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Steve freezes catching once again the smell of one of the omegas from the team which he was assigned to. Not calling exclusively him omega’s scent like Peggy’s was but something vaguely familiar, as if even his own, although this omega shies away in fright every time Steve inhales around him. And his alpha always materializes behind him, and he’s nearly as big as Steve.

He does not understand what’s happening with him: Peggy was and remains his only love but now her smell does not scratch something forgotten deep in his guts, as before. Now he feels only a sense of irreparable loss towards her. Black-haired omega with prominent cheekbones is constantly attracting his attention despite the fact there’s an old and plainly cherished mark clearly seen on the strong neck and its owner alpha is also always around.

Steve has repeatedly caught menacing glare of gray-green eyes. A slightly different shade and he would say that this alpha, the commander of his team Jack Rollins, with his harsh heavy aura incredibly reminds him of Bucky — who was always regardful to any omega in sight and ready to defend them as well as the flimsy parody of the alpha, as Steve used to call himself. Jack is always near his omega, Brock Rumlow. High, wide, strict. And incredibly gentle towards his mate. Steve noticed several times, how they communicate after the work ends and some sort of free time starts.

Steve suspects that the reason for this is not only their bond but something painful in their past. They are both soldiers and certainly had a lot of grief in this work. Steve's not used to omegas in the army. Peggy was almost the first and his instincts enhanced by the serum plainly stunned him demanding to cover, warm, protect her. These days there’re much more omegas in the service and their presence does not shock anyone.

Though Steve was glad to know that their teammates still protect them. He is happy to see that betas are still caring for omegas, even if it looks a little different in the army than in civilian life. He believes for some time in the theory that either Jack or Brock somehow are Bucky’s heirs. He was lascivious but even without it he had sisters. Steve doesn’t know how to check it and what arguments to follow. Jack’s eyes and Brock’s subtle smell? He’s not supposed to stare at them so intently nor even use first names, because they’re not that close. Just serve together.

Although he’s allowed to do so then alone. He'd like to get closer with someone. To stop dying inside from the deep loneliness. He tries to stay longer at the base to be among the people he knows at least by name. He can’t pretend to be pals with the waiters from the cafe, where he always goes for breakfast.

Sitting in his lonely bachelor apartment and drawing old and new friends from memory, he tries to understand what is happening with him. Maybe it’s just his rut approaching and he need to look for some modern way to spend it. At the very beginning Bucky helped him with his hands, when they became older they used to go for help to the familiar omegas. Steve was small and weak and could not hurt anyone; his ruts were short so kith helped him with pleasure. He shades a bondmark on Brock's nape, who stands in a half-turn at the gym with an irritated look on his face - one of their betas did something funky, and Steve first time saw Brock pouting. He looked like an angry budgie: bright, beautiful and ruffled. Steve was charmed and immediately wanted to draw him.

Westfahl. That guy's name seemed to be Westfahl. Steve was sure Brock would punch him but omega acted much more insidious, and Steve still laughs remembering the bewilderment on beta’s face at the sight of pouting omega. It was an incredible sight. Poor beta was ready to cry from simultaneous desire to please the offended omega and to stand on his own. Brock was beautiful, causing the presumptuous subordinate to retreat with one silent flutter of his eyelashes.

Steve would like to have same partner, someone who’s able to resolve any situation without fighting and screaming. Able to make decisions and be responsible for his life and not just rely on alpha. Of course it's nice when someone relies on you and trust you in everything, but Steve still wants to find a sufficiently independent partner so not to be afraid to leave him without supervision when he will leave for the job. Steve understands Jack made his mate his SIC not because they are bonded, as it’s sometimes whispered in the halls without realizing how much superior Steve’s hearing is. He always snatches out familiar names from chats and listens carefully to learn more and feel a little closer to his teammates. STRIKE consists of people who have gone through a lot, and Brock is definitely in his place.

If only his smell wouldn't confuse Steve so much. Brock doesn't look like Bucky's grandson! Even though they with Monty had vanished somewhere in Italy... Brock looks like he's got Italian ancestors in his blood. Also, Steve needs to learn about Jack's family. But it may be understood wrong. And if he starts asking about omega's family... He’ll be completely misunderstood.

He needs to stop ogling his new colleagues. And find someone for his rut. He will definitely not ask Natasha for help. Little beta is too easily carried away, and Steve could find himself already bonded to someone if he blinks at wrong time. Because of this he does not ask her help in searching information about Brock’s and Jack’s relatives.

He could ask Jack for advice. Or Brock. So they won't think he wants to break them up. Or he can ask the whole team during the lunch break. Well, not really. Steve doesn't want everyone discussing his private life problems. Or rushing to solve them. STRIKE is like tight-knit pack, Steve is a little afraid of the size of their help if they suddenly decide that he needs it.

All right. He'll just ask Brock. No, no. Jack. Even though his broken teeth grow back Steve still doesn't want to risk them.