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The hardest part is letting go.

Most memories can’t be integrated with this change—the playful wrestling in childhood, the licking fingers clean of sticky summertime ice cream treats. There isn’t a way to puzzle together innocence and brevity with the cold, creeping realization of what’s to come next. The big step. What Rey’s been dreading.

So she determines to let those things go rather than cling to them like a security blanket. Books say you can try therapy, or just talk about it, but she can’t imagine telling her father that she’s nervous and humiliated by her upcoming heat. She’s still looking for ways to hide it from him; still grasping at straws. This is when she wishes most fervently that her mother was still alive.

Rey picks through her bedroom one balmy May afternoon, piling treasured childhood memories in a box to be thrown away. Her first trophy: best pitcher in softball, then more trophies for more sports. She’s always been an athlete like dad. Mom was the brains of the operation and she’s been gone for years.

But dad picked up the slack. Ben. Rey remembers curling up in their bed with him, sobbing helplessly into his shirt that she wanted her mother back, and he purred the way Alphas do and kissed her hair. She saw him cry just once: while he was smelling a pillow of mom’s, hips doing strange things under his sheets. Never again. He’s returned to stoicism.

He’s always been that way. A ship that passes in the night. Quiet, working long nights to provide for Rey and her mother—and now Rey hardly knows him.

That will all change soon. She’s sixteen now and the change is beginning, heralded by itchy, tight skin and an ache under her jaw. Already she’s begun cleaning her closet to start a rudimentary nest with soft things provided by her father. Some of them smell like him, which pleases the creature crawling out of a dank cave deep within her brain stem. It wants him.

 “Spring cleaning?”

Rey twists around and finds her father standing at her bedroom door. He’s off today. He’s off all week. He hasn’t said anything, but Rey knows he’s waiting for the switch to flip. Hovering. Waiting.

It doesn’t help that he’s a bit pale and bulky, so he can’t quite hide the way he thinks he can. He’s trying to give her space but trying to be close enough to help when she needs him. He has both big hands in his pockets, the same hands that used to carry her around grandma’s swimming pool.

She tries a laugh. “Kind of. Throwing away old stuff. Haven’t you worn those sweatpants three days in a row now? You should do some laundry.”

 “I could say the same to you, Miss Red Pajamas.” Dad shrugs off the doorframe and motions toward her. “I’ll do a load quick. Anything else I should throw in?”

No, nothing, she says. Rey pads across her soft blue carpet to her dresser full of nice, new clothes. Her family has never had a lot of money but dad always goes to great lengths to keep her well-dressed and well-fed. They’re a couple pegs above trailer trash and she’s well aware of it.

Dad hangs around while she quickly changes. He’s drawn in like a moth to the flame.

 “Your gland is red.”

Rey struggles to pull on her pants and ignore him standing beside her. Hesitant, he reaches out and brushes the spot with his thumb, gently rubbing in small circles. Warm pleasure tingles down to the base of her spine and she tilts her jaw just enough to give him better access to the aching gland.

It feels gross. It’s too intimate. But everyone says this is normal; that parents should help their teenagers through heat or rut until they find their own mate. It’s supposed to be a kindness, but it feels perverted, even if things aren’t supposed to escalate to actual penetration. It’s little stuff: gland stroking, cuddling, helping with the nest, and when heat rolls in…

Rey pushes his hand away. “I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.” She hands him her dirty clothes and avoids his gaze. “I’m going to nap for a bit.”

 “…Sure, baby. Come get me if you need something.”

Her stomach twists in knots. She knows what that means.

Still, her father kisses the top of her head, lingering just a moment too long before he leaves. His Alpha pheromones hang around and make Rey’s gland itch even more. It’s a scent she’s used to from piggybacking him all the time as a kid, but now it has a new connotation. Now it means sex and arousal and she can’t figure out how to integrate that with her strictly familial love for Ben.

She crawls in her twin bed with blue sheets and stares out her window for a bit. The sky is rolling over with dark storm clouds, which means she’s going to sleep like a baby this afternoon. The change in pressure helps the horrible tight itching in her skin.

Rey closes her eyes and guiltily drifts back to old memories, walking between mom and dad, holding both their hands. She rolls on her stomach and cries into her pillow just as the rain starts.

Chapter Text

 “You smell ripe, Rey.”

Rose slaps Poe’s arm before Rey can reach him and Finn slaps his other arm for good measure. Poe laughs it off because he’s a smug Alpha already soft-bonded to his mother and doesn’t have any issues with it. He loves attention, no matter where it comes from.

Rose and Finn are Betas. They don’t get it, but they try.

 “Paige gave me something for you,” Rose offers after a beat.

She rummages through her bag for the next miracle cure for heat. Finn lounges on the grass, blowing the seeds from a puffy dandelion while Poe grumbles about being punched in the arm. It’s another sunny afternoon with the softest, sweetest breeze drifting in from the north, carrying the smell of Pacific saltwater with it. It should be a good day.

But Rey is getting worse. Heat is closing in and she’s been told by a counselor that she needs to stay home until it’s ‘resolved.’ That means she has to cross the line she’s been dreading and running from for months now, and if she keeps stalling like she has been then dad can take matters into his own hands. She can’t start suppressants until she’s eighteen and she’s a walking temptation to every unmedicated Alpha around her, and she knows it’s selfish to walk around that way but the thought of Ben in her bed is just—

Rose nudges her arm. “Ok, you have to hide this from your dad, but it’s good. It works. It’s from like, Iceland.” She hands Rey a small baggie of white pills that is quickly concealed in her sweater. “Paige says just take one a day and it’ll dull your pheromones enough that no one can tell you’re… you know. But you’ll still technically be in heat so you’re going to be crazy horny until it’s over.”

 “That’s fine. I just want the smell to go away so dad stops hovering so much.” Rey wraps her arms around herself and closes her eyes, letting a breeze roll across her cheeks. “I want to be a kid again.”

Poe barks a laugh. He’s smirking again, ever the cocky prick Rey met in third grade, but he’s coiled around Finn like a snake. He’s quivering a little and she realizes her pheromones are bothering him, too, and right in front of his boyfriend. He’s trying to shrug it off the only way he knows how.

Nature is cruel. She doesn’t care who she pushes together or pries apart. Unsettled, Rey mumbles an excuse and heads home alone.

—————

Dad’s still at work. He’s on days now from seven to three, the same shift he took after mom passed away and Rey had no one home with her. Now he comes home less tired but much sadder, and he always wanders up to his bedroom and naps for an hour. He used to spray mom’s perfume on their sheets and wrap himself up in them and Rey didn’t dare disturb him.

Rey pads upstairs to her own bedroom and pops one of the pills. She has no clue what the side effects are or what might happen, but she’s determined not to tarnish her relationship with Ben. She hides the baggie in her underwear drawer under some lacy numbers to keep him from finding them and hopes for the best.

They don’t work. Within half an hour she pukes them up and has to spend another half hour cleaning her bedroom carpet. Angry tears prickle her eyes while she scrubs away the evidence of her latest attempt to keep heat at bay and cling to her tenuous reality with her father.

Poe refuses to help her because he’s worried his mother will pick up Rey’s scent and ream him out about pregnancy and STDs. Plus, Poe’s dating Finn. He and Rey aren’t attracted to one another and thinking about Finn twiddling his thumbs while they get each other off kills any other chance of that happening. Likewise, dad won’t be happy if he smells another Alpha on Rey. What if she gets pregnant? She’s supposed to be the first one in their family to graduate from college. Being mated and knocked up in high school by a strange Alpha during heat means all dad’s hard work and sacrifice has gone to hell—and he’s worked hard.

The door creaks. “Rey? You okay?”

No. She’s not.

Ben touches the back of her head and she scrubs harder into the carpet. Something soupy and thick gathers in the base of her skull and she squeezes her eyes shut, trying to think of homework instead.

He smells like work, slightly musty from moving through crawl spaces and a hint of sweat to go along with it. Underneath is a stream of Alpha pheromones pulsing with concern over her vomiting. Dad combs his fingers through her hair to the nape of her neck where another gland—the gland—is beginning to itch, too.

His thumb strokes the spot in a small circle like a few days before. This time he doesn’t hesitate or ask.

Rey buckles as the syrupy sweetness threatens to tip down her spine. It’s a new sensation that’s too close to the way she feels sometimes when she looks at Poe, or Ryan Gosling, or picks up the scent of Alpha, and it makes her chest tighten with fear. She slips away from her father’s touch and crawls over the stubborn stains from her puke.

 “I’m fine,” she lies. “I just got sick.”

