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Beneath Your Beautiful

Chapter Text

The morning peace was broken by the sound of gunshots, eliminating any semblance of sleep for the occupants of the tent. Heart pounding from being startled awake, Kieran crawled over to the man he shared the tent with. Various emotions were etched onto Dutch’s face, his body curled into a ball, his breath coming out in quick pants. Hazy brown eyes stared helplessly at him, pleading with him for something Kieran couldn't help with; his Heat. Swallowing the panic rising in his chest, Kieran gathers his blankets, wrapping his fellow Omega in the hopes it’ll mask some of the scent pouring off his friend. 

Kieran highly doubted that it would help much, especially if there was an Alpha nearby. The smell of Dutch’s Heat would attract them to the tent eventually, and all Kieran could do was hope and pray that if there’s an Alpha, or even Alphas, attacking the camp, they won’t harm Dutch. A hand grips him tightly, and he looks down to see pain mixed with fear on Dutch's face.

 “I know, I know. I’m scared too, Dutch.” He pulls Dutch into his chest holding him close. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He whispers into the midnight colored hair. Dutch’s fingers press into his skin.

“It hu-hurts, Kieran.” The man whimpered curling into Kieran more. His body is crying out for relief, for a Beta or an Alpha to fuck and knot him. But when he hears more gunfire coming from their ‘fellow’ gang members, Dutch knows he won’t receive the relief he’s used too. And painful as the usual relief is, he can’t help but admit to himself that in some ways it’s better than no relief at all. “Are we being attacked?” He pitifully moans out.

“Yes.” Kieran sighs out, not wanting to confirm they’re being attacked, but knowing he has no choice in telling Dutch. The gunfire hasn’t stopped from either side, and it’s clear that neither side has won just yet. Slowly, his hands slide up to Dutch’s hair, and in an attempt to calm Dutch, he strokes the hair. Some of the tension in Dutch’s shoulders fades, but it’s not enough. How could it be enough when Dutch is in Heat, and unknowns are attacking the camp?

Watching the canvas of the tent, Kieran’s glad he hasn’t seen any shades travel the canvas. None of the attackers have noticed the Omega tent so far, and for now, they’re safe. If Dutch wasn’t in Heat, Kieran would have grabbed one of the horses, taken Dutch, and rode out of the camp. But that wasn’t an option now. Dutch is in heat, and they’re being attacked, and it’s only so long before someone notices their tent, and smells Dutch whose unmated and ripe for the taking. “They haven’t seen us yet,” Kieran whispers not daring to peek outside the tent.

Dutch wiggled from under his blankets. “I’m hot, Kieran.” He whined trying to escape to no avail. He feels like a furnace and the blankets covering him aren’t helping at all. Before he can make another movement, Kieran reaches over and holds him down when they both see shadows on the canvas walls. Holding their breath, both men look tensely at the tent opening. The gunfire has stopped, and somehow they both can tell their fellow gang members have lost. They’re at the mercy of whoever won, and neither man knows whether they should be happy about this development or not.

Kieran reaches behind him to grab the revolver he keeps hidden. Finger on the trigger, he shakily raises it at the entrance. He can’t aim well, so if it comes down to the of them fighting, he’ll most likely lose. But that’s okay with him if he can go out fighting to protect Dutch. To prove in some way, he’s more than just a fuck toy for the other two rankings.

His breath catches when the tent flaps open revealing striking green-blue eyes. Kieran isn’t sure he’s ever seen such beautiful eyes in his life. But the shock quickly dissipates into fear when the smell of an Alpha hits his nose, and Dutch has noticed the scent as he curls into a tighter ball fear radiating off him in waves. It’s one thing for their now-dead fellow gang members who he already knew the cruelty they were capable of. In front of him is an unknown Alpha, an unknown variable. An Alpha whose nose inhales the scent of Dutch’s Heat. Reaiming the revolver, he shouts, “Don’t you dare hurt us! I’ll shoot you, I swear I will!” The blonde-haired man’s hands rise in response.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” The Alpha says slowly moving his hands to where a gold star nestles against his chest, a deputy sheriff’s badge. Inhaling, Kieran lowers the gun slightly, eyes locked onto the badge. The man notices his gaze and nods. “That’s right. I’m a deputy, and I know what O’Driscolls do unmated Omegas.” Swiftly eyeing Dutch curled against him, the man continues, “You have a chance to get out of Colm O’Driscoll’s grasp. Please let me, and my fellow deputies, take to our home. We can protect you from him.”

“You won’t hurt us? Won’t hurt Dutch?” Kieran shakily asks still aiming the revolver at the deputy’s chest.

“Dutch?” The Alpha questioned brows furrowed. “Wait, do you mean Dutch Van der Linde? Colm’s favorite?” Kieran watches the deputy’s gaze lock onto Dutch scrutinizing him. Then the man’s gaze locks onto him, and Kieran feels every nerve in his body shaking. He shouldn’t have said Dutch’s name. Now the deputy would probably push him away in an attempt to mate a highly desired Omega. Swallowing the fear that’s building anew in his chest, Kieran aims his gun at the man’s face. Heavy pants are coming out of him staring down the burly Alpha in front of him. He’ll lose, but he’ll go down fighting for Dutch. He watches the deputy raise his hands again.

“It’s okay. I’m just surprised Colm would leave his favorite. I’m not going to forcibly mate him. Please, come with us.” There’s something in the Alpha’s voice that jolts Kieran with shock. The man sounds like he’s almost begging. An Alpha begging, that wasn’t something Kieran was used to seeing. Carefully, the deputy inches closer to the pair. “Let us take you to our town, and let the local doctor inspect you. We’ll protect both of you from any O’Driscolls and citizens who try to make a move on you or your friend. You’ll be put under the protection of our local sheriff. He’s happy to help those who can’t help themselves.” A small smile appears on the Alpha’s face. “And I’ll admit, he’d like to take out Colm too.”

Biting his bottom lip, Kieran keeps the gun aimed at the deputy’s chest while considering what the man is offering him. Twice, the Alpha before him has attempted to soothe rather than take. And with Dutch in Heat, it’s a perfect opportunity to take a desirable Omega with very little resistance. Yet, the Alpha seems to have no actual interest in Dutch despite the position the man is in now. Glancing at the terrified Dutch, Kieran whispers to him, “I don’t think he's going to hurt us, Dutch. He would have tried it by now.”

With a weak moan, Dutch allows Kieran to guide him out of the tent. Clinging to his friend, he blearily looks around the camp, various dead bodies scattered around only to stop dead in his tracks. Kieran freezes beside him when they both pick up the smell of not one, but three Alphas. Quickly aiming the revolver again, Kieran screams out, eyes wide in fear, “Don’t you dare try to hurt us. I’ll shoot you, I swear!”

The first Alpha they met raises his hands again. “It’s alright! They won’t hurt you.” He gestures to himself. “My name is Arthur Matthews.” He gestures behind him to a lean dark-haired Alpha with scars dotting his face, that both men faintly note looks related to Arthur. 

“This is my younger brother, John Matthews.” Silently, the scarred man tugs down his collar to reveal a mating mark. The statement is clear as day, he’s not going to bother them. Not when he’s mated to another.

With a sweeping motion of his hand, Arthur gestures to the other burly Alpha whose long hair is tied back in a braid. “And this is Charles Smith. He’s a good friend, and he’ll protect you.” Casually, they watch the last Alpha remove his tomahawk from a dead body. Glancing up, the man quietly regards them before nodding once.

Squeezing Dutch’s hand, Kieran lets out a shaky breath before introducing himself. “I’m Kieran Duffy, and the man behind is Dutch… Van der Linde.” The mood shifts when he finishes introducing Dutch, and the man himself tenses behind his fellow Omega. Wincing, Kieran starts to push Dutch back raising his gun again. While one of the Alphas may be mated, they still had two unmated Alphas, and now that Kieran had gone and foolishly spoke Dutch’s full name, he wasn’t sure Charles wouldn’t jump Dutch. Or even Arthur for that matter.

“Wait, wait.” Arthur pleas with them, hands open palms up. “We’re just surprised Colm would let his favorite out of his sight. All we want to do is help you and Mister Van der Linde get out of his grasp. Please let us take you to our town.” Inching closer, Arthur keeps his hands up trying to soothe the skittish Omegas. He notes that Van der Linde is clinging hard to Duffy, but the two allow him to approach with Kieran lowering his gun. “That’s right. I’m just here to help.” Arthur tried to alleviate both men’s fears. “As I said, it’s a good chance to get out of his grasp, sirs.” He says inching closer watching the two share a glance before shuffling closer to him. They meet halfway, and Arthur offers his hand to Van der Linde.

“If you’re okay with it, Mister Van der Linde, I’d like if you rode on the back of my stallion, Buell.” He gestured to the gold cremello horse trotting closer followed by two others. “The others in town are going to smell you, but they respect me, my father, and the sheriff enough to the point where they wouldn't dare challenge me, alright?” Full body tremors shake the man’s body, but with a small nod, he allows Arthur to help him sit on the back of the horse. Out of the corner of his eye, he watches Kieran mount the back of Charles’s mare. As they rode out from the destroyed camp, John took Arthur’s left side, and Charles took the right side.

Taking ahold of the deputy’s waist, and trying his best not to hold on too tightly, Dutch could feel slick dripping from his cunt down to his leg. A soft, but sharp, inhale alerted him that the Alpha in front of him could smell that Dutch’s Heat was creeping further along. “I’m sorry.” The deputy spoke softly bringing fear to Dutch’s heart. “I’ll try to get you to my Pa quickly. His medicine will help lessen the Heat for you.” The words released any fear in his chest he had. Arthur wasn’t going to mate him, the deputy was sorry for Dutch’s Heat.

“Thanks.” He croaked against Arthur’s back, hearing the man click his tongue and head north.

“What you boys doing this far east?” Arthur questioned tilting his head back to look at Kieran.

“I don’t know, Mister Matthews,” Kieran replied noting Arthur flinch at the name, “They don’t tell us anything. We’re nothing more… more than...” Raising his hand, the Alpha cut him off.

“You don’t need to say more, Mister Duffy.” They passed a large rock formation that Dutch wasn’t sure how to describe. He could see two towers pillars and a platform that someone could probably ride up to. Sensing where Dutch was looking, Arthur explained, “That’s Caliban’s Seat. Don’t remember why it’s called that.”

“Oh. Thank you.” Dutch mumbled.

“No problem,” Arthur replied before turning his head towards Kieran again. “It’s alright, Mister Duffy. Was curious is all, don’t worry about it.” The group passes two traveling Alphas, and when the two stiffen, Arthur glares and taps his badge. With sheepish looks plastered on their faces, the men kick the horses to gallop away from the threatening Alpha that Arthur Matthews is. “Anyways,” Arthur goes on, acting as if he didn’t just drive two men away with his stare, “Let’s get you two safe. And please, call me Arthur or Deputy Matthews. Mister Matthews is our father.” 

“Same here.” The raspy voice of John speaks. “Deputy Matthews or John works for me.” Suddenly, the man wrinkles his nose, and before they can ask the smell pig shit graces their noses. “Ugh, that smell.” There’s snort from Arthur who shakes his head as they ride up a small path before turning left.

“Don’t know why you’re complaining, John. You smell just as bad as you refusing to take a bath often. Surprise neither Pa nor Abigail hasn’t drowned you in a river yet.” John scowls at his older brother, and Kieran shares a grin with Dutch while the two siblings snap at each other.

Daring to ask, Kieran murmurs, “Are they always like this?” A warm chuckle from Charles trailing behind the two to make way for a passing carriage, the occupants staring openly at the two Omegas.

“For long as I’ve known them, they’re always snapped at each other like this. I imagine they were no different as pups.” Charles’s voice is tinged with amusement watching the two men bicker. But the amusement doesn’t last at the group makes it way down Valentine’s muddy main road. Various people are staring at the group, but mostly Dutch, with hunger in their eyes. However, with three powerful Alphas, and deputies no less, kept everyone cowed enough to prevent any unwanted movement towards the two.

The horses slow when the party comes to the doctor’s office. “John, help him dismount while I get Pa.” Arthur order slipping from the saddle, and moving towards the door. John grunts in response, but before the two men can do anything, the door opens to reveal a tall skinny blonde Alpha.

“There’s no need to get me.” He replied helping Dutch off Buell who starting to look as if he would collapse at any minute. “I can smell what’s going on.” With a gentle deftness, the doctor ushers Dutch into the office, Kieran following seconds later with Arthur behind him.

The sight of a tiny waiting room greets Kieran when he walks in behind Dutch and the doctor. To his left, Kieran sees a receptionist’s desk where an older Beta woman sits. Brown hair streaked with grey, the woman gives off an aura of a no-nonsense woman. When she looks up, her eyes landed on Dutch, then him, and then the doctor. “Doctor Matthews.” She greets.

“Miss Grimshaw,” The older Alpha greets back, before gesturing to Kieran, “Can you check him while I tend to this man, and figure out what combination of meds he needs to help with his heat.”

“Of course.” Gracefully, she stands up to guide Kieran into a chair while Doctor Matthews guides Dutch to the exam room. Swallowing, Kieran eyes Miss Grimshaw nervously before peaking at Arthur whose leaning against the wall lazily.

“Relax.” With a soft smile, Arthur adjusts himself against the wall, and Kieran can’t help but zero in on Arthur’s smile a bit. Something about Arthur almost puts him at ease, and he can’t figure out why. Before he can follow that trail of thought, Arthur speaks up again, “Pa isn’t going to hurt your friend. And we’re not going to hurt you.”

Pulling at his collar, Kieran waves his hand in the air. “I know, but…” He trails off unable to find the words he’s looking for. And his attempts to find the words are quickly cut off by Miss Grimshaw grabbing his chin to inspect his face. Jerking his head back in response to being grabbed, Kieran finds himself immediately cowed back into place by her stern look. He hears Arthur laugh in the corner, but Miss Grimshaw turns her glare to the Alpha who crumbles. The sight makes Kieran bite back laughter.

“Don’t worry, sir. Doctor Matthews will take care of your friend, and you.” She moves his head up, down, left, and right inspecting him carefully. “Do you have a safe place to stay?”

“No.” Kieran quickly admits wringing his hands together.

“We haven’t had a chance to discuss that yet,” Arthur comments from his wall. “We’re waiting on Sheriff Davies to come back from checking on another O’Driscoll camp. Rumor has it both Colm O’Driscoll and Micah Bell were at that camp.” Kieran flinches at the names; he had been underneath both and so had Dutch. Although for Dutch, he was usually under Colm whenever the man was around. Sensing his fear, Miss Grimshaw hushed him.

“Don’t you worry now.” She says letting go of him finally. “Sheriff Davies, Arthur, and the others will prevent you, and your friend, from going back into those men’s clutches.” Patting his cheek, Miss Grimshaw moves away from to reach for something in one of the desk drawers. Surprise colors his face when she pulls out money. Laughing softly, she comes over to him and ruffles his hair. “You’re probably hungry, and your friend is probably ravenous.” She turned to Arthur. “You keep your eyes out, Arthur, while I go buy some soup from Mister Pearson.” Grinning, Arthur mock salutes her earning himself a light smack on the arm as she walks out.

“Better wait, or she’ll whip the both of us good.” Arthur grinned down at him before sitting next to Kieran.

Breaking into a smile, Kieran replies, “Somehow I don’t doubt that.”

Chapter Text

Gently, Hosea guides the skittish man through two different doors towards the room he keeps for wandering Omegas. Fear is breaking out in waves from the strange Omega that’s been brought to him, and Hosea can’t blame him for being scared. He’s alone in Heat with an Alpha he doesn’t know, and they’re not heading to the regular exam room. “It’s alright, sir. The exam room we’re going to is meant to help ward off Alphas and Betas you don’t want sniffing around while you’re in Heat.” The doctor attempts to soothe, and it seems to work when he sees some tension leave the other man’s shoulders.

Opening the special exam room’s door, he gestures for his patient to enter. The Omega hesitates before stepping in and moves towards the chair only for Hosea to stop him. “Here.” He grabs a robe from a nearby closet and hands it to the shaking man. “You can undress behind those curtains so your slick doesn’t ruin your clothes too much.” Hosea tilted his head for a second. “Provided it hasn’t already.” The Omega provided him a weak smile before scurrying behind the curtains.

Ignoring the rustling of clothes being taken off, Hosea kneels in front of his cabinet full of the herbs he needs. And he’s so focused on grabbing the herbs he needs that he doesn’t notice the smell of the other man until it suddenly hits him like a horse’s hoof kicking a leg or an arm. Biting his bottom lip hard, the doctor nearly groans at the scent of his patient’s Heat. Words escape him from describing how wonderful the man in his exam room smelled. The scent reminded him of Bessie’s — no, he wouldn’t go down that road of thought. Pulling himself together, he quickly grabbed the herbs, closed the doors of the cabinet, and moved over to the counter where his mortar and pestle waited.

He’s organizing the bags when the sound of bare feet on tile alerts him. Turning around, the Omega is timidly walking to the exam chair and sitting down. Hands folded in his lap, and head bowed, the sight of the man makes Hosea’s stomach curl in disgust at his reaction to the smell. The Omega is so clearly used to being submissive in his state. Hosea saw it the way he dismounted from Buell, the way he walked, and the way he sat.

Clearing his throat, he grabs some paper and a pencil noting the way the Omega flinches. “Right,” He places a hand on his chest, “my name is Doctor Hosea Matthews. May ask who you are?”

“Dutch Van der Linde.” The Omega — Dutch Van der Linde — breathes out. Staring, Hosea can feel his stomach drop from his gut to the bottom of the Earth. Of all the people his sons could run into, they ran into Colm O’Driscoll’s favorite, and surprisingly unmated, Omega ‘pet.’ Dutch notices the expression on the doctor’s face and starts to shrink into himself only stopped by the familiar stance the other man makes. 

Hands raised, Hosea softly speaks, “My apologies, Mister Van der Linde. I didn’t mean to stare. Your name wasn’t something I was expecting. I honestly thought you were some random Omegas my sons and Charles found. I see that’s not the case now.” Taking out a pencil and paper, Hosea knows the next few minutes will be rough for the man in front of him. And while his heart clenches in pain at the idea, he knows these questions need to be asked.

Hanging his head in shame, Dutch replies, “It’s okay, I’m very aware of my reputation, Doctor.” It was hard for Dutch to not know his reputation. Even without being officially mated, he might as well be Colm’s since the bastard loved to parade him around. And because of that, his reputation grew to the point where he was considered the ‘favorite toy.’ No one, besides Kieran, would ever see him as anything else because of that reputation, and Dutch loathed it. A cleared throat startles him from his thoughts, and when he looks up, he sees the doctor staring at him sheepishly.

“Apologies, but I need to ask some questions about your Heats so I know how much herbs to mix.” Seeing the confused expression on Dutch’s face, Hosea patiently explains. “Too much and your body will ignore it, too little and your body will make the effects worse.” Making an ‘o’ with his mouth, Dutch leaned forward resting his elbows on his legs. The medicine Hosea was going to provide him was dependent on how his Heats worked. He could refuse, but the idea of having an easier Heat was far more ideal than having to go through one solo, something he hadn’t done in years. Swallowing the slight fear curling in his throat, he nods once to Hosea who takes it as his cure to begin. “So, how long do your Heats usually last, how often are they, and how bad are they usually?”

“Three days, every three months and bad enough that I’d let almost anyone… mount and potentially mate me.” He admitted softly body going tense. Most doctors he met berated him for having such a heavy Heat. Like he could control what his body gave him. And that just the slick alone. Every time he mentioned the last part, he heard a tutting sound from the doctor’s throat. They never said it, but he knew what they were thinking. How whorish of him to allow anyone but an actual potential mate even think of such a thing. And it was only by Colm’s orders he was never mated least they draw the wrath of the already demon of a man. And Micah Bell was often nearby his leader which killed any thoughts of mating the desirable Dutch Van der Linde. Closing his eyes, Hosea swallows before jotting down three days long, every three months, and extreme.

“Alright. This next question is quite personal but needs to be asked. How do you normally, besides having an Alpha mount you, get through your Heats?” It’s an extremely sensitive question, but one he needs to know. The dosage, an already high amount to due Dutch’s first answer, would need to be adjusted depending on the next answer. The doctor could only hope it wasn’t anything too out there. A faint flush, and Hosea isn’t sure if it’s from the question, or the Heat that’s pushing a fire down Hosea’s body, coats the other man’s cheeks.

“I, uh, I…” Dutch stutters completely shocked the doctor would ask such a thing. Logically, the Omega knows the doctor’s merely asking to get the right dosage for him, but to have someone, especially an Alpha, ask him what he did to wait out the Heats wasn’t exactly the question he expected to answer. “I normally don’t use anything, I was surrounded by willing Alphas and Betas just waiting for me to go into Heat so they could…” Dutch trails off unable to finish with bad memories floating in. The doctor raises his hand, and when Dutch inspects the man, he can tell his Heat is affecting him. Yet, Hosea keeps his urges in check focused on treating him rather than having him bend over and being fucked into the ground. Swallowing, the Omega finds himself wondering what it’d be like to have the Alpha before him fuck and knot Dutch. That was if the other man would fuck him into the ground provided he asked. Swatting away the thoughts, Dutch chided himself for allowing himself to go down that train of thought. The doctor was only trying to help him, and here he was almost giving into Heat based urges.

“You don’t need to continue.” Hosea gently says, a pang of pain going through his chest. He may be an Alpha, but he was a doctor first and foremost, so to hear what Dutch, and other Omegas, had to go through often made him sick to his stomach. But he was one lone man, and he could not change society’s rules by himself. All he could do was provide good care to Omegas who came under his wing; treat them well, and show them not every Alpha was waiting to get in the Omega’s pants, although this man’s wonderous smelling Heat certainly wasn’t aiding in any form possible. Clearing the thoughts, both perverted and otherwise, he writes down nothing used. “Last question and this is a bit more personal, but I need to know. How much slick would you say you produce, light, medium, or heavy?”

