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A million scents batter Arthur's nose as he shoves open the door to the bar, making him tense and uncomfortable and setting alarm bells off in his head. He knows he needs to go home, he knows this is a stupid, impulsive move and the bartender probably won't take his ID and if he buys a drink, he probably won't even have enough money for the cab back to campus.

Something -- idiocy -- drives him forward, though, into the thick of the small crowd. He finds himself breathing through his mouth as he makes his way to the bar, where the bartender is chatting with another patron and doesn't glance Arthur's way.

"Excuse me," Arthur says, not without annoyance, because that's just who he is today.

The bartender glances up, nods, and holds up a pacifying hand, but doesn't come over. Arthur's fist clenches on the money he's holding, and he tries not to snarl. It's too fucking hot in here, it's too--

The scent hits him first, like a fucking frieght train, bowling over every other presence in the room. Then there's a hand leaning on the bar next to his, and a forearm covered in trails of ink, and a body at his back. Not touching, but he might as well be.

The alpha takes a slow breath, and it occurs to Arthur that he's being scented, but instead of shying away, he has to grip the bar to stop himself from leaning back into the warmth behind him. He's never been so aware of an alpha before, but this guy is different, he has to be, it's like an assault on Arthur's senses.

He's speaking, the alpha, but the fog in Arthur's head only lets him register a low, smooth, accented voice, giving him two seconds to wonder if he's been drugged, somehow, before his mouth catches up.

"Sorry?" He turns his head, trying to catch a glimpse of the alpha's face.

"I said, what're you drinking?" he says, sliding around to lean his elbow on the bar and let Arthur take him in. His scent would have been enough to make Arthur want him, but he's big, too, and a little gruff, and for the first time in Arthur's life, he lets himself really appreciate an alpha, that smell and the confident set of his shoulders and everything Arthur has always been too cautious to acknowledge before.

"Uh," he says dumbly, "Uh, nothing. Whiskey! Whiskey." Fantastic.

The alpha smirks at him, catches the bartender's attention with a wave of his hand, and holds up two fingers.

"What's your name, whiskey?" the alpha asks, sliding him a measure of amber liquid in a tumbler.

"Arthur," Arthur says, lifting the glass to his lips. He can't seem to register the smell of it, so he takes it in one swallow, and all he feels is a burn. His senses are hijacked.

"I'm Eames," the alpha says, downing his drink in kind. He steps closer, close enough to lean in to Arthur's ear and take a lungful of his scent again. "Tell me now, Arthur, what's a sweet little thing like you doing here, in a state like this?"

Arthur blinks, tries to sort through the words because that was a question, and he's supposed to answer it.

"I'm getting a drink," he manages, flushing when he realizes his fingers are on Eames' arms, but he supposes that's okay to do with someone who's standing so close and calling you a sweet little thing.

"Are you, now?" Eames pulls back, eyebrow raised in amusement. "Is that all you're doing?"

Arthur blinks; he doesn't have the capacity for mind games right now, and he doesn't know what Eames is looking for. Eames frowns, one big, warm hand coming up to cup Arthur's chin, tip it up so he can nose at the pulse point in Arthur's neck. Arthur has to hold his breath because he thinks he might actually moan, out loud, right here at the bar.

"I can smell it on you," Eames murmurs, still holding Arthur's chin, searching his eyes. "You can't smell that? You can't feel it?"

Arthur's fingers curl around Eames' biceps and his stomach does a flip at their size. "All I can smell is you."

Eames licks his lips and Arthur follows the motion, hungry all of a sudden and wishing Eames would -- what? Lift him up, spread him out on the bar, hold him down and--

"You're going into heat, sweetheart."

Arthur freezes.

A million scenarios run through his head in a split second, but he's lost, he didn't prepare for this. He didn't prepare for being stupid enough to go out and surround himself with unfamiliar alphas the night his first heat struck. If he even imagined the possibility, he couldn't possibly anticipate how powerful that scent would be. How much he'd want it.

The self-assured smirk is gone from Eames' face, replaced with a mix of disbelief and concern.

"You had no idea?"

Arthur shakes his head mutely.