 “Shit. Your principal called and said…” Dad hesitates this time. “She, uh… said I need to pull you out for the time being. Want me to call the doctor?” He flexes his hand next to his thigh. Rey pretends not to notice. “Do you need me for anything?”

 “No. No.” Rey shakes her head furiously, discarding her rag as she hurtles for her bedroom door. “I’m gonna nap on the couch.”

“Okay baby.” He calls louder when she’s out her door. “Want me to order pizza?”

 “Yeah, whatever!” she calls back.

What she really needs is to get out of the house. That isn’t going to happen.

Rey crawls on the couch and pulls a couple blankets over her to hide in a cocoon like she did when she was little. She shudders and closes her eyes, drifting off into old memories because she’s certain she can find a way out of this nightmare. She can’t let go of them. Dad is all she has and rearranging who he is in her mind is too painful to bear.

•—•—•—•—•

 “Rey, over here! I’m open!

Twilight spills ethereal blue across the backyard. She’s seven again, clutching a small foam football and looking for an opening to pass to her mother. It’s the weekend. Dad’s off so they grilled burgers and played outside most of the day—and now things are coming to a close. The day is fading.

Rey bites her lower lip. Dad is huge and his hair is shorter, cropped to his ears, not shaggy and hanging down to his shoulders. He laughs and blocks mom and she darts back and forth looking for an opening. For some reason, Rey can hardly remember her face.

Mom claps. “Baby, over here! Quick!”

She cocks back her arm. Dad turns and fixates his dark eyes directly on Rey’s.

The shock of his stare freezes her on the spot. Mom keeps calling to her but Rey doesn’t move a muscle as Ben tilts his head, then starts toward her.

Black swallows up blue; her field of vision narrows until all she sees is her father sauntering closer through ankle-deep grass. She was supposed to mow the lawn Friday afternoon but didn’t bother. Dad won’t punish her for it, though. He’s afraid she won’t like him if he’s too harsh.

Dad comes closer and closer and mom fades into the darkness. Rey drops the football.

 “Over here, baby. I’m open.”

Chapter Text

Mom was a Beta. Dad loved her anyway.

Rey remembers the rude comments from people about how the pairing was ‘abnormal.’ She always ignored it because her parents seemed so happy together: inseparable, like they were two halves of a whole. But sometimes the cracks would show.

 “Ben brought home more of that… stuff.”

It’s a couple weeks until Rey’s tenth birthday. She shares it with her father. He’s going to be thirty. Right now she’s listening in on her mom talking to Aunt Aayla, her only aunt and mom’s only sibling.

Mom sighs. “Yeah, I know he has needs, but that fake slick is so tacky and gross. Ugh. I don’t know.” She looks out into the backyard over the sink window. Rey can only see her soft brown hair. “Sometimes I feel like I’m not enough for him and he’ll go looking somewhere else. It’s been years and—” Mom hesitates. “I know, A. I know.”

None of it makes sense to Rey. She skips out to the kitchen for lunch, smiling all the way while her mother makes pancakes and bacon. Lately mom has looked extra tired—mostly since the doctor said Rey would become an Omega when she grew up.

Mom lights a cigarette. “How’s it taste?”

 “Good. Thank you, mommy.”

 “Of course, baby.” She exhales a column of smoke through the window, studying Rey. Her eyes are watery. “You know I love you, right?”

Rey looks at her, but she can’t remember her face. It swirls and shifts. She swallows her pancakes.

 “I love you, too, mama,” she mumbles. “You know that, right?”

 “…Right. Right.”

They lapse into silence. Dad won’t be home until one in the morning and there isn’t anything else to talk about. Mom cleans the dishes and walks upstairs with her cigarette, down the hall to the master bedroom. The door clicks shut softly.

Rey sits on the couch and plays her new Pokémon game, oblivious to her mother crying. It’s only weird when dad starts the waterworks.

•—•—•—•—•

Dad orders pizza as promised. Rey wakes to the enticing smell of pepperoni and he already has a slice waiting for her on the coffee table. She shivers as she sits up with her blanket around her shoulders, hungrier than she thought she’d be.

He sits beside her. They watch Tarzan.

Rey scratches her gland behind her neck. It doesn’t help the awful tingling but she doesn’t want dad to do it. She scratches and scratches and tries to ignore a new urge blooming in her stomach, to take the blanket around her and go hide away with it. Nesting. She’s supposed to go make a nest somewhere quiet, like a basement or a closet. They don’t have a basement so that leaves her tiny closet or dad’s walk-in.

Dad puts an arm over the back of the couch. “How’s that Poe kid doing?”

 “Fine.”

 “Soft-bonded to his mom, right? Shara?”

 “I don’t know.”

The movie plays. Dad doesn’t say anything more for a while and they eat in silence. He smells good.

The urge to find somewhere safe and soft overwhelms Rey the longer she sits beside him. She clenches her jaw before lurching to her feet and hurrying upstairs to her bedroom. She’ll be comfortable there. Dad will leave her alone and… she’ll be comfortable.

But he follows. He hangs outside her bedroom door while she struggles to comfort herself in her own bed, turning in circles and gathering her blankets in a ball, but it doesn’t satisfy the urges. Rey blinks back tears as she obeys her deeply-ingrained instincts and pads to her closet to see what she can do with it. It’s humiliating. She’s like a wild animal.

Dad clears his throat. “My closet is bigger. If you want to use it.” He leans in her room, shrugging. “I have some extra… uh… blankets. If you want.”

 “No thanks,” Rey snaps. “I’m just cleaning. I don’t—I don’t need any of that.”

He nods and slips back from her room, but hovers just outside to watch. She paces and chews her nails and tries not to take his offer for blankets and a big spot for her nest. This is insane. She’s a teenager and a human—she doesn’t want to make a nest, and she certainly won’t invite her father into it.

Rey awkwardly shuts the door in his face. “I’m tired.”

To her surprise, her father resists. He pushes his weight against it to keep it propped open, dark eyes studying her. It reminds Rey of her dream, but he’s dressed in sweats and a white tank instead of jeans and a black T-shirt.

 “Are you sure?” he presses.

 “Yes I’m sure! Go away!”

 “Rey, please let me help. It’s normal—it’s normal to want to… to make a safe spot.” Ben wedges in deeper. His eyes are desperate and sad. “Just let me help.”

 “No! Fuck off, dad!”

She manages to shove her door shut and flips the lock. A heartbeat passes, and she worries he might shove his way in, but her father sighs and walks off down the hall. Good. None of that weird stuff is happening.

But the impulse to… to nest just gets stronger. Rey chews her nails until she bleeds before giving in, diving into her closet and clawing things out of her way: boots, flip flops, old shirts. She breaks down into sobs halfway through but keeps going because she can’t imagine ever stopping until it’s exactly how it needs to be. It has to be right. It has to be right.

The closet isn’t deep or big enough. Rey struggles to fold herself inside it, determined to make it work, but she knows a much bigger one is waiting down the hall. Her mind sticks to it; sticks to the scent of agitated Alpha. There’s no escaping the inevitable. She needs that closet like she needs the air she breathes.

Trembling, Rey gathers her sheets, sniffling and nudging open her bedroom door. The hall is empty and quiet so she hurries down to her dad’s room.

It looks just like it did when mom was still alive: same green sheets, same undisturbed pillow on her side, same mismatched furniture. Everything carries a fine, sad layer of dust, like dad’s afraid to touch it. His side of the bed is neatly made. Mom used to do it for him.

Rey shudders as she makes her way to their walk-in. Nothing has been touched; all of mom’s blouses and dresses are still hanging up, but they’re in the way—and the smell irritates Rey. She peels each item down with shaking hands and tosses them into a pile outside the closet, possessed by the need to make the space belong to her. Mom has no room here.

The closet is carpeted and has some built-in shelving that’s perfect for hiding away food for… for…

 “No,” Rey mutters, still mindlessly emptying the closet. “No, no, no…”

She needs food and water to keep her and her—her—no, no, just her; she just needs supplies for her. The scent of her father permeates the closet and her hindbrain wants—wants the wrong thing.

Dad has a couple things hanging up, too. Rey paws his dress shirts from their hangers and squirrels them away under her pillow to the delight of her instincts. It’s relaxing. It feels good.

She smooths out her sheet and comforter in long stretches like a cat kneading a blanket. A pleasant haze settles over her mind while she works, and soon she loses track of time, just rolling along the blanket into the corners. More. Needs more. The air pressure is high from rain; she can feel it in her bones. Pups won’t tolerate cold, wet conditions.

