The cold air of late august nights, was nipping at his heels as he leisurely crossed the street downtown, to get closer to the high raises scrapping at the sky. The night dimly lit by street lamps in a soft glow, yet still busy and loud as he blended in with the string of drunken bar strollers, people coming off their shift and whoever else, that wasn't asleep by now.
He had been here plenty over the past weeks, scouting out his next big coup. Preparation was key, he wasn't among one of the best thefts for nothing. He was smart and he was wanted. There was a bounty on his head for robbing a Da Vinci in France back in May, right during daylight hours in the middle of the fucking Louvre. He had loved every single second of that thrill. Couldn't care less about the bounty, since nobody had any idea what he did look like. His disguises working in his favor each time.
He was only a small omega, easily overlooked and underestimated.
He loved art, he loved old expensive nick nacks, but most of all he loved the money it would make him.
There was that well situated blonde role model living on the top floor and a little bird tweeted that he had something in store, Levi longed to have.
The filthy rich, had enough to spare and share, he thought bitterly. Wouldn't hurt to sneak a few dollars extras for all the trouble they put him through, to obtain certain objects.
He crossed the luxurious lobby in quick efficient strides, like he had been here all his life, the doorman giving him a toothy grin, without a flicker of suspicion or doubt.
Levi could already taste it on his tongue, in the middle of all those stinky alphas around him - this was going to be good. A cherry on top his cake.
A cold wind blow enveloped him and Erwin tightened his coat as he left the office building. The material felt heavy on his shoulders, but shielded him from the freezing air tearing through the small path down to the parking lot. Lamps illuminated the way, but the sky itself was pitch black and just as dark, as in the beginning of the day, when Erwin would arrive at the office to start his day.
It has been a long strenuous day at work due to a major business deal and he was tired after hours of merciless negotiation with a business partner, who wasn’t able to recognize the potential of a possible fusion with another company. In the end the financial calculation convinced even Nile – the steady working but risk shy sales manager – and Erwin was able to secure the deal. The day couldn’t have been better and if he wasn’t filthy rich before, he would have been now.
There was plenty reason to celebrate and he was one heartbeat away to ask his best friend Mike to go out for a drink or two. - Finally after weeks of barely hearing from each other. But something stopped Erwin. It might have been the fact, that he didn’t want to intrude on the other alpha’s new found happiness with his lovely little omega Nanaba, but something felt off, as he left his apartment in the morning. Lately there was an unusual sweet smell in the air. The smell of an omega - which was weird, considering the fact that Erwin lived in an expensive neighborhood full of other alphas or betas with no unmated omega around. There was simply no way that an omega could afford such a high living standard on their own.
Especially regarding the fact that omegas – especially decent omegas- were a rare sight to behold.
Now sitting in his car, his sharp features illuminated by the bright screen of his smartphone, still looking at Mike’s contact information, Erwin swallowed down a short pang of envy. Shaking his head he put the phone away and started the engine, making his way home.
Levi made his way up in the elevator, legs bouncing in anticipation. He used the easily copied keycard, stolen from the doorman in late July, to enter the loft without needing the actual key, a wave of well concentrated alpha pheromones enveloping him like a wall, almost making it hard to breathe for a few seconds. His body shook with small tremors, black hoodie suddenly itchy on his pale skin. He swallowed thickly, regaining his composure, before letting the door fall shut with a soft click.
That one must be a very strong headed alpha, if the stink was anything to go by. He hated this part the most, it always left him feeling a little dizzy. But now wasn't the time to hesitate, according to his research he had 1 hour left, before the big blonde oof would return home, maybe 10 minutes more, give or take, the fact, that he had to park in the underground garage, before coming up.
Levi dimmed the lights, he had switched on, bright enough to see clearly, but low enough to not attract suspicion. The hallway was aligned with 2 beautiful graphics, but both were just cheap fake copies, he had found out on his last visit to scout the premises.
One was a calm beach scene, with a short straw hut dominating the left side and the other a skyline sketch in black and blue. Both starkly contrasting the white walls and small silver frames, they were strung up in.
"It's not even the same scene, why would you put this up next to one another." He muttered under his breath, as he strode forward.
The room on the list for today, was the living room, an open plan space to his right, surrounded by bottom to ceiling windows. It was sparsely decorated in cream and dark brown colors. Levi gagged a little.
