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Be As You Are

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The day John Winchester drunkenly steered his wagon full of his sleeping family off the path and into a river was the day the Winchesters lost everything. More specifically, the Matriarch of their small pack. Mary Winchester, the only thing that held John together, was swept away by the rushing currents, never to be found. Dean Winchester, only seven, hit his head against a mossy rock but clung to his baby brother as his vision blurred. John was a strong Alpha, strong enough to fight the currents, and he had enough sense left in him to grab his oldest by his scruff and toss him to the bank, Sammy in his arms.

The Alpha had pulled himself from the water, sobered by both the cold water and the sudden loss of his mate, and silently led the boys back to the path, stinking of grief. A day later, they reached their settlement, and John built their home as Sammy toddled after his big brother. It would take a month before John would notice Dean hadn’t said a word since the accident. That he sometimes seemed confused, and his movements were slower than usual.

None of this really mattered to John. No, without his mate, John didn’t much care about anything more than getting his hands on another bottle of whiskey.

Through the years, Dean would find his words again, though they would come slowly, slurred or stuttered. He was still slow, but Sammy was a patient brother, and would take his big brother’s hand and help him along with anything he needed.

Dean’s first heat hit when he was twelve. The day it ended, John had him packed up and in their wagon before the sun was up. Dean had no idea how long they’d travelled, still too exhausted and weak from his heat to pay much attention. It is only when he was handed off to Headmaster Moseley at the Omega Institute that Dean really woke up. He tried to ask his father what was happening, why he had to stay without his Sammy, what he did wrong. But in his confusion and fear, he couldn’t get his tongue to work and everything that came out was jumbled nonsense that just made John shake his head and turn away.

“Good luck to you,” John muttered over his shoulder to the Headmaster, “Dunno what good a broken omega will be to you.”

Dean cried as he stood on the steps, watching his brother disappear over the hill, until Headmaster Moseley steered him inside.

The Omega Institute was the biggest place Dean had ever seen. It had so many rooms, it may as well have been a castle to the small boy. In reality, it housed around 30 young omegas, ranging from 10 to 18. The Institute specialized in training omega’s in proper omega behavior and skills, and getting them mated off or find them Omega positions within households. Those positions could either be a surrogate for Beta couples, a nanny for high end families, or merely a companion for lone omegas.

Headmaster Moseley, or Missouri as she preferred the children call her, bunked Dean with a small asian boy named Kevin. This was fine with Dean, he would later decide. Kevin never seemed to stop talking, which saved Dean the effort of having to do it himself. Kevin also never asked why Dean was broken. He merely took Dean by the hand and helped him find his way.

By the time Dean was twenty, he gave up any dream of being mated, or even finding a job within someone’s household. A broken Omega just wasn’t worth the hassle. Missouri would smack him upside the head if she’d hear Dean say anything like that about himself, but it was the truth. Working with Kevin, Dean had gotten better and better at speaking, but it was still taxing. His movements were still jerky and hesitant, slow. Missouri had paid for a doctor to come and look him over a week after he had arrived. Upon examination, the good Doctor had felt the dip in the back of Dean’s skull and decided Dean had suffered a hard enough blow to the head that it had resulted in brain trauma. There was no treatment he could offer.

This didn’t bother Dean much, not anymore. He found himself content at the institute, though he missed his brother something fierce. The first few years, Kevin had helped him write letters, but when he never got a reply, he gave up. He knew it was likely that John wasn’t even giving Sammy his letters, but the silence still stung.

Missouri had taken Dean under her wing, treating the boy like her own son. She was patient, but didn’t put up with anyone’s nonsense. When Dean got to fed up with his own limitations and claimed he couldn’t do something, she would put her foot down and insist that he could.

“It may take you a little longer, Sugar, but you can do anything any other boy can do.” She would tell him, rubbing soothing circles across his back. It would definitely take him longer, but he would still eventually finish whatever task she put in front of him. Whether it was cooking dinner, or sewing new skirts for the growing omegas, he found he could do it all, even with shaking fingers.

