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Étude

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This was the only time he was ever able to listen to music.

More like allowed, really, considering how things were, but still. Craig didn’t think he’d ever grow tired of the way music sounded echoing through a penthouse suite.

He glanced up at the clock, watched it tick, tock, tick away at the seconds he was spending lounged across a luxurious sectional sofa. He’d enjoyed this one, for how long he’d had it. He’d before had a loveseat with an ugly floral print; another sectional, that one a cobalt blue; a leather three-seater; a sofa with separate reclining backs. He might have liked the other sectional more, but this one was fine. It was an unassuming brown, soft, new. Craig let out a yawn and stretched one arm up into the air, adjusting his position so that he was lying on his back. He dropped his hand down to his stomach and sighed, staring at the spackled ceiling and thinking about how ugly those green curtains were, billowing in the gentle wind. He hated green.

The sliding glass door to the balcony was cracked open just a smidge, which was somewhat of a risk, Craig realized, but it had been several hours according to the clock and there was no knocking yet, so he figured it had been alright. It wasn’t too loud, really.

Sometimes it was really loud. Sometimes it rang in his ears for a while afterwards.

There was a click and Craig glanced at the offender, the radio, which had switched tracks to play the piano to him. He’d liked this collection, when he had managed to secretly hear it through the doors before. Doors he wasn’t supposed to open.

They had been foolish to assume he hadn’t learned to pick locks years ago. Most omegas did, in secret, because staying cooped up the way they usually were was too stifling to stay sane. Craig huffed a little laugh- he supposed he still hadn’t ended up sane. Oh well, really, oh well. One time, before he’d matured and one of the last times they ever spoke, his mother said that no matter how he ended up, she would love him the same and always be there for him.

She was a beta, though, and betas didn’t really understand what privileges they had. They didn’t understand that omegas belonged in basements and locked bedrooms. At least, in Craig’s experience.

He wondered what his mother would think of him now, lying across this couch in the penthouse of the highest building in the dead center of the city. He must have been every bit the image of the well-kept omega that they advertised in the magazines. He could probably have modeled, maybe, when he was younger. If he hadn’t gotten stuck in back alleys and forced into homes as a broodmare, under duress by the criminals that he’d unfortunately gotten trapped between.

Maybe if they captured a beta, it would be treated differently. (No, not maybe, definitely- omegas didn’t have autonomy here. Not in the United States.) Maybe there would be news coverage, and police investigations. Maybe these criminals would be caught. Until then though, captives had to be lockpicks, and liars, and expert lovers- and bear children the way an artist paints a picture. One at a time, to hang on a wall when finished and then start another. An assembly line of babies. Craig wrinkled his nose. He’d hated even the idea of it.

That was why he was out here, in the living room instead of his locked bedroom, musing about life and listening to Chopin, relief flowing through his veins like a heavily laced drug that gave him power like he’d never had before. It was intoxicating.

The formula was simple, but he’d found a way to make it fun. He was given to an Alpha, who would fuck him and imprison him, try to impregnate him, but he never really got that far, most of the time. No, Craig was a masterful tempter. He caressed their cheeks a little too long, massaged their shoulders a little too deeply, whispered a little too closely to their ears that he ‘wanted to be someone special,’ and they were putty in his hands.

They fell for it, the horny pigs that they were, and then Craig was given rights, piece by piece. It wasn’t always the same of course and sometimes he barely got to leave his room anyway but at least the Alphas liked him, and trusted him, and that was all he needed. A false sense of security. Enough to enchant them so that they didn’t notice the knife coming straight for their back.

He didn’t use the back much though, not really. The chest and stomach were much more effective entry points. Neck was best, if he could manage it. Then they couldn’t scream even if they wanted to. And oh, they wanted to. Nothing thrilled Craig quite like the look of abject horror on an Alpha’s face while he slit his throat and sent him to Hell where he belonged.

He twisted the knife into the hardwood floor in slow, lazy circles, humming along to the melody. This was his favorite, common as it was. Then the melody became too erratic to hum, and made his heart race in the dreadful way, which he did not like, so he got up with a giant stretch and shut the radio off. He took a moment at the radio’s side to scan the room, glance over the corpse that had spilled blood all over the floor, and sneer at those ugly curtains again. He could feel the breeze from here. It was nice, warm.

He wished he could live like this sometimes. That he could have a home like this, without the requirement of sex for the purpose of procreation with partners he didn’t choose. He missed when he could choose.

As Craig rinsed the knife in the sink, his thoughts got away from him. Oh, they always did, right about now, when the high passed and the fall was heavy. When he realized he’d soon have to start it all over again, and he had no say in the matter. When he’d have to say ‘I love you’ to another nobody that he couldn’t care less for.

He turned off the water and gripped the edge of the sink while his mind soared far, far away, to the future he’d daydreamed about since he was sixteen. The future with his ex-boyfriend, who’d left him so suddenly that Craig was completely screwed, stuck in a foreign city with only half an income, which led him to the streets. The future where they’d had a nice house nowhere near the city, with actually nice curtains and a couch not too far off from this one, and Craig didn’t kill people for fun.

Not people, he reminded himself. Alphas.

Alphas weren’t people.

He slipped the knife through the bastard’s wound to coat it with blood and drop it on the ground, and with a heavy sigh, he walked himself back to his prison. He twisted the lock on the doorknob from the outside, and looked behind him one more time.

He watched the clouds in the sky and trailed the winds to short hair, fluttering on the scalp of a dead man. He was blond.

Craig hated blonds.

He pulled the door closed slowly, listened to the door click shut behind him, shook the knob for good measure to make sure the lock was in place, and sunk down to his knees. He buried his face between them and didn’t look up until the sun was mostly set and night had mostly fallen. He didn’t want to daydream anymore about things that would never come true, and so he guessed how long it would take for someone to find him.

At least his curtains were white.