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Beta Release

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Everyone knew, from the time they were very young.

They knew how it was for alphas and omegas. Spend a day on any playground, and you’d learn.

The children played Omega, Omega, Alpha -- the “alpha,” once tagged, would chase their “omega” tagger around the circle until they caught them, then pin them to the ground. The pinned child would then struggle, futilely seeking escape, before finally giving up and crying “bred” to gain release.

They ran knot races, wherein pairs of giggling students tied themselves together back to front with jump ropes, before racing, stumbling, falling, all the way across the handball courts.

They played Alphie and Omama and Babies; two of them would be selected as parents, and everyone else would be the unruly litter. While anti-fertility drugs insured that modern litters usually only contained two to three babies -- at least in affluent countries like England -- in their playground games, whole classes would play littermates.

They sang songs and clapped hands:

Sir Romeo was an omega,
Alpha Juliet couldn’t tell.
Sir Romeo went into heat,
Miss Juliet gave him

Hello operator,
Please give me Doctor Scott,
My omama’s having babies
While still filled with a

Naughty little children
Should learn not to skip class,
Or just like an omega
They’ll take it up the

Ask me no more questions
I’ll tell you no more lies
But if you are an alpha
I’ll help unzip your

Flies are in the classroom
The bees will take roll call,
Miss Juliet has her Romeo
Up against the wall, wall, wall!

Nobody ever played Betas.


Some of Mary’s friends expressed disappointment when they started presenting as betas. Never mind that only ten percent of the population was an alpha or omega, and the world was facing dire overpopulation as it was. Betas were boring and unromantic.

Mary felt relief.

The old saying, “Alpha die young, omega bear young, beta never young,” was an oversimplification -- but not that much of one.

Alphas were aggressive, unpredictable, addicted to danger and attention. The alphas in the public eye were racecar drivers, fighters, rock stars, action heroes (and stuntalphas, of course). Jobs where their utter unreliability and erratic behavior in the presence of omegas would be tolerated, because of their high entertainment value. Of, course, that was rare -- mostly, alphas were lowlifes, drug dealers and gambling addicts and worse.

Omegas got pregnant early and rarely entered the workforce. Those on suppressants sometimes did simple tasks or menial labor -- but few chose to deal with the side effects or the stigma.

Betas were the ones who had to be the adults -- they were stable, dependable. They kept society running. Betas weren’t special or notable, not like the others. Some people longed to be flashy. Mary, on the whole, thought she would rather not attract attention.

She was relieved about the sex, too. Betas, once past their initial disappointment, gave ayos (as they called the others) the side-eye. Non-stop rutting for four days in every twenty-eight, followed by a complete lack of interest in sex for the rest? Children as a near inevitability?

No, thank you.

Betas were sensible in sex, as in everything else. They had sex when they felt like it -- with other betas, of course -- and any frenzied or extended sessions could be attributed to genuine appreciation for their partners. Some of her friends might sigh over how romantic it was that ayos were singlemindedly focused on their partner while in heat, but she saw nothing romantic in being mindlessly drawn to the nearest complementary tab or slot. She was happy to be valued for herself. And no children meant no need to sully sex with worries of what it might lead to.

Besides, while sex shouldn’t be shameful, ayos carried it too far. “Fucking ayos,” betas would shake their heads, occasionally walking past alleys where an omega whose heat had caught them by surprise was bent over a bin by a snarling, biting, rutting alpha. They’d stay there, brazenly visible with their shredded clothes hanging off them, for at least twenty minutes until the knot subsided. It wasn’t romantic, no matter what the stories said.

In reality, they were a lot more like animals than people. Fucking ayos.


Mary’s few ayo friends had left as soon as they presented at puberty, going off to a separate school. After that, she hadn’t dealt with any. She’d become a combat medic and later an assassin. Both roles required caution, quick thinking, steadfast reliability, and the ability to blend in. No place for an ayo.

She didn’t start spending time with ayos until the Milverton case. And she didn’t realize it until later.

She’d been hired to render Milverton harmless. So had a detective, as it turned out.

The detective and his partner arrived right as she had everything under control, and they nearly bodged the whole thing. But when Milverton fled, after burning his safe full of secrets, the three of them chased him down together. In the course of the footrace through lamplit London streets, the shots fired, the fences vaulted, the exhilarated banter, and some frankly astounding observations on the part of the detective about Milverton’s bolthole, her anger at the two of them transformed into admiration.

After the police arrived to collar the blackmailer, they invited her back to their flat. She accepted, grinning. She was surprised, since there’d been no flirting leading up to it, but she was also pleased. Back in college, she’d had a few threesomes -- betas weren’t all boring, despite the stereotype -- but it had been years. As they squished together in the back seat of the cab, giggling wildly about inappropriate aspects of the case, she thought she was in.

