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Only You Can Be My Alpha

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Louis has never liked being an Omega. Ever since his first heat at the unsuspecting age of thirteen, he has been chasing ways to run from destiny.

As if it wasn’t enough to despise what he was born into, he couldn’t even be what he was correctly. He had never once submitted to an Alpha, even when confronted with their commanding and ensnaring vocal timbre—the howahkan—and ordered to comply directly in his face. Howahkan is the clinical term for that dominant, horridly loud and snappish raise in tone that is incessantly utilized to bring disobedient Omegas to their knees in shame. An unbreakable vow; inescapable order; to every Omega who hears it. Every Omega, save for himself.

Alphas couldn’t control Louis and they hated him for it, but it almost made him laugh—their hatred was nothing in comparison to the searing inferno of disappointment the Omega felt for himself. Nevertheless, the Alphas made the rules, and everything under the sun was their call. Thus, here he was; alone (abandoned) in the middle of a tiresomely overgrown forest, muttering to himself and scrounging the leafy floor for any supper he might find.

His muscles were straining in protest from this hunched and pitiful position he’d spent far too long hunting in, but if he didn’t get anything by sundown, the level of difficulty would prove itself ludicrous. Even if he were to shift to his wolf, his night-vision prowess was laughably nonexistent. He wouldn’t catch a damn thing in the dark. Despite these very reasonable fears, he angrily gave up, taking the loss and falling back against a tree in defeat. The moment he was comfortable, a squirrel bounded across the empty clearing, and he released a cackle of cynical acceptance. I don’t need food.

Unsurprisingly, as it always does when left unattended, his mind wandered to the haunting pit of desolation it perpetually dwelled in, and he found himself regretting every decision he’d ever made up to this point, replaying all those little things he could have done better, done differently, or not done at all.

See, Louis had been irreversibly banished from his home pack—for a many number of reasons—but the ones that stuck out were insolence, disobedience, theft, physical altercations, lying, general disrespect for authority, and frequently slandering the Pack Alpha, regardless of whether Rixon Bahe had it coming every single time or not. Quite the heavy list that had been spoken over his bowed head, icily circling around his neck like his own personal word-noose, stripping him of having any sense of belonging for as long as he lives. And it was entirely his fault.

The list is so much longer, by the way, but he couldn’t possibly remember every black mark he’d committed against the pack laws; he could easier count the rules he had followed. He understood it in hindsight, he’d probably exile himself too, but the banishment ceremony had been unnecessarily humiliating. He had stood atop a sacred stone in the middle of his leering village, surrounded by all three hundred and fifty-two Alphas and Omegas of the Siksika Tribe, like a piece of meat for roast. A large portion of them had even been cheering and dancing in a drum circle, celebrating to the Gods, while he’d shamefully awaited the imminent disownment from his people. Not the fondest last memories he has of them, the rats.

Yet among his entirely too joyous audience there had also stood his crestfallen mother, and the retrospective sight of her was still the rawest, most cuttingly traumatic part of the ordeal. She could do nothing but stare as the situation had unraveled, lest she’d been cast away alongside him, and that was something Louis never would have wanted for her.

So, in turn, Louis had been forced to watch his dear mother silently cry her heart out while he’d tried to console her with his eyes; convey in them just how contrite he truly was. For as he’d been running around breaking rules like twigs, he hadn’t really given much of a thought as to how difficult and depressing it would be for Joéna to live without him, and when he’d finally understood and put that into consideration, it was already too late—and he felt horrible. As a mother of just him, no father to have ever been present, and no other cubs to keep her company, Louis was the only wolf she had. And Louis himself had robbed that from her.

In his prideful defense, Louis never would have expected the expulsion to actually transpire. The banishment ceremony hadn’t been executed in easily over fifty years, and no one in his generation had ever witnessed it. Even more dishonorable for him, the last person to face the backs of the tribe had been a murderer. They were hardly guilty of comparable crimes.

However, a pack member had been removed since then (without the grand ceremony), and this member had been none other than Louis’ own father, for reasons still infuriatingly unknown. A father the Omega had never met, and one his mother would never speak of, but one Louis clearly took after nevertheless. Like father, like son, he mused.

He slammed his head back into the chipped tree bark and squeezed his eyes closed, gripping his shaggy brown hair and whining in despair yet again in the face of his irreparable strife, his actions mirrored to every other time he’s recounted all the details and feelings from that night.

 

~~~

 

Rixon appeared from his pretentious living quarters, striding toward Louis like an unfeeling predator locked onto its nameless prey. Louis felt no urge to beg forgiveness when the Pack Alpha approached, courageously glowering when they made eye contact as usual, utterly failing to lower his eyes in respect. For the millionth sodding time.

"You defective travesty. How joyful I am to soon be rid of you and your uselessness,” Rixon hissed at him privately, snatching Louis’ right arm and holding it up for the pack to see, raising his voice to be heard by all. “Tonight, I relinquish Louis William Tomlinson from the Eighth Great Pack of Siksika. May he never set foot on our lands, or soil our goods ever more as long as he shall live. Henceforth, I shall sever his mark of acceptance, placed by myself on the day of his birth. May you find your peace far from us, for we shall have ours,” he concluded, ripping his teeth into Louis’ wrist and destroying the pack bond mark he’d given the Omega seventeen years ago.

Louis screamed in agony as he felt the connection to his pack wither and disconnect from his soul. The excruciating pain in his wrist was comparable to branding with fiery metal, however it was nothing compared to the horrific spiritual emptiness he now felt inside.

He was packless. Everyone knows packless Omegas are doomed to be murdered or raped by rogues that lurk in the wilderness. This reality was sinking in, and Louis wasn’t confident the upper-hand he happened to have would be enough.

Rixon released his arm, which turned out to be the only thing holding Louis upright, and he collapsed onto the unforgiving surface of the rock, blood and magic pouring from the wound on his wrist, ebbing away the last of his home. Delicately holding it to his chest, he looked through his tears at his mother one last time and mouthed the words ‘I love you’ while he still could.

She looked inconsolable, clutching at her heart outside her chest with both of her shaking hands, but she gifted him the tiniest hint of a parting smile—an image he would treasure and carry with him for the rest of his pitiful life.

With a last gander at Louis’ pathetic form, his pack slowly turned their backs to him. Crushing silence followed, filling every second with its vast emptiness. This was the most degrading display of ignominy a pack could give to a former member. When his childhood friends and poor mother had finally turned away from him, he experienced a new wave of unimaginable misery, and the ritual was finalized. To add pointless insult to already crushing injury, Rixon then bent down to the vulnerable Omega and whispered words of hate into his ear:

“I hope all the scrolls and ingredients were worth it, Louis. You will never see your loved ones again. Should you ever attempt, if I EVER see you on these lands again, I will murder you, young one. Do not think I will show you any level of mercy. Who knows, your defects may even save your life out there...but if you don’t survive, should it reach my knowledge, know that I’ll rejoice your demise,” Rixon taunted at the Omega’s broken form. “Get out of my sight,” he seethed, thrusting Louis’ bag containing his belongings into the boy’s tender arms and finally turning his sadistic back as well.

'Gods, at least he’s finished,’ Louis thought dejectedly. He threw his measly bag over his shoulder and made his way to the path that would lead him out of his homeland. The circle of his old pack members wordlessly parted for him as he passed, and he heard an almost imperceptible, “Goodbye, Louis” whispered by his longest standing friend, Stanley, from somewhere in the crowd. It brought a fresh batch of tears to his eyes, but Louis knew he couldn’t respond, so he straightened his aching shoulders, held his head as high as he could, and left his life behind.

He made one last stop to his secret tree to stuff all the hidden remedies he'd concocted into his bag, and grabbed his sword. With a last and lengthy pause to observe the home he would never again consider it to be, he turned his back to them for a change, and set off into the unknown.

 

~~~

 

Remembering Rixon’s words always infuriated him. ‘I hope all the scrolls and ingredients were worth it, Louis.’

The Omega had never even had an inkling the Pack Alpha had known about the scrolls he had stolen from the pack’s Keep. After extracting all the information they had to offer, Louis had stealthily and carefully returned them the same night he’d looted them, but he should have guessed no deed escaped the brutish Rixon’s knowledge.

The old Pack Alpha had also made sure to inform Louis that he was aware of the ingredients the Omega had been collecting, though, and that part was particularly odd—odd that Rixon had let that continue for so long without putting a stop to it, or reporting it to the rest of the council. Louis could have, and maybe should have, been banished for that ages ago, but whatever the reasons for the Alpha’s reticence, Louis had prevailed in successfully brewing Omega hormone suppressants, and that was critically important. He’d created an herbal remedy that completely blocked his heats and slick production, along with greatly dulling his regular everyday scent, and he now felt invincible because of it.

How it works, he really has no clue, but Louis needed to take it once every month at sunset on the last day before his heat would be due, or it proved itself useless. He’d learned this the hard and uncomfortable way, so he has been meticulously planning, preparing, and administering the remedy ever since for the last three years without fail.

This all rooted back to the detestation he harbored for his gender. He has been aggressively implementing this schedule, ensuring his liberation from those five or more vulnerable and pathetic days every month out of self-hatred, but more predominantly, out of fear.

Heats were especially risky for him because his coincided with the full moon. It was a rare and unfortunate synchronization for one to have, for the full moon was the only interval that a soulbond could be formed between two mates. This bond is the unbreakable tie of two souls to create one, in mind and spirit.

Consequently, nature has worked to prevent the ability for soulbonds to occur while a wolf is lost in the uncontrollable haze of their hormonal mating desperation for obvious reasons, but she had apparently skipped Louis, as per usual. Bad luck was so rampant and constant in Louis’ life, it didn’t even mildly surprise him that he’d get stuck with such a dangerous heat cycle.

Getting back to his prideful accomplishments, suppressant remedies were certainly not common, but he’d known they existed by whispers through time. Aware there were ancient scrolls containing every known detail of their species somewhere in the Keep, Louis had broken into the underground passages of his tribe to educate himself on everything he could before he was discovered.

Which he wasn’t, so as a result, he was granted enough time to learn every wolf had the potential capability to use howahkan timbre; that silly little growl Alphas possess in their throats that make every member of Louis’ gender roll over like the passive weaklings they were. But in the case of Omegas, the vocal chords needed for the timbre had simply never developed. But if he were to develop them…

See, only a Pack Alpha could control other Alphas with their howahkan commands; regular Alphas didn’t recognize each other’s timbre as authority. Meaning only Omegas were unavoidably affected, again except for Louis. Meaning, if Louis came across an Alpha rogue and utilized his howahkan, and said Alpha was far enough away from his scent, there was a decent possibility the Alpha wouldn’t register Louis as an Omega, and leave him be.

With that as his motivation, Louis had begun to train his voice to match that deep and thundering sound he’d heard so many times from his Alpha counterparts. After seven years of tweaking and perfecting it, his timbre became so believable that it now has the ability to scare himself.

He’d indeed managed to fend off a vast majority of the rogues he’d encountered by using his howahkan, and it hadn’t surprised him at all, because in Louis’ opinion, rogues are incredibly stupid, instinct-driven animals.

All rogues amount to is a bunch of lone, packless Alpha wolves who had left their own pack intentionally or otherwise, and now consequently roam the wilderness in search of peace to ruin. They are always unmated, unless they force a mating on a defenseless Omega they kidnap, and even then, they’re never satisfied. Rogues are vicious and cold-hearted; a very serious threat to all Omegas, but especially an Omega without the protection of a soulbond that allows their Alpha to track their location.

It maddened Louis to no end that his gender was not trained even the slightest in combat—it made absolutely zero sense. For in the event of an invasion, how are they to defend themselves? Are they really just expected to cower in fear and wait for a good Alpha to come along and rescue them? Bullshit.

In retaliation of this egregious inequality, every time Louis snuck out of pack territory, he had rushed to his special tree hollow to greet the magnificent battle sword he’d additionally stolen from the Keep (which was no easy feat, for your information), and practiced with it for hours.

The Siksika were particularly gifted metalworkers, or beshiltheeni, so their armory was consistently stocked with impressive weapons, and Louis had fallen in love with the sword the moment his eyes had landed on its tempting gleam. He had even named the weapon: ‘Chatan,’ Siksika’s olde word for hawk, for the way its blade cut through the air like the wings of the powerful bird.

There in his secret spot with his trusty Chatan, Louis would hack branches from trees as if they were rogue limbs, building his skills in strength and precision through sweltering sun, or relentless storm. He had snuck into enough Alpha warrior training sessions to study the steps needed to refine his swordplay correctly, and he dare say he was quite handy with the thing by now.

Which was a lucky reality, because amidst his relaxing against the tree trunk, the Omega was jarred out of his reminiscing and forced into sharp vigilance from the blatant scent of an Alpha rogue. A frightfully distinctive scent, and one that was steadily growing closer, so Louis yanked Chatan out of the dirt he’d staked it in, and called upon his inner wolf to heighten his senses and instincts to a near omniscient degree.

He whirled around to face the exact location the foreboding scent was rolling in from, and he didn’t have to wait long before the typical and excessively tall, muscular Alpha came ambling through the break in the trees. The intruder stopped short when he was met with the sight of Louis, and he cocked his shaved head to the side in interest.

“Well aren’t you just delectable, standing there with your little knife,” he purred as he ominously stalked forward, the hairs on the back of Louis’ neck standing up in trepidation.

Not that Louis needs to mention it, but this wasn’t good. The Alpha was far too close for Louis to rely on howahkan, and his Omega scent had undoubtedly reached the Alpha’s nose by now. Dull, sure, but an unmistakable aroma from close distances. Inconveniences such as these would never stop Louis from making a valiant effort, though. He sucked in a breath and gave it all he had: “Get the fuck away from me, you mongrel,” he snarled with substantial timbre in his tone.

The rogue’s mouth dropped open in astonishment, taken quite aback by what he’d just heard, but then the corners of his lips turned up in a decidedly delighted grin. “Gods, that’s impressive for an Omega. You may be the first in history to replicate us that well...but you can’t fool me, pup, I’ve already smelled you. Tell me, just what are you doing out here all alone, lovely?” he asked, resuming his advance toward the lone Omega.

Ah shit, Louis internally cursed. “You asked for it, you soulless scum,” he growled as he launched himself at the intimidating Alpha, sword poised in swinging position over his shoulder.

The rogue had unfortunately managed to jump out of the way before Louis’ blade made contact with his neck where it was aimed, and now Louis was on the defensive side of the fight, scrambling to keep Chatan in his grip as the Alpha sought to take it from him. He’s fast, he thought, backing up far enough to strike again and shooting himself forward without stopping to think about it. The Alpha dodged again, and—as if that wasn’t bad enough—took advantage of Louis’ exposed back, snatching him from behind and encasing his neck with a beefy arm, another hand seizing his wrist to keep Chatan immobile.

Louis had counted on this, though.

Biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to strike, Louis was momentarily distracted (and extremely disturbed) when he felt hot, rancid breath sliding down his neck, and an entirely inappropriate and ill-timed erection pushing against his arse.

“What are you going to do now, pet?” the rogue breathed into Louis’ ear as the vice-grip he had on his wrist grew impossibly tighter, ultimately forcing him to drop Chatan onto the forest floor. The rogue obviously thought he’d won by now, but Louis had other plans.

He always had other plans. “This,” he declared, slamming his skull back into the rogue’s nose as hard as he could without knocking himself out, causing the Alpha’s ensnaring hold to loosen just enough for Louis to make his next move. In his attacker’s momentary lapse of control, Louis got enough space to clasp his palms together, and he drove a harsh elbow into the rib cage behind him. The rouge grunted in more pain, and Louis didn’t wait another second before flying with a spin to the ground and kicking the rogue’s legs out from under him. Success.

Once his enemy crashed onto his back, blood gushing from a likely broken nose, Louis dove to the right to retrieve Chatan, quickly snatching the sword’s cold handle and returning to his groaning opponent. He planted both feet on either side of the rogue’s hips and stood menacingly over him, his ‘little knife’ in both hands hanging right above the rogue’s chest. “And this,” he added, dropping to his knees and brutally driving the blade deep into the heart of the helplessly unguarded, and quite frankly, highly alarmed Alpha rogue.

Struggling against the instant thrashing, coughing, and spluttering his fallen opponent was producing, Louis valiantly held his position straddling the rogue’s hips, even leaning down to hover mere breaths above his hideous face and assert unwavering eye contact. Louis wanted his eyes to be the last thing this piece of shit ever saw, and how satisfying that they were. He drove Chatan further and further down into the Alpha’s chest plate until it practically skewered into the ground underneath him, and the Omega maniacally chuckled as the light of life faded from the rouge’s widened eyes. Another one down.

Only when the bastard had taken his last wet rattle of a breath, and his body had fallen irreversibly slack with death, did Louis finally achieve the strength to calm his rabid wolf and regain control over himself. He sagged with relief and removed his blade from the chest it had penetrated as safely as he could, mindful not to chop his own head off, because he’s almost done that multiple times.

All at once, the horrors of the kill seeped into Louis’ naturally Omega thoughts, and he began to hyperventilate, stumbling backward until his back collided with a tree, heaving every breath as he slid down its length and landed with a thump on the ground. He hated this part.

Dropping his head in his hands and drawing his knees in toward his body, Louis finally let himself feel the aftermath. His anxiety clouted itself into forefront of his mind, encompassing every sensation of guilt it could get to, and he cried into the quiet indifference of the forest. This vehement emotional response happened every time he overpowered a rogue, and it wasn’t generated from the guilt of taking their lives; it was that no matter how hard he may strive to subdue his true calling, Louis was still an Omega.

And it goes against an Omega’s nature to kill anything; that abstinence from violence even included measly insects, so killing wolves was unthinkably worse. Omegas were life givers, not takers, and Louis shamed that trait. Consistently.

Louis was predictably tormented with remorse after every kill—after each time he so viciously acted against his peaceful nature—and it took a while to get himself back in order. He truly hated the act of killing another wolf, but when his own life was in jeopardy, he understood necessary exceptions had to be made. That being said, just because he was efficient at making these exceptions did not mean kills were an enjoyable pastime to indulge in. Quite the opposite. Maybe Louis would be stronger if he had a mate to give him mental and emotional support, but since that won’t ever happen, suffering it is.

After what seemed like hours of emotional turmoil, Louis ultimately won control from his inner Omega and wiped at his puffy eyes when the steady flow of tears ceased for good. He let his head fall back against the tree and turned his attention to the ocean-blue sky. It was actually a beautiful sunny day, which was exceptionally rare for the area he was traveling through, and he was morose that he couldn’t fully enjoy the uncommonly pleasant weather. The rogue had ruined any chance of that.

Just as he was beginning to stand and continue trudging through the never-ending forest to find a safe place in which to punish himself, he nearly suffered a heart attack when the bushes on his left offered a sudden rustling of leaves, and a nerve-racking snapping of twigs. Not another one, he mentally pleaded, grabbing Chatan and steeling himself for secondary harassment.

No amount of bracing in the world, however, could have prepared Louis for the sight he saw—a massive Alpha male black wolf. Massive. The bear-sized wolf casually prowled out from the bushes it had impressively concealed itself in, and padded his ginormous paws into the clearing, and Louis went rigid with terror, whining in disappointment that this was what his life had come to. It’s over. I’m so dead. This wolf was bigger than Rixon by a landslide, and if Louis had any prospect at surviving this, he’d have to...well no, fuck it, there wasn’t anything he could do. This was it.

Dropping his sword and falling to his knees in defeat, Louis hung his head and squeezed his eyes shut, pessimistically awaiting his death and cursing the Gods for letting it happen. However, in lieu of the wolf’s attack he’d expected, the familiar sounds of bones in a skeleton breaking and snapping into place occurred instead as the Alpha evidently shifted into his human form. When the process was completed, Louis cracked an eye open in curiosity, and a pair of slender feet came into his view.

“Are you okay?” came the husky but soft voice of the mystery Alpha, instantly furrowing the Omega’s eyebrows in confusion.

Taken aback at the genuine concern in the words, Louis looked up to meet the face of his superior, and he was admittedly dumbfounded by what he saw. There before him stood the naked form of a monstrously tall, raven-haired, tan-skinned, bright-eyed, absolute vision of an Alpha. Half of his long hair was tied behind his head, the other pieces flowing down his defined chest like a waterfall, and Louis tried hard not to imagine how good it might smell. He tried not to imagine a lot of things about this creature. What have I done to deserve this?

The Alpha smiled and bent over as he held out a delicate but strong hand, offering to help the Omega off the ground, and Louis eyed the hand as if it was a snake. He was understandably hesitant—he sorely lacked examples of happy experiences with random Alphas in the woods—but the Omega decided this one was far too beautiful and well-kempt to be another nefarious rogue Louis was accustomed to. Foolish thinking, perhaps, but the breath-taking grin Louis received from the Alpha when he accepted his outstretched hand eradicated those doubts shamefully quickly.

“Look, I don’t know who you are, but I’m alright. Thanks for your concern, but as you can see, I’ve defeated my enemy, and I really must be going now—” Louis stammered, tripping over his feet as he tried to walk away.

“I’ve never once seen a submissive fight like that. You just took down a fully-grown Alpha rogue, and you can’t be more than twenty years of age, who are you? What pack do you belong to? Please allow me to escort you back to your Pack Alpha, I can’t bear the thought of leaving you here. Though you’ve shown great amounts of valor today, no Omega should be out here on their own,” Raven-Hair said, apparently thinking he was doing some good in the world.

Louis knew the Alpha’s heart was in the right place, but he couldn’t help his offended scoff at his presumptuous worries. “Yeah, I’m sure they’d be overjoyed at my return,” he replied, voice dense with dejected sarcasm. Raven-Hair gave a slow blink and confounded expression, so Louis held up his markless wrist to illustrate his point. “I belong to no one. I was banished from my people. I’ve been fending for myself for three years on my own, don’t tell me I shouldn’t be here. I’ve obviously managed, haven’t I? Just because I’m an Omega does not mean I need an Alpha for protection, for as you so astutely pointed out, I took down a fully-grown Alpha rogue,” he finished in a huff, raising his eyebrows as Raven-Hair dropped to one knee and crossed a fist over his heart.

“I meant no offense, Lone Omega. My remarks were never to discredit your skill. You exude more raw power than a fair share of Alphas I’ve seen, that much is undeniable. However, as the Beta for my Pack Alpha, I simply cannot in good conscience leave an Omega stranded in a forest, no matter how self-sufficient that Omega may be. On behalf of the Second Great Pack of Chehalis, I must formally request you return with me and allow me to present you to my Pack Alpha, so that you may gain acceptance and find a home with us for the remainder of your days in this life,” the Alpha recited, taking in a long breath after he’d finished.

“Formal is right, how long have you waited to spit that speech out?” Louis teased, giggling at Raven-Hair’s slightly disappointed frown. “Raven-Hair, I really do appreciate it, but I’m not a beneficial Omega to adopt. I don’t get heats, I don’t submit, and I’m really not all that enticing. Aren’t you at all curious why I got banished from my home pack in the first place? You really don’t know what you’d be getting yourself into,” he reasoned, squeaking when Raven-Hair jumped up and took Louis’ shoulders in his hands.

“Omega," Raven-Hair huffed in exasperation, "if I leave you in this forest, I will regret it for the rest of my days. I would literally never forget it, so please just accept this offer. For my sake? If our Pack Alpha does not accept you, that’s one thing...but we have to try. Better than being completely alone, isn’t it?”

“Oh, I’m not alone,” Louis argued as he gestured to the corpse of the rogue, quickly getting serious when the Alpha shot him an unimpressed deadpan. “Alright, Raven-Hair. I’ll come see your Alpha...but when he refuses me for being lame and defective, you’re going to give me all the food in your house, no arguments. And I have a name—I’m not called ‘Omega’.”

“Well obviously. What are you called?” Raven-Hair asked with a genuine kindness and curiosity to his tone, adding a short secondary statement before the Omega could answer. “I’m not called Raven-Hair either.”

Louis snorted at that last statement and bit his bottom lip to hide his grin. “I like Raven-Hair, though. It suits you,” he argued, containing another fit of laughter when the Alpha rolled his fond eyes. “Alright, I was named Louis. You?”

“Zayn,” the Alpha announced, his chest puffed out like he was happy the Omega asked.

“Zayn. Alright, Zayn. I accept your rather lengthy offer, but on one more condition,” Louis said sternly with a finger held up in compromise.

Zayn raised another one of those wonderfully shaped eyebrows in response to the Omega’s attempted dominance, but his victorious smile never faltered. “Yes, Louis?”

“I stepped on a thorn or something back in that fight, and the bottom of my foot hurts like a bee sting. Could I ride you back to your pack?” he asked, hopping on one foot to dramatically emphasize his point and returning Chatan to the sheath he'd made for it on his bag.

Zayn spluttered a bit at Louis’ choice of wording around the prospect of riding him, but he quickly recovered and let himself shift back into his wolf, grunting as Louis enthusiastically hopped onto his back.

“Thanks, Zaynie,” the Omega teased jubilantly like he’d won the ultimate prize, scratching in-between the Alpha’s night-black ears and shouting, “ONWARD!”

With a long and miffed sigh from the wolf, the unlikely pair set off toward the Alpha’s foreign territory, and Louis was already cripplingly nervous. Zayn was one thing—decently easy to handle—but the Omega hasn’t been around a large number of ordinary wolves in roughly three years. His socializing skills, if he ever actually had any, were embarrassingly rusty, and he was bound to get into a bit of trouble with the pack members.

Paired with his devastatingly inevitable rebellions against any and all authority, it’s no irrational fear that he’d get turned away before he could manage to take two steps in.

Well, I’ll have to tell Zayn ‘I told you so’ then. At least I’ll get a house’s worth of food from it.

Pushing his thoughts and doubts from his mind, or at least pretending to, Louis settled down on the Alpha’s back and nuzzled into his dark and fluffy fur, closing his eyes for a much-needed nap as Zayn continued to carry an oblivious Louis toward his future home.

Chapter Text

Louis roused to bleary consciousness in the dead of night and stretched his limbs, promptly snuggling further into the softest fur he’d ever felt in his life to get back to…sleep… Fur?

Louis flung his eyes open with a frightened squeak and flailed away from the giant wolf he discovered snoozing beside him. He was just about to reach for Chatan and violently defend his honour when his inner voice of logic made him stop to think. Taking a few dutiful seconds, Louis then dumbly remembered the events of earlier and clutched at his chest in relief, trying to steady his breathing as he climbed back from the brink of panic. It was only Zayn.

Louis must have slept for longer than he’d intended because night had now fallen, and the forest was alive with the ambiance of its night-dwellers. Zayn was apparently taking a little break from the traveling, but Louis considered his naptime officially over. Uncaring of the Alpha’s peaceful state, Louis scooted back to Zayn’s wolf and bravely poked it in the face.

Zayn grunted as he was abruptly drawn out of his dream, and he opened a careful eye at Louis, staring soundlessly for a few moments before huffing in exasperation and shifting back into his human form.

Louis averted his gaze and reached into his bag to retrieve his blanket, holding it out for Zayn to cover himself with when he was ready. The bare physique of an Alpha or Omega was the very opposite of inappropriate or offensive; nudity was commonplace in most of their cultures and all-around expected. Not so much Siksika, because of the freezing temperatures, but regardless, Louis needed to have a focused conversation with Zayn, and the Alpha’s naked form could potentially veer Louis’ concentration, if you catch his drift.

The Alpha was back to his human self now, cracking all the bones he could and combing his fingers through his thick and lengthy hair. He accepted Louis’ blanket as he moved into a sitting position and wrapped it around his hips. After rolling his neck one last time, he opened his eyes and met Louis’ gaze expectantly. “Yes?” he asked, voice deep and groggy from sleep.

“I’m sorry about waking you up,” Louis said, correcting his dishonest statement when Zayn raised a perfectly-sculpted eyebrow at him in evident doubt. “Okay, I’m not, but I’m sorry I’m not sorry. I just…I want company. You being asleep was a problem,” he admitted, staring at his lap and idly fiddling with his fingers.

Zayn’s features softened at once and he took the Omega’s hands in one of his as he raised his chin with the other, forcing the boy to meet his eyes. “Hey, it’s okay. Talk to me about anything you want. I’m the reason you’re in this situation in the first place,” he said with a comforting smile, thumbing at the Omega’s cheekbone until he visibly relaxed.

Louis smiled despite the knock to his independent pride, kindly removing Zayn’s hand from his face while he scooted back a smidge to get his mental bearings. “Well, I have some questions,” he began, temporarily pausing to list them all out in his head. “How long until we reach the territory? Is it a day’s long trip, or longer? Were you too tired to continue because I was on your back, because we can just walk if you need to. What’s your Pack Alpha like? If you’re the Beta, then why were you so far from your pack in the first place? What were you doing when you found me—”

“Louis, Louis, Louis. One at a time,” Zayn chuckled, holding his hand over Louis’ mouth until he grudgingly shut up. “Okay let's see...Chehalis is a three-day’s ride west from here. We’ll reach the river inside the territory by tomorrow, but we’ll have to follow the water for one extra day before arriving at the village. Also, it is because I am the Beta that I was instructed to stray this far out. The details of my mission are very much not for your ears, little one, that is between my Alpha and myself. But—to put a stopper to your inevitable prying—it involves the rogues. I was attempting to track a specific one, but I didn’t end up finding him; I found you instead. And you are far more important. End of story,” he finalized, making it clear he wouldn’t spent any more time on those details.

Just as Louis opened his mouth to respond, the Alpha quickly added another thought: “And Louis, please, your featherweight body on my wolf’s back is the furthest thing from a burden.”

Louis huffed indignantly at the term ‘featherweight,’ but committed to stay on topic. “That’s all well and good, but you failed to answer the only question I really wanted an answer for,” he muttered, cringing at how indignant he sounded to his own ears.

“And pray tell which question was that?” Zayn asked with a bemused smirk, deciding the left side of his hair was thoroughly combed and flipping it over to deal with the right.

“What’s your Alpha like?” Louis asked pointedly, catching Zayn’s understanding nod as though he’d expected that to be the unanswered question. “What’s his name? How old is he? Favourite colour? I want to know everything.”

Zayn laughed brightly at the favourite colour inquisition, but all joking was set aside as he grew stern with the presumptuously-entitled Louis. “I shouldn’t give information on my Alpha out to strangers, Louis,” he scolded with a hard-set frown, narrowing his eyes at the Omega even though he knew the boy meant no harm.

“I’m hardly a stranger if you’re calling me by my name,” Louis argued reasonably, grabbing Zayn’s hands with a fearlessly strong and familiar grip. “Please, Zayn? I’m nervous. What angers him, what should I not do, please, I don’t want to mess this up, and I probably will anyway, but if I know more about him, maybe I have a better chance,” he rambled, having not stopped to breathe that entire time.

Louis had previously been innocently curious, but the more he thought on it, the more he realized a very real fear was seeping through the cracks of his confidence. He feared another rejection. He didn’t think he could handle it a second time when the first had been so traumatic, despite how much he tried to pretend it hadn’t been. He never wants to see so many backs at one time ever again for as long as he lives, and a whimper escaped his mouth as his emotional stability slowly and precariously began crumbling down around him.

Zayn cooed empathetically and pulled the distressed Omega into his lap, wrapping his arms around his smaller frame and pushing the dominantly submissive’s face into his neck to try and hormonally sedate him. The Beta knew his mate, Niall, was likely going to tear him to pieces when he smelled this Omega on his neck, but Zayn would deal with that unfortunate circumstance when it happened. Right now, he had a duty as an Alpha to do. “Hey, hey, Louis, no, it’s okay. Don’t be scared. I’ll tell you, okay? Do you want to know about Harry?” he murmured, nosing at the Omega’s forehead and planting kisses to his fluffy brown hair.

Louis didn’t fully submit while scenting the Alpha’s neck like other Omegas would, but he had to admit the personalized aroma of this Pack Beta was rather soothing, and he made no move to break away from his lulling embrace. He closed his eyes and nodded his head against the Alpha’s warm chest, taking deep breaths and bathing himself in the Alpha’s pungent pheromones while he could. An aroma that, come to think of it, had the hint of being a mated one, but Louis would ask about that later. For once, he permitted himself to just be held.

Zayn had to bite back a chuckle when the Omega in his lap began to release contented purrs; these were actions Louis probably didn’t realize he was doing, so Zayn held all reactions in, merely yelling in his head about how adorable it was. He pressed another light kiss to the top of the Omega’s head and tightened his arms around him, pondering where he could start on the Harry facts.

“Okay, Louis,” he said engagingly, smiling when Louis’ purring stopped at once to listen. “Harry Styles, full name, is twenty-two years old, he stands at around six feet high…thin, but stronger and faster than any wolf I’ve ever seen. He has brown curly hair almost as long as mine. Has, uh, a particular distaste for clothing, and he only ever wears bottoms if he has to. I don’t think I’ve seen him cover his chest once, and we’ve been friends since birth. Not a fan of shoes, either. He’s got one green eye, and one brown, but he hates it when people stare, so try not to. What else...he’s unmated, and he puts his pack before anything else. I would gladly die for him, and I have never faltered in that commitment because I am well aware he would do the same for me. He is my best friend. What else do you wanna know, Omega?” Zayn asked, rubbing his hands up and down Louis’ back.

Louis didn’t even blink at the term used to address him—too deep in his gender’s headspace to be fully aware of it—and adjusted his position so he could look up at Zayn’s face. “Sorry, but did you say he was twenty-two?” he asked, eyes widening when Zayn nodded his assent. “How is that possible? That’s far too young; Rixon was forty-seven.”

“Rixon...Rixon Bahe? You’re from the Siksika?” Zayn gasped with an incredulity that startled Louis’ calm—he flinched at the mention of his old pack, but nodded his head to confirm all the same. “Siksika is probably a thousand miles from here. You said you’ve been on your own for three years. Three years is a long time for a mere thousand miles. How are you still this close? Where have you been staying?” he inquired.

“That’s right, you’re of Chehalis. That is pretty close. Apparently, I made a huge circle. I really just went all over the place, I guess. Just kept going. I figured I’d run into someone eventually...however, truth to be told, I stopped caring whether that ever happened or not. But look at you, there you were, huh? Right when I least expected it. Only took three years,” Louis laughed emotionlessly.

Zayn shook his head in amazement of the Omega’s fierce independence and held him even closer. This Omega had traveled for so long whilst being completely alone, and still miraculously managed to fight off every rogue he’d encountered to get where he was now. This was a phenomenal feat indeed, but Omegas required special care and attention to keep them happy, and Zayn mourned how lonely Louis must have been. The Beta remembered the topic at hand, though, and promptly redirected the focus of the conversation.

“To answer your question, Louis, Harry’s parents were murdered by rogues when he was sixteen. This meant he was obligated to assume his father’s place as Pack Alpha because he was the only heir—the Chaska by default. Obviously with Harry being of the same bloodline, our pack never needed a new bonding ceremony,” Zayn informed, presenting his wrist to Louis and showing him the bond mark that was etched into it. “This is technically Desmond’s mark of acceptance, Harry’s father, but its power was directly transferred to his next of kin on the day of his death, and Harry has performed every other mark for us since then,” Zayn informed, pausing a moment as he lost himself in the void of memories.

“What was it like? Losing a Pack Alpha?” Louis asked meekly, overcome with grief for a pack he hadn’t even met yet. To lose a member so significant was a harrowing concept—even with Louis’ skewed perception of Pack Alphas through Rixon, thinking of him dead somehow didn’t feel too great either. Poor Harry, he mentally whined, feeling so much for the sixteen-year-old Chaska of Chehalis and not understanding why.

“Awful. Just awful. It was such a tragic day, and many were lost. Words can’t describe the pain our pack endured, but we needed to move on, and Harry needed to govern us to that point. We were more than trusting of Harry’s ability to lead us all in the right direction, even with his young age at the time,” Zayn explained, remembering how big a role their last-remaining Pack Elder had played in that decision as well.

“He was that good? Can’t imagine what he’s like now,” Louis commented, picturing a fiercely warrior-type Alpha that foamed at the mouth and drank from skulls.

“He’s a beast, no doubt about that, but he’s a kind one. The years of experience from his teendom has made his adulthood leadership unparalleled. He speaks with the wisdom and sophistication of an Alpha Elder these days. The responsibility of Pack Alpha entrusted to Harry so young robbed him of any normally-paced upbringing, and he had to mature faster than anyone would have chosen for him, but we would have been lost without him. Besides, you can still catch him being a total goofball when he sheds the air of ‘invincible ruler’ that he wears all the time. He’s still a softie at heart,” Zayn confessed, smiling fondly as he thought of Harry’s often ridiculous antics.

Louis was calming down more and more with each new detail about Harry he received. The Alpha didn’t sound like the brutish and unforgiving Alpha at all he’d imagined at all. At the very least, definitely not another Rixon. The same age range would prove to be interesting as well. The Omega had to promise himself he wouldn’t go starting shit just because the Pack Alpha was one of Louis’ generation. That probably made him even more powerful and dangerous, anyway.

A sudden thought struck the Omega and he crawled off Zayn’s lap, feeling good enough about the situation now to separate from the dominant. “Zayn...you said rogues killed Harry’s parents. You also said you were out here looking for specific rogues. Those two things are related, aren’t they?”

Louis had said that through the guise of a question, but to Zayn, it sounded much more like an accusatory statement—too much for Zayn’s comfort. Shooting his eyebrows into his hairline, the Beta gently but firmly grabbed Louis by the chin and brought their faces maddeningly close together, donning an uncommonly serious expression to get through to the ever-so-curious Louis. “Please don’t ask me that,” he implored.

Louis blinked in surprise at the sure knowledge that he was definitely onto something, but he let it go, intelligent enough to know how to bide time and bring things up at opportune moments. “Alright. I know nothing, I swear. I won’t ask, but I hope you find them.... Harry doesn’t sound too frightening, I think I’ll be okay. Thanks for talking with me, Zaynie, I feel a lot better. I’m actually pretty tired again,” he said with an emphasized stretch and a yawn.

“It wasn’t a problem, Louis. Do you want me to change back so you can have some warmth? We have about three hours until sunrise,” he offered, controlling his urge to snicker when the Omega visibly fought the impulse to accept.

Louis, for all his mental struggles, sheepishly nodded in the end. “It was rather warm,” he admitted with a defeated sigh. Why have I been acting like an Omega?

“Alright, Lou. I’ll wake you when daylight breaks, and we’ll go find food and continue the journey. If you need me for anything, though, feel free to wake me up again,” Zayn allotted, already taking deep breaths as he prepared to let his inner wolf take control.

“Thank you. Goodnight, Zayn,” Louis whispered, stealing the blanket as Zayn’s uncomfortable shifting process began, and wrapping it around himself instead. When the giant black wolf was back, it lay on its side and lifted a paw in a beckoning gesture.

Louis felt a smile melt his lips, and he thanked the stars that Zayn had ended up finding him so randomly in the middle of this vast forest. The Omega had been getting depressingly lonely, as much as he’d tried to ignore it, and maybe this right here was his destiny. Maybe he would be accepted by Harry and finally belong somewhere.

Maybe he’s been so fervidly running from his past because all this time, he’s been simultaneously running toward a different future. Maybe this was that future.

For now, he could only take it one day at a time, and he had a particularly important one in a few short hours, so the Omega cuddled up into the wolf’s soft front and let the rise and fall from its huge breaths lull him to sleep. Is this what it’s like to be mated? Because I fully approve.

 

Chapter Text

Louis and Zayn were beginning to form a deep companionship voyaging the limitless forests together, and it already felt like they’d known each other for years. It was a friendship the Alpha was perpetually stressing over because Niall was literally going to end his life when he took one whiff of him. Zayn could only pray to the Gods that his fiery mate wouldn’t feel completely threatened and decide to unleash his wrath on the poor banished Omega in fierce protection of their soulbond. Time will tell…

Louis, on the other hand, had been force-fed extensive and occasionally too personal details of Zayn’s mate, Niall, and their bond by this point in the journey. He had heard just about every story Zayn had to tell, and each time a tangent was being gushed, Louis would smile and put on an act of enthralled interest, but secretly, he was jealous.

Not of Zayn’s mate specifically, but Louis would be lying if he said he’d never dreamt of having a mate of his very own. Someone to be with him at all times, through every hardship—to share his love and life with. Of course, in his case, Louis knew no Alpha would ever want an uncontrollable and dominant Omega who has no heats and frequently uses howahkan he shouldn’t even have. Louis is the ultimate depiction of everything an Omega is not, and he just had to accept and come to terms with it causing him lifelong solitude.

He sometimes feels competent in his ability to reconcile with his foreseeably lonely future, but then a love-struck Alpha starts gushing about his perfect bond, and Louis’ pity party becomes a full house.

 

---

 

After their food break, Zayn thankfully shifted back to his wolf, thus ending another of said rantings, and Louis felt like he could finally breathe again. And yet, Louis found himself unshakably dwelling on the prospect of mating anyway. Mating…that thing he would never have. He was lying on the wolf’s back, facing the sky and observing the treetops passing by like a river, while weak-minded thoughts relentlessly rampaged through his thoughts like a herd of oxen.

The Chehalis Pack Alpha is unmated. Harry is unmated. What are you going to do about it? his inner Omega taunted to him without warrant. For his own life, Louis couldn’t comprehend why his Omega was so fixated on this Pack Alpha when he’d certainly never taken to the idea of one before. Why? That was most perplexing thing to him, for having not seen him once, the mere idea of Harry had his heart beating like the wings of a butterfly, and he couldn’t hope to control it.

An unknown and anonymous Alpha, and his Omega was already running around inside of him, giddy with adoring anticipation. Are you serious, wolf? You don’t even like Alphas, what’s gotten into you? 

Just as the Omega was wondering when they would reach this infamous river because it was nearing the end of the second day, Zayn suddenly stopped moving, and Louis craned his neck up to notice they were standing in front of it. Sighing with relief, he slipped off the wolf’s back, ripped his clothes from his exhausted body, and threw himself into the cool water.

Zayn shifted back and flopped onto his butt as Louis simultaneously exploded into sandy-coloured fur, and he choked on a gasp, following the wolf with his wide eyes as it rolled around in the water like a puppy. Intrigued because he’d never met Louis’ wolf before, Zayn stood up and made his way into the knee-deep water, greeting the animal with a pat between its ears. “Hey there,” he quipped with a smile, scratching the sides of the Omega’s cheeks. “You’re just gorgeous, you know that?”

Louis playfully snapped his teeth at Zayn’s hands and spun around to slap the Alpha with his tail, eliciting a righteous water fight that lasted longer than Zayn would ever normally participate in, but the fun was too uplifting to deny. They ran up and down the bank like energetic cubs, knocking each other over and wrestling for higher ground to win some prize they hadn’t decided. When Zayn won every single match, they returned to the river to wash off, and lounged tranquilly in the shallow ends to come down from the excitement. Life, in this moment, was good for the both of them.

Eventually, the sun began its setting, and Louis ventured into the thickest woods in search of their food for the night. After sniffing at the dirt and following the scent of what he only knew was a mammal, he uncovered two rabbits hiding in a bush and gracefully pounced on them both, biting into their necks until they stopped thrashing.

There were times he felt a twinge of guilt for overpowering innocent animals, another trait of his Omega gender, but to survive, Louis had needed to convince himself that the circles of life had an understanding with each other and this circulation was unavoidable. Technically, that was true, but Omegas were hard-pressed to clutch to such concepts—killing was wrong, end of story. Weak little Omegas.

Louis trotted back to the clearing on the river bank with two dead rabbits in his proud jaws, and he came to find Zayn had made a fire while he was gone. He tossed the rabbits directly into the flames and the Alpha heavily scolded him for it, but he couldn’t care. He laid himself down to get his breath back, and Zayn fetched the creatures back from the inferno so he could get to work on skinning them.

Louis watched him work with a slow mind, wondering why it was necessarily, or even logical to do such a thing. When Louis finally gathered Zayn was skinning the rabbits because he wanted the pair to have dinner as humans, he regretfully shifted back and put his clothes on, shaking the residual river water from his hair. He then tossed one of his breechcloths to Zayn, who thankfully accepted it with only a small amount of complaint, and scooted in to the log that was to be their table.

Their conversation over dinner consisted of any subjects they could think of to fill the time. It ranged from Harry, to Niall, to their parents, to childhoods, Louis’ banishment, and so forth. They’d touched on a lot of this already, but now was the time for extra detail, and Louis met that challenge head-on. He had such an effortless and natural flow when interacting with Zayn, and it was clear the Alpha felt the same way, because they’d unknowingly talked their way straight into the dark cloak of night.

“Zayn, were we planning on sleeping at any point tonight?” Louis asked, snorting when Zayn glanced up to the sky like it had personally offended him.

“How did I not notice that?” Zayn muttered, looking back down and laughing with the Omega over their shared obliviousness.

“I don’t know, but I can hardly keep my eyes open,” Louis yawned, stretching out on his back while Zayn put out the ember-crackling fire and arranged their blankets in a neater manner than they’d previously been strewn.

“By all means, close them,” Zayn chuckled, checking around their area for anything he might have missed because he didn’t want to waste any time on that upon waking.

Louis yipped in contentment and transformed into his wolf without another word, crashing onto his side and instantly snoring afterward.

Zayn snickered under his breath at the Omega’s antics, returning to his dirt-smudged blanket and timbering onto his back with crossed ankles and entwined fingers behind his head. What an Omega, he thought fondly to the brunette wolf beside him, staring at its snores and shaking his head before turning his gaze back to the spattering of stars above.

For being the one to spend a fair portion of this journey peacefully riding on a back, Louis certainly appeared to be the most exhausted. Which was understandable, since it was in his Omega nature to rest a lot, but he hadn’t shown these kinds of traits until now, and Zayn realized with a gulp that he should be more concerned about that. Louis’ recent behavior was vastly different than when Zayn had first met him—he was changing. It was as though each hour, Louis was a little more Omega than the last, and Zayn didn’t know how to reverse that…if he even could.

See, while it’s true that Louis is immeasurably stronger than his submissive kin, being around Zayn for an extended stretch of time has begun to bring more of his natural instincts to the surface of his demeanor. This could be fine—or it could be really, really bad, and Zayn has no way of predicting which outcome will see fruition.

To finally explain himself, if Harry were to reject Louis from the pack, the Omega boy would have to retrain his endurance from scratch. Zayn was in shambles from the feasibility of Louis having to face the harsh and unforgiving wild all by himself again. It would be all his fault.

Would Harry really reject him, though? This lone, tiny Omega? Zayn secretly thought Louis could turn out to be the perfect mate for his Alpha, given Zayn knows that Harry conveniently dislikes overly passive and submissive Omegas, and has a thing for curves. Louis’ got curves, no denying that. Niall will destroy you, Zayn. Stop.

In any case, Zayn knows Harry like he knows himself, and Louis paints a good picture of someone who could not only handle the Pack Alpha, but also bring out the absolute best of him. Louis may in fact even be crucial to Chehalis, because if Harry never finds an Omega who doesn’t worship him, he’ll never mate. He’s twenty-two, he needs to mate soon.

To put it simply in terms anyone could understand, Harry has been regarded and referred to as the highest authority of a legendary pack from the allied forces of the Great Fifteen since he was a teenager. He’d endured wolves (Omega or Alpha) bowing their heads at his every statement, adhering to do things for him that weren’t even vocally requested, and dramatically submitting to him the second he walked into a room, all because he bore the exalted title of Pack Alpha.

In fact, Harry had experienced this automatic star-struck reaction from the public his entire life, considering he had been Chehalis’s previous Pack Alpha, Desmond’s, Chaska—firstborn Alpha son—with no brothers or sisters to share the load with. It was never-ending. Only his council showed him equal respect, which he was grateful for, but even they could kiss his ass sometimes.

It was an egregious understatement to say Harry was sick of being fawned over like he was a God among wolves.

Sick, for the annoying aspects of the attention, but sick especially because the only reason he was currently Pack Alpha at all had resulted from the tragic loss of his parents. Harry hadn’t asked for this. While it would have been Harry’s eventual responsibility to take over and assume leadership of the pack, it certainly should not have happened this soon, and in this way.

To come full circle, all this is how Zayn knows what Harry needs in a mate. He needs an Omega who will challenge him, fulfill him, and put him in his place when he needs it. One who won’t ever cower away from speaking their mind, and will fight to the death to get what they want out of him.

And honestly, what better example of an Omega that perfectly fits that description could you ever find than Louis?

Well, Niall. Using an impressive amount of objectivity, Zayn can admit that Niall could have been a great match for Harry, had the fates put them together instead—but Niall ended up belonging to Zayn, and that's final.

Louis on the other hand...

 

---

 

Zayn had stayed in his human form last night because as a mated Alpha, he would never lie against or even beside another Omega wolf while he was one himself. That wouldn’t just make Niall angry, it would physically hurt him, and no offense to Louis, but Zayn would rather die.

Zayn missed his mate so much, and he couldn’t wait to wake Louis up so they could finally get home. So, that’s exactly what he did. “Hey. Louis. Hey, wake up, Louis. Come on, we gotta get going,” he urged, shaking and patting the wolf of Louis awake.

Louis woke with a start and shifted back to his human in the span of a breath, sitting up in alarmed tension until he realized no immediate danger was to be found. Meeting Zayn’s eyes, he regarded the Alpha with a heavy dose of apprehension, not understanding or connecting the astonished face he was making to anything in his field of knowledge. “What? I’m up, I’m up, what—”

“That…that shift was practically instantaneous. I excused yesterday because I figured you were just really excited about the river. But that? That was a completely natural reaction...you mean to tell me you’re able to shift that fast every time? I can’t even do that. You just woke up, too, what even are you,” Zayn interrogated, thoroughly impressed and a tad envious of the Omega’s notorious set of skills. I would never be able to shift that fast…what is he made of?

Louis shrugged like nothing was worth praise, secretly preening at the compliment, and began to pack his things. “Practice. Being in the conditions I was, I had to learn to call it forth the instant I wanted it. Sometimes it was the difference between life and death. Took a while to get down, though. I crushed my wolf’s ribs one time trying to come back...had to hide out in a cave for three days while they healed,” he groaned, cringing as he temporarily relived those outstandingly torturous few days.

Zayn’s eyes were still wide as could be as he shook his head, yet again in sheer awe of this Omega and the kind of things he had accomplished in his life. “You’ve endured so much, Louis,” he lamented, giving the Omega a somewhat sympathetic smile. “It’s made you strong, but I just hate thinking of some the shit you’ve been through.”

“Yeah, well, as you love to say, Harry will fix everything. Isn’t that right?” Louis goaded, rolling his blanket up and shoving it in his little pack, that action being the last needed before departure.

Zayn quickly agreed, but he didn’t know whom he was trying to convince, quickly replying with a vague phrase that he hoped would prove true in the end: “Harry will always do the right thing.”

 

--- 

 

After following the length of the Chehalis River for most of the day, Louis’ heart leapt into his throat when he caught the first signs of civilization in his peripherals. This is it…Gods, this is it.

Zayn took that moment to buck Louis off his back—that’s the kind of familiarity they have now—and promptly returned to his two-legged self. Louis couldn’t be less offended at the abrupt ejection because he would rather not be an outsider entering a foreign pack’s village riding on the back of its Beta. There was almost no way out of something like that.

Louis handed his blanket over again with a stern level of insistence, and the Alpha made quick work of it to fashion himself a skirt, because the Gods know Louis wouldn’t want to enter with said Beta naked either. Louis wasn’t afraid of Niall, but he wasn’t entirely confident about him either. From what he’s heard, he would just rather not confront that.

Luckily sex is the strongest and most recognizable scent to their species’ noses, and it can’t ever be hidden, so at least everyone will know nothing actually happened between the two of them. Louis might have been really doomed if it were any other case—Niall probably would have killed him anyway, no matter what they said.

Something suddenly busted out from one of the watchtowers they were passing, barreling toward the two of them, and Louis nearly died of fright. He instinctively hid himself behind Zayn and peeked around the Alpha’s back at the invader (though technically Louis is the one doing the invading), quickly swallowing the lump in his throat as they were intensely approached.

The advancing wolf had seamlessly shifted into a brown-haired Alpha male with a frantic but relieved look on his face, and when he finally reached the pair he paused, bending over to breathe deeply and calm his heart rate. Just as the imminent threat seemed to pass, the Alpha promptly straightened and slapped Zayn across the face so hard, Louis swore he felt it too.

“Beyn, you absolute asshole, you know everyone’s been worried sick about you! Harry said there’d been another sighting, but in a different place from one he’d sent you where they’d been last time. Did that make sense? He said it could be a diversion so they could ambush you. We tried to discourage that, but then you took a day too long? Didn’t help, Beyn. Harry’s been breaking everything in sight, and I don’t think Niall has stopped crying once. And you come back perfectly fine with a strange Omega? You know this is going to ruin Niall, right?” the Alpha roared into Zayn’s face, apparently fearless to square off with the Pack Beta.

“Do not speak to me of Niallwill handle him. He is my concern,” Zayn snarled in return while he pushed Liam back with his chest, taking a deep breath and shoving his rage down into the pit of his stomach to save time. “Liam, please. I had no idea all of that was going on. I understand the concern, I do, but I never actually got to that location anyway because I found this lone Omega on the way and decided to bring him here before going back out.”

“Why bring an Omega…why did you find one out in the…I don’t get it,” Liam rambled in confusion, looking to the submissive in question and blinking in shock when he glared at him like an Alpha.

“Never mind that for now. I need Harry in the spirit room, can you go tell him I’m here?” Zayn asked, begging his friend with his eyes to just drop the questions and do what was asked of him.

“Yeah,” Liam said in a daze, shaking off the Omega’s glare and locking eyes with his obviously tired Beta. “Yeah, I can do that.”

“Thank you,” Zayn breathed as he slapped a hand down on Liam’s shoulder. “I’m sorry I’ve caused so much upset, you know I wouldn’t have if I’d known. Forgiven?” he asked sheepishly, butting the Alpha’s forehead with his own.

“I know, I know. I’m still mad at you,” Liam grumbled, hauling Zayn into a bone-crushing hug, apparently having feared the absolute worst for the last day and a half.

“You’re always mad at me, Li. Now please, go find Harry,” Zayn reminded with a clap of his hands, shoving Liam in the general direction of the Chehalis village.

Liam bowed with a reliable diligence and leapt into his wolf, sprinting off toward the distant teepees and thereby disappearing from Louis’ sight, so the Omega took the opportunity to ask something he’d been internally laughing at since he’d heard it. “Beyn?” he mocked, tone full of bemusement.

“Beta Zayn,” the Alpha explained with a shrug of his shoulders, pulling Louis along by his forearm as he led them to some undisclosed location within the village. “Don’t ask me. Hurry up, Lou, we gotta go see Harry.”

Louis’ composure faltered from the impending and way earlier than anticipated encounter with the Pack Alpha, but he took a few grounding breaths and followed regardless. This was it.

The further they ventured into the tribe, the more pairs of watchful eyes Louis got skewered with. He decided to develop a contrived interest in his feet and pointedly ignore the pack members, but it didn’t work for long. Curiosity would inevitably get the best of him and he’d glance up, cringing as the Chehalis wolves dropped whatever they’d been occupied with, and heatedly whispered to each other regarding his unprecedented arrival. It made him incredibly self-conscious, but he made a valiant attempt not to let it show.

Instead of meeting wary and unwelcoming gazes, Louis made a point to stare at Chehalis as a whole. The village was very much less ‘developed’ than Siksika, if he could really say that. Louis’ people were predominantly beshiltheeni, who worked with metal and constructed more stone-type buildings, so the contrast to the softer materials of Chehalis was hard not to look down on.

Siksika also wore more clothes; though it is colder up north than it is here, Chehalis seemed to specifically hate them. Nearly all of them were bare, save for the single article of clothing here and there, and they shared a common theme of long, thick locks of hair.

These Chehalis wolves obviously still maintained most of the olde ways. They appeared to be very farm-centric people, and they resided in homes of bark wood, woven straw and hide. They seemed like minimalists with a deep connection to their animal heritage, and that was something to look up to. All and all, Louis was in love.

Louis and Zayn then reached a large plank house with two wood-carved wolves flanking the entrance, and the Alpha ushered his new friend inside, ending up having to drag him in under his arm because the Omega had frozen in defiance, but should that really shock him?

Louis had indeed closed his eyes upon being pushed indoors, but once hit with the warm atmosphere it provided, he stirred the boiling pot of courage and pivoted to face the room, opening one eye at a time and gasping at what he found.

Everything he could ever want and more. The interior was so modest, but so magnificent at the same time, and it was impossible to notice everything at once but he still tried. The floor was covered in the softest furs Louis concluded could ever exist, and he approvingly wiggled his toes into it, sliding his every step as he took in everything else. The walls were armoured with exquisite textiles of red and orange hues with angular and loopy designs woven into their faces, and they were just as soft to touch as Louis had expected them to be.

Vases, bowls, pipes, flutes, and drums garnished the floor in a wide circle around the structure, and Louis rushed to carefully examine each and every one, fawning over how expertly they’d been crafted. He turned and dashed back to the entrance to study the collection of buck antlers and the other smooth bones that hung proudly on the wall, but he never got the time for that scrutinization—Louis officially didn’t have the time to breathe, and he didn’t know if he ever would again.

Because the hide flaps of the plank house then swung open with an audible slap and Pack Alpha Harry, in all his ethereal, flawless glory, was suddenly right in front of him. And he was furious.

Chapter Text

Time, destiny, fate, the stars, the sun, everything stood still as their eyes met for the first time. The Alpha’s multi-coloured eyes were the most captivating spectacle Louis had ever and will ever behold, and he could say that with the utmost confidence. Zayn hadn’t been kidding; one was a gloriously rich green colour, the other a warm earthy brown with golden specks scattered within, and Louis was in deep, deep, deep trouble.

Louis had to fight against the impulse to drop to his knees in the mere presence of the powerful creature, and it was making him incredibly woozy to do so. The Omega has never had this kind of reaction to an Alpha before, and he was helpless to do anything but swoon at the impressive sight of his superior. Now this—this is an Alpha.

Long curls of dark brunette hair flowed down the Pack Alpha’s back and chest like each one had been carefully placed by the Gods, the artful locks stopping just above his sculpted hips, and the thought of tangling his fingers in the mane was a constant nag in the Omega’s mind. The Alpha had the tall frame Zayn had described, thin, but defined and obviously an owner of hidden strength; his skin everywhere was smooth and without a blemish or flaw, upper arms painted with faded tattoos, and the scent. Do not get him started on the scent.

The Alpha was wearing a breechcloth with lightly shaded and beaded hide leggings on his lower half, and his upper was solely ornamented by a medium-sized and complex tribal breastplate necklace decorated with colourful beads and feathers. This neck piece was without a doubt exclusively worn by the Pack Alphas, and it independently demanded respect of its wearer.

It saddened Louis to think that at age sixteen, Harry once had to put it on for the first time when his late Father had been the last to do so, but he couldn’t think too hard on that or he’d start crying.

Held in one of his Harry’s hands was a large and expertly crafted bow, and a sack of sharp, stone-tipped arrows was fastened over his shoulder. In the Alpha’s other hand, equally demanding attention, was a daunting tomahawk that had been grotesquely stained red, presumably by years of constant bloodshed.

All and all, Harry shone like a visceral God of war, come to smite all who dare tread his path—or alternatively, a beautiful spirit of the otherworld who had manifested to promote unity and peace to every tribe in the land. Whatever he could resemble was not of this Earth, and Louis felt entirely unworthy to be in his presence.

All of Louis’ evaluations had been made in mere seconds, and though it had felt like a lifetime to him, as soon as their eyes met, the Alpha’s had passed over Louis without even a hint of interest in him. Louis couldn’t help feeling the sharp sting of rejection, and he had to battle the worsening urge to drop to his knees and grovel for the Alpha’s undivided attention.

Thankfully controlling himself, Louis settled to watch silently while Harry’s unblinking gaze locked onto his Beta. Louis heard Zayn’s petrified gulp as Harry slowly and calmly set his weapons onto the floor and removed the quiver sack of arrows from his shoulder. The Pack Alpha then straightened and crossed the floor in three wide and graceful steps, stopping just in front of his Beta.

Time seemed to stand still again as both Louis and Zayn’s breathing was put on hold, the wolves anxiously waiting for whatever Harry would do. Fickle time then decided to leap forward with an unprecedented force, because in the blink of an eye, Harry had reared back and punched Zayn in the face so hard, the poor Alpha was knocked off his feet and sent flying backward, landing with a thud and cradling his face.

“You idiot!” Harry bellowed in a jarringly intimidating timbre that had Louis grabbing the nearest log pillar to stabilize himself, the Omega staring on with wide eyes as the Alpha glided forward to stand over Zayn’s defeated form and bark in his face.

“What the hell did you think you were doing? A full day late, when it was a diversion—I didn’t know—I thought I’d sent my Beta to his death, do you have any idea—I could have lost you. Niall could have lost you. Did you expect me to deal with him after your unnecessary death for the rest of his lonely days? They went north, you stupid mutt, leaving quite a few of their numbers behind for you to run into, and that...certain one...he wouldn’t have even been there, and you would have died in vain, you brainless swine. And here you are perfectly fine, like you haven’t just escaped death! What kind of incompetent Alpha are you?” the Pack Alpha rapidly shouted at his Beta, while to their side, Louis was becoming increasingly unstable with every angry word.

“Alpha Harry, I’m sorry. I was only following your orders, my chief. I never arrived at the cove because I found Louis first and we traveled back together. That’s why it took an extra day, and for that I am sorry. You have to understand I had no idea. I’ve said this a lot tonight, but I never would have taken so long if I’d had known everyone was worried. I’m sorry about Niall as well, I know how that can be,” Zayn pleaded from the ground he was still splayed out on.

“Oh, get up, Zayn. Who the fuck is Louis?” Harry snapped, stepping back to give Zayn room to rise from the floor. In his blind anger, Harry’s mind hadn’t yet registered the strange Omega in the room, or that he was connected to Zayn’s story.

“The Omega I found in the forest on my way to the cove. He took down an adult Alpha rogue right in front of my eyes,” Zayn declared as he shakily stood, wincing at the sudden headache that had rippled through his skull. He knew he was milking it with the Louis details, but he wanted Harry to be impressed with the submissive from his testimony. Best to get this going with a good start. “He was a wolf of the Eighth, Siksika, under Rixon Bahe, but he was banished three years ago, and I gave him safe passage here in the hopes that you would—”

“No Omega could take down a rogue, Zayn,” Harry argued, scoffing from the mere concept of such a feat. “I don’t know what you saw, but it wasn’t that. It’s impossible. They wouldn’t even know where to start, and then their nature wouldn’t even allow it to happen.”

“He’s right next to you, Harry, why don’t you ask him,” Zayn sassed, internally dreading any potential consequences for his attitude, but the importance of these two to really notice each other outweighed everything. Who knew he’d be such a fervent matchmaker?

Louis had been stood motionless this whole time, but with Harry rounding on him and stalking forward like a predator, the Omega instinctively reached back to grab the hilt of his sword, and he swung it forward with purpose, poised to defend himself if need be.

This innately stunned the Pack Alpha, as it does every other Alpha, and Harry instantly halted his advance, staring straight into the defensive Omega in astonishment. Louis had been well-prepared to fight for his life, but unfortunately when their gazes met again, the Omega suddenly lost all his will to fight and he dropped Chatan to the ground, arms falling uselessly at his sides, his whole body unable to threaten the Alpha. Harry merely stared at the Omega without speaking a word, replaying all the unexpected events that had just occurred.

Meanwhile, Louis was panicking; for the first time in his life, he hadn’t been able to threaten an Alpha—when he’s been doing that for three years straight. The Omega was frantically searching his mind for a solution to this colossal problem when he noticed Harry closing the remaining distance between them. He stiffened like a tree as Harry leaned in dangerously close to him and deeply scented his neck, flaring his nostrils as he pulled away and making a face of offended confusion. “What do I smell on you?” he interrogated.

Louis didn’t want to believe Harry was smelling the remedies in his hormones; nobody had ever been able to detect them before, and he prayed they weren’t losing their potency or something of the like. It could be possible he was developing a tolerance, and if so, this was an enormous problem.

He’d been blocking his heats and slick production while dulling his overall Omega scent with suppressants for the last five years. This is how he had been able to convince the masses of his tribe that he really was the useless Omega they already thought him to be for his troublesome immunity to Alpha compulsion. If this remedy suddenly lost its effectiveness, Louis was going to have a lot to answer for.

Despite the very real concerns in his thoughts, Louis responded with a bland shrug of his shoulders, hoping he painted a picture of innocence and naivete to the Pack Alpha.

Harry was neither convinced, nor pleased. “Don’t lie to me. A measly creature such as yourself could not possibly have outdone an Alpha male, and you certainly have no business shrugging your shoulders when I ask you a direct question,” he growled, unaware his green left eye had temporarily become an ominous shade of black.

Louis leaned in and squinted to get a closer look at his changed iris, but Harry quickly blinked and it returned to its original green. Whatever. The Omega was seething and very much wanted to respond to Harry’s taunts, but he knew he wouldn’t get any useful words to the situation past his snarky mouth, so he mutely stared. The Alpha snorted and turned to Zayn, giving Louis his back and apparently not finding the Omega worth his time anymore. No you don’t, he snarled to the Alpha in his head, his Omega and logical mind at war with differing reactions to what Harry had just done.

While Louis’ inner Omega was distraught over the Alpha’s cutting rejection, and was desperately begging him not to say anything, Louis himself was far too livid to keep silent any longer. This stranger had not only insulted his gender, twice, but had also invalidated Louis’ personal capability. And that just wasn’t something anyone should ever do, beautiful Pack Alpha or not.

But most importantly, Louis loathed and despised the sight of backs. He’d had enough of them for many lifetimes over, and the Omega had vowed he’d invariably do everything in his power to ensure every back would always turn around and face him like he deserved. So, he did.

“You bushy-haired asshole! You weren’t there, were you? You don’t know a damn thing about me, don’t talk like you do. If you wanna see how I fight Alphas, I’ll show you right fucking now,” he growled, voice laced with the strongest Alpha timbre he had to give in his weakened state—it was enough. Shit, he thought, gulping down his fear of the upcoming aftermath. You’ve done it this time.

Harry’s shoulders tensed like he’d stepped out into a snowstorm, and he was almost twitching with rage as he turned to viciously glare Louis into the ground, face a mixture of disbelief and barely contained fury. “What...did you just say?”

 

Chapter Text

All bets were off now, so Louis went ahead and released every thought he’d been holding in for a very long time. He’d already fucked this up irrevocably, so what’s a little more dramatic flair?

“Alphas like you are the reason I can’t stand what I am, and what I’ve been ordered to be. I loathe your automatic assumption that I can’t take care of myself and conquer my enemies just because I’m not some big, strong Alpha like you. We’re not incompetent or helpless creatures, we’re severely underestimated. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that we Omegas are not trained in combat. Not because we refuse, or because we’re incapable, but because we are purposefully not taught. ‘Cuz it’s ‘not our job.' So, I had to teach myself, and I did a damn good job because I’ve survived on my own in the wilderness killing you lot for the last three years!” he shouted, dropping his pants and pointing to the rather gruesome sets of tally marks that were carved into the skin of his thigh, one in particular looking fresher than the others.

Harry's gaze drifted down to the marks, and his eyes widened in surprise, having never seen self-inflicted injuries on an Omega before. "Omega—"

“See these?" Louis interrupted, leaving no room for commentary until he was finished. "Each of these cuts represent an unfortunate rogue whose heart stopped beating as a direct result of crossing my path. There’re one hundred and three of them in case you were curious,” the hotly informed, pulling his pants up rather sheepishly when he realized he had just fully presented himself to the Pack Alpha.

"Omega—"

“I'm not done," Louis snapped, taking a deep breath and running his hands through his shaggy, shoulder-length hair, subsequently continuing a little more calmly. "It is a much bigger insult to me to insinuate I have not, or could not possibly have done what I have to keep myself alive, than it is to directly abuse me. I may be a defective Omega who doesn’t have heats, and I certainly don’t bend to the will of my superiors, but my nature is intact. I feel emotions all the same, and killing goes against my very being. These marks are as much a punishment to myself for taking life as they are a convenient way to keep track of the number."

“I didn’t—“

“Nope,” Louis quipped to stop the Alpha’s interruption once again—he was not done. “Don’t you dare look down at your nose at me; you don’t know me. But you know enough now, and you know I was banished, so go ahead—send me away. I can handle myself, despite what you may think,” he huffed, feeling pretty damn good about how that was handled. Unfortunately for him, the moment he'd finished his satisfying and long-overdue rant, he collapsed to his knees, whimpering pitifully in an unexpected distress.

Louis was shocked at himself, but he figured this was his inner Omega’s fury at him for disrespecting the very suitable and potential mate, and forcing him to stop digging his own grave. Defeated and marked a slave to his natural instincts, Louis was two seconds from begging for the Alpha’s forgiveness when he felt a hand sneak under his chin, and his face was lifted to meet the now softer expression of Harry’s.

“Nobody in my life...has ever disrespected me in such a forward manner,” Harry noted, causing a shudder of regret to rocket down Louis’ spine. “I should be a lot angrier than I am, and believe me, I might get that way once the shock passes...but I understand how deeply I offended you, and I will not doubt your abilities again,” he vowed, biting back the laugh at the Omega’s blatant confoundment.

Well, this is unexpected. Louis could do nothing except stare into the Alpha’s mismatched eyes in wonderment and try to decipher if this was reality or not. Harry’s not going to beat him senseless?

“I will never give you my mark of acceptance because you’re not the kind of Omega this pack needs, but you may stay here for as long as you want. I would truly be an evil Pack Alpha if I let any Omega back into the wild on their own, even if the Omega in question is...less than satisfactory. That too, goes against my nature. Go with Zayn, and he will find you a place to stay. Then you and I shall meet soon to discuss your pack duties. Until then,” Harry finished as he removed his hand with a parting caress, glaring pointedly at Zayn before swiftly exiting the lodge and leaving the two alone.

Louis was staggered by how well that had actually gone. Granted, Harry had made sure to mention Louis would never receive his mark, but the Omega was almost relieved at that because it essentially meant he would never again be tied down. This was looking to turn out better than Louis had ever anticipated. Aside from his happiness, Louis was still notably weakened from his inner Omega draining him spineless out of spite, but with Zayn’s assistance he was able to stand, and after a few sips of water from a jug near the drums, he felt decently prepared to face whatever he needed to.

“Sorry about him,” Zayn grunted, holding the cheek that was still sore from Harry’s assault. “I have to go see him and talk things out pretty soon, I can tell our conversation isn't over...but I can take you to our empty wigwams first and try to set you up with a permanent one.”

Louis nodded cooperatively, his mind stuck on the word ‘permanent,’ hastily clearing out of the lodge with a tired Zayn right behind him. He was just about to take a relaxing sigh when his gaze fell a few metres ahead on a short, blonde, very pale Omega with a contrasting face red as a tomato, and skin that was almost visibly steaming with an inferno-like rage that seemed ready to burst.

Which it did.

Quicker than Louis could even register what had happened, Niall catapulted himself at Zayn; his fist savagely making contact with the Alpha’s face for the third time, the flying punch utterly annihilating him. “Who the fuck is that?!” he screeched louder than an eagle, shoving an accusing finger at Louis.

Zayn quietly groaned from the ground and sluggishly stood up, gingerly holding his cheek like it would fall off if he let go this time. He reached over and pulled Louis behind him, probably for his safety, and approached his seething mate. “Baby, please, I can’t answer all of your questions now, I have urgent business with the Alpha,” he urged, trying to reason with the Omega but Niall was unreachable. That much was clear.

“I don’t care about your business with the Alpha, Zayn! You always have that, it’s your job! You’re gonna tell me why you’re bathing in that outsider’s scent right now, or I swear—“

Zayn didn’t let him finish and quickly trapped his furious mate in a constricting embrace, extending his canines and sinking them deep into Niall’s bond mark to shut him up. The blonde instantly sagged in his mate’s arms, his mouth falling open at the sudden overwhelming pleasure, a high-pitched squeak pushing through his throat. Zayn dug his teeth in deeper and didn’t let up until his mate was sighing in bliss and shamelessly rutting his hips against his leg.

“Alpha, take me,” Niall breathed, his tone a sharp flip from the angry one he’d had earlier. “I need you, please…”

Zayn growled appreciatively and retracted his sharp canines, licking the wound he’d made clean of blood and placing a delicate kiss to the skin. He then remembered the company he was in and looked at Louis apologetically, a smug grin overshadowing his accountability. “Louis, I’m sorry, but if I don’t get him to our bed soon—”

“Impregnate me! Now! Breed me!” Niall demanded, jumping up and wrapping his legs around Zayn’s larger body, eagerly climbing him like a tree.

“—He requires more attention in this state than he does when he’s angry. I have to go knot him, but do you see that path over there?” Zayn asked, trying to point with his arms full of his lusting Omega to a small path on the ground between two large pine trees.

Louis nodded his understanding, though he was a little nervous to go off on his own, and looked back to Zayn for further instructions.

“Just follow it until you get to the Healer’s teepee. Her name is Jadedra. Her home has a very large garden surrounding it—impossible to miss. She’ll help you with the wigwams, just pick one and I’ll be over in about…” he paused, glancing down at Niall to try and measure just how long he would be, “...about an hour. Possibly two; I still need to speak to Harry. Are you going to be okay? Can you do it?” he asked, his tone making it known that even if the Omega couldn’t, there was nothing Zayn could do about that.

Louis really didn’t want to go wandering around the unfamiliar territory by himself, but he also didn’t want to be here when Niall decided not to wait anymore—he wasn’t doing a good job of that as it is. “Yeah, I’ll be alright. Thank you, Zayn. You’d better go now, or Niall is gonna get your knot out of you before you can give it to him,” he teased, successfully biting back an unexpected grumble of jealousy at the prospect of knotting—something he’d never explicitly given that kind of thought to. What is happening with me?

“Knot! Gods, Zayn, I need your knot. Now. RIGHT NOW, ZAYN!” Niall screeched once again, and Zayn quickly obeyed, walking off with a writhing Niall in his arms and throwing a quick, “Bye!” to Louis before disappearing into the village.

Damn, Louis thought, smoothing his hair out and sighing to the bushy clouds in the dome sky above. He was undoubtedly in for an intense couple of days...but certainly not as intense as Zayn and Niall’s mating was about to be.

Chapter Text

Under the harsh scrutiny of the nearby pack members, Louis elongated his neck as regally as he could and sauntered to the path Zayn had pointed him to. Maybe if Louis exuded five times more confidence than he actually had, nobody would notice him shaking like a leaf.

Once he was on the path, though, Louis became helplessly confused. It divided into a plethora of separate ones of ambiguous destinations and he stopped in his tracks, trying to survey his surroundings and get a decent sense of direction. Each path led to different parts of the village, and all he knew was he was looking for a wigwam—and he wasn’t entirely sure what a ‘wigwam’ even was. He cursed at himself in frustration for not asking Zayn to extrapolate when he’d had the chance.

Instead of breaking down and sitting on the ground in defeat like he wanted to, Louis swallowed his pride and approached the closest pack member he saw. The obviously Omega boy was serenely sat outside of his teepee, singing with heart as he beat upon a bongo in his lap, and Louis had to actively try not to dance. The boy was beautiful; golden yellow hair, a short frame like his own, and copious amounts of beaded jewelry that created music of its own every time he struck his drum.

The boy’s eyes were closed in peaceful concentration, and Louis hated to interrupt, but he had an emergency on his hands—or so he classified it. He cleared his throat once, twice, three times before the Omega was broken from his groove, blue eyes blinking rapidly at Louis’ unfamiliar form.

“Who are you?” the Chehalis wolf asked before shaking his head and removing the drum from between his thighs, standing up to properly regard his fellow Omega. “Wrong. I already kind of know, and that’s not how we greet each other, anyway. I’m called Peeta. Peeta Mellark.”

“A pleasure, Peeta. I’m Louis,” Louis responded politely, unable to jump right into his issues before at least striking up introductions.

Peeta smiled warmly and wrapped his arms around Louis, holding him close and rocking them side to side in a slow dance. Louis only tensed for a second before sighing in content and nuzzling back into the Omega boy, happy that he’d already made at least one friend here at Chehalis.

Omegas, as a general principle, automatically took to each other, and they liked to stay close. They predominately needed Alphas, of course, but sometimes the brutes could be relentless, and Omegas were easy to overwhelm. So as a result, they regularly sought each other’s soft and peaceful auras to surround themselves with, but Louis was still surprised this Omega had taken to him so instantly.

Louis and Peeta embraced and scented each other for a satisfying amount of time to both before eventually pulling back and basking in friendly eye contact.

