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‘Cause you were all I ever longed for

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Sidney has baffled doctors since he first presented. He’s an anomaly. It’s been decades since a Switch was of enough importance and interest to society to be documented so no one cares much anymore. But also, no one really knows how to handle it. All the doctors he’s ever been to just caution him to be careful as he grows and learns.

And he’s always been careful, and fortunate, if he’s being honest. But there’s been some trades, and free agency during the offseason, and… well, fortune always has a tendency to run out.

The Switch certainly doesn’t happen as quickly as he feels like it does but it can’t be as slow as doctors have claimed it would be.

The first sign for Sidney is his knot getting smaller. He notices it about a week into the preseason; the team is away on the second roadie and first hotel stay of the long year. They’re only in Columbus for one night but it was a doozy of a win, 4-3, and even though it was just preseason he’s still running high on adrenaline.

Sidney makes quick work of himself when he gets to his room. He has a change of clothes for the ride home tomorrow so he doesn’t need his suit — he strips it off without a care to where it may land. He rubs at his half-chub through his boxers as he crawls up onto the bed and leans back against the headboard.

Each hotel the team chooses to stay at is meant to cater to dynamics. It’s typical that only betas clean the alpha and omega designated rooms, but this hotel must not have cared much. There’s a lingering scent of candle wood coming from somewhere, musty and heady. It urges Sidney to push down his boxers. He grips his shaft in one hand and tucks his other hand around his balls to feel the weight of them.

He’s not one for finesse when he’s alone so he doesn’t try to make it last. Worked up as he is from the win, it’s easy to focus on the heat pooling in his stomach. His toes curl. His hand speeds up, his foreskin dragging deliciously against the crown of his dick. He flings his head back and shifts the hand around his balls to grab for his knot as it begins to swell. He bites his lip and his world whites out as he gets one more whiff of the candle wood.

It doesn’t really register until after he’s brushed his teeth and is climbing into bed that his knot didn’t fill his hand the way it usually does. He slips into sleep before he can think about it too hard.

 

---

 

He’s heard the stories. Every Alpha has. How Omegas have a better sense of smell. More acute; better equipped for scenting emotions. It’s a sense that’s been honed over lifetimes. A survival instinct.

Scientists haven’t documented Switches in decades but Sidney’s pretty sure he’s going to get himself locked up in a lab if he isn’t careful. The secret to living a normal life as a Switch, as far as Sidney has figured out, is to not broadcast his dynamic. If he doesn’t make a splash, no one really cares what his body is doing.

It takes a win against Buffalo the following week for him to notice a difference in scenting. There’s a spike of heat when Knuckles comes into the locker room, it smells like cinnamon and marshmallows roasting on a campfire. Sidney’s fascinated by it.

He watches Tommy dump his helmet in his stall and rip his jersey over his head. Sidney’s eyes feel glued to him as Tommy sits down in his stall and kicks one leg out, still breathing heavy from his time on the ice.

It takes a hard elbow from Jake to break Sidney’s concentration. He looks down and feels the heat rise in his cheeks.

There isn’t a rush of other smells, nothing to overwhelm him. If Sidney concentrates, as he’s always had to in order to scent, he can pick out Murrs and Geno, Reaves, Niemi and Tommy. There’s a little more to each of their Alpha scents now, though. The group of them used to just smell like team and home but they all stand apart now. Sidney can smell each one distinctly. It makes his nose crinkle.

Phil, the only Omega left on the team, gives him a side-eye across the room. Sidney’s grateful to note that Phil’s scent hasn’t changed.

Sidney keeps his head down and does what he needs to so he can get home fast. He tries not to freak out. Everything feels like it’s clicking into place for him and it makes sense, even if he doesn’t want it to. He’s never been around a disproportionate dynamic group this long before. He’s an Alpha. He’s always been an Alpha. Except that he’s slowly realizing he isn’t, anymore.

He forces the panic he can feel rising as far down as it will go. He wills himself into his normal routine after a game once he gets home — dinner and a television show that always helps to end the rush of adrenaline. His heartbeat won’t slow down though.

In his unsteady mind, there’s only one logical solution to confirm what Sidney thinks is happening to him. He gets himself off and lets the panic take over when he doesn’t knot at all.

 

---

 

In the morning, it’s all a little clearer and a little less scary. He schedules an appointment with Dr. Vyas. He’s never kept his dynamic a secret from the organization even though all of his paperwork has him listed as an Alpha. He’s willing to bet no one thought this a would be something they’d have to deal with after JR’s moves over the summer.

“It’s Flower.” He says.