“Um, extremely heavy.” Flickers of his previous Heats flashed through his mind, and he wants the earth to rise and swallow him whole. And the Heat that’s here isn’t making it better, because he wants nothing to then present himself in front of Hosea. Wants to beg for the Alpha to fuck and knot him. Clinging to the exam chair tightly, he forces himself to speak through the slow-moving doom that was Heat lust. “I’d… I’d soak almost all the pants I had.” He groans out when Hosea gently prompts him. Something, almost akin to want, flashes across the other man’s face, but whatever it was is gone just as fast as it appeared. The doctor doesn’t judge him however, merely writes down the information. And that makes him completely relaxed near Hosea. He doesn’t remember the last time a doctor hadn’t judged him for such bad Heats.
Naturally, that line of thought bites himself in the ass, because within seconds, he’s ripped off the robe the good doctor has provided to present his aching cunt to the Alpha before him. “Alpha.” Dutch whines parting his legs so the other man can see how much Dutch needs him. See the way his body is practically leaking for someone to knot and fuck him.

Hearing a sharp inhale, the Omega glances up to see full-blown lust in the Alpha’s eyes. But to his despair, the Alpha before him hasn’t moved an inch closer. Why isn’t the Alpha moving to fuck him? Dutch’s a fertile Omega in Heat ready and willing to be fucked over every nearest surface. Yet, the Alpha doesn’t move, only stays where he’s at hands gripping the counter. “Alpha.” He repeats in a begging whine.

Something in Dutch’s voice finally breaks any self-control in Hosea. Strong arms grip his arms, pushing him into the chair even more, and it’s so wonderful. His body is finally being touched by a wonderful Alpha, and each touch feels like fire on his skin. There’s another mouth on his driving Dutch crazy. Pressing into Hosea’s body, he greedily returns the lust-filled kiss. In his Heat fueled lust, he can’t help but notice that despite what’s going on, Hosea’s still tender about kissing him. And he wonders if Hosea’ll still be tender fucking him into the chair. Moaning at the thought, he jerks his hips forward trying to rub against the Alpha’s leg.

But apparently, it’s the wrong thing to do, because the kiss is broken off, and Hosea stumbles back, a look of pure horror on his face. Stilling at the expression of pure horror, Dutch wonders if he did something completely wrong. Body shaking with need, confusion, and fear, he slips from the exam chair and started crawling towards the frozen Alpha. “Alpha?” He squeaked out. “Di-did I do something wro-wrong?” The feeling of the other man’s gaze covers him; made him stop in place. His Alpha’s gaze was unreadable. Biting his bottom lip, and cursing the tears he feels falling from the corners of his eyes, Dutch hung his head knowing he had screwed up somehow.

The sight of the other man makes has Hosea’s grip on the counter tighten, and he bites his bottom lip hard enough to cause blood. It’s been so long since a Heat, not since Bessie’s, has affected him this much. And in front of him is Colm O’Driscoll’s favorite Omega pet begging for him to fuck him into the ground. Locking his jaw in place, the doctor exhales from his nose, straightens up, and walks over to the discarded robe. Reaching down to pick it up, he turns to the delicious smelling Omega on his floor and drapes it back over his shoulders breaking the man from the Heat lust.

Dutch’s hands cover his mouth, and he looks utterly mortified with himself. “Doctor… I…” His mouth opens trying to finish whatever thought was on his mind, but found himself unable to. The fact was he had nearly succumbed to Heat lust, and almost dragged the doctor into his fuck up. Tears still falling, and before he can start profusely apologizing, arms wrap around him, pulling him into the Alpha’s chest.

“It’s alright.” Hosea soothes rubbing his back, and Dutch can’t help but lean a little into the touch. “Nothing was done. All we did was almost make ourselves fools.” Pulling away, Hosea hoisted Dutch from the floor. “Now, let’s finish what we were supposed to be doing.” He said fixing the robe so it was secure around Dutch again. Swallowing, Dutch allowed the doctor to guide him back to the chair before the other man began mixing the herbs. A knock on the door startled the both of them, but Hosea recovers quickly keeping his body facing the counter so whoever enters doesn’t see how hard he is. “Come in.” He calls focused on mixing the herbs in his hands.

“Pardon me you two, but I figured Mister Van der Linde might want some soup to help those herbs go down, so I went over to Pearson’s to grab his friend and him some soup. And no doubt he’s hungry too.” She eyes the fearful man on his exam chair before placing the bowl next to Hosea. Smiling at the smell of soup hitting his nose, the doctor scoops up the herbs and starts mixing them into the soup.

“Thank you, Miss Grimshaw. It’s appreciated as always.” She returned his smile before heading back out. “Here,” He grabs the bowl and walks over to Dutch, “it’ll give the herbs a far better taste mixed in.” Gently tapping the spoon’s handle on the side when finished, the doctor turns to walk over to Dutch and hand him the bowl. “Eat this while I get the Heat room ready for you, and don’t worry, your friend can stay with you if want.”

“I wo-would like that.” He admitted, watching the doctor gather sheets, a box, non-perishable food, and canteens no doubt filled with water. Turning to glance down at the soup placed in his hands, Dutch warily takes a sip finding the soup to be good, and warm, to his belly. He dares another sip, and another until suddenly he’s cleared out the entire bowl. Bewilderedly, he stares at the empty bowl surprised at how hungry he had been. Musical laughter startles him from his thoughts, and glancing up, he sees a soft smile on the doctor’s face.

“Sorry to startle you, but the confused expression on your face wasn’t something I expected to see turning around.” The bowl is gently taken from his fingers, placed on the table next to him, and he’s urged to get up. “Taste well, I hope?”

“Yes. It was good.” He followed Hosea into the room but hesitated at the doorway. The room was specially designed to help ward off any unlikely mates for anyone; Alpha, Beta, or Omega. With his reputation no doubt known in town, even if the people didn't know who he was, Dutch could hardly fault the doctor in front of him making sure he stayed safe. But yet, a part of him couldn’t bring himself into the room. He was alone with an unknown Alpha, and he had already given once into his Heat lust.

Sensing his hesitation, the doctor leans his weight on a foot in a relaxed manner. Nothing in his posture hints he’s displeased with Dutch’s hesitation. Slowly, Hosea’s hands move up palms to Dutch; a clear sign that the doctor isn’t trying to hurt him. Exhaling, and somewhat soothed by the mannerisms Hosea is displaying, he finally steps into the room. “That’s it.” He hears the doctor murmur moving back to let Dutch nestle into one of two beds. Any fear he had of the Alpha in the room nearly melts at the man backing up to give him room. Bringing his knees to his chest after laying on his side, Dutch watches the other man step out. “I’ll be back with your friend, okay? Most likely, my sons and a couple trusted deputies will be in shifts till the end of your Heat. That’s how we normally do it.” The door is gently shut, and he can hear the footsteps of the doctor fade away. Biting his lip, he squeezes his legs together still feeling the effects of Hosea’s lips on his.

It’s not long before the door reopens, and Kieran shuffles in. “Dutch.” The other man came to his side hands near his own. “How are you? Did the doctor treat you well?” The concern Kieran has for him makes a smile appear on his face, and warmth in his chest. Laying both of his on the other’s, he pats them softly.

“I’m doing better. The medicine the doctor gave him hasn’t kicked in yet, but he was extremely kind to me. Never once acted as if taking care of me was a chore.” He doesn’t dare to comment on his brief moment of Heat lust. Relief, however, pours out of the man. Patting the spot next to him, Dutch wants Kieran next to him. “Sit next to me for a bit, please? Or at least till the worst of it comes.”

“Of course, Dutch. You’re always there for me, and I’ll always be there for you.” Kieran pulls Dutch to his chest, strokes his hair. A rumbling sound comes from his chest with each stroke. “Do… do you think we might be able to get away from Co-colm?” Kieran asks after moments of silence. “Or do you think he’ll… slaughter everyone just to get, well, you?”

“I don’t know. The doctor, his sons, and the other deputy seem nice, but how much pull do you think they have? Especially when word of who I am gets out.” Swallowing, a part of Dutch hopes he never has to go back to Colm, and an area hidden deep inside him wishes he could be with the doctor instead. “But, we can hope, Kieran. We can hope.” A pitiful whine escapes Kieran’s mouth.

“I wish one, or both, of us, were born another rank. Then we could protect ourselves better. Not have to rely on others.” 

“Me too, but we’re Omegas, Kieran.”

“I know, I just wish.” Dutch placed his nose into the other man’s neck nuzzling, Kieran’s grip around his waist tightened. He wished for the same thing. He would be able to properly protect himself and live his own life. But fate had decided otherwise; granted him the Omega ranking.

“Hey, at least we have each other.”

“Yeah.” Kieran sighed idly tapping his stomach with his free hand. “At least I was allowed to come and stay with you.” The younger of the two men stops, deciding not to go down that route of conversation. Neither man needs to be reminded of the horrors they had faced together.

Chapter Text

Closing the door to the Heat room, Hosea exhales softly before trudging over to the table to swipe up the bowl. The scent of an Omega in Heat wafting around his exam chair hits his nose, and the doctor lets out a soft growl, his pants getting tighter as he’s reminded of the scene that nearly occurred in his exam room. Biting his bottom lip again, Hosea curses himself for nearly giving into Dutch’s Heat lust. If he had, that would have ended badly for the both of them, and maybe for the entire town as well.

On the other hand, Dutch had smelled so good, so sweet; just like his Bessie had. Knowing that brought up an entirely different set of problems. Could he truly open his home to an Omega that smelt almost divine to him? Could he open the door that maybe, just maybe, Dutch was possibly another mate and that Hosea’s scent smelt divine to him as well? Could he potentially screw this entire thing for the two men trying to escape Colm O’Driscoll over his basic needs? Sighing, he let out another growl of frustration.

In many ways, Hosea loathed the biology that God had deemed to give the human race. He could have done without these rules to guide the human race, especially the cruelest, but he also knew that if this set of rules didn’t guide the cruelest, whatever new strand humanity could make would. Extremely few Alphas were able to become doctors, and he was the one those few. It was his amazing self-control around the unmated in heats that allowed him to get as far as he had. Filling the sink with water, the doctor began to thoroughly wash the bowl. He didn’t dare turn this bowl back over Pearson just yet, not with his patient's scent all over it.

It was in times such as these that he missed the warmth Bessie gave him. Her warmth often relaxed him on stressful days or weeks, and Hosea could tell this was going to be a stressful week, or weeks, even potentially stressful months. Dutch Van der Linde, preferred Omega of Colm O’Driscoll was sitting in his Heat room a few feet away. And Colm was said to be a vindictive bastard by all rights. There was no doubt he’d scorch all of Valentine to receive his lost property. And that wasn’t if the citizens felt compelled to turn Mister Van der Linde over to Colm spare their hides. Not that he could blame them after all. Several families had unattached alphas, betas, and omegas, and he highly doubted any of those families wanted their children attached to any of the men in Colm’s gang. Although Sheriff Davies was highly respected by the citizenry of Valentine, so they may allow him to ward off Colm before trying to surrender Van der Linde. And of course, there was the chance one of the Alphas in town got it into their heads that they should mate Van der Linde to stick it to Colm. The idea nearly made him shudder; if someone did that, they’d damn them all. And that was if he didn’t do it first by following his baser instincts.

Pain tapped his chest as he longed for his wife, his past mate. She would know what to do, what to say his fellow citizens, and he and Dutch wouldn’t have nearly fallen into the Heat lust that had temporarily consumed both of them. Groaning at the thought, and the scent still wafting around, Hosea scrubbed harder forcing his thoughts to focus on his former mate again.

 The town had loved her dearly and often respected her despite her Omega ranking. She was willful, tender, cheerful, and there were one hundred other words he could have described her with. Bessie could have talked the people of Valentine out any stupid ideas they might have had should they find out the identities the Omegas in his Heat room.

Lifting the bowl check for any lingering smells, he wondered how he could help the two in his room. Valentine had no Heat blockers, and they were due to arrive next week provided the carriage wasn’t robbed or stolen. Damn it, he’d have to speak to Sheriff Davies about that. If Colm found out where Dutch was, and knew Heat blockers were coming to Valentine, he could get the drop on the carriage ruining any chance of Dutch’s safety, and Kieran’s. He could only hope that Davies would arrive soon. Nearly growling at the still lingering scent, Hosea scrubbed the bowl harder determined to let no smell stay; he would ask Susan to take care of the rest for him. If he inhaled anymore of Dutch’s sweet smell, he feared he’d give in to his baser instincts and mate the man in his Heat room.

A soft knock nearly startled him from his thoughts. “Come in.” He called scrubbing the bowl harder. The door opened to reveal Arthur followed by John and Charles, all men were hesitant to step in, however. “They’re in the Heat room, you can relax.” A collective sigh of relief sounds behind him making Hosea chuckle at his boys, and their friend. “I take it John and Charles will be taking the first watch?” He asked before Arthur could start speaking almost already knowing what his son was going to say.

“Yes,” Arthur says coming to stand next to him. “Figured it might be a good idea to have Charles with John, and Lenny, when I get a chance to speak with him, with me. People respect Charles, but they’re afraid of him, mostly from his size now.” Soft chuckles echoed around the room. At first, people had been deathly afraid, and some even spewing certain words at him, of the man, but after seeing what he was like the fear turned into a more respectful kind of fear, and the hateful words were only quietly whispered behind backs rather than openly.

“That’s good. Has Sheriff Davies come back yet?” He reaches over Arthur to grab a towel and wipe clean the bowl now freed from the earlier scent.

“Not yet, no. I asked Mallory to see where he was. That was about an hour ago.” Placing down the bowl, Hosea moved to gather the herbs intent on placing them back into their proper places. His brow furrowed seeing the lack of herbs he needed to push Dutch through his entire Heat. He’d have to ask someone he trusted to grab more. Hosea didn’t need someone sabotaging Dutch’s Heat.

“Alright, once he gets here, I need to see him.” He closed the cabinet door and stared at his oldest son. “We’re going to need a protective detail on that incoming Heat blocker carriage. If O’Driscoll finds out Van der Linde is here and knows there’s a carriage coming down from Emerald Ranch’s station loaded with the blockers, there’s no doubt he’ll jump the poor bastards if he knows the man is here, and nearing another heat.” Silence descends on the gathered, and Arthur swallows before nodding.

“Alright, I’ll make sure of it. Charles, John, why don’t you stand in front of the exam room door for now until we know what’s going on? I need to send a message down to Emerald Ranch’s station telling them to watch the roads for more bandits than usual.” His brother and Charles nod moving to exit the room, and stand guard. A wave of exhaustion hits Hosea and he can’t stop himself from rubbing his face. Arthur’s hand gently touches his forearm making Hosea smile at the silent question.

“I’ll be fine, son. It’s just going to be a long few months is all. Wish they’d fix the rails to Valentine’s station so we don’t have to ship the blockers from Emerald Ranch.” His thoughts turn back to how long it’d be till Dutch’s next heat. “Provided the citizens don’t try and throw those two back to the wolves to save their hide,” Hosea growls startling his son. It’s rare for Arthur to see such a reaction from his father, but he knows his father can be overly annoyed with the townsfolk. But Hosea can feel his body starting to relax more even with the lingering smells by his exam chair. And judging by Arthur’s furrowed brows, his son can tell something has happened that doesn’t relate to his annoyance of the locals.

“Come on, let’s get you something to eat, then let’s go over to the Wells Fargo station so I can send a message to Emerald Ranch. Dinner is a while yet.” Arthur gently tugs his father towards the door. “Let’s get you out of here for now as well. We can inform the two outside where going.” Hosea opens his mouth to ask a question, but Arthur cuts him off. “I can tell the smell of that man’s Heat affected you a tiny bit more than such a thing usually does. Guess Ma’s mark has faded.” There’s a sadness shared behind the two as Hosea covers his scent gland where Bessie had marked him years ago. And Arthur was correct in his guess, his mark had faded completely. He would have to work harder on his self-control to keep himself from doing anything inappropriate with any more people under his care that were under the effects of their Heat.

The afternoon sun warms his bones he can’t help but breathe in the several scents crossing through and from Valentine stepping from the door of his clinic. Relief almost covers him immediately with each new scent following his son. Several people happily greet him, and even one of the younger pups he had treated earlier in the week for a fever runs over hugging his leg. Laughing, he gently pries her off and hands back to her mother who starts to apologize for her pup’s behavior, but he waves it off simply happy to see the girl running around happily like a child ought to. A sharp pain pokes his heart watching the two walk off, and it’s not until a hand lands on his shoulder that he realizes he’s staring.

“I’m fine.” He tries to console Arthur, but the look on his son’s face tells him he’s not very successful. Wryly smiling, Hosea tugs his son forward. “Come on, let’s get something to eat, we can speak later. My stomach is growling, and I’d rather not have to eat you to satisfy it.” Arthur scoffs at him heading to the lesser of the two saloons, Keane’s Saloon, in town.

 “So, that’s where John got his eating habits.” Throwing his head back to laugh, Hosea warmly smiles at his oldest.

“Oh no, trust me. He got that from his Ma. Bessie, she…” He trailed off thoughts distancing himself from the present. Snapping back after nearly brushing shoulders with someone, Hosea resumed, “She was always hungrier than me, especially when she was carrying your brother.” Another thought rises unbidden, and he’s quick to squash it. That was the last thing he wanted to even think about now.

“Was she?” The question is soft, and he can see the barest hint of hope in his oldest son’s eyes. Hosea speaks so little of the woman he loved although he thinks of her often. But the pain of her death still curls around him, hurts him. “I think I remember her being hungrier than the both of us when I was little. Before… before she...” Arthur stops unable to speak anymore his own sadness over her death gripping him, and not wanting to upset his father knowing the memories still pained the man deeply.

“Oh yeah. She… she was.” The older man whispers nodding. Silently, Arthur opens the saloon doors letting Hosea step in first. The lights in Keane’s are dimmer than Smithfields, but it’s a much smaller saloon, and hardly in need of the extra light. To his son, it’s a perfect way to watch cheap entertainment, and by cheap, the table in the furthest corner was known to hold five finger fillet games. Inwardly shaking his head at his son’s preferences, Hosea followed him to the end corner of the bar where Arthur waved at Keane, who held up a finger. Nodding back, Arthur and Hosea sit down, and a sense of wariness drops over Hosea’s shoulders, something his son notices right away.

“Been a long day, hasn’t it?” Arthur nudged his father with his shoulder. Nodding in agreement, Hosea glances around the saloon deeming it quiet enough to speak about their newest companions.

“That it has. Who would have thought the two random Omegas you seemingly picked up are the favorite ‘toys’ of Colm O’Driscoll and Micah Bell.” Placing his chin into his hand, Hosea let out a long sigh while his other hand dropped against the counter. “Who knows if we’ll be able to protect them long enough from Colm.” A tentative smile appears on Arthur’s face who covers his father’s hand with his own.

“We’ll try, Pa. Sheriff Davies is one tough bastard, and the people of Valentine know it.” Picking at the wood with his fingernails, Hosea knows his son is correct, yet there’s doubt crawling in his heart. The sheriff might be a tough bastard, but could Hosea be the same knowing Dutch was compatible with him, although how much he didn’t know. 

Rubbing his palms against his eyes, Hosea sighed wondering how the future will go. He certainly hadn’t expected to come across another person, Omega or otherwise, that he’d be potentially compatible with. And he certainly hadn’t expected it to be any other than Dutch Van der Linde. A groan slips from his mouth of its own violation causing Arthur to turn his head towards him.

“Pa, you alright?”

“It’s definitely been a long day, and I think,” Hosea pauses to swallow, thoughts still on Dutch’s scent, “it’s going to be more than just a few long months.” He admits picking at the wood of the counter with his nails. “I almost made a fool of myself today, Arthur. Almost.”

“How so?” Hosea glanced around to make sure there wasn’t anyone listening in, before speaking again.

“Dutch, he went through a temporary moment of Heat lust, and I almost gave in, Arthur. I almost gave in because his scent was as sweet as your mother’s to me.” Hosea confessed while twisting to show Arthur the honesty in his expression. Various emotions scatter around his son’s face before he sighs heavily.

“Well, that... certainly changes everything.” Arthur whispers after seconds of silence. “He… smelt like Ma did to you? Sweet?” Swallowing again, he nodded slowly observing Arthur for any changes in his expression and body. But Arthur only wryly smiles at him. “Guess we can be fools together. That Kieran smells mighty nice to me too.” Hosea blinks once, twice before bursting into laughter, Arthur chuckling along with him.

“We’re a pair of fools alright.” He said between bouts of laughter. “Do you think Tom’s going to smack us silly or throw us in the nearest horse-trough to cool our heads for being a pair of fools?”

With a snort, Arthur responded, “Probably both knowing him.” Sighing, Arthur runs his hands through his hair before turning back to his father. “Well, I guess we’ll have to see what the future brings?”

“I suppose so, my dear boy. I suppose so.” Even as he agrees with Arthur, unbidden thoughts rise to the forefront of Hosea’s mind. If Dutch Van der Linde confirmed Hosea smelled wonderful to him, where would they go from there? Could he perform all the duties expected of him as an Alpha, or would he fail and disappoint those would care? If he failed, would Dutch curse himself for allowing himself to mated to a failure of an Alpha, or would the man not care? Would the town as a whole approve of a mating that could end everything as they knew it? The future held so many questions and showed very little answers on how it might end.