"So it's your first," Eames breathes, and Arthur knows he doesn't have to confirm that. He can detect the change in Eames' scent when he goes from playfully predatory to genuinely aroused, and instead of sending Arthur screaming (the way it's supposed to, the way he always thought this would happen, away from eyes and noses; controlled), it makes his skin burn hotter. He watches Eames swallow, and almost whimpers when he steps back.

"I'm going to give you a choice, love," Eames says, brushing a piece of hair off Arthur's forehead and leaving tingles in the wake of his fingers. "I can make sure you get home safe, and no one will lay a hand on you, least of all me, and you can deal with this however you've planned for it. Or you can come with me, and I can show you how much fun your heats can be."

Arthur thinks of his dorm, of the solid lock on his bedroom door, the vibrator and lube and ample supply of batteries under his mattress. And he thinks of his empty bed, cold sheets, nothing but his own scent permeating the room, and he can't imagine why he ever thought that would be enough to deal with what's flaring up in his belly right now.

"I'm coming with you."

*

It's late November, but Arthur doesn't bother pulling on his coat as Eames leads him outside. His skin is burning already, as though his body was waiting for him to acknowledge what was happening before it hit him full force. Or maybe Eames is responsible, maybe his scent, or the promise of his hands on Arthur's body, has the heat raging.

Eames is wearing a heavy wool coat, but when they get in his car, he turns the air conditioning on. Arthur moans in surprised pleasure when the blast of cold hits his face, squirming as Eames pulls out onto the street. The whole car smells like Eames, strong and masculine and everything Arthur's body is craving.

"Open a few buttons on your shirt," Eames tells him, glancing over as Arthur wriggles, out of control already. "The cold'll feel good on your skin."

Arthur doesn't know where his conception of shame has gone, but he obeys without thinking, sighing when the air hits his damp chest. He's sweating and he doesn't even know when it started, but the realization has him wanting to claw out of his clothes, spread his legs and beg.

He rolls his head so he can watch Eames drive, watch his profile against the streetlights and wonder at his own luck. "You're gonna fuck me?" Arthur asks, miles beyond caring how breathy and hoarse his voice sounds.

Eames glances over at him, smiling softly -- amused, maybe. He reaches over and puts his hand on Arthur's thigh, and Arthur is painfully, blindingly hard, but Eames' hand feels good anywhere. "As many times as you need it, love."

Arthur puts his hand over Eames', squeezing it tighter, trying to imagine those thick fingers inside him, his legs inching apart of their own accord.

"You're a virgin?" Eames asks, gentle and without judgement. Arthur nods. "You'll love it, I promise."

Arthur nods again. "I know." Of course he knows, his body knows. He's bowled over by his own need, by how much he wants something inside him now and he doesn't give a fuck if it hurts. Being trapped in such a small space with Eames is turning into torture -- he's near wailing when Eames finally turns onto a driveway and kills the engine.

Eames' house is pretty big, and nice, and that's all Arthur has the time or mental capacity to process as he's swept through the living room and up the stairs. The important part is that everything in here smells like Eames, and Arthur feels like prey, suddenly, like he's wandered into a lion's den and asked to be eaten.

The scent is strongest in the bedroom, threatening to buckle Arthur's knees, his vision swimming as Eames stands him in the middle of the room and curls a hand around his neck.

"You smell fucking incredible," Eames breathes, even though that's supposed to be Arthur's line, and then they're kissing and Arthur is moaning because he tastes as good as he smells.

Even Eames' kiss feels like a claim, Arthur's body humming its approval, opening for it. He doesn't realize that Eames is stripping him out of his clothes until he feels cool air on his legs, and Eames breaks the kiss, breathing heavily.

Arthur's never been naked in front of anyone, and it should be terrifying, but instead he wants to stretch and display himself for Eames' approval. He thinks he can feel something change -- Eames' scent, maybe, or just his demeanor, as he sizes Arthur up. He runs his hands down Arthur's sides and Arthur has to bite his lip, because his entire body has turned into an erogenous zone.

"I could smell you the moment you walked into the bar," Eames says, walking backwards, pulling Arthur to the bed. He sits on the edge and hauls Arthur into his lap, so Arthur is a little taller, and grateful for the illusion of a tiny bit of control. "I knew you were in heat. I thought you were looking for someone to go home with."

