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To Thine Own Self Be True

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They had seen Blind Channel from a distance a couple of times now, but they hadn't talked to them or been up close and personal. Damiano couldn't help the twist of nerves in his stomach as they headed to the pre-arranged rendezvous. They were the two rock bands in the competition so, of course, the EBA wanted them to have an on-camera meet-up.

Damiano was not averse to this. Any publicity was good publicity and could only help them in the competition. What had him nervous was he had never in his life met anyone like Joel Hokka, one of Blind Channel's two front men. Hokka was a rarity among rarities, an out and proud alpha. Alphas and omegas were rare, evolutionary throwbacks that scientists were sure were dying out and most took heavy suppressants their entire lives so they passed as beta like the rest of the population.

Hokka was loud about it being ridiculous how alphas and omegas were perceived and set out to prove alphas were not dangerous and violent just because of their biology. Damiano had read about him and the man only took minimal suppressants to prevent himself accidentally going into rut.

Damiano on the other hand was not out and proud, and had been on suppressants since he was twelve to make sure no one outside his family and very close friends knew he was an omega. His parents had taken him to see a specialist the moment puberty hit to protect him from the stigma that accompanied his natural physiology. He was not brave enough to tell the world who he really was, not like Hokka.

Having never met an active alpha before, he was worried they might interact in a way he was not expecting, even with the medication he took daily.

"Don't worry," Vic said, leaning into him as they walked towards the other band, "we'll keep us between him and you."

He gave her a soft smile of thanks, before pulling on his mantle of rock band front man as they neared their rendezvous.

Everything was pretty normal to begin with. They did their staged introductions and answered a few questions. It was all very professional and perfectly put on for the film crew. Damiano kept finding his attention drawn to Hokka, or Joel as the vocalist had introduced himself, but he wasn't sure if that was nerves or something more chemical.

Damiano was not above admitting that Hokka was attractive, and no matter what he told the press, Damiano was very much bi. As a band they had agreed to let Victoria be the proud bisexual, mostly because if he came out, Damiano was worried someone might decide to dig a little too deeply. There was a ridiculous myth that all bisexual men had to be omegas wanting a good fuck or alphas on the prowl for a piece of ass. No one believed it anymore, but it would still be an angle for a story.

Ethan had been asked several times if he was really a beta after his "sexually free" self-identification.

Everything was fine until the cameras turned off. That was when the two bands really began talking. Damiano made the mistake of losing track of Hokka for a few seconds, only to suddenly be hit with the most amazing scent. His brain translated it as apples and sandalwood and cut grass. Suddenly he felt very warm, as a hot flush ran under his skin.

He turned to find Hokka looking at him with what he could only describe as a penetrating stare. Damiano froze like a deer in headlights. He had no idea what could have given him away, but he was completely sure something had. When their eyes met, Damiano had no doubt. Apparently, suppressants couldn't hide him from an alpha not fully dosed up as well. 

"Oh, hey," Victoria's voice broke him out of his daze, "sorry, my phone just vibrated. Our manager is demanding our presence. It was great to meet you properly, but we've got to go. See you around when it's less busy."

Pleasant goodbyes were said, even as Victoria grabbed Damiano and began dragging him away. He was never going to be able to thank her enough as he mentally kicked himself for reacting so obviously.

They almost made it to the next set of double doors and safety.

"Hey, Italy."

They all paused and turned back, even though Damiano could feel doom approaching.

"Damiano, can I have a moment?" Hokka asked from where the other vocalist had followed them.

Victoria touched Damiano's hand, clearly asking what he wanted to do. He gave her a small smile and headed back down the corridor. Facing this head on was the only way to go.

"Hello again," he said as he walked up to the alpha, stopping a little way away.

"Look," Hokka said quietly, "I know that you know that I know, and I just wanted to tell you, I won't breathe a word to anyone, okay? I know I come on strong that those of us with alternative biology should be out, but it's your life and I respect your choices. I didn't want you to worry."

Damiano was a little taken aback. That had not been what he was expecting. He smiled, a very real one this time.

"Thanks," he replied. "I wish I could be as brave as you but.."

"Hell, there are still countries where you have no rights because of how you're made," Hokka said, "don't sweat it. Best of luck with all this craziness. I'll see you around."

"Yeah," he replied. "See you, Joel."

As he said the other man's name he realised something had shifted in his head. Blind Channel's vocalist had gone from possible problem to maybe friend over the course of a simple conversation. He walked back to the others.

"Okay?" Victoria asked as soon as he reached them.

"Yeah," he assured her. "Joel did figure it out, but he wanted me to know he won't tell anyone."

"Thank fuck," Thomas said. "Can we get some lunch now before we get dragged off again?"

And that was it, crisis over.

~*~

ESC was madness. There was always somewhere to be, people to see and Damiano was loving every second. Rehearsals were going well and they were climbing up the bookies rankings. It was all exciting and he'd all but forgotten Joel was anything but another competitor who was rapidly becoming a friend, as were the rest of the Finnish band. They had chatted in the green room and when they met around the hotel and Blind Channel seemed to be great guys. This year's Eurovision had a fantastic vibe going.