“You can tell me all about yourself at a later time; I know you must be weary from your travels. I’d heard Zayn was with you, but if the mating I’m smelling right now is coming from him and Niall like I think it is, then I know why he isn’t anymore,” Peeta said with a lopsided grin, scratching at his cleft chin as he privately pined over his own mate.

“You’re right about everything there,” Louis chuckled before announcing his current predicament, thinking this an opportune time to bring it up. “I stopped your beautiful drumming because I was hoping you could tell me how to get to the Healer’s teepee. I’m supposed to find a wigwam, but I don’t even know what it is.”

Peeta blushed from the compliment to his music and cooed at Louis’ hopeless expression, booping him on the nose like an older brother. “Don’t you ever worry, Louis. You’re safe here, and I’ll always help you with anything you need. You’re looking for Jadedra. She went with her mate Perinar to get supplies a while ago, but they should have returned by now. Come on, I’ll take you there,” he offered with an outstretched hand, looking forward to getting away from his teepee for a bit. He’d been frightfully bored on his day off.

“You’re amazing, thank you,” Louis gladly sighed, taking hold of Peeta’s given hand and intertwining their fingers as they walked to this mysterious Jadedra.

During their stroll, Louis happily told Peeta everything he could possibly need to know about where he’d come from, and why he was at Chehalis now. Peeta gasped and laughed at all the right times, and he was about to flood Louis with questions when they heard a voice call out from somewhere behind them.

“Peeta,” said the calm but firm tone of an unknown female. “Who is that?”

Both boys turned around at once and Louis held in his gasp, making quick note of all her foreboding traits. The girl carried a gorgeous bow that stood almost too tall to use efficiently—but Louis was sure she managed it just fine—and she had a long braid hanging down in front of her left shoulder. Her breasts were covered by layers upon layers of beaded necklaces that probably all had significant meanings, and Louis hadn’t been here long enough to know, but he really wanted to. Around her toned waist was a short skirt and a sharp stone axe that was propped up in a holder, tied just above her hips. I may actually have problems if she ever fights me.

She had a hard-lined but attractive face, and judging by her scent, Louis recognized her as Alpha straight away. She was probably Peeta’s mate as well, so Louis let go of the boy’s hand and backed up a few paces out of respect.

“Katniss!” Peeta exclaimed, skipping to the girl and jumping into her arms. She caught him effortlessly and stoked his back, still regarding Louis suspiciously with narrowed hawk eyes. “Louis, this is my mate, Katniss,” the Omega declared, peppering her face with kisses because he’d missed her more than he’d been able to handle. “Kat, this is Louis. He’s new here; Zayn brought him. Be nice.”

“Oh, the new wolf, that’s right. I’m sorry, I’d forgotten all about that. It’s nice to meet you, Louis. Forgive me for the abrasive behavior, my rut is close and I’ve been a bit…aggressive...this past week,” she said as she pulled Louis into a group hug and pointedly scented his neck, showing the Omega that he was fully permitted to be around them from here on out.

Louis could cry from all the acceptance he’s been shown so far; it was beyond his wildest dreams, and he would be indescribably depressed if he ever woke up. “I appreciate that so much, Katniss. You and Peeta have already made me feel at home, and I’ve only been here for an hour,” he said sincerely with a heart weighed down by gratitude and relief.

“Chehalis accepts Omegas, Louis. You are all beautiful creatures in your own way, no matter what. You’re very outspoken from what I heard a minute ago, and our Pack Alpha is probably going to fight with you a lot...but don’t worry—he’ll actually like it,” Katniss chuckled cryptically, giving Louis a loaded wink before directing her attention to Peeta. “Baby deer, I smelled your scent mixed with something I didn’t recognize, and that’s why I came, but I still have things to do before I’m done for the day. I love you, little bean, and I’ll come home to you tonight, okay?”

“Okay, my love,” Peeta sighed in a dreamy voice, the undertone of reluctance reaching their ears without question.

Katniss allowed herself one more designated moment of affection and reeled her mate in close, lightly nipping at his bond mark to stake her claim—an understandably natural reaction for an Alpha who had felt threatened—and patting at the soft skin below his full hips.

Peeta moaned softly and then whined in complaint when Katniss pulled away, instinctively trying to follow the comforting touch of his mate. She shook her head and retreated the same way she’d come, smirking at her mate over her shoulder before disappearing from sight.

Sighing as though he’d been personally wronged, Peeta turned and gave Louis a shy smile, the pair falling into step together again and resuming their journey. “Sorry about that. She really has been watching me extremely closely this week. My heat always comes directly after her rut ends, so it’s always a crazy time for us. Oh well, you know how it is,” he laughed flippantly, his nerves bundling in his stomach because he didn’t normally talk about such private matters.

“I don’t have a mate,” Louis informed to say he didn’t in fact ‘know how it was,’ giving a nonchalant shrug when Peeta’s expression plummeted with sympathy.

“Is he—”

“Not dead, no,” Louis assured at once, moving his bag strap away from his neck and displaying the blank and unmarked skin where a bite would be if he’d been mated. “See? Never had one.”

“Oh, okay. Well, you know how heats are, at least,” Peeta reiterated, his earlier concerns ebbed away from Louis’ assurance.

“Actually, I don’t,” Louis corrected once more, almost laughing at Peeta’s mortified face this time around. “I haven’t had one in seven years, and I never had that many to begin with. I can remember them a little, but it’s difficult to. They're like a distant dream,” he mused, the only things he could recall being feverish skin and an aching hole. Heats were a daze; they felt like eternity when you were stuck in one, but after you came out of it, the details were hard to remember.

“Louis!” Peeta cried, jumping in front of Louis and grabbing onto his shoulders, consequently halting them both. “Why has this happened?”

Louis squirmed—should he tell the truth? That he’s been taking suppressants for the last seven years and blatantly lying to his entire pack, including everyone he’s met since then? That he’s nothing but a big, fat, stupid, lying Omega, who doesn’t even deserve the heats he’s been repressing? Maybe someday, but certainly not on the first day.

“Don’t know. Don’t worry about me, please. I may be a little defective, but I do lots of things to make up for it,” Louis said with an easygoing smile, patting the top of Peeta’s head and resuming his stride, causing the other Omega to step out of the way and follow along. 

“Okay, if you’re sure. And I don’t think you’re defective, Lou,” Peeta asserted passionately, as though he’d known him for years and had this knowledge.

“Thanks, love,” Louis snorted, holding back the endless list of reasons he had for why he was defective as all fuck. “Wait, hang on. Earlier—when you said—how did you know I preferred male Alphas? How did you possibly figure that?” he inquired, finally internalizing the ‘did he’ question Niall had begun to ask.

“Oh, I uh...just feel things. Oh, look, we’re here!” Peeta announced suspiciously cheerfully, veering off the path to the exact garden-surrounded teepee Zayn had described.

Just then, an especially short and thin Omega girl with big brown eyes and long black hair popped her head out of the teepee beside Jadedra’s like a gopher. Louis barely got time to process her presence before she was sprinting toward him.

Louiiiiis!” she cried, springing into his arms and tightly wrapping her bony limbs around his body. Louis was completely stunned (as anyone would be in his position), and he couldn’t think of a single response for this shocking turn of events, but he did his best to reciprocate the embrace with the same fervor the girl was harnessing.

“Camila!” her presumed Alpha mate chastised, hurrying to collect the girl from the immobilized newcomer she’d latched onto. “Sorry about that, she’s been waiting a long time for today,” the female Alpha excused, taking in a breath to let out a string of similar apologies when Camila used the time for herself.

“Lauranna, it’s him! He’s here!” the wily Omega shouted incredulously, giving Louis a rough and wet kiss on the cheek.

Lauranna was finally able to get her arms snaked around her mate’s waist and she pried her off with great difficulty, setting her down and firmly holding her in place. “I know, baby, I know,” she cooed, looking to the newcomer and holding a hand out for him to grasp, grinning when he choppily did. “I’m Lauranna, but you can—and please do—call me Lauran. This is my mate, Camila. She is our pack’s Seer, and she’s been ranting about your arrival for oh say...three years now? You’ll have to excuse her enthusiasm. To her, you’re like an old friend,” she explained, running her hands up and down Camila’s jittery arms.

By this point amid the commotion, Jadedra and Perinar had emerged from their home, hair equally mussed and faces flushed like they’d either just woken up, or…

Jadedra was a doll-like beauty with high cheekbones and wide brown eyes that closely resembled those of a deer—and Camila’s. She was wearing a thin hide dress that looked to be inside-out and one strap relentlessly slipped off her shoulder, making her resort to pushing it back up every ten seconds, but she didn’t seem to mind the inconvenience.

Her Alpha mate, Perinar, was proudly naked, her thick and curly blonde hair framing her face like a lion. She had a striking face with a sharp nose and intense blue eyes, but a kind and warm smile, and Louis was lulled by her presence.

Louis was still just as speechless as he’d been before, so Jadedra took her turn to speak first. “Wonderful to meet you, Louis. I’m Jadedra, but please call me Jade. And this is Perinar, but she hates it when anyone besides me calls her that. Call her Perrie. We have heard much about you, but I’m sure that’s a weird thing to hear from strangers, so…I’m sorry for our overbearing behaviors,” she said with an innocent shrug, opening her arms in a silent question.

Louis composed himself with a cough and gladly accepted her hug, squeezing shortly and then stepping away. “I’m really sorry, Chehalis wolves. I’ve been on my own for three years as I guess you already know, and I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to socialize. You’ll have to give me some time,” he said in embarrassment, hoping his new friends would understand.

“As an Alpha, I must say I am appalled that any of my kin would forcefully remove an Omega from the safety of his pack. If it were up to me, I’d have Rixon swinging by his neck from a tree. Feel free to come by anytime you’d like. The sun is going to set soon and I need to be awake when it goes down, so I’m going back to…bed. Have a good night, Louis,” Perrie quipped personably, that greeting/farewell being her first and last words of the meeting, promptly heading back into her teepee and passionately kissing Jade’s lips on the way.

While these introductions had been transpiring, Peeta and Camila had been quietly whispering in excitement to each other, and Louis’ temptation to be involved got the best of him as he walked up to confront them. “This is how you knew I preferred males, isn’t it Peeta? It was Camila,” he guessed, grinning at Peeta’s shocked and obviously guilty face.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Peeta lilted in a dramatic recovery, feigning an innocence they all knew he didn’t have and causing an eruption of giggles.

Now that he thought about it, if Camila knew that much, she was also likely to know other details about him that shouldn’t ever be revealed, and Louis made a mental note to ask her about it later. He hoped she hadn’t already told everyone about his...herbal medicines, or that could cause problems.

Lauranna then departed with a last wave to the group and a kiss for her mate, leaving Jade, Peeta, and Camila to show Louis to an infamous wigwam. The structure happened to be decently close in distance to the girls’ teepees, which was a huge relief to Louis, because now he knew he had friends that wouldn’t ever be too far away.

Peeta announced that he was too tired to continue for tonight, and he gave a long kiss to Louis’ cheek before flitting off toward his home. The remaining girls, Camila and Jadedra, began clearing out the knick-knacks and got to work cleaning his new living space for him. No matter how much Louis tried to refuse the help, they only insisted he had been working hard enough and that it was time for him to finally relax. Honestly, he couldn’t deny there was truth to that.

A wigwam, for the record, turned out to be a dome-shaped living arrangement constructed of wood, covered with large slabs of tree bark and woven mats, and was a size only one wolf could consistently thrive in. Louis much preferred these to the stone houses he had grown up in, though, stuffy or not. He briefly wondered what the Chehalis wolves did when it rained, but he sooner realized he didn’t care. He’d gladly lie all night in the pouring rain before he’d take one step back into Siksika.

When things were properly arranged to his convenience, he was gifted with some common household items: new clothing, two beautiful fur hides to sleep in, and some pottery bowls for eating and gathering water with respectively. He thanked the girls profusely and was about to take that nap they kept suggesting to him when Zayn suddenly entered his house, reeking strongly and deliciously of recent mating.

Camila and Jade bowed in his presence and scurried out, promising Louis they’d spend time together when they got the chance. When they were out of his house, Zayn smiled and sat down heavily, yawning in exhaustion before looking to Louis with a hint of sadness etched on his face. “When did you make that last mark on your leg?” he asked suddenly before he convinced himself not to. “I was with you the entire time, and I never smelled blood.”

Louis wiggled a bit where he sat and scratched his head to have something to do. “Well, it was the second night. I pretended to sleep in my wolf so you would stay in your human form, and when you were completely asleep, I shifted and did it—because your senses were weaker, and you wouldn’t notice anything. And then I changed back and went to sleep. I know, I’m sorry. It doesn’t make you a bad Alpha; I was very sneaky about it. I can’t not, you understand. It keeps me sane, but I know nobody would approve,” Louis rapidly explained, a tiny bit heartbroken over Zayn’s distraught expression.

“I really wish you wouldn’t, but it’s obviously not my call to make. You truly are unlike any Omega I’ve ever met,” the Beta commented redundantly, shaking his head and running his hand down his tired face.

“Yeah, I get that frequently if you can believe,” Louis muttered with a bemused smile, raising an eyebrow at the Alpha when he made no announcements of any kind. “I know that’s not the reason you’re here…”

“No, it’s not, sorry. For everything. Niall was impossible to leave like that, and after I knotted him, I was about to fall asleep, but I was instructed to come tell you Harry wants to see you,” Zayn recounted, looking somewhat sympathetic to have to break the news, but mostly just annoyed he had to do it at all.

Now?” Louis squeaked in genuine fear, his face paling as the blood all rushed to his racing heart.

“‘Fraid so, Lou. Harry wants to speak to you about pack duties. I asked him if it could wait, but seeing as how he came to tell me this while I was still locked inside my mate, I’m assuming it can’t wait, no,” Zayn muttered in palpable irritation, wishing he hadn’t had to pull out of Niall before drifting off to the land of dreams. Falling asleep would be downright tedious now.

“Well, where do I find him?” Louis asked bravely as though nothing was worrisome, trying not to let his fear speak for itself. He was a strong ass Omega, wasn’t he? He should be able to handle anything—even Harry. That’s a joke.

“His quarters are directly in the center of the village—which is why I’ve come to take you there because it’s a bit confusing to explain. Listen, try not to be so nervous. He’s intimidating at first glance, but try to remember all the things I’ve told you about him,” Zayn soothed, standing with a grunt and holding a hand out to Louis.

Before Louis could clasp the hand and be helped off his bedding, Zayn quickly retracted his arm and jumped back to the corner of Louis’ house. “What—“

“Sorry, Louis. It almost slipped my mind, but I can’t touch you right now. Probably not for a while. I shouldn’t have even come in, Niall is currently...traumatized,” Zayn grumbled in exasperation, scoffing when he glanced Louis’ contrite expression. “Oh, don’t look at me like that, Louis. It’s not your fault. He’ll be just fine. Just gotta give it a few days.”

Louis sighed and scratched the back of his neck awkwardly, a common action he uses under pressure. “Well, I’m still sorry. He seemed so upset,” he reasoned, biting his lip in thought—would Niall really get over it?

“Upset is his middle name. You two might end up being close friends, maybe even in the same family, just watch. You’re actually scarily similar, but let’s just take it one day at a time for now,” Zayn laughed, exiting the claimed wigwam and waiting for Louis to emerge.

 

---

 

They walked through the village en route to the center, and the more Louis saw, the more he liked. His new friends had clearly gone and spread the word, because this time he was seeing more Chehalis wolves smiling at him, rather than eyeing him warily like before. He was grateful for this, and he constantly showed it by grinning hugely at everyone he could, making himself appear likeable without any spoken words.

They eventually made it to the heart of Chehalis and stopped at the front of Harry’s oversized teepee. Whatever was going on inside, it was gorgeous to look at, amazing artworks covering every inch of its exterior, and a warmth Louis could feel all the way from where he was. To get to live here…with him. That would be…that Omega will be lucky.

Louis could feel his heartbeat in the bottom of his feet when Zayn yipped outside Harry’s home to alert the Pack Alpha they’d arrived, and that crushing punch of dread grew outstandingly worse when Harry appeared and silently motioned for Louis to come inside. With a departing look of sympathy, Zayn left Louis alone, damning him to enter the structure and try to hold his own in front of the superior Pack Alpha. Louis took a deep breath and brushed past the awaiting Alpha, watching as he briskly returned to the middle of his home and plopped down on his expansive and unfairly fluffy sleeping area.

The inside of the Pack Alpha’s home was far less extravagant than Louis would have expected. Rixon’s quarters had been filled to the brim with all kinds of riches, and he’d had at least three of everything. Harry’s was far more modest, except for the colourful jewelry that was overflowing a bowl by the entrance, each likely made for him by different members of the pack. Aside from that, though, everything to notice were the necessities a house needed, and Louis had to admire the fact that Harry didn’t like luxury—could he be any more attractive?

As previously mentioned, in the middle of the floor was Harry himself, sinking into his bedding surrounded by furry skins and soft quilts, gazing at Louis closely and thoughtfully. The unwavering inspection of him made the Omega feel as though his entire existence was being evaluated. No matter how many seconds ticked by, Harry continued to stroke his chin and look Louis up and down, smiling slightly as if considering something.

Unable to handle the grating silence any longer, Louis spoke out: “Is there something you want?” he asked only semi-politely (not politely at all).

The Alpha’s gaze—that the Omega could have sworn had been fixated on his hips—piercingly flew up to his eyes, and Harry’s lips slowly turned from a soft smile into a devious smirk. “You’ve got an attitude,” he drawled in an impressively deep voice that Louis instantly adored.

Louis had, for the most part, only heard Harry’s harsh snapping and yelling before, which was indeed attractive in its own right, but this low rumble of his talking voice was a whole other monster. He was halfway through a detailed mental fantasy of said voice in his ear, telling him to do unspeakable things, when he realized where he was and rushed back to reality, just in time to hear it again.

“How do you possess the throat of an Alpha?” Harry asked, who had been nonstop thinking of this since he had heard it.

“I trained myself,” Louis replied haughtily, casually shrugging of his shoulders as though it hadn’t taken an arduous seven years to establish.

“It was very...impressive,” Harry noted, an exception obvious to follow from his tone. “But above all, incredibly disrespectful.”

“I told Zayn not to bring me here in the first place,” Louis retorted, crossing his arms and staring off to the side so he stood a chance at maintaining his composure.

Harry raised a calculated eyebrow, leaning his weight onto his hands behind him and crossing one ankle over the other. “And why would you tell him that?” he purred, having a shameful amount of fun tormenting this Omega’s pressure points.

“Because!” Louis huffed in irate frustration, flailing his arms dubiously like a bird. “Because I’m a crap Omega who can’t stop challenging my superiors, and no Alpha will ever like me because of it. I’m tolerable at best when I try my absolute hardest, but I’ve never been anywhere I’m wanted. I’m used to it like that, I just hate dealing with disappointment,” he grumbled, hastily crossing his arms again when he became uncomfortable with an exposed chest.

Harry seemed to consider this for a while and he began to idly braid his long curly hair, humming every few moments and pursing his beautifully-shaped lips. “That’s because they look at you as an Omega. If I chose to categorize you as an Omega, I’m sorry, but you wouldn’t even be tolerable,” he said at last with a hint of mirth in his voice.

Louis rolled his eyes and rubbed at his lids with the heels of his palms. “Thanks, Alpha. That was very kind of you. Is that all?” he griped, peeking through his fingers at the Alpha with the finished braid and the slightly parted lips. Not now, Louis.

“No, of course not. Come sit, Louis,” Harry requested, patting the fur next to him to suggest where exactly he was to sit.

“You can’t be serious!” Louis exclaimed with a choke, eyes wider than the moon in protest. “Only the Alpha’s mate can be allowed near his bed; it’s entirely too presumptuous for any other Omega,” he asserted nervously, shifting his weight between his two restless feet.

“Says who? Whose authority is higher than mine? You’re not an Omega anyway, remember? Don’t make me ask again; now sit,” Harry commanded, erasing all memory of the polite invitation.

Louis would have kept fighting, but Harry’s expression left no room for compromise, so he carefully sat next to the alluring Pack Alpha, his back rigid as a sheet of ice.

“I’m not going to bite you, you know. Not even if you wanted me to. So, you can relax,” Harry lightly teased, denying the urge to reach out and touch him because this Omega would probably have a horrendously negative reaction for him if he did.

Louis tried his best to relax, but it was particularly difficult when the voice he was so fond of was suddenly a lot closer. Nor did he need to be reminded he wouldn’t be bitten. This was all so ridiculous, because he’d never cared about stuff like that before, but for some reason coming from Harry, it felt like an insult. “Yeah, I get it, thanks,” he bit, running his hands through his shaggy hair in badly controlled vexation.

Harry furrowed his eyebrows at the snide remark when the Omega wasn’t looking, but he otherwise ignored it. Omegas, apparently even this one, were notoriously mystifying creatures. “Okay. So, Louis, you’re going to kick and scream at me if I put you in gathering duties with the other Omegas, aren’t you?”

“WHAT! You’ve gotta be kidding me! Do you have any idea what I can do—what I’ve done? You seriously think I’m best suited for picking berries, you just told me you didn’t consider me an Omega, I can show you a thing or two—”

“Yeah, I thought so,” Harry interrupted, chuckling at Louis’ accurately predicted outburst. “Unfortunately, I’m going to give it to you anyway,” he said, holding up a hand and continuing before Louis could start yelling again. “For four days of the week. The other three you will be on guard and warrior duty patrolling with my Alphas, protecting our tribe from threats of rogues, and eradicating any that fall within our territory. And possibly a bit beyond that. Does that sound doable to you? I hope it does, because you don’t actually have a choice,” he added with an air of finality, not looking the least bit negotiable.

Louis bit back every heated and nasty response he had on his tongue and settled for logic: “Why have the four days in the first place?” he asked with a strained calmness, turning his gaze to watch Harry’s phenomenal eyes wander up to the funnel top of his home in thought.

“Mmm...because you’re an Omega. Technically. You may not seem like one, but no matter what, you will never be an Alpha. I said I wouldn’t treat you like or consider you an Omega, but you still need to fulfill some of your natural duties. I need you to try and get in touch with your true instincts, and regardless...three days running around killing rogues should be quite enough for you. Consider yourself lucky I’m allowing it at all; it’s never before been done in the history of this pack,” he stressed, eyes sliding sideways just in time to catch Louis frantically looking away before he was caught.

“But I’m not even of this pack! Why apply the rules to me when you won’t accept me?” Louis challenged, thinking it a reasonable concern, but Harry evidently didn’t see it that way. The Pack Alpha geared up to heavily scold the Omega, and Louis cringed in trepidation, but at the last second, he huffed and looked off to the side instead.

The Alpha seemed to be debating and choosing his words carefully, and when he finally turned back to look at Louis, the temper had fled from his face. “Louis, what did you get banished for?” he asked condescendingly. “No excuses; I couldn’t care less. The charges.”

Louis felt his skin flush under the pressure, but he held his ground, grudgingly upending some of his more criminal activities because he couldn’t lie to this Alpha if he wanted to—believe him, he wanted to. “Insubordination, misconduct, tardiness and unreliability, theft, frequent altercations, assault, disrespect, improper use of gardening tools, trespassing, slandering the Pack Alpha, slandering the Pack Elder, slandering the entire fucking council, and... arson,” he listed with a grimace as he looked into Harry’s mismatched eyes, noticing an unreadable glint he couldn’t quite pinpoint, but it didn’t seem altogether negative.

“Exactly. Once we’ve gone an extended period of time without the occurrence of any of those actions, then I shall give you my mark. Forgive me if I request a trial period, you can understand my hesitation. And I apologize for when I told you it would never happen earlier today. I was angry,” Harry explained, chuckling at the little “oh” that formed on Louis’ face. “You know, some of those charges on you are the same thing.”

Louis gave a short, emotionless laugh. “Yeah, well, I expect Rixon just got off on reciting a longer list,” he said bitterly.

“Hmm...that will be all for now, Louis. I’ll have Peeta lead you to work early tomorrow morning. Be awake when the sun is, and I hope you find some enjoyment in your job,” Harry said as he stood from his bedding and moved to the entrance, holding the flap open for Louis to pass through.

Louis went to exit the Alpha’s home, but he suddenly stopped next to Harry before he made it all the way out. “Harry...” he began, heart beating alarmingly fast from the close contact.

“Yes?” Harry responded huskily, Louis feeling the breath of the word dance across his neck. He closed his eyes and bared his neck slightly for his Alpha before grasping what he had just done and quickly disguising it with a poorly executed coughing fit.

With a quick glance for the Omega’s state of mind, Louis found that Harry’s face showed no reaction to his momentary lapse of control. Pure luck. He then gathered the courage needed and looked right into Harry’s eyes for the countless time today to state his case. “I may not seem like it, because that’s just me, but I truly am grateful to you for taking me in at all. I need you to know that. I’m not a prize to be won, and your generosity to me despite that hasn’t slipped my notice. So, I just wanted to say thank you,” he professed vulnerably, holding his little heart in his hands and praying the Alpha wouldn’t break it.

The corners of Harry’s lips just barely turned up before he was lightly shooing Louis out of his home. “Just don’t make me regret it,” was the last thing Louis heard before he was left by himself outside of the Pack Alpha’s teepee. Feeling gracious and motivated to show Harry just how much he would never regret it, Louis skipped back to his wigwam to finally get the sleep he’s been needing for three long years.

Chapter Text

Louis was awoken from his dreamless sleep by Peeta standing over him and gently shaking him with a hand on his chest. He croaked out a few grumbles and then rubbed his tired eyes, sitting up to acknowledge his Omega friend. “Good morning, Peeta,” he yawned, wrapping his arms around Peeta’s neck to greet him and sighing when the Omega reciprocated the gesture.

“Hi, Lou. Are you ready for work?” Peeta asked engagingly, like it was some wonderful task to take on.

“Yeah,” Louis groaned through another yawn, rising clumsily to his feet and stretching his stiff limbs. “Alright, let’s go.”

They walked to the fields in a sleepy stupor, only making small conversation as they attempted to energize themselves for the day. They crossed through the center of the bustling village and Louis’ eyes fell onto a horde of Omega children happily bounding toward a longhouse with two wolf-embroidered flags flanking the structure and swaying in the morning wind. “Where are all these cubs going?” he wondered aloud, finding himself grinning at their innocent giggles and yips of joy.

“They’re going to school,” Peeta informed, smiling at the cubs as well because as an Omega, he was hormonally drawn to them. He couldn’t wait for his own. “They go every other day to learn about our culture and pack history, general ways of our lifestyle, learn to shift correctly, cultivate their natures and such, you know. The usual. Alpha children go on the other days, but I know there’s one day wherein both genders go together. It’s all taught by Ianalfto, our last Pack Elder. He’s instructed every generation of wolves I’ve ever been alive to see, and long before that,” he recited in helpful detail that left Louis without the need for follow-up questions.

“I see...that’s really nice, actually,” Louis noted with full approval, widely yawning for the countless time and laughing when the contagious action took hold of Peeta too.

The Omegas strolled for a few extra lazy minutes before coming to an expansive food crop lined with rows of tall bushes covered in succulent red berries. Louis’ mouth watered at the tempting sight of them, and he couldn’t wait to sneak eating as many as he could. Consider it payback for that blasted Harry sticking him on literal berry duty.

“Okay, Louis. I have to leave you here now because I’m on the corn fields today and gotta get to work, but I’ll hand you off to Draconis and he’ll show you around,” Peeta announced, taking only one step into the berry patch before Louis grabbed onto his wrist.

“Wait, how are we to know where we’re supposed to go?” Louis asked, knowing there was some system here he was missing and would most definitely need to know for future reference.

“It rotates every day. We have a schedule figured out, and I’ll help you with yours, but that’ll be later. I know you’re stationed here today because Alpha Harry specifically said berries for you,” Peeta explained, cocking his head to the side when Louis’ face took on a malicious scowl.

“Of course he did,” Louis grunted, clenching his entire body so he wouldn’t growl and startle the nearby Omegas—and Peeta, for that matter.

Peeta nervously chuckled and pulled the stoic Louis down the nearest row of berries, hooking his arm through his elbow and smiling when the Omega seemed to relax his earlier tension.

Louis sighed out his frustration and focused himself on where they were headed, stopping when Peeta did behind an unnaturally tall Omega with long straight hair white as snow and Alpha bites all over his skin, his gangly arms dutifully reaching for the berries at the very top of the bush.

“Draconis,” Peeta greeted, his tone clipped and serious but blatantly a ruse.

The Omega in question didn’t move from his position facing the bushes and shook his head tiredly, a sigh blowing past his lips as he picked three more berries from the selection. “It’s Draco, Peeta,” he muttered in such a way that Louis was sure he’d definitely made this correction before.

“I know, I know, I just like bothering you. Turn around, I have Louis here for you,” Peeta giggled, his formal demeanor dropped like a sack of potatoes.

The Omega jolted from the words and spun around at once, quickly wiping his red-stained fingers on his hide bottoms. “Oh! I’m sorry, Louis,” he said in an easier, less annoyed tone. “I wasn’t really paying attention, but now I smell you. Welcome to Chehalis!”

Louis laughed at the odd introduction and approached Draco to hold and scent him, beside himself that the Omega passionately encouraged it and reeled him into his chest. “I’m happy to be here. This pack is filled with the nicest wolves I’ve ever met, it’s a serious relief. There’s nowhere like here, and I love it,” he rambled, soaking in the comforts of another stranger Omega and trying not to think of ever leaving here.

Draco nuzzled his nose into Louis’ hair and held him close, glancing up when Peeta began to back away, his work here officially done.

“Alright, guys,” the blonde quipped, turning Louis around from his conclusive tone. “I have to go to the corn now. I’ll see you later, Louis,” he called, throwing them both a wave and blowing consecutive kisses on his way out.

Draco and Louis voiced their goodbyes as Peeta zipped out of sight, then Draco clapped his hands together engagingly, stealing Louis’ immediate focus.

“So. Louis. Pretty simple. Pick the berries, put them in your basket—I’ll get you one—and when it’s full, go drop it on that wheeler over there, then when that’s full, we go on to the next field on the list. Alphas come and take the wheelers to the Keep, so we don’t have to worry about that, and at the end of the day you and I will go to there and make some of these berries into a paste—they have medicinal properties in them, and the paste is something Jade needs handy at all times. That part's always my job, so you’ll be doing it with me at least today,” Draco explained as he walked to fetch Louis a basket as promised. "Make sense?"

Louis walked in tandem with Draco and nodded at his every word, eager to learn how things worked around the pack. “Makes perfect sense to me… Is that all?” he asked, taking the basket handed to him in his arms and following along when Draco strode back to where they’d been.

“Yes and no... it’s the same concept all the way around, but we have to hit five fields a day. These berries are in bloom now, but we only have two or three moon cycles left of them. We have to get them all soon so we won’t waste any when the skies change. When the ice comes, we’ll turn all of them into that same paste and store/consume it that way,” he grunted, standing of the tops of his toes to snag the highest berries that only he could possibly reach.

“So how many Omegas are needed to pick this whole field?” Louis wondered, taking the lowest spots on the bush because he wouldn’t have a chance in Draco’s area, picking the squishy red fruits and carefully dropping them into his basket.

“All of us, technically. It’s just rotated. There are twenty Omegas to a duty at one time, and we switch off every day. I think tomorrow I’m grass weaving for housing reinforcements. Right now is the busiest time of the leaf period; we have to utilize and take great care of our resources while we can before the ice—that time tends to be harsh on the pack,” Draco explained, cringing to think of how susceptible Omegas were to sickness when the ice coats came. Alphas were always fine, but Omegas depended on the body heat they didn’t have themselves; unmated Omegas had to pair up with unmated Alphas just to steal their warmth, or they would suffer. Though, a lot of matings happened that way, so it wasn’t all bad.

“That makes sense. I come from a pack of stone and metal, so we didn’t need to worry about the ice affecting our housing—only food. My home pack is in the north, and we northern Omegas are bred to withstand ice times; which is lucky, because I’ve had to endure two of them on my own so far,” Louis snorted, taking out the bits wherein he’d actually cried himself to sleep in little alcoves during the storms.

“I’m so sorry...that sounds awful. I can’t imagine being stuck in the wilderness during ice times, I don’t even know if I’d survive. Enough about that, though. You’re safe now. Tell me about your old pack, I’d love to hear it…if you want to, that is,” Draco suggested, his words assuring Louis he didn't have to answer if he didn't want to.

Louis hummed and recapped the same details of Siksika he’d given to Peeta, touching on Rixon, his mother, Stanley, sparing the details of his crimes and ultimately ending the speech with his banishment, and how he’d had to come to terms with living on his own. Draco reacted in much the same way Peeta had—with abounding sympathy—and Louis had to bite back scoffs multiple times. These Chehalis Omegas were sweet, but they couldn’t fully grasp the horrors Louis had lived through, and that made him want to steer clear of his tale. He didn’t need coddles—he needed respect.

Unbeknownst to Louis, an Omega one row over had been listening in on his story, and he suddenly came speeding around the corner, giving Louis a fleeting glance at bright pink hair before swooping Louis up into his arms. Louis might not like talking too much, but he’ll never get tired of these constant embraces.

“Morning, Kurt,” Draco greeted, sniffing and rubbing his nose against the early morning cold. “Dropping eaves, were you?” he accused lightheartedly, walking past the pair with a full basket to drop it off at the wheeler.

Kurt let go of Louis’ waist and glared over his shoulder at the retreating Draco. “Hush, you. You know I couldn’t help it,” he defended, turning back to Louis with a dazzling smile. “I’m Kurtanis, but please call me Kurt. Draco and I both have a thing about our names. I’ve wanted to meet you since you got here, Louis, I’m so glad you’re here—you’re absolutely perfect,” he gushed, rubbing his hands up and down Louis’ soft arms.

Louis blushed a deep red from the startling compliment; he was not perfect by any means, but he was pleased to hear wolves thought so. He would have said ‘thank you’ or something similar, but a much more imperative trait of Kurt’s was begging to be addressed and that became his reply instead. “...Your hair,” he said lamely, touching a strand of his own hair to emphasize his point.

“Oh, the colour?” Kurt laughed, his dark, ocean-blue eyes gleaming in amusement at himself. “I forget I have it sometimes. I dye it with the berries, though it took me a bit to convince Harry to let me; I had to beg him for five moon cycles before he caved. I know it’s odd at first, but I think it suits me best,” he chuckled, both hands lifting to ruffle the very hair he spoke of and showcase its through-and-through pigment.

Draco returned and dropped his basket to the ground, snorting at Kurt’s confidence with his ridiculous hair and resuming his dutiful berry-picking.

“Hey, it does!” Kurt snapped playfully, having caught the not-so-subtle jab from Draco. “Daven likes it, and that’s all that matters,” he defended in a huff, obviously speaking of his Alpha mate.

Louis cooed and leaned into Kurt like he was going to tell a secret, whispering, “I like it too” to the pink-haired Omega and winking when Kurt grinned in elation.

 

---

 

Kurt, Draco, and Louis spent the rest of the morning gossiping and cackling amongst each other, bantering about everything under the sun as though Louis had a clue what they were talking about half the time. Along with whispering secrets of the pack, they may have indulged in one or two berry fights—activities the nearby, more peaceful Omegas highly disapproved of—and Louis may have instigated each one, but he wasn’t concerned with judgment. Louis knew he was a bad influence, but Harry had known what he’d agreed to by giving him a home here; so, as far as Louis’ concerned, it’s all the Alpha’s fault.

The time came to venture for the second field, having filled the wheeler with its designated berries to the point of spilling, so the Omega trio set off, arms linked and feet skipping. They each grabbed a new basket when they arrived at the new patch and happily began harvesting what were now scrumptious cherry tomatoes, falling quickly into serene silence as they worked.

Kurt and Draco’s inner Omegas found great pleasure in the act of providing for their pack and it lulled them into peaceful quietude, but Louis would never admit he was feeling it too. He hated how much he thoroughly enjoyed the work he was doing for his pack, and that…was precisely why he hated it—this pack wasn’t even his. And he wanted it to be. He hoped it would be someday, for he was steadily finding it harder to swallow he may never truly belong here; he decided right then he would do everything in his power to get Harry to accept him. Fuck the wild.

Amid Louis’ inner rantings, a unique scent drifted through the air and swirled around in his confused nostrils. What the— he thought, sniffing once more in case he’d imagined it, but sure enough, there was an Alpha nearby. He stood from his crouch and curiously peeked over the tops of the vines, finding the culprit Alpha a few rows down from him, picking fruit by himself without a care to the world. “Hey, Draco?” he mused softly in clear wonderment, not taking his eyes off the out-of-place Alpha as though the scene might be a mirage that would dissipate with his next blink.

“Hmm?” Draco hummed absentmindedly, his tranquil attention still on his Chehalis tomatoes.

“Who’s that Alpha over there?” Louis whispered, quickly glancing down to the bent-over Draco and then back to the inexplicable Alpha wolf.

Draco snapped out of his daze and turned his eyes to Louis, following his intense gaze as he stood to full height to see over the vines. “Oh that, that’s Jackson,” he informed with a knowing nod of his head. Who wouldn't have that question? “Jax!” he called, wincing at his own volume and apologizing to the surrounding Omega workers.

Jax spun around at the shout of his name, smiling brightly when he found the origin and skipping over when Draco beckoned him to their area. “Morning, Dray,” he greeted when he was at a close enough distance, tiptoeing in a bashful crouch when the field Omegas shushed him in agitation. “Hi,” he whispered carefully as he closed the distance, giving Draco a friendly pat on the shoulder in lieu of the classic Omega embrace.

“And to you,” Draco reciprocated just as quietly, dropping a hand onto Louis' shoulder to call him out. “Louis here was wondering why there was an Alpha in the gardens. Mind enlightening him?” he requested, giving Louis a little push toward the Alpha called Jax.

Jax chuckled and checked Louis’ neck for an Alpha bite, gleefully pulling him into his arms when he didn’t find one and inhaling his scent. “Hey, Lou. I’ll tell you everything, but I can’t really neglect my row—do you want to come over and work with me for a bit?” he suggested, cocking his head to the side in a hopeful gesture, confusing Louis because he was acting like such an Omega, but he clearly wasn’t. What’s his story? Louis looked to Draco unsurely, almost like he was asking if leaving was okay.

“Go on, Lou, it’s okay. Jax won’t bite. Kurt and I will still be here when you get back,” Draco assured fondly, waving the pair off and turning to his tomatoes.

Jax walked Louis to his row, and the Omega tried not to trip over the vines at their feet as he watched the Alpha’s profile, searching him for answers he hadn’t yet asked the questions to. There’s something about him…what is he?

“To sort of answer your initial question before you ask it again, I’m an Omega in an Alpha’s body,” Jax informed, sitting down at his row and inviting Louis to do the same.

“What…” Louis gasped, plopping down and uncoordinatedly pulling tomatoes off their vines as he stared at Jax in dumbfounded surprise.

“Don’t hear that every day, do you?” Jax snickered, crossing his ankles under his thighs and forgoing his picking to get this talk out of the way first.

“Tell me everything,” Louis blurted, abandoning his tomatoes as well and scooting in closer to the Alpha-Omega.

“Well…first off, I am the mate of Chibs, the chief of our pack’s Akecheta warriors, and Harry’s closest advisor. Ten years ago, our shared infatuation was the furthest thing from acceptable, so we spent the whole of my adolescence denying our feelings for each other, both reluctantly waiting for some imaginary perfect Omega to come around,” Jax scoffed, deep in his memories both happy and sad.

“Would it have been a crime to be together?” Louis wondered, unable to conjure even one example where a pairing like that had formed in Siksika. It was unheard of.

“Not a crime, but certainly taboo. I was training to be a warrior too, so to protect his status, we committed to forcing constant separation unless we absolutely had to interact. We never let ourselves be alone together. It was so impossible. He was in the process of getting promoted to chief after his Father, may he rest in peace, and I didn’t want the council changing their minds because of an inappropriate relationship,” he explained, rolling his eyes at the old council that had formerly ruled over Chehalis for the first half of his life—traditionalists to the extreme, and not even Desmond had been able to change that.

“Did you slip up the rules a lot?” Louis pondered, imagining himself in the same position and knowing without a doubt that he would constantly fuck up the deal. If it were Harry…he’d move the stars to be with him.

“Yeah, I did,” Jax choked around an eruption of laughter, memories of his defiance flowing back and breaking his calm composure. “I was the worst. I gave him as many sultry gazes and hip sways as possible.”

“You are so me it’s not even funny,” Louis giggled, the two sharing a relieved look of common bases before the Omega demanded more details. “So how did you deal with it?”

“Eventually, I didn’t. I left. Quite simply, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I left my training altogether. I think Desmond understood why—it wasn’t much of a secret,” Jax confessed, recalling the many number of times wolves had accused him of longingly staring at the warrior chief.

“Probably something I would have done as well,” Louis agreed, his face forming into a devious smirk that raised Jax’s eyebrows. “But you’re mated now. Obviously, something happened there to flip the scales. Go on, tell me,” he purred, knocking his knee in Jax’s and delighting in his blush.

“I was out in the training fields shooting with Katniss, who was only a prodigy cub at the time, and my bow broke. I went to the armory and dropped it in the fix pile, but what I found inside took me by surprise—”

“Chibs was in the armory,” Louis stated with a knowing grin, shutting up to let Jax continue.

“Yes, he was. He should have been asleep in his home, but there he was. In the corner. He’ll never admit it, but I know he was in there crying. It wasn’t long after his father had passed, so me, being the impulsive Alpha I am, didn’t even stop to breathe before I ran up and threw my arms around him. We uh...well, we ended up mating that night. On the straw floor of the armory,” he finished, holding his cheek with a shyness that no Alpha would ever possess.

“That’s so romantic, Jax,” Louis whined, scoffing in amazement and shaking his head in fond exasperation. He would never have a story like that. “I can’t imagine wolves were happy with you two after that…”

“No, they weren’t. And they knew instantly even after we’d washed off in the river, considering I was walking around with this,” he said, pointing to the makeshift bond mark that forever lived in the direct center of his neck. “I was interrogated by the council, but the only thing I could say was I’m in love. A meeting was held to decide what to do, and I could only hope that Desmond would take our side. Chibs was already on the council at this point, so it was very dramatic for him, but he fought for me like the chief he is. Most condemned our mating, especially Lucian, and the council sent me to do the work of an Omega since I ‘wanted to be one so bad’ and you know the rest.”

“I do not know the rest, keep going,” Louis begged, wondering how Harry played into all of this because the relationship obviously wasn’t under fire any longer. “How did Harry react?”

“Harry was amazing. When he came into his birthright after that…awful night, coming to me and Chibs was one of the first things he did. He was interested in our relationship, in a good way, and he made an official announcement that it was to be celebrated it in the pack—not scorned. Held a ceremony in our honour and everything, it was a dream come true; but when he started making arrangements for me to continue my warrior training, I kindly refused. I had no desire to follow that path anymore, so he let me stay here instead. Plus, Chibs was already so protective of me, I don’t think he would have allowed it. And that’s about it,” he finished, shaking his basket to make room for more tomatoes as he resumed his forgotten work.

“No, it’s not,” Louis argued with a chuckle, his cheeks reddening as he debated whether or not he should even bring this up. But he wanted to know. “This might be too personal, and you don’t have to answer, but how is it for you and Chibs to like...you know…” he trailed off, making vague gestures with his hands around their bodies.

“How do we mate, you mean? And how was the bonding possible?” Jax guessed, laughing at Louis’ mortified nod. He understood the desire for gritty details—something like this had never been done, and he was proud to inform him. “For the bond, my nature shifted around enough to develop a soulbonding patch under the Omega spot," he began, pointing to the real bond mark near the junction of his shoulder that Chibs had likely demolished the instant it surfaced under his skin.

“Just…shifted? You didn’t do anything?” Louis asked in puzzlement, leaning in and sniffing at the bond mark that his Alpha had decorated and claimed him with. It was as Omega as Louis’.

“Jade helped a little bit with some things, but it was mostly my wolf’s instincts. After being truly bonded to an Alpha, my body took on the characteristics of an Omega to make us compatible. I lost my ruts, started producing slick, responded drastically to howahkan…and just like any other Omega, I eventually got my first heat. It was an…interesting time to say the least; my hormones were all over the place. I still can’t mother pups, and I’m technically still an Alpha—I didn’t lose my knot—but I have certain qualities now that make my mateship easier to handle,” he informed, finally considering himself done with all his descriptions.

“That is incredible,” Louis breathed, overwhelmed by the knowledge that nature could shift itself in tight spots to allow a wolf to transition to another gender. He’d been taking step like that as well, taking on Alpha qualities and training his body to match them, but that was for survival—not love.

“I guess I’m a pretty dysfunctional Alpha,” Jax mused, an amused glint in his eyes that showed he wasn’t all that upset about it. It was only his inability to conceive that drove him nuts…everything else was heaven.

“Well, you’re talking to the worst Omega of all time, so that’s perfectly alright with me,” Louis assured, rolling his eyes at himself as he filled a basket and set it aside.

Jax leaned in to nuzzle their noses together, once again proving how Omega he was on the inside. “So I’ve heard...wanna trade?” he giggled jokingly, grinning when Louis nuzzled back and kissed his cheek.

“Yes please,” Louis groaned, both wolves laughing at their comedic chops as Louis dropped off his full basket and retrieved an empty one, grabbing an extra for Jax as well before he waltzed back to their area. “So,” he began as he sat beside Jax, handing him the basket he’d gotten for him and thinking how he’d word his next question. “So, earlier. You gave a pat to Draco but pulled me in when you looked at my nonexistent bonding spot. I saw that. Are you not allowed to touch mated Omegas in Chehalis?” he asked carefully, assuming it was probably a sore spot if it were true.

Jax sighed heavily to confirm without words, only throwing in a small explanation to keep Louis up to speed. “I’m discouraged to. Alphas can touch mated Omegas, and obviously it happens, but the Alphas, especially of my friends, are especially possessive, and they don’t like it at all. They know of my difference, and they would never outwardly give me scoldings, but I know it bothers them, so I try not to get too cozy…” he trailed, shrugging like it didn’t affect him, but both Omegas could see through that façade.

“Well, I’m yours to hold as you please,” Louis announced, leaning all his weight into Jax and practically climbing into his lap to snuggle when he was taken passionately into Jax’s arms, the pair basking in excessive affection because Louis knew how comforting it would be for Jax to do without fear of an Alpha’s reactive hiss.

“Thank you,” Jax whispered, sniffing up his fellow Omega’s neck and squeezing him tightly before letting go, gently setting him back down beside him with mussed hair and lazy smile.

“Any time,” Louis giggled, high from the happy feels that came along with cuddling.

They dedicated their time to their duties, both drowning in platonic love, and only a few minutes had passed before Jax broke the silence. He couldn't help it. “So, you really don’t submit to Alphas?” he asked in fascination, finding that hard to fathom because even he, a technical Alpha, submitted to them now.

Louis’ face melted into a smirk and he rolled his neck sideways to turn the smug look to Jax. “Nope,” he quipped proudly, a lopsided grin pulling the right corner of his lips up at Jax’s eyebrow raise. “I’m uncontrollable. A ‘dangerous liability,' or so my last Pack Alpha loved to scream at me…”

“That’s just as rare as I am. And no heats either?” Jax asked, already knowing that if this Louis was Cami’s ‘chosen one,’ he’d be withholding details of the full truth.

“Nope,” Louis said with a tight throat, swallowing thickly as he tried not to let the lie cause him any guilt. “Can I be honest with you, though?” he asked shakily, calmed by the hand that automatically fell to his shoulder.

“Anything in the world,” Jax affirmed, giving Louis all the time he’d need to come clean about whatever was bothering him.

“Never in my life have any of my Omega instincts come out as a result of me being in the presence of an Alpha. Not one time. But…I have to talk to someone about this…I think there’s something about Harry that…I feel like I might be getting a little affected by him? And it’s scaring the life out of me. He makes me want to submit, and I don’t know what to do. What does it mean?” he asked helplessly, like Jax could have the answer inscribed on the back of his hand.

Jax broke out into incessant barks of laughter that had him clutching at his stomach as it twisted in dull pain, knowing now without a doubt that this was Cami’s Louis.

“What? Is that bad?” Louis implored desperately, not even the least bit comprehensive regarding the reaction of hysterics he’d received.

“No, it’s not bad,” Jax assured immediately, still occasionally snickering from Louis’ telling confession. “Just ask Camila about it.”

“Camila? What’s she got to do with it?” Louis asked, eyes nearly crossing in confusion as he sought to connect those dots.

“Louis, just…just ask Camila,” Jax stated plainly when he’d finally calmed down, the shit-eating grin never leaving his face. “That’s all I’m going to tell you.”

 

---

 

Their conversations continued with lighter topics from that point on as the boys tried to learn everything trivial about each other. It was a very Omega trait to avidly connect with wolves of their gender and seek to uncover things as basic as a favourite colour, and Louis was amazed at just how many Omega traits Jax had honestly inherited.

When the tomato field was concluded, Jax and Louis regrouped with Kurt and Draco to move onto blackberries. While working together, the three Omegas, plus one unusual Alpha, quickly became inseparable. Louis met a few other Omegas on the job, and though they were perfectly pleasant, Louis had only formed a deep connection to his original group. Together as a family, they plowed through the all the fields left to complete for the day, and when they did, it felt like no time had passed at all.

The sun had begun its inevitable setting, so the Omegas parted with a multitude of hugs and kisses, leaving Draco and Louis to make their previously mentioned journey to the Keep. As they set their last baskets on the wheeler and turned around, they almost knocked right into a three-basket-juggling Niall who had come up behind them, and Louis almost screamed.

Niall looked dangerously close to fainting from exhaustion, and Louis blushed when he remembered why the blonde would be so tired, but his visceral fear was the main emotion in this scenario. “Niall,” he whimpered in trepidation, struggling to come up with any other greeting.

Zayn’s temperamental mate narrowed his eyes in contempt, but before Louis could make a run for it, Niall shook himself and gently set his baskets down, holding his hands up in a non-threatening manner. “No, No, Louis, I’m sorry. I understand now, I’m not mad, but just…not today. I’m not ready yet. My Omega is still furious, and I wouldn’t want to say anything I don’t really mean. So please, don’t say anything. Come to me tomorrow, I should be okay by then,” he said, the speech of pacifism itself sounding full of tension, as though he was already waging a war with his angry Omega.

The fiery Omega turned and briskly walked himself away from the situation, but Louis called after him before he was out of earshot: “Wait…but I’m on Alpha duty tomorrow!”

Niall huffed and whipped around to reply, never stopping his adamant retreat as he (outrageously loudly) screamed, “THE NEXT DAY, THEN!”

Louis jumped back like he’d been shot with an arrow and held a hand to his chest, his pulse thumping from the shock of the screech. Why is he like this?

Draco simply laughed with a fond sigh and picked up the baskets Niall had left, setting them onto the wheeler and throwing an arm around Louis’ hunched shoulders. “Don’t worry about him, he’ll come around,” he assured, giving Louis a supportive pat on the head as he led them away toward the Keep.

“He’s awful loud,” Louis remarked, seriously doubting Niall would ever "come around" like everyone kept trying to convince him.

“Yeah, he is,” Draco agreed, unable to deny that iconic quality. “I hate to imagine him as an Alpha.”

Louis shuddered at the thought as well and the Omegas let the harrowing topic go, walking with purpose to the Keep to try and reach it before sundown. They were halfway through the village, Draco educating Louis on what they were to be doing the day after tomorrow, when something to Louis’ left forcefully pulled his attention away from the Omega’s words.

There, stood in front of his magnificent and good-smelling home, was Alpha Harry—looking as gorgeous as ever, Louis might add, but he wasn’t alone. The Pack Alpha was completely surrounded by every Omega cub who had just gotten out of school, and it created a scene that Louis would rather drown himself in a river than view. Harry, oblivious to Louis’ turmoil, was effortlessly swinging a little brown-haired Omega cub above his head, making him squeal in merriment of the play, and that was bad enough—but then the Alpha pulled him into his side under his arm to attack with tickles as the cub’s friends shrieked in laugher, and Louis couldn’t take it.

The Pack Alpha’s musical laughter filtering into Louis’ ears created a watery film over his eyes, and it was almost the hardest thing Louis had ever done to stop the film from escaping down his cheeks. The sight locked in his vision could be classified as the most beautiful thing Louis had ever beheld, and watching how carefully and gently Harry treated the cute little Omega cubs as though he’d fathered all of them struck every heartstring Louis had. He wanted that. Why do I want that?

Draco had fallen silent when his partner froze in place, and now he was stuck looking back and forth between Louis and Harry, smirking to himself because he knew exactly what was happening here—Louis evidently yearned to mother Harry’s puppies, or he wouldn’t be sniffling like he’d come down with an emotional fever. “Paternal, isn’t he?” he asked Louis offhandedly, pretending to inspect a speck of dirt on his fingernail to perfect his role.

“What?” Louis asked distractedly, still gandering in fascination at Harry’s attractively father-like behavior. The words of Draco then registered in his mind and he tore his eyes away from the lovely image to meet his friend’s while his own swam in guilt, like he’d just been caught doing a reprehensible thing. “Paternal? Yes, I suppose,” he agreed petulantly, abruptly turning away from the scene and power-walking toward the Keep. So what? It’s not like that will ever matter to me.

Draco quietly giggled to himself and rushed to match Louis’ brutal pace, configuring how he could get these two to drop their inhibitions and mate. If Camila’s vision was true, which they always are, then it was only a matter of time—but he wanted to help.

Movements in his peripherals caught Harry’s attention, and he glanced looked up from his pack’s cubs to identify what it was—though there was a distinct scent he’d already recognized. Sure enough. The new Omega, Louis, was stalking across the slanted hill toward the Keep, and the Alpha’s eyes narrowed in deep consideration, grazing up and down his curvy frame.

Louis seemed almost in tune to Harry’s scrutinizing because his head twitched sideways as though he was going to look over and meet his eyes, but he never did, forcing himself to stay on his forward course. Peculiar.

Harry continued to follow the puzzling Omega with his unwavering gaze until the boy disappeared into the Keep, Parsel’s skinny mate trailing in after him. There’s just something about him, he thought suspiciously, shaking his head as he gave his time and energy back to the cubs. Ferocious Omega or not, he shouldn’t ever be alone. Somebody needs to protect him.

 

---

 

Draco and Louis spent the next gruesome hour cramping their neck muscles as they leaned over largely sized mortars and pestles, squishing the red berries from the morning into a fine paste and then scraping it into wooden jars with cloth tops slapped over them, tied with twine. It was physically demanding and Louis’ arms were on fire, but as soon as they’d filled five jars each, they rejoiced at finally being done for the day. Except it was now nighttime.

Louis knew the excitement of the first day would pass, and this work would get expectedly tedious after doing it consistently, but he was still ecstatic to have friends he could share the burden with. Something he didn’t expect to happen for him so soon.

The pair pushed the wheeler all the way back through the village en route to the outskirts where Louis and the Healer and Seer pairs lived. Draco was mated to a council member, and those important wolves resided in the warrior area of the village, closer to Harry, so when Draco knew Louis would be able to find his way back on his own, he hugged him goodbye, thanking him for taking over for him, and returned home to his mate, Parsel.

Louis had heard quite a bit about Parsel by now, having spent the entire day with Draco. He had learned Parsel had originally been named Jameson, and that he stood at a height shorter than Draco, which Louis found amusing. There were all kinds of unusual bondmates in this pack, and it made Louis feel more confident about his abnormalities.

What really gripped him about Parsel, however, was his alleged multi-species identity; which Louis could not wait to see. The story goes, as told by Draco, was this Alpha had been born with depressingly poor eyesight; so much so he’d been officially labeled blind by the pack as a child. He could technically see, but it was an unheard-of kind of vision that was different from any regular wolf’s, and Louis didn’t understand what this meant, but if he ever met him, he’d make sure to ask.

To continue, Parsel’s instincts had apparently called him into the forest at a very young age, and he’d developed an affinity for the snakes that inhabited it. He had gotten to know them, spending most of his time with them, learning their ways, and eventually, how to communicate. This marks the reason the snakes had named him 'Parsel.' Louis still can’t even process it.

To help him with his eyesight, the snakes had gifted him with some of their species’ traits, granting him extraordinary hearing and the fascinating ability to harness vibrations and sound-waves that consequently allowed him to fight and maneuver on par with his fellow Alphas. When the Alpha had bonded with Draco, their unity had enabled Parsel to see Draco exactly how he was, in vibrant and perfect detail. Still to this day, his Omega mate, no matter how far the distance, is the one and only thing crystal clear to Parsel’s eyes. Yeah—Louis cried too.

He thought it was remarkably romantic, and he couldn’t wait to meet Parsel after listening to his tale. Of course, yet another thrilling depiction of true love disheartened him to a degree. The more powerful and emotionally moving stories he took in, the more he despised his own loneliness. Maybe if he hadn’t rebelled so much in his youth, he could have had a shot at getting a mate. He could have acted submissive, but he didn’t. He’d retaliated. So maybe he had done all this to himself, but doesn’t he deserve love too?

If Chibs and Jax can end up together, against all odds, can’t he find someone just as eccentric and unconventional as he, and be happy together forever? He was sending that prayer up to the Gods as he arrived at Jade’s teepee, brushing the dirt off his hide bottoms and yipping outside for her.

“Ah, thank you so much, Louis! Come on in, but be sneaky,” she whispered as she came out to greet him, giving him a warm and crushing hug. Together, they pushed the wheeler into her home and quietly distributed the ten jars onto her far wall shelves, the sneakiness afoot because Perrie was sleeping before her night patrol shift and they didn’t want to wake her.  

Once all the jars were collected, Jade gave Louis one last hug and mutedly thanked him for his help, pushing the creaky wheeler back out and informing him not to worry about it because an Alpha would come and grab it in the morning. She blew him a short kiss and then returned to the privacy of her and her mate’s teepee to do whatever Jadedra did when left to her own devices.

Louis was just turning to go home himself when he heard a hushed, “Louis” from somewhere behind him. Spinning around with an unintended yawn, he found Camila again sticking her head out of her teepee and urgently beckoning him over. “Hi, Cami,” he said, shuffling up to her teepee with peaked interest. “I had forgotten, but this is actually perfect timing...I was wondering if I could possibly speak with you about some things…”

“I know you were,” she replied knowingly, stepping out through the opening of her home and wrapping her thin clothing around her body to cover herself. “Let’s go to your house, okay?” she proposed, both her hands coming up to tuck her long hair behind her ears before immediately crossing over her chest again.

Louis easily agreed, walking her in the direction of his wigwam and draping an arm around her back to shield her from the cold she was obviously discomforted from. Eventually, they reached their destination and slipped inside, getting things ready before conclusively sitting down right in front of each other on Louis’ bedding, illuminated by a single flame Camila had lit to a wick of string atop a wooden block she held in her hands.

“So... Louis. Where do we even begin?” she asked, placing the block to the side and then digging her elbows into her splayed knees, resting her chin in her palms while she hummed in pensive contemplation.

Louis thought his words out carefully so he wouldn’t give anything away, sparking things up with a simple, “How much do you know about me, Cami?”

Her immediate response was chilling: “Everything.”

Well, there goes that. “Oh,” he squeaked in surprise, clearing his throat and delving deeper into the mystery. “Can you tell me how?”

“I guess it is best to start at the beginning, isn’t it?” she mused with a chuckle, quickly getting into it when Louis only nodded in semi-agreement. “One night, around three season cycles ago, I had a nightmare. An image of an Omega boy in a faraway land getting his pack bond mark severed from his wrist—”

Okay,” Louis drawled with widening eyes, obviously knowing where this was going and pleading for her to continue. This was the real deal.

“I watched this boy collect a five-month’s supply of herbs, and Chatan, and leave his territory to set off elsewhere. When I woke up—”

“Camila, how is it you saw me? Pack Seers are for their pack specifically, I shouldn’t have been in your dream at all,” he reasoned, his gut still in tangles over hearing her say ‘Chatan.’ He’d never told anyone about naming his sword.

“I’ll have to ask you to hold all your questions until I’m finished. Some of them may be answered,” she said with a characteristic wink, laughing when he crossed his fist over his heart.

Blushing, he nodded again, promising not to interrupt.

“When I woke up, I immediately went to our Pack Elder, Ianalfto, to ask him for any kind of guidance. He could not give, for he hadn’t a clue what it meant either, but I knew what I had dreamed was real. For the next moon cycle, I woke up every night haunted by emotions that weren’t mine...Lauranna had to drop me so many times, I can’t even count. I felt your pain, and your anger, your betrayal, everything. Worst thing was I couldn’t relate to anyone about it because nobody had ever experienced something like that. It was very isolating, but obviously you understand...just know that I truly do as well…” he trailed, her eyebrows dancing up and down as she mulled over those trying cycles.

“I’m sorry, Cami. My life isn’t a horse anyone would want to ride,” Louis mourned, scooting in close to his Omega friend and nuzzling her nose. “You handled it better than I did, I think. Even with dropping.”

“It wasn’t a burden, Louis. I just needed you to be safe. I wanted you here, and I couldn’t get to you, and that was what tore me apart,” she explained, reciprocating the nose nuzzling and wrapping herself in a blanket as they huddled together.

“You’re sweet… So, that just happened for three years?” Louis lamented, truly upset that Camila had been forced to live through his struggles when they didn’t even know each other. What kind of odd punishment from the Gods is that?

“No, not exactly. That was in the beginning. Over time, you were steadily traveling further and then closer to our tribe. At least once a day, I would see you, but by this point I was awake when it happened. I just got flashes here and there. The dreams were more intense and detailed as time went on—sometimes I was seeing the world through your eyes, like I was you; others, I was like a bird watching from above. I saw the remedy process, and all the fights, felt it when your ribs broke, and so forth. The closer to us you got, the deeper I could see than just your present. I began to see your future. Yes, future,” she clarified when Louis’ big eyes shot up to hers in alarm. “You asked how I saw you when I’m in this pack, and you were not. But aren’t you here now?” she asked meaningfully, letting him piece things together on his own.

“You mean this is my destiny?” Louis gasped, truthfully hoping he’d theorized that correctly.

“Am I not proof of that?” she teased, coughing into her fist and shivering until Louis threw his blanket over her.

“But…I got banished for my own insolence. It was no mere chance that changed my future. I was in control; I could have stopped, but I didn’t,” he reasoned, wondering if fate can make a wolf act a certain way as much as it can form a line of events to coincide.

“Is it so hard to believe that you were lashing out to get further from your then current situation and instead wind up here, where you belong?” she countered, making Louis choke on his spit when he tried to swallow. “It is too far-fetched to consider that your true instinct knew you were not where you needed to be, and it reacted accordingly to get you closer? To bring you home?”

Louis closed his mouth that had dropped open, and he began to ask the loudest question that was occupying his mind. “Cami...Harry—”

“I know.”

Why?”

“Because I believe you to be true mates,” she responded simply.

“WHAT!” he shouted incredulously, getting a hand slapped a hand over his mouth. “Sorry,” he whispered as Cami removed her hand with a giggle, continuing in a quieter tone. “But honestly, that’s impossible. It’s not even real. That’s just fairy-tale crap told to Omega children.”

“Is it?” she challenged.

“It’s not?”

“Let me explain. It hasn’t happened in a very long time; most of us aren’t that picky,” she relentlessly teased, giving him another cheeky wink. “But sometimes there are two souls that are already bonded in a way, but nowhere close physically. There have been so many cases like yours, Louis. I’ve seen them when I look into the history of our pack. Omegas and Alphas who can never mate and feel fulfilled from it at the same time. But it’s not because they were broken; it’s that they were waiting. No matter what, the two souls meant to be will find each other. Every time. I’ve seen many futures, Louis, and every one of yours has Harry in it,” she said, giving him time to process the new information.

Which he wasn’t doing a very good job of because he’d begun sobbing uncontrollably into his propped-up knees. “But Harry could never love me. Not me, the broken Omega. He’s too perfect, and I’m legitimately awful! I could never be good enough. This doesn’t change a thing,” he cried, finding the concept of true mates to be ludicrous on its own. Camila made it believable, but there was nothing that could make him believe he was true mates with Harry.

Camila raised her eyebrow but comforted the sobbing Omega as best as she could. “Don’t be so sure, Louis. It is no coincidence he has always been the most sought-after bachelor for almost every Omega in the tribe, yet has not ever found anyone he deemed worthy of his interest, and has never once bedded an Omega,” she informed, aware that it would raise Louis' spirits to the heavens.

Louis cautiously looked up from his hands he was snotting into. Never bedded an Omega? “He hasn’t?” he asked dubiously, wiping his face clean when Camila nodded in verdict.

“Omega’s word,” she promised, crossing her fist over her heart. “No Omega in the world has tied with Harry’s knot.”

“Good…that’s good. And-and all those Alphas? Every Alpha in my life?” Louis asked with a short stutter, his heartbeat ascending healthy levels to hear of the Pack Alpha’s chosen virginity—that was a very good sign.

“The Alphas in your life could not reach you because you were not theirs. You weren’t ever defective, Louis. You were taken,” she stressed, watching the lightning of understanding clash over Louis’ head.

Louis could hardly believe what he was hearing. Harry? The Pack Alpha? And himself? Mates? True Mates? It was all so preposterous, but somewhere deep in his soul, he allowed himself to consider it as a possibility. It was indeed odd that Harry was the only Alpha to ever reach Louis’ Omega in any way, shape, or form, and lately, Louis has found himself thinking very Omega-like thoughts when he regards his Alpha. Yikes, as you can see he’s already begun to refer to Harry as his Alpha.

Cami had begun to say something, but Louis was far too lost in his thoughts to catch her statement. “Sorry, what did you say?” he asked apologetically, turning off his rampant mind to focus on her.

Camila smiled at him in understanding and repeated her words once more: “I said that I’ll be making your remedies from now on. I know how, and you won’t get much time off to do it yourself. Plus, nobody will notice what I’m doing,” she informed, letting Louis take his sweet time because it seemed he was working extra slowly now.

“Thanks for that, I was worried about that too,” he finally said, following the path of his other thought because it was incessantly bringing itself forth. “Cami…who all knows about me?” he asked, nervous about all these things being released to the public.

“Ah. Well counting myself…Lauran, Perrie, Jade, Jax, and Draco were the only ones to know about you and Harry. Peeta and Kurtanis knew of your arrival, but nothing more. I told them you were the one when you got here so they would know, but they didn’t know your name before, or your future as the Pack Omega...I’m sorry. Now that you’re here, it does sound like I’ve gone and blabbed about your personal business, but you have to understand all I knew at the time was that our Alpha’s true mate was out there, and someday he would come to our pack and bring fulfillment to our lonely leader, while continuing the Styles bloodline. It was very exciting, and I had to share with our friends back then. You can understand, right?” she asked sheepishly, prepared to apologize relentlessly if he didn’t.

“That actually explains a few things,” he mumbled with a snort, the snort turning into a choke as he panicked once more. “Wait, Harry doesn’t know, right?” he squealed, belatedly terrified but seconds from exploding.

“No, no, no. Calm down. He doesn’t know anything, I promise. None of the council members or warrior Alphas know. We never wanted Harry to know because we wanted this to happen naturally. Most importantly, though, nobody is supposed to know their personal future. It screws with the head to be privy of such things—but I knew you’d have questions, and when I heard Jax report that you were having confusing feelings for our Alpha, I had to talk to you. Now you know why.”

“And…how does Harry feel about me?” he begged the Seer, glad at least he now had an inside look at Harry’s heart.

Camila hummed and shrugged her tiny shoulders. “A Pack Alpha’s thoughts and actions can never be revealed to a Seer. They need their secrets, I guess,” she hypothesized.

There goes my inside look. Louis groaned in defeat; he wished she had all the answers, but he couldn’t deny she’d been insurmountably helpful. “Okay, Cami. Thanks for telling me all this, it’s...it’s a lot to take in, and I kind of feel like I wanna be alone right now,” he said in embarrassment, hating to kick her out but needing the time alone to think.

“Of course,” she said easily, enveloping the Omega in her arms to show she had no qualms about the send-off. “It’ll all work out, Louis. This was meant to be.”

 

---

 

Louis probably got two hours maximum of sleep that night, nonstop dreaming of one green eye and one brown every damn time he closed his eyes, but there was nothing he could do about it. The Pack Alpha was a very intimidating wolf, and Louis was not presumptuous enough to waltz up to him and start discussing pup names.

He had no clue what he was going to do, but he knew for sure he was not going to stop taking his remedies. He was relieved Cami was going to take over the mixture for him; that was a serious load off his chest. He didn’t want to mix that crap ever again for as long as he lived.

Before Louis knew it, his wigwam began to brighten from the outside sun and the Omega grumbled unhappily into his blanket. Today marked the first of his Alpha duties and he hadn’t been able to a wink of good sleep because he had been assassinated by the words of fate. Not ideal.

The moment Louis realized he didn’t know where he was supposed to be going, he began to panic, stressing intensely about being late and unreliable until Zayn popped into his home, shaking his wet hair from an apparent morning swim in the river. Louis paused his frets and locked his eyes onto his friend, relieved that after befriending Niall and looking into Harry’s gaze once, he no longer saw Zayn as outlandishly attractive. Much easier to deal with now.

“Morning, Lou. Harry told me to come get you. Are you ready for the really good shit?” the Alpha asked, hopping up and down to gear himself up for the run he’d have to make to get there.

The mere mention of Harry’s name—and the knowledge that he’d said his name at least once in the last twelve hours—brought butterflies to the Omega’s stomach, and he bit his love-struck giggle down with a passionate force, shoving it into the pit of his stomach to flutter away with all the other little critters. “I’m always ready,” he replied with a yawn, hopping up and growling for added effect. Was he really ready, though? Will he ever be ready in Chehalis? Probably not, no.

Chapter Text

The beginning of the day didn’t turn out to be as exciting as he’d thought it would. Zayn and Louis had unfortunately gotten split up; Zayn assigned to guard duty, and Louis dropped into strength training. Apparently, even if you were an experienced warrior of Chehalis, you still had to attend daily strength training. Which was an admittedly good happenstance, because warriors needed to be at their best and stay there—but Louis hardly thinks he needs it. He’s done just fine without.

Instead of complaining about it like a whiny Omega, Louis had marched straight into the training longhouse, packed with Alphas warming up for the day, and asserted his foreboding presence in every way possible. It was a necessity for Louis to prove his worth; to combat the weird and disbelieving looks he was getting for being an Omega among warriors; and he figured he’d done a fine job of it.

He’d snapped at the owner of every stare until they looked away, lunged for anyone who snorted at his bravado, and barked with howahkan when he was told to ‘take it easy.’ He was, at present, idly but ferociously beating the shit out of an example dummy made of clay when their leader swiftly entered the building, and it took him a few extra seconds to steady the dummy and stand at attention.

The warrior Alpha exuded a graceful aura that Louis couldn’t ever hope to harness, but it was his face that made the Omega especially intrigued in his backstory. The Alpha had two angry lines of scars at a diagonal slant down both his cheeks, and they looked to have gotten there by the end of a blade. His scars made him look rough and unapproachable, so his cheerful smile at the group gave the defacements a sharp contrast.

“Mornin, everyone,” the Alpha said drowsily, scratching at the mentioned scars and yawning into his palm.

“Hey, Chibs,” Katniss responded, happily startling Louis because he hadn’t even noticed she was in the building.

So this is Chibs, Louis awed, connecting the name to the infamous warrior chief—Jax’s mate. Chibs did indeed fit the exterior of a rugged warrior leader, and Louis had already grown an admiration for him from Jax’s exposition of their taboo bond. This was going to be a great lesson.

“I’d like to welcome Louis to our training today. He’s under special orders from Harry to be here, and if I hear one person make any comment on his gender, I will beat you into the ground. It will be going against Harry, so don’t you dare. Also, try and have a little respect for the Omega’s sake. If what I’ve heard is true, he can take all of you down. Be wise,” Chibs warned, causing an awkward blushing to spread across Louis’ cheeks.

To Louis’ incredulity, all the previously wary and/or outwardly condescending Alphas were now regarding him with a combination of acceptance and cautious appreciation. Chibs evidently had a great deal of influence over the warriors, but Louis vowed he’d win every single of them over of his own accord. He didn’t require anyone to defend him. Louis would garner everyone’s deference by himself.

Just as Chibs began to delve into the details of the duels they were about to perform, the Alpha chief unexpectedly tensed, his entire body rigid and stiff as a tree. A few weighted seconds elapsed of the warrior furiously sniffing the air, and the room began to worry.

“Chibs, what’s wrong?” asked an unknown Alpha to Louis’ right.

“Jax is going into heat,” the chief announced, his eyes wide with alarm. “Oh wow, that’s really early, but it’s here. Okay, uh…Parsel, you go get Harry and tell him to supervise the duels, I have to go. I’m sorry, everyone,” he said hurriedly, virtually soaring out of the longhouse without another word.

Louis watched as a long-haired, very beautiful but also particularly strange Alpha with incredibly intricate and serpentine eyes—that didn’t even seem focused on his surroundings—pass by him and vacate the longhouse as well, and he gathered that had obviously been Parsel. He now he understood the kind of traits Draco had been describing. The eyes were…well, the only thing Louis could think to equate them to was an actual snake’s. The pupils were narrow and vertical, and the irises were coloured a golden, reddish-brown. One of a kind, indeed.

The most magnetizing thing, however, was how the Alpha had moved. He indisputably wasn’t using his eyes to discern where he was going—at first glance, he appeared to, but when Louis had examined him as he’d strode past, the Omega could tell the eyes of the Alpha weren’t truly the means of sensory perception guiding him through the crowd. He had ever so slightly been cocking his head to the side as he maneuvered, like he was listening for something, and his movements were utterly silent.

Parsel, as a whole, was a fascinating wolf, and Louis didn’t think he’d ever get over it. How truly wonderful it was that Parsel could see his mate in perfect definition when he couldn’t see anything else. Louis’ heart positively swelled for the couple.

Louis’ happy little Omega moment was suddenly hurled into panic Omega moment so fast that he suffered a violent case of whiplash. Shit! He hadn’t internalized Chibs had ordered Parsel to go get Harry, as in the Harry, and when the Omega finally did, Harry had already swept into the room with the peculiarly-traveling Parsel close behind.

“Looking good, wolves,” the Pack Alpha groggily drawled, adjusting the small breechcloth around his hips he’d evidently just put on. Louis’ toes curled as he imagined the before picture. Everyone in the room bowed their devotion to the Pack Alpha, and Louis quickly snapped himself in half as well; he refused to stand out any more than he had to (more than he already did). Now was not the time. When the official respects had been paid, the room unanimously pitched in their ‘good morning’s to their godly leader, and he responded in kind.

“I’ve been informed Chibs was about to start dueling matches?” Harry asked the room once they’d quieted, his wolves nodding their heads with a little chorus of chuckles. “I’m pleased. I love a good fight in the morning. Let’s get right into it, shall we?” he proposed, the wolves parting like a school of fish and forming a circle around the little stage that peeked up from the floor.

Louis scrambled to an open spot to stand, and tried to hide himself behind the back of a tall Alpha, disinclined to receive this Pack Alpha’s attention when he was supposed to be his true mate, or whatever. No.

Harry’s unique eyes slowly and carefully surveyed the wolves in the circle, sizing everyone up before stopping on a long-faced Alpha on the western side of the group. “Keanu!” he called, the requested Alpha moving to the center and stepping up onto the stage with the Pack Alpha.

“And…” Harry dragged out, resuming his search of the crowd. His gaze was getting dangerously close to Louis, just barely visible from behind his wall of an Alpha, and the Omega squeezed his eyes shut as he began to chant in his head. Not me. Do not do this. You’re gonna do it. I know you are, you asshole, don’t pick me. Not me, please no— “…Louis.”

The Omega shot his eyes open and glared at the Alpha’s face—can’t look him in the eyes—for all he was worth. He held the glare for several seconds before caving to cooperation, stepping out from around the Alpha and hopping onto the battle stage. Louis knew this was Harry’s way of testing him, and he was going to come out on top no matter what. He’d defeated much bigger Alphas than Kanu, or whatever his name was, and he was almost impatient to begin.

In fact, Louis found he was elated. He smirked at the warrior Alpha while he cracked his knuckles, back, and shoulders, preparing his body to make the sharp movements it would need to for success. He heard Harry explaining the rules, but he didn’t listen at all, crouching down into an offensive position and sucking in a breath—

“LOUIS!” Harry barked, apparently not for the first time, instantly halting Louis’ imminent advance.

“What?” the Omega asked impudently, finding it almost painful to be short with his Alpha. That’s not good.

