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The Half-Hitch

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Cecil the Fearless hadn't really banked on running out of cider, especially during the frigid winter months as The Forlorn gathered around his cramped table in his dingy basement apartment. They were just about to reach the Kingdom of Ethuil, swords drawn and shields bared as the cold winter air nipped at their cheeks.

"Damnit Cecil!" Roy said, emptying the last of the pear cider into his glass, shaking the bottle in a futile attempt to retrieve a few more drops of the golden drink.

"Of all times to run out of cider, today's the day!"

Cecil rolled his eyes, snatching the now empty bottle of drink from the Alpha's muscular paw and tossing it into the trash with an unceremonious clunk.

"Stop being dramatic Roy, I'll go get some more. The corner store's still open." Cecil said, grabbing his wallet as he thumbed through the creased bills in the snakeskin wallet before pulling out a tenner. Ignoring his very large and very dramatic friend's complaints, Cecil reached for his bomber jacket on his nightstand, accidentally knocking over two miniatures and a brass dragon figurine in the process.

He walked with quick short steps, the chilly January air nipping at his cheeks. It was dark out at this time of the day, most people had either retreated to the comfort of their heated homes or the welcoming arms of their pack mates. Cecil's ears twitched as a breeze whistled past the tips of his ears, chilling their curled edges. Life hadn't been easy for the young man, Daze was a rough district in a rough part of the city and Cecil didn't have much to his name. Still, he was grateful for the independence offered, to be able to walk around unrestrained, to have his own place, to make decisions for himself – hell even the simple act of being able to decide what to wear and what to eat for himself were privileges that many people, especially alphas took for granted. He neared the convenience store now, the normally pristine windows were now sealed shut with wooden planks, broken glass crunching under his feet. Something wasn't right. His senses pricked up in alarm as he caught a whiff of the rank odor of blood and the nauseating stench of a panicked pack mate.

The putrid odor of the alarm signal had sent all of his senses into overdrive, alarms blaring in his head as his hackles raised, body geared itself for a confrontation, just like those he'd known as a kid. He could feel his heart slam into his ribcage and his vision narrowed. Shit. Something bad had gone down. He shouldn't have been much of a stranger to this, a life spent fighting and clawing his way out to some semblance of freedom and autonomy had primed his senses to any form of conflict. Creeping around the corner of the convenience store and taking care not to cut himself on the broken glass, Cecil followed the rank stench of blood and fear to the back of the store. The smell was overpowering now, coming from the heaps of trash that overflowed from the dumpster. A thin trail of blood trickled down the dumpster, the odor made Cecil gag involuntarily as he walked closer to the dumpster.

Shit. It was dumping night.

If he hadn't found this... thing in the bins, it would've most likely been compacted into trash as Cecil and his Alpha pack mates would've gotten tipsy off of a night of Dungeons and Dragons and pear cider. Forcing down hot and bitter bile, Cecil flung the lid of the dumpster open. The person, if it were even alive at this point, had been unceremoniously flung into the dumpster headfirst. He'd been dressed in a light cotton shirt and shorts, the blue cotton now stained red with blood. Black bruises littered his legs and trademark rope burns encircled his neck. His left ankle was swollen, most probably sprained.

Cecil walked over to the person nervously, trying to suppress alarm bells in the back of his head as he placed his hand on his chest. At least he's breathing. He muttered to himself. The male was most likely an escaped Omega slave, chased down and beaten to an inch of his life before being left to freeze to death in the streets of Ninurta. He tried to shake the male, trying desperately to suppress any scent he could produce; he knew all too well the fear of an Omega when assaulted with a variety of strange scents. He barely stirred as Cecil shook him, eyes briefly flickering open as he fixed his gaze on the young man. He clearly wasn't from Ninurta, deep brown eyes, stared back at him, wavy dark hair a stark contrast to softly tanned skin. The person struggled in his grip weakly, his body clearly exhausted from the horrendous beating he'd endured.

Cecil could feel rage boiling in the pits of his stomach; he'd long spoke out against the horrific treatment of Omegas at the hands of Alpha handlers, the lack of rights, the 'golden cage', the brothels and the very idea of owning a living, sapient human being. He'd forced himself to suppress his rage, the spicy scent had alerted the man somewhat, causing him to stir in his arms.

He'd pressed his nose into his trash-scented hair, purring gently into his hair in a furtive attempt to comfort him. He could feel a low, deep rumble in his chest and tried to mimic an Alpha's purrs the best he could. It wouldn't be as good as an Alpha's, but Cecil hoped that he could soothe the shivering male in his arms. He'd relaxed only so slightly in Cecil's grip, his body releasing the faint scent of vanilla and musk.

"Okay, let's get you somewhere safe." Cecil said, fumbling in his pockets for his mobile phone. He knew his friends, all Alphas, would've been at his house right now. This wouldn't do. All the Alphas, despite being well-meaning individuals would've probably scared the poor Omega shitless. The last thing he needed right now was a petrified slave Omega alerting the apartment to his existence.

Roy

Cecil you back yet?

Nah man somethings gone down cant tell you what but you guys got to go home

What tf do you mean?

Just go Roy and tell them somethings come up

Cecil...

Please? We can do this another day just not today

Okay but you owe me one

Cecil slid his phone back into his back pocket, removing his bomber jacket and wrapping it around the boy. He was injured but still of a healthy height and weight, clearly not someone who'd lived a life of slavery or servitude. He scooped the man up, carrying him piggyback on his back. He was lighter than he seemed, his head lolling submissively against the crook of his neck as he nuzzled into the back of his neck. Not like he’d be able to smell anything, the illegal suppressants Cecil used religiously masked any trace of a scent. Snow had begun to fall now, the tiny snowflakes dotting the boy's hair with specks of white, a contrast to the ebony of his mane.

