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Kaydel's Return

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KAYDELS-RETURN-C1

Three hundred and fifty-four days have passed since Connix told Rose she’d be gone for a couple days. Each setting sun gave way to another scribbled mark in her makeshift notebook that she kept hidden in the neck of her boot.

Being out on the land this whole time has darkened her skin, well past golden, matching the darker stones in the desert. Her hair has since lightened but lost its silkiness. Dirt in her scalp has crusted over, matting the hair into one deadlock she keeps tied together in a bun. Connix has done her best to live off the land as she did when she was a child, ditching the bike she rode off on, and everything else she claimed to be hers. To her, they were threats. Anyone that found them would surely find her family. And that would not do.

She sacrificed meals, unless she could cook the creature during the day under hot stones that baked under the desert’s sun. This meant her daily protein intake was far less than normal, feeding on bugs, snakes and the occasional hare. Water was just as scarce. Many times, she found herself chewing on the flesh of a succulent plant, just to keep her tongue from drying out.

As the year passes, she processes time by how the sun rises and the moon sets. If she has to guess, she is coming up on the end of the summer, which meant SNK’s shipping routes will become more bearable. Connix will soon be able to stalk a lead she acquired months ago, which will be surfacing at any time now.

Trucking in the summer proved to be a problem. Even in the air conditioning of the cab, the summer sun was capable of grounding air travel, which meant all routes would happen at night until late September. This very fact gave Connix the cover required to take down every license plate on every tractor trailer that visited Snoke’s warehouse. Connix felt she always worked better under pressure, especially with little or no resources. She could remember multiple license plates at a glance. It was a gift, really. It was how she could remember the fine print on every document ever handed to her. Photographic memory was what her superiors called it. They said it was a gift and that she should embrace the skill.

During a handful of times through the year, she caved, going into town, to use their power. Having ditched her phone in the beginning, she opted to use an old computer at the library, look up the very information she acquired.

Connix ran each of the plates looking for information on their driver. Most had criminal records, while only a few did not. Of the ones that did not, several were family men that only took up the job for the routes and flexible hours and family leave. Others had been driving cross country and exploiting the overtime; minor cases that didn’t necessitate further attention. As for those with criminal records, she was sure she’d be doing the free world a favor by eliminating them if they happened to cross paths.

In the time she allowed herself at the library, Connix studied each of their faces. It was important to her not to take down a family man. She figured the loss of a good mate would be too significant for a family to suffer through.

The trucking schedules were usually sporadic due to what they were carrying, which made her question even that. SNK shipped items, similar to a moving company. Meaning, they didn’t need to house anything, unless it the drivers needed to change to complete the shipment But even that didn’t add up. A warehouse isn’t necessary for such a change. Maybe a ledge the height of a loading dock was though, just to reset the trailer to the new cab. Connix’s brow furrows at the thought. Why would Snoke need a warehouse if they’re moving individual clients’ goods from their locations? It did seem odd.

She considers the options of the building being a centralized hub for truckers to sleep, but even that seems strange. Most truckers slept in their cab. That’s what the cab is for, she thinks.

Tapping her finger on the mousepad, which is a tell-tale quirk she has when she was thinking, has her processing just that.

What is in his warehouse?

____

 

Three days later, a new set of license plates in a convoy drives up to the large L shaped warehouse. Obviously, it is Snoke himself. Not even the CEO has an escort like that, which only triggers more questions. Why does he need that much protection for a transport company? They literally only moved items from other facilities, she reminded herself. She watches as the group rides directly into the building through one of the loading docks. The door lowers immediately after the last one crosses the threshold.

No vehicle ever enters the building like that, let alone three. Connix nods at herself as if she’s speaking to another person.

As night falls, Connix is on the move, no longer needing time to map out her surroundings or come up with a plan. The time for that has passed. Her job is clear. Get in, kill Snoke and anyone in her way minus the exceptional few that deserved their lives.

She makes it across the land stealthily. Each footstep is quiet but more deliberate than the last. Nevada’s barren landscape makes it hard to hide. The new moon shrouds her in darkness well enough to stand in it, unthreatened, like the creatures of the night.

As she forwards herself towards the building, she set out an EMP, disabling all of the cameras and locks on secured doorways for only moments at a time. Her clothing tonight matches the drivers, trying to blend in. Her shirt is ratty and dirty from months of compiling stains. Connix acquired an oversized vest from a truck stop earlier in the year, well before she knew she’d be doing this now. Her jeans are ripped and baggy from rarely washing them. And her timberland, steel-toed boots have seen better days, but they are still intact, and that’s all she really needs them to be. The items she wears make her feel like she has complete control of everything...

...That is, until she slips inside.

What she finds is terrifying. Cells of malnourished children: girls, boys and babies, just like Rey described years ago. This was it. This was where Rey was sold. It had to be. This place is why she had so many nightmares. It is plain to see. Connix hears babies crying but can’t find them. Does she want to? The terror of being stolen begins to send tremors of fear-laced rage through her body. As she searches the premises, she does her best to put it all out of her mind. Connix has told herself over and over again that she will be back to save them. But right now, she needs to kill everyone else. It is time to rectify this, one death at a time.