Arthur shakes his head. "I didn't know. I didn't know what it felt like... The health books don't teach you shit."

Eames chuckles, thumbing Arthur's mouth open and pulling him in for a brief, sloppy kiss.

"Is--" Arthur stutters against Eames' lips, flushing hotter, "Is it going to get worse?"

The look Eames gives him may well be sympathy, which would be answer enough. He trails his fingers down Arthur's back, over his ass, and traces one around his hole until Arthur shudders and cries out, rocking back against it.

"It might," Eames says, "But I'll be right here. I'll give you whatever you need, and when you want to stop, I'll stop. I can stop."

"And you're... safe?" Arthur asks, suddenly feeling like the school sex ed program has failed him monumentally, because there is no sexy way to ask about this, not with his brain in such a fog.

Eames, to Arthur's relief, catches on. "I'm on the pill," he confirms, "And I've got condoms."

Arthur bites his lip, his instincts singing, his body telling him exactly what it wants. "But we don't have to use them, right? The condoms?"

Eames grins at him, predatory and delighted, "No, we definitely don't."

Eames gets him on his back then, and Arthur is grateful for that too, because he doesn't know how much longer he'll be able to hold himself up. Eames' scent gets a hundred times stronger when he pulls his shirt off, and Arthur takes lungfuls of it, simultaneously calming and exciting. He wishes he could see when Eames opens his jeans, shoving them down his hips, but he can't bring himself to push him away long enough to look. Eames' weight on top of him is too good.

There's lube, but Arthur takes the first two fingers effortlessly, earning him murmured praise, words like cool water on his burning skin, "Good boy, that's a good boy, just take me in."

Arthur is hot, he's too hot, the fingers not much more than a tease. It feels unnecessary, really, because even the third presses inside easily, and soon Arthur hears himself begging. Little whimpered pleas, his legs spread wide in invitation.

"Okay, alright, don't fret," Eames soothes, sounding nearly as shaken as Arthur feels. His fingers leave and Arthur whines, clutches, every instinct in his body telling him he needs something inside him now. "It won't hurt," Eames is saying, pulling Arthur's legs up over his shoulders, "The heat will take care of that. Your body knows what to do."

Eames is big. Arthur knows enough to know that, to know that his body is being stretched to its limits, but Eames wasn't lying, either -- it doesn't hurt. He cranes his head to the side, searching with his mouth until he finds one of Eames' fingers and takes it in, starving for it.

"Fuck, good boy, Arthur," Eames growls, still pushing in and in and in, pressing another finger between Arthur's lips as he does it.

The tension in Arthur's body reaches a crest, without warning, and before he knows what's happening, he feels wetness splash onto his belly and chest, completely blindsided by the orgasm.

"Ah, ah," he pants around Eames' fingers, whimpers quickly turning into sobs as his body tenses and sings with overstimulation.

"Oh, sweetheart," Eames says, pulling his fingers free of Arthur's mouth so he can lean down, folding him in half for a kiss, "I've got so much to show you."

Eames isn't gentle, but Arthur wouldn't want him to be. He keeps Arthur pinned, gasping for air as he fucks him, and it's hard and fast and brutal, but Arthur doesn't feel like he's burning anymore. He feels warm, wanted and taken, and he's never been so happy to trust his instincts. Eames is filling some essential space inside him; if this is heat, Arthur doesn't know what he was ever scared of.

Arthur comes again, and he doesn't even understand how, but his body doesn't feel like it belongs to him anymore. Eames is wringing him out, driving into him, feeding him his come on the tips of Eames' fingers, and Arthur can't do anything but take it, lick and suck and clench down on Eames' cock, and cry -- he's definitely crying, can feel the tears mingling with the sweat at his temples.

His legs drop down to the mattress, and Eames pulls them around his waist as he starts to slow. It gives Arthur a second to take deep breaths of sorely needed oxygen, but then Eames is lifting Arthur's hips off the bed, grabbing a pillow and tucking it underneath.

"Keep breathing," Eames tells him, as if Arthur could do anything else, "Push down around me."

