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Do I Dare Disturb The Universe?

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Stiles tries to breathe evenly as he stares down at his textbook. He wipes the sweat from his brow and hunches over, reading the same line for the fifth time. A knock on his door makes him startle.

“Yeah?” he calls impatiently.

His dad comes into the room and pauses, taking in the open windows and the oscillating fan set to the highest setting. “It’s freezing in here.”

“Yeah, well, they don’t call it a heat for nothing,” Stiles responds, gesturing vaguely to the sweaty mess he’s dissolving into.

“And it stinks,” John adds.

“Thanks for that,” Stiles says, giving him a look. “I don’t really have any control over it.”

“It stinks because you’re not taking care of yourself,” John says. “And I’m a Beta, so if it’s bad enough for me to smell, you have a problem.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “I need to read this. We’re covering a new topic tomorrow, I want to have the background.”

“You’re not going to school tomorrow,” John tells him.

“I’ll be fine,” Stiles dismisses. “It’s not that bad yet.”

“Stiles, I am taking you straight to the clinic first thing in the morning,” John says.

“This is my first class of the day,” Stiles says. “I can go to the clinic after.”

“You are not going to school like this,” John says. “Not only will you not be able to concentrate, neither will any Alpha in your class.”

“Oh, so their education is more important than mine?” Stiles snaps. “Poor little Alphas can’t handle my pheromones, so I have to miss out?”

John sags. They’ve had this same argument every month recently.

“It’s not fair,” Stiles says. “I know I’m supposed to have dropped out by now. I know I was supposed to start making babies when I was sixteen. But I’m smart. I can do more than make smart babies.”

“I know that, kiddo,” John agrees, placing a hand on his shoulder. “But you also have to accept your limitations.”

“I’ve been doing some research,” Stiles says. His dad looks like he’s trying very hard not to roll his eyes. “There are Omegas that have been to college. One guy, he got pregnant out of high school, surrogacy, and his hormones calmed down enough after that that he got mostly through his first year, no heats. Then he took a year out and had another baby…”

John looks appalled. “How many babies did it take him to get through college?”

“Three,” Stiles says sheepishly. That really wasn’t the point he was trying to make.

“You are not doing that to yourself,” John says. “You are not doing that to your body.”

“I really want to go,” Stiles insists. “I think I can handle it. Not the babies. That’s just one idea.”

John leans over, closing his textbook. “You are not going to school tomorrow. Take care of yourself. We’ll talk about this later.”

Stiles looks up at him, that familiar hopelessness settling in his gut. “You know if I get mated it’s game over. I’ll never be able to go college.”

“I’m not doing anything against your will,” John assures him. “I never have. Take care of yourself, alright?”

Stiles nods, his stupid submissive Omega pulling at him, making him bow his head. He feels weak when he’s like this. It’s always so unsettling, no matter how many time he goes through the cycle. He just wants to be himself. All of his Alpha and Beta friends get to live their lives without having routine personality transplants. Stiles can feel himself slipping away already to his heat.

He wants to cry and wallow in the self-pity but that won’t make him feel any better. Instead, he gets to his feet, pulling the box from under his bed. His little heat kit that’s been built up with his dad’s help over the last four years, and he hates how that’s a normal fucking thing. Teenagers shouldn’t be buying sex toys alongside their fathers. These are Omega Aids though.

Stiles rolls his eyes hard and grabs himself a dildo, an old faithful, one that fills him up so perfectly when he’s just starting to slip over that edge. He’s already wet, even though he’s been stubbornly ignoring it for the last hour, the back of his sweatpants damp with slick. He shoves them down, ridding himself of his T-shirt as well before he slips beneath his blanket, dildo clutched in hand.

It’s embarrassing how quickly instinct always takes over. He parts his legs, reaching down to place the tip of the dildo against his hole, rubbing it through the slick for a moment before he pushes it firmly inside. He bites down on his lip, hips arching upwards with a groan. He loves and hates how it all slots into place.

He starts to fuck himself, the action quieting that part of his brain that always runs too fast and too loud. He hates that it’s soothing. He hates that this thing can take over who he is, even the bad parts. He barely even notices himself moving, his Omega instincts fully taking over as he rolls onto his knees, presenting himself to be bred. It’s such a sickening feeling. It hits the spot just perfectly though. He surrenders to it, the burning in his body spreading to a pleasant warmth in reward for doing what he’s supposed to.

He comes hard, staying there with the dildo still inside him, his head lost in a haze. He only goes to move it when his arousal starts to build again. Sometimes he wonders what feeling sated after a single fuck would feel like. Scott tells him it’s not that great, but Scott is too good a friend to tell him the truth about what a shit deal he got in life.

With a frustrated huff, he gets onto his knees, riding the dildo until he comes again. He can live without the knot for now, his heat is still working its way fully under his skin, and being on top makes him feel like he’s not a total bitch. Maybe. The orgasm takes away the edge either way and he finally feels like he can breathe, his body humming happily just below the surface.

He cleans himself up and pulls on some of his pyjamas that are dedicated to heats, soft and thin and loose fitting. He skin isn’t quite on edge yet, but he wants to indulge. He goes through to the bathroom and cleans up his Omega Aid, placing it back in the box before he goes downstairs, following the sound of the TV like a beacon.

He drops down onto the couch beside his dad, grabbing a cushion and hugging it to his chest, staring at the TV. His eyes aren’t focussed but he likes the soft glow and the gentle sound.

“You okay, kiddo?” John asks.

Stiles hums in response, feeling himself slipping further away. He doesn’t even believe his own bullshit bravado anymore. He looks up at his dad. “I need to go to the clinic tomorrow,” he admits.

John nods, a kind smile on his face. “We’ll go first thing.”

“Thank you,” Stiles says, snuggling further into the couch, closer to his dad. He lets his eyes fall shut, dozing in the safety of his little nest.

He fingers himself before bed, just to take the edge off, and he only wakes up once in the night, hole dripping and desperate. He grabs a bigger dildo from under the bed and fucks himself until he falls asleep with it still inside him. It makes it easy enough to start again the second he’s awake.

The clinic is as familiar to Stiles as his own home is now in terms of safety and comfort. It’s sterile and medical, no warmth within the location itself, but to Stiles it’s his happy place. That fact alone speaks volumes about how fucking institutionalised he is.

He steps up to the desk, his dad by his side, grateful that it’s quiet this early in the morning. Chris comes through from the office, giving them a warm smile and a friendly greeting as he steps up to the computer, pulling up Stiles’ information and starting to book him in without needing to be prompted.

“Can I work with you today?” Stiles asks. “I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Of course,” Chris says easily. “But you can talk to me and still work with someone else if you want.”

The thought makes Stiles feel so small and vulnerable. He shakes his head. Chris gestures him to the touchscreen in front of him, photographs of the available Alphas for him to make his selection. Visual aids are useful for Omegas in heat. Stiles hates that his own body makes him this stupid once a month. He touches the picture of Chris, watching it light up. Chris taps some keys and the screen changes to Stiles’ treatment plan, but this page isn’t for him. He moves aside as his dad steps forward, taking the stylus and signing off on it at the bottom.

“Okay, we’re all set,” Chris says, looking up at them. “We’ll take good care of him, Sheriff.”

John nods earnestly, looking at Stiles. “I’ll be here to get you as soon as my shift is over.”

“Thanks,” Stiles says, his voice weak.

John gives him a smile, squeezing his shoulder before he turns around and leaves. Stiles can’t help watching him go, chewing on his lip.

“Do you want to come through, Stiles?” Chris prompts.

Stiles nods his head, blinking before turning to face him. He has to stay focussed, at least for a little bit longer.

He follows Chris through to his treatment room, the lights dimmer in here, but not out of romance. Omega senses are heightened during their heats and low lighting is soothing to their eyes. Stiles always appreciates it, everything in the treatment room is set up perfectly, the light and the temperature and the lack of stimulation. Chris had tried to suggest that Stiles do something similar with his own room at home once, but Stiles wasn’t turning his personal space into a representation of what was essentially a medical condition. That was where he lived. This was where he was treated.

There’s a king-size bed with high thread count sheets and a variety of blankets in wonderfully soft and increasingly weighty materials. There’s a closet full of Omega Aids including furniture that Stiles would rather not think about because he’s not an animal. He doesn’t want to be an animal. By the time he’s in this room though, he knows he’s no longer in control. There’s sensory equipment for colours and smells and sounds to block out the overstimulation of a heat. There’s a bathroom with a shower and a tub that’s big enough for two. All of his whims can be met in this room, except for the one to just be himself.

Stiles sits down on the edge of the bed as Chris closes the door behind them, flicking the switch to show from the outside that the room is in session. There’s no lock, no expectation of privacy, Stiles knows there’s a camera in the corner that records everything that happens and that his dad can request a copy of any of his treatments. It’s such a repulsive thought.

Chris comes over to join him, looking down at Stiles’ clenched fists, his determination. “You wanted to talk about something?”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, steeling himself up. He gives a self-deprecating little laugh. “I fucked myself right up until I was leaving the house this morning so that I could keep a clear head for as long as possible and it’s already slipping away.”

“It’s okay,” Chris says. “Take a deep breath.”

Stiles nods, doing as he’s told, feeling the air expanding his body, changing his posture, making him a little taller. It helps.

“We can do this later if you need to start your treatment now,” Chris says. “We have all day.”

“No,” Stiles says. “I need to do this. I’m just going to drop into that headspace once we start and I don’t want to go there right now.” He takes another breath, knowing that Chris is patient, that he’ll wait. “Okay,” he says, looking up at Chris. “Is there anything I can do to make my heats easier? Or to make them not last as long?”

“Your heats are perfectly normal for someone your age,” Chris says.

Stiles makes a frustrated noise. “That’s not what I asked. I don’t want this to be normal. Fuck normal.”

“I know this is something you struggle with, Stiles,” Chris says, his voice full of empathy. “But the fact of the matter is that you’re at the peak of your fertility and your cycle is going to be shorter as a result. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but your days of three-month cycles are gone. Your body is fully mature and it’s ready.”

Stiles knows the end of that sentence. Ready to be bred. The thought makes him feel queasy. “So what can I do to make it stop?”

“You can’t stop nature, Stiles,” Chris says.

“But there’s suppressants,” Stiles says.

“I’m sure you’re well read on this,” Chris says. “They haven’t development a safe formula yet.”

“On the black market,” Stiles says. “There’s suppressants.”

“Your dad’s insurance doesn’t cover that,” Chris says dryly. “And neither would his paycheck.”

Stiles looks away. He can’t stand the thought of being belittled.

“Stiles, even if you could get hold of them, they’re incredibly dangerous,” Chris says. “If they were safe, they’d be widely available, it would be a goldmine, but some of those side-effects can cause permanent damage. You’re too smart to go meddling in things like that.”

Stiles squeezes his eyes shut. There’s safe birth control for Alphas so that they can fuck as many Omegas as they want without any risk of getting them pregnant, but Omegas can’t protect themselves, can’t take control of their own bodies. That medication has never been a priority. It speaks volumes about their place in society.

Stiles can feel the thrumming inside his head, the heat prickling at him like a fever. He opens his eyes, feeling so broken down. He can’t hold it back any longer. He can’t do anything. He looks up at Chris hopelessly.

“I’m still a kid,” he says. “If Scott knocked up Allison, you’d be furious, but if I got pregnant, everyone would congratulate me. We’re the same age!”

“I know,” Chris says. “And that’s unfair. I’m sorry I can’t give you the solution you’re looking for.”

Stiles hangs his head down. He can tell how much Chris means it and that just makes him feel worse because his sense of injustice is accurate. He has a shit lot in life. And now his body is screaming for him to just get that Alpha cock already.

Chris reaches out, rubbing soothing circles across his shoulder blades. “Do you want to start your treatment?”

Stiles winces. He must reek. “Just give me one minute,” he says. “Keep doing that.”

“Okay,” Chris agrees.

Stiles closes his eyes, concentrating on the sensation. He doesn’t want to go into this hating it, hating himself. He has to let it feel good. Chris’ heavy hand on him already speaks to his Omega in some deep, primal way. He tunes his entire body into the touch, the sweat that prickles up on his skin, the way his body yearns. If he gives it what it wants, feeds the Omega, maybe he’s still in control. He feels a shudder go through him and he thinks maybe he’s already lost but he’s not sure he cares anymore.

“I’m ready,” he says.

Chris’ hand drops away and then he’s reaching for the hem of Stiles’ T-shirt. Stiles lifts his arms up. He hadn’t even realised he was so far gone that he needed undressing. He moves fluidly with Chris though, handing himself over. Once he’s naked, he crawls into the middle of the bed, ass up and head down, presenting himself. Chris strips off and climbs on behind him, big hands sliding down his back as he pushes himself into Stiles’ body. It feels so good, to not have to do anything, just get fucked by strong, deep thrusts. It makes everything feel right.

When Chris knots him, Stiles’ entire body goes limp, feeling so utterly fulfilled. Chris, like everyone at the clinic, is on the Alpha birth control, so he can come inside Stiles without getting him pregnant. Simulated breeding is what they call it in Stiles’ treatment plan. It makes his Omega so happy, like a secondary orgasm in his brain. Everything else just whites out. The knot completes him like the missing piece of a puzzle, pressing down on a pleasure sensor that’s mental as much as physical, stretching the feeling of satisfaction out until nothing else seems to exist.

Chris eases them down onto their sides, their bodies still locked together, wrapping Stiles up in his arms. Their breaths come together, Stiles breathing in as Chris breathes out. There’s really no deeper connection than this, nothing else that can make everything inside him go still. He closes his eyes and drifts away, feeling so safe and right.

Chris isn’t inside him anymore when he comes around and it’s such a lonely feeling. Stiles is never left without contact for long during his treatments though. Touching, skin against skin, it speaks to his Omega’s primal nature. Chris holds him, lets Stiles explore his body until he finds what he needs, nestled between Chris’ thighs, Chris’ cock in his mouth. He suckles him with a happy hum and it feels like the most natural thing in the world.

Chris fucks him again before lunch but he doesn’t knot him. The food there is always healthy and high in all the vitamins a healthy Omega needs. Stiles isn’t really interested but he eats, sitting on the bed with Chris who’s sat in sweatpants. Stiles is still naked, he hates clothes when he’s like this, but he has a sheet over himself. When he’s deep in his Omega headspace he doesn’t care about that. He’s not deep now though. He has self-consciousness. He’s already running over everything he did and feeling ashamed. Every slut shaming word he’s ever heard runs through his head.

“Do you want me to put some music on?” Chris asks.

Stiles looks up at him. “No. I just… No thank you.”

“You can say whatever you need out loud,” Chris tells him.

“I don’t know what I need,” Stiles says. “I know what I want and it’s not this.”

Chris nods, placing a hand on his thigh through the sheet and squeezing. “You have to stop fighting. It hurts you.”

Stiles shrugs. “I lose either way.”

“You know that you can come to the clinic for more than just heats,” Chris says. “Come for a chat. Come to discuss options. We offer holistic treatment. You just like to bury your head in the sand.”

“It’s rude to call out your clients,” Stiles says, even as his lips lift up in a smirk. If he trusts anyone with this, it’s Chris. He just wouldn’t even know where to start. Certainly not today. He can feel that itch beneath his skin already. “I could, uh, I could use a half hour actually.”

“I’ll get this cleaned away,” Chris says, gathering everything back onto the tray and grabbing himself a shirt before standing up. “Just use the call button if you need anything before I get back.”

Stiles nods, falling back onto the bed with a sigh. Chris closes the door softly behind himself and Stiles lets his eyes slip closed, tuning back into his body. His stupid, traitorous body. He hates that low-level desperation that never goes away, telling him he needs an Alpha, telling him he needs to be bred. He hates that he hasn’t learned how to be stronger than it. He lets it in instead, sliding a hand downwards and fondling his cock. It’s not hard but it still feels nice.

He tries to think of any sex-positive fantasy to put alongside the sensation, he wants to take control of it, but sex has never been anything more than a necessity to him, a treatment. He’s never watched porn because his body goes on auto-pilot without any inspiration and whenever his heats are over, sex just isn’t something that interests him. He doesn’t think he’s ever gotten off outside of a heat. Maybe when he was a kid, when it was still new and he accepted that good feelings were simply good. He can’t remember though. Wouldn’t he remember something like that?

He gives up and lets his Omega have what it wants, his fingers trailing down to his hole, pushing into the slick warmth. He groans, hips riding upwards into his own touch. He just wants to be filled. He just wants to be fucked. He just wants an Alpha to knot him and breed him. That thought feels better than any erotic imagery he could come up with.

By the time Chris returns, Stiles is spread out on the bed, lazily fucking himself with three fingers. Chris doesn’t react, because Stiles is just being a healthy Omega in heat. This is normal. Stiles pushes the thought away. He can’t deal with another existential crisis right now.

“Will you knot me?” he asks instead.

“Of course,” Chris says, as though he’s just asked him to pass the salt.

He strips off his clothes and joins Stiles on the bed, pulling Stiles’ fingers out of his hole. Stiles whines at the loss and Chris shushes him, filling him with his cock. It’s so much bigger, so much more satisfying, and Stiles moans wantonly, wrapping his legs around Chris’ back.

He comes as soon as he feels Chris’ knot start to form, the intensity of it like an out of body experience. He’s barely even aware of Chris coming inside him, or the usual awkwardness of being knotted face to face. He slips away, retreating inside himself, letting his Omega have its fill.

He stays in that halfway conscious state for most of the afternoon, letting Chris feed him snacks and water, letting him take care of him. It’s easier than the doubts he carries around with him, weighing him down until he’s exhausted. Chris is right, it’s not good for him. He doesn’t think he’d have any self-respect without them though.

“Do you want to take a bath?” Chris offers.

Stiles shakes his head. “I’m tired.”

Chris comes over to sit with him. “Did you sleep okay last night?”

“I only woke up once,” Stiles says.

Chris nods his head, reaching out to stroke his hip. “Do you want to do something?”

“I’m tired,” Stiles repeats. “I’m just tired.”

Chris accepts his answer without taking offence at the dismissal and he doesn’t ask any more questions, he just acts. He plays some soft music and he turns the lights down lower, putting on one of the projectors to make colours shift slowly across the ceiling, one bleeding into the other so slowly that Stiles could be imagining it. It’s so calm and lovely, like the opposite of his head on most days. Stiles embraces the feeling, lets it permeate him.

He hears running water and then Chris is there with warm water and a washcloth. He cleans away sweat and come and slick, even though the last one returns as quickly as he can wash it away. It’s an improvement. It’s good enough. Stiles is never clean when he’s in heat. He hums contentedly though as Chris takes care of him, soothing his Omega, the lights making the whole world soft focus and kind.

The light flicks on above the door, a bright white in contrast to the rest of the dimly lit room, and Stiles knows what that means. His time is up. It’s always a blessing and curse.

“Looks like your dad’s here,” Chris says. “Do you need some help?”

“I got it,” Stiles insists, even though he doesn’t move.

“I’ll start getting you checked out then,” Chris says. “Take your time.”

“Thanks,” Stiles tells him.

When Chris leaves, Stiles gives a big sigh, forcing himself to sit up. His head only spins a little. His body isn’t burning up again yet. He can get home like this. His clothes are neatly folded on a shelf, T-shirt, sweatpants, no underwear. What’s the point? He slips on his shoes and then gives himself one more moment of indulgent quiet before he steps out into the corridor, following it around to the front desk.

“Hey, kiddo,” his dad greets brightly, but Stiles can already see how he’s taking him in, weighing up how unsettled tonight is going to be.