The air smells like dried blood and pubescent children, their presentation musks and body odor. Normally it would make her sick, but the only thing in her mind is her next move. Each forceful blow reverberates through her muscles, springing her into the next series of strikes. After killing the fourth “trucker,” Connix is armed in no time, again, making her way right in to see the bastard at the helm.

Snoke himself.

Connix has seen the man in pictures before, but something about seeing him in person makes her squirm. He was old, like the document suggested, and wants to chalk it up to just that, but there is something about him that strikes her. Whatever it is, she will be fine with finding out in the aftermath.

She isn’t kind in her assessment, but it is of no matter to Connix. He will die the quick, painless death, she promises herself. Torture isn’t her thing. It won’t change the events of what happened. He won’t apologize or make amends. And Connix is damn sure she won’t let him enjoy the rest of his years in a federal prison cell. He is a man of great power, and men like that have money—enough to make the attack on Rey or abducting the sea of people she finds within those walls seem like it is just one big misunderstanding.
Snoke will die for his trespasses.

And that’s just what he does.

That cocky bastard laughs at her when she pushes in to his room. It is a den, odd to have in his building, but she isn’t interested in why it was designed as such, or its contents; she is there for his final judgment.

His icy blue eyes hold a challenge, expecting mercy to buy him time, but there she has none. He shudders a breath of a plea when Connix raises her semi-automatic level with his head. She wastes no time pulling the trigger, lodging the silvers into his skull. Her promise is playing in the back of her mind from the last night at Phaux’s. One bullet after the next splits his head in two, splattering his blood unceremoniously over him and his black leather armchair, before he falls to the floor.

Connix’s hold on her gun stays level and precise. The weapon’s usual recoil doesn’t seem to be a problem at all for her. Not today. These rounds make a difference. They’ve met their mark. His blood, now combining with the smell of whisky, half of a Cuban cigar, and thick leather musk, is enough to make her want to vomit.

Bodily fluids, though, mean a trail. As she stands, she resolves there will be none. Not hers at least. No one will find her, not unless someone can pick up her scent. But she has none; she is only a Beta.On the way back out she finds keys, releasing all that are chained, and calls the police with an anonymous tip that gives her only minutes to evacuate herself from the building. The images of scared, used children are burned through her mind. It is almost too much to bare. Staying is not an option.

It’s time to find he family—

Connix tells herself that therapy and time would be the only way to blur this... but they’ll never be forgotten. The thought of Rey there, or in a truck like she mentioned, being the last sale of the day, always boils her blood. Actually seeing it, being there, was a major blow. Where Con thought she’d have the power to make more right, she does not feel as though she did.

Several days of travel has kept her recycling the images of that not too distant memory. Connix does her best to keep her mind level. A sign of weakness means mandatory reconditioning that could last for years, even if she’s never back in the field. PTSD is no joke and taken very seriously in the First Order’s Academy. Anyone released from service is replaced back into civilization as a whole person. Mentally and physically capable. They would show no signs of being in the program at all; clean, as if they never served in the first place.

Returning to headquarters is daunting. A sleek, armored car wouldn’t show up like in the movies or glorified agency shows. Agents of the First Order would gain their mission details by way of coded encryption. Sometimes it wouldn’t be as easy as showing up on an electronic device, even though that has been used in the past. Connix remembers the first time she was called upon, having to piece together clues about it that included several observations indicating that she was firstly, not the only agent in the field, and secondly, proved her to be as sharp as she is skilled.

Connix smirks at the thought while riding on the back of the truck she and a few others are hitchhiking on. She is heading back south from Hazen, where she stayed overnight.

By the time she makes it back to civilization, Connix walks the remainder of the way to the gate that will take her to headquarters. Being an agent means she is not above them. As high as she ranks, it does not mean Connix will be seen as a successor. As she arrives at the site, she presses two fingers hard into where her mating gland would be to signal her pick up.

A rough, metallic chip placed just under her skin set out her coordinates. The high frequency sound is deafening being so close to her ear. However, she has to be within range of the facility to be picked up. Connix knows this, but her own terror wins that night. She presses it over and over again until there is a return blip of a sound, that sounds mostly like a chirping radio call.

Masked men arrive from her division who still cover her head with black sacks, one after another to be sure she cannot see them, or the location of the base at all. It is done to ensure the traitors, whistle blowers, and politicians that are suspected to be controlling the military sanctions, remain unable to control this operation with false claims. Outsiders never really understand why alternate measures have to be considered but it has to be done for the sake of freedom.

Security.

When she arrives back at headquarters, on an undisclosed floor, in a bare room containing a chair, desk, and her uniform hanging on the door behind her, she wonders what this was all about. It looks like she is being prepped for an interrogation. Albeit, she did act alone. The mission was never a mission, which would welcome the interrogation as it was, but this seems like something else.

As she takes a seat, the door opens behind her. Connix know not to curse even though she finds that annoying and stands instead. She knows not to turn and face the individual, so she does not move until it is requested of her.

