic. Raw.
Unworthy , his brain snarled out. Jesse stood up straight and locked eyes with Bennett. He stepped into his space with a puffed out chest. A challenge. He wanted to throw the other man across the room and show him exactly how much he did not like his presence. He wanted to assert his dominance, Alpha or not.
“Holy shit,” Bennett stepped back, his eyes widening at the sudden aggression. Then, he laughed. Jesse felt his face grow hot. Stupid! His mind screamed amidst the burning in his body. He didn’t get a chance to respond.
The radio crackled to life. The sound of distant gunfire brought Jesse right back to the moment. “Run!“ The voice on the radio called out. “Get the fuck out! Feds!” A loud bang sounded, followed by garbled yelling.
Bennett slammed Jesse against the wall as he moved past. Paulie followed suit, both too concerned with their own hide to give any thought to him.
Jesse panted and fell to the ground. His lungs ached and his vision blurred. He could feel it now, more prominent than before. Slick ran down his leg and soaked his pants. He knew now. His scent was overwhelming. His brain still violently rebelled. Mate , it cried. Give in!
The room began to tilt. His fingers scratched against the cool concrete below, trying to keep his wits about him. From far off, he heard the shot. One, two. Shotguns. Were they down the hall, or just outside the door? From inside the room, he could hear the strangled cries of the Omegas. They were scared. Someone was here and they didn’t belong. The Alphas were supposed to protect them.
It was just him though.
Jesse pushed against the ground and stood on wobbling legs. His hand went to his hip and the gun that was strapped there. Always carry. Safe. Protect. He felt the metal in his hand and attempted to lift.
Heavy. When did his gun gain weight? It took both hands to hold it up, trained on the door. They called him a natural. He was a good shot. Why couldn’t he keep his hands from shaking?
Mate , his brain bellowed louder and drowned out every other thought in his head. Find someone worthy! Submit! His heart pounded in his ears and crawled up his throat along with bile. Sweat dripped from his hair and into his eyes. The world around him blurred.
Jesse shook his head violently and banged his head against the wall. “Focus,” he growled to himself and kept the gun steady and on the door in front of him.
The weapon felt so heavy.
The smell of Alpha hit him again. Not like Bennett and Paulie. Not the stink of sweat and dirt. Not the sweet, intoxicating scent of the Yakuza Alphas that permeated all his senses and made him drunk. This was cinnamon and spice...hot and hard.
He steadied his aim. Behind him came a soft whimper, a cry for help from one of the Omegas. In front of him, the doorknob turned.
He didn’t hear it. He didn’t feel his gun emptied into the wall and ricocheted off of the metal door. He didn’t notice until the gun clicked empty. He watched as the Alpha he scented kicked in the door and rolled into the room, his pistol trained on Jesse.
Jesse fired again.
The man was like smoke. He was across the room and had ahold of Jesse before he could even reach to reload. Jesse felt his arm twisted around to his back as the man pressed him to the floor, his knee digging into Jesse's lower backside, the gun knocked far out of his reach.
“Fucking hell,” The man snarled out, his knee dug further into his back as Jesse shifted. Even if he wanted, Jesse could not move without feeling the man’s knee in his back. He bucked hard, screaming out at the sharp pain and the man forced him back. The agent let out a flurry of Spanish as he pressed his full weight onto Jesse’s back. He leaned down and snarled in his ear, “If you know what is good for you, you will fucking stay down.”
The voice in his mind quieted under the forceful submission. This man was Alpha. More Alpha than any Deadlock grunt he had ever met. More Alpha than the boss. Jesse felt himself surrender under his weight and let out a lewd moan as he was pressed harder into the cement.
The man ignored him, instead, he focused on the radio in his ear. “Eagle, this is Shadow. First floor clear. The emperor is not on base. Repeat, the emperor is not on base.” The man was silent for a while, his weapon trained on the door. Jesse was an afterthought. “Copy that. Send Medical, we have hostages.”
Jesse growled and bucked. The man above him did not move. Instead, he applied more pressure and dug his knee further into Jesse’s back as he leaned down.