Rustling startles her from her reverie. Rey finds her father crouching at the closet door with an armful of thick blankets that he’s trying to carefully place inside. Her heart patters faster. It all smells like him; like Alpha and safety and home, and long summer nights, and the earthy smell of his work boots on the kitchen floor. Oh god.

Ben tries a smile. “Sorry. I don’t mean to bug you.” He peers over his shoulder and Rey drinks in the way his muscles jump in his biceps. “Guess you didn’t want your mom’s stuff in here, huh? It’s okay. I read all about it—that’s normal.”

 “I’m sorry,” she blurts. Because she is. Because she has no right to throw mom’s stuff around.

He sits where he’s crouching. “Don’t apologize. Honestly, keeping it all hanging up is pathetic at this point. You did me a favor, baby.” Dad clasps his hands in his lap and leans in to look around the closet. “They didn’t do any Demi-human classes when I was in school, so this is all new to me. Looks nice. Homey.”

Her lower lip quivers. She’s scared but he’s trying to be placating and nice about how weird everything is. He’s even not mad about her throwing away mom’s clothes.

Dad cocks his head, frowning. “What’s wrong? What can I do to help?”

 “…I don’t know what’s happening.” Rey hunches and curls into a ball on the floor. Her chest feels tight. “I’m so scared, daddy. I don’t… I don’t want to do this.” She covers her face and bursts into tears. Rain drums on the bedroom window. “I want mom! I—I want my mom!”

 “Rey, Rey—it’s okay, honey. It’s okay.”

 “I can’t stop thinking about babies and I don’t even want them! I have to make this stupid closet warmer because I’m so worried they might die!” Sobbing turns into wailing and she tries burying herself under the blankets, terrified. “I want my mom! I want my mom!”

Ben crawls into the closet before she can think to stop him. He peels back the blanket she’s under and gathers her in his arms, turned on his side like she is.

The relief is immediate. Rey’s sobs hitch and she squirms closer, nudging her nose under her father’s jaw and inhaling the scent of him. He nuzzles in her hair and inhales, too, loud and sniffing like he can’t get enough. He’s warm and hard but soft. This is good.

 “Shh…” he whispers, “shh… you’re okay, honey. You’re okay. I’m here.” Ben turns and drags a thick blanket over them so they’re swaddled together in quiet warmth. Pheromones and the smell of him—daddy—fill her nose. He swallows hard enough for Rey to hear. “You’re… you’re doing a good job. This looks nice and safe.”

 “R-Really?”

 “Oh yeah, for sure. It looks great.” Dad’s nose traces along her jaw to the gland nestled underneath. He squeezes her tighter. “I’m so proud of you, Reybee. I love you.”

 “I l-love you, too. I love you, too.”

The anxiety fades away. Rey breathes softly on her father’s neck and listens to the rain as he brushes his thumb across her mating gland on her nape. For the first time since she was a kid, his chest rumbles with comforting purrs, rattling her bones and making her shiver. She slips into a lazy, sleepy haze.

The nest is approved. She can die happy.

Chapter Text

The enticing smell of breakfast wakes Rey. Eggs and bacon—protein she instinctively knows she needs. Her nose twitches as she slowly sits up, blankets slipping away from her body and exposing her to a morning chill. Food. She has to eat before heat comes.

She blinks and rubs the sleepiness from her eyes. Last night was some of her best sleep ever, maybe better than after her gymnastics finals in third grade. It’s nice. All her muscles are relaxed.

Rey finds a tray with breakfast waiting for her near the door. She digs into the scrambled eggs with cheese and sugared bacon, her two favorite things, and eats through a bowl of oatmeal with fruit. Dad did his best to make it the way she likes. The thought makes her heart skip a beat with excitement but she tries to push the emotion away. It’s just sad stuff.

She spends the next hour fixing the nest, rearranging it until it’s just right. There’s a small section for pups, and a place for her to sleep right next to them. The other area further off is supposed to be for… for heat. But she won’t need that. No way.

Her panties are damp but she refuses to acknowledge it and decides to go downstairs instead. Everything is fine. The rain stopped last night and a thin layer of fog clings to the grass outside like she’s walking through a dream, and she sinks into the sensation, ignoring the first drip of slick between her thighs. Nothing is wrong, everything is beautiful.

Dad is on the couch watching TV. He looks back and smiles when he sees her. His jaw clenches.

 “Did you eat?” he asks.

 “Yeah. Thanks.” Rey taps her fingertips together. “I think I’m fine to go to school.”

 “Nice try, but no dice.”

Rey sinks to the couch beside him, chewing her lower lip. She’ll just sleep the whole week off. It’ll be nice to spend some time with dad in the meantime.

He rubs the back of his neck. “Called a buddy of mine from work about all this. He’s got the same thing going on with his kid, so he gets it.” Ben’s hand slides to his throat and he massages, squinting at the television. “You know your grandma was an Alpha so I didn’t do the soft-bonding shit.”

 “Yeah, I know. Grandpa’s a Beta.”

 “Yeah. He is.” Dad awkwardly puts his arm over the back of the couch and lets it drape on Rey’s shoulders. “It was more of a ‘suffer in silence’ thing back then, but mom sent me to some summer camp with wackadoo fuckin’… counselors.”

She frowns. “Really? Mom never told me that.”

Ben doesn’t look at her, but shrugs and takes a sip of beer. It looks like her regrets speaking at all and he doesn’t say anything more. Rey isn’t so sure she wants him to, so she embraces the quiet.

Gram and dad fought a lot when he went through his first rut. Two Alphas in one house usually doesn’t end well. It’s better for them to be apart.

The fog rolls into more rain that bathes the house in blue light and dancing gray shadow. Rey stays painfully aware of her father’s arm resting across her shoulders and soon she picks up on something like cinnamon tickling the roof of her mouth. It’s him. Pheromones.

She clears her throat. “I think I’ll go back to sleep for a little while. Kind of hot.”

 “Oh… okay. Do you need anything? More blankets?”

 “I’m fine.”

Dad nods, kisses her temple. He lingers and his fingers close around her shoulder, and Rey finds herself leaning into his ribs. He smells nice, like thick cologne and beer and rain water, and it brings Rey back to summer nights playing outside in the mud with him.

His thumb rubs her upper arm. Voice drops. Rey shudders when she hears it.

 “Want me to rub your feet?” His beer hangs in his free fingertips, tilting precariously. “I know how much you like that.”

 “Um… okay.”

She turns to lean on the arm of the couch and drapes her legs in her father’s lap. Ben finishes his beer and sets the can down before he settles back and takes a foot in one big hand. He closes his eyes, gently pressing his thumb into the center and up along Rey’s arch to the ball of her foot. She shivers.

It’s just a foot massage. The new dripping of slick says otherwise, but she’s still pretending that isn’t happening; pretending this is just a normal night hanging out with dad. She can see mom dancing in the kitchen to Led Zeppelin, and soon dad will join in and sing with her. That’s what’s happening.

But dad’s strong hand roams down her ankle to her calf and massages along her muscle instead, and Rey sighs breathily. This is what’s happening. He slowly works his way up to her knee.

 “Feel good?” he asks.

 “Mhm. Thanks daddy.”

Ben laughs. “You never call me that anymore.”

She huffs and shrugs it off.

His massage keeps moving up her leg to her thigh and Rey finds herself spreading her legs just a bit to accommodate her father. The closer he gets to her apex, the more she feels a mix of dread and excitement; of nausea and intrigue.

Dad squeezes the thickest part of her thigh. “Can you call me that again? I miss hearing it.”

 “Daddy?”

 “Mhm.” He keeps massaging her thigh with one hand and Rey suddenly feels his fingers stroking her mating gland. She whimpers and shifts. “Shh… it’s okay, baby. I’m not gonna hurt you.”

This isn’t right—she needs to check the closet. She should be in the nest.

Rey blinks her eyes open and sees her father gazing at her through hooded eyes. He smiles, stroking her gland just the right way that sends tingles down to the tips of her toes. His hand is hot and heavy on her inner thigh and she’s terrified he’ll move it.

She grimaces, whimpering again. “I have to go check on it. I have to go.”

 “To your nest?” Ben clarifies, voice gravelly and deep. He licks his lips. “You did such a good job making it, honey. Looks really comfy.”

 “…It does?”

 “Of course. Do you want me to bring you to it? I can rub your back for a while, too.”

Rey obliges. She reaches for him like she did when she was a kid and dad scoops her up, legs wrapped around his waist. He pets her hair as he carries her upstairs and down the hall to the small space she’s eked out as her own, and she’s relieved at the site of it.