It isn’t.

“Thank you for your services, I must,” Connix hears an older man say behind her. “Surprised, I am to see you, though.” The man takes no time to move across the room to the other side of her table. He avoids the light, purposely sitting in the darkness that hangs over his features like a thin sheet.

The man pulls out a small, silver ribbed kit, roughly the size of a pill box, and slides it over to her in lieu of completing her last mission. Her superior, only known by his deeply pressed wrinkles, large ears and kindly aged, green oval eyes, speaks softly. His accent, mixed with his strange speech patterns, make the moment more real.

“Thanking you for your services, this is.” The short man takes pity on her blank stare. She has been a soldier for far too long to remember what she’d given up.

Her name. Her life. Her biology.

All for the system.

It was to keep her safe, they assured her. Connix blinks, finding the courage to ignore this conversation, and decides to dismiss the pain that pressed her on into this lifestyle.

Sensing this, the man tries her again, this time taking her hand, reassuring her as he does, that she’d had the option to handle the change on her own if she’d wanted to. But he needs her to remember to keep those she trusts closest. Changing would ultimately bring on a world she’s never known.

“In the case, all you need to know, this is,” he says. “Leave yet, do not. See yourself out wearing your uniform, you will,” he continues, pointing to it where it hangs. “Removed by suction, the chip will be.” He waves in a large Beta to handle the process.

The man is tall and stern looking, scowling, undoubtedly because he has been selected to do this. The two look at each other and then at her, suggesting she bathe after the piece is removed. She looks as though she has slept at the dump for a year. She is aware of this. Her skin shows rough patches, and peels from the constant sunburn; dirt just seems to cake on, too, but that doesn’t seem to bother them so much as the presentation stink that seems to cling to her.

Betas. Should. Not. Smell.

And she does.

Connix nervously waits for the item to be removed. It didn’t seem so scary when it was inserted, but the thought of it flying out under several layers of skin made her queasy. That, of all things, really shouldn’t, especially given the injuries and deaths she’d given that same day...but when it comes to her body, it shakes her deeply.

Clattering tools, and a large, thick hand at her shoulder has her doing everything in her power not to end the man. Instead, she hears him try to command her.

“Relax,” he says, lining up the canister to her flesh. “On three,” he says, only counting to one; he pulls the trigger, starting the suction for its quick release. Then, before she can react, he lifts her under her arm to get to the showers down the hall.

This is the first time she seens the inside of the building since her surgery. It is almost as if they planned it this way.

Showering isn’t as glorious as she imagined it would be. The stall is approximately the size of a typical bathroom stall. The water isn’t as hot as she’d like but she is given an entire bottle of shampoo and conditioner to take care of that rat’s nest she calls hair. She’s also given a brush, a razor, scissors and a bar of soap. Assuming the razor is for her hair, she casually flips off the Beta behind the door.

Hours. It takes hours to get a comb finally through her hair, but she does it! Afterward, Connix styles it, wrapping it in a low bun to leave ample space for her uniforms’ cap.

When she finally exits the bathroom, she finds the Beta still standing at the doorway. She salutes him before turning on her heel to evacuate the premises. It’s the first time she’s allowed to leave without the covers.

Even with the news and the tiny item in her palm, Connix’s posture never falters. Her body stays square, sure of herself, as she passes each station, saluting as she passes. Leaving the final door, hitting the heat of high noon out in the desert is surprisingly welcome. Air conditioning to Connix is uncomfortable, and she is only ever willing to sit in it during small moments. One of the few acceptable times is usually after relations with her mate in their home.

It is only then, when her mind mentions his name that she remembers the last thing she said to him. It plays out terribly, now that she can finally see what she’d done:

Connix starts to choke out a swear, promising she’s going to kill for her. Poe tries comforting her but she shakes him off. “Phasma, lets go,” she snarls.

“Go where?” Poe exclaims. “YOU’RE not going anywhere!”

Connix pulls her pistol. “Watch me.” She walks past him when he grabs her by her arm. She rips her arm away from him, promising a far more painful response if he needs to challenge her again. Poe watches her go, feeling helpless. Rose tosses her keys to Connix as she leaves.

“Take care of her, Rose. I’m counting on you.”

Her feet hit each stair heavily as she approaches the vehicle waiting to take her home. The clacks of her heels no longer purr as if she is just a model showing off some garment. She is tired. Surprisingly. Actually, there have been very few times, from her adolescence all the way to this very moment, that she ever wanted to sleep, or been tired enough to try.

Connix’s mind shifts from Poe, back—so far back into her childhood, that damned bus she made a home out of, those stupid bugs, meeting Rose, so far past it to her idiotic brother, staying with her aunt, and before then, the bullshit with her mother. It is almost like a lure has hooked her, pulling her far enough back to reassess her choices.

Stupid Beta mind, she curses herself. Betas have an uncanny way about them to overanalyze every awful detail, like they think they are part Omega. Betas, Connix shakes her head. What a damned biological fuck up. Connix presses in the handle to the back seat, silently nodding to the driver when she is seated and ready for him to move.
She’s surprised not to see another soul with her in the back seat. She lets her mind wander over, first, the interior, not specifically being anything interesting to remember. ‘Rey could do better,’ she thinks, smirking to herself.