Back at Baker Street, though, she realized her error. The lack of flirting continued. And what she’d originally read as sexual tension between the two of them was apparently just a combination of mutual admiration and close friendship. Instead of the evening proceeding as she’d expected, John made tea, and they talked. Or, rather, she and John listened to Sherlock recounting some of his more obscure reasoning. His monologuing continued over takeaway, with John interjecting a periodic “Amazing!” or “Fantastic!” She asked a few questions and added a few snarky comments, but mostly just enjoyed the company.

Later, over wine, she asked, “So, how’d you two end up in the detective business?”

“Oh, well,” John scrubbed his neck, “I guess I sort of stumbled into one of Sherlock’s cases.”

Sherlock glanced at him sharply. “John was invaluable. I couldn’t have finished the case without him.”

“Really?” she asked.

“Oh, ta very much,” John said, but he was laughing. “No, I know -- I’m no Sherlock Holmes.”

“Nobody is,” Sherlock observed.

John smiled wryly. “Trust me, I know. I’m just the muscle.”

“That is underselling yourself,” Sherlock responded. “You yourself may not be luminous, but you are an excellent conductor of light.”

“Erm. Thanks, I think.” John pulled a face, but he was still looking at Sherlock affectionately. “What my flatmate is trying to say --” flatmate, that clinched it; they weren’t involved, and she was beginning to wonder if the detective at least wasn’t asexual -- “is that I do actually ask questions and occasionally contribute an idea or two to help with a case. But I also can run fast and punch hard,” he added with a grin.

She grinned back. “A worthy skill set.”

“What about you, then?” John asked, refilling her wine glass. “What do you do -- when you’re not being interrupted in the middle of confronting blackmailers?”

She grimaced. “God, he knew so many secrets.” John nodded sympathetically, clearly thinking that was why she was trying to shoot Milverton; Sherlock eyed her as if he suspected otherwise.

“Combat medic,” she said. “Recently back from Afghanistan; looking for clinic jobs.”

John’s smile vanished; he stood abruptly and left the room. She stared after him, at a loss. “That was unexpected.”

Sherlock shot her a disdainful glance. “That is because you see, but you do not observe.”

She heard her voice come out even, and was proud of how well she suppressed her bristling. “Oh?”

“John is an addict, and danger is his drug of choice, much like you and I.” She nodded. “He’d naturally crave a job that satisfied that need -- emergency responder, perhaps, or soldier. His family photo over the mantel obviously shows a studious young man; John’s pallor as compared to the healthy color of his sister’s skin is indicative of long days in the library.”

She turned in her chair to glance at the photo, then turned back, confused about the point he was making. Sherlock continued. “The medical textbooks lining our shelves could belong to either of us -- and some of them are, in fact, mine -- but based on the aforementioned evidence and John’s response to your stated career, it should hardly be a leap to realize that John hoped to be an army doctor, but was unable.”

She blinked at Sherlock. “Oh, yeah. Obvious,” she remarked, deadpan. But her heart wasn’t in the snark; she was worried about having inadvertently upset her new friend. “Why was he unable?”

He studied her. “You really can’t tell? Dear God. What is it like in you funny little brains?”

She scowled. “Now, look --”

“What he means to say,” John said, walking back into the room, “Is that they don’t take omegas in the Army. Nor in med school, incidentally.” He reclaimed his seat on the sofa, next to Sherlock.

“Oh?” she asked. Why did that matter? Was he one of the radical activists, then, unwilling to accept a given job and the accompanying benefits until there was full gender equality? John pursed his lips, watching her carefully from under his brows. “...Oh.” Realization dawned. “You’re an omega?”

He smiled without humor. “I know -- I seem so human, right?”

She shook her head. “No! No, I just -- I mean -- I… well.”

Sherlock spoke next. “It was because of John’s gender that he was so helpful on that first case.”

“It was right after I’d received my rejection notice from Bart’s,” John picked up the story.

“Wait,” she interrupted. “You applied to Bart’s?” He glowered at her, and she hastened to add, “You must have known their admission policy.”

He pursed his lips. “Just stubborn, I guess. And I thought maybe I could use suppressants to pass.”

She thought of the few, sad, slow omegas she’d seen on suppressants and raised her eyebrows. He shrugged. “LIke I said, stubborn. I’d also applied to the Army, and got the same answer. I was about at the end of my rope, heading to Archway Bridge to throw myself off.”

She frowned. It seemed extreme. Then again, ayos were known to be drama queens.

“It was fortunate for me that he was,” Sherlock resumed narrating. “For he stumbled into a confrontation between me and my arch-enemy, Moriarty.”

“Not literally,” John added. “I hid in an alley watched.”

“Arch-enemy?” she said laughing with surprise. “People don’t have arch-enemies.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes, but John fought a smile. “That’s what I used to think.”