It feels like being a kid again with dad carrying her and them making forts together.

But there’s tension in the air now. Rey crawls toward the softest part that she’s set aside for sleep and feels her father closing in behind her like a shadow.

 “Want me to give you a back rub?” he asks. He crawls up behind her, hands settling on her hips. “I can give you whatever you want, baby.”

She jerks away from the foreign touch, twisting around as the haze breaks. What is he doing, touching her like that?! What does he think this is?! All her memories come bubbling up and she feels sick.

 “No!” Rey snaps. She glares at him as she crawls under her blankets. “I think I’ll just take a nap.”

Her father drops his hands, blinking rapidly. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” He rocks back and sits and rubs his face. A low growl precedes him shaking his head. “Sorry, Rey. I’ll go. I have errands to run.”

Dad scrambles out of the closet. She glares after him and ignores the part of her screaming for him to come back.

•—•—•—•—•

 “Just dive.”

Inky black lake water shimmers before Rey’s toes, lapping against the dock she’s standing on with her dad. He has his hands on his hips, chest bare and swim trunks settled low, and he’s dripping water from his dive to the bottom. Dad’s awful brave.

She wrings her hands. “Are there alligators?”

 “No, babe. No alligators in Vermont.”

 “…Crocodiles?”

 “Nope.” He grabs her around the waist and tickles her mercilessly. “But there’s sharks and piranhas!”

Rey squeals and laughs as Ben twirls her in a circle in the fading sunset. There’s mosquitoes galore and black flies chewing up her neck, but she’s alone with her dad and that’s worth all the bug bites in the world.

He sets her down and pats between her shoulder blades. “Just keep your arms straight and you’ll come right back up. Try it.” Big fingers stroke her hair. “I’ll be right here if you need me.”

Rey peers up at him. “Always?”

Ben smiles up to his big ears. The way his hair glistens makes him look like something from a fairytale.

 “Always.”

Rey dives.

—————

It’s already dark when Rey wakes from her nap. She’s exhausted now, cramping under her belly button and itching around her glands. She sniffles.

Someone is lying beside her and it doesn’t take much time to know who. He’s close, smelling her hair and nuzzling her scalp, and she can see his hand draped a few inches from her face. Rey frowns when he stops moving and she stops moving, too.

He breathes for a few empty seconds—then she hears unmistakable rhythmic wet sounds.

Her spine prickles as realization comes over her like a thunderhead and she does her best to remain completely still. Dad pants softly against her hair and his hand in front of her flexes every so often, twitching when he seems to find a good stroke. She knows what he’s doing and she isn’t going to say a word.

Soft whispers drift through the quiet. “…Love you so much, honey. Daddy loves you.”

Rey swallows a lump in her throat. She wants to puke.

Eventually he buries his face in her neck, grunting and slowing his strokes, and his tongue flickers across the gland under her jaw. Rey shudders and tries to tune out the sounds of her father coming but it does things to her; makes the slick leak down her inner thighs and worsens the cramps in her stomach.

He huffs, breathing catching. “Rey, baby—R-Rey—”

A new scent pollutes her nest. Him. He catches his breath and groans and she knows he’s spilled his cum all over her soft blankets… but she isn’t mad. She wants to be, but she isn’t.

Rey closes her eyes. Ben slowly sits up and adjusts her blanket to cover her, kisses her temple, then the sheets rustle as he leaves the nest. The smell of him and the weight of what he’s done remains behind.

Chapter Text

Rey wakes again to hot breakfast in her nest. She’s even more delirious than the day before, now dripping enough slick that she peels off her panties and casts them away. She gorges herself on breakfast, takes a shower, and wanders downstairs to find dad.

Last night seems like a dream, so maybe it is.

He’s in the garage working out with his weights, sweat glistening down his biceps and chest. Rey hovers near the door and watches until she feels slick trailing down her inner thigh. No. No no no.

She stumbles to the fridge for a long drink of water and climbs over the armrest of the couch. Everything she touches makes her skin prickle like it’s on fire. This is horrible. Her heat is really coming and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.

Rey squirms, sweating and uncomfortable, and shoves a hand down the front of her pajama pants. It’s damp and sticky and warm.

The relief is immediate. She curls into a ball to hide her shame but can’t move to hide in the nest while she masturbates. Her lips part and she closes her eyes, rubbing blindly wherever it feels good and following the signals her body sends.

She bites her lower lip, panting softly. Finally she has something to focus on that isn’t a nest or how she’ll ignore her father being around. It’s easy to get lost in the pleasure and forget about everything else.

There’s movement in the corner of her eye. Rey keeps stroking her clit and doesn’t budge as a blanket is draped over her, concealing what she’s doing. She whimpers and licks her lips, and he kisses her temple. Oh god. Oh no. It’s dad.

He leans over her, breath on her ear. She stops. Her body goes tight with anxiety when he laughs lightly.

 “I caught you with one of your stuffed animals down your pants when you were a toddler, y’know,” he says. “And here I am catching you again.”

He smooths a hand down the arm twitching in her pants, rubbing his thumb in the crook of her elbow. Dad slowly withdraws and walks upstairs to presumably take a shower, and Rey keeps going. She flexes her hips and closes her eyes and soon she’s seeing stars.

•—•—•—•—•

 “We have to save our feel-good time for other things, Rey. It’s not polite to do in front of others.”

Mom is doing most of the talking and dad looks like he’d rather be dead. He looks at the ceiling and Rey wrings her hands under the table, struck by shame for the first time in her short life. Oops. She did something bad, even if it didn’t feel bad.

 “I’m sorry,” she mumbles.

 “Don’t be sorry, honey. It’s normal! You just need to make sure you don’t do it in front of others.” Mom smiles and wipes away a tear with her thumb. “Daddy is very sorry for yelling. Aren’t you?”

Ben perks up and nods. “Yeah, yeah. Sorry.” He runs a hand through his hair and raises his eyebrows to mom. “Wasn’t expecting to find my kid going to town on a fucking teddy bear.”

 “It’s part of her development,” mom snaps, rounding on him in the blink of an eye. “Shaming her when she’s young will leave permanent marks on her psyche, Benjamin. Do you want her to be afraid of sex?”

 “Well, no, but I don’t want to see her humping her toys like a gorilla, either.”

Rey’s eyes well up with tears. She’s like a gross animal. Dad shouted at her to stop and she’s never seen him make that face—and she’ll never forget it. She runs upstairs to hide in her bedroom and hugs her teddy bear to her chest.

Her parents get into a big argument that ends with mom storming out, pulling Rey along behind her. Ben follows, apologizing up and down to mom, but he doesn’t make eye contact with Rey. It makes her cry again and mom turns around and shoves him away.

She looks back at her dad standing in the door—and never looks at him the same way again.

—————

Rey staggers upstairs to her bedroom, desperate to put space between herself and Ben. Now she’s broken out in a cold sweat, quivering and anxious to curl up in the closet, but she doesn’t want to risk going anywhere near her father. No fucking way.

She crawls in her bed full of familiar smells of her. Shivering, she slips her hand in pants again and closes her eyes, ears pricked for the sound of footsteps. This is fine. This will get her through the worst of it.

Her door opens. “Aww, honey. Don’t hide in here.”

Rey’s eyes roam blindly as her father gently lifts her out of bed and carries her down to the nest. She’s slipping into the throes of heat and soon she’ll lose her mind until it’s over with. She crawls into the corner and heaves with sobs, terrified of what might happen and revolted by her body.

Ben closes the door most of the way, plunging them into darkness. He smooths her hair from her face.

 “Shh… it’s okay. I’m here.” His gaze moves down her body to her soaked pants. “You should probably take those off. They’ll just get messy.”

 “I don’t want to!” Rey sobs. “I don’t want to!”

 “It’s okay, baby; it’s okay. I just want you to be comfortable.”

Dad shuffles down to lie beside her while she cries. His presence is calming and even more upsetting at the same time, but Rey has no choice except to tolerate it. He kisses her temple and rubs a huge hand on her stomach. The skin tingles.

He keeps kissing her. Rey squeezes her eyes shut as he rubs her bare stomach gently back and forth, circling lower and lower to the hem of her pajama pants. His palms are rough and familiar, the same palms that used to rub her back after she puked.

Ben nuzzles her cheek. “You’ll be okay, honey. This will all be over soon.” He hesitates, then his fingers worm under the hem of her pants. Rey stiffens. “Shh… shh… daddy won’t hurt you. You know that.”

She whimpers and squirms uncomfortably as her father’s clumsy fingers creep across her mound, shaved and damp from slick, and he traces the line of her slit. He shudders and presses closer, nudging under Rey’s jaw to kiss her gland.