Her eyes warm and cool all at once. It has been the first time she spoken her name since her abduction. Blinking back tears she doesn’t want to cry, she remembers her panic. How she just snapped. How she could tell it was time. She remembers how her body moved involuntarily, hunting, so unlike a Beta. She had to wonder what that even was about.

As her driver pulls away from the building. He breaks her concentration, alerting her that it will be an hour to the strip and looking like it would be a two hour flight from there.

“Thank you,” she replies, nodding to him and then turns her head to look out the window as they leave the tall, window lined, otherwise greyed structure in the distance. While on the road, it seems to shield itself from view behind other nondescript buildings. For a moment, she wonders if they’re designed like that for that reason, to hide such a place in plain sight. It’s actually the first time she’s considered this, but it honestly doesn’t matter anymore.

Driving further into the horizon, the building finally makes the place sparkle in the sunlight like a forgotten stat before it completely disappears from view. This, she thinks, this is just the beginning.

———

 

Thundering blades overhead are welcomed as they whip the fresh air through the body of the black hawk the pilot suggested they use. This was for show. She was let go. The First Order would see to this as being all that they owed her, instilling in her that this is over. Connix is free.

Nevada has never looked more beautiful to her than flying in that lovely machine. Connix has always loved the wrenching feeling the hammering blades press into her as they tour the skies, looking for someone or something. It is pride pumping through her at every turn, she thought, the feeling is heady and she revels in it. Connix closes her eyes while she lets it pound through her. Someone always needed to restart a conversation, which reopened them, staring her frustrations into the sky.

Most of their questions were those she, herself, was not ready to face.

Most circling around Poe.

_____

Reuniting with him. If he is even still there. It is almost as if it was her superior’s mission to push her through a plan, but there isn’t one. The final mission happened, and she saw this through, even if he left her. Honestly, how could she blame him if he did. She pointed the gun at him after all. What ‘mate’ does that? God... she did it to an Alpha. Not just any Alpha, her Alpha. Poe. The one that would give into her every need at a moment’s notice. The one that accepted her when she’d been rejected so many times being a wild little Beta.

Connix prayed to every deity she can think of, asking her superiors if they have a god they believe in, and if they could teach her how to pray to them for this. Poe creeps back into her mind as a constant figure as they cross every peak and valley. Every rock formation, every degree hotter it gets, has her praying to every living thing, in her mind, of course, to help her find him.

It didn’t seem like she prayed or connected enough with the spirits of the land, air, and sea, as the woman sitting next to her suggested, from her Druidic Holy Light book from which she happened to take verses. All at once, it didn’t matter anymore. They hovered in one place, in the high heat of the day, making it look like Rey’s Mechanic’s sign and building was a mirage. Her heart flutters as they bopped once and then twice, settling with finality down on the ground.

She unclipped the buckle of her harness, as everyone else did. Next off were her headphones. She hung them carefully on the hook next to her seat, thumbing them as she let go of this life, now exiting into her future.

As Connix stepped down out of the chopper, she hears their pilot thank her for her service. Then the three riding with her stand in a line, in front of her, saluting and wishing her all the best. It’s so unlike anything she’s experienced that she finds herself stifling a sob. Only a stern nod is given, though. She turns, bending forward to handle the pull of the blades that still churned the air above her. It’s as if they still assured her that they’d be there, watching over her, though her return would no longer be necessary.

Connix now has to get along with being a civilian now. No more crazy car chases, assassin cases, or traveling. There would be no more studying marks, training sessions, or fighting. No reason for disguises, jumping out of planes or arming explosives. Which also meant coping with the possibility of changing her name back to Kaydel.

It isn’t something she was ready for. Right now, it is the long walk of possibility? Loss? Hope? She doesn’t know. But each step brought her closer, clicking her heels proudly, like the professional she is.

This is her time.

It is time to find the girls, and whoever that is left. It is time to check in and never out.

It is just time.

——

Reuniting with Poe makes her weak. Her voice sounds in whispers, where she could have sworn they are shrieks of joy. Connix, who has all of the answers all of the time, has none. It is all she can do not to start crying when his eyes lock on hers at first. Then he runs to her. After all the time she put between them. Her Alpha runs to her side.

Her family piles in next, Rose and then Rey, while Finn and Benn stayed back, watching over them. And for the faintest of seconds, she could smell all of them. All of their scent signatures.

It is odd really. Connix swallowed the pain of it down, thinking it was just an overreactive nerve or receptor, given the release of the potent levels of stress threatening her system. The ability left as she closed her mind to it.

That night has been a monumental change between Poe and Connix. Where Poe had always been unruly with her, to play to her desire, he is slower, making her feel as if she was the last sip of water from an oasis that had long since dried up. He is ritualistically slower making sure he scented her even though she is his Beta. There is nothing wrong with it, per se. Just, really that, he can’t start his own rut by the songs her biology could sing in full desire unlike an Omega could, just by pressing some gland. Poe, being quite the experienced Alpha, noticed something though. A sweetness to her sweat that wasn’t there before, and he found it absolutely necessary to lick it up.