Out of the corner of his eye, he can see that Arthur wants to ask what’s going on in his mind. Wants to know if his father is alright, or is the many futures laid out before them haunting Hosea when they have so little information before they can even plan out a possibility or two. With a tight smile, Hosea simply places his hand on Arthur’s shoulder and squeezes it. For now, he’ll be okay. For now, he’ll focus on the day to day and worry about the future later. Arthur opens his mouth to speak again, but Keane shuffles over to them forcing any future conversation to an end. “Keane! How are you?” Arthur asked.

“I’m good, what can I get you, Deputy Arthur, and, ah, Doctor Matthews! A surprise to see you here.” Keane, the Beta that ran the saloon, grinned at Hosea. “And what can I get for you too, sir?”

“Just two shots of beer for now,” Arthur replied for both of them. “Just takin’ my Pa out for a small break before throwing him back into work.” There’s a bark of laughter from Keane who quickly pours the shots while leaning a little closer than normal.

“I have some news for you, Deputy. Well, rumors at best, but I thought you might like to know regardless.” Keane replied soft enough for them to hear.

“Thank you, Keane,” Arthur replied as the man slid their shots over, and leaned as if he was going to casually speak to them instead of passing on rumors.mors. on rumors.

Chapter Text

With a groan, Dutch removed himself from Kieran’s arms, and the bed. “Hot.” He mumbled to the silent question. Even with the herbs the doctor gave him, Dutch can still feel the heat and the need tightly hugging his body, driving him mad. He doesn’t know how he’s going to live through this Heat. It’s been decades since he’s experienced a Heat nearly alone, not since his first eight years as an omega. And while he has Kieran by his side, the other man can do very little to help him through this. His thoughts flash to the incident in the exam room, and he nearly groans aloud. He has half a mind to ask Kieran to grab the doctor and beg Hosea to mate him, to end everything now. But Dutch can’t ask that of him when the doctor managed to pull away from a desirable Omega in Heat.

Fingers shaking, he manages to remove his robe before wobbling to the side. Familiar arms catch him, and he breathes out a ‘thank you’. Kieran silently holds him; he doesn’t help him strip because he knows Dutch wants to do it alone. Relief springs from his body now when the robe is gone. But deep inside him, he wishes the doctor was here to cool the burning desire in his veins.

“Kieran.” Dutch groans out starting to feel the Heat become somewhat muted. “Can… Do you mind…” His thoughts are starting to become jumbled swirling back towards the taste of the doctor’s lips on his own, and the Alpha’s sweet smell. Almost mindless whimpers and whines come from his throat as he longs for the touch of Hosea. Kieran’s hand lands on his shoulder, a brand burning his skin. The concern is present on the younger man’s face. It settles the swirling thoughts. “Do you mind leaving for a bit? I need… I need…” A soft needy whine left his lips. His body is craving for something he can’t give it, and he can’t ask the one Alpha, that he honestly wants to fuck at least once, to give in to his baser desires and ruin Dutch here and now.

“Alright. I’ll come back in a bit to check up on you, okay?” He gently pushes Dutch towards the bed. “Lay down, and make sure to eat something soon if you feel hungry.” The older man mewls as Kieran helps him onto the bed before stepping out to the exam room. He wonders if the doctor can make another batch of herbs if it wouldn’t hurt. It’s been so long since Dutch has probably spent a Heat alone, and it worries Kieran. And while he’s sure that there’s plenty of Alphas and Betas in the town that would be willing to usher Dutch through his Heat, he’s not sure how many would be willing to walk away after they find out who the Omega they’d be bedding was. Just as he closes the Heat room’s door, he sees a head poke in; John, the name comes to him, one of the doctor’s sons.

“Everything alright?” The concern in the Alpha’s tone is touching and Kieran briefly wonders if he had gotten that from the doctor. Probably considering how gentle he was with Dutch. Or maybe he and Arthur gained it from their other parent whoever they were. His traitorous thoughts turn to the Alpha specimen that was Arthur Matthews with his striking green-blue eyes, and the sweet smell of mountain dirt, and horsehide that radiated off him. Biting his bottom lip, Kieran mentally swats at the thoughts to finally respond to John’s question.

“He wants me to leave for a bit while he takes care of himself,” Kieran answered slipping past the two men, and sitting in one of the chairs nearby. “Where’s Doctor Matthews? And Arthur?” Twiddling his thumbs he notes the lack of the doctor and Arthur, but the woman — Miss Grimshaw if he remembered correctly — sat at the desk scribbling down words onto paper. He wondered what they said, and what they were about.

“Arthur took him out for a small break.” The younger son takes a seat next to him. “Need him?”

“Not yet, but I’m hoping he can make another batch of herbs for Dutch. I don’t know when the last time Dutch spent a… a Heat alone like this. I don’t want, I don’t want him to suffer any more than he already has too.”

“Well,” John glances over to Charles before speaking, “They shouldn’t be too long. Don’t think Pa will mind whipping up another batch.” Suddenly John’s brows furrow and his jaw clenched all while a hint of sadness seems to touch his face. “You might have to give your friend the dosage this time,” John mutters something signaling from his body that the doctor may not be able to.

“Why?” Kieran asks before he can stop himself. “I thought Doctor Matthews has a mate, he didn’t seem too affected by Dutch’s Heat.” The pained look on John’s face screams that he touched a sore spot, and Kieran’s quick to apologize. “Sorry. Sorry.” He squeaked out curling into himself afraid John may not be too pleased by Kieran. He remembers the last time he had spoken out of turn, and Micah had beaten him till a mixture of black and blue covered his body. No one dared to use him for a quick that night once Micah had stormed off, far too scared for their hides. The only one willing to care for him at the time was a female Omega who the O’Driscolls hadn’t completely broken yet, and Dutch was underneath Colm unable to care for Kieran like he usually. A sense of relief washed over his body when John waved his hand, not to hurt him, but to forgive him.

“It’s okay, Mister Duffy. You didn’t know.” John’s leaning his elbows on his legs entwining his hands together as he does. “Ma, she, uh, she died about two years back. And her mark may be almost faded by now. So, Omegas in Heats may start to affect Pa more now.” Embarrassment nearly crawls out Keiran’s chest digging his own grave at the words, even if John said he forgave Kieran for not knowing, he’s tripped into a painful trap by just a few careless words. Before Kieran can open his mouth to fiercely apologize, the door to the clinic creaks open, and the scent of a strong Alpha comes wafting through. Jumping up, Kieran finds himself inching closer to Charles who practically radiates a sense of calm.

Standing at the door, Kieran meekly stares at the strange Alpha who’s staring back at him. Cutting an imposing figure in the room, the eyepatch over one eye not helping, the only thing that keeps him from running back into the Heat room tail tucked between his legs is the other two Alphas barely reacting to the other man. “Sheriff Davies.” John greets from the chair. He stands up to shake the man’s hand. “Welcome back, how did it go?”

“Not well,” Davies grunted taking the seat Kieran had just occupied. “Where’s your father? I need to speak to him about our guests that Curtis has informed me about.” The Alpha turns to gaze at Kieran for the briefest of seconds before returning his gaze to John for answers.

“Arthur took him to a quick lunch before he dropped a message off at the Wells Fargo station about that heat suppressant shipment. Pa’s afraid the O’Driscoll’s will hit it if they find out who is here. They should be back soon.” He gestured to Kieran. “This is Kieran Duffy, one of the Omegas we found. The other one is in the Heat room. He’s, uh, Dutch Van der Linde.” Davies’s hand slowly comes up to rub his mustache with various emotions flashing across his face. Clinging to Charles, who lets a small smile on his face appear, Kieran becomes increasingly worried that the sheriff is going to kick them out of the town regardless of what everyone has told them so far. 

“I see. And no doubt Colm O’Driscoll’s going to want him back. Good thinking on your old man’s part about that shipment, O’Driscoll’s a vindictive bastard alright. There’s no doubt in my mind he’d go after the shipment knowing who’s here.” Before anything more can be said, the door creaks open revealing the doctor and Deputy Arthur. “Hosea. Arthur.” Davies greets from his chair as the two shuffle in. 

“Tom.” Hosea shakes hands with the sheriff. “Good to see you again, how’d it go?” The sheriff shakes his head placing his hat on his knee.

“Not good, Hosea. The bastards got away, and from what I understand from John here, we have Dutch Van der Linde in our midst.” The two winces, and before they can say anything, the sheriff holds up a hand. “Relax you two, I understand what you’re trying to do. Get these two out of the grasp of O’Driscoll and Bell. Well,” Davies places his hands behind his head, “it gives us a good opportunity to strike back at those two, so they can stay, although I’m not sure where they’d be staying. They can’t stay at your clinic every night. Too easy for anyone to break in.”

“Well, I figured we’d think of that once Mister Van der Linde is out of his Heat. I don’t dare move him now. But, I was willing to put my house down for consideration. It’ll be easy to protect both of them there since Arthur and John stay with me, and they’ll be slightly out of town.” He watches Arthur thoughtfully rub his chin while John nodded slowly at the idea their father presented. Although a part of him wonders if he could handle being around an Omega he knows he’s compatible with by smell alone, and he nearly mated on the floor of his exam room. Facts made worse since Bessie’s mark had faded. But he can’t allow himself those traitorous thoughts now. “That would please the people of Valentine a bit I hope.” Kieran watches the sheriff nod thoughtfully before turning to stare at Kieran.

“Mister Duffy, right?” Meekly, Kieran nods still halfway hiding behind Charles. The sheriff beckons him forward. “Come out now, I ain’t gonna hurt you.” Slowly, and with all eyes on him, Kieran pulls away from Charles to stand in front of Davies, fretting with the hem of his ragged coat as he did. “Do you think Mister Van der Linde would mind staying at Hosea’s home after his Heat? And would you mind as well? It’d be far more comfortable than staying here.”

“Um,” Kieran glanced at the doctor who politely smiled at him, “well, we don’t want to intrude.” Plus the idea of staying near Arthur had Kieran’s heart beating harder than it had any right to. He was glad no one had strong hearing otherwise it would alight a set of questions Kieran didn’t want to answer right now, or anytime soon.

“You wouldn’t be, Mister Duffy.” Hosea sent the nervous man a reassuring smile. “My home has plenty of rooms.”

“Then, no, I don’t think either one of us would mind. Thank you, sir.” He inclined his head towards the doctor before turning to the sheriff.

“Then it’s settled. Once Mister Van der Linde is done with his Heat in...?” The sheriff trailed off.

“In three days.” Hosea supplied.

“In three days we’ll move the both of you over to Hosea’s home.” Standing, Davies came over and clapped his shoulder. Kieran tried not to flinch at the touch. “Don’t worry Mister Duffy, you’re under my protection starting today. Neither one of you are mated, so you don’t need to worry about me sending the both of you out to the wolves. And I’ll make sure the townsfolk leave you alone.”

“Thank you, Sheriff, I, we don’t know how to repay you.”

“Well, I’m sure doing some chores around Hosea’s house will be payment enough.” He turned to the doctor who nodded. “Now, I need to head back over to the sheriff’s office and get some paperwork done. Anything else?” Arthur cleared his throat bringing all eyes on him.

“Yes, we’ve got a problem. I was over at Keane’s with Pa, and Keane told me that one Agent Milton and Ross are here representing the federal government. They arrived yesterday, probably heard about Colm being in the area. And with two new Omegas coming in town, it wouldn’t surprise me if the agents want to question Mister Duffy and Van der Linde, especially Van der Linde.” He gestured vaguely in the direction of the local hotel. “They’re supposed to be staying at Saint’s Hotel. What are we going to do, Sheriff?” The man frowned glancing over at Kieran before returning his gaze to Arthur.

“If they ask to question the two, direct them to me. They may be feds, but they’re in my area.” The Alpha growled not enjoying the strange men coming into town, and something in his behavior and tone settles a small part of Kieran down. Even with federal agents here, Davies wasn’t going to automatically turn them over even though he could, and make everything easier on the town. “And these two are officially under my protection. Make sure they know that. They’re not stupid enough to go treading over the laws of protection.”

“Of course.” The sheriff nodded at Arthur moving to turn outside until he noticed Hosea had slumped forward into his chair with his head in his hands.

“Hosea, you okay?” Davies questioned causing everyone’s attention to turn to the doctor who pulls away, an exhausted expression settling on his face. Although Davies notes there’s something else there, he figures it’s not something he should ask with everyone around.

“Tired.” The doctor warily smiled confirming there was something else bothering him. Something Davies would have to speak to him about soon he imagined. The sheriff wondered if it something to do with their new arrivals, but kept his tongue before nodding at Hosea and heading out.

Reaching over, Arthur patted his father’s hand before standing and stretching his back with a soft groan. He catches Kieran fidgeting heavily out the corner of his eye prompting Arthur to question, “You okay over there?”

“Ah, can’t say I’m happy to hear there are federal agents in the area. Heh.” Glancing back towards the Heat room, Kieran resumes his train of thought since it’s been made clear to him that those gathered care what he thinks. “It’s just… Dutch… I just want him to be okay. And those agents...” He trailed off waving his hand in the air.

“I’m sure you do.” Arthur came up and gently patted Kieran’s shoulder. “As for those agents, you leave them to us, okay? Pa, and whoever is on guard, will make sure they don’t bother you till the sheriff gets over here, alright?” Kieran can tell the man is earnest in his statement, and that sends waves of calm through Kieran’s body. He has to admit in the few hours he’s known Arthur, he finds the other man's presence reassuring. And that’s not including the appetizing smell that radiates off the blonde-haired man. Snapping the embarrassing thoughts away, he realizes he needs to ask the doctor something.

“Okay. Um,” He glances over to the doctor, “Doctor Matthews, would you be able to make another mixture of herbs for Dutch today, or is that not possible?” The doctor shakes his head negatively.

“As much as I would like to ease his heat, I’m afraid that taking too much in too short of a time will only make it worse until we can get the heat suppressors here,” Hosea explained calmly but pleased Kieran asked about something like that. It meant the two, or at least Kieran, was growing more comfortable with their group. “I can give him more tomorrow however, just not now.”

“I see. Thank you, sir.” Kieran ducked out of the room, and back to where Dutch was no doubt to tell him of the plans made.

Chapter Text

By the fourth day they had arrived at Valentine, Dutch’s heat had finally ceased. And he’s so glad that it has because he feels like he can breathe again. Glancing down at his ruined clothes, a wave of sadness descends on him. He had been slightly careless yesterday, and now the only pair of clothes he had were utterly ruined by his slick. How could he have thought that his Heat was done yesterday? And the idea of potentially walking over the doctor’s house naked as the day he had been born was not the ideal way he wanted anyone to see him. A soft knock on the door startled him forcing him to grab a blanket and wrap it around his waist. “Come in, doctor.”

Dutch watched the doctor pop his head in, and instinicly take in his scent wafting around the room. The man stumbles a bit before stepping in holding a bundle of clothes in his hand. “Here. Some old clothes of mine, although I’m not sure how well they’ll fit. You’re built a little boarder than I.” Handing over the clothes, Hosea tries to ignore the sweet scent he’s smelling in the room as he picks up the dirty clothes on the floor. The scene in the exam room keeps running through his brain, and he’s not proud to admit to himself over the last few nights he’s gotten off to the memory.

“I’m afraid we’ll have to burn these. Sorry.” It takes all his willpower to not rub his face into the sweet smelling clothes. The smell of leather, smoke, and cigars wafted from the clothes, and Hosea nearly started drooling at the smell alone. And old instincts that he had been able to ignore are coming back to him, and it makes him wonder if he can even continue doing his work, or if he’d have to find a another Beta to help him since it had been so long since this had affected him. Or was it that Dutch just smelled so damn wonderful to him that his instincts were in overdrive for a new potential mate? Hosea turned his back to Dutch to allow the man to change, and keep himself from going any further down that train of thought. “We’ll be leaving here after you’re changed to show you around my home.”

“I understand, thank you.” Slipping the blanket off, he slipped into the older man’s clothes he had been provided. The clothes were tight around his body, but he couldn’t complain too much as it meant he wasn’t going to have to walk around naked. Although his traitorous thoughts supplied the idea of the doctor seeing walk around naked, and take Dutch right then and there. And of course his thoughts moved to the idea maybe Hosea had gotten himself off to the sight Dutch had made in the exam room during his first day at the Valentine. Biting his lip, he peaked a glance at the Alpha he wanted, and the man was doing everything in his power to not look at Dutch, which made him wonder. Did the doctor want him, but was denying himself because of who Dutch was, or was there another reason? He wondered if he’d ever get an answer before shooing the thoughts from his mind. He needed to finish dressing.

Dipping his head, he took a quiet sniff of the Alpha’s scent. The scent surprised him because despite living in Valentine, the smell of mountains, dirt, and herbs clung to the doctor’s old clothes making his mouth water. He wrestled the want down; he had no right to the doctor since the man hadn’t taken any move to suggest he was interested. “Again, thank you for letting us stay at your home, Doctor.” He quietly spoke buttoning up the last two buttons. “I don’t know how to repay you.” Stepping near the doctor, he was slightly surprised to see himself a couple of inches above the Alpha. A rare thing for any Omega to tower over a Beta, nevermind an Alpha.

The other man shook his head. “As Sheriff Davies said, just some chores around the house will cover your stay.” He tucked the clothes under his arm, and led Dutch out of the Heat room. “Come on, my daughter-in-law is waiting for us.” The doctor stopped briefly to bag his clothes, and stick them under a counter before leaving the room, Dutch on his heels.

“Daughter-in-law?” Dutch questioned brow furrowed.

“Yes, my son’s, John, mate. Her name is Abigail, and they have a son named Jack.” Dutch’s mind flashed to memory of John showing him his mark.

“Do your sons, daughter-in-law, and grandson live with you?” Dutch dared to ask. The doctor turned to him with a smile on his face.

“They do. The home is large enough for us all to stay, so I see no need to kick them out if my home can handle all of us. Plus, it allows me more time with my grandson when I take a day off.” The way the doctor’s eyes lit up at the mention of his grandson warmed Dutch’s heart unexpectedly, but before he could go further they were already down the hall and heading into the main room where Arthur and Kieran waited. “Ready?” Hosea asked Kieran who nodded shyly. With a smile, Hose led them outside his son trailing behind them. Several people stopped to greet Hosea cheerfully, and those who didn’t stared hungrily at the two Omegas. Kieran tensed under the hungry gazes before a soft hand at his back made him turn to see Arthur smiling tightly.

“Don’t worry, they won’t mess either of you with me and Pa here.” He whispered as they turned down an alley behind the doctor’s clinic and towards a large house in the distance. The idea of Arthur protecting him from the others nearly had him blushing. And he seemed honestly interested in Kieran who wished his Heat was close enough he could ask Arthur if he wanted to mate him. Shaking his head, Kieran returned the smile weakly before glancing around to see Dutch smirking at him.

“What?” He mumbled to his longtime friend.

“Nothing.” He was lying, but Kieran couldn’t bring himself to attempt to get an answer from Dutch. Pouting, he slowed down to walk next to Arthur finding the bigger man’s presence far more easier to deal with than Dutch’s. There’s a soft laugh from Arthur who pats his shoulder as they head up the main path to Hosea’s home. Kieran tries to ignore the warmth of Arthur’s hand patting his shoulder, he’s not very successful, and a blush coats his cheeks. A part of him wanted to curse wonderfully smelling Alphas, the other part wondered what it felt like to have Arthur’s hand slipping down his pants. Biting his bottom lip hard, he focuses on following the doctor to his house.

In the distance, he sees John with a young boy on his lap, and a woman sitting next to him. Kieran muses the woman and child must be Abigail and Jack that Arthur spoke about.When they grow closer, Kieran can smell the scent of a newly risen Beta clinging to Abigail, something that surprises him. He had heard that female Omegas could rise up to Beta after having a child. He didn’t believe it until he saw her. The mates are talking softly, although Abigail seems tense, she doesn’t let it show when her gaze lands on him and Dutch. Standing up, she smoothes her skirts, and climbs down the stairs to press a quick kiss to Hosea’s cheek, and give Arthur a quick hug. “Hosea, Arthur. Lunch is almost ready, I made sure to make more since you said we were having guests until further notice.” She ushers all four of them into the house. Kieran glances around taking in the nicely furnished house. Some of the furnishings are clearly over fifty years old, and Kieran briefly wonders how long the house has been in Hosea’s family.

“We are.” Hosea gestures to Dutch and Kieran. “This is Dutch Van der Linde, and Kieran Duffy.” Abigail squinted at Dutch, inspected him, before glancing at Kieran. She took two steps forward, sniffed the air, and made a face. Arthur coughed to hide his laugh as he sunk into a couch and placed his feet on one of the coffee tables.

“Well, I’ll have their rooms done after lunch, but I’d like if they took a bath first, Hosea.” Suddenly, Abigail snapped at Arthur, “Get your feet off that table, or you’ll be cleaning it next!” Both Omegas have to hold in their laughter at the sight of a strong burly Alpha cowed into place by a Beta. Pouting, Arthur crossed his arms over his chest sneaking an occasional glance at Kieran whose cheeks flushed. Shaking his head at his son’s and daughter-in-law’s behavior, Hosea gestures for them to follow Abigail.

“Follow her to one of the bathrooms, I’ll have Arthur bring you some water while I get another extra set of clothes for the both of you.” He pins his older son with a stare until said son gets up with a huff, and heads back outside to grab buckets of water.

Kieran muffles a giggle, although Dutch notices his attempts and the hint of a smile appears on his face. Sticking his tongue out at Dutch whose ghost smile morphs into a full blown smirk, the two follow Abigail towards one of the guest bathrooms. By the look on his friend’s face, Kieran knows he’s going to teased back and forth over Deputy Arthur the moment the two are alone. And yet, Kieran can’t quite find it in himself to care too much about his closest friend’s teasing.