He does, and then he feels it -- Eames' cock flaring at the base, stretching him wide, so fucking wide that it actually hurts now. Arthur gasps and Eames pets him, smoothes his hair back, kisses his cheeks.

"You're okay, it's okay," but the soothing is unnecessary, because Arthur knows he's okay. He feels incredible. "You can take it, you're so good, you can take it."

Just when Arthur feels like he might scream from the pain and pleasure twisting up inside him, Eames stops talking, dropping down onto his elbows, and lets out a growl that sounds barely human.

The first spurt of Eames' come inside him feels like a brand, somehow hotter than Arthur's body. Arthur hears himself sobbing, but he's disconnected, out of control. He never could have prepared for his body's response, for how good and perfect and right it feels. He thinks Eames might be speaking, but Arthur can't hear, can't think, can't feel anything but how stretched and full and wet he is.

He has no idea how long it goes on. By the time Eames' breathing starts to calm, Arthur is just on the right side of uncomfortable from the pressure inside him. He can't imagine what kind of mess this will make of Eames' sheets when his knot goes down, but Eames must be used to this kind of thing.

"Congratulations," Eames rasps, and ridiculously, Arthur feels himself flush with pride. "Four orgasms and your first knot, that's a pretty good show for a first time."

Arthur blinks, struggling to form the word, "Four?"

Eames huffs fondly, "You don't remember."

"Not that many."

"Still impressive."

"Not done yet," Arthur reminds him, because the heat is still burning under his skin, only momentarily quelled by the satisfaction of being mated.

"No," Eames says, trailing his fingers through the mess on Arthur's belly and bringing them to Arthur's lips again. "Not nearly done."

*

Arthur calls in a doctor's note for his Friday classes, and Eames keeps him in his bed the whole weekend. Arthur learns that having Eames in his mouth is almost as good as having him in his ass, and that as good as it feels to be knotted, sometimes it's better to avoid it, just so he can get fucked again that much sooner.

He also learns that heat burns a lot of energy, and that man cannot live on crackers and lukewarm water alone.

"Let me take you out for dinner," Eames whispers to him on Sunday afternoon, while he's curled up against Arthur's back, still plugging him full of come. The heat is fading now, just a pleasant hum making him slightly fuzzy-headed, and Arthur laughs at Eames' phrasing, as if Arthur would have considered saying no.

Eames washes Arthur's clothes for him and helps him get dressed, running his hands over every inch of fabric like he's trying to smooth it into Arthur's skin. It's not until they're in the car that Arthur realizes his shirt now smells more like Eames than himself.

Eames is taller than him, and Arthur knows he'll grow a little more now that his hormones have kicked into high gear, but right now he's enjoying being tucked against Eames' chest as they wait for their table. He can hear Eames' stubble rasp against his hair as he rubs his jaw on the top of Arthur's head. Arthur flushes with pleasure and the remnants of his heat, hoping someone is watching but unwilling to pull away from Eames to check.

Arthur orders a steak, because he's starving and because Eames insists it's only fair he pays for a good meal after he wore Arthur out, though Arthur doesn't think it's strictly Eames' fault.

He feels giddy, and he keeps trying to shake it off, unsure how much of it is heat and how much is... what? A crush? A bond? That's just a fairy tale, a love story about mating for life and he knows it's not true, because Eames is no virgin, and he's obviously not mated with his first omega.

But Eames is attentive throughout dinner, touching Arthur whenever he can, and it's enough for Arthur to gather his courage by the time the bill arrives.

"So we should exchange numbers before you drop me off," he starts, proud of the nonchalant confidence in his voice, "Maybe if you're not busy, you could help me out again next month."

Eames puts his credit card down on the table, nodding slowly. "You'd like that?"

Arthur falters. "I mean, if that would be okay with you."

Reaching across the table, Eames takes Arthur's wrists in his hands, thumbs over his pulse points. "Arthur, if you didn't have to go to class, I wouldn't let you out of my sight between now and your next heat. If that would be okay with you."

Arthur feels his face flushing, and this time he knows it's not the heat. "So... I can give you my number?"

"I might have already looked at your phone," Eames says, linking their fingers together, "But you can write it down for me, if you'd like to do this all formal-like."

Arthur doesn't make it back to the dorms that night.