“It’s Kunitz, too. We add in Reaves and Niemi…” Dr. Vyas swivels his chair around to sit closer to Sidney on the examination table. Sidney’s file is open in his lap. For as long as Dr. Vyas has known Sidney, he’s never had any advice better than what doctors have been telling Sidney his entire life. And he seems just as troubled by the evidence of the Switch as Sidney feels.

“So?”

Dr. Vyas sighs, “Just as with any Omega presentation, I can’t give you suppressants until you’ve had your first heat. If you’re lucky, JR will make a move before it happens and you may Switch again.”

Sidney huffs. The new direction JR wants to take the team in makes it clear to Sidney that he won’t be undoing his offseason deals in the near future. Not to mention that while the team isn’t clicking like the team of the past two seasons, they’re not exactly flailing their way through the preseason either. And Sidney likes Reaves; he’s not too sure how he feels about Niemi just yet but Ryan’s become a good friend in the short time he’s been around. “And if not?”

“Then we wait.” He closes Sidney’s file and tosses it onto the cabinet behind him. “There aren’t any physical changes that others will be able to note. You still look the same, you still smell the same. An Alpha may be able to scent heat on you though so I’d recommend keeping a distance between yourself and the Alphas on the team if you don’t want them to know. Once you’re on suppressants they won’t be able to scent it. Until then, I hate to say that you’re just relying on fate.”

Afterwards, Sidney stops into JR’s office before he heads home to let him know the story. Jim is apologetic, but mostly sights the loss of Botterill for the mishap. Apparently Jim’s never been the one to worry about the dynamics for the Penguins and most teams in the NHL have never had to think about a Switch. It only reaffirms to Sidney how unique the situation is with him.

He sits down with Sully, with Recchi and with PR after his meeting with JR. He tells everyone that’s in the “need to know”, and he leaves the rest to never know.

 

---

 

It all goes to shit about a week later after a 10-1 loss to Chicago.

He can’t get his head to stop spinning on the plane ride home; it feels like he’s swimming through a rain cloud. He can smell Niemi sitting just two rows in front of him, the acrid stench of disappointment and frustration wafting back to Sidney.

He wants to throttle the man. Full on. And make it hurt. They’re the defending champs and this was how he made his debut?

Sidney uncrosses his legs and crosses them in the other direction and that’s when he feels it. His whole body cringes at the wrongness of the dampness on the inside of his thigh. If he focuses, he can feel warmth spreading slowly between his cheeks. He forces himself to stay in his seat and readjusts. His thighs slide weirdly together. He breaths in a deep, panicky breath of air.

He stops his mental replay of the game. He grabs at the armrests on his seat and grits his teeth and keeps his eyes shut for the last twenty minutes of the flight. He feigns sleep while they land and let’s the rest of the team leave the plane before he even opens his eyes.

When he does, Geno is there, sitting across the aisle from him. Sidney can smell the disappointment in his scent as well but it doesn’t make Sidney want to punch him. It’s earthy-smelling, like flowers in a rainstorm. Sidney wants to plant himself face first into Geno’s neck and breathe it in.

“We tired.”

“Two games in?” He croaks, voice groggy from disuse.

Geno shrugs. “Summer not long enough for some.” He glares at the seat Niemi had been in.

If Sidney breathes in deeply enough, he can still smell Niemi. He can smell Murrs aggravation at stepping in after playing last night and failing to stop their downfall. He can smell Reaves annoyance at being traded to what’s supposed to be a contender to only lose so big in their second game of the season. And Knuckles, happy to be playing at all after he was passed over numerous times in the playoffs.

He doesn’t let himself breathe that deep.

“We have to brush this off, G,” He says, and slowly pushes himself to stand. Hopefully, he thinks, if he moves slowly enough, Geno won’t be able to smell the slick or see his erection. His pants are sticking to his legs though and it takes everything he has not to reach back to pull them away. He grabs his bag from the overhead and pulls it in front of his crotch. “We’ve got another game on Saturday to worry about now.”

Geno’s fixating on Sidney’s pants when he turns around to face him. He looks like he’s trying to put together puzzle pieces that will never fit, brows furrowed and eyes moving rapidly. And then he breaths in, a long sound that Sidney can feel like a physical thing reaching into his bones. It leaves him shivery and softly panting for air.

It feels like a bottle of slick has just upended itself down the backs of his legs and his dick flexes against the front of his pants.

“Sid?” Geno looks up at him, nostrils flared and wide-eyed.

“I gotta go.” It takes a lot of will to turn around and hurry off the plane.

 

---

 

When he’s at home watching the team win 4-0 over the Predators with a dildo he doesn’t remember buying buried in his ass, he finds himself grateful that he’s never been adverse to ass-play. Most Alphas are, he’s heard, but his dabbling with Omegas who were curious over the years must have prepared him for this.