“Be that as it may,” Sherlock continued, “John arrived just in time to witness me revealing to Moriarty that I had bested him -- or so I thought. Moriarty chose that moment to incapacitate me, however, and John saved the day.”

“Incapacitated?”

“Moriarty had an assistant with him,” John explained. “An assistant who turned out to be an omega -- an omega who went into heat in the middle of their confrontation.”

Sherlock flushed. “I was on her in a moment. Knotted and useless.”

“Moriarty ran, but I chased him down; he wasn’t expecting me, didn’t have backup. I knocked him out and dialed 999.”

“By the time the Met arrived, the excitement was over.” Sherlock sounded very disappointed.

Mary was still staring at the detective. “You --”

He cut her off sharply. “Yes, yes. I’m an alpha. Is that so difficult to believe?”

She thought it all through. His arrogance and adrenaline-seeking behaviors. The fact that he cohabited with John. Some of it fit. “But -- you’re living here.”

“Ah, yes,” Sherlock responded with a tight smile. “Far too posh a neighborhood for our kind.” He rolled his eyes.

John studied her. “It’s Ms. Hudson,” he explained. “She lives downstairs. She’s a beta.”

“Oh -- so you’re her…?” She’d heard of adult ayos living with their adoptive beta parents, but it was rare. But aside from that, the reality was that most alphas -- not the famous ones, who lived in mansions, but the slovenly, typical alphas -- lived in slums, or in the government housing provided to their litter omama. Certainly not Baker Street.

“I’m someone she owes a favor,” Sherlock said. “Her lover got himself sentenced to death for murder a few years back.”

“And you stopped him being executed?” Mary asked.

“Oh, no -- I ensured it.”

She burst into surprised laughter at that, and John grinned at her. Sherlock’s lip twitched. These felt like her kind of people, she had to admit. Even if they were ayos.

There was still a big piece of the puzzle missing, though. “But, so...” she looked back and forth between the two of them and bit her lip, trying to think of a delicate way to put it. “Are you --”

“-- a couple?” John asked, at the same time as she finished, “-- infertile?”

“Obviously,” Sherlock said, while John simultaneously answered, “No.”

She snorted. “Okay, can we take that a little slower?”

“Yes, we mate,” Sherlock said, drawing out the word and popping the final ‘t’. John flushed at this frank admission. “No, John isn’t barren.”

“All right,” she said, looking back and forth between them questioningly. But the silence stretched out.

“Right, I’ll get more tea…” John muttered, starting to rise. She yawned and glanced at the clock. “Oh, knots! I’ve got an early appointment.” A follow-up with the client who’d hired her to take out Milverton, in fact. “I should go.”

She stood, and they followed suit. “Lovely to meet you,” John said, and shook her hand.

“You’re far less useless than most people,” Sherlock observed, causing her to snicker while John glared at him. “I look forward to next time.”

“Next time --?”

“There’s a case we could use your help with,” John explained. “If you’re up for it. There’s a beta-only club, uptown --” He proceeded to describe a ridiculously dangerous-sounding scenario to get to the bottom of a series of murders.

“Sounds brilliant,” she said with a grin. They made plans and said good night.

It had been one of the strangest evenings of her life, she thought as she hailed a cab, and that was saying something.


On the next case, Sherlock and John accompanied her into the club with fake IDs and did an impressive job impersonating the refined beta members. In truth, they hardly needed her, but she was glad to be there. There was sleuthing and fistfights and chases and even a fire before the case was solved -- overall, it was a fantastic time. They made a good team.

They invited her back to Baker Street again. This time, she knew it wasn’t for sex, and she realized she felt a mild pang of regret over that fact. Which was ludicrous -- they were ayos. With the exception of the occasional horrific rape case, betas and ayos didn’t do that.

Still, she was grateful to be making friends. She didn’t have many of those. She stayed far later than she meant to, and drank a great deal of wine. They kept pace, all ending up seated on the floor eventually, which felt more intimate somehow. Sherlock fell asleep leaning back against the sofa, snoring softly.

“So,” she asked John, when she was too sloshed to be bothered with manners, “I don’t get it. It sounds like you two don’t keep separate during heats...”

He laughed. “Hardly.”

She thought about it. “But. You should be…”

“Up to my arse in babies at this stage?”

It was a funny figure of speech, and she giggled. Of course the government found good beta homes for all children as soon as they were weaned, though.

“Yeah.” It occurred to her that maybe she was making incorrect assumptions. “I mean, have you borne litters? Or are you gestating now?” He wasn’t showing, but it was possible.

John shook his head. “I’ve been pregnant, though.”

Oh, God, she was so insensitive. “I’m so sorry. Miscarriages are --”

“No,” he interrupted.

She frowned. “Sorry?”