“Hey,” Stiles returns, coming around to lean on the counter.

“You okay?” John asks.

“Yeah,” Stiles says, the word drawn out and full of things unsaid.

“Chris said you were feeling tired,” John prompts.

“Yeah, I’m tired,” Stiles agrees, as though he’s just remembered.

John nods slowly, still studying him. He reaches out, placing a hand on his shoulder. “You can take a nap when we get home.”

“A nap sounds good,” Stiles says.

John squeezes his shoulder before pulling his hand away, turning back to Chris to finish signing him out. Stiles stares at a plant in the lobby, wondering if it’s getting enough water. He wants to say something but then his dad’s arm is around his shoulders and he’s being guided out of the door.

He spends the ride home staring out of the window, even though his eyes can’t focus properly. Everything is hazy, like unshed tears. He hates the feeling of disconnection, like the world is something held just out of his grasp.

When they get home, he throws himself down on the couch. The stairs are more than he can handle right now and he doesn’t want to be alone. He tries not to think, just curls himself up, lulled by the familiar scents. It’s safe and cosy, coddling his Omega, which is enough to keep it calm for now. His dad goes through to the kitchen, making a start on dinner, and Stiles drifts off to sleep surrounded by the sounds of being cared for.

His dad wakes him up when it’s time to eat and they sit at the kitchen table in silence. John doesn’t ask about his day. They both know what goes on in those treatment rooms. Stiles feels so ashamed of it, even though he knows he’s not supposed. He’s never going to be proud of it though, this pathetic, animalistic part of himself. He’s worth so much more than what his Omega lets him be.

He hates that his life revolves around procreation and being put in vulnerable, humiliating positions. Everyone at school will know exactly why he wasn’t there today. Because he was getting fucked by an Alpha, giving his Omega what it needs. And they all accept it. They expect it. Sometimes he doesn’t know how he even looks Allison in the eye.

After dinner, he finally gets his aching legs up the stairs, grabbing The Catcher in the Rye from his schoolbag and heading back to the couch with it. He sprawls out, listening to the sounds of his dad tidying up the kitchen, a little tug telling him he should help. Moving sets his skin on edge though and he’s always fought the hardest against any kind of housewife ideal. That’s not him. That’s not going to be him.

He squints at the text in front of him, trying to focus on the letters, black against white, but they seem so tiny and his vision keeps clouding over way too quickly. He’s supposed to be laid out somewhere, boneless and dripping, easy access for his Alpha to breed. The thought makes his lip curl up in distaste, gripping the book harder as he redoubles his efforts.

“You’re going to give yourself a headache,” his dad says as he come through from the kitchen.

“Too late,” Stiles replies.

John takes the book from him as he walks past, considering the cover as he nudges at Stiles, getting him to move over enough for him to sit down. “This is for school?”

“Yeah,” Stiles says. “English class.”

 

“I don’t think you’re in the right frame of mind for schoolwork right now, Stiles,” John says, turning it over to read the back.

“It’s just a story,” Stiles says. He should be able to handle a story. His eyes can’t. But perhaps his brain still could. “Maybe you could read it to me?” It’s so demeaning, asking for a bedtime story like he’s five, but he thinks his shame might be starting to reach critical mass so who cares. It’s not like independence was ever an option for him.

His dad doesn’t make a big deal about it though, just goes back to the page he had saved with his finger and starts to read it from the top. Stiles sighs happily, closing his eyes. This is so much easier. The words still feel elusive, but at least they don’t hurt him now. He floats in and out of awareness, maybe dozing off a tiny bit. He must be taking something in though. He hopes.

“This kid is an idiot,” John says.

Stiles snorts a laugh. “Maybe.” He sighs. “Sometimes I want to run away. Just for a weekend. Be… not me.”

“Don’t do that,” John says, his voice warm where it could be chiding. “You don’t need to run away. I’d let you go. I’d always let you go.”

Stiles opens his eyes, blinking away the mistiness to look at his dad as the tears fill his eyes for real. John Stilinski, law enforcer and trusted guardian of a difficult town, has never done things by the book with his own son. It’s accepted, expected even, to have Omega children mated to an Alpha of the parents choosing by the time they’re sixteen. John let that deadline come and go without even mentioning it. It wasn’t what Stiles wanted. It was really as simple as that. Stiles has never asked about the hysterectomy, something that Omegas have to be twenty-one to be able to consent to without a guardian’s permission, but he’s pretty sure his dad would sign off on it. He’d do anything for him. Stiles just wishes he could figure out the anything that would actually make him happy. So far he’s coming up blank.

John gives him an encouraging little smile, but there’s a hint of sadness in his eyes. He looks down, starting to read again, and Stiles closes his eyes, letting himself drift. He can feel the prickle starting up on his skin, but he stubbornly ignores it. He likes this moment. He doesn’t want it to end. He doesn’t want that taken away from him as well.

He can feel it though, like a sense of foreboding creeping up his spine. His body starts to feel feverish, his skin dampening with sweat. He can feel his slick increasing, a yearning building in his gut. Where he was boneless before, now he can’t keep still, restless and needy, little noises escaping from his throat. He presses his thighs together, determined to just hang on a little longer, but he finally has to give with a feeling of defeat, not even hearing the words his dad is reading to him anymore.

“I think I’m going to go to bed,” he says, the light too sharp when he opens his eyes, making him wince.

“Yeah,” John agrees. It’s not like he couldn’t see him start to unravel in front of him. “If you need anything in the night, let me know. Okay?”

“Okay,” Stiles agrees meekly. He doesn’t want to be that person though. It’s not like he gets a choice in the matter.

He gets stiffly to his feet, the room spinning around him for a second. He groans, feeling seasick and disorientated, but he knows it won’t slow him down. Nothing is screaming at him louder than his need to be filled and fucked. The Omega always wins.

He swings his bedroom door closed behind him, dropping to his knees by the bed and pulling out the box. He can barely even see what he’s choosing, but anything will do right now. He tempted to just yank his pants down over his ass and do it right here. He knows he won’t want to move afterwards though so he crawls up onto the bed, stripping off his clothes, making a noise of discomfort as they seem to rub his skin raw. But then he has the dildo inside him, no preamble, and he moans loudly, finally feeling complete, but feeling all the more hopeless for it.

Two orgasms later, he falls into a heavy, all-consuming sleep. It’s all he does when he’s in heat; fuck and sleep and eat. Life boiled down to its simplest components. He doesn’t exist except for the furtherment of his species. It’s such a degrading thought.

He wakes up somewhere in the early hours of the morning, the dildo still clutched in his hand. He sneers at it, pushing it away and wiping his sticky hand on the sheets. He’s too hot. Uncomfortably hot. Kicking off the blankets doesn’t help. He can feel the thrumming of his body like the beating of a heart, his driving force. His Omega wants to be bred. Every second away from an Alpha feels like torture. Stiles kind of wants to torture it though. He wants to make it as miserable as he is. It’s only fair.

He doesn’t fuck himself, doesn’t even let his fingers play with his hole. He grits his teeth and he tosses and turns and he doesn’t get any sleep. He feels like he’s coming apart at the seams. Everything is too much. When the light starts to creep between the gaps in his blinds, he pulls the sheet up over himself, his head pounding, his body burning up. He’s lying in a wet patch from all the slick, letting out a pathetic sob. He doesn’t have control over this. He has no choice but to give in eventually.

When his dad comes to check on him in the morning, Stiles pushes the sheet off his head and gives him a look of utter misery. John sighs, coming to sit on the edge of the bed. He pushes Stiles’ damp hair back from his forehead and Stiles make a grateful noise.

“You don’t look great, kiddo.”

Stiles shakes his head. It hurts.

“We don’t have to leave yet,” John says. “Take care of yourself. I’ll make some breakfast.”

Stiles sniffles, shaking his head again.

“I know it doesn’t always feel good, even when it’s supposed to,” John says gently.

Stiles frowns at him. How would he know? But, right, he helped mom through all of her heats. Stiles feels his misery multiply.

“Do what you can,” John says. “Then I’ll take you to the clinic, they know how to help you.”

He leaves the room, closing the door softly behind himself, and Stiles drags the sheet back over his head, the smell of himself in the enclosed space overwhelming. It makes him want to retch. Instead, it soothes something, his Omega revelling in all the power that scent gives him. It attracts the Alphas, makes them want to breed him. That’s all the Omega wants. Disgusting base animal instincts. Stiles throws the sheet off, sitting up with determination. Stiles will give it what it fucking wants then.

He doesn’t eat anything, can’t stomach it, but he drinks some juice at his dad’s request. It sits heavy and acidic in his gut as they drive over to the clinic in his dad’s cruiser. Stiles leans against the door, sure his scent must be clinging to his dad’s uniform, embarrassed that he’s going to have to wear it all day. People will understand, they know he’s a single father to an Omega, that he’s doing the best he can, but it’s still so humiliating. For both of them.

They get to the clinic and Stiles can barely walk in a straight line. He’s dripping with sweat, slick soaking into the back of his sweatpants, everything out of focus. Chris is there, checking them in with his warm, professional demeanour, and then Stiles is faced with the Alphas of the facility. He presses Peter’s face without hesitation, his finger leaving a streak of sweat on the screen. He imagines Chris wiping it down after he’s gone, getting it ready for the next bundle of hormones to walk through that door.

Stiles doesn’t just want an Alpha today. He wants a wolf. He wants someone whose instincts are as rough and animalistic as his own. Some werewolves might be offended by that depiction, but Peter can be counted on to embrace it, if only because he enjoys his reputation. If Stiles’ Omega is going to act like an animal, Stiles is just going to treat it like one.

“I believe I was summoned,” Peter says smoothly as he comes out of one of the back rooms. Stiles just blinks at him with hazy, vacant eyes. “Hello there, sweetheart. Why don’t you come on round, we can get your treatment started while they finish all this boring admin.”

Stiles nods, making a little noise of assent. He looks at his dad.

“I’ll be back as soon as my shift’s over,” John promises. “Let them take care of you.”

Stiles gives another little nod, turning to Peter’s outstretched arm and tucking himself beneath it. Peter pulls him in tight without hesitation and Stiles can’t help breathing him in. He smells so good.

“I think you are a little overdue this morning, aren’t you,” Peter says, thumb rubbing over Stiles’ shoulder, setting his skin alight. “You know better than that.”

Stiles does know better. He has to please the Omega or he just feels sicker and sicker. Stiles knows exactly how to make his heats pass by as painlessly as possible, but sometimes his mental wellbeing just has to outweigh his physical. He feels like he’s about to throw it all away though, out of spite at something that’s under his own skin.

They get to the treatment room and Peter closes the door behind them. He’s just an Omega now, as far as the world is concerned, tucked safely out of view while he surrenders to his urges.

“I want to be strapped down,” Stiles says. They’re the first words he’s said all day and his voice is rough.

“Bed or bench?” Peter asks.

“Bench,” Stiles says with determination, as though he’s punishing anyone but himself.

Peter goes over to the closet, pulling out the apparatus that looks like a torture device. The breeding bench. It’s the most humiliating, dehumanising thing that Stiles can imagine. He was prescribed it once, when he was first at the clinic and he couldn’t get his heats under control or learn to submit properly. He hated it. It didn’t help. The Alphas putting his treatments together never mentioned it again. His Omega wants to be bred though, so Stiles is going to get it bred.

“You sure about this, sweetheart?” Peter asks as he watches Stiles stare down the bench like a sworn enemy. Peter knows every bit of his history, has read it in his file like every Alpha here.

“Yes,” Stiles says. He looks up at Peter. “I want rough.”

A little smile lifts the corners of Peter’s mouth. “You came to the right person then.”

He steps up to Stiles, lifting his T-shirt up and sliding it over his head, making Stiles shiver with a helpless little noise. Stiles toes his shoes off, clinging to Peter to balance, his head spinning from the effort. Peter reaches down, stripping him of his sweatpants and then taking him by the hand, leading him to the breeding bench.

Stiles swallows down his distaste as he gets down on his knees. He moves forward with Peter’s guiding hands, getting into position and bending over the bar that supports his body, leaving his cock exposed. His head is angled down as he places his arms into the restraints, knees wide apart, leaking hole up in the air, ready for his Alpha to breed. He tells his Omega that this is all its fault, it did this to them.

Peter secures his ankles first, strapping them into place with soft leather and heavy buckles. His thighs are next, then his waist, and finally his forearms and wrists. Stiles tests them out. Secure. No way out. Peter checks them as well, a cursory inspection, he’s experienced enough to get it right the first time. Stiles wonders how many Omegas he’s done this to. He wonders if it calmed them. He needs it to calm him right now.

He can hear Peter taking his clothes off, but he can’t see it from the angle he’s stuck in. It doesn’t matter. He closes his eyes and waits. Peter moves behind him, hands stroking over his hips, up his sides. Stiles whines. Peter’s cock presses against his hole and Stiles flutters at the sensation, begging with his body. He’s been so empty for so long. He lets out a sob and Peter pushes into him, firm hands on his hips, fucking him hard and firm and deep.

Stiles needs this. He closes his eyes, his body going limp, letting Peter have him so completely. He couldn’t resist if he wanted to, but he can’t imagine fighting this right now. Peter knows how to speak to that part of him. He’s rough, just like Stiles asked for, not careful and respectful like Chris tends to be. Stiles knows that Peter takes this job seriously, that he takes good care of the Omegas and always has their best interests at heart. But he enjoys his job and his status in the clinic and he can get in touch with the wild side of Stiles’ Omega like nobody else. He understands primal urges. He gives them the perfect outlet.

He fucks into Stiles with so much strength and power that Stiles is coming over himself before he even properly gets into his stride. He shakes and sobs but he can’t move, can’t collapse. He’s held there in the perfect breeding position as Peter just keeps on fucking him, knowing exactly what his body is capable of. Stiles takes it not just because he has to but because he wants to.

He feels the line between himself and his Omega blur and he pushes it back with determination. The Omega can have his body today, it can do whatever it wants with it, but it’s not getting his mind. It feels so good as Peter fucks harshly into him, as his knot begins to form, but Stiles isn’t going to stop being bitter about it inside his mind. His body he can give up for a day. His mind he wants to keep just for himself. He thinks he should be allowed that.

Peter’s knot catches inside him, a few more stuttering thrusts that make Stiles clench around him and then he’s coming, stretching Stiles wide, filling him up, and Stiles moans, that completeness and belonging blanking everything else out. This is what he’s for. The thought makes tears slide down his cheeks.

Peter’s hand slides from his hip, moving down to grasp his cock, and Stiles’ whole body jumps, tightening around Peter’s knot and making him grunt. Peter strokes him, fingers sliding through his precome, the wet, slapping sound filling the room as Stiles moans, coming again. It doesn’t quiet his mind like he wants it to. It just makes more tears slide down his face. He closes his eyes, trying to disconnect from his body. That belongs to his Omega now.

Peter’s hands slide over his sweaty back, massaging his shoulders while he kneels behind him, knot still holding Stiles open like a fist inside him. Sometimes that’s the only thing he’s every truly sure of, how right a knot feels inside him. But that’s his Omega. That’s not him. He doesn’t want that to be him.

Peter massages him, firm strokes and digging fingers, until his knot goes down enough for him to pull out. Stiles makes a noise of disappointment, clenching around nothing. It makes him feel like he’s entirely hollow. He doesn’t have a purpose now.

Peter moves to unfasten his wrist but Stiles flinches. “No,” he pleads. “Leave me.”

Peter hesitates, hand still on the buckle. He considers Stiles for a moment and then sits down beside him, reaching over to wipe away his tears. “That didn’t work, did it?”

“Leave me,” Stiles says again.

“If it’s not helping, it’s not helpful,” Peter says.

“It’s helping,” Stiles insists, nodding his head. “Give me a minute. This is what I need.”

Peter relents, but he sits right there where he can keep on eye on Stiles, where Stiles can easily signal him with a look if he can’t find the words. Stiles closes his eyes, lets his body go limp. This position is designed to make the come slip down inside him, to breed him, but there’s too much and Stiles can feel some of it escape along with his slick, coating the backs of his thighs. This is who he is. This is what he is. This is all his body is capable of. Being utterly repulsive.

Stiles lifts his head up. He doesn’t feel settled or spaced out like he normally does after being knotted. “Again?” he asks hopefully.

Peter gives him a self-deprecating smile. “You want a toy to keep you busy?”

Stiles sighs but nods. “Okay.”

Peter gets up, going over to the closet and picking a few things out. He moves back behind Stiles, out of his view, but a thick dildo presses at his hole, pushing inside, and Stiles groans, so grateful to just be filled again. He doesn’t want to feel empty ever again. He can’t believe he stopped himself having this all night. He guesses he owes this to his Omega. Making up for lost time. He tries to let the sensation unravel the tangle of anxiety inside his gut, but all it really does is take the edge off. It’s better than nothing.

Peter works him over with a couple of toys, pulling a few orgasms out of him, but Stiles doesn’t feel satisfied like he knows he should. Peter fucks him again but he doesn’t knot him. Stiles doesn’t really expect him to. Knotting takes a lot out of an Alpha, they never give it to the Omegas every time. This is a job and they need to stay alert. They have a duty of care. Peter slips a nice big plug inside him, but it’s not the same. He feels the tears fall down his face again and then Peter is unbuckling him without even asking, taking the decision out of his hands.

He lifts him out of the bench, carrying him to the bed and setting him gently down. Stiles writhes, trying to get comfortable, but everything aches and he wants to crawl out of his own skin. Why doesn’t it feel better yet? This is what his Omega wanted, wasn’t it? Breeding. He couldn’t give it any more explicitly than that.

Peter washes himself up at the sink and then pulls his clothes back on, Stiles making an indignant noise at him. Peter gives him an indulgent smile.

“I’m going to go get us some food,” he says. “It’s lunch time.”

“Not hungry,” Stiles complains. It’s not really true, but at the same time this hollow inside him feels like it could be from anything.

Peter leaves the room, Stiles shuffling around on the bed again, his frustration building. It makes his chest tighten, his hands curling into fists. It’s not fair.

Peter returns with finger foods, trying to coax Stiles into eating, but he refuses to move. In the end, Peter resorts to hand feeding him and Stiles’ Omega loves that. Stiles goes with it, it doesn’t really feel like he has an option, he already gave up control of his body. Maybe it will calm down if he just lets his Omega have this.

When they’re done eating, Peter turns on some soothing music and turns on the projector so that colours play across the ceiling. He’s probably hoping that Stiles will finally drift off to sleep. He sits beside Stiles on the bed, propped up by the pillowse, and his scent draws Stiles closer. He rests his head on his stomach, closing his eyes, humming happily as Peter’s finger comb through his hair. He’s still too restless for sleep though. He slides down further, nuzzling at Peter’s cock through the soft material of his sweatpants, letting the scent lead him, hips pressing down against the mattress.

At the first hint of Peter getting hard, Stiles pulls his sweatpants down, putting his mouth on Peter’s cock. Peter keeps petting him absently, but he lets him do what he wants, lets his lick and suck until he’s fully hard, and then he lets him deep throat him. It’s a good feeling. It’s not enough. Stiles reaches back behind himself, pulling out the plug, instantly bereft. He lets out a moan, Peter’s cock bumping against the back of his throat, and then he pulls off so that he can sit on it.

He faces away from Peter, he doesn’t need that human element right now, the connection. He just needs Alpha cock inside him and strong hands on his hips, and thighs to grip hold of to keep his balance. He moves frantically, desperately trying to sate his Omega. He can’t understand why it needs so much today. He lets out a sob, arching his back, slamming Peter’s cock against his prostate, and it makes his body coil tight and maybe, just maybe, when it breaks he’ll be free.