“I said you’re on defense. No offensive attacks. Keanu is offense. Are we clear?” Harry muttered in slight agitation, still happy to push the boundaries of the Omega by sticking him on defense.

Louis’ face fell in disappointment, but he gave a short nod to show he understood. He would accept any challenge his Pack Alpha threw at him. He obediently changed his stance and waited for Harry to announce the start of the duel. Offensive or not, this was still going to be too easy.

Harry then stepped off the stage to give them room and let out a short-lived and piercing bark, but neither opponents moved. Instead, they began to circle each other like vultures, waiting for the opportune moment to strike.

Having enough of Louis’ severely misplaced and overly confident smirking, Keanu found his window and lunged for the Omega, fully expecting to end it right then and there. Shockingly, he was far too slow, and Louis glided away without so much as a hair blown out of place.

Keanu tried futilely countless more times to reach the fast little devil, his goal having downsized to just getting a hand on him, but he never touched the Omega, getting outsmarted every time. Louis was three steps ahead of the Alpha no matter what he did, and he began laughing out loud as he dodged his every advance. This greatly insulted the Alpha’s nature to a manic degree and he accidentally lost control of his instincts, his wolf shooting out from his soul in the middle of the duel.

That didn’t take long, Louis noted internally, referencing the multitude of examples in which rogues had gotten tired of chasing after him and shifted to ‘end the fight’—they weren’t ever the ones to end it, though. A wolf in duel-practice was apparently not something that happened very often, if going by the collective gasp Louis heard from the rest of the company, and he caught some of their dumbfounded expressions in the corner of his eyes.

Harry would have stopped it right there, but he needed to know. He needed to see what Louis could do. So, little Omega. What are you going to do?

Louis, being wholly unbothered by the sudden change in gameplay, remained in his human form, merely picking up the pace of his dodges and heightening his jumps, expertly avoiding Keanu all the same. The temptation to shift grew more insistent the longer he dodged the wolf’s lunges, but he would not adhere to his instincts—he would finish this as a human. Show Harry how capable he was when put on the spot.

The warriors surrounding the duelers were beside themselves, but most of all, Harry, whose inner Alpha was swelling with pride from watching the Omega’s unheard-of strength, and clear supremacy of his kind, right before his very eyes. The Pack Alpha caught his affectionate musings and briefly wondered why he felt proud rather than neutrally impressed, but he couldn’t dwell on it for long because Louis took that time to administer his first and final blow.

With the grace of a hawk and agility of a cougar, Louis flung himself into the air, carefully twisting and spinning through it to land perfectly atop Keanu’s back and constrict his arms around the wolf’s thick neck. No matter how many times Keanu tried to buck him off, Louis would not let himself budge, and only when the Alpha was gasping for breath, and the struggle was drastically lessening, did Louis finally release him and jump off, landing noiselessly onto one knee beside his fallen opponent.

The room held its breath for a few more beats before breaking out into thunderous acclaim, hopping up onto the stage to pat him on the back in admiration. Even Keanu himself shifted back and gave Louis a fierce hug and Alpha-like pat /smash/ on the back. Looking around, Louis realized the only wolf to show no recognition of his accomplishment was the Pack Alpha himself, gorgeous face blank and unreadable. Well?

Silencing the room at once by holding one hand into the air, Harry languidly made his way into the circle as the wolves crept back into their tight circle, guiding Keanu out and removing his tribal necklace. “Elessar,” he called, holding the jewelry in his outstretched arm.

A strong-chinned Alpha rushed forward and gingerly took the piece from Harry’s awaiting hand, moving far beyond the circle to set it down on a mantle upon the same wall as the exit.

Harry then turned his body to face Louis, and the Omega nearly died. Harry wants Louis to fight him? How was Louis going to achieve this without automatically giving in? Apparently, the need to impress his Alpha was greater than his fear of hurting him, because Louis lowered to a threatening crouch before he’d intended to, and he felt his blood boiling with anticipation.

Harry looked unperturbed at Louis’ enthusiasm, offhandedly instructing Elessar to call the battle, and refusing to even bend his knees in preparation. He wasn’t worried—and Louis hated that. After a few painfully long moments, the starting bark was heard, and Louis barely got time to move one muscle before Harry was charging him. Reacting just in time with a startled yip, Louis leapt skyward, soaring over the Alpha and landing clumsily behind him.

He prepared to strike next, spinning himself around with his knee raised to deliver a kick, but Harry was fast, and blocked Louis’ attack with ease, knocking his leg away with the back of his hand. Louis then tried for a punch, but Harry’s forearms took the brunt of it with ease and he darted forward so quick that Louis was forced to leap away like a little bitch. This wasn’t looking like it would turn out in Louis’ favour and he was furious—he was now ferally ambitious to be regarded as an equal, and he had to figure out a way to do that. He needed to prove his worth to his mate, so dropping his walls of calculated fighting style, he unleashed an unfiltered inferno of combative attacks. If I’m going to go down, I’m going to do it in style.

The battle was promptly thrust into a high-speed, higher-energy fight to the death. The two opponents were moving and blocking/attacking so quickly, it was even difficult for the warrior Alphas to follow it with their eyes. Their complex footwork and reflexes, though chaotic, were as graceful as a dance, and the warriors were entranced by the performance before them, documenting everything they saw to educate themselves on how they could be fighting if they just trained harder.

Meanwhile, Louis was raging. Every consecutive attack he threw was seamlessly parried by the Pack Alpha, but in turn, all of Harry’s were equally blocked by the Omega. This went on endlessly, and Louis began to grow weary from the exertion. Every time he tried to catch a moment and conserve his energy, Harry was on him like lightning, and Louis fought back with everything he had.

Through his anger, he allowed himself to be impressed with Harry—not even rogues had this kind of endurance. It had never taken Louis long to do away with his enemies, but Harry was far superior to every rogue he'd come across. He was a beast, and this wasn't going to end well. Louis left his environment behind so Harry was the only thing that existed in the entire world, and fought him like his life depended on it. He managed to get a few kicks in against Harry’s sides and legs, but he could never get anywhere near his face, and he knew Harry was still holding back. If Louis could kick him, then he could get kicked in return, but the assaults never came.

Affronted because Louis figured Harry was underestimating his tolerance to pain, the Omega took the route of taunting the Alpha. “What’s wrong, coward? Think a delicate Omega like me can’t take a punch? Why don’t you fight for real, huh?” he shouted between gasps for air.

The Alpha only paused for a blip of a moment, but that was all the opening Louis needed. He slid quick as an arrow through the guard of Harry’s arms and jammed his trusty elbow into Harry’s bare stomach, his diabolical grin at success hurting his cheeks.

The Pack Alpha grunted from the impact, but otherwise took it like a champion, and besides, this was the exact sacrifice he had needed to make to get Louis where he wanted him. Louis seemed to realize this too, but a second too late, and before he could flee, Harry wrapped an arm around the Omega’s neck and yanked him up against him, his other hand tangling in his hair and tilting his face up to meet his eyes.

Louis’ heart lurched as his body was now forcibly pressed against Harry’s, and he squirmed as the Alpha’s sweet breath floated around his cheeks like a massage. Okay, maybe Louis’ getting a little carried away—the Alpha was actually just panting in his face, but Louis enjoyed it all the same. The scent of an Alpha, this Alpha, so close to him was blurring his vision, and Louis had to blink several times before Harry’s features came back into focus. And when they did, he noticed something strange.

At some point during that momentary fog, both of Harry’s eyes had become pitch black orbs, like his pupils had blown to their maximum radius, but Louis knew the pigment itself had transformed. He’d seen this before—when he first met him. The menacing ebony eyes were beyond hypnotizing and Louis subconsciously pressed himself harder into Harry’s frame—thankfully unnoticeable to their audience—while he tried to seep the Alpha’s sweat into his own pores. Might sound gross, but you’d do it too.

Harry noticed the Omega’s unintentional pining, and the fist that had his hair in a vice-grip swiftly released it in apology, his palm smoothing the unsettled strands to the best of his ability. A careful thumb lightly stroked back and forth just behind Louis’ earlobe, under his hair where it wouldn’t be seen, and the arm that had been wound tightly around his neck lowered so it sat more around his shoulders. “I got you,” he whispered into Louis’ star-struck face with a smug smile, giving a parting squeeze to the nape of the Omega’s neck and then letting him go, stepping backward as he ruminated on why it felt awful to put space between them.

When this happened, a sort of spell seemed to have broken, and they were both suddenly aware of the roaring Alphas surrounding them.

Louis blanched. He really hoped the moment he’d just shared with the Pack Alpha hadn’t been as long for everyone else as it had been for him, because that would be hours. He shyly waved at the applauding Alphas, but his eyes searched for the retreated Harry, lamenting the truth that their interaction was now over. Come back…

The Pack Alpha had retrieved his neck piece from the mantle and was currently adjusting it while he stared directly into Louis’ unblinking eyes. They were both aware of the tension and sparks that had flowed between them, but Louis wasn’t an Omega Harry could ever mate (he would never let himself have any Omega), so he needed to find a way to squash this attraction before it spun out of control.

He sat down in Chibs’ throne of a chair and waited for the buzz to die down, maintaining his intense and contemplative staring contest with the Omega as his rowdy warrior gradually chilled their blazing excitement.

Louis knew the Pack Alpha was waiting for attentive recognition, so he cleared his throat at the talkative warriors in a warning, and when that coveted silence was acquired, Harry finally spoke; a blunt and appreciative statement in that low, gravelly voice of his that had Louis quivering with insatiable desire: “Louis could kill you all.” 

Chapter Text

The remainder of the strength training proved to be a great deal less exciting than the duels had been, but if that wasn’t the most obvious statement Louis could ever make, he can’t imagine what would be.

There had been noteworthy duels after Louis and Harry had indulged in their battle of pride, sure, but they didn’t involve Harry, so they hardly counted. Nevertheless, they were interesting enough for Louis to mention. A fight between two Alphas by the names Daven and Thorin had been the most enthralling, and if Louis may say so, pleasing to the eye; with both Alphas having similarly large builds, there had been more muscle quivers than Louis ever thought he needed to see. Other battles of identical, boring content slowed time to a crawl, but as Louis was hyperaware of the Pack Alpha sitting in his chair surveying the lot, he didn’t particularly mind the warp of the minutes.

Louis had fought in official duels three more times, pulverizing every opponent as expected, and he couldn’t be smugger about it. Any time he caught Harry looking at him, though, he infuriatingly faltered, but he managed to pull through on sheer will alone. Anything to impress him.

He’d connected well with an Alpha girl called Shane, because she’d practice-parried with him for the last half of battle training, and she thankfully didn’t take everything as seriously as the other Alphas, so they were able to joke around with each other like friends. She was freakishly tall and thin, much like Draco, and her brown, spiky shoulder-length hair reminded Louis of a hedgehog. They had fought more for fun and sport than a feud for self-worth, and it was immensely refreshing.

When all the trainees were breathing like fish out of water, Harry finally concluded the hands-on portion of the morning and moved on to enervating cardio, forcing his subjects to run laps outside and shift back and forth between their wolves and humans as fast as they could until they wore themselves out too much to continue. Louis, as you may have guessed, excelled—and he knew Harry had watched him the whole time, considering he’d been the last standing at the end of the challenge for an extra minute before finally giving up.

Louis had remained in his wolf at the end because he didn’t feel like standing naked in front of a bunch of warriors, especially Harry, and he’d sat heavily on his butt while Zayn fetched his clothing from under the tree he’d dropped it at and set the garments down before his paws. The Alphas all turned away to give the Omega his requested privacy to shift and dress, but Harry had taken that opportunity to do something rather unexpected—and maddening.

With a purposeful stride, Harry had waltzed up to his wolf and given him a short scratch under the chin to congratulate his victory over the warriors—unbelievable. He’d given him a smile that almost made Louis faint, and then turned away respectively, striking up a conversation with his Beta. Louis had shifted nearly instantaneously and shoved his limbs into his clothes, barking when he was done, and then life had moved on. Louis can still feel the Alpha’s warm fingers grazing his Omega wolf’s fur, and he’s been in his human now for hours. What a horrible thing to do.

The warriors, if this needed saying, were to be without Chibs’ services for the rest of the week, and Harry appointed himself to lead not only the lessons, but the patrol portions as well, and Louis couldn’t decide how he felt about it—but the inclination wasn’t hard to guess.

When the sun was at its highest in the partly-cloudy skies, signaling the end of training (coincidentally after the rapid-shifting challenge), the warriors lined up before the Pack Alpha to get split up and go off to either patrol, or guard duty. Louis was patrol duty—with Zayn and Liam, no less, so he was content with the ruling.

Zayn had needed to brief Louis on the logistics of the subject as the trio traveled to their station, so he’d quickly learned there were six posts in a large circle around the territory, three Alphas per group, and six groups at one time. The village was actually quite close to one edge of the circular borders, which meant the village wasn’t the epicenter of the pack territory, so two of the six groups were always stationed decently close to each other in that area for obvious reasons, and that was the very spot they were headed to.

Of course, the village being close to the borders meant some of the stations were all the way on the other side, a day’s journey away, and Louis felt crushing sympathy for the Alphas who had to trek all the way to the opposite territory line. Warriors stationed there had to pack for three days, and they were separated from their mates the entire time, which is undoubtedly an impossibly taxing thing for both bondmates, and Louis mourned for all the lonely Omegas.

In another train of thought, Louis was now extremely confused why he and Zayn hadn’t run into any patrol Alphas on their way in, considering it’s their very job description to catch things like that. Asking the Alpha this very thing, Zayn just shrugged and said they either missed them by a mile or two, or if anyone had seen them, the pair were not approached because it had been, of course, the pack’s Beta crossing the lines. Hardly an Alpha that needs to be inspected for suspicious behavior.

On the way, Louis also learned at least three wolves of Harry’s council had to be on patrol duty at all times, whether day or night, because the members of the council were the Pack Alpha’s most trusted and reliable to protect them. Even though she wasn’t of the council, this would still explain why Perrie had a ‘night shift.’

The Omega still didn’t fully comprehend all the entire system of the council yet, because it was vastly different from Siksika’s, but from what he’d gathered from Kurt and Draco, there were twelve Alphas on Harry’s council, all warriors themselves, and they ran everything. They made the decisions on which actions to take for which circumstances, and conjured solutions to the problems that needed to be addressed to better the livelihood of the pack.

Louis knew he hadn’t met all of Harry’s council Alphas quite yet, but so far, he was aware of Chibs, Parsel, Zayn, Liam, Katniss, Thorin, Daven, Shane, and he’s not positive, but he’s guessing Elessar is too. Where these Alphas’ mates were concerned, he only knew Jax, Draco, Niall, Peeta, and Kurt, and who the other three council Alphas were, he did not know at all.

Louis clearly has a great deal of warriors and villagers left to meet, and even though it’s only his second day, he has an unrelenting desire to be able to recognize and befriend every single wolf in Chehalis. He didn’t know why, but he figured if Camila’s assumption was correct, it was because someday, he’ll have to.

He still didn’t even know if he could wholeheartedly believe it. Harry and himself being true mates just seemed too good to be true. Harry’s too perfect, and he makes Louis far too weak in the knees to ever confront him about it, so it ends there. Even though Harry affects him so deeply, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are destined to be mates. Although, wasn’t that why they were true mates? Because Louis took to him so instantly when he’s never had the slightest interest in anyone else?

He hated the back and forth his mind kept batting him between. The Omega wanted to entice Harry more than anything, but there is still a vehemently independent part of him, and he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to truly submit.

If Harry could make him, that was another thing, but Louis just couldn’t picture it happening. He wished he had Camila’s eyes to see it all through, but he was unfortunately stuck to taking her word for it.

Focusing on the present, Louis was unwillingly listening to Liam vent to Zayn about his mate, Safaiyah, and how unexpectedly difficult she’s been lately, when the Omega heard suspicious rustling in a bush a few steps ahead of them, and caught the quiver of its leaves. Jumping forward in an attack stance, Chatan poised to rip through the flesh of a rogue, Louis heaved a sigh of relief when a harmlessly tiny, fluffy brown bunny plopped out and sat before him. “Oh, honestly,” he muttered, tutting at the innocently staring critter. “Go on, get out of here,” he shooed at the bunny, huffing when it only perked its ears up in curiosity.

The Alphas behind him were absolutely losing their minds laughing behind him, and the Omega had half a mind to blindly swing his sword backward, but before he could threaten them with their deaths, the bunny swiftly hopped forward and jumped right onto Louis’ foot. “What the hell are you doing?” he asked it in annoyance, picking the little guy up by the skin of his neck and holding him at eye-level. He was unfathomably adorable, so without thinking of why, Louis deposited the bunny onto his shoulder and kept walking. “Alright, fine,” he told it resolutely.

Then it was two Alphas, one Omega, and one bunny on the journey together.

A substantial amount of time passed by, and the bunny had not made any move to leave or travel elsewhere, so Louis ended up naming him. He decided on We-Ota, because the relentless animal very much reminded Louis of a pesky blood clot. To explain, Louis had been educated on large chunks of the tribe’s lore from Draco and Kurt already, and they had made sure to recite the tale of Rabbit-Boy. A story in which a rabbit created a human boy out of a blood clot the animal had discovered in a forest. Fascinating story, but this specific bunny wouldn’t find the blood clot in Louis’ version—the annoying creature was the clot. Nevertheless, he came to love We-Ota by sunset, and was glad he had an animal friend to return with, but he dreaded the Rabbit-Boy jokes that were sure to come his way.

Their situation had seemed peaceful enough as they were all eating their packed dinners (while Louis fed We-Ota leafy greens), but Liam and Zayn suddenly broke the calm when they stiffened and stood as one, tasting the air with their superior senses. Louis, try as he might, couldn’t discern what they were studying, but before he could ask, five or six rogues descended on them from the trees in a full-fledged ambush.

Shock, for Louis, was an understatement. He had never before seen this many rogues at one time—not in the three years he’d wandered alone. They didn’t move in packs; that was simply not the way of it. The very title of their identity went against it: rogue. So why in the world were these violent rogues attacking in these kinds of numbers? This was a troublesome reality indeed, and when the party of rogues went in for the kill, the Chehalis wolves fought back hard. One rogue was instantly killed by Liam, and the fight between the remaining wolves dragged on for several minutes.

The rogue pack unfortunately seemed intent on breaking the warriors up, and even worse, they’d succeeded. One had sneakily led Liam away from their post, and Zayn had chased another pair far into the depths of the woods, so the lone Louis, having intellect, fled.

Louis knew they were being hunted and strategically separated, and he knew there could be a fair few more enemies lurking in the shadows, so the Omega sprinted to find any mediocre amount of cover. Rogues were so distastefully predictable, and Louis wasn’t going to fall prey to their—at best—poorly executed plan. Adrenaline coursing through his veins, Louis ran like the wind toward a distant bush to throw himself into while he formulated his next move.

Regretfully, before he could reach the safety of the bush, a hideously dirty rogue seemingly materialized out of thin air and skidded to a stop in front of him, effectively blocking his path.

Whatever.

Not pausing for the rogue’s typical taunting, Louis leapt into the air, gripping the Alpha’s hair in his fist and swiftly decapitating him with Chatan in the other.

Poor We-Ota was clinging to Louis’ shoulder for dear life and shaking uncontrollably from fright, so Louis returned the sword to its sheath and picked little Wewe up, cradling him to his chest as he dove headfirst into the leafy shrub. What he found on the other side almost gave him a stroke, but before he could scream, the inhabiting Alpha clamped a hand over his mouth and held a finger to his own lips.

It was an Alpha Louis recognized to be a Chehalis warrior by his appearance and scent, so his heart rate settled, but his demand for an explanation did not dwindle. “Who the fuck are you? What are you doing here?” he hissed accusingly.

The Alpha removed his hand from Louis’ mouth and scooted closer into the bush to whisper to the defensive Omega. “My name is Norman; I’m on Harry’s council. I was tracking the rogues from my station, just east of here. We smelled them heading in your direction and came to help out. Where’s Zayn and Liam?” Norman inquired, feeling rather peeved at the Alphas’ desertion.

“I don’t know, they just disappeared—split up, got lost, I don’t know, oh Gods, are they alright?” Louis squeaked in a rush, getting himself worked up again.

“Shh, Lou, I know they’ll be fine. Zayn is the Beta, so please don’t worry about them; they can take care of themselves. But there are other rogues around, more than we might think—I can smell ‘em. We need to get everyone together if we have a chance at killing all of them,” he said, gaze traveling to the severed head still held in Louis’ fist. “Although…I guess we could just set you loose on them, and we’d be absolutely fine.”

Louis looked down at the monstrosity that was unfortunately dripping blood all over his legs, and was about to answer when they heard the voice of a rogue yelling into the clearing.

“Rotu! Rotu, where are you? There’s an Omega nearby, I can smell it. If we catch it, you know how pleased Roman and Cassian will be with us. We’ll be heavily rewarded! Quit fucking around, where ar—” He stopped short when he finally found the dismembered body of what used to be Rotu.

Thinking quickly, Louis yanked one of Norman’s arrows out of his quiver, securing it between his legs, and staked Rotu’s staring head onto the tip of it. Heaving it up above the bushes like a twisted puppet show, he began to taunt the Alpha.

Joéna, I definitely found our Louis, Norman thought to his faraway mate in overwhelming relief. Norman knew she wouldn’t hear him in her head because they’d been separated for too long, but he couldn’t wait to tell her. He’d had his hopeful suspicions since he’d heard of a stray Omega’s arrival, and when he’d learned his name was Louis and that he’d come from Siksika, the Alpha had cried tears of joy for hours in his teepee.

But even without acquiring those details, these actions from the Omega was all the proof Norman would ever need to recognize his child, name, origin, and scent or not. This unique oddball was without a doubt his cherished son, and he was going to send a letter to Joéna and Rixy immediately to alert them that his son had finally made it Chehalis.

“Over here, you half-wit!” Louis goaded to the enemy, pulling Norman’s rapid thoughts to him. “It’s just me. Your best pal, Rotu. Yeah, I caught the Omega, he’s here behind this bush. Why don’t you come and get him? Bring my body if you would please, I seem to have misplaced it…”

Growling fiercely, the Alpha made his advance to the shrubbery, out for blood no doubt, but so was Louis. Ripping Norman’s bow from the Alpha’s shoulder, Louis harshly flung the disgusting head off the arrow and nocked it in the bow. Standing up and taking his aim, Louis then let it fly—let it fly directly into the Alpha’s heart. With a victory cry and a mocking sneer, Louis leapt over the bush to reclaim the arrow and return it to its rightful owner, making snide remarks at the corpse the entire time.

He’s perfect, Jo, the happy Father lovingly added, watching his son in fierce admiration.

Elated as the Alpha was at finally being in the presence of his only son, he knew Louis still had to be blissfully unaware of the plan until he inherited the Chehalis tribe as the Alpha’s bondmate. Only then could he be sat down and educated on the truth.

He repressed the overwhelming urge to crush his boy in his arms, and settled for patting him on the back approvingly. In due time.

Louis felt the clap on his back as he returned to the bush, and he handed Norman his bow and arrow back. “Thanks for letting me...borrow that,” he said offhandedly, scratching at his clothed thigh and becoming full of jitters. The Omega was fiercely concentrating on not breaking down, having just ended a life yet again, and he couldn’t afford to do it here. It had only been two days since his last kill, but he supposed being integrated so suddenly into pack life made it seem like another lifetime.

His thigh itched to be marked, but there was no way he could do it now. He could almost feel the tally marks vibrating against his tight-fitting buckskin pants, begging him to pay dearly for what he did. Breathing as calmly as he could, he caressed his bunny for strength and pulled himself back from the meltdown he was teetering on.

“You’re pretty strong for an Omega, kid,” Norman noted with pride, obviously trying to be supportive, but that was not what Louis needed to hear at the moment.

“Yeah, for an Omega. You know, I really hate it when people say that to me, so please refrain, if you’d be so kind,” Louis retorted, in no mood for gender inequality bullshit.

“Sorry, Lou,” the Alpha repented, still in a daze this was even happening, silently staring at the boy in wonderment.

“S’ok.”

 

---

 

They were now heading back to the emergency spot, which Louis learned was a small hill surrounded by rocks that had been put there by the Chehalis long ago to congregate at if a mission ever went awry. The sound of entanglements anywhere had ceased, so Norman had considered it safe enough to venture to the spot, and Louis hoped his senses weren’t letting him down.

They reached the hill without strife, and there on top of the tallest stone was a battered and weary Zayn, anxiously biting his nails. When he caught sight of Louis and Norman, he loudly gasped and sped down the small hill, catching the Omega around his waist and swinging him around in fervent relief. “Oh Gods, Louis! I thought I might have lost you, I didn’t know where you were, and you’re not in the pack, so it was harder to track you, I could kind of smell you, but I couldn’t locate you, and I didn—”

“WOULD YOU BE CAREFUL, PLEASE!” Louis screeched, causing the fretting Alpha to drop him with a startled yip. He promptly began to inspect the Omega for any damages, but Louis was quick to assure him. “Keep your pants on, I’m alright. But you almost squished We-Ota,” he harshly scolded, petting the little bunny’s head to apologize for the thoughtless Beta.

“Blood clot?” Zayn asked, flabbergasted at the term and what it connected to.

The Omega impatiently jammed a pointer finger to the somehow tranquil bunny on his shoulder. “We-Ota,” he said simply, as if that explained everything.

“You still have...the bunny,” the Alpha remarked incredulously, his face slack and devoid of anything but confusion.

“Yes, I still have it. He’s mine now. Anyway, be mindful next time you decide to smother me like that. Besides, I don’t even know what you were thinking, Niall is going to kill you. Again,” he added condescendingly, secretly fearing for his own life. Niall was his friend now—but he was still Niall.

Just as Zayn was slapping his face into his hands in resignation of the consequences to come, Liam and Harry swept out of the thick forest, briskly walking to the meet-up location. “Louis! Norman, what happened?” the Pack Alpha demanded, concern and anger written clear on his face.

“It was an ambush—I’m sure Liam has told you everything,” Norman said unsurely, looking between Liam and the Pack Alpha.

“No, Liam told me his version. Zayn and Liam are both in serious trouble with me, because both idiots apparently managed to lose Louis in the process,” he gritted through his bared teeth, causing Zayn to groan to the heavens. He was so screwed from every angle tonight.

Louis, for the record, did not take kindly to being treated like the puppy that escaped the watch of its parents. “I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW—” he blazingly began, only stopping when Norman slapped him in the chest as a warning.

“Alpha Harry, Louis was actually more than sufficient. I can attest to him beheading a rogue with nearly no effort on his part, and then he took down its partner. With my weapons, no less. He was anything but helpless,” Norman defended, even with the penetrating glare he was receiving from the Omega the whole time.

“I don’t care how great he is, I don’t want him left by himself. He can kill rogues all he wants, but someone needs to be there with him afterwards. He’s an Omega. I will not have any Omegas under my protection dropping or going into distress because my incompetent warriors lose track of them. How his scent can escape you kittens is beyond me—and Louis I swear, if you make one crack about how you’ve been fine for three entire years, I will hang you up from your feet, are we clear?” Harry seethed, turning his attention to the equally fuming Omega.

Zayn instantly defended one of the points that was made, because he didn’t appreciate being made out to be ‘incompetent.’ “You know, he really doesn’t have much of a scent at all—” Harry was in absolutely no mood, and Zayn quickly found himself slammed into the dirt from the Pack Alpha’s powerful fist across his face. Why is it always me? he begged the stars.

Louis didn’t even react to the punch, save for sparing the Beta a quick sympathetic look, before resuming his glowering at the leader Alpha. “Crystal,” he bit back aggressively.

Norman couldn’t be more ecstatic at the Alpha’s fierce protection over his son. This was a very good sign.

“And why do you have a bunny on your shoulder?” Harry interrogated as an afterthought, tone overflowing with exasperation.

“HIS NAME IS WE-OTA!” Louis shrieked in response, having had enough of people questioning his new friend.

Harry didn’t seem willing to further the discussion, and ordered them to return to the village with him, the group passing the next shift and informing them of the very real danger that may lie ahead. The warriors seemed motivated by this, though, and they increased their pace to the post with weapons raised.

When they reached the Chehalis village, Zayn immediately ran off, presumably on his way to apologize profusely to Niall before the Omega found him first. Liam also sought the comfort of his mate and veered off in the direction of his home.

The remaining three warriors, if Louis dared to classify himself one, were silently walking toward the center—in the direction of Harry’s home—when Norman broke off as well with a parting ruffle to Louis’ hair. Fixing it petulantly, Louis glared as the odd Alpha walked away into the distance. Why does he smell so familiar? he pondered, excusing it for now because he hadn’t the energy to focus on things like that.

Louis hadn’t registered that he’d already passed his wigwam quite some time ago—realistically, he should have been the first to return home, but he’d just kept walking. It was so subconscious in fact that he didn’t fully comprehend it until they were right outside Harry’s home, and the Alpha rounded on him, stopping him in his tracks.

“What are you doing, Louis?” Harry demanded, eyebrows furrowed suspiciously because the Omega had been about to waltz into his home with him.

“What?” the Omega asked dumbly, finally looking around and noticing his surroundings. “Oh. Huh.”

“Well?” Harry pressed.

“I don’t know,” Louis admitted, backing up nervously. “I just...wasn’t thinking, I’m sorry, have a good night,” he mumbled as he turned to leave, sucking in a breath when his wrist was caught by the Alpha’s strong and wonderfully warm hand.

“Wait,” Harry sighed in slight reluctance. “Come in for a second.”

Louis gulped his nerves down and followed the Alpha into his home, wondering what this could possibly be regarding.

The Alpha gracefully moved to a corner of his home and returned with a palm-sized knife, handing it over to Louis while his face revealed it was a difficult thing to part with. “Take this, Louis. Don’t mark your thigh with the sword you use on your enemies. That’s gotta be some sort of bad luck, just use this.”

Louis carefully took it out of his Alpha’s hand, hardly believing he was being gifted with the weapon at all. “You’re letting me?” he asked skeptically.

Harry heaved a long and tired sigh. “Barely,” he muttered, running a hand through the tangles in his hair. “You’re going to do it anyway, and if I try to stop you, you’ll likely slip into distress...and that’s more than I currently want to handle. So, since it’s inevitable, I’m just not allowing you to use your own contaminated weapon to do it,” he explained, grumbling something to himself in an olde language that Louis didn’t yet understand.

The Omega nodded submissively and looked everywhere but into the Alpha’s eyes until his deep and commanding tone brought him straight back. “But if I had a say…you’d never do it again. If you were mine, I’d have you do it on my skin instead,” he confessed thoughtlessly, his inner Alpha taking full control for a moment—a mere moment, but it had cost him. What did I just…

Both wolves’ eyes widened to the size of the moon, and each spluttered equally at the comment. Harry looked just as surprised to have said it as Louis did to hear it.

The Pack Alpha unintelligibly grumbled in that same earlier language and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration, then he was ushering Louis backward, all but forcefully throwing him outside his home and closing the entrance with unnecessary force.

Louis, yet again, was left motionlessly standing outside of Harry’s home, wondering what the hell just happened. What...was that? he thought to his confused mind.

Harry had just said something…mate-y. Biting his lip to keep from grinning like an idiot, Louis practically skipped all the way back to his wigwam, throwing himself onto his bedding and shamelessly giggling the update to his new animal friend.

“Did you hear that, We-Ota? Maybe Cami was right,” he mused hopefully, the butterflies in his stomach fluttering their wings through his entire body. “Do you think we’re mates, Wewe?” he asked of his bunny, who was clearly ready for sleep and had nuzzled into his neck, completely ignoring him.

Louis just chuckled and lightly scratched between We-Ota’s ears affectionately, deciding what the truth was and answering his own question (like We-Ota would have been able to respond). “Yeah…I think so too.”

 

~~~

 

Norman hurriedly entered his tent and broke out his collection of parchment, ink, and his quill. He had been waiting twenty years to write this letter, and now that he was free to, he didn’t even know how to say it. So, he went with the simple facts:

My Dearest Joéna,

I found our Louis. He has made it safely to Chehalis, and he’s perfect. Harry is very protective over him already, I think they’ll mate and bond soon. Tell Rixy and Mishella, and you guys start finding a way to get you out of Siksika. Also, slap Rixy in the face for me for ever being mean to such a perfect Omega. You should be very proud, Jo, and I can’t wait to see you, my beautiful mate.

I love you with my heart and soul,

Norman.

Chapter Text

The days and weeks progressed as such: three days of patrol and/or guard, and four days of food gathering. A notably drained Chibs and Jax had come back to work after six days of solitude from the pack, and they’d received unanimous hollers and howls from Chehalis upon their return in congratulations of their heat-mating. Heats were always celebrated by wolves; they were considered sacred and beautiful occurrences, and Louis couldn’t ever understand why. Nobody had ever been interested in his (when he did have them), so he’d never felt desirable or worthy of praise. He could, however, understand why other Omegas were seen as beautiful—they were always glowing.

Life had resumed after their return, and it had meant Chibs resumed his postponed position as the warrior leader and daily trainer. Louis was happy to get to know him too—and show off his skills to the chief—but the loss of Harry every day in the longhouse meant Louis had gotten significantly less interactions with the Pack Alpha on a daily basis. So, maybe he wasn’t completely happy.

He still went out of his way to find the Pack Alpha regardless of his responsibilities. His breaks from crop duty came in the form of ‘casual strolls’ around the Chehalis village, and these ‘casual strolls’ almost predictably passed by Harry’s home every time. Sometimes he’d be outside smoking a pipe with Zayn, sometimes he was nowhere to be found, but Louis enjoyed that all the same because he was able to just walk past his teepee and hungrily breath in the scent like he’d been underwater for an entire day.

In the evenings, when he was officially off work (because he wasn’t ever assigned night shifts as an Omega), he would stop by the log council house to hear the musical sounds of Harry’s professional voice rumbling through the acoustics of the structure, but he could never stay long because an Alpha would come outside and shoo him off. His obsession with the Pack Alpha was turning into a bit of an ongoing saga among his friend group, and though he couldn’t deny it, he certainly tried to.

Harry didn’t show any interest in him at all, apart from subtle glances and light-lipped smiles whenever their eyes momentarily met, or he answered a question of Louis’ when he came in to help with trainings every once in a while, (because Louis never shied away from the chance to ask him a question), but other than those few instances, Louis was nothing more than an Omega living in the borders of his pack.

To ebb the antsy frustration of the Alpha’s disinterest, he left himself in the hands of his family, and they held him up like the roots of an ancient oak. He turned to them, and they turned to him, supporting, encouraging, and loving each other as though the same blood flowed through their veins. That’s what an Omega relationship was like. It was everything, and it was all at once.

He’d grown closer to the Alphas Zayn, Katniss, Parsel, and that irritatingly protective Norman as he continued to spend time with the warrior comrades as well, but Louis’ Omegas had taken the top slot of his affections—they were his irreplaceable and treasured family, and he loved them more than anything.

Niall had been the last and most recent Omega for Louis to bond with, and yes, you heard him correctly. Niall. Louis always grins when he relives the nervous moment when Niall professed his sincerities and asked Louis for his friendship. They may have bonded last, but it was also the strongest he’d formed out of the lot, and it had happened in a passing moment…

 

---

 

“Louis, come on...get Wewe, we gotta go mash the berries,” Draco urged, wiping the sweat from his forehead as he carefully dropped the last of his baskets beside the wheeler (they’d long since run out of room this shift).

Louis nodded and called out adoringly for his little Wewe, who now responds comprehensively to his given name, and waited for the telltale scuttles, cooing at him as he ran out from under the shrugs of the crop. He put the bunny onto his shoulder, and was just turning to venture to the Keep when he was once again met with Niall right in front of him. “Oh,” he remarked, pointedly not meeting the Omega’s eyes as he nervously greeted him. “Hi, Niall.”

Niall slowly set down his basket as he had last time, but instead of heatedly glaring or snapping in irritation, the Omega yanked Louis into his arms and began to sob. “I’m so sorry, Louis. You were disowned from your pack, and it was only your first day in a new place, and I let my jealousy control me. I was so mean to you, please forgive me. You’re close with my Zayn now, and I don’t want to have ruined a friendship between the three of us over something so trivial,” he confessed, his shame a cutting blade as he wept into Louis’ shoulder.

Louis whined in joy and allowed Niall to pour his soul out through his teary eyes, but he didn’t have the heart to let him continue for long. He scented the Omega’s neck and purred into his ear, soothing his sobs away until the blonde relaxed into their embrace, then promptly taking his opportunity to speak: “Niall, darling—it’s okay. Really, it is. You were just reacting to feeling threatened; if I didn’t understand that, I wouldn’t be a wolf. I’d be a frog. I’m sorry I made you feel that way; it was never, ever my intention. I’m just happy you don’t hate me,” he laughed, scratching at the Omega’s scalp and kissing his temple.

“Gods, Louis...no. I could never hate you,” Niall swore adamantly, violently shaking his head and whipping Louis with his wayward hair. “It just took me far too long to calm down, and I’ll never forgive myself for making your first day so stressful,” he sighed, reluctantly pulling back and wiping his face dry from tears.

“My first day was stressful regardless, so don’t worry. I’ve put up with a lot more than an angry Omega,” Louis teased, patting Niall on his bright head and giving him a friendly wink.

With both boys giggling in elation from finally settling their differences, they parted with a barrage of more hugs, and intense promises to start spending time with each other.

Louis couldn’t hide his smile as he and Draco strolled to the Keep, and Draco made sure to rub it in.

“See?” the white-haired Omega drawled knowingly, elbowing Louis in the side. “I told you he’d come around. All of us knew you’d be friends.”

Louis rolled his eyes from being patronized, but he couldn’t be annoyed at the ‘I told you so.' It was too true. "You were right,” he admitted, grinning from ear to ear and possibly skipping the rest of the journey.

 

---

 

That bout of emotional apologies and forgiveness had occurred around three weeks ago, and now it was getting hard to keep Louis and Niall separate. Louis often wandered into Niall’s teepee at random times in the night to gossip amongst each other, stuck in a happy cooing bubble, and obliviously impervious to Zayn’s groans at being rudely awoken. The Alpha, assumedly, knew better than to come between two omkins, because he never told them to shut up, or Louis to leave.

Omkin’ was a term Louis hadn’t ever heard in Siksika, but he’d quickly gathered that it was Chehalis’s word for the close relationship that Omegas always form when time was spent together. Back in Siksika, this bond was referred to as ‘family mates,’ and Louis was once again impressed with how much more creative this territory was to his home pack. Alphas had the same bond with their kin as well, here called ‘alkin,’ and Harry’s bond with most of his council Alphas was easily the strongest example of an alkin here.

Louis’ omkin was compiled Draco, Jax, Peeta, Kurt, Niall, and Camila; and he wouldn’t ever discount Jade even if he didn’t see her as much. He’d come to understand these mentioned Omegas, including Jax, had already shared the bond of omkin with each other, and Louis had unknowingly filled the space of the ‘missing member’ they all felt they had. Just hearing that made Louis complete in places he hadn’t even known he was empty, and his omkin promised they felt quite the same. The unity was nearly fulfilling enough to plug the void that was festering within him from being without an Alpha mate, and that was saying something—because that pain was a bottomless sinkhole.

That vague ‘Alpha mate,’ of course, being Harry Styles. Louis wasn’t just without an Alpha—he was without the Alpha. Without Harry. The seraphic Pack Alpha of Louis’ wildest dreams, who, as previously stated, still held him at a maddeningly wide arm’s distance, and showed no signs he would someday let him in. But oh, how Louis imagined that day. The Omega was frequently fantasizing about a high-strung emotional event that would come along and force them to admit their feelings—if Harry even had any, that is. Harry’s hidden feelings are also a manifestation of Louis’ wildest dreams.

Though it may look hopeless from all angles, Louis’ mother had always told him: "Setting impossible goals is always the action that leads you to what you truly need," and he plans to live by that exclusively until his needs were acquired and captured. He /may/ be misinterpreting the saying completely, because it's technically meant to encourage accepting minor failures, but he didn’t care—that could be overlooked. Harry was what he needed, and this was an indeed an impossible goal, but Harry was his, and he was going to overcome the odds to claim him, end of story…

 

---

 

The Omega was currently on guard duty, stuck up in a watchtower with Parsel while they surveyed their shared domain. They had been intermittently conversing on whatever casual things came up, but they’d quieted down for the last hour or so because Parsel didn’t ever keep responding—he was always the one to drop off first. Louis was slightly desperate to question Parsel on some things from the Alpha’s point of view, so he decided to get personal, figuring if Parsel attacked him, he could always just leap over the ledge of the water tower. “Hey, Parcey?” he sang into the silence.

Parsel whipped his head to the Omega in varying degrees of surprised displeasure, speaking in a clipped tone that Louis had feared the moment he’d opened his mouth. “Never. Call me that again,” the Alpha deadpanned.

Louis instantly wiped the smile off his face and cleared his throat. “Sorry, Parsel,” he amended, wringing his hands together and hoping he didn’t just ruin his chances at information.

Parsel shrugged his shoulders and continued sharpening his spear. “What is it, Louis?” he asked.

“Well...I was wondering what your mating and bonding was like,” Louis said bravely, flinching when Parsel’s spear clattered to the ground.

The Alpha crept up to stand right in front of Louis, squinting his hypnotizing snake eyes at him in wary annoyance. It was only slightly disturbing because as fixated as the eyes seemed—almost appearing to be looking straight into Louis’ soul—the Omega knew that they weren’t actually perceiving him. “You’re awfully bold this morning,” Parsel remarked disapprovingly, not seeing any redeeming qualities in this change of behavior.

“Well, uh, I don’t know. I’ve heard a lot from Dray, and I guess I just wanted to hear it from your side? Please, forget I asked, it’s not my place,” Louis rapidly excused, swallowing thickly as Parsel’s eyes seemed to zoom in closer on his face.

“Your omkin attachment does not excuse you to ask their Alphas about their personal business, regardless of what you’ve already heard. I’m sure my brothers would agree with me,” Parsel snapped in a hard, no room for argument kind of tone.

“Yeah, see I told you, just forget it, sorry,” Louis stuttered, seeking to calm the tense situation—Parsel being cross with him was not something the Omega wanted on his plate.

The Alpha squinted his eyes a fraction of a second more before floating back to his area, returning to his idle spear sharpening. Several seconds ticked by of Louis trembling from awkward nerves, but then Parsel spoke again: “You better be listening, I’m only telling our story to you once,” he unexpectedly accepted.

Louis bounded over to Parsel’s side of the tower, falling into a sitting position with a straight and attentive spine. “Yes, thank you, I swear I’ll never ask again,” he promised with a hand over his heart, his grin giddy with anticipation.

A small corner of Parsel’s mouth turned up in bemusement, but he schooled his expression back to a neutral one and began his highly requested tale. “The only reason I’m even giving you the time of day is because you are extremely important to my Draco. So, by default, you are to me as well. But don’t interrupt me. This is your only warning,” he warned, his features stern and impassive.

Louis nodded to accept the terms of the agreement, but remembering Parsel couldn’t see him, he opened his mouth to vocally promise he wouldn’t interrupt; however, before he could, Parsel uttered a quick, “I saw you nod, Louis.” Louis widened his eyes and wanted to ask how, but he obeyed and stayed silent.

“Dragon was sixteen, and I was seventeen. My parents were killed by the rogues in the invasion; Dad went to protect Desmond, Mom went to protect Dad. You can guess what happened after that. I remember seeing Harry crying in Ianalfto’s arms when everything was over, and when I went to console him, Ian had some bad news for me as well. We were kind of the only matured cubs who’d lost our parents—"

Louis’ lips pursed in sympathy to be reminded of the Chehalis tragedy; he couldn’t imagine the shorter and younger versions of the Alphas he knew now running in fear from rogues that eventually killed their leaders, council, Elders…it was all too much. And would it happen again?

"— Instead of staying with Harry, I fled to the forest for the support of my serpents. My parents were, in those days, the only ones who had always truly accepted me. Or...so I thought at the time. But in the moment, losing them was like losing the only outlet of love and affection I had,” Parsel said, pausing to gather his thoughts.

It wasn’t that Louis found it hard to picture that Parsel had trouble winning the respect and appreciation of his fellow Alphas in his cubhood—he could unfortunately understand why—but imagining life without him as a key member of Chehalis society now was impossible. Parsel was crucial; Louis was glad Harry had taken over and let him in. He deserved it.

“Well, Dragon had spotted my retreat into the woods that night and he followed me. The Gods know why he did, because I will certainly never understand, but unbeknownst to me, he’d loved me our whole lives. He’d nurtured a romantic attraction to me since we were cubs, and it had only grown deeper as we grew older. I was, pardon the pun, blind to it. He had never said one word to me, or stood out in any way. I learned why later; Dragon’s social anxiety used to be debilitating—"

Louis was admittedly shocked to hear that Draco had been somewhat of a social hermit; the loud and boisterous Omega he knew now didn't match that description at all. Both Parsel and Draco must have been so shy in the beginning, and Louis was swelling with pride for their bravery to pursue each other.

“He didn’t have a clue how to approach me and thus, he never did...but something must have changed that night. Perhaps the stress of the chaos, but whatever it was, soon enough I heard him approaching my safe space. I was very vulnerable right then, probably the most I’d ever be in my life, and I did everything I could to scare off the foreign presence. I hissed at him, threatened him in the language of snakes, threw things in his direction, but he just kept coming, and he managed to get close enough that he was within reaching distance. When I finally stopped fighting back, he took me in his arms and just never really let go,” Parsel sighed, a breath-taking smile brightening his face—a smile which only one in love can ever wear.

Louis was going to slap Draco right across his face for not disclosing the full detail that Parsel was confessing—how shameful it was to leave all of this out. Draco had said that he’d ‘helped Parsel out in a hard time’ and that their feelings were admitted from it, then they’d mated, and eventually bonded. Draco certainly talked a lot about their notoriously intense mating, but he never much touched on their bonding—perhaps it was too emotionally important and close to the Omega’s heart to blab about. How amusing that Louis was getting it from the Alpha.

“He told me he loved me that night. Took me a while to accept that as truth, since it was so random, but when I knew how serious he was, I began courting him without a second thought. I was going through a lot mentally at the time, but I suddenly had a Dragon with me through it all. He made life tolerable, better yet livable to me, and I can never thank him enough for that," he dreamily sighed, focusing in the direction of the shivering Louis and raising his eyebrows. "Are you okay?" he asked, biting his lip to keep from laughing when the Omega snapped to attention.

"I'm perfect. Please continue," Louis said quickly, hanging on his secret words like berries to their branches in the brutal wind.

“If you say so," Parsel said, surprised that he was getting such a fascinated reaction from the Omega. Their story had never gotten this kind of worshiping attention, but perhaps that is due to everyone already being used to it. "Harry hadn’t been seen for at least six days at this point. Nobody know where he went. Some thought he would never be seen again, most of all Lucian, but he came back as soon as the fear grew real. And when he did, he had fully matured to come into his inheritance, and he was ready to lead the pack. He had closed himself off from even his closest friends for a long time, and the two of us had never spoken much at all, so I was surprised when he asked me to be on his council—”

“I’m not surprised, you’re incredible,” Louis pressed, knowing without a doubt that Harry would never scorn Parsel for his looks, or his odd species entanglement. He was a strong Alpha, who had lost his parents as Harry had. Louis could have predicted he’d end up on the council.

“Well, thank you, but my parents hadn’t even been granted that honour. I accepted, obviously, but I didn’t understand it. I suppose we did have a bit of a bond, being orphaned from the attack, and I guess he wanted me close...I dunno. But whatever the reason, my loyalty to him goes deep, and it’s reciprocated on his end. Draco was pleased at my promotion, of course, and he supported me every step I took," he said with a large yawn, standing to scope their surroundings and ensure they weren't being negligent. 

"Anything out there?" Louis asked, peering over the edge and acting like his inferior eyesight would be of any actual use.

"Nothing dangerous," the Alpha responded, shrugging his shoulders and taking his seat.

Louis ran to follow suit and threw himself on the ground, pulling his knees into his chest and resting his chin on the bony mounds they made.

“The time for the first full moon with the new Pack Alpha came to pass. Huge night—even little pups shifted so they could run with the pack. Dragon and I broke off from the group at some point and shifted back to cuddle under a tree. Then it was simple—he was looking at the sky, saying something romantic, probably, and I cut him off mid-sentence with my teeth in his neck, bonding him right then and there,” Parsel snorted, rubbing at his face in disbelief of his own antics. “I couldn’t help it—I was painfully in love. He came instantly, he was so surprised, and it felt incredible me too, the entwining of our souls… I will treasure that first moment until the end of time.”

“If I had a moment that great, I’d treasure it forever too,” Louis agreed, not intending to sound so self-deprecating, but he couldn’t help that. It was so romantic.

“You will. Anyway, the most surprising part of our bond was when I pulled back—I could see his stark-white hair. I saw everything. And when he turned to look at me, I could see him. All of him. Just like anyone else would. I couldn’t stop touching his face; it was and is the most beautiful thing in all creation, and it’s the only thing I’d ever want to see, anyway… There. That’s my story. Happy?" he asked bluntly, laughing at the throaty sob that broke out of the Omega.

“Shit, that was nuts,” Louis chuckled when he was done crying, wiping at his tears and working on his overly winded breathing.

Parsel did laugh at that—a hearty, full-throated laugh that he usually didn’t unleash to anyone but Dragon and Harry. “That’s what I said,” he seconded, clapping Louis on the back as they resumed their diligent posts. “Almost word for word.”

 

---

 

Conversation was substantially less formal after Parsel’s emotional confession of his bond and deepest love, and of course that was to be expected. Louis was pleased he now knew his acquaintance better, and he even noticed the increase of smiles and laughter that came from the serpentine Alpha. It was like a barrier had broken, or at least cracked, and Louis was satisfied with the outcome.

All the bondmates of Louis’ omkin were quite literally their other half, and these Alphas could not be understated. They were important. You can’t have problems with one mate of a couple while remaining genial with the other—problems with one was problems with both. Some Alphas showed no easy kindness to any wolf but their mates, and Parsel had definitely been one of them at first—only ever smiling at Draco—but Louis hoped he could help bring everyone closer together. He would be the berry paste to keep Chehalis one big, happy family.

Thankfully guard duty had been wholly uneventful; it was a welcomed change from the last shift wherein he’d had to kill three rogues at once. Needless to say, it was a good thing they were dead (exterminated), but if these heavy attacks kept coming at this highly unreasonable pace, Louis was going to run out of room on his leg.

The rogues’ numbers were steadily growing every day, and it was a valid cause for concern. They’d been outnumbered at their posts too many instances now to keep feigning complacency, and it seemed to be only a matter of time before the rogues completely overpowered them. Louis made a plea to the Gods every night for that horrible thought to stay just as it was...but in the grand scheme, the Omega really couldn’t do shit but keep fighting and doing his part to help hold them back.

 

---

 

Parsel and Louis were currently on their way back to the village, walking quietly side by side, and when they neared the living area the Alpha inhabited, Louis readied himself to say his goodbyes.

That was also when Draco suddenly appeared around a corner with arms full of corn. “Oh!” the Omega exclaimed when his eyes caught sight of them, carefully setting the corn basket at his feet and skipping up to greet them. “My beautiful Parcey,” he dreamily sighed, walking right into his Alpha’s arms and breathing him in.

Louis was speechless as he noted Parsel was staring directly into Draco’s eyes. Directly. The loving smile that broke across Parsel’s face as he caressed his Omega’s was enough to make Louis' waterworks start up again. And when Parsel leaned into Draco and nuzzled his neck, Louis was alas dabbing at the betraying tears that were rolling down his face. This is too much!

“Dragon, I think Louis is becoming emotional,” Parsel informed as he shortly pressed his lips against his mate’s.

Draco stepped out of his Alpha’s arms with a sad chuckle and jumped over to his sniveling Omega brother, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him to steal his attention. “Loubear, please don’t cry! We’ll find you a mate, okay? It’s okay,” he comforted passionately, while Parsel muttered something about “Omegas” under his breath.

Ignoring Draco’s words of concern, Louis took the Omega’s face in his hands and looked sternly into his eyes. “No, Dray, it’s not me. I’m not lonely—these truly are tears of joy. Your bond is an incredible thing, and it just gets to me. It’s beautiful,” he professed, close to openly sobbing if he didn’t get a hold of himself.

Parsel’s expression softened at Louis’ words and he glided over to stand behind Draco, thin hands coming to rest on the front of the Omega’s hips. “Thank you, Louis. You are truly a light in Chehalis’ life,” he praised, wondering when Harry was going to get over his issues and mount him already.

“I love you, Loubear! You are such a little sweet pea," Draco added, his eyes shimmering with sincerity and love. "Oh! Before I forget, Zayn wants to talk to you,” he additionally informed, quickly dedicating all of his focus onto Parsel behind him.

“Come, my love. Let me take you to bed,” the Alpha whispered suggestively, his hands sliding lower down Draco’s hips and curling toward his inner thighs.

Draco bit his lip and leaned further back into his Alpha, nudging Parsel’s neck with his nose. “Mmm...but my snake, I was on a mission. I have to deliver that corn to Niall and Zayn’s home. It’s allegedly extremely important,” he regretfully declined.

“I’ll do it,” Louis piped to the whining couple, turning their frowns upside-down in a heartbeat. “I mean if he wants to talk to me, it only makes sense. It’s more my direction, anyway.”

Draco sent Louis a look of unrepayable gratitude before he was immediately lifted into Parsel's arms and eagerly carried away from the scene. Parsel and Draco both shot Louis a quick, “Thank you” simultaneously, and then they were off, likely to be unreachable for the rest of the day.

Louis scoffed with familiar fondness at their impatience and jogged up to the abandoned basket of corn, bending down and sweeping the whole thing into his arms. It was quite a lot of corn—so, heavy—and he wondered what Niall and Zayn could possibly need all of it for.

Niall had been missing from the fields for Louis’ last two days of work, which meant four for the blonde Omega, and he hadn’t particularly worried about it, but now he was starting to. See, it wasn’t uncommon by any means for wolves to miss consecutive days due to heats and ruts, but Louis was pretty sure Niall wasn’t having his…so, should he be worried? What if Niall is really sick and Louis had no clue? What kind of family doesn’t look after one another in their times of weakness?

Louis, wracked with guilt, hastened his pace to reach their home, zipping through the rows of teepees and provision stands, and shortly found himself striding toward the exact place he needed. Not knowing exactly what to do, he decided not to wait at all and courageously waltzed in unannounced—the sight Louis was met with wasn’t something he could have prepared himself for.

Niall and Zayn were inside, alright—facing the entrance, curled up together on their sides in their bedding, knotted and panting from a climax which had evidently been had fairly recently, and Louis was mortified he’d just interrupted this. He wasn’t of Chehalis yet—he should not be here.

Zayn’s threatening growl almost made Louis drop all the corn, and he shamefully averted his gaze as the Alpha rushed to cover a green and sickly Niall with their blankets, debating whether or not he should just flee. Deciding for himself, he was just about to rush out when his Omega brother called out to him:

“Sorry, Lou,” Niall croaked, sounding positively dreadful. “Caught him at a bad time. You’ll have to wait until his knot goes down...but stay outside, I know he needs to talk to you. Just leave the corn on the table, if you would please,” he groaned, his breaths labored and shaky as Zayn licked at his face.

“Niall, are you okay?” Louis asked before he could stop himself, sniffling on the verge of worried tears, but still placing the corn on its designated spot.

“I’m—alright, Lou,” Niall panted, trying to elbow Zayn when the Alpha snarled at Louis again. “Just…please, wait outside. I don’t need Zayn any more high-strung right now than he already is,” he pleaded to his brother, smiling to say he was sorry as Louis fretfully obeyed, his brother scuttling through the exit as Zayn’s protective growls followed him the whole way out.

Once outside, Louis sank to his butt on the ground and waited for Zayn’s knot to go down. What a taxing thing to wait for, he thought, huffing into the dropping temperatures and ignoring the hint of jealousy that was brewing in his gut. After ten minutes of staring at the same stone by his feet, Zayn’s sweaty and naked form tiredly emerged from the teepee, unapologetically gracing the impatient Omega with its presence.

“Took you long enough,” Louis remarked as Zayn ran a hand through his tangled hair, suddenly looking a little disappointed in himself that he’d reacted to Louis in such a negative way.

“Sorry, Lou. You’re not of this pack yet, and I couldn’t distinguish you from a stranger. I knew you were an Omega, but I just didn’t recognize you fully. It’s just because I have...added stress right now, but I’m still sorry you had to see that,” he explained, hoping the Omega would accept his reasoning without further questioning.

“It’s okay, Zayn…I’m just really worried. Is Niall okay?” Louis asked timidly, over his jealousy now and back to his concern.

Zayn just smiled and scratched at Louis’ shoulder to ease his fears. “Niall is perfect,” he stated confidently, holding his free hand against his collar bones as he giddily chuckled to himself. “I was going to come and find you after that; Draco was supposed to bring the corn for that reason, so you wouldn’t have to wait…”

That would be Parsel’s fault,” Louis quipped in bemusement.

“Ah,” Zayn snorted, nodding his head in complete comprehension. “I see now.”

Louis stood waiting for Zayn to continue, and only when the Alpha looked at the Omega’s expectant face did he actually remember what he needed him for in the first place. “Oh yeah, Harry needs to talk to you,” he said simply.

“WHAT!” Louis shouted, his arms jolting at his sides. “You mean I’ve been doing all this waiting and walking around just for you to tell me that Harry needs to talk to me?” he asked incredulously, quickly counting all the ways this message could have been transferred better. There were like…at least eight.

“Not exactly,” Zayn drawled, bringing Louis back down from the ledge of fury. “Your presence is requested at a council meeting, and I have to take you there. I was just...distracted…”

Louis’ skin coated itself in petrified bumps and his eyes twitched in a full-body cringe. “A... council meeting? Me? Why, what have I done?” he asked Zayn defensively, his heart twisting as if it were dough to be cast over a fire.

“Nothing like that, Lou. Harry just needs to brief you some shit officially—that’s all. Come on, let’s go,” Zayn pressed, pushing a frozen Louis in the direction of the council house that the intolerably long and grating meetings were held in.

“Well wait, have they been waiting this whole time?” Louis asked in a fret he couldn’t calm, hating the idea of being late for an appearance he hadn’t even known he’d been requested to make.

“No,” Zayn assured with an easygoing chuckle. “Believe me, they are plenty busy discussing all manners of things. You are just a portion of the topics they need to cover.”

Louis gulped in careful acceptance, only semi-comforted by the Beta’s words, but it was enough—he used that small feeling of peace to fuel the rest of his unstable courage for this daunting turn of events. A council meeting…with Harry…in front of Harry…Harry, Harry, Harry!

Chapter Text

Standing just outside the dastardly hall, Louis could already hear a cacophony of shouting and debating coming from the interior, and he was reluctant to waltz in and become a part of it, but he knew he didn’t have an option...so, in he went.

When he pushed past Zayn, Louis was met with a hectic and rather dramatic scene. Alphas sat in chairs along two lengthy log tables that stretched down the room, ferociously arguing across the gap to each other, obviously in serious disagreement about something.

And there, at a smaller end table that closed off the parallel lines, was Harry. He appeared exhausted and bored with his situation, slumping back with one elbow propped against the armrest of his chair, leaning his head on his curled knuckles. The Pack Alpha made no movement at the Omega’s arrival except to shift his eyes from a passionately-yelling Daven (Kurt’s mate) to lock onto Louis. He seemed to be the only wolf to notice Louis’ presence, and without breaking eye contact, the Alpha uttered a casual, “Quiet” into the chaos of the council, and effectively killed their squabbling.

The eyes of the council slowly found their way to Louis and Zayn at the end of the tables, and the Beta left the Omega with an encouraging rub at his back, taking his seat at Harry’s diagonal left.

Now Louis was left standing alone before the council, without knowing why, being examined by thirteen pairs of eyes, with nothing to say in his defense. He somewhat knew most of these Alphas from his time in warrior training, but there were some new faces in the mixture, and the Omega hated that he didn’t have the security of their acceptance like he did the others.

Harry lifted his head from his fist as he lowered his hand and straightened in his seat, motioning for Louis to move closer. “Louis, I needed to run something by you,” he said, kicking an ankle up to stack onto his opposing knee.

Louis held his head high and walked further into the torchlit room, meeting Katniss and Parsel’s eyes and drawing strength from their comforting auras.

“There’s nothing to run, we—” began an older and exasperated Alpha at the left-side table.

“Lucian,” Harry warned, piercing him with his gaze. “Louis, I need you to do something for me.”

Louis was surprised by the unknown request Harry was making in lieu of the stern scolding he’d convinced himself he would receive for fill-in-the-blank reason, and he had to admit this was an improvement. “What do you need?” he inquired willingly.

“Louis, I’m sure you’ve noticed the rising numbers of the rogues, and the increasing frequency of the attacks,” the Alpha said confidently, knowing that he’d have to be a rock not to notice.

“Yeah, they’re everywhere,” Louis agreed with a nod, furrowing his eyebrows as he formulated what the connection was to him. “But what’s that got to do with me?” he asked to voice his thoughts, eyes routinely making their way to Lucian’s angry scowl. What the fuck is his problem?

“Don’t interrupt, and maybe you’ll figure it out,” Harry patronized, smirking when Louis visibly and audibly gulped. “It has become a critical enough issue that I’ve had to pull every village Alpha I have to work as a warrior...and as a result, I am left without my hunters, and in need of some,” he stated, sighing at Louis’ oblivious demeanor. “I’m asking you to lead a team of suitable Omegas to hunt the packs’ meat, forgoing your gathering duties for the time being,” he informed, studiously checking Louis’ face to ensure he’d understood.

“Utter nonsense,” Lucian grumbled.

“Lucian!” Harry barked with noticeably less patience this time around, turning back to Louis to further plead his case. “This is something that needs to be done immediately, and I will assemble you a team to—”

“No,” Louis interrupted, quickly explaining the specifics of his refusal. “I mean I’ll do it, but you’re not assembling me a team. I refuse to pupsit Omegas while simultaneously trying to win their respect. It’ll waste time,” he reasoned, rooted to his compromise and daring Harry to keep pointlessly negotiating.

Before Harry could scold him about it not being up to him, Noman piped in from the right: “Alpha Harry, if I may make a suggestion?” he drawled, his hand at his patch of beard as he stroked the coarse hairs into order. Harry grunted his acceptance and leaned back into his chair, so Norman gratefully continued: “I say we have Louis rally his own group of his choice. Not without the approval of their Alphas, of course, but he has quite a few omkin that I believe may be very helpful to the cause, my Alpha.”

Harry took a few moments to consider while Louis frantically searched his mind to have an answer ready for the question he knew was about to come. “Who did you have in mind, Louis?” the Pack Alpha asked as Zayn sunk lower into his seat in trepidation.

Deciding quickly—because he’d planned for this—Louis listed his choices to the council: “I believe Draco, Jax, Kurt, and—” He paused, glancing over to the nervous Zayn before apologetically finishing, “—Niall. Would be my best options,” he stated, flinching immediately when Zayn made his opinion known.

The Beta slammed his hand down on the table and stood from his seat in protest, snarling at the mere concept. “Absolutely not!” he barked, his canines extended without his control.

Harry’s eyebrows shot up and he turned his head in confusion at the unexpected outburst. “Why not? If Louis thinks he’s capable, that should be all we need to know. He wouldn’t choose a member of his omkin if they weren’t—”

“I know, Harry. Niall’s not inadequate, but he’s not able to. End of story. I’m sorry, I cannot allow it,” Zayn grumbled without a hope to be convinced otherwise.

“But why, though?” the Pack Alpha pressed firmly, dissatisfied with the vague answer he’d received.

Zayn heavily sat back down and fidgeted in his seat, stealing a few moments of peace before blurting, “Niall is pregnant.”

Instantaneous applause broke out within the room and Harry temporarily set aside the meeting drama to give focus to the good news. “Gods, is he really?” he asked Zayn, yipping in celebration when the Beta nodded with the utmost amount of pride. “Congratulations, brother,” he murmured softly with an equally proud smile, holding his Beta’s shoulder and stroking it with his thumb.

Zayn thanked everyone for their cheers and apologized for his outburst, and after the room had settled—and Louis had ceased his joyous sobs—Harry shredded the peace: “Unfortunately, that now means he has to.”

Zayn blanched in shock—he looked like he wanted to say a lot more in the moment, but he controlled himself enough to demand a simple, “Why?”

Before Harry could answer, Louis chimed in from his quiet spot at the end of the tables. “Zayn, I’m so happy for you, and I understand your refusal...but think about it this way. We know Niall. If he finds out he had an opportunity that was taken from him by you, it’ll only push him to do it more. Think of how he’ll react when he hears he was almost allowed, pregnant or not, to do something he’d want to do, but then you said no because he’s pregnant. He’ll kill us all,” he reasoned, stealing the words right out of Harry’s mouth.

Zayn obviously wanted to argue for the rest of the night, but he knew Louis had made an extremely valid point, so against all his better judgement, he surrendered, closing his eyes in resignation.

Harry gave him two seconds before speaking his final word. “Niall it is, then,” he concluded as Zayn groaned in defeat, slamming his forehead onto the surface of the table. “Anyone else in opposition to their Omegas joining Louis’ team?” he asked the other bondmates.

Daven and Chibs shook their heads without hesitation, full of pride for their Omegas making the cut. Parsel seemed deep in thought, weighing how he felt about it. At last, he moved his eyes in Louis’ direction and voiced his approval. “You may have my Dragon, Louis. But on one condition—an Alpha needs to be with them at all times. With Niall being pregnant, I don’t feel comfortable with just Jax and Louis as dominant figures,” he stressed to the attentive and agreeably-nodding Harry.

“I’ll do it,” Katniss chimed, looking around at her fellow council members as she spoke. “Peeta’s not with them, so it’s not a conflict of interest. I can teach them the ways of archery,” she offered, turning her head when Norman raised his hand in the air.

“I will be with them as well,” Norman added, smiling at Louis in that weird way he always does.

“No,” Harry instantly argued, giving them a sharp shake of his head. “I need you two on the field; you’re too good to substitute.”

“Harry, we need food other than berries and greens,” Katniss reasoned, taking on a soft and non-combative tone with the Pack Alpha. “This job is equally as important, and it’s because we’re so good that you can be absolutely sure no harm will ever come to the Omegas.”

“... Fine,” Harry reluctantly endorsed after another lengthy pause.

“Well, I think it’s bullshit,” Lucian contended once again, gearing up for an impassioned rant. “Harry, if your Father had not left his position—”

Left his position? I beg you to rephrase that, Lucian,” Harry composedly but darkly demanded, the forced neutrality of the order sending chilled shivers down Louis’ spine.

“Apologies, Alpha. If your Father hadn’t been killed, if he were alive, he would never agree to this,” Lucian corrected, still traversing down the same line of thought.

“Well he’s not, is he? Did I not take his place as the Alpha of this tribe, therefore becoming your superior in his death?” Harry challenged, the volume of his voice raising with every word.

“But Alpha, this Omega is a disgrace,” Lucian bit, swishing his wrist in the general direction of Louis as though he was too good to even look at him. “He’s untrustworthy and insolent. We cannot possibly allow him to poison our pure Omegas with his deplorable attitude; you’ll be similarly banishing his disciples left and right.”

And that...was a step too far. “Hey, Lucy! Nobody fucking likes you!” Louis erupted, all heads turning to him in impressed incredulity. “I have heard nothing about you but trash, and I can see why. You’re a slippery slug in need of a salt bath, and don’t think I won’t do that to you. Don’t you dare say a word about me, you have absolutely no right. I am no threat to the sanctity of this tribe’s Omegas, and if you ever disrespect me like that again, I’ll make you regret it for the rest of your life,” he snarled at the affronted council Alpha.

Respect? You dare speak to me of respect when you have none? Learn your place,” Lucian spat, using his normally successful howahkan in an attempt to make Louis submit.

Despite the Alpha’s pathetic efforts, Louis was not normal. “My place is in a duel to the death with you, beating you into the ground, you hateful cow. Your Alpha is Harry, how about you learn yours?” he roared back like a true dominant, lathering his voice with the official strongest and most powerful timbre he’s ever managed.

Following this was an uproar of utter pandemonium. Many Alphas were speechless after hearing Louis give it his all, but once the shock passed, they were yelling. Lucian and Louis were still in their volatile discourse, while the remaining council members screamed their opinions on the matter to the heavens.

Harry had silently watched the situation unravel and was positively bubbling with pride and attraction for the Omega, but unfortunately, when Louis lunged across the table to give Lucian said ground-beating, the Pack Alpha was forced to intervene. “Louis!” he barked with his contrastingly effective howahkan, the tiny Omega practically halting mid-air as the room silenced. “Come,” he commanded, crossing his arms and raising his brows expectantly.

Louis’ Omega could not deny that sweet and persuasive voice of its requests and he diligently obeyed, walking right up to the Alpha’s chair and awaiting his next instruction.

“Do not speak until spoken to,” Harry muttered sternly, pulling up a nearby chair and lining it beside his own as he added a simple, “Sit.”

Louis sat without a squeak of protest and the council was engulfed in unanimous shock at the Omega’s instant change of behavior and submissive adherence to their Pack Alpha’s orders. From everything they’d seen of him so far, Louis was the very opposite of an Omega—fiercely independent and unreachable to compulsion—but there was no denying the tranced glaze over his eyes from forced obedience, and his instantly sleepy exterior. That…was an Omega. Evidently, Harry could control him—why couldn’t anyone else?

Harry was pleasantly surprised (overwhelmingly elated) at Louis’ compliance to only him, and his inner Alpha was teeming with satisfaction, but he somehow maintained his neutrality. “Lucian. Apologize,” he said, turning his focus back to the room instead of the bleary Omega beside him.

“I beg your pardon?” Lucian countered abrasively, admittedly upset that his howahkan hadn’t done a thing, but the Pack Alpha’s had. “With all due respect, Alpha, I cannot in good conscience disregard something that is so quintessential to our species.”

“With all due respect, Lucy, your blatant hatred of equality is painfully misplaced, and slandering one of my warriors, Omega or not, is in no way quintessential,” Harry growled, his hand twitching with the desire to reach over and caress the inside of Louis’ parted thigh. Get a hold of yourself, Harry.

“Alpha Harry, I—”

No, Lucian! This council thrives on its cooperation. If we have no unity, we shall make no progress. I need my Alphas willing to make the changes necessary to better the efficiency and safety of my tribe. Are you refusing to be one of those Alphas?” Harry questioned, prepared to banish him right here and now if he says the wrong thing.

“No, Harry, of course I’m not,” Lucian said carefully, regretfully turning to face Louis, who was still not all-present until Harry rubbed at his back to rouse him from his stupor. “My apologies, Omega,” he said when he made eye contact, quickly looking away and biting back his groan of embarrassment.

What’s happening? Did Lucian just apologize to me? Louis wondered, blinking his tired eyes and looking around at the room. It would appear Lucian expressed some fake sincerity of his discriminatory remarks, and Louis definitely did not accept, but he didn’t know if he was allowed to respond. Wait, what? Why wouldn’t I…

“Good,” Harry said to his council member, dragging Louis’ confused gaze to him. He turned to meet the bluest blue of eyes and tried to coax their owner into reciprocating the phrase. “Now, Louis...it’s your turn. Apologize for your outburst.”

Louis, breaking through the haze from pure fury, stood from his seat, appalled Harry would even think to suggest such an unfair thing. “Have you gone mad? You heard what he said to me! No way am I sorry for sticking up for myself,” he protested, crossing his arms in defense from Harry’s impatient glare.

“I will fight no more on this issue,” Harry snapped, pointing to Lucian and lowly growling at the Omega. “Apologize and be done with it.”

“No,” Louis bluntly refused. This probably wasn’t the smartest decision because Harry mirrored Louis’ action and shot out of his seat like lava from a volcano, instantly towering over his tinier form and baring his canines at him. The Omega’s breath quickened from the maddening proximity, his nostrils burning from the intoxicating Alpha scent of Harry, and he began to feel debilitatingly faint in the head.

“You will apologize, Louis,” Harry ordered, using a hint of howahkan to get it out of him without the use of excessive force.

Louis could feel his inner Omega pulling at the strings of his soul, urging him down into a place of peaceful darkness where he’d be ‘happy,’ and his eyelids began to droop as he wobbled on unbalanced legs, but he fought hard to maintain his defiance, slapping his inner Omega in the face for even suggesting such a reaction. “I won’t,” he whimpered unsurely.

Harry bent down so their faces were inches apart and stared directly into the Omega’s jaded eyes, giving him the simple but firm order that would change the game for everyone: “Submit."

The last of Louis’ pitifully-constructed resolve obliterated itself in an instant as his inner Omega took complete control of him for the first time, stretching its legs and sighing at its long-awaited freedom. It was like a lifelong wall had just been smashed to pieces so small they were invisible, and Louis lost all focus of his Alpha’s mismatched eyes, his true nature diving headfirst into that dark abyss it so painfully yearned for.

Harry watched in shock as Louis suddenly lost consciousness and he threw his arms out to catch the Omega before he crashed to the floor. With arms full of a sagging Louis, he turned his attention to the council members, shouting, “Leave us!” to them as they scrambled to obey his words.

Zayn was the last to leave, but he turned back to Harry before he did, hiding his smirk as he brought attention to the happenstance: “Did he just drop, Harry?”

Harry carefully lowered them both onto the ground behind his table and pulled the vulnerable Omega into his lap, gently rubbing at his back and hips. “What do you think?” he snapped to his insufferable Beta over the tabletops, trying to hide Louis from sight even though Zayn could only see the top of his face. “Get out, Zayn, you can’t be here,” he bit harshly, sighing in relief when the Beta whisked away and left them alone.

Harry was getting hit with a barrage of varying emotions and thoughts, and it was damn near impossible to organize them. He had just pushed Louis into a deep Omega-space, and he hadn’t even set out to. Moreover, he’d never witnessed Louis have any kind of reaction like this to anything, and if it was suddenly happening now, it meant something had been strongly repressed by the Omega. He really hadn’t used that much force…this was a wild overreaction of Louis’ Omega, to say the very least, and it was going to cost them both.

Despite his worry over the aftermath, Harry whispered sweet nothings into the Omega’s ear and tried to rouse him from his intense drop, letting him unconsciously scent his neck. His efforts seemed to be working because quiet and helpless whimpers began escaping Louis’ throat, and he rushed to soothe him. “Shh, Omega, shh—it’s okay. You’re safe. Come back to your Alpha now...can you do it for me, baby?” he whispered, forgetting all about propriety and sensibility, and taking care of what was right in front of him.

Louis slowly, groggily opened his eyes, and just as Harry had suspected, they were not the eyes of his human self, but the deep gold of his wolf’s. This was a full-blown Omega drop and it was going to take a lot to get him out of it. Louis was ruled exclusively by instinct now, and Harry wasn’t completely sure what he needed to do, but he let his own automatic responses show him the way. “Oh, Louis. I’m so sorry, Louis. I’m sorry for being so stern with you, I didn’t mean you any harm. But your eyes are so gorgeous, Lou, so beautiful—look at you. You’re such a good Omega, baby. Such a good boy, you did so well,” he praised, caressing Louis’ puppy-soft face and getting himself familiarized with the official Omega of Louis Tomlinson.

All the excitement to the Pack Alpha’s wolf predictably took over his human mind, and he leaned into the Omega’s enticing neck to inhale its sweet aroma, instantly extending his canines and sinking them into the smooth flesh. It luckily wasn’t his bonding spot—with great difficulty—but the Alpha bit deeply enough to be flooded with Louis’ hidden emotions, and what he felt took his breath away.

He pulled his canines out and licked the fresh wound until the blood was eradicated, leaning back to gaze in adoration at the contently-purring Omega that was curled into his body. He loves me, he realized in wonderment, blinking with wide eyes at his oblivious submissive. He really loves me.

Harry grinned with a happy chuckle and began to lick at the Omega’s face, grooming him affectionately and happily whining when Louis did as a result of his ministrations. Harry tightened his arms around the small figure of his darling Louis and spoke into the magnificently golden eyes once more: “Louis, can you hear me at all? I need you to try and come back just a little bit. Try and remember how to speak, Louis...I want to hear your beautiful voice,” he encouraged, peppering Louis’ face with licks and kisses in-between statements. The Alpha could tell Louis was trying hard to come back, so he kept up his determined efforts to help, and after a few unintelligible mewls, the Omega finally surfaced enough for language.

“Alpha,” he croaked with a throaty rasp, throwing his arms around Harry’s neck and sobbing his overwhelmed emotions onto his chest.

The Pack Alpha knew Louis would have no memory of this entire event, so he didn’t hold back one single response, willingly telling him everything he needed to hear (everything he himself wanted to say). “That’s right, Lou, it’s me. You’re doing so good—you’re so good for your Alpha,” he cooed at him, carding his fingers through Louis’ sweaty hair. “I’m so happy you’re mine, sweet Omega. No wolf makes me feel like you do—you’re the best in the world.”

Louis sighed in satisfaction and snuggled impossibly closer into Harry’s chest, his sobs ebbing away with blissed-out sighs.

“I’m going to take you home now, okay? You need a long night of rest after this. I’m so so proud of you, alright? You were perfect tonight. Perfect for me in every single way,” Harry praised, lifting the Omega off the floor as he stood, hiking him up as high as he could get.

Louis immediately squirmed around until he had both his ankles hooked around Harry’s hips with arms similarly around his back, and he attached his nose to the Pack Alpha’s neck, sniffing hard and fast to practically ingest the scent at his disposal.

“That’s right, Lou, go ahead. It’s all yours, my love—my scent is only yours. Let’s just get you to bed for now, okay?” Harry suggested as though Louis could respond, walking out of the hall and rubbing at the Omega’s back when he immediately shivered from the icy night air.

He walked all the way to Louis’ wigwam like that, giving him the occasional kiss on the cheek and hair, and bouncing him to get his bloodstream going when he whined in cold discomfort. Once inside Louis’ home, he gingerly lowered the dropped submissive onto his bedding, helped him dress into his nightwear, and then tucked him in with all the warm fur blankets he had. The bunny We-Ota hopped over from the corner and leapt onto the Omega’s chest, grumbling worriedly. “Calm yourself, We-Ota. Your Louis is alright,” he assured, furrowing his eyebrows the longer he looked at the animal. Was We-Ota always this big? 

Louis purred at his bunny and seemed exhausted enough to fall right to sleep, but as soon as Harry made to leave, he started whining in protest. Harry quickly turned back and knelt beside the bundled-up Omega, hushing his complaints and tilting his chin up to bare his neck. He leaned down and gently nipped at the skin he’d exposed, right under the Omega’s jaw to cover his earlier bite.

Louis’ sudden anxiety seemed to drain away, and Harry used the calmest hints of his Alpha compulsion to lull him into the sleep he so desperately needed. The poor Louis was going to have a killer headache when he woke up tomorrow morning, and Harry felt strongly for his future pain. “Sleep now, my love. Be good for me,” he whispered, smiling when Louis’ eyes closed and he began lightly snoring. He’s so amazing, he thought, astounded by the instant obedience he displayed with his words.

With a last pet to We-Ota, the Pack Alpha stood and—extremely grudgingly—walked away from his precious Louis. Once outside the Omega’s wigwam, the Pack Alpha was hit with a blast of clarity so internally loud that he almost choked. What have I done? he begged himself, ashamed he’d let his nature bite and coddle a dropped Omega as if there weren’t serious consequences to something like that. No dire commitments would be made if there wasn’t courting (which he desperately needed to stop himself from doing), but they were attached now. They’d formed a small bond of hormonal attachment, and this wasn’t good.

Above all else, Harry was still confused as to why Louis had responded to him like the very Omega he’d spent so much time convincing everyone ‘didn’t exist,’ so Harry made a beeline for Camila’s teepee, bursting in unexpectedly and ‘psst’ing at her until she woke. He had important questions that seriously needed answering, and he had a strong suspicion she knew something about this.

Camila had been dreaming, tangled up in Lauran’s arms, but she came to when her Pack Alpha made a rather loud entrance into her home. She jolted awake and peered up at him with sleep-heavy eyes, stifling her yawn to ask, “Harry? What are—”

“Camila,” he interrupted in a casual talking volume, wholly uncaring of the potential inconvenience he was causing. “I need to—”

“You’re here to ask about Louis, aren’t you?” she asked knowingly, taking her turn to interrupt the Alpha.

“What do you know?” he demanded, crossing his arms and trying to think outside the bubble of affection he’d lived inside with Louis for nearly an hour.

Camila stretched her limbs and Lauranna cracked her eyes open at the movement (having amazingly stayed asleep from the break-in), but when she saw their trusted Pack Alpha standing in the darkness, she rolled over with a short rub to Camila's thigh and promptly fell back asleep.

“Not here,” Camila stated so they wouldn’t disturb her lover with the upcoming discussing, sluggishly rising out of her bedding and wrapping herself in multiple robes, bypassing the restless Harry on her way to the exit. “Walk with me, chief.”

Chapter Text

Camila led Harry straight through the forest to the specific ‘herb tree’ she has been burying Louis’ remedies at. She had no idea why—it seemed extremely counteractive to the confidentiality they’d been working to uphold—but nevertheless, the Pack Seer and Pack Alpha were now stood just a few steps away from the biggest secret in Chehalis.

She got nervous when Harry began to curiously sniff the air, possibly recognizing something reminiscent of Louis’ scent, but he furrowed his eyebrows and shook his head, as if literally tossing the sudden suspicion out of his brain. He gathered and moved his long curly hair over one shoulder and crossed his arms, waiting for Camila to disclose everything she knew, and she sensed he wouldn’t be this patient for much longer. “Harry, it might be better for you to ask me what you want to know, would it not?” she asked mysteriously.

He narrowed his eyes but played along with her equivocal style of communication. “Louis,” he began carefully, not sure what kind of question she was even looking for. “What is he?” he settled on.

“Do you not know?” Camila challenged, giving him ample time to answer, but judging by the glare she was being burned with, it was apparent she wasn’t getting a response, so she dug deeper. “He is an Omega, first and foremost. Alpha, allow me to ask you some questions…see if you can’t answer your own,” she proposed dramatically, receiving an exasperated huff from Harry, but a nod all the same.

“Go on,” he impatiently encouraged.

“Have you ever seen Louis submit to or respect any of your Alphas by default of their gender?”

“Are you mad? No, his resilience is staggering,” he replied, scratching at his nose and then returning the arm to the twist he’d made at his chest.

Camila pretended to ponder this and began to walk in a circle around the Pack Alpha, holding her hands together at the small of her back. “Mmm. And do you believe this impenetrable defiance is a constant and conscious attempt, or does it seem to be a natural and automatic reaction?”

Harry’s head followed the circling Omega until she passed behind him, turning his head to the other side when she came back into view. “Seems pretty natural to me,” he responded with a sniff, internally laughing over the fact that he seemed to be falling ill as a result of separating from Louis. Not good.

“So, you’re saying Louis has immunity to an Alpha’s compulsion, and it’s an instinctive thing...not done by his own efforts,” she summarized, much to Harry’s annoyance.

“Would you get to the point?” he snapped, coughing into his fist and groaning in disdain. He wanted to go back. He wanted to hold that sweet Omega all night, feel the little puffs of his breath on his chest, curl his fingers into his sandy hair and—

“I am, my Pack Alpha. Tell me...how does he act with you?” Camila asked, successfully pulling the Alpha out of his yearning thoughts.

“That’s why I’m here, Cam. I pushed Louis into a drop, but I hardly put any force into my compulsion at all,” he besought, wanting her to get to her magical solution.

“So, in essence...what you’re telling me...is that Louis shows absolutely no Omega traits in the presence of Alphas—which by the way, he never has in his life—but that he submitted to you at the drop of a leaf?” she spelled out to him, halting her circle to practically stare into his soul.

Harry’s eyes widened and his lips slightly parted in surprise. Is she really implying… Camila slowly and meaningfully nodded her head in agreement and began her circling again, confirming his suspicion before he had to voice it. “Does he know?” he asked.

“He’s known since his second day here,” she replied flippantly, ignoring the Alpha’s subsequent growl of agitation.

“You know, Cam? For being as notoriously vague and cryptic as you are, you sure have a fat fucking mouth,” he said tonelessly, eyes dark and wholly unamused with their little secret-keeping.

Camila growled back and rounded on the Alpha, throwing her hands up in a manner that suggested she’d expected this from him. “You know, that’s why I said ‘not here’ to you, Harry. If Lauran ever heard you speak to me that way, she’d have a fit. Pack Alpha or not, we all grew up together, Harry. Don’t insult me because you can. I’ll have you know that I dreamt of Louis’ coming three years ago on the day of his banishment, and for three years straight I shared a mental link with him. His emotions were torture, but the only thing that kept me going was knowing my Pack Alpha’s mate would eventually journey to Chehalis to fulfill his destiny, and all would be set right.”

“But why would you tell him?” Harry demanded, not backing down from his aggression, regardless of her personal struggles.

“Because! He was having confusing thoughts about you already, so I let him know why. I told him nothing more than what he needed to know, and I’m doing the same with you. I know a lot that I can’t inform either of you of; that’s just how the future works. So, you’ll just have to suck it up and wait...see for yourselves,” she grunted, angrily fixing her tangled necklaces.

“I can’t mate him, Camila,” Harry said matter-of-factly, causing the Seer to freeze and sear him with a furious glare.

“Will you two stop fighting this? You cannot run from this, Harry—it’s fate! The Spirits foretold it to me, and no matter what you do, it will happen. Why are you resisting? You realize that makes my three years of suffering mean absolutely nothing?” she shouted, overly done with the true mates’ mirrored hesitation.

“Stop poking your nose where it doesn’t belong, Camila. You did not have to tell him, but you did, and now have to deal with the consequences from it. You do not know what I am currently dealing with. You know the rogues are targeting me, right? They’re all working to come down on my head. Roman is out there trying to finish what he started—don't you realize what that means? If I bonded Louis, the first thing those monsters would do is go after him. I can’t put him in that kind of danger. If I let myself have my Omega, and he was taken from me, my very soul would die. They would make sure I saw it. And I don’t care if they killed me a mere two seconds afterward, those two seconds of unthinkable agony I would feel at losing my mate would make your three years look like a skin rash,” he growled, irises black and menacing.

Camila, entirely unafraid, grinned pointedly at his speech, like she’d gotten the answer she wanted. “This is why you’ll ensure you mate him. Your Alpha already loves him too much to leave him vulnerable. Your soulbond will protect him before it will cause him harm,” she insisted.

Harry sighed heavily as his rage dissipated and began tying the top half of his hair with itself behind his head. “Whatever, Cam. Thanks for your unparalleled wisdom,” he drawled sarcastically.

“You’ll thank me someday,” she remarked with an overload of snark, biting her lip over another victorious grin.

“Louis will have questions when he wakes up and can’t remember anything. Tell him whatever you have to—I don’t need his whiny complaints directed at me. I can’t let myself get any more attached to him than I already am... but way more importantly, tell everyone else to keep silent about this too. Louis is my concern, and my responsibility. Mine. Tell everyone privy to my Omega’s drop to leave him to me,” Harry ordered, completely unaware of the massive contradiction he’d just made.

Camila blinked rapidly and chuckled to herself as the Alpha turned and swiftly withdrew from the forest, returning to his village. “Whatever you say, Styles.”

 