His heat lasts three days, buffered by an off-day that gives him time to recuperate. He spent a heat with an Omega once, as her Alpha. None of the classes he had growing up prepared him for what it meant to be there for her during it and nothing he learned from his experience with her prepared him for going through heat himself. He’s exhausted, utterly and completely spent, but he’s also starving.

He drags himself down to Dr. Vyas office after he’s able to stand long enough to take a shower and make himself something to eat. His body feels like jelly, all of his limbs barely being controlled by a lot of focus on his part. When he’s walking out of Dr. Vyas’s building he thinks if he never goes through a heat again, it’ll be too soon.

 

---

 

Sully told the team Sidney had a high-grade fever and they didn’t want him around the team for a few days to limit exposure. Most of the guys seem to have bought it, offering him well wishes when he comes to practice the next afternoon. Geno’s paying him extra mind, though, eyes following Sidney across the room.

Sidney’s not surprised to find Phil’s eyes on him as well. When he’s almost ready to head out to the ice and Geno’s wandered off somewhere Sidney knows he can’t see from, he catches Phil’s eye and gives a subtle nod towards the hallway.

Phil follows him into an empty trainer’s room. They don’t have a lot of time before practice starts but Sidney would rather get this conversation done with now.

“I take it you can smell it?” He shrugs, playing one-handedly with the strap that attaches his jersey to his pants. He’s having a hard time meeting Phil’s eyes.

“I can smell something’s up, for sure. What’s going on?”

“I um, I’m a Switch.” There’s a whoosh of breath from Phil. “Apparently none of the front office was thinking about that when they made their moves this summer.”

Phil lets out a sound that could almost be a laugh. “Yeah, Betas never really seem to worry too much about dynamics.” He sounds so pissed off that Sidney finally meets his eyes, questioning. “Nothing’s happened here, don’t worry.”

Sidney nods. “This isn’t something you can tell anyone though, okay?”

“Yeah, no problem, man. I’m just glad my nose wasn’t messing with me the past few years. Seriously was worrying you were an Omega the whole time and just smelt like an Alpha.”

Sidney gives him a half smile but it feels sad. “Was an Alpha my whole life.”

Phil’s always been awkward with physical interaction but he reaches over and squeezes Sidney’s shoulder through his pads. He basks in the comfort for the few minutes they have.

 

---

 

He avoids Geno for as long as it takes for the suppressants to cover his scent. He knows what Dr. Vyas said, and he knows that Phil’s an Omega with a heightened sense of smell, but he’s afraid Geno will know everything just by standing close enough to Sidney.

The last thing he needs Geno to scent is that Sidney is in love with him.

He’s not too ashamed to admit to himself that ever since he met Geno, thirteen years ago in Mario’s foyer, right from the very first breath of him, he’s wished he was an Omega. Everything about being a Switch has scared him since he first presented, and all he’s ever known was how to be an Alpha. But he’s always wanted to be Geno’s Omega. Now that he’s an Omega, the repercussions of Geno knowing Sidney’s feelings are tenfold.

Now, if Geno rejects him, it’s because of Sidney, not his dynamic.

Sidney’s not sure he could stand that rejection.

 

---

 

In the end, Geno takes confronting what happened on the plane out of Sidney’s hands.

They have another off day — the one plus to having so many back-to-backs so early in the season — and Sidney’s fulfilling the promise he made to Andy by using the day to do absolutely nothing. His long-time trainer hadn’t been too thrilled when he learned about Sidney’s dynamic change because it interfered with the rest Sidney was already supposed to have had this early in the season.

Sidney’s so engrossed in the day-time Avalanche game that he barely hears the knock on the door and doesn’t think to check the peephole before he pulls it open. He’s not even looking at what he’s doing, head craning over his shoulder to watch the small sliver of TV he can still make out, until the person at the door clears his throat.

He’s already saying “Sorry” before he even sees who he’s been so rude to.

Geno smiles, “Not you if you not ignore company for hockey.”

Sidney flushes and looks down at his feet. He shrugs one shoulder up and pulls the door open a little more. “Do you want to come in?”

He doesn’t know if Geno nods, but he brushes past him and kicks off his shoes. Sidney follows him into the living room and sits back into the corner of the couch furthest away from Geno.

It takes until the period is over for Geno to make a sound and when he does, it’s whiny and frustrated and loud in the room. “I do something wrong?”

Sidney startles and turns to look at Geno. He’s still facing the TV but he’s sitting stiff as a board. There’s a vein in his neck pulsating; Sidney’s not sure he’s ever noticed it before.

