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Still Learning

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A year ago, the very idea that he would be in anything resembling a relationship with anyone at all, let alone an alpha like Dark, would have made Jack laugh.

See, the thing was that Jack had grown up as an omega in a world where, up until less than three years before he was born, omegas were considered to be lesser humans and were treated like little more than broodmares. They were to be good little house-spouses and serve their mate always. They weren’t really allowed to do much else.

Three years before Jack was born that had changed, in part because omegas were starting to become a rarity in the world from a plethora of issues, not least of which being severe depression.

Suddenly, omegas were something precious. There were severe penalties for mistreating them. It was drilled into young betas and alphas that the instinct to care for omegas should come before anything else.

… And yet Jack had never really felt safe. He’d never really wanted an alpha just for the simple fact that he didn’t want to be treated like an object, precious or not. And what was to stop any alpha from abusing him behind closed doors?

He’d changed his mind after meeting Dark―after Dark had smelled his pre-heat scent even through his suppressants, after Dark had looked so much like he wanted to eat him alive, after Dark had, instead, helped him home and left him be.

They’d courted as an alpha and an omega should, for the most part―Dark had given him gifts and scented him and tried to remain near him and after a while Jack had given in and went along with it.

They’d been together, now, for eight months.

Dark had started courting him over a year and a half ago.

And it had been an okay eight months, by all accounts. Dark treated him well, and he was allowed to do his own thing despite being with Dark, and when his heats hit him Dark would only do as much as he asked while he was completely coherent. But Dark was a dick and just because he didn’t fuck Jack during his heat unless he asked before the worst of it hit didn’t necessarily mean Jack fully trusted him. He’d seen what Dark did to other people regardless of their designation in the past and part of him was pretty sure that it was only a matter of time until he did the same to him.

He’d seen, though he wasn’t meant to, Dark manipulating a young beta into shooting and killing an alpha who had crossed him. And then he’d watched as Dark ordered one of his men to “take care of” the beta… And to make it look like an accident.

Call him crazy, but it was hard to see something like that and not automatically assume that he was destined for the same end.

Especially when Dark never really showed him the kind of affection he did in private when they were in public.

In public he just lingered near Jack’s side, tall and threatening. He would snarl at any other alphas who seemed to be interested, and that led to several conflicts because dammit just because he was an omega didn’t mean he couldn’t be casual friends with a few alphas. And he was not going to stand for Dark threatening Mark and Amy just because of their designations, especially since they were two of his best friends, and the most devoted bonded pair of alphas he’d ever seen aside.

What Dark showed him in public was, for lack of better phrasing, possession rather than affection. And he was sick of it.

Especially given that he really didn’t trust Dark completely just yet. Not without him being able to express affection in a way that Jack wouldn’t take it as possession while they were around others.

He guessed that was why, in the wake of another social gathering peppered with Dark growling at Mark or Amy when they got too close, Jack was not eager to be around the alpha.

Dark didn’t seem to be taking the hint, though.

He was scenting at Jack, pulling him into hugs, nosing at his hair, and it was driving him nuts, frankly. He’d pull away when Jack would growl, giving him space for a bit before coming back a few minutes later.

And now, he was kissing down the column of Jack’s throat, nosing the soft skin and rumbling somewhere deep in his chest. It was affectionate and intimate, and usually it would have Jack melting but all he could think about was the fact that Dark was never so touchy or gentle around other people. He would hardly hold his hand, let alone hold him close like he was now. And though he’d linger close and growl at potential threats to his claim, his attention was never fully on Jack―and that boiled Jack’s blood more than anything else, if he was honest.

How could Dark be so possessive, and yet barely pay any real attention to him?

Dark nipped lightly at his throat, and though Jack had been starting to come around to the idea of allowing him to touch, that…

He couldn’t do it.

“Dark,” He said, maybe a little breathless, placing his hands against his chest and pushing a little, “St-” Another nip knocked the protest out of his mouth before he could finish it, so he squeezed his eyes shut and pushed again, “No.”

And it really went to show how pessimistic he was about Dark that he was surprised when the alpha actually backed off.

It must have shown in his face, though, because Dark looked just a little offended―or maybe he was just mad that Jack told him no. Wouldn’t that make more…

“That look really isn’t necessary,” Dark told him, and his voice was calm in spite of his affronted expression, “I am not a complete monster, my darling.”