Damiano was, however, running just a little late after over sleeping by half an hour. Speeding through his morning routine, he was not overly surprised when his door burst in. What was surprising was that it wasn't Victoria come to chew him out for being late, it was Thomas.

"Did you hear what happened?" his younger bandmate asked.

"Do I look like I've been anywhere to hear anything?" Damiano responded.

He was still in a towel.

"Oh, yeah," Thomas said, as if he'd totally failed to register that before. "I was heading out front for a smoke and there are officials and police everywhere. Some religious crazy poisoned Joel Hokka."

"They what?" Damiano wasn't sure he had heard correctly. "How and how do you know?"

"They had the guy downstairs and he was yelling about it," Thomas replied. "And I asked someone," he added with a shrug. "Apparently he slipped Hokka some counter-suppressants and a stimulant to prove alpha's are dangerous and an offence against God or some such shit."

"Fuck," was about the best Damiano could come up with as he processed that. "Shit, that means he'll go into enhanced rut," he realised.

"That's what I heard," Thomas agreed. "It could put them out of performing live, they'll have to use their recorded entry. They won't even get a chance to make a new one."

"It could do more than that," Damiano said, "it could kill him."

"You heard then," Victoria said, coming in trailed by Ethan.

Apparently it was band-meeting-in-Damiano's-room time.

"How the hell could this happen?" he asked.

What with all the Covid regulations, it was hard to be where you weren't supposed to be.

"Apparently the crazy was one of their own delegation," Victoria provided the answer.

"Is there any news on Joel?" Damiano asked as he began pulling on clothes.

"Nothing we've heard," Ethan said.

"Fuck," Damiano said again, because it rather summed up his feelings on the matter.

He picked up the little pill holder he had been about to open when Thomas interrupted him and stopped.

"Damiano, what are you thinking?" Victoria asked, reading him well as usual.

Staring at the little ornate box he kept his suppressants in he tried to figure out what he was considering.

"I need to find out what's going on," he decided, putting the box back on the table.

"Damiano?" Victoria said, standing right in front of him as he pulled on a shirt.

"This could literally kill him," he told her. "Alphas have to wean themselves off suppressants to prevent overloading in a rut. Omegas can go cold turkey without problems except an elevated sex drive, alpha's can't. Joel might not have been on a high dose, but he has not only had his suppressants negated, according to Thomas he's been slipped a stimulant as well."

"There are professionals dealing with this," Victoria pointed out.

"Yeah, and we all know how good professionals are with cases like this," he replied, not bothering to keep the bitterness out of his voice. "They'll give him a massive dose of suppressant hoping it will take, which it is unlikely to do because of the stimulant, then when that doesn't work they'll lock him up for days to fend for himself while he's in agony, and that's if he doesn't have a heart attack or massive stroke because he's not getting anything he needs and his system is going into overdrive trying to find it."

Victoria couldn't counter that.

"The only thing that will help him is a willing omega," Damiano finished. "It would all be over in a couple of hours."

"Maybe they have one?" Thomas suggested hopefully.

"There's probably less than fifty omegas in this whole city," Damiano replied, "what are the odds?"

"You're on suppressants," Victoria pointed out.

"I didn't take my daily dose yet," Damiano said. "An alpha in rut would be more than enough to push me into being receptive."

Well that was the theory. He had taken great care to educate himself about his personal biology as a late teen, but a lot of it was educated guesswork, because no one had done all the practical research.

"The suppressant might have taken," Victoria added.

"That's why I need to find out what's going on," Damiano agreed.

Victoria caught his arm as he went to grab his boots.

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"They're our friends," Damiano replied. "Maybe not close friends yet, but I can't stand by and watch Joel die if I'm the only one who can help."

"You've never been with an alpha," Victoria pointed out.

"Yeah, well if my reaction to him just being in proximity is any indication, I respond just like the textbooks say, so that's not going to be a problem," he replied.

"You're attracted to him?" Ethan asked.

Usually Damiano was pretty open about who he liked and who he didn't, but he'd kept his thoughts about Joel to himself. It had just been too complicated a subject for him to think about with everything else going on. However, the attack on Joel had changed that.

He nodded.

"Let's just say he pushes all my buttons," he replied.

He was attempting to lighten the mood, but Victoria was having none of it. She looked him in the eye for long seconds, before finally nodding, releasing his arm.

"Just be careful," she told him.

Chapter Text

Ten minutes after his conversation with his bandmates, Damiano went to step out onto Blind Channel's floor and discovered his way blocked by a large security guard.

"Sorry, Sir, this floor is off limits for the time being," the man said. "Please could you return to the elevator."

"Look, I really need to …" Damiano began to say, before he spotted Niko further down the corridor talking to someone in a suit. "Niko," he called out.

When the Finnish vocalist turned, Damiano waved.

"Niko I really need to talk to you, it's important," he called.

The Finn frowned, but said something to the person he was talking to before walking down the corridor and nodding at the security guard. The man let Damiano past and he trotted to meet the other musician.

"Did the suppressants take?" he asked, before Niko could get a word out.

"How did you know about that?" Niko asked, half glaring at him.