It gives quick relief. She turns her head to give him better access and he eagerly takes it, chest rumbling with a purr as he sucks the gland through his lips. Her thighs part and dad strokes with two fingers instead of one, breathing hard on her neck down to her collarbone. Rey sniffles.

The scent of him puts her at ease and his hungry kisses help soothe the itch across her skin. She curls closer on instinct, all reason slipping away from her. Nothing much matters except calming the burning need prickling under her flesh.

Ben cradles her head in the crook of his arm as he finds her clit. He massages the spot in small circles, somehow better than Rey can manage, and she rolls her hips in time with his fingers. This is okay. This is what everyone does with their parents.

 “That’s better, isn’t it?” he asks.

 “Y-Yes.” She grabs the front of his t-shirt, hiding her face in it while she squirms against his fingers.

 “Good. Why don’t we take your pajamas off before you sweat through them?”

 “…Okay.”

Her father shimmies her pants down her hips and Rey kicks them off. He works through the buttons on her top in the darkness and helps her slip her arms free of it. She shivers as the cool air dries her sweat.

Ben presses his forehead to her temple. “Much better. You smell so nice, honey.” Lips press to her jaw, wandering along to the gland underneath. He rumbles with a low growl and squeezes her waist in one big hand. “…So nice.”

 “I feel awful.”

 “You do?” He resumes stimulating Rey, dipping his fingers lower to stroke them through the slick. His middle presses gently inside her about an inch. “You’ll feel better soon, baby.”

Her breath hitches. The finger slides deeper, the first thing she’s ever felt inside her body, and it’s an odd sensation. He crooks it and Rey gasps as her muscles cramp and squeeze around him, warm pleasure tightening her core. Dad strokes and holds her against him while she scrambles closer, whining.

He swallows. “I know it’s a lot. I know. After you… after you’re finished you’ll feel better.”

 “Daddy—help me.” Rey paws at his shirt. It’s not enough. She needs more and she can smell the Alpha pheromones on him. “Help me, Alpha?”

 “You’ll feel better after,” he repeats in a strained tone. “Please relax, Rey.”

She cries, weirdly stressed out, and tries dragging her father on top of her. Her hindbrain screams that she needs him and him fingering her isn’t enough. It shouldn’t be happening. There’s supposed to be a block because they’re related—this shouldn’t happen.

Ben catches his weight and breathes hard, shakily unhooking his belt. “God help me—” He leans across Rey in the dark, breath warm on her forehead. His hand still works between them. “I’ve got you. Gonna be a good little Omega for me?”

She hardly has time to nod before he’s pushing inside her. Rey widens her legs and dad makes a bizarre choking noise as he slips easily inside, helped along by the slick. The sense of fullness abates Rey’s anxiety and she rests back in the blankets with a sigh.

He pants on her collarbone, belt clinking around his knees every time he fucks into her. His thrusts feel uneven and overexcited but she isn’t about to complain. She blinks slowly, delirious from heat but satisfied by finally having an Alpha inside her.

 “Feels—feels so fucking good,” dad manages. He kisses her gland and bites and sucks. “Feels so fucking good, baby girl.”

Rey squirms about underneath him until she comes, toes curling and voice breaking into a soft wail. It doesn’t take her very long. Ben pounds into her harder when she relaxes back. He’s groaning, swelling up inside her, fucking her at a feverish pace.

 “Gonna come,” he grunts. He laughs breathlessly. “I’m gonna come inside you, honey. I—I don’t think I can stop.”

 “Okay,” Rey sighs, “that’s okay, daddy.”

 “S-Sorry it didn’t last long—first Omega—” His voice catches and he shudders. “Fuck. I’m coming in my daughter—I’m going to knot her. Fuck… fuck…”

A minute later, he does. Dad pins Rey’s hands and bites her shoulder as he comes inside her, hips jerking, knot bulging and sealing them together. She whimpers lightly at the sensation of cum warm and sticky pumping into her but her father growls and that shuts her up. He lets her shoulder go after a minute and groans with pleasure and relief.

They catch their breath. Some of the delirium of heat fades away but not enough for Rey to realize the ramifications of what’s happened. She shifts and tugs on the knot, drawing a grunt from her father.

 “Fuck,” he mutters. He rolls over on his back and positions Rey on top, tugging the knot again. “—Jesus Christ—” His hands squeeze her waist and he weakly thrusts his hips. “I’m—I’m going to—”

She hardly feels it when he does climax again, mostly because she’s too exhausted to pay attention. Dad rubs his face, groaning and slowly rolls his hips, shifting his cock inside her. He pants when he’s through and leaves a hand over her back, rubbing idly as Rey drifts off to sleep on his chest.

For now, she feels better.

Chapter Text

The nest is empty when Rey wakes.

It smells different now, like pungent Alpha and soft Omega; like dad was here and left his mark. Rey rubs her eyes and crawls out to find him, dizzy with need, driven by something she doesn’t understand. 

She stumbles through his bedroom and downstairs where it’s already dark and quiet. Whimpering, Rey pads toward the kitchen, following the smell of something meaty cooking in the oven. Her bare feet slap on the cold hardwood as she rounds the corner.

Dad stands over the sink washing a dish. He makes a half-turn and licks his lips when he sees Rey. She didn’t put on clothes. Oops.

She edges closer, hesitant. Dad keeps his gaze on her in the near darkness and nothing else makes a sound except Rey’s feet. Her pulse quickens and she taps her fingertips together where she stands a foot away from him, stuck under his intense stare.

Something’s off. She can smell his pheromones concentrated much stronger than normal and he doesn’t smile like he always does. Rey shrinks back.

He sets the dish aside to dry and drains the sink. Dries his hands. It’s all slow and tense.

 “You should be upstairs,” dad says in a gravelly tone.

 “I was hungry. I didn’t know where you went.”

Her father stalks to the fridge and rips it open. Rey winces as he tosses a yogurt and banana across the table towards her before he leaves the kitchen without a word. His scent leaves with him but hangs in the air like a bad omen.

She still needs him. Why is he leaving?

Still, she quietly eats the food offered to her and drinks a glass of water. She’s hardly through when dad suddenly storms back into the kitchen, chest heaving, broad shoulders taut. Ben stares at her and tears well up in his dark eyes.

Rey’s lower lip quivers. “Daddy?”

He starts toward her. She shrinks back nervously as he kicks a chair from his path, then he grabs her forearm and she drops her cup. Dad lifts her with one broad arm and sets her on the kitchen table, shoes crunching in the shards of glass.

His hands tremble as he works through his belt, expression pained and excited, but none of that matters to Rey. She whimpers and opens her legs wider because he’s an Alpha and she knows he can help her. Dad’s throat bobs and he pauses for a moment, gaze falling on her sticky thigh.

Fingertips skate along her inner thigh through glistening slick. He touches it reverently, breathing unevenly through his mouth, belt open. His pupils dilate and he reaches a hand in his pants, hurrying through the layers of his shirt and jeans. Rey licks her lips as he leans across her over the table.

Ben stifles a grunt as he pushes in with one quick movement—then he gently withdraws and piles back in much slower. Rey digs her heels into the small of his back and whines. He’s heavy and she smells spicy pheromones under his jaw, but his shirt is warm and smells like his cologne. She squirms.

 “I know, baby,” he whispers, “daddy just wants to feel you. Just—just a little bit.” He breathes hot puffs on her neck and sucks hard on a gland; hard enough to draw more mewls from Rey. Teeth scrape. “Just a little bit. I… I just want a little bit.”

His body gradually melds with hers again, designed to work through her flesh in just the right way. He groans on her shoulder and picks up the pace, rattling the table and scraping the legs across the floor. It feels better than good—it’s like having an itch scratched that she can’t reach; like completing a complicated puzzle. Rey clings to his shoulder blades and buries her face in his neck.

Her father strokes her hair roughly. “‘S’okay—we’ll be okay. We’ll be okay.” Glass crunches as he arches over her, pounding harder and groaning in his chest. “F-feels… feels so good—you’re so warm and tight and—and wet. I’m gonna come in you again, baby.”

 “Okay—okay.”

But the oven beeps and his movements slow. Ben growls and buttons up his pants before taking out the pan, and Rey’s thighs tremble over the side of the table. Her head spins. This is a lot. This is all really happening and it’s still going to be there when heat is over and they go back to real life.

He crunches over the glass again in his work boots. Rey lifts her head and finds him brushing her inner thigh with his fingertips, smearing slick along her skin in the dark kitchen. He licks his lips and traces her slit with his thumb right up to her clit.