He comes, his body slumping forward. It’s still not enough. He keeps moving, keeps fucking himself until Peter comes inside him, no knot, and it’s better but it’s lacking. He’s giving his Omega all the breeding that it wants. Why won’t this feel better?

Peter lifts him up, bundles him up in his arms, and Stiles can’t do anything but cling to him with heartbroken sobs. He feels all wrong. Peter holds him and rocks him, Stiles pressing his face into Peter’s chest, letting his scent wash over him. When he calms down, or runs out of tears at least, Peter moves them under the blankets. He takes off his shirt that he’s still wearing, wrapping Stiles up from behind, turning him into the little spoon. It takes the edge off enough that Stiles can finally fall into a fitful, restless sleep.

When he comes back to himself, his body is already craving more. It’s not satisfied. His Omega is fucking insatiable today. He grinds back against Peter’s cock that rests against the curve of his ass, making a shamelessly needy noise in his throat. Peter squeezes him.

“Your dad’s here.”

Stiles’ eyes fly open, looking at the light above the door. “What?” How long was he out? That’s not fair. He’s missed all his treatment time.

“Let’s get you cleaned up,” Peter says, starting to pull away.

“No,” Stiles says desperately, clinging to his arms. “Don’t make me go.”

Peter stills. Stiles has never wanted to spend a second longer than he had to in this place, no matter how taken over by his heat he was.

“Please,” Stiles begs, feeling the tears coming again. “Please, please, please.”

“Shhh,” Peter soothes, but he manages to free one of his arms to reach up and press the button above the bed. He’s calling for assistance. Stiles wonders if he’s in trouble. “It’s okay, sweetheart,” Peter says, settling down to hold him again.

Chris lets himself into the room, giving Stiles a little smile before looking over at Peter.

“He hasn’t settled all day,” Peter says. “He doesn’t want to go.”

Chris climbs onto the bed, looking at Stiles in that soft way that he does. He brushes his fingers through his hair, Stiles humming as he closes his eyes.

“What’s going on, Stiles?” he asks gently.

“I just need a little more,” Stiles says.

He can sense them exchanging looks and then Chris speaks decisively. “Knot him. I’ll be right back.”

The door closes behind him and Peter moves, pressing his cock into Stiles’ slick hole. He moans. It feels so good. He can’t handle anything but this right now. Peter isn’t as rough with him as he was earlier, but Stiles gets the impression that he’s biding his time. Chris comes back into the room just as Stiles is starting to lose himself. He climbs back onto the bed, lying down in front of Stiles.

“Your dad doesn’t mind waiting,” he says. “You just relax. We’re going to take care of you, okay?”

Stiles nods his head, looking at him with pleading eyes. Chris moves in close, pressing his body against Stiles’ through the blankets, weighing him down and trapping him and putting him under control. He nuzzles at his face and neck, scenting him, while Peter fucks into him, his thrusts getting a little harder now. When Stiles starts to moan softly, his body giving, Chris pulls the blankets down, wrapping his hand around Stiles’ cock.

Everything turns to a blur. He’s surrounded by Alphas, by their safety, by their scent and their care and their attention. His Omega is so fucking happy. He gives in to it, letting it all wash over him, coming in Chris’ hand. Peter knots him, stretching him out, and his hole is tired and sore but it still feels so good. Chris keeps playing with his cock, not stroking him now, just squeezing him rhythmically, keeping all his attention on lovely things until he’s coming again without even properly getting hard. As he clenches around Peter he can feel that his knot is almost gone. Peter pulls out, still holding him close, and Stiles feels the loss like someone is taking him apart. His Omega still wants. Stiles doesn’t know what else he can fucking give.

“How about we get you cleaned up?” Chris suggests. “Take you to see your dad.”

Stiles shakes his head. He’s not done. Why isn’t he done?

Chris nods. “Let’s bring him in here then.”

Stiles feels instantly ashamed at the thought of his dad seeing him like this. He can tell it’s not a suggestion though. He’s not being consulted. This is his treatment.

Chris leaves the room and Peter gets out of the bed, pulling his clothes on. He wraps the blankets around Stiles again, spooning him through them. When his dad comes in the room though, Stiles doesn’t care about anything else. He lets out a sob, freeing one of his arms and reaching out for him. His dad’s expression is full of sympathy and sorrow as he crosses the room. Peter wordlessly gets off the bed and excuses himself, exchanging a nod with John as he goes.

John climbs onto the bed, lying down with him and taking hold of his hand. “How’s it going, kiddo?”

Stiles shakes his head. “Not good. I feel awful. It’s not fair.”

“I know,” John says gravely.

“I gave my Omega my body,” Stiles says. “Why isn’t it happy? It got everything.”

“Your Omega isn’t just physical,” John says, shaking his head sadly. “It wants so much more than that. Your mom always said her heats were just as much mental as they were physical.”

“Yeah, well, she never told me that,” Stiles says, his voice cracking. He hates how bitter the words sound. It’s not her fault.

“We talked about it,” John says. “When she got sick, when we thought she wouldn’t be around long enough to see you present, we discussed whether she should teach you about being on Omega, just in case, but we couldn’t possibly know back then and she didn’t want to scare you with it when it might not even matter.”

Stiles nods, clinging to his hand. When he has kids, he hopes none of them ever have to go through this. Omegas and Betas are one of the weakest matings though. The odds were never stacked in his favour.

“She was going to write you letters,” John says. “So you wouldn’t be alone if it happened. But she got too sick. I tried to help her but none of it was making sense. I helped her through all those heats though, Stiles, and she was always incredibly open with me. I know I can’t know how this feels for you, but I can use what she taught me to help you the best I can. It’s all I’ve ever tried to do.”

“You do a good job,” Stiles tells him earnestly, even though his voice is weak. “Thank you.”

“We’re feeling our way through this together,” John says. “I don’t think we’re doing too bad overall.”

Stiles shakes his head, his eyes filling with tears again. His Omega feels more settled already. Maybe it’s found a safe place in his head.

“Let’s get you dressed and then we can go home,” John says, sitting up. “I’ll run you a nice warm bath and then I’ll make you something to eat.”

Stiles nods his head, smiling for the first time that day.

He lets his dad dress him, like he’s a little kid again. He wishes he were. Things were so much simpler before he presented. His life still held possibilities. Now it’s all drawn out for him on a map that Stiles doesn’t want to follow.

John puts an arm around his shoulders, pulling him in close as they leave the room. He must have signed Stiles out already because he doesn’t stop at the desk, just gives Chris a nod.

“You have our out of hours number if you need anything,” Chris says. “But I think he’ll be better off at home with you right now.”

“Thank you, Chris,” John says earnestly.

He leads Stiles out to his cruiser, opening the door for him and helping him inside. As he fastens Stiles’ seatbelt for him, Stiles wants to be embarrassed, but he’s not. It feels good. He values his independence highly, but he has to admit that it’s nice to be looked after.

When they get home, John walks him straight upstairs to the bathroom, depositing him on the closed toilet as he runs him a nice, warm bath before going downstairs to start on dinner. Stiles strips off, feeling a tiny bit more like himself. He steps into the warm water, feeling it soothe an ache inside him. He sinks down, submerging himself to the chin and closing his eyes. It’s not deep enough for him to float in, but he can still feel it supporting his weight, moving around him, washing away the grime and filth of the day.

After a while, he finds himself lazily reaching down between his legs, playing with his hole. It’s a comforting feeling. It’s the easiest, most natural orgasm he’s had all day. Maybe his Omega isn’t such an animal after all. He and it are still not on the same page though. Stiles doesn’t think they ever will be. It’s such a defeating feeling.

He drags himself from the bath, wrapping fluffy towels around himself that his dad left out for him. He doesn’t have the energy to dry himself off so he just snuggles into them until he stops dripping and then goes through to his bed room to pull on some comfy pyjamas. His dad has dinner ready by the time he gets downstairs and he suddenly realises how hungry he is. He didn’t eat much today, despite Peter’s best efforts. He devours the food his dad puts in front of him now and asks for seconds. John looks pleased as he plates it up for him.

When he’s finally had his fill, they go through to the living room, sitting on the couch together while his dad puts something on the TV. He knows better than to ask Stiles what he wants to watch. Options are too much for him right now, even simple ones like that. Stiles snuggles up to his dad, John happily putting an arm around him to hold him close. Stiles looks down at himself, curled up, stomach bloated from eating so much. He runs a hand over the curve where it’s usually flat. Is this what it will feel like, when he’s really bred? There’s always been an inevitability to it. It’s not a choice. He just wishes he had more time.

John squeezes his arm, placing a kiss on top of his head, and Stiles can tell he knows exactly what he’s thinking. He doesn’t say anything though. He can’t offer any reassurance. He can be there though. He always is. Stiles closes his eyes, the flickering lights from the TV changing the colours of the inside of his eyelids. It reminds him of the projectors they have at the clinic. The volume is down low, a murmur he doesn’t have to listen to, so he just nestles himself into he dad and lets everything else slip away.

That night, his sleep is interrupted several times with the need to take care of himself. He doesn’t fight it, doesn’t want to feel that awful again, but his hormones don’t balance out like he hopes. He’s probably fucked this heat up beyond repair. He knows so much fucking better than this. The illusion of choice wasn’t worth it.

When they get to the clinic the next day, there’s still something so unsettled inside him. It only intensifies as he stands at the counter, watching Chris check him in. When it’s time to choose the Alpha he wants to work with for the day, Stiles lifts his hand up, watching as it trembles. He clenches it into a fist and then spreads his fingers, shaking out his wrist. It doesn’t help. He looks up at Chris.

“I’m not doing this on purpose,” he says, shaking his head. “I was yesterday, but I’m not now. I’m trying to be good.”

“It’s okay,” Chris assures him. “Take a deep breath.”

Stiles nods, doing as he’s told, feeling it puff out his chest, straighten his spine.

“You’re doing fine,” Chris tells him. “And if decisions feel hard today, that’s what the any button is for.”

Stiles stares at it, the blanked-out silhouette of no one. He knows how carefully Chris and Peter work with all the Alphas here to make sure Omegas get a safe, professional and informed experience, but Stiles can’t stand the uncertainty. He lifts his still shaking hand, pressing Chris’ picture.

“I’m sorry,” he says weakly. Chris has already had to put up with Stiles more than anyone should have to during this heat.

“I’m always more than happy to work with you,” Chris says kindly as John signs off on Stiles’ treatment.

Once all the paperwork is out of the way, Chris leads Stiles through to the treatment room with a hand on the small of his back. His Omega wants to melt. Stiles wants to roll his eyes. He doesn’t have the energy to keep this battle up anymore.

Chris closes the door behind them and Stiles turns, pressing himself against Chris’ front, his solid chest, Chris wrapping those strong arms around him without missing a beat. Stiles closes his eyes, letting Chris take his weight, letting the feeling of safety permeate through him. It makes him feel lighter.

He remembers when he used to accept this feeling, but that was easier when it wasn’t invading his life every month. When he first started coming to the clinic a couple of years ago, he was only having heats every three of four months. Now it’s like clockwork, his body desperately screaming out at him, his biological clock ticking so loudly that sometimes he can’t think about anything else. The quiet of giving in is good though. He craves an Alpha to give him what he needs, to breed him up.

Even when he’s not in heat, he knows he gravitates to Scott and Lydia for more than just friendship. He likes the smell of their pheromones. He likes the warmth of their bodies when they let him hug them just a little too long, or lean against them when they’re studying together of watching a movie. They know it’s not sexual, just comfort, and he thinks the feeling is kind of mutual. Scott is more than happy with Allison, and Lydia has always been very clear about the fact that she’s taking care of herself before any Omega, but his scent is still like home to them in a way they’re maybe not even aware of.

He lifts his face up, nuzzling at Chris’ neck with a contented little noise as his scent floods Stiles’ senses. His Omega is practically vibrating. Stiles tries to rush through his heats, get it over with, but it’s not just physical. It’s not just about breeding. It’s about having a mate. The thought terrifies Stiles because then he’s not his own anymore. Is sharing really the same as giving up? He lets out a little whimper at the thought, fingers clenching into a fist around the material of Chris’ shirt.

“It’s okay,” Chris says softly, taking him over to the bed.

Stiles lets himself be undressed, trying to keep his thoughts fuzzy and out of focus, enjoying the way his clothes drag over his skin. He crawls onto the bed, presenting, and Chris moves up behind him, hands soothing over his skin as he presses his hard cock into Stiles’ slick hole. It’s so much better than a dildo. If he had a mate, he’d never have to take care of himself again. The breeding wouldn’t be simulated then though. His dreams would slip through his fingers like the come that slides out of his hole, making patterns down his thighs.

He closes his eyes, breathes, tries not to think about it. He lets his body go slack, angling his hips higher up, everything else tilted down, just like on the breeding bench, but this is all him. The angle is so good that he cries out, Chris’ cock rubbing firmly against his prostate like a reward. Even through the haze of the worst of his heat, he’s always fighting this. Giving up is so much better for him.

He comes as Chris fucks into him with firm, deep thrusts, shaking and offering himself up all the more. It feels incredible. Chris’ knot starts to swell, catching on the ring of muscle, and Stiles clenches around him, needing it inside him. His Omega intrinsically knows the best way to get bred. Stiles lets it have what it wants.

Chris’ knot locks him in place as his fills up Stiles’ insides with his useless come. Stiles doesn’t think about that though. Simulated breeding is supposed to help him, so Stiles lets it help. He lets his Omega believe it, just for a second, and he comes again as Chris massages his cock, his own dick still pulsing inside Stiles. It’s overwhelming, the dual sensations, his body feeling so grateful and so responsive and just so fucking good.

Chris pulls them onto their sides, Stiles nestled in his arms, Chris still knotted up inside him. He keeps clenching weakly around him with needy little noises, revelling it in.

“I’m a good Omega,” he says quietly.

“Of course you are,” Chris agrees earnestly.

“Not always,” Stiles says, shaking his head.

“There’s no rulebook, Stiles,” Chris says, stroking his hair back from his face.

“Just tell me I’m a good Omega,” Stiles pleads. He doesn’t want to have a discussion about Omega politics right now. He just needs to hear the words.

“You’re a good Omega,” Chris says like he means it.

Stiles hums, nodding his head, drifting off to sleep.

He spends the rest of the day being soft and vulnerable and everything the world expects an Omega to be. He inhales Alpha pheromones direct from Chris’ body. He seeks out Alpha cock, in his mouth and in his hole. He plays with himself without shame and asks to be filled with Chris’ hand when he still feels empty. Omegas aren’t supposed to be empty during heats. That’s why they have Omega Aids. And places like this. Society accepts that, encourages it. Stiles tries not to latch onto the thought of how disgusting that is, how demeaning and degrading and dehumanising. Because he likes it. Somewhere deep down inside, he likes it. It makes him feel good. Or his Omega. Is there really a difference?

By day three, his heat is always tapering off and the desperation stops making his skin itch. He asks Chris is they can shower together in the afternoon, self-aware enough to know the state he’s in and independent enough to want to do something about it. But his Omega wants an Alpha to help. Stiles will let it have this one.

The warm water and Chris’ hands feel so good in a deep-down way that goes much further than just physical. He tilts his head back as Chris washes his hair, his brain tingling under the attention. Chris helps him step out of the shower, towelling him off, but then Stiles reaches for his sweatpants, pulling them on himself. They don’t set his skin alight anymore. He lies out on the bed, his mind starting to clear, his body spent in a way that finally feels done.

Chris gets dressed and sits beside him on the bed, sharing the comfortable silence with him until that light comes on above the door. Stiles sits up as Chris brings his clothes over to him, leaving him to finish getting dressed on his own. By the time he gets out to the front desk, his dad is already signing him out. Stiles leans against the counter, looking into the office and seeing Allison sitting on one of the chairs, staring very pointedly at her book. Stiles can’t help but smile.

“Hey, Allison.”

Allison blinks, looking up at him. “Oh, hey,” she says with that little headshake that he’s never bought once in his life. “I didn’t see you there.”

“You definitely did,” Stiles responds. “But I appreciate the discretion.”

Allison gives him a look and then gets to her feet, coming to stand beside her dad at the counter while he finishes signing Stiles out.

“Can I borrow your history notes?” Stiles asks. “I need to catch up.”

“Sure,” Allison says. “You should come over this weekend.”

“I was hoping I could get them tonight,” Stiles says. “So I can be ready for class tomorrow.”

“I don’t think you should go to school tomorrow,” Chris cuts in.

Stiles gives a little huff despite himself. “My heat’s nearly gone.”

“Nearly,” Chris agrees. “But I think you should stay home tomorrow. Get some rest.”

“I can drop the notes off for you tomorrow morning on my way to school,” Allison offers. “Then you can go through them and be ready for class on Friday.”

“My house is not on your way to school,” Stiles says.

“It could be,” Allison shrugs, giving him a playful look.

Stiles smiles at her. “Thank you.”

John signs off on the last treatment page, humiliatingly itemised, and Stiles says goodbye to Allison and Chris, following him out to the car. He can open his own door this time, fasten his own seatbelt, but John still watches him carefully just to make sure. It’s insulting and humiliating and yet completely understandable. Stiles sighs. He’s always going to have to rely on other people.

They pull out of the parking lot, Stiles staring at the trees that pass by, starting to blur together as they pick up speed. He’s tired. Of everything. A deep down ache that has nothing to do with heats and everything to do with spending his life swimming against the current. He’s done. It makes tears well up in his eyes and he can’t even tell if it’s sorrow or relief.

“Dad,” he says, turning to face him. “I can’t do this anymore.”

His dad looks at him for a moment too long for somebody who’s driving, giving a nod of understanding. “We’ll figure it out.”

“I don’t know what I want still,” Stiles says. “But my body wins. And I want babies at some point. So I guess…” His jaw clenches up. He can’t say the words.

“We’ll figure it out,” John says again, determination in his voice. “Together.”

Stiles nods his head. “Maybe we can talk to Chris?”

“I’ll set up a meeting for a week’s time,” John says. “When your heat’s all out of your system. That’s the most informed choice you’ll be able to make.”

Stiles swallows around the lump in his throat. Having his limitations laid out for him like that is humbling, but it’s validating too. He’s never going to have total control of his Omega. They’re going to have to share this body. But next week Stiles will be more himself and less hormonal mess. It will give him a fighting chance. He just hopes he can come to a decision he’s willing to stick with by then. Being mated is a huge deal, and he might not even have good options with the attitude he has. Whatever Alpha he mates with though, they won’t just be getting an Omega. They’ll be getting Stiles. He hopes there’s someone out there who can deal with that.

Chapter Text

John arranges for them to meet with Chris and Peter in the early evening, when Omega treatments have finished for the day. Stiles knows this isn’t where he’s supposed to go for this kind of discussion, but the couple of times he’s been to Omega Services it made his skin crawl with the positivity and condescension of the workers. Chris and Peter are both realistic and they’ll tell him the truth about what he’s likely to face. Stiles needs that right now, even if it’s going to blow his dreams apart.

He can’t remember the last time he was at the clinic without being in heat. Probably when he came to discuss treatment options with his dad two years ago. Every time since then he’s been out of his mind. As he steps inside the building, he expects it to look different to him, but everything is exactly as it always is. Stiles is disappointed. He wants to be smarter and sharper and better than he is under the fog of his heats. Maybe sometimes a room is just a room though.