Once they’re fully left alone, Dutch grins predatorily at Kieran sending shivers down his back. He knows that grin, it’s the one that he’s going to get a playful ear full from Dutch, and he knows what and who it’s about already. And Kieran hasn’t been exactly sneaky about mooning over a certain Deputy with beautiful blue-green eyes that behaves as if Kieran isn’t just some Omega he might just fuck out of pity.

"Oh Kieran," Dutch sing-songed, mischief playing in his eyes. Taking a step back, the shivers Kieran had been feeling switched to pure fear. He’s going to be handed more than just Dutch’s regular teasing.

Knowing he’s going to regret this, Kieran hesitantly inquires, “Yes?”

“Not even a week here, and you’ve got a potential lover,” Dutch had a wicked grin plastered on his face as he spoke. Standing by the bath full of water, Kieran watches Dutch dip his washrag into the water to start cleaning himself, and against his better judgment, Kieran stood next to the bathtub to start cleaning himself as well. “The fearsome Alpha Deputy Arthur Matthews. Cool as ice, but weak at the knees for one Omega Kieran Duffy.” Grinning, Dutch reaches over to playfully pinch his cheek.

“Shut up!” Kieran squeaked cheeks burning bright red. But he knows Dutch is correct, because Kieran honestly wants Arthur, and everything the Alpha can give him, maybe even pups one day. The thought is his undoing when he feels his cheeks reddened at the idea only serving to widen the smile on Dutch’s face. “Dutch!” He complained throwing his washrag into the man’s face who started laughing. Pulling the towel off his face, the other Omega shot him another grin before his expression turned serious.

“If he ever hurts you, Kieran, I’ll try to skin him alive myself,” Dutch observed changes in Kieran’s expression at his proclamation. The obvious being wistfulness followed by a sense of admiration. “Although,” He continued, “I highly doubt I’d be able to face him down, but I’d certainly try for you, Kieran. I want you to be happy, and if Arthur makes you happy, then I’m okay with it. He doesn’t seem like a horrible Alpha at all.” All the emotions on Kieran’s face are swept away by fondness.

“Thank you, Dutch,” Kieran replied while playing with the washrag in his hand. “I appreciate it greatly. I honestly hope we can find someone who will see you beyond just your rank and reputation.” It was Dutch’s turn to have a somber look on his face.

“I don’t know, Kieran. I don’t know, but I guess we’ll see?” Tossing the washrag Kieran threw back to him, Dutch dipped his rag back into the water. “We should probably finish up bathing. I don’t want to have our hosts breathing down our necks even if they don’t seem like the type to do that.”

Taking seats at the table thirty minutes later, both Kieran and Dutch find their stomachs rumbling at the smell of freshly cooked food. Plates are traded back and forth while casual conversation is traded, and maybe some quick glances between Kieran and Arthur, but both men would vehemently deny they’re already starting to moon after each other. The more time that passes, the more the two begin to relax, open up a little about themselves.

“I don’t know how to read.” Kieran admits nervously chewing on a piece of bread. “Never got a chance when we moved ‘cause my parents died soon afterwards from cholera. I think my Pa would have taught me if he hadn’t passed.”

“Don’t worry, Kieran, I can spend some of my downtime teaching you, and Dutch, if you’d both like.” Hosea spoke before plopping a piece of fruit into his mouth. “I don’t always keep the clinic open to give myself and Miss Grimshaw a chance to rest, although people do know to come and grab me if the situation is dire. So I have no problem teaching the both of you.” Sharing a look with Kieran, Dutch plays with the food on his plate unsure about his answer. It was kind of the doctor to offer to teach him, but there was no guarantee that the family, and the sheriff, could protect them from Colm’s wrath. “Are you alright, Dutch?” The doctor asks softly, worry in his face and tone.

“I… no.” He glances at Jack before returning his gaze to Hosea. “I’d rather not say it in front of your grandson if that’s okay?” Dutch knows Jack isn’t going to understand what their speaking about being only four years old, yet he can’t quite bring himself to voice his worries around the boy. Hosea nods in understanding, and waves him off declaring to the others he won’t allow anyone to go down that road.

“Well,” Arthur drawled cutting up some of the meat on his plate, “teaching you how to read aside, we do need to figure out what chores you two can do for now.” The deputy observes them before sticking the meat into his mouth. Glancing at Kieran, and noting the faint blush on the other man’s cheeks, Dutch thinks about anything special he can do, which is nothing. Kieran doesn’t seem to feel the same way.

“I can work with horses decently, if you have a stable that is.” Arthur raises his eyebrows in a silent question. “Ah, after my parents died, a local stable allowed me to work with them till I presented as an Omega. Then they kicked me out not finding me worth the trouble.”

The older son muttered something under his breath, before replying, “We do. It’s out back, I can show you after we finish lunch. We could use some more help around the barn, Pa. If Kieran has some experience working with horses, then I don’t see why we can’t fill in the rest of what he’s missing.” Arthur’s eyes land on Dutch. “And I take it from your silence, you don’t have any skills, and that’s fine. If Pa is okay with it, you could probably help out at the clinic doing some of the menial work with Miss Grimshaw. Or you can stay here and help out Abigail with things around the house. We’re not expecting you to have some crack shot skills, just being willing to help out a bit. You two are still guests after all.” Arthur finished by glancing at his father with an inquiring expression.

The doctor made a noise of agreement. “I don’t mind, plus if word gets out about who you are, you’ll be in close proximity to the sheriff’s office.” Biting his bottom lip, Dutch thought over the options laid before him. He needed more protection than Kieran, and while it frustrated him just as it saddened him, the idea of not being too far from the sheriff certainly made the idea of working around the doctor far more preferable. And from what he could understand, the doctor was highly respected around the town, and not just for the fact he was the local doctor. Peering at Hosea, Dutch made his choice.

“I would like to work at the clinic. It does seem like the safer option.”

“Then it’s decided. Kieran can do some chores around the stable, and Dutch can help you around the clinic, while allowing us to keep a better eye on him, and the local townsfolk.” Finishing his meal, Arthur wiped his mouth before going on. “Although, Pa, we should probably give them a tour around the property first so they can familiarize themselves at the very least.”

“That we should.” Hosea agreed turning to the two. “But please don’t feel like you need to rush your meal. The tour can wait for you two to get a proper meal in your bellies.”

Chapter Text

The deputy escorted both of them out followed by his father. John had said something about Sheriff Davies needing to see him right after lunch, so the younger son had already left by the time their tour began. They both had tried to at least put their plates away, but everyone, especially Abigail, snapped at them to sit down, it wouldn’t take too long for the family to clean up. Arthur figured they should start outside before it became too dark outside; his father agreed.

The estate itself wasn’t all too big, but enough to hold at least ten people in the main house, and a few others in the long since abandoned farm hand houses which were a ten-minute walk left coming out of the front door. Hosea commented that it had been years since his family’s home had been a functioning ranch to help feed Valentine, although that lack of function was made up by Hosea’s medical knowledge and skills. Farms and farmhands were far more common, and easier to make than trained doctors.

Dutch watched as Kieran seemed to hang onto Arthur’s every word. The deputy seemed to notice, and as a result, tried to impress Kieran with his knowledge of his family’s land. Dutch, however, felt as if Arthur didn’t need to even try. His friend was attracted by the man, and would probably listen to whatever Arthur had to say. Either way, it didn’t stop the smile that appeared on his face watching his friend moon happily over the deputy. Arthur seemed to be a good man from what Dutch to could tell, and if the doctor’s tenderness was anything to go by, it wouldn’t surprise Dutch if he had taught his sons to be gentle and kind to others unless the situation called for different methods.

It wasn’t long before they came to the barn, and Dutch could feel the excitement radiating off Kieran. Despite their positions in the O’Driscolls, his fellow Omega always had a strong love of horses, something several gang members had noticed. Some would ask him to take care of their horses since he had a decent understanding of how to treat horses, while other gang members would torture their horses just to watch Kieran cry out and submit to them for the night in exchange for being allowed to treat their horse. The sight had broken Dutch’s heart, but there was hardly anything he could have done about, being even lower than Kieran. With no skills, all he could do was stay covered by sheets and used regularly by those who wanted a quick fuck.

Bringing his fingers to the bridge of his nose, Dutch let out a soft sigh trying to swat the memories away. Fingers touched his arm making him glance up to see the doctor staring at him in worry. Wryly smiling, Dutch mouthed ‘bad memories’ at Hosea who nodded and squeezed his arm one more time before letting his hand drop from Dutch’s arm. The spot where the doctor’s hand had been suddenly felt cold making Dutch mentally frown unsure why he felt cold when he knew he wasn’t cold. He knew he was attracted to Hosea, and possibly compatible with him, but was he already falling in love with a man he might not be able to have? Biting his bottom lip in worry, Dutch mindlessly followed the group in never noticing the doctor’s concerned expression.

“Wow!” Kieran exclaimed breathless glancing around the barn, and trying to look at every horse in one go. A warm chuckle unseats itself from Arthur’s chest whose trailing behind Kieran. Bouncing on his feet, Kieran turns to face Arthur with excitement written on his face. “They’re beautiful! You’ve taken excellent care of them.” A blush grows on Arthur’s face, and the man scratches his chin shyly at the compliment.

“Thank you, Kieran.” Dutch can feel amusement growing in his chest watching the two. Kieran’s body is bubbling with excitement over seeing horses being taken care of properly. Arthur is almost beet red being complimented by Kieran, and he’s pleased about Kieran’s assessment of the horses under his care. There’s soft chuckle next to him, and when Dutch glances to his right, he sees amusement also rolling off Hosea. The doctor sees what Dutch is seeing between the two; budding love.

Shifting his weight from side to side, Kieran chews on his bottom lip watching Arthur for a couple of seconds before turning to Buell. The stallion pins his ears back with a snort making Kieran laugh. “Buell’s a feisty one.” Reaching out, Kieran tries to pet Buell’s nose only to have the horse turn his butt to the group with another snot earning another round of laughter from the group.

“Yeah.” Arthur agreed reaching to pet the ornery stallion’s butt, his heartwarming at the sound of Kieran’s laugh. The Omega with his knowledge of horses had set a flame in Arthur’s chest, something Mary was never able to do, and his fling with Eliza too short to start anything. While they had been waiting out Dutch’s Heat, he had spoken to Kieran wanting to learn more about the Omegas in their care and found out about his love for horses. How Kieran had loved the golden shine of Buell’s coat, and where Arthur had gotten such a horse. How Kieran’s eyes shined with sadness hearing the demise of Hamish, and commenting that the man seemed like a wonderful man. Shit, he wanted to kiss Kieran’s lips and see if they tasted as lovely as they looked.

Something danced between Kieran’s eyes as they stared at each other, and Arthur could feel his need to kiss the man in front of him swell. Biting the inside of his cheek, Arthur quietly reminded himself he couldn’t do it right now, but damn did he want to. He wondered if he smelt as wonderful to Kieran as Kieran smelt to him, like horses, carrots, and mint. A cough broke the two of them from whatever eye fucking they were doing.

“I believe we’re supposed to be giving a tour, Arthur?” His father spoke entertained by the event he just witnessed. Glancing to his father’s left, Arthur could see Dutch smiling with his arms crossed. Tugging at the collar of his shirt, and cheeks reddening, Arthur debates with himself on the benefits of the ground swallowing him whole here and now. Out of the corner of his eye, Kieran’s cheeks were pure red, and no doubt his were the same color.

“Right.” Arthur coughed into his hand trying to remove the sense of embarrassment he felt. Swallowing hard, he tries to rearrange his thoughts and keep on with the tour, but the growing smiles on his father’s and Dutch’s faces are hard to ignore. Both men can see how affected Arthur is by Kieran and how much Arthur wants – no, not wants, but loves him. Those taunting smiles widen when their owners note where Arthur’s thoughts have landed, and that’s he’s finally admitted to himself he’s in love with Kieran. He wishes the ground could swallow him whole, but before he can open his mouth to resume the tour Kieran’s soft gasp draws everyone’s attention to the Omega.

“What’s this one’s name?” Kieran has slipped over to a horse with a flaxen roan coat. He seems to be captured by the horse’s bald white face stroking his nose while inspecting the horse.

“Oh, him? Ah, I don’t have a name for him.” Inwardly, Arthur was pleased that the attention had been turned from their earlier display to the horse in the stall. “Found him out in the Heartlands with a saddle and no rider. Sweet boy, didn’t feel right to leave him there to starve, but I haven’t been able to think of one.” Swallowing hard, Arthur knows the next sentence will display his intentions, and probably earn him a lecture from his father about proper courting etiquette, but something is tugging him and telling him it’s the right thing to do. “Why don’t you name him, and have him? He seems to like you a lot.” Gesturing to the horse nuzzling Kieran’s back, Arthur feels his father’s eyes land on his back, and he knows he’s definitely in for a lecture now when the tour has ended.

Kieran swivels to face Arthur his eyes bright, and it sends various emotions straight to Arthur’s heart. He’s a fool in love for the man before him, and yet Arthur doesn’t care that he is. He wants to make Kieran happy, wants to provide for him, and wants to show everyone he can provide for Kieran. “Really? I can… I can name him?” Kieran fidgets while still seeming happy that Arthur said he could name the horse.

“Yes,” Arthur breathed heart pounding his throat. “You can name him.” Peaking at Dutch and Hosea, he sees various emotions on their faces, but neither man stops Kieran from naming the horse, which means for now they both approve of his actions. Something twists in his heart, and he’s not sure he knows how to breathe right now.

“Branwen.” Kieran decided petting the horse’s shoulder a fond expression on his face. Arthur wants to keep that expression on Kieran’s face for as long as he’s able to. And he hopes Kieran will look at him that way in the future.

“Branwen it is then. Ah,” he coughed lightly trying to force the feeling of butterflies in his stomach away, “we should move on before it starts getting dark. I’ll introduce you to the rest of the horses tomorrow, alright?” Kieran beamed at him sending another wave of emotion through his chest. He was utterly screwed when it came to Kieran Duffy, and he wouldn’t change it.

“Alright.” Kieran agreed, and Arthur noticed his father’s thoughtful expression before it morphed into an I'll-see-you-in-my-office-later look. Inclining his head in acknowledgment, Arthur let his father take the lead for the rest of the tour, he’s not sure he can trust himself to speak. There’s a rush in his head, and the only cure is Kieran. A rush worsened walking out of the stable because their hands brush against each other, and without thinking, Arthur grabs Kieran’s hand who doesn't resist. Arthur swears the other man starts walking closer to him to their next destination bringing another rush of good feelings to his head.

The rest of the tour around the outside of the house is short; they don’t have any working buildings except for the stables. But for Arthur, he swears it lasts a lifetime with Kieran’s hand in his the whole time. So many emotions are swirling in his chest just holding the man’s hand, and he’s finding himself wishing it’ll never end. They’re trading shy glances and smiles with each on their way back to his home – hopefully, Kieran’s home as well in the future. But as they grow closer to the house, Arthur reluctantly lets go of Kieran’s hand. He wants to keep holding the other man’s hand, but he knows his father will just lecture him even more if he notices.

Climbing the stairs to the patio, Arthur rushes to the door and lets his father, Dutch, and Kieran enter the house before him. His father regards him for movement before entering with the two Omegas hot on his heels. Letting out a sigh, he wonders how long his father’s lecture is going to be this time. Arthur knows it’ll be about skipping over certain courting rules, and he knew he shouldn’t have skipped those, but giving Kieran Branwen felt right.


“Right, you two have already seen the dining room on the left, and know where the kitchen is, so we’ll just skip over that.” His father muttered walking down the entry hall and turning right to go into the living room. “Here’s the living room, we occasionally gather here for family meetings or just to relax. I’ll teach both of you how to read and write here, it’s far less cramped than my office room, which is behind that door.” Gesturing to a closed door on the left side of the room, Hosea spins on his heel leads them the group back into the entry hall and up the stairs.

“Your office room,” Dutch spoke climbing up the stairs behind Hosea, “would that be the most likely place we’d find you if you’re not working at the clinic?”

“It would be. And please, feel free to come to me should you need something.” Stopping a few feet away from the stairs, the doctor waited till they were all gathered. “So, the bedrooms are on this floor. This first door down the right hall is Arthur’s, the one next to his is John and Abigail's room, and the one on the other side of theirs is one of two guest rooms. To the left hall is my room and the other guest room. I’m not sure which one of you has which room. We’ll have to ask Abigail when she’s finished downstairs. In the meantime, let’s head back downstairs to figure out what the plans are for tomorrow. I think we should consider going to the general store and getting the two of them clothing, Arthur.”

“Sounds like a good idea, Pa.” Turning around, Arthur sent them a soft smile. “Can’t ask you two to wear our old clothes forever, plus we’re not hurting on money, so we can afford to buy you two some clothes.”

“Thank you.” Kieran managed to get out looking shocked at their kindness. “We don’t know how to pay you guys back.”

“Again Kieran, just do some chores to help out,” Arthur replied with a smile on his face, and Kieran felt strings pull at his heart seeing the man’s beautiful smile. It’s a surprise to Kieran that he doesn’t trip down the stairs paying so much attention to Arthur’s smile.

Abigail strides into the living minutes later Jack on her hip. “Gentlemen, how was the tour?” Her eyes seem to pierce through Arthur’s body as if she already knows something has occurred, and there's a change in the future for Arthur alone. Swallowing, and probably giving everything away in that one motion, Arthur hates how sharp Abigail is because he knows she’ll tell John, and he’ll get a good ribbing from his brother.

“It went well,” Hosea starts casually as if he didn’t see his oldest throw away some courting rituals, “I do need to speak to Arthur alone about something, so could you show Misters Van der Linde and Duffy to their rooms? I didn’t know which ones you assigned to whom.” There’s a slowly growing smirk on Abigail’s face as she’s staring down Arthur, and he can feel his stomach drop to the floor. He’s in trouble, so much trouble.

“Of course.” Her eyes are filling with glee, and Arthur desperately wants the ground to swallow him. He’s going to get the ribbing of a lifetime from those two, and he’s not looking forward to it. Abigail gestures the two Omegas to follow her before flashing Arthur an evil smile making him almost groan.

“Arthur,” His father starts gently removing himself from the couch, “to my office now.” Standing without complaint or snarky comment, Arthur mutely follows his father into his office room. Hosea takes his normal place in the large chair behind his desk, and Arthur nervously sat down in one of the chairs in front of the desk placing his hands in his lap. Folding his hands from oh him, the doctor stared long and hard at his oldest son who fidgeted under the older Alpha’s stare. Chewing on his bottom lip, Arthur felt as if he was a young boy again, and he wanted to explain his actions to his father, but he knew it was no use. There was nothing he could explain.

“So.” Hosea leaned back in his chair after letting Arthur stew under the weight of his stare. “What was that scene in the stable all about, son?”

“I, uh, I thought it was the right thing to do?” Arthur squeaked instantly knowing the excuse sounded weak to his ears, and his father’s. “Kieran, uh, he looked so taken with Branwen, and I just…” He trailed off when his father held up a hand.

“You wanted to impress him,” Hosea observed hands moving from the desk to be folded in his lap. “If I were to take a guess, you wanted to show him, Dutch, and myself you could provide for Kieran because you’re in love him already. Am I wrong?”

“No, sir,” Arthur replied letting his gaze drop to his hands. He can’t deny what his father has said, Arthur is a lovesick fool when it came to Kieran already. A soft sigh escapes from his father, and Arthur can hear the moving of a chair, and footsteps stopping next to him. A hand rests on one of his.

“Arthur, I’m not mad at you. Slightly disappointed, but that’s because you ignored several courting rituals by gifting Kieran Branwen.” The hand squeezed his forcing him to meet the eyes of his father. Arthur doesn’t see any anger in his father’s expression or hear in his tone. “I’ll admit to you, I’m happy you found someone interested in you, but I don’t want you, Kieran, or Dutch to get hurt. By ignoring the customs set up, and yes you know how I feel about them, you would put everyone, especially Dutch, in danger. Once it’s leaked out who these two are, especially Dutch, and the people in town see one of their deputies ignoring custom, do you think they would ignore what you’re doing, or would one of them attempt to subvert the customs to try and get Dutch under their thumb seeing that a deputy is ignoring them when he’s supposed to be acting as the law?”

Arthur’s shoulders slumped heavily. How could he so stupid and forget such a thing? “No, Pa, I think one of them would be stupid enough to do it. I’m sorry, I should have done it right. Or followed your lead in being able to control myself. You managed to not forcibly mate Dutch while he was in full-blown Heat, and yet here I am barely able to control myself and Kieran’s not even in Heat.” Placing his head in hands, Arthur cursed at himself internally. Hearing another sigh, his father reaches a hand around his shoulders to pull Arthur close to his chest.

“Again Arthur, I’m not angry, I just want you to do it right and not get yourself, or the other two hurt. And your control is not the issue, otherwise, you would have gone after Dutch when you found him out there at the beginning of his Heat.” Squeezing Arthur into a tight hug, Hosea went on, “Don’t feel like you need to make it up to me, just do it right. Speak to Kieran tomorrow before we go buy them clothes if he says yes, and I suspect he will, then we’ll go to Sheriff Davies and you and Kieran can ask for permission. Okay?” Hosea pulled away to take in the thoughtful expression on his son’s face.

“Okay, Pa. I’ll do it right, and I’ll make you proud.”

“Arthur, I’m already proud of the man you are.”

Chapter Text

The morning brought a sense of nervousness to the pit of Arthur’s stomach. He would be asking Kieran’s permission to court him formally today. Rising from the bed and striding to his dresser, he prayed to whoever was listening that Kieran would accept his courting. It had been so long since he had properly courted someone, not since Mary had turned him down. Yet, his mind turned back to his father’s words from last night as he gathered his outfit for the day. His father suspected that Kieran would accept him. That thought sent more butterflies to his stomach, and he rushed to put his clothes on. He needed to ask Kieran right away.