 “I’ve never seen… slick,” dad mumbles. “Not the real stuff, anyway. It’s awful pretty—feels good, too. Feels really good.” His throat bobs and he gently lifts Rey from the table, arm under her bottom and around her back. “Let’s go back upstairs.”

 “…M’kay.”

She doesn’t ask what he was cooking or why but drapes around him as he carries her upstairs. Memories of sleeping by the door waiting for him to come home from work trickle back, him carrying her in her princess pajamas, the smell of his cologne on his neck. Rey nuzzles under his jaw.

Dad settles her in the corner of the closet among her blankets, shoes off before he steps in. Rey relaxes with him in her space, comforted by the thick haze of pheromones and pressing darkness. She rolls obediently on her back as he unbuckles his belt again and slips out of his shirt—why did he get dressed? Was he going to leave?

He drops to his knees. “I… I have no clue what I’m doing. I have no clue.” Calloused hands slide up her calves, gently spreading her legs as they hike higher. His eyes are wide and black. “I wanted to—to leave. Then I thought you might be hungry. Now I’m back here and I shouldn’t be.”

 “Don’t go,” Rey bleats. “I don’t want to be alone.”

 “I won’t. I can’t.” Ben helps her roll to her stomach and grasps her hips, guiding her up. His breath is warm on her ear. “I love you, honey. I’m so glad we can figure this out together—” Rey moans as he pushes inside her again and she arches her back further. It feels so good—so good—

 “D-Daddy… Daddy…”

He’s naked. She can feel the heat of his skin against hers as he sets to fucking her, fingers digging into her hips. Being crouched in front of him satisfies some instinctual urge; another itch to be scratched, two desperate bodies moving in tandem. Rey closes her eyes and listens to him panting and mumbling.

 “That’s it… that’s my good girl—my good little Omega.” Dad holds her in place by her hips and slows his pace to gently rocking inside her. It’s… odd. Intimate. “Yeah—nice and slow, baby. Nice and slow. Let me feel all that slick you’re making for me.”

 “Don’t go—don’t go.”

 “I won’t. It’s okay.” A hand creeps underneath and clumsily strokes her clit. Rey sinks into the blankets with a soft mewl, eyes half-open in a haze of pleasure-addled delirium. “There we go. That’s good right there.” His hands hold her hips again as he thrusts slow and even in and out, groaning quietly under his breath. It’s an odd stretching sensation that Rey isn’t quite used to.

Then he’s leaning across her back with his nose in her hair and two fingers teasing her clit, easing Rey along his cock while he inhales her scent. She feels slick running down her thighs and knows it’s making a mess but she won’t tell him to stop.

Rey squirms in his grasp. “I’m—I’m almost there.”

Ben cranes his neck to lick the gland under her jaw, then he sucks until Rey bucks faster against his fingers. She paws at her blankets and closes her eyes, toes curling as she teeters on the edge of coming.

 “You feel so good,” her father whispers in her ear, “so much better—than your mother ever felt.”

Rey frowns, whimpering. What…?

He swallows hard and reaches forward to cup a breast. Rey struggles to resist finishing but—

 “It’s okay,” he soothes, circling her nipple with his thumb, “it’s just us now, baby. This is right—it feels right being inside you, and I wanna feel you come on my cock.” Dad nips the lobe of her ear, lowering his voice. “Give me everything, Omega.”

 “But—but—”

Rey’s lips part and her breath catches. She gasps as she comes, bucking wildly against her father with no thought of her mother or Ben, just desperate rocking along the cock thrusting inside her.

Dad pants on her shoulder, pounding harder when she goes slack. “Keep you in heat forever—keep you bent over in front of me. Get you tied up on my knot.” Warm breath tickles her nape. Rey stops moving. “Get your pretty flat belly thick with my pups.”

 “Yes, Alpha,” she whispers back. He’s close to her mating gland and instinct says shut up.

 “That’s right—you’ll take whatever I give you.” Ben’s voice drops deeper than normal. He huffs on her hairline and licks the gland, then grunts. “My little girl. Little Omega. I’m gonna come inside you—daddy’s going to come, baby.” Rey shifts and he snarls, pinning her wrist. “Take it.”

And she does. Her father breathes heavily on her nape before he bites hard, drawing a surge of blood and squeal from Rey. He spills inside her with a couple long, lingering thrusts, then the knot takes and stops the trickle of cum from her body. His teeth break her gland and Rey is overwhelmed with the pleasure he feels in dominating and fucking her and his lust to see her heavily pregnant.

It fades away and leaves an empty space. Rey stares at the wall while her father purrs and licks her gland clean, and it feels like the world has shifted in a very bad way.

Chapter Text

Sunny summer afternoon, out hiking up a small mountain, just the three of them. There isn’t a cloud in the sky or a hint of rain in the forecast. Mom packed a nice picnic and bought Rey hiking shoes for the occasion, and she’s a definitely using them.

 “Rey,” mom laughs, “come away from the edge.”

She leans on her tiptoes. “Look mama, there’s a hawk in that tree! Come see!”

Dad hangs back. Mom sighs and comes to the edge—it’s a steep embankment but it won’t hurt if Rey falls.

Mom squints, shielding her eyes with a hand. “Oh yeah, you’re right! Looks like a red-tailed hawk. Babe, come see the bird Rey—”

The rocks give way. They both start falling.

Two strong arms wrap around Rey’s waist and swing her away from danger before she can blink. She reaches out with both hands for her mother but Ben turns her away and lets mom slide down to the bottom. He could’ve grabbed them both.

Dad frets. “Are you okay? Did you twist your ankle?”

 “I’m fine! Go get mom!”

She shouts from where she rolled down like she’s in pain but dad still hesitates. He gives Rey a long kiss on the forehead and his pack jangles as he turns to check on mom. Her ankle is broken and she gives dad the silent treatment the whole way home from the hospital. Then she goes in her bedroom and cries.

•—•—•—•—•

There’s someone else in Rey’s brain.

She wakes to the sensation of despair so crushing that she bursts into tears. She’s wrapped up in blankets that smell like sex and blood and… and…

The other person realizes she’s awake and tries to hide their guilt and shame, but Rey feels it all. She squirms in the blankets and screams because she doesn’t want to share her head or her body and the back of her neck hurts and her thighs are sticky—

 “Hey, Rey.”

All her fear wipes away at the sound of her father’s voice. She rolls over and blinks in the bright morning light illuminating his form standing in the closet doorway. He’s dressed… for work?

Rey sniffles. “I feel sick, daddy.”

Ben raises his eyebrows and takes a sharp step back. His jumpsuit is washed, which he only used to do when mom bagged him about it, but it’s soaked down the front with sweat. He has his hair in a ponytail but most of it hangs around his ears. Something seems off. Rey is too exhausted and confused to understand what exactly seems off.

He laughs. “Well you’re still off the hook with school so no big deal. I’m going to work. I’ll, uh…” His Adam’s Apple bobs. “I’ll be back later.”

Rey struggles out of the blankets and tries to cover her chest with her forearm. She pants from the effort and cries again when she sees blood mingling with slick down her thighs, and it just seems to make the pain between her legs even worse. The other person in her head feels guilty again; heavy and sad.

Dad shakes his head and takes another wobbling step back. “I have to go. I’ll… I’ll be home soon, okay? We’ll call grandma and figure this out.”

 “Don’t go!” Rey bleats. She crawls toward him on her hands and knees. “Please don’t—”

Anger flashes through her head. Dad closes the short space between them, growling and blocking her exit from the closet. Rey shrinks back under his shadow, eyes wide and meeting his cold glare. It’s not like him to be mad or to ignore her crying.

He grasps the doorframe with both hands. “I don’t think I told you to leave.”

Rey stares and pulls her blankets over herself again. Ben seems to snap out of it and he stumbles away, muttering and rubbing his sweaty forehead. Maybe she should call grandma. Dad’s sick, too.

She creeps to the edge of the closet when he has his back turned and hobbles into the hallway. Her neck throbs and her heart pounds as she walks quickly downstairs to the house phone. Her cell is somewhere upstairs with dad and he obviously won’t give it to her.

Downstairs, Rey realizes it’s the dead of night and dad shouldn’t be getting ready for work. She snatches up the phone and keeps walking, heading for the basement while dialing. She can lock that door. She’ll just call grandma—it’s just another stress thing from mom dying, like when Rey woke up to him in her bed.

The dial tone buzzes once, twice…

 “Give me the phone, Rey.”