“You run from me on plane and not talk for two weeks?” He prompts.

Sidney’s throat is dry, even though he keeps swallowing. He feels like he’s burning up, like there’s not enough air in the room for the two of them. He licks his lips but it’s like his throat doesn’t want to work, even when he tries to speak.

“What’s going on, Sid?” Geno finally turns to look at him.

“It’s not you.” Geno actually laughs at that. He sounds genuinely amused but there are tears in his eyes. Sidney doesn’t know what to do. He closes his mouth and waits while Geno seems to track his eyes over him.

It takes another minute of silence before Geno says, “You smell different.” Sidney cringes. “Ever since plane.”

He knows what plane ride Geno’s referring to. And damn it, why did he ever trust Dr. Vyas? He lowers his eyes to the couch cushions and swallows. “I’m a Switch. I’m not an Alpha anymore.”

“What?” Sidney looks up at Geno and he looks absolutely bewildered. Sidney can’t blame him, given how well he took the change happening to himself.

“Do they teach it in Russia? They must. I mean, we’re pretty rare but we happen. Like, one out of every three hundred non-betas or something like that.” Sidney’s rambling and he can’t seem to get a grip over himself. “I’ve been an Alpha my whole life but with Phil as the only Omega still here and the new Alphas that came in… Switches came into existence because of an abnormal amount of one non-beta dynamic. To keep our species going some started evolving and like I said, we’re rare but—“

Sidney finally manages to cut himself off and he looks up. Geno’s biting his lip and his face is red, his eyes are lit up with mirth.

Sidney reaches across the space between them and punches Geno’s shoulder. “You asshole. You know what a Switch is.”

Geno nods, laughing softly, “We taught Switches, too, but best friend growing up was. She was Omega until college, then become Alpha.”

Sidney breathes out a long breath of air, not expecting Geno to know anyone else who is a Switch. “You probably know more about what’s happened to me than I do, then.”

Geno shrugs. “Maybe. But it not happen to me, so maybe not. That’s what all this is though? You avoid because Switch?”

Sidney shrugs. “I didn’t want anyone to know. Dr. Vyas said I wouldn’t smell any different outside of heat and I had to wait for that before I could start suppressants.”

It’s like a light dawns over Geno’s face, realization and then absolute horror. He’s bright red when he asks, “Heat on plane?”

Sidney flushes and drops his eyes again. “That was the start of it, yeah.”

“So no fever.”

“Well…”

Geno laughs. “Heat fever.”

They both turn back for the start of the third period and seem to silently agree to focus on that for a while. During the first commercial break, Geno gets up and heads into the kitchen. He comes back before the game’s back on, two beers in hand. He passes Sidney’s favorite IPA over and takes a sip of his own favorite before he sits back down. Sidney feels a little touched that Geno knows which one his favorite is, after all there are multiple brands in the fridge. But Geno keeps his eyes trained to the screen for the rest of the game, so maybe Sidney’s just projecting.

Geno gets up to leave once the game is over and Sidney walks him to the door.

”Thanks for coming over,” Sidney says.

Geno slides his feet into his shoes and fixes the backs. Sidney pulls the door open and leans against it. “My friend, Elaina, she’s not speak English, but if you want I translate for you. Maybe help if you talk to someone who go through.”

Sidney smiles, “Thank you, Geno. I think I’m getting the hang of being an Omega though.”

Geno nods and turns to walk towards his car. He gets two steps down the front walk before he’s turning back to Sidney again. “Can I ask?”

Sidney nods, confused about what he’d have left to ask.

“Heat… you go through alone?”

If the ground could swallow him whole, Sidney thinks, now would be the perfect time. He can feel his face light up in flames and he bites the inside of his cheek. He fights not to drop his eyes to the ground and he nods once, sharply.

Geno nods back and then he’s gone.

 

---

 

Things start changing a little after that. Firstly, Sidney has someone to talk to about the Omega things he’s still getting used to — not that he’s actually going to talk to anyone, but still. Secondly, he can turn to Geno whenever he feels overwhelmed with what’s happening to him — which he also really doesn’t do. He still hates that he’s Switched at all, but it’s more bearable knowing he has people he can lean on.

Dr. Vyas warned him that his cycles would be a little out of sorts while his body gets used to the suppressants. It doesn’t seem to affect his play at all, but he goes through short bursts of heat, heat, wet heat pulsating between his legs, to no sexual desires for days. It’s a jarring thing to get used to.

He doesn’t find he has much interest in ass-play outside of the short bursts of heat, but he does get wet when he jerks off. It’s still a weird feeling to get used to but he thinks he’s getting there, slowly.