A few minutes later, he found himself across the hall standing in front of the guest room that had been turned into Kieran’s for the time being. Somehow he had the feeling Abigail had deliberately down that after watching Arthur yesterday. Shaking the thought away, and swallowing in some ill attempt to calm his nerves, he raised his hand to rap his knuckles against the door. “Kieran, could I speak to you?” He asked trying to stay calm, but he swore he could hear a hint of nervousness in his voice.

The door opened to reveal Kieran dressed in some of Arthur’s old clothes, and Arthur had to wrestle down the desire he felt seeing Kieran in his clothes. “Arthur. Sure, come in.” Kieran opened the door and Arthur felt his nerves flare. The Alpha was finally going to ask the Omega behind him if he wanted to court Arthur. Fidgeting with the hat in his hands, Arthur turned to gaze at the sight Kieran was.

“I, uh, had something I wanted to ask you.”

“Oh, what is it? Did I do something wrong? Did Dutch?” Fear crept onto Kieran’s face and Arthur wanted to wipe it away.

“No, no! You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just,” Arthur swallowed before straightening his back and placing one of his hands on his chest, and the other left hanging at his side, “I wanted to – no – I, Alpha Arthur Matthews, son of the Alpha Hosea Matthews and Omega Bessie Matthews, wish to ask you, Omega Kieran Duffy, formally if you would be willing to allow me to court me.” Holding his breath Arthur watched various emotions ranging from shock to excitement, and a couple more he couldn’t describe because they went by so quickly.

Kieran felt several emotions rushing to his chest and head. Arthur was asking him if he wouldn’t mind formally courting him! He could have fainted right there and then. “I, Omega Kieran Duffy, would be so willing to have you court me, Alpha Arthur Matthews.” He breathed out excitement bubbling in his chest. Relief poured from Arthur, his Alpha, and Kieran wanted nothing more than to kiss him.

“Oh, oh.” Arthur breathed feeling almost faint. Kieran had accepted his want for the two of them to court. Tossing his hat onto Kieran’s bed, he gathered Kieran into his arms and breathed the scent of the, no his, Omega in. Arms wrapped around his waist and Arthur swore he heard Kieran practically purr. “You have no idea how much it makes me happy. I think you’ve just made me the happiest man in Valentine for now.” He spoke into Kieran’s hair enjoying, loving the feeling of Kieran in his arms. His father had been correct; Kieran accepted his courtship.

There was a knock on the door forcing the two to separate sending a sense of longing through Arthur’s chest. He didn’t want to Kieran to remove himself from his arms, but he knew they couldn’t show it openly till they asked Sheriff Davies. “Co-come in,” Kieran stammered, heart racing, wondering who was at the door. To his relief, it was only the doctor with a smile on his face.

“Judging by your expressions, I take it Kieran has accepted?”

“Yes,” Arthur breathed, happiness running through his body. Shyly, Arthur wrapped his arm Kieran’s shoulder pulling him close. There’s a soft noise from Kieran, but he allows Arthur to drag him closer to the other man. “He accepted.”

“Good. Then after we’re done shopping for clothes for him and Mister Van der Linde, we’ll go to Tom so you two can formally ask him for permission to court.” His father pauses to inspect Kieran. “Although, I’m not sure how many clothes we should get for Kieran as I can almost assume he won’t be wearing them often.” Watching both men’s face contort into horror, Hosea leaves the room cackling.

“Pa!” Arthur shouted after him, embarrassment coloring his tone.

Breakfast became an audience of several emotions and expressions. Hosea seemed rather pleased with himself and highly amused at the sight of his oldest son and Kieran. Both men were looking at him with various levels of horror, and no one missed the fact they were openly holding each other’s hand. John and Abigail were trading smirks over their cups extremely amused over the sight of Kieran and Arthur. And for Dutch, he was hiding his smirk eating his food, but he was happy for Kieran.

“So,” Dutch started casually, but failing to hide the mirth in his tone, “I take it something has, uh, happened?” Kieran blushes fiercely, and Arthur seemed ready to beg someone to kill him.

“Oh, yes,” Hosea grinned fox-like, and Dutch noted he liked the smile on the doctor’s face. Pushing away from the thoughts, Dutch refocused on what Hosea was saying. “After we finish clothes shopping, we’ll need to take a quick detour to Tom’s office so these two,” He gestured with his fork at the blushing couple, “can ask his permission to formally court as Kieran has accepted Arthur’s offer to.”

“Oh?” Dutch questioned, leaning his head on his hand and smiling at his friend. Out of the corner of his eye, Dutch could see two shit-eating grins slowly make their way onto John and Abigail’s faces. Turning his gaze back to Kieran and Arthur, he watched as the Alpha seemed to slide down in his chair attempting to hide his fierce blush. And Kieran was red as a tomato while fidgeting in his chair. “Well, I was wondering when you two were going to consider the idea of courting each other after watching you two stare each other down last night. Congratulations, Kieran, Arthur.” Kieran’s gaze slid to him from the table, and Dutch gave him an honest smile. Kieran smiled shyly back while slowly stroking the back of Arthur’s hand with his thumb.

An hour later, the group of four are heading towards the general store. Letting the sun warm him, Dutch watched contently as Kieran and Arthur walked together hands entwined. He’s genuinely happy for his longtime friend. Arthur’s a good Alpha, and he knows the deputy will provide for Kieran. Last night proved that with the way Arthur had interacted with Kieran, and how he had gifted Branwen to Kieran.

But even though he was happy for Kieran, Dutch couldn’t help the sense of sadness filling his chest. They had been here for almost a week, and already Kieran had found someone he was compatible with and loved, and that person loved him back. That was something he would never find himself. His reputation as Dutch Van der Linde, Colm O’Driscoll’s favorite Omega pet would probably follow him for the rest of his life never giving him the chance to find someone who would love him. Who would look through his reputation, and see the man beneath it? And while he knew the doctor, Hosea, treated him well, the few people he had met so far did, he highly doubted the Alpha would love him back. It was clear to anyone that Hosea missed the mate he had lost, and according to gossip Kieran had heard, Hosea has shown very little interest in any possible mates.

A hollow feeling went through his chest, and Dutch couldn’t understand why. He wasn’t in love with Hosea already, was he? No, Dutch was simply attracted to Hosea simply because he smelled wonderful to Dutch’s nose. Just because he was possibly compatible with Hosea didn’t mean they were possible mates. Sometimes it turned out the other person was simply a good lay rather than a possible mate. He had learned that harshly with Colm. At first, the man had been, but then it slowly evolved to what he was trying to escape from. Hosea’s hand touched his arm again, and he glanced to the side to see the concern on the man’s face.

“Sorry,” He mumbled low enough so only they could hear, “Got to thinking about stuff I shouldn’t have.”

“If you ever want to talk about, I’m always willing to listen.”

“Thank you.” The conversation stopped quickly as it began; they were already at the general store. Arthur opened the door for everyone, and Dutch couldn’t help but stare in slight awe. He hadn’t been allowed to wander away from camp, so he had never been able to see what civilization had to offer. He could see what brought people to its embrace.

“Deputy Matthews and Doctor Matthews! Good to see you, what brings you to my fine store today?” The Alpha shopkeeper, Mister Worths, inquired gaze landing on their Omega companions. They wouldn’t have to worry about him, the man was happily mated and married to another Alpha; childhood sweethearts even.

“Clothing for our friends. They’re staying with us for the time being, and we can’t ask them to always borrow our old clothes.” Arthur grunted walking over to the catalog.

“I see! Well, our clothing selection has been added to, so just pick out some, and I’ll bring it from the back.”

“Thank you, Mister Worths,” Arthur mumbled bringing the catalog to Kieran and Dutch. “Here, go through it and look. Pick out something you like.” While the Omegas quietly flipped through the pages of the book, Arthur moved over to the horse treats to pick up some for the horses. Out of the corner of his eye, he noted two fancily dressed men standing outside badges hanging off their jackets. Keeping his gaze focused on the treats before him, Arthur had the feeling he was looking at the agents Keane had spoken about. Coughing to alert his father, Arthur couldn’t help the feeling of fear from settling in his stomach.

“What is it?” Hosea murmured pretending to look at the treats Arthur was holding.

“Outside by the hotel. Agents. I think those two are the ones Keane was speaking about.” He lifted one of the oatcake boxes to his father who took it.

“I see. Don’t worry. I don’t think they’re stupid enough to cause a scene in town and disrupt the law.” Hosea handed the box back to his son with a nod. “But we’ll keep an eye on them.” Turning, his father walked back to the two were speaking Mister Worths about some of the clothing they had found. “Found some clothing?”

“Yes, Doctor Matthews,” Kieran replied gently setting the book back down on the catalog.

“Good. Arthur, we’re done,” He called to his oldest son who brought the treats over and tossed them into the pile of their purchases. “How much, Mister Worths?” Hosea asked digging into his pockets for money.

“Two hundred and thirteen dollars.” Hosea inwardly grimaced but dug out the money he had. Slightly more expensive than he expected, but it couldn’t be helped. Kieran and Dutch needed more than rags while they stayed. “Thank you, Doctor Matthews, how’s your grandson?” The shopkeeper asked while bagging the clothing.

“Growing bigger every day,” Hosea replied taking the bag before handing it off to Arthur. “Have a good day Mister Worths,” He called over his shoulder before leaving the store and heading towards Tom’s office, the others hot on his heels. Several people greeted him and his son not bothering to pay attention to the Omegas following them. It seemed the town had lost interest in their new arrivals for now. And judging by the fact that no one was demanding Dutch to be sent back into the lion’s den meant their identities hadn’t been leaked yet. All the town knew that for right now they were helping two wandering unmated Omegas for an unknown amount of time.

Hosea could feel the stares of the agents, but when he turned to let everyone into the sheriff’s office, the two men were still standing by the hotel. Hopefully, they would stay there until Arthur and Kieran were done speaking to the sheriff. Ushering everyone in, he took one more peek at the two before heading inside himself. The sheriff and Deputy Mallory are sitting at Tom’s desk looking over papers, and both men look up when they enter the office. “Tom,” He greeted when everyone finished filling in.

“Hosea,” Tom greets back eyes following the group with him, “What brings you here today?” Smiling, Hosea nudged Kieran and Arthur, both men going a bright red. Tom’s eyebrows shot up, and Mallory shifts his weight from one leg to the other with his head tilted to the side. “Arthur?” Tom asked making said man swallow.

Clearing his throat, and standing up straight, Arthur stood in front of the sheriff before turning his head to grasp Kieran’s hand and pull him gently to his chest. “Sheriff Tom Davies,” Arthur began staring into the eye of the other man, “I have formally asked the Omega Kieran Duffy to court me. He’s agreed to do, and we both hoped you would be willing to allow us to do so.” Arthur’s heart was pounding in his chest staring down the sheriff the way he was. Tom let out a sigh leaning back into his chair and crossing his legs.

“When did this happen?”

“This morning. I’ve spoken to him over the last six days he’s been here. And,” Arthur glanced down at Kieran with a smile who returned it, “we’ve both come to the conclusion that we’re more than just compatible for a quick lay, and we share similar interests, such as horses.” Shifting on his feet, Arthur hoped this wouldn’t bite him in the ass for saying it, but he felt the need to be honest with Tom. “I gave him that Tennessee Walker I found riderless a few weeks ago. It felt like the most natural thing to do besides breathing.” Arthur swore Tom’s eyebrows went so far up his face they were hidden by the hat he usually wore.

Tom’s gaze went from Arthur to Kieran as he stroked his beard idly. “So, Mister Duffy, you’ve accepted Arthur’s courtship? And you want to be his Omega, and him your Alpha?”

“Yes, sheriff.” Kieran turned his sight back to Arthur. “I want to be his Omega, and him my Alpha. He makes me feel safe, and I know he’ll provide for me.” Kieran glanced back at the sheriff. “I’ve never felt this way for an Alpha, or even a Beta, before. And something deep inside tells me that being Arthur’s Omega is the correct thing to do.”

“I see.” He turned to Hosea and Dutch. “And neither one of you has any objection to this?” They both shook their heads, and Arthur felt light-headed. There was no way Tom was going to reject the courtship, would he? The sheriff’s gaze returned to the couple, and he stared for a good few minutes before nodding once. “I can see the two of you have already fallen hard for each other, and I know Arthur is a good man, a good Alpha. I can also tell you, Mister Duffy, bring happiness to Arthur, and also will love him deeply. And since neither Hosea or Mister Van der Linde object, then I see no reason to object to it either. Very well, I, Sheriff Tom Davies of the town of Valentine, formally allow the Alpha Arthur Matthews and the Omega Kieran Duffy to officially court each other. I wish both of you well.”

Hearing Tom’s acceptance of their courtship, Arthur wanted to faint right there, but he didn’t. Instead, he spun on his heels to grab Kieran into his arms and spin the man around the room before pressing a chaste kiss to the other man’s lips. A lough cough broke their embrace, and both men stared sheepishly at the sheriff who, like the rest of the occupants of the room, looked amused by what they had just witnessed.

“You two are forgetting something,” Tom said digging out two bracelets with green ringlets and adorned with brown beads. “The courting bracelets. Green for new beginnings and brown for reliability.” Handing them over, Tom watched Arthur slip the one he had been given over Kieran’s right wrist, and Kieran slips the other one on Arthur’s right wrist. “With the bracelets now on each of your right wrists, anyone will see that you have my permission to be courting. Should anyone bother you, never hesitate to send them my way.”

Arthur went to respond, but the door opened to reveal the two agents, an Alpha and a Beta, that had been waiting by the hotel. “Kieran Duffy?” The Alpha asked eyes landing on the Omega standing next to Arthur. Placing an arm in front of Kieran, Arthur stood in front of his Omega protectively. “And this must be Dutch Van der Linde. You look just like the pictures.” The Alpha continued idly licking his lips watching Dutch who slowly started to slink behind Hosea.

“Agents Milton and Ross,” Tom greeted neutrally as possible staring down the men who had interrupted. “What do you want?”

“To ask questions,” Milton spoke eyes still locked on Dutch. “He’s the key we need to get Colm O’Driscoll.”

Chapter Text

“To ask questions,” Milton spoke eyes still locked on Dutch. “He’s the key we need to get Colm O’Driscoll.”

“And you thought the best time to ask after I’ve just accepted a Courtship?” Tom asked tapping his fingers on the hardwood of his desk. “You have some guts, Agent Milton.”

Milton keeps his stare on Dutch. “Yes, since the first few days the Omega has been here, he was in Heat. I allowed that to happen since I knew I would get no answers from a bitch in Heat. But now the little thing isn’t in Heat, and I should have been alerted the heat had passed, but instead this Omega has been at the doctor’s house, no doubt opening his legs to Doctor Matthews, and I was going to say opening his legs to your deputy as well, but I see the other one was instead.” Arthur growled loudly at the insult to his future mate, and Hosea placed his arm in front of Dutch without thinking to keep him away from the agent. “And all this was happening instead of my questions being answered.”

Slamming his hands on the desk, Tom stood to his full height, letting out a loud growl as well. “How dare you!” The Alpha of Valentine snarled. “You come into my territory and accuse my people of unethical behavior after barging in here just seconds after a Courtship has formally been accepted? You have some nerve, agent!”

“Do I?” Milton questioned finally turning his gaze to Tom with an eyebrow raised. “You have an extremely valuable Omega in your hands whose identity has been kept a secret from your beloved people so far. Do you think they would handle finding out who he is?” The agent tilted his head at Tom. “Or do you think they’d turn on you and toss the Omega out for O’Driscoll to take so he leaves the town alone when he finds out Van der Linde is here? That’s if he hasn’t already.” Tom’s upper lip curled up to show the agent the sheriff’s fangs, but the agent merely laughed. “How threatening you are when you know I have a point. Now I think the Omega can handle a little questioning, yes? Or should I spread the word of his identity in the streets right now?”

Nervously, and clutching onto the back of Hosea’s shirt, Dutch can only watch as the sheriff’s shoulders slump and the man sits back into the chair. “Fine,” the sheriff spat, “but you have five questions you can ask for now. And they can only be on O'Driscoll.”

“Five questions is all I need.” Swallowing, Dutch watches the man’s gaze lands on him again. Cruelly smiling, Milton makes a come forward motion with his fingers. “Come out, little Omega. All I need answers about your wonderful Master, and you can resume spreading your legs like the little slut you are.”

Flinching at Milton’s words, Dutch submissively walks forward, head down and hands in front of him. “Alpha?” He asked meekly watching as several of occupants of the room grit their teeth, and he doesn’t miss the way Hosea tenses at his form of address towards Milton. The doctor doesn’t like what he’s seeing, and Dutch wonders what the reason is. But before he can tread deeper down those traitorous thoughts, a loud mocking laugh accompanying footsteps comes closer towards him. Tensing up, he awaits the feeling of a hand slapping him or being pushed to the ground, but long fingers grip his chin forcing Dutch to stare wide-eyed at the agent and his cruel smile.

“What a beauty you are for an Omega,” Milton observed setting off another round of growls from the Alphas in the room. Smirking at the growls, Milton stroked Dutch’s cheek causing the Omega to whimper in fear. He doesn’t want Milton’s hands on him at all. “No wonder O’Driscoll likes you so much. Very submissive.” Tears prick at the sides of Dutch’s eyes when he feels Milton’s thumb brush against his lips. He doesn’t like this at all, and he prefers the calm and gentle touch of Hosea over the cruel mocking touch of Milton.

“Agent Milton,” Davies warned forcing the man to pull away from Dutch.

“Business before pleasure I suppose.” Straightening out his jacket, Milton pats Dutch’s cheek before guiding the tense Omega to the table in the middle of the office. “Right, little Omega, I have five wonderful questions to ask you, and if I’m not satisfied with the answers, well, you don’t want to know what I’ll do to you, understand?” Meekly, Dutch nodded fear pouring off his body much to Milton’s pleasure. “Good boy,” He mocked in a praising manner ignoring the way the other occupants sneered at him.

Trembling, Dutch peeks at the doctor who looks utterly furious at the proceedings in front of him. He can’t help the thoughts appearing in his mind’s eyes of Hosea protecting the way Arthur protected Kieran from the agents. Swallowing those thoughts, Dutch bit his bottom lip while glancing up at Milton submissively.

“So, the obvious. Do you know where Colm O’Driscoll and Micah Bell are, little Omega?”

“No, Alpha, sir,” Dutch answered trying to keep his voice steady. “Only knew of the camp we were in, and the one the sheriff checked.”

“I see. Do you think you would know where they might have gone?”

“No sir, I’ve heard about other camps, but they never said where they were.”

“And do you think O’Driscoll knows about the shipment of Heat Suppressants on their way to Valentine?”

“No sir.” Milton rubbed his chin while staring hard at Dutch. Shivering in fear, Dutch curls into himself staring down at the table. He’s scared of the Alpha before him even though he knows there’s three Alpha’s in the room with him right now. They would protect him from Milton, but he can’t help but be afraid of the man still. No, he wants Hosea to protect him from the agent in front of him more than the others. And if he’s being truly honest with himself, he wants Hosea to court him, and he wants to be Hosea’s Omega. Because Dutch knows he’s a right fool, and in the short few days he’s been here, he’s fallen for Hosea Matthews. And that changes everything. A cough brings him out of his thoughts.

“Lucky for you, little Omega, I have no more questions for you.” Milton turns to the sheriff. “I’m done with this round of questions, but as the situation develops, I’ll have more for the Omega.” The people gathered watched the staring contest between the two Alphas before Milton cleared his throat again. “When I have more, I expect to be allowed to question him immediately and have to wait to question him. Do you understand?”

“Very well, Agent,” Davies growled softly knuckles turning white from clutching them tightly. Milton turns to give Dutch one more lingering glance before heading outside, the Beta agent he came with following behind mutely. Once the two leave, Tom slams his fist down on his desk making everyone jump. “Sorry,” He says seeing everyone’s various states. “I didn’t think the bastard would be bold enough to barge in like that, but I see I was wrong.” Tom’s rough but kind eyes land on Dutch. “Are you okay, Mister Van der Linde?”

Shaking from fear, he wordlessly shook his head. He wasn’t okay at all. A government agent had clear eyes for him, and he had somehow foolishly fallen in love with an Alpha that seemed to be off limits. An Alpha still mourning the loss of his late wife and mate. And Colm was still hunting him down so even if Hosea would ever even think to return Dutch’s feelings, the doctor and his family would be in even more danger than they already were. Guilt starts pooling in his stomach, and Dutch wonders if he should run, and let Colm find and mate him so Hosea and his family never comes into more danger from Dutch’s foolishness. A warm feeling settles on his shoulder, and when Dutch looks, he sees Hosea, beautiful sweet Hosea, searching Dutch’s eyes in concern.

“Come on, let’s get you and Kieran home. It’s been a long day for both of you.” Hosea glances over to Tom looking for permission to leave.

“That sounds like a good idea. Arthur, Hosea, I’m going to let my deputies know who we’re protecting, and to keep an eye on Milton. I don’t trust that man at all.”

“Neither do I,” Mallory agreed, a disturbed expression on his face. “The way he spoke of Omegas, it was… well, I thought government agents were passed that even out here, but I see that’s not the case still.”

“I think it also might be a good idea to have another patrol around your house, Hosea. The way that man stared at Dutch, well, I didn’t like it either.” Tom’s gaze flicks to Arthur and Kieran. “I’m sorry this didn’t end the way you had probably hoped, but…” With a wild gesture of his hand, Tom looked on helplessly knowing the two would understand what he was trying to say.