Peter comes out of the office to greet them, leading them down a corridor opposite the treatment rooms where Stiles is usually taken. There’s a door with a plaque that reads Chris Argent. Across the hall is one that says Peter Hale. Stiles still remembers what a sensational story it was when the two of them started running this place together. It doesn’t seem like anyone in town thinks twice about it now.

Peter raps his knuckles on Chris’ door a couple of times and then goes ahead and opens it, clearly not asking permission. Chris is seated behind the desk, stacking away some paperwork and placing it aside. He’s freshly showered and it makes Stiles feel too many things. He’s been working with an Omega, and now that Omega has gone home and Chris’ life goes on. Stiles knows what that Omega is going through right now, he is that Omega once a month, and it feels so belittling to see that Chris is just a shower away from normalcy.

There’s an extra chair behind Chris’ desk and Peter drops himself down into it, looking perfectly at home.

“Sheriff, Stiles, please, take a seat,” Chris invites. “I’m so glad that you decided to have this meeting. I think we’re getting to the stage where the clinic isn’t the best fit for Stiles anymore.”

Stiles feels his cheeks heat. Chris doesn’t mean to do it, but Stiles hates when his treatment is talked about as though it’s something that doesn’t concern him, a problem for someone else to solve on his behalf. He wants to believe he has some level of autonomy, but that’s never really been on the table.

“We’re ready to start thinking about longer term options,” John agrees.

“Stiles,” Chris says, and Stiles startles, surprised to be called upon. “What does that mean to you?”

“I need to be mated,” Stiles shrugs. There’s no feeling behind the words. He’s spent most of the week trying to disconnect himself from the fact. Everything he fought so hard for is starting to feel like it was for nothing.

“Peter and I have a number of qualifications in Omega care between us,” Chris says. “And your father was mated to an Omega, as well as being very involved in your treatment. As for you, I doubt there’s a thing about being an Omega that you haven’t researched to the point of near insanity.”

Stiles frowns, looking up at Chris. What’s his point?

“Everyone in this room knows what you need, Stiles,” Chris says. “That discussion won’t get us anywhere. Let’s start with what you want, and then we can look at the options that are the best fit.”

Stiles takes a breath, steeling himself up. What he wants hasn’t felt relevant for such a long time. He feels like saying it out loud now will only highlight how much he has to lose.

“I want to finish high school,” he says. Chris gives a nod, urging him on. “I want to find a mate before then because I want it all in place when I graduate, I don’t want to have to waste time looking then. But they have to let me graduate. I didn’t put all this effort in to have it taken away at the last second.”

“I’m sure we could find someone who would be willing to work with you on that,” Chris assures him.

Stiles narrows his eyes. He doesn’t believe it. He’s not taking anything for granted.

“I want to go to college,” he admits. “I know that I can’t. But you asked me what I wanted. And I want to go to college.” He twists his hands together, feeling the defeat creeping in. “I want to have babies and I’ll have them now, but I still want other things. I can’t have my life be babies and cooking and cleaning. I’m not a homemaker.” He sags in his chair, biting down on his lip as unshed tears blur his vision. “No one’s going to want me, are they?”

“I don’t think that’s true, Stiles,” Chris says softly. “That person just might not be at Omega Services.”

John reaches across, putting a hand on Stiles’ knee and squeezing. It simultaneously calms Stiles and makes him want to burst into tears. He lifts his head, offering a sad little smile of thanks, wiping a stray tear away.

“Derek’s back from South America for good, right?” Chris asks.

Stiles looks over, wondering what he’s talking about, but then he realises the question is directed at Peter.

“The prodigal son has returned,” Peter responds dryly.

“Does that mean he’s looking for a mate?” Chris asks, raising his eyebrows.

Peter looks over at Stiles, appraising him in a way that makes Stiles shrink back in his chair. A grin comes over his face.

“Talia would just cream her panties at that,” he says, something shining in his eyes.

Stiles frowns. John sits up a little straighter. Chris looks like he’s seriously questioning his business choices.

Peter clears his throat, shifting in his seat as though he can just brush that remark under the carpet. He looks at Stiles, contemplative in a way that seems kind now. “I think you’d get on with him. You’re probably just his type. I can set up a meeting, you can do it here, neutral ground.”

Stiles wants to protest that this place could never be considered neutral ground to him, but he’d rather be here than Omega Services. And he’s tentatively hopeful about Derek. It’s not a match based on an algorithm. Chris and Peter know him. And they know Derek. They’re flesh and blood people to them. Stiles is willing to give that a chance.

“Okay,” Stiles says. He looks at his dad, wondering if he should be seeking permission.

“I think that’s a good idea,” John says, squeezing his knee again.

Stiles feels a wave of giddy anticipation, everything lighter for a moment before the anxiety comes crashing down. An Alpha. A mate. He reminds himself that he’s taking control of the only choice he has. His body might not be willing to get on his schedule but at least he gets to pick his mate. That’s more than most Omegas get. He’s still glad his dad is by his side to help him navigate these murky waters.

Stiles remembers Derek, but only vaguely. He was already away at college when Stiles started high school, but there were a few occasions when Derek was back home and he would come pick Cora up from school in his Camaro, the epitome of cool older brother.

When Stiles gets home, he pulls out his freshman yearbook, finding Cora’s picture. She looks moody and so close to being done. Serious is the Hale family trait though. It makes anxiety twist in Stiles’ gut. He recognises the look in Cora’s eyes, that barely hanging on that she tries to hide behind her composure. Stiles uses a smile and a joke to deflect his desperation. He wonders if this family could really be a fit for him.

Cora quietly left for the summer at the end of freshman year and never returned to school. Stiles sees her around town sometimes but she gives off a constant air of don’t fucking talk to me and Stiles can respect that. He has enough trouble battling his own demons, he doesn’t need to be taking on anyone else’s as well.

He’d thought they might be friends in freshman year. He thought they could be allies who had each other’s backs, who understood. Cora was always a loner though and she seemed to despise Stiles’ Omega as much as he despised himself. He let it go. The task of trying to make someone else accept him felt insurmountable.

He stares at her picture, wondering if her and Derek look alike. Stiles remembers the car and the leather jacket more than he does any physical features. He thinks he recalls awkward and brooding being a pretty safe bet. Stiles is hardly a prize catch himself though. Derek might take one look at him and politely excuse himself, fading away just like his sister did.

Stiles sighs, closing the yearbook. He has homework to do. His mind can’t let it go though, stuck on Derek and Hales and a mating ceremony and a little, tiny baby inside him. He doesn’t know what to expect from any of it, or from himself if he goes ahead with this. It feels so much like giving up. He wanted more.

The next day, he checks his phone at lunchtime to find a text from his dad. Derek Hale wants to meet them. Or Derek Hale is having his arm twisted by his uncle to meet them. Either way, Stiles is going into an anxiety spiral. He sits down opposite Allison in the cafeteria, wilfully interrupting whatever conversation she’s having with Scott.

“Do you know Derek Hale?”

Allison blinks at him. “I’ve seen him at the clinic a couple of times when I’ve been waiting for my dad,” she says. “I haven’t really spoken to him.”

Stiles twists his mouth, looking down at his food that he suddenly can’t stomach.

“Why?” Allison asks.

Stiles sighs, sagging in his seat. He shouldn’t feel ashamed about this. It’s what everyone expects of him, isn’t it? Society at least. But not his friends. He feels like maybe he’s letting them down. He’s not the strong, independent Omega he pretends to be.

“Because I’m meeting him tonight,” he admits. “As a potential mate.”

Scott looks at him, clearly apprehensive. “You’re… doing that?”

Stiles shrugs. “I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. I’m thinking about it.”

Scott nods but nobody says anything.

“I don’t want to,” Stiles says. “But I also don’t want to spend the rest of my life losing a week out of every month and feeling like shit all the time. I guess it’s a quality of life question. I haven’t figured out what’s worse yet. So… I guess I’m meeting Derek Hale.”

“The Stilinskis and the Hales,” Allison says. “You can be sure of Talia’s approval at least.”

“Peter said she’d cream her panties,” Stiles says.

“Peter’s disgusting,” Allison responds.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees. “But what’s the deal with Talia?”

“She might run Omega Services and have made the Hale name respectable again, but there’s a lot of people who still don’t trust wolves,” Allison says. “But if the Sheriff’s willing to have his only kid mated to her son, that’s legitimacy that she can’t buy. Politically speaking, it’s a masterstroke.”

Stiles pushes his tray away from himself, resting his elbows on the table. “I’m not interested in being somebody’s political statement,” he says, feeling his jaw clenching. “I already don’t have control of my body, now I’m supposed to give up my narrative too?”

“Did Peter recommend Derek to you?” Allison asks.

“No, it was your dad,” Stiles says.

Allison smiles. “Stiles, my dad is the last person to care about Alpha politics.”

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees, feeling suddenly sheepish.

“If my dad thinks this is a good idea, you can trust that he’s thinking of your best interests, not Talia Hale’s,” Allison says.

“Her dad doesn’t cater to Hales,” Scott agrees. “And he’s worked with you for a long time now, right?”

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees. Chris has always been the person at the clinic he’s trusted the most.

“If this is something you’re going to do,” Scott says, still not knowing what side he’s supposed to come down on, “Then it’s good you have someone you trust guiding you through.”

Stiles nods. Hearing someone else say it makes him feel better. “I don’t know if I’m doing it yet,” he adds. It’s a disconcerting feeling, not wanting something that he wants so badly.

“Well, if the rumours are anything to go by, Derek’s pretty progressive,” Allison says.

Stiles looks over at her, suddenly interested. “What do you mean?”

“You hear all kinds of things in the office at the clinic,” Allison says. “Like how Derek was supposed to come home after college and be a good Hale Alpha but he went to South America instead.”

Stiles purses his lips together. Is Derek fighting against this as much as he is? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

“When he was in there last week talking to Peter, I heard him mention an Omega Rights march he went on,” Allison goes on.

Stiles’ eyes go wide. “Are you serious? He’s been on an Omega Rights march?”

“You remember his sister’s an Omega, right?” Allison says.

“Yeah,” Stiles says, recalling Cora’s sullen picture in the yearbook. He pulls his food back towards himself. His tater tots are getting cold.

“Do you ever see Cora?” Scott asks.

Allison shakes her head. “Cora never comes to the clinic.”

Stiles tunes them out, picking at his food. An Omega Rights march. Things like that don’t happen in sleepy towns like Beacon Hills, but Stiles has seen coverage of them in the big cities. He always finds it so heartening, seeing all those people who are behind him, even if they don’t know who he is. He can feel the excitement bubbling away inside him that Derek could be one of them, that he might get a mate who believes in the same injustices as him. Stiles has learned the hard way that he should never get his hopes up though, especially where being an Omega is concerned.

Maybe Derek was experimenting with radical views in college. Maybe he was rebelling against Talia and all her wholesomeness. Or maybe he believes that Omegas should be allowed the treatments that would stop them being slaves to their bodies. Even the possibility makes Stiles want to break down in overwhelmed tears.

That afternoon he spends his free period sitting in the library with Lydia. She’s working on a chemistry assignment. He can’t concentrate on anything, his leg jiggling up and down under the table, his pencil tapping restlessly on his notebook. Lydia gives him a scathing look.

“Sorry,” he mutters, dropping the pencil down. He doesn’t even try to keep his leg still.

Lydia is exactly the person he would go to for romantic advice, but he doesn’t think this is about romance. Could it be? Should it be?

With a huff, he gets to his feet, climbing the staircase to the upper level. He does some quick math and pulls out the yearbook for Derek’s graduating year, flicking through the pages until he finds him. It’s an okay photo. He looks kind of shy in front of the camera, or like he’d rather be anywhere else. There’s no school activities listed except basketball. Alphas and their sports. Sometimes Stiles wishes he could be down on the lacrosse field with Scott instead of cheering him on from the stands, but his body fucks him over far too regularly for him to even think about trying to join the team.

He sits down on the floor in the quiet corner where the yearbooks are kept and thinks about what a future with Derek might look like. A baby nine months after graduation. He’ll be 19. Older than most first time Omega parents. Is he going to count that as a victory? They’ll get a house and his dad will be left on his own, the thought of which makes Stiles’ gut ache. He’s always been a burden, he knows that, but somehow he doesn’t think leaving will be a relief to his dad. He imagines empty rooms and empty whiskey bottles.

“Hey.”

Stiles looks up to see Lydia standing over him.

“You were gone a while,” she says. “I was worried you’d tripped over something, hit your head on the stacks and were slowly bleeding to death.”

“No such luck,” Stiles responds, his eyes falling back down to the book. Lydia sits down beside him as Stiles places a finger under Derek’s photograph. “Do you think I should let this guy put a baby in me?”

Lydia tilts her head, considering it. “You could do worse.” She looks up at him. “Do you want a baby put inside you?”

“No,” Stiles says with a pout. “Not right now. But my Omega does.”

“I’m going to become a scientist and I’m going to develop a suppressant,” Lydia says. “Just for you.”

Stiles smiles at her, feeling so loved and accepted. “Thanks,” he says earnestly. “I’ll probably be five babies deep by then, but it’s the thought that counts, right?”

She laughs, bumping shoulders with him. “You’re going to be a great dad.”

The words make him go rigid. They’re so kind and so demeaning at the same time. Tears spring up in his eyes. He doesn’t want to be reduced to that, doesn’t want to be an Omega with exceptional maternal instincts. He feels that pull though, he can’t deny it.

“I’m going to be amazing,” he says, his voice cracking. It’s true, but it’s not what he dreamed of being amazing at.

Lydia turns to him, pulling him into a hug. He gives her an awkward smile, wiping at his tears.

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she says.

Stiles presses his face into her neck. She smells so good, strong and solid and safe. He lets it soothe him as she rubs his back. He falls apart without an Alpha to look after him. Being mated is so pathetically overdue. Some days he feels like he might shatter into a million pieces like broken glass. Some days he wants to let himself.

When he calms down, he pulls away, looking back at Derek’s picture. This photograph was taken six years ago. That’s six years of life and experiences and freedom that Derek’s had. And now he’s ready to settle down. Stiles wishes he felt the same way, that he had something to compare it to. His life has always had so little perspective and if he gets mated, his world can only ever get smaller.

He’s always known he wanted kids, that’s never been in question. Ever since his mom died and made his tiny family even smaller, Stiles has wanted to build it up again. He didn’t even know he was an Omega then, but he was so certain about it. Maybe his life has been sealed from the start. Sometimes he can’t even tell if he’s fighting his Omega or himself.

That evening, he contemplates what he’s supposed to wear to a first meeting with a potential mate. Smart casual? If it was taking place at Omega Services then it might be a more formal affair, but he gets the impression they’re not doing this by the book. He kind of likes that. Besides, he wants to present himself honestly, in every way. He can’t pretend to be something that he’s not, even if it loses him this chance at a mate. He needs an Alpha who’s going to understand and accept who he is. He knows it’s a huge ask. He can’t settle for anything less though. He’ll give up his future, but not himself. He thinks that’s more than fair. He just hopes that someone else agrees.

He pulls on his favourite plaid shirt, old and worn and soft. It’s like a comfort blanket, but it’s undeniably him, impregnated with his scent and his memories and probably his heats. It’s as honest as he can get.

He and his dad are silent on the drive to the clinic, but after John parks up and kills the engine, he sits for a moment, staring out of the windscreen. Stiles chews on the side of his thumb, waiting. John finally turns to face him.

“I don’t want you to feel pressured to make any decisions today,” he says. “This is just an introduction. It’s an opportunity. You haven’t agreed to anything and you don’t have to.”

Stiles nods. “I know that, dad.”

John takes a breath, his face settling into determination. “I’m here to support you, whatever you decide.”

Stiles smiles, feeling a flutter in his chest. “Thank you.”

“I’m proud of you,” John says.

Stiles looks away. He doesn’t know what he’s ever done to make anyone proud. He’s not a very good Omega, but his Omega stops him being truly great at anything else either. He’s half a person at best, or maybe two whole ones split in half and spliced haphazardly back together, the cracks still showing.

“We should go inside,” John says.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees, steeling himself up.

His heart pounds as he steps into the building, seeing Chris behind the desk. He leads them down the same corridor as yesterday but they stop earlier, Chris opening up a door to what looks like a lounge. There’s a couple of couches facing one another with a small table between that contains some freshly cut flowers and a box of tissues. It looks homely and unofficial, but in a carefully orchestrated way that Stiles can tell is supposed to make the people who use this room let their guard down.

Sitting on one of the couches is Derek Hale. He does not look like his yearbook photo. Stiles stares for a moment while he’s vaguely aware of Chris making introductions. The last few years have been good to Derek. His hair is casually styled and he has a neatly trimmed beard. He’s a little stockier, filling out his Henley and jeans perfectly, a warm smile lighting up his face even beyond the obvious apprehension. He makes Stiles feel hot in his belly, but it’s not just his Omega’s reaction to seeing a new Alpha it wants to submit to.

Derek stands to greet them, holding out a hand to Stiles who takes it on autopilot. Derek’s hand is firm and warm and safe. Stiles can’t quite make himself meet his eyes. As they let go of each other, Stiles is suddenly far too aware of how sweaty his hand is.

“I’m sorry,” he says, wiping it down on his pants.

Derek gives a little shake of his head. “I already wiped mine down before you came in here. I get it.” He gives Stiles a conspiratorial little look. Stiles blushes and looks over at his dad. Derek straightens up. “Sheriff, it’s a pleasure,” he says, shaking his hand.

“I don’t know you,” John says. “That’s a good sign. I know all of Stiles’ friends far too well. Occupational hazard.”

“I’ll leave you guys to it,” Chris says. “You can have the room for as long as you like, take your time.”

“Thanks, Chris,” John says.

As Chris closes the door behind himself, John gestures for them all to sit. Stiles immediately starts chewing on his thumb and then forces himself to stop. It’s so juvenile. This is supposed to be about making babies, not being one. The thought makes his stomach flip over.

“Thank you for agreeing to see us today,” John says. “I appreciate this isn’t how things are usually done.”

Derek shrugs. “People meet mates in plenty of ways. I really wasn’t planning on using Omega Services for that anyway.”

Stiles ticks another mental box in his head. Thinks Omega Services is bullshit. He tells himself not to get his hopes up. Stiles is still asking way more than an Omega has any right to.

“It’s Stiles, right?”

Stiles looks up at him, blinking. “Uh, yeah.”

Derek smiles at him softly. “Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself.”

Stiles stares at him dumbly. He’s addressing Stiles, not his dad, his guardian, the one who should have all the decision-making powers here. He’s going straight to Stiles, recognising him as his own entity. He’s interested in him. The fact that this is so extraordinary to Stiles highlights just how marginalised he usually is. And even though he’s being given this opportunity, he looks up at his dad, imploring him for help. John just gives him a pointed look, nodding at Derek.

“Right, okay,” Stiles agrees. He’s been waiting his whole life for this opportunity but suddenly, in this room, he doesn’t feel in the least bit confident about his abilities. “I’m eighteen. I’m still in high school. I don’t know if you know that. And I want to graduate. I worked really hard and I just… I can’t not graduate.”

“Of course you have to graduate,” Derek says, looking slightly bemused. “I’m really impressed with what you’re doing. That can’t have been easy.”

“It’s really not,” Stiles agrees, feeling a tightness in his chest. He is absolutely not going to start crying.

“So you would be wanting to get mated after graduation?” Derek asks.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees. He gets a sinking feeling at the finality of that thought. But he gets to graduate. Derek would let him graduate. He can’t ask for more than that. He hangs his head down, the heaviness settling in.

“What’s wrong?” Derek asks.