He mouthed over her in her entirety. Humming softly, whispering as his tongue worked over her skin. “You are so beautiful. And mine. And home. And mine.” The last word croaked through his throat as he tried to press on down to the valley of her breasts. “I thought...” The stench of his fear poured out of him as it would if it were smoke billowing out of a burning building. “I thought... I thought…” His voice trails, finding his nose between her breasts. Finally, he just rested on them looking lost.

Con’s breath hitches and releases, knowing she had caused her Alpha so much pain. “I’m so sorry,” she says, carding her fingers through his hair, unable to look at him at first. Her mind starts racing again. As it does, her panic sets in, which she hadn’t had since she was a child. For a moment, she doesn’t know who she is.

Con had life under control, always. And now? Being home after threatening him? It was almost as if she would have accepted that he wasn’t there, or unwilling to take her back, but this? Why did he have this level of compassion for her? She wasn’t an Omega. They didn’t have that biological connection.

But then, she hears his breathing. It guides her to make her to stay in this moment. The two of them, finally together. Forgiveness. He didn’t have to say a word. But then it spilled. All of it.

“Poe?” Con smoothed her fingers through his hair, speaking to him softly as her nails drew soft designs in his back.

Poe’s arms tighten around her, feeling desperate. Like she could leave again. Every moment that passed was harder for him to hold. She had never seen this level of vulnerability in their nearly ten years of being together. Sure, the girls made him nervous, all of the time, but it wasn’t anything quite like this.

Con blinks back the tears that threatened her and she begins to speak. “My name is Kaydel,” she whispers to him. “I was born and raised in Dam Neck, Virginia, basically, Virginia Beach. Well,” she laughs bitterly, “raised is not the word.”

Poe furrows his brow, looking up at her from where he lay on her chest, like a lovestruck puppy dog. She was telling him. Him. “Con—“

“Kaydel, or Kay.” She raises her eyebrows, speaking slowly, “I’m not in service anymore. I’m not an agent, or a soldier. I was told to return to who I was. Complete the transition... and all of that... and this is step one.”
He stares at her.

“Say it Poe. Alpha, say my name. Please?”

Letting out a shaky breath, Poe says it. Hearing it from him opens the floodgates from her past. It sounds right on his lips. Not foreign, like she thought it would. Welcoming. Sweet, with a hint of a promise of so much more.

Let Alpha trust you. Help him see you’re here to stay.

‘What the hell was that?’ she thought to herself.

She thanks him, keeping her arm wrapped around his bare shoulders. It’s almost for support, she thinks. If she has contact, he can’t run. He can’t get up from her. It’s unheard of for a Beta to harbor that control, but he complies.

“My parents were druggies. Mom drank, and the guy she was with always looked like he was dead or dying. I couldn’t suppose he was my father though. He looked like an animal, roadkill to be exact, but the monster lived among us. I remember him being tall, lanky, always wore this hideous gold jumpsuit.” Kaydel curls her finger through Poe’s locks, spinning it over and over again. She watches as it tightens and his body seems to tense with it, but he doesn’t ask her to stop. Instead, he leans into her coiling fingers, as if to ask her to continue.

It’s hypnotic, and Kaydel is actually loving watching the action and reaction, feeling quite childlike in the process.

“Mom really didn’t seem to play the role of a ‘Mom.’ She barely did anything at all. The very second she could put us in school, Jae would walk me there and back. A bus service could have been provided, but my mother didn’t care for the specifics. It must have been nice to birth us and never give a damn after.”

Poe did his best to stay quiet as Kaydel continues. The information threatened his capability to be patient. The more she spoke, he imagined going back in time to rescue her, but the concept was only science fiction.
No one had the power to — he shook the unreasonable idea from his mind. His focus returned and she was already on to talking about stealing from her mother’s visitors.

“I just turned five and was accused for stealing from the man’s wallet. I did nothing of the sort. That meant I’d have to touch the monster— and I didn’t do that. Jae didn’t mind though. And I only stole bullets. He never seemed to notice that, though. So long as I never touched their white stripes or wad, I was fine. That night was the first and last time I let anyone touch me.”

She remembers every last detail, omitting certain aspects that could clearly get her in trouble with the law.

“Wait, who hit you?”

“The man.”

“With what?” Poe pushed off her up onto his elbows, as if he could see the mark left from twenty years ago.

“His pistol— it’s why I always stole— it doesn’t matter, Poe. The man is gone. My mom went on to the next supplier and eventually died.” Her eyes connected with Poe’s, expressing in the height of his fury, there was nothing more that could be done.

Poe sat up, nearly convulsing in his Alpha bloodlust that all Alphas shared. It didn’t matter if they were dating, married or mated, they all had it. The feeling of helplessness burned through him. Poe grew up in Jersey. He wasn’t that far from her. Kaydel would have been… five? That made him sixteen. Already driving! If he only knew! He had sisters. He knew how to protect. He could have protected Kaydel. Maybe she wouldn’t have gone into the service like Rose said, maybe this would all be different...