“We understand. Thank you, Tom.” Gently, he nudges Dutch from the chair holding the shaking Omega close to his chest. “Let’s get you home, Dutch.” Giving Tom and Curtis another nod, Hosea leads the shaking Dutch out of the office with Arthur and Kieran, both men holding the other’s hand tightly. Glancing around quickly to make sure the agents weren’t in sight, Hosea ushered Dutch back towards their home. “Arthur, when we get back, I need you to speak with John and Abigail about what happened, okay?”

“Alright,” Arthur agreed gruffly pulling his future mate closer to him. The Alpha didn’t like the way the two agents were sniffing about, Milton’s comments about his future mate and the way Dutch had been treated by Milton sent shivers down his spine. Growling, Arthur quickly paused to duck his head to rub his scent over Kieran’s neck who blushed and shivered. “Sorry, just need to put my scent over you after that scene so the agent doesn’t get any ideas about speaking to you like that ever.” Kieran smiled fondly at him.

“It’s okay. I loved it.” Kieran blushed watching a small smile appear on his Alpha’s face at his words.

“If the two of you are done flirting, I’d like to get home,” Hosea mused out loud grabbing the attention of his son and his future mate. The two gave the doctor sheepish smiles making Dutch crack a smile.

“They’re lovebirds alright,” Dutch whispered still clutching Hosea tightly. “It’s cute.” Dutch’s comment sent the flushes on their faces into a deeper red and made the other two men chuckle softly before starting to move back to the family’s home.

Opening the door to his home, Hosea ushered everyone inside. “Abigail,” He greeted seeing his daughter-in-law walk out of the kitchen. She frowned feeling the tension hanging around the room. Her eyes lock onto the bracelets around Kieran and Arthur’s wrist.

“Hosea, what’s wrong? I see Sheriff Davies accepted the Courtship.”

“Dutch was questioned by two government agents, where’s John?” Hosea asked guiding Dutch up the stairs.

“He’s outside.”

“Arthur and Kieran, can you two go tell him what’s happened? And Abigail, could you bring some water to Dutch’s room?” Arthur tipped his hat, grabbed Kieran’s hand, and headed out the door. Abigail eyed Dutch before nodding once and heading back to grab a glass of water.

Wordlessly, Hosea opened the door letting Dutch in first before entering after him, and he closes the door behind him, Hosea is struck with the urge to go back to the hotel and tear out the throats of the agents, but he doesn’t because even though Dutch is under his protection, he’s not Hosea’s mate. And Hosea wonders if he made the right choice in not mating the man the first day he came here. Hosea could have protected Dutch from the agent, could have made it so the man never dared to touch the Omega the way he did. Dutch brings out a protectiveness in him that only Bessie was able too. Brushing aside the thoughts quickly as they came, Hosea treads over to the bed where Dutch is looking as if he’ll descend into a panic at any time. “Dutch?” He calls softly, and the fear and worry he sees on Dutch’s face breaks his heart. He loathes seeing the fear on Dutch's face so much although he doesn’t know why.

Sitting down, Hosea opens his arms grunting softly when Dutch almost slams into his chest. Sobs slip from Dutch’s mouth as he curls into Hosea’s arms. Seeing Dutch in the state make only serves to fuel the earlier thoughts. He wants to tear into Milton’s neck for sending Dutch into a panic. But the feeling of Dutch in his arms and sobbing his eyes out stops from truly entertaining the thought. So he bites back the urges and whispers soothing words while rubbing his back. It’s all Hosea can do for him because he’s not allowed to do anything more. He doesn’t have the right, but a part of him wishes he did so he could protect the man in his arms from agents and O’Driscolls alike.

The door creaks open to reveal Abigail holding a glass of water. Sending a worried smile to him, she places the water on the nightstand before patting Dutch on the shoulder and striding out. Sighing mentally, Hosea gently pushes Dutch away from his chest and brings the cup to his mouth. “Drink,” Hosea ordered softly watching Dutch take the glass from him and drink deeply. And he thinks it’s a mistake to watch Dutch drink because Hosea finds himself watching the man’s neck work gulping down the water wondering what it would be like to have his teeth scraping across the skin. The thought has him licking his lips idly.

The feeling of Dutch’s teary eyes on him breaks him from his shameful thoughts, and Hosea manages to smile at him. “Feel a bit better?”

“A bit,” Dutch answered wiping his eyes, and Hosea felt himself wanting to wipe the tears from Dutch’s eyes himself. The thought makes him stop, what has gotten into him? “Thank you,” Dutch breathed staring into Hosea’s eyes sending shivers down his spine.

“You’re welcome.” He swallowed plucking the glass from Dutch’s hands. Placing back on the nightstand, and Hosea knows he’s going to regret this, he opens his arms again so Dutch can cuddle against him if he wishes. And it’s his luck that Dutch rests his head against Hosea’s chest again. He can feel his heart pounding in his chest, and no doubt the other man could hear the pounding of his heart. But Dutch shows no sign of hearing it, only snuggling closer and the feeling of Dutch wrapped around him sends a flurry of emotions through his chest. The doctor would be lying to himself if he didn’t enjoy Dutch resting against his body. The smell of his Omega wafted to his nose, and he almost inhaled deeply. Wait, his Omega? Dutch wasn’t his Omega. What has gotten into him?

“Hosea, are you okay? Your heart is beating hard,” Dutch mumbled into his chest.

“I’m fine. Just unnerved from today I guess.”

“Ah, um, if it’s okay with you, could we lie down?” Glancing down and taking in Dutch’s expression Hosea swallowed hard before nodding. It was just innocent cuddling to comfort someone, nothing more. But, if it was just that, why did his body hum at the idea of more? Letting his body fall against the bed with Dutch tucked into his side, the Alpha understood he wanted the Omega underneath him and crying out for Hosea to touch him and no one else. Pushing down his desires, Hosea ran his hand up and down Dutch’s back trying to soothe both Dutch and himself.

“It’s okay, it was a cute noise just like you,” Hosea whispered without thinking. Dutch’s head lifted from his chest to stare at him in shock. Hosea stared back unable to hide what he had said even though he wanted to yell at himself for saying it aloud.

“I’m cute?” Dutch asked incredulously that someone would think of himself as cute.

“Very,” Hosea admitted letting his eyes lock onto Dutch’s lips while licking his. “There’s been a few times I’ve gotten off to the memory of you in my exam naked as the day you were born. And the noises you made when we kissed, well, I want to experience more of it.” Dutch felt his breath catch in his throat. Hosea wanted to him, maybe not in love with Dutch like Dutch was foolishly in love with the doctor, but the other man wanted him. And allowing this to continue could backfire very quickly, but Dutch honestly didn’t care. He wanted to fuck Hosea as much as Hosea wanted to fuck him. Making his choice, Dutch straddled Hosea’s hips.

“What’s stopping you, Alpha?”

Chapter Text

A guttural groan freed itself from the deepest part of Hosea’s chest. Dutch was straddling his hips and rocking back and forth. “You’re playing a dangerous game, Omega,” Hosea said grabbing onto Dutch’s hips loving the way Dutch’s eyes flutter shut. “Are you sure you want to play it?” With a small rock of his hips, Hosea watches in fascination as Dutch’s lips part.

“Yes,” Dutch breathed rocking against him again. He wants Hosea to throw him on his back and fuck him into oblivion. It’s such a dangerous thought knowing he’s in love with Alpha under him, but feeling how Hosea starting to grow hard quickly removes that train of thought. Another guttural groan, and how he loves hearing that sound from Hosea, slips from the Alpha’s chest who pulls him by the shirt for a kiss.

Sighing into the kiss, Dutch practically melts in the arms wrapping around his waist. Hosea’s lips are soft pressed against his and the man is tenderly kissing him, it’s something Dutch never wants to stop. And being locked close to Hosea by his arms is one of the best feelings Dutch has ever experienced. Surrounded by the scents of mountains, herbs, and dirt Dutch felt safe in the other man’s embrace and he never wanted to leave it. Rolling his hips again, he loves hearing the moan slip from the Alpha, from Hosea.

Deepening the kiss, Dutch moans feeling a tongue brush against his lips, and he relents allowing Hosea full access. There’s a high feeling rising in his chest and going straight to his head. He’s kissing Hosea, and Hosea’s kissing him back with his hands moving from Dutch’s hips to his upper back. They settle against his shoulder blades before Hosea flips them around so Dutch is on his back, and Hosea is straddling him. “Are you sure?” Hosea pulled back panting lips puffy from kissing, and eyes filled with lust.

Reaching up to stroke Hosea’s cheek, and heartwarming from him stopping to ask if he still wanted to go on, Dutch smiled up at him. “I’m sure, Hosea. I want you bad, so please take me.” He watches the lust in Hosea’s eyes darken, and Hosea’s lips are quick to catch his again while one of his hands thread through his dark curls. The other hand slips down to his chest to slowly unbutton the shirt he’s wearing. His nose is filled to the brim of Hosea’s scent and Dutch isn’t sure he can get enough of it.

“Lean forward, I want this shirt off now,” Hosea hissed tugging him forward. “Wanna see and taste you.”

“Yes, sir,” Dutch grinned lifting his body to help Hosea in removing his shirt. Once the shirt was off, Hosea gazed at his torso with blatant want, Dutch wasn’t sure if someone had ever truly looked at him the way Hosea was right now. Or if they did, it wasn’t the way Hosea was taking in the sight of him now.

Fingertips crawl down his chest and stomach, and Dutch can’t help but the soft gasp slipping from his lips accompanied by a small shiver. “You’re beautiful, no, absolutely stunning, Dutch,” The Alpha breathed wonderment in his tone. “Almost a sculpture in your own right.” Before Dutch can respond with more than a flush on his cheeks, Hosea dips his head down to capture his mouth in a greedy kiss before moving his lips down Dutch’s jaw then neck. “You smell wonderful,” Hosea confesses into the skin near Dutch’s scent glands. “Like leather, cigars, and smoke. It’s mouth-watering, and I want every bit I can taste.” Dutch swears his eyes roll into the back of his head at Hosea’s confession. He might not be confessing his love for Dutch, but hearing that comes damn near close.

“You smell wonderful too,” Dutch replies breathe hitching feeling Hosea thumb on his nipples. “Like mountains, dirt, and herbs, it’s, ah!” He can’t finish the thought because Hosea has decided to wrap his mouth around his nipples. Arching his back, Dutch can feel all coherent thoughts leave his brain. “Hosea,” He moaned softly hands falling from Hosea’s back to the sheets. “Please.” There’s a quick brush of lips against his.

“Of course, beautiful.” Switching to the other nipple, Hosea delights in the soft noises he’s earning from the man underneath. Delights in the flush covering Dutch’s cheeks and upper body. And the way Dutch stares at Hosea with half-lidded lust-filled eyes deepens his want for him. Letting his tongue circle the sensitive bud, Hosea commits the memory of Dutch’s soft gasp to memory.

Slowly, he removes his mouth trailing kisses and licks down Dutch’s stomach. Each taste of Dutch’s skin forties his decision of allowing this to happen. The man tastes utterly heavenly to Hosea’s taste buds, and he allows himself to be greedy in wanting more. Sliding his hands down from Dutch’s chest to his waistline, his mouth nearly waters at the simple idea of tasting Dutch’s juices. Groaning softly, Hosea mouths at Dutch’s covered crotch, chest leaping at the moan he receives, before eagerly unbuttoning the pants. “Off,” He orders again helping Dutch remove his pants and toss them to the side. Even though Hosea wants to lower his head to lap and suck every bit he can get his mouth on, he’s also quick to stand up and undress.

A soft groan slips from Hosea’s lips when his cock is finally freed from his confines. Slowly pumping it once, a wave of desire hits his chest seeing Dutch spread his legs unconsciously seeing Hosea’s cock in all its glory. “Eager, Omega?” Hosea growls softly crawling back in between Dutch’s legs.

“Yes, Alpha,” Dutch breathed pupils blown wide from lust and want. He wants Hosea badly. He’s been wanting the Alpha since that incident in the exam room.

He’s eager to taste the wonderful smelling Omega under him, and he doesn’t want to waste a single second of tasting Dutch. Ducking his head, Hosea spreads Dutch’s folds to lap at the juices. A loud groan emits from his throat from the taste of Dutch on his tongue as he licks. Dutch whimpers in response and Hosea wants to hear more of Dutch’s soft whines and groans. Eyes fluttering shut, the Alpha focuses all his effort into his actions wanting to give his Omega the best experience of his life. And God, Hosea could drown in the taste of Dutch, and die a happy man.

“Hosea!” Dutch whimpers legs shaking as Hosea slips a finger into his hole. He can’t remember the last time someone cared deeply enough about his pleasure to even think about fingering him. The feeling of being filled with Hosea’s finger has him ready to come on the spot. And if he thought having Hosea’s finger filling would have him come in seconds, seeing Hosea lift his head from Dutch’s cunt, mouth wet with his juices, tongue slipping out to lick around his mouth, and pure hunger in the Alpha’s eyes has him ready to burst.

“Come for me. I want to hear you,” Hosea orders him dropping his head back to another round of tasting. The order has Dutch’s eyes rolling in the back of his head and hand covering his muffled cry as he comes against Hosea’s face. It’s easily one of the best orgasms Dutch has ever had, not even during his Heats. He could only imagine how it would feel to have Hosea taking care during his Heats.

Another finger slips in causing Dutch to let out another pitiful whine. In a few touches and Hosea has already set his body alight with desire. Every touch feels amplified and he’s not sure why it does, but he’s not complaining. Back arching from the pleasure, Dutch chants, “Hosea, my Alpha, please!”

“Greedy Omega,” Hosea hummed slipping another finger and curling all three watching and loving the Dutch’s back arches again. “My greedy Omega,” He breathed fighting the part of him that wanted to take Dutch right now. Not only take Dutch, but mate him to keep the amazing Omega away from Milton and O’Driscoll. But he wouldn’t unless Dutch wanted him too.

“Yours, Alpha,” Dutch agreed sending shivers down Hosea’s back. Dutch made quite the sight spread out in front of Hosea, hands gripping the sheets above his head, hair askew, and face flushed in pleasure.

“Mine,” Hosea growled lowly, slowly losing the fight to his lust, and starting to finger fuck the other man harder. Dutch twisted in the sheets opening his legs wide as he could while staring Hosea wantonly. The message is clear, and Hosea is quick to pull his fingers out and line up his cock to Dutch’s entrance. Despite his lust and want to fuck Dutch mercilessly, he slowly enters not wanting to hurt Dutch either. Hosea wants to give him a good time, not a time in which he’s reminded of his previous times.

Twin groans slip from both men when Hosea fully sheathes him inside Dutch. Taking a moment to allow Dutch to adjust, he smiles down at the man. “I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting today to end like this,” He confessed moving a piece of Dutch’s hair that had stuck to his forehead. Smiling up at him, Dutch pulls him down for another kiss.

“Oh?” Dutch questions when they break for air.

“Yes, but I also can’t quite bring myself to regret it either, you smell too damn wonderfully.” Biting his bottom lip, Dutch turns his head to the side shyly at the compliment. Smirking, Hosea murmurs again, “Taste wonderfully too.” Playfully Dutch smacks his arm making Hosea chuckle softly.

“Charmer,” Dutch accused eyes filling with amusement along with the lust already present. Chuckling again, Hosea decides to steal any comment Dutch is about to say with a soft roll of his hips. There’s a choked sigh under him, and the smirk on Hosea’s face widens.

“Feel good, Omega?” He murmured resting his forehead against Dutch’s neck where he could inhale the mouth-watering scent. His teeth ache to mark Dutch’s scent gland, but he can’t do that; he wants to. Although, he could bite into the upper part of Dutch’s neck where there was no scent gland.

“Yes, Alpha, feels good.”

“Good,” He replied before sinking his teeth into the upper part of Dutch’s neck. Dutch let out a choked gasp rocking against Hosea.

“Sh-shit, Hosea!” Dutch whined loving the feeling of Hosea’s teeth on his neck. He hadn’t expected to Hosea to even think about sinking his teeth against his neck, but he wasn’t about to complain either.

Pulling away, Hosea smirked at Dutch again. “Like that did you?” Dutch nodded weakly before baring his neck where Hosea has bitten wordlessly asking for his teeth again. And Hosea was helpless to deny his Omega what he wanted. Bringing his teeth against Dutch’s neck, Hosea rocked his hips forward and bit down at the same time inwardly grinning at the whimper from him.

Brushing his tongue against the skin, Hosea slowly starts to rock his hips into a rhythm bringing out a myriad of pleasing sounds from Dutch’s throat. Pulling away, even though he didn’t want to, Hosea propped himself up on his hands so he could watch the lovely expressions on Dutch’s face. And lovely they were with each snap of his hips. Dutch looked as if he could explode at any second from Hosea’s ministrations but was waiting for his Alpha to allow him. A look Hosea would admit he loved on the other man’s face and sent pleasure straight to his cock.

Wrapping Dutch’s legs around his waist, Hosea deepened his thrusts wanting to increase his Omega’s pleasure knowing he probably had few people do this for him. And judging by the way Dutch’s hands slip from the sheets to grab Hosea’s forearms while biting his bottom lip to muffle the wail that nearly slipped from his throat, the Alpha was correct in his guess. It spurred a feeling in his chest to give more to Dutch, to show him how pleasurable sex could truly be.

Dropping his head, Hosea captures Dutch’s mouth into a passionate kiss while letting one hand trail up his stomach and slip behind his neck to grasp the curly black locks. Dutch hums against him moving his arms from Hosea’s forearms to around his neck. Breaking for air, Hosea smiles before ducking his head to nip at Dutch’s jawline while slowing his thrusts but keeping them deep.

“Hosea, please!” Dutch whimpered out body humming and ready for his release.

“Please, what?” Hosea teased letting his teeth scrape along Dutch’s neck.

“Please, Alpha, let me come,” His Omega begged needily. Dutch was so close to his release. “Need to come bad.”

“Then come for me, beautiful Omega, my beautiful Omega,” He ordered softly watching as Dutch comes, back arched and mouth opened in a silent scream. The sight sends him over the edge with one final push and his knot swelling and locking the two of them in place. Groaning Hosea stills trying to gain control of his body so he could roll onto his back and allow Dutch to be comfortable while Hosea’s knot dies down. A groan from Dutch alerts him to glance down at the man who looks completely sated. “You okay there, Dutch?”

“Fantastic,” Dutch replied opening his eyes to lazily smile up at Hosea. “I think you might have just ruined the idea of having sex with anyone else, Hosea.” Hosea’s heart fluttered at the statement, and he was pleased to know Dutch had enjoyed their impromptu moment of intimacy.

“Glad to have pleased.” Slipping his hand from the soft curls, Hosea moves it under Dutch’s chest, pulls the man closer before gently flipping them over. Neither man can stop the soft moans slipping from their mouths when Hosea’s knot jerks inside Dutch from the motion.

“I feel so full, and it feels damn good,” Dutch mumbled into his chest making Hosea’s heart flutter again. “I know it’s dangerous, but Hosea, I’d love to have another round in the future with you. If it’s also okay with you, of course.” Smiling, Hosea places a kiss against Dutch’s temple making the other man’s heart flutter at the gesture.

“It’s okay with me provided nothing happens between now and the time we decide to go for another round,” Hosea replied honestly. Pulling Dutch closer, Hosea nuzzled the midnight locks. “I enjoyed it thoroughly, however. Admittedly it’s been a long while since I’ve engaged in any sexual intercourse. And you smelling so damn delicious certainly didn’t help.” Hosea teased and felt Dutch grin against his chest.

“I could say the same for you, Doc. Seducing one of your former patients with the smell of yours is extremely naughty,” Dutch teased back enjoying in the after sex banter.

“Extremely. Might have to do it again sometime with this one. He’s extremely irresistible scent wise, and I don’t know if my hands to myself anytime soon now that I’ve had a taste of him.”

“Sounds like a problem, Doc. Don’t know how to help you there.”

“I do,” He murmured lifting Dutch’s head from his chest. “Another taste of those lips might hold me over till the next dosage.” His stomach did twirls seeing the way Dutch’s eyes lit up at the idea of being kissed again. This affair was a dangerous one to start and stop, but now that he’s seen and tasted Dutch intimately, Hosea’s not sure he wants to stop it. Pushing away the thought, and what it might lead too, Hosea allows himself to tread down the path and lock lips with Dutch again. A knock on the door startled them both preventing it from becoming any more than a kiss.

Clearing his throat, Hosea called out, “Yes?”

“Um, Pa?” Arthur squeaked out sounding extremely embarrassed. “I was going to come in and say dinner’s ready, but um, I guess I should give you two time to get dressed?” It was Hosea’s turn to have a flush on his face, although Dutch held one as well. Arthur, and probably the others, had heard them at the very least.

Wincing, Hosea responded, “Right, thank you, Arthur. We’ll, um, be down in a bit.”

“Of course, Pa,” Arthur answered before quickly, and loudly, scampering down the stairs.

“We probably should have been a little quieter,” Dutch mumbled shyly mirroring Hosea’s thoughts.

“Probably,” He agreed hoping his knot would die soon. “Dinner will be… rather interesting.” Suddenly a laugh bubbled from his chest making Dutch stare at him. “I think it’ll be my turn to be lectured by Arthur about respecting the rules of Courtship. Here I’ve gone and lectured him about giving Kieran gifts out of Courtship and turned around to have sex with you. In polite society, we’re not technically supposed to have sex outside of the Courtship, and even then it’s frowned upon.” Dutch blinked once, twice before putting his head against Hosea’s chest and laughing with him.

“What a pair of fools we are. Managed not to do it while I was in Heat lust, yet here we are,” Dutch said between bouts of laughter.