"I know a hell of a lot more than you think," Damiano replied. "Please, just tell me."

"No," Niko replied. "They're talking about transferring him to a specialist facility."

"A padded cell in the back end of a hospital," Damiano said bitterly.

Niko gave him a long look then.

"Not many betas know about this kind of stuff," Niko said.

Taking a deep breath, Damiano made his decision.

"I'm not a beta," he said quietly.

For a second he could tell Niko's brain went alpha, then the light dawned and he saw hope cross the other vocalist's face.

"Omega?" Niko asked, equally as quietly.

Damiano nodded.

"And you're here ..?" Niko said carefully.

"To offer my help," he replied.

Before he really knew what was happening he found himself on the end of a very enthusiastic Finnish hug. Then he was being dragged down the corridor. Niko took him to a woman who was wearing a lanyard that identified her as an official of the EBA.

"Emma," Niko greeted, "we have another solution."

"Niko, there are safety issues involved here," Emma replied. "I'm sorry, but Joel will have to be transferred. An alpha under this much stress could be ..."

"I'm omega," Damiano said, cutting straight to the point, "and yes, I am offering what you think I'm offering."

"That could be dangerous. I don't know if we can allow another competitor…" the woman started to say.

"The worst that can happen to me is I can't walk straight for our next rehearsal," Damiano said before she could go on. "Joel could die. Does the EBA want that headline?"

Niko was looking more than a little impressed at the way that completely shut the woman up.

"There are consent issues," was all she said.

"Well I'm giving my consent right now," Damiano said, "and I doubt Joel is far enough gone yet so you can't ask him. I suggest someone does as soon as possible, because it's getting more dangerous and painful for him by the second."

Emma, to give her credit, simply nodded at that and quickly walked down the corridor.

"I could kiss you," Niko said.

"You could," Damiano said, doing his best to deflect from the nerves that were making his heart pound, "but then you might have an irate alpha trying to rip your head off."

"Yeah," Niko agreed, playing along, "let's not."

Emma returned a minute or so later.

"The doctor would like to talk to you," she said.

Damiano nodded and followed her down the hall and into one of the hotel rooms. The adjoining door from the room he entered to the next one had a very large man standing in front of it, as had the door in the corridor, so Damiano assumed that was where they had Joel. Taking a long, slow, deep breath, he prepared himself to deal with whatever hoops he had to jump through to do this.

~*~

Damiano stepped into a room much darker than the one next door. The curtains were drawn and there were no lights on, so it took him a moment for his eyes to adjust. At first he couldn't see anyone inside.

"Are you sure?"

The voice came from over by the door into the bathroom. Only as he turned to look did he see Joel standing over by the wall, possibly the furthest point the alpha could get from the way in, without being in the en-suit.

"Yes," Damiano said.

"Are you on birth control?" Joel asked.

"Implant," Damiano replied, that was one thing he had made very sure of as soon as he was old enough, he had no intention of ending up unexpectedly pregnant and never had.

He was well aware that they couldn't use standard protection for this or Joel wouldn't get the hormonal stimulation he required and the whole exercise would be pointless. Bodily fluids were kind of important in the equation. That Joel was still thinking of such practical things was a very big tick in the plus column, however, even if the other vocalist did sound on the edge of control while doing it.

The whole room smelled of apples, sandalwood and cut grass, so much stronger than any other time Damiano had met Joel. It made him feel lightheaded for a moment, or that could have been the anxiety of the situation. It was difficult to be sure.

His heart was already beating a mile a minute, but when Joel stepped towards him it sped up even more. With his eyes adjusting to the lower lighting, he could see the other man now, and Joel looked as if he was only just in control. Hair wild, chest bare and skin glistening in the very low light, Joel appeared just like every romance novel imagined a male alpha at the mercy of his instincts. Damiano stood his ground, barely moving as Joel walked over to him. Stimulants could give a beta a sexual high, but for an alpha or an omega they had a nasty habit of spiking their hormonal reactions so far as to remove most of their higher thinking.

Joel's scent had to be full of pheromones as well, because the more he breathed it in, the more heat pooled in Damiano's nether regions. Of course the raw power in the man coming towards him didn't hurt either. Damiano hadn't thought barely in control alpha would do it for him, but apparently he had underestimated the possible effect. His insides were trembling and he felt several tremors through his limbs as well. It wasn't fear, either. However, he could also sense something else in the scent, something that whispered to him of pain and desperation. It didn't settle his anxiety.

"You haven't taken your suppressants today?" Joel said, looking him up and down while breathing in deeply.

"No," Damiano replied. "I was about to when I heard what happened."

Joel made an almost growling sound at that.

"I can't believe it was one of our own," Joel said, sounding angry, but also sad.

Damiano saw Joel grimace as well and the other man took in a shallow gasping breath, turning and punching the wall. Damiano could only imagine what Joel was going through.

"Forget about him," he said, knowing he needed to do something to help the other man through what looked like pain, "he failed."

"Because of you," Joel said, turning back and leaning towards Damiano, but not reaching out to touch. "Fuck, your scent is getting stronger by the second. Makes me want to throw you on the bed and fuck you till you scream."