The thick, heady scent invaded his senses as he felt hot breath on his ear. He closed his eyes and swallowed. His body begged for the man to rip the clothes off his body. Feel skin on skin.
His mind howled in rage. A hand gripped the back of his throat tightly and slammed his head back into the ground. “Enough!” The man barked out. Jesse heard a shuffling behind him. Footsteps and the clicking of metal on metal. The tired creak of the metal door to the Omega’s room opening and the sound of voices; some calm and collected, the others panicked and small.
His brain would not process the words. His focus was on the man over him, his voice came clearly, “Damn, kid, look at you,” there was amusement in his tone as he forced Jesse’s hands behind his back and locked them in place with cold metal cuffs. “An Omega in full heat, and you still resist. You got some spunk.”
Jesse snarled as he was hauled to his feet. The man held him by the scruff of his jacket and pushed him to move forward. Jesse stumbled. “Get off me, you sonovabitch!”
The man let out another bark of laughter and pushed him out of the room through the scores of men clad in body armor, their guns were raised. Against the wall sat a dozen Deadlock with their hands and ankles ziptied. Jesse locked eyes with Bennett, the side of his face was already swollen. He apparently fought back and lost. Jesse saw his odds. Running and fighting would get him nothing but the same.
He began to walk towards them before being quickly pulled back, “Whoa, Pendejo, where do you think you are going?” He led Jesse towards the open door and the black van that waited outside. “Someone like you sitting with them? No. I got bigger plans for you.”
Soulmates were not common, usually ancient lovers that had reincarnated for various reasons. For most of his classmates, they talked big, about having a One True Love and the kind of romance that would transcend the centuries and be written about forever and ever, like Romeo and Juliet or Tristan and Isolde. Hanzo had scoffed at it all as the foolish prattlings of lovelorn teenagers.
Genji, three years his junior, was giddy with excitement. His classmate, Aiko, found out she had a soulmate. He had been abuzz about it for the past week. All of their classmates were. She had rolled back her shirt collar and there they were, violet markings on her neck, marking her out as someone’s property.
Hanzo had called her a liar. Fifteen was entirely too young to have a mate in his opinion, let alone a soulmate. Every instance in history showed that maturity and presenting did not appear until late teens. Soulmates were the items of myth. Sad fools were the only ones to believe in such nonsense.
Genji called him a cynical fool.
“Have you ever tried to find out about your soulmate?” He asked one day while they sat together.
Hanzo had his books spread out in front of him. He had been applying for colleges. Hanzo slowly lowered the book and looked out to his brother. “What are you prattling on about? Why would I pay a hustler to lie to me? And besides that, why would you think I have a soulmate?”
“We are Shimadas,” Genji rolled his eyes as if that were answer enough. “Our family has always had soulmates. Mother and Father, Grandma and Grandpa….me.”
Hanzo felt his eyes roll into the back of his skull. It was another story that Great-Grandmother told, a way to keep the Shimadas on top of the rest of the Yakuza clans. All Shimadas were linked to another human being. They had ancient souls that transcended time and space. They were special.
“Well, future me. I haven’t gotten a sign yet, but I went to a fortune teller yesterday and she told me a soulmate was in my future. I would meet him in an unusual place. And it would be unconventional,” He let out a dreamy sigh. “Well, she kept changing pronouns. Him, Her, They...I wonder who they are,” he stared out the window, lost in his thoughts.
Hanzo’s eyes would dislodge from their sockets if he rolled them any further. “Genji, that woman’s job is to lie and tell everyone they have a soulmate. I bet she also told you he was a foreigner and exotic.” Hanzo had dabbled with that thought of fortune tellers when he had been Genji’s age and heard something very similar. His soulmate was from a land far away. Follow the color red.
It took him a week to realize how ridiculous it all was. He spent that week not thinking about family or the business or anything else of importance. Of course, she would mention a foreign man. The more remote his soul resides, the harder it would be to prove her wrong and demand his money back.
“Have you ever tried to contact your soulmate? Aiko said to her, all she had to do was think about them and she wrote a message on her arm and then her soulmate replied,” Genji scooted over to him.