His voice is like ice down her spine. She hesitates, then she’s handing it back to him, even though she doesn’t want to. Dad breathes on her scalp as grandma answers the call. Rey stares ahead.

 “Hi, mom. No, everything is fine.” He’s quietly smelling her hair, and closes a hand around her wrist. “Just wanted to call you is all, but I know you’re busy. Yeah, I’ll call back tomorrow. Bye.”

Ben hangs up the phone and tosses it on the kitchen table. The mess from the other night is all cleaned up, but if Rey thinks about mom, she can forget all that.

She closes her eyes. “I don’t feel good. I just wanted to call grandma.”

 “…We don’t need to talk to her right now. You’re not done with your, uh—cycle.” Dad lets go of her hand but doesn’t step away. He feels hot. “Go shower and go back to sleep. I’ll be home later.”

 “But you don’t work right now,” Rey whispers. “I don’t want you to go.”

 “I have to go somewhere.”

They lapse into silence. Another wash of shame compounds her own and she breaks down into tears again, because her legs are covered in him, and she knows why the back of her neck hurts so much. He’s trying to leave because it’s the right thing to do and she should want him to leave, but she doesn’t.

Dad doesn’t speak, so Rey shuffles upstairs to her own bedroom, too upset to shower or take stock of how messy she is. She should call grandma again and tell her what’s happening. It’s bad. This is bad.

Her bedroom is dark and quiet, stripped down of her memories from childhood. Some things are still piled near empty boxes waiting to move to the dusty attic. She can’t look at the old pictures of her with mom and dad. The thought makes her sick.

Rey climbs into her bed under the window and faces the wall. Why is this so easy for everyone else? Poe doesn’t have any problems. It’s not awkward with him and his mom. Aren’t they doing the same thing—having sex and biting and making nests? It’s not supposed to be weird. It’s normal.

The presence in her head feels heavy and sad again when she cries into her pillow. It’s like having someone peering in through the blinds, spying on every passing emotion and leaving her no privacy. It’s nauseating; unnatural.

Still, she manages to doze off for a little while, and everything is quiet. But those passing calm moments never last, and soon she wakes to a body in her bed.

He’s curled up behind her, hot and sweaty and naked, and he grasps her thigh to gently lift it over his hip. Rey whines at his hungry kisses along her throat as he settles closer between her legs. Part of her wants to scream but the voice in her head tells her to relax, so she does, even when she feels his cock prodding her.

 “I’m here,” her father whispers. Fingertips glide down her hip and stroke through her slit. Rey shivers. “You smell just like me, baby. Smells so nice.”

 “We should call grandma… something—something’s wrong.”

The words fall on deaf ears. Dad shushes her, nuzzling into her hair and circling her clit with the pad of one finger, and Rey is helpless to resist. He licks her nape while he stimulates her and she feels his low, rumbling purrs vibrating through her back. It’s relaxing. It’s nice lying here with him.

Better yet, the thing in her head seems to agree. It’s just as relaxed as she is, pleased to be curled up in her bed and pleased that they smell the same. The lust to dominate lurks somewhere underneath, ready to lash out if she tries to refuse a command.

But she won’t do that.

The presence suddenly collapses into sadness again, and Rey hears her father crying behind her. He presses closer and his cock strokes her entrance, drawing slick around the head. She arches her back and tries opening her legs for him.

 “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.” Her body stings as it stretches to take him in, and he moves slow at first, kissing her hair and teasing her clit with trembling fingers. “Don’t go anywhere without me, okay? You can’t do that.”

Rey winces as Ben pushes in deeper. He huffs and flexes his hips, sinking through raw flesh until he’s sheathed inside her. It feels right. It feels wrong.

 “I’m sore,” she mumbles.

 “From yesterday? From my knot?” Dad rolls his hips like that excites him. His cock rubs along the sensitive spots and Rey stiffens. “I’ve never done that before. Did it feel good? Nice and big?”

 “Yes… yes, it felt good.”

 “And big?” His breath is humid and hot on her ear, hand holding her hip as he fucks her slowly. “Did it feel nice and big, baby?”

Rey nods, burying her face in her pillow. Her father leans his weight across her back, pinning her half to the bed and leaving her helpless while he fucks her. But it’s not scary or uncomfortable: she likes his weight on her; it’s almost like a security blanket. She squirms against his fingers, whimpering as the tension builds and her muscles tighten around his length.

Ben kisses her shoulder. “I love you so much. Always knew you were made for me.” His voice cracks and he buries his face in her hair. When he speaks again, it’s a low whisper. “I tried to stay away—I didn’t want to hurt you or your mom.”

 “Don’t go,” Rey breathes. She’s close to coming and barely pays attention to what he’s saying, but she knows she doesn’t want him to stay away.

 “I knew she wouldn’t understand. She’d blame the camp and—and I’d never see you again. She didn’t understand the bond we have.”

Sheets shift and light tumbles through. Rey feels empty; painfully empty, and she cries out in distress until she feels her father’s weight between her thighs again. He’s facing her, kissing her forehead and her cheeks, and his body slowly joins hers again.

Everything jumbles together: it’s wrong and right, and turns her stomach but she doesn’t want to stop. Common sense suspended, Rey catches his roaming salty lips in a kiss. His breath hitches then he’s kissing her back, hesitant at first before his tongue dips in her mouth.

Her father rests his forehead to hers. “You’re going to come—I can feel it.” He breathes a low laugh and kisses her cheek. “I can feel it in my head and my bones and my blood. I can feel everything.”

Rey swallows and nods. “I can, too. It’s scary.”

 “It’s just me, baby. It’s normal.”

That doesn’t sound normal. It’s not like what Poe told her. He doesn’t feel his mom in his head.

Rey hugs her father closer, squeezing her thighs around his hips and squirming. A big arm wraps under her back and the other holds his weight as she climaxes, gasping and scratching his shoulder blades. It curls her toes and makes her squeal, and a gush of slick follows, dampening the bed.

Dad grunts, fucking her harder. “That’s it. That’s it… my good girl. I’m gonna knot you again—” He kisses her gently, then deepens and groans, cupping her cheek. “I love you so much. I knew you were special the first time I held you. Now it’s just us, baby.”

She doesn’t know what to say. Rey closes her eyes and pretends she’s hugging him like she used to, and they’re not demi-humans, and mom is still around.

But her father kisses her on the lips when he comes and she can’t pretend anymore. He gasps as the knot swells and fills her; the still-foreign stretch makes Rey whimper in pain and surprise. He fucks her harder into her mattress, huffing until he’s through a couple moments later—then it’s quiet.

Ben pants heavily into her pillow. He swallows and turns, gently guiding Rey on top of him and adjusting them in the small bed. The knot doesn’t hurt as much. She’s calm and sated like she just had a big dinner. Her eyes flutter shut as she lays her head on her father’s chest.

He rubs her back. “Feel okay? Sleepy?” His hand skates up her spine to stroke her nape. It tingles, slipping Rey into a deeper haze. “I know knots can hurt sometimes but… I always got used to it.”

She frowns. “You’re an Alpha, Daddy.”

Fear ripples through Rey’s mind and her father doesn’t answer. He hugs her closer instead, face buried in her neck, and she decides not to pry.

Chapter Text

 “Hey Solo—c’mere you little shit!”

This is a dream that doesn’t belong to Rey. She frowns in her sleep, struggling to wake. She’s had this dream before and she doesn’t like where it goes.

The air reeks of Alphas in rut, a threatening scent to anyone but downright terrifying to Rey. Three of them are coming up behind her and chasing her into a small cabin in a haze of late afternoon sun. It’s humid and hard to breathe and her fingers tremble with a key to open the door—but they’re not her hands.

 “Lemme help, buddy.” An Alpha grabs her upper arm and rips the key from her hand. He smells her hair. “Going into rut, too? You know how it is works here?”

 “My mom—mom is an Alpha,” Rey stammers. Her voice cracks.

The Alpha opens the cabin and pulls Ben inside. “Yeah? My mom is, too. That’s why we’re all here; got no one to soft bond with. But that’s alright. We’ve got little guys like you.”

Another fourteen year old is sleeping in a bunk. One of the other Alphas ruffles his hair to wake him up and drags him down to the floor. They’re big, closer to eighteen and almost aged out of the rut camp. It’s supposed to keep them all relaxed but cooping up Alphas together doesn’t work.

Rey is dragged to another bed and cries for her mom as the Alpha mounts her from behind. It’s pure agony, the worst thing she’s ever felt, then it gets worse. The Alpha pants on her neck and bites lightly.

 “Good boy,” he whispers. “I’m gonna take good care of you while you’re here.”