Stiles shakes his head, trying to hold it up again. “Nothing.” He looks over at his dad. He’s negotiated what he needed to, he’s ready to settle into the inevitability and let someone else take the reins.

“This isn’t about me,” John says, reaching out to put a hand on his shoulder. It grounds Stiles, makes him a tiny bit braver. Just a tiny bit. “The only way you’re going to figure any of this out, kiddo, is by saying it out loud. If your ideals don’t fit with Derek’s, isn’t it better to find that out today?”

Stiles nods. “Yeah.”

“Okay, then,” John says decisively, giving his shoulder a squeeze before letting go.

“I was supposed to come home two years ago,” Derek says. Stiles looks over at him. “Hales have responsibilities in this town. My mom was hoping I’d get mated straight out of college, she’s desperate for grandbabies, but it would have been fine for me to join Omega Services instead like Laura did. Joining Uncle Peter at the clinic wouldn’t have been her favourite thing, but it would have kept in line with the family reputation. We’re Alphas, but we’re not elitist, not like the Argents were. We help Omegas. That’s my duty, that’s what I was raised to do. But I graduated and I really didn’t want to do any of those things. So I went to South America for the summer on a backpacking trip and I just… never stopped.” He levels his gaze at Stiles. “I know what it’s like to not be ready. To have doubts you need to work through before you can commit to something.”

Stiles chews on his lip, his jaw tensed. “I’m not ready,” he grits out. “Not…” He stops, shaking his head. “Time works differently for me. I could never have a summer that turned into two years. My life is split up month by month like someone presses the reset button on me constantly, so it doesn’t matter if I’m ready or if this is what I want. This is what I get.”

He wraps his arms around himself, feeling the tears stinging at his eyes. He couldn’t come across as more of a mess if he tried. He’s fucking up probably the best chance he’s going to get.

“I’m sorry,” he says, getting to his feet, his heart pounding in his chest. “This isn’t… I’m sorry I wasted your time. I’m not a good Omega. I wouldn’t make a good mate.”

“Stiles, sit down,” Derek says, his voice kind but firm. “Please.”

Stiles looks down at his dad.

“We can leave if you want,” John says. “But I thought you told me you were going to stop fighting yourself, and you’re clawing tooth and nail right now.”

Stiles slumps down onto the couch, humiliation sticking to his skin.

“You can lay it all out and we can walk away at the end of it and you can still make any decision you want,” John assures him. “But you’re going to have to have the conversation first before you can do that.”

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees awkwardly. He looks over at Derek. “Are you sure you don’t want to leave? This is pretty much the least hormonal I get right now, so feel free to bow out, it only gets worse when I get closer to my heat.”

Derek gives him a little smile, one that looks kind of charmed. “I’m going to stay.”

Stiles hugs himself, sinking further into the seat.

“I know how difficult it is, being ruled by your heats,” Derek says. “Well, I don’t know, but I have a sister who’s an Omega and she uses some very colourful language to describe it to me.”

Stiles smiles despite himself. “I went to school with her.”

“But imagine you did have the ability to turn a summer into two years without anyone pressing the reset button,” Derek says. “What would you do with all that time?”

“I’d go to college,” Stiles says. “That’s all I really want. I’d give up almost everything else. I really want to go to college though.”

“Why can’t you?” Derek asks.

Stiles gives him an incredulous look, gesturing to himself. “Omega. Biological clock. Heats that make me feel like they’re bringing me closer to death every month.”

“Sure,” Derek agrees. “But you can do both.”

Stiles stares at him. That’s a phrase that literally does not compute for an Omega. He can do one thing. Society has taught him that lesson over and over again. He can make babies.

Derek shifts in his seat. “I’m independently wealthy,” he says somewhat sheepishly. Stiles frowns at him, wondering what that has to do with anything. “I have a trust fund that matured when I graduated from college. That money is legally mine, nobody can touch it or take it away from me. Believe me, my mom would have cut my funds when I was in South America if she could.”

“Congratulations?” Stiles says uncertainly, exchanging a look with his dad.

“I don’t need to work,” Derek says plainly. “I would be at home with you and the kids. I would be doing all of that alongside you. And when they get a little older, you can go to college, I’ll stay home and take care of them. You can do both.”

Stiles stares down at his hands in his lap, twisting them together. His thoughts are racing, he can’t grab hold of them, can’t fully comprehend what Derek is saying to him. When he imagined his life after being mated, he saw a baby in his arms, a house he had to look after, all the chores. He never saw a partner, he realises now. A mate didn’t factor into his imagined future because he always assumed he’d do those things on his own. That’s what Omegas did. The thought of doing that together is so wonderfully overwhelming that it refuses to stick.

“I love to travel,” Derek says. “Explore new places. I could never give that up. When the kids are little, we’d have to stay put for a few years. But they’d get old enough for us to take them on adventures and then we could go as a family. We can still have the things we want, if we make a few adjustments and we’re willing to be patient. We’re not giving up on anything. We’re just putting it on hold for a little while. We still get the time, we just have to wait a little longer for it.”

Stiles nods. It makes such wonderful, amazing sense. “I can’t cook,” he blurts out. “At all. I’m not a good Omega.”

Derek smiles. “I’ve kept myself alive for the last six years. I’m sure we could figure it out.”

Stiles smiles back, tentatively, hopefully, and then he latches onto that word that Derek keeps using. We. He’s talking about it as though this is a done deal, planning out their futures together. He’s decided that he wants Stiles. The thought of being claimed has always made Stiles feel sick, but the acceptance he gets from Derek fulfils some part of him that goes deeper than his Omega. He likes this guy, on a human level. He likes the way he looks and he likes the way he speaks and he could imagine spending time with him. It’s a hell of a jump from that to the rest of his life though.

“So, you, uh, you think I would be a good mate?” Stiles asks. “Even though I’m a terrible Omega and I’ve proven how insanely neurotic I am?” He turns to John. “Dad, tell him how neurotic I am.”

John gives him an amused, long suffering smile. “I prefer the word anxious,” he responds. “But he’s strong-willed, which means you’re going to butt heads with him more than a couple of times, but I really admire that about him.”

He says the words whilst not looking away from Stiles, his eyes so earnest and full of love and respect, and it makes Stiles start to tear up.

“I could never be mated to a meek Omega who didn’t know their own mind,” Derek says. Stiles looks over at him, blinking away the tears. “I’d rather end up with anyone than an Omega who was just willing to roll over. I hate that stereotype and I couldn’t stomach perpetuating it. And classification doesn’t matter to me, but I would like to be with an Omega. I guess it’s my upbringing, it’s how I always saw myself. But I like you because you’re strong and you’re following your own path. Like my sister. I respect that. I would never hold you back.”

Stiles never thought that somebody would be glad for his worst qualities as an Omega. He’s always felt wrong, because society made him feel that way for not buckling, and it’s worn down his sense of self. But Derek understands him and he still wants him. Stiles tries to let that truly sink in. He tries to accept it.

“Obviously we should spend a bit more time together before we decide if this is right for us,” Derek says.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees, though his mind is worryingly made up over someone he has literally just met. If he has to do this, if he has to placate his Omega and get mated and bred, he can’t imagine finding someone better suited than Derek. Ideals don’t always fit well into day to day life though and they’re no substitute for chemistry. He looks up at Derek, chewing on his lip.

“What it is?” Derek encourages, clearly sensing his apprehension.

“I’ve been doing a lot of research on mating,” Stile says. “Traditional and modern. And sometimes when picking mates, people like to, uh, to see if they’re compatible, they might spend…” He tapers off, his hands still vaguely gesticulating.

Derek raises an eyebrow at him. “Spend a heat together?”

“Right,” Stiles says, feeling his cheeks flush. “That.” He looks at his dad. “I mean, if…”

“It’s your body,” John says easily. “You make the rules. Whatever you’re comfortable with, I support you.”

“I know what people say about Omegas who spend their heats anywhere but the clinic when they’re not mated,” Stiles says, the shame clinging to him.

He hears comments people think he doesn’t when he’s at school. He wishes he could explain to them how little they understand about what a heat is. What he does with Alphas at the clinic has no relation to the sex his peers have in the back of their cars. It’s a treatment. It’s about breeding, the pleasure is just a reward for being a good Omega, not the no strings gratification that everyone else his age is indulging in. Stiles has never been interested in that. They’ll all still think he’s a slut for spending his heat with Derek though.

“I’m not traditional,” Derek says. “My mom is, so fair warning, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. This has nothing to do with anyone but us. And I’d like the opportunity to take care of you.”

That speaks to Stiles’ Omega and makes it feel all snuggly and warm. He shifts forward in his seat, his eyes going soft, wanting to submit. It’s such a vulnerable feeling that he wouldn’t usually let come to the surface, not unless he was in heat and too exhausted to fight it, but he feels safe with Derek. He’s not just here for an Omega, he still wants Stiles to be Stiles, and that makes Stiles give the Omega a little more power than he usually would.

“Why don’t I give you my number,” Derek suggests. “You can let me know when your heat’s starting if you still want to spend it together. Or you can just text me. Or call. Whenever.”

“Okay,” Stiles says, reaching into his pocket and taking out his phone, handing it over. He watches as Derek’s fingers play over the screen, his Omega yearning quietly within him.

“There you go,” Derek says, snapping him out of it as he hands his phone back.

“Thanks,” Stiles says, clearing his throat and turning his phone over in his hand, tapping his fingers nervously against it.

“I’ll give you guys some space then,” Derek says. “Let you discuss your options.” He gets to his feet, looking down at Stiles. “I hope I hear from you.”

Stiles nods his head, still absently playing with his phone.

John stands, holding out his hand. “It was very nice to meet you, Derek,” he says, giving him a warm handshake. “I’m glad that Chris and Peter could put us in touch.”

“Me too,” Derek agrees. He looks at Stiles again, giving him a smile and a nod before he heads towards the door.

As it clicks back to place behind him, Stiles lifts his feet up, curling up on his side and hugging his phone to his chest as his dad sits back down beside him. Stiles rests his head against the back of the couch with a mournful little noise.

“You doing okay there, kiddo?” John asks.

Stiles nods, meeting his eyes. His Omega is too close to the surface. “I like him. I really like him.”

“I really like him too,” John agrees. “I think he’d be a good fit for you.”

“Do you think it was slutty that I asked him to spend my heat with me?” Stiles asks.

“Of course not,” John says, frowning.

“Do you think he thought I was slutty for asking him that?”

“I really don’t,” John tells him.

“I just want to be sure,” Stiles says. “Because that’s when I’m at my most needy and vulnerable and I need to know he can handle that. And sometimes, I work with Alphas here and it’s fine, they get me through the day, but it doesn’t click. I need it to click. If it’s going to be the rest of my life then it has to click.”

“Absolutely,” John agrees. “I think that’s smart.”

Stiles looks at him. “Did it always click with you and mom?”

“It did for me,” John says.

“But Omegas are hard work, right?” Stiles asks, letting his gaze fall away.

“Everyone’s hard work, Stiles,” John says. “Relationships are hard work. Raising a family is hard work. But it’s worth it. And you’re going to be so good at it, whether it’s with Derek or somebody else.”

Stiles smiles, his eyes still cast downward. “We’d make really pretty babies.”

John reaches out, putting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing it affectionately. “I don’t doubt that.”

They stay there a while longer, Stiles closing his eyes in the comfortable silence and trying to regain his sense of self. He never feels his Omega this strongly unless he’s in heat. Is this how he’ll be if he’s mated? Does it give the Omega power? It doesn’t feel bad though, beyond the sense of cautious unease at how far his control will slip. His Omega is happy, like a warm glow rather than the acidic burn it is during his heats. He still feels better when that floaty feeling recedes though, his vision in sharp focus when he opens his eyes.

“I have homework to finish,” he says.

John smiles at him. “Let’s get out of here then.”

As they walk through the lobby towards the exit, Stiles sees Derek stood at the front desk, chatting with Peter. He gets a little thrill at the thought that they might be talking about him. Derek looks up and sees him, giving him the warmest smile.

“Goodbye, Stiles.”

Stiles feels himself go soft again, lifting a hand to give him a wave. “Bye, Derek.” It comes out pathetically coquettish. As soon as they’re outside his clenches his hands into fists, throwing his head back with an anguished noise. “Oh my god, that was so embarrassing.”

“What was?” John asks.

Bye, Derek,” Stiles mocks exaggeratedly. “My Omega is a middle school girl.”

John laughs, unlocking the car. “If it’s any consolation, he was looking at you in the same way.”

“Really?” Stiles asks, his eyes lighting up as his heart gives a flutter. John looks amused and Stiles scowls at him, opening up the car door and climbing inside. “I hate my fucking Omega.”

Chapter Text

When Stiles arrives at school the next day, he sees his friends all waiting at a table outside, as though they just happen to be sat there. Scott waves him over and Stiles can’t help but wonder if they’ve been gossiping about him, discussing how his meeting with his potential mate was. They look kind rather than eager though and he figures they just want to be there to support him if he needs it. They always have his back.

“So?” Scott says as Stiles slides into the seat beside him, the word drawn out and questioning.

“Hmm?” Stiles responds, looking up at him.

Scott hesitates for a moment. “I thought you might text me last me night.”

“I was doing homework,” Stiles says. “And stuff.”

Stuff mostly consisting of laying on his bed and staring at the ceiling, imagining what being mated to Derek might be like. He tried to be practical about it, but everything was kind of soft around the edges, his Omega humming happily inside him, soothing like a purring cat.

“Playing dumb doesn’t suit you, Stilinski,” Lydia says.

“I don’t really know what to tell you guys,” Stiles admits. “I met Derek. It was… weird because that’s a weird situation. I’ve never been introduced to someone before and then had to immediately decide whether I want them to knock me up.”

“You don’t have to decide that,” Allison dismisses. “Just decide if you like him.”

“I like him,” Stiles says. “He said he’ll help with the kids so I wouldn’t have to be a stay-at-home Omega. And he said I can go to college.” He barely dares to say it out loud. He still can’t quite believe it.

Allison smiles. “I thought he sounded like a good match to you.”

“That’s great,” Scott agrees more cautiously. “If this is what you want to do, you need someone who’s going to respect you and see your potential.”

Stiles shrugs. “He doesn’t even know me. But he’s open to the possibility. And want is… not really the right word. But maybe it isn’t as scary as I thought it was. Maybe it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.”

He twists his mouth, doubting the words even as he says them. Stiles made so many promises to himself, but his Omega instincts have taken over. What’s to say that Derek’s Alpha instincts won’t do the same thing once Stiles is pregnant and he’ll be left literally holding the baby.

“I’m with you,” Scott says, putting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing. “Whatever you decide.”

The bell rings and Stiles is grateful for the distraction. He feels the determination gearing up inside him. His Omega doesn’t have any place here, none of its concerns matter. He has a goal to focus on. When he has something immediate to put his energy into, it always makes it so much easier.

As he walks towards the building, Lydia falls into step beside him, linking their arms together. Stiles looks at her sideways. She’s been suspiciously quiet.

“Did his yearbook photo do him justice?” she asks.

Stiles can’t help the smile that lifts the corners of his mouth, something warm spreading within him. “He’s so much hotter than his yearbook picture.”

“Oh yeah?” Lydia asks.

“He glowed up,” Stiles says.

Lydia gets that predatory look on her face. It’s proud and hungry at once. “Photo?”

“I don’t have a photo,” Stiles says. “Like I’m just going to stick my camera in his face the first time we meet?”

“Send him a photo of you and maybe he’ll return the favour,” Lydia suggests.

“Why would I send him a photo?” Stiles asks. “He knows what I look like.”

“So send him a photo of something he hasn’t seen,” Lydia says, giving him a suggestive look.

“Gross,” Stiles says, screwing his nose up.

Lydia gives a soft laugh. “You have so much to learn.”

Stiles snorts. “You’re going to teach me the ways of casual sex?”

“I don’t think it counts as casual if he’s your mate,” Lydia says.

That opens up a whole new can of worms in Stiles’ guts. Sex isn’t about breeding for most people. Only Omegas are fixated on that. Everyone else Stiles knows does it for fun. Derek probably does it for fun. He’s going to expect Stiles to do that too. If they get mated, he’s going to want Stiles outside of his heat.

Alphas have rights to their Omegas bodies. This flesh and bones has never truly belonged to Stiles for a moment in his life and legally it never will. But Derek isn’t that kind of Alpha. At least Stiles doesn’t think he is. Alphas have more control over themselves than Omegas do, but there’s no guarantee that instinct won’t take over. He’s going to breed Stiles and then Stiles might not look the same to him ever again. He might not think college is such a good idea for him anymore.

He tries to recall all the things Derek said about their future, about getting what they want if they’re patient, about not wanting a meek Omega and how impressed he was that Stiles had stuck with high school. The doubts keep circling back though, and he wants to ask Allison again about all of the things she knows about Derek, but he feels too vulnerable and he’s sick of the needy Omega stereotype. He wants to be so much more than his nature.

The doubts follow him for the rest of the day, and he’s good at pushing these things aside but they always come back with a vengeance. He knows that better than anyone. He lies in bed that night, tossing and turning and getting increasingly frustrated with himself and his Omega and the whole fucking world. But Derek isn’t like that. Derek believes that he can be anything he puts his mind to. At least that’s what he says. Stiles doesn’t take people at their word. Actions speak louder than words.

He reaches for his phone on the nightstand, blinding himself with the light from the screen as he unlocks it. He scrolls through his contacts to Derek’s name. Stiles feels uneasy, remembering why Derek put his number there. So that he can be notified when Stiles goes into heat. But he also said that Stiles could text him. Whenever. Stiles hopes that sentiment was sincere as he taps out a message.

- Did you really go to an Omega Rights march?
- This is Stiles by the way.

He looks at the little clock at the corner of his screen. It’s late. Too late to be texting someone he barely knows. Derek will think he’s some kind of inconsiderate insomniac. His first impression was already a mess and now he’s making a terrible second one. He did warn Derek he was neurotic though and he still gave Stiles his number. Stiles sets the phone aside, not expecting a reply, but a few moments later, the screen lights up.

- Hi Stiles. I’ve been to a few Omega Rights marches since I went away to college. It’s something I’m very passionate about.

Stiles frowns at his phone. He knows not all Alphas are assholes, his friends have always supported him. They’re just rejecting the system as something that has no place in their lives though, rather than seeing Omega Rights as a cause worth fighting for. He doubts any of them feel that strongly about it in the great scheme of things. Not enough to go on a march.

- Why?

He stares at the screen, the brightness hurting his tired eyes. Derek doesn’t respond right away. Stiles doesn’t blame him, he’s not initiated a very stimulating conversation. He sounds like a clueless little kid. Or someone too dumb to bother with. It makes Stiles feel defenceless because he is helpless as a kid sometimes. Too often. With his mate he needs to feel safe, and so he waits.

- There’s a lot to unpack there.

Stiles chews on his lip. This matters to him. This is a hill he’s decided he’s willing to die on, at 2am alone in his bed on a school night. This is what he needs from his mate.

- Try for me?

- Okay.

The simplicity of the word soothes something inside Stiles. He waits, trying to be still and patient as Derek formulates a response, pulling his ideas together into something coherent. Stiles would be happy with messy sincerity. It might be the only thing he really believes in.

Derek’s response comes through and Stiles stares at the wall of text, feeling it slam him in the chest before he even reads it. It feels like a gift that Derek is giving him, a piece of himself.

- I don’t think it’s fair that people get different opportunities in life because of a biological assignment they have no control over. The privilege and the inequality just doesn’t sit right with me. I know that might sound ironic coming from a guy who was born a rich Alpha, but my sister’s not worth less than me just because she’s an Omega. I don’t stand for anyone treating her that way.