~~~

 

Louis awoke with a headache of nightmarish proportions. Gripping his forehead in pain, he flipped over in his bedding to face a sleeping We-Ota, happy at least to see his furry friend beside him. “Wewe, I think I’m dying,” he moaned, his larger-than-usual bunny waking up and giving the Omega little nose kisses. Through his discomfort, Louis managed a breathy giggle at the adorable sentiment. “Thanks, darling.”

The Omega searched his foggy mind and realized pretty quickly that he shouldn’t really be here. What happened last night? he wondered, no recollection coming to him as to how he got home. Or why he was in his nightwear. The last thing he remembered was…was…Oh Gods, he thought shamefully, his jaw dropping when he found the last piece he had to the puzzle. The Council meeting. 

He remembers fighting with Lucian, and Harry making him stop and sit next to him, but it all gets fuzzy after that. The Pack Alpha had raised his voice and Louis had started getting a little dizzy. Did he faint? No, that’s impossible—no way would he ever be that weak.

He got a sudden tingle in his neck and his hand flew to the spot to inspect the foreign feeling, and what he felt almost made him scream—only the thought of scaring Wewe stopped him from letting it out. There, nestled in the front of his neck, right below his jaw, was a mark. A raw mark—the memory of a wound.

The mark was hot to the touch and his Omega was instantly lulled from the physical contact. He didn’t need anyone to tell him what this was...when he gently ran his fingers across it and his cock got hard, he knew. This was an Alpha’s bite. An Alpha’s bite. From what Alpha?! His house smelled like Harry... Did Harry bite him? Why would he do that? He mindlessly scratched at the bite (because it itched terribly), and the sensation sent uncontrollable convulsions throughout his body. Oh Gods. Help.

Louis couldn’t handle this insanity one second longer; he set Wewe onto the edge of his blanket and flew out of his wigwam (still in his sleeping dress) with a quick, “Sorry” thrown over his shoulder to the disgruntled bunny. Flying next into Camila’s teepee, fully expecting to scream her out of a dream, he had to halt when he found her wide-awake self sat atop her bedding, evidently having awaited his arrival.

“Hiya, Lou. You want to know why you can’t remember anything,” she stated confidently.

“No, I wanna know why there’s an Alpha’s bite on my neck,” he countered frantically, shoving a finger to the pulsating mark and being very careful not to touch it. He didn’t need to drip slick all over her floor, and he was afraid that might actually happen.

Camila’s eyes grew wide as she was thrown way off track, and she hurried over to Louis to lean into his neck, evaluating the mark in question. “What the—” she muttered tiredly, scoffing in annoyance. “—Okay, I don’t know how he expected me to hide his involvement when he marked you already. Idiot Alpha—so ridiculous.”

“What!” Louis shouted, needing explanations for every single syllable she just let out. “Cam, what are you talking about? Who did this?”

“Who do you think?” she asked, giving him a loaded look. She really didn’t want to be the only reason he found out; Harry would end her.

“Harry,” said Louis automatically, aching to press down on the mark so he could experience the addictive sensations it would cause again.

“That stupid wolf. He probably didn’t even remember he’d marked you like that,” she mused thoughtfully, able to forgive that lapse in clarity because there was no getting around that kind of instinct.

“CAM! WHAT. HAPPENED!” Louis shrieked like Niall, at the very end of his patience.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Louis! Yeah, come sit down,” she requested invitingly, bending to rearrange her blankets and make room for him to sit on her bed.

Louis more tumbled than sat into the quilts, his neck burning from the lack of contact he was giving it, and tried to control his slick. He was twitchy and shaky, striving to deny the temptations of his body to have a well-rounded and informative conversation.

“He really bit deep, I can’t believe he lost control like that,” she sighed, overcome with sympathy to Louis, who looked ill beyond saving and moments from exploding.

“Camila,” he whined, completely without the energy to even voice his questions.

“Sorry again. Okay, from what I gathered last night, Harry used his howahkan in the council meeting and…and you dropped. From what he told me, it was a strong drop, and looking at you now, I believe it. Then I guess he took you home,” she recited, her knowledge unfortunately not encompassing much more than that—she would not be speaking of their stroll in the woods.

Louis squeezed his eyes shut when his suspicion was confirmed. “So, is that why he bit me?” he pondered, not seeing any reason to bite an Omega unless they were in clear torment or distress—but even then, biting an unmated Omega and then leaving them was practically a taboo. It did a lot more worse than good in the long run.

Camila was truthfully lost for words, unsure of Harry’s particular motives, but assuming it was due to a lack of control. “I don’t know. I’d guess it calmed you down in the moment, but he really shouldn’t have done it,” she said disapprovingly, mirroring the thoughts that were bubbling around in Louis’ head. “He failed to mention that part to me.”

Not wanting to hear any more of the crime that had been committed to him, Louis called a quick ‘bye’ and rushed out of her teepee. Luckily, she didn’t try to follow him, but it was because she understood—he needed to get to Harry right now. Unfortunately, Louis didn’t get that freedom when Zayn came sauntering around the corner of the seamstress teepees. 

Zayn stopped short when he got a good look at the Omega, instantly recognizing the bite of an Alpha embedded in Louis’ neck. He took a deep breath and cocked his head to the side, very curious of just what Harry did with Louis last night. “Morning, Lou,” he announced, deciding not to bring it up into conversation. He got a muffled response from the very distracted Omega and he felt bad to have to order Louis around, but everyone was already waiting. “It’s your first day of hunting, Lou. Sorry, but you gotta come to the forest,” he said sympathetically, anticipating the reply Louis may have and sighing when he got it.

“Take me to Harry. Now,” he passionately ordered, his body shaking and desperate for release he would never get unless he found the Pack Alpha.

“Louis—”

“No! Fuck’s sake, look at me! I will go to the forest, but you have to let me go to the Pack Alpha. Now,” he emphasized, tears brimming in his eyes from the indescribably frustrating demands of his neck.

Zayn sighed heavily, but he understood the prominence to get this taken care of. He knew what an Alpha’s bite could do to an unmated Omega, and he definitely didn’t want to make Louis suffer the aftereffects if he could have done something about it. “Alright, fine. But then we have to go to the forest. And you should probably get changed,” he negotiated, hooking an arm around Louis and walking him all the way to the center of the village, shooting glares at onlookers whenever their eyes widened in surprise.

It took them a bit, but Zayn finally got Louis outside Harry’s home and steadied him on his feet, rushing inside for a quick second to alert the Alpha of his presence and then coming back to give Louis the tentative go-ahead to enter. Harry had only grunted awake—that’s not necessarily an acceptance—but this was highly important.

Louis filled his lungs with air and let it all out in one fell swoop, looking nervously at Zayn for one unsure second before huffing his resolution and barging into the Pack Alpha’s home. It didn’t matter how nervous he was, this mark was above all that. It was destroying him.

Harry had obviously just woken up from Zayn’s intrusion, and he was lying in the middle of his expansive bedding, propped up by his elbows, hair wild from sleep, and beautifully naked. Only a minuscule corner of a quilt covered the area Louis so very much wanted to see, and this was not helping. “Please help me,” he whimpered with a choked sob, squeezing his eyes shut in embarrassment of this circumstance.

“What’s wrong?” Harry breathed in immediate alert concern, his heart breaking to see Louis so upset, quickly sitting up to inspect the Omega for any obvious troubles. The Alpha dragged his gaze down from the Omega’s face and his eyes squinted when he caught sight of his neck. A neck he’d bitten. “Shit!” he gasped, flying out of his bedding and striding up to the trembling Omega to put him back together.

Louis really needn’t have wished too hard to get a look at the covered area of Harry’s body now that he’d been fully granted with it. The Pack Alpha’s cock was unfairly glorious, and hard, but Louis had more important matters on hand...if that’s possible. He suddenly swayed on his feet from the bath of Harry’s scent, but before he could faint like a wussy—again—Harry helped him to sit on his bedding.

When they were both seated side by side, the Alpha lowered his face to his hands in disappointment. “I’m so sorry, Louis. I know how much that must hurt for you,” he mourned, lifting his face to stare at the angry mark in regret. “My Alpha must have done that; I don’t even hardly remember it—”

“Harry, please! Make it stop!” Louis wailed, reaching another breaking point in his patience and flinging his hand up to the pulsing scar, manically scratching at it to alleviate the pressure he was hopeless to on his own anyway.

Harry caught the Omega’s wrist with a firm but soft grip and pulled it away from his neck, scooting in close to the trembling beauty and letting his Alpha do what it wanted. “Shhh, baby. Don’t you worry about a thing. Alpha’s right here, and I’m gonna make it all better,” he cooed, snaking his arms around Louis and consequently stilling his restless squirming. “Look up, sweet wolf,” he murmured, nuzzling into the mark when the Omega obeyed and exposed the area.

Louis was about to whine again for Harry to hurry up, and instead cried out in rapture from the instant relief of the Alpha’s tongue running up his searing bite—the lick was similar to rubbing ice on a burn, sweet escape from the fire of his skin, and he’d never felt more at peace.

Harry grunted in want and continued to place open-mouth kisses all around the area—long after settling the repercussions of his accidental bite—because he’d lost himself the moment he’d tasted Louis’ neck, his reigning wolf growling possessively against the Omega’s skin and rubbing its scent all over him. Scenting was the first step in the courting process to eventually mate and breed, and he needed to stake his claim now before it was too late.

Louis’ Omega responded adamantly with a feral insistence, clambering onto the Alpha’s lap and straddling his naked hips, mewling eagerly as his slick wet his uncharted entrance. Slick, and Harry’s instinct-driven hands wandering to it, were what jarred Louis out of the haze. What are you doing, Louis!

His Omega was furious with him for flinging himself off the lusting Alpha, but Louis could not let things go this far. He was technically three days away from his heat—that his remedies wouldn’t let him fall into—and that was precisely why Harry was so lost. Whether Harry realized it himself or not, his wolf knew. His wolf could sense it. And Louis had to stop this now. “Harry,” he gasped, pushing the Alpha’s advances away when he only crawled over to him after being rejected. “Wake up…” he sniffed weakly, moaning in the back of his throat when the Alpha licked up his thigh in search of his slick. No! This cannot happen!

Using an impressive amount of dormant strength, Louis grabbed the Alpha’s shoulders and violently shook him into coherence, slapping both hands onto Harry’s confused face and frantically attempting to shout him back to crisp reality. “Harry! Harry, wake the fuck up—now!”

Harry blinked as though surfacing from a dream, registering the compromising position he had Louis under and immediately backing away in shock, covering his pelvic area with the nearest blanket as he steadied his thumping heart. “What…did I…” he trailed with no memory of the last five minutes, sniffing around at the Omega from a safe distance and thankfully discovering he hadn’t done anything more than spread his scent on him. Which was a courting thing and he'd promised himself he wouldn't do that, but whatever. “You need to go, Louis. Now. You shouldn’t be here,” he said, refusing to meet the Omega’s eyes lest he lose control again.

Even though Louis wanted to stay with everything he was, he wholeheartedly agreed with that statement and scrambled to his feet to make a hasty retreat. “Thanks for…for your help,” he stammered bashfully as he left the addictive Harry in his teepee, meeting the speechless-and-hyperaware-of-what-had-just-occurred-Zayn outside and sprinting all the way to the forest before he said a damn word. I know…

Harry groaned after he was left alone and fell forward onto his bedding, his Alpha snarling hatefully at him for releasing his catch back into the wild. He didn’t even know what had just happened, but evidently it was enough to fret over. His cock was demanding his attention and he wrapped a hand around it in appeasement, lifting his hips off his bedding and stroking himself tentatively to the lingering scent of Louis’ desire embedded in his blanket.

How am I supposed to control myself around that Omega? he begged as he moaned in pleasure, rolling onto his side and dragging the blanket straight to his nose, losing his earlier hesitance to his satisfying fantasies as his wrist pumped faster.

Louis is mine, his inner Alpha growled from deep within him, in strong opposition to Harry trying to resist the Omega’s call.

Ignoring the interruption, Harry rolled back over and propped himself up on his elbow so he hovered face-down over the potent blanket, working himself to a rapid climax while he gasped and grunted into the soft fur beneath his lips. After a while of cramping his forearm, his groin muscles began to tighten as the base of his length gradually swelled, and he hid his face into the crook of his arm, panting in anticipation until he finally spilled his blissful release onto his bedding—driven by the image of burying his knot in the warm, soft space between Louis’ legs.

Shit, he inwardly cursed, sprawling onto his back after floating down from his high and bringing the Louis-scented blanket up to his nostrils, breathing it in once more as he stroked it with his thumb, chuckling into his empty house in panicked defeat. I’m doomed.

Chapter Text

When Zayn dropped Louis off at the forest to hurriedly return to Niall, the Omega immediately ran into his omkin’s arms. He quickly told them that he knew what they were all staring at (his scarred neck), but that he didn’t want to talk about it yet, and promised he would later. They agreed to drop the elephant in the clearing and then Louis addressed the other thing that needed mentioning. “You guys know about Niall, right?” he asked excitedly, getting exuberant nods from every wolf around.

“I’m so happy for him,” Draco sighed dreamily, a hand subconsciously traveling to his uninhabited stomach. “I had no idea that’s why they were stocking on food—I really should have put that together. Considering he’d been absent from work…I’m such an idiot,” he chuckled, shaking his head with a wistful undertone to his demeanor.

“I haven’t seen him yet, how is he?” Kurt asked, having heard the news from Daven last night after his Council meeting.

“Happy, but he’s really sick,” Louis replied, all Omegas (besides him and Jax), cringing because no submissive looked forward to that particular part of pregnancy. Although it would be fantastic to know you had puppies growing inside you, violently hurling for a varied and unpredictable amount of time was not ideal. Louis would still take that over being barren forever—but he had to distance his mind from those kinds of thoughts or he’d cry again.

“Does he have one or two? Or is it a litter?” Draco asked, looking between Kurt and Louis because they seemed to have the most information on it—Parsel had only told him that he was pregnant, nothing more. He’d defended Zayn’s right to privacy until he made an official announcement to the pack, and though Draco respected his Alpha code, he’d been desperate to know.

“Litters don't even happen anymore, Draco. And Daven told me Zayn said one,” Kurt responded, answering the question for Louis as well because he hadn’t lasted long enough to hear of anything after the meeting adjourned.

“Aww, that’s so cute,” Draco squealed, picturing a single puppy with Zayn and Niall’s shared features and needing it here immediately. “I can’t wait to meet them.”

Their gushing about Niall and Zayn’s breeding wasn’t showing any signs of stopping, so Katniss decided it was time to get their attention. “Hey guys, you can talk more about it on your food break, but right now I need you to focus,” she said warmly, chuckling when they broke apart and stood to attention like they’d completely forgotten where they were—they probably had.

Norman sauntered up to stand next to her and gestured to his son, needing to remind himself to call him by his name and not his cub title. “Louis, if you’re feeling up to it, we’d like you to share your knowledge of hunting,” he suggested politely.

Louis shuffled to the front of the group and just let himself start talking, not sure what kind of information he was supposed to grant them with. He briefly explained how to utilize a controlled summon of your wolf’s instincts into a hunt, and then instructed everyone to halfway call theirs forth for practice. Once that was a decent success, and no accidental turnings occurred, he went over the general rules of hunting: where to stand in position of the wind so you won’t be detected, how and where to strike the animal (because it obviously differed from hunting as an actual wolf), and blahblahblah…

He explained that if push comes to shove, and they can’t seem to get it down in their human form, they can of course shift and let their wolf pounce on it, but it’s crucially important to try both ways, since that was why they were here. They couldn’t afford to mangle all their food as they would in their wolves; this food was for the pack, so they should only be using bows and arrows to get this done.

With the help of Katniss and Norman, Louis successfully taught his present omkin Omegas to hunt down and kill an animal with an arrow, having them practice on trees until their arrows consistently hit the trees, and when they were ready, he set them loose.

 

---

 

Louis was deep into his hunt, and had been for an hour, instincts blocking out the waterfall of his usual thoughts and putting him in an adored state of determined predator. He was using Chatan instead of an arrow because the sword had been the thing to get him through his three years of solitude and he was more used to its familiar swing, and he yipped for Norman every time he acquired something.

Norman and Katniss were more the gatherers in this scenario, which was amusing objectively, since they were the Alphas, but their job was to look after the Omegas while they hunted; therefore, to carry their prey back to one of the two wheelers in the training clearing.

Norman came and collected the deer for him and Louis gave him a small smile, the transfer remaining a silent one because he didn’t want to scare off his game. A sound in nearby bushes grabbed his focus and he prepared to strike, offhandedly thinking that We-Ota deserved an apology if these noises happened to be bunnies.

 

---

 

Eventually, it was time for the Omegas’ break, and Norman howled for their return, confident that even if his howl scattered forest critters, after the break was over, they’ll have come back. Louis was the last to return to the clearing and he handed off his latest squirrel, skipping over to the fallen log where the Omegas sat with their small baskets of their favourite berries and greens in their laps.

Norman announced he was going to wheel the most greatly stacked cart back to the village so it would be ready for a refill after lunch, and Louis waved him off, finally sitting down when Katniss gave him the go-ahead and said she’d be staying here with them.

Finally, he could relax. Except not for long, for once he met his omkin’s eyes, they followed Katniss’s advice and brought up the thing she’d urged them to ‘talk about later.’

“So, Louis…who gave you that Alpha’s bite?” Jax smirked, popping a cherry tomato in his mouth and winking at Louis as he sighed in exasperation.

“Can nobody guess? Come on, don’t make me say it,” Louis pleaded, raising one eyebrow at his omkin and hoping one of them would say it for him.

“It was Harry, wasn’t it?” Draco pressed, the omkin’s food forgotten as they held their breath in anticipation.

“Of course it was,” Louis groaned, ripping out a patch of grass from the forest floor and chucking it at all four of his lined-up and cackling idiots.

“Louis, Gods, this is huge!” Kurt shouted, setting his basket down and leaping off the log to engulf Louis in a congratulatory hug.

“Guys, don’t get too crazy about it,” Louis asserted, returning Kurt’s embrace and then pushing him back onto his log. “I just dropped in front of him and his Alpha took over. It’s not like we’re mates or anything, and besides…I think he regrets it,” he admitted a tad depressingly, unable to hold his fears back from his omkin.

“I don’t think so,” Draco said with a confidence that Louis wished he had. “Even if he considers it being…not the best idea he’s ever had, this basically means his inner Alpha has already decided on you,” he stressed, tossing a blackberry in his mouth with a held-up finger and swallowing it before continuing. “It doesn’t matter that you dropped; an Alpha wouldn’t just lose control and bite an Omega he or she wasn’t interested in.”

“Yeah,” Kurt echoed, pointing at Draco and nodding his head. “Exactly. And by giving you his mark, he won’t be able to stay away for long. He’s imprinted himself onto you, and that kind of attachment can’t be ignored forever.”

“I hope so…” Louis confessed, rolling his eyes at his omkin’s cubbish giggles and demanding they share their food with him. He’d obviously forgotten to pack any—he hadn’t even dressed himself. He’s a mess.

 

---

 

After their break had ended, they’d returned to their hunting to finish up the second half of the day, and now they were at last ready to return to the village. They could hardly wait to see Peeta at the end of the day to give him the exciting pieces of news. Though they felt the absence of their fellow omkin, they understood that Katniss being with them would have indeed been a huge distraction. Besides, Peeta didn’t really want to hunt, anyway. He loved his crop gathering and other classically Omega duties too much to leave, so they’d accepted being without him and resorted to filling him in on details whenever they saw him. Which was now.

When they passed through the final line of trees, they were met with the patiently-sitting Peeta they so very much wanted to see, and the Omega’s face lit up when he saw his omkin and mate approaching. He didn’t know who to go to first, but he decided on Katniss, giving her a big kiss and then jumping excitedly into his omkin’s arms. “So, how was it?” he asked, looking to all their eyes for whomever would speak first.

They unanimously voiced their approval of their new duties and dove into the details, but Peeta lost focus on the cacophony of answers when his eyes fell on Louis’ neck. “Louis, that’s—that’s a—”

Here we go.

 

***

 

Nearly one moon cycle had passed since the Council meeting fiasco, since Niall had been pronounced pregnant, and since Harry had almost accidentally mated Louis in his home. He can hardly believe that much time has passed since those chaotic days, but here he was—one cycle older than he’d been with a list of updates to bestow.

First of all, Wewe was now the size of a small bear. How (and why) it had happened, Louis has no idea. He’d noticed his bunny steadily growing, sure, but he didn’t think it had been that progressive. Animals grow as they get older—but they usually stop at some point.

All Louis knew was that he went home to his wigwam one day after a day of rigorous hunting, and Wewe was taking up the entire bed. Louis had backed up the second he’d walked in and marched straight to Ianalfto, the Pack Elder—whom he had never before spoken to—to ask him why his bunny had grown to a monstrous size in what seemed like a single day.

The Elder had been understandably flabbergasted, and he’d had no answers other than maybe the bunny had decided it was something the Omega owner wanted from it. Apparently, when an Omega or Alpha had a special bond with an animal, said animal would sometimes change themselves to fit their wolf’s needs.

Louis disagreed because he knows for a fact he’d never wished to the Gods for a bunny big enough to ride, but that was the only theory the Elder could come up with. So, after an awkward goodbye, and thanks for his time, Louis had walked in a daze back to his gargantuan bunny and laid himself down to sleep, deciding he was done with the mystery. Wewe was huge now—whatever.

Secondly, Norman, Katniss, Jax, and Louis had ‘accidentally’ turned their hunting duties into combat training. They still hunted their meat to keep the supply steady, but whenever they finished for the day, they moved onto training.

Katniss had agreed with Louis’ point of view that Omegas should have a few attacks in their repertoire to use if they ever needed them, so the hunter group had begun to use the time to polish some fighting kills. She had also started training Peeta when they were alone in their home so he wouldn’t be left behind, and the whole situation had turned into the hunters’ dirty little secret. Nobody talked about it until they were there—that was the first rule.

The wolves were perpetually on edge from the stagnant rogue attacks that were still transpiring, and fighting was an ideal way to not only let off steam, but more importantly, to be fully prepared for a possible invasion.

Niall had joined them around three days after their first day of hunting, having gotten over the shifty and sufferable period of his pregnancy, and he hadn’t let his condition hold him back a single step—his ferocity leveled that of Louis’, and having overpowered Norman once, he was now capable of taking down rogues. They were all masters now.

The third update was Harry himself. Louis had been busy battling the looming depression brewing in his mind from Harry’s refusal to acknowledge him, and it was getting critical. Ever since he'd fixed the bite, the Pack Alpha had been avoiding Louis like the plague, and just shy of an entire moon cycle had passed with no recognition. It was torture.

Louis wanted nothing more than to march right up to his Alpha and demand why he was being treated like he didn’t exist, but he knew it would only spark more conflict. It could even damage his chances at mending the bridge at all. Louis was not Harry’s Omega, technically, but according to Camila and his emotions, his soul already was—and Harry had staked a claim he wasn’t pursuing—so everything about this burned like lava.

Fourthly, Niall was one moon cycle pregnant now, and the omkin had never been so obsessed with something in their lives. He wasn’t showing, of course, but the omkin spent most of their days off and after-work evenings holed up in Niall and Zayn’s teepee with them to babble together. If Zayn was ever annoyed, he didn’t show it, merely cuddled his Omega in their bedding and let him talk for hours until Niall began to get drowsy, then he’d kick everyone out.

Louis strove to stay innocently happy for his brother, and he was without a doubt, but he just couldn’t inwardly address the sight of Zayn’s fatherly doting without feeling a pinch of jealousy. Okay, maybe the pinch was more of a gouge, but try as Louis might to underplay it, the gnawing feeling wouldn’t leave.

With Harry so pointedly ignoring him, Louis was going to end up mateless with a barren womb for the rest of his miserable life. The Omega was already upset he didn’t need conception blocking remedies from Jade like the rest of his Omega friends did. He wanted to worry about stuff like that, too. He was the prime age to breed—this bottled-up frustration couldn’t go on much longer or it would erupt. Harry wasn’t even remotely interested in Louis anymore, and the Omega either needed to change that, or fucking leave.

In place of the conception blockers he wished were on his plate, Louis was stuck with his damn heat remedies, and tonight was the night to get his dose. It was twilight on the last day before the full moon, so in other words, his last chance to stop his heat before it would overtake him. His omkin were too intent on gossiping at the moment for Louis to even try to slip away unnoticed, so he anxiously waited until they began leaving his wigwam and returning to their mates for the full moon run.

About time, Louis thought in relief as he set his water bowl by the exit for later, dressing himself in a prettily-beaded buckskin shirt, a long and comfortable skirt that belonged to Jade—dyed a reddish purple from the berries—and a lovely pair of moccasins. Louis had been so annoyed at first when he’d discovered that’s what Jade did with some of the paste Draco smashed for her, but she had promised the one skirt was the only one made, and even let him borrow it in condolence. He’d snatched it so quick.

Louis’ hair was gradually growing longer, and it consistently fell into his face, so he messily tied it atop his head with some twine to keep it away, checked around for anything he was missing, and then departed with his bowl to go take his remedy for the cycle. Full moon heats were a disaster—to be in danger of forming a soulbond every time a heat came around if he didn’t stop it…honestly. The stress was something he couldn’t ever describe; it was haunting.

He strode up to the outside of Jade’s teepee and scooped his bowl into the pail of water she always had sitting beside the entrance, filling it just enough so it wouldn’t spill all over the place as he walked up the mountain of an incline to the special tree his suppressants were buried at. And the trek up that hill was not a fun one—he was always scarily weakened by the last two hours he had to take these remedies, and that put him at quite a physical disadvantage. The growing weakness was an efficient way for his body to remind him of what needed to be done, and it was theoretically helpful, but practically hindering. Especially when he had to climb a hill.

And no, he couldn’t just take it at any time during the day to avoid feeling like a baby deer. His heat suppressants had an action/reaction type of dynamic to them. He couldn’t take them until the full heat process had already started, otherwise it wouldn’t do anything. Again, he’d learned this the hard way a handful or regrettable times.

This of course meant he was in pre-heat this very second, and had been for several hours (thank the Gods that Omegas don’t smell each other’s pre-heats), but he wasn’t releasing the iconic pheromones quite yet—those would creep in at the last stretch of sunset. He had fifteen minutes left at most, credited to his omkin’s relentless visitation period, so he hustled his way up the hill with a growing bundle of nerves in his stomach. This was cutting it far too close, and he couldn’t dawdle like this next time.

His breaths were coming in shorter gasps and pants the further he went, and his legs shook like grass blades in the wind with every step—this was horrible. He had unfortunately spilled most of the water from the bowl, and he held it close to his chest to conserve the last gulp he had left in it. Perfect, he thought cynically as he heaved himself up the remainder of the hill. With a joyous sigh, he arrived at the herb-concealing tree, falling to his knees and promptly digging into the mound of soil with his weakened hands. That was a close one, Louis.

 

~~~

 

Camila woke with a start, sweating and hyperventilating from the vision she’d just witnessed. Without hesitating or answering Lauran’s concerned questions, the Seer sprinted out of her teepee and headed straight for the Pack Alpha. She ran as fast as she could physically manage, tearing through the familiar maze of the village because she knew she only had a five-minute head start, and her message delivery ate into that time.

When the Pack Alpha’s home was in finally view, and her nose had assured her he was inside resting, Camila began screaming out his name like a swarm of locusts had descended on Chehalis. It took the Pack Alpha maybe half a second to barrel out of his teepee in alarm, but before he could even ask, Camila flew headfirst into his chest and knocked them back three steps, frantically gripping onto him as he stared with wide eyes.

“Camil—”

“Harry, Louis’ in trouble! A rogue is going to overtake him. He’s in the spot where I took you to talk after his drop. You have to go. Now, or he’s not going to make it,” she panted, stumbling when Harry detangled himself from her and flew off in the direction she’d provided, an earth-shattering growl ripping from his throat as he shifted into his wolf mid-run.

Camila heaved like a fish out of water until black spots danced across her vision, and Lauran caught up to her just in time to catch her keeling fall, lowering them onto the ground as Camila struggled to withstand the stress from so much physical exertion—Omegas were not meant for runs like that.

“Cam, are you okay? Is everything going to be okay?” Lauranna begged, pushing away the sweaty strands of hair that were stuck to her mate’s face.

Camila coughed from deep in her tight lungs and weakly nodded her head. “Now it is, yeah,” she rasped, letting herself drift off as Lauran lifted her into her arms and carried her back home. So that’s why I took Harry to the exact spot, she realized in mild surprise as her mind floated within the realm of a dreamscape, So he’d know where it is when this happened. Keep him safe, Alpha.

 

~~~

 

Louis hadn’t sensed or felt any foreign presence behind or anywhere around him. That was his third or fourth mistake of the night.

His instincts should have been on high alert, but he had been putting every ounce of his focus into digging his coveted suppressants out of the Earth, so his heart leapt into his throat when a strong pair of arms wrapped around his body and constricted across his chest. “What the—get the fuck off me!” he screeched to the stranger, struggling to break free because the scent wasn’t of Chehalis any more than he was.

Normally, Louis wouldn’t fear a simple rogue, but his body was operating with a drastically small portion of his usual strength, and he realized with a horrified whine that he was powerless against his unnamed opponent.

“Now, now, that’s no way to treat your Alpha,” the disturbingly pleased voice of the rogue whispered into his ear.  

“You’re not my anything, you brute! Let me go!” he yelled, launching his feet off the forest floor to try and topple them over, but it didn’t work—he just sank downward instead.

The Alpha growled when Louis didn’t submit to him like he’d expected, and he whipped the Omega around to look into his eyes and try again.

Louis consequently came face-to-face with the typically filthy rogue he had dealt with for three long years, but there was one good thing about this new position. Louis shimmied his arm down in search of Harry’s knife that he’d tucked into the side of his skirt, counting his lucky stars he’d meet his goal, and with the most force he could possibly muster, he swung it out for the Alpha’s throat.

Well, it was nowhere near his throat, but he managed to strike a large gash across the rogue’s chest, so that was good. The attacker let go and gasped in pain, and Louis took the opportunity to dive in for the final, stabbing blow, but he was embarrassingly slow about it, and the Alpha predictably captured his wrist, slapping the knife out of his hand with an enraged snarl.

The Alpha then kicked his legs out from under him and shoved him onto the ground, and Louis went down like a basket of tomatoes. The rogue instantly followed and hovered over his sprawled body, successively trapping him between his frame and the forest floor with an unwelcome pelvis pressing to the spot between his legs. Shit, he cursed, trying to punch the rouge, but both his arms were pinned down as a result.

The Alpha suddenly looked taken aback and deeply inhaled the Omega spot on Louis’ neck, and he knew his heat pheromones were probably betraying him and had now fully announced themselves. Wonderful!

“Are you in heat, pup?” the rogue moaned against the good-smelling neck, rolling his hips against the submissive and moaning in pleasure the more he breathed the scent. “On a full moon? Do you want to be mine?”

“Please, don’t—please. Get off,” Louis weakly pleaded, at a harrowing loss on how he was going to get out of this, seeing no way out at all and wiggling around in terror.

“Oh, I like it when you beg, Omega. Beg for me more,” the rogue taunted, running a rough hand up the Omega’s thigh and chuckling as he met the warm clench of both the submissive’s legs in protest.

Louis resorted to crying in the face of the hopeless danger, beating on the Alpha’s chest with his freed hand as he prayed to the Gods, desperately asking them to help. Please, help me. Someone. Anyone—please.

Just as the Alpha’s hand—despite Louis’ efforts to bar the way—was nearing Louis’ most private area, the Omega’s prayers were swiftly answered when a sudden roar ripped out of the thick trees around them. Louis strained his head to see who it was, but inside he already knew.

“Get. The fuck. Away. From him,” a naked Harry gritted through a constant growl, his canines bared and eyes black as night.

Took you long enough, Louis thought somewhat fondly, wondering how he’d been so distracted to not notice the Pack Alpha’s scent. No, Louis. Don’t think about his scent. The rogue stood up to focus on the immediate threat and Louis scrambled away to the best of his ability, his body unable to do much moving because he was so drained. Come on, Louis. Get to the tree.

Harry and the rogue threw themselves into a violent battle; punching, scraping, biting, and kicking each other under the steadily rising moon. While they were distracted, Louis tried his very best to crawl to the tree for his problematic suppressants, still buried under that stupid pile of dirt. He really hadn’t accomplished anything. When he heard bones cracking, however, he instantly halted his quest to turn his head, just in time to witness Harry erupt into a gargantuan wolf twice the size that Zayn’s black one had been.

The Omega’s mouth dropped open to finally see the wolf of the Pack Alpha of Chehalis. It was incredible—beautiful. The sheer size and incomparable supremacy of the dark brown creature should have been enough to drop Louis’ Omega again, but he pushed through, hypnotized by the two onyx black eyes above its snarling snout. That would be why Harry’s eyes turn black out of nowhere—those are his wolf’s eyes, he realized, finally understanding all those odd instances. Full black was not a common wolf colour by any means, and seeing them in their true form, in Harry’s true form, was pretty close to a spiritual experience.

Harry’s paws were massive, and each claw was nearly of equal length to Louis’ human fingers, so that was terrifying, and they dug into the ground with every stalking step forward he took. His long, bushy tail was sticking straight out behind him, and his whole coat of fur was bristled and raised offensively, exuding a petrifyingly threatening display of aggression that had Louis wondering how the rogue’s heart was still beating. Harry’s sharp teeth and snapping jaws made Louis cry out in Omega inferiority, and he was more in love now than he ever thought possible. What a God.

In a belated panic after his shock passed, the rogue began to shift into his wolf to even stand a “chance,” but he was expectedly slow by comparison and Harry lunged for him, crushing his teeth into the Alpha’s head and instantly penetrating his skull. Then, with a few violent shakes of his own, Harry tore the Alpha’s from his shoulders with a sickening squelching sound, and threw the dismembered head from his mouth as far as he could.

He went on to howl victoriously over his fallen victim, and when he’d celebrated enough, he turned his attention to the barely-cognizant Omega—who was secretly fighting his imminent slick production—and shifted back into his human. Instead of the comforting Louis expected from Harry, however, the Alpha was furious at the Omega’s ‘impulsive stroll through the woods’ as he likely saw it, and he let him know pretty quickly how he felt.

“What the fuck were you thinking, you idiot?” Harry barked in fury, darting down and yanking Louis to his uncoordinated feet.

“Sorry, Alpha, I just need to—”

“You need to do nothing! Come, we’re going back to the village. You are in so much trouble,” Harry growled hatefully, attempting to drag Louis with him when he merely stood motionlessly.

Louis immediately shook his head and tried to reach back for the tree, his words coming in redundant pleas that he couldn’t organize if he tried. “No, Alpha, no I need—”

Quiet!” Harry snapped with howahkan, causing Louis’ knees to give from the force of the command. The Alpha huffed and caught him as he began to keel, kneeling to a crouch and picking the Omega up to throw over his shoulder, gladly beginning the journey back to the village once he’d gotten him steadied.

When Louis was sure he was safe from dropping, he opened his eyes again, immediately zooming in on the tree that was getting further and further away and frantically beating his fists against the Pack Alpha’s back. “Harry! You don’t understand—I have to go back!” he shrieked, sobbing from the fear that was gripping his soul like a venus fly trap. “Please let me go, I beg you! Let me go, I need to go, you have to put me down, I have go right now, this instant, please,” he rushed in a blur of squeaks and yelps, turning his manic gaze to the sky. The sun was almost fully below the horizon now; if he didn’t get his remedies fifteen seconds ago…

See? He was already screwed.

“Shut up, Louis!” the Alpha barked, lifting the waist of Louis’ skirt off his hip and sharply biting into the skin underneath.

“Har—” Louis cut off with a moan, promptly losing consciousness.

“Gods, Louis,” Harry muttered to the thankfully sedated Omega, holding him tight and running down the hill toward the village. “What the hell is your problem?”

Harry carried the weightless Omega all the way back to his wigwam, and Louis came to when he was set down before the entrance of his home. Harry thought maybe the Omega would be over his panic by now, but apparently, he’d been sorely mistaken. As soon as Louis’ feet hit the ground, the Omega tried booking it back into the forest, and he had to reel him back with a hand wound around his elbow. “Will you stop?! What’s gotten into you?”

“I can’t tell you,” Louis said brokenly, crying pitiful tears of desperation because he honestly couldn’t say.

“That’s it,” the Alpha quipped conclusively, tossing Louis right back over his shoulder. “You’re coming with me.”

Louis began to panic harder than he ever had in his life at that exact moment—this was the worst outcome imaginable. The sun was now replaced by the moon, the full moon, and Louis was going to go into genuine and natural...most likely severely intense heat in less than two hours. What the fuck does he do now? And where was his Alpha even taking him? An underground dungeon, hopefully.

Well, the coveted ‘dungeon’ turned out to be Harry’s home, (just great), and Louis’ anxiety skyrocketed when Harry began angrily tying Louis to the thick tree trunk in the center of his teepee. It was unfairly strong twine, and Louis wouldn’t be able to escape it himself, but maybe if he turned, his wolf could break through—but—that would be even worse for his heat, and just…just! Fuck! “No, no, no, please don’t do this, Alpha. This is a huge mistake, you don’t understand. I’m gonna…I’m about to… You have to get out of here, please leave me, don’t—”

Harry finished the last loop of the twine and reached out to grip Louis’ chin in his hand, staring deeply into the Omega’s eyes. “Louis? I’m actually sorry about this,” he began as Louis whimpered in defeat. “GO TO SLEEP!” he bellowed straight into Louis’ face, the force of the timbre knocking him out cold.

Once the difficult Omega was finally silent, Harry took his time to study the skittish creature. He didn’t understand what could be fussing him so much. The longer he stared, though, the stronger his inner Alpha’s desires became to mark and fully claim him right against the tree. It was the full moon, after all—the eve of soulbonds—and it was obviously getting to him.

He shoved the thoughts down into his gut and refused the temptation, no matter how admittedly divine Louis smelled right now, and held his breath for strength. The enjoyable scent was another thing that confused Harry, because ‘true mates’ or not, he knew Louis didn’t get heats, and Harry’s next rut wouldn’t come for another month, so it couldn’t be that either. Perhaps it really was just the full moon.

The sweet scent Louis was perpetually excreting was setting Harry’s instincts on actual fire, so he backed away from the delicious boy and collapsed onto his bedding, desperate to ignore him and get a quick power-nap before the run tonight. It wasn’t five minutes until he was snoring, and he was lucky he got any sleep at all, because when he woke up...oh, that unforgettable moment when he woke up…

Chapter Text

The full moon was at its highest point in the night sky when Louis woke up. The first sounds to hear were the Chehalis wolves howling in celebration of it, and that very well may have been what woke him up in the first place, but the moment he did, he was harshly greeted by the throes of an agonizing pain so visceral, it deserved its own word. Coincidentally, it did—heat.

Anguish would be putting it lightly; it felt as though his insides had been exposed to and doused in molten lava, and his skin was an identical inferno of itching and burning. Even his lungs were gasping in pain from inhaling torturously scalding air, the noxious oxygen searing its way down his windpipes.

The only thing that was cold was the clear wet slick running down his legs—an excessive production he had not experienced in years—sending uncomfortable shivers throughout his whole body. The hole his slick came from contracted and ached around its harrowing emptiness, and his inner walls stung from the lack of a knot they could hug to them. This was the worst heat Louis had ever had in his life, and it had barely even started.

The only thing outside himself and his torture that Louis could focus on at all was the Pack Alpha, asleep in his bed, and he made sure to cry out for him before he lost the ability to speak, a shrill, desperate screech of his name as his inner Omega clouted his humanity for good: “Harry!” 

Harry bolted awake at the sound of his Omega in distress, and his every sense was violently overrun and directed straight to Louis...the sight was something to behold. The Omega was writhing and thrashing against his ties with a hard cock—that mirrored his own—and slick-dampened thighs he didn’t need visible proof of, bleeding mating hormones through his very pores, and somehow in the strongest heat frenzy that Harry had ever seen in his life.

Harry whipped his blankets off his similarly overheating body and closed all space between them in a wide leap, ripping through the twine like it was dust to free the vulnerable Louis and then holding him tight against his chest. “Smell so good, Lou,” he moaned into his mate’s neck as he hiked his skirt up, gripping the backs of Louis’ thighs to smear slick onto his palms.

He then brought his hands up to inhale the scent he’d collected and he nearly keeled over in want, taking one second to fight his imminent Alpha drop so he could get an understanding of the situation. Louis was, without a doubt, in heat. Real heat. Really, really intense heat. To all his prior knowledge, this hadn’t been something Louis was capable of, but it certainly was now.

Amid his distractions, Louis’ wolf had begun howling whines for attention, and Harry rushed to lull the sound so he wouldn’t attract outside suitors, growling as he stripped the shaking Omega of his clothes and yanked the tie from his hair to free its locks, forcefully dragging the beauty down to his bedding as his inner wolf needlessly demanded, ‘Take him!’ the whole time.

Now hovering above the Omega, Harry could get a look into those gorgeously desperate golden wolf eyes of his, and he knew in that moment that he never wanted to look into any other pair of irises again. Louis was his, and he always had been, but now he could officiate it. Bonding him might be dangerous, and inconceivably stupid in the face of Harry’s antagonistic predicaments, but this Omega belonged to him—and he was going to take what was his.

He willingly let go of his human mind to invite his drop, happily surrendering himself to his inner Alpha as he smashed his lips against his true mate's for the first time. And Gods, was it incredible.

The Omega's response was immediate and urgent; he whined eagerly into his Alpha’s mouth and sighed when the dominant deepened the kiss, ecstatic to know that his exploring tongue was currently documenting the taste of him to mark as his property. His hips jumped up to rut against his mate’s torso of their own volition, and his shaking hands instinctively found Harry’s face, tracing every part of it with his fingertips to similarly familiarize himself with his soon-to-be permanent lover.

Meanwhile, Harry was increasingly suffocating from the sweet scent of his Omega’s slick that permeated the air, and the time promptly came wherein he couldn't stand leaving it untasted a moment longer. He pulled away from the seal of their lips and roughly rolled the Omega onto his stomach, sliding down his trembling body and burying his face between his mate’s legs, his tongue licking up his inner thigh until it pressed up against the Omega’s perfect hole. The taste introduced to Harry’s pallet was an addiction he hadn’t anticipated the sheer power of, but he was now forever a slave to it, and he knew he would chase it for the rest of their lives.

The Omega squealed through a tight throat when his most sensitive area was lapped at by the wet warmth of an Alpha’s tongue, and the knowledge it was his Alpha made it insurmountably better. The hot breath of his Alpha around his hole seamlessly evened out the chilly discomfort that leaking slick inevitably causes, and Louis leaned back into that indescribable relief, powerless against his body’s jerks and jolts in rapture.

The submissive valiantly raised himself onto his elbows and knees, and Harry groaned at how much his Omega seemed to enjoy his actions, growling appreciatively when he spread his legs and presented himself to invite whatever Harry wanted to do. The Alpha kneaded his hands into the plump flesh of Louis’ arse and pulled it apart to fully expose his special spot, experimentally pushing his tongue deep into the welcoming entrance of the Omega and lowly rumbling against him as a somehow sweeter taste wrapped around his sheathed tastebuds.

The ecstasy of an intrusion—a gift he’d never been granted with before—inside of the Omega’s body collided with his senses like an ocean wave to a grain of sand, his every muscle flinching as he spilled his unexpected release onto the furs of the Alpha’s bedding beneath him. He cried relentlessly from the overwhelming pleasure, but even though he was still reeling from the climax, he needed so much more. He knew human language was beyond him, so he communicated his desires by impatiently swaying his hips, something he would do with an upturned tail if he was in his true form, and hoped his Alpha would take notice.

Harry had been nuzzling the backs of his Omega’s thighs as the cutie shook from his orgasm, and the sudden swaying made him pull back, the Alpha instantly grinning at the request and responding with the limited words he had left. “You want my knot?” he grunted in an obvious taunt, already well aware that’s what his Omega was after—no harm in making an Omega beg, though.

Louis understood the last word perfect and desperately whined in response, jutting his pelvis further back in an effort to get what he wanted. When his Alpha didn’t move quickly enough, the Omega flipped himself around and yanked his Alpha down on top of him, hooking his ankles around the strong back and caging him in with his small stature.

Harry rumbled proudly at his Omega’s initiative and took his time running his hands down his thick sides; across his stomach, and over his hips; reverently caressing his thighs, arms, face, hair, just everything he could get to. It was almost difficult to fathom this enigma was now his, and nobody else’s, but he knew steps still needed to be taken.

And he was reminded of that when the Omega screeched at him to hurry up. Harry cooed and reattached his lips to Louis’, obediently hand-guiding his dripping cock to teasingly circle around the tight warmth of Louis’ entrance.

The Omega broke the kiss to gasp helplessly for unattainable breath as he suffered the torment of almost getting what he needed, and his hips bucked for the Alpha’s entry, stinging tears cascading down his temples in frustration. Harry finally took the right amount of pity and lightly captured Louis’ delectable neck in his teeth, breaching his somewhat gaped entrance and sliding himself inside that epitome of warmth until he had nowhere left to go, his length comfortably snug against the Omega’s practically electric prostate.

Louis didn’t even have the breath to cry out upon receiving his lifelong dream of fulfillment. He simply latched onto Harry and held his breath as he came a second time, ropes of white coating his chest as his Alpha purred into his ear in encouragement. When his climax subsided, he let the trapped air out of his lungs in a rough heave, his muscles losing their strength to clench and causing him to fall back onto the bedding as if he was boneless.

Harry’s nose led him to his Omega’s chest and he urgently collected every bit of release he could get on his tongue, snarling in praise as he was blasted with yet another enchanting flavour. He swallowed the substance down and sought the Omega's glistening lips again, kissing him with a careful gentility as he began to roll his hips into his mate.

The earlier fire that had encompassed Louis’ skin started to feel as though it had a cool breeze whispering against it, and with his discomfort finally soothed, he urged Harry to go faster by digging his nails into his back and yelping with a blatant tone of impatience. If this was a breeze, he wanted a tornado.

Harry obliged at once, and the shallow thrusting quickly became passionate slamming into his Omega’s flawless body, both wolves making pleasured groans at their differing but equally phenomenal perspectives of the rough mating.

The sensitive underside of the Alpha’s cock dragging back and forth along the bottom of the Omega’s inner walls was tantalizing—the Omega’s body seemed unwilling to let him retract too far, and it vehemently resisted the act of him pulling back, consistently entrapping him in a surrounding pressure that shot bursts of stars behind his eyes.

And Louis, who was finally cured of the haunting void of emptiness he’d endured his entire adolescence, couldn’t get enough. Feeling his Alpha inside him, completing him, sustaining and filling him, was a monumental privilege he couldn’t have ever accurately imagined, but it went beyond the luckiness of a privilege—this was his mate; therefore, this was his right.

Harry kept up his mating pace and wetly kissed down the curve of Louis’ neck, stopping at the junction that led into his left shoulder—where the Omega spot lived—and covering the pulsating area in his saliva for when the time came. He found himself speeding up his hips to chase this long-awaited joining and caught his Omega’s earlobe between his teeth, biting hard before letting go and whispering out a hoarse, “Mine.” 

Louis’ back arched higher at the possessive declaration and he whimpered through roughly bitten lips, unhooking his ankles from around his Alpha’s back and spreading his legs apart with bent knees and pointed toes, letting the dominant know he was ready and waiting for the knot. He needed that knot hidden within Harry’s body more than he needed the air he breathed (like he was even getting any), and the waterfall of tears from his eyes absolutely would not stop until he got it out of him.

Harry picked up on the Omega’s gestured request and focused on his human, yearning to speak to his Omega everything that was in his heart. The telltale tightening of his groin and tingling at the base of his cock were big indicators that he didn’t have much time left, so he used it to form the difficult string of sentences as he pumped his hips faster. “Breed you,” he grunted comically bluntly, meeting the Omega's oblivious eyes and placing a hand on top of his stomach to get the message across. “Breed.”

Louis choked on a gasp when he put two and two together and threw his arms around the Alpha’s neck, fiercely nodding in want as the Alpha removed his hand and lowered himself onto his elbows to be closer, two guttural moans reverberating across the minuscule space between their lips.

“Gonna knot you, I’m gonna bond you, and I’m gonna breed you,” Harry said surprisingly eloquently, a wave of clarity coming back to his speech and causing him to let it all out at once. “Louis, you’re mine. We’re gonna have an amazing life together—you’ll give me everything I could ever want, little Omega. You’re perfect for me. You’ll be the perfect mother to my puppies, Kimimela, my perfect Omega,” he praised redundantly, reaching the Omega’s emotions through his tone alone and making him sob. “Knot?” he purred in question, lower half quivering as the prickling sensation of an orgasm spread through his pelvis and swelled the base of his cock.

Louis knew that word. He frantically yelped in desire, outright wailing when he felt Harry’s knot begin to take its form and slowly stretch his hole to make room. His vision was long past the description of fuzzy, so he squeezed his eyes shut instead, loudly whining in anticipation for his first knot.

Harry had about three thrusts left before he would tie himself to his Omega and he made them count, pounding hard into his wolf-rambling lover before his knot fully popped. When it was finally time, he breached the Omega’s hole with his engorged knot and shoved himself in as deep as he could get, growling in satisfaction while his release was emptied into the submissive with an overload that would fill him up to the brim, and consequently, fill him with puppies.

Louis, a proud taker of an Alpha’s knot, had unraveled. It was an orgasm that was impossible for Louis to describe. It started where Harry’s knot was buried, and spread to every inch of his body. He felt it in his lungs as his breath cut off, felt it crawl up his neck and into his skull, making it warm and fuzzy. It shot down his legs, making his toes curl, and cascaded down his arms, numbing his hands and fingers.

As soon as Harry had begun to spill his Alpha substance, he’d grabbed Louis’ neck to keep him still as he extended his wolf canines in preparation for their bonding; now, with a short rear back, he slammed them mercilessly through the layers of skin on Louis’ bonding spot, and that's when the heaven ensued.

The Omega’s pleasure-filled screech from the knot tapered off into a strangled gasp at the new feeling in his neck and soul, and his eyes flew open to witness his and Harry’s souls dancing weightlessly above their bodies, intertwining and fusing together as one. It was the most iconically beautiful magic in the world—something Louis didn’t think he’d ever get to see—and the Omega openly sobbed from the fierce love he felt coming from Harry’s spirit, meant just for him. Harry was still focused on the Omega’s neck, bonding him as hard as he could, so Louis speechlessly watched over Harry’s shoulder as their magic celestially integrated.

The rich green of Harry’s soul spinning around with the blue of Louis’ created an ethereal bright gold, and once the mates were a single entity in spirit, the mixture broke off equally and shot back into their bodies, temporarily illuminating their skin with its otherworldly glow.

Harry gasped in surprise at the overwhelming sensation of having another presence in his body and mind, and he pulled his teeth out of Louis’ neck, wiping the blood off his lips with his tongue and additionally licking the bond mark clean. He then met his Omega’s oceanic and restored human eyes, and the breath of amazement he let out felt like the first exhale he'd ever taken. “That was—”

“I saw it, Harry,” Louis cried, finally able to use his words. “It was so beautiful.”

You’re beautiful,” Harry lovingly declared, pushing his hips further into Louis to test out this knot business, having never before been stuck to anything in his life—it was incredible.

Louis wanted to experiment too—he purposefully pulled away from the knot just to revel in the sensation of being locked to his mate, and the pair grunted in amused pain, the Alpha immediately pushing himself back in to bring the pleasure back.

They gazed at one another in awe without need for words, shut inside their own impenetrable world, falling deeper in love with each passing second, and neither of them could believe they hadn’t done this sooner. They were everything—and nothing else existed now.

They never heard the pack’s unanimous howls of celebration in response to their Pack Alpha mating, breeding, and soulbonding all in one go. They never heard the drums that were pounded by the tribe members in observance of the salient event. They wouldn’t hear anything from the outside world any time soon.

 

---

 

Louis and Harry’s talks had died down after the surprise of their first knot tie had ebbed away into familiar comfort, now they lay silently together in a happy bubble (with Louis on top), grooming each other’s faces as they waited for the knot to go down. It wasn’t until Harry started panting that Louis broke their quietude, his hands grasping his Alpha’s face as he searched for the problem. “Smell so good, Alpha,” he moaned without trying to, rolling his hips on the knot and wondering if this was another heat wave.

“Omega,” Harry rasped, sniffing at Louis’ bond spot and sitting himself up so the Omega would be fully seated on their tie. “Rut.”

“You’re falling into rut?” Louis squeaked, his Omega dancing around inside of him from the happy timing of the news. Harry weakly nodded his head as his breaths grew louder, licking his lips and leaving them parted as he ducked his head down, groaning in desperation while his rut hormones ran amuck. "That's okay, Alpha," he soothed, tilting Harry's head back up to meet his unfocused gaze. "Let it go. Come with me."

Harry’s jaded eyes blinked heavily and a sheet of sweat glistened his skin, his heartbeat thumping as he routinely snarled in discomfort from the pre-rut symptoms. His hands groped at his Omega’s mounds of flesh above his knot, and the urge to thrust was overwhelmingly strong, even though he was already knotted—this was going to be a huge rut. "Fuck—I can't stop it," he panted, his arms starting to tremble from all the pent-up tension. 

“It’s okay, Alpha. I don't want you to. You won't be too rough with me; don't worry. I'm ready,” Louis wheezed, another wave of his heat putting him in a similar state of breathless and antsy as he tried to soothe his suffering mate. Impeccable timing that the knot began to go down in that instant.

“I’m going to—lose myself—for a—a while,” Harry heaved, whimpering as his knot shrunk enough to move his hips again, promptly rolling his Omega onto his back again to thrust into him.

“Me too,” Louis choked as his walls were granted that delicious slide once again, his mind overcome with the need to let go and let his Omega do the talking. “We should let—our natures—get acquainted,” he said, gasping in lust when he caught the wildly passionate black irises of Harry’s inner Alpha staring curiously, hungrily down at him. He doesn’t remember anything after that. 

 

---

 

“Louis? Louis, can you hear me?”

Louis groaned in the back of his throat, fighting through his wolf to the surface because evidently his Alpha wanted to talk to him, but it was hard to regain control. Nevertheless, he prevailed, blinking his newly retrieved blue eyes up at Harry’s greens as he took in his surroundings. He was knotted again, most likely for the second time, but he honestly couldn’t be sure, and they were in the same position but lying the opposite way across the bedding, and his neck was pulsing incessantly from Harry’s obvious reopening of his raw bonding mark.

"My first wave is over. I don't really remember it, but I know it was good," Harry chuckled, his hair absolutely insane from his Omega's evident tangling. "I can't believe I ever kept myself from you," he whispered, breathing with a soft moan through every exhale as he nuzzled his hips into the back of Louis' quivering thighs to give him pleasure even with a locked knot. "You are everything, Lou. Just everything. I'm yours forever."

Louis probably could have responded if he'd tried, but with Harry's knot shifting around inside him with his declaration, the Omega can hardly be blamed for losing reality again. He squeaked in enjoyment as his own warm release spurted onto his torso, his inner walls clenching hard around the knot as his back arched off the bedding.

Harry growled in enjoyment of the show and licked at him all over, eventually resting their foreheads together and staring Louis down as his orgasm gradually subsided, capturing his lips in a kiss when the cutie purposefully wiggled around on his knot.

At some point in the night, after a few more mindless mating sessions, the newly-bonded couple decided they should get some sleep to replenish themselves, so Harry positioned Louis on his side to spoon, careful to keep his knot from tugging at the Omega’s rim because that would cause them both pain, and no thanks. When he was successful, he settled in behind his Louis and wrapped him up in his arms, both wolves quickly surrendering to a deep sleep...while they could.

 

---

 

Harry awoke first, but he wasn’t completely present yet, his nose obsessing over a scent that his hardened cock fiercely wanted too. He felt around and moaned into a barrier of soft warmth in his bed, guiding his cock to an amazing (and somewhat cold) wet place and sinking it deep inside as a soft yip brought him all the way back. Oh, that’s right—he was Harry, and this was Louis.

“Alpha,” Louis breathed, grabbing onto the forearm that had been scooped under him and was wound tightly around his chest. “Yeah,” he panted, lifting his top leg up to give his Alpha room.

“Mmm, does that feel good?” Harry croaked, his free hand sliding from the Omega’s hip to hold his leg for him as he kept his pace gratingly slow, sucking on the submissive’s neck. “Your body belongs to me now—it accepted me,” he murmured, referencing something Louis probably couldn’t feel himself but seeing it as a relevant thing to say anyway.

“What do you—mean,” Louis slurred, his legs twitching from the maddening sensation happening between them. “Always—accept.”

“I know, baby. I mean you’re loose—you’re staying nice and open for me because we’re mates, and your body knows mine now. How we form together. This hole exists for this cock, and no other,” he said, hacking around a sudden wolf throat as his sneaky rut hit him like a giant boulder.

“Oh, Alpha,” Louis whined, yipping when the Alpha behind him forcefully rolled him onto his stomach and pulled him up to his knees to arch him down and make him take it like an Omega. “Yes,” he hissed, spreading himself and presenting as sharply angled as he could to get his obedience across.

“Mine,” Harry snarled in a voice twice as low as his usual drawl, roughly biting into the Omega’s shoulder and making him squeal as he began to pound into him for the sole purpose of dispelling his seed—unfortunately, in rut, his mind couldn’t stretch that far beyond the concept of breeding, and Louis was just going to have to put up with that.

Louis’ Omega grabbed him by the neck and choked the life out of him, taking his time to shine as he howled for his Alpha’s addictive mating and made them both lose their damn minds, but it was okay—they had forever to work on sweet-talking each other.

That next hour or so as the sun rose had been expectedly exertive, and now their home had lightened enough to see everything in perfect detail, and Harry’s brown hair looked especially soft today. Harry’s shockingly quiet snores were blowing onto his collar bones in little puffs that had Louis grinning every time, and he methodically pet his Alpha’s curly hair, stuck under him without a care because an Alpha could keep their weight off an Omega underneath them even in sleep—their instincts to protect were impressively foolproof.

Louis was still just in shock that all of this had happened—it was a freeing relief he couldn’t ever put into words, but Harry had released who he truly was; who his instincts made him to be; an Omega. Harry had turned him into a real and honest Omega, and only he could have done it. Louis had never felt so complete, nor had he ever experienced this magnitude of inner peace with himself before, and he could definitely get used to it.

Louis’ happy thoughts were interrupted by a gripping wave of desperate heat, and he bent to its will by jutting his hips up and down against Harry’s embedded but infuriatingly not knotted cock, the act sending shivers through his bones as he whimpered in want.

Harry lightly snorted awake and wrenched his eyes open, lifting himself up to inspect his Omega and then lazily smiling when he discovered what the situation was. “Good morning,” he rumbled groggily as if he’d gotten a full night of sleep instead of a short nap, his cock hardening inside his Omega as his hips rocked automatically. “So pretty when you’re under heat, love,” he praised, thrusting into his wolf-ruled mate and thanking the Gods for putting them in the same place when they’d been so far apart for their lives—they really were true mates…and Harry was in eternal love.

 

---

 

Louis spent all hours of that first day (discounting the previous night) atop his Alpha’s knot, thriving in every second they were connected and moving as one. Sunset rolled around at some point and Louis had slipped under consciousness for a little blip of rest before they both needed to be awake again, and he woke up to something he definitely could have predicted.

Which was his Alpha Harry thrusting his already popped knot into the mound of his prostate, causing his first sound to be a yelp from the over-sensitivity of the special spot. The rough pleasure within his hole, however, was nothing compared to the sharp pain he suddenly felt at his chest. Looking down, Louis discovered Harry had marked him once again, this time leaving a large, half-moon shaped wound surrounding his right nipple.

Harry, in his periodic rut crazes, hadn’t seemed to fully comprehend that Louis already bore his bonding mark, so every time the Alpha knotted his mate, his teeth would brutally sink into any random location they could find. Harry had even marked him for no reason at all, taken over by random episodes of possession. After a full day of mating, Louis was now heavily scarred on his hips, thighs, arse, back, neck, shoulders, along with a particularly painful one at the base of his skull, but Louis couldn’t be more pleased by this. He would proudly wear his marks to show the whole world how claimed and owned he was.

Harry detached his teeth from Louis’ chest and shocked his mate’s lips into a heady kiss, a sudden orgasm crashing over Louis from…he doesn’t even know this time.

The Alpha rolled them over to put his submissive on top and held the vibrating Louis firmly against his chest, working himself up over their ideal size difference. His Omega's frame was so small, Harry could almost wrap his arms all the way around his back to touch his own sides, and he loved it. Everything about Louis was tiny, except for his thighs, hips, and arse—those were maddeningly thick and squishy, and he was ensnared by the complete handfuls he would get when he groped at them.

Louis sighed in pure bliss from his position and nuzzled his face into Harry's musky neck, too distracted by its dominating aroma to notice Camila tiptoeing into the teepee with a large platter of food balanced in her arms.

The Pack Alpha certainly noticed, though, and he instantly flipped them over again to shield his mate from the outsider’s view, a vicious and feral roar ripping out of his chest like a clap of thunder. Louis coincidentally had the more human mind at the moment and he hurried to hush his wildly defensive mate, planting gentle touches, licks, and kisses on his Alpha’s neck and chest until the murderous roar quieted into a low but constant rumble.

Camila wore the biggest shit-eating grin on her face Louis had ever seen, and he made a mental note to slap her for it later. She was wholly, perhaps ignorantly, unperturbed by the Pack Alpha’s warning growl, and wordlessly set the platter before them, winking at the pair and then swiftly taking her leave.

Harry sniffed at the food suspiciously and grunted in acceptance, still angry over the interruption but striving to get over it. After confirming the gifts were completely safe to eat, the Alpha hooked an arm under Louis’ body and carefully lifted him so they were both in an upright position with Louis seated on his knot. He reached for the contents of the platter and began affectionately feeding his mate, not letting his Omega eat from anywhere else but his hand.

Louis was bashful at the caring gesture and happily ate his fill of deer, vulture, fresh berries, those iconic cherry tomatoes, and squash. When he was stuffed, he took the hand that was holding out more food to him and gently pushed it to Harry’s mouth instead.

Understanding the request, Harry quickly devoured the rest, pushing the platter off their bedding and gently laying Louis back down into their furs, pressing light kisses to Louis’ excessively marked neck and sighing in content. Life was good.

 

---

 

The next three days continued in much the same way. Knots, bites, growls, orgasms, and kisses. The pair mated until they felt like they would die from exhaustion, and then they did it again. There were times when they fully shifted to their wolves and mated that way, needing to mate as animals a few times to complete the experience, but mostly they just rolled around and made love in their human bodies. Camila still brought them a plate of food twice a day, and they still slipped back and forth between their human minds and their nature instincts.

Louis found their levels of awareness peculiar. Some of the time, Harry was completely himself and Louis was lost, and other times it was the opposite—like right now, for instance. It got really crazy when they were both in a frenzy, though. The Omega couldn’t exactly remember all the details of those instances, which he concluded because he hadn’t noticed this many marks being put on his body, so he must be missing at least a few chunks of time.

Harry was continuing to be a wonderfully doting and generous Alpha mate, and Louis constantly told Harry how happy he was making him, giving him every compliment under the sun because he deserved every breath of praise Louis could offer. Alphas needed reassurance to the same severity that Omegas do, but it was just in a different way—unlike the Omega’s need for approval of how satisfactory their submission was, an Alpha needed to hear that they were satisfying all their mate's needs and being the perfect caretaker. An expectation that Harry was expertly rising to, and then some.

Harry’s latest knot started to go down as he slowly regained his clarity, but frustratingly enough, it was at the exact same time that a huge heat wave crashed through Louis’ hormones, and the Omega pathetically whined as he pointlessly tried to control it.

“Omega. It’s okay. Let go, sweetie, I’ll take care of you,” Harry comforted, lightly thrusting his hips into his loose and pliant (and insatiable) Omega, who happily went under, secured by his Alpha’s words. “Such a good boy, Louis. Such a perfect little Omega to listen so well—all mine, baby. You’re all mine.”

 

---

 

The next time Louis woke, he was sinking into their bedding on his side, and it was evidently some time in the night, their teepee solely illuminated by a mysterious candle on the short table beside them. Louis felt a curious contact at his lower body and he lifted the blanket to discover the cause, finding a sleeping Harry curled up into his front, face and lips pressed against his stomach, and…Yup, Louis confirmed by a bit of fidgeting—at least two of the Alpha’s fingers nestled up inside of him.

Harry stirred from the movement and examined his position, carefully removing his fingers and sticking them in his mouth to lick off the slick, then taking it a step further and swiping them back over his Omega’s hole to collect more.

Louis blushed at the action and moved Harry’s messy hair out of his eyes, combing his hair and beaming down at his gorgeous profile. “What were you doing?” he asked with a light giggle, having not woken up to Harry in that exact position before now.

Harry shrugged as he took the fingers out of his mouth and crawled up to lie next to his mate, propped up on one elbow and gazing dreamily into the Omega’s candlelit, deep blue eyes. “Mmm,” he hummed in a sleepy daze, clearing his throat and sighing tiredly. “Dunno. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to your taste, Kimimela. Your slick is the finest, most exquisite flavour in this world, I don’t think you understand. It tastes almost like grapes, and grapes are my favourite fruit…it’s like grapes mixed with your savory pheromones, and I’m so addicted,” he moaned, licking at his bottom lip to get another hint of the leftover residue.

Louis raised his eyebrows from the blunt confession and considered the given information. “Grapes... Good to know, I guess. Wait, what did you just call me? Kimimela? That means ‘butterfly’ in your tribe’s olde language, right?” he guessed, stifling a yawn of exhaustion to stay in the conversation.

Harry brushed Louis’ hair off his forehead and continued to stroke the Omega’s head with his palm, speaking softly as he did. “Our tribe, Louis. Ours. And you got it right; butterfly is correct. And it’s because your delicious, tight hole flutters around my knot like the wings of a butterfly when you come,” he whispered seductively, nibbling on Louis’ earlobe while the Omega unleashed a short cackle that broke out into tiny uncontrollable giggles, the sound of it representing music to the Alpha’s ears.