“Yeah, fools indeed,” Hosea agreed pulling Dutch closer. “But I still don’t regret it.”

“Neither do I.” Nuzzling Hosea’s neck, Dutch melts a little in Hosea’s embrace. He wants to enjoy the time he has in the other man’s arms even if it’s for a short time.

Chapter Text

Ten minutes later, Hosea’s knot had deflated enough allowing him to slip out of Dutch. Twin gasps slip from both men, and Hosea’s gaze slips to the sight of his load dripping out of Dutch’s hole. A growl threatens to slip out of his throat at the sight and pounce on Dutch for another round. Swallowing, he tears his eyes from the sight to slip out of bed. “Let me get something to clean you with,” Hosea said before slipping on his pants.

“Thanks,” Dutch replied watching Hosea’s backside as the man slips out of the room. Biting his bottom lip, he replays their moment of intimacy in his mind and nearly moans thinking about. He knew Hosea calling Dutch his Omega was merely something that came out during sex, but he’d be a damned liar if he didn’t want Hosea’s mark on his neck. Letting out a soft groan, Dutch nearly screams at himself for thinking that. This school girl’s crush is going to get out of hand if he lets it. The Alpha was still mourning the loss of his previous mate, and he hardly needed an Omega that’s being hunted by an outlaw Alpha with a vengeful streak a mile long, and a shifty government agent Alpha. Tears threatened to slip out of his eyes just as the door opened to reveal Hosea rag in hand.

“Dutch? Are you okay? I didn’t…” The Alpha trailed off, face filled with open concern.

“No,” He answered honestly sitting up to take the rag from Hosea. “Just thinking about the future understandably.” Chewing on his bottom lip, Dutch debates whether he should speak to Hosea about his concerns in their entirety, or shove them down and pretend they’re not as bad as they are. A hand cups his cheek and Hosea is sitting next to him expression soft and worried. Dutch hates that look on the other man’s face.
“Again, if you need to speak about it, my door is open. We may have just fucked, but I do care about you.” Closing his eyes, Dutch thought about the doctor’s offer. A thumb stroked his cheek idly, and Dutch swore he felt lightheaded at that simple act alone. Making his mind up, he opened his eyes to stare at Hosea.

“I think I will tomorrow if you’re willing to close the clinic for the day,” Dutch replied feeling a weight lifted off his chest.

“I can do that. I do need to swing by though to get something so you don’t fall with child, however.” Hosea’s eyes dropped to where his spend was still leaking from Dutch’s hole. He hated the words slipping from his mouth from being a doctor and the primal part of him wanting to see Dutch’s belly swollen from his pup. But he couldn’t risk Dutch’s future based on a primal want, and Hosea wasn’t sure if he could watch someone’s stomach swell from his pup again. Not after ‒ no, he shouldn’t go down that route. Swallowing the painful thoughts, Hosea forced himself to continue to speak words he didn’t want to say, “I don’t want to make this entire thing harder for you, and a child would certainly do that.”

“I understand, Hosea.” Dutch’s heart split in two hearing Hosea’s words, but he understood. If Colm found him, and Dutch was pregnant with Hosea’s child, he would kill Hosea in front of Dutch before forcing him to abort, and then either raping Dutch brutally till Dutch as pregnant with Colm’s pup or killing him outright. Dutch hoped it was a fate he could avoid if possible. “Let’s continue this conversation later and get cleaned up to enjoy an awkward dinner with everyone.” The doctor cracked a smile at that before removing himself to gather their clothes.

Minutes later, they were dressed once more, and Hosea opened the door to let Dutch go first. Smiling at the doctor’s ever-thoughtful manners, Dutch took the first steps down knowing he’d be facing everyone, who had probably heard the sounds from Dutch’s room, but at least he would have Hosea by his side to bear the incoming comments. Coming off the last step, he saw Kieran smiling at him with something unreadable in his eyes. Stomach dropping, he weakly smiled at the other man before taking a seat. Hosea joined the group seconds later pretending not to see Arthur’s pointed stare.

“Evening,” Hosea greeted his son casually who shook his head at his father.

“You’re… ugh, nevermind,” The older son shook his head shoveling meat into his mouth.

Raising his eyebrows, the doctor asked, “I’m what?” Kieran blinks shocked at how casual the doctor sounds as if he’s asking what the weather is, and not the fact they had heard him and Dutch fucking.

“You’re something else, Pa,” Arthur replied slipping his hand into Kieran’s.

“I’d like to think so.” Pausing, Hosea lifts his head to smile mischievously at his son, and then at Kieran. “I suppose some of my son’s habits he gets from me. Did I ever tell you, Kieran, of the time I caught Arthur fooling around with a young Beta from one of the richer families in our barn?” A loud annoyed groan slips from Arthur as the man scoots his plate to let his head fall onto the table.

“Pa, please,” He mumbled weakly making John and Abigail snicker loudly. Hosea leveled his stare on the young couple.

“Don’t let me get started on you two,” He reminded gently cowing the other two allowing Arthur to chuckle softly. “Anyways,” Hosea went on, “don’t worry, Kieran, we didn’t do anything too stupid. Just had extremely pleasurable sex.” John, Arthur, Abigail choked on their food while Dutch looked half ready to die from laughter. Biting his bottom lip, Kieran had to admit to the expressions on the three had him also ready to burst into laughter.

“Pa!” John and Arthur yelled at the same time, both wearing horrified expressions at their father’s honesty.

“What? I’m just letting Kieran know he doesn’t have to worry is all.”

“Yeah, but could you do another time?” John hissed cheeks redder than a tomato. “We don’t want to hear that after what we just heard!”

“You finally know how we felt that one time we heard you and Abigail going at it loudly.” Hosea cocked his head to the side with an evil smile plastered on his face. “In fact, didn’t Arthur have to pound on the door several times while faking moans to get you two quiet down?” John’s face reddened even more while his jaw opened and closed several times, and Abigail was equally bright red hiding her face in her hands. Dutch bit his palm to keep from laughing aloud unable to control the shaking from his shoulders.

Tilting his head at Arthur, Kieran raised his eyebrow at his future mate silently asking if what Hosea had said was true. The proud expression he received answered his question making Kieran shake his head at Arthur a smile forming on his face again. But Hosea’s words did put him at ease, and Dutch’s expressions towards the doctor soothed any more worries he had. Kieran could tell Dutch starting to crush on the doctor at the very least, and he knew Dutch probably already knew he was. He would have to drag Dutch aside for the same speech he had given Kieran about Arthur.

“By the way, Kieran, this is the family you’re getting involved with by courting Arthur. Hope you’re prepared,” Hosea joked a soft smile on his face. Looking down at their
joined hands, Kieran returned the doctor’s smile.

“He’s worth it,” Kieran announced softly staring at Arthur, his future mate and Alpha, lovingly. And the blinding smile he receives serves to warm his heart, and Kieran can feel himself falling harder for Arthur. Like a moth to a light, Kieran is drawn to Arthur; his kindness, his gentleness, and his love for horses. Arthur’s thumb rubs his skin softly, and it takes everything in Kieran’s power to not blush.

“Oh God, I think I’m going to barf,” John muttered sourly glancing between Kieran and Arthur. Abigail smacked his arm lightly.

“Be nice!” She reprimanded.

“I am! I’d be nicer, but,” He gestured vaguely at Dutch and Hosea. Making a face, Arthur let his head slam into the table this time.

“John, I’m going to kill you,” Arthur hissed eyes locking on his younger brother. “I didn’t need to be reminded of that!”

“Bite me!” John snapped before Abigail sighed glancing up at the ceiling as she did. Her arms spread out to pull on both men’s ears.

“And the two of you will be helping me clean tonight. Don’t you two protest either, or there’ll be no dessert for you!” Pouting, the brothers resumed eating although one would occasionally make a biting jab at the other, and only stopping when Abigail glared fiercely at the brother. Smiling into his palm, Dutch peeked at Hosea who watched the proceedings in amusement.

Feeling Dutch staring at him, Hosea turned his head to grin back before resuming to eat his dinner. Dutch swore his heart did a little flip at the grin, but he blamed it on the fact that he had just been fucked by Hosea, and not because he’s developing feeling strong feelings for the Alpha. Dipping his meat into his mouth, Dutch tried not to focus too much on Hosea least the feelings fluttering in his chest – and that he’s trying his damn hardest to ignore, but knows he'll fail at – deepen.

The rest of dinner finished in silence, something Kieran was thankful for. “Excuse me,” He muttered seeing Dutch finish eating. Grabbing Dutch’s arm, he dragged the man up the stairs and straight into his room. Closing the door, Kieran turned around to see his friend staring at him eyebrows raised.

“Yes?” Dutch questioned even though he almost knew what Kieran was going to ask.

“So, you… and the doctor?”

Laughing, Dutch shook his head. “No, not really. Just an affair, although I was informed people in polite society don’t fuck outside of Courtships, and even then it’s frowned upon.” Grinning devilishly, Dutch made a spectacle of looking Kieran up and down. “So try not to seduce your Alpha too much.”

“Dutch!” Kieran squeaked, cheeks turning red. “I’m not going to do that!” The Omega huffed while playfully glaring at Dutch who laughed harder. “But seriously, if the doctor hurts you…” Kieran trailed off knowing Dutch would understand what he was trying to say. A hand came down on his shoulder.

“I know,” Dutch smiled softly at him before pulling his friend into a hug. “Thank you, Kieran.” Muttering something into Dutch’s chest, Kieran squeezed harder.

Morning brought a sense of rejuvenation to Hosea. Stretching, the Alpha let out a soft sigh before slipping from his bed regardless of whether he wanted to or not. Peeking at his bed while he gathered his clothes, Hosea couldn’t help but wonder what it’d be like to wake up to Dutch next to him naked after a night of passion. Wondered what Dutch would look like sleeping, and wondered what he looks like curled in Hosea’s arms in the morning, his stomach swollen from Hosea’s child, Hosea’s mark on his neck. His Omega, his husband, his Dutch Matthews. Heart skipping at the thoughts, Hosea swallowed and quickly dressed. He was thinking too much about a simple affair.

Striding down the stairs, Hosea flashed a quick smile at Abigail who’s already setting up the table and cooking breakfast. “Morning,” He greeted softly, “I need to run by the clinic for something then I’ll be right back.

“Alright, but you should hurry. Can’t promise John and Arthur won’t eat most of the food,” Abigail replied with a roll of her eyes, but a fond smile was present. They may drive her up a wall, but she loves John and Arthur and it’s very obvious she does.

“I’ll try,” Hosea chuckled before heading out into the cool of the morning. Running his hand through his hair, the doctor can only hope that Dutch doesn’t fall with his child. As far as he’s concerned, his seed is cursed now, and it’d put Dutch in more danger than the Omega needed. Biting back a groan, he wants to yell at himself. He knew better, he should have made sure he hadn’t spent himself inside Dutch, but it was too late for that.

Fishing the keys to his clinic from his pocket, Hosea couldn’t say he did regret what happened last night, because he didn’t. The small amount of intimacy they had shared had been wonderful. A soft groan nearly slips from his mouth remembering Dutch’s soft groans and calls of Hosea’s name. How tight Dutch’s hole had been, and how wonderful it was to knot the Omega. Closing the door behind him, Hosea inhales deeply eyes fluttering shut of their own accord. Dutch tasted like heaven on Earth to him, and Hosea wanted more even though he knew he shouldn’t. And it didn’t help knowing Dutch mentioned Hosea smelled the same to him.

Walking into his exam room, Hosea tried to ignore the way he was feeling. He wanted to turn heel, head back home, and ask if Dutch would be willing to carry his pup to term. If Dutch would allow him to mark his gland, make Dutch Hosea’s Omega. If not only would Dutch mark him back, but marry him as well. The thoughts force him to pause again and press his hand to his chest where his heart is beating like a drum. What had gotten into him from one simple night of passion?

Rubbing his chest in some attempt to soothe his beating heart, Hosea searched through his cabinets trying to find the mixture he was searching for. If he didn’t have any of it, then he’s truly doomed everyone for one night of sex. Swallowing, his heart pains at the idea of being the cause of everyone’s death, of being the cause of Dutch’s death. He’d already been the cause of Bessie’s, dear sweet Bessie, death. And he needed to find this mixture, speak to Dutch and explain that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to continue this affair. That if they did, Hosea would doom Dutch forever, and the man deserved so much more than a broken Alpha.

Relief floods his system when Hosea finds the tonic he’s been searching for. Clutching it to his chest, any relief he felt before faded to be replaced by panic. Could he honestly give this to Dutch and watch the possibility of another child disappear in front of his eyes? He knows he keeps the vials of liquid around those who truly needed it, but never had he thought he would have too. But, he had thought Bessie would be at his side forever, and not in a cold hole in the ground.

Standing up, Hosea placed with the tonic on the counter while staring at it blankly. Several emotions rose to his throat, panic leading the way scratching at his heart as it made its way up. Breathe starting to come out in pants, he knows he can’t do any of this. He can’t damn Dutch or the town from pure selfish desires. Backing up, Hosea let the panic ripple over his body before he falls into the exam chair. His breathing turned from uneven to erratic.

Hosea is a pure, utter fool, and he’s not sure how the town trusts him so much to come to him for treatment. Unable to keep it in his pants, the fate of town now is held on the idea Hosea can give this tonic to Dutch. On if he can watch Dutch drink it. Clamping his hand over his mouth, he falls from the chair to the ground tears pricking his eyes. He’s a fool, and the town should know how much their doctor has failed them. How he let his selfish desires rule him, and how he failed them all in one fell sweep.

Clutching his chest, Hosea let out a choked sob. What a goddamn fool he was! Cursed at the same time as well! Damn the designations to all hell! If God hadn’t cursed the human race with such evils than perhaps this wouldn’t have happened, and the future doom of a town wouldn’t be on him. Would the history books of the future tell about the Alpha doctor that gave in to his base desires and lead a town to disaster be told as a cautionary tale for the arguments against Alpha doctors? He didn’t know, and he couldn’t think about it more because the door of his clinic slammed open followed by Lenny’s panicked voice.

“Hosea! Hosea! Colm attacked the heat suppressants!” The Beta cried coming into the room and seeing Hosea leaning against his exam room chair panic written over his face. “Hosea? Oh my God, are you alright?” Lenny dashed over helping Hosea from the ground and steadying the Alpha.

Wiping the tears from his eyes, Hosea attempted to soothe the young man in front of him, “I’ll be alright, what did you just say? The heat suppressants were attacked?” Hosea watched as Lenny gave him a once over before speaking again.

“Yes! And he wants to speak to Sheriff Davies in a week about Mister Van der Linde!”

Breath hitching in his throat and something clawing its way through his body, Hosea ushered Lenny out of the room. “I need to speak to Tom, Mister Van der Linde will need to know about this.”

“Right, the sheriff’s waiting for you. Asked me to bring you over.”

Chapter Text

Hosea gritted his teeth, panic pounding his chest, walking into the sheriff’s office. Striding over to Tom, and hoping the man wouldn’t notice how much Dutch’s scent clung to Hosea, he questioned, “Did I hear young Lenny right? The coach was attacked, and Colm knows Dutch is here?” There’s a fire in Hosea’s eyes as he asks, and it sets off alarms in Tom’s head.

“Yes,” Tom confirmed quickly scenting the air. Van der Linde’s scent was covering his friend hinting that something had happened between the two. Leaving the thoughts aside, Tom gestured with his chin, “That’s not all. Mister Van der Linde’s identity has been leaked to the town. I suspect it was Agent Milton, although I’m not sure why, and I have no proof either way.” He suspected the agents had seen whatever happened between Hosea and Van der Linde, but he wasn’t about to say it outright. A growl sprouted from Hosea’s chest surprising the gathered.

“I’m going to kill that agent,” The doctor growled curling his hands into fists. Anger thrumming through his chest, he turned to Tom. “I need to quickly go back into my clinic, grab something, then return to my home. My family must know Dutch’s identity has been leaked, and the carriage has been attacked.”

“I understand. If you don’t mind, I’d like to come with you.”

“I don’t,” Hosea said before turning on his heel and marching out of the office. Tom, Curtis, and Lenny shared a look between each other before rushing to follow the town’s doctor to his clinic.

Slamming the door open, and the others hot on Hosea’s feet, the doctor let out another growl when he smelled unfamiliar scents in his clinic. Baring his canine teeth, Hosea ignored the other’s calls to wait and stomping off to the exam room Lenny found him in. Others had been in his clinic, and they had walked through the halls to the exam room he had Dutch in, and where the tonic…

Another snarl burst from Hosea’s chest. If it was the agents, and they had managed to see Hosea fucking Dutch last night, then no doubt they knew why Hosea had been in his clinic this morning. Why would they take the tonic unless Milton was entertaining the idea of mating Dutch himself, and having Dutch pregnant with Hosea’s pup could force Colm to kill Hosea freeing up some competition. His eyes landed where the tonic should have been, Hosea felt his heart drop. It was gone, the tonic was gone. Nostrils flaring, Hosea felt something dark and deep in his chest settle against him. He wasn’t about to let Agent Milton take his Omega, his Dutch from him.

“Hosea?” Tom asked behind him watching the Alpha’s fists curl and uncurl. The anger Hosea is displaying worries Tom because he hadn’t see Hosea this angry since Bessie had gotten sick. The other man had snapped everyone for the littlest of things. But there was something else in Hosea’s expression that had Tom worried. Hosea looked terrified as he looked angry. He stepped forward careful not to touch the trembling Alpha. “What’s wrong?”

“Someone took the tonic I had laying out. It… I was going to give it to Dutch.” A storm is brewing Hosea’s eyes, and it deeply worries Tom even more. “It was so he didn’t fall with my child, my pup,” Hosea croaked. “Last night, him and I, we gave into our mutual lust…” Hosea trailed off eyes growing distant. “He smells so good, Tom. So good, like Bessie did.”

Shock slithers up Tom’s spine staring at Hosea, his companions also silent. They had never expected Hosea to say that not only he had slept with Dutch, but knotted him as well. “Hosea,” Tom started gently after some silence, “do you… do you want Dutch as your mate?” He watches Hosea’s back stiffen, and turns his head towards Tom.

“I…” Hosea starts voice and hands trembling. A thousand thoughts run through his head like a stampede of horses or cows. His teeth ache to mark Dutch’s gland, and he remembers how he woke this morning wishing to have Dutch by his side. How he wanted to marry Dutch, and watch the Omega’s stomach swell with his pup. “Yes,” He croaks feeling a rush of emotions to his chest. “I want him as my mate, as my husband.” Turning Hosea stares at Tom with wide eyes and a realization bubbling his chest. “I love him. I hardly know him, and I already love him.”

Tom steps forward bringing a hand down on Hosea’s shoulder and regrets the next few words he’s going to say. “You have to speak to him, you know. About Bessie, about courtship. About carrying your pup.” Pain flashes in Hosea’s eyes, but the man nods mutely. “Alright, but first, let’s get over to your home and let everyone know what happened.” Gently, he guides Hose and the others out of the clinic and right into a crowd; a crowd being watched by the agents as well.

“Sheriff Davies!” An Alpha male calls out. “Is it true? We have Dutch Van der Linde in our midst?” There’s a mixture of worry and lust in the crowd, and Hosea can feel the urge to defend his future Omega from the crowd. Tom’s hand clamps down on his shoulder hard, almost if the other Alpha knows what Hosea is thinking.

“It’s true,” Davies confirmed staring down the crowd. “But I won’t let anyone have him besides Hosea.” A murmur ripples through the crowd.

“Why not?” The same Alpha asked, and few other mutter their agreements.

“Because Hosea and Dutch have already asked for my permission to Court, and I’ve given it to them,” Davies lied smoothly. “The only reason they don’t have the bracelets is because I need to make more.” His eyes land on several Courting couples. “Some of you are terrible at keeping the bracelets intact.” They watch the few couples blush a bright red. “Regardless of Hosea’s and Dutch’s lack of bracelets I will not have anyone going after Dutch. Those who try will, well, I’ll take it as a challenge to my rule, and will fight you personally.” Any reminding thoughts of attempting to snatch Dutch away from Hosea are quieted by Tom’s threat. At least for the people of Valentine, he can’t say the same for Agent Milton.

“And what about Colm O’Driscoll?” A Beta woman calls out. “I’ve got pups, Sheriff Davies. Lots of us do.” Another ripple of agreement sounds from the crowd, and Hosea can see several Alpha men and women puff out their chests.

“Luckily we have federal agents in the area,” Davies said eying the two men, “who will be helping to capture or kill Colm O’Driscoll and Micah Bell.” Tom watched slightly smug as the two men shifted when the crowd turned to stare at the agents.

“Yes, we’ll be helping local law enforcement to capture both men,” Milton confirmed staring Davies straight in the eye. Tom and Hosea could see the man wasn’t happy about being called out, but he wasn’t about to start things in front of the crowd either.

“Does that soothe everyone’s fears knowing we’ll be having federal help in hunting Colm O’Driscoll?” The members of the crowd looked at each other before nodding. “Alright, now if you excuse me, I have business to attend to, and no doubt some of you do as well. I advise everyone to keep a lookout for the O’Driscoll gang. Please report to my office should you see anyone that wears O’Driscoll colors.” Breaking from the dispersing crowd, Tom ushered Hosea towards the doctor’s home while feeling the heated glared of Milton.

“Oh joy,” Lenny muttered, “He’s following us.”

“Let him,” Tom ordered.

“Sheriff Davies,” Milton called out smoothly when they had reached the front porch. “I believe we have something to discuss, about a Courtship you lied about.” Milton sneers at Hosea while placing his hands behind his back. “You’re really going to cover the oh so fine doctor that’s broken Courtship rules and laid with the Omega without being in a Courtship?”