Stiles feels his eyes filling with tears. It’s everything he wants to believe about himself but society has never let him. But that’s Derek’s sister. That’s blood. Blood is everything.

- And me?

Stiles hesitates, finger hovering over the button. The words are too needy. This is the time when they figure out whether they’re right for each other though. This is when they need to be brutally honest, no matter how exposed it makes them feel. He presses send.

- You and I are equals. Anyone who treats us differently is in for trouble.
- I’m glad your dad lets you make your own choices. I’ll always respect your decisions and autonomy, just like he does.

A tear falls down Stiles’ cheek as he gives a little sniffle. He feels so lucky and loved and most of all validated. He never thought he’d get that.

- You really are overwhelmingly, unbelievably amazing.

- I’m not. The bar is just set pathetically low.

Stiles lets out a laugh as he wipes the tears from his face, holding his phone a little tighter.

They text back and forth over the next couple of weeks, sharing little parts of their days that sometimes turn into big conversations. It feels so intimate for someone he’s only actually met once. They haven’t even heard each other’s voices since then.

Stiles feels like they’re getting closer with each message, but maybe it’s just his heat getting nearer. Derek isn’t physically here though, his scent and his pheromones can’t affect Stiles’ Omega. Stiles still feels that pull, the bonding he knows happens between mates. Maybe his dad was right, his Omega is as mental as it is physical.

He wakes one morning with the restlessness more pronounced than usual, teetering on the edge of an irresistible urge. By the afternoon, sweating in his English class and getting pointed glances from Alphas, he’s sure. As soon as he gets out of school and is safely sealed up in his jeep that feels more like a security blanket when he’s like this, he takes out his phone and texts Derek.

- My heat’s going to start tomorrow.

- Do you need anything? Were you still thinking of spending it together?

Stiles chews on his thumb, uncertainty shooting through his veins like adrenaline.

- Do you still want to?

- I told you I would love the opportunity to take care of you.

Stiles smiles, sinking down in his seat, everything else melting away.

- Yes. I want to.

When he gets home, he decides to make a start on his homework seeing as he’s going to be useless for the next few days. Every time he feels like he’s clawed it back, another heat comes around and rips everything he’s worked so hard for away. He’s eternally grateful for smart friends with good notes.

He sits down with his math homework, trying to make the equations make sense, but his mind keeps drifting. He flicks on the oscillating fan, the cool air washing over his damp skin making him shiver. It’s a too good feeling. He needs to concentrate. He takes a breath, refocusing on his text book, numbers and symbols that look more like gibberish than usual. It’s not just the physical symptoms and the typical clouding of his thoughts that’s distracting him though. If anything, his thoughts are a little too in focus.

He wonders what Derek’s beard would feel like against his skin. He wonders if he’s as strong and firm as he looks. He wonders if he has a nice cock.

He crinkles his face, disgusted with himself. It’s his Omega though, that’s all it cares about. These thoughts have never arisen before though when he’s met a new Alpha at the clinic, not even the first time he went there. He had much more base instincts than caring about any kind of aesthetic, he just needed taking care of. This is strangely emotional, as distasteful as the line of thought might be to him. But then Derek isn’t some service Alpha. In theory, he’s Stiles’.

He’s grateful when he hears his dad’s car pulling into the driveway. He can’t deal with this thought process right now. There’re so many things that are overwhelming about it.

He gets to his feet, clinging to the banister as he makes his way down the stairs. He gives up halfway, sitting down as his dad opens the front door. He looks up at Stiles, considering him.

“You okay there, kiddo?”

“Mmm,” Stiles says. “My heat’s starting.”

John nods, moving to the bottom of the stairs. “Have you made a decision about what you want to do this time around?”

Stiles looks down at his hands, twisting them together. “I already text Derek. He still wants to do that. And I still want to do that.”

“Okay,” John says levelly.

Stiles looks up at him through his eyelashes, feeling more like a little kid than he has in a long time. This is a grown-up decision though, isn’t it?

“I’d like to be around though,” John says. “Just in case. Derek seems like a good guy and if you trust him then I trust him, but he’s not a professional Alpha. With his upbringing, he probably knows more than most, but I want to be sure that you’re safe and comfortable and I want to be here if you need me.”

Stiles smiles, his eyes filling up. Hormones, he tells himself. “Thanks.”

“I’ll stay out of your way,” John assures him. “I just know how important quality treatment is and this isn’t going to be like the clinic.”

Stiles drops his gaze, picking at a cuticle. “I know.”

“I think you’ll be fine,” John says. “I’m just a contingency plan that you hopefully won’t need.”

“But it’s always smart to have one,” Stiles says, looking up at him.

“Right,” John says, so much affection in his eyes. “Okay, what do you want for dinner?”

“Anything,” Stiles says eagerly, suddenly aware of his hunger. His body was preoccupied with different survival needs. He hates his stupid Omega and the fact that it makes him so reliant on others. Self-sufficiency feels like a distant dream, even on his good days when he feels like he has full control of this body he has to share with a hormonal monster. He shakes off the feeling, getting to his feet and making it down the rest of the stairs. “I might come graze while you cook actually.”

John gives him a look equal parts fondness and exasperation. “Your metabolism’s going to catch up with you one day.”

“Guess I better make the most of this body before it’s ravaged by aging and pushing out babies,” Stiles responds, only half-joking as he makes his way to the kitchen, his mouth already starting to water.

He never ends up getting back to his homework. After dinner he sits with his dad watching TV, feeling the familiar prickly sensation rising up on his skin. It’s too warm in here. It’s uncomfortable. He can feel his Omega trying to overpower him. He never wants to give in. It feels like such a huge loss every time. It feels like teetering on the edge of a cliff and knowing there’s nothing you can do to stop yourself from falling, and the worst part is that the thrill once you tip over the edge is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

He shifts in his seat, tightening his whole body against the want, but he can’t stop the whine that escapes his throat. It’s so humiliating, even if his dad has seen him in worse states than this. The neediness makes him feel pathetic. It makes him feel less than. Stiles remembers what Derek said about equality. He respects the autonomy of Omegas. The thought makes Stiles want to melt into the couch, but instead he sits up straighter.

“I think I might have an early night.”

“Good idea,” John agrees. “Let me know if you need anything.”

“Thanks,” Stiles says. He feels so safe with his dad. He hopes he feels that way with Derek. Something not entirely unpleasant rolls over in his stomach. Stiles can’t handle analysing it right now so he gets to his feet, starting what always feels like a long trek up the stairs, dragging his body towards what it wants.

His math book is still open on the desk, a reminder of who he maybe still was when he left this room, or who he was trying desperately to be. It’s not who he is right now. Higher functions have gone. He closes the book, accepting that it’s not going to happen for a few days, or acknowledging it at least. He shrugs off his plaid shirt, the will to care already slipping away, his eyes fixed on the box under his bed. His Omega Aids.

He strips off the rest of his clothes with little care, grabbing his favourite dildo and climbing onto his bed with it. He’s not totally wet yet but it only takes a little bit of playing his fingers over his hole before they’re slipping inside. It makes him shiver, gives him that thrill. A reward for being a good Omega and doing what he’s built for.

He pulls his hand away, pushing the dildo inside him instead, letting it fill him up so satisfyingly. It immediately evokes an image of Derek behind his closed eyelids, Derek above him, Derek inside him, Derek breeding him good. His eyes fly open and he stills his hand, even as his hips ride up, seeking more, wanting to be fucked. He has no control over this traitorous body. His mind is gone too.

He’s never thought of someone else while he’s taken care of himself before. He doesn’t have those fantasies like he knows Alphas and Betas have. He remembers when they hit puberty and Scott told him a story about porn and a wet dream and Stiles just couldn’t relate. He still can’t. He’s not wired that way. Everyone at school might think he’s a slut during his heats, but Stiles doesn’t really think of himself as sexual at all. Being bred is the least erotic thing he can imagine.

But here is Derek in his head. Derek with his kind eyes and his beard that Stiles’ fingertips twitch at the thought of touching. Stiles has thought about generic Alpha cock while he used his dildos, has imagined the heat, the fullness, the knot that no Omega Aid has ever managed to simulate in a way that felt right. He’s thinking about every part of Derek though. Every part.

Stiles whines, pained by his own visuals. Does that mean his Omega owns his brain now too? Does it mean he has to give up everything? His hips keep rocking onto the dildo and he grips it tighter in his hand, grounding himself to it, pushing it further inside until the flared base presses against his hole. It’s such a satisfying feeling, his insides clenching rhythmically around it, an intrinsic thank you to his Alpha for giving him what he needs.

He doesn’t let himself think, just slides the dildo out and slams it back in, setting up a rhythm that takes his breath away, sets his body alight, makes him come over his stomach before he’s kneeling up, riding the dildo, giving in to his nature.

He sleeps pretty well that night under a light blanket, his fan running for comforting white noise as much as for cooling. It quiets everything else in his head down. He’s still covered in sweat when he wakes in the morning though. Sweat and slick and desperation. He lets out a mournful little sob, the blanket feeling like knives against him as he moves, reaching for his dildo.

He fucks himself, bent over on his knees, presenting himself for breeding. He’s not quite awake enough to feel humiliated by it, but it’s lingering there at the back of his mind. You’re an animal. You’re pathetic.

He dozes afterwards, head swimming so wonderfully, until his phone vibrates beside him, making his head ache. He groans, reaching for it. Derek’s name on his screen makes him feel so much better. He melts into the bed, opening the message.

-How are you feeling? Let me know if you need anything.

Stiles chews on his lip, arching his back so that his ass sticks out, as though he can entice Derek despite the distance between them. Derek is thinking of him right now though. Thinking about him having his heat. Thinking about him in his bed, so slick and ready to be bred. The thought makes him pleased rather than disgusted like it usually would. He wants his Alpha.

-Can you come over?

The response is almost instantaneous.

-Of course. Text me your address, I’ll grab some things and be there as soon as I can.

Stiles gets that thrill, the one that would feel dangerous at any other time, but right now his Omega gets what it wants. It was his choice to get mated, as much as biology let him have a say in it, and he knows that he likes Derek. It’s time to see if his Omega feels the same way. It’s like it’s already thrumming under his skin.

He drags himself from the bed, taking a shower. He’s going to be slick again by the time Derek gets here, but he can at least wash away the sweat and the come. It’s only polite. Derek’s going to see him in all kind of states over the next couple of days though. He tries not to think about that.

He sets the shower to cool but he still feels like he’s burning up. The thought of rubbing a towel over his sensitive skin is too much so he just sits on the bathmat, drip drying and already making a mess with his slick. He tells himself that it’s natural. Derek will think that it’s natural too. Derek knows how Omegas work. Stiles just hopes the reality of it isn’t too much for him.

His skin is still damp when he pulls on clean pyjamas, soft and comforting. He goes downstairs, slow and steady, gripping the handrail. He’d usually be at the clinic by now. He’d usually be knotted. His Omega yearns harder at the thought, whimpering inside him, making his legs want to give way. He thinks about his box of Omega Aids, which one might get the closest to satisfying him right now, but Derek is on his way. It would be rude to not wait for him. Derek wants to take care of him. Stiles wants to let him.

“Hey, kiddo,” his dad says as he comes into the living room.

“Hey,” Stiles responds, his voice sounding rough.

“How’s it going?” John asks.

Stiles shrugs. “Derek’s on his way.”

He slumps down onto the couch. John reaches over, brushing a hand through Stiles’ still damp hair. It’s both excruciating and feels amazing.

“Don’t put too much pressure on this,” John tells him.

“Right,” Stiles says. “It’s only the rest of my life.”

John tilts his head, giving him a meaningful look. “It doesn’t have to be.”

Stiles sighs, eyes falling down. “But then what?”

John places a firm hand on his shoulder. “We’ll worry about that if we have to. Right now, you just concentrate on your heat and taking care of yourself, okay?”

Stiles nods, closing his eyes. “Okay,” he says in a voice that’s almost not there.

His dad lifts his hand away but Stiles can tell he doesn’t leave him. Stiles keeps his eyes closed, trying to ignore the ache that steadily grows in his body, his want going sour the longer it’s unanswered. He should be at the clinic. He feels like he finally understands why society wants him out of the way when he’s like this. He’s not fit to be in the world. He needs someone to take care of him. He needs treatment.

But Derek is coming, Stiles reminds himself. Derek wants to look after him. He’s going to help. He’s going to make this awful feeling go away. He lets out a whine, pressing his thighs together as the feeling grows. His slick is dripping from him. He can’t be empty much longer. He wants to go upstairs and grab a dildo, but that feels disrespectful. Derek is on his way. Stiles should wait for his Alpha.

When the knock at the door finally comes, Stiles feels like it’s crashing against his skull. His body tenses, eyes squeezed more tightly shut.

“Can you…?” he asks his dad.

“Sure,” John says, the couch cushions shifting as he gets to his feet.

Stiles listens as the door opens, as pleasantries are exchanged. His Omega is already sniffing the air, trying to catch Derek’s scent. Alpha.

“I brought some groceries,” Derek says.

“You didn’t have to do that,” John tells him. “I was planning on feeding you.”

“I know,” Derek says. “But I want to provide for Stiles during his heat, make sure he gets everything he needs.”

“I appreciate that,” John says.

The front door closes and Stiles can hear their footsteps coming into the living room. He opens his eyes, looking up at Derek. It’s too bright in here. The clinic was always such a perfectly controlled environment.

“Hey,” Derek says softly, such affection on his face.

“Hey,” Stiles returns, wanting to uncurl himself, wanting to feel himself wrapped up in Derek’s arms instead of his own.

“I’ll put these away,” John says, taking the grocery bag from Derek and heading through to the kitchen.

Derek joins Stiles on the couch, a sport’s bag slung over his shoulder. “How are you feeling?”

Stiles knows that he’s a sweaty, bleary-eyed mess. So unattractive. There was almost no point taking that shower. He licks his lips. “I waited for you. I didn’t do anything after you text.”

A look of regret passes over Derek’s face. “You didn’t have to do that. You should take care of yourself.”

Stiles looks down. He’s off to a bad start already. He’s disappointed his Alpha.

“Hey,” Derek says, getting his attention. “Do you want to go take care of yourself now? I’m not going to be offended, this is all about you.”

Stiles feels his entire body flush with something like pride. “I just want you.”

Derek nods. “Okay then.” He gets to his feet, offering out his hand. “Do you want to show me your room?”

Stiles takes his hand, knowing his own is sweaty and gross, but Derek doesn’t flinch away. He gives Stiles a soft smile instead, pulling him to his feet. Stiles lets their hands slip away once he’s steady enough on his feet, unable to shake his embarrassment. He takes the stairs slowly, wary of his footing, but Derek is right there with a reassuring hand at the small of his back. He’s sweating there too, his shirt damp, but as Derek’s heat seeps into him he starts to care less and less.

It feels strange, taking Derek into his room. Heats have always been such a clinical thing, something removed from himself by going through them in sterile conditions. This is his home. He can’t escape himself in here. It makes him feel vulnerable. If he’s going to spend his life with someone though, he’ll have to include every part of himself, even his Omega. Heats are a part of who he is, whether he likes it or not. He can’t live them in the clinic forever and pretend they don’t belong to him, not if he ever wants to get what he wants in life. Derek is willing to give him those things. Stiles is going to have to meet him halfway. He’s going to have to trust him.

“My Omega Aids are under the bed,” he tells Derek, gesturing to it with his foot. “In case I get too much or whatever.”

“You just let me know if you need any of them,” Derek says. He unzips the bag still hanging from his shoulder, pulling out a small box. “I’m not on the Alpha birth control, I’ve never had any reason to be, so I bought some knotting condoms.”

Stiles smiles, pulling open the drawer in his nightstand to reveal his own stash. “Great minds think alike.”

“Glad we’re on the same page,” Derek says.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees, sliding the drawer closed again.

He edges closer to Derek, his Omega whining inside him. Derek steps forward, more sure of himself, and Stiles breathes him in, his eyes closing in bliss. Alpha pheromones might be the greatest high there is. He’s been known to “borrow” hoodies from Scott, just to surround himself in it.

He feels Derek step up to him, their bodies grazing together, but he doesn’t open his eyes. Instead, he leans into him, clinging to his jacket, face buried in his neck. Derek’s arms wrap around him, holding him close as he nuzzles at the side of Stiles’ face. Stiles’ heart beats faster. His dick is already hard. He can feel the slick leaking down the inside of his thigh.

“Tell me what you like,” Derek whispers against him. “Tell me what will make you feel better.”

Stiles swallows, lifting his head up. His vision is too blurry to see Derek clearly, even this close. “Being knotted,” he says, his voice cracking with desperation.

“Okay,” Derek soothes, hands moving down Stiles’ back and slipping under his shirt. “I’m going to take care of you.”

“Please,” Stiles says.

Derek lifts the hem of Stiles’ shirt, Stiles raising his arms up to allow himself to be undressed. Derek’s eyes slide over him and Stiles is hit with the fact that he’s not just deciding if he wants Derek. Derek is deciding if he wants Stiles.

His own eyes fall down to his skinny frame. He doesn’t look like someone abundantly healthy and ripe for childbearing, someone who has good genes worth passing on. He doesn’t look like something any Alpha would be fighting over, and that’s before you come up against his refusal to be a good little Omega. He’s failing to see the positives in this union for Derek.

But Derek pulls him close again, breathing him in. “You smell so good.”

That’s just his heat, just his hormones, just his Omega’s way of tricking any nearby Alpha to breed him. It’s still nice to hear though. It still makes him feel the tiniest bit worthy.

Derek tilts his head closer and then he’s kissing Stiles, mouths pressed together, parting Stiles’ lips with his own. Stiles feels dizzy, a surprised noise caught in his throat. Of all the things he imagined, kissing wasn’t on the list. The treatment for his heats has always been utilitarian. It’s not sexual like everyone thinks. It’s definitely not romantic. But now Derek’s tongue is edging into his mouth and he feels his legs go weak.

Being mated isn’t just about ownership or breeding. Heats aren’t something to be treated when you commit to an Alpha. There’s intimacy and affection, in a perfect world at least. Not always, but it’s not wrong of him to expect that. It’s not wrong of him to want it.

When Derek moves back, Stiles sways towards him with a whine, but Derek is pushing his jacket back off his shoulders and that’s good too. As Stiles watches him pull his T-shirt off with hazy eyes, revealing a body that wouldn’t look out of place on a model, he lifts his hand up, touching his own lips, trying to process everything. He’s never kissed anyone before, has never wanted any physical contact that wasn’t purely platonic. Sexuality is something he’s never been able to explore because as soon as he hit puberty, he started having heats, and sex became the least desirable thing in the world.

Derek looks up, realisation coming over his face. “Shit. I’m sorry, Stiles.”

Stiles blinks at him. “What?”

“That’s not what you’re used to,” Derek says. “That’s not what you asked for.”

“No,” Stiles agrees. “But I liked it.” He tries not to let the admission drown him in shame.

Derek smiles; part relief, part affection. “Let’s get you feeling better first. Then we can talk about it.”

Stiles nods, his whole body flushing with need. He wants to sob in relief at the thought of finally being filled. It’s been hours. He can feel the ache inside him. He pushes down his pyjama pants, no shame now as he climbs onto the bed, ass up, head down, presenting himself for breeding. Derek understands him. Derek knows that decision making is beyond him right now. Derek is going to take care of him. Stiles is surprised at how easy it is to let him.