"Sweet jesus, grandpa are you in your 50s or what?" His gaze swept across the room quickly. There was hardly a space to hide from all the windows, but no cameras were put up, just as the floorplan had suggested. He sighed relieved, letting his hood drop down. The wall to his left was stuffed full with an entertainment system and so far, there wasn't any framed artwork on display.
Everytime he had to come back was a risk, but first he had to know, where blondie kept the precious old map he was looking for, so he could finally get to it. Maybe he hadn't put it on show after all?
Levi scanned through the few family photos put up on the mantelpiece, all black and white, smiley faces, unfocused and a little shaky. Not a hint of wealth in there, more like a bunch of hillbilly farmers, that made him wonder how the alpha got so wealthy.
He had run a background check to determine, that he wasn't fucking with the mafia at least, because nothing good ever came from this, but it didn't necessarily provide much. Erwin Smith was as clean as a sheet.
Realizing he had been caught up in his thoughts for way too long, lulled into fake safety by the potential alpha smell in the air, Levi cursed, before going back to flipping through the few cupboards and nick nacks on the coffee table, but nothing of interest caught his eye.
"Oh this is just great!" He muttered, as the alarm on his watch went off, indicating he better got his ass back out within the next 10 minutes.
He hastily put everything back, stumbling back into the hallway to switch off the lights. His foot had caught in the throw above the couch, but there was no time to put it back on entirely. Hopefully blondie wouldn't notice.
The second he was out, hoodie pulled up and opening the door to the staircase, he caught a glimpse of blond leaving the elevator.
That was a shit for close call. Levi was mad at himself for getting so distracted.
As Erwin left the elevator he could have sworn, he heard the small click of the door leading to the staircase. 'Weird.' - he thought to himself- ' Who in their right mind would use the stairs in a building this high?' But as he opened the door to look down the stairs, there was nobody to be seen. Only a slight hint of the sweet scented smell tickled his nose. Putting the thought aside and blaming it on his tiredness after a long day at work, Erwin turned around and fumbled with his keys and card to unlock his apartment door. After all he was the only one living on the highest floor of the building. There was no reason anyone else would have been there.
Discarding his heavy coat Erwin as usual made his way to the kitchen first. Opening the fridge but finding nothing to his liking, he instead grabbed a bag of crisps, deciding to spend at least a bit of time in leisure and probably sleeping in on his couch, like his father used to do as well. He truly felt like he was getting old, despite being in his early forties.
Laying down on his couch Erwin absentmindedly reached out for the throw, only to not find it in its usual space. As if hit by a bolt of lightning Erwin sat up and looked around. The throw was barely on the couch most parts laying on the ground, as if someone had been caught in it and suddenly had to leave very quickly. Clutching the soft material in his hand Erwin took a look around and noticed that one picture frame on his coffee table was a bit more to the left than usual. With a bitter taste in his mouth Erwin realised, that his tired mind wasn't just playing games with him. That he wasn't just imagining the sickly sweet bouts of smell that returned here and there lately, especially in close proximity to his apartment. That it was unusual strong right now, as if he barely missed the intruder.
Levi was almost melting into the wall, having sprinted already two floors down, as the door above was opened. If he got caught now, that would be a pity party. He was one of the best and he sure as all hell didn't want to go down like this, so nice and easy.
He was in the business way too long to be a dumb fish.
Grumbling and cussing out Erwin under his breath, after the door closed again and no footsteps could be heard, he trudged down a few more floors, before taking the elevator the rest of the way down, with a stone cold face.
He returned home to the suburbs, to his run down house, that was waiting to be bulldozed after Kenny had died. The long track home, giving him enough time to work himself up into a frenzy. How could he have been so careless? This was just stupid on his behalf.
He rubbed his face tiredly, standing under the cold moldy shower, going over every detail of the night. He had fucked up, so this left him with minimal options. He could give up on the treasure, but he wasn't a pussy, or he could wait at least a week before returning with more precautions set into place.
This was an exciting prospect, at least until he reached for the smell canceling soup on the shower floor and realized something. His heat would be coming up in about a week, rendering him useless for at least an agonizing 8 days, if not more. Oh fuck his life, he needed to get this job done fast.
His heat was the only thing he detested about being an omega, in the worst case it could higher his scent to a degree not even soups could cancel out. Apart from the old-school true mates can smell each other anyway bullshit, he didn't believe for a split second.
Brushing his teeth aggressively, he dropped the prospect of a late night dinner altogether and rather rolled up on the mattress in his old childhood bedroom on the ground floor, before passing out to the sounds of the wind whistling through the rotten and partly crushed upper floor.