Damiano was pretty sure that made his whole lower body throb, however, his brain was still working and he knew he needed a few more minutes to adjust. His body was waking up given the overload from Joel, but it wasn't there yet. The last thing he needed was an injury because they took this too fast. However, Joel was in clear discomfort. He needed to get Joel doing what the alpha needed to do while he made sure he was fully ready for what was coming.

"All in good time, Alpha," he said, pulling up the bossier part of his nature, "you have to earn it. That bed is unacceptable. If I am going to present for you, I want a proper nest to do it in."

"Holy fuck," was Joel's almost immediate response.

Joel stepped right up to him then and Damiano stared into eyes that were virtually all pupils.

"Show me you know how to treat an omega, Alpha," Damiano said, "while I get undressed. When I spread my legs for you, it'll make it all the sweeter."

Joel puffed his chest out as Damiano's words hit home. Damiano leaned forward, placing a hand on Joel's cheek before demanding a kiss. Joel moaned into the touch of their lips. Damiano could feel the Finn shaking, but Joel did not bring his arms up to try and trap him.

"You get me, when I get what I want," Damiano said, pulling back, "what I need," he emphasised.

He felt immensely powerful as Joel turned to do as he had asked. He watched for a few moments as Joel pulled the bedclothes free of the mattress, before he remembered his part of the bargain. While Joel arranged the duvet, sheets and pillows into a much more organic pattern, Damiano began to pull off his clothes. He undressed quickly, not wanting to think too hard about what he was doing, or make Joel wait any longer than necessary. His presence alone would already be helping Joel's condition, but until Joel got what he really needed, the other singer would still be hurting.

When Damiano finally pulled off his underwear he couldn't help noticing the already noticeable damp patch. His body was definitely waking up just the way nature had intended. His dick was also already at half-mast, giving him the signals he was more used to in sexual situations.

Once he was naked, Damiano stood and watched as Joel rearranged the bedclothes several times, apparently having something in mind that wasn't quite achieved the first few. Damiano found himself trembling again as a very primal part of himself recognised this care and attention was all for him. When Joel finally turned to him and saw him naked, the alpha seemed to sway towards him. However, Joel kept himself in check.

"Acceptable?" he asked, voice so deep it was almost a rumble.

Chapter Text

Using all his stage presence, Damiano stepped up to the side of the bed and gave a show of surveying Joel's work.

"Very good, Alpha," he said after a few moments.

"Climb in," Joel said, leaning into his personal space, but not reaching out to touch, "I won't keep you waiting long."

Damiano smiled, although it was all false bravado. He was incredibly turned on, but he was also a bundle of nerves. He'd never had anal sex before, seeing it as too much of a risk if his partner noticed he was slightly different to other men. He was about to pop that particular cherry, and his omega anatomy was coming to life properly for the first time as well. There was no way he knew what to expect. So far he was following what he had read once about arranged marriages between alphas and omegas from history. It seemed to be working so far, but he had no idea what was right and what might have been embellishment.

Climbing onto the bed, he put on another show. He moved around on his hands and knees, making himself comfortable and choosing a spot carefully. Behind him he heard clothes being shed, but he didn't look back, feeling eyes on him as he moved. At first it was all an act, but the more he immersed himself in it, the less of an act it became. He stuck his nose in the sheet, breathing in Joel's scent where the other vocalist had been handling them. His cock throbbed as his arse clenched.

Once he had followed his instincts to the perfect place in the nest, he finally looked round to Joel. The alpha was standing at the end of the bed simply watching him. Joel's cock hung large and heavy and Damiano couldn't help staring at it. Part of him was anxious, another part very, very excited. It was somewhat confusing, so he turned back before it could overcome him.

Very deliberately he spread his knees and carefully lowered his upper body until he was leaning on his elbows. A couple of the books he had read called it the presentation position, he simply thought it was likely to be the most practical, giving Joel the most access to his virgin arse. Anything that made it easier had to be better in his opinion. He still had to bite his lip to stop himself reacting, however, when the bed dipped behind him.

He made the tiniest sound when Joel finally reached out to touch him, running a firm hand over his hip and down the side of his leg.

"Are you wet for me, Damiano?" Joel asked, running his fingers back up and ghosting over Damiano's waiting hole.

The full body shudder that took over Damiano at the touch robbed him of speech for a moment. It was as if he was hardwired to react and he'd never felt anything quite like it. Joel's fingers withdrew for a moment.

"Oh yes," Joel said, "definitely wet, and you smell so sweet."

Both of Joel's hands touched him this time, one rubbing over the base of his back, the other over one buttock. He moaned quietly as the pleasant thrills that sent through his nerves. When Joel stroked a thumb down between the cheeks of his arse, sliding it into him with no preamble, however, there was nothing quiet about his resulting reaction. He chose some pointed profanities in his own language.

"So slick and swollen already," Joel commented, "like you were made for my cock.I bet I could take you right now and you'd open up for my whole length."

Damiano whined as Joel moved his thumb in and out.

"But I want to taste you first," Joel said. "Are you going to let me?"

"Fuck yes," Damiano replied.