“Not a miscarriage,” he said, pronouncing the word with the elaborate carefulness of someone trying not to sound too drunk. “I ended it. Well, Sherlock helped.”

She stared at him with dawning horror, a feeling of nausea growing within. “You what?! Why would you -- How…?”

He looked up and met her eyes calmly. “Does our lifestyle seem like it’s any place for children?”

“But you wouldn’t be raising them,” she said. For some reason, that made him grimace.

“Sure, but. Pregnancy, nursing. That lasts a couple years. And then you start over.”

“You could get a nursemega,” she protested weakly, knowing it wasn’t really a solution. Male omegas, with their larger frames, generally bore more children; female omegas, with their larger breasts, produced more milk and often took on more children after birth and did extra nursing duty. But no omegas gave up nursing entirely unless their milk glands were defective.

John just watched her from beneath his brows. “It’s just, it seems so selfish,” she said. Then, hearing her bald statement and seeing John’s deepening scowl, she tried to backpedal. “I mean. I don’t mean that. Well. I just mean…” she struggled for words. “It’s just -- that’s what omegas do, isn’t it? Bear children? I mean. Where would our society be if all the omegas decided not to?”

John’s mouth twisted. “I hardly think we’re at any risk of that.” He sipped his wine and looked disappointed. She hated that he looked disappointed. She wasn’t the odd one here.

“So, you… you killed them?”

Sherlock shifted and blinked. “Oh, please,” he said thickly. She wondered how much of the conversation he’d caught. “Don’t be so sentimental. It was just a small bunch of cells at that stage.”

John added, “After the night when it happened -- when we thought we might have conceived -- Sherlock started drawing blood samples.” She stared at him blankly. “To test for pregnancy.”

It was a strange thought -- she’d certainly never run that test in her days as a medic. But, of course, she’d only treated betas. And she was confused by the mention of one night in particular; surely this would have come up many times?

“I’ve studied chemistry,” Sherlock said. “When the results came back positive, I put it to use. Mixed something for John to take.”

Her eyes widened. “That… works?”

John snorted. “Oh, sure. It got rid of the problem -- and nearly got rid of me, too.”

Sherlock looks pained. “I… miscalculated.”

John shook his head and put a hand comfortingly on Sherlock’s shoulder. “Not your fault -- embryos are tenacious buggers. We tried weaker doses first, and it didn’t work. The dose that did work almost killed me. I was sick for weeks.”

“I won’t be trying that again,” he added.

“I wouldn’t let you,” Sherlock said, fiercely. He curled up around John, placing his head in his lap. They were sweet together, but she still felt disquieted.

John, stroking Sherlock’s hair, looked at her again. “How would you feel?” he asked. “How would you feel if you couldn’t work? If everyone expected you to spend your time bearing litters?”

It was such an absurd question, she laughed. Some of her friends had romanticized omegas, growing up -- the pampered nurturer, the noble continuer of society. She’d preferred to play at being an alpha, herself. But the truth was, she was obviously born to be a beta. She was well-suited to that life. The fact that there were others who didn’t feel the same left her feeling deeply unsettled.

John and Sherlock weren’t laughing, she realized, sobering. She tried to take the question seriously. “I don’t. I don’t know,” she fumbled. “I can’t imagine what that would be like. I mean, if I’d been born and raised an omega, trained in omega finishing schools, I guess I would want that…”

John pursed his lips. “It must be nice to think so.”

There followed a long silence. “I guess I should probably leave now,” she said, half hoping someone would contradict her. Nobody did.

“All right.” She stood awkwardly, considering leaving money on the table for her share of the takeaway -- would that be rude? Would they think she was implying that they couldn’t afford it because they were ayos? She gave up and just grabbed her jacket and headed for the door. “Good night.” She wasn’t sure she’d see them again.


She woke up with a hideous hangover, and a sour feeling in her stomach that wasn’t entirely due to the wine. She felt resentful all that day, and the next, worrying at it constantly in her mind as she did various jobs. Eventually, she realized that she felt resentful of John and Sherlock for making her like them and then making her feel guilty.

A few days later, she admitted that this might be irrational.

A day after that -- while tracking down a small-time drug dealer who’d stolen a lot of smack from a larger time drug dealer, who’d hired her to get it back -- she finally tried to give John’s question fair consideration. It was difficult. So many counterfactuals; so many things that were nearly impossible to imagine. The best she could do was imagine that she woke up in an omega’s body tomorrow.

Funny, there were comedies of errors involving mistaken ayo identities -- one of Shakespeare’s favorite themes -- and even ayo body swap stories. But she’d never seen a play or a film about a beta swapping places with an ayo. Likely because betas weren’t interesting story material; everyone knew that -- their lives and characters lacked the proper dramatic arc of a good romance or tragedy. Maybe also because it was a bit gross; it would be a bit like swapping places with a sheep or a goat.