A month after his first heat, he has another. This one doesn’t get to surprise him as much; he can feel the start of it burning low in his stomach while he changes out of his gear after the game. It doesn’t fade on the bus ride to the airport; the team is four games in on a western Canada swing. There are four more games to go before they head home.

He sinks into his seat on the plane and tries to wait it out. The bursts he’s been having have only lasted an hour, at maximum, and he’s getting close to that now. He’s not sure at what point he should let Sully in on it but a side-eye from Phil tells him it might be soon.

He hasn’t started getting wet yet at least but the arousal is definitely burning. He takes his suit jacket off and folds it over his lap to hide his half-chub and keeps on waiting.

The flight is about three hours, take off to touch-down, and Sidney spends most of it making trips to the bathroom to splash his face with cold water.

After his fourth trip, he’s not surprised to see Phil waiting for him outside of the bathroom.

“You okay?”

Sidney nods. He’s starting to sweat and the collar of his shirt feels too tight.

“You smell like heat.” Phil whispers.

“I’ve been having bursts of it. I think that’s what this is.”

“You sure?”

Sidney shrugs. “If not, it’ll be my second heat on a plane.” He tries to laugh but Phil looks concerned.

“I haven’t smelled it on you any other time. You sure this isn’t legit?”

“I only just had one. Can I, this quick?”

Phil studies him for a moment before pushing him back into the bathroom stall and following him in. “Hang still, okay?”

Sidney nods.

Phil wraps his arms around Sidney’s shoulders and leans in. He sticks his nose behind Sidney’s ear and pulls in a breath, deep, deep… Sidney shivers with it and his knees buckle. “Oh yeah,” Phil chuckles, “You’re definitely in heat.”

“Fuck.”

Phil gives him a moment, stepping back out of the bathroom so Sidney can readjust his erection and use some more cold water. It doesn’t feel like it does much but he’s a little less out of it when he steps out of the bathroom.

Phil follows him closely up to Sully’s seat, to make sure he says something or to protect Sidney, he’s not sure. But Sidney is acutely aware of not having anything to cover his erection with when he stops in front of Sully. He glances at Phil over his shoulder and nods.

“Sid, Phil, what can I help you with?”

Sidney licks his lips. “I won’t be able to play tomorrow night.”

“Why is that?”

“He’s in heat.” Phil says for him.

Sully raises his eyebrows at Sidney. “I thought you didn’t want to tell anyone?”

Sidney blushes but Phil just laughs. “It’s hard to keep secrets from an Omega’s nose.” Phil says.

“I see. And you’re sure it’s heat?”

Sidney nods. “Phil confirmed it for me. I’m going to need to be quarantined in the hotel, I don’t know for how long.”

“I’ll talk to JR. Just do what you need to do. We’ll worry about the games.”

“Thank you.”

Sidney follows Phil back to his seat. The card game Phil’s always a part of seems to have wrapped up and most of the guys are sitting with their heads tilted back. Phil walking in front of him manages to block their teammates from seeing Sidney’s erection and he grabs his jacket to pull over his lap as soon as he gets to his seat.

Before he can sit down, he catches Geno’s eye. He looks concerned but like his dots are already connected, looking between Phil and Sidney. Phil slides into the seat that’s behind Sidney’s. Sidney swallows, hard, and tears his eyes away from Geno and sits.

None of the other Alphas seem to catch the scent of heat, at least, but he wonders if that’s maybe why Phil sits down so close.

He tries to keep a clear head through landing and mostly follows everyone on autopilot down to the bus bound for the hotel. Sidney sits in his normal seat but Phil sits close again, bouncing Tanger from his usual spot just behind Sidney.

He has to fight the whole bus ride not to touch his erection through his jacket. His cheeks are flushed and he’s sweating through his shirt. His nose is full of the scent of roses in full bloom. He wants to chase it and plant his face in it’s source.

The one time he does move to stand up, to find that heavenly scent, Phil puts a heavy hand on his shoulder. The scent isn’t Phil but Sidney still shivers at the touch.

“We’re almost there.” Phil whispers. “Hang on a little bit longer.”

Sidney nods and readjusts his legs.

By the time they get to the hotel, he’s lightly stroking his dick under the jacket. He can’t help it. He keeps the movements up even through room assignments and through the elevator ride up. Phil’s still actively watching out for him, making sure Sidney is in an elevator free of Alphas.

Part of him wants to tell Phil to get Geno for him, so he has someone to go through this with, but he can’t bring himself to. There’s a game tomorrow night and while he knows Geno would do this with him, it feels wrong to ask. He’d be manipulating Geno’s good nature. He knows Geno wouldn’t actually be with Sidney because he wanted to be.