 “I want to go home… I want my mom!”

The man purrs and rubs his hand on Rey’s belly. He nuzzles her nape and she feels him twitching inside her body. His hand slowly slides lower and grasps an unfamiliar organ, and it makes her whimper. She squirms, prompting him to lick her nape.

 “Relax, little guy,” the man murmurs. “You’re gonna get used to my knot after you take it a few more times.” He strokes and Rey rolls her hips, impaling herself over and over on his knot. “That’s it—c’mon, I know you wanna come.”

She does. Her body convulses and she groans as she spills over his fingers and the edge of the bed. He pulses inside her and comes again, too, biting her nape hard and grunting. Rey wants to turn and scratch his face off; her body screams at her to get away from him.

But the Alpha restrains her arms and keeps licking her, purring, content with his kill.

 “I’ll take good care of you,” he repeats. “You’re my little guy during camp, Ben Solo.”

•—•—•—•—•

When Rey wakes, her heat is finally over.

She slips out of bed to trembling legs, slick trailing down her thighs, and quickly peels her sheets. The shame of the past few days hits her like a freight train: she had sex with her dad. Her dad.

Sobbing, Rey throws the sheets aside and tangles her fingers in her hair. Her body feels disgusting; all layered with the smell of him and the evidence of them, and she’s terrified that she could be pregnant. What did she do? This isn’t normal during soft bonding. There’s no sex or biting.

She rushes to the bathroom for a shower. It helps somewhat but dad’s scent still clings to her skin. He’s embedded in her now. She can’t just walk away.

Another rainstorm has the house surrounded by hazy mist. Rey paces in the kitchen for a few minutes, chewing her nails and afraid to look for her father, when she finally decides to call grandma. Just as she picks up the phone, the front door creaks open.

Dad comes in with his rain jacket on, hood up over his head. He’s carrying a paper bag and a bouquet of pink and white flowers and Rey almost runs the other way.

He smiles. “Hey, baby. Take a shower?” He shuts the door and pulls down his hood. “Gonna be a thunderstorm later.”

Rey doesn’t move. She watches him take off his shoes and jacket before he crosses the room to her. Dad kisses her forehead and offers the bouquet, which she takes with shaky hands. He smiles and takes a blueberry muffin from the bag.

 “Got your favorite, too. I thought you’d be hungry.”

 “…Thanks.”

Dad kisses her cheek. He hesitates, then kisses the corner of her mouth, then kisses her lips. Rey draws back but he follows and deepens the kiss, wrapping an arm around her waist to bring her closer. He tastes like coffee and something else she can’t place.

He breaks away to whisper in her ear. “I figured you’d need a little something after last night.”

Rey shudders as he lets her go. What’s wrong with him? He should be grossed-out and upset, too.

She follows him into the kitchen and he takes the flowers to set them in a vase. Dad whistles while he works, running a hand through his black hair; it’s probably the most chipper he’s been since mom died. Maybe the most chipper he’s been ever.

Rey wrings her hands. “I think I’ll call grandma, daddy. I think something’s wrong.”

 “Like what?” Dad glances over his shoulder and smiles. It’s weird. “Nothing’s wrong. You can go back to school tomorrow and I’ll go back to work.”

 “But… but my cycle is over and…”

And you shouldn’t be making out with me, or thinking about last night.

Ben finishes with the flowers. He sets the vase on the island before going to Rey and gently taking the phone from her grasp. Her lower lip quivers and she breaks down into tears, pushing away from him.

 “What if I’m…?” She chokes on the word, horrified. “What if I’m p-pregnant?”

His eyebrows raise and he steps closer. She can feel his excitement. “You think you are?”

 “I don’t know! I don’t want to be! You’re my dad!”

 “It’s okay—it’s okay. This is the way it’s meant to be.” Ben snags Rey around the waist again before she can stumble off to cry alone. He helps wipe the tears from her face and cups her cheeks in both hands, forcing her to look up at him. “I’ll take good care of you. You’re my little girl.”

It echoes like a bad memory. I’ll take good care of you. I’ll take good care of you.

Her father kisses her forehead and leads her upstairs to his bedroom. The closet door is closed, concealing the nest and evidence of what they’ve done, but Rey can still feel it sticking to her thighs. She cries as he helps her under the sheets.

Rain patters on the sliding glass door leading to the deck. It’s quiet; quiet enough that Rey can hear her father taking off his clothes to join her in bed. She sits up shakes her head as he slides under the sheets. This is wrong—this is so fucked up and wrong.

 “Shh,” he whispers. His arm winds around her shoulders. “Come here, baby. You know I love you.”

 “I want mommy… I want mommy…”

 “But you have me right here, and I know you better than she ever did.” His breath moves over her nape and he licks gently. “Your daddy knows what you need.”

Her skin tingles where he licks. Rey’s muscles gradually relax and her father guides her down in the bed until she’s lying in the pillows, right where mom used to sleep. But she cares less and less and now she’s eagerly reaching for dad as he crawls between her legs. He kisses the tip of her nose.

 “That’s it,” he murmurs, “good girl. Just relax.”

Rey watches him kiss a trail down her belly. He disappears under the sheets and he’s kissing her between the legs, and it’s wet and it feels weird. She writhes, panting and fisting the sheets, rolling her hips against his tongue and mouth.

Ben holds her thighs tight in both hands until she comes, struggling to hold in her moans. Her father re-emerges licking his lips and kisses her on the mouth. It tastes musky and salty—strange.

 “Your mom never let me do that,” he mumbles against her lips. He rests his forehead on hers and tugs up her hip, leaning forward. “You’re gonna get used to my knot after you take it a few more times.”

His cock is hot and hard as he penetrates Rey. She gasps, clinging to his shoulder blades, and he kisses her open mouth again. It feels as good as it did last night, and the night before, and she’s not in heat anymore. She tries to float away; pretend it isn’t happening.

But her father fucks her eagerly, pounding her into the mattress and panting in her ear. His cock throbs as if he’s already about to come. It’s impossible to ignore what they’re doing and where they’re doing it, and she can’t ignore her guilt.

He shudders. “I love you so much, baby. I’d do every awful thing over again if I had to—just to have you.”

Rey has no clue what he’s talking about. She buries her face in his neck when he comes, but this time there’s no knot, just two normal human bodies committing to something unforgivable.

—————

Hiding in big hoodies is the easiest right now.

Rey slinks through the halls at school, growing belly obscured under her sweater, but the mating mark on her neck is plainly obvious. She shuffles along near the wall and tries not to look anyone in the eyes.

Her friends still come around, but dad doesn’t let her stay alone with Poe. He doesn’t trust other Alphas.

Some days it feels like a waking nightmare and others her Omega brain convinces her this is the best possible situation. She’ll go home and cry or go home and let her father mount her in the living room. It’s the hormones, says dad, but the doctor says it’s because of the unnatural bond.

 “It will take a few years before it evens out and the brain stops fighting the hormones. It may never stop.”

It may never stop. Never.

She hugs the corners, now accustomed to the other kids picking on her for smelling like her father. The first day was the worst, when she reeked of him, wearing evidence of their mating like a beacon to all the other demis at school. Poe pretended to puke and Rose went to the nurse for help, then everyone else slowly learned what had happened.

Grandma blew up and so did dad. They got into a screaming match about a camp and the next day, gram calmed down and apologized.

 “I wouldn’t have sent you there… I didn’t know.”

 “Fuck you.” Rey felt his rage through their bond, hot and black and venomous. “Fuck you.

Now things are quieter.

 “Rey—over here.”

She turns and sees him standing by the lobby with his sunglasses over his head. Dad smiles as she approaches and cups a hand over her stomach. He’s still in his jumpsuit from work: he’s working overtime so they have more money for the baby. Grandma sued the camp and dad will get a big settlement in a couple more months, too.

Rey hands off her backpack. “My feet hurt so bad. Did mom—” She hesitates.

Her father shoulders her book bag and leans over to sweep her up bridal style. Rey squeals in shock but he laughs and switches her around so she can wrap her legs around his waist. Her head leans on his shoulder and she closes her eyes, shifting to give her belly space. The baby squirms around.

For a moment she can drift off to summers long past, when dad used to carry her home with one hand and hold mom’s hand with the other. She can smell the fried food, taste the ice cream on her tongue, and feel the sleepy ache of a day in the sun. Simple pleasures.

Dad kisses her temple. “My two babies had a long day, hm?”

He could mean her and mom. He could.

Rey nods and burrows deeper into his shoulder. It’s been a long day at the lake, and she’s ready to rest.