Joel moved his thumb a couple more times, making Damiano quiver with anticipation. Then the thumb was gone and Damiano felt breath on his slick covered hole. Joel took hold of his hips before burying himself face first in Damiano's arse.

"Oh my god," Damiano panted as Joel went straight in with his tongue, giving him no time to adjust to being touched so intimately at all.

He had to brace himself as his arms threatened to give out and send him toppling forward.

It was all so new as his body lit up in ways he had never experienced. Under the influence of alpha pheromones the suppressants left in his system were being washed away. It was amazing and he could all but feel his brain cells popping.

Damiano had eaten out more than one girl in his time and he knew how intoxicating it could be. What he hadn't been prepared for was how being on the receiving end made him feel. Joel seemed to know exactly how to use his tongue, lathing up from Damiano's balls, over the smooth skin behind them and up over his needy hole. He was so incredibly sensitive as new sensation piled on top of new sensation.

It felt crazy that it was the throbbing in his cock that grounded him. The familiar among the new that helped him process the other incredible sensations.

"Fuck, you're so wet," Joel whispered, kissing up his tailbone.

"All for you, Alpha," Damiano replied, but it was more of a simple truth now than the role he had chosen to play. "Oh, holy mother of god."

Joel's tongue felt like it went so deep into him. Damiano pushed his forehead against his clenched fists and whined with need. For a while he forgot about anything except the sensations making his insides tremble and throb as Joel didn't let up.

This had definitely not been something he had anticipated happening, but he wasn't going to object. His brain was so full of 'more', 'need' and many, many expletives that his anxiety was all but forgotten.

"Oh yes," Joel said, finally pulling back, but Damiano was given no chance to gather his wits.

Two fingers slid into him, replacing the clever tongue. It only took a couple of seconds for Joel to find his prostate and he had to push himself up on his arms because there just didn't seem to be enough oxygen for a second.

"I think you're ready for me now," Joel said as two fingers became three, moving in and out of him with apparently no resistance. "Are you going to take my cock, Damiano? Do you want to be spread open?"

"Yes," Damiano replied and he wasn't remotely putting on the desperation in his voice.

Joel stroked up his back while still working him slowly and firmly with those long fingers. Just the slightest pressure between his shoulder blades had him sinking back into his previous position. More tremors of excitement scattered through his body. He had walked into the room wanting to help a friend, now he was as caught up in the situation as Joel. The paparazzi could have kicked the door in and he was pretty sure he couldn't have cared.

He was surrounded by sex, the smell, the feel, the taste on his tongue. He had enjoyed sex before, many times, but nothing had been like this. This felt primal in a way that never had.

The poet in him wanted to immortalise what was happening, sink it into his awareness with language, but he never got the chance. Words failed him, even curse words, as Joel removed his fingers, lined up and pushed into him with almost agonising slowness. He felt every centimetre as his body opened to Joel's hard, demanding cock. It didn't hurt, not even a little bit, but it was overwhelming. Groaning and gasping, he twisted his fingers into the sheets of his nest and Joel filled him up. The only place he had ever felt so alive was on stage in front of a screaming audience. The dance he did there with the other members of the band was different, but both spoke to his soul.

If he was honest, he had expected to walk into the room, get his brains fucked out and then leave. This was not in the same league. He had read some of Joel's articles about how alphas and omegas were expected to lead a half life, never understanding themselves properly, and he was beginning to comprehend how right that was.

He had a cock up his arse, it should not have felt like an almost religious experience, but it did.

Possibly when he wasn't high on hormones he might feel like an idiot for thinking that, but right then, he couldn't help it.

"So open for me, so perfect," Joel told him.

Joel's tone now was full of need rather than pain, but there was still the control there he had seen at the very first. Joel could have claimed him wildly, giving in to the demands of instincts as old as humanity, but that desperation was harnessed perfectly. Damiano wished he could have said he had the same control, but he didn't as he spread his legs and gave Joel everything the alpha needed.

As Joel began to fuck in and out of him, all Damiano could do was react. Slow at first, Joel gave him plenty of time to adjust. His body opened, slick and needy at each press back in and the slide over his prostate made him moan every time. That he had locked this away for some many years, never allowing his body to react as it was made to do, seemed so ridiculous.

"More, Alpha, more," he begged as passions built within him.

"Such a needy omega," Joel replied, immediately upping the pace.

Joel's hands on his hips held him in place as Damiano arched his back, widening his stance.

"Oh, so very needy," Joel said, voice going husky with desire.

Damiano had long since given up trying to control any of the noises he was making, and they just fell out of him as he reacted without thinking to each wonderful sensation. The strong pistoning of Joel's hips kept him completely in the moment, losing track of before or what came next as Damiano surrendered to everything. 

When Joel began bottoming out with every thrust, Damiano didn't register it at first, but gradually it began to dawn on him that something felt different. Joel began to slow. Then it became obvious. With each deep, even stroke came an extra push and pull on his stretched opening. Joel was knotting him.