Kaydel sits up, crawling to his side to reassure him. She turns her nose up when she gets a whiff of his fury. Kaydel thinks it strange, she noses towards where she knows his scent glands are prominently brighter than she’s seen them before and takes a shallow breath there. She inhales him, unable to really read it. Beta, remember? she tells herself. But she wants to know him the way an omega would. Kay almost thinks she’s learning the language. It seems so primitive, but it’s all she can do to connect with him, to pull him back from his thoughts. She doesn’t even try his name.

Alpha knows his name. Call to him as you are. Call to him and he’ll answer you.

This voice inside is absolutely terrifying. She’s been on so many missions. Destroying unseen evils, protecting life for so many unknowing individuals out there in the free world, but not even her biology was something she understood anymore. Thinking of Rey and Ben’s way with her made her wonder if a stripe of her saliva would calm Poe. It is a foolish thought, and she was sure he would turn around and have millions of questions for her. But it called to her. It must be right if she can hear it, she thinks. Kaydel hopes he doesn’t reject her assumption that a Beta could scent an Alpha like him.

But she tries, since something inside her keeps telling her to.

Alpha needs you. Calm him.

Her hot breath hits him first and the sound of her shallow gulp has spoken volumes to him. Willing himself to calm down far before she even pointed her tongue beyond her lips and down onto his skin. Somehow, God willing, the soft touch of her tongue did just that.

Calmed him.

It made her feel powerful.

But why did it work? She wondered now about that silver case and what the head of the organization, the one that isn’t supposed to exist, meant when he said to go back to her old life.

Poe had asked her why she never tried that before, wanting an honest answer but expecting something more rehearsed. To his surprise, she hugged him around his waist, still bare to each other, saying, “I didn’t think it would work.” Her brow furrowed as she thought of how many times Rey had calmed Ben and wondered if there was something to it. Could a Beta actually communicate to their mate like that? It seemed so now. Poe responded. But then there was that voice.

Hushing the thought, she asks if he can continue with her story.

“Only if you can,” he says simply. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to contain my rage if this boils over as I’m sure it will.” He sighs, saying, “You girls haven’t exactly been easy on me, and I honestly only know to expect a shit storm when it comes to the three of you.”

Kay steadies herself, for the first time in years she’s not sure if she should follow through. “Poe... do you regret this? Finding us? What we have?”

It didn’t take an expert, but he was sure she was changing. Being out could do some strange shit to soldiers. “No!” He repeats himself again and again—for what feels like a million times over—cradling her in his arms. “You’re everything. It’s just a lot, and fast. And instincts... and I could never see my life without you. Not since the moment I met you,” he reassured her.

“Are... do you want me to continue, or just wait?”

Poe looks at her oddly. “Do what you need to do, Kay, you always have.”

And so they talk. She explains how she learned how to shoot the next day, how she used the skill to hunt and make a little money on the side. Jae caught wind of it and stole her earnings, leaving with his friends, only to come back into her life every six months or so, until social services found them. Their “Aunt” looked a lot like her which sold them on the idea that the pair of siblings belonged to them. That, and a few forged documents solidified their way out of being state property.

The most fun she remembered having was at the beach, jumping from the pier, before she decided to get the fuck away from Jae and his shitty friends. It rained the night she left. Rain was an understatement. Virginia was being slammed by a category two hurricane. “I figured they could chalk me up to being a casualty, and I’d be free. It took the first bus out... and that was it.”

Poe let that sink in; he swallows the pain behind that memory. Kaydel continues, telling him that she couldn’t disclose anything about the agency she applied to, though. “It’s a federal offense, I can’t open you to that. But this...” she shoves off his lap, crawling across their bed to her nightstand. “I-ah.”

The moment she turned he seemed to remember they were bare to each other. “Kaydel...” Poe’s palm reaches between her spread, kneeling knees. His fingertips draw upwards to her center, and practices saying her name again. Poe rolls each letter around on his tongue as though he was testing a fine wine. “Kaydel,” he pronounces it again, a little strained this time... but then, something seems to change.
She doesn’t move. Where she’d usually guide his fingers up into her heated folds, she didn’t. She stayed, waiting, as he liquefied her entrance. Poe hums in appreciation as he finds her eager for him and all at once he tries a command. Her name coming from his lips stills her completely; even her breathing caught in the middle of pleading for him.

“Please, Alpha.”

She’s never responded to him like this. Usually, she’d kick at him, pushing him on, but submissive? It felt so wrong. Maybe not wrong... maybe it was too new. Very new... and before she could make another move to reach for the drawers, he’s made his need known.

His eyes are dark and curious. They pin her in place. “Tell me, Kaydel.” He licks a stripe up her spine, making her eyes roll to the back of her head. As she moans, he echoes it too. He presses one finger lazily into her. His hard length, air dried from where she pleasured him with her mouth before they started talking, tapped urgently against the inside of her thigh. He nearly growled, “Didn’t you want your Alpha to know your name?”

“Yes,” she mewled.