Phil lets him into his room and tosses both room keys inside.

“Thank you.”

Phil pats him on the shoulder. “You’d do the same.” He says, and pulls the door shut behind him as he leaves.

Sidney doesn’t waste any time once he’s alone. He checks that the door is bolted and the chain is in place before he heads for the bed, stripping down as he goes. His body feels achy all over. He fists his dick in one hand and finally gives in to the heat.

 

---

 

Sidney wakes up in the morning feeling absolutely wrung dry. He’s exhausted, and mostly unsatisfied. His heat is a low hum in his belly and the room reeks of his slick and come. He cracks the window as much as he can to get a breath of fresh air. It does wonders for clearing his head.

He can tell he’s not finished yet. He feels sort of how he did the first time, everything simmering just under the surface until it’s ready to swallow him whole again. He hates feeling out of control but heat takes it to a completely different level. He swears he’s lost actual fragments of time while trying to satisfy the itch to be bred.

Sidney stands by the window for a few minutes before the need for food wins out. He knows he shouldn’t leave the room but room service will take too long. He showers all of the come from his chest but gets lost in the sensation of cleaning away his slick. All too soon the heat is drowning him again and Sidney stays under the water spray, riding his fist until long after the water turns cold.

 

---

 

There’s a knock on the door in the late afternoon. Sidney doesn’t hear it at first, but it gets more persistent the longer he ignores it. He cloaks himself in the complementary hotel bathrobe and checks the peephole.

At first all he can see is the back of Phil’s head but he’s moving around. He can’t smell anything from outside the door and he’s afraid of what might be there when he opens it so he just calls out, “What?”

Phil turns and as he does, he moves just enough for Sidney to see Geno, just behind him.

“We’re about to leave for the game. Coach asked me to check in.”

“Oh. I’m okay.”

“Hungry?” Geno calls out and pushes Phil out of the way. He thrusts protein bars, a Gatorade and a protein drink into the frame of the peephole.

Sidney’s stomach makes an involuntary noise and his throat whimpers. “Yeah. I don’t think I should open the door for you though.”

“Definitely should not.” Phil pushes Geno back out of the way. He turns around and it looks like they’re arguing but Sidney can’t hear any of it.

Geno looks pissed but with whatever’s going on, he eventually gives in and shoves the things he brought for Sidney into Phil’s arms and turns to stalk away. Phil’s shoulders sag heavily and he turns back to the door.

“Good to open now.”

Sidney cracks the door and steps back to let Phil push it open. “What was that about?”

“Nothing.”

Sidney makes a noise and reaches for the one of the protein bars. He takes it from the pile and climbs back onto the bed.

Phil’s nose wrinkles. Sidney can’t imagine what the room smells like to another Omega. He bares through it though, and drops all of Sidney’s new goodies on the desk in the corner. “You didn’t tell me Geno knew.”

“I didn’t realize I would need to.” Sidney says through a bite of the bar. The peanut butter is making his mouth stick.

“I’ll come check on you after the game. Sully got JR to push our flight out until Tuesday. He’s calling tomorrow a ‘team building’ activity.” He makes air quotes around the words.

Sidney takes another bite of the bar and has to close his eyes in pleasure. It takes another minute before he remembers Phil’s still in the room. He blushes, but after Phil’s smelled this room he’s not sure he has much left to be embarrassed about. “Win for me, alright?”

“Aye, aye, Captain.” Phil salutes him with a smirk. “Come double bolt this. I can’t block any Alphas from your room while I’m at the game.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Sidney says and pushes himself off the bed. Phil’s out the door before he gets to the lock and he twists the bottom one and pulls the chain up on autopilot.

Block, what?

 

---

 

Sidney doesn’t remember Phil coming by after the game – he’s glad for it, too, when he registers how badly they lost. With his mind buzzed from heat, Sidney doesn’t think Niemi would’ve been safe from what he would’ve wanted to do to him – or any of Monday. The first thing he registers, early Tuesday morning is the sweetness of his heat breaking with the rising of the sun. He’s just as exhausted as he was after the first heat and he plants his face into the pillow and sleeps.

There’s a knock that wakes him some amount of time later. His whole circadian rhythm is fucked. “Yeah?” He croaks from the bed, barely turning his face enough to say the word clearly.

“Sid, you alright?”

It’s Sully’s voice so Sidney forces himself to turn over with a groan. He wraps the bathrobe around him and takes a glance at the room. He cracks the door open and sticks his face into the sliver.

“Phil mentioned your heat was over at breakfast. Some of the guys are still downstairs if you wanted to join them.”