Jack wanted to say, “I know.”

He wanted to.

But he couldn’t without it being a lie.

So he kept his mouth shut and straightened his slightly rumpled clothes back out without meeting Dark’s eyes. He brushed past him and tried not to let the newfound distress he felt seep into his scent.

All he could do until he figured out how he felt for sure was locate a good spot to move his nest to and… Do that. Maybe take a nap in the new spot. A more secure spot.

He felt foolish when the most secure spot he could think of was the floor of Dark’s closet.

But he moved his nest from a corner in the computer room into the closet regardless, and promptly curled up in it to sleep off his frustrations. Maybe he’d feel better when he woke up. More trusting. Less irritated.


When he woke, it was to the sight of Dark quietly padding around the bedroom, clearly doing his best not to wake Jack up. It looked, at first glance, like he was adding several new blankets to the bed, along with a few pillows. Jack recognized them as the bedding from the spare bedroom, from where he’d stolen at least one of the blankets he was currently laying on. Jack watched him quietly for a long moment, feeling significantly less annoyed than he had before his nap.

Chewing on the inside of his lip, he eventually sighed and picked himself up out of the nest, quietly exiting the closet.

Dark looked to him immediately. The look on his face… It was almost like he’d been waiting for him to get up, but hadn’t wanted to bring it about on his own.

“Did you rest well?” The alpha asked, tone gentler than he normally bothered to make it.

Jack noted that he omitted his usual use of a petname. He looked (and sounded) to be somewhat hesitant. Maybe nervous. Like he thought Jack might still be upset―and that wouldn’t be an unfair assumption, really. Jack could have a volatile temper, sometimes. He knew that. Dark knew that.

In fact, it was fairly common knowledge.

“Yeah,” Jack said, rather than commenting on Dark’s tone. “I did, thank you.”

“That’s good to hear,” Dark said, watching him from the corner of his eye as he resumed his task, “If you’re hungry, I’ve just finished making dinner.”

Dark tensed somewhat when Jack responded by approaching, but relaxed and almost smiled when Jack wrapped his arms around him from behind and nuzzled into his back. He may have actually smiled―Jack would never know for sure. All he knew was that, against all odds, breathing in a deep lungful of Dark’s strong and steadying scent made the remaining tension in his body drain away.

He remained there for a long moment, face between Dark’s shoulder blades, before slowly pulling away. His intention was to head to the kitchen and ready plates for himself and Dark, because that just felt like the thing to do right now, but he was prevented by Dark turning to face him. When their eyes met he stopped where he was and tilted his head slightly in the face of Dark’s somewhat seeking expression.

The broader male stepped back into his personal space very slowly, telegraphing his movements, and Jack allowed it with a warm sense of appreciation beginning to bloom in his chest. Dark was treading lightly because he didn’t want to make him angry or to scare him, and that felt nice to understand, even if it was just because it meant Dark realized he’d done something to upset Jack and didn’t want to repeat the mistake.

Once he seemed assured that Jack wasn’t going to go off on him, he pulled him close and scented along his neck, large hands rubbing up and down his lower back as they usually did.

And Jack purred.

He felt Dark’s lips start to curve into a smile against his collarbone, and that just made him purr louder. Dark made a little rumbling noise in his chest in response, a sound not unlike a purr but somehow not the same sound at all. It was one of the most comforting noises that Dark could produce―that any alpha could produce―and hearing it was… Nice. Jack liked it when Dark made that noise, because during those rare moments when he did, Jack could scarcely feel more cherished.

“Dinner?” Jack prompted softly when Dark’s gentle scenting started to turn into something a little more sensual.

Dark, when he pulled back, had the grace to look somewhat sheepish. “Right. Sorry.”

Jack shot him a grin, one of the big ones that only saw any use when he could really mean it, and Dark seemed to relax even before he said, “It’s fine,” and grabbed his hand to pull him along toward the kitchen.

It could have just been him, but he was pretty sure he saw Dark smile.

Even if he didn’t, Jack could smell, if only faintly, the contentment radiating from him―he couldn’t smell it as well as he could have if he’d just let Dark bond him, but… Well. He didn’t know if he was ready for that just yet. And it wasn’t as if it mattered, seeing as Dark never really pushed the matter.

That wasn’t the point.

He let go of Dark’s hand just before he entered the kitchen, and he purposely ignored Dark’s soft protests as he got them both their plates.