“Yes, what?” He stopped stroking her. At her pause, he started removing his finger altogether.

“Yes, Alpha.”

Kaydel is rewarded with his lazy digit.

“Please—” she rocks back into his hand— “I need more— Alpha!” Poe pushes his second finger, then third, up into her channel, gaining the best moans he’s ever heard out of the woman he clearly loves.

It’s magical. All of it. Sensing her hypothetical shift pushes Poe past all coherent thought. His body hums with untamed power, as if his Alpha mind has been restored. Ten years with a Beta is tiring, almost muting his urges, his smell, his consistency...he was sure he was borderline—becoming a mutation himself.

Rey’s book had suggested it. She was a mutant— how did that even happen? Was it something she was born with? Or evolved into?

Right now, the power Kaydel gave back to him is rejuvenating. He feels younger, ready to give more than he can take. Her screams, only ricocheting into the wilderness around their mobile home, stirred him on. He was chasing the memory of when they met, as he thrust up into her. He groans as he listens to her calls becoming more desperate. Sex never sounded quite as melodious before. She sounded as if she was following a mental call. It is something only Alphas and Omegas could hear. The man could only hope that this is it. As her orgasm crests, it floods over him, spurring on his.

“Poe,” she cried.

Poe clung to her as he tried knotting her. He knew she could take him, even back then she could, which should have struck him as odd. Betas usually clawed at their Alphas in an attempt to get away. But Kaydel never did. She was determined to show him she loved him and would take him for all he was worth.

_____

Tonight, is no exception.

Nevada has cooled since the summer. Construction has completed for both Rose and Kaydel’s houses and Rey’s will be finished in the new year, six months from now. In the meantime, Ben and Rey stayed in the garage during the week and weekends they venture to his house.

Most nights their group still hangs out at the pool behind the garage. It is their place. Similar to a living room in anyone else’s home, the pool is a place of comfort.

As the year passes, stories come up and Kaydel shares them. Rose has been giving, surprisingly, after her disinterest in delving into her past back then.

“That bus was the best and worst of times, though,” she laughs, as they grilled a whole chicken one night. It started as a rotisserie cooking concept, but Finn’s contraption has the bird sliding well off, charring it on one side before they even notice.

“You know, I got that thing from some hoarder in Indiana? Used to drive and all until I got out here.” She smirks at the remainder of her biscuit soaking in their attempt at gravy.
“How didn’t you get pulled over?” asks Finn, who is actually concerned. “How didn’t you get arrested... or picked up?”

“I had my ways,” she replies, all too confidently.

“What’d they do when they found out you were alone?”

“They never did.” She reaches into her pocket, pulling out a disabled gadget. The item looks like a dog whistle and is metallic blue in color. Her nail flicks the button on the side, indicating that it would push forward to use the next hidden dosage. “Pressing this down sends out a signal, disabling cognitive thought for five minutes.” Kaydel giggles. “Got me out of some close calls there...”

“Have you?” Poe tries to hide his concern. “Have you ever done that to me?”

Her giggle pierces through him, and that buzzkill of a voice tells her to stop. Her face falls, promising him she never did it, per se. “That doesn’t mean you haven’t by accident.”

Rey can’t stop her outburst, “That’ll teach you to touch things that aren’t yours!” she says, holding her sides in laughter. She brings it up every time she tells him not to take her tools and he still does.

“Hey! In my defense, your tools weren’t always in your belt,” he covers his face with both hands.

“That doesn’t mean don’t put them back,” Rey replies.

During a lull of their conversation, Kaydel is pulled back into a thought, seeing Rey’s crumpled test somehow still blowing around under a bush.

“We are real,” she says, breaking the silence.

“Of course we are! We’re the realest!” Rose spouts, happy with her little one, wrapped up in her arms. Amylin, Poe’s sister, was able to provide Finn and Rose with their own child and since had returned home, keeping in touch weekly as Rose’s on call nurse.

“Yes,” she smiles wistfully at her friend, who doesn’t truly know what she means. “This is real. The realest family I’ve ever been a part of...but that’s not what I meant.” Kaydel stares through her half-lidded eyelashes at the bottle of Corona she’s nursing. “How are you feeling lately, Rey?”

Rey blinks up at her from where her toes are played with the bubbles shooting from the jets in their newly lit pool. She glances then to Ben, who had been cleaning the grill after dinner. “I’ve never felt more peaceful in my life,” she says, surrounded by the people she loves. “Why do you ask?”

“I want to know if it’s worth it. Your designation. Would you replace it if you could? Would you keep it? What does it truly feel like to be you, an Alpha Omega?” Kaydel tries to swallow her past yet again but now all eyes are on her. She can’t go back. Forward is all she can see.

The silence makes her nervous.

“I didn’t want to accept it. You know this. How could I? There aren’t any. A myth. Right? That’s what I am? Isn’t that what you all said? How am I supposed to be the only one of my kind?” The sound of lapping water catches her attention. Ben sits down next to her trying to soothe her the way he always has.