The day Kevin was signed off to his new household, the Miltons, as a nanny for three pups, Dean cried. Kevin was a year younger than himself, at just barely eighteen. “Don’t worry, Dean. You may be the oldest one here, but you’re such a pretty Omega. You’ll find a home. If not with your own Alpha, then as a good nanny, or companion.”

Dean noted that Kevin had left out the surrogate option. Despite the fact that Dean was, in fact, a very pretty Omega, albeit slightly larger than was average, nobody wanted a broken Omega carrying their pups. His feminine features and green eyes just weren’t enough. He knew Kevin meant well, but he just didn’t see a future outside of the Omega Institute. Missouri had already made it clear that he was welcome to stay and work with her as long as he wanted. Dean was happy enough to accept the offer. Omegas couldn’t lead much of a life on their own, anyway, so it was best that Dean just stay where he was.

At twenty, Dean was content taking care of Omegas alongside Missouri. He was content cooking meals, tucking in the young ones, and sewing their simple skirts. He was content, until he watched another lucky omega get signed off and walk out the front gates with their new families, new Alphas, and new pups. On those days, Dean would quietly go to his room and let himself cry.

 

----

“Dean, honey, I have some news.” Missouri said, coming into the kitchen with the sweep of her skirts. She smelled of brown sugar and apples, a smell that Dean had come to register as home. She stopped behind him as he wiped cooking oil from his fingers on his apron, cocking an eyebrow at the Headmaster. “It’s good news, sugar.”

Dean looked at the paper in her hands. It looked like a new request form, and Dean wondered what new lucky omega was about to find a home. “Shoot,” Dean muttered, ready for Missouri to just tell him already so he could get back to making lunch.

“Now, Dean, I want you to think about this, before you say no.” Missouri shook the paper at him. “It’s a request. A request for you.”

“Yeah, sure.” Dean guffawed, turning back to the counter. It wasn’t like Missouri to joke around like this. Why would anyone request him?

A hand on his elbow pulled him back around. Missouri narrowed her chocolate colored eyes at the boy, squeezing his arm. “Boy, you best not be thinking I’d joke around about something like this. You’re a good boy, Dean, a good omega. It’s no wonder a request would come for you.”

Dean’s cheeks flushed at her praise. She was biased, Dean knew, but his omega still preened at her words. “What for?”

“A nanny positIon.” Missouri said, releasing his arm. “For a newly widowed alpha. He’s got a new pup. His estate is large, and he has a lot of beta and alpha staff but he would prefer an omega take part in the upbringing of his pup.”

It wasn’t unusual for people to prefer an omega help raise their young, as they were naturally the most nurturing of the subgenders. A fair amount of the omegas in the home went to widowed families, but that still left Dean with one question.

“Why me?”

“Well, sugar, I recommended you. The Alpha sent one of his staff members to look us over and find him a nanny. They asked for my best and, well, that’s you.” Missouri said simply, patting Dean’s cheek.

“Me, the best?” Dean sputtered, “I’m just a broke...I ain’t the best.”

Of course, this earned Dean a smack to the back of the head. “Dean Winchester, how many times do I have to tell you, you aren’t broken. You are the hardest working omega here. Why shouldn’t you get this chance? And if it doesn’t work out, you will always be welcome back here, honey.”

Dean tapped his fingers against his legs, thinking. This was something he never expected to happen. A request, for him. Sure, it wasn’t for an Alpha, or his own family, but he’d get to take care of a pup. Watch it grow, be a part of the pup’s life. He loved pups, having raised Sammy himself after their mother’s death. This would be something he knew he could do.

“I guess,” He shrugged, pulling his apron off slowly. “When do they want me?”