“Darling, you know you don’t have to do that,” Dark stressed as he brushed past him with both plates. “I’m perfectly capable of―”

“I know,” Jack cut him off, throwing him a smile as he sat the plates down on the dining room table, “But I wanted to, so,” He stuck his tongue out at him.

It took Dark some visible effort to contain the smile twisting his lips, and that made Jack’s heart flutter. He liked making Dark smile. It wasn’t easy to do about 99% of the time, so it was something of a treat.

They ate in relative silence, which Jack knew was unusual, but he just wanted to enjoy a few quiet moments with his mate. Even if that wasn’t normal for him.

It just felt right to have a few moments not filled with his idle chatter after the sort of mood he’d been in earlier. And it felt… Fulfilling,  in a way, to just sit and eat with Dark. To not worry about anything else for the time being.

After they’d finished, then he began talking.

Some slight, almost imperceptible tension seemed to leave Dark when he started to talk. He talked and talked all the way through them doing dishes together, rambling about whatever he could think of. He told Dark about the fact that Mark and Amy were going to be adopting a new dog (a lovely little nervous wreck named Henry), about how he needed to go pick up his suppressants tomorrow, how he missed hanging out with Mark but understood Mark was busy, how he really hoped Chica got along with the new pup...

Everything he could think of, he chattered Dark’s ear off with.

And once they’d finished dishes, and they’d dried their hands, Dark approached him, and he lowered his volume as Dark pulled him into a hug. He was so much touchier than usual today…

Not that Jack was complaining, now that he felt a little less grumpy.

He continued to talk as Dark held him close and scented along his neck, but he allowed himself to be quiet if he ran out of things to talk about rather than rambling on endlessly while he thought. It was only when Dark gently kissed his neck that he went completely silent, several of his muscles tensing as his mind temporarily blanked.

Judging by the way Dark’s grip tightened on him just the slightest bit and he seemed to go totally still, Jack thought it fair to assume he’d noticed the sudden tenseness.

Jack slowly blew out a breath, let himself relax, and tipped his head to the side slightly to allow Dark better access.

Dark’s response, though hesitant, was to place another kiss on the skin offered to him.

Jack smiled a little and purred, encouraging Dark to repeat that action without actually meaning to. But, oh well. He didn’t mind encouraging Dark’s antics.

Maybe all he’d needed was to sleep off the residual irritation from Dark’s possessiveness.

Dark repeated the action once more nonetheless, pressing his lips just a little more firmly to the spot he’d picked. And when Jack only purred again in reply, he grew bolder, pressing several more kisses to Jack’s throat before grazing his teeth over one of the scent glands at the base of his neck.

Jack shivered, hands grabbing hold of the larger male’s shoulders to steady himself.

That felt nice.

He practically trilled in delight when Dark chose to bite him carefully just a little higher on his neck.

Yeah, all he’d needed was to sleep off the irritation.

Dark grew bolder once more, pulling Jack flush against him as he found another spot to bite down. And Jack? Jack melted on the spot, pressing as close to Dark as he could and baring his neck shamelessly.

“Bedroom?” He prompted when his brain caught up with him.

Dark rumbled in approval and promptly picked him up, carrying him through the other rooms in the house to the bedroom.

After Dark laid him out on the bed and began his usual slow and sensual exploration of his body, Jack’s mind very nearly went blank. Somewhat cold hands and warm lips pressed to his skin. Pressed all over his body, trailing light as a feather or pressing down hard depending entirely on Dark’s whims. And Dark rumbled low in his throat through the whole thing, even as his lips pressed to the quivering thighs of his smaller boyfriend something like twenty minutes after they started.

Jack was hard and aching, by then, entrance much slicker than it had any right to be this soon, and all he wanted was for Dark to get on with it. Dark usually worked him into the actual sex, sure, but he didn’t usually take this long and it was almost concerning. He almost feared that Dark was just going to tease him until he came and never give his body the satisfaction of receiving what it wanted. He almost feared Dark wouldn’t even let him cum in the first place.

“Dark,” He mumbled, and the alpha shushed him gently.

One of the alpha’s fingers at last pressed slow and careful into his leaking entrance, and he relaxed around the intrusion immediately. It wasn’t quite what his body wanted, but it was close. It was a step on the road.

Here was to hoping he got to the end of the road, if one caught his meaning.