She blinked at the thought. Despite the portrayals of ayos as those animals in political cartoons, John and Sherlock were as far from dumb barnyard animals as she could imagine. She had trouble keeping up with them mentally, especially Sherlock.

All right. She tried to ignore her discomfort and imagine it again. What if she woke up an omega?

She spent several days thinking about it, trying to read the news and watch TV from an omega perspective. She read up on omega employment statistics, as well. Over 98% of adult omegas were litter bearers only. Some few took hormonal suppressants -- unnatural and unomegalike though society considered that to be -- but those drugs also suppressed emotion and made thoughts fuzzy. Such deviants worked as janitors or garbagebetas, or any job that didn’t require speed or quick wits and which betas weren’t overly eager to do themselves. Of those who took suppressants for over five years, nearly 30% committed suicide.

She was disturbed that nobody on the news ever talked about those rates.

Finally, she texted John. I’m sorry. I’d have done the same.

She wondered, still, how he’d manage to just do it the once, but she was afraid to ask. She wasn’t even sure he’d talk to her again.


She was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of footsteps inside her house. As her bedroom door handle turned, she reached for her gun.

“Get up,” Sherlock said, poking his head around the door. “We need you.”

“Sorry,” John added, as she jumped out of bed -- nearly naked, but she supposed that didn’t matter to either of them -- and started to pull on jeans. “Your window was open, and we came in.”

“Faster than picking the lock,” Sherlock added.

She laughed at that explanation and with the relief of seeing them. She finished dressing while they caught her up on the situation -- an alpha serial killer was going after omegas, and was about to strike again. She followed them out into the night and the chase, feeling indecently happy about the whole thing.


Later, they celebrated the end of another successful case -- back at Baker Street, as was becoming a habit. Midway through dinner, though, Sherlock got a strange look on his face.

“John,” he said, and it came out nearly a growl. “John -- run.”

John’s eyes widened. “Oh, knots,” he swore, jumping up. She saw a patch of wetness spreading across the seat of his trousers as he dashed from the room.

Sherlock followed with frightening quickness, knocking aside and nearly breaking a side table in the process. She hesitated, propriety and a desire to respect their privacy at war with curiosity and fear for John’s safety. After a moment, John called her name, and she followed.

Down the hall, in the master bedroom, she found John sitting on the floor with his back against the bed, frantically searching through the nightstand, his feet braced against Sherlock’s chest. Sherlock was simultaneously tearing off his own clothes and trying to do the same to John’s. This was slightly hampered by the fact that John’s trouser legs were now dripping with his wetness, but Sherlock was nonetheless making progress.

“John,” Sherlock growled. “John, mine, John.”

“Hold him for me?” John asked. She grabbed the snarling Sherlock’s arms and shoulders in an attempted wrestling hold, but he shook her off.

“Sherlock!” She shouted, grabbing at him again, this time with more success. “Stop this!”

He stopped struggling for half a second, uncertain. “John…” he whimpered. “Must… John...” He quivered, then leaped forward with renewed effort. He also managed to wriggle entirely out of his trousers and pants, and his cock sprang free.

Alpha cocks up close were rather terrifying -- easily twice as long and thick as any she’d seen in person (all belonging to betas, of course), and with the beginnings of a knot already visible at the base. She gasped a fearful breath and clutched at him harder.

John shouted with triumph as he finally pulled something from the nightstand. It looked like a small balloon. “Shh, Sherlock, here,” he said, and she watched, startled, as he slipped it onto Sherlock’s cock.

And oh, of course -- that was how they did it. She wondered, fleetingly, why more ayo pairs didn’t, or whether it was more common than she knew.

Sherlock let out a sharp whine of frustration as John touched him, and then John shouted to her, “Okay -- let him go.”

She did, and Sherlock surged forward. He flipped John over onto his face on the floor, pulled John’s trousers and pants down around his ankles, and plunged his strangely sheathed cock into John’s dripping arse.

“Oh, fuck,” John shouted through gritted teeth, and she was worried that he was hurt. But then he hissed, “Yes, God, please. Sherlock, God, yes.”

She sat there, frozen, thinking she should probably stop intruding on this intensely private moment. But she should really make sure John was okay, shouldn’t she?

Sherlock pumped into John rapidly, up to where the sheath ended and his knot began. The knot was growing unbelievably big -- nearly the size of a tennis ball. She’d seen ayo porn, of course -- who hadn’t looked that up while feeling vaguely ashamed? -- but it was something else entirely in person. “John,” he growled again. “Mine.”

As she knelt on the floor next to them and watched -- just trying to make sure John was all right, really -- she felt an uncomfortable twinge in her own trousers. She guiltily reached down to adjust herself.