“Oh, thank you.”

Sully shifts, his eyes continually dropping from Sidney’s. It has to be weird to a Beta, rationalizing the fundamentals of what happens to an Omega in heat and how they have to take care of that burden and then facing an Omega, freshly finished with heat. He gives Sully a ton of credit for coming to Sidney’s room.

“What did you tell the team?”

“That you had a knee twinge Dr. Vyas wanted you to stay off of. He’s flying out to meet us in Edmonton to evaluate whether or not you can play tomorrow.”

“Oh, I don’t see why I wouldn’t–“

“I don’t see why not either, but JR required it for pushing the flight back.”

Sidney nods and purses his lips.

“Our flight is at four. Bus leaves at one. Try to walk with a little bit of a limp, at least until tomorrow, alright?”

“Yeah. Thanks, Coach.”

Sully nods and Sidney pulls back to shut the door.

He checks the clock on the night table to see how much time he has. He could pass out again right now, but the clock reads 10:30 am and he has to get himself showered, fed and ready to leave all too quickly.

Sidney takes care of the showering part first. It’s the easiest thing, and the one that least involves teammates. The soreness in every limb makes the shower take a while but it’s perfunctory. He cleans everything he needs to and lets the water sooth the knots he’s created by trying to be a contortionist while in heat.

The room is a wreck. He thinks the hotel might have an easier time confining a fire to the room than trying to clean it. The bed feels soaked through when Sidney sits down on it. The sheets are all somewhere, too. He doesn’t readily see them and it’s not his place to worry. Hotels like the one they’re in know the chances of heat taking place inside their walls; it’s up to them to worry about how to clean it.

His bag is still completely together, at least. He pulls it onto the desk chair and sorts through it for clean clothes. He holds each item up to his nose and takes a deep breath. He doesn’t know if he’d be able to smell his own heat but it’s worth a try, he thinks. Once he’s dressed, he pulls a spare plastic bag from the front pouch. He rounds up the clothes he was wearing Saturday night and stuffs them into it, closes it tight and pushes it into a corner of the bag. He thinks, a little hysterically, he may have to send his whole suitcase to be laundered at the next hotel…

It’s noon by the time Sidney’s done stalling for time. He just… he’s just really not ready to see any teammates. He presses an eye to the peephole and listens closely for any noise in the hall.

A few doors down, Rusty opens a door and walks across the hall and knocks on another one. It must open because he disappears and then there’s no sound.

Sidney takes a deep breath and grabs the handle. His hand is shaking but he pushes the knob down and pulls the door open. He peeks around the corner, first left, then right, and quickly steps out. He pulls the door shut and hurries to the elevator.

It takes a minute for it to get to him but when it opens it’s not empty. Geno’s whole face lights up when he sees Sidney and Sidney feels like a deer caught in headlights.

“Sid!” Geno cheers. He steps out of the elevator and reaches out to pull Sidney in a hug. “You feel better?”

Sidney peeks over Geno’s shoulder and still inside the elevator is Hornqvist and Hagelin. He pulls back from Geno. “Yeah, much better.” He nods at the two Swedes. “Hey.”

“Hey, Sid. See you on the bus.” Horny says as the elevator doors shut.

Sidney’s brows are furrowed when he looks at Geno.

“They one flight up. You head out?” Geno presses the already-lit down arrow for the elevator. “I come with.”

“Oh, no, I can go alone. I just need to grab some food.” The elevator dings and opens, empty, in front of them. Sidney steps in and Geno follows him on.

“Starbucks in the lobby.” Geno says and presses the button for it.

Sidney smirks, “Must’ve missed that when we came in.”

Geno laughs. “How was heat?”

Sidney chokes, caught off guard. “I’m sorry? I don’t think you’re supposed to ask an Omega that.”

Geno’s face scrunches up, “I’m not ask Omega. I’m ask friend who used to be Alpha.”

Geno could’ve slapped him in the face, Sidney thinks, and it would’ve hurt less. He stares at Geno and wills the sharpness he feels in his chest to settle down. “Right.” The elevator dings for the lobby and Sidney doesn’t waste any time stepping off.

Sidney stalks across the lobby to the Starbucks. There are a couple of teenagers at the counter ordering a frappe-mocha-something-or-other. Sidney turns his back to them and searches the cold-case for a sandwich.

“Sid?” Geno asks, stepping up next to Sidney.

He blows out a frustrated puff of air and grabs two ham and cheese wraps off the shelf. He turns back to the register and gets in line behind the kids. Geno moves to stand just to his side.

“Can I help you?”

Sidney steps up to the counter and puts the wraps down. He pushes them closer to the cashier. “Can I also get a grande black coffee and two brownies?”