The prep, just like the damn near torturous foreplay Dark had decided to invest his time in today, was slow and bordering on being overly sensual. He used one finger until Jack was panting and just this side of begging for more, and pressed in the second just as slow and careful. He mumbled things to Jack as he did so―gentle little praises, soft reassurances. It was almost too much to handle.

“Dark,” He mumbled softly, fingers tangling in the sheets.

“Yes, my darling?” Dark rumbled in reply, a smile playing at his lips.

“Need…” Jack nearly whined at how incoherent he felt.

“What do you need?” Dark prompted calmly, twisting his fingers in just the right way.

“You,” Jack managed, and somehow he turned even brighter red than Dark had already turned him.

Dark let loose a filthy little chuckle and removed his fingers slowly, rumbling out a soft, “As you wish.”

Jack waited with baited breath, squeezing his fists tighter, tangling his fingers further into the sheets. Baby blue eyes watched as Dark stripped off his own clothes at last. Teeth clenched on his bottom lip in spite of how much his mouth just wanted to drop open in vague awe, as it always did when he got to see Dark’s body.

Even if he often had trouble believing Dark loved him, he never felt as if he wasn’t special to the man, especially when he knew for a fact he was the only one who got to see this. The only person Dark would strip for.

The next thing he knew, though, Dark was over him, kissing him as he rubbed against his entrance.

“You’re perfect, have I ever told you that?” Dark mumbled against his lips, pushing the head of his cock inside of him.

Jack’s response, as was typical of him when complimented, was to protest. “But I’m not,” He grumbled.

“You are,” Dark said, voice firm, and that was that because the next second he was buried deep inside of him and Jack’s mind temporarily lost the ability to make him feel embarrassment.

By the time Jack recovered that ability, and the ability to protest being ‘perfect’, neither reaction was really on his mind. He was more concerned with the thick, warm feeling of being full.

As an omega, there were certain things that would, in particular situations, reduce him to little more than a pile of mush, and this? This was one of them. Having his lover inside of him was an automatic Jack-mush maker just because it felt so damn good, and it was completely natural for an omega to feel that way . The only way it could feel better was if Dark and he were a mated pair, and that was also a natural thing.

“Mm…” Jack wasn’t sure when he moved to hold onto Dark instead of the sheets, but whenever it was he guessed it didn’t matter, “Move?”

“Of course.” Dark agreed easily, rolling his hips carefully.

It didn’t take long for him to work up to a reasonable pace, thrusting into him just fast enough not to be total torture, and just slow enough to keep everything from mounting too quickly. It was perfect and Jack found himself wondering when exactly Dark learned to please him so well. He didn’t think there was a single point in their relationship where Dark hadn’t known what he wanted.

And here lately? He’d been touching on everything he wanted. Just the right mix of rough and sweet, just the right words when he spoke to him during it, just the right amount of lying together and cuddling after it was over but before cleanup started.

Jack wiggled a little under him, pushing his head back into the pillow and baring his neck submissively.

The only bad thing about sex was that he tended to lose coherency entirely while it was happening. Sometimes he forgot how to talk. Most times his vocabulary dwindled down to Dark’s name and curses. And sometimes? Sometimes he desperately wanted to flip over and bare the back of his neck so that he could get Dark to bond him.

That was the worst part - fighting that urge.

Thankfully Dark always had such a grip on his hips that it didn’t matter how much he wanted to flip over in the moment.

Dark took one of his cues, at least, at this moment. He leaned down and trailed bites over the exposed skin and Jack practically keened. A particularly rough bite on one of his scent glands had him moaning high in his throat and twisting in Dark’s grip, which only made the alpha hold him tighter.

Dark laved his tongue over the bites with a low growl and Jack trembled as he forced his hips into a new position that had him seeing stars. He gasped out a somewhat garbled version of Dark’s name and keened at the next strike on his prostate. Dark chuckled, a particularly filthy sound given the context and the rarity of it in any other context.

“Harder?” He managed to plead, voice higher than he’d ever admit to.

Dark hummed thoughtfully, and before he could say anything Jack added a somewhat weak, “Please?”

A smirk graced the alpha’s face, but it quickly turned into a more delicate-looking smile, “Well, since you asked so nicely,” He trailed, and promptly put a little more power behind his thrusts, speeding up just enough to match.