Hanzo had. Once. There was no reply. He was sixteen. Late in the night he sat in his dark room and pulled out the black calligraphy ink. On his arm, he had written a short greeting, all while thinking of this soulmate. His heart had fluttered as he did it. An excitement passed through him at the promise of something that was truly his and only his. What would his soul say in return? Would he be excited to know him? To know he existed and that they were unique? Would they plan to meet?
Grandmother caught him. She called him a silly little fool as she dragged him out of his rooms and to his father’s office, where he was lectured severely about the importance of being a Shimada.
It was also where he learned how full of shit everyone around him was. Soulmates were a lie; it was the clan who picked your mate, not the other way around. Strong Alpha leaders needed a modest silent Omega. They came more willingly when it was destiny on the line. They would not act up if it were the ancient dragon spirits that called them to the family. Not the ornate dowery and the doctor’s decree of fertility.
He was sent away then, told to act more like the future leader he was and not some child. He was not to write about himself ever again. It was not like there would even be a reply. Psychic links were a children’s story. Nothing more. Anyone who said otherwise was a charlatan and liar.
After that Hanzo lost all hope.
Hanzo blinked back to reality as he felt Genji practically laying over him as he pressed a pen into his hand. He smelled of sweat and disgusting body spray, the type that gave off the Alpha pheromone. “What would you say to your mate when ‘Hello, my name is Hanzo Shimada. Come find me. I need to get laid.”
Hanzo rolled his eyes dramatically again. “Hello, my name is Hanzo Shimada. I hope you like cold, aloof assholes who are anal retentive’. This will not work, Genji. I have told you, it is fiction.”
Genji smirked wickedly, “I would do away with most of that and just say, ‘I hope you like anal’.” he laughed wildly as Hanzo threw a pen at him. “Do it! Write that to your soulmate! I’ll do it if you do it!”
“I just got home from a trip abroad. You have not seen me in almost a month and your first thought is to bother me about whether or not I have tried to psychically bond with some fictional soulmate and not about what America was like.”
Genji flopped down in front of him, “Father said there were Omegas there. They threw you into a bad rut.”
Hanzo flushed and looked away.
“Oh my god,” Genji gasped. “That really happened? I heard Father talking. He was so pissed at that backwater gang for being dirty and full of horny Alphas but I didn’t actually believe it threw you into a full-on rut!”
“It was nothing,” Hanzo mumbled out. He thought back to that dusty hole in the wall They had been invited to walk through the base on their way to the leader. It was an intimidation technique, his father explained as they walked through the hooting and hollering buffoons.
Deadlock was like a pack of stray dogs-all Alphas that begged for scraps. Their leader, he found, was no better than the rest of them. The only difference between the Deadlock leader and his goons was that he bit and clawed his way to the top and then fought to keep the others beneath him. It was only a matter of time before another Alpha grew stronger and threw him off his pedestal.
The scent of Omega, though. It hit him the moment he stepped onto the base, making his knees weak and the hair on the back of his neck rise. A tangy scent that was begging for an Alpha. Watching the Alphas in the base, he could see how the leader kept them in order. They were so enthralled with mating those Omegas in heat that they did not even think about going after him. Their biology was keeping them in line more than a strong leading hand.
The Shimada’s were shown around the compound and Father’s scowl furthered with every new thing that the Deadlock leader showed off. They were disorganized and foolish. Ambitious without a goal in mind. Hanzo felt proud that he was at least a part of an organization that had a set hierarchy. Shimadas did not need to fall back on tactics like holding Omegas hostage and keep them in a heat to keep the men in line. Father, the other elders, and their bodyguards had not scented out the Omegas though, not like he had.
Hanzo mentioned it at dinner that night when they were finally left alone. Father looked at him strangely. So had the others. They were able to scent out Omegas in heat, but they said wherever the Omegas were, they were not near. He was the youngest member of the Shimada clan, maybe he was just young and unmated. His senses were working overtime.