Sidney doesn’t even hear the cashier’s response but she turns around and gets what he wants. Geno moves in next to him again and puts his hand on the back of Sidney’s arm, just above his elbow.

“I do something?”

Sidney can’t bring himself to look over at Geno. He’s mad and he feels a little irrational with it. Of course Geno isn’t looking at him as a real Omega, because in Geno’s eyes, he’s not one. He’s just some former Alpha who can’t knot anymore. He doesn’t need to be given the same respect and protection offered to Omegas. Because he isn’t really one. And if Geno doesn’t see him as a real Omega, then Sidney can’t ever be Geno’s Omega.

He pays for what he ordered and grabs his bag and coffee. He doesn’t even stop at the station with milk and sugar, even though he hates black coffee. He just stalks back across the lobby and hopes there are no teammates around to see him moving without a limp.

Sidney jams his hand into the up arrow repeatedly and looks up to watch the numbers above the doors change.

He steps into the elevator that opens and a small group follows Geno on. Sidney presses the button for their floor and squeezes into the back corner so he doesn’t have to touch anyone. Every part of him is riddled with frustration and he just wants to get back to his hotel room and be alone.

The group gets out a few floors below theirs and face-to-face with Geno, Sidney feels compelled to shut his eyes. He gets out first when they get to their floor and is thankful no one is in the hallway.

Geno grabs his arm from behind and pulls him back to face him. “Sid—“

“Don’t touch me,” Sidney seethes between gritted teeth.

Geno sputters and lets go. Sidney stumbles backwards to catch his own weight. He glares at Geno and turns to walk to his door.

“What I do?” Geno asks. He sounds genuinely hurt. The sharpness in Sidney’s chest twists a little.

Sidney keeps his voice low so others can’t hear and spits, “I am a real Omega.”

Geno’s eyes widen and he steps closer to Sidney.

Sidney hurries to unlock the door. There are tears pricking at the corner of his eyes and the last thing he wants is to cry. He blinks but the door’s lock is still flashing red, he swipes the key card again.

Geno crowds in close before Sidney can open the door and presses Sidney’s shoulder so he turns to face Geno. “I know you a real Omega now. I’m sorry.”

“You’re not sorry,” Sidney pushes at Geno’s hand on his shoulder but it doesn’t budge.

“Am sorry.” Geno moves his hand in small, soothing circles. He sighs and averts his eyes from Sidney’s. “I’m not mean to say you’re not. I’m just have hard time with this. Is something I’m want so long, to be with you. I’m keep tell myself you still Alpha so I don’t act wrong but I’m do anyway.” He sighs again and steps back from Sidney.

“You, what?” All his breath has left him and there’s barely any sound behind the words. He’s searching Geno’s face, his still averted eyes, for the truth. “Geno…” He whines.

Geno looks up and meets his eyes. He blinks back moisture and swallows hard.

Sidney turns back to the lock and finally gets it open. He pushes inside and holds the door open for Geno to follow him in. He puts the Starbucks down on the desk.

“‘I’m sorry,” Geno says again.

Sidney laughs. It sounds hoarse through his held-back tears. He turns around to face Geno and shakes his head. He smiles though it feels a little sad. “Ever since I met you, I’ve wished I was an Omega.”

Geno’s mouth drops open in surprise and his breath is loud in the quiet of the room.

“Alpha, Omega, being either one of those doesn’t bother me, if that’s what you think it is. It was the Switch. It was being one my whole life and suddenly becoming the other.” Sidney wraps his arms around himself. “You know I don’t like to not be in control.”

Geno smiles. “I’m know.”

“And yet, I’ve always wanted to Switch. Just so I could have a chance to be your Omega.”

Geno moves to close their distance but Sidney takes a step back.

“I can’t do halfway on this, I need you to know that now. I’m so gone on you, I’ve been so far gone on you that—“

Geno takes two strides and all the space between them is suddenly gone. He pulls Sidney’s into his arms and tucks Sidney’s face into his neck. He smells like dew on freshly-cut grass, like the promise of all the good to come.

They stay like that a while, content in holding each other. Sidney hopes whatever his scent is, is just as calming to Geno as Geno’s is to him. He feels drugged, the whole world a little hazy and warm.

“Phil have to stop me from help with heat.”

Sidney pulls back and searches Geno’s face. “What?”

Geno smiles sheepishly. “He not lie if he tell you he’s have to block Alpha from room.”

Sidney’s startled into a laugh. It’s high-pitched and honking but Geno’s looking at Sidney like the whole world is his. Geno leans down and Sidney closes his mouth just in time to catch Geno’s kiss.