As he usually did, Jack had to clamp down hard on the part of himself that desperately wanted him to beg for the alpha to bond him. He may love Dark more than was necessarily healthy, but he wasn’t just going to potentially put himself into a situation where he’d have to fight through broken bond syndrome if Dark lost interest in him after he got to bond him.

“Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?” Dark asked, lips brushing his neck and making him shiver.

He wanted to protest. But if he opened his mouth to speak he was certain that it wouldn’t be a protest that left him.

“You’re absolutely perfect,” Dark purred, “I know I don’t tell you often enough but you are such a brave and powerful omega. I admire very deeply how much you refuse to be subservient to me.” He kissed a previous bite mark. “How much you refuse to let me control you…” A gentle nip to his chin, “It’s a nice reality check, sometimes, I think―having you tell me no. Having you set me straight when I step too far. You’re perfect.”

Something tingly in Jack’s chest made him whine at the words. He felt warm all of a sudden and goddammit why did being complimented make him feel so nice? Why did it make him feel so…

Loved?

Well, he’d grant that maybe the feeling of being loved came less from what Dark was saying and more from how he said it, but…

No.

There were no buts about it.

It was obvious just from the way that Dark was speaking to him, even if it wasn’t to compliment him, that he loved him.

He didn’t know how he hadn’t seen that before, though, because thinking back the only time since he’d met Dark that he hadn’t sounded completely infatuated with him was back when they first got together or when he was being overly possessive.

And in the second case? Jack imagined the only reason he didn’t sound totally infatuated was because he was too busy sounding possessive and angry.

Jack was surprised at the amount of control he suddenly had of his body, but chose not to question it as he yanked Dark’s mouth up to meet his, kissing him hard.

“I love you,” He breathed as he pulled back.

He got just enough time to draw in a breath before Dark was making a low rumbling noise and pulling him into another kiss.

The smell of satisfaction and complete adoration flowed off of Dark in waves and it was all Jack could do not to whine as he felt his stomach twist in a very good way. A knot coiled up tight in his belly and he was pulling back for air again, moaning Dark’s name helplessly.

“Knot me,” He pleaded before he could stop himself, and Dark shuddered above him.

It wasn’t the first time he’d asked, of course, but it was the first time, he realized, that he’d asked when Dark wasn’t wearing a condom. Usually he only asked when he was in heat and Dark had to wear a condom if he didn’t want him to get pregnant. He’d never asked aside from those times and there was a reason for that but right now he couldn’t remember what it was.

Dark pressed his face into his neck, mouthing something he couldn’t hear, and one of his hands left Jack’s bruising hips to stroke him, bringing him ever-closer to the edge and all Jack could do was moan and plead because it seemed like all his world consisted of right now was Dark. Just Dark and the place where their bodies joined together.

“As you wish,” Dark growled lowly, and Jack trembled.

Entire world, entire existence narrowed down to Dark, his orgasm completely blindsided him. It hit him out of nowhere (but he’d known it was coming, hadn’t he?) and he pressed himself as close to Dark as he could, back arching involuntarily. He let out a high pitched noise he couldn’t quite place the name of, and his breath left his lungs entirely.

He didn’t count how many more thrusts it took before Dark came as well.

There was no point.

He just knew that it didn’t take long, and that some part of him was yelling at him, berating him for not satisfying it. That wasn’t unusual.

What was unusual was the feeling of Dark pressing in even deeper, pushing his knot into place. What was unusual was that immediately that dissatisfied part of him shut up. No hesitation.

The moment Dark’s knot was inside of him, he was consumed with the feeling of contentment and satisfaction, made all the better by the feeling of being filled.

His mind was hazy and unfocused for several minutes after everything finished, but he didn’t mind. He allowed himself to just feel… Good.

Dark spent those minutes breathing slowly above him, nuzzling carefully at his neck and rubbing soothing circles into his hips. It felt nice. It felt loving.

When he regained the ability, Jack found it amusing that it had taken his mind this long to catch onto the fact that Dark loved him when his body had been in on it pretty much since the beginning.

“I love you,” He mumbled, shaking hand coming up to run through Dark’s already sex-tousled hair.

Dark hummed and nuzzled into his neck once more, mouthing something against the skin.

Jack could have been wrong, but he thought it may have been, “I love you too.”

Jack could have been wrong, but he really didn’t think he was, and that had him grinning like an idiot under the alpha even after his knot went down and he pulled out of him.