He had to figure shit out and he had to figure it out fast.
"Didn't brush your eyebrows today, Erwin?" Were the words Nile greeted him with first, at work a bit snarkier than necessary. Receiving no reaction he added "Seriously… you don't look so good."
"Just a little trouble sleeping, not to worry."
Truth was that Erwin didn't sleep at all last night. Fueled by caffeine he was a man on a mission, searching his entire apartment looking for more evidence. Nothing. Aside from a slightly misplaced picture frame and his throw. Nothing at all. Still Erwins mind came to no rest, buzzing with new possibilities and analyzing the little proof he had for his assumption. The intruder was good, most likely a professional, that broke into rich people’s houses for a living. Probably to even have a living. The intruder was most likely an omega, Erwin concluded, but couldn't help to be intrigued. There has been a sweet smell in the air lately, only slightly, as if the omega had been using cheap scent cancelling soap, that wasn't able to hide the intensifying sweet undertone indicating a close heat. An unmated omega without a family to support him basically had no chance in a world, that was mostly dominated by alphas like Erwin himself. Usually standing tall and proud, displaying dominance and confidence, leading the way and making important decisions. There was simply no place for little fragile omegas. Omegas simply stayed at home, keeping the house clean and comfortable while raising the pups. Although Erwin didn't wholeheartedly believe in these stereotypes and instead treated everyone with the same respect, he saw this belief in other alphas. It wasn't uncommon for omegas, that didn't meet the expectations to be discarded like trash. So if his assumptions were correct and the intruder was indeed an omega close to heat, Erwin mused, taking a sip of yet another coffee, then the omega had two choices left. Giving up or trying again very soon. Feeling a rush of excitement running through him, Erwin kind of hoped for the second option.
Levi didn't sleep for more than 4 hours straight as per usual. He woke up feeling just as restless and uncomfortable as the previous night. He literally bathed himself in scent canceler and disinfection, scrubbing away at his scent glands and body inside and out, until his skin came pretty close to win a competition against a lobster. Waiting would just make matters worse. He had to get a move on to get his trinket.
He threw on a housekeeper disguise, to get easier access. Nobody would question Erwin Smith's maid, or well anyone's. He had no obligations to check in with the front desk, deciding to enter the staircase via the emergency access and then make his way up in the elevator. The remaining occupants of the other apartments wouldn't second guess him.
He packed a few cameras to place inside Erwin's condo just for the fun of it. The big blonde should be at work all day, so he had ample time to look through his shit and hopefully find what he was looking for.
A scarf was hiding his neck, that was all red and raw from his shower and doused in scent canceler to help delete any trace of scent he might let linger.
Getting in wasn't a problem at all, just as he had procrastinated. So he sighed in relief once the door shut behind him, leaving him in a cloud of alpha pheromones, that belonged to mister filthy rich. Levi ignored the hallway, went past the living room and ignored the kitchen as well. No dumb shit would keep year old paper in a fucking kitchen with grease and humidity. The next door to his left was a spare bedroom, filled with a couple of moving boxes, that made his hands itch. Couldn't that dude at least bother to unpack? How long had he been living here, probably a century according to his taste in decoration and furniture.
“Are you sure you didn’t just forget to tidy up after yourself? I mean, no offense, no one is as efficient as you at work here, but at home you are a slob.”
Hanji meant well. They really meant well, but Erwin could barely suppress an eye roll.
“You probably slept in on the couch again and forgot to put the throw back on properly. I mean, last time I was at your home, you hadn’t even unpacked all the boxes! Please tell me they are unpacked.”
“Of course they are.” Erwin answered a little too fast. Lunch break started to feel like an interrogation and Erwin started to regret asking for advice from his work colleagues and also friends regarding the matter. The three of them sat in the spacious canteen up in the fourth floor, Erwin sitting across from Hanji and Mike. The space was otherwise barely occupied, only a few people walking around, making a lot of effort to look as busy and important as they could. When silence fell upon them again and Erwin turned to look out of one of the big glass windows, starting to disappear in his thoughts again, Hanji elbowed Mike in the side, as a not so subtle signal to finally say something on the matter, too.
“Work is really getting to you, you should tone it down a little.” he started vaguely. This time Erwin couldn’t suppress the eye roll. “There are other things in life you should start to consider.”
Unbelievable. Now his friends of many years thought he was getting crazy, because of the stress and work.
“What do you mean with that, Mike?” Erwin bit back.