“Yes,” John whimpered. “Please. Please knot me. Please.”

“Yes,” Sherlock snarled. He triumphantly shoved forward, and she watched as John’s arse spread magnificently wide around Sherlock’s knot. John moaned beautifully. Sherlock sank into him and then leaned in to bite the back of his neck.

Fuck, that was hot. She still felt guilty for watching, but she also didn’t think they cared much what she did at this point, or were even aware of her. She undid her own trousers and slid a hand inside.

Her dick was hard, throbbing. She rubbed it and groaned with pleasure, feeling deeply grateful to be human. Most female mammals had a small, difficult to locate clitoris. Human females, like spotted hyenas and a few small primates, were blessed with a pseudo-penis. It was, on average, more modest than the male penis, and of course the penis decreased in size from alpha to beta to omega. But her dick was a perfectly respectable three and a half inches when fully erect.

“John,” Sherlock half-sighed in a low voice, sounding slightly more like himself. “Fuck. You’re so tight.”

“God, yes, and it feels so good,” John groaned. “Oh fuck, yes -- right there, oh, harder, please --”

She whimpered listening to his pleas and reached down to swipe some moisture from the shallow hole that housed her lube gland. Lucky males kept their gland in their arse like a sensible person. But females still had a vestigial vagina, from back in the days when their ancestor's uterus was reached through a different hole than the anus, and that was where she produced her moisture.

She wasn’t flooded with lube like John -- but then, she didn’t have to accommodate an alpha knot. Still, she was very wet, and it felt lovely as she stroked her shaft. Her cock twitched in her hand as Sherlock growled and grabbed John’s hips, fucking him harder. He had relatively limited ability to move now that they were knotted, but each time he shoved forward, John cried out. John’s cries rose higher, more frantic, and Sherlock pounded harder, growling deeper and lower, and she spurted into her own hand watching them.

They continued, however. She was first impressed with their stamina, and then, as they went on and on, she began to grow alarmed. John’s cries sounded more strained, and Sherlock’s movements became more shaky and fatigued. His growls became tired groans.

Sherlock moved more and more erratically and then finally slumped against his mate, eyes closed. John gave an extremely frustrated sounding whimper.

“Are you… okay?” She asked uncertainly, suddenly very self-conscious about still being here.

“Yeah.” John’s answer was muffled by the carpet. “He’ll be out for a while, now.” His voice sounded strained and exhausted.

“Oh. Is he... did he… “

“Did he come?” he asked. She nodded, blushing.

“Nope.”

“But… why not?”

“What triggers an alpha orgasm?” John asked, shifting under Sherlock’s weight and turning his head toward her.

“What?”

“You’ve had medical training. What’s the trigger?”

She thought back to her textbooks -- though ayo medicine was not her specialty, they’d studied it briefly. “The alpha orgasm,” she said slowly, “Is triggered when the alpha knot is seated inside a tight sphincter, and the head of the penis is pressed against flesh.” She thought about the rubber-like material coating Sherlock’s cock. “Oh.”

“Yep.” John sighed.

She recalled something else. “And the omega climax is triggered only by semen coming in contact with the cervix.”

“True.”

“So neither of you --”

“Nope.”

“So… what happens now?”

“If I’m lucky, you fetch me some water,” he said with a grin.

She fetched water for John, along with a towel. After she helped him drink, she mopped up as much of the sweat and lube slicking their bodies as she could, then covered them with a blanket, as John had started to shiver.

“Thanks,” he said, gratefully.

She sat beside him, studying them both. “So, did he just fuck himself to sleep?”

John smiled fondly. “Yes. Thank God we just had a case, and he hadn’t slept much in a few days -- he wears out much easier at times like this.”

“But, as I recall, the alpha’s knot won’t subside until orgasm.”

John nodded. “Or when the heat ends.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh. Oh my God. So you’re stuck like this for days?”

“Maybe,” he said.

“Maybe?” From what she understood, omega cycles were like clockwork.

“Sherlock’s been working on something,” he said. “Something to try to control my heats. Ever since Moriarty made it clear that he could trigger his assistant’s heat on command, we knew it was possible.”

She nodded. “Is it working?”

“Sort of. He struck on something lately that’s been giving me shorter heats. But it’s also made the timing less predictable. Witness tonight.”

She considered. “So the ideal that you’re working toward is eliminating sex entirely?”

“Yeah,” John said. “I don’t know that Sherlock will mind, actually.” The regret in his voice made it clear that he felt otherwise.

She wrinkled her nose. “That sucks.”

He huffed a laugh. “Better than the alternatives.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes. Then she said, “I’m sorry I jerked off while watching.”

John started laughing and then coughing under the weight of Sherlock. Sherlock shifted and muttered slightly, his arm flopping down into John’s face, but he didn’t rouse. Mary giggled at the sight of the two of them.