“And if I am? What about it?” Tom questioned crossing his arms over his chest. “Hosea will be officially asking Dutch tonight. I have plenty of reason to believe it’ll be accepted.”

“Oh?” Milton’s eyebrows raised inquiringly. “And pray tell,” the Alpha stepped closer ignoring the low growl in Hosea’s chest, “what should happen if I tell the fine citizens of this town their chosen Alpha lied to them to cover up their friend’s mistake? That their doctor fucked an Omega without being in a Courtship with him? And that Omega may become pregnant as a result? Do you think Colm O’Driscoll won’t hear about it if I do that? After all, I do happen to hold a key to prevent certain things from happening.” He held up a familiar-looking tonic, and Hosea’s nostrils flared in a warning.

“You stole that,” Tom stated flatly. “I should arrest you for that, agent.”

“But you won’t,” Milton smirked. “I’m happy to give it back, but only if my demands are met.”

“Demands?” Tom spat while keeping a hand on Hosea’s shoulder.

“Yes, demands. Simple ones. You take back the announcement of Hosea and Dutch’s ‘Courtship’, and allow me to have Dutch when this is over, I’ll give you the tonic right now.” A low growl slipped from Hosea’s throat alerting the occupants in the house. Milton smiled cruelly when Dutch walked out with Kieran. “Hello, little Omega,” He purred uncaring of the fact he was outnumbered. Dutch flinched away from the nickname and the cruel smile on Milton’s face grew.

“Pa,” Arthur spoke seeing the tonic in Milton’s hand, “Is that what I think it is?”

“Yes,” Hosea confirmed with a low growl in his throat. How dare Milton threaten his family, his future mate! But the hand on his shoulder squeezed harder keeping him from leaping at the offending Alpha and ripping his throat out.

“God damn it,” Arthur muttered lowly sharing a glance with his brother. They knew their father had fucked Dutch, he didn’t realize knotted him as well, but then again, they should have known since it took awhile for the two to emerge from Dutch’s room last night.

“God damn indeed, Deputy,” Milton agreed. Turning his head back to the sheriff, he tilted his head with hands in front of him. “Well, do we have an agreement? Dutch Van der Linde drinking this tonic, and coming with me after this ends for the future of this town, or should I let it be razed by a bunch of no good outlaws?” Arthur let out a small growl of his own, while John bared his teeth at Milton at the threat.

“What do you mean coming with you?” Dutch breathed fearfully. He didn’t like the way Milton had worded himself.

“I mean come with me and be my mate. I’ll take care of you, little Omega. Give you all the pups you could ever want,” Milton cooed and enjoying seeing Dutch back up in fear. “Oh, don’t cower, little one. You’ll have everything you want and more,” The agent purred eyes dark with hunger.

Seeing the hunger in Milton’s eyes made something snap in Hosea’s chest, and with an inhuman roar, he launched himself off of the porch crashing into the agent forcing the bottle to drop from his hand and shatter on the ground. There were surprised shouts from those gathered, but Hosea paid them no mind. This bastard dared to have the audacity to threaten Dutch, his family, and the town as a whole. Teeth sinking into Milton’s neck, Hosea loved the sharp cry the pitiful Alpha under him gave out. Dutch was Hosea’s, not Milton’s! And he would prove that right now. Pulling back and breaking skin, he snarled at Milton feeling the man’s blood dripping down his chin. “He’s mine!” Hosea roared before punching Milton square in the face.

Milton could only grunt in response as the doctor above him repeatedly slammed his fist into his face. And part of him is impressed by the show of strength. Managing to grab the other Alpha’s hands, Milton twisted forcing Hosea to fall to the side. Pushing himself away from the other man, Milton held up a hand to his nose before pulling it back and see his blood staring back at him. Frowning, he wiped the blood on his jacket before baring his teeth and charging back at the enraged doctor. “Are you sure about that?” Milton growled back grabbing the doctor’s neck and slowly squeezing.

“Very,” Hosea croaked up letting his nails dig into Milton’s arms. “Going to kill you!” Breaking free from the grasp, Hosea launches himself back at Milton, teeth grazing the skin of the other man’s neck. It’s a flurry of teeth and claws, and the fight has drawn some spectators out of the local townsfolk.

“Sheriff!” One of the townsfolk trotted over. “I thought the agents were helping us? Why is Doctor Matthews in a fight with one of them?” Sighing, Tom pinched the bridge of his nose. This was one of the last things he wanted to explain to his people, but perhaps it was for the best. It’d be hard to explain why the two men were fighting this roughly, blood, fangs, claws, and all if Hosea was simply defending the Omega under his protection.

“I… lied earlier,” The townsfolk snapped their heads with mouths open to stare at their sheriff. Hosea Matthews and Dutch Van der Linde are not in an official courtship. But they slept with each other last night, and Hosea knotted him,” Tom turned his gaze to stare at the people gathered. His expression spoke volumes about not interrupting. “However, Hosea had admitted to me, Lenny, and Curtis that he’s not only fallen for Dutch,” Dutch inhales sharply heart pounding rapidly at what he’s hearing, “but Dutch smells sweet to him like Bessie. I have reason to believe that Dutch would accept Courtship with Hosea.”

“I would,” Dutch spoke voice wavering, his gaze still on the fight in front of him. Hosea was fighting for him because the doctor was in love with him and his heart soared at the fact. “Sir, I don’t want anyone else, but Hosea.” He confessed turning some eyes to him.

“I see,” muttered the Alpha man who had spoken earlier. “I have to admit I haven’t Doctor Matthews fight like this in years. And against a federal agent no less!” Impressed, the man scratched his chin idly before nodding once. “Very well, I’ll won’t complain, Sheriff. It’s… unusual, but to see Doctor Matthews like this tells me that I wouldn’t want to be the one in his way right now! I’ll make sure the others understand this as well.”

“Thank you, Dan,” Tom breathed out his relief while watching Hosea pin Milton easily. “Help me get Hosea off the man. It’s clear who’s won.” Beckoning John and Arthur forward, the men, plus the other agent, pull the two apart. “Hosea! Hosea!” Tom called pushing his old friend away while his sons dragged their father away. “You’ve won. It’s clear to everyone, even the other agent. Stop!”

Mouth parted, and breath coming in heavy pants, Hosea slowly focused on Tom his sense coming back to him. “Tom? I…” His eyes went back to Milton’s ripped clothing, bite marks, and blood dripping from his open skin. Finger snapped in front of him bringing his attention back Tom before he can try even think about breaking free and going after Milton again.

“It’s alright, Hosea,” Tom soothed while gesturing for Dutch to come down from the porch. “You won, it’s clear to everyone. Dutch is yours.” Opening his mouth to reply, Hosea feels two hands wrap around his waist, and a mouth-watering scent fills his nose.

“I’m yours,” Dutch agreed before pulling back and letting one his hands rest against Hosea’s cheek. “I wouldn’t have anyone else as my Alpha. Please calm down.” Any remaining anger Hosea has evaporates, and he’s quick to wrap Dutch into his arms and bury his nose into Dutch’s neck. Dutch wants him even though he’s a failure of an Alpha, something Dutch doesn’t know. But the hand rubbing his back keeps from pulling away just yet.

“Dutch,” He murmured into the other man’s neck. “We need to talk after this.”

“I know.” A yell breaks their embrace and they turn to see Milton snarling at Tom, and the sheriff snarling back.

“It’s apparent who won, Agent!” Tom shouted. “Go back to your hotel, and help us catch a public menace instead of Dutch now!” With another baring of his teeth, Milton spits at Ross to follow him so he could lick his wounds at the hotel. “Dan,” Tom spoke gaze never leaving the retreating agent, “Please send word about Hosea’s and Dutch’s to the town, and if anyone objects, tell him I’ll face them down myself.”

“Of course, Sheriff,” Dan spoke while gathering a couple of the other Alphas and Betas. “Come on, let’s make sure no one messes with the doctor and his Omega.” A couple of murmurs of agreement followed from the older folks in the crowd while some of the younger stood wide-eyed. They had never seen Hosea fight the way they had.

“Dutch, take Hosea inside. The two of you need to speak to each other alone,” Tom ordered voice soft. “And I officially accept the two of you Courting. I’ll bring the bracelets around tomorrow. Arthur and John, please stay with me. I need to tell you about what happened today.”

“Come on, Hosea,” Dutch whispered breaking from John and Arthur who watched the two go. “Let’s go to your room. Kieran could you ask Abigail for medical supplies?”

“Of course!”

Chapter Text

Pushing the door to Hosea’s room open, Dutch ushered the Alpha to sit on his bed. As soon as Hosea sat down, a smirk played on his lips. “Getting me into bed already? Naughty.”

“You’re… You know what, I’m not going to start,” Dutch sighed, but the smile on his face spoke volumes about what he was truly thinking. Sitting in front of Hosea, Dutch inspected the bloody bite and claw marks scattered over Hosea. “I’m… surprised you jumped on the agent like that,” Dutch said meeting Hosea’s eyes.

“I… hate the way he speaks about you,” Hosea admitted lifting Dutch’s chin with a finger. “Even though I barely know you, I can tell what type of person you are. And I know from that you deserve someone utterly wonderful, and not that asshole.” Hosea’s hand moved from his chin to stroke away the locks of hair that had fallen in front of Dutch’s face. “You deserve the world, Dutch.”

A fierce blush overtook Dutch’s cheeks and he’s glad that Kieran appears in the room at hat moment. “Hey,” His fellow Omega greeted while handing Dutch the supplies. “I’ll let you two talk.” And quickly as he appeared, Kieran disappeared.

Grabbing the supplies, Dutch looked up at Hosea. “Let’s get these cuts cleaned first, then we’ll talk. Alright, what do I use first?”

“The alcohol to clean the wound first,” Hosea explained loving the way Dutch bit his bottom lip. The man was focused on following Hosea’s instructions, and it reminded him of the way Bessie helped him in the clinic when Arthur and John had been old enough to look after themselves. Pain tapped his chest reminding him of the talk he and Dutch would be having soon. But the heartache was replaced by the burning feeling of alcohol being poured on his open wounds. Hissing slightly, Hosea tried not to pull away; doctor or not, it still hurt some.

“Sorry,” Dutch mumbled softly pressing down on his wounds with the towel.

“It’s okay,” Hosea soothed watching Dutch work. It’s been a while since someone other than Miss Grimshaw has helped him with cuts, scrapes or wounds he’s gotten, and watching Dutch has Hosea’s heart fluttering. The man is concentrated on cleaning and wrapping, and the expression he’s making makes Hosea want to dip his head and press his lips to Dutch’s. To feel the plushness of Dutch’s lips against his, to feel the man’s warmth against his body.

“What?” Dutch asks seeing Hosea staring at him. The doctor’s lip twitches into a smile.

“Just… admiring you,” Hosea whispered brushing one of the black locks of hair away from Dutch’s face again. His Omega blushes fiercely looking away from Hosea. Pushing away the medical supplies, Hosea pulls Dutch onto his lap before smashing his lips against Dutch’s lips. His hands slide into the curls brushing against Dutch’s neck, and Dutch lets out a soft sigh into their gentle kiss. Arms wrap around Hosea’s neck pushing him closer to the body of the other man.

Groaning softly, Hosea starts placing kisses against Dutch’s mouth, jaw, and then neck. He loves the taste, loves the way Dutch arches into him. A warmth settles in his Hosea’s chest feeling Dutch tighten his grip around him. “My Omega,” He pulled back with a whisper and stared into the wide eyes of Dutch. “My beautiful one,” He whispered again before pulling Dutch into another kiss. He’s surrounded by the warmth of Dutch’s body, and his growing love for the man in his lap.

Hosea could have stayed like this forever locked into a kiss with Dutch, but as much as he wants to Hosea pulls away. Pressing his forehead against Dutch’s, Hosea lets his hands slide to wrap around his waist. “We should talk,” Hosea swallowed rubbing Dutch’s back idly, “about what happened out there, and what it means for us.”

“We should,” Dutch agreed heart still fluttering from Hosea referring to him as Hosea’s Omega. “I didn’t expect you to jump on the agent like that for me. And what the sheriff said, was… was it true?” Dutch asked heart pounding from both fear and excitement. “Are… have you fallen in love with me?”

“I have and still am falling for you,” Hosea confessed. “You… bring out the protectiveness in me the only way my late wife was able too. And hearing and seeing how Milton looked at you, I couldn’t stand it, Dutch. He looked at you as if you were a piece of meat or some trophy to be paraded around. Not a person to know, to love. And I want to know you, all of you. What you like, what you love, and what you want.” Hand trembling, Hosea places it against Dutch’s cheek. “And I want to court you officially if you’ll have this broken Alpha.”

“Broken? You’re hardly broken to me, Hosea.”

“From what you can see, I’m not,” Hosea replied. “But I am. My wife died because of me, and you could die because of me too.” Hosea slips his hand from Dutch’s cheek to his stomach. “She… we’re expecting another child four years ago. We hadn’t expected it with the both of us nearing our late thirties, but it happened.” Slowly massaging Dutch’s stomach, Hosea felt several emotions curl around his stomach and heart.

Dutch watches Hosea’s eyes grow distant as he remembers the death of his wife. On instinct, his hand covers the one on his stomach and squeezes. It seems to bring Hosea out of whatever trance he’s in.

“Well, she gave birth, but the pup, the… the child was stillborn. And soon after she, Bessie, fell deeply ill with cancer, managed to hold on for two more years, before… before…” Hosea let out a choked sob burying his face against Dutch’s neck. He missed her so much.

“You’re afraid the same will happen to me,” Dutch concluded softly pulling Hosea against his chest. “Oh, Hosea.” What could he say to ease his Alpha’s pain?

“You have no idea,” Hosea breathes out. “I know it’s extremely low this could happen again, and yet I still fear.” Hosea’s grip Dutch’s shirt tightened. “I don’t want to lose another mate, another pup.”

“You won’t lose me, Hosea. I’m extremely stubborn when I want to be.” He reluctantly wiggled out of Hosea’s arms to stare the Alpha down. “Sheriff Davies will defeat Colm O’Driscoll and Micah Bell, and the two of us can be together regardless of whether we raise a pup or not.” Pressing a kiss to Hosea’s cheek, he went on, “And the only time you’ll lose me is when I die of old age and preferably in your arms.” There’s pain in Hosea’s eyes when he pulls back, but the Alpha, his Alpha, smiles tightly.

“I’ll hold you to that,” Hosea mumbles before letting his lips brush against Dutch’s. Slowly, he gently pushes Dutch off his lap before scooting onto the bed more. Patting the spot next to him, Hosea wordlessly invites Dutch to lay next to him. “Let’s try not to end this session fucking like we did last night, hm?” Hosea joked making Dutch laugh as he crawls to the other man.

“Well, I can’t say I regret what happened,” Dutch replies laying next to Hosea, who chuckles, but instead of the Alpha pulling Dutch into his arms, the Omega pulls Hosea into his. Dutch dutifully rubs up and down Hosea’s back, heart fluttering when the man settles into his touches. “I didn’t answer you properly, but yes, I accept your courtship, Hosea. This entire time you’ve treated me as if I was more than an Omega, and quite frankly that’s what it takes to get my heart after a lifetime of, well, shit. I would like to get to know you too if you would take this Omega that has several other Alphas after him.”

Hosea snorts into Dutch’s chest a smile forming on his face that Dutch can feel. “I think in some ways I’ve already taken you,” Dutch chuckles softly letting his hand trail up Hosea’s back to his hair where Dutch scratches softly, “but the idea of courting you properly makes me extremely happy. And I realize that even if our pup grew inside you no one would be surprised if I didn’t wait the full month to mark you, but I want to do it properly.” Hosea lifts his head to stare fondly at Dutch. “I want to shower you in gifts, and show this town I’m worthy of being your mate.”

“I don’t need many gifts as long as I’m with you, Hosea. You’re a gift of your own,” Dutch confessed pulling Hosea into another kiss. “And I don’t give a damn what the town thinks. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve already proven you can take care of me. You defended me against a federal agent, not many people can do that.” Hosea grins happily, and it’s an expression Dutch could stare at forever.

“That makes me happy to hear,” Hosea confesses eyes alight with several emotions Dutch isn’t sure he can name. “But the town will still want me to show I can provide for you, although they may be more lenient knowing I’ve successfully defended you against Milton.”

“I’d hope so, otherwise I may have to give them some fists of my own.” Chuckling, Hosea nuzzles Dutch’s scent gland breathing in the sweet scent of his future mate. Dutch sighs softly enjoying the feeling of Hosea by his gland. A part of wishes Hosea would claim him now, but Dutch knows his future mate, his Alpha, wants to shower him in gifts to prove he’s worthy. And Dutch finds himself liking the idea of being paraded around by Hosea, likes the idea of Hosea taking pride in having Dutch as a mate.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing that happen provided you don’t get hurt too badly.”

“I’ll try not to, ‘Sea,” Dutch promises playing with short blond locks while Hosea moves his head back to Dutch’s chest. The Alpha can’t help the hum that exits his chest hearing his Omega shorten his name. “But if I do at least I know there’ll be an excellent doctor around to patch me up.”

“I don’t know. Might depend on how I feel that day,” Hosea teases and laughing when Dutch playfully rolls his eyes at the other man.

“You’re evil,” Dutch teases back poking Hosea’s side.

“Extremely.” Hosea playfully pokes Dutch’s side in return earning a small giggle from the other man. Raising his eyebrows, Hosea lifts his head to observe his future mate. “Are you ticklish?” He inquired feeling mischievous.

“No,” Dutch lies while attempting to scoot away from Hosea and hide his giggles at the same time.

“Liar,” Hosea grins before pouncing Dutch and tickling his sides. A soft squeal escapes from Dutch as he tries to wiggle away. But all his attempts are in vain because Hosea pulls him back fingers tickling his sides. Hosea smiles down at his Omega loving the noise, loving the way he’s happy. A stream of giggles escapes Dutch as he playfully bats Hosea’s hands away.

“Evil man,” Dutch giggles with cheeks red as a tomato.

“Very,” Hosea agreed stopped to place his hands on either side of Dutch’s face. Dipping his head, Hosea steals another kiss before rubbing the tip of his nose against Dutch’s. Captured by Dutch’s handsome face, heart beating quickly, and unable to help himself Hosea blurts, “I love you.” Dutch swallows loudly underneath him, but a grin appears.

“I love you too,” Dutch replies softly. “My strong, handsome Alpha.” Hosea’s heart skips a beat hearing Dutch refer to him as his strong, handsome Alpha. And his reaction must be showing as clear as day because Dutch frowns a little. Reaching to the grab Hosea’s back and the back of his neck, Dutch pulls the man down to hug him tightly. “I mean it, Hosea. You are my strong, handsome Alpha. You may be hurt, and see yourself as broken, but not to me. To me, you’re my Alpha that kicked a federal agent’s ass.”

Hosea could have sworn that he felt lightheaded hearing Dutch’s words. To Dutch, to this wonderful Omega under him that Hosea certainly didn’t deserve now, Hosea was more than a broken Alpha. Hosea was someone to love, to cherish. “Dutch,” He croaks feeling tears pricking at his eyes, “I don’t deserve you. Most people would run from me hearing what happened to my wife, and our child. Yet, you don’t seem like you’re going to run.” Dutch’s arms tighten around Hosea’s waist and it’s the safest Hosea has felt for a while.

“Why would I run from something that wasn’t your fault? No one can predict the future, Hosea.” Idly, Dutch wiped the gathering tears at Hosea’s eyes.

“I know, but it hurts.”

“And it will for a while. Tell me about her, about Bessie.”

“She was, God,” Hosea struggled to find the words to describe his late wife. Dutch rubbed his back encouragingly, before positioning them so they were back against the pillows with Hosea in his arms. “She beautiful, sweet, and full of spunk. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind but was still empathetic to others around her. The town loved her because she greeted everyone she could, and every time they entered my clinic and she was there, she would help them as best as she could. Even if it was just boosting their spirits. And mothering Arthur and John, well, that was a chore and half but she never complained.” Dutch couldn’t help but snort at the last part.

“She sounded like a lovely woman, ‘Sea. Doubly so to handle both of your sons.” Dutch felt Hosea smile into his shirt.

“She was. God, I miss her every day.”

“I would have liked to meet her.”

“I think she would have loved you, and Kieran. God, she would be squealing with excitement to know that Arthur is finally courting someone who truly loves him. His last courtship… didn’t go so well.”

“Their loss,” Dutch replied stroking Hosea’s hair again and pressing a kiss to his head.

“Their loss indeed,” Hosea agreed before his thoughts trailed to something else making his hands curl into fists.


“Just thinking of the next week. About the fact that Colm O’Driscoll wants to meet Tom.” Panic starts to fill his chest. “I don’t like it, Dutch.” Turning his head, Hosea glanced up at his Omega. “What if it’s a trap gets people killed? What if it gets you killed? I don’t think I could handle that, Dutch. I don’t want to lose you.” Dutch’s hand leaves his back to stroke his cheek lovingly.

“I don’t think Sheriff Davies will let it happen, but I won’t lie to you. Colm O’Driscoll is a tricky man, and Micah Bell is even worse.” Dutch hates the panic rising his Alpha’s eyes, and he wants to soothe him, but he’s not sure how. “And as much as I hate to say, we’ll have the federal agents with us. Even though Milton failed to get me, he still wants to get O’Driscoll and Bell regardless.”

“I know, but,” Hosea trailed off waving his hand in the air unable to properly express his fear. How could he?

“It’ll be alright, Hosea. No matter what happens, it’ll be okay.”

“I hope so,” Hosea whispers before pulling Dutch into a hungry kiss. He knows they can’t predict the future yet he still fears to lose the man he’s started to love and cherish.