“Maybe you are just lonely. An omega close to heat rummaging through your grandpa apartment, as if you would have any great treasure there. Could be your rut talking? Because truth be told: any omega with taste, would turn around and run away seeing your design choices. Or start cleaning up. Although this would be a blessing. You really could use a maid. And if you could smell yourself, believe me, your pheromo-”
At that Erwin inhaled to give Mike back his own medicine. He didn’t need to be lectured about giving his best efforts for the company, securing all their positions and improving humanity as a whole, just because of his best friends raging hormones and lovey dovey mindset, since the tall dirty blonde got mated.
“For your information, I like my apartment. It is warm and welcoming. You sure didn’t complain the last time you sat on my couch eating my food!”
“That was three months ago, Erwin, please. When was the last time you have seen someone? Hell, the last time you really did something for yourself, aside from buying too many crisps?”
A long time ago, but his friends didn’t have to know that. Erwin couldn’t understand their worried glances. He was happy with his life, Erwin told himself, as he returned to his office, yet another coffee in his hand. His apartment looked just fine. Of course he couldn’t clean up every day, but he managed. After all he barely spent time there, so he couldn’t make it dirty, so what’s the point? Even the unpacked boxes didn’t bother him anymore. He knew what was in there, he didn’t need it yet, so why should he bother?
Taking a big gulp of coffee, Erwin opened a new document, trying to focus on the work ahead. Hm. Lonely? Why would Mike think that of him. It must have left a big impression on the even taller alpha, for him to be so direct about it, since he is usually more tactful. Insinuating that he was smelling of pent up hormones.
“You might be more productive in the long run, if you take some time to figure it out, Erwin. No one wants you tired and distracted at work, we can’t afford you burning out like a candle. And maybe if you are right and we are terrible friends right now, for being worried and doubting your story, maybe changing your usual schedule, could help you figure out the truth.” Hanji’s words still rang in his ears. Staring at the empty page of the computer screen, Erwin couldn’t focus. For the first time in forever he considered going home a little earlier than usual, or even taking some time off.
Dust was making Levi sneeze every two minutes, as he opened box after box. There was an old waffle iron in one, along with a multitude of cables, from which probably 95% no longer worked or had the opponent part missing. More photos old and new haphazardly thrown in another box, along with some duct tape and glue. It was icky, one tube already smearing its contents all over the memories. Levi felt like gagging at the pure sight of it.
He used his black bandana as a makeshift handkerchief, covering up his nose and mouth, as he moved on through kitchen supplies, folders full of paperwork, where the back was turning yellow and the pen had started to rub off, as he flickered through them with his thumb, before stacking them back in neatly, because all this mess was driving him up the wall.
He usually put everything back in place, just as he had found it, but he doubted mister dumpster even remembered, how he had packed any of these boxes.
Some contained shoes and clothing, with some still zipped into their dry cleaning covering. There was a couple filled with books to the brim, but no maps. He felt like tearing his hair out.
The remaining two boxes where a multitude of DVDs, different computer programmes, titled back until the 90s even.
Seriously, no person in their right set of mind would hold onto an old copy of Windows 95!
Levi kicked the box for good measure, leaving behind a dent in the ageing cardboard. Nothing!
Still coming up empty handed frustrated him to no end. Where was he hiding this fucking piece of shit crumbling paper? He had to have it!
The wardrobe was stacked with towels and bedsheets, both smelling deeply depressing of mothballs. He skipped the ensuite and moved down to another bedroom, this one clearly used, if the unmade bed was anything to go by.
"Such a slob." He muttered, going through the bedside drawers one by one, finding the usual.
Chargers, tissues, medication, well underwear and socks too. That was odd. At least they seemed washed.
Levi folded the pair of Calvin Klein boxers back in there neatly, moving on to the left side. His yaw meet the floor, as he pulled open the first drawer, lube, condoms weren't this uncommon, but a multitude of chains and fabric clearly was. "Perverted old bastard." He rolled his eyes, opening the next one, that was full of sextoys, half of them Levi didn't even know what to use them for.
The pattern continued on through the entire dresser along the wall, which held a multitude of different sized butt plugs, handcuffs, ropes and other shit. "Kinky old pervert, obviously." He murmured.
He skimmed the wardrobe for any boxes, but found none, so only 2 rooms left and not much time, according to his watch. Levi sighed deeply, this entire mission was suicide. He rather steal a Mona Lisa, at least he wouldn't have to look through hole invested tennis socks no more.