Damiano wasn't innocent, he'd seen the porn, but to be part of it, to feel it was an entirely different thing. The majority of betas claimed it was barbaric and filthy, but given how big a section of the sex industry it was, that was just another perfectly natural thing prudish people had decided was bad. Damiano definitely didn't think it was bad as he felt Joel's growing knot.

It was definitely primal though. Joel was breathing heavily through his nose, but was otherwise mostly silent. Damiano was not. At every push and pull he whined or moaned and did his very best to show his appreciation. Eventually, however, Joel's knot made him groan very loudly as Joel pulled free.

The next time, Joel did not push in all the way, going back to shallow thrusts.

"More," Damiano all but demanded, trying to push back.

"Wait," Joel told him, stroking his back and continuing to fuck him with short strokes.

He whined some more, but Joel refused to give him what he wanted. Only when Joel gripped his hips firmly and finally went to push back in properly did Damiano get it.

"Oh fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck," Damiano moaned as Joel spread him open on his now fully inflated knot.

It felt like it would never fit.

Now it did hurt, but the deep ache did nothing to diminish Damiano's pleasure. He groaned wantonly as it finally pushed past his rim and opened him up inside, plugging him completely. It pushed at all the right places and he was so very close to the edge.

"Please, please," he begged.

"Does my beautiful omega want to come?" Joel asked, holding his hips firm.

"Yes, please, sì," he babbled, slipping into several other languages as well, because his brain was too occupied to worry about what he was saying.

Joel moved as if to pull out again, tugging against his rim, dragging desperate gasps from him, but Joel pushed back in almost immediately, without breaching him. He almost cried with relief as Joel reached round him, unerringly finding his cock.

"You definitely deserve your reward," Joel told him and gave him a firm couple of strokes.

That was all it took as Damiano came with a shout, emptying his balls onto the sheets on the side of the nest as they tightened and his cock and arse spasmed in out of control waves. His orgasm shook him from his head to his toes.

"Fuck," Joel said as if he hadn't been expecting quite that strong a reaction.

Damiano couldn't help it as surges of pleasure radiated from his groin all through his body and left him even more of a helpless mess.

Joel said something else in Finnish which sounded suspiciously like swearing to Damiano's sex soaked brain, and bucked inside him at the same time. He felt the first pulse travel down Joel's cock as the alpha came deep in his arse. It seemed to go on for ages, each movement from Joel sending extra flashes of pleasure through Damiano. In the end, he couldn't support himself on his arms anymore and he face-planted into the bed. Luckily for the annoying need to breathe, Joel soon pulled him up with strong arms.

The movement caused Joel's knot to drag inside him, making them both moan loudly. He almost likened the whole thing to an out of body experience as motor control became a problematic function. It was intense, mind-blowing even, and he sagged against Joel's chest as Joel held him up and they simply breathed. Damiano felt completely fucked out and wiped out, as if he had given everything he had to give. He wasn't usually the roll over and go to sleep type when it came to after sex, but he was rapidly having trouble keeping his eyes open.

"Perché..?" he stared to say, before realising it was unlikely Joel spoke Italian. "Why..?" he started again.

"It's a hormone in my semen," Joel said, as if reading his mind. "We'll be knotted for a while. Nature decided it was easier with a docile omega."

"Oh," Damiano said, even as Joel began to move them.

He hadn't read about that part. Possibly the historians hadn't really understood what was going on.

The pulling against his rim made him whine and his cock gave another half-hearted twitch. It was really confusing as his body sank into lethargy, but also sent 'want more' signals at the same time.

"Just relax," Joel told him, "I've got you."

Damiano didn't have much choice and went with it as Joel carefully maneuvered them onto their sides and into part of the nest away from the mess Damiano had made. They were still very much joined together and Joel had to pause a couple of times as he was overcome with aftershocks. It was clear sex was doing a number on both of them.

It took a bit of wiggling and some resultant swearing, but eventually they ended up in a comfortable position tucked around each other. Damiano was a bit embarrassed when he was overtaken by an unavoidable yawn.

"Sleep," Joel told him.

"That seems rude," Damiano replied even as he yawned again.

"You earned it," Joel told him, and kissed him just below his ear.

He valiantly tried not to drop off for a couple of minutes, but Joel began stroking his hair and then he couldn't help himself. It felt really weird falling asleep when they were still having sex, but his body had other ideas.

Chapter Text

Damiano woke from the doze he had fallen into when he felt Joel moving behind him. Hence he was still half asleep when Joel carefully pulled out of him, knot apparently deflated, and he totally failed to stop the small whine of discontent that bubbled up from his chest.

"Are you okay?" Joel asked, voice very low and controlled and gentle, and hand lightly touching Damiano's hip.

"Hmmm," he hummed in agreement, because it was taking a little while for his brain to struggle free of his hormones. "How about you?" he asked.

He turned slowly on the bed, braced for any discomfort and was somewhat surprised when he didn't discover any. He guessed all the stories were true, he was literally made for what he and Joel had done. He could feel it, but nothing hurt.

"I still feel somewhat volatile, I don't think I can let you leave just yet," Joel told him, "but the pain is gone and I can think properly again."

"Thank fuck," Damiano said. "If I'm honest, for a little while, I was worried I was too late."