“I don’t mind at all,” John said, catching his breath. “I find it rather hot, actually.”

“I didn’t know omegas could find that sort of thing hot,” she said. “But I’m glad.”

“When I’m in heat, I find most things hot,” he sighed. “It’s endless frustration.”

“Oh, so I’m not special then,” she teased gently.

“No, you are,” he said seriously. “We both like you. I don’t like most people. And Sherlock doesn’t like anyone.”

She leaned down impulsively and kissed his forehead. “I don’t like most people, either.” Then, “So, is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable?”

“Don’t think so.”

She studied them again. “Can you get his knot back out of you, and move around?”

“I could, yeah. But it would take a lot of effort, and the moment I got it out, I’d be whimpering and desperate for it again. I’m frustrated now, but without the knot, I’d be crazed. This is probably the best I can do.”

She frowned. “I feel useless.”

He smiled at her. “You’ve been a big help -- you have no idea. But there’s probably not a lot you can do just now. You should go home and get some sleep.”

“But --”

“We’ll be fine, promise. Especially if you bring me some more water first.”

She did, and then she brushed her lips against his, and pressed a kiss to the top of Sherlock’s head. She left with a spare key and a promise to come back the next day after getting a good night’s sleep.

Instead of heading home, though, she headed to the seediest part of town.


Mary entered Baker Street hours later, hearing tired grunts and moans coming from the bedroom. “Hi,” she said, walking in.

John and Sherlock were still on the floor, but had managed to move around. Now Sherlock was on his back and John was astride him, rocking back and forth. They both grunted tiredly in greeting.

“Hi boys,” she said cheerfully, handing them both a bottled water that she’d picked up on the way. She gave them a moment to guzzle down water, then said, “I have a proposition.”

They both shot her confused looks.

“I’ll be in the middle, if you like.”

“What?” John asked slowly.

“If you’re clean, I’m willing. Sherlock fucks me -- no barrier. I fuck you -- no barrier. I did my research; omegas can come in response to beta semen, even though it’s sterile. And I’m clean.”

Sherlock and John stared at each other exhaustedly.

“That might work,” Sherlock said.

John shook his head. “Would hurt. You’re too big. She’s not made for it.”

Mary smiled and held up a bottle of artificial lubricant. “I’ve bottomed before with betas, and I came prepared.”

John shook his head again. “Won’t help enough.”

She unzipped her trousers slowly and stripped them and her pants off. John and Sherlock both watched her erect cock, now freely bobbing, with interest. She lay down on the floor, canted her hips, bore down, and slowly withdrew a large knotted toy from her arse.

John looked impressed. Wiping the sweat from his eyes, he said to Sherlock, “That looks a lot like your cock.”

“It’s purple,” Sherlock huffed, offended.

John smiled. “Well, other than that.”

“I’ve been practicing,” she said, waggling her eyebrows and grinning. “Just in case you wanted to give it a try.” She kept her tone light, wanting to make it easy for them to say no. This was unknown territory; even if they both liked her, this wasn’t done. Betas and ayos didn’t mate.

“Where’d you get it?” John asked.

“Don’t be stupid, John. It’s obviously a grey market item, aimed at betas who are aroused by the taboo. It was clearly purchased last night after she departed, and there are only two locations in London that would have been open at that time.”

John grinned down at him. “I love how you get more and more like yourself the longer we fuck.”

Sherlock scowled. “I can hardly help the neurotransmitter surge that your heat pheromones produce in me. But the supply is mostly depleted within twenty-four hours… it has nothing to do with your arse.”

John giggled. “You’re sure? Positive it’s not my magical healing arse, restoring your brain functions?”

Sherlock just rolled his eyes.

John looked up at her earnestly. “You don’t have to do this for us, you know.”

She grinned. “I know. But I’ve been jerking off thinking about it for hours now, as I was stretching out my arse, and I’ve already come hard several times. I’ll be a bit disappointed if I don’t get to come again in between the two of you.”

Sherlock and John shared a long glance, and then both smiled at her. “We’d hate to disappoint,” John said.

They spent a few minutes discussing logistics. Then Sherlock said, “Wait.” He lunged up into a half-sitting position and pulled John’s face down to his own. He bit John’s lip, hard enough that John hissed, then pulled him into a kiss. John tangled his hands in Sherlock’s hair and kissed back, fiercely. Finally, they broke apart.

Then, “Come here,” John asked. She did, and the two of them, still joined together, pulled her into their embrace. John kissed her deeply, while Sherlock nipped at her neck and ear. She moaned into John’s mouth.

“Please,” she breathed, once they released her. “Let’s fuck.” They both nodded eagerly.