He can hear the sounds of Derek stripping off, ripping into the box of condoms, tearing the foil packet, and then he’s behind him on the bed, fitting himself between Stiles’ spread thighs as his hands rub down over his back. It’s a soft touch, like it’s supposed to be soothing, but it just sets Stiles’ skin on fire. He whines, pressing his ass more insistently upwards.

“Okay,” Derek whispers, and then his cock is pressing against Stiles’ hole.

Stiles is so slick that Derek slips in deep with hardly any effort. It’s like they’re a perfect fit, he fills Stiles up like he belongs inside him. But then doesn’t every Alpha’s cock feel like that when he’s in heat? Stiles doesn’t think about that, doesn’t want to think about that. He’s not at the clinic, he’s not being treated, he’s bonding with his potential mate. The thought makes him moan as Derek fucks into him with strong, solid thrusts, his hands on Stiles’ hips. His Omega is totally blissed out. Stiles isn’t far behind it.

“Do you want me to touch you?” Derek asks, his hips faltering by the tiniest fraction, but Stiles is so sensitive it’s enough to make him feel bereft. He doesn’t even understand the question. Derek is touching him. He’s inside him. “Do you want a handjob?” Derek asks.

Even that takes Stiles a moment to compute, and then the answer comes to him as a visual rather than a definition. Derek’s hand wrapped around his cock. Stiles remembers shaking his hand, the firm grip, imagines it around his dick. Stiles isn’t big, it would surround him. He’s never cared enough about his size to be embarrassed, but this is the first time he’s ever been potentially grateful for it.

“Yes,” Stiles gasps out. “Touch.”

Derek’s hand wraps around him, making his whole body give. He lets out a sob as his shoulders sag, angling his ass up higher in total surrender. It lets Derek slip in deeper, fucking him just right, just like he was designed for. He’s going to get bred. By his mate. His maybe mate. It doesn’t matter in that moment, he’s coming over Derek’s fingers and his own sheets, clenching Derek’s cock with his hole like he’s begging for Alpha come, the breeding that he deserves.

Derek moans, his hips pushing harder, like he was holding back before. The Alpha’s at the clinic don’t moan like that. They’re doing a job. Derek is enjoying him.

Stiles can feel him getting thicker inside him, his knot starting to form. Derek leans over, pressing their bodies together, inhaling Stiles’ scent from the back of his neck. He knows that Alphas are affected by his scent, that’s the whole reason his body throws these pheromones out into the world every heat, but no one’s ever revelled in it as shamelessly as this. It’s like Stiles’ Omega’s call has finally been answered.

The angle isn’t as good for Stiles like this, but Derek is still deep and he’s swelling within him. Stiles isn’t really here for the pleasure right now. He just wants that knot. He feels like he needs it more than air. He grits his teeth, making helpless noises, Derek’s hands stroking over his stomach and chest as his knot finally catches on Stiles’ hole, locking him inside.

His hands go down to brace himself on the bed as he comes, stopping himself from collapsing onto Stiles. His hips rock, knot solid and inescapable inside Stiles, stretching out his insides, and Stiles comes again, that whiteout pleasure of a knot, of being bred.

It doesn’t take long for his body to catch up with the reality of the situation though. Derek’s come isn’t sliding down deep inside him, coating his insides. It’s trapped inside the condom. He’s filled with a knot, but he’s still empty. He whines, long and high, wishing he could somehow tear into the condom, get his prize. He clenches around Derek, the knot pressing at his insides.

“Shhh,” Derek soothes, wrapping his arms around him as he nuzzles at this neck. “You’re used to simulated breeding, right?”

“I need it,” Stiles chokes out.

“I’m sorry,” Derek says. “But you feel so good.” He drags his nose along the side of Stiles’ neck. “You smell incredible.”

The words settle something inside Stiles. It shouldn’t be his Omega, that only cares about one thing, especially during his heats. But being desired makes him more likely to get bred, and even if it’s just pheromones, Stiles has never felt wanted like this before. The Alphas at the clinic, their bodies respond to him, but there’s always been a professional distance between them, it never felt like he was actually wanted. The Alphas at school, they’re already flooded with their own overactive hormones before they get a scent of Stiles starting his heat, and they all look at him like he’s prey. Or a slut. Or both.

This is different though. Derek chose him before he went into his heat. He wants to explore this with him. He maybe wants to mate him and breed him. He wants to take care of him. He wants.

Derek eases them onto their sides, bodies still locked together by his knot, and Stiles feel such a rush of affection for this man. He didn’t know it could feel like this, being wrapped up in somebody else’s arms. He didn’t know that it could be mutual.

He dozes as Derek holds him. Derek plays with his hair and strokes his skin just firmly enough that it doesn’t make him shiver and then he settles down and holds Stiles’ hand and Stiles doesn’t think he’s ever been so content in his entire life.

He only comes fully around again when Derek pulls out of him. He hates that empty feeling. It’s even worse when he knows there’s nothing sliding out of him but his own slick.

Derek shifts back, snapping off the condom before tying it off and disposing of it in the wastebasket by the bed. As he settles back down on the bed beside Stiles, Stiles rolls onto his back, looking up at him with hazy eyes.

“Hey,” Derek says softly.

“Hey,” Stiles returns, the corners of his mouth lifting up in a tired smile.

“How are you feeling?” Derek asks.

Stiles shrugs. “Hot. Needy. Sweaty.”

Derek nods. “What can I do?”

That question is too much for Stiles, too open-ended. He shakes his head. Heats make him dumb and he’s so humiliated, but his Omega is just happy an Alpha is close and that’s the part of him that’s shouting the loudest.

Derek purses his lips together, thinking for a moment, before he rests his chin on his hand, some of the formality draining out of him. “We should have set ground rules before we started this,” he says. “I should have done that with you. I’m sorry. I know it’s unfair to ask you these things during your heat.”

“You can do anything,” Stiles says.

“I can’t,” Derek responds, looking at him fondly. “But knotting is good? That helps?”

“Very good,” Stiles agrees.

“And handjobs are good?” Derek asks.

“Uh-huh,” Stiles says.

“And kissing?” Derek asks.

Stiles smiles. “So good.”

Derek nods. Stiles stares at his lips, hoping, wanting. They quirk up into a smile, leaning in and brushing them against Stiles’. It’s brief, almost testing, and it feels so sweet and good. It feels so intimate. Sex, heats, they’ve never felt like that to him.

“Mmm,” Stiles hums as Derek’s lips brush against his own again. “More.”

Derek kisses him more firmly and then Stiles is reaching for him, pulling him closer, angling his head as he opens his mouth, moaning as Derek’s tongue slides against his own. He can feel his slick increasing, his hips riding upwards into nothing, but then Derek is there, covering Stiles’ body with his own, and it hardly seems like any effort for Derek to be inside him again.

They kiss and they fuck, everything slickness, inside their mouths, inside Stiles’ hole. It’s fluid and it’s breathless and Stiles can’t keep up. He comes but everything feels like coming, everything feels perfect and amazing, his Omega singing inside his head in one shrill note.

“Can I knot you again?” Derek asks frantically.

Stiles tries to look into his eyes but he can’t focus on anything so he just hisses yes and rides his hips upwards as Derek’s cock locks inside him, filling him up just like he needs.

Derek never stops touching him, never stops kissing him, soft and gentle and everywhere. Stiles just melts beneath him, making little mewling sounds of pleasure and gratitude, unable to keep his eyes open, one moment bleeding helplessly into the next. He doesn’t even think Derek pulls out of him before he’s fucking him again. Maybe he’s just so overstimulated he can’t latch onto any one thing. He doesn’t think a heat has ever hit him this hard or this good.

When Derek finally pulls away, their bodies separating, Stiles is too exhausting to complain. He tugs Derek back towards him as soon as he’s gotten rid of the condom, Derek not hesitating in pulling him in close. His embrace feels safe; strong but trustworthy. Derek never makes him feel overpowered. There’s a security that he can’t quite put his finger on, but it goes deeper than his Omega and the usual flood of hormones.

Derek separates them a fraction at a time so that Stiles doesn’t really notice until there’s a gap between their bodies with nothing to bridge it. Derek never stops petting him though, never stops caring for him, but Stiles still whines when he realises what’s happened.

“We should eat,” Derek says. “I want to make you something.”

“Not hungry,” Stiles mumbles, trying to press his face back into Derek’s neck, that overpowering scent. He reeks of filth and breeding. It shouldn’t be attractive, but it is.

He is hungry though. Now that his Omega is sated for a while and his hole is thoroughly used and knotted, the emptiness and need is focused firmly in his stomach. It wins out, shifting back and melting into his blankets, tugging them close to him as he closes his eyes.

Derek leans over him, placing a kiss on his sweaty forehead. “I’ll be back. Get some rest.”

He closes the door softly behind himself and then Stiles can hear the shower running across the hall. He imagines water running over that perfectly sculpted body, and then he tries not to imagine it because it makes him feel all squirmy.

He settles down after his hears Derek’s footsteps going downstairs, feeling so at peace. His Alpha is taking care of him. His Alpha. It feels so different than simply having someone to administer his treatments and make sure he’s safe. He hugs the blankets to his chest as he pulls them around himself, closing his eyes in utter contentment.

He doesn’t hear his dad’s footsteps coming up the stairs, dozing in his little cloud of hormones, but a knock on the door gets his attention.

“Mmmm?”

John comes into the room, Stiles squinting at him for a moment before he closes his eyes again. John sits down on the edge of the bed beside him.

“I just wanted to check that you were doing okay up here,” John says.

Stiles smiles wide, opening his eyes to look up at his dad. “He knotted me three times already.”

John looks amused, and maybe a little bit long suffering. “That might be oversharing, kiddo.”

“You asked,” Stiles responds.

“I didn’t ask that,” John says. “But I’m glad he’s taking care of you. This is the most settled I’ve seen you during a heat in a long time.”

That makes Stiles frown. He doesn’t want to be settled. He doesn’t want to accept this as his normal. He can’t fight the contentment that his Omega is radiating through him though. “He’s making me food.”

“I know,” John agrees. “And he looks like he knows what he’s doing.”

That makes Stiles’ lips lift up in a tired smile again. “Do you think I’ll be the first Omega ever to have a stay-at-home Alpha?”

“I think you’re both pretty keen to forge your own path,” John says, getting to his feet. “Get some rest. I’ll see you later.”

Stiles nods his head, already closing his eyes again, and imagines Derek in an apron, baking cookies with their children.

He drifts off, the smells from the kitchen becoming more prominent and delicious. His enhanced senses during his heat are designed to help him seek out a mate to breed him, but right now all he wants to seek is the meat he can smell searing downstairs. His mouths waters and he gets a little thrill of anticipation as he hears Derek’s footsteps on the stairs.

He opens the door, smiling at Stiles, but his hands are empty. Stiles frowns.

“Hey,” Derek says. “How do you feel about a shower?”

Stiles’ mind is reeling. His brain is stupid enough when he’s in heat, not able to focus on anything but survival instincts, and taking a shower doesn’t fall into that category. Where’s his food? Where’s his energy so he can get bred by his Alpha again?

“Dinner’s ready,” Derek says. “Let’s get you cleaned up a little and we can go eat.”

“Go?” Stiles asks.

“Go to the kitchen and eat,” Derek says patiently.

That hadn’t even occurred to Stiles. When he’s in heat, he gets put in a treatment room and locked away from the rest of the world to see through his sordid urges. He doesn’t feel like a part of society when he’s like that. He doesn’t feel like he should be.

But he’s not at the clinic. He’s at home. He’s in the world. He’s not being treated, this isn’t a medical intervention in a sterile environment. This is a potential mate taking care of him. Looking after him. He can eat dinner at the kitchen table. He can have a heat as well as a life.

“I want to go eat,” he says, never imagining such simple words could be so empowering.

Derek helps him across to the bathroom and cleans him off while Stiles sits on the edge of the bath, hazy and uncoordinated, watching the soft expression on Derek’s face as he cares for him. Some tiny part of his brain tells him he should be embarrassed to be seen like this, but it’s so quiet that it may as well not exist.

Derek dresses him in some of his soft, comfy heat clothes that Stiles pulls out of the drawer for him. They hold hands as they go down the stairs, Stiles still unsteady as he navigates his way down, but they don’t let go as they walk through the living room, making their way to the kitchen.

John is placing a pitcher of water on the table as they walk in. He clocks their joined hands but doesn’t say anything. Derek leads Stiles to sit down, pouring him out a glass of water, which Stiles is grateful for because he definitely couldn’t lift the jug by himself. He takes a sip as his dad sits down opposite him, Derek going to plate up the food.

It looks delicious, so much better than the utilitarian food they serve at the clinic, but Stiles bets it’s just as nutritious. Derek knows what Omegas need. He was raised to know. He understands that bare facts are only half of the story though. Real life is so much more complicated and chaotic, but it can be so much more fulfilling too.

Stiles sighs as he takes the first bite, gazing at Derek as he sits down beside him. It’s so good. Derek smiles back at him, starting to eat his own food. He’s so attentive without being overwhelming, keeping an eye on Stiles and making sure he’s doing okay, filling up his water glass once he’s finished it, giving him reassuring looks. Stiles is allowed to be here, and he’s allowed to be weak right now because Derek will pick up the slack.

“You know, I think I’m going to go watch the news,” John says, picking up his plate as he gets to his feet.

Stiles blinks, finally looking away from Derek. “What?”

John snorts a soft laugh. “Enjoy your dinner, boys.”

Stiles watches him go, not quite getting it, but pretty sure he’s being made fun of, albeit good naturedly. He shrugs it off, scooping up another mouthful and then watching Derek watching him.

They don’t talk but when they finish eating, Stiles reaches out for Derek like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Derek takes hold of his hand, giving it a squeeze, edging his seat a little closer. He still doesn’t speak though, doesn’t assume or try to control. He just holds Stiles’ hand and looks at him with an open face and Stiles feels so bare, so stripped away like he’s naked to the bone. He’s not sure if it’s a moment of clarity or a stubborn desire to be anything but an Omega.

“You could fuck me over in so many ways right now,” he says, even though his voice is soft and full of affection.

Derek shakes his head, still serious and receptive. “You’re in charge.”

“My Omega is,” Stiles says, his eyes falling down in shame. He can already feel it clawing away at him, a sliver of slick soaking into his pants.

Derek squeezes his hand. “You got this.”

Stiles looks up at him, his eyes filling with tears. No one’s ever said that to him before. He doesn’t think he’s ever believed it himself, not even in his most defiant moments. But Derek believes it, Stiles can tell. And Stiles chose Derek, from the admittedly limited pool available to him. Maybe that really is power.

“I want to go upstairs,” he says.

Derek nods his head, guiding him by the hand.

Upstairs, Derek undresses Stiles first and then himself. They lie down on the bed, Derek covering Stiles’ body as he kisses him, settling between Stiles’ spread legs. He’s already hard, cock hot against Stiles’ stomach, and Stiles wants, needs, to feel is searing inside him, splitting him open, putting him where he belongs.

Instead, he takes hold of Derek’s wrist, guiding his hand down between his thighs. Derek doesn’t hesitate, sliding a finger inside his slick hole, massaging his insides before he adds another. His Omega whines but Stiles just gazes up at Derek, clinging to him. He wants that Alpha cock as much as his Omega does, but he wants this first. He wants to be touched by Derek everywhere. He wants his fingerprints inside him, and then he wants his knot.

He pushes Derek back as his body starts to burn and tremble, turning onto his knees and presenting himself. He hears Derek ripping open a condom, grateful that he doesn’t fumble, his cock sliding deep and hard into Stiles’ hole, making him arch his back and cry out, coming over his sheets for what feels like the millionth time that day.

They lay together in the aftermath that feels almost like what he thinks an afterglow might be, Derek still knotted up inside him while Stiles is nestled in his arms. Derek pets him, brushes his lips over the back of Stiles’ neck, and Stiles mewls and shivers, his body electric, his Omega content, drifting off into a deep sleep.

Chapter Text

Stiles usually hates finishing his heats on a weekend. So much lost productivity. He’d rather waste his days off and get as much time as he can at school, a concept his younger self would have found hilarious. His younger self had no idea what was about to hit him like a ton of bricks though. He didn’t realise how much an education meant to him until the certainty of it was yanked away.

So losing three days of school to his heat and then having his brain return to him on a weekend when he could stand to live without it is just one more slap in the face, the universe reminding him that he has no control over anything, least of all himself. As high school graduation draws closer, it simultaneously feels farther away than ever. It’s going to be an uphill battle right up until he gets that final credit to make his diploma a reality.

But this week, he doesn’t mind waking up on a Saturday with the tendrils of his heat lightly caressing him as they slip away. Derek left after lunch yesterday, after almost three whole days of taking care of Stiles’ Omega. And Stiles. He’s grateful now for the opportunity to decompress from that. He has a lot of things to sort through. A lot of things to consider. And a little bit of self-indulgent daydreaming to do.

If Stiles has to have heats, has to share his body with this hormonal monster, then getting Derek feels like maybe a fair trade right now. Even through his fuzzy contentment, the thought scares him a little bit. He doesn’t want to settle for this, a limited life governed by his body and a society that sees him as nothing more than a baby machine. Derek isn’t a part of that society though. Derek thinks the hierarchy is bullshit. They had a dreamy conversation about it when they were laid in this bed together yesterday morning, the sheets wrapped around them and soaked in their scents. His dad has washed them since then. Stiles kinds of resents him for it, even though they were filthy.

And Derek knotted him so many times that Stiles can still feel it. He groans as he clenches around nothing, his hips rolling. His heat is gone though, the desperation of it at least, and yet some little part of Stiles’ mind is still there. His own mind, he realises. These are his thoughts, not his Omega’s. These are his wants.

He pushes the thoughts away, climbing out of bed and heading for the bathroom. There’s a little residual slick still, his body winding down, but it’s barely more than a dampness. He showers, washing it away, knowing there probably won’t be any more of it now. He wonders at some feeling nestled deep inside him that might be regret.

He wants to put his sweatpants on, wants to lounge around and be self-indulgent, and it feels like a kindness to himself rather than a weakness for once. He pulls on jeans instead though, grateful when the rough fabric doesn’t set his skin on fire. His dad has breakfast going when he gets downstairs, bacon and eggs and hash browns. There’s enough to feed a whole army, but Stiles knows that most of it’s for him. He expends way more energy during heats than he can possibly recharge. The days after are always like a game of catch up.

He eats until he’s bloated, chatting with his dad like he hasn’t seen him for days. He kind of hasn’t. When his Omega’s in full swing, it’s like he’s not even really there. Casual conversation is a level of higher brain function that’s beyond him. That’s not the only reason though. Not this month.

When he spends his heats at the clinic, his dad’s the one who takes him there every morning, and picks him up at the end of the day. They’re together in the evenings, for as long as Stiles can keep his animal instincts at bay. But this month, this heat, was different. He and Derek were so wrapped up in each other that, even when they were out of Stiles’ bedroom, they didn’t really spare any attention to anything outside of each other.

Stiles sighs, leaning against the table. Was that romantic? Was it rude? But he’s growing up. He’s supposed to be mated by now. Ever since Stiles presented, they both knew that the two of them could never be self-sufficient. Stiles would have loved for it to be the two of them against the world, but his Omega is determined to pull him kicking and screaming into this fucked up, broken society.

“What are you thinking about there, kiddo?” John asks as he clears away the plates.

Stiles shrugs, looking up at him. “I love you.”

John smiles, turning to the sink. “I love you too.”

“I don’t know how to do this,” Stiles says.

“Which particular this are we talking about?” John asks, turning back to face him.