"You and me both," Joel admitted, hand twitching in Damiano's general direction even as he spoke. "I don't know what that bastard slipped me, but it was strong."

"You can touch me," Damiano said, inching a little closer, "I get the instincts. I'm still feeling them myself."

"I didn't want to take ad…" Joel started to say.

Damiano reached out his hand and put it over Joel's.

"You're not," he said, trying to allay whatever fears the other man had. "I'm a touchy-feely person anyway, just ask my bandmates, and right now I'm a very, very touchy-feely person."

Some of the stiffness left Joel's stance and he shifted closer until they were lying skin to skin. Damiano shivered from head to foot and gave up fighting his own instincts, relaxing against Joel and letting the alpha's heat seep into him. Sighing contentedly he closed his eyes for a moment.

"Fuck," Joel whispered, "you are the sexiest thing I have ever seen."

"Honestly, I feel sexy," Damiano replied with a grin, "mostly. I could do without the stickiness, but otherwise I'm kind of amazed. It feels like I've never really known myself."

"You haven't," Joel said, "at least not this part. I'm sorry you had to discover it under such extreme circumstances."

"Hey," Damiano said, reaching out and taking Joel's hand again, "none of this is your fault, and it might have been 'extreme' as you said, but none of it was unpleasant. Mind blowing, but definitely not unpleasant. In fact, would-do-again good, given half a chance."

He definitely did not want Joel under the impression that he had found any part of the experience bad, apart from the fact they were basically forced into it. Apparently Joel was an overthinker just like he knew he could be himself.

"I'm really sorry you had to go through this, but you don't have to worry about me," he promised.

"We barely even know each other and I forced you into sex," Joel said.

"You didn't force me into anything," Damiano said very firmly. "I came here to help a friend who was in trouble. The fact the sex was epic was a happy by-product."

"You really mean that," Joel said, seemingly surprised.

"Honestly, I've had sex with girls I've known a lot less time than you," Damiano said bluntly. "Let's just say my teenage years were a little wild and leave it at that. I may or may not have been overcompensating for what I perceived to be the lack of manliness of my biology."

"You're not…" Joel started to say.

"I am aware," Damiano replied with a small smile, putting his finger on Joel's lips to interrupt him, "but I was a little mixed up for a while."

"Yeah, me too," Joel agreed. "Wow does society fuck us up just because we're not betas."

"Amen," Damiano said.

He let himself enjoy the warmth of Joel's embrace for a while. There was something about the alpha's slightly possessive touch that made him feel safe. It wasn't quite like anything he had felt before. He often cuddled up with other people, he was exactly as he had told Joel, a touchy-feely person, but this had another dimension. He liked it, even if he didn't quite understand it.

"So," he said eventually when he realised he was likely to fall asleep again, "shower?"

"Probably a good plan," Joel said, although he sounded reluctant.

"Given that the Dutch seem to take their showers very seriously, I'm sure there's room for two," Damiano said, pulling away a little so he could see the other man's face.

For a second Joel's eyes opened a little in surprise, as if he had expected Damiano to want to wash everything off and be done with it.

"You're sure?" he asked and Damiano couldn't help thinking he was the sweetest man.

"Most definitely," Damiano replied. "Come on, you can use those big alpha hands to wash my back."

If he ended up clinging to a soapdish and one of the shower rails while Joel fucked him slow and deep after their first attempt at washing, Damiano wasn't complaining.

~*~

After answering the doctor's questions and popping a couple of pills that he was promised would get his hormones back in check within a couple of hours, Damiano was smuggled back to his own room. He and Joel had parted with a hug, and Niko had insisted on hugging him very hard as well, so he was feeling happy and a little bit pleased with himself when he made it back.

"Thank fuck," Victoria said, dragging him into his room as Ethan gave him a quick once over. "Next time, take your phone."

She waved the offending object at him.

"Shit, sorry," he said as he realised his friends had been waiting for him with probably little word for hours, "I forgot."

"It was a stressful situation," Ethan said, apparently satisfied that he was in one piece.

"What happened?" Victoria asked.

"Yeah, how did it go?" Thomas agreed.

"Joel is fine, I am fine, and holy fuck, have I been missing out up til now," he replied, making a bee line for the bed because he was still tired.

As he sat down, everyone else piled on around him.

"You're definitely okay, though?" Victoria asked, still in serious mode it seemed.

"Bit wiped out, Joel said it was something to do with alpha in rut hormones," he admitted, "but other than that, I'm great."

The others were looking at him as if they didn't quite believe his buoyant mood.

"Look," he said, grabbing Victoria's hand, bumping his shoulder against Thomas' and turning a little so he could give Ethan a smile, "I really am fine. I just had the most amazing sex of my life and I finally have an idea of how I'm actually supposed to work. It's going to take a while to figure out in my head, but I don't regret it in the slightest. Joel is back with his band and everything is back on track. Everything is good."

"You know we worry because we love you right?" Victoria said.

"Of course," he replied, "and if it was any of you, I'd be worrying too, but you don't have to. Might need a nap soon though."