Missouri’s scent filled with happiness that had Dean fighting back his own smile. He wouldn’t let himself get too excited over this. He didn’t want it to hurt too bad when they sent him back. “His staff is here and ready to take you today, if you’re willing.”

“That soon, huh?” Dean muttered, tapping his fingers again, suddenly nervous. “I guess I better pack.” He shuffled past his Headmaster and up the two flights of stairs to his room. He didn’t have much, so the bag John had sent with him was packed quickly. He had a single nightgown, a robe, two changes of clothes, and a book Kevin had used to teach him to read. Reading and writing wasn’t common among omegas, so the book was one of his most prized possessions. He tossed in his comb and journal. It wasn’t a very full journal, as he still found writing too much of an effort to do very often, but it was still nice to have a place to let out his private thoughts. He wondered, briefly, if this alpha would be accepting of Dean’s reading and writing, or if he should hide the fact that he knew how. Lastly, he grabbed the small fake knot every omega was provided with and shoved it into the bag between his clothes, cheeks flushed at the thought of needing to use it in an unfamiliar home surrounded by strangers.

Lugging his bag downstairs to the mainroom, Dean kept his head bowed. It was proper for omegas to keep their heads down unless addressed. He was determined to make as good a first impression as he could. “This is Dean Winchester,” Missouri introduced him to the beta staff who had been sent for him. “He’s very shy, but he’s a sweet boy.”

“Hi there, Dean.” A woman’s voice chirped, “I’m Charlie. You don’t have to keep your head down with me, or any of the staff. We don’t bite.”

Dean lifted his head slowly to look at the small red-headed beta. She looked nice enough, though Dean still felt uneasy. He hadn’t been around anyone but omega’s for nearly a decade. Charlie smiled at him and held her hand out for his bag. “Let me carry that for you. We’ve got a nice coach outside, and a beta driver named Bobby. He comes off kinda surly, but he’s a good guy, I promise.”

Dean just nodded along and handed off his bag. It felt weird to have someone else carrying his things, but he wasn’t about to argue and have the beta change her mind already. Missouri pulled him into a tight hug. “You’ll be fine, sugar. Just be your good-hearted self and they’ll absolutely love you.”

“Sure thing.” Dean muttered against her neck before she left him go. He gave her a small smile before turning away, shuffling toward the beta. “M’ ready.”

Charlie offered her elbow and Dean hesitantly wrapped a shaking hand around it, letting her lead him outside. On the street outside the gate was the nicest coach Dean had ever seen. It was sleek black with a pair of beautiful chestnut horses hooked at the front. A burly man that he assumed to be Bobby stood at the back, taking his bag from Charlie and setting it in the trunk attached between two large wheels. “Nice to meet ya, boy.” Bobby said gruffly, tipping his hat to the omega.

Dean dipped his head in return and allowed Charlie to help him into the coach. The interior was even nicer than he could have expected. The seats were plush and a soft ivory that Dean was almost afraid to sit on in case he dirtied it. The windows on the doors had thick curtains that could be drawn for privacy, and the floor was even carpeted in a rich crimson. Dean couldn’t hold back a low whistle as he settled into his seat.

“It’s nice, right?” Charlie chuckled as the coach started to move. She sat across from him, legs crossed. She was wearing trousers, which was odd to Dean. All omegas and women wore skirts, as far as he’d been taught. It just wasn’t proper for them to be seen in such form fitting clothes. “Alpha Novak comes from a wealthy family. He’s owned the Eden estate for about ten years now. It was a gift when he got married. It was an arranged marriage, but Omega Amelia was a nice woman. It was a great loss for us when she passed in childbirth.”

Dean could already tell that Charlie loved to talk, and right now he was thankful for it. He wanted to learn all he could before they got to his new home. “Novak?” He asked, flinching at his own voice. It was always thicker, slow like syrup when he was nervous.