The next few days played out without much interest. Deadlock sent representatives, they had kindly hosted them for a while. The boss came in a few times as well to talk to Father as well. While his father and the others followed around Deadlock and listened to their idiotic ramblings about owning the territory, Hanzo stayed behind in their rooms. It was obvious their future was not with this backwater gang, especially with the way some of them bragged about taunting the local authorities to him specifically as if that would impress him. There were much better uses of his time, he told his father one morning. Since then, he had been left alone in the rooms.
Usually, when left to his own devices without a chaperone, Hanzo would take in the local culture. Here, in the middle of the American Southwest, the only thing of interest within fifteen miles was this damn hole in the wall gang. He instead took to researching colleges. Father may allow him to study abroad if the institution was renowned enough. He was through his first year with stellar marks, but he wanted to see more of the world than the college that was just three blocks from his secondary school.
That scent persisted. It pulled him away from every rational thought. College is what he told his father, but in truth, if he got any nearer to that scent, he would lose his damned mind. He would fuck that body into the floor. Let Deadlock see what a real Alpha was made of.
That clung to the walls and to his skin, driving him mad. More often than not, Hanzo found himself leaning against the bathroom door the moment everyone had left. His pants around his ankles and his hand fisting his cock with such fury, almost as if it deserved punishment. He could feel it, the knot growing at the base of his cock more readily now than before. It formed so fast and easily...
That fucking scent…
It felt as if every waking moment, it grew stronger. It called to him and begged to be claimed. It wanted a mate. A proper mate. An Alpha that would take care of their every need. He felt the need to seek it out and mount whoever was secreting that amazing scent and fuck them until there was nothing else in the world but the two of them…
Father catching him in the middle of humping into the bed mattress had been the final straw. It had taken all five of the bodyguards to manhandle him back onto the private jet. He did not remember any of it, just finally giving in to that scent and into his rut. Feeling these men physically removing him and taking him away from that sweet Omega scent drove him to lash out. He had broken one of their noses on his forehead.
Days later, he had come to his senses. He sat aching and dehydrated, but alone, in a hotel room. He laid out on the floor, amidst the blankets and pillows of a bed. Feathers from the down comforter lay strewn about him like he was a wolf that caught a chicken. The bed lay in smashed shambles, along with every other piece of furniture. Never in his life had he felt something so intense. The primal urges of it all showed Hanzo that he should have been more careful. More vocal about his biological urges. He knew that now.
A great shame washed over him as he slowly retrieved his things and headed out to meet the rest of his clan. A Shimada should not behave in such a way.
Genji stared in shock as Hanzo finished telling him about the more tame aspects of his trip, “So what did Father say about that?”
“Father said there were Omegas being kept in heat. Since I am young and foolish, I allowed myself to get caught up in it.”
Genji smirked wider. “What if your mate was there?” He asked. He wrapped his arms around his brother and pulled him in close. “All Alphas are affected by an Omega in heat. It’s basic biology. There is no way that if affected you and no one else, unless,” Genji looked at him. “What if that was your mate, Hanzo! Your soulmate!”
Hanzo scoffed and pushed him away, “Genji, do not be ridiculous. You are foolish if you think that a thing such as soul mates actually exist. They are children’s stories. Nothing more. No one has a soulmate,” He punctuated the last statement slowly. “A soulmate is not real.”
“Shimadas do,” Genji let out a little whine. Hanzo shot him a look and he sat up straight with his hands on his knees. “We have dragons. A dragon resides within the Shimada and its partner, it’s mate lives within yours,” He repeated their grandmother’s story. “You have one, the other one is-” He trailed off as he realized what he was saying.
“Then I don’t,” Hanzo snarled and stood up. He felt a pang in his chest that radiated through his left arm. He clenched his fists tight as the rage burned through him, “Genji, stop acting the fool and start acting like a Shimada. Get your head out of the clouds and your whores and start acting like a real heir. Learn your place. You are a Shimada.”
Genji moved back and stayed on his knees. His face stoic and cold. His eyes would not meet his brother’s “Of course, brother. I am sorry I imputed your time,” He bowed low enough to touch his forehead to the floor. “I should watch my tongue around the heir to the Shimada clan.” His brother slowly rose and moved out of the room, shut the door behind him and left him standing there.