“And here I thought there was some deep and romantic meaning behind Kimimela; but no—it’s just about our mating,” Louis teased, only half-scolding the blunt Alpha and his knot-driven antics.

Harry’s eyebrows furrowed and he rolled onto his mate, pressing him into the furs of their bedding and pointedly constricting his movement. “Is our mating not romantic?” he challenged in a silky, husky murmur, dragging his lips across the Omega’s chest and brushing over his nipples.

“Alph—”

“Shh,” Harry hushed, one finger coming up to hold over the Omega’s lips until he obeyed. He then scooted down the length of Louis’ body with soft kisses on the way, sensually tracing his mate’s inner thighs with his fingertips and smirking at the instant shivers it caused. He delicately spread them open and pressed hot, open-mouthed kisses where the addictive thighs met the equally undeniable hips, and Louis let out a lengthy moan, encouraging his Alpha to dive deeper, and he certainly did. He licked his way to the Omega’s dripping entrance and sighed in gratification when his tongue found that taste again, burying his face into the ultimate favourite place of his on the Omega’s body.

Only when Louis was impatiently writhing for more did Harry come back up to hover over his face, rubbing at the Omega’s entrance with the head of his cock but withholding it from his mate until he got the right answers. “Am I not loving?” he provoked, finding way too much enjoyment in his merciless teasing.

“Alpha, you’re perfect. You’re everything, please—”

“Please what, Louis?”

“Please knot me. I’m too wet, I can’t stand this. I’m empty, and open, and I need you—I need you,” Louis begged, close to tears because his heat had returned with a vengeance from the entry of his Alpha’s tongue.

“Good boy. I’ll give it to you, my Omega. My perfect mate. I’m going to give you everything you want for the rest of our lives. I’m going to show you—” He paused, groaning as he pushed in past Louis’ rim and sank into the softness of his dreams, “—how much I love you.”

 

---

 

The mates could tell it was now the last sunset of their shared heat and rut. The urge to knot and be knotted were still prevalent, but the stressful desperation of that urge had decreased significantly, and they assumed by tomorrow morning, they would thoroughly come out of it.

It had been seven straight days of mating, eight nights, and they were utterly spent and exhausted; but even with just a little arousal, the two were instantly at it again, unable to deny their impulses. Louis was shocked they hadn’t caught on fire at some point during this mating, but friction burns were admittedly hard-pressed to occur with so much slick wetting the path—his constant production was undoubtedly the only reason they were singe-free.

Louis was currently lying all the way over and across his Alpha’s chest with his chin resting in his palms, absentmindedly and possibly ironically eating grapes while he received a soothing back massage from his mate, and shit was it heaven.

Louis was at first a little scandalized when Harry had begun to collect the semen and slick that was leaking out of Louis’ hole to use as a lotion to rub his back with, but the Alpha was overly pleased with it, so the Omega let it go. It did feel nice in any case, and Louis quickly found himself wholeheartedly enjoying it.

These were the kind of bits Louis lived for. The periods of calm that were filled with loving reverence, wordless eye contact that seemed to stretch for hours, and passionate embraces...they were perfect. The peaceful silence that was only ever broken with softly-spoken compliments and declarations of eternal love—they created the most tranquil and serene environment in the world, and there was nothing outside of their little mating world. This was it.

Their knotting was obviously phenomenal, but these quiet times during their breaks from mating were what ultimately completed the once-in-a-lifetime process. Once in anyone’s lifetime, for the record. This hadn’t been any heat-mating; this had been a first-time heat and rut-mating, and a soulbonding mating combined, and to Louis’ knowledge, that had never happened before. Maybe his heat cycle wasn’t so bad after all.

They had grown to know and deeply understand each other over the course of this mating, but this relationship was still so new and fresh to them, and it was surreal to think it wouldn’t ever be like this again. They were bonded now, and would spend the rest of their lives together; this was the only time they would ever be actively getting to know how each other worked, and learning things, exploring and experimenting, and it was kind of bittersweet to admit this stage would soon be over—but they couldn’t wait for their shared life. Having puppies, building a family, growing old; it was all in front of them, ready for the taking, and they were ready to take it.

Eventually, the occasional swipe of Harry’s fingers against his hole became too much and not enough, and Louis tossed his grapes away to throw his leg back over Harry’s hips and straddle him with a clear purpose, eyes glinting with silent dares and challenges.

The Alpha chuckled and circled his thumbs into Louis’ hips as he admired his mate’s incredible body, giving special rubs to the old scars Louis had inflicted on his thigh and allowing himself a moment of relief that the Omega would never again feel the urge to carve his skin—having a mate would quell his anxieties, and if nothing else, Harry was glad he bonded him for that reason…but of course, there were millions more.

“Can I mark you?” Louis asked in a husky voice, running his hands down Harry’s chest and raking his nails back up to his neck, mischievously thumbing at a vein beside the Alpha’s throat.

Harry’s face lit up with surprise and his eyebrows danced with curiosity, cocking his head to the side as he stared at his determined mate. “Omegas aren’t strong enough. Your canines aren’t meant for that,” he remarked a tad reluctantly, eyes widening when Louis only smirked in response.

“You underestimate me—yet again. I’m stronger than regular Omegas, you know,” he countered lightheartedly, pinching at the Alpha’s nipples and laughing as he gasped. “I can do things they can’t.”

“My love, you may do anything to me that is in your capability to do,” Harry permitted breathlessly, lifting Louis’ hips to get the angle necessary to seat his wet self onto his cock where he belonged.

Louis gutturally moaned as he sank onto his mate, and he wasted no time in enthusiastically bouncing himself along his shaft, purring from the pleasure that was already as familiar to him as his own skin. Louis tired himself out in no time at all and was relieved when Harry gripped his hands around the Omega’s hipbones and bucked up into him instead, his dominant mate always in tune with his level of strength and always helping him when he needed it—what did he do to deserve him?

A short period of thrusts filled their time together, and when Louis felt the telltale expanding of his mate’s knot, he picked up the control again, slamming down to work Harry’s cock himself. Then when that addictive knot fastened itself inside him, Louis (undergoing an immensely distracting orgasm), put his plot into motion.

As the Alpha was still /loudly/ coming, Louis fell atop Harry’s chest to sniff at his bared neck, scenting it for fun and trying to find a good spot. He figured right in the front would be the best so he extended his dull canines, licked at the skin in preparation—he was just used to that—and pierced them straight through Harry’s skin, biting so hard he felt the immediate rush of his Alpha’s blood on his tongue.

Harry yelped in shock from his amazing Omega truly being able to do it, and he could have climaxed again from the pleasurable pain he felt if he wasn’t already. There was no soft spot of bonding chemicals or pheromones under the skin of Harry’s neck, and this did nothing to further their soulbond, but evidently Louis needed every wolf around to know Harry was taken, and the Alpha couldn’t be happier at his possession.

Louis was swimming in a similar mentality—this bite was to scar Harry’s skin for the rest of their lives as the Alpha had done to him, so Louis made sure to dig his teeth in stupidly deep (in the safest way he could), to permanently mar the flesh. It was to create a constant reminder of their bond to each other and their endless devotion, and the Omega wolves of Chehalis wouldn’t ever dare coo at his Alpha now, because if they did, Louis would retaliate...and it wouldn’t be pretty.

When Harry’s release ebbed its relentless flow inside him, Louis pulled back and retracted his teeth, frantically trying to stop the blood that was pouring out of the messy wound. “Oh shit, Harry, it’s really bleeding, I’m so sorry—”

“Shh, love. Don’t worry about it. That’s why our saliva has healing properties,” Harry soothed, wetting his hand with his tongue and pressing it to his neck.

Louis was amazed when Harry removed his hand and the previously excessive bleeding had now ceased, the mark almost already beginning to scab over, and it explained so much about all his own bites. “I didn’t know it was quite that intense. I’ve always been a little...out of it when I’m bitten. You Alphas are incredible creatures... Only you, though,” he added quickly, appealing to his Alpha’s possessive nature. “None of this had ever happened to me before, and then I met you, and you changed my life. Only you can be my Alpha, Harry. You are the only one that ever could,” he professed, leaning in to steal a passionate kiss because his Alpha had craned his head up for one.

“Only me,” Harry growled against his mate’s lips, dropping back down and holding Louis’ face with reverent hands. “Omega bodies are incredible too. The way you can take our knots, and carry our puppies. We Alphas would be lost without you fantastic creatures. Only you, though,” he added with a wink, reciprocating the appeal to Louis’ similar claim of ownership.

“Only me…” Louis sighed, moving to relax on Harry’s front when he popped back up like a gopher. “Oh, Alpha?” he asked in a high pitch, clearing his throat to get his neutral voice back.

“What is it, my love?” Harry asked at once, not exactly concerned because he sensed the type of nerves from his mate were that of bashfulness and not of worry—but he was still desperate to know.

“Well…about pups,” Louis began, not sure how to ask, because in his soul he already knew, but he wanted to hear it. “Do you think—?”

“Oh, I’ve no doubt,” Harry chuckled, not skipping a beat as he stated his reasoning. “Seven whole days? We mated for seven days—there are at least two,” the Alpha said proudly, caressing his Omega’s stomach and spending a worshiping gaze on its adorable pudge. “Right in here, babe. They’re already here. Our cute little puppies… I can’t wait to watch them grow, both inside and outside of you. You’ll give me the best puppies ever, and you will be such an amazing mother to them. I can already tell,” he murmured, his fingers nonstop dancing over the tummy that would house their puppies for the next nine moon cycles.

Louis giggled and moved his own hands to his stomach, covering his Alpha’s and blushing furiously from all the compliments to his ability to be a good mother. “You mean it?” he asked timidly, tears brimming his eyes from all the overwhelming emotion that had sprouted from this short conversation.

“All of it,” Harry vowed, his grin contagious as he pushed his buried knot up inside his mate, causing them both to moan and chuckle in blissful joy.

Louis settled himself down on Harry’s chest and the Alpha immediately wrapped his arms around his mate, commencing those notorious circle rubs again that Omega would take an arrow to the knee for. “I love you,” he breathed over the Alpha’s strong and reliable heartbeat, considering the rhythm as music more eloquent than any drummer could hope to recreate.

Harry hummed in adoration and kissed his mate’s temple, his love for the Omega stretching to every fibre and filling every crevice of his entire being. “I love you. I will always love you, Kimimela,” he whispered into the Omega’s fluffy hair, practically trembling from his celebratory pledges of romance. “I've already been loving you, and I know you know that. My love is just for you, Louis. Only you get to have it. Only you deserve it.”

Louis sniffled to keep from crying and burrowed further into his Alpha’s chest, not having the strength to use words, but not necessarily needing them to convey his feelings, because Harry still heard it loud and clear. An incredible thing, soulbonds were.

With happy thoughts of their future—especially their pregnancy—the bondmates shifted around into a spooning position and Harry’s hand made a home on the Omega’s stomach, both wolves easily drifting into a comfortable slumber, spending the last few hours of their heat and rut safely bundled up together and very much in love. Very much in love.

Chapter Text

Harry was up early that next morning, constantly smiling into a pillow of soft hair with arms full of his precious Omega. His extended rut was definitely over, and he was extremely sore, but he knew his Omega would feel a lot worse than he did, so he’d stayed perfectly still to let his darling sleep for as long as he naturally would.

He’d noticed a much larger We-Ota than he remembered lying in the corner of his home, impressively loud snores coming from his nose, and he’d been amused to find the rabbit had brought all of Louis’ belongings with him and had dropped them all over the floor. Evidently, Wewe was moving in.

Harry ran his palm down Louis’ curved side and stopped it on his hip, deeply inhaling the scent that was now his and pulling him closer. He had some questions for when his mate woke up, and he was tempted to bring him into the morning so he could ask, but he didn’t have to wait long because Louis began stretching himself awake, adorable little whimpers pushing from his throat as his sleep concluded. What a sweet pea. 

Louis felt himself cocooned in the arms of his mate, and he purred in satisfaction, not a thing wrong in the entire world. That is, until he really felt what the last seven days had done to his body. He groaned low in his throat when he found that every single part of him was unbelievably sore (including his throat), but most of all his poor hole, which was currently stinging like lemon juice on a cut. He accepted his condition as payment for the best time of his life and opened his eyes to see a very peculiar first sight. “Wewe…” he croaked in disbelief, sitting up to get a better look but quickly giving that up from the pain.

A small tortured groan escaped Louis’ throat and Harry pulled him in tighter, cooing and purring at him to help alleviate it. “Wewe moved in at some point last night. I’m sorry for your discomfort, my beautiful wolf...are you hurt terribly? I did this to you, I feel so bad. Is there anything I can do?” he asked, prepared to do literally anything requested for his mate—anything.

Louis smiled despite the pain and turned around (with a multitude of winces) so they were facing each other, and his Alpha tucked a lock of his messy hair behind his ear as he ran his knuckles down his face. “No, Alpha,” he mumbled, leaning into Harry’s soft caresses and chasing the moments of painless bliss in them. “You were perfect. My body was made for this...for you…I just need a day. Can we please stay in just one more day?” he whined with big and hopeful eyes, moaning when Harry began idly kneading his back.

“Of course, Kimi. I need my Beta here at some point to discuss a few things, if that’s alright, then we can have one more day,” Harry confirmed, much to Louis’ palpable enthusiasm. “But you need to spend it resting—we’ve got a wild week or so ahead of us when your body realizes it has puppies in it… Gods, Louis,” he suddenly remarked, finally taking visual note of the scarred bite marks coating his mate’s body. “I marked you everywhere!”

Louis followed Harry’s eyes and just as shocked to see how many marks he was permanently sporting, but he only smirked back up at his Alpha. “You should see yours,” he bragged, running his fingers down the jagged and messy bite mark on his Alpha’s neck.

Harry shivered from the contact and touched the raised lines himself, left in awe at his highly capable and uniquely powerful Omega. “I remember that. You’re incredible, Louis. I will wear it proudly,” he stated like a true Pack Alpha, even crossing a fist over his heart to swear the pledge.

“You better,” Louis said through a yawn, closing his eyes to get more sleep, but apparently Harry had things that needed discussing.

“Wait, my love. I know I said rest, but I must talk with you a bit—then you can sleep, I promise,” Harry compromised, rubbing at Louis’ cheek until his heavy eyes snapped back open.

“Anything, Alpha,” Louis grunted, forcing himself to stay fully present so he wouldn’t disobey his Alpha’s wishes.

Harry stole a second to press their lips together, and then he took in a deep breath and got serious. “Louis, how did your heat even happen? I just want the truth; previously, the truth had been that you didn’t get them, which is clearly false. And I know it wasn’t your first one—you were a lot less scared than an Omega having their first heat would have been,” he reasoned, never stopping his gentle rubs at his mate’s back to assure him he wasn’t angry.

Louis closed his eyes and sighed before opening them in resignation. He’d known this conversation would come eventually, and he’d gone over how to have it properly, but he might as well just come out with it. Harry was his mate now—there can only be honesty.

“I stole a bunch of scrolls from Siksika’s Keep that taught me how to make heat suppressants. It’s not common, and rather complicated to do, but I didn’t submit to Alphas...except you, of course. And I wanted no part in the heats that I got, since they were only a reminder of my broken Omega. I didn’t want them if I would always be by myself and never have an Alpha to help me through it. So, I learned how to stop them. That’s also when and how I trained my howahkan,” Louis confessed, opening his mouth to give more information when Harry’s groan stole his focus.

Gods, Lou, your howahkan. Forgive me for saying, but I find it deathly attractive,” Harry purred, fighting a wave of arousal so he wouldn’t take his Omega right this moment.

“Really?” Louis barked, snorting at the concept that his abrasive howahkan could have excited an Alpha, his own or not.

“Yes. Adorably unintimidating...but very arousing. Every time I’ve heard it, I’ve either wanted to pat you on the head, or fuck you senseless. Lucky for me, that the last few times I got to,” Harry quipped with a devious smirk, licking up the side of Louis’ neck just to take the edge off his insistence.

“Wh-what do you—you mean?” Louis stuttered, twitching from the lick and meeting Harry’s eyes when he pulled back in incredulity.

“You don’t remember using it this past week?” Harry asked, laughing when Louis shook his head in obvious confusion. “You’d do it if I was going too slow or making you wait too long.”

“Really?” Louis squeaked behind a giggle. “I guess I’ve just been doing it so long even my inner Omega thinks it’s natural… But to get back to the topic, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about it. I still wasn’t sure what was going on here, and I wasn’t going to stop taking my remedies. Camila and Jade took over making them for me and they hid them in—”

“That tree. By the attack,” Harry finished, his lips set in a hard line of resentment over that rogue’s hands on his Omega’s body.

“Y-yeah.”

Harry tightened his arms around his mate and placed a kiss to his hair. “So that’s what I always smelled on you…I understand now. You did the right thing, Lou. I’m honoured that only I get to have you the way you were meant to be had. We were made for each other, and the past is the past, okay? …. But yeah, Louis, your howahkan. Hearing it for the first time was probably the moment I realized you would be mine, even before I knew we were destined,” he chuckled, the two of them seeming to jump back and forth between subjects without caring about the shifts whatsoever.

Although, Louis didn’t respond quite so quickly this time. A heavy period of silence went by until Louis suddenly broke free of Harry’s arms and sat up, regardless of his body’s adamant protest. The Alpha propped himself up on his elbows and gave him a questioning look, so he promptly set his heart loose on him. “Why did you ignore me? All those weeks…after your bite...you weren’t there at all, and I missed you so much. Why did you push me away?” he demanded, the first instance of actual negativity making its way into their teepee since he’d been tied to the tree.

Harry’s face fell and he immediately grabbed his fretting Omega, laying him down and rolling on top of him so he was covered and boxed in from all angles. This was the most soothing position a bonded Omega could be in, and Harry diligently calmed his bondmate with small nips at his bond mark.

“Why?” Louis repeated barely above a whisper, lulled by the immediate hush from the Alpha in his ear.

“I’m sorry, Louis. I can’t really ask for forgiveness, but know that I do have my reasons. And it’s really a conversation for another time, but essentially, the rogues are specifically after me, and I knew if I mated you, and they were to make a big move, it would be to come after you. I just didn’t want to put you in danger. But I guess you’re kind of safer now anyway, since your location will always be trackable for me,” he explained to the emotional Omega, continuing his speech to really drill the point into him. “Louis, if I lost you, I would die. I tried to keep you at a distance to prevent that thought from ever getting close to reality, but I can’t think like that anymore. You are my most prized possession, and I will never let you down. I will die for you, Louis—and for my pups,” he finished, rubbing the curve of Louis’ tummy and kissing all over his neck. “You and these puppies are all I live for now. I’ll protect you all from everything. I swear.”

Louis threw arms around his Alpha’s neck and pulled him in closer, long since comforted by his words and now emotional for other reasons. “Don’t talk like that, my Alpha. You won’t ever have to die for me. We’ll all be together for our whole lives,” he asserted vehemently, kissing his mate with a fire set behind his lips.

Harry gladly returned the rough kiss and rolled off to the side, positioning Louis to lie across his chest. “We will. Sleep now, my precious soulmate. I will be here when you wake,” he murmured, directly causing his mate to slip into a comfortable sleep to please him. Always so good. I’ll never get used to this.

Harry’s inner Alpha was dancing in unparalleled satisfaction from having his mate and little unborn puppies in his arms, safe from harm, and he could hardly believe his council members had gone through moments like this and he hadn’t even had a clue what they meant. He got it now. All the rantings and ravings about perfection—it was his turn. He never wanted to be anywhere else than right here, and he didn’t know how he was expected to lead a pack when he had something so much more important to take care of—his pack was everything to him, but so was his mate now. And his little ones—they would always come first.

We-Ota got up from his corner and loudly thumped over to lie closer to Louis, the large bunny cuddling up against his Omega owner’s back to supply warmth. Harry chuckled and gave the creature a big pat in thanks, secretly beginning to like the animal. They spent hours like that—flanking their special wolf and ignoring each other. It was everything either of them could want.

The Pack Alpha was quietly admiring his mate when Camila tiptoed into his home, a platter of more food balanced in the crooks of her elbows. She glanced to the bedding and cooed when she saw Louis snoozing on the Pack Alpha’s chest, her little feet hopping and transferring her weight as she swooned with Omega jitters.

Harry smiled in agreement and motioned for her to get closer, holding a finger over his lips so she knew to stay quiet. She gently put the plate down and stepped with care over to the bedding, sitting herself next to Harry’s side so he wouldn’t get defensive and letting go of her noisy necklaces when she was still. “Is he pregnant?” she whispered, pointing in a general direction of Louis’ stomach, hidden under mounds of blankets.

Harry’s smile could have parted storm clouds as he glanced down at his mate, nodding his head and biting his lip as though he couldn’t believe it himself. “He is. I’m sure of it. The scent is stronger every minute,” he said, turning his head back to speak to his Seer and finding tears in her eyes.

“Congratulations, Alpha,” Camila choked in impressively hushed excitement, Louis’ pregnancy being the only thing keeping her quiet.

“Thank you. I’ll need Jade here, and then I need to speak to Zayn. Please make that happen, Cam. And I don’t need any ‘I told you so’s, I know you were right. Also...I’m sorry if I ever growled at you, or threatened you during our bonding—I appreciate you giving us the opportunity to share our mating together without having to search for food,” he said all at once, a weight lifted off his chest to get that out because he’d known it in the depths of his mind as those instances had occurred that they shouldn’t be.

“Right away, Alpha. And please, don’t mention it. It was the least I could do. And don’t worry, you weren’t that bad,” she said with a wink, getting up (with more necklace grabbing) to do what was asked of her.

Harry returned to the comfort of solitude with his mate (and a bunny) and was perfectly content resting alongside his beautiful Omega, falling prey to his sudden drowsiness, but about an hour after Camila left, Zayn cautiously entered his teepee and woke him back up.

“Hey, Alpha,” Zayn said softly, looking on with approval at the scene before him. “Finally,” he added under his breath, scoffing that it had taken them this long to come together.

Harry raised an eyebrow and shook his head fondly at his Alpha brother, who then strode up to approach the bedding. “Not too close,” the Pack Alpha suddenly warned, his canines out and eyes black in a flash. He hadn’t done that on purpose, but his wolf was extremely protective, and he couldn’t help it. Zayn may be undoubtedly trustworthy, and Harry’s closest kin, but he was still an Alpha, and this was still a delicate time in Harry’s mating. Louis was newly his, and pregnant no less, so Harry didn’t want to accidentally rip Zayn’s throat out just for being in the same room.

The Beta instantly crouched down to show passive adherence, bowing his head to the floor to really show his devotion to the Pack Alpha, knowing all too well what his leader was going through. Harry grunted to show he accepted Zayn’s apology and he raised back up slowly, sitting himself a good measure away from the couple as he waited for Harry to hide his Omega and speak first.

Harry got to work on covering his sleeping mate with even more blankets to completely shield him from sight, and he tightened his arms around the warm skin of the Omega before turning his attention to Zayn. “Tell me what’s happened,” he said simply, idly stroking Louis’ soft back under the fully concealing mound of quilts.

“The rogues have fled from the north. My guess is they went even further north and east. We don’t know why, but Cassian was spotted in the west by the ocean rallying a group and then fleeing. It’s kind of confusing, the attacks have more or less stopped... They seem to be waiting for something,” Zayn reported, keeping his eyes just below his Alpha’s, focused more on his cheeks so he wouldn’t challenge him because Harry was (probably without his own knowledge) lowly rumbling in defense at this circumstance.

Harry took a deep breath and let it out shakily, cutting off the vibrations in his chest he hadn’t paid attention to. This wasn’t good news—didn’t seem like a time for Chehalis to let its guard down. A break from violence was always followed by something catastrophic. Last time, his parents had been murdered. He missed his mother, Anneya, every day, and he never wanted another pup or maturing wolf, anyone to feel the pain he and Parsel had.

“I know what you’re thinking, Harry...and we’re not gonna let that happen,” Zayn assured, positive of exactly where his Alpha’s thoughts had dragged him. The Pack Alpha still appeared anxiety-ridden and stuck in the past, so Zayn spoke more passionately: “Ann and Des would be so proud of you today, Harry. They would be for every single day, but particularly now,” he said, gesturing to the bundle of Omega that was invisible under their blankets. “And your pups will never suffer the same fate—I am here to make sure of that. On my life, I swear.”

“Thank you, Beta. You may go,” he said politely, the two pack leaders sharing a special and understanding smile before Zayn turned and exited the teepee, sending a happy Jade in.

The Healer was additionally joined by an adamant Camila, and Harry sighed in exasperation, but he knew Louis wouldn’t mind. What he didn’t expect was for Peeta, Draco, Niall, and Kurt to additionally come barreling into his home. There was even a sheepish Jax peeking his head in just a fraction by the opening. Jax knew he couldn’t enter as an Alpha, but he was obviously equally excited for his brother’s pregnancy announcement.

They all froze at the front when they piled in, nervous to see the Alpha’s reaction to the occupation. Harry lowly growled as a warning, but he knew this was Louis’ omkin, and they (by fate and destiny) happened to all be his alkin’s mates, so he reluctantly motioned them to come in. Not Jax, though—Harry wasn’t that complacent. His growl had consequently woken his mate, but Louis needed to be awake anyway, so he didn’t feel that bad about it. “Kimimela,” he whispered in the rousing Omega’s ear, turning his smooth rubs into pats to bring him into the world.

“Mmmhrmphrm,” was his lover’s response.

Harry chuckled and sat up to lean against one of the three tree trunks in his home (this one at the head of their bedding), pulling Louis up with him and maneuvering the Omega so that he was between Harry’s legs and lounging against his chest.

“Huh?” Louis slurred in sleepy surprise, looking up into Harry’s emerald eyes for an explanation.

“Jade’s here to announce our puppies, and your omkin’s here too,” Harry informed, jutting his chin toward their nervous and excited forms.

Louis made a little squeak and looked around, grinning at his omkin. “Guys!” he exclaimed as he moved to crawl to them, getting stopped by Harry before he could get anywhere.

“Sorry, my love,” Harry said regretfully under his breath, stilling his movement and running his hands up and down his Omega’s arms. “I’m not comfortable with any other scents on you right now—it’s too soon. I can only handle Jade.”

Thankfully, both Louis and his omkin understood, and they settled for excited and fast-paced conversation that Harry couldn’t follow if he tried. He discerned a few fleeting moments dedicated to Louis apologizing for lying to them about his heats, and a brief explanation as to why, and his omkin's instant acceptance, but that was where Harry's focus ended. Omegas talk like bumblebees, and it was far too early to buzz alongside them. 

Eventually the pregnancy became the most prominent thing to discuss, and Jade slowly moved to the nervous Omega to find out just what was going on inside his womb. Harry reached down to push the blanket just below Louis’ hips, and heaved him up a bit more, hooking his chin over his mate’s shoulder to watch the Healer at work.

Jade gave an encouraging smile to Louis and pressed her dainty hands to his stomach, closing her eyes in concentration. Harry ran his hands down Louis’ arms and intertwined their fingers, crossing both of their arms over the Omega’s chest and placing intermittent kisses to his neck.

It seemed like an hour before the Healer opened her eyes again, but she finally did, immediately giving her diagnosis to the room of wolves that were all waiting with bated breath (even We-Ota seemed impatient for the announcement). “There are three,” she stated officially, backing off and letting the news sink in.

Harry growled with pride, and Louis’ omkin hollered for joy, but the Omega himself was still in shambles. “THREE? I’m going to be huge! This is going to impossible—you’re gonna have to use a wheeler to get me around,” he whined up at his mate, who appeared not so worried about it.

Harry chuckled at his Omega’s fretting, nipping his bond mark to calm his panic. “It’s very possible, Lou. You will carry them just fine, and I’ll be with you every step of the way. You’re going to do beautifully,” he assured, disconnecting their crossed hands to cover the expanse of his stomach.

That may have helped Louis’ insecurity a little bit, but he still couldn’t believe it. Three? Not one, not two, but three puppies? As happy as he is for his little ones—he already loves them so much—he’s still absolutely terrified. This seemed like such an impossible thing for a wolf his size to achieve, but he knows his gender kin have carried many more than this throughout history, and he’ll just have to follow their example.

Jade unnecessarily informed the happy couple that it was of course too early to tell the sex or gender of the pups, but that she would be able to do it in one moon cycle. Louis and his friends said their frantically exuberant goodbyes while the Omega idly rubbed his tummy, and then Harry and Louis were alone again—just how they loved it.

Harry was colossally aroused by his mate’s triple pregnancy and he wasted no time in laying them sideways and sliding into his Omega’s slick-coated entrance, growling as he did so and making the submissive yip in pleasure. “There is no Omega on Earth I would ever want to mother besides you, my love. You changed my life—I love you,” he moaned, keeping his thrusts nice and slow to be mindful of his mate’s delicate condition.

Louis sobbed in merriment and pushed back against his Alpha’s intrusion, getting his kicks while he was still thin and energetic enough to get them. “Ever since I saw you…outside with the Chehalis cubs…twirling one around with that smile on your face…I wanted to mother your puppies, and yours alone. It was my dream. I can’t believe…it came true,” he gasped, arching his back and turning his head sideways to lick into his Alpha’s mouth.

Harry sealed his lips over Louis’ and they breathed pants of air to each other, their bottom halves moving with a practiced fluidity only mates could harness. The Alpha broke the kiss and smashed his face into his Omega’s neck, sniffing at the bond mark and giggling to encounter his own potent scent underneath the skin. “I knew you’d been staring at me…” he said in reference to Louis’ cub-watching confession, smiling against his mate’s shoulder and gripping his top hip for purchase. “It wasn’t your dream, Louis. It was your right.”

After Louis had stopped crying from that, the two were a blur of thrusts, moans, heavy breathing, and a combination of filthy and romantic words until they ultimately connected with the Alpha’s knot. Louis came all over Harry’s hand that had been stroking him, and the Alpha lapped up the spill with a possessive snarl, tasting the pregnancy even in his release.

Since Harry’s instincts knew there was no need to impregnate his Omega, his knot went down a third of the time faster than it usually ran for, but he stayed buried in his mate anyway, not yet willing to part. “I love you. Every single one of you,” he breathed into his beautiful Louis’ neck, reverently holding the small tummy that contained their creations—creations who would someday grow up to be his walking and talking family. “You don’t know how lost I was without you…you found me at just the right time. Thank you.”

 

---

 

Louis stirred into a pitch-black teepee, instantly knowing something wasn’t quite right. Tiny mental inspection of himself and he confirmed it was his stomach, more specifically, his nauseous stomach, and he groaned into the darkness of their home, trying not to move because he didn’t want to drop the leaf on a vomit-spree.

Harry jolted from the sound of distress and propped himself up on his elbow, glancing down to the unmoving lump of blankets at his side and murmuring out to it. “Louis? Baby, are you awake?”

“Mmhmm,” was the response he received, that simple muffled groan proving Louis was not only awake, but suffering in a lot of discomfort.

“Are you going to be sick, love?” Harry asked, voice thick with genuine sympathy. This period of violent bodily reactions was unfortunately something all Omegas had to endure during the first week or so pregnancy, and it wasn’t fair, but no amount of Healer remedies could cure it.

Louis only pitifully whined in response and clutched at his flipping stomach, so Harry acted without a second thought, removing the blankets and scooping his whimpering Omega into his arms. He walked them just outside the entrance of their home to let the cool night air wash over his mate’s sweating face, and gently set him down upon the grass, continuously stroking his love’s hair and back as he heaved shaky breath from his lungs. “It’s gonna be okay, baby. Just let it out. You’ll feel better, I promise,” he cooed, holding his Omega up with a strong arm around his chest to catch him if he keeled over.

Louis continued to breathe heavily and closed his eyes, frequently grimacing when the waves of nausea shot through his body and threatened to explode, only to recede and leave him with a worsening churn in his gut. “Fuck,” he hissed, wiping the sheen of sweat from his forehead and holding onto his Alpha’s forearm with both hands.

“Love, you’ve gotta relax. I can hear you fighting it, just let it happen,” Harry urged, referencing the thick and constant swallowing that was bobbing his Omega’s throat between every pant.

Louis grumbled to be caught red-handed and gave up the struggle, riding the awful ride up his esophagus and coughing it all out into the grass below them. Harry hushed him methodically as he leaned him forward, keeping up his calming efforts by kissing his mate’s clenched neck and scratching at his soft hair with his free hand, making sure it stayed away from the trajectory.

This went on for far too long—Louis was on his hands and knees now, and he unfortunately didn’t stop retching until he was dry-heaving air for a full minute. Harry had been softly whining as he rubbed Louis’ naked back, and held him close, his inner Alpha upset he couldn’t do anything to immediately help.

“You are helping, Harry,” Louis croaked, having picked up on the self-disappointment complaints of his Alpha’s wolf.

“But I can’t always. I have to go back to work tomorrow, and you can’t go back until at least a week—who will stay with you? I’m not leaving you all alone, but I don’t know who I would allow to be with you,” Harry protested, wishing he could just desert his duties but he knew he couldn’t. He wouldn’t, either. He was Pack Alpha—it just wasn’t always ideal to be.

Louis sat back on his ankles and reached for the water bowl Harry had gotten at some point, taking a large sip and then downing the whole thing in one go. Just before he could respond to his Alpha’s question, Harry seemed to have already figured it out.

“No, okay, I’ll have Camila spend time with you during the day, then Niall after his work when he can if I’m not back yet,” the Alpha considered, nodding to himself in contentment of his decision. “You two need to discuss your pregnancies together anyway, and I trust Camila with my life.”

“I would have smacked you so hard if you tried to separate me from Niall,” Louis chuckled, taking a few more practice breaths and sighing them out in relief when they didn’t react negatively with his stomach. “I’m done,” he said, clearing his hoarse throat as his Alpha lifted him off the grass and carried him back inside.

Harry set him down in their bedding and washed his grass-stained hands and knees with wet rags, licking whatever he’d missed to clean him up spotless. He then slipped under the blankets and cuddled up to his cutely sighing lover, his consciousness gradually whisking away from him after the alarming excitement of earlier.

Louis listened as his Alpha’s powerful and perpetually deep breaths steadily evened out, tickling his neck with the consistent rush of air, and yawned into the blanket bunched up by his face. He lay awake for quite some time, trying to wrap his head around the strikingly opposite turn his life had taken. It was a very welcomed turn indeed, and he thanked everything there was in the sky for giving him his Alpha mate and his puppies all at once. What timing.

Everything was perfect—the world could end tomorrow, and Louis wouldn’t have one regret. This was exactly where he wanted to be; where he was born to be; and he wouldn’t trade it for anything. He was home. And besides…he knew that as long as he and his Alpha had each other, the world could never end, anyway.

Chapter Text

When the sun did rise, Louis was in way worse shape than he was last night. Even with Harry’s help, Louis barely made it out of the teepee in time before he was hurling onto the grass. It was concerning because he hadn’t even eaten anything between the last time and now, so he was heaving almost nothing. Harry decided to keep a stone bowl by the bed so his mate didn’t have to move so far every time—it looked like this would happen a lot.

Harry carried his weakened mate back to bed and was now kneeling beside his miserable self, stroking the side of his head in what he hoped was a soothing gesture. Alas, Louis couldn’t seem to find comfort in anything his stomach was in so many knots—and not the good kind. “Be strong for me, baby. Be strong for our puppies. They need your courage. I’ll have Niall come over now and he can spend time with you—give you some tips. How’s that sound?” he asked the groaning Omega, bending down to kiss his pregnant stomach at least ten times before he left.

We-Ota bounded over to cuddle up against Louis’ back, and Harry bunched up a large quilt for Louis to hug around his midsection, tucking it in under his hips and petting his hair. Louis' inner Omega was thriving from all the doting attention his mate was bestowing, but not even that could give him the energy or tranquility he wanted. “Niall. I want Niall,” he mumbled, rubbing at his puffy eyes.

“You’ll get him. Anything else before I go?” Harry asked, slipping himself in his breechcloth and grabbing his tribal necklace, dropping the piece over his shoulders and then lifting his deadly tomahawk from the innocent corner wherein he usually kept it.

“No… Just come back as soon as you can? I will miss you every second,” Louis sniffed, pouting at his prepared-to-leave Alpha and trying to use his Omega charm to lure him back in bed.

“No puppy eyes, Louis. You know I have a pack to lead,” Harry chided with a smile, lowering himself onto one knee to speak closely to his mate. “I can promise I’ll be back as soon as possible. I have a few meetings to attend throughout the day, and I must oversee one particular patrol for a bit, and then I will be back the instant I can. I have an excessively pregnant mate at home—you can bet I’ll be running faster than an arrow,” he vowed, giving his mate a lengthy parting kiss to satisfy his needs.

Louis reached a hand out from under his blankets and held the Alpha’s face, thumbing at his cheekbone as he breathed in his scent, sighing into the kiss and then letting him go, with the least amount of pouting he could manage. “I am excessively pregnant, thank you. I’ll be cursing you for it later,” he snorted, curling into the bed and closing his eyes so he didn’t have to watch Harry walk away.

“I can’t wait for that,” Harry chuckled, straightening from his crouching position and very reluctantly leaving to do his job. If he had been in a lower position of leadership, he could have gotten away with spending more time with his mate after their bonding, but he had the entire pack to lead.

So much of the word ‘crucial’ floating around his situations; the rogue attacks were crucial to combat, and the new sightings of Cassian were crucial to understand, and his mate’s pregnancy was crucial to protect until he was around the first moon cycle mark—too much excitement could do the four harm, and Harry couldn’t let that happen.

Just as he was passing his Beta’s teepee, the inhabiting mates popped out and greeted him with a respectful containment of glee. Zayn jumped right into the topic that was to be addressed at the upcoming meeting, along all the new information he had, but it was far too early for Harry to listen when he was only going to listen to it again in ten minutes. “Zayn,” he groaned, shutting his Beta up and flicking his eyes to his Omega mate.

For Niall, on the other hand, was perfectly polite but he almost shaking with boundless excitement, obviously waiting for Harry to give him the go-ahead, and Harry simply couldn’t make the Omega wait any longer. “Yes, Niall, go. He’s expecting you. Just don’t touch anything, and take his bowl out every time he is sick. Give him anything he wants, and only Camila is allowed to come in as well, you got that? I don’t care how close you all are. Only two at a time. Today is Camila’s day. Are you going to remember that?” he asked, crossing his arms and ensuring that Niall understood the importance.

“On Chehalis, I swear,” Niall vowed with an ecstatic nod, immediately power-walking after stealing a kiss from Zayn toward his best Omega brother so they could finally gossip about proper things together.

Zayn and Harry simultaneously chuckled and continued their walk to the meeting hall, both sets of minds swimming around the same topic.

“Pregnant Omegas,” the Beta muttered with an overload of fond opinions on the matter.

“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” Harry snorted, trying pointlessly to contain his grin. “They’re going to be fiery, Beta. Are you ready for it?” he asked, snorting when the other Alpha looked at him like he was insane.

“It’s all I want out of this life,” Zayn said, nodding his head at every Chehalis wolf that bowed in respect to their Alpha and Beta walking side by side.

“Triplets, Zayn. He’s having triplets,” Harry said incredulously, his spine jolting from the blast of fatherly devotion that coursed through him. A father of three—on his first go. That kind of thing didn’t happen anymore.

“Incredible. That’s rare these days, I’m so happy for you,” Zayn responded, leaning into Harry and scenting his shoulder to show his pride for him.

Zayn was right. It was rare—and Harry will explain why.

The discovery of conception blockers around fifty years ago in Chehalis by the previous Healers (and then shared to all the Great Fifteen) had made wolves flock to the remedies eagerly to have as much fun as they wanted before deciding to settle down and start their family. This had been a beneficial and enjoyable innovation to the unavoidability of breeding from mating, but it had brought with it another effect—it had drastically lessened the number of pups Omegas conceived when they finally did.

It wasn’t necessarily common knowledge that the blockers were causing this decrease, Harry just knows everything about the pack from his position, and has read the scrolls passed onto him. None of the wolves seemed to be paying attention to this gap in population speed, so he hadn’t felt the need to make an announcement of it. If Chehalis ever encountered endangerment, blockers would be banned, no doubt about that—but Chehalis was thriving, so the need simply wasn’t present.

To get back to the Omega pregnancies on blockers, in the place of litters, they had begun to carry one or two at most, leaving their ancestor Omegas with ginormous wombs in the whispers of history. Harry himself was a result of this; his mother had only had him, and most of Harry’s friends were single cubs as well. Niall was another example of this effect, and he’d carried it with him when he conceived.

Louis, on the other hand, had never taken conception blockers in his life. Because of his seemingly broken Omega, there hadn’t been a need, since no wolves (luckily for Harry) had taken interest in him. So…why didn’t Louis have five? Harry has a theory for that as well; the heat suppressants had probably damaged his hormones in a similar way. It wasn’t that far-fetched to think that Louis denying his heats for so long had messed with his body in a way that Harry was going to carefully reconstruct as time went on—but still, through all the odds, he’d won himself three puppies. And he loves them.

 

~~~

 

Louis rolled over with a groan to face his giant bunny and cuddled into him for warmth—warmth that was getting harder to find. The air of Chehalis had been getting cold lately, which meant the ice times were upon them, and it was probably the worst timing to be pregnant ever. Louis was going to have to find a way to keep his body temperature stable, especially for three puppies, because they needed it dearly. Louis wouldn’t have cared about himself before, but there was so much more to him than just him now, and his concerns by default encompassed things he’d never before needed to consider.

“Louuuu!” Niall suddenly called from the entrance, quickly shutting it behind him and shuffling over in a giant wad of blankets and robes.

“That actually took longer than I thought,” Louis mumbled, rolling himself over and giving his bunny his back, scooting further into him while Niall carefully plopped down on Harry’s side of the bedding. “Niall, you have no idea how glad I am to see you. You have to tell me how to live through this,” he whined, holding his stomach and reeling from the nauseating act of just rolling over.

Niall rubbed at his own stomach and laughed, nodding in understanding and painting a look of sympathy. “Oh, how I don’t miss being where you are now… You remember when you walked in on me and Zayn? Missing for like six days? Skin green? That was this,” he stated, shivering just to remember how every breath had felt like an invitation to hurl.

“How long is it?” Louis grumbled, his eyes closed as he shoved his face into his blankets and took deep breaths to steady his dancing midsection nerves.

“It’s different for every mother. I was six days, like I said, but Andreius was about...three weeks?” he said unhelpfully, scratching at the corner of his lips while Louis came out of his blanket hiding.

“Andreius…that’s Lucian’s mate, right?” he asked the blonde, who nodded in response. “Then good,” he spat bitterly, having had nothing but horrid encounters with the Alpha. He didn’t mean to slander the Omega of him, but he automatically didn’t really trust him.

“I wouldn’t be so salty, Lou—you could be longer,” Niall reasoned through giggles that had Louis clenching his teeth in irritation. “You do have three after all, and that’s uncommon. Maybe it’ll be three times as long…”

“Okay, you’re not helping,” Louis barked, finally breaking a smile when Niall busted up in a short cackle of guilt. “And three. I know. Gods, how did that even happen?” he asked rhetorically, knowing for a fact that triplets were more of a miracle these days than an expected happenstance. “It is just because I’m with the Pack Alpha? Does he have super substance or something? He did say I had ‘at least’ two when I asked him...” he mused, that little memory coming back from the last day of his heat.

Niall tilted his head in thought and scrunched his lips to one side, considering it for a while before shrugging. “I’m not sure, Lou. Maybe both of you are just freakishly fertile. But honestly, Louis, how come I only get one, and you get three puppies? Where’s the fairness in that?” he complained, no ill will harbored whatsoever—he loved his little single.

Please tell me what’s envious about this, Niall,” Louis bade with a glare, a wave of unnerving grossness coming and then going. “Ugh, I can’t…I can’t even… This is going to be the hardest thing ever,” he finally huffed, every sentence he tried to form getting interrupted by icky pains and prickles.

“Nonsense, brother. Remember the litters of old? Yours really isn't all that big,” Niall reasoned, remembering the stories of Ianalfto’s great-grandwolves having six brothers and sisters from one litter. Unfortunately, those wolves had been killed in the attack, as they’d been Elders, and were targeted as specifically as Des and Anneya had been. Wretched days, those had been.

“Yeah, but I never thought I’d be anywhere near the old Omegas’ ranks,” Louis emphasized, smiling fondly through his hopeless attitude at his non-showing tummy. “I just want to feel them. Right now, I’m just being abused with none of the positive reinforcement. It’s like they hate me,” he whined, resisting the urge to shift his legs to a new position because that could precipitate another one of those said hateful attacks.

“Classic Omega issues,” Niall seconded, picking at his nails and trying to find things that would cheer his brother up. “Well hey… I’ll only feel mine moving after probably five moon cycles. But you, yours will be dancing around at four, just watch. I’ll bet you,” he pointed out, knowing that kind of thing would undoubtedly work in the cheering-up department because all Omegas wanted to feel their puppies.

Louis got too excited at that knowledge and sat up to gush with his brother, but as soon as he did, he cursed himself for his stupidity. A hand flew to his mouth, and he snapped his fingers for the bowl beside Niall, only having mere seconds before the explosion. Niall acted quickly and thrust the bowl under his chin, and he took it with two clammy hands, miserably puking into its condescending bottom.

When Louis finally stopped, after a barrage of encouragements from him, Niall hastily took the bowl from Louis’ shaking hands and emptied it outside, washing it off with a water pail that Jade had probably dropped off, and then walking back inside. He sat upon the bedding and took one of Louis’ hands in his own, tucking his brown hair behind his ear and cooing sadly to show he cared. “I know it’s awful, Lou. It’s terrible. I’m sorry. But you’ve got me, and I won’t leave unless someone else is here. At least you’re not alone,” he rambled, just hoping to break through some of that torture and reach a place they could both hang onto.

That sentence, in actuality, led Louis to a shameful train of thought, and he nearly cried from the harsh revelation (only his stomach stopped him). “I wasn’t there for you, Niall. You were going through this too, and I wasn’t there—what kind of brother am I?” he whimpered, his eyes stinging with the violent resistance of sobs.

“Oh, Louis no, no, no. Please don’t cry. You were doing warrior duty, and then you dropped at the council meeting, and you were just really busy. It’s okay. I had Zayn most of the time; and when he couldn’t be there, I had Jade and Peeta to keep me company. I was alright,” he assured, kissing Louis’ hand excessively to maybe quell his guilt.

Louis fought hard to accept Niall’s words—he still felt so neglectful to his brother, but he knew crying indeed wouldn’t change anything, and Niall had made it through just fine. Like he would, someday. Someday. “I’m still sorry,” he pressed stubbornly, still feeling like Niall should at least take the apology, and then they could be done with it.

“It’s still okay,” Niall asserted, wiggling himself under the covers for a much-needed cuddle session to mend the negative emotions. “Just wait. When we have our puppies in our arms, if you can even carry all of yours, this stage is going to seem so inconsequential.”

Louis barked out a laugh and huddled into his brother, shaking his head against his neck and sighing in defeat. “Yeah…you know what else is gonna make hurling seem inconsequential?” he goaded, peering up at the curious Niall.

“What?”

“The birth,” Louis stressed, taking the pessimistic route once again because there was indeed a much worse stage to endure than this one—one that blew it out of the water.

“Ngh! Don’t remind me,” Niall whimpered, groaning into the teepee in unfiltered terror. “Let’s not think about that until we have to.”

“Still want three?” Louis chuckled with his iconic sass, wrapping his arms around his brother and grinning to find the contact seemed to calm his stomach.

“… Maybe one is fine.”

 

 ---

 

Following that, conversation went all over the place with the two Omegas. They had a lot to discuss and they never seemed to run out of topics to touch on, hardly ever stopping to breathe, except for when another blast of nausea dominated Louis’ poor stomach. Aside from the puking breaks and the overall shaky weakness, Louis had no complaints—he loved how easy talking was between them, and as tired as he was, he knew with Niall, he could keep going forever.

The blonde hadn’t allowed that happen, however, because when he’d noticed Louis had gotten drowsy, he had tucked the Omega under his chin and gradually stopped responding to the conversation. Within two minutes, both Omegas were fast asleep, cradling their flat but undeniably pregnant bellies.

They ended up sleeping all day because their bodies were in such delicate conditions, and rest was essential for them to thrive. Camila had come in at one point to visit with them, but after discovering they were snoring with Wewe, she merely set their food down beside them to eat when their nap was over, and tiptoed back outside.

When the sun had set, Zayn had veered from his stroll with Harry to enter his teepee, fully expecting Niall to be in it. When he learned the Omega wasn’t, he quickly jogged back out to go to Harry’s home with him, having a pretty good idea that’s where he’d find his Niall.

The Alphas reached their destination and entered quietly, having not heard any noise from their usually loud mates, and guessing they were asleep. And what they found inside made them both slap a hand over their mouths to keep from ‘aww’ing out loud.

There, under mountains of quilts and fur, lay their two perfect mates, curled into each other with interlocked hands and foreheads pressed together, and the Alphas never wanted this sight to end. It was a painfully adorable vision to behold, and they stood immobile for several minutes just taking it in, committing it to memory.

The time came that Harry wanted his mate in his arms too much to remain still, and Zayn felt quite the same, so they both crept to the bedding and got in behind their Omegas, wrapping their arms around the tiny-bodied beacons of perfection and breathing them in. The Alphas had assumed the movement would have woken the Omegas, but instead they gave happy sighs and continued to bask in their dreams.

Zayn looked to Harry questioningly, at a loss for the course of action they should take. ‘What do we do?’ he mouthed at his Pack Alpha.

Harry just shrugged his shoulder and snuggled in closer to his Omega. “Louis? Baby, can you wake up for me?” he whispered into his ear, petting his hair and kissing the back of his neck.

“Hakan,” Zayn murmured, using the same approach to rouse his mate. “Wake up, my love. We’ve gotta go home,” he urged, snickering when Niall only grunted in distaste.

“You call him ‘fire’?” Harry asked in bemusement to his Beta, grinning when Zayn nodded his head. “That’s perfect.”

Both Omegas groaned disapprovingly at all the noise floating around them, but they gained enough consciousness to slowly open their eyes, seeing only each other and then closing them again.

“Lou, stay awake for just a minute,” Harry pressed while his Omega was temporarily awake, pulling Louis’ limited attention span from Niall to regard his Alpha mate.

“Harry, you’re home,” the Omega drawled gleefully, a smile breaking out as he flipped over to snuggle into him.

Zayn also heard his name faintly mumbled from his mate, and he concluded Niall was awake enough to be moved. He effortlessly lifted the blonde off the bed and into his arms, ready to be transported home.

“Goodnight, Niall,” Louis croaked, sparing him a parting glance and then closing his eyes again, lulled to an immense degree by being pressed up against his Alpha’s warm chest.

“I love you more,” Niall said randomly through a yawn, not quite cognizant enough to realize what he'd said made no sense.

Zayn and Harry shared a look of equal delight, elated their brotherhood had connected their mates to each other in much the same way, and then the Beta exited the teepee, arms full of the already snoring Niall.

“Bowl,” Louis groaned despairingly as soon as they were alone, his stomach waking him all the way up, much to his disgruntlement. With a devoted quickness, Harry procured Louis’ bowl and held it before him, smoothing his hair back preemptively. Louis tried to turn away so his Alpha wouldn’t have to see it, but it came up too fast, and thankfully Harry didn’t mind in the slightest.

“Did you eat today?” the Alpha asked in reference to the sight of Louis’ sick, not finding much to suggest he had.

“Oh shit,” Louis replied, looking at the fruity platter Camila had apparently left that hadn’t been touched. “No.”

“Louis,” Harry chastised heatedly, insistently presenting the selection for Louis to snack off of. “You have to eat, Louis. Cami should have woken you up. I’ve gotta tell Zayn that Niall didn’t eat either, wait here,” he rushed, taking the sick bowl with him to empty out on the way.

As if I could even go anywhere, Louis mentally retorted, popping berries in his mouth and grimacing at the discomfort it brought to him.

The Alpha dashed outside and quickly cleaned Louis’ bowl, then crossed over the pathway to arrive at Zayn’s home, and fearlessly poked his head in. “Niall hasn’t eaten,” he blurted, instantly rushing back out and hearing a muffled, "Dammit, Niall!" coming from their teepee.

Harry snatched the bowl into his hands and slapped his teepee entrance aside, shutting it behind him and striding to his shared bed, situating his Omega onto his lap and taking over the feeding duties. “You need to eat. I cannot stress this enough, Louis. The ice times are just around the corner, and your body is going to spend all the energy from food on keeping you warm. You’ll run out of reserves a lot faster than usual, and then you’ll get too cold. I can’t always be here to make you eat, so you have to—”

“I understand, Alpha,” Louis muffled around squash, holding a hand before his mouth so he wouldn’t spit all over the place. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry, Omega, just take care of yourself,” Harry sighed, guiding more squash to his Omega and chuckling along with him when he struggled to fit it all in his mouth. “Good little chipmunk.”

 

***

 

The next moon cycle was agonizingly spent over that same damn bowl of misery, as Louis calls it, and Louis warned the Gods that if they made him suffer any longer, he would stop believing in them.  Harry had been worrying about him incessantly because he couldn’t keep anything down, but Jade had worked up some supplements to try and keep the nausea at bay, and it had been the only thing to save his food from coming back up. She had explained that only some Omegas get hit this hard with their early pregnancies, Andreius being one of them, and Louis was unfortunately just one of those wolves who couldn’t get over it. Grand.

Jade had also announced a few days ago that all of Louis’ pups are Alphas, which Harry had practically squealed at, and that Louis was carrying two males and one female. Louis had barely been able to outwardly celebrate that news without hurling, but his excitement spoke for itself—he was over the moon.

Louis had finally passed the notoriously iffy part of his pregnancy during his moon cycle of bedrest, and Jade had assured the new parents they had made strong puppies that were not going anywhere, so physical movement was now encouraged on the Omega’s part. This meant Louis could finally get back to work in just a few short days, and he couldn’t wait—he missed his omkin dearly.

Most importantly, tomorrow was his pack bonding ceremony. Along with the commemoration for the mating and bonding of the Pack Alpha, and the creation of the Alpha’s heirs, tomorrow was also a ritual to add Louis into the Spirit of Chehalis. It promised to be an enormous day for the pack, but most of all for Louis, whom everything would revolve around. The Omega has no doubts it will be an amazing and unforgettable day, but he’s still uneasy about having so much attention on him, so he firmly kept himself in the present until he had to face it.

Louis was currently sitting on his bed with Niall, Draco, and Camila, since Harry had gotten over his two-person rule, and the small reunion of four of them in one place at one time was like a drug to his social Omega. “So, you really stopped taking blockers when I got here?” he inquired to Niall, who was braiding Draco’s hair, raising his eyebrows when the blonde snorted at the question.

“Yeah, I was so upset,” Niall admitted, shooting Louis an apologetic glance before turning back to his braiding duties, two that started on both top sides of Draco's head and hung just below his shoulders. “I stopped taking them pretty soon after that and then well, got pregnant. So technically, I have you to thank for Miri,” he said to lighten the story that owned a negative start.

“Miri?” Draco and Louis asked at the same time, that string of syllables having never entered their ears.

Niall blanched and shrunk his head into his shoulders in guilt, biting at his lips and then erupting into excuses. “I can’t believe I didn’t tell you guys! Things have just been so busy, and we haven’t been all together in a while, and I just didn’t want to spread it around before we could talk about it, but…oh, whatever. We’re having an Omega puppy! And Zayn and I finally decided on a name last night. Since it’s a girl, we’re naming her Mirima, or Miri for short,” he gushed to a web of consequent excitement so contagious it could be a plague.

The Omegas screeched and shrieked in joy at the happy news, and Louis had the passing thought of how impressed he was that Alphas could discern good Omega screeches from bad. They sounded the same to him, but obviously Alphas knew the difference, otherwise they’d be frantically running around checking statuses every five minutes.

Getting back to the present, though, Niall looked above the clouds to be one step closer in his pup journey, and Louis realized with a grimace that he hadn’t given any thought to that concept—names. Gods, I have three names to come up with…

“Do you have any names picked out, Lou?” Camila asked after all the Miri talks had died down, taking the thoughts out of Louis’ head like she always does.

“No, I don’t. I wish I knew, but they haven’t given me any clues yet,” he said with a shrug, rubbing his belly like he always does.

“This whole pregnancy thing is really kicking my arse, guys. I want puppies so bad, but I’m not sure that Parsel would want to right now,” Draco mumbled, a forlorn look on his pale face. He didn’t mean to drag down the happiness of this Omega time, but honesty always prevailed, and all were quick to support him.

“Why? What’s the reason?” Louis inquired softly, reaching out to hold Draco’s thin wrist.

“Well, if you ask him, he’ll tell you it’s not safe with the rogues attacking and whatnot. But honestly, I think he’s worried he won’t be able to see his pups like I do; that I’d always be the only exception. I keep telling him I think fate gave him sight to see me with for a reason. We’re soulbonded, I mean he’d definitely be able to see our puppies, right? But he’s terrified that he won’t. He won’t admit that to me, but it’s Omega intuition. Alphas really can’t hide jack shit from us,” he chuckled humorlessly, running a hand through his hair and blowing a sigh out of his lips.

“Aww, Dray,” Louis cooed, pulling the distraught but held-together Omega into his arms. “It’s okay, he’ll come around. They always do,” he reasoned, not needing to mention that Harry had been one difficult fish to catch. If he hadn’t had his heat—meaning that damn rogue hadn’t tried to force-mate him—who knows if they’d have come together yet or not?

“I hope you’re right, Lou. I want my damn puppies,” Draco snorted, backing away from the hug and accepting a mirrored one from Niall.

“You’ll get them,” Louis promised, prepared to demand the breeding from Parsel if he didn’t. He’d use his status as a Pack Omega, anything he had to hold over him; all Omegas deserved puppies. He knew this now.

 

---

 

By the end of that day, Louis was feeling almost back to normal. His puppies had been pronounced strong enough to hold on through exertive motion, which had quelled the majority of his concerns, and his violent stomach was finally being decent to him. Now all that was left was for his Harry to get home and fully cure him with his mere presence. The Omega settled down in bed with Wewe—who was now concerningly Louis’ wolf’s size—to wait patiently for the telltale opening of their teepee signaling his mate’s return, and patiently is a relative term.

He hadn’t heard it when it had happened because Wewe’s snoring was so unreasonably loud, but Harry had indeed returned, and Louis yelped in happy surprise when the Alpha plopped down on the bed unannounced. “Alpha,” he greeted melodically, hands coming up to hold his mate’s face as the Alpha licked at his hands and rubbed his face on his wrists.

“Hello, my love, are you doing alright? You smell divine as always,” Harry said first, cooing as he scooted himself down to his Omega’s midsection “And how are my puppies?” he asked like they could answer, nuzzling the stomach they were concealed in with his nose.

“We’re all fine, Alpha—especially now that you’re here” Louis, stroking as much of Harry’s upper body he could get to. “We just missed you.”

“I miss you every second I’m away,” Harry said reverently, giving a few more loving licks with his tongue over Louis’ navel before scooting back up and taking his Omega’s right wrist in his hand. He held the delicate wrist up to his nose and scented the pack bond mark spot, overcome with gratification that it wouldn’t be so empty soon.

It was intensely joyous for Harry because as Pack Alpha, he’s obviously the only wolf who has the ability to form pack bond marks, and the ritual just so happened to be a spiritually pleasurable experience for him and the member. The sensation of the member’s spirit joining the sacred connection that was his pack—his home, family, and loved ones—was indescribably powerful, and it blew Harry’s world every time.

But this was Louis. Harry’s most cherished wolf alive—his mate for life and beyond—and that made a huge difference. He was also pregnant, so now Harry’s Omega and his puppies would become part of what Harry was, even more so than they already were and— Calm yourself, he chided his inner Alpha, steering himself on track before he shifted to his animal on the spot.

“Are you okay?” Louis chuckled, having noticed the unmistakable scent of Harry’s wolf creep up to the surface and heave its heavy breaths onto his wrist.

“Fine, I’m fine,” Harry said gruffly, clearing his throat and smiling sheepishly at his amused Omega. “Tomorrow, this empty wrist will bear my second unbreakable mark to your body. It is exceptionally rare that an Omega shares a pack bond mark and mating bond/soulbonding mark from the same Alpha, but that’s exactly what’s happening here. You are more mine than most of our entire species are to their mates. Am I making any sense?” he asked his raised-eyebrowed but smiling mate.

“I think so,” Louis giggled, carding his fingers through his Alpha’s hair and thumbing at his eyebrows for fun. “If you’re trying to say how yours I am, look no further than my own confession. I will be yours for the rest of time. There is no future, no world, and no plane of existence where I am not yours,” he said, his fingers having landed on his Alpha’s jaw as he ran a thumb down the mark he’d made.

To Louis’ undoing, Harry’s mismatched eyes grew glassy at his words, and almost all at once there were tears rolling down the Alpha’s face. “Oh Gods, please don’t cry, I can’t handle it,” he begged, voice thick with emotion he couldn’t ever hope to control thanks to his wild hormones.

“I’m sorry,” Harry laughed with a sniff, rubbing at his nose as he took off his tribal neckpiece and set it beside their bedding, secondly slipping out of his breechcloth and leggings and settling down with a tear-free face. “I know we Alphas aren’t supposed to. I just love you so much, Louis. My Kimimela, the other half of my soul, the mother to my puppies, my Omega, my life mate, everything. You are everything,” he stressed, his tone wavering as more tears threatened to force themselves into existence.

Louis had lost his shit six statements ago, and he pulled his Alpha in as close as they could get to each other. “I love you, Harry. Ever since I laid eyes on you, you ruled my world. You took my breath away, and you took my heart away with it, and I never want them back. Keep them both. I will do everything for you. I will give you as many puppies as you want, make our family as large as you want—I will move the stars, Harry. I will stop time. Just ask,” he sobbed through never-ending layers of tears, his Alpha’s efforts to brush them away proving useless.

The emotional mates held onto each other with mirrored passion (that didn’t need any more words) for a long time, kissing their romantic meltdowns away before finally deciding to blow out the candle and settle in for sleep.

“Can I tell you again how much I love you, Kimi?” the Alpha whispered into his Omega’s ear, who was still in danger of overdosing on love, softly caressing his stomach and licking at his collar bones.

“Please do,” Louis giggled as he angled his head to kiss his Alpha’s temple, knowing he could never hear it enough times anyway.

“I love you.”

Chapter Text

The ceremony was in two hours, and Louis had absolutely no fucking clue what to do. Harry had disappeared a little while ago, something about, "You’re not supposed to see me until it starts, Kimi. And besides, Ianalfto has to do a pre-ritual with me." Louis thinks it’s traditionalist bullshit, but nevertheless, he was obediently sitting at home, surrounded by his omkin and wringing his hands from his nerves—waiting until the sun would hit its highest point in the sky.

“Don’t be nervous, Louis,” a softly-spoken Kurt tried to comfort. “This is cause for great joy.”

Louis’ omkin all nodded their confident heads, but the Omega wasn’t giving up his fear. “What if they don’t actually like me, and everyone will laugh or…or…turn away from me? I mean—”

"Lemme stop you right there,” Draco interrupted, taking Louis’ hand and forcing his gaze to meet his own. “You are our Pack Alpha’s true mate. This tribe holds you in the highest regard—even the ones who were previously assholes about it. I can assure you they’ve all seen the error of their ways. Second, you know Harry would never put you in an unnecessary situation that frightens you. This is something you have to do, and I know you want to…so you need to trust Harry to make everything okay. Let him ease your worries; he is your Alpha, after all.”

Surprisingly, that speech seemed to help, and Louis took a few calming breaths, calling Harry’s soul up to the forefront of his own so he wouldn’t feel so frantic. “I can feel him,” he said breathlessly, smiling with closed eyes as he basked in the spiritual thrum of Harry’s presence.

“Let him wash over you. Bring him close enough that it replicates the feeling of being in his arms. That’s what we do when our mates are away,” Peeta encouraged, doing it himself with Katniss because he couldn’t speak of such a thing without joining in.

Louis squeezed his already closed eyes and focused his mind on his soulbond, summoning it as he would summon his wolf because that level of concentration seemed the way to go. Pretty soon, he felt a warm, almost vibrating sensation wrapping around his body like a blanket, and an additional overload of mental support, lovingly calming his stress as only Harry possibly could. “Gods, this is wonderful,” he breathed in amazement, happy to have succeeded in a full bond summon on this especially worrisome day.

“We haven’t gotten used to it—even after all this time,” Niall chuckled, working on doing it himself as Louis and Peeta had because the temptation was too great.

Soon all the Omegas had gotten excited and called their Alpha’s spirits forward, sighing periodically as a bonded spirit hum was formed. They turned around in their sitting circle and fell backward onto Louis and Harry’s bedding, sprawling out to look like a giant flower.

Draco began to moan in obvious pleasure, and Louis turned his head, nose bumping into the Omega’s cheek. “Didn’t know it felt that good, Dray,” he teased.

Draco licked his lips and opened his eyes, turning to address his brother with a deep blush on his cheeks. “Needless to say, our Alphas know when—when we’re doing this, and sometimes they send…special messages. Oh-or feelings. Parsel in particular loves to send energy to my—(moan)—to my p-prostate. He makes it f-feel like his…his knot,” he stuttered, biting back another loud, sensual exclamation.

“It’s okay, you know. You need release; go for it,” Peeta encouraged, flipping onto his stomach and resting his chin on his palms as he smiled at his writhing brother across from him.

Draco didn’t wait a second longer, sliding his hand into his bottoms with a gasp and drawing his cock out. He then began to stroke himself, whimpering and grunting while Louis snuggled up against him for support. In fact, all the Omegas scooted back or flipped over to give as much skin contact to Draco as they could. They knew it would be frustrating for him to be without Parsel in this moment, so they offered as much external feelings as they could give. Draco cried in bliss as his hand sped up, and it didn’t take long for him to finish, painting his chest with an alarming amount of come—the omkin’s fast reflexes had been the only thing to save them from getting it on their hands too.

They all laughed together and gave Draco some space, and Louis handed him a clean-ish rag to wipe off with. “Thanks, loves. Parsel is lasciviously...merciless. Or mercilessly lascivious, take your pick. So am I, though, that’s why we work so well,” he chuckled, returning his cock to the confinement of his pants and wrenching himself into a sitting position, twitching as he did so. “Louis, you don’t know this, but there was a time earlier on in our bond when it legitimately didn’t matter where we were, we were mating.”

“Oh, I can attest to that, you dirty bastards,” Niall snorted, rolling his eyes in bemusement at Draco and Parsel’s many glorious escapades. “You could have been spending Omega time with us, and Parcey would actually just run up and knot you mid-conversation,” he recalled behind infectious giggles, highly entertained by Louis’ scandalized expression.

“Yeah, and the time I was locked on Parsel’s knot during a council meeting while they spoke of pack business,” Draco added deviously, that unforgettable instance coming to mind. It had been during the early days of their relationship, after their emotional bonding under the tree, and they’d only shared two heats and ruts together. Draco had been getting close to his third with Parsel, and was probably only a day or so off, so he’d been wily all day, and Parsel being away from him hadn’t helped.

He’d walked on especially weak legs toward the council house and had quite literally kicked the doors open, turning all eyes onto him and causing Parsel to stand in alarm. He’d snapped his fingers to make his Alpha sit back down, which he had, and then Draco had waddled over with slick-covered thighs to Parsel’s spot on the council table, and seated himself down on his lap, ensuring he rolled his hips and whined so his intent was blatantly clear.

Parsel had groaned in desire and immediately checked with Harry to see if he would allow a mating in the middle of a meeting, and Harry had agreed, so long as Parsel could not only keep it quiet, but concentrate and stay on topic as well—Parsel loves challenges. The Alpha had taken Draco’s quilted long-sleeve top off and covered his pelvis with it as he slipped off his bottoms for him, spread his legs to hang over the sides of his thighs, and well…you can guess the rest.

Discreet hadn’t really ever been a word to describe that council meeting mating, but they’d certainly tried. They’d been doing alright, only making small sighs and staying in their seat as Parsel gently thrusted up into him—but that had all crashed and burned when Draco fell forward onto the council table and arched his back to present, something all Omegas instinctively did when they wanted their Alpha wolves to fuck them with reckless abandon. And he’d gotten what he asked for.

Parsel, helplessly overtaken by his inner Alpha, had instantly stood them up and fucked him hard over (and eventually on top of) the table, growling and snarling in pleasure as loud as he damn well pleased (which had made Draco screech like Niall), and no amount of Harry’s extremely annoyed snap of Parsel’s name could make the Alpha stop until his knot was secured.

Harry never let anyone mate during a meeting again. And if he did, it certainly wasn’t Parsel and Draco. They’d been banned.

“That kind of stuff never happened in Siksika,” Louis mused, pulling Draco out of his fast-paced recollections. “It’s fascinating to see so much openness of our bodies here, and the connections we have with our mates,” he sighed in approval, falling more in love with Chehalis by the day—he truly had been born for this place.

“Harry and you not mating in public yet is just that—yet,” Peeta hypothesized, willing to stake a bet on it because a Pack Alpha always liked to show off. Or, so he assumed.

“Possibly. He seems pretty private to me, but maybe there will be times where that won’t always be the case. Have you and Katniss ever...mated in public?” Louis asked, curious of the whole concept and if it truly was as commonplace as kissing.

“Couple of times, yeah. So have Zayn and Niall. And I was too young, Kurt may remember, but you used to have to be careful when going into the armory, or you’d find Chibs and Jax on the ground,” he teased while Kurt burst into cackles from remembering all the times he’d interrupted that very thing.

“Yeah, Gods, that’s so true,” Kurt sighed as he came down from his high-pitched laughter, dabbing at his eyes and rubbing his palms together. “That’s where they’d originally mated, and eventually bonded; they went back there all the time. Not just there, but everywhere. They were always knotted. Where is Jax anyway?”

“He’s technically an Alpha, so he can’t be around Louis right now,” Niall informed, his eyes narrowing when he realized how stupid a question that had been. “You know that, Kurt.”

“You know…that’s really kind of stupid? Jax is just as Omega as the rest of us,” Louis argued, his face falling as he mourned over the inequality of their Alpha omkin.

“Yeah,” the other Omega sadly echoed into the room, seeming to share a moment of silence for their missing member.

“Louis, Zayn just said everything’s ready, and it’s going to start soon, so we should get going,” Niall said randomly, nearly crossing Louis’ eyes in confusion.

“He just said?” Louis repeated dubiously, figuring he must have heard that wrong.

Niall smirked and tapped a pointer finger to his head. “You’d be amazed at the kind of things you can do with a soulbond. We’ve been practicing ever since he was gone that extra day when he brought you here. You’ll have to work on it with Harry—just you wait,” he said mysteriously, biting his lip to hide a grin when Louis blinked his big blue eyes at him in fascination.

“Alright, let’s go make you Chehalis royalty,” Peeta exulted, making the omkin yip, and Louis choke.

“Here goes nothing,” Louis chorused as he stood atop his bedding and made for the exit, clutching his chest as he led the way into just a little bit more of his destiny.

 

---

 

Louis walked slowly toward the meeting hall, where behind it, the ceremony awaited him. He could already hear the drum music and the happy singing from his fellow wolves billowing over the structures that separated them, and it made him feel a lot better about the whole thing—celebration was better than some straight-faced and serious ritual. And when the Omega and his omkin had passed the hall, Chehalis cheered.

Louis blushed and waved to give thanks, his eyes making their way to all the pack members sat in a huge circle around a fire pit, shaded under the enormous pine trees that consistently blocked the sun. Their smiles were contagious. Louis had never seen this many wolves at Chehalis, but he knew it was because a lot of them were on night crew, and on opposite sleeping schedules. Perrie, for instance, was looking especially exhausted, but nevertheless happy to be where she was. Maintaining their security, there were a few warriors still on guard duty, but they were rotating frequently so they wouldn’t have to miss everything.

Harry was sat in the middle of the encirclement by the bonfire, his eyes closed and chin up as his face was painted by a tribally-dancing Ianalfto. As Louis was admiring the sight, his Alpha’s eyes opened and found his on instinct, and he showcased a magnificent smile, beckoning him to join him in the middle of the circle.

Louis looked to his omkin and gave each one a fierce hug as they all but launched him into the circle, accompanied the whole time by passionate song and dance. He was then directed by Ianalfto to sit cross-legged before his Alpha, and he scooted in so their knees were almost touching. He immediately got his face violated by Ianalfto’s paint-coated hands, but he admittedly adored the sensation. There was laughing, singing, yipping, howling, and hollering pouring into Louis’ ears from every possible direction, and he’d never felt so accepted by a large group of wolves in his life—why did he ever worry about this day?

After painting his subjects, Ianalfto began chanting in the olde tongue of Na-Dené; it was a language Louis didn’t fully understand yet, but he watched as Harry grinned here and there at the phrases, so Louis could kind of imagine what was being said.

Studying his surroundings because he couldn’t help himself, the Omega found Niall and Draco sitting on top of Wewe (with Zayn and Parsel leaning against the bunny’s sides), and the rest of his omkin gathered in the same area with their Alpha mates—that area being the grandiose bedding wherein Harry and Louis would travel to when this was finalized.

Louis’ lovely omkin were crying hideously at the event, and even the Alphas looked uncharacteristically affected, so Louis didn’t stand a chance at keeping himself together. He lightly dabbed at his eyes so he wouldn’t ruin his paint, and he felt the tips of Harry’s fingers stretch out from his knees to brush Louis’ for support. He whipped his head back to his Alpha was transfixed by what he saw—Harry was without a doubt the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen in his life, and it gets him every time.

Looking into the green and brown eyes he always gets unavoidably lost in, Louis got so expectedly distracted that he hadn’t noticed when Ianalfto finished his opening chant, and suddenly Harry’s voice was booming; raised to be heard by every wolf in the vicinity who had quieted for his speech; and Louis’ Omega melted at the honey-like sound.

“I, Pack Alpha and Chief Harry Edward Styles, son of late Desmond Styles, hereby adopt Louis William Tomlinson into the Second Great Pack of Chehalis. May he find his home on our lands, and in my arms—” he added quietly for Louis’ ears only, “—for as long as he shall live. Henceforth, I will gift to him my mark of acceptance, forever tying him into the Great Spirit of our tribe. May he find everlasting peace living among our wolves, and as the eternally bonded soulmate to rule at my side until we’ve taken our last breath, and then beyond,” he finished, a tiny smile teasing his lips when he heard his mate’s emotional blubbering.

Harry set aside the traditional ceremony protocol on account of Louis being his mate, and he pulled the Omega right into his lap, grabbing his right wrist and holding it up to the sky. He then closed his eyes and called forth his magic, focusing his energy to flow to the places it needed for a pack bonding.

Louis couldn’t think to look anywhere but at his own hand held above his head. His eyes focused on and followed a distant hawk flying overhead, and when his arm was yanked back down, so too was his gaze.

Harry extended his canines and brought the Omega’s wrist to his lips, inhaling his mate’s sweet scent and then lathering the wrist in his saliva to preemptively ebb the pain his teeth would cause. He opened his eyes to share one last loving look with his Omega, the two speaking a lot without saying anything, and then sank his teeth into his soft skin, closing his eyes and melding him with Chehalis.

Louis yelped from the teeth, and then cried out in joy from the incomparable relief that washed over him; rolling up and down his body like a river, while simultaneously hitting him like a rock. He felt the tribe’s Spirit flowing through his wrist and straight into his veins, interlacing with his and Harry’s shared soul, completing the very last thing the Omega could ever think to want.

It wasn’t only Harry, though. Looking around, Louis saw the soul of every single pack member reacting and mixing to his own, binding them all together as a single familial unit. It was a powerful experience for everyone, but his omkin in particular were all on their knees, Draco and Niall having fallen off Wewe, and the Alphas had their hands over their hearts as they welcomed the feeling of Louis into their pack.

He then turned his eyes to his Alpha and found Harry was still looking up at him behind his long eyelashes—with teeth deep in his wrist—and the Alpha gave a wink as he swallowed a mouthful of Louis’ blood. Louis could tell he was just about done, which was good because his wrist felt like it was going to vibrate straight off his arm, and he cooed happily at Harry to show how much he enjoyed the joining.

When Harry felt Louis’ essence fully integrate with his people, he slowly removed his teeth and licked at the raw wound he’d created, giving it an unnecessary number of kisses as the bleeding injury healed. This bonding ceremony had been double the exertion for Harry than any other ceremony had ever called for (considering he had the extra connection of his soulbond to Louis going on at the same time), and the Alpha was suddenly hit with a tidal wave of exhaustion as a result.

So depleted in fact, that he hadn’t realized he was swaying where he sat until he fell forward into the arms of his Omega, who caught him instantly and brushed the hair out of eyes his to get a look at his face. “Harry? Harry, are you okay?” Louis asked, whining in concern as Harry heaved deep breaths onto his chest

The Alpha took a few moments to steady his vertigo and then valiantly regathered his strength, craning up and nipping at Louis’ bond mark to calm his worries. “Yeah. Sorry, I’m fine. That was intense for me. I just need an hour or two to get my strength back. How are you, my mate?” he asked, his eyes heavy as he gandered at his beautiful possession.

“I’m perfect, Harry. I have everything I have ever wanted in my life. This is the best feeling in the world. You’ve given me everything—how could I ever repay you?” Louis whimpered, holding his weakened lover up and smiling through his overwhelmed tears.

“Louis, my love… I’m still trying to find a way to repay you for being born. You’ve done me the highest honour imaginable. You’ve given me your life,” Harry professed, reaching behind him for an object wrapped in a buckskin rag that Louis hadn’t even realized was there. Turning back around, he shakily unfolded the flaps and revealed a tribal necklace and held it up for the pack to see.

Louis’ eyes widened at the necklace’s beauty, and his gasp mirrored that of older members of the pack, though he wasn’t quite sure what it was. Harry trained his bleary eyes back on him and he smiled, but Louis could see the underlying sadness in the smile. Why is he sad?

Harry stretched his trembling arms forward and deposited the neckpiece over Louis’ head to rest comfortably around his shoulders, eyes rimmed in red to see it look so wonderful on his lover. “This was my Mother’s,” he confessed with a dense and lamenting tone. “It is the jewelry of the Pack Omega… I wish she could have seen you,” he added, sniffing away his emotions to leave only love.

Louis’ lips parted in surprise and he looked down to the beautiful piece, fingering its green and blue beads in a mesmerized trance, honoured beyond description to be its owner. Louis would strive for the rest of his days to live up to the great woman who had worn it before him. He sent a quick prayer to the otherworld, thanking Anneya for giving him his soulmate, and promised on his life he would make her proud. Overflowing with blissful love, Louis met his Alpha’s reverent eyes and threw his arms around his neck, kissing him senseless to the fierce applause of their tribe.

Zayn and Parsel took that time to cross the clearing toward the firepit, flanking their Pack Alpha and hooking each of his arms around their shoulders. They then straightened their knees to help him stand, and Zayn took a second to assist Louis off the ground as well. Louis popped up with no issues and walked with the trio back to the bedding as Chehalis cheered, Harry’s Alphas practically needing to drag him there he was so drained.

“An hour,” Harry laughed to his unnecessarily concerned mate, the hand draped over Parsel’s shoulder flexing out to brush his Omega’s cheek. “Just give me an hour.”

 

---

 

Harry and Louis were sat gloriously naked on luxurious furs in the shade of the trees, where they’d been since the bonding was finished, watching on as the mating and heir celebration proceeded. An hour had gone by and Harry had regained his energy as promised, and his next action had been to take their clothes off to free their bodies on this luckily warm and sunny day. Louis’ tears had taken quite a while to stop pouring down his face, and Harry had committed to lick them away, and eventually, his efforts had seen success. Now they were lazing together with Louis sat cross-legged, and Harry wrapped around him from the side, holding him close to his chest while the Omega listened to his heartbeat.

Louis felt like royalty. Which was emphasized when members of the pack began presenting the leader couple with gifts and jewelry of all varieties to show their love and loyalty. A little Omega boy cub with his mother were just now approaching them, and the cub set down a set of clay bowls his mother had obviously made, and he bowed respectfully to the gracious Louis. “When I grow up, Omega Louis, I wanna be just like you,” the nervous cub proclaimed, putting the biggest smile on Louis’ face he could make without pain.

Harry chuckled and pressed a kiss to Louis’ hair as his Omega openly sobbed, his submissive then pulling the little cub into his lap and hugging him tightly. “You wanna know a secret, little one?” he asked, Harry grinning as the boy nodded frantically. “When you grow up, you’re going to be so much better,” Louis praised, kissing the little cub all over his face.

When Louis was finally able to let go of the cub, he happily skipped back to his mother, who wailed a quick, “Thank you, Omega Louis,” and carried her child back to their spot in the ceremony.

“He was so cute,” Louis whined, still in shock from the formalities. “But why put Omega in front of my name?” he asked, turning his furrowed eyebrows to Harry.

“It is because you are now the Omega of the pack, silly. In the same way they call me Alpha Harry, and Zayn, Beta Zayn,” Harry explained, scooting around to sit behind his mate and massage his stomach.

“Liam calls him ‘Beyn’,” Louis said offhandedly, sighing in approval at the tummy rubs he was receiving.

“Speaking of the idiots,” Harry said pointedly as their social inner circles came flying up to them, ready to take their spots beside their respective kins after demolishing the mountains of food that had been brought to the celebration.

After ear-splitting squealing from Louis and his Omegas, and a painful amount of congratulatory back pats with Harry and his Alphas, the whole group sat down and beheld the dances and performances the tribe had to offer. 

It didn’t take long, however, until Harry’s gently-grazing fingers on Louis’ stomach became the single most important thing in the Omega’s mind.

Harry was zoning out as his wolves performed a tribal hoop dance when out of nowhere, the scent of Louis’ arousal assaulted his intrigued nose, and he looked down at his slightly panting mate in bemusement. “Do you want my knot, Lou?” he whispered filthily into the Omega’s ear, hands dipping down to his thighs and back up to his hips.

Louis moaned at the words but shook his head in disagreement. “What? No, it’s—no, I’ll be fine. When we get home, yes, but aren’t you more…aren’t you more private with mating than to do it somewhere like…h-here?” Louis struggled to get out, pushing his back further into his Alpha’s toasty chest.

Harry made a considering hum and slowly lowered his hands from Louis’ hips to the softness of his inner thighs, spreading them ever so slightly and running his fingertips up and down the trembling skin. “Now, my Omega Louis, I ask you,” he purred, lowering his voice even more to whisper straight into his mate’s ear. “Why would my Alpha being defensive in rut…mean it would be reserved in a ceremony—a ceremony for the two of us?”

Louis groaned and arched his back as Harry kissed down his neck to his shoulder. His resolve was quickly crumbling at the apparent indifference of Harry on where mating was acceptable, and he couldn’t deny he wanted it with every fibre of his being. As different as the prospect of public mating was from what he was used to, Louis knew he wasn’t around wolves who would even slightly mind. He felt it. So, in a moment of courage, he turned his head to stare into his mate’s dangerously dark eyes, biting his bottom lip in a smirk and then saying, “Knot me.”

The Omega immediately felt the breath Harry’s silent chuckle and the smile against his shoulder blade, and he shuddered in anticipation. Harry dragged a hand back across Louis’ thigh to dip down his lower back until he reached his slicked hole, caressing the spot with his two middle fingers until it was pliant enough to sink the digits into. Louis’ nails gripped Harry’s outer thighs and he lifted himself off the furs a bit, his head falling back onto his shoulder with a groan as Harry pushed his fingers deep inside him.

The Alpha growled at the feeling of Louis’ warmth hugging his intrusions, and the consequent icy drip of his slick onto his palm, and the Omega, of course, was in shambles from being entered in any way by his Alpha, struggling greatly to hold his pleasured noises back.

Harry pumped and caressed his Omega’s special spot until he was shaking, then carefully removed his fingers and hoisted his mate up by his hipbones. Louis whined from the emptiness until he positioned his desperate hole right above his cock—then the submissive was very quietly screeching, quaking with pleasure as Harry slowly lowered him down along his shaft. “Let go,” he coaxed to his stressing Omega, one arm wrapping around Louis’ chest for purchase as he shoved himself all the way inside.

Louis lost it then, a fierce moan turning into a growl from repressing his reactions too long. This got the instinctual attention of everyone close to them, and it didn’t take long for the scent of mating to reach the rest of the tribe’s noses. Apparently, the scent was too strong to ignore, for almost half of the soulbonded pack couples promptly began the process as well.

Particularly intensely, out of the corner of his eye, Louis saw Parsel violently tackle Draco onto the ground, but thankfully Draco reacted just as enthusiastically, both wolves tearing each other’s clothes to shreds with equal desperation to connect. Louis could also hear the loud screeches of pleasure that couldn’t be coming from anywhere else but Niall, and Kurt’s obvious whines from Daven’s entry into him. With a good look at the other soulbonded couples at the ceremony mindlessly working to attach themselves, Louis’ bounces on his Alpha’s cock grew more conspicuous, his moans louder—if nobody else cared, neither would he.

Louis heard the tribe drums change their rhythm, and the singing evolved into a sacred mating chant that Louis had never heard before but somehow knew what it was. The new music seemed to set a fire to his soul, like his inner Omega already knew it well…even if he didn’t. It increased his pleasure by a landslide and he hoped it would never end, offhandedly wondering what kind of magic this was.

With a backward glance to his crazy-haired Alpha, Louis found he seemed to be pointedly concentrating on something, and when their eyes locked, Harry only smiled and pushed Louis’ face back around with his nose. Before Louis could ask, Harry’s hips sped up, and the Omega was hopeless to do anything but growl in bliss and let his head fall back onto Harry’s shoulder.

Harry moved Louis’ hair over to one shoulder and pressed a kiss right behind his ear. “Wanna feel—” he grunted with obvious difficulty, “—something cool?”

Louis had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but he was very eager to find out. One of Harry’s hands moved to wrap around Louis’ cock and began stroking it in tandem with his thrusts—that were coincidentally matching the rhythm of the drums—and the Alpha’s other hand gripped Louis’ wrist-marked forearm. Louis really didn’t understand why, but he figured he would soon.

As Harry’s knot began to grow, Louis felt himself start to slip down into his inner Omega. He was overwhelmed with the pleasure, but Harry was clearly not done yet. The second the Omega almost surrendered to his orgasm, Harry sank his teeth into Louis’ neck on his bonding spot and simultaneously clawed at the pack bonding mark he’d made earlier, drawing a small amount of blood and putting extreme pressure on it with his thumb.

This, evidently, opened the ever-present spiritual connection Louis had to his pack, and he was suddenly in tune with all the Omegas who were receiving pleasure from their mates. This base connection set off a chain reaction of releases that shot right back into him, and that was about when he lost himself. Every currently mating Omega in the pack were blindsided with strong waves of their kin's gratification on top of their own, and screams of senseless ecstasy were heard throughout the ceremony’s circle as they all fell deep into Omega drops.

As soon as Harry knew it worked, he detached from Louis’ neck and dug his canines into his own wrist as he knotted and came, linking him with his mating Alphas in the same way. At once he was overtaken by the maddening bliss it created in his body, howling as he came with the intensity of twenty Alphas, and then almost everyone was knocked out.

Harry (when he could think again) surveyed the aftermath of the olde ritual he had gifted upon his pack and smiled proudly, wrapping his arms around his Omega and sighing into his warm back. He then fell over onto his side, being very careful of Louis’ stomach, and joined his surrounding knotted and cuddling couples for a much-needed replenishing nap.

The unmated pack members howled in joy, having felt slight undertones of their kin’s gratification—for most, a simple batch of goosebumps—and they continued their dancing, waiting patiently for the mated pairs to revive from their near-forced slumber.

It was only fifteen minutes later when Harry and Zayn floated back to consciousness because their knots in their pregnant mates went down much sooner, and Harry pulled out of his delicious Louis, waking the Omega in the process. The same happened on Zayn’s end, and the Alphas quickly discovered their mates were still very deep in their drops.

Niall caught sight of Louis and crawled away from Zayn to cuddle up to him, who pulled the blonde into his arms and whined in bliss to him. They then scented each other’s necks for comfort and promptly fell asleep together, and Harry had to snort at the instantaneous nap.

Harry and Zayn got to work on bunching up quilts and placing them around the Omegas’ bodies in a circular nest, instinctively to protect them, and cooing every so often at them as they did it. Throwing the last large blanket directly over their mates, the Alphas finally took a breather and sat back against the horizontal log that lay across the top of the bedding.

Once seated next to each other, Zayn’s hand crept over to grasp his Alpha’s, and he interlocked their fingers, tilting his head sideways to gaze at the leader’s profile.

Harry looked first at their joined hands and then to Zayn’s face, raising an eyebrow but smiling as he scooted closer to press their sides together. “What is it, Zaynie?” he asked fondly, admiring the deep brown of his Beta’s irises.

“I love you, my Alpha,” Zayn professed, squeezing his hand shortly.

Harry smirked into his Beta’s eyes, showcasing a dimple, and leaned forward to capture Zayn in a kiss, lifting his free hand up to hold his fellow Alpha’s face as their lips met.

Zayn repeated the action and reverently held Harry’s cheek in his palm as he smiled against his Alpha’s warm lips. It wasn’t a romantic or lust-driven kiss in the slightest, rather a common display of fierce love, loyalty, and respect for a Pack Alpha and his Beta.

Harry broke it first, giving one more peck and bumping their noses together in an affectionate gesture, pulling back and giving him a conclusive grin. “And I you, Beta. Let’s join our mates in their nest, shall we?” he suggested, the two snoring beauties stealing both the wolves’ attention.

The happy Alphas crawled under the blanket and settled in behind their respective mates, all parties contently sighing at the upgrade to the pile. The arm that the Alphas slipped under their Omegas’ necks gripped each other’s forearms to maintain contact, and their other hand made a home on their mates’ stomachs. They smiled to each other over their perfect soulmates and surrendered to sleep, uncaring of how much or little they would get.

 