Charlie didn’t seem to notice as she nodded. “Castiel Novak, youngest son of the Novak pack. His parents, Naomi and Zachariah Novak live on the east coast, at their main Estate. Aldon Estates. They don’t visit very often, thank goodness. They’re very traditional people. Alpha Novak is much more modern, don’t worry.”

Dean didn’t really know what it meant to be a modern alpha, but he didn’t want to ask. He’d been brought up with his omega training, and he intended to stick to it like any other proper omega. “How,” Dean cleared his throat, “How far is it?”

“Eden estate?” Charlie asked and Dean nodded. “A few hours. You’re welcome to take a nap, or if you’re hungry I have some sandwiches packed. I realize we kind of interrupted your lunch time.”

Dean waved off the sandwich, knowing his nerves would make it hard for the food to settle in his stomach. He rested his head against the seat, letting his eyes drift shut and the movement of coach lull him to sleep.

---

Dean was jolted awake by a hand on his shoulder. “We’re here,” Charlie said softly, opening the door and hopping out. Dean smacked his lips, stretching his legs out as he shook himself awake. He took Charlie’s offered hand and climbed out, looking around to see where ‘here’ really was.

He remembered the day he arrived at the Omega Institute, and how he thought the home was a castle. He’d been wrong. Compared to Eden Estate, the institute might as well have been a shack. The limestone house was enormous with a stretch of never ending windows and levels. The lawn stretched out behind the coach, lush green with flowers and trees growing throughout.

The front door was massive, at least three times the height of any normal person and even more wide. “I’ll take you to your room to get you cleaned up and presentable before you meet Alpha Novak and his pup.” Charlie said as Bobby handed her Dean’s bag before pulling away with the coach.

Dean just quietly nodded as he followed her inside, eyes darting everywhere to take it all in. The interior was even more extravagant. The walls were paneled in cherry wood, and the floors were covered with lavish rugs. Every few feet, another painting was hung on the walls on either side. They were all beautiful landscapes of places that Dean couldn't believe existed outside of stories. Mountains so tall they dipped into the clouds, and valleys so green they couldn’t be real.

Charlie led him up to the second floor that looked much like the first. “You’re room will be at the very end of the hall, away from everyone else, for your privacy. Are your heats regular?”

Dean’s cheeks flushed at the personal question, but understood the need to know. He coughed to clear his throat. “Uh, yea. Every,” he licked his lips, “every three months.”

Charlie nodded, “Great. You’ll be able to safely have your heat here, and if you would prefer it, Alpha Novak is happy to provide a doctor to prescribe you suppressants.”

Dean blanched. Suppressants? He couldn’t imagine asking for such a thing. He’d been taught that suppressants were unnatural and unhealthy for omega’s bodies and reproductive systems. They staved off heats for years, and if you waited too long to have one, the heat could kill you when it finally hits. Though, really, it wouldn't matter much if Dean did take them. He didn’t really need to worry about his reproductive system, being a broken omega. No one would want him carrying their pups, anyway. But even so, Dean shuddered at the thought.

Charlie seemed to notice, as she gently patted his arm. “It’s up to you what you do, Dean. No one is going to force you to take them, and no one is going to bother you during your heats if you choose to have them. You’re safe here, omega.”

Dean heaved out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and nodded, letting Charlie lead him through the door at the end of the hall. The room was large, with a tub for bathing settled in one corner, a dressing screen angled in front of it. The largest bed Dean had ever seen was placed in the middle of a far wall, adorned with thick blue blankets and more pillows than one person could ever need. A wardrobe was pushed into another corner, and a table with a bowl and pitcher sat next to it. Above the table was a mirror, something he never got in the habit of looking into at the Omega Institute. Dean always feared that upon looking at himself, he’d be able to see physical proof of everything wrong with him. It was enough that his head made him so slow and dumb, he didn’t want to see it too.

“Do you think this will work for you, Dean?” Charlie asked, smiling.