By mutual agreement, they shifted around until John was on all fours, and she was in the same position right beside him. She started to lube up her own arse, but Sherlock reached over to finger her and help, and she was soon moaning and squirming as he slipped two, three, four, five fingers inside. Then he withdrew his fingers and rubbed the excess lube around John’s hole where they were joined.

“Ready?” Sherlock asked her.

“Ready.”

“John?”

“Ready.”

Sherlock gripped John’s hips and pulled backward. They both hissed as John’s arsehole stubbornly tightened against the attempt to prematurely withdraw. Slowly, though, Sherlock’s knot stretched him. John cried out in what could have been loss or pain as he was finally breached in reverse by the knot. Sherlock’s cock slipped out rapidly once past the widest point, and he yanked off the artificial sheath. Then he growled in frustration and grabbed John’s hips once more.

“Here!” Mary shouted. “Sherlock! In me!”

Sherlock released John and grabbed her instead. A moment later, she felt him pressing at her entrance. “Oh, fuck,” she groaned.

“Yes,” Sherlock rumbled, and thrust into her.

She thought she was prepared, but she wasn’t. He was huge, and he pushed open her arse relentlessly, far more quickly than she’d opened herself up with the toy, earlier. She focused on bearing down, tried to breathe. It was quite a stretch, though, and a bit of a burn.

Then she hit the knot, and his cock stopped. Sherlock was snarling now, and leaning down to nip her neck with his teeth, as he rocked back and forth against her entrance. He panted in her ear, “Can’t hold off much longer,” and she nodded. But she was panicking a bit.

Just then, she felt her cock enveloped. She looked down and saw John, beneath her, her cock in his mouth. She whimpered at the sensation of his tongue swirling around her, quivered as he took her in deeper. Fuck. It had been forever since she’d gotten a good blow job. And John’s mouth was amazing.

As she focused on John, her arse relaxed, and Sherlock pressed in against her. He felt huge, still, unbelievably so, but she’d had the same sensation with the toy, earlier. As with the toy, as he started to press in, his cockhead brushed up her G spot. Between that and John’s mouth on her cock, she was quivery and nearing climax. Sherlock filled her, more, more, and finally, her arse closed around his knot, and he was in. He growled with satisfaction.

She realized that John was whimpering around her cock, and squirming, a puddle of lube spreading beneath his arse. “Now, John!” she said. He released her cock. and sat up eagerly.

She nudged Sherlock, and together they rolled onto their sides. John backed up against her, impaling himself on her cock.

It was sensory overload. She was filled, stretched like she’d never been before today, her G spot stimulated to an almost painful degree. At the same time, her cock was enveloped in John’s dripping hole… looser than she was used to, but warm and wet and lovely. Sherlock was biting her from behind, and John was shoving up against her, wriggling against her. She wasn’t sure how many of the whimpers she was dimly aware of were coming from her, but she was pretty sure it was a lot of them.

John seemed much happier now that he was being fucked again, but Mary realized that her cock probably wasn’t as satisfying as Sherlock’s. “Should I use fingers, too?” she panted into his ear. He nodded eagerly.

She slipped a few fingers in along with her cock, and he moaned. Then, inspiration striking, she removed her cock -- causing momentary whimpering -- long enough to wrap her fist around the base. She slid both her cock and fist inside of John.

His groan was immensely satisfying, and Sherlock’s cock twitched inside her at the noise. It was all too much for her, and after rocking back and forth against the two of them a few more times, she cried out and pulsed inside of John. John, in response, groaned again, and jerked as he came. John’s noises, and her arse tightening against Sherlock as she climaxed, in turn pushed Sherlock over. He cried out and emptied a ridiculous amount of spunk into her arse, leaving her feeling even fuller.

She felt a huge surge of love for the two of them. She floated on the happiness of it as she and Sherlock remain pressed together, waiting until his knot softened enough to pull out comfortably. John remained close, too, but he turned around to face them and kissed them each.

“My God,” John said, a few minutes after Sherlock pulled free, as he wriggled into the middle and pulled a blanket over the three of them. “That’s the best sex I’ve had -- “

“Ever,” Sherlock rumbled, sleepily definitive.

John laughed. “Right.”

“Me too,” she said, still feeling floaty.

“Oh, good -- then you won’t mind another round tomorrow, if I’m still in heat?” John said, only half teasing.

She yawned. “’Course not. I love you guys, you know. Both of you.”

Sherlock chuckled deeply. “That’s the oxytocin talking. John starts spraying it all over the place after he comes, in an attempt to get the alpha to stick around and raise a litter with him. Betas, possessing the same receptors, are also affected.”

“Oh,” she said sleepily. “Well, in that case, I’ll probably only still love you in the morning if you’ll share the bed with me. Because your floor is not the most comfortable thing.”

Sherlock and John smiled at each other and helped her up to the bed. They snuggled in under the covers and fell into a peaceful slumber.