~~~

 

Norman watched in amusement as the Chehalis Alphas roused from sleep one by one and pulled out of their mates, leaving to carry them all home in their arms because the submissives were still stuck in their drops. The ceremony had been quite a success, and everyone was contentedly stuffed with food and drink. Some obviously stuffed with other kinds of things, if he may be so bold.

When Norman saw Harry and Zayn carrying Louis and Niall across the grass back to their teepees, the Alpha made a beeline to his home, anxious to send the long-awaited letter to Joéna and Rixon.

Entering his teepee and pulling his scrolls out from under his bed, he grabbed his feather and ink and began to write:

 

My dearest Joéna,

The time has come, my love, for you to venture to Chehalis. Our son is bonded and pregnant, and now at last, he has been adopted into the pack by his mate. We had three extra and unexpected years of stress for this moment, but at long wait, fate has prevailed. Again, I leave it to Mishella and Rixon to formulate the perfect plan to get you here, I’ve no ideas. Give them my everlasting love, and if all goes well, they may be seeing Louis again someday. Rixy’s got a lot to apologize for, but they can work that out amongst themselves.

For now, all I want is you back in my arms where you belong. Being apart from you all these long years has been torturous, but all of them will be worth it once I get you in the end, and you are reunited with our wonderful son.

Hope to see you soon.

 All of my love,

-Norman.

 

He clipped the rolled letter to Kota’s (his hawk) leg, and walked him outside, giving him a push off his forearm and watching him soar into the distance toward his very distant mate. Won’t be long now, he thought excitedly, returning to his teepee for a peaceful nap.

 

***

 

Three days later, the letter arrived, and Joéna rushed outside her house from the familiar sound of Kota’s screech. Once she had collected the scroll, she gave the magnificent bird a pet and kiss of thanks, along with a mouse, and gently pushed him back into the sky.

Scurrying back into her home, she unrolled the letter and held her breath as she read the words.

Not too much longer, she came bursting into Rixon’s home, red in the face from running all the way there. “Jo, what is it?” Rixon inquired, setting down his map he had been using to study the rogues’ pattern with and rushing to steady her, grabbing her elbows and staring expectantly into her face.

“Rixy, it happened. They mated. It finally happened!” Joéna cried as the Pack Alpha hollered and swung her around in his arms.

“Jojo! This is marvelous news, indeed. I’ll get Rashan here immediately and we can figure out how to get you out past my council. I shall miss you dearly, but give Norman a big kiss for me, would you?”

Joéna grinned and crushed the letter to her heart, about to thank Rixon for all he has done—even the bad—when Rashan entered with a terrified twinge to his features, and his sword in his trembling hand.

“Rix, they’re here,” he said, heaving to catch his breath from running all the way there. “The rogues. All of them. They were using scent blockers—we couldn’t detect them. It’s Roman’s army; they’ll be here any second...what do we do?” he asked with unfiltered terror, staring between his Pack Alpha and Joéna.

Joéna’s heart sank to her stomach, and even Rixon appeared lost for words. The Pack Alpha grabbed his own sword and ran out of his home at the sound of his pack’s sudden screams and witnessed the horrific sight of the invaders wreaking havoc on his peaceful people.

Joéna and Rashan came skidding to a stop behind him and looked around at the unanticipated beginnings of destruction. This was a full-blown invasion, and Rixon gravely feared the worst for his tribe. His fears were largely multiplied when he caught the distant, menacing and depraved forms of Roman with his lackey, Cassian. The rogues’ bodies suddenly jerked when they easily sniffed the three out, whipping their heads around and locking onto their targets, growling low in their throats and beginning to advance on them.

Rixon’s eyes widened and he spun around to grasp Rashan’s shoulders, quickly but clearly speaking his orders. “Rash, get Joéna out of here. Make for Chehalis and do not stop for anything, do you understand me?” he barked at his Beta, giving him a harsh kiss on the forehead.

“I can’t leave you, Alpha. I’m your Beta, it goes against—”

“Rashan!” Rixon roared impatiently, shaking his head to shut up Beta up. “No. I love you both, but you are to get Jo to Norman and Louis; that is a direct order! Go!” he snapped, shoving Rashan’s chest away from him and turning to face his enemies.

Rashan was close to tears, but he obeyed his Alpha’s wishes and took Joéna’s hand, reluctantly speeding away with her in the opposite direction while Cassian broke into a run to chase them.

Rixon jumped to take Cassian down before he could pass him, shouting, “Oh, no you don’t!” in the process, but it was his undoing. In his distraction to grapple with Cassian in the dirt, he failed to notice Roman sneaking around to make his attack from behind. Fucking scent blockers. When he finally realized what was happening, it was a second too late, and he turned around just in time to see Roman launching himself forward. “Damn you, Roman,” he gritted between his teeth. 

Joéna looked back just as Rixon fell and was swarmed on by the rogues. “No!” she screamed in anguish, hot tears practically propelling themselves from her eyes. “Rixon! Rash, they got him! We have to go back! We have—”

Her words were cut short as they both felt their spiritual connection to Rixon burn off their wrists as his life was taken from him. Howls from their tribe were heard throughout the territory, and Rashan picked Joéna up and threw her over his back, shifting to his wolf and sprinting into the forest with a sobbing Joéna holding on for dear life, trying to refrain from howling himself.

The moment they were sure they would not be found by any straggling rogues, Rashan shifted back and took Joéna into his arms, free to let their tears flow. “I’m so sorry, Jo. You know we can’t go back. We have to get to Chehalis. Call to your owl—Norman is our only chance now,” he whined, trying to be strong but failing miserably.

Joéna’s heart leapt out of her chest when from around a tree, a petrified Mishella came running with Jo’s owl, Kala, on her shoulder. She stopped when she reached them and fell into their arms. “I’m so sorry,” she sobbed into their chests. “I didn’t know for long, and I didn’t have time to warn you. I had to be ready to meet you in the forest. I know what’s going to happen and I have to be at Chehalis too when that time comes. I’m so sorry, about Rixon, I can’t—” She couldn’t continue then, too sick with grief, and fell victim to her wails of sadness, instantly comforted by Rashan, whom she’d always held a place in her heart for.

Joéna quickly scrawled out a messy plea for help and sent Kala the owl off to Chehalis, the three Siksika wolves setting off in the same direction. She only hoped it would make it to Norman’s hands in time.

Chapter Text

Louis was finally back at work and he couldn’t be more pleased. It had taken him an entire day to awaken out of his drop from the massive mating ritual Harry had performed at the ceremony, and then another day to fully recover. And he wasn’t the only one; the working Omegas’ numbers had been cut in half over it for that first day. It was probably the most intense orgasm one could ever have, and as enjoyable as it was, Louis was content with not doing that again for a long time. It had knocked him on his arse.

He was currently getting back into his strength and combat training with his omkin, trying to stay awake enough to be able to hunt later in the day. The only person who seemed fine and exuberant after the whole ordeal was the mating-addicted Draco, who swore up and down that he had been fine after waking up. He had even come back to training and spent two days alone with Katniss and Norman, and he could now shoot an arrow and hit his target with his eyes closed.

Niall was extra irritable from his hormones, but Louis took pride in the fact that he could always calm the blonde without fail. Their relationship had grown the strongest from all the time they'd spent together in their drops, and they felt more like brothers now than they ever had—which was saying something.

When Louis had finally come to full awareness, he had found Harry, Zayn, Niall, and himself all cuddled together in his bed, joined by a snoring Wewe, and lit by a rising sun outside. He had noticed the Alphas’ hands were joined over him and Niall, unconsciously stroking each other with their thumbs, but Louis didn’t question it. He was waiting for the perfect opportunity to bring that up. He assumed because Zayn was Harry’s Beta, they probably had a very strong connection to one another, for nothing else explains how two Alphas could be content while bunched up in one bed together while their mates were dropped.

Whatever the reason, Louis liked it a lot, and he was even happier about it because it had brought him and Niall closer together. The Omega was very excited about the reality that no matter what, it would always be the four of them. They would always have each other. Louis approved Harry being around Niall, and Harry thoughtlessly let Zayn around Louis in turn. Perhaps Harry was just grateful to Zayn for bringing Louis to him in the first place. The Beta was the first Chehalis wolf Louis had ever met, after all.

Louis smiles whenever he thinks about that first day he met Zayn in the forest. He had been so scared, but then so comforted, and then everything had happened so fast and before he knew it, he was locking eyes with his future mate. He’s grateful to Zayn, too. 

After the Omegas' exhausting—excluding Draco—hunting duties, they were now trudging back to the village to collapse in their beds. Kurt and Jax had locked elbows and were whispering excitedly to each other while Draco talked animatedly with Katniss, trying to get as many tips as he could to better his skills. That left Niall and Louis to themselves, and they leaned against each other’s sides as they held hands, trying to keep the other one awake and upright as they neared their homes.

They had to be more slow and careful than their fellow Omegas on account of their growing puppies, but they’d still managed to kick arse today. That success, however, didn’t mean they weren’t now depleted from it. When they finally arrived at their teepees, they poked their heads in and saw both were empty of their Alphas, so they looked at each other from across the path and Niall came shuffling over to Louis’ instead.

“Why aren’t they home yet?” Niall whined, quickly following Louis into the warm comfort of his home.

“Dunno, Nini. You know there’s a million things it could be,” Louis pointed out with a shrug, fluffing up the quilts and furs to make the bed acceptable for lying on.

Niall dropped his bow on the ground and stared at Louis incredulously. “Nnnnai Nai?” he exaggeratedly pronounced, dragging out the nickname like it couldn’t possibly be what he’d heard.

A musical giggle escaped Louis’ mouth as he looked at his affronted brother. “Yeah. I like two-syllable nicknames. You can call me Lulu if you want,” he offered, finally getting into his bed and sighing with relief.

Niall shook his head and lowered himself onto the soft blankets. “What, do you call Harry, ‘Harhar’?” he asked through a chuckle.

Louis cackled at that and slapped his hands over his face. “No, you bonehead. It doesn’t work with Zayn either… Zaza. No, see? It only works for us,” he said, grinning at his blonde.

Niall pretended to mull it over and he accepted the nickname with pride. “What does Harry call you? All Alphas have weird names for their mates,” he inquired, slipping out of his moccasins and tossing them to the foot of the bedding.

Louis thought about it for an unnecessary amount of time until he finally realized. “Oh! I didn’t even think about it. He calls me Kimimela,” he revealed, voicing the name out loud almost making his Omega whine in happiness.

“That’s because we hear it so often, we forget it’s not actually our name. But ‘Butterfly,’ that’s nice. I like it. Zayn calls me 'Hakan',” he informed, not sure if they’d gone over this before or not.

“You are fiery,” Louis noted in understanding, stretching his arms over his head and growling as a fierce yawn pushed out of his lungs. “Let’s not go to sleep this time so we can talk to our Alphas when they get back,” he suggested, rolling over onto his side to face his brother.

“Agreed,” Niall quipped, full of motivation to keep sleep at bay.

 

--- 

 

Harry and Zayn, just back from work, were sat oppositely of each other on the edges of the Pack Alpha’s bedding, gazing fondly at their sleeping mates and thanking the stars for their existence. Every time the Omegas would make their sleepy little moans, the Alphas would coo and smile at each other.

Eventually, the time for admiring came to a close as they grew tired themselves, and Harry whispered to his Beta, “Zayn, sorry, but can you take Niall back to your teepee? I need my Louis to myself tonight—it’s been too long.”

Zayn, as it were, looked relieved to hear it, and he responded easily. “Oh, thank the Gods. I was thinking the same thing, I need my Niall to myself as well,” he seconded, scooping his Omega into his arms and straightening his legs to stand. “Goodnight, Alpha,” he added as Harry stretched out next to his mate, who flipped over and cuddled into his chest.

The Alphas shared another special smile and Harry replied, “Yeah, whatever.”


 

---

 

It had been around two hours when Harry was jolted awake by an Alpha barging into his home, and he instantly gathered his Omega into his arms and shielded him while a feral growl ripped through his throat. He came to find it was Norman with a letter scrunched up in his fist and sweat coating his skin, and he worked hard on ceasing his threatening rumble as Louis woke with a fright from all the commotion and focused his eyes on Norman as well.

“Alpha, Harry,” the council member panted, looking wracked with anxieties Harry couldn’t even begin to imagine. “Louis, I…I don’t know how to start this. Louis, I don’t want you to worry—Joéna is alright—but Siksika’s been overrun. Rixon is dead, Rashan has Jo, and they need safe passage to get here.”

Louis wracked a sob from the news, and Harry tightened his arms around the panicking Omega, eyes narrowing at Norman in confusion. “Who is Joéna?” he asked his fellow Alpha.

Norman said, “His Mother” at the same time that Louis uttered, “My Mother,” and Harry looked back and forth between them in confusion. “How do you know?” the Pack Alpha asked Norman, who looked impatient and unwilling to be having this discussion at all.

Louis sat up and shrugged Harry’s arms off his body, skewering the council Alpha (and his hunting friend) with a penetrating gaze. “Because you’re my Father…aren’t you, Norman?” he accused, having known it in his soul ever since that first day of patrol duty when he’d ran into him in that bush. He hadn’t been sure…but he’d been suspecting.

Norman’s face went white as bone and Harry choked on his spit, the alleged father clearing his throat to try and explain himself—in the vague chops that he had the time for. “Yes. I am. I promise I’ll tell you everything, Lou. But I can’t right now,” he begged, turning his attention to the speechless Pack Alpha. “Harry, I need warriors. As many as you can spare. I’ll be able to find her, she’s my mate, I just need a tiny bit of backup—she’s vulnerable out there, even with the Pack Beta’s running speed, and I can’t… Please, I have to go right now; is there anyone I can take with me?”

“Me. I’m coming with you,” Louis stated.

“Absolutely not,” both the Alphas negated at once.

Louis glared between the two of them, his barely-controlled temper close to boiling over. “Look, you ignorant brutes! Either we can stay here and argue about this like idiots, or we can go rescue my Mother,” he shouted, already standing to pack a bag.

Harry stood up as well and hovered behind Louis, trying to talk some sense into him. “Louis, you can’t. You’re one moon cycle pregnant! I’m not letting you face the wild in your condition without my protection,” he stressed with an air of finality that would be hard to persuade otherwise.

“Then come with me,” Louis negotiated impatiently, like that conclusion should have been an obvious one to come to—it had.

Harry’s mouth dropped open in shock and he blinked several times before arguing, “But... But Louis, I can’t leave! My pack—”

“Has Zayn,” the Omega reasoned. “You know he’s been waiting for this opportunity since he was promoted, right? Let him take care of things, he’s quite capable,” he noted, throwing the Gods only know what into his bag because his mind was on an automatic setting of ‘get out of here.’

“But—”

“I don’t have time for this!” Norman interrupted, losing what minuscule patience he had. “Either come, or don’t. But please give me warriors, I need to leave now.”

“I’m ready,” Louis quipped, grabbing Chatan and marching out of the teepee.

Norman stuck by the entrance, looking to Harry with a shadow of guilt on his features. The Pack Alpha was furious but grabbed his clothes, bow, arrows, his tomahawk, and a blanket, and made to follow Louis out. “You—” he growled, shoving an angry finger at Norman’s chest as he passed, "—have SO MUCH explaining to do.”

The Pack Alpha swiftly walked outside with Norman trailing behind him, and handed Louis his bag of stuff to carry while they ran. “Zayn!” he barked in the direction of his Beta’s home, knowing he would be heard.

Sure enough, Zayn came rushing out of his teepee toward the group, an alert Niall emerging afterward, wrapped in a blanket. Niall sensed Louis’ high-strung emotional turmoil and shuffled over to his brother as quickly as he could. “Lulu?” he asked worriedly, his lips trembling in fear.

Louis said nothing but gave him a tiny smile, letting Harry do the explaining.

“Zayn,” the Alpha began, “I need you to get Parsel, Liam, Daven, and Elessar. I need them at the northeastern border in fifteen minutes, packed for about six days at the most. You are to lead the pack in my absence with Chibs at your side until I return, do you understand?” he rushed, his Beta nodding furiously. “Good. It’s a rescue mission for Louis’ mother. Siksika’s been invaded and their Alpha killed. I’ll tell you everything when I get back ‘cuz for now, that’s all I know. Double the patrol duty. Double everything. It’s in your hands, I have to go. Good luck,” he said with a kiss to the Beta’s forehead, immediately shooing him off in the direction of the requested Alphas’ teepees. “Go.”

Zayn bowed and rushed off, and Niall looked desperately into Louis’ eyes. “You’re not going, are you Louis?” he asked through sudden tears.

“I have to, Nini. It’s my Mother. You’d do the same. I’ll be alright, I’ve got my Father with me,” he drawled, rolling his eyes and jabbing a thumb in Norman’s direction.

“Your…”

“Yeah, we’ll definitely be talking when I get back. Please don’t worry. Just rest for your puppies, okay? No stress. My Alpha is with me—no harm can come to me,” he assured, grazing Niall’s cheek with his hand and turning away from his brother, joining the Alphas to make their journey to the territory line. Harry shifted so his mate could ride on his back, and as soon as Louis had mounted, they were off.

“Gods,” Niall breathed as the three got increasingly further away, “keep my Louis safe.”

 

---

 

The three didn’t have to wait too long before the outlines of Daven, Elessar, Parsel, and Liam came barreling through the trees. They did not stop for explanations yet, simply followed as Harry resumed his run, the Pack Alpha careful to keep low to the ground so he wasn’t jostling his pups too much.

Norman led the way until sunrise, and when they desperately needed a water break, they took a breather by a little pond with a waterfall. That is when the questions began.

“Harry. Zayn told me next to nothing,” a freshly-shifted Parsel began, catching a mouse and eating it just the way it was. Louis thought it was a little disgusting to eat food like that as a human, but Alphas were tougher with such things than Omegas were. “What the hell is going on?”

The Pack Alpha took a deep breath and just shrugged his shoulders, pointing a thumb at Norman. “I’m not touching this one. Ask him.”

Norman sighed and ran a hand through his shoulder-length straight hair. “My birth pack of Siksika has been invaded by Roman and Cassians’ band of shitbags. Among the irrevocable havoc I’m sure they’re wreaking now, the Pack Alpha Rixon was killed—” A short pause so he wouldn’t outright sob at that admission, “—and we here are all on a mission to rescue Louis’ mother, Joéna, my soulbonded mate. And yes, that makes me Louis’ Father. Which…well anyway, Joéna and the pack’s Beta, Rashan, are on their way toward us, along with the Seer, Mishella. That’s all I know,” he concluded.

Liam turned his gaze to Louis, shifting his eyes between the unknown father and son. “Louis, did you kn—”

“No,” Louis snapped, that utterance being his first word since they’d halted their quest. “And I’m not asking one single question until we’re all safely home. I don’t give a shit right now. Norman, I don’t want to hear one word of explanation. You got that?” he fired, only settling his glare when Norman nodded.

Harry took his heated mate into his arms, calming him a smidgen by sinking his teeth into the bond mark. Louis sighed and he caressed his stomach, taking his teeth out when he knew the Omega wouldn’t start yelling again. “We should continue as soon as possible. We need to reach Redmond by next sunrise. We will sleep only once our objectives are acquired. Until then, we can waste no time,” he announced, sharing a respectful nod with Louis’ father. Gods, he would have to get used to that.

After Harry had gathered enough food for his Omega and puppies—and made sure he ate it all—the Alpha shifted to his giant brown wolf and let his mate climb onto his back, taking off through the trees when he felt the scratch between his ears that signaled Louis was ready. He then unlocked his mind to his Beta and opened the connection that they shared, needing to get some things across:

Zayn? You there? he called into their mental room of sorts.

Harry, the Beta responded with relief tangible in his inflection. Is everything okay? How is Louis?

Louis is fine, Z. We’re following the coast and crossing northeast. Siksika’s Beta will surely match your speed in his wolf, so this shouldn’t take too long. We’ll be back as soon as we can, he said without audible words.

Okay, Harry. I love you dearly, please be careful. All of you. Rashan has lost his Alpha—don’t suffer me the same fate, he pleaded.

You know I could never leave you, Zayn. Any of you. My love for you all is much too strong. We’ll return shortly, I promise, Harry ended, needing to focus his attention on the path ahead of him.

Meanwhile, Louis was conflicted. So…conflicted. He was happy he’d finally found his Father, and happy that said Father was an admirable Alpha that Louis could look up to...however, that alone did not stop the angry questions that were flooding his mind. Why did his Father leave him as a cub? Why did his Mother lie about him all this time? Why didn’t anyone ever tell him the truth? Why did Norman come to Chehalis? How had the fates put Louis in the same place? What does it all mean? He couldn’t wait to find out…

 

***

 

The Alphas had now easily crossed over four hundred miles, and only Alphas could have traversed that kind of distance in the time they had. Louis has been queasy for almost the entire ride, stopping to vomit at least five times, and he began to feel like he had in the earliest days of his pregnancy. They couldn’t slow down, though; this was too essential a trip.

Alpha wolves usually run at a pace that Omegas can easily catch up with, but not when they really need the speed. Alpha wolves had the ability to run so fast that nature around them blurred like the bottom of a raging river if one was floating atop the current. Louis was constantly gripping Harry’s fur so he wouldn’t fly off due to this (regardless of their bond innately protecting the Omega from that ever happening), and nuzzling into Harry’s back to inhale his soothing scent.

At the moment, Louis was lying on his side cradling his stomach as he watched the perfectly matched speed of Parsel sprinting alongside them. It was always fascinating to watch Parsel maneuver, and this was no different—instead of the slight head tilt he usually had when he moved, his head was almost completely sideways, listening carefully to his surroundings so he wouldn’t run headfirst into a tree.

After watching Parsel for a longer time than he should have, Louis closed his eyes as he became overwhelmed from the blurred velocity again. Harry recognized this at once and began making a deep, rumbling purr in his chest that vibrated against the Omega’s body, setting his compass back to where it should be.

Louis was grateful for it, but to make matters unfairly worse, the sky was harboring dark grey blankets of thick clouds that stretched across the whole expanse of it, threatening to pelt them all with sky water at a moment’s notice. Louis narrowed his eyes at the clouds and sent a plea to the Gods not to drench him with an ocean’s worth of water. He was not in the mood to be a soaking mess on top of his crippling physical vertigo and his current mental calamity.

So, he cursed the entire world when that exact thing happened. The sky lit up with an impressive bolt of lightning, followed by its companion of roaring thunder, and then the wolves were cutting through a constant waterfall-like storm. Louis petulantly stayed put and worked on accepting his situation when his thoughts were interrupted.

Louis, the voice of his Alpha filtered into his own thoughts.

“Gods, Harry! How did you do that?” he yelled over the rushing wind.

Louis, get your blanket out of your bag and cover yourself. You’re already in danger of falling ill, so please do everything you can to prevent that. We’re a good chunk in, so we’ll rest in a while until the sky water eases, the Alpha informed into Louis’ mind.

The Omega diligently retrieved the blanket and threw it over his body, still in awe over hearing his mate so clearly without using his ears at all. “That was amazing,” he praised into the wolf’s back, smiling at the answering growl of thanks.

Soon the group reached a rock cave that would serve as their shelter while they prepared to return to the unforgiving weather. Norman didn’t want to stop at all, but he knew Louis was also his priority. They gradually slowed down by running in large circles and Louis squeezed his eyes shut at the unfortunate braking technique, but before he knew it, the sky water had stopped beating down on him through the blanket, and he was able to fold it over himself.

Opening his eyes to the cold darkness of the cave, Louis chucked the soggy cover from his body altogether and sat up as Harry lowered himself on his stomach. The Omega slid off the wet fur and ran his fingers through his hair, while Harry rose to full height and shook himself dry, fur sticking out like a porcupine as a result. Louis pointed and cackled uncontrollably until Harry shifted and shut him up with a tongue in his mouth. The Omega moaned into the kiss and wrapped his arms around his Alpha’s neck, cock quickly growing as he rutted against Harry’s leg.

Harry growled and pulled back, taking his Omega’s face in his hands. “There’s no time for that, love. I need to feed you, then we have to get back on the path,” he chided lightheartedly, helping his Omega sit while he attempted to dry the blanket off.

Louis whined in disappointed, but he didn’t fight the issue any deeper. He did have a request that could be carried out, though, and he saw to it that it was spoken. “Alpha, please make someone else get the food. I need time with you—I can’t stand it,” he pleaded, batting his eyelashes for extra effect.

The Alpha was torn because it was his nature to provide for his mate, but it was also his nature to bend to his Omega’s will—and when Louis made such a strong demand for his presence, he surely had no choice.

“I’ll do it,” Parsel announced, barely waiting for a reply before he was running back out into the forest. He’d be safer than anyone else would with his ears, anyway; they can hear far beyond the distracting noise of the storm.

The Pack Alpha sighed in relief and slowly slid down the rock face he was leaning against, inviting Louis onto his lap, and he got a face shoved into his neck when the Omega climbed on top of him. Louis purred in satisfaction while Harry rubbed his back with one hand, tummy with the other, and the Alpha murmured into his soaked ear, “Are you sure they’re okay?”

Louis had a mother’s instinct and he knew his babies were completely fine, so he let his Alpha know as such. “Yes, Alpha. They’re fine. You and I would know if they weren’t. Trust your instincts, my Alpha,” he assured, pressing his lips to Harry’s bite mark he’d given him during his heat, fingertips able to graze his entire chest without the obstruction of his Pack Alpha necklace because he hadn’t brought it.

The contact at the mark didn’t release any special hormones in the Alpha’s body, but it was still a claim of ownership his soulmate had left on his skin, so it still reacted to the touch of the special one who made it. Harry hummed as it sent electric shivers down his spine and he lifted Louis’ chin, connecting their lips in a tender kiss.

Whenever his Alpha’s lips are pressed against his own, they possess the ability to take Louis outside even the most perilous of situations. He gladly forgot where he was and that he was in the presence of Daven, Liam, and Elessar as the kiss dragged on, but he was regrettably reminded of the nature of their mission when Harry pulled away at the arrival of their food.

Parsel had managed to score an entire deer they’d never be able to finish, and a few birds. Louis’ mouth watered, but shifting was something that would drain his energy, and he was nervous about it. One had to be extremely careful while shifting pregnant, lest they cause harm to their puppies, and that obviously had to be avoided.

Harry sensed his hesitation and gently licked at his bond mark, moving to sit behind him and massage his mate’s stomach. “Your body knows what to do, Lou,” he encouraged, scratching at his hair and trying to cheer him up. “Just take it slow, and the puppies will be safe. They’re still very young; it will be automatic for them.”

Louis dropped his head back onto Harry’s shoulder and blew a huffing exhale through clenched teeth, nodding his head in agreement. “I know,” he said, allowing Harry to lay them both on their sides to make it easier for Louis to shift.

Louis took several deep breaths and began the turn painfully slowly and tentatively, his muscles yelping in protest from the unexpected pace that usually went so swiftly. Harry’s coos and whispers of praise were the only things that kept the Omega from crying out at the pain of his sluggishly adjusting bones, and before he knew it, he’d fully transformed.

Harry stepped around to Louis’ front and they waited for their puppies to join their mother’s shift, the Alpha sweeping large pets down Louis’ furry stomach in encouragement. Only when Louis was positive he and his pups were of the same species did he yip at Harry to say he was ready. Harry shifted at once and tore into the acquired deer, ripping the good meaty bits from the carcass and depositing them in front of his mate. Louis’ wolf made no complaints about the raw meat that he himself would have, and he ate all he could.

Louis ended up enjoying his wolf form too much to shift back, and Harry had to force his human back in frustration to get through to him. “Louis,” he panted, nodding at Parsel in thanks when the wolf walked the now-dry blanket over to him to shove in Louis’ bag. “You’ve gotta come back, Lou. You need to ride on me, I’m not letting you run around—are you nuts? Get back here,” he chided, in a no-play mood that Louis didn’t seem to understand. “Omega!” he barked in howahkan, sighing when Louis jolted and began the shift. “Good boy.”

“That was not called for,” Louis grumbled as he was revived as a naked human lying sideways on the floor of a cave, glaring up at his Alpha as he began to dress him.

“It most certainly was—as a wolf, you never fucking listen,” Harry griped, thinking that independence probably got its credit from being alone in the wild so long.

“Well I’m sorry I enjoy my primal state so much,” Louis huffed, hissing at Harry to stop moving his limbs as his puppies started to shift back too.

“Are they doing it?” Harry asked, all former anger forgotten as he moved his ear to his Omega’s stomach, his superior senses just barely picking up on the hint of shifting—something that would be a lot louder as they grew larger. “That’s incredible,” he sighed in adoration, picking up on Louis’ little grunt reboot of movement and using the time to finish dressing him. “Just fucking incredible.”

 

---

 

They had been on the run for another fifty or so miles before the wolves unanimously began to slow their sprints, and Norman shifted early, sliding on his heels for several metres before he finally came to a stop.

Harry also abruptly decreased his speed and Louis slid forward worrisomely as a result, so he acted quickly to save his poor jostled mate. He instantly raised himself onto his two back legs to protect Louis from flying off, and played a quick game with gravity to come back down and keep the Omega on his back the whole time.

That was thankfully a success, but now everyone was shifted to their humans and anxiously on edge. Even Louis could smell the rogues nearby, but like the attentive and vigilant Norman, he also smelled his mother. Breaking into a sprint, Louis shot through the bushes and trees toward the scent.

“Louis!” Harry hissed, his hand just missing the Omega by an inch. When Louis came to pass Norman, he too attempted to stop his son from rashly jumping into the unknown, but the Omega was exceptionally expeditious on his feet, and effortlessly evaded the outstretch. “Damnit,” the Pack Alpha barked, chasing after his mate with the remaining unit acutely tailing behind.

As soon as Louis broke through the last thicket of trees, he slid into a clearing and saw a sight he never thought he would again—his mother. It was his cherished mother, in all her beautiful glory, and he was so happy he could cry. Steeling his focus, he apprehended she was joined by two other Siksika wolves, and they were completely surrounded by vicious and taunting rogues. “Mom!” he yelled, ripping Chatan from its sheath and launching himself into battle.

He heard a distant, “LOUIS!” from his mate somewhere behind him, but he couldn’t bring himself to obey when his mother was so blatantly threatened. The Omega slid between the dumbfounded rogue and Joéna, who squealed in happiness at seeing her matured cub again, and swiftly took down the first enemy of the rescue mission.

Louis slashed his sword out through the air and lacerated the unguarded rogue’s throat, and with a quick spin aiming for the same spot, he satisfyingly severed the head the second time around. The other five or six rogues growled and began to advance on Louis, but the Chehalis wolves then burst out of the trees, and the rogues lost every chance they could have ever had.

Louis spun around and pulled his Mother into his arms, deeply scenting her and reintroducing himself to her wonderful aroma. They were both crying uncontrollably and Norman rushed over to the preoccupied pair, backing them against a tree and standing guard, ignoring Joéna’s happy cries of, “NORMAN!” for now.

Harry hurried to do the very same thing and identically guarded the Omegas beside Norman, keeping a careful eye on the battle, prepared for any stragglers to attack from the sides. Joéna also mirrored the action and put herself in front of her son, the two having a bit of a squabble over who would stand in front of the other.

Daven eventually slaughtered the last rogue that anyone could detect for miles, and when the group finally deemed it safe, Norman turned and took his mate into his arms, shamelessly sobbing into her neck. The two sank to the ground from the weight of the overwhelming emotions that came with physically touching each other again after almost twenty years, and Louis could only watch them through a film of tears.

Louis couldn’t believe he was seeing both his parents at one time, and he couldn’t deny the need to be in their arms, dropping to his knees and cuddling into them while they pulled their son into the embrace. Louis could clearly feel it now; their scents all matched. He felt like an idiot for ever doubting Norman’s scent was his own, and he wailed into his parents’ chests.

Harry hated to break them up, but the group really needed to get back to the cave so they could finally sleep, and they were in danger out in the open like this. Regretfully pulling everyone apart, when Joéna was on Norman’s wolf and Louis was on his, the Pack Alpha made a break for the shelter, closely followed by their companions.

Louis and Joéna had silently stared at each other from their wolves’ backs the entire ride, and at last the party arrived at the safety of the cave, and Daven took the dinner duty this time. Once the mother and son were cuddling together on the ground with their Alphas not far away, Joéna jumped into her lengthy explanation. “Louis, I—”

“No, Momma. I don’t want to hear it right now. I’ve already told...Dad...to keep quiet until we get back to my pack. You can tell me everything then. Just hold me, please,” Louis pleaded, snuggling into his beloved mother and basking in their reunion.

Joéna easily accepted this and pet her son’s hair while Norman and Harry scooted in to be part of the moment. The woman Omega kissed her mate passionately, and then turned to capture Harry’s gaze. “Alpha Harry, thank you so much for taking care of my cubby. You are the perfect mate to him, and I can’t ever repay you for giving him the happiness he was always robbed of,” she professed to the Chehalis Pack Alpha, who slowly nodded his head once in respect, smiling proudly at the declaration.

“There is nothing more precious to me than my mate. He has given me everything, and I can only strive to return such an incomprehensible gift,” Harry stated as Louis crawled over and climbed into his lap instead. “Hey, my sweet pea,” he murmured, hand finding its way to Louis’ stomach.

“Loubear, you’re pregnant, right?” Joéna asked the purring Omega, having watched the movement of that hand and of course referencing Norman’s letter.

Louis grinned and peered at Joéna over Harry’s stacked arms. “Yeah, I am. They’re only about a moon cycle and a half old right now, though,” he said, breathing deeply and relishing the scents of his parents and his mate in such close proximity.

They’re?” Joéna squealed, clapping her hands in excitement because she hadn’t gotten any information about an amount. “How many?”

“Three,” Louis quipped in delight, widening his eyes at his mother’s intense reaction.

Joéna burst into joyous tears, but they quickly became sad ones, and she turned to sob into Norman’s neck, wracked with sadness for ever letting them part. “I could have missed them, Nor. I could have died before I could be a grandwolf.”

Norman pressed his fingers on his mate’s sadly faded bond mark for comfort, thinking that he was definitely going to have to fix that when they got home. “I never would have let that happen, Jo,” he pledged, shushing her cries and petting her dampened hair.

“Neither would I,” the previously quiet Rashan seconded from across the cave.

Louis was impossibly confused at how emotionally close his parents were, when throughout his whole life, he’d always thought Joéna hated his mysterious father of his, and that he was dead to her. As much as Louis wanted to get to the bottom of it, he had another two days before they would reach his territory again, so he would just have to wait.

Outside of all the questions, he was predominately overjoyed to have his broken family back together. He went from having nothing at all, to having his mother, father, mate, and puppies surrounding him, filling his heart with infinite love.

Now the only thing left...was to be enlightened on why the fuck he had them.

Chapter Text

The moment they reached the Chehalis territory line, the group was forced to endure both Harry and Louis’ kins’ bombardment of fervent concern and overflow of demanding inquisitions. The pair had to talk them all off the edge of panic first before they could finally convince them they didn’t know much yet either. Louis all but dragged Joéna and Norman straight to his home, forcefully shoving them, Rashan, Mishella, and Harry into it, and then shouted at everyone else around to take a hike until they were done.

Louis’ omkin shared looks of dismay, but backed off nevertheless, knowing he would fill them in when he had the patience and knowledge to. Parsel basically assaulted Draco anyway, and the two just barely got back to their home before they were mating. In fact, all the reunited mates rushed to their teepees to knot together, and Niall was left to shuffle back home with Zayn as they awaited their two favourite wolves to include them in whatever the hell was going on.

Might as well mate while they were waiting, right?

 

~~~

 

“Talk,” Louis snapped at his seated parents as he paced back and forth, throwing dirty looks to the gorgeous Rashan every few moments. Harry tried to approach his fuming mate, but Louis roughly shoved at his chest to keep him away. He was utterly unappeasable.

Joéna deeply sighed into her hands, and Norman wrapped his arms around her waist for support. “Louis, I don’t even know how to start this,” she groaned, looking to her mate to see if he had any ideas.

“How about the beginning,” Louis suggested impatiently, his joy and happiness having washed away to unleash his frustration.

“I’ll start,” Mishella piped, the female Alpha walking over to sit next to Jo and Norman and formulate the right wording.

Harry was finally able to catch Louis while he was distracted, and he gently forced him into a sitting position, wrapping his arms around him and pressing him against his side whether he liked it or not. Louis grumbled but accepted the terms, never once taking his eyes off Mishella.

“Louis…I need you to know the day you were born, when I looked into your eyes, I saw your future. I saw your destiny, and knew it was far from our pack. It was a rare future indeed, but I knew if we kept you away from it, you would never know inner peace,” she began, waiting for Louis to respond. When the Omega did nothing but stare, she continued: “Rixon and your father had to devise a way to get Norman to Chehalis where I knew your fate was set, so you would have at least one parent waiting for you on the other side. Rixon’s council never would have let him leave for such a ‘minuscule thing’ because he was one of their most prized and skilled warriors, so Norman had to be removed. Your mother couldn’t go—Norman was the only one that would make it all the way to this territory. He intentionally stole things from the Keep until he was caught, and Rixon removed his mark—”

“Wait, then why was Rixon such an asshole? Why didn’t anyone tell me?” Louis demanded, getting a little ahead of himself but he couldn’t stop the question.

“Because, Louis…nobody is supposed to know their own personal future. And besides, you never would have left both your parents by your own will at the age of seventeen. Rixon constantly pushed you and made sure you hated him so you would consider anywhere else better than your home. Rixon loved you very much, Louis; it was the hardest thing he ever had to do. But you’d never have left as early otherwise, and we had to get you here. No matter what, you would have ended up here…so we tried to make it as soon as possible. To make you happy as soon as possible.”

“That’s where it all went wrong,” Norman remarked, running his hand through his hair and pulling apart the tangles. “I had traveled to Chehalis and was accepted because Mishella had gotten in contact with Janya, the Seer before Camila, to explain what was happening. He ended up already knowing, and when it was revealed to Desmond that his Chaska was my son’s true mate, the late Pack Alpha, Anneya, Janya, and I planned everything meticulously, and Desmond gave me his mark—”

“Wait just a fucking second,” Harry interceded for the first time, eyes shining with disbelieving shock. “You knew? My parents knew? This whole time? You knew who I would become to you?” he gasped, undecided on how he felt about all that secrecy. Norman nodded, one side of his mouth turning up sheepishly and Harry continued: “So…when you saved my life—”

“I saved you for many reasons, Harry. Not only because you would be my son’s mate, or that you were the Chaska, but because I loved you as my own. Because I was loyal and indebted to Desmond. Because this was my pack. Because I had spent fourteen years of your life watching over you,” Norman explained, his fierce love for Harry and Chehalis practically written in the air before him.

“What do you mean saved?” Louis inquired impatiently, still a bit lost at their perplexing back and forth of sentences.

“I wouldn’t be here today if Norman hadn’t found me after my parents were killed during the invasion and defeated the lower ranking rogues that were trying to finish me off. Norman was the one to chase Roman and Cassian off—he broke down most of their defenses. He fought for me like the God of War’s vengeful spirit that night...it’s why I added him to my council in the first place,” Harry recounted in wonderment, piecing things together and accepting it quickly so the proceedings of the talk could move on.

“Yes, and you couldn’t know your future either, Harry. That’s why your parents never told you. Then Janya was killed in the invasion, and Camila wasn’t privy to any of this. She had no idea who I was, or she would have said something by now,” Norman guessed, a casual shrug tacking itself to the end of that assumption. “Now the only people that know are the ones in this room.”

“So, the invasion is where everything went wrong?” Louis clarified, that particular phrase having not been extrapolated yet.

“Oh… No, regarding you, your banishment was. We thought fate would lead you directly to Chehalis—realistically, it should only have taken you about half a month to arrive. But it took an unprecedented three years longer. I was worried sick because you hadn’t shown up yet, and nobody knew where you were for a very long time. We only knew you were alive,” he explained, straining not to think about the many frantic letters he and his mate had sent to each other during those troubling times.

“That’s because I didn’t go straight south. I went east first, and I guess I made a huge circle, I’m not sure. I stayed in certain areas for long periods of time and zig-zagged my way through the wilderness until Zayn found me,” Louis said, beginning to comprehend a portion of what he was being told.

“Our plan originally was for Rixon to banish you when you were ready, so that you would be safe to travel alone,” Joéna began, unable to stop her sniffles from following every couple of words she spoke. “He knew you were making suppressants—so did I—and he knew you were training. And when he deemed you strong enough to fend for yourself, he sent you away. But I thought I would be seeing you soon. And I didn’t,” she sobbed, wracked with more guilt than she could ever cure for seeing her son off to face the worst three years of his life.

That’s why Rixon never stopped me, Louis realized, resisting the urge to snap his fingers in understanding. “But wait, why didn’t you take me as a puppy? Why make me wait seventeen years?” he pointed out, thinking that he was going to be impressed if these wolves had an answer for everything.

“Because you would have died in the Chehalis invasion,” Mishella informed, her voice affirming she was absolutely confident in that. “And you would have grown up far more depressed without your mother, as opposed to your father. And Joéna never would have made it here alive—”

“For fucks sake,” Louis griped in a higher-pitched voice than he usually has. “Fine. It had to happen. But why didn’t Norman tell me when I got here?” he interrogated, determined to find a crack in their logic and put the fault on them.

“Ah,” Norman began, “because I had to wait until you were mated. Your destiny was finding your mate in a faraway land. You and Harry had to bond before it was finalized, and I wanted you to have the support he gives to you and for you to be happy before I let you know. It took three extra years already… You have no idea how relieved I was when you finally got here. And then you and Harry took a little longer than I thought you would to bond each other,” he explained with a snort, recalling the shameless flirting and arguing they’d indulged in whilst denying their real feelings.

“Louis was stubborn,” Harry supplied.

“What! Are you fucking kidding? I was pining over you. For months!” Louis viciously retorted, giving Harry an incredulous glare and raising a hand to slap him.

“Okay, we were both stubborn,” Harry amended at once, brushing his lips over his mate’s cheek and pushing his wrist back down to prevent the sudden attack.

“And then, my son, of course I was going to sit you down and explain everything,” Norman continued, his face turning sour as he had to think about why he hadn’t. “I had actually planned to do it the day after I ended up…getting that letter from Joéna about the invasion instead—”

“Which, by the way,” Mishella interrupted, “I didn’t see until thirty minutes before it happened. I had to flee because I knew Rashan and Jo would cross my path in the forest, and I needed to get here as well.”

“Why do you need to be here?” Louis asked suspiciously, quickly gulping and rushing to fix the rude bluntness of that question. “I mean, no offense, I’m just asking…”

“I can’t tell you that,” Mishella said, shrugging her shoulders apologetically. Louis narrowed his eyes at her but didn’t question it further. For now…

“So anyway—” Norman continued as though that interruption hadn’t occurred, “— Once you knew, we were going to travel to Siksika together to get Joéna and come back. Rixon was also going to formally apologize for all those years of…abuse, apparently, but instead, I got the letter, and you know the rest.”

“Okay, let me recap this shit,” Louis snapped, closing his eyes and massaging his forehead as he put everything in order. “Everyone knew Harry and I would be mates the day I was born; my father had to leave to meet me in Chehalis when I got here; Rixon had to humiliate me my whole life so I would hate him, and then he sent me away, but I took too long and ended up arriving three years late… And I was going to get the full story, and run to Siksika to get my mom, and make Rixon grovel at my feet for twenty minutes, but now Siksika’s been destroyed and all my childhood friends murdered? Am I getting all of that right?” he asked, trying hard not to think of Stanley lying dead on the ground somewhere. He was a smart wolf…surely, he’d gotten out, right?

“We’re not sure who all has died yet,” Mishella said sadly, a deep sigh adding tangible weight to her words. “But more or less, you’ve got it.”

“No, I don’t,” Louis argued, “because why go through all that trouble for me in the first place? For one Omega? Why make everything so difficult just so one wolf could find happiness? I was angry at my life, but I was chugging along,” he said, glad they did, sure, but not seeing why it had been so crucial.

“You don’t understand, Louis. This would have happened with or without our interference. It was destiny, and that can’t be avoided. Maybe there were a thousand better ways we could have done it, but we tried to make the best plan to get you here the quickest if it was always going to happen anyway,” Mishella informed the slowly understanding Louis, smirking as she brought the other key factor under discussion. “And besides…do you really think it’s just you? What about Harry? He never would have been satisfied in his life either. He needed you just as much as you needed him, or you both would have been damned to loneliness for your whole lives until you eventually found each other. And we didn’t want you waiting. You deserved to have each other—it was your birthright,” she added softly, grinning when the couple snapped into comprehension.

Louis stiffened as it all pieced together in his head, and Harry’s embrace got impossibly tighter, both wolves clinging to each other like a pair of sloths. When the Omega met his mate’s loving gaze, he knew Harry understood the importance too.

They fiercely crashed their lips together and fell backward onto their bedding, desperately undressing and tangling their limbs together. They never noticed how their company had begun quickly rushing out to give them privacy as they mated; never heard the, ‘We’ll talk later’s; never saw anyone beyond themselves.

The only things they could hope to perceive were the sensual caresses they gave to one another’s skin, and the beautiful moans of pleasure they heard from each other’s mouth as they passionately made love through the night, proclaiming their endless devotion to the stars.   

 

***

 

The truth had been out for two weeks now, and Louis finally managed to get back into the swing of things. It still hit him like a rock sometimes and he would barge into his parents’ teepee to check if his Mother was really there. She always was, though, and she would sit him down and frantically apologize, murmuring words of love until he calmed down.

Louis had spoken with the newly-promoted warrior, Rashan, over the last few days extensively. Mostly about what Rixon was like, and if the former Beta had any particular stories to share. Rashan would always tear up a little, but the Omega was able to learn some fascinating things he’d never have found out otherwise.

Louis never would have imagined himself thinking this, but he was deeply morose about never getting to know the Alpha like he should have. Rixon hadn’t ever been able to say the things he’d always wanted to, and their relationship had been cut off before any bridges could have been mended. Louis knows what it was like for himself, but he has no idea what it must have been like for Rixon, and he was grateful beyond words that he now has his family because of Rixon’s difficult sacrifice.

Mishella and Camila could now be seen together more often than not, swapping their cryptic ministrations back and forth and practicing the ways of sight together. The Chehalis Seer had been brought up to speed and was furious with herself for never realizing such key things, but Mishella constantly reminded her that she was never supposed to, and the Omega was working on accepting that fact.

Lauranna was getting a little antsy from her mate always spending so much time with another Alpha, and she frequently staked her claim with a bite whenever she happened upon their hushed whispering. Mishella understood, though, and worked on keeping a little bit more distance to satisfy her fellow Alpha.

Niall had cried for five hours straight when he’d heard the story and officially met Joéna. All of Louis and Harry’s brothers and sisters were relieved that the Gods had been on their side and everyone had returned safely, and now only good things littered the future—apart from the rogues, of course.

Louis and Niall spent a large portion of their days cuddling and slacking off from work while Katniss was busy with Draco. Niall was around three moon cycles pregnant now, with Louis at two, and they frequently asked one another if they were showing yet, turning every which way as the other examined their stomach. Unfortunately, neither had their bumps yet, it would still be a while before they fully popped, but in their unreasonable opinion, it never hurt to check. And check again.

Kurt and Jax were closer than ever, and when Daven and Chibs started gravitating toward one another as well, Niall and Louis placed a bet on how long it would be before they all mated together. Louis hadn’t really ever known this, but if two or more couples spent enough time together, they would eventually form a sort of ‘subpack’ as it was named. He had mentioned to Niall that he would likely never desire to be in one of these subpacks, but Niall had only giggled and remarked he suspected they already were.

To emphasize this, Harry and Zayn were increasingly affectionate toward the other, regularly holding hands and sharing kisses. The Omegas pretended not to notice because they wanted to watch it unfold naturally, but sometimes they would have to strain to hide their squees.

It was apparent that however this would end up progressing, they had already unknowingly formed a very strong subpack, and the four wolves were growing inseparable, sleeping together at night multiple times out of the week. Which happened to be right now. Louis thought he was the only one awake in the pile of wolves and he sighed in bliss, a small giggle escaping his mouth to be surrounded by so much warmth.

“What is it, babe?” asked a groggy but obviously awake Zayn. “Shit, I mean Louis. Sorry, I don’t know where that came from,” he excused, yawning into his fist and clearing his throat.

“It's okay, Alpha…I mean Zayn. I mean Beta Zayn, I mean—” His quiet stammering was interrupted by a low chuckle from his mate against the back of his neck, and Niall’s indelicate snorts of laughter against his chest. “Gods, is nobody asleep?” he accused, blushing furiously.

“Wewe’s asleep,” Niall snickered, the bunny’s preposterously loud snores of course reaching through and making themselves known. Louis heaved a frustrated sigh so Niall strained his neck to plant his lips on Louis’ to shut him up, and he was glad it worked. Louis returned it eagerly and his huff morphed into a breath of relief as they shuffled back together, all former stress magically gone.

“Go to sleep, mates,” Harry softly addressed the wolves, nudging up against his Omega’s back.

Zayn ran his knuckles down Niall’s arm, tenderly brushed Louis’ hair off his face, and then reached for Harry’s hand, interlocking their fingers over their Omegas and smushing them all closer together. “Don’t have to tell me twice.”

Chapter Text

“Louis, are you alright?” Draco asked, taking a whiff of the air and clearing his throat. “You’re slicking, aren’t you?” he asked, Camila also inhaling the scent and chuckling to herself.

“Can I help it?” Louis shot back, shifting around uncomfortably in his teepee as he huffed in frustration. It was a quiet, cold evening after a long day of hunting (though Louis couldn’t do as much these days), and Harry was away at a twilight meeting—and he was aroused.

Louis is five moon cycles pregnant now, and he’s huge. Well, he feels huge—he still has a ways to go, but the triplets made his five cycles look like a nine cycles belly for a single pregnancy. He’s got the strange eating habits, the mood swings, the frequent arousal, and the waddle. He is a walking (waddling) stereotype of a pregnant mother.

Niall is infinitely jealous of his size, and Louis keeps having to remind him he’s only at five cycles, and at the rate he’s growing, he’s probably going to be bedridden for the remainder of his pregnancy; which he is not looking forward to, but in any case, it’s nothing to be envious about.

Camila, Jade, Jax, and Peeta were the most innocently supportive of the omkin, considering Draco and Niall were lightheartedly pouting all the time, but Louis still revels in their company, regardless of their differing levels of difficulty. Norman insisted that he slow down his work to prepare for his last four tiring cycles, but Louis had argued his refusal just as vehemently, stating that he’d rather sit on a log and shoot an arrow all day than lie in bed like a snail. In the end, his father had seen no other choice than to let him stay—Joéna was on his side, too. That helped.

Harry had been insatiable regarding Louis’ stomach, talking to and rubbing it every chance he got, and Louis wouldn’t be the wolf he was today without those fatherly coos and giggles over his navel. It also aroused the Alpha to the point of madness, though, and he can’t seem to lie behind Louis without knotting him at least once. Louis’ hormones, besides making him dangerously irritable, also spark quite a bit of lust and he finds himself seeking out his mate’s knot a lot more than usual.

This thought process alone was what he’d been nonstop dwelling in all day, and why his slick was growing so insistent that his omkin were taking obvious notice. He couldn’t think of anything else but his Alpha’s knot, and it was getting crucial.

“You could go find him?” Draco said as though it was self-explanatory, sharing an agreeing look with Niall from the other side of the teepee where he was making necklaces with Camila.

“He’s in a meeting, it’s not like I can do anything about that,” Louis sighed, grabbing the nearest blanket and dabbing it against his dripping hole in displeasure.

“Do I have to tell my table mating story again?” Draco asked pointedly, having explained it its full detail sometime after he’d vaguely recited it to Louis.

“No, no, and you were banned, Draco. By Harry. I highly doubt he’d—”

“It’s not like the Alpha plays favourites, but honestly, Lou…you’re his mate. I think it’ll be a little different,” Draco reasoned, egging the Omega on by patting him incessantly on the shoulder. “Go on, try to get his knot. See what happens. You’re pregnant, he can’t really say no to you.”

“Are you sure?” Louis asked, unable to deny he wanted nothing more than to take that suggestion up.

“Positive,” Draco quipped, standing to help the heavy Louis to his feet.

“Guys, just…if I don’t come back in like five minutes, go ahead and clear out, because I probably won’t be coming back,” Louis said to his current group of Cami, Peeta, Niall, and Draco.

“Yeah, yeah. We got you, Lou. Go claim your right,” Niall laughed, seeming to rush the finish on his current necklace so he could tie it off and make it easier to transport to Camila’s, where they’d all end up if Louis didn’t return.

“Thank you,” Louis said, shuffling out of his teepee and wincing at the blast of cold dusk air that slapped at his skin. He tightened his poncho around his body and veered off toward the council house, not pausing for anyone or anything as he went. Smiles were shared between him and the Chehalis wolves, but he wasn’t stopping to chat, and that was obvious. Everyone he passed could smell his arousal, and they probably all knew exactly where he was going.

He reached the council house in record time (for him) and slammed the doors open, probably imitating Draco on the night he’d done this very same thing, and stormed into the room of conversing council members.

“Louis?” Harry asked carefully, quickly smelling the escaped slick on his Omega and groaning because he couldn’t leave this meeting if he wanted to. “Louis, it’ll have to wait—”

“It most certainly will not,” Louis negated, walking around the right-side table to round the corner of Zayn and stand before his responsible leader with a heart full of selfish desires. “It has waited. All day. I’m not asking you to come home—I’m asking you to knot me,” he said bravely, all sense of privacy and secrecy left helplessly behind. 

“There’s laws against that,” Harry huffed, narrowing his eyes when Louis slapped a hand down on his table.

“That you created. Un-create them,” Louis urged, starting to cry from the stress of holding things back for hours straight and now listening to the beginnings of rejection.

“It’s okay, Harry,” Parsel piped even though he hadn’t been addressed, drawing his Pack Alpha’s heavy eyes to his own. “I don’t think it unfair for Louis to get your knot here—Draco and I are special cases. I very much understand this,” he chuckled, planning on how special he and Draco would get after this meeting was over.

“You all don’t mind?” Harry asked the rest of his council, letting out a puff of breath when they shook their heads. “Alright, come here, sweetie,” he bade, slipping out of his breechcloth and hiking Louis’ poncho up to his hips as he lowered him onto his lap. “But you have to be quiet,” he muttered under his breath into Louis’ ear, his tone serving as a stern warning to the generally loud Omega.

“I will, I promise,” Louis swore, looking over his shoulder and whining as he rutted his hips across Harry’s thighs.

“Stop that. I mean it—if you can’t keep quiet, I will drop you,” he threatened, finding himself smiling when Louis’ Omega blatantly hummed in interest at that notion. “For the love of the Gods,” he snorted, pushing Louis as forward as his tummy would allow to lather his palm in slick. He used said liquid to slide over his cock (even though Louis being soaked would mean an effortless entry), and guided his tip to that magnificent hole, discovering it was loose and pliant enough to slip right into.

“Alpha,” Louis whispered in bliss, falling back against his dominant’s chest and lowly giggling at the fulfillment. He’d definitely be uprooting his omkin now.

“Shh, be a good boy for me,” Harry breathed onto his neck, shifting around so he still had a good view of his council without Louis blocking everyone, and then making small but well-aimed thrusts into him. “You were saying, Daven?” he addressed, glad to see his fellow Alpha wasn’t looking anywhere but into his eyes—none of them would dare.

“I was saying we needed to night-train like we do night-shifts. Give the new warriors we’ve been sticking on patrol nights rigorous training from someone else on the night crew,” Daven, the group humming in contemplation and waiting for Harry’s say on the matter to continue.

“Perrie?” Harry grunted, fully accepting of the idea (more training—how could that ever be a bad thing?) and moving along into picking someone for the job.

“Is she able to?” Chibs asked anyone who might know, the answering wolf surprising nearly everyone in the room.

“Perrie can do it,” Louis gasped, his eyes squeezed shut and lungs working overtime as Harry’s little thrusts grew stronger and stronger. “I know she can. She already complains about having three nights off. I know Jade is happy with that, but Perrie feels she could be doing more. This would comfort Jade—she could even sit in and watch. Be closer to her Alpha. Use Perrie for both their sakes,” he slurred impressively concisely, a pitched whine falling out after his words when Harry’s cock found his prostate.

“I don’t think we can ask for any more or better information than that,” Chibs laughed, his gaze having not gone to Louis, but his ears having devoted themselves to his words.

“That’s my good boy,” Harry moaned, his own cock’s pleasure making it hard for him to stay quiet, but he had to—he wouldn’t be the hypocrite in this scenario. “Perrie it is. What else?” he asked, opening the barrage of the other problems Chehalis faced.

Louis stopped listening after that. It wasn’t that the subjects became uninteresting, it was that his heaven became more eclipsing. The world didn’t necessarily exist anymore—only Harry did. He kept quiet and ensured his only sounds were reasonable pants, his legs twitching as Harry’s grip on his hips pinched new nerves. “Alpha, help,” he whispered in Harry’s ear as someone other than him was talking, winning an instant kiss on the cheek and a hum of curiosity.

“Help?” Harry repeated lowly, pulling back to search Louis’ face for his problem.

“I want to face sideways,” Louis uttered back, knowing that after knotting, he’d want to be leaned against Harry’s chest and able to be easily carried.

Harry grunted and settled his Omega down on his pelvis, pushing himself further inside for the move as he pulled both of his legs to hang over his left thigh and swiveled his upper half around so they were perpendicularly aligned. He curled a hand over Louis’ outer thigh and scooped the other one under the arse it led into, using the grasp he had to slightly lift him enough to buck up into from his limited position.

Louis mewled and bit his lip, his hands on Harry’s hip and knee propping himself up to be helpful to the cause. He threw his head back and yelped in rapture as his sudden release spilled out over Harry’s forearm and painted it with lines of white—he hadn’t even seen that orgasm coming, but things like that don’t surprise him with Harry anymore.

Harry growled and sped up his hips, seeming not to notice the volume of his council had grown much louder since their leader couple had kind of forgotten where they were. Harry had tried to remain professional, he really had, but his mate was beautiful, pregnant, and desperate—three traits that were impossible to ignore. He chased his high with intermittent snarls, ultimately sinking his teeth into Louis’ bond mark as his knot locked them together (making the submissive wail as he came a second time).

Once he regained all his focus, he immediately let go of Louis’ neck and licked at the messy wound, tucking the moaning Omega under his chin and looking out at his council members. “Apologies,” he said gruffly, rubbing his cheek down Louis’ forehead and giving him little kisses of contentment.

“We understand, Alpha,” Katniss laughed, chorused by all except the ever-sour Lucian at the end of the table.

“Alpha, I want to sleep now,” Louis mumbled into Harry’s chest, confused as to why he seemed to be asking permission.

“Sleep, my sweet wolf. You’re safe,” Harry cooed, a gentle hand sliding up to cradle his mate’s now sizable stomach over his poncho and prove that every aspect of his Omega would be protected in his presence. “You four deserve a nap, anyway.”

 

---

 

It was now the day after that late-night council meeting extravaganza, and Harry still couldn’t get it out of his head. He loved Louis’ independent demands more than he could ever say, and they never seemed to stop coming. Along with that instance last night, Harry was being tested like that a lot lately, in many different ways, and every obstacle his mate would throw at him would be eagerly met with attempts to prevail.

The Pack Alpha was currently at his post in a rigorous patrol shift that he’d volunteered for, licking the blood off his tomahawk, when Zayn suddenly entered his mind—with a rather ominous statement:

Harry, you better get down here.

That may have been the only thing Harry was told, but that was all he needed. The Alpha ran back in a flurry and met Zayn at the edge of the village, taking in the Beta’s nervous shuffling of weight and scratching at the back of his neck. “What is it, Zayn?” he asked, sweeping the general area with his eyes to find any potential clues.

“Uh…it’s Louis. He’s uh...well…” Zayn began unhelpfully, looking quite unwilling to get any deeper than that.

“Out with it, Zayn,” the Alpha snapped, forcing the information from his Beta despite his nonexistent comfort levels.

“He’s breaking things.”

“Breaking things?”

“Yeah, and he…won’t stop. For anyone,” the Beta informed behind a grimace, the non-present tail of his wolf stuck between his legs.

“What’s he breaking?” Harry hesitantly inquired, having expected maybe anything but this. Then again…is it really all that shocking?

“Bowls, mostly. But a lot of them… Possibly all of them.”

Harry pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath, keeping his aggression tucked away so he wouldn’t shoot the messenger. “Great. Where is he?”

“Last time I saw him, he was heading for the Keep,” Zayn informed, looking happy to point his Alpha in a direction and get him away from him.

“Alright. I’ll take care of him,” Harry sighed, handing his weapons to his Beta and giving him a quick kiss on the cheek, reactive flinch or not. He then jogged through the village, following his mate’s scent until it indeed led him straight to the Keep atop its grassy knoll.

He pushed open the structure’s doors and walked down the sunlit beams through cracks in the wood until he came to the food storage section in the very back. There was abnormally loud crying coming from inside, which he’d heard from the outside, and Harry tentatively moved the curtain aside, steeling himself for what he would see.

Louis was sat by himself in the corner of the enclosure, wailing, with a large jar of berry paste in his lap, scooping the contents out with a purple-stained hand and shoveling it into his mouth. The Omega caught his Alpha’s scent and ceased his whining immediately, setting the jar to the side and pointing an angry finger in Harry’s direction.

You selfish asshole,” he snarled at Harry, the vicious tone almost knocking him back a step. “Where have you been? Had fun gallivanting with your Alpha brothers, did you? While I was left alone all day. I was suffering, where the fuck were you?” he whimpered, trying to hold onto his anger but falling short as the tears came back full swing.

Harry sighed and crossed the floor to reach his upset Omega, taking a seat beside him and trying to come down to Omega level so he wouldn’t be too overbearing with his lecture. He swiped some berry paste out of the jar with his pointer finger and licked it off, trying to relate with the defensive wolf and smiling when Louis accepted and offered more. “Louis…you were not alone. You had your omkin with you all day, and you know I was patrolling,” he soothed, gearing up for the crime conversation. “But that's not what we're gonna talk about right now. You’re gonna tell me why you’ve been breaking things, Omega,” he scolded with a sternness he hadn’t had to use in quite a while.

“Zayn,” Louis cursed in a growl, not yet falling prey to his Alpha’s dominance over him. “That little snitch. I missed you, Harry! What else was I supposed to do?”

Harry raised an eyebrow at the Omega; he was entirely dissatisfied with his excuses, but he was losing his will to be cross with him—it’s that cute face, what’s he supposed to do? “You could have called to me through our bond, Lou. And Zayn was not the only one to notice you smashing bowls, I can assure you that. I’m going to have a lot of apologizing to do on your behalf, and you cost a lot of potters their time. You’re incredibly naughty, Louis,” he said, hitting his back against the shelves with their paste jars.

“Fuck off, I’m not naughty. I was acting out of isolation,” Louis defended, taking his jar away because he didn’t feel like sharing anymore, even though Harry had only taken that one lick.

“You weren’t even isolated,” Harry pressed incredulously, wondering what it felt like to be an angry pregnant Omega that freaked out consistently over nothing. Probably pretty frustrating…

“Anywhere away from you is isolation, Harry,” Louis blurted angrily, making wild gestures with his arms. “Don’t you get that? Not even Zayn and Niall can fix that. Not my parents, not my omkin, no one. When you’re gone, there’s a gaping hole in my chest, and I can’t control my emot—”

Harry cut him off with a heady kiss and heaved his mate into his lap, forcing the Omega to look into his eyes when they broke apart. “I didn’t say naughty was an inherently bad thing, Louis. Yeah, your bowl destruction was deplorable, and highly unfortunate, but do you have any idea how much that turns me on?” he purred, taking the complete opposite route he’d planned for, but he really had no other feasible choice.

Louis sniffed and wiped at his face with his wrist, rubbing the heels of his palms together to distribute the wetness of his tears. “It does?” he asked, genuinely taken aback by Harry’s topic shift.

Harry hummed and licked the Omega’s bond mark, his cock hardening underneath the warmth of his mate’s thighs. “Of course, Kimi. The fact that you need me that much? That you’ll kick and scream until you get me? Nothing could flatter me more. Nothing could get me harder,” he moaned, demonstrating it by reaching down and rubbing the head of his cock around Louis’ hole. “Who do you belong to?” he asked the gasping Omega, refusing to do anything until he got the answers he wanted.

“You. Only you,” Louis promised, breath hitching as his slick began to dribble out of him.

“Who controls this bond mark?”

“You.”

“Who do you submit to?”

“You.”

“Who’s not going to break any bowls ever again?”

“...Me,” Louis reluctantly grumbled, smirking to himself as he flipped the tables. “Who’s gonna give me their knot?”

Harry identically smirked against the mentioned bond mark and sank his teeth into it, sighing and he pushed Louis down onto his cock, reveling in the way the Omega’s muscles contracted around it like they were desperately pulling him in. The Alpha removed his teeth but grabbed his snarky Louis' neck and proceeded to mark everywhere else, thrusting his hips into his mate and establishing a strong rhythm he hadn’t had the comfort for in front of his council. “Me,” he whispered against his Omega's scarred throat. “Only me.”

 

---

 

Louis and Niall awoke to a mirrored, almost heat-like lustful desperation. It wasn’t fair at all—it was always annoying to wake up like this—but it was an interesting twist to have happened at the exact same time. “Oh, Gods,” Louis began, running a shaky hand through his sweaty hair. “I’m so—”

“Me too,” Niall agreed, panting into the back of his hand and turning his head to meet his brother’s eyes.

The Omegas shared an equally mischievous smirk and pushed back against their Alphas behind them, rolling them onto their backs and then freezing so they wouldn’t wake. Zayn and Harry both grunted a bit at the change of position, but seemed to find their peace again, so the Omegas’ unspoken plan was free to put into motion.

They discarded the blanket that was covering the lot of them and carefully shimmied down their mates’ bodies until they were sat between their legs, nudging the Alphas’ knees apart so they had enough room. With another devious look to each other, the Omegas leaned in and took their Alphas’ helpfully hard cocks in their mouths, pushing down until the tips were brushing the back of their throats.

Zayn and Harry both woke with a strangled gasp and lifted their confused heads, dumbstruck by the incredible sight of their Omegas bobbing their heads up and down their shafts. They took a fistful of their mate’s hair in their furthest hand, and grasped each other’s with the other, squeezing as hard as they wanted because as Alphas, they could handle it. They couldn’t help the blissed thrusts of their hips, and Louis and Niall obediently let their Alphas fuck their mouths, reveling in the consequent moans they were causing and choking on their own.

It didn’t take long before only mouths were insufficient for their needs, and when that breaking point came, the Alphas pulled their mates off their groins and wiggled out from under them, quickly crawling behind the Omegas and guiding them together side by side. They took a second to admire the submissive sight of Niall and Louis presenting, then they too shared a smirk and dove in to lick broad stripes over their mates’ holes.

The Omegas shuddered like they were in a blizzard, and their pants turned to groans as their Alphas got creative with the circling of their tongues. Their arms soon shook too much to dependably keep themselves up, so they dropped onto their elbows, pushing their hips up to chase the Alphas’ expert licks.

Harry ran his hands up the back of Louis’ thighs, around his full hips, and then settled on his belly, holding it gently as he pushed his tongue through Louis’ soaked hole. Both wolves growled to give and receive the act, and spurts of pre-release were already leaking from Louis’ little cock, driving Harry mad with the desire to empty all it had to give. Zayn was busy scissoring his fingers in his Niall to open him up, so Harry did the same to keep up the pace, pushing two fingers into his Omega and greedily licking all around the buried digits, not yet willing to part with the taste of his mate’s grape-slick.

Only when Louis and Niall were writhing in desperation did the Alphas resurface, walking forward on their knees as they pulled their mates’ hips back onto their pelvises. They slid into their submissives with a simultaneous groan from all four, unhurriedly rolling their hips to stroke their cocks against the soft, warm walls of their Omegas, and they both had the thought that this kind of ecstasy was probably what the afterlife felt like.

Their pace was perfectly matched, and it offered a peculiar experience for all of them, the Alphas feeling the relatively same sensations as one another, and the Omegas by default. To increase the intensity, because a Pack Alpha always will, Harry bit into his right wrist, opening a physical link between the four and producing the mirage that both couples were engaging in one singular act. The Omegas underwent double the slide inside of them, and the Alphas felt double the pressure on their cocks—a far cry from the insanity of the pack bonding ceremony, but this was more special. Personal.

Niall and Louis happily dwelled in the indescribable joy of what it felt like to be in the other’s body, and their hands mindlessly traveled to each other’s cocks, experimenting with the connection they now shared. The Alphas groaned in pride at their Omegas’ shameless search for pleasure, and keeping their hands on their mates’ thick hips (so the mothers wouldn’t collapse), they leaned into each other and fiercely crashed their lips together.

Zayn gasped into Harry’s mouth and released a blissful sigh as they kissed, chuckling in his intoxication when the Pack Alpha trailed his full lips down his sensitive neck and then sank his teeth into him to show he owned him too. Zayn didn’t mind—Harry owned everyone. When their knots began to form, the Alphas pulled apart to give their undivided attention to their whining mates, and the Omegas dropped their hands as well, putting all their weight back on their elbows to stabilize themselves.

The Omegas’ high-pitched mewls at being knotted were cut short when their Alphas dug into their bond marks with their teeth, their breath consequently puttering to stop as they held their lungs full of air. The double strength of the Alpha bites forced them into unnecessary submission (considering they were already submitting), and as they came with the force of two climaxes, they blacked out, falling into drops before they’d even known what had hit them.

A similar reaction was triggered within the Alpha wolves who had knotted twice as hard, and they were yanked straight into their inner natures, eyes a respective combination of sparkling brown and pure black as they licked and nibbled at their Omegas’ shoulders. They were panting too hard to keep themselves upright, so they rolled over onto their sides and took their locked mates with them, maintaining their affectionate grooming until the little ones were lulled into sleep—a sleep they could probably use themselves, but that would waste time they could spend admiring their Omegas instead. Sleep would have to wait.

 