Dean couldn’t figure out how that was even a question. What more could he need? This room was more than he could have ever hoped for. He nodded quickly, still looking around to take it in. Charlie smiled impossibly wider. “Great! This string over here,” She walked over to a thin twine string that hung above the tub and pulled it, “makes a bell ring down in the servants quarters. They’ll bring up hot water to fill your tub, so you can take a bath. You’re free to bathe as often as you like.”

Dean scrunched his eyebrows, “Why ain’t I with the others?” He asked, “I don’t need a special room.”

“This room makes you more accessible to Alpha Novak and the pup, as she gets older. Alpha Novak is on the third floor, but the pup is right down the hall from you. Besides, Dean, you’re not a servant.” Charlie explains, “You’re the House Omega now.”

Dean shrugged, not really understanding what she meant by House Omega, but figured it must just be because he is the only omega here. It was a weird feeling, knowing there weren’t any other omegas around after living surrounded by them and their sweet scents for so long,

Charlie and Dean stood by silently as two betas- Gadreel, a huge man that could easily pass as an alpha, and Samandriel, a smaller boy who couldn’t be any older than sixteen, heaved bucket after bucket of water into the tub. They made several trips until the thing was full, and Dean couldn’t help but feel guilty for standing idly by as the two men did all the work.

When the tub was finally full and the betas took their leave, Charlie helped Dean out of his clothes. Dean was used to undressing in front of others, as many of the omega’s would often share a large tub in the laundry house behind the institute. He kicked off his house shoes, thin slippers, the only shoes he owned. Since it wasn’t common for omegas to leave their homes, it just wasn’t worth the extra expenses to get sturdier shoes.

Charlie stood behind him and unbuttoned the back of his blouse, a loose, thick fabric that masked his omega softness. After finally pulling the blouse over his head and stepping out of his skirts, Dean eased himself into the tub, gasping at the heat. Being the oldest at the institute, Dean was usually one of the last to get in the tub at home and was therefore subjected to cold baths. The heat he rested in now was amazing, immediately soothing the tension in his stomach that he hadn’t even realized was there.

“I have unscented soap for you,” Charlie said, taking a seat on a stool next to the tub, lathering a flannel with a white bar of soap. “I know omegas don’t like being covered in unnatural scents.”

Dean nodded and sat forward, allowing her to rub the flannel across his shoulders and back. He allowed Charlie to move him around as she saw fit, scrubbing every inch of skin until he was red. She motioned for him to dunk his head, wetting his short sandy hair and she scrubbed that, too. Eventually she deemed him clean enough and helped him out, wrapping him in a large, soft robe. “Do you have a clean set of clothes?” She asked, already opening his bag.

Dean rushed over, taking the bag before she could look inside and happen upon his heat toy. Charlie raised an eyebrow but thankfully didn’t say anything. He knew it was a normal thing, and he shouldn’t be embarrassed, but there were just some things Dean wanted to keep private. He pulled out his nicest dress, a green thing that Missouri said complimented his eyes greatly. She’d provided all of her omegas with at least one nice outfit, saved for special occasions. Dean figured meeting the head alpha was a special enough occasion.

“We can have more clothes made for you soon,” Charlie said as she helped button him into his dress. “In fact, we can even have trousers made if you’re interested. Alpha Novak prefers it, actually. Even Omega Amelia would wear them, though she prefered dresses when leaving the estate. Again, it’s completely your call, Dean. We want you to be as comfortable as possible here.”

He just gaped helplessly, unsure. He hadn’t worn trousers since he was a small boy, and couldn’t even remember how it felt to wear them. He enjoyed the flow of his skirts, but he longed for the freedom that trousers could offer. He shrugged at Charlie and she smiled. “We can have a pair made up for you to try out, see how you like them. How does that sound?”

“Sounds awesome,” Dean said truthfully.

“Great! I’ll send for the tailor later.” Charlie clapped her hands, striding toward the door. “For now, it’s time to meet Alpha Novak.”