As Cecil rounded the corner to his house, he made sure to take an alternative route down the alleyways. He had to ensure all the Alphas had vacated the house, while he trusted his friends with his life he'd experienced what an Omega in heat could do to a pack of Alphas. He had to keep the boy safe though, frightened Omegas had the tendency to bolt when startled. Laying him against the steps of the backdoor to his apartment, Cecil opened the door to his house.

The apartment had been vacated in a rush, no doubt due to Roy's help. Trash covered the floor of the apartment as old clothes, empty cider bottles and dice littered the tables and chairs. At least they'd gone, no doubt leaving a huge mess in their wake. He turned his attention to the boy, who had begun to stir by now, crawling aimlessly around in the cold outside his apartment.

"No, no not here. It's gonna be cold. Come." Cecil scooped the male up in his arms, his light body snug in his arms. He carried him into the messy apartment, kicking aside any piles of clothing as he set him down on the floor. Unlacing his sneakers, he kicked them off into a corner. He could do housecleaning tomorrow. The boy was fully awake now, staring at him with wide, inquisitive eyes. He lacked apparent fear in his eyes, nor did he possess the characteristic submission scents that most Omegas would release upon meeting a stranger.

He leaned into him, hoisting him up by his hips, pressing his nose into the boy's neck as a display of comfort. He'd caught a whiff of another scent among the rank of day old trash and blood. A musky, rosy scent not unlike that of an unmated Alpha, signaling dominance and aggression. Cecil flinched, primal instincts flaring in him as he resisted the urge to prostrate himself before the boy.

"Can you stand?" He asked, a reassuring arm wrapped around his hips.

"Yes... I think sprained my ankle though." His voice was hoarse yet sweetly melodic, the gentle tones sending shivers down Cecil's spine.

"Alright. Let me run you a bath. We'll head off to the pharmacy tomorrow and get your wounds treated.”

He'd moved away from his neck, trying his best to ignore the intoxicating smell of tea roses. The smell was reawakening old impulses in him, impulses that he'd struggled against for most of his short, painful life. Unsure if leaving him alone in the living room would've been a good idea, Cecil scooped the boy up in his arms and carried him to the bathroom with him. He'd felt like putty in his arms, not resisting as he picked the man up and laid him down on the cool marble tiles of the bathroom, his heartbeat slow yet steady in his chest. He'd laid placidly on the bathroom floor as he ran him a bath, the Lilly scented bath wash enveloping the bath in a thin layer of white foam.

He clearly wasn't an Omega, based on the intoxicating scent that he gave off, an Omega wouldn't been able to induce such a reaction from Cecil, as much as he'd hated to admit it – the scent stirred up unpleasant memories he'd liked to bury away for the rest of his life. That made him either a Beta or an Alpha, but Betas didn't produce such powerful scents and he'd never heard of Beta slaves before. But Alphas – Cecil almost felt his heart skip a beat. Gritting his teeth, Cecil forced down a familiar twinge, starting first in his belly, the warmth radiating down his abdomen as it settled in the pit of his stomach making his dick twitch. He was not stooping to that level again. He was free. He was in control. He was Cecil Lionheart.

Testing the warmth of the bath with the tips of his fingers, Cecil helped the boy up, resting him against the sink.

"Hey," Cecil whispered, trying to keep his voice low and gentle so as not to startle the boy.

"The bath is ready." He gestured to the steaming bath.

"I'll give you some privacy. I'll be outside if you need me."

The boy hesitated, his eyes downcast as if he'd been unable to look him in the eyes. He nodded, turning his back to Cecil as he stripped of the thin cotton clothing.

The boy had taken his time in the bath, leaving Cecil alone in his messy apartment alone with his thoughts. The boy clearly wasn't an Omega from the scents he produced and the lack of submission pheromones, neither was he a beta; betas didn't release scents and were, for the most part, pacifistic. That only left the possibility of Alpha, which made the attack on the boy even more perplexing. Alphas were top dog in Ninurta, occupying most of the upper echelons of society an unprovoked attack on an Alpha would've been grounds for harsh punishments and maybe even an unprovoked lynching. The only explanation was that he'd offended an Alpha a rank higher than him and had been so much as unceremoniously dumped into the garbage disposal with the day's garbage.

A thin beam of light cut through the darkness startling Cecil from his thoughts. Cecil hadn't noticed the time – he'd been sitting on his bed for nearly an hour. The boy was wiping his feet on the bath mat, towel wrapped around his waist. He was a small man, barely out of his teens with a lean and trim build and a delicate bone structure.

"How're you feeling?" Cecil said.

"I'm... alright. Or at least I think I should be." The kid remained where he was, as if he didn't trust Cecil to not hurt him. Cecil recognized the flash of fear in his eyes, the boy shrinking away when Cecil attempted to reach out towards him.

"Pardon me for asking but," Cecil paused, he wasn't sure if it would be safe to approach such a sensitive topic when he'd just met the boy. "How did you end up in the dumpster?" The boy stiffened up visibly, drawing the towel closer around his petite frame.

"Stuff." His reply was short and curt. "I don't want to talk about it right now."

"Right." Cecil knew it would've been hard for the young man to open up about such a sensitive subject. He inched closer towards the young man, releasing a soft yet reassuring scent of lavender. I will not hurt you. What you have endured is past. "Let's get you someplace to sleep in. You must be tired."