“All of it,” Stiles says. “Balancing my hormones and my ambition. Giving in to my Omega.” His eyes fall down. “Me and you not being a team.”

“Hey,” John says firmly, sitting back down beside him. “We are always a team. Wherever you go, whoever you’re with, whatever decisions you make in your life, you and I will always be a team.”

Stiles looks up at him, his heart clenching, tears in his eyes. He can’t even blame the fucking hormones now.

“But it wouldn’t be the end of the world if our team got a little bigger again, right?” John says softly.

Stiles can’t help but smile. He misses his mom. Sometimes it’s an emotion that feels buried so deep down inside him that he can’t even identify it. But she’s there. He and his dad formed this team out of necessity. They wouldn’t have survived if they didn’t rebuild the world for each other. But they made it, and if their little team can grow, doesn’t that mean they’re winning?

Stiles nods his head. “Right.” The word is weak, but it has all the heart he can muster behind it.

It’s the afternoon before he finally gets his brain in gear and sits down to focus on his homework. He’s all too aware of how much catching up he has to do. Sometimes he feels like his entire life is just playing catch up. He doesn’t even get a participation trophy at the end of it because he’s supposed to have dropped out of the race by now. He gets a high school diploma though. He clings to that thought. It’s something worth fighting for. He pushes the hollow feeling of doubt aside and grabs his first assignment.

He’s only been at it for twenty minutes when he Skypes Scott for help. He’s playing videogames, a luxury that Stiles can’t afford right now, but he goes over to his notes to answer Stiles’ question, talking him through everything he missed in class. They end up studying together, chatting and figuring out problems, and Stiles always feels a little braver when Scott’s around. A little more capable. He’s got this. And if he doesn’t, Scott has him.

The glow of pride he feels at finishing the assignment is short lived. He pulls his history text book towards himself. Scott isn’t in his history class. But that doesn’t matter, he can still do this. He starts making notes, trying to pull the threads together like red string turning green, but he ends up with a muddy mix of yellow at best. He looks up at Scott on his screen, who is supposedly working on an assignment, but is almost definitely playing his game again on mute. Stiles sighs, dropping his pencil down.

“I think we might need to put out the bat signal.”

Scott shifts his attention back towards him, navigating windows on his computer. “Study session tomorrow,” he says, reaching for his phone. “My mom’s working, we can all meet here.”

Stiles’ phone buzzes on the desk beside him. It’s Scott placing a single bat emoji in their group chat. He smiles at it as Scott sends out the time and then Allison and Lydia both respond saying they’ll be there. It’s always a little overwhelming, the fact that his friends are so unquestionably there for him to the point that an emoji is all it takes for them to know he’s hit a roadblock he’s going to need a little help navigating.

He doesn’t know what to say, so he just sends a heart emoji. Lydia responds instantly.

Stiles loves study sessions more than any sane person should. It’s not got much to do with getting his homework done though. It’s the camaraderie. It’s the four of them sprawled across Scott’s bed and floor, despite having the whole house to themselves. It’s their lack of personal space. It’s their little pack.

This was never going to be forever, high school never is, but as he feels the end drawing near, he’s so scared of what comes next. Lydia is going to MIT, no one is more sure of that than herself, and she’s never wrong. Scott and Allison are probably staying in California, but they’ll be busy with college and new friends and new lives. And Stiles will be left behind. Mated. Bred. He doesn’t know if their cosy little family can possibly survive that.

Lydia flops down on the bed beside him, smiling at him in that devilish way. “I hope you know that I want all the gory details.”

“I hope you know that I want zero gory details,” Scott counters from his spot on the floor.

“I hope you know that I’m just here because my best friend has the greatest math notes in the world,” Allison says.

Lydia can’t help but preen, as obvious as the redirection is. She hands over her notebook with a smile.

“Thank you,” Allison says. She looks up at Stiles. “But I am here for the non-gory details if you want to talk about it.”

Stiles’ eyes fall down to the notes in front of him, his heat replaying in his head for the millionth time. He’s not even sure he knows which details are appropriate to share anymore. He never spoke about his treatments with anyone. But this wasn’t a treatment. This was… something else.

He looks at Allison. “I trust him.”

Allison considers him for a moment. “And why is that scary?” she asks, clearly reading his hesitation.

Stiles doesn’t shy away for once. “Why isn’t it?”

Allison’s face softens and she looks over at Scott who returns her gaze. There are so many things unsaid, and Stiles isn’t sure he’ll ever understand them.

“It’s risk versus reward,” Scott says, his eyes still on Allison. “It’s never a fairytale.”

“Right, Prince Charming,” Stiles says, rolling his eyes.

“I am not a damsel,” Allison says, giving him a scathing look.

“No, you’re right, he’s the damsel,” Stiles agrees. “You’re the warrior queen.”

“Damn right I am,” Allison says, a sparkle in her eye.

Stiles’ smile fades as reality inevitably settles around him. “But love is worth it?”

Scott and Allison look at each other again. “It’s worth it,” Allison says easily.

Stiles looks to Lydia for confirmation, but she’s staring off into the middle distance. There’s something almost vulnerable about her. She blinks, catching Stiles looking at her, reanimating herself back into that sassy force to be reckoned with. If Allison is a warrior queen, Lydia is a hurricane.

“Have you done your biology yet?” she asks.

Stiles shakes his head, still trying to figure out what he just saw.

“I’ll help you,” she says, shifting closer, and the work is just complex enough to whisk everything else away.

When his phone rings that evening just after he’s gotten home, bag heavy with textbooks still slung over his shoulder, he assumes it’s Scott telling him that he’s forgotten something. He thinks that half of his belongings are probably spread out throughout his friends’ houses by now. When he manages to dig his phone out of his pocket though, it’s Derek’s name that’s on the screen. He drops his bag down onto his bedroom floor, his stomach flipping over in a way that’s not entirely unpleasant.

“Hi,” he says, unable to keep the note of uncertainty out of his voice.

“Hey,” Derek responds. “I hope you don’t mind me calling.”

“I don’t mind,” Stiles says, sitting down at his desk.

“I just wanted to see how you were,” Derek says.

Why does that make Stiles blush? He leans forward, picking up a pen to play with. “I’m okay,” he says. “Good. All caught up on schoolwork.”

“That’s great,” Derek says. “You’re capable, stick with it.”

That makes Stiles blush even harder. Did Derek just compliment his brain? That might be the sexiest thing ever.

Neither of them says anything but they stay on the line, a silence that’s not uncomfortable as such, but it’s loaded in a way that starts to weigh Stiles down because he doesn’t quite know what it means. Besides, he’s never been good at being quiet. Good Omegas should be seen but not heard, of course, but Stiles is the worst Omega ever so he might as well lean into it.

“So how about you?” he asks. “How was your weekend? What do you even do all day?”

“Mostly whatever chores my mom comes up with,” Derek responds, a note of amusement in his voice.

Stiles sobers up at the mention of Talia, shrinking back behind his Omega. “Does she know about us? About you spending my heat with me?”

“No,” Derek says. “She thinks I was staying with Peter for a few days. I’m not planning on telling her anything unless it’s a done deal. I wouldn’t inflict that on anyone until they were sure they wanted to keep me.”

Stiles frowns at the phrasing, clicking the nib of the ballpoint pen in and out. Derek is an Alpha, he doesn’t have to wait to be chosen, accepted, kept. Stiles is the one who faces rejection here. Traditionally anyway. But then Derek isn’t traditional. Stiles doesn’t know what the rules are here. He doesn’t know how it becomes a done deal or if he’s even ready to make that decision. He probably won’t ever be entirely capable. His limitations aren’t something his sheer willpower can overcome, despite his best attempts.

Stiles can’t imagine being cut off from his dad through all this like Derek apparently is from his mom though. Just the thought is enough to spiral him into a panic attack. He drops the pen and picks up some erasers instead, starting to stack them.

“Do you have someone you can talk to though?” he asks. “Anyone to help you… figure things out?”

“I can talk to Peter,” Derek says. “I don’t want to involve anyone else right now. I don’t make decisions by committee, especially not Hale committee.”

Stiles flicks his little eraser tower over. “I told my friends,” he admits. “I tell them pretty much everything.”

“I’m glad,” Derek says earnestly. “I’m glad you have them.”

Stiles starts to rebuild his tower, balancing the erasers on their ends this time. “You don’t talk about that kind of thing with your friends?”

“I didn’t stay in touch with anyone from high school,” Derek says. “I couldn’t wait to get out of here, to be somewhere where the name Hale didn’t mean anything. Ironically, that means that all I have in Beacon Hills now is family. And you.”

Stiles stills, the final eraser held between his fingers, hovering over the tower. His friends chose him, he knows that, but they did that before he presented. Since his assignation, his place in the social hierarchy has been practically non-existent and he wasn’t making any new friends in high school. Mostly people just wondered why the hell he was still turning up. But here is Derek, apparently putting him in a category that nobody has in a long time. He drops down the eraser, knocking the stack over carelessly with his forearm.

“Do you want to hang out some time?” he asks. “If that’s not weird.”

“That’s not weird,” Derek says, and Stiles can hear the smile in his voice. “I’d like that.”

“Great,” Stiles says, grinning.

“Great,” Derek agrees.

The next day at school, he spots Scott sitting on a bench in the parking lot with Allison, his body vibrating with the kind of nervous energy that makes putting one foot in front of the other seem like a monumental task. He grabs Scott by the collar of his shirt and he likes to think he yanks him up but, even if he wasn’t an Omega, he’d never be strong enough for that.

“We need to have a bro talk,” Stiles says, before leaning around to look at Allison. “Sorry.”

“Take him,” Allison dismisses.

“What’s going on?” Scott asks as Stiles guides them into the building. Or as he continues to cling to Scott at least. He’s pretty sure Scott’s leading now. Stiles is just trying to hear anything but his own heartbeat.

They end up in the locker room. Scott’s safe place. To Stiles it just smells like intimidation. His Omega kind of likes it though, which is enough to make Stiles clamp down on it and focus.

“I was talking to Derek last night,” he says, sitting down beside Scott.

“Oh yeah?” Scott asks. “What happened?”

Stiles frowns. “What does hanging out mean?”

Scott gives a bemused little snort. “Spending time together? Do you really need me to define slang for you?”

“No, but like, when you and Allison were… less defined,” Stiles says. “If she invited you to go hang out at her house, it’s not just… hanging out. Right?”

“Did Derek ask you to go hang out at his house?” Scott asks.

“I invited him to come hang out at mine,” Stiles admits, feeling defeated.

“Then you set the rules,” Scott says. “And even if you were going to his place, you still set the rules. Didn’t your dad ever give you the bad touch talk?”

“I’m an Omega, everyone’s allowed to touch me,” Stiles says.

“Untrue,” Scott says firmly. “And if they tried, I’d kick their ass.”

Stiles gives him a tired smile. “I know.” He shrugs. “Derek isn’t like that. I don’t think Derek is like that.” He looks at Scott. “But if Allison asked you to go and hang out, you’d be expecting some action, right? First base would be a minimum.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything,” Scott says. “And if he does, then he doesn’t deserve to get it.”

Stiles grits his teeth, his concerns getting lost in the mix. He doesn’t need a protector right now or a cheerleader. He needs a regular guy friend he can talk to about regular guy things about. Stiles is never going to be a regular guy though.

“But you’d hope,” he says. “You’d want.”

“That’s different from expecting,” Scott says.

Stiles sighs. “I might be in over my head here.”

Scott’s posture changes and Stiles can practically see the motivational speeches slipping from his fingers. “I thought you trusted him.”

“I do,” Stiles agrees. “I just don’t know how any of this works. Are we dating? Are we entering into a business agreement? There’s no rule book for this because it’s not supposed to happen.”

“You always threw out the rule book anyway,” Scott dismisses.

Stiles looks at him, swallowing around his dry throat. “He kissed me. And I liked it.”

“That’s good,” Scott says. “That’s a good thing.”

“I don’t know if I’m supposed to like it,” Stiles says in a small voice, like he’s admitting to murder or treason.

Scott smiles at him, full of fondness. “You’re supposed to like it. That’s normal, Stiles. Everything you’re feeling is normal.”

Stiles gestures vaguely at his gut. “All of this is normal?”

“Well, no, you’ve probably turned it up to 100 with your anxiety,” Scott says. “But the underlying stuff. The second guessing and the uncertainty and the anticipation. That’s all normal. Welcome to having a love life.”

“Is this a love life?” Stiles asks. He honestly doesn’t know how he feels about that.

“I mean, that’s between you and Derek,” Scott says. “But I know you, so I’m going with yes.”

Stiles lifts his thumb up to his mouth, worrying it between his teeth as he stares down at the tiled floor. It’s too much to process but he tries to let it all settle in his brain to maybe pick apart later, when his head isn’t spinning so much. But this is normal. He’s not sure whether that’s a comfort or if that means his whole life is going to feel like this now.

The door to the locker room slams open, jolting Stiles out of his thoughts. He looks up to see a couple of lacrosse guys coming into the room. Alphas. He instantly feels like cornered prey.

“I thought your heat was last week,” the first guy says. “What are you sniffing around in here for?”

Scott gets to his feet, taking on a defiant stance. “Back off.”

“Probably can’t get enough,” the second guy says. “You know how Omegas are. Their legs never close.”

Scott’s hands curl into fists. Stiles knows that he could take them. They’re Alphas, but they’re not wolves like Scott. He could beat them to a pulp. But then he’d get detention and maybe even have to sit out a game, and Stile’s life is already limited enough, he’s not having someone else’s limitations on his conscience too.

He stands up beside Scott. “Don’t,” he pleads.

Scott looks at him sideways.

“It’s fine,” Stiles says. “I’m going.”

“This is supposed to be somewhere we can focus,” the first guy says. “You got your goddamn scent all over it now.”

Stiles rolls his eyes as he leaves the room. Just one more space that’s not for him. That’s his normal.

He invites Derek to come around later that week, when he’s gotten back into the swing of school and his hormones are about as level as they’re likely to be. These days, that’s not very level at all. He tries to put all that aside because Derek knows what he is, knows what he goes through, and even though it bothers Stiles more than he can articulate, this is who he is. If Derek wants him, this is what he gets. Stiles’ stomach flips over at the thought. God, he wants Derek to want him.

His dad is still at work when Derek comes round and Stiles wonders if that’s proper, and then quickly reminds himself that he doesn’t give a fuck. Society doesn’t own him, as much as they’d like to. He and Derek get to make up their own rules.

Still, his heart hammers in his chest as he opens the door to Derek, still not quite knowing what to expect. But his Omega breathes in deep as Derek stands there in leather and denim and that Alpha scent that’s so comforting and safe. It brings a smile to Stiles’ lips.

“Hey,” Derek says.

His cheeks are flushed and Stiles thinks they must be warm to the touch. His fingertips twitch but he’s not about to be that boundary crossing weirdo.

“Hi,” Stiles responds, staring at Derek for a moment longer before he blinks himself out of his reverie. “Oh, uh, yeah, come in.”

He steps out of the way and Derek gives a little breath of amusement, stepping past him. “Thanks.”

They go through to the living room, standing awkwardly for half a moment before Stiles drops down onto the couch, Derek sitting down beside him.

“So, how’s school?” Derek asks.

“Okay,” Stiles says. He doesn’t want to say good. It feels too much like letting his guard down and inviting disaster. He never takes it for granted. “I’m all caught up again. For now. But then in a few weeks it’s going to be like starting from scratch all over again.”

“You got it,” Derek says with a confidence that Stiles can’t fathom. “And I got you. If you want.”

Stiles nods his head, even as the thoughts spiral in his head faster than he can latch onto them. “Does that mean we’re mates?” he asks.

“I don’t think we need to label it right now,” Derek says. “The rest of your life isn’t something you should rush into, and we’re both smarter than that, right?”

Something settles inside Stiles, even as his Omega feels a pang of rejection. But they are smarter. They’re the smartest. They’re not going to buy into this bullshit.

“But I’m here for you,” Derek says. “For whatever you need. I like you.”

“You don’t even know me,” Stiles dismisses.

“I think I do,” Derek says. “You wear your heart on your sleeve. And it terrifies you. I can relate.”

Stiles nods. “But we have each other’s backs. So that’s okay.”

“That’s okay,” Derek agrees.

“Okay,” Stiles says.

Derek smiles at him. “So, what do you feel like doing?”

“I don’t know, what did you want to do?” Stiles asks, a tiny part of him regretting asking the question because there are so many things that he’s not up for right now, even if they did all of them and more last week.

“I’m happy to follow your lead,” Derek says. “What would you usually do when you had a friend over?”

Stiles feels his chest release. A friend. He gives a little laugh. “I doubt you want to play videogames with me.”

“I love playing videogames,” Derek says.

Stiles stares at him. “Are you kidding right now?”

“No,” Derek says. “It’s kind of a thing with me and Cora. Everyone else in the family thinks it’s juvenile, they think I need to grow up, but I chase joy. Videogames are fun. And it’s something we’ve always bonded over. We’re kind of both black sheep, even if it’s for completely different reasons.”

“Chasing joy is something I could get on board with,” Stiles says.

Derek smiles at him. “What games do you have then?”

They totally lose track of time as they play, a competitive streak coming out in both of them as they trash talk each other and maybe indulge in a little cheating, but mostly they laugh. It feels good. Stiles’ guard comes down, right down, but it feels safe. He knows it’s not the context alone, the familiarity of a jovial gaming session. It’s Derek. Derek is safe. He knows that somewhere deep down, and his Omega hums happily at the thought.

His dad’s keys in the door send a shiver of anxiety through him as though he’s been caught in the act. He pauses the game, looking up as John comes into the room.

“Hey,” he says, pretty sure he looks like a deer in the headlights.

John gives him a nod, looking at Derek. “Are you joining us for dinner, Derek?”

“I’d love to, but I promised Cora I’d take her to In-N-Out tonight,” Derek says.

“Girl after my own heart,” Stiles says, practically able to taste it.

“I think you two would get along,” Derek says.

Stiles smiles. He likes the idea of that. It was never a reality in the past though.

“Well, I’m going to go get started,” John says, gesturing towards the kitchen.

“I should get going,” Derek says, placing his controller aside. “A hangry Cora is not a fun Cora.”

Stiles walks him to the door and they stand there, Derek on one side of the threshold, Stiles on the other, and it hits him how different this is from his heat. His Omega was leading then and it has no shame. Now his anxieties are in full swing and he realises they haven’t even touched the whole time Derek has been here. Does Derek think he’s being a prude? If he did initiate something, would that just make him a slut? Where the fuck is he supposed to fall on the spectrum between virgin and whore?

But they make up the rules, he reminds himself. They don’t have to label it. He doesn’t need to put himself in a box. And Derek chases joy. Stiles isn’t sure he’s even tried that since he was a kid.

He leans forward, placing a kiss on Derek’s mouth. It’s clumsy and inexact and impulsive, his aim nowhere near as true as his intentions, and he pulls away before Derek can even react, but he still feels a warmth settling in him, a little thrill making him want to wiggle.

Derek licks his lips, staring at him with the softest eyes, a little smile lifting up the corners of his mouth. His gaze is pure affection. “Thank you.”

Stiles just nods, his body buzzing. Derek smiles widely at him, ducking his head, and then he gives him a nod before turning and walking away to his car.

Stiles closes the door, leaning against it and giving a giddy little laugh. He thinks that might be his first kiss. He counts it more than he did all those ones while he was in heat. This was him, a decision he made, a risk he took. And it paid off. Maybe he doesn’t have a mate yet, but he thinks he might have a boyfriend.