Kaydel just blinks at this. She watches them intently, assuming that her designation is calling to her in a way it hasn’t before. It was wrong, wasn’t it? She had to be in her own head. Trauma, she thought. Finally being out... really being out this time, and all of the haunting insecurities that went with it.

Poe sits at the table next to her trying to clasp her fisted hand that rests in her lap, but she refuses to open it

“Kay,” He commands her openly, with care, but sternly because she denied him. “Open your hand, baby.”

Kaydel opens it under the table for him to see. The locked silver case has no indication of what it is. Just silver and small.

“What is this?” He goes to lift it from her palm but she snaps it shut, threatening him the way she did in the hospital. She has worked on this. She wants him to see her for all she really is, but needs the answers first before she can even speak about it.

“My designation is hard to explain,” Rey starts up again. “I have my Alpha. My mate. But sometimes it’s hard to just be. My Omega side wants me to be accepting, understanding, submissive yet powerful, fruitful, and satisfying...it makes me want to be good, to be praised. My Alpha side wants me to fight for everything. It keeps me strong but even though that test confirmed it, it doesn’t mean I should walk alone. Ben completes me past my biology.” She whimpers at his touch.
“Why is this important now, Kay?” asks Rose, playing with her son.

“What if I told you, I’m not a Beta?”

Poe chokes on his gum.

“What if I told you, I went through with a government program to change my designation for safety in the field?”

“What are you saying?” The one she has called her mate for years, stands up in a panic.

“It was painful but necessary. The procedure—modified from the late sixteen hundreds, is actually still practiced today. Specialized weapons. It’s what they call us, Rey.”

“Us?” she asks.

“Alpha Omegas,” Kaydel replies sadly, recounting her surgery. “I can hear them, you know. The voices.”

“Your conscience?” Rose jabs Finn for asking.

Rey actually hisses, “No Finn,” then stands from the water’s edge.

Ben watches her carefully as she approaches the table.

“Your conscience tells you right from wrong...but the voice of an Omega can be deceitful, malicious, and needy. She’s made me doubt myself on so many occasions. It’s...she’s why I let you in, Ben.” She thinks about it, repeating all of the times she heard her. “I’m going to sound crazier than I do right now, but when she’s needy she almost sounds like she’s begging for ecstasy. When she’s nasty, I’ve actually felt like I’ve been stabbed in the chest.”

“She seems to always be there...” Kaydel admits, “This box is basically my return trip. My way back into a life I never knew. I just, wanted to be sure I could handle it.”

The girls share a moment where practically everything falls away. Rey moves forward to check her glands, only to see a burn mark roughly the size of the head of a pin. It is pressed into both sides of her neck. Rey lightly blows on them to test her theory. The slightest movements of her relief show that Kaydel is changing, with or without her tiny box. Though the medicine inside will no doubt speed up the process.

Rey praises her.

“I’m glad you’re home, dealing with this here,” Rey says softly to Kaydel. Rey hums in approval, repeating that wench’s voice, the one that tempts her. “Your Alpha is pleased with you. You’ve been such a good girl.”

Poe looks at Rey in shock. His mouth hangs open first in disbelief that this isn’t some strange fantasy he’s always had, but then his defensive nature as Kaydel’s Alpha takes over. Alphas naturally face their dominance issues on a regular basis but now Rey can take part. No one really knows what an Alpha Omega can do.

Still, Poe challenges Rey, grabbing her just above her wrist. “What do you think you’re doing?” he demands an answer from her.

In all Poe knows about single designations, he has not once imagined that a double, firstly, could be possible before the girls, and secondly how dangerous it is to challenge one. Rey keeps her gaze gentle, soothing Kaydel, as if she has immediately taken over ownership of her. She is experienced now. She can handle this. Calmly, she shifts her focus to Poe, who tightens his grip on her as a warning to stand down. Within the pass of a nanosecond, Poe is commanded by Ben, who towers over the table. It’s as if she has called him with no signal. To Rey’s satisfaction, Poe lets go, and she continues calming her sister.

Kaydel shivers at the prospect, not actually giving any thought that her revelation would spur on Rey’s primal instincts. The two call to each other in their own tempting language, actually speaking from their omega’s deepest desires. For once, Kaydel actually feels like herself, not having to know all of the answers. She’s glad that Rey is here and she’s helping her feel more confident in herself.

“Alpha,” Rey speaks lowly to Kaydel, switching roles deliberately, “you been so good to me...” She gives Kaydel the turn to change as well.

It takes a moment but she claims the responsibility of the role, rolling her eyes back into her head as if she’s possessed. “Omega,” she calls Rey, “I have done it. You are safe. You will always be, because you are mine...”

Ben becomes painfully aware that his mate is on the cusp of chemically bonding with Kaydel. Her smell alone proves it. His desperation to keep her kicks into gear, deeming that this is no longer safe.

“Poe,” his voice rumbles like thunder, “take Kaydel home, now!”

Every train of thought is conquered by Ben’s command. It wakes Rey from her hypnotic state, releasing Kaydel from hers. Their pupils are no longer threatening their iris’s color, and the pair can finally see their friends around them. Kaydel looks carefully around the space, trying to assess what just happened.