"Marta managed to push everything back a few hours, used one of our staff feeling under the weather and everyone having to have Covid tests as an excuse," Victoria told him, "but we have an appointment at three. We told her you'd reacted badly to something you drank and needed to sleep it off."

It was just after midday, which gave Damiano a little time.

"Did you eat yet?" Ethan asked.

"The doctor fed me an energy drink and a protein bar," he replied.

"Room service it is then," Victoria decided.

Damiano accepted that with good grace. If his bandmates felt the need to look after him, he wasn't going to argue.

Later after they were all fed and Damiano was curled up on the bed with Thomas for a nap, his younger friend's curiosity finally got the better of him.

"So the sex was epic then?" Thomas asked, which made Damiano laugh.

"Oh yeah," he replied, and put his nap off for a few minutes to explain just how.

~*~

Damiano was still flying high from their win the morning after the final, but there was one other thing he was focused on among all the interviews they were doing before they flew home.

As they had promised to keep all the speculation to a minimum before the grand final, now the competition was over, Blind Channel were giving a press conference about everything that had almost brought their Eurovision dreams crashing down. Damiano had slipped in the back about five minutes in and was hiding out of the way. He watched as Joel handled all the questions with grace, even the inappropriate ones, handing off some of the explanation to his bandmates deftly. It was a master class in press handling.

Everything was going fine until a certain reporter that Damiano recognised only too well from the winner's press conference decided to step up.

"So what do you say to the rumours that the whole incident was a setup to help your band's ranking in the competition?" the man asked.

Niko looked like he was ready to climb over the table and punch the reporter at that, but Joel placed a calming hand on his friend's arm.

"I give those rumours all the attention they deserve," Joel said. "Next question please."

"But surely you can see how some people find the way everything played out to be too convenient?" the man insisted.

"None of what happened was convenient," Niko all but snarled into his microphone.

If the reporter hadn't been perfectly serious, the way the pair were reacting might have been amusingly ironic, what with Joel the alpha being completely calm and controlled, yet Niko, his perfectly "normal" beta bandmate showing all the signs of wanting to rip the reporter's head off, as were the rest of the band.

"I was incredibly lucky," Joel said, looking the man right in the eye. "Someone came forward to help me who didn't have to, had no obligation to, but who was a good person and chose to offer me their assistance. I can never thank them enough. As I mentioned earlier in this conference, there was a very good chance I could have died. Stimulants can and have killed alphas in the past and I have long campaigned for them to be on the controlled substances list. Just because they are only dangerous to a small percentage of the population, does not mean they should be available over the counter."

"So you expect the world to believe there just happened to be a willing and convenient omega waiting to help you?"

The reporter really was going to find his face rearranged if he wasn't careful, even Joel looked annoyed at that.

"Yes," Joel said.

"Any name for this mysterious omega?" the man pushed yet again.

"No," Joel said and there was a growl in his voice.

"Some might see that as too good to be true," the reporter doubled down.

"Do you declare you are a beta every time you do something?" Joel asked.

"Of course not..?"

"Then why should they?" Joel interrupted him. "Until 1950, in most of Europe, omegas were owned by their father and then their spouse. They had less rights than beta women, and that's saying something. In some countries they still have no rights. Society has taught alphas and omegas to hide what we are just because we're different, and suddenly, because it might be newsworthy, you expect me to reveal the name of someone who took a huge risk and sacrificed their own body so that I could survive a chemically enhanced rut? Are you fucking kidding me?"

Damiano was impressed with how level Joel's tone was right until the end.

"You have to admit…"

Joel stood up as the reporter refused to give up. Several EBA personnel looked as if they were ready to intervene as well.

Damiano pushed off the wall he was leaning against, he had seen enough. They'd all heard the ridiculous rumours, just like they had heard the ones about him and Måneskin and cocaine. He'd been seriously considering a few things ever since he had helped Joel, and he'd talked it over with the band. It had taken second place as they dealt with everything involved in the competition, but they'd had another chat about it that morning. As always Victoria, Thomas and Ethan were there to support him all the way. They were big proponents of equality and acceptance in all forms and yet he had this huge secret. Their management was probably about to kill him, because even they didn't know the truth, but it was his body and he got to choose who knew about it.

He walked down the aisle until he was about six feet from the reporter and cleared his throat. Joel looked surprised, but didn't say anything, and the reporter turned. Damiano was wearing his mask because of the restrictions, but it wasn't as if the tats, clothes and makeup didn't make it easy to spot who he was.

"Damiano David," he said, exaggerating each syllable.

The reporter looked confused, as if he couldn't work out why the insane Italian was talking to him.

"The name of the convenient omega," Damiano said in a tone that exemplified exactly what he thought of the man. "Hi guys," he said, changing his tone completely and waving at the band, "sorry to interrupt. I'll let you get on now." He gave the reporter one more glare. "I think you already know how to spell it."

There was complete silence as he turned and walked towards the door.

"Damiano," he turned when Joel called his name. "Thank you again."

"Prego," he replied and inclined his head, before turning and leaving with as much dramatic flair as he could muster.

Well their management had been wanting something to obliterate the ridiculous cocaine rumours and this was most definitely going to do that.