~~~

 

“Where the hell are they?” Chibs grumbled into the council house, stuck with no contributions to a meeting that was missing the Alpha and Beta.

“Don’t you smell that?” Shane asked pointedly, filling her nostrils with the mentioned scent. “They’re mating.”

“So that is them, then. Ugh, now? Why now? They knew we had to discuss the expansion of the circle this morning,” the chief huffed, dropping his forehead into his palm and shaking his head in exasperation. “They’re not going to come out easily, but I have to go try. This is too important. I’ll be right back,” he sighed, rising from his seat and marching out of the quiet meeting hall, Parsel’s ill-placed cackling following him out. Just don’t attack me, Harry, he inwardly pleaded. There are some things to discuss.

When Chibs reached the Pack Alpha’s teepee, the smell of mating became nearly suffocating, and the Alpha took a deep breath and held it, pushing through the flaps of Harry’s home and steeling himself for the private affair he’d be interrupting. Upon entry, Chibs immediately understood why the aroma had been so abnormally strong, but this understanding didn’t take away from the surprise.

The naked forms of the Pack Alpha, Beta, and both of their Omegas were passed out in a pile of overlapping limbs on the bedding, obviously having mated together quite recently, and all Chibs could do for several seconds was stare. So, it’s like this, huh? he thought fondly, rolling his eyes in annoyance. Of course it is.

The chief warrior hadn’t known these four had formed their own subpack, but it does make grand-scheme sense, considering the two leader Alphas’ statuses in the pack, and both of their mates being pregnant at the same time. This was the most convenient way the Alphas could ensure their Omegas were extra safe: huddling together in one spot. Daven and himself were admittedly gravitating toward a similar dynamic with their Omegas, although he wasn’t sure if their mates had realized it yet…

It wasn’t a comforting realization that subpacks seemed to be forming everywhere, though, because in an abundance, these kinds of attachments usually only arise in times of low resources, natural disasters, or any other imminently dangerous or trying period. It is a tribe’s way of subconsciously bunching up because unfortunately, for whatever reason, they won’t be safe apart—because there’s something looming in the near future, and it will threaten the livelihood of the Chehalis bondmates.

Throughout their pack’s history, it has been written that when soulbonded couples begin to merge, peril is afoot. Not inherently, of course; there have been plenty of subpacks that have formed from innocent purposes…however, taking their current situation with the rogues into account, the timing signifies Chehalis likely seeing an invasion soon. At least, a fight of massive proportions.

Which is why Chibs needs to get the pack leaders up and running, regardless of how comfortable they looked, or there won’t be any subpacks to nurture. “Alpha!” he snapped at the snoring Chaska, cringing at the instant startle he caused. His voice had awakened both Alphas, and as expected, he was greeted with impressive roars of protective possession.

“Look, I’m sorry to barge…wait—are you two even…” he trailed in suspicion, deeply studying their behavior and discerning no recognition in their eyes. The Alphas continued snarling and barking at him as though he was an enemy, and he realized just how big of a mistake he’d made waltzing all the way in here. He should have remained outside and called for them from a barrier.

The Alphas’ angry noises consequently woke the Omegas, and getting a good look at them, Chibs noticed their inner wolves’ eyes blinking warily at him too, and this was not advantageous. “Gods, are all of you animals right now? Wake up, this is important!” he urged, hoping that maybe words would make it into their repertoire of comprehension—didn’t seem to.

Harry rose from the bedding and stalked toward Chibs with a deadly demeanor, curling his lips back over his extended canines and angrily hissing at the chief warrior, but Chibs didn’t have time for this. “Harry Edward Styles! Get back here this instant, your pack needs you!” he shouted with his howahkan, if for no other reason than to increase the volume.

Niall whined at the sound of the timbre and that made Zayn even more pissed off, but Chibs still didn’t have the time to spare. Harry then quit his predator taunting and lunged forward to make his kill, but Chibs valiantly dodged the misguided attack, sharply backhanding the Alpha across the face. “HARRY! Wake up!” he roared, breathing a heavy sigh of relief when Harry began rapidly blinking his blurrily-focusing eyes and shaking his head, gradually returning to the present from his hour-long wolf stupor.

The Pack Alpha furrowed his eyebrows at the warrior chief and cocked his head to the side in confusion. “Chibs?” he croaked, having growled far too much for his human throat to handle. “When did you get here? What are you doing?” he huskily inquired, glancing behind him to his vulnerable mates still lost to their instincts and getting another surge of defensive anger. “The fuck do you think you’re doing? You shouldn’t be here, Chibs. You need to get the fuck out—you can’t see this shit,” he snapped, stretching his arms out to block the view of his wolves.

“Thank the Gods,” Chibs sighed, nodding frantically to show he complied with the order. “Okay. I understand. But you and Zayn need to come to the council meeting that you’re supposed to be in—we need you. The circle is progressively closing and there are updates you need,” he compromised with an overload of the term 'need' for emphasis, bravely crossing his arms over his chest in a ‘no bullshit’ gesture.

The longer Harry stood in the situation, the fiercer the protective fury became of the wolves in his bed, and his patience with Chibs snapped in half. “Get…the fuck…out…of my house. Now. We’ll be there in a minute,” he gritted through clenched teeth, repeatedly shoving Chibs backward until he’d completely booted him out of his teepee.

Once the intruder was gone, Harry turned with a pleased sigh and strode back to his nest, kneeling beside his Beta and taking his face in his hands. “BETA!” he barked with howahkan into the Alpha’s compulsory face, patting him on the head when he snapped out of the haze. “Come back, we’ve gotta go.”

As Zayn worked on regaining all his human instincts, Harry pulled his little Louis into his lap and began whispering him awake as well, licking and tapping at him until he used his words to lightheartedly fend him off. Once everyone was decently conscious and properly nuzzled, Harry yanked Zayn out of bed and ordered him to get dressed, doing the same himself in a flurry of impatience and then grabbing his tomahawk.

“I’m going, I’m going,” the Beta grumbled, both Alphas yawning from their earlier excitement as their Omegas snuggled up and went straight back to sleep. “Lucky things,” he chuckled, stretching his back and wincing when a sharp pain was felt in his neck—ah, Harry’s bite.

“Don’t act like they have it easy. They’re pregnant. I hear that comes with much discomfort,” Harry snorted, holding the exit of his teepee open for Zayn to pass through so they could reluctantly leave and be responsible pack leaders. Oh, how they wished for five more minutes.

 

---

 

The requested Alpha and Beta went lumbering through the occupied meeting hall without a speck of shame, sinking down into their seats and yawning (once again) into their fists. None of the wolves were angry at their truancy, but Harry could feel a bit of impatience rippling through their silence—most of all from Chibs.

“Harry, Zayn, we now know for a fact they are using the same strategy as the last time. Our nomads have spotted them lining around the territory—they’re actively surrounding us,” the chief announced, letting that little piece sink in before bringing the other concern to the table. “I’m also dearly concerned about the subpacks that are forming. We all remember last time. It happened then, too,” he reminded, validated by the nods of agreement at the tables.

Harry mulled this over as his critical thinking slowly returned, able to admit his subpack didn’t spell the best cause for its evolution. “How far?” he asked, putting that aside to address the logistics.

“Fifty miles from our borders,” Chibs declared, a look that closely resembled relief flashing on his features because he’d been dying to get that out.

Shit that’s close,” Harry cursed, chewing on his bottom lip as he ruminated on all the responsive options they had left.

“Harry, I don’t know exactly what you want us to do,” Chibs sighed, propping his elbows on the table as he rested his chin in both palms, fingers fitting into the ridges of his scars on instinct. “They’ve pulled back from our borders completely; patrol duty is increasingly pointless. They’re waiting...and we’re unprepared. If they make a full enclosure, we’ll be frightfully outnumbered. Like last time,” he needlessly added, sparking another one of Harry’s iconic temper surges.

“Believe it or not, I do remember what happened last time. I remember the steps that were taken—I was sixteen, not a child,” Harry snarled with a clear warning in his tone, waiting for his chief to lower his eyes in respect before he continued: “They’re biding their time—obviously. We can’t be complacent even for a moment, and I hate it, but there really isn’t much we can do except train harder. Strenuous combat lessons all day, every day. That is your job, Chibs. Pull everyone we can spare so we can prepare for this inevitable clusterfuck,” he muttered, wishing Chehalis didn’t have such a deadly nuisance to fret over.

“Aye, Alpha,” Chibs quipped in cooperation, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning back into his chair. “The added night training is undoubtedly of great value to us as well.”

“Yes, it is,” Harry agreed, having almost forgotten all about that section of their plans. “Pick your heads up, all of you. This is not defeat. There isn’t much in stopping this violent future, but we can prevail from it. I’ve been waiting for Roman to come to me for six long and stressful years, and I’m more than ready to face him on the battlefield...let us end his pious game once and for all,” he seethed to the unanimous cheers of his fellow Alphas, sitting back and thumbing at Louis’ canine mark on his throat. I will never shame this ownership. I promise.

With the beginnings of a plan (they couldn’t get too elaborate in such a self-explanatory situation) Harry ventured to the posted guards on the territory to pass on the information and instructed them to do the same—to everyone they saw. Wolves ran off in pairs to spread the news, and Harry wandered off to take his trusty tomahawk to some nearby trees in need of a good shattering, his wolf unable to release his aggression in any other way. Omegas cried; Alphas destroyed.

Roman may have taken everything from Harry once upon a time, but he would not win again. Not with what Harry has become, not with him being gifted a pregnant mate that he would destroy the sun for, and not with the many years Harry has matured over and spent training for the day that monster crossed his path again.

No. This time, Harry was going to show Roman what a Pack Alpha could do when his home is threatened. And should Roman desire a hint, he need only study these decimated trees. “And this one,” the Alpha grunted, setting his sights on a substantially thick branch and swinging his axe down as hard as he could. “This one’s your neck!”

 

---

 

Birds added frantic music to the early morning land at Chehalis, and Alphas everywhere were training in the fields, determined and motivated to defend their tribe even if they did so amateurly. Their tribe needed every Alpha it could get, and Harry (with the help of Parsel, Chibs, Daven, and Zayn) hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep last night to help them progress.

Essentially, no Alpha had gone home to their mates last night. So, no Omega in the territory was in a very good mood.

Camila was busy in her teepee, kissing Lauran’s perfect lips (who luckily had returned just before dawn), when she suddenly felt a stabbing pain in her chest. Gasping, she hopped off her mate’s lap and sprinted outside to the dirt path, her worried Alpha following close behind.

“What is it?” Lauran asked with an anxious gulp, trying to hold her Omega’s hand and giving up when she didn’t respond to the touch, holding her forearm instead.

Camila didn’t register the question at all, busy directing every scrap of her tuned focus to the west, taking a deep breath as a gust of wind whipped through the trees, fanning her hair and unsettling the leaves.

“Cam?” Lauran tried again, having caught the strange, chilling moment of weather and Camila’s increasing flourishes of trepidations, almost sickened fear. Not a good combination.

Camila took a few weighted moments to study the feeling she was wracked with and then shot Lauran a wildly apprehensive expression. “Something’s happened. I think…” she trailed, stealing a glance back to the west before turning and meeting her mate’s cautious eyes. “I think someone just died.”

“...Are you sure?” Lauran asked, not needing or wanting any other details at this point but that one.

“I…” Camila’s words died on her tongue when she felt the pain again, this time clutching her chest and dropping right to her knees, barely caught by her Alpha before she faceplanted in the dirt.

“Cam? Cam, talk to me,” Lauran pleaded, on full alert as she scoured every which way for invisible intruders.

“I…I think it just happened again.”

Lauran pursed her lips in undirected grief and wasted no time throwing her mate onto her back, hooking her arms under the Omega’s legs and rushing through Chehalis to find anyone who would know the precise location of their Pack Alpha. Nobody could handle this but him.

 

~~~

 

Around that same time, Harry had been working with Zayn in one of their northern open fields, training teenage Alphas that surprisingly gave him overloads of respect (something he wouldn’t have done at their age), when he yipped in anguish and doubled over from sudden but historically severe pains in his chest.

“Harry? Harry, what is it?” Zayn gasped, reaching out to steady his Alpha and keep him on his feet. “It’s not Louis, is it? I sometimes get Niall’s random pregnancy pains,” he nervously chuckled, though it was obvious he only hoped it was something that simple.

“It’s not Louis,” Harry said with certainty as he carefully straightened for fear of more stabs, furrowing his eyebrows and fixing his narrowed gaze westward. “That felt like a...”

 

~~~

 

Ever since Louis had finally got his mother back in his life, he had been taking walks with her almost every day, trying to make up for all their lost conversations in an impossibly short span. He was casually strolling around the food fields with her now, making their usual route rounds, and both Omegas talked animatedly of pregnancy woes together to pass the time. Louis had heard every gritty of his birth by now, so he had a pretty decent idea of what to expect—only…he had to do it two more times in one session.

Veering his mind off that track, Louis instead focused on their path, leaning into his mother and reveling in the sun rays that shone upon and warmed his back. He’d dealt with one snow time in Chehalis shortly after he’d arrived, and unfortunately the next one would be around the time of his birth—sunshine was like a gift from the Gods right now, and Louis treated it as much.

This walk, in comparison to all the other walks he’s taken, had been confusingly difficult; his heart had been constricting and giving him weird pangs or rhythm irregularity, and the worst off-beat had nearly grounded him. As a whole, he was feeling uneasy, and a little shaky... Something definitely felt off, but he figured it was just a volatile side effect of pregnancy, so he disregarded it.

The feeling gradually worsened the closer they got to the cornfield, and the very sight of the vegetables appeared daunting and ominous. It was quite the odd thing to have such an adverse reaction to, and his inner Omega wanted desperately to sprint in the opposite direction, far away from the mysteriously dicey field—however, Louis himself needed to investigate this oddness and satiate his curiosity.

When they were stood on the edge of the corn, the bad feeling in Louis’ heart reached its peak and he quickly halted her journey, slipping into the field to assess the area by himself. A strange (and not at all positive) scent reached his nose, making it scrunch in disgust, and he followed his instincts through the tall corn, determined to find the suspect aroma and put these perplexing five minutes behind him. After a couple more aimless steps through the maze terrain, Louis pushed the latest stalks apart and stepped forward, almost tripping over the worst thing he’d ever seen, and that was impressive—he’d seen a lot.

There, lying dead in the clearing of the field, was the warrior, Keanu, his blank eyes wide open and unseeingly staring at the sky. Louis bit back the horrified scream in his throat and pushed his panic down to analyze the situation, knowing if he lost himself now, he wouldn’t recover for too long a time to waste.

Keanu was atop a nauseating sea of his own blood, but no obvious wounds could be seen from the front. This meant, going by probability, he had been attacked from behind, and Louis was suddenly hyper-aware of his potential vulnerability to meet the same fate. Any one of these groups of stalks could have an enemy lurking in them…

What was really getting to Louis was the complete lack of scent coming from Keanu. There wasn’t any hint of an unfamiliar scent mixed in with his, and his individual scent should have been a lot stronger than it was. Louis shouldn’t have had to search for him. Powerful scent-blockers seemed to be at work here—stronger than he'd ever encountered—and the longer Louis looked, the more afraid he became.

So, he distress called. A high-pitched, shrill howl from a truly panicked Omega that would be heard by every Alpha for miles, and by extension, all of Chehalis. Calls like this were only used for the direst of situations, and Louis had certainly never made one before, but he couldn’t think of a better time than right now. As Louis was howling, he vaguely perceived his mother frantically yelling for him as she ran through the corn, but he didn’t let up sounding the alarm, screaming his lover’s name through the bond to really get his attention: HARRY!

 

~~~

 

A distress call unprecedentedly wailed through Chehalis like a tornado, tensing every single Alpha’s spine in worry, but Harry was in much worse shape than a tensed back—that call was coming from his mate. He knew the sound of Louis like his own breaths. “HARRY!” he heard through his soulbond, that helpless mental scream breaking his panicked stumbling into a sprint in an instant.

Harry grabbed Zayn by the hair and tore off toward Louis’ location, and the Beta effortlessly kept pace because he was the only wolf who could match the Pack Alpha, human or not. “We’re gonna save him Harry!” he shouted to his frantic leader, both Alphas erupting into their wolves to close more distance.

Harry’s heart was beating like a war drum, and his fur was bristled with chilling nerves, his mind stuck in a nonstop loop of horrible shit happening to his Omega. Hurtling through the village, the wolves passed Lauran with Camila on her back, and they didn’t stop, but the Seer shouted, “Cornfield!” at them to contribute to the cause. The wolves had their human minds intact because they needed the cognizance, and though Camila probably thought she was helping, in this form, the Alphas knew exactly where Louis was.

After their paws had kicked up the entire village’s supply of dirt, they finally arrived at the field, and they dove into the tall stalks as they shifted back to their humans, mowing their way toward the wailing Louis. They followed their senses straight to the distressed Omega and Joéna, finding them sat together on the ground while the woman tried hard to calm Louis—she never had a chance at stopping a distress, though. Only Harry could do that.

“Give him to me!” Harry barked at the sobbing mother, kneeling to their level when she struggled to stand his Omega up and gathering him into his arms. He reared back and bit deep into his mate’s neck, his hormones and presence washing over him and ultimately ceasing the relentless distress call. “It’s okay, baby,” he whispered, ducking down to press his ear against Louis’ tummy and sniff at what lived within it. His puppies seemed to be fine, and Louis wasn’t fatally injured, so Harry finally let out that breath he’d been holding.

Zayn took that opportunity to interrogate Joéna on what had happened, and she gave a vague point of her finger, the two disappearing into the corn behind them and leaving Harry with his panting Omega.

“Louis, what’s happened?” the Pack Alpha inquired to his scared mate, holding his tear-streaked face in his hands. Louis wasn’t dropped, but he was too upset to form words together, so Harry simply held him close and let him cry it out. Hopefully Zayn would get to the bottom of it. “What is that smell?” he wondered aloud, sniffing the stale air and wrinkling his nose. It smelled like...like—

Zayn then reemerged from the stalks with a pale white face (which meant a lot for his dark complexion) and gripped Harry’s shoulder, digging his nails in only to ground himself. “Harry, you need to see this,” he said tonelessly, Louis’ mother sneaking into the semi-clearing after him and sitting down beside her son.

The Pack Alpha looked at his Beta’s grave expression and handed his mate off to Joéna, ensuring they were comfortable before standing. “Stay here,” he told the woman, following Zayn deeper into the field to discover whatever this was about. When his Beta pushed the final stalks apart, holding the way open for Harry and keeping his gaze on the ground, the Alpha knew whatever this was, it was horrendous—and he already had a pretty good idea.

He took a deep breath and passed his Beta into the clearing, instantaneously blindsided by the gruesome reality of all the fuss. His warrior and dear friend, Keanu, was irrefutably dead. And not just dead—murdered. Harry stared wordlessly at his fallen comrade, frozen with heavy bouts of grief and anger. He couldn’t take his eyes off the glossed ones of his late warrior, and he was growing unfathomably furious. What in the fuck had ended Keanu’s life that none here would have detected? How had he failed so egregiously as a Pack Alpha that this would happen right under his nose?

“Harry?” Zayn whimpered, trying to draw the Alpha’s attention away from the sight and get some actions underway. “Harry, what do we do?”

Harry vaguely heard the words, but he was preoccupied in his mind, listing every detail of this scene he could before the warrior would be moved. He’d been attacked from behind, hence the blood, but it had been with something other than an arrow, or else he’d have fallen forward. Keanu wasn’t giving off a scent either (at least, not as strong as it should be) and Harry didn’t smell any outsiders on or around him. Had to be scent-blockers…had to be. If Roman was using scent-blockers, those rogues could start picking everyone off one by one, and they’d all slip under every Alpha’s notice.

He was then reminded of all the warriors he had on patrol right now, and his heart clenched when he remembered the hunters, his body whirling him around to grab Zayn by the chin and yell in his face. “Get Niall!” he barked in terror, shoving Zayn in the direction of the hunting grounds. Nearly that whole omkin were out near the northern outskirts right now, and needed to be brought to safety at once. Zayn paled two shades lighter and shifted back to his wolf, plowing through the field to go recover his vulnerable mate, and Harry sent a prayer to the Gods to protect every single one of those wolves.

Harry took a deep, shaky breath and howled the call that adjourned an emergency pack meeting of the council, and he heard a chorus of responsive barks fill the air of Chehalis. This was going to be one of the hardest meeting he’d ever had to conduct…

He then knelt beside his lifeless warrior and brushed the Alpha’s eyelids closed, pressing a mourning kiss to his forehead and lifting him into his arms to be carried back home. He side-stepped back to his mate and Joéna, and instructed the mother to take Louis to the meeting hall and wait there until he arrived, disinclined to touch either of them with arms full of a passed Keanu. Joéna obeyed immediately and wrenched Louis out of the field, the pair stumbling their way toward the hall and leaving Harry to his deeds.

Harry walked Keanu all the way to Ianalfto’s ritual plank house, where the Alpha would be left until the tribe had the passing ceremony at nightfall, and the Elder met him at the doors, eyes brimmed with tears as they ushered the Pack Alpha inside.

“Put him here,” Ianalfto murmured, leading him to a back room where a stone slab had been carved long ago to hold their dead until they could bid farewells by flame.

“Thank you,” Harry said monotonously, setting Keanu down and grimacing at the blood that had been smeared into every inch of his skin.

“Over here, child. I have buckets of water. Let me do that for you,” the Elder soothed, peeling Harry away from the slab he’d been trying to become one with to wash him down with water and rags.

Harry remained silent for the impromptu bath, lifting his limbs as though he was a puppet, but who could be pulling the strings? The Gods? Had the Gods allowed this to happen? Was this his fault? Was it his Father’s? For not being the Pack Alpha he should have been and protecting his Omega? Thereby leaving Roman to go free and cause years more of destruct—

“Harry, you mustn’t let your thoughts consume you. You need a level head, because if you don’t have one, none of us will. I know your pain. I feel it. I understand. But you can’t let Chehalis see it too—they need you. Okay?” Ianalfto stressed as he patted down the chest he’d scrubbed clean, searching Harry’s grieving eyes for the strength he knew was somewhere in there.

“It’s hard…” Harry said bluntly, eyes finding their way back to Keanu, his childhood friend, gone from this world because his Pack Alpha hadn’t been paying enough attention to him.

“So is a pack-wide panic. Don’t let that happen. Calm them, Harry, I know you can. You’re a father now, and the mother of those puppies needs only you to thrive. Do not let that mother fall because you can’t support him,” the Elder reasoned, taking the mate route because bonded Alphas always found strength and courage in that.

“Okay,” Harry sighed, shaking his body as though he could expel the sadness and popping to his feet, painting the most fabricated face he’d ever made to prove how ‘collected’ he was when all he wanted to do was cry. “I’ll be back,” he said, strutting out of the ritual house before his eyes landed on Keanu again. Later, he told himself, setting his lips in a hard line and jogging down the hill toward the council house. You can feel it later.

 

~~~

 

Zayn reached his mate as soon as he possibly could, and he was greatly concerned when all he saw was Niall staring wide-eyed at something behind a tall rock—a rock unhelpfully blocking the Alpha’s view of whatever lay on the other side. What is it? Draco, Jax, Kurt, and Peeta were a few paces behind Niall huddled under a pine tree’s canopy, clearly at a loss for how to deal with...whatever their situation was, and Zayn had fucking questions. “Where’s Katniss?” he demanded when he got close enough for earshot, furious to find she wasn’t readily available.

Draco snapped his head in the Beta’s direction and pointed into the woods. “She’s scoping the area,” he replied, cringing from the wild look of incredulous anger that encompassed his Beta’s face.

Why?” Zayn snarled, finally taking his last steps before he would make contact with his Omega.

Draco then pointed his shaking finger to whatever was behind the rock, and Zayn skirted forward to uncover the mystery as he took his mate in his arms, choking on a gasp to see what his Omega had been studying so numbly. He cursed and pushed Niall behind him to block his view, fighting back the wave of tears because until the ceremony, no Alpha could afford to feel yet. And what was he looking at, you ask?

Norman’s patrol partner, Khanra, was dead. He was in much the same position as Keanu, except this time there was an awful gash across his throat, and he was stark white from having bled out over time. Khanra’s death had hurt. Harry, Khanra’s dead, he communicated to the Pack Alpha, hearing a distant whine from the village and bowing his head in respect to the departed.

Katniss then burst back through the trees and looked relieved to see Zayn had made it there. “Thanks, the Gods it’s you. We couldn’t move Niall, and I kept Jax in charge while I checked to see if there were any rogues. Area’s clear,” she announced, pulling Peeta into her chest and shushing his whines.

Zayn scoffed, his repression of grief turning quickly to inappeasable anger. “You won’t be able to smell them. They’re using scent-blockers! You should have brought everyone straight to the meeting hall when Harry howled for you. You could all have been attacked, how could you be so careless?” he scolded, holding his Omega right to illustrate if harm had come to Niall, Katniss wouldn’t have survived the consequence.

“I’m sorry, I went on Alpha mode, I just…I don’t know,” Katniss defended with a downcast gaze, shifting the topic to what was important now at this second. “What does this mean?”

“It means we’re at war is what it means,” Zayn growled, lifting Niall into his arms and nodding his head from Jax to Khanra to stick that duty onto him. “It means nobody is safe, and it means you’re lucky to be alive today…it means our lives are about to change.” 

 

---

 

When they arrived at the meeting hall, Ianalfto was waiting outside the doors to take Khanra from Jax and put him in the ritual house. It was something Jax couldn’t be more grateful for (because it had been poking holes in his emotional state to carry him for so long), and he handed him off with a heart breaking in a million different ways.

The omkin (with two Alphas) rushed inside the structure, and Draco, Jax, and Kurt went running straight into their Alpha’s laps. Parsel nuzzled his Omega with a feverish passion, squeezing him in a crushing embrace as they slowly calmed each other down enough to redirect their focus to the matters at hand. Every other reunited couple had similar interactions. Word had gotten out regarding what happened, and the Alphas who had known their Omegas had been in the woods were almost crying with relief at their mates being safe. At least there’s that…

Harry was silently sitting at the top of his tables, massaging his catatonic mate’s back, and he tried once more to get through to him, so far having not seen much success. “Louis, you’re safe now. I know you were scared, but—”

“I’m not afraid for myself,” Louis quickly snapped, rounding on his Alpha and expertly recovering the use of words. “I was fine for three years. I’m afraid for my pack; I’m afraid for my parents, my puppies, my—”

“Louimela. I will never let anything take away what’s precious to you,” Harry vowed, pressing kisses to Louis’ bond mark and breathing in him as though he’d been starved. The most stressful thirty seconds of his entire life had been rushing to his distressing mate. He puts it up against everything else…it was the worst.

When the noise of everyone’s relief died down, Harry turned his attention to his council, frowning at the one empty spot in the room. “Where’s Lucian?” he demanded, eyes scouring the present wolves in case one had the answer. The council merely shrugged their shoulders, though, all twenty-four wolves in the room looking around in puzzlement, and Harry couldn’t help the snarl that tumbled from his throat. “Two warriors are dead—is there really anything more import—”

His words were cut short when Lucian entered the room, joined by his ethereal mate, Andreius. The pair were closely followed by Harry’s affronted glare all the way to their seats, and Lucian cleared his throat awkwardly, promptly jumping into his excuse.

“Apologies, Alpha. We needed to make sure our pups were safe,” Lucian reasoned, pulling Andreius into his lap and stroking at his thighs.

Now every council member was finally seated with all with their mates on their laps, and Harry took a deep breath before beginning the important discussion he wished more than anything he didn’t have to have. “Does anyone have any suggestions?” he asked foremost, trying to get as many minds on this as he could.

“Double patrol duty?” Lucian suggested—stupidly unhelpfully.

“We’ve already doubled it,” Harry groaned, pelting the late wolf with a look of dissatisfaction. “What do you want, triple? Keanu and Khanra were on patrol duty. They didn’t die where they were found. They were put where they’d be seen. Likely aimed to be seen by Omegas,” he said, noticing how every submissive shuddered to hear that out loud. “Which is the most worrisome aspect, because whoever placed Khanra on the hunting grounds knew who would find him. Knew you guys were there. No one, I repeat, no one, is to go into the woods. Do you understand me?” he said, doubting the chorus of nods until they got more intense from his silence. “Good.”

“We have to pull back,” Daven uttered into the room, meeting his Pack Alpha’s eyes and pleading him to understand the importance. “If we can make a tighter circle by the guard posts, they can’t pick us off.”

“No, that brings them way too close to the village,” Harry argued at once, nipping the theory in the bud before he had the chance to sprout.

“Alpha, think about it,” Parsel added cautiously, shifting Draco to his other leg so he could better be heard. “If the rogues have pulled back to wait fifty miles out from our lines in every direction, we must pull back too—or they’re going to keep coming in big groups, taking us out individually, and wreaking irreversible havoc. The only way we stand a chance is if we make an impenetrable line by our guard posts. Maybe even closer. We can’t go any further than that, or we spread out too much. We don’t have the numbers. We have to stick together,” he pressed, prepared to go against the Pack Alpha’s wishes to see this done himself by any means necessary.

Harry nodded with a sigh and held a hand up to stop him before his passion grew any grander. “Thank you, Parsel. I agree. I already know this, and it was my decision, I just hate it so much,” he confessed, sinking down into his chair with Louis still rigidly perched on his lap.

“As do we all—" Parsel seconded, giving a toneless laugh before he had to admit his next sentence, "—but we’re going to have to fight. We’re not being granted the luxury of a choice in that. The only thing we get to choose is how.”

“Wait a second,” Louis cut in, not giving a damn about how unqualified he was to voice himself in a sanctioned council meeting without being previously addressed. “Why does this have to be so isolated? Can’t you call on other packs to help? Reach out to the southern tribes, they have to—”

“No. I’m not risking that. Best case, they send half their warriors and Roman destroys them, leaving fifty Omegas alone and matetaken. I can’t ask that of uninvolved tribes when this is my problem. Roman is after me, I can’t let other packs die for that,” Harry asserted, that kind of thing always striking a fierce refusal from him—his enemy, his fight. No one else’s.

“Oh, but you can let your own pack die?” Louis shouted, hopping off Harry’s lap and rounding on him as threateningly as he could, though the entire world knew it was more than pointless. “Gods, Harry! You’re just gonna sit back and let this happen? We have the advantage of time, shouldn’t we be figuring something out?”

“What do you think we’re…” Harry started to yell, quickly softening his combative tone when he realized it wouldn't do any good. “Louis, please. Shut up. There’s nothing we can do.”

“So, you’re just giving up?” Louis squeaked, having never before seen such a hopeless acceptance of defeat from the invincible Pack Alpha…he didn’t like it.

“What would you have me do, Omega?” Harry growled, done with this conversation but not having the heart to drop his submissive just for having strong opinions.

“Let me at him, for fucks sake! I’ll tear his fucking head off; I’ll destroy—”

“You wouldn’t know the first thing about fighting Roman, Kimi. He was the best warrior this pack has ever seen,” Harry impatiently explained, thinking the Omega a lunatic for even considering a fight with the rogue leader (what an oxymoron), especially in his pregnant condition.

“He—what? He was Chehalis?” Louis asked dumbly, all traces of his former fury gone, replaced by staggered curiosity.

Lucian snorted off to the side, but when Harry’s gaze threatened to suck out his soul, he quickly lowered his head.

“Yes, Lou,” Harry confirmed, reaching out to his mate in the hopes he would come back. The Omega waddled his way back into his mate’s lap and Harry cradled the round tummy that held his precious puppies, trying to keep things simple because this wasn’t a discussing they had time for now either. “I will explain all of this to you later, but... Roman was once a member of this pack, yes. He went rogue before I was born. The first time I saw him was when he came back to murder me and my family. But for some reason, he’s still really keen on finishing me off…” he trailed, biting his lower lip in contemplation; the contemplation he was always haunted by; the age-old question: Why?

“Why? Why does he want you so badly?” Louis asked quietly, unknowingly stealing the thoughts straight out of his Alpha’s head.

Harry snorted and then narrowed his mismatched eyes, staring hard at a speck on the floor while he slowly shook his head side to side. “…I can’t wait to ask him.”

Chapter Text

Chehalis in its entirety was gathered at Ianalfto’s ritual house to have the ceremony nobody wanted. It was of course the passing ceremony of Keanu and Khanra, who had been senselessly murdered under their very noses, and emotions ran high. Even more gut-wrenching was the previously unknown loss of Khanra’s mate, Isomer, who had been found in their home an hour ago, having taken her own life when she felt her Alpha’s spirit leave this plane of existence.

Anger was the most prominent emotion among the wolves because this was such an unnecessary pain of loss they were plagued with. Nobody should have to lose members of their tribe in their own territory. Or anywhere else for that matter, but the world was an imperfect place, and tragedies always strike the serenity of nature.

Three innocent lives had been futilely stolen in vain today, and Harry was at his breaking point. Worse yet, he knew this was exactly what Roman wanted—a full-fledged panic, and Harry consequently cracking under the pressure. The Pack Alpha still hadn’t let his tears flow, but his sadness was reaching a level in danger of repressed eruption...he would soon.

Louis was not so reticent; he was crying abundantly into Harry’s front, letting everything go against his collar bones, and the Alpha found it harder to control his emotions when Louis’ were running so high. He was doing his best to comfort his Omega, but it was hard when all he wanted to do was the exact same thing—break down. He had to be strong, though…had to. Not only for his mate, but for his scared and uneasy pack.

Outside behind the house, the warriors sluggishly prepared the pyres of which their three Chehalis wolves would be laid, and when they notified the council the proper steps had been taken, the tribe reluctantly shuffled their way outside to make a large circle around their fallen wolves. A lament was chanted as Ianalfto and Harry traveled to the center of the circle, and the Pack Alpha rapidly blinked his looming tears away before speaking to his tribe.

“Today, I…we…lost three incredible members of our pack. Words cannot even begin to express my regret at this unjustifiable violence. I feel that I have let down every single one of you because my job as your Alpha is to keep you happy and safe, and I failed. I…” He paused, his grief finally pouring out and wetting his face with tears. “Keanu was my friend... He never treated me differently for being the Chaska. He never talked me up; in fact, he talked down to me frequently. His opinion was one that mattered to me—he kept me grounded. When he turned down my offer to join my council, I understood. He was never a wolf of many words— his place was on the front lines, protecting the people he loved, and he did it beautifully,” he choked, howling in sorrow along with his pack.

The Chehalis wolves all borrowed their wolf throats to make their mournful howls, and it felt like group therapy to be surrounded by differing tones and octaves of cries. After a long stretch of cacophony, the pack settled back down and regressed to their human sobs, all eyes looking to Harry to put them back together…and he didn’t know if he could.

The worst eyes to meet were those of Keanu’s parents, but Harry had to speak into them—he needed those bondmates to know how sorry he was. “Samuan, Péona, your son will be missed by me every day in this life, and I am so, so sorry. This is a burden I can never ease or make up for. He was an honourable and dedicated warrior, and he will always be remembered as such,” he pledged, surprised the parents somehow managed to smile through their tears at the Alpha’s heartfelt confession.

“Thank you, Alpha Harry,” Péona croaked, held tightly by her Alpha as they wallowed in despair.

“This is not on you, Harry. Don’t put this on yourself,” Samuan asserted; he was broken by his son’s untimely demise, but the Pack Alpha didn’t deserve to feel solely responsible for the tragedy. He was a magnificent leader, and would have died for Keanu had he been there, and Samuan knew this well.

Harry couldn’t find the heart to give response to that, and with a deep bow, he moved on to the other lost wolves. “I’ll admit I didn’t know Khanra or Isomer as well as I should have. Every encounter was a positive one, but they were not a part of my everyday life. They were, however, in my warrior, Norman’s. Will you please say all you have within yourself to say?” he requested of Louis’ father, who took in a sharp breath but nodded, kissing Joéna on the cheek and joining Harry in the center of the tribe.

“Khanra was…” Norman began, pausing when his voice cracked and clearing his throat to get the volume he needed to be heard. “Khanra was a dear friend to me. I came here twenty years ago, and Khanra was one the first companions I made. We lived right next to each other, and Desmond paired us for patrol. He was incredible. I was a stranger at the time, and he accepted me without question. Many wolves did not trust me, and Khanra made every bout of sadness turn around for the better. He was a good fighter, a good listener, a good mate to Isomer, and an irreplaceable brother, and Khan?” he addressed as he turned to the largest body under the tribal quilts on the pyre. “I love you. Thank you for giving my life fulfillment when I felt like I’d lost it. Safe travels, my friend,” he finished, sniffles following his speech as he walked back to Joéna, where she threw her arms around him in support.

Harry also returned after saying his private and mental farewells to the lost, and the chanting resumed where it had left off. Ian’s chants were easily the loudest, and the drums quickened as he lit the torch to ignite their bodies. The Elder dispiritedly danced around the structure and touched the flame to the surrounding straw and twigs, sending the deceased on their last journey in the land of the living.

Most of the Omegas turned and burrowed into their mates’ chests at that point, not having the heart to watch, and the Alphas let them hide—they didn’t need to see it, anyway. Louis was no different, whining into his mate’s body as Harry rubbed his back, but the Chaska did not look away—not even for a second.

The bright flames flickered and danced shadows across Harry’s face, his black eyes appearing orange from the reflection, and keeping his wolf away was a feat for the record. There was more anger flowing through Harry at this moment than he’d ever felt in his life. Not even the death of his parents had been this cutting because there was nothing he could have done about that. This, Keanu and Khanra, had been his responsibility—it was his job to protect them—and Roman had fucked with him for the last time.

The unpleasant smell from his kin's charring skin and the sobs of torment it brought out from his mate only fueled his dark thoughts further. I’m gonna rip your heart out, Roman. And you’re gonna watch it happen.

 

---

 

4 Days Later

 

---

 

Louis woke in the middle of the night from a rough kick to the spine. Opening his eyes, the Omega flung a hand back to slap Harry for knocking into him, unconscious or not, but he found there was no Harry behind him to make contact with. Sitting up and blearily looking around in confusion, he found Harry and Zayn whispering heatedly back and forth in the corner of the teepee, and Niall passed out on the opposite side of the bedding.

The Alphas hadn’t noticed him yet, too engrossed in their pack conversations, and Louis mulled over what he’d felt. As he was debating the possibilities, he felt it again—a fluttering nudge inside of him. It was not the powerful kick he’d thought it was, but still viscerally noticeable, and he anxiously waited for it again. It seemed to be coming from his lower back or hips, possibly stomach, and he was too tired to realize what it could be…but when he did…

“Harry! Gods, get over here. Come here!” he shouted, waking Niall and Wewe from their slumber, but it’s not like he gave a fuck about that. Harry dutifully jogged over and stood beside his mate in wonder, and Louis yanked him all the way to the ground, slapping one of the Alpha’s hands to his stomach. “Pay attention!”

Harry was taken by quite the surprise, but he had a pretty good idea what this was about, and he leaned in as close as he could get, splaying both hands out on the Omega’s tummy and eagerly awaiting their first few movements.

“No fair,” a sleepy Niall grumbled off to the side, secretly overjoyed for his brother, but disinclined to let it pass without complaint.

Harry concentrated with rapt focus on Louis’ stomach, begging it to move and show him some proof of his puppies’ wiggles. Louis was also watching his midsection with a guarded wariness, and time stood still as they waited, until suddenly, both parents felt a pointed flutter beneath the skin (Harry from the outside, Louis from the inside).

The Alpha let out the emotional breath he had been holding and looked up into Louis’ eyes, tilting his head and smiling brighter than the sun in glee. The parents shared a lengthy look of happiness and love until they felt it again, and Harry shoved his face back down to Louis’ stomach in fascination.

“Oh Gods,” the Alpha nearly sobbed, snaking his arms around Louis’ hips and laughing against his stomach. “Hi, puppies. Look at you go! You’re all so perfect, I love you so much. Thank you for introducing yourselves on such a hard night, I needed this. Been a shit week. You knew just what we needed, didn’t you, you precious little beans. I can’t wait to meet you,” he rambled and cooed, showering the bump with licks and kisses in-between his statements.

When Louis’ tears hit the side of Harry’s face, the Alpha straightened up and pulled him into a tender kiss, running his hands up and down his sides. Louis was crying into the kiss but smiling so widely it was hard to keep their lips together. Harry backed them up against the tree in the middle of the teepee, and pulled his Omega’s back flush against his chest, all four of the parents’ hands resting on the bump to catch all future movement.

Niall and Zayn were cuddling together on the bedding beside them; they weren’t even trying to sleep because the excited couple in the room kept squealing every five minutes or so, and this behavior wouldn’t stop any time soon. They also couldn’t join in on the excitement yet because Harry and Louis were in a parental mate bubble, and couldn’t be interrupted by anything, so they kept to themselves.

The couple’s euphoric giggles and Harry’s constant growls of pride continued for over an hour until the pups apparently tired out and went to sleep themselves, which the Beta and his Omega honestly couldn’t be happier about. Niall needed rest.

Harry was likewise ready for sleep, but before he could join his mate whom he’d just meticulously tucked in under their quilts, Camila came timidly stepping into the teepee, her unexpected presence stealing everyone’s focus. “Sorry,” she announced, sounding drained and not looking any better. “Harry, I need to talk to you, and I’m sorry, but I feel it just can’t wait. I have to get it out, but not here…”

Harry wanted so much to refuse, but if he knew anything for sure, it was that Camila was not to be ignored—especially when she looked so serious. He held up a finger for Camila to wait and dove under the blankets, pressing parting kisses and licks to Louis’ belly, making the Omega snicker at the tickling sensation, and then reemerged to pepper his mate’s face with even more kisses. “I’ll be right back, loves,” he whispered, sharing a look with his Beta that Zayn instantly translated to ‘look after him,’ and following Camila out to wherever she wanted to take him.

“What do you think she wants to talk about, Lulu?” Niall asked, antsy for attention after not getting any all night. Louis shuffled across the bedding to lie in front of his brother.

Zayn sat up to look after them, keeping his senses on their surroundings because they were one Alpha down and protection was up to him until Harry came back.

“Wewe,” Louis called into the air, putting the most confused expression on Niall’s face he’d ever seen.

“She wants to talk about Wewe?” the blonde asked incredulously.

Louis snorted at the illogical assumption and the huge bunny grunted at being called, moving from where it had been sleeping to cuddle into Louis’ back until Harry and his body heat could take his place. “No. Wewe,” he emphasized, pointing a finger back at the unnatural mammal.

“Ah,” Niall quipped, a tad sheepish for his lack of common sense.

“And I don’t know...but I’m not the only one who thinks it’s something unspeakably horrible, am I?” Louis asked, his voice suddenly strained because after all the tragedies lately, Chehalis really didn’t need another one.

“No,” Zayn agreed, staring at the entrance of the teepee with furrowed eyebrows and a troubled look on his face. “You’re not.”

 

~~~

 

Camila walked him just outside of the congregation the tribe had made so they were out of earshot. The last four days had consisted of moving every wolf out of the village edges and throwing them together in the center. There were around four or five couples to each teepee, and the unmated pairs even more crowded, but they made do. Condensing was the most logical way to protect everyone, and as hassling as it was, it was a necessary precaution to take.

Camila wrapped her poncho around her body, shivering against the cold, and sat on a log bench, cocking her head to invite Harry to do the same. When the Alpha lowered himself next to her and stared at her profile expectantly, she let out a deep exhale and met the dominant’s eyes. “I have a really bad feeling, Harry,” she warned with a tensely concerned expression, her hands wringing together to fight the tickles of dread.

“Everyone does,” Harry noted, understanding she meant more and henceforth asking her to explain. “What kind of specifics do you—”

“That’s the problem,” she interrupted, knowing she’d be unable to answer a question like that. “I don’t. I don’t have any specifics, but I know this isn’t just the scared feeling I have for the welfare of the tribe. That’s always there, plaguing every rounded corner. We will see a battle, and it will be a dark day. And it’s soon,” she explained, scrunching her face up in contemplation. “But...there’s another feeling that’s been growing more each day since Keanu and Khanra were found. It’s haunting, and it…it’s our family, Harry. Us. Something’s going to happen to us,” she said softly, going against her instinctive drive to scream it.

Harry’s breath stunted at that premonition, and he hated asking the question on his mind, but he couldn’t not. “Is it Louis?”

Camila huffed in defeat and shrugged her bony shoulders. “I don’t know, Harry. But whoever it is, it’s gonna be catastrophic. It’s gonna tear a hole into our family, and every heart will break,” she implored into Harry’s unique eyes, both wolves now overcome with preemptive grief.

Harry swallowed hard and ran a hand over his face, gazing pleadingly to the stars before tilting his head and meeting the Seer’s eyes. “What do I do? How do I stop it?” he asked, prepared to split the sky if it meant saving his tribe—his family, and his home.

“How could you stop it if I don’t even know what it is?” Camila reasoned, full of regret to knock Harry down so easily. “I feel like whatever loss our family will suffer is a fated occurrence. That’s why it’s so infuriating. It’s like there’s nothing that can be done to stop it. It’s a damnation. We’re not all going to make it out of this, Harry,” she gritted, shaking from the cold among other things as she waited for a reply.

“I know,” Harry began, his face haunted by stresses and misfortunes no pack should ever have to face. “I’m not optimistic enough to think no blood will be shed. But have you really seen nothing? Has Mishella?” he asked, refusing to give up hope that he may find a sneak peek into the looming chaos.

Camila slowly shook her head and tucked some stray hair behind her ear with shivering fingers, heaving a deep sigh and kicking at the pebbles beneath her feet. “No. And even if she had, I don’t think she would tell me. We don’t know when, either. But before this day comes, I just wanted to say that you’ve been an incredible Alpha and I’ve enjoyed every minu—”

“Don’t talk like that,” Harry snapped, altering his tone when the Seer Omega flinched. “It’s not gonna be you, Cam. I promise,” he said more gently, resting a hand on hers in her lap and trying his best to make her believe him.

A short, humorless laugh escaped Camila’s throat and she smiled at Harry with an obvious depression behind the façade. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep…”

Harry shook his head in disagreement and inhaled to unleash a string of even stronger promises, but Camila put a finger to his lips, freezing him with a look that urged him to let her speak. “Harry. Please. I don’t inherently think it’s me, and I don’t think it’s Louis, or Draco, or Niall, Perinar or…Lauran—” she added fearfully, “—or anyone else. But it could be. I don’t know. I’m just saying it’s been great. With you. Okay? I love you all so much,” she professed, bottling her emotions to only let them out when she was in the presence of her Alpha.

Harry had hundreds of things he wanted to say, but he knew it was fruitless to fight with a Seer. “I hate you talking like this, Cami,” he sighed sadly, pulling the tiny Omega into his arms and letting his forehead fall to her shoulder. “I wish all of this could be different.”

“Yeah,” she breathed in agreement, finger-walking her hand up the Pack Alpha's back to grasp his wily hair and inhale the scent. The scent of a Pack Alpha was like oxygen to any member of a pack, mated or not, and Chehalis would spend all day sniffing Harry if they could. She breathed him in and held it in her lungs, tightening her arms around the Alpha when he did it first. “But you’re going to fix it—you won’t let yourself not. You will make things different, regardless of what atrocities transpire before that. The sun will always rise, and you will always shine in it. It’s who you are. And we will gladly die to protect that.”

 

---

 

They walked back to Harry’s teepee after a few more exchanges of words and emotional professions, and Camila knelt beside the sleeping Louis, taking his hand and pressing it to her lips, fighting back sudden tears and brushing them away as she stood. She put a hand to the sleeping forms of Niall and Zayn as well, saying preemptive goodbyes because she didn’t know who Chehalis would lose. She had no way of knowing who would become the fallen members, or what would put the irrefutable future stain on their family, and it was killing her to fret over so cluelessly. This ominous tragedy upon their doorstep was too much for anyone to handle without strife.

She then quietly made her way to the exit, and Harry yanked her into his chest one last time before she left. She eagerly wrapped her arms around his neck and let herself be lifted off the ground, taking in every second of the embrace and committing it to memory in case they lost him. 

“We’ll make it, Cam,” he attempted to promise again as he set her back to the floor. “I love you.”

She sniffed and wiped her wet eyes with her arm, giving him a hopeful smile that felt like knives on her cheeks to make. “I love you too, Harry. See you around, yeah?” she chuckled, ducking out through the teepee flaps and disappearing into the night.

Harry watched her leave and couldn’t shake the new feeling of terror that crept its way into his soul. It encompassed his every fibre, and if he’d thought he was stressed before, he cackled at his past self now. He slowly walked back to his nest and scooted up behind his Omega, drawing little circles on his stomach with the pads of his fingers. Don’t you dare take him, he compelled to the Gods, prepared to smite them all if they tried. Not him. I won’t let you.

 

~~~

 

Camila wandered to every teepee that currently housed one of her omkin, making rounds that felt like pure torture to need to do. Some omkin were asleep, leaving her with the only option of physical contact to commit them to eternal memory, but it was enough—as long as she got to see them, she would feel complete. Some, however, were unable to sleep, and Draco was one of them. She’d just entered his and Parsel’s teepee, and found the couple entirely awake, sat up meditating in their bedding foreheads touching and palms pressed together.

Draco looked up and bounded over to say hello, but he quickly lost his enthusiasm when she revealed the specifics of her visit. He then wept into her neck for the remainder of her visit, petrified that he might lose one of his brothers or sisters, and Camila felt like the worst wolf in history to bear all this bad news. Parsel was just as apprehensive from the warning, holding Draco like they may die just from a lack of constant contract, and Camila stood to leave them be, figuring an hour of tying loose ends just in case was sufficient.

As previously stated, she viciously hated setting everyone on edge with such intensity, but every wolf (including her) needed to accept the prediction and convey their emotions; pledge their goodbyes while they could. Draco and Camila had agreed to host a meeting of the family tomorrow, so they all had the opportunity to spend their potential last times together in peace, and she couldn’t wait for the sun to grace them with its presence. This night needed to end.

She left the teepee after numerous face kisses, and was now crawling across the furs of her own bedding to drop onto Lauran, clinging to her like she would fall into an invisible abyss if she let go.

Lauran woke up instantly and threw her arms around Camila’s waist, knowing full well what was causing her mate so much turmoil. “We’re going to get through it, Mika. You know I’d never let anything happen to you,” she comforted, purring to calm her upset lover and lull her to sleep.

Camila smiled at the attempted soothes, but she couldn’t fully take them to heart, instead lifting her head to solemnly meet her mate’s eyes. “You don’t think every Alpha has been telling their Omega that since the dawn of time?” she challenged, raising her eyebrows when Lauran huffed to stop her in her tracks. “You don’t think Desmond said that exact thing to Anneya?”

Lauran understood her point, but she refused to think it was even a possibility. She frowned and gently pushed Camila’s head back down onto her chest, tightening her arms around her Omega and pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “I love you,” she settled on in lieu of empty promises, starting her purring back up when Camila became open to it.

“I love you too.”

 

---

 

The next morning, the instant the sun broke from the horizon, giving the first ray of its light across the land, Harry and Zayn shot out of bed and looked to each other in gripping consternation, put on full alert by the way the stale air curdled with invisible tendrils of an imminent battle. It was a feeling and a stench impossible to describe, but it was time, and they knew it.

A few beats later, Norman and Chibs barreled into the leader teepee and skidded to a stop, the chief meeting Harry’s wary eyes and giving the dreaded announcement that would damage Chehalis’s Spirit for a very, very long time: “They’re here.”

Chapter Text

Camila shot awake with a primal and oxygen-deprived gasp, shaking like a leaf in a windstorm with heat-like sweat drenching her skin. Her heart felt in the clutches of a wrathful God who would crush it at a moment’s notice, and her stomach was in the same condition. All this spawned from the vision she’d just had—the dreaded premonition of death she’d stressed over since the passing ceremony. She knew what it was now. And there was no satisfaction in the discovery.

Enough present, here-and-now reality came into focus as she finished hyperventilating, and the first sound to hear was the screaming of the Chehalis villagers, followed intermittently by the shouts and howls from the warrior Alphas. Lauran woke up with a gasp from the howls and scrambled to get out of bed, her every sense devoted to joining the battle so she could defend her wolves.

“Lauran,” Camila tried to say, huffing when it came out as more of a broken whisper. “Lau—”

“Shit!” Lauran shouted without hearing her Omega at all, throwing clothes into the air to try and locate her daggers. “Mika, stay here, baby. I’ll be close by, okay? If even one of these savages gets near you, I’ll take them down. You’ll be safe, I promise,” she said quickly, finally finding her weapons and fearlessly moving to charge into the fray.

"Lauranna!” Camila shouted uncharacteristically loudly, causing her mate to stop at the entrance and turn her head to look at her in surprise.

The Alpha needed to add herself to the fight right now, but taking one glance at Camila’s expression—a face of hopeless despair—and she knew what it meant. She dropped her weapons to the floor and stumbled forward, lungs tightening in dread. “No we don’t,” she stated with shaky confidence, imploring her lover to deny her suspicion.

Camila’s reddened eyes watered and she grasped her necklaces to ground herself to something, sucking in a huge breath to force her next words out. “It’s us,” she choked out through the tears that had inevitably begun falling, watching Lauran’s face because without it in her sight, she would crack and break into irretrievable pieces.

Lauran furiously shook her head and held her hands up in defense, backing away like the two sickening words were actively attacking her. “No!” she cried, her heart thundering in her ears. “No, no, no, it can’t—”

“I’m sorry,” Camila blurted, struck with the feeling that she was partly responsible for this. “I’m so sorry. We were perfect, L; we were everything. It’s not fucking fair. I love you so much,” she wailed, desperately reaching out for her Alpha.

Lauran cleared the distance between them in a leap, falling onto her knees and smashing her Omega against her body, digging her nails into Camila’s back. “Mika, no! Not you, baby. Fate can’t take you from me, I can’t...is there nothing that can be done? Tell me! Tell me we can make it out of this,” Lauranna begged manically, pulling back and shaking her mate’s shoulders like a solution might fall out of her hair.

Camila only took her Alpha’s hands from her arms and held them in her own, pressing them against her heart and shaking her head. “It’s set,” she mumbled almost imperceptibly, locking eyes with her identically crying mate. “I knew—I knew it was. This whole time. But I didn’t know it was us, I swear,” she asserted, her breathing ragged and unpredictable from all the searing sobs.

“Stop it!” Lauran ordered, grabbing her Omega’s face in both hands and knocking their foreheads together. “I can’t...do this, Mika. You can’t ask me to do this,” she whimpered into Camila’s face, hands tracing every line of her Omega’s face and squeezing her eyes shut to try and block her tears. “How could I? How?”

Camila’s wailing showed no signs of stopping, and she threw her arms around Lauran’s back, squeezing her as hard as she could like they could simply hold each other to safety—but they couldn’t. “I’m so sorry,” she repeated, diving into a loop of similar statements until Lauran stopped her with a quick bite.

“But, Mika,” Lauran began when Camila was decently calmed, both faces distraught and dampened with streaked tears. “We had a future; a life; you said so yourself. We were gonna have pups, we were—”

“No, I don’t think we ever were, Lauran,” Camila argued, hating to do so but knowing it was the irrefutable truth. “Futures change all the time, and everything led to this one. This was always it, but I couldn’t ever see it. I didn’t know,” she swore once more, wracked with guilt she frankly didn’t deserve to feel accountable for, but guilt that would never leave her heart.

“Camila, please—”

“It’s okay, though. Baby, it’s okay,” Camila hushed, fiercely crashing their lips together and touching every part of her Alpha she could reach. “We’ll see each other on the other side. I promise. We’re gonna be together forever, Lauranna,” she stated with the upmost conviction, leaning heavily on that knowledge to hopefully get her through these trying times.

Lauran knew she was telling the truth, and it calmed her a smidgen, but even knowing the future contained eternal serenity somehow did not do much to undermine the present’s tragedy. “But…I can’t watch you die, baby. I can’t,” she stressed through a brokenhearted whine, dropping her head onto her mate’s shoulder and nuzzling into her.

“You have to let me go first, Lauran,” Camila urged frantically, petrified of the notion of being matetaken, even for a second. It was cruel to ask the same horror of Lauran, but it was the only way this would work. “You have to. I can’t do this without you,” she heaved between unattainable gasps for air, beginning to hyperventilate in the face of being left alone.

Lauran promptly knocked Camila onto her back and hovered above her to calm the panic, gently caressing her face with the backs of her knuckles and gratefully taking in all her beloved’s stunning features. She leaned in and silently cried into her Omega’s neck, extending her canines and sinking them into her bond mark to bring the both of them down to think with the depth they’d need to. When they were decently soothed, Lauran rolled them to lie on their sides, entangling every limb possible and desperately clinging with them for however long they’d have left.

“Will you promise me?” Camila sniffled, twisting around until she could meet her Alpha’s saddened eyes. “Please. Promise me.”

“Okay, Mika,” Lauran sighed, continuously petting Camila’s face and tucking her hair behind her ear for her—just like the Omega always had. Lauran loved it when she did that. “I’ll be here until the end. I promise,” she vowed, using an Alpha salute to swear it to the Gods. The cruel, cruel, and merciless Gods.

Camila smiled despite the crushing situation, but the smile cut off when she felt a sudden sense of urgency. It was an urgency to leave, and she quickly detangled them to sit up in alarm. “We have to go,” she announced, chewing on her bottom lip in a mixture of fear, anger, depression, and anxiety.

“No, wait,” Lauran pleaded, thoughtlessly reverting to fighting destiny again. “Can’t we just…do it here? I can’t let some rogue—” She paused to shudder, unable to even finish that monstrous thought, “—if it’s gonna happen anyway, I want you in my arms,” she settled on, hoping her message was clear enough that she wouldn’t need to repeat it. She didn’t think she could.

Camila chuckled devoid of emotion and rubbed at her Alpha’s arms, taking in her scent and committing it to every mortal memory she could create in the span of time between now and the end. “No, my love. We must go out there. I save Louis’ life. And you save Harry’s.”

“Fuck!” Lauran barked, unable to argue with the imperative necessity of their sacrifice.

“You know it doesn’t work like that, babe. This is why no one should be privy to the future’s mysteries. If we run from this, it will only happen another way. And then all four of us would be gone. Besides,” she added, raising an eyebrow and placing a hand under Lauran’s chin, pulling her in closer, “do you really think we could kill each other?”

Lauran knew it would have been impossible; their natures would never allow such a thing to transpire; but she had to go through every option. Problem was, the more she looked at Camila’s face, the more convinced she became that she really needed to get it together and accept this. It was true that if they had forever, one day, this would all seem inconsequential. “I love you, Mika bear. More than anything,” she professed, giving up the fight and coming to terms with her impossible position, proving to the cruel fates she could stay strong through unthinkable torture.

“And you always will,” Camila assured, seeking out her lover’s lips again and nuzzling their noses together when the kiss broke. “As will I.”

The couple shared all the kisses and final snuggles they could fit in before the Omega broke the peace and clumsily stood, valiantly grinning through the heartbreak and holding a hand out to her still-seated Alpha. “Follow me, mopey wolf. We have a family to save.”

 

~~~

 

“Shit!” Zayn and Harry shouted simultaneously, rushing to find their weapons and somehow embrace their mates at the same time.

“Louis, for the love of the Gods. Stay. Here,” Harry desperately commanded as he dropped his arrow quiver around his shoulder and lifted his bow, pointing at the very spot of ground Louis was currently stood upon as if to emphasize just where he was to stay put.

Louis sputtered with an overload of indignance and snatched Chatan from the corner of which it leaned, holding it out pointedly to make his case. “What do you mean, ‘stay’? I’m going to fight for my tribe,” he argued, his tone strong and firm like there was no force in this world that could persuade him otherwise. The one force that could, though, was standing right in front of him.

“No, you absolutely are not,” Harry snarled with howahkan, towering over his mate and scaring him into obedience. “Stay the fuck here, Omega. I’m not kidding. This is not up for negotiation. I will return to you, mate, I promise…but you need to stay here. Now shut up, I have to go,” he reiterated with dwindling patience, finally finding his tomahawk and gripping it with an itching hand.

The Alphas both wildly kissed their mates, savouring every second in case of the unthinkable, and then stepped out into the chaos, promptly ordering the passing Shane and Demila over to them. The female council members jogged up to the teepee, drenched in sweat, and Harry spoke to them quickly and clearly: “I need you to guard my home. Nothing gets in, but nothing gets out either, understand? We’ll be close,” he rushed to explain, comforted by the diligent nods from his council Alphas.

When Harry and Zayn left the area, Louis was broken by the compulsion of Harry’s earlier howahkan. He crept up to the exit and poked his head out of his home for a vantage on the escape route, but he was met with unassailable scowls of two female council Alphas blocking his way.

“Get back in there, Omega Louis. Our orders are clear,” Shane scolded, getting momentarily distracted by an approaching rogue but luckily Demila took it down before it could reach her.

“Gods, these scent blockers are insane,” Demila panted while Shane shakily nodded her head in agreement. “But what she said, Louis,” the Alpha continued, physically pushing Louis back into the teepee. “Get inside—protect Niall.”

Louis growled but let himself be Alpha-handled, pacing the inside of his teepee to find a way around those two. Clearly casually strolling out wasn’t an option, so making a scene would have to suffice. If only he had something huge to blow his way through the Alphas. If only he had a horse, or a bear, or a…gigantic bunny. Smirking so hard it almost hurt, the Omega tiptoed to the cowering Wewe in the corner of the teepee and cleared his throat to get the animal’s undivided attention.

Niall glanced between the two and snorted, already knowing exactly how Louis’ thought process was operating. The Omega didn’t know if Louis had ever ridden Wewe anywhere before, but he figured they would have to make it work regardless.

“Wewe?” Louis softly called, grinning when the bunny’s ears twitched in response. “We need your help.”

Wewe seemed to understand exactly what Louis was insinuating and he hunkered down in trepidation, shivering like mad and shaking his head to refuse the request that hadn’t yet been made. “Wewe, please, don’t be a cottontail. We have to—” Louis was interrupted by the bunny actually making a break for it to get away from the Omega, but he didn’t let him get very far.

In the blink of an eye, Louis smacked a strong palm down on his big nose and gripped his chin with the other hand, putting their faces an inch apart and muttering quietly into the animal’s face so he wouldn’t be heard from the outside: “Now you listen and you listen good, We-Ota. We don’t have time for this. We need to help our pack, and you’re gonna rise to the occasion, buddy, because I’m riding your ass into battle whether you like it or not. Got it?” he snapped, narrowing his eyes until the bunny nodded his head and lowered to the ground to let them up. “Coming, Niall?” he asked pleasantly over his shoulder, as though he hadn’t just been growling at his nervous bunny.

Niall only took a second to think about it before he grabbed his bow and arrows and approached the bunny. Louis helped him up until he was sat behind him, and he wrapped his arms around the Pack Omega’s waist (as much as he could beyond both of their stomachs).  “This is ridiculous,” he groaned, squeaking a little bit when Wewe stood to full height.

“Hold on, Niall,” Louis whispered to the blonde as We-Ota turned to face the entrance, taking several big breaths as if to ready himself for the unknown. Niall whimpered a bit, but he threw in a shaky, "mmhm" so Louis knew he was ready. The Omega then kicked at We-Ota’s sides with his heels and slapped his head a bit too, not entirely sure how to get a bunny to gallop. “Charge!” he cried as a last resort, elated when Wewe darted forward like a true battle horse.

Shane and Demila heard the command from outside and were only given seconds of consideration before they both dove and hit the dirt, desperately swerving to remain untrampled by the huge creature that blasted through the teepee and took off toward the village with the prized Omegas on its back.

“Sorry!” Louis called without sympathy, snickering as he got further away from the startled and highly infuriated Alphas.

“Oh, for fuck’s—GET BACK HERE!” Shane ordered with howahkan, remembering all too late that Louis didn’t respond to anyone’s compulsion but the Pack Alpha’s.

Louis smugly shrugged and put a hand to his mouth to amplify his response, “Tell Harry I threatened your life!” he yelled at the distancing and poor excuses for guards.

“Your monster bunny almost did!” Shane bit back as loud as she could, giving up on chasing the animal because she’d never catch up.

“He’s a big boy!” Louis defended in a screech, that being the last thing said before Wewe turned a corner and cut the visual connection.

“He’d better live,” Demila groaned, taking Shane’s hand and leading her away from the teepee to a nearby group of rogues their noses were alerting them of.

You got that, Louis? You better live, Shane inwardly begged to mirror Demila’s words, siding up with her fellow Alpha to take on the latest bunch of encroaching rogues.

 

---

 

Louis with Chatan, and Niall with his arrows, were actually able to mow down quite a few rogues on the way to find their Alphas. Apparently, the huge form of Wewe was somewhat surprising, and the rogues' distracted moments of frozen staring were enough to slay them without the need to decrease their speed.

Disregarding Niall’s never-ending and constant stressful whine, the blonde was doing a fair job of hitting every target he had. It was pleasantly remarkable, considering him and Louis had done so much slacking off in hunting duty lately, but the training he had received was paying off. The blonde, to conserve his arrows, was hardly using his bow; instead, he slit the rogues’ throats as they passed, or rapidly stabbed them and instantly pulled the arrow back. Louis was impressed, and astoundingly proud—he’d commend him for it later.

In their race to reach the main battle, the Omegas caught something off to the side and had to skid to a stop for the first time, slapping Wewe (much to the bunny’s agitation) until he obeyed and halted his gallop. They then carefully jumped off and waddled toward what they’d seen, coming up behind the rogue who was leaned menacingly over their beloved Peeta, and raising their weapons to take him out.

The Alpha wasn’t so easily caught off guard, and he spun around to face his laughably weak and pregnant opponents, extending his claws with a chuckle and fully expecting to slash both their necks in one fell swoop.

Peeta smirked when the rogue turned his back to him, quickly snatching his knives back from where they’d been kicked to and plunging them both into the Alpha’s fully-exposed neck. His kill put up a noteworthy struggle, but when Louis’ blade cut through his chest, the Alpha was left with no other choice than to die—if that can be considered a choice.

“Stop underestimating us,” Louis growled to the dying rogue, stepping aside when he fell face-first into the dirt, his limbs creepily twitching when Peeta yanked his knives out from his severed arteries.

“Don’t fuck with my family,” Peeta sneered to the corpse of his enemy, pulling Louis into his arms and promptly rushing back to We-Ota with Niall in tow. “Thank you. I was getting tired,” he panted, hopping onto the bunny’s back before his fellow kin could even try.

“Where is Katniss?” Louis asked, accepting Peeta’s offer of help as he pulled him up the bunny’s unnatural frame.

“Out fighting for the pack, of course. And I was to stay inside, because it’s not safe for me out here, of course… And I’m here anyway, of course,” Peeta said with an air of feigned innocence, happy that Louis looked especially proud of him.

“She’s right, it’s not safe. But it’s not safe for anyone, not just us,” Louis stressed, doing his job to get Niall on Wewe’s butt and scoot forward so he wouldn’t fall off. Wewe grunted from the added weight of one extra wolf, but once they were seated, the animal got over it and took off.

En route to the council house (where everything sounded the loudest), the bunny-riding group passed Draco and Parsel, and they all grinned at what they saw. The lovers were standing back-to-back and spinning in a slow circle as they cut down every rogue that tried to find a weakness in their defenses, and no other natural bondmates in history had ever fought so well together—this, Louis knew.

To the rogues’ grave misfortune, when Draco and Parsel were together, the lovers had no weaknesses, and they were all paying for that with their lives. The pair appeared to be almost…having a good time. This didn’t surprise Louis at all, and if it were any other circumstance, he’d join them, but he had his own fight to find.

Wewe continued to pound his little feet into the ground, and once the meeting hall was in sight, the Omegas slowed him down, dismounting behind the armory and unanimously tiptoeing down the length of the building’s side to peek around the corner and observe the main battle.

Peeta and Wewe put their efforts into chopping down some rogues behind them, and Niall and Louis searched the mayhem for their mates, finding them difficult to pinpoint when everyone’s scents were so mixed and potent. The Omegas decided to close their eyes instead, focusing on their Alpha’s spirits, and they discovered almost immediately the pack leaders were directly across from them on the other side of the armory. Duh, Louis chided himself, sharing an eyeroll with the equally exasperated Niall. How could we miss that?

The Omegas slid along the plank house and popped their heads around the front corner, Louis stood, and Niall crouched below him. They both gasped when they visually found their battling Alphas, and Louis’ first sight of his own put him straight into overdrive—Harry was in danger.

Harry was skillfully handling a rogue at his front, but he wasn’t paying attention to the one sneaking up behind him a sword aimed at his back. The Omega knew Zayn wouldn’t make it in time to save him even if he looked right this second, so he wordlessly leapt over Niall and shot himself into the middle of the fight, swinging Chatan up to behead the plotting rogue and yipping when he successfully did.

His interference regrettably got the incandescently furious attention of his Alpha, who effortlessly dismembered the enemy at his front he’d been focused on and then cranked his head over his shoulder to give him the most lethal glare possible. Those eyes, however, ended up boring into back of Louis’ head instead because he swiftly turned around and took up a guarding position behind him, trying not to tremble when his Alpha snarled at him.

Louis, you idiot!” Harry bellowed in rage, returning his focus to the Alpha rogues they were now simultaneously battling; Niall and Peeta joined in as well, to the equaled dismay of Zayn and Katniss, and Harry had never been so irate in his life. “What did I tell you? Get your pregnant ass to safety right now!” he commanded, lacing howahkan into the order and balking when his Omega showed no reaction to him.

Louis sliced Chatan through the enemy skin he’d been aiming for, and when he had the breath, he responded to Harry’s ineffective howahkan. “Nowhere is safe, Harry. I can’t follow an impossible order. Get that? There is no safety, you canine!” he snapped, disposing of another rogue sneaking up in Harry’s blind spot. “Besides, I don’t think that’s any way to talk to someone who just saved your stupid life…twice.”

Harry growled as he drove his fingers into the eyes of an attacker, barking at Louis to duck and then throwing the rogue over him by the eye sockets, thereby knocking him into another rogue who’d been secretly hiding in a bush. The rogue who got hit by his blinded comrade yelped and blew his cover, and Katniss and Peeta hurried to finish them both off.

“I was doing fine,” Harry belatedly countered as he licked the blood from his fingers, stretching and rolling his shoulders in preparation for the next kill he’d get to make.

"You were not,” Louis negated, scoffing at the mere notion he hadn’t been of use. “If I hadn’t shown up—”

“What, I would have been slayed by the Alpha trying to sneak up behind me? I’m quite capable of taking care of myself, Omega, and I specif—

“Ohhh, here we go,” Louis drawled in exasperation, his chest tightening in irritation—he was getting close to his boiling point. “I am too, you know! I only did it for—”

"Three years!” Harry roared, taking all his pent-up frustration at his mate’s lack of self-preservation and shoving it into snapping a rogue’s neck, wordlessly moving their group as they fought their way closer to the meeting hall. “I know! You were fan-fucking-tastic for three hundred and sixty-five days...three times. If I ever hear that again—” he vaguely threatened, getting understandably distracted by an influx of rogues he had to guard his mate from. “You also weren’t heavy with pups back then,” he reasoned with a tone of the utmost disapproval, deciding to focus on the important matters instead of participating in more stupid squabbling.

“Heavy,” Louis repeated, completely ceasing his fighting and turning around in disbelief. “Heavy?! Calling me fat?” he barked, losing his every sense of priority.

Harry groaned and spun around, conveniently killing a rogue over his Omega’s shoulder and looking him dead in the eyes. “Yes. Yes, Louis. That’s what I’m doing. I’m calling you fat. You are a mountain. You’re ludicrously heavy. WITH MY WOLVES!” he exploded, having already lost his patience the second Louis had left their home—he just hadn’t known it yet.

“Stupid Alpha!” Louis cried in retaliation, shoving at Harry’s chest when the Alpha only rolled his eyes. “Don’t expect to knot this fat ass ever again for the rest of your sexually-deprived life!” he bit even though both knew that threat would never see the light of day, the Omega finally turning his attention back to their invaders to unleash his anger on them. It was easy to do.

Harry couldn’t believe what he was hearing; Louis had been a bit edgy from the hormones, but never had he considered the Alpha mentioning his weight a bad or offensive thing—because it wasn’t a bad thing. There was nothing an Alpha liked more than a thick Omega under their hands, and Louis was starting a fight for no reason at all…in the middle of a war. “Louis William Reedus-Tomlinson Styles,” he began angrily, bemusedly, and fondly all at once, filled so strongly with the opposing forces of love and anger he felt like he was suffocating. “You are without a doubt the single most difficult Omega this world has ever seen.”

Louis huffed in obvious resentful protest, but a prideful grin swept his face at the unintended compliment. “But I’m your world. Condescend all you want, you’d never knot anyone else,” he accused, slashing the backs of a rogue’s legs when he tried to lunge for Niall.

Harry turned when their area was temporarily cleared and pulled Louis into him by the Omega’s thick hip, planting a probably ill-timed kiss on his soft lips because he couldn’t help it. “Never,” he concurred to his swooning mate, licking back into his mouth and tuning everything out to have a single moment of peace in the very throes of chaos—they’d earned it.

 

~~~

 

Lauran and Camila were sat together at the side of the training center, locked in an intense embrace they never wanted to leave. Lauran was against the wall with Camila curled up in her lap, and she sang her mate every lullaby she knew. They’d had a good amount of mental preparation by now, but that base acceptance had dissipated when they realized their fate was imminently upon them.

Camila scented her mate’s neck as much as she could and kissed at her skin, taking in everything as she normally would and trying not to think about how it was the last time in this world. Lauran pet her hair and whispered words of love and encouragement, even though she was petrified at their predicament, and Camila never could have asked for a better Alpha.

In their cuddle time by the training center, they’d been too upset about the future to speak of it, so instead they had spoken of their past, recapping all their favourite moments with each other and even bringing up the frustrating bits. They’d cried, laughed, smiled, and kissed to their hearts' content, and as soon as the reminiscing led too close to the daunting present, they had quieted. Now, they shared their silence, only humming and singing songs together to block out the howls of battle.

Time stretched on in that serene manner for probably longer than Camila deserved, and she hated to interrupt Lauran’s singing, but a twisting in her gut told her their fate was near. She reached up and captured her Alpha’s lips, kissing hard to say the things she couldn’t with language.

Lauran understood and reciprocated her side of the physical conversation, happy to taste and smell her mate as she clouded her senses, but her heart froze when Camila pulled away and scrambled off her lap, searching the battle that had begun filtering over from the meeting hall.

Lauran craned her neck and saw her alkin in the distance, and she wished more than anything they could help her and her mate, but they had to do this themselves. She stood and walked up behind her mate, wrapping her arms around her stomach and sighing against her neck as she tightened her hold—her Omega shouldn’t ever have to leave these arms of hers...especially not to die…

Camila wrapped her own arms around Lauran’s and they swayed side to side as the Omega watched for the sign she knew she needed. Almost instantly, with an intensity that struck her like a bolt of lightning, she spotted the foul Cassian hunkered down across the path, peeking around the grass weavers’ structure as he prepared an arrow to shoot. She followed his pointed gaze to see the sword-swinging Louis maybe fifty paces away, and she knew the Omega was his goal. “There,” she whispered, pointing with a shaky hand to the rogue leader’s second-in-command.

Lauran, holding her breath, went against everything in her nature and loosened her arms to free her mate, but when she actually made to leave, the Alpha gasped and captured her elbow, spinning her back around because they weren’t done. “Wait,” she begged, crashing their lips together one last time and silently crying into the kiss. “I’m right behind you, Mika,” she whispered, their foreheads touching as they stared into the other’s eyes.

Camila lifted a hand and smoothed her palm down her mate’s beautiful face, thanking the Gods for giving them the time they had in this world. “I’ll be waiting,” she choked, ripping away from her mate before the Alpha could stop her, and rushing straight into the line of fire.

Lauran gripped the top of her own hair with both hands and heaved loud, ragged breaths of panic, fighting herself harder than she ever had in her life so she wouldn’t accidentally save her love. Every inhale felt like fire, her wolf rabid with the need to protect the thing she’d sworn to—the thing she lived to.

Her gasps for air turned to breakdown sobs, and it felt like her throat was closing from the horror she was drowning in. He whined and whimpered, silently praying this was just a nightmare and she would wake back up with a face full of her mate’s bothersome long hair. The same hair that was now jumping and swishing as her Omega pounded her tiny feet into the ground, courageously skidding to a stop just as Cassian let his deadly arrow fly. “No, no, no, no, no!” she cried, clinging to a pillar and refusing to let herself leave in these last few moments of torture.

Camila faced the arrow with outstanding courage and signature Chehalis loyalty, only having a second before it would hit her, and using that second to say the thing she’d almost forgotten to in all the chaos. I love you, she mentally sent to her Alpha, briefly hearing Lauran’s anguished howl before a staggering pain struck her chest and drew her soul-first into a realm of pitch-black nothingness. Is that a light?

Lauran screamed as her soul quite literally ripped in half, her parted mate having taken her half with her, and the emptying pain was unlike anything the physical realm could even touch. It was agonizing, traumatizing, harrowing, tormenting, excruciating, it was all of it. The cutting loss of her beloved Camila was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually unbearable, and the second she could stand (from falling to her knees), Lauran leapt out of their hiding spot and set her vengeful sights on Cassian. Camila’s stupid prophecy or not, Lauran had a one-track mind. Cassian was going to die by her hand, Harry be damned.

She then heard Louis screeching, and she took a second to shift her focus to her family. Of course, she thought morbidly, noticing Roman was creeping out from the shadows toward them with his sword in hand. She kicked up dirt as she skidded to a stop and switched directions, cursing Cassian and running at full speed toward the rogue leader who was no doubt moving to strike Harry. So, it really was gonna happen like this. No matter what we did…

Her family hadn’t yet figured out why they were feeling the loss of a member, but it was an advantage for Lauran because she now had the element of surprise. Louis was hyperventilating and Harry trying to calm him, thinking they were safe from the attacks, but they didn’t see Roman coming up from the sidelines. By the time they did, Lauran had already reached them, and she shoved Harry out of the way, chest meeting the plunging sword’s end with smug pride as she let her dagger stab deep into Roman’s hip.

She heard everyone yell her name as the Roman’s sword blasted through her chest and into her broken heart, but the searing pain was wholly welcomed—anything to ebb the spiritual illness encompassing her every fibre from losing Camila. Roman pulled back as soon as he’d come in because now he was open for retaliation, removing the sword and smirking in victory as Lauran began to fall.

Lauranna didn’t let the smirk get to her at all, though. He hadn’t won. He’d given her what she wanted. Lauran was only impatient to find her mate waiting for her on the other side, and she smiled when her world began to darken, the cycle of life pulling her toward the ground as she ascended closer to her Omega. I’m coming, Camila.

 

~~~

 

Harry’s heart felt like it had skipped a beat from the shock of Lauran’s death, having watched it directly in front of him, and he wanted nothing more than to avenge her, but with Roman distracted with the knife in his hip, he had to use this time to get Louis to safety. Corralling Niall, Zayn, and Louis, the Pack Alpha all but threw them onto Wewe as Katniss dragged Peeta away, and shut down his emotions.

“NOOO!” Louis screamed as he was forced onto his rabbit’s back, trying to get to Camila’s body by the weaver station which he’d finally seen.

Harry hopped on behind everyone and held Louis in a vice-grip, ordering Wewe to get to the Keep and praying the creature could understand him. He could have taken Roman down, but he wasn’t about to miss the elusive Cassian popping out of some hiding place and coming after his mate, his Beta, or Niall. He’d already lost wolves important to him—he couldn’t lose any more. He wouldn’t have anyone left.

Harry looked over his shoulder at the still smirking Roman and growled at him, watching him yank the dagger from his hip and lick the blood off its blade. The bastard never took his eyes off Harry’s retreating group, and the Pack Alpha committed it to memory. He may be letting him get away, but Harry’s face will be the last thing Roman ever sees. Of that, he is sure.

Once at the Keep, Harry threw everyone into the storage space and further threw himself in front of Louis, who had instantly tried to run back out. “Get the fuck back, Omega,” he snarled at his mate, baring his canines and trying to scare him into compliance.

“Harry, Camila,” Louis cried, his grief overpowering his logic and leaving him with the blinded desire to save them. “We have to go back! We have to help! What happened to Lauranna, she’s still out there, what about—”

“They’re dead, Louis,” Harry stated bluntly, if a bit insensitively, making his Omega gasp and choke in unwilling comprehension. Once again, Harry couldn’t let himself feel yet—not now. “You wanna run out there and join them? Huh? I’ll die before I let that happen. I’ll sacrifice this whole fucking tribe to keep you safe, sit the fuck down!” he roared, making Louis’ sobs reach several octaves higher.

Niall thankfully darted up to tug on Louis’ hand, urging him to sit so he wouldn't get yelled at again, and seeing Niall’s tears seemed to work for Louis. He slowly sat down and threw his arms around the blonde, and the two promptly began to cry their feelings to each other.

Zayn looked shaken as well, eyes widely dilated from all the adrenaline, and he was even jumpier than Wewe, who was standing guard outside and letting out strange whines of his own. Harry wasn’t much better off, his mind screaming Camila and Lauran at him nonstop. It was only getting louder as he hid away from battle, but he had to stay. He couldn’t leave his mate, and he also couldn’t let him fight anymore. It was stupid to let him in the first place and if he could take it back, he would.

Aside from the obvious deceased wolves, Harry was sure he had lost a council member as well, but he couldn’t tell who, and every death of his pack was driving a stake deeper into his soul. A soul he shared with Louis, who was currently a spiritual wreckage, so they kept unintentionally dragging each other down.

In their hiding, the group heard a retreat-call howled from what had to be Roman. Apparently, his hip wound was too gnarly to fight on, and Harry changed his earlier commitment to stay put and decided he couldn’t let the scum get away. He stood from his crouched position and went to bring Roman down before he left the territory line, but Zayn did the same as he had for Louis and blocked the exit with his body, making himself as big as possible to bar the way.

“Harry, stop!” the Beta snapped, recognizing the primal anger in Harry and trying to talk some sense into him. “Think about Louis! You can’t leave right now,” he pleaded, begging his Alpha to see reason before marching back into Roman’s path; busted hip or not, that bastard was still dangerous, and Harry would be sloppy right now.

“Zayn, that monster just invaded my pack and murdered my wolves—I can’t just sit here,” Harry snarled, towering over Zayn’s admittedly tall frame and growling low in his throat. “I’m gonna fucking kill him. Pack Alphas don’t leave their tribes to their own defenses. Pack Alphas don’t let their members die. They don’t let their enemies walk free. I’ve already failed everyone; I can’t afford not to try.”

“What about your father? Desmond was a fantastic leader—did Chehalis getting invaded under his rule make him a bad Pack Alpha? Did he fail everyone? Shit happens, Harry. None of this is your fault,” the Beta shouted incredulously, gripping onto Harry’s shoulders so hard he drew blood under his nails.

“Desmond did fail,” Harry argued, hot tears brimming his eyes, but they weren’t of grief; rather, the frustration imaginable. “He failed me. My father left me behind, and he took my mother with him,” he gritted, pushing against Zayn with all his might and kicking him when that did nothing to dislodge him from the archway.

“No, Roman did,” the Beta argued calmly, not budging an inch even though Harry’s attacks were especially painful—he was serious about keeping Harry here. He’d withstand as much brutality as it took.

“Exactly!” Harry shouted, thinking of Zayn as rather brainless if he couldn’t put this together. “Roman! Who you’re for some reason guarding—who’s wreaking havoc right outside!”

“I am not guarding Roman, you asshole!” Zayn snarled, striking out with a kick of his own because that last statement had been beyond insulting. “I’m guarding our Omegas. If you have such strong feelings about Desmond leaving you behind, think of your own puppies! You’re a father now too, Harry. Do you want to do the exact same fucking thing? Look at him!” he barked, physically turning the Pack Alpha’s head so he had a clear view of his mate.

Harry’s eyes landed on his Louis, who was shaking with fear and silently reaching out for him to sit back down. His poor Omega looked convinced Harry was about to leave him, and the Alpha realized he probably never would have been able to actually leave the Keep, even if he’d tried. He heaved his shoulders and gave his Beta a thankful pat on the cheek, dutifully attending to his soulmate in shame of his previous behavior. “Louis, you know I’d never leave you,” he asserted, biting into his mate’s neck and wrist to hopefully soothe him, and sitting back on his heels with a frown when it didn’t seem to work.

“I don’t know,” Louis sniffed through endless tears, gesturing to the archway where Zayn was still warily stood, “you looked pretty about to…”

“I was just angry, Lou,” Harry sighed, running his hands through his blood-crusted hair and wincing in discomfort—a trip to the river was definitely in order.

“Harry…Camila—”

“I know, Kimi. I know,” Harry agreed, pressing Louis’ face into the crook of his neck and forcing the Omega to scent him.

Louis was trying his hardest to inhale and calm down, but his breathless sobs never stopped, the calamity of today’s events assaulting his very being.

“Louis?” a woman’s voice frantically called from somewhere in the Keep.

“In here, Mother!” Louis cried, weeping tears of relief when Joéna shoved past Zayn and burst into the storage area.

“Oh, my puppy! Thank the Gods you’re okay,” she bawled, taking her son and his mate into her arms.

Harry returned the embrace willingly, glad despite everything that he was so automatically accepted by his Omega’s mother, and relieved nothing had happened to her so soon after they’d gotten her back.

“Where’s Father?” Louis asked tentatively, not prepared for a morbid answer.

“Sweetie, he’s right outside. He’s just fine, okay? Rashan is outside as well, and I think the invaders are leaving. Some warriors chased after them, but most stayed to tend to the wounded,” she informed, looking to Harry when he flinched at her words.

“How many? How many are dead?” Harry asked with a dry tongue, heart rate increasing as he pondered the number of lost wolves lying lifeless inside the village.

“I don’t know, darling. You’ll have to ask Chibs,” Joéna said solemnly, sympathetic that a wolf so young had to bear the weight of so much depressing responsibility. “What do we do?” she asked, setting aside her sympathy because Harry, young as he may be, was still the Pack Alpha.

Harry sighed and helped Louis stand, walking him to the Keep’s exit as everyone copied his action and followed him. “We have the third worst ceremony this generation of Chehalis has ever seen,” he muttered, steeling himself for whatever he may find once he crossed the threshold. And when he did… “Gods, I’m so sorry,” he said to all his visible fallen, not wanting to think about how many more there may be.

Louis sobbed openly and slapped his hands over his mouth so he wouldn’t scream out. The sight of so many dead littering the ground was nauseating, and he couldn’t handle it at all, retching onto the dust path as Niall followed suit just from the sound. Louis tried hard to count his blessings as he threw up his grief, desperate to latch onto something good when all he saw was bad. At least his parents, his mate, and his closest brother were safe, but he couldn’t say the same for his beloved sister…and that was killing him. Not you, Cami. Not you.

 

---

 

The hardest to execute and most heart-breaking part by far for the Alphas was moving the fallen tribe members to the Ian’s ritual area where they would be set in groups onto the pyre. It stripped bits of their hearts away every time he held a dead wolf in their arms. The fallen were laid out on the grass in the shade of the trees, and Chibs made the final announcement when Harry lowered Camila beside her devoted Lauranna.

“Fifty-nine,” he stated to the leader, the number hurting his mouth just to speak. “Twenty-seven Alphas, thirty-two Omegas.”

Louis waddled over to Camila and dropped to her side, taking her hand in his and laying his head on her silent chest. “Cami,” he whimpered, begging her to just get up and move—make some trademark joke like it was all a con. Like none of this was real. He couldn’t deny she looked peaceful, but it was all wrong.

A blood-covered Draco joined and began braiding the Seer’s hair just like he always used to, his glossed and haunted. Peeta, Niall, Jax, Jade, and Kurt also flocked to them, sitting around their departed sister and wailing in unison, each wolf’s distress climbing to the verge of dropping them all at once.

“Ian,” Harry addressed the Elder in his circle of council Alphas, “Go comfort them. They’re about to drop. Do a small meditation ritual, I don’t care, just stop their whines, please, it’s breaking my heart,” he pleaded, eyes fixed on the grieving Omegas and wishing more than anything that they didn’t have to feel their pain—but they did. And it was his fault.

The Elder bowed at once and went to bring spiritual strength to the Omegas, and Harry wrenched his gaze away from them, looking around at his council and furrowing his eyebrows in nervous suspicion. “Shane?” he asked Chibs, growling when the chief nodded his head to confirm.

“Alpha Harry, she was with me,” Demila piped, stepping to the front of the circle. “We were guarding your house, but that—” She paused, pointing to the crying Wewe by Camila’s omkin, “—gigantic animal plowed us over and they got away…and I’m so sorry about that. I’m thankful, and I am lucky that no harm came to them, or it would be on me entirely. Shane felt Carani pass, and she…she let herself be taken, my Alpha. I’m sorry.”

“Do not apologize, Demi. It’s not on you. Please don’t look at it that way. We will discuss our opening during a meeting after the ceremony. I can’t deal with it right now,” he sighed, sending a prayer to Shane and Carani and thanking them for being so loyal to their pack. “Has anyone seen Lucian?” he then asked, making a confused face when his company shook their heads.

“Haven’t seen him all day, Alpha. Went looking for him pretty specifically, actually,” Daven informed, raising an eyebrow to the Pack Alpha and sharing a knowing lock of eyes.

“Oh, I’m sure he’ll turn up when the excitement’s over,” Chibs sneered, his hands curling into tight fists at his sides. “He’s got knack for that…”

 

---

 

It was not yet noon and the first group of Alphas were already burning on the pyre. The pack wolves were exhausted and distraught, cubs were orphaned (thankfully looked after by Ian’s group of Spirit wolves), and Harry was running on nothing but angry fumes. His warriors were out working hard to remove the rogue corpses from their land, using wheelers and their wolf backs, anything they could to get sixty rogues to the upper river where they would float straight off a cliff and into the ocean.

A tiny part of Harry was satisfied they’d been able to eradicate sixty rogues, but it did nothing to lessen the blow of fifty-nine lost from his pack—that extra Alpha should have been Roman, but Harry had let him get away. Everyone around him was either shaking with sobs, or they were catatonic, staring at the same blade of grass and not blinking as they replayed the horrors of the morning in their traumatized minds. Harry didn’t blame them; he kind of wanted that hollowness too.

The council family was still sat around Camila and Lauran in a circle, the Omegas struggling to breathe from crying so hard, and the Alphas couldn’t even begin to lessen the blow. They had all put the deceased mates together so they touched and curled their hands together, then they’d gathered flowers and placed them around the couple in a large white halo. It was the best they could do…it was the only thing they could do.

Most Alphas in the family had gone to their mates and were sat with them now, but Chibs and Harry still had a lot of pack matters to discuss, so they couldn’t “relax” just yet. Louis thankfully understood and felt no neglect in the slightest, decently content to lie with his head in Zayn’s lap and get his hair methodically combed by a constantly sniffling Niall.

The longer Louis stared at Lauranna and Camila’s lifeless forms, the easier it became to handle, oddly enough. He knew in the depths of his soul they were still together somewhere, just out of reach for the living. Their spirits will forever be intertwined, and death can never part that bond. The hard part was being alive and burdening the pain of loss. Death was much harder for the living than it was for the fallen.

Louis was crushed their deaths had to happen so soon, and so unfairly, but he still found peace in the fact that they’d found their eternal forever in the otherworld. Through this knowledge, his choked sobs had gradually become sniffles, and now he was left with dry eyes and an emptiness in his heart. The family had run out of immediate things to say to each other, and they settled for embracing each other, kissing whoever was closest and telling them they loved them.

Better do it while you can. Never know when you won’t be able to anymore…

 

---

 

Hours later, after the second group of Alphas were burned, the first group of Omegas were gently put onto the flames, and this made most living Omegas lose their minds again. Harry decided it was time to cut the conversations then and heed to his unstable mate, halting all other solutions until the meeting. He fell onto the grass and pulled his Omega into his arms as he laid them out on their backs, whispering whatever comforts came to mind and holding his submissive tight as his kin burned.

Harry kept his curdling hatred for Roman at bay only for the benefit of his Louis, who was consistently opening their bond connection to comfort himself. If Harry let himself feel the anger and vengeance, it would only transfer to Louis, and he needed his mate to be calm—as calm as one can be when they’ve had someone they love ripped from them.

Harry’s Omega eventually fell asleep in his arms, the emotional weight of everything becoming too much to bear, and Harry maintained his purrs to try and keep Louis in the sleep he needed, routinely rubbing at his stomach and letting himself smile. He had his puppies. He had his mate and his puppies. Life could still be somewhat okay if he had those.

Niall passed out soon after, and Harry whispered to Zayn to get food from the Keep and bring it back so their mates could be fed when they came to. The Beta carefully slipped out from under his mate and dashed to the Keep, and Harry reached over and held Niall’s hand so he wouldn’t feel too disconnected at the loss of contact.

It was almost funny; Harry didn’t feel the strength of the subpack they’d formed anymore. It had disappeared. He’d found so much tranquility in it at the time, but it had only existed because it preceded something terrible, and he knew that now. Since said terrible something had transpired, the subpack had withered into the close companionship it had always been before. He didn’t know if that was a loss or a gain…perhaps the danger was over?

But how ‘over’ could it really be? Roman still lives, and Harry still has to destroy him. One day at a time, Harry, he reminded himself, closing his eyes and breathing in the scent of his mate while he tightened his hand around Niall’s. One day at a time.

 

---

 

The rest of the day dragged on exactly how it was. Occasional naps, fits of screaming and crying, unhappy nibbling on food, and holding one another through the worst day of some of their lives. For those who had lost loved ones in the last invasion, this was an awful flashback to something they’d spent six years overcoming. It was agonizingly familiar, and it brought back layers of shit nobody ever wanted to experience again.

Harry was in-between cursing the Gods for taking Cami and Lauran, and graciously thanking them for letting him keep Louis, Louis’ parents, his subpack, and a vast majority of his family. The Pack Alpha hated every second of this, but he knew it could be a lot worse, even though it seemed like the worst it could possibly get. His puppies were safe, and their mother was tucked into his arms, heart beating strongly, and Harry couldn’t be more grateful for this.  

By the time Shane and Carani were next, the sun was setting, and the Omegas were gently shaken awake to pay homage to a council member and her mate. Harry carried Shane while Zayn took care of Carani, and they each slowly walked to the pyre, handing the wolves off to their parents to place them on the wood themselves.

Harry began to profusely apologize to them, almost losing his collected façade entirely, but Zayn dragged him off before that could happen. Everyone knew nobody blamed Harry, and Zayn had to get him out of that situation before he started screaming. Zayn remembers all too well what happens when Harry doesn’t let himself feel and then it all comes out at once. He remembers Harry howling for well over an hour from the death of his parents. In the face of unspeakable horrors, Harry loses himself completely and then usually disappears for over a week, and Zayn is not letting that happen again—once was quite enough.

Ian made his way to Harry and stood behind him, putting a hand upon the Alpha’s shoulder and rubbing it to give support.

Harry turned his head to see who the hand belonged to and his eyes watered, the Alpha throwing his arms around the Elder and shoving his forehead into his broad chest. “Ian. My bloodline is a disgrace. It vandalizes this tribe time and time again,” he gritted through a lump in his throat, disgusting with himself and his incompetence.

“My child, you have done no wrong here,” Ianalfto assured, petting Harry’s hair and letting him hide from the world for a bit. “This is the same foul enemy who started this all those years ago. You did not bring anything here that hadn’t already had its sights set. Roman is a corrupt evil that cannot be controlled or credited to anyone but himself. Never doubt your worth as our leader. You saved more people today than you realize with the number of rogues you were able to stop before they could harm anyone else. They owe their lives to you. And the ones that were lost are still with us today, and forever. In here,” he said, symbolizing it by touching his and Harry’s chests.

“I just…I could have saved more. I’m useless,” Harry pressed stubbornly, running a tired hand through his tangled hair. “I didn’t even kill Roman. Or Cassian. They both got away, and they’ll just keep doing this. I had a chance to end everything, but I didn’t. I couldn’t leave Louis vulnerable after what happened to Camila and Lauran, and now he’s still out there.”

“Just because the enemy has not been conquered today does not mean this battle was in vain,” Ianalfto said mysteriously, not making any sense to Harry because he certainly saw no benefits to this.

How?”

“Everything happens for a reason, Chaska. Now, return to your family,” he urged, kissing Harry on the forehead and backing him into the arms of Zayn, who turned him around and led him back to his most cherished wolves.

When Harry sat back down, Louis was in the middle of a eulogy to his late sister. He resolutely swallowed the ever-present lump in his throat and disconnected his sadness from the words of love spilling out of his mate’s heart.

“— She jumped straight into me and wrapped herself around me. It was so confusing at the time, and I was happy when I came to know her as well as she knew me. I’ll never get to repay her for any and everything she did for me, and I deeply regret that, but she never would have let me anyway…”

“You still would have tried,” Niall noted, knowing his brother well enough to be sure he’d stop at nothing to return a favour.

“You’re right, I would have. Coming here was insane—it was the most intense culture shift I’ll ever know, and Camila and Lauran were such a big part of that. I will always miss them. I’ve known them the shortest, but Camila essentially gave me my Alpha, at least the knowledge that I had one, and that’s a big thing,” he said, looking up and behind him to address said Alpha.

“I was definitely pressured by her as well,” Harry agreed, missing that conversation out in the forest when he’d been so frustrated by his attraction—she hadn’t taken any of his shit. She’d known.

“She knew. She’d known for years. And one day, when my puppies are somewhere in their fourth year of age, I’ll finally have known Cami longer than she’s known me. She never let me hear the end of how one-sided our friendship was, but now she’s put it back at square one. She endured three years of my drama, and I will proudly take on a lifetime of bittersweet remembrance in return. I owe her that,” he chuckled, pausing when the Alphas noticeably concluded their farewells to Lauran and nibbling on his lip in sadness. “Is it time?” he asked his Alpha, looking over to the pyre and cringing.

“You can say some final words,” Harry said, crawling over to Lauran to hold her and pay his respects to his Seer’s wonderful mate as Louis finished his speech.

“Shit, okay. Camila, my dear deer, you never have to worry about us tripping over some rock in five minutes again. You never have to be a matchmaker for two stubborn true mates again. As you and Lauran run through the fields of the otherworld, let me promise you I will never fight my destiny again, and my children will never fight theirs either. Thank you for everything. Bye, Cami,” he rushed, wiping his nose and scooting away from her in acceptance of the run-out time.

Lauranna and Camila were then scooped into the arms of the council and placed on the pyre, and their family stood close in a tight circle around it. Louis didn’t take his eyes off for one second. It was awful, it was dreadful, and it was heartbreaking, but the Omega refused to undermine the experience. He needed to feel this pain and remember it like the Seer and her Alpha deserved to be remembered. This was the last time their bodies would be in this world, and Louis was going to give every last speck of attention he had to watch them leave.

Harry knew better than to try and move Louis, or make him sit, so he resorted to stand behind him and support most of his weight with arms wrapped under his arms. Louis was committed to stand and watch the entire process, and Harry understood the desire to do that. The mates stood like that for two hours, and just as the flames were dying down, the cloudy sky began to snow.

The ice times were close to coming back, and it seemed this was an early introduction. The air adopted an eerie chill, trembling through every wolf in the field, and in Louis’ opinion, it was the perfect send-off. As the fire that was Camila and Lauran snuffed out, so did the rest of the heat in the tribe. Oh, how Cami would smirk at the symbolism.

Harry howled for a council meeting, and Louis needed to be carried all the way there, too drained from his emotions and standing so long to walk himself. Once each council member had filed in, their Omega mates—plus Jax—all piled together in the corner on the floor, curling up against each other and falling asleep as their Alphas handled their business.

Harry found it in himself to take a moment and gaze at his softly breathing mate, lovingly smiling and itching to get into bed with him and sleep their sorrow away. He had things to say first, though, and the first was to ask Norman to run an errand for him. “Norman. I realize I should have asked outside to save time, but will you go find Ianalfto, Rashan, Joéna, and Mishella please?”

“Of course, Alpha. I’ll return shortly,” Norman said obediently, standing to jog out of the meeting hall where it was now heavily snowing.

“While we’re waiting, I just wanted to say that my heart is damaged from the loss of our Shane, but a new member must be put in place. Rashan fought very admirably for us today and I find him to be the most obvious choice, having been a Pack Beta himself. Are there any objections? And for the love of the Gods, don’t object, I can’t deal with it right now,” he warned, deciding he’d unleash his aggression on the potential objector.

“None here, Alpha. Rashan has proved himself to me on numerous occasions during patrol. He’s a good fit for us,” Chibs praised, sure in his verdict because his instincts for such things were unparalleled.

“Aye,” Daven seconded, fiddling with his facial hair and boring his eyes into a scuff on the table. He still hadn’t recovered yet from today.

Everyone else nodded their heads and Harry let out a small breath of relief. “I’m also doing this without Lucian. I cannot stop for his measly presence…” he spat, truly starting to hate that wolf the more disloyalty he displayed. 

When Norman returned with the requested wolves, Harry stood and approached the Alpha male, taking a hand in his. “Rashan,” he began, giving the biggest smile he force from himself, “you have done this pack a great service, and I am without a doubt you have saved many lives today. We have suffered the loss of one of our members, and we consider you a desired replacement. Will you join my council?” he asked, nodding to the shocked face of the former Beta to say he was entirely serious.

Rashan pressed his lips to the back of Harry’s hand and knelt to one knee, placing his fist over his heart. “I will serve you, Alpha Harry, until my dying breath. You have given me a home when I lost mine, and I will spend every day of my life striving to make up for it,” the Alpha pledged, eyes downcast out of reverent respect.

“Ian,” Harry addressed the Elder, who walked forward and began the pack ceremony chant. “I’m sorry I can’t give you the formalities, Rashan. We’re in a bit of a rush,” the Alpha explained, snorting at his own words.

“It’s quite alright, my Pack Alpha. I don’t particularly like flashy rituals anyhow,” Rashan said with a lopsided grin, unknowingly proving to Harry that much more that he was the perfect fit.

Harry smiled and lifted Rashan’s wrist to his mouth, scenting it briefly and then digging in with his canines, marking and tying the Alpha to Chehalis. It was just as much the spiritually glorious moment as every other tie, and over far too soon, but Harry was still eager to get it all over with.

After Rashan was marked into Chehalis, Harry then beckoned Mishella and repeated much of the same thing, but he had one extra thing to bring up. “Today, we lost our treasured Seer. You said you had to be here. Did you know this was the reason?” he asked, ready to accept any answer regardless of what pain it may wreak.

Mishella shook her head and bowed respectfully to the Chehalis leader. “No, Alpha Harry. Not to the extent you may think. I knew I would someday replace Camila, but I did not know when, how, or why. Not even her death was shown to me. It could have been a loss of sight, or a pack removal. I wasn’t shown. And because there were no wolves with the sight born before her passing, I will humbly and gladly take on the responsibility until my time comes as well. And I will train my successor when they are of age,” she vowed, kneeling as Rashan had and holding her wrist up for Harry to scar with the Spirit.

“Welcome, Misha. I’ll admit I have unfair expectations of you, given that Camila was very dear to my heart, but I am confident you will rise to meet the standard I have set for you,” he said as politely as he could, pulling her arm up higher as he bent down.

“I do not look to replace. Only to carry on the duty,” she assured, squeezing her eyes shut in anticipation when she felt the Pack Alpha’s lips on her skin.

Harry smiled and gifted her his mark, both humming in joy as their souls danced around with the energy of Chehalis. He pulled his teeth out when the bond was formed, and when she stepped aside, he did the same to Louis’ wonderful mother. He almost teared up this time when Joéna whimpered her gratitude and pulled him into her comforting arms, and it was a true testament to his strength that he didn’t—then her words made it even worse.

“I can never fill the hole the loss of your mother has left within you, Harry...but you are my son’s mate, and I need you to know that by my standards, that makes you my son as well. You have a family with Norman and I, and we will be the best substitutes for parents we can be,” she declared, caressing the Alpha’s cheeks with her thumbs and grinning with the familial love Harry had missed so much.

“Thank you, Joéna. You and Anneya are very similar, and I do not consider it presumptuous of you to pick up where she left off. I’m proud to call you family,” Harry professed, guiding Joéna back to Norman and sharing a warm look with him as well.

After they completed the informal ritual, Harry adjourned the meeting and sent all the wolves home, lifting his Louis into his arms and walking home with Zayn. His fantastic warriors had pledged to finish the cleaning up of the tribe while he slept, and he was grateful as ever to have such amazing wolves in his pack.

The leader Alphas stepped up to the bedding and set their Omegas down beside one another, getting in themselves and closing their heavy eyes, trying to chase sleep. Expectedly, they didn’t feel like sleeping, and it took an unfortunate hour of silence before Zayn, as Harry had already predicted, fell asleep first.

Harry stared hard at the top of his teepee, imagining he could see beyond it and into the realm Camila and Lauranna were now in as he gave the late Seer a final prayer—the next time they spoke, it would be in the afterlife together. He had to let her to, and the time was now. 

I'm sorry, CamilaI promised you I would protect you, and I couldn't. I failed you, but I know you would vehemently, and loudly object that…I just can’t help but feel what I do. I’ll miss you all the time, but just have fun with Lauran in the otherworld, and I’ll see you again someday. That's one promise I can keep. I love you…

Harry Styles, Pack Alpha of Chehalis, cried all night.

Chapter Text

Louis lay awake to the soft caresses on his belly, and hot breath against his neck. He hadn’t moved a muscle since waking, since it was still night and everyone seemed to be deep in their dreams, and he didn’t want to upset the tranquility. His mind was spinning with flashbacks of the battle, and he missed Camila so much already—this healing process was going to be a long one. He was skeptical he would ever truly move on, but hopefully it would grow to be easier as time progressed.

He had been so happy with the way things had been going—had. Life had been admittedly a little high-strung, but Louis’ depression and loneliness had long since disappeared, and his mental stability was fireproof at this point. He’d slayed a lot of rogues since his introduction into Chehalis, but he didn’t feel even one twitch from his thigh telling him to punish himself for it. Having an Alpha really did mend everything that had been broken.

And then he lost Camila. And even with Harry, it still felt close to impossible for Louis to get over this. He knew he’d be hopeless without him, and he tried to count his blessings for that, but even that objectivity didn’t do much for the current struggle. His Alpha and his family were the only things keeping him together now, and Louis thanked the Gods once every five minutes for this privilege.

Eventually, he felt his Alpha’s stroking thumb slow its movement and then stop entirely, and the Omega closed his eyes to try and get back to the otherworld of consciousness when Niall quietly whispered into the darkness.

“Louis?”

Louis took a bit of time to respond, shifting his weight a bit to get his hand under his cheek and situate his aching hips so they were more comfortable. He could tell from Niall’s tone that this conversation wouldn’t be an easy one. “Yeah…” he asked in a non-questioning tone, his voice itself stuck in a low and tired registry.

“... Do you think she knew?” the blonde asked, careful not to speak too loudly and wake their Alphas.

Louis took even longer to respond this time, silently staring at the faint outline of Niall he could see in the darkness. He knew the blonde understood he was just trying to find the right words, so he didn’t rush. When he thought he finally got it, he shifted his legs again and took in a breath to discuss the emotional topic. “I don’t know…part of me thinks she did. Because that’s just so quintessentially Camila...” he began, taking a calculated pause before continuing. “But then…the other part says there’s no way she could have. Doesn’t want to believe it, maybe. If she knew, she didn’t know for long. ‘Cuz I just…I feel like she would have made sure to say goodbye. She would have tried to have important last moments with us, even if we didn’t know why at the time. We would have figured it out afterward. But instead, she left so suddenly, and I didn’t even get to hug and kiss her, or anything...” he whimpered, his voice cracking on the last word and making him gulp a swallow.

“Draco says she did,” Niall quietly countered, giving Louis the time he needed to process that.

“…What?”

“Draco said she went around to everyone’s teepees last night to give a manner of farewells. Also, that she was gonna get us all together today to have like a last meal together and stuff. That’s why I asked you if she’d known,” he explained, unbelievably upset that the party and meal would never happen. It should have—they had deserved it.

“Why didn’t she come here, then? If that’s true, she would have been here,” Louis pressed, almost unwilling to believe that because he hadn’t gotten any sliver of a goodbye.

“You were asleep,” Harry suddenly rumbled against the nape of Louis’ neck, voice deep and husky from hours of not using it.

“How long have you been awake?” Louis asked after flinching from the vibrations in his skin, scooting back further into his mate’s chest and chasing his warmth.

Harry stretched his limbs and gathered Louis back in his arms like he wanted, humming in thought for the number. “About twenty-four hours,” he muttered, pissed he’d spent the night crying instead of getting rest he would drop to the ground without.

“Eavesdropper,” Louis chided, promptly addressing the content of Harry’s interruption because the Alpha clearly knew something he didn’t. “But what do you mean I was asleep?”

“Remember when she came and pulled me out to talk to me? She mentioned it then, that she knew we would lose someone, and it would break every heart of our family, but she didn’t know who or when. And the whole time, it was her and Lauran... When she came back, you all were sleeping and she held your hand for a while. Then I guess she went everywhere else,” he informed having not known about the other visits, loosening his arms when Louis dramatically rolled over to face him.

“Why didn’t you wake me?” Louis demanded, slightly hurt he hadn’t gotten his proper closure when he could have so easily done so. Again, even if he hadn’t known.

“Oh,” Harry cooed in regret, stroking his mate’s accusatory face and planting kisses on his forehead. “I am truly sorry, Lou. I didn’t know it was her last night here; you know I would have woken you otherwise. I feel awful about it, please don’t hold it against me,” he pleaded, aware this kind of irritation could turn to resentment quick if left unchecked.

Louis softened his frown and pressed his lips to his Alpha’s, melting into the resulting embrace. “I don’t blame you, Harry. I’m sorry I came at you like that—it is the fault of no wolf but Roman’s. Even though I didn’t have a clue, I’m glad she got her closure. That’s most important. I had a version of mine today at the ceremony as well. I’ll just miss her,” he said needlessly, that fact being probably the most obvious thing in the world.

“We all will, my love,” Harry agreed, his dry eyes stinging from the cold air wafting in from outside. “Remember her with happiness—you know she’d be put out by anything else,” he reasoned, smiling when his words dragged a chuckle out of his mate.

“Guys?” Zayn’s gravelly voice chimed into the conversation.

“Hmm?” Harry hummed, trying to lift his head to see his Beta but not seeing much of anything and dropping it back down.

“I’m going to take Niall home tonight. I believe it will help us sleep, and I need him to myself. I love you all, and we’ll see you when the day breaks,” he said, lifting Niall up and walking out after everyone’s, "goodnights" were exchanged.

Harry and Louis snuggled under the blankets, and were about to try for sleep when Louis remembered something that was bothering him, and he lightly elbowed Harry to really get his attention. “Alpha?”

“What is it, Kimi?” Harry mumbled against Louis’ shoulder blades, causing a tremor to coast down the Omega’s spine.

“It’s our puppies, Harry. They haven’t moved since last night, and I just think…I think they’re scared out of their little minds, do you think you could help?” he asked, really hoping there was something their father could do to cheer them up.

Harry whined in concern and propped himself up on his elbow to better communicate. “What could I do, Lou? Tell me what to do—anything for our little ones,” he said, rubbing all around Louis’ belly and kissing his cheek repeatedly.

Louis didn’t particularly know what Harry could do either and he racked his brain to try and think of something his pups would want, squinting his eyes when Harry lit a few candles to give them light. An idea came to him then, and he decided to try it out. “Could you sing to them?” he suggested, biting his lip sheepishly when Harry gave him a look of disbelief.

“Sing?” Harry repeated in surprise, setting the last candle down and crawling back to his mate while he accepted the task at hand. “Yes, I could sing. If you think that will help…”

“I’m not entirely sure, actually,” Louis admitted, still seeing no downside to Harry’s singing regardless.

Harry gave a lopsided smile and lifted Louis into a sitting position, hoisting him up to lean back against the tree trunk as he parted those sweet thighs, taking a lying position in-between them so his face was right up against his pups. “There is this one thing my father used to sing to me. It’s an olde song that Alpha parents sing only to their Alpha children. It’s to sort of help with strength and courage, I think. I mean, I’m no Spirit wolf, but I know the words. And it worked for me,” he rambled, an uncommon bout of nerves fluttering around in his stomach.

Louis giggled and carded his fingers through Harry’s hair, finding it adorable to watch his Alpha scramble for confidence. “Go for it. I’d love to hear you sing,” he encouraged, running his index down the Alpha’s nose and poking the tip of it for fun.

Harry grinned from the support and coughed into his fist to clear his throat, delicately massaging the skin of Louis’ stomach and looking into his eyes one more time before directing his focus to his pups.

He opened the bond connection with his Omega so the words would really get through, and then began to chant with as much enunciation as he could, though he was well aware his puppies did not understand language and wouldn’t mind either way.

Louis gasped the instant he heard the beautiful tones of Harry’s singing voice. He realized at that moment he had been drearily missing out on life, and he couldn’t understand how he hadn’t heard it before. It was deep and rumbly, but soft and well-rounded, every note hit flawlessly.

Even the way Harry’s lips moved around the words was astounding. The occasional dimple that would pop out, and the way his eyebrows furrowed with the emotions of the tones, all made up a vision Louis would never forget. Every tiny detail of the experience gave Louis chills, and intensified the already record-breaking love he had for his Alpha.

Louis was relaxing with his eyes closed, making circles with his hands into Harry’s upper back as the Alpha did the same on his stomach, when he felt it. Almost all at once, his puppies were brought out of their stupor and wriggling around inside him.

Harry felt it from the outside and gave a dazzling grin, ceasing his singing to praise the little ones. “Hi, puppies. How are you?” he cooed at Louis’ belly, looking up to his mate with glee all over his face. “Lou, it worked!”

Louis tried to smile but it ended up as a grimace from the painful movement against his ribs—and whatever else was in the line of fire. “Oh wow, they’re really up. I…yeah, this is really uncomfortable, I’m sorry I asked,” he gritted as he pushed up on the underside of his tummy, trying unsuccessfully to lift one off his bladder.

Harry chuckled at Louis’ complaints and sat up on his knees, leaning forward and hooking his arms under the Omega to move him back down. “Let’s get the Momma on his side, then,” he proposed, smiling proudly when his mate sighed from the alleviating position. “They’ll settle back down soon,” he added when Louis didn’t completely halt his squirming, ruffling his hair even when the Omega glared at him.

“When?” Louis scoffed, doubting that claim because he’d already been kept awake for long stretches of time by his puppies’ adventurous acrobatics.

“When you do, my love,” Harry replied, gently kissing the outside crease of his mate’s left eye.

Louis grumbled at the answer, but nevertheless called to their bond to heighten his chances of reaching a calm place. Harry was consequently filled with the Omega’s fierce love for him, and he shuffled down to talk once more to his children while the amazing connection was so strong.

“Puppies, let your mother sleep, please. It’s been a traumatic day for us all and he fought hard the whole time. You need not fear anymore; the danger has passed, and you’re perfectly safe within your home. Rest now, my tiny tiny Alphas,” he urged, practicing sending some of his exhaustion into their little ones and tire them out enough to sleep.

To Louis’ grateful appreciation, the pups seemed to feel and decipher the meaning of their father’s tone, and they gradually halted their incessant flapping about, giving him the ultimate gift of peace. “That was enormously impressive, Alpha. You have my undying gratitude,” he praised, suddenly shivering from the cold he hadn’t noticed before.

Harry acted at once and gathered every blanket around, throwing them over his mate and tucking him in, paying special attention on covering Louis’ midsection. “You need insulation, Lou. Pups need warmth—you keep forgetting this,” he said as he fit himself under the covers and pressed his body against his Omega’s, wrapping his arms around his chilled skin.

“I know, I’m sorry… I got too distracted by said pups. Which is ironic when you think about it,” Louis said through slightly chattering teeth, snuggling into Harry’s chest and hiding from the air.

Harry tsked and pulled the top blanket over Louis’ head, completely enveloping him and radiating his own body heat to wash over the Omega. He also snapped his fingers at Wewe, who nudged himself closer to lie on Louis’ other side.

“This is a huge difference. Thank you,” Louis muffled through the mound of quilts, so comfortable with his new position he could probably fall asleep in seconds.

Louis’ meek voice sounded so sweet and adorable to Harry that he couldn’t help but "aww" at his comment. He lifted the blanket just enough to look down and see his tiny mate’s face staring up at him with two little fists pressed up against the Alpha’s chest, and he ‘aww’d again. He dipped in to brush their lips together for a sweet kiss, then raised his head back out and set the blankets down.

Louis was suffocating from his Alpha’s overpowering scent in the best way imaginable inside his blanket enclosure, and it brought him more peace than he could have hoped for. Every inhale was a deep one, taking in and greedily reveling in the calming scent that was his to smell.

To Louis, Harry’s aroma was that of petrichor, rain in general, and pine, with the undertones of leaves and soil from the forest around Chehalis. The robust addition of pure Alpha intermixed within, of course, left the Omega helplessly addicted. Only Harry’s pheromones had the ability to settle Louis’ nerves, or stop a panic in its tracks, and to know he had a lifetime supply of it was very reassuring. No harm in breathing him in like he was trying to take in the entire lifetime supply all at once, though. He’d never been so high.

 

---

 

Louis hadn’t realized he’d fallen asleep, but he woke up, so clearly he had. Their teepee was just barely illuminated by the first light of day, and the dawn birds outside were already making a ruckus. There was still a little bit of time left before the sun would fully rise, though, and Louis needed to get back to sleep before that, or it would be difficult with all the wolf commotion that struck every Chehalis morning.

He shifted his position and fluffed up the blankets around him to get more comfortable, but as he was moving his hand to rest under his head, it brushed against his chest and a loud groan slipped from his mouth at the unexpected sensitivity.

Harry instantly jerked at the sound and Louis froze, hoping he hadn’t roused his Alpha all the way out of sleep. His mate tightened his hold on him but otherwise continued puffing out his big Alpha breaths, so Louis deemed it safe to investigate.

He lifted the blankets away from his chest and squinted in the mediocre light to try and detect just what was going on. His nipples were puffy to the eye, and definitely sore, but it was the wetness that concerned him. Patting the damp blanket beneath him, his suspicions were confirmed. Oh, great. He didn’t know if it was Harry’s chant last night, or the stress of the invasion, or maybe just natural timing, but he was evidently lactating now.

Forgetting about stealth, he roughly prodded at his chest and let out another loud whimper, muttering to himself about how inconvenient this was. Harry predictably woke up this time, but Louis paid him no mind.

Harry took one breath in through his nose and a moan rumbled through his body at the alluring scent that was coming from his mate. He felt himself harden against the Omega’s thighs, but he didn’t feel like doing anything about that. He took a deep inhale of his mate’s hair and let out a shuddery sigh, his nose traveling up and down Louis’ tensed neck. “What’s that smell?” he mused in enticed curiosity, studiously sniffing out the source.

Louis hadn’t said anything, but Harry knew he was awake; he continued groggily sniffing down the length of Louis’ neck, and as the scent grew stronger the lower he went, he put together where it was coming from. “I know what that is,” he breathed, pulling back to duck under Louis’ arm and win the access he wanted. “Been waiting for this,” he murmured, tongue darting out to collect what had smeared around his mate’s nipples.

Louis jerked against the contact on such a sensitive area, and he wasn’t entirely sure he liked it, but Alphas notoriously do, and he let Harry do whatever he wanted. His Alpha’s wolf went back and forth between both nipples, rubbing his lips and cheeks all over him to spread the scent around, and sometimes it tickled, sometimes it hurt.

“I’m gonna knot you, Lou,” Harry stated after resurfacing for air, holding Louis down by his upper arms and restricting all possible squirms. “And I’m gonna drink from you as I do it. And you’re gonna let me. Any questions?” he asked, surprised he had enough language left to even make such announcements.

Louis wouldn’t have refused anyway, but he shook his head all the same, sighing in bliss when Harry’s caressing hand parted his legs. He instantly submitted and bared his neck, spreading himself further and arching his back when a jolt shot down his spine.

“Good boy, Lou. I bet you’re already slicked for me,” Harry guessed, reaching down to stroke Louis’ hole and grinning when it was as expected. “Yes, Kimi” he groaned, pushing two fingers easily into the welcoming heat. “Always dripping for your Alpha,” he praised, dumbfounded once again at how pliant and wonderful his mate was for him no matter the situation.

Louis panted impatiently since Harry’s fingers, though talented, were not enough, but he really wanted to be obedient, so he didn’t ask for more. Instead, he rocked his hips in time with the pumps of his Alpha’s fingers, taking in all the pleasure the simple act brought him—although it was incomparable to a knot, it was still fantastic.

Harry removed his fingers ironically from his own impatience and happily licked the slick off, replacing Louis’ newfound emptiness with his cock and slowly pushing himself into his favourite place. “Always so warm and open for me—I couldn’t ask for anything better than you. Such a perfect Omega, and you’re all mine—made only for me,” he commended, wrapping a hand around his mate’s smaller cock and languidly stroking it in time with his unhurried thrusts.

“You, you, you. Harry, you. Only you, yes. You. Knot me, please,” Louis begged barely above a whisper, gripping onto Harry’s back and scratching at it in an effort to speed things up.

Harry pulled both of Louis’ legs across his hip and side to get the most direct angle, placing the Omega fully on his back while he himself stayed on his side, creating the perfect position to do whatever he wanted. He ran a palm over where they were joined to gather fresh slick on his fingers and then returned them to Louis’ cock, which twitched the moment he touched it again. “I’m gonna do a lot more than that,” he chuckled, dipping his head down under Louis’ arm and latching onto his left and closest nipple, suckling greedily at it until he got what he wanted.

Louis choked and balled his fists in Harry’s hair, hopeless to give much of a reaction besides letting go and taking it. “H-Harry,” he stuttered, arching his back as much as possible with the weight of pregnancy.

Harry’s taste buds sang in satisfaction from the explosive sweetness of his mate’s milk, and he shoved his right arm under his arched back, sneaking it up to curl around the back of Louis’ right shoulder and using it as leverage to keep the Omega still while he fucked him.

The pair kept that system for a while, both a tangle of limbs and breaths as Harry’s thrusts got harder, and his drinking more confident. Louis had argued with himself over pure acceptance, but the longer it went on, the better it felt. In fact, it got to a point wherein Louis was reveling in what he was providing for his mate, and he egged the Alpha on by holding his curly-haired head in place and petting said wild locks.

It became too much rather quickly, however, and just when Louis was ready to come, Harry pulled off and burrowed his canines into his bond mark instead. Louis was now nearing the peak of his climax from the rapture of the bite, but then Harry released his neck as well. Louis was about to bark at him for teasing, but then, the Alpha wrapped his lips around Louis’ other nipple, licking first then pulling it into his mouth and dragging its substance out of him.

Louis whined once more and surrendered to his climax before Harry could set it back again, tingles trickling across everywhere as he nearly laughed in bliss. He floated off the peak then and just when he thought he was done, Harry’s knot fastened itself and pushed in against his prostate, so he came again, this time screeching a bit from the over-stimulation.

Harry stayed true to his word and didn’t stop drinking until his release was completely emptied into Louis’ body, growling as he came and holding his Omega so tight it probably hurt his arms.

Louis, apart from the discomfort of nails in his arms, was deep in his thoughts—thoughts like how the sensation of feeding as Harry came was equivalent to an ouroboros. Some kind of never-ending cycle or system, each wolf giving a life force to the other, and in the Omega’s opinion, it was over far too soon.

Harry pulled off with a gasp for air, dropping his forehead into the middle of Louis’ chest and panting from his exhaustion. Louis never stopped petting the Alpha’s hair, and when Harry rode out of the entirety of his high, he lifted his head and pressed their lips together in a bruising kiss.

“That was…” Louis began when their lips parted, nipples oddly pulsating from their first experience of overuse.

“Yeah,” Harry agreed just as vaguely, swallowing thickly and huffing his breaths, “I’m gonna be doing that a lot,” he decided, gently rolling Louis on his side and making sure his knot didn’t tug, then plopping down hard behind him. He was drained.

As tired as Harry was, though, he was also strangely invigorated from Louis’ nourishment...it was an odd balance, indeed. He reached across to hold the Omega’s belly and nuzzled into the back of his neck, just around the corner from succumbing to a numbly energized sleep—that probably doesn’t make any sense.

“Perks of being a momma?” Louis asked to follow Harry’s promise of frequency, chuckling at his Alpha’s passionate resolve.

Harry smiled against his mate’s skin and moved to lick at his bond mark while he pushed his knot further into where it was buried, causing a shudder to ripple through Louis’ body, and then he settled down once and for all, smirking into his Omega’s hair as he spoke his minor correction to that assumption: “Perks of being mine.”

 

---

 

The next day was almost entirely spent sleeping; the emotional aftereffects of the catastrophe were still taking their heavy toll on the pack’s psyche. Niall and Zayn had wandered back into Harry’s home at some point during the lethargic day and settled in beside the two, luckily not waking them. As a former subpack, they were not perturbed by each other’s scents in the slightest, even in the vulnerable state of sleep.

The subpacks that had formed from the imminent threat they’d been under hadn’t entirely disbanded, but most of them had decreased significantly in intensity, including their own. Daven and Kurt had moved out of Chibs and Jax’s place and back into their own, but their connection to each other was still stronger than it had been before.

Louis had theorized Zayn and Niall were still so close because of the ‘Pack Alpha and Beta’ dynamic the two Alphas had. They clearly loved each other a lot, and their mates were identically pregnant, so it made sense. They were coming over less frequently, but their affectionate interactions never diminished entirely.

Eventually, the bustling sounds of the tribe became too much to sleep through, and the four wolves stretched and yawned themselves awake. Louis and Niall began to sit up, but plopped back down when their stomachs wouldn’t allow them the proper mobility. They both giggled in spite of themselves and rolled to their sides to try and get up that way.

The Alphas were more than willing to help and they pushed their mates into a sitting position, quickly kissing them good morning before standing to tower in front of them. The Omegas momentarily wondered why the Alphas were stood so forebodingly, but that question was answered when they both received simultaneous angry lectures for their carelessness at the battle.

“Louis, I am so disappointed in you. You could have been killed, what were you thinking?”

“Niall, I cannot believe you would run out of your shelter like that, what if something had happened to you!”

“—Your ass is lucky our puppies are safe, you whimsical fool! You scared them shitless, and for what? Your laughable attempt at being a God of war?”

“—You’re a mother, Niall. A mother. Is it too much to ask for you to act like one? That was so reckless and uncharacteristic of you, and I hereby forbid you from ever putting yourself at risk like that again.”

“—I can’t trust you as far as I can throw you, Kimi. You had me worried sick the entire time. I didn’t need that added stress—I was overwhelmed enough!”

The Omegas sat in shame and took their verbal disciplines with silence. The Alphas continued berating them on safety protocol and all the ‘what if’s’ that could have occurred, and Louis wanted to argue that none of the possibilities had ended up happening, but he knew it would get him nowhere.

Niall began to cry from Zayn’s harsh scolding, but Louis just rolled his eyes and fell back onto his side, petulantly ignoring his Alpha. Zayn knelt to comfort his Omega and assure him he wasn’t mad anymore, but in Louis’ case, Harry was now furious.

The Pack Alpha fell straight down toward Louis like a chopped tree, smashing his hands on the bed on either side of the Omega’s head and hovering just above him as if he were about to do a push-up. Louis flinched at the sudden shock of proximity and he bared his neck when Harry let out a stern growl.

“What the fuck was that, Louis?” Harry asked with a nerve-racking calmness in his tone.

“What was what?” Louis shot back haughtily, “You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know, and nothing happened to me, so it’s pointless to yell at me now,” he grumbled, holding onto his pride like a lifeline because it was seconds from leaving forever.

Harry didn’t quite agree with that defense, and he bared his teeth threateningly, snapping his jaws with an ear-piercing bark of anger. “Not the point, Omega. Submit to me and apologize. Now,” he commanded.

Sorry,” Louis drawled with courageous sarcasm, crossing his arms over his chest and pursing his lips nervously for where this rebelling would lead.

“Look at me,” Harry demanded, not bothering to use his howahkan because he’d rather win Louis’ attention himself.

Louis flinched and met Harry’s gaze upon request, and he was unnerved to see his mate’s usual green and brown colours replaced with black again, signaling his inner Alpha was ready to reign. A hefty portion of Louis’ confidence crumbled from the sight and he more pointedly bared his neck in submission, fearing the consequences if he didn’t.

Harry was still snarling (because he couldn’t stop), but he was somewhat appeased at the surrender, and he bit into the offered mark to exert his dominance. His snarls ceased as their bond lit up like a star shower, and he pulled back to speak bluntly in words Louis would understand, even in his haze. “You belong to me, Louis. Do you know what that means? It means you do what I say when I say it, and you stay where I tell you to stay,” he said, rolling onto his side and allowing his Omega free movement.

Louis curled into him automatically without prompt, still swimming from the bond hormones flooding his every cell, and Harry smirked at how well his efforts had proved to subdue him. He ran a palm down his mate’s arm as he rode out his high, and finally let his aggressive tone ease into a murmur. “It’s not because I think you’re inferior, Kimi,” he explained as he stroked Louis’ soft brown hair. “Quite the opposite. You’re so capable that you would throw yourself into battle without a second thought because you have the skills to…”

Louis moaned when Harry’s hand traced over the mark so soon after he’d bitten it, and Harry removed his hand from the spot, returning it to the pillow of his hair instead. “I’m just upset because you’re in your fifth moon cycle of pregnancy, and you should not have put yourself in any danger of getting hurt when you have our puppies to look after,” he continued, hoping his non-combative method of communicating this would get through to his notoriously defiant mate. “They should have been your number one concern—not me. I can handle myself. They can’t. Alright?”

Louis nodded in understanding and suddenly felt like an idiot for charging into battle without thinking of all the things that could have potentially gone awry. Nothing was merely about his own life anymore; he had three far more important things to protect than himself. “I’m sorry, Alpha. I won’t disobey you again. Please, can you knot me?” he asked, making his Alpha snort from the abrupt veer of subject.

Harry, beyond his amusement, was extremely eager to do so, and he carefully rolled Louis away from him, shuffling up to press against his back and then reaching a hand down for slick to wet his cock with. “Push your hips back…good, just like that,” he said, pushing himself into Louis’ body and sliding in deep until there was nowhere left to go. “Were you that close to dropping?” he asked, a moan directly following his question when Louis arched back further and put a different angle on their connection.

“I think—think it’s my pregnancy horm…hormones,” Louis stuttered, encountering some difficulty speaking because his Alpha had begun his thrusting and it was…it was everything. “I get so hard when you’re angry,” he panted, realizing he was probably the only Omega who frequently got aroused when their Alpha was mad at them, versus cowering in fear and frantically apologizing. “Make me submit, Harry. Make me drop—please. I need it. I need an escape,” he pleaded, figuring a nice break from his human pain would do him some good.

Harry groaned at the enticing request and quickened his thrusts, licking over the mark which had since healed over. “Are you sure, Louis?” he asked, who was shaking with pleasure and anticipation, just wanting to make sure it was exactly what he wanted.

“Yes,” Louis stated without waver, looking over his shoulder and locking eyes with his intrigued Alpha. “I want you to put me in my place. Show me who the Alpha is,” he taunted, turning his face back around when he caught the glimmer of desire in Harry’s irises.

Gods, Lou. Alright,” Harry accepted, adopting his Alpha coos to bring his mate’s nature out. “Little Omega—what a vision you are. You’re being so good right now, Omega. So loose for me—just like you should be. I own you, little wolf. I own your body, your soul, your mind, and your pleasure. I own all of it. You’re mine. Mine to love, mine to spoil, mine to comfort, mine to fuck, and mine to control. You answer only to me and you obey only me, no matter what. Is that sinking in anywhere?” he asked as he halted his thrusts, waiting until he got a definitive answer.

Louis whined when Harry stopped, feeling like he just got doused in cold water, and he rushed to be submerged in that hot spring that awaited him. “Yours, Alpha. I’m yours. Every part of me, under your command. Please, Alpha, please, please, please. I want to drop. Get me out of here,” he rambled, hoping it would be enough to persuade the Alpha to give in.

“Settle down, sweet wolf; no more begging. Just be good. I’ll put you under soon. But...” he added, leaning over to speak his next words directly into Louis’ ear, keeping his thrusts at a stagnant pace all the while. “Just know…that next time you so blatantly disobey me, you’re not getting my knot at all. You’re getting nothing. I’ll cut you off as long as it takes—until you’re groveling at my groin. And then I’ll still deny you. It’ll take you weeks to get it back, and I still won’t let you come,” he threatened, doing his job to startle his Omega and initiate a panic.

“Wha—Gods, no. Weeks? No, please don’t do that. Don’t ever do that, I would die—I’ll be good, I swear, so please—”

Quiet,” Harry barked with howahkan, curling a hand around his mate’s neck in a slight choke and bringing him that much closer to his drop. “Come here, Kimi. I’ll take care of you. Give me your Omega—I wanna see you just as you are. Come to me,” he urged, growling as his knot began to form around his base.

Louis’ whines got caught in his throat under Harry’s gripping fingers, and they escalated into screeches that had Wewe flattening his ears in annoyance. Harry tore into his bond mark with practiced ease and snarled a wordless command against his neck as his knot locked, enacting the final step in calling to his nature. The combination of all these actions was more than enough to get Louis there, and conscious thought left him behind like a passing gust of wind. He was safe.

Harry moaned as the peak of his climax trickled its way along his limbs, numbing everything it crossed, and the hand on Louis’ throat moved to his stomach to simply hold it. And what a magnificent feeling it was. He breathed deeply against his mate’s back and let himself relax, the calm fueled by the Omega’s satisfied purrs from their mating.

The Pack Alpha, unfortunately, was then taken out of his bubble when he heard someone clear their throat, and he looked up to see Niall and Zayn staring at him with raised eyebrows and indecipherable expressions. “What?” he asked, rude in both his tone and his features, but he couldn’t help it.

“Nothing, Alpha. You two need space, though, so we’re gonna go now,” Zayn announced, pulling Niall up with him and gently urging him toward the exit. He had been surprised Harry and Louis had seemed to forget they were there at all, and they’d ended up watching the entire mating instead of just leaving beforehand like they maybe should have.

“Zayn,” Harry called, turning his Beta around instantly.

“Yes, Alpha?” Zayn inquired, expectant and diligent to heed to any orders Harry could have.

“I’m probably going to fall asleep like this. Wake me if there’s a council meeting, will you? That’s the only thing that can stop me from basking in my Omega,” he said as he deeply scented Louis’ hair, looking back to Zayn after that brief intermission. “So, I’ll need to know if it’s upon me.”

“Understood. I will alert you of any such matters,” he vowed, leaving with Niall and making sure the teepee entrance was completely closed before returning to his own home.

Louis took that time to stir, sniffing around and searching with golden eyes for his Alpha. Once found, he rolled his hips back against the knot inside of him, affronted it was gradually going down.

Harry smirked at the eagerness of his Louis and moved his pelvis along with the Omega’s sways, their bodies dancing flawlessly together in that celestial way soulbonded mates are capable of.

Louis purred in content and spread himself open with a clumsy hand to give his mate the best access possible, moaning when his Alpha replaced said hand with his own.

“You’re such a knotslut, Lou,” Harry praised even if his Omega wouldn’t quite grasp what he’d said, massaging the handful of thickness he’d taken and chuckling to himself over how lucky he was. “Don’t worry, Kimi. About a thing. I’m always going to give you everything you want. Even if I make you beg beforehand,” he promised, lightly biting his mate’s ear and licking at his face while their hips rocked like calm ocean waves.

Louis, as Harry had already known, didn’t understand the spoken words, but he turned around to connect their lips anyway, growling into his mouth for attention. Harry didn’t know how he could possibly give his Omega any more direct attention, but it was evident he needed to try.

They were definitely going to be here all day.

 

---

 

The second Louis’ human instincts were restored (the next day), he’d waited patiently until Zayn eventually returned to their teepee, approached him when he did, and punched him in the face for making Niall cry the previous day. Louis had aggression boiling under the surface of his skin that hadn’t seen release since he’d been dropped by Harry’s Alpha, so he’d gladly taken it out on Zayn’s face, adding himself to the long list of wolves who have similarly clocked the abused Beta.

Zayn had taken it with a tensed grace, having no right to react like he might have wanted to, but Harry had harshly scolded him for it in his Beta’s stead. The Pack Alpha, in actuality, was more prideful than anything, and Louis could tell, so he didn’t fight the lecture. Niall had kissed his lips in amusement for the well-intended defense of his emotional state, regardless of whether or not he needed it, so Louis considered it a great success.

The days after that, however, had proved to be especially stressful ones for Louis. He was still trying to adjust to the absence of Camila and Lauran, who had been such a big part in his everyday life, and passing their empty teepee was never a casual action—he broke down every time. And it wasn’t just him; the battle had depressed a fair amount of Chehalis (particularly, and most outwardly, the Omegas), but they’d worked hard to try and move past it, knowing those they’d lost would want them to be happy. Daily ceremonies to raise morale had taken place, and after weeks of venting their feelings and laments, the truth had started to become easier to handle.

Those weeks had surprisingly turned into two entire moon cycles while no one was looking, and now Louis held seven cycles of pregnancy to his name—he consistently felt how he knew he looked, and that was consistently terrible. Multiple puppies were not all they were cracked up to be; they kicked him, gave him pain throughout his entire body, and sometimes still made him throw up from the immense pressure they put on his insides. It was hard (even with an Alpha) to get a full night or day’s sleep, with all the internal dancing his puppies participated in, and he found himself routinely asking to be dropped, desperate for a few hours of contented freedom wherein he could tolerate the madness of his puppies.

Harry always saw to this with automatic devotion to his needs, and Louis just knows he wouldn’t be able to do this without him—Harry was crucial. Whenever Louis’ body was on fire and locked with discomfort, his Alpha halted his every deed to give him massages wherever he desired them. That ‘wherever’ was generally his back—his back felt like someone had a hand wrapped around his very spine, pushing and pulling it to their whim, and this torment constantly needed alleviation.

Perhaps the most demanding development over the recent cycles was his milk situation. Not only the frequency in which he now found himself leaking (though that was impressive), but the fact that Harry had grown unreasonably addicted. The Alpha forewent a shocking amount of his regular eating habits to feed off Louis instead, and logic seemed to disappear in those moments of his blinded greed—he didn’t seem to realize he needed more nourishment for his fully-grown Alpha self than breastmilk, and it was a struggle for Louis to get this fact across.

Even his stern proclamations of, "You are not a pup, Harry!” were only ever met with something like, “Your body is mine and I do what I want", "Who's the reason you give milk at all?", or Louis’ personal favourite, "Shut up, I’m busy."

What an Alpha.

Louis was currently sitting with Niall and Draco in the pleasant confines of his abode while their Alphas handled their ambiguous business-y business, but the Omegas were more happy to have alone time than they were sad to be without their dominants—it was that kind of day. “Niall, your chest has gotten so much bigger,” he noted since his mind had spent some secret time on that subject, laughing at his brother when he shyly covered his nipples with his hands as though it had been an insult.

“Sure. But have you taken a look at yourself lately?” Niall snorted, jutting his chin out to bring attention to the mentioned area. “You’re starting to look like Perrie,” the Omega teased, laughing when Louis groped at his own swollen chest and moved everything around as if trying to judge how accurate that statement was.

“What’s it like feeding your Alphas?” Draco inquired, having seen that act done many times before but never having the heart to directly ask someone involved.

“Don’t,” Louis begged desperately, looking around the teepee and sniffing the air for his insatiable mate. “Harry will hear. I swear, even at the mention, he’ll turn up and—”

“Louis!” Harry called from somewhere outside, bursting through the entrance not ten seconds later and setting his weapons down beside their designated corner. “I’m hungry,” he stated, stretching his arms over his head and yawning in fatigue.

Draco and Niall evidently couldn’t believe how eerily on time Harry had been, if judging by their inability to cease their giggles, but Louis could only roll his eyes, wary arms crossing over his chest to guard himself. “Go eat something,” he urged, shooing his arm to banish the Alpha from the teepee.

Harry frowned at Louis’ lack of cooperation and narrowed his eyes, raising a single challenging brow and putting his disapproval on full display. “Louis. Don’t make me ask again,” he muttered, advancing on the Omega and making it clear he wouldn’t put up with resistance.

“You guys better get out of here,” Louis warned to his brothers in response to Harry’s expression, watching as they snickered and retreated with winks over their shoulders. Once they had fled, Louis skewered Harry with an accusing gaze and wrapped a blanket around his body, trying once more to get through to him. “I can’t sustain you, Harry. Not with myself. You mustn’t do this anymore, or you’ll be weakened.”

“Well aware,” Harry replied, nodding in agreement and then letting his face morph to a mischievous smirk. “That would be why I already ate,” he chuckled, his smug features switching to a full grin when Louis huffed in annoyance.

“Then what do you need me for?” Louis asked, blinking rapidly and throwing his arms out in exasperation, causing the blanket to fall to his hips and leave him exposed.

“In this situation? A snack, obviously,” Harry reasoned, slowly inching the blanket away from Louis and humming in approval when his Omega made no move to snatch it back. 

“... You’re obsessed,” Louis deadpanned, holding his stomach while he scooted up the bed so they weren’t sat at the very edge.

“Completely,” Harry agreed, having never claimed not to be. “Utterly and absolutely addicted, but that doesn’t mean you can withhold it from me, Lou. You know you like it too,” he lightly accused, crawling over to his mate and speaking that last part directly under his chin.

Louis sighed and turned his face away from his tempting mate, chuckling when soft kisses were marked up and down his throat. “I feel used.”

A short and disbelieving laugh tumbled out of Harry’s throat, and he gently gripped Louis’ jaw, tilting his face down so their eyes met in a moment’s time. “Kimimela… Far from, and you know it. You’re worshipped. The changes your body has undergone are unspeakably beautiful…I can’t help my Alpha’s reaction to your beauty. Knotting you before, during, or after drinking from you is just my wolf’s way of…expressing how breathtaking you are to me, and how in love I am with your amazing body, and the extraordinary things it can provide,” he professed with a lovestruck stare, leaving out the part where his wolf didn’t have an extreme amount to do with it—at least, not so much that he was left out of control.

“You really need your fix, don’t you?” Louis muttered with a straight face, thoroughly unimpressed with the speech he was just given.

“Yeah,” Harry admitted, the spell of innocence he’d cast now officially broken. “Yeah, I really do, so if we could dispense with the formalities—”

“Just…be gentle, would you?” Louis pleaded, cringing at the mere thought of Harry’s accidental use of teeth around his nipples.

“I will certainly try,” Harry vowed, kissing his victorious way down Louis’ neck but stopping just before he would reach his destination. “By the way,” he quipped, pulling back and flattening his hands over his mate’s. “I’m the only wolf in existence who can pleasure you. The only one who can make you hard and get you wet,” he purred, overly pleased when Louis promptly became all those things.

“Why are you—” the Omega began in confusion, cocking his head to the side and scrunching his lips to one side as he contemplated the meaning to that well-known claim. “I know that. You’re doing it right now,” he informed, rolling his hips to try and give the Alpha a view of his cock underneath his globe of a midsection.

“Yes, but I’m the only one,” Harry repeated, laughing at Louis’ feeble attempt and sneaking his hand down to cup and fondle his little parts for him.

“What’s your point, Alpha?” Louis pressed with a shuddered breath, losing his patience with the conversation when there was so much else better to focus on.

“I’m saying only I can arouse you by drinking from you.”

And?”

Harry groaned in bemusement and ran a hand through his clean hair, amazed he had to get so exceptionally specific. “I’m saying you’re not going to get aroused when you’re feeding our pups,” he stated pointedly, having expected a defensive reaction and nodding to himself when he got just that.

Louis sputtered and paled, pushing Harry’s hand away from between his legs and semi-twisting to the side, cheeks an opposite shade of red as he stared down toward the bed in embarrassment. “I wasn’t worried about that,” he said petulantly, tempted to stick his nose in the air but he knew that would make him look even more cubbish.

“Yes, you were,” the Alpha argued with a knowledgeable confidence, too in tune with his Omega to miss something like that.

“Okay, I was,” Louis mumbled, surrendering to the merciless clutches of honesty. “I suppose it’s good to know, then,” he said with a shrug, finding a bit of guilty relief in the informative words of his mate.

“I just wanted you to know without a doubt this connection between us in private is specifically that. Us,” he stressed as he pulled the heavy Louis into his lap, nuzzling him with his nose and delving into his scent. “All Alphas drink from their pregnant mates. No Omega has ever had their enjoyment of it carry over after birth.”

Louis felt he blushed even darker and allowed himself to smile, shaking his head against Harry’s chest and sighing in content. “That’s good because that would have been so annoying. I imagine I’m not going to want your knots for a while after I give birth, and I would hate that frustration. I just feel like—”

“Louis?” Harry interrupted, lowering his head to his mate’s sensitive nipples and veering over to the left one first. “It’s time to shut up,” he chuckled under his breath, closing his lips around the nub of his choosing and lifting his hand to knead and massage the slight development of Louis’ breast to help the process along.

Louis closed his eyes and dropped his temple down atop Harry’s head, petting the back of his hair and wincing when his milk was once again successfully drawn, biting his lip whenever there was a blip of either discomfort or tickling sensations. “Harry,” he slurred, too lulled by the peaceful action they were indulging in for crisp enunciation. “Knot would—would be good.”

Harry hummed in agreement and without removing his lips from their current focus, shifted them around until he could bury himself inside Louis’ body. The angle he’d retrieved was truthfully a tad awkward, but it got the job done, and after a long and blissful round of thrusts, the pair were knotted and cuddling on their sides.

“Thank you, Papa,” Louis breathed to his floating mate, dragging his hand across their blankets until it found Harry’s around his stomach.

Harry chuckled against the nape of Louis’ neck and pushed his knot deeper inside (for no other reason than to feel Louis’ inner walls contracting around it), and spoke his one condition for a title like that: “Do not let Norman hear you say that.”

 

---

 

Even with Louis’ diminishing mobility, the urge to help out and give back to the pack was too great to ignore, so all throughout his seventh cycle, he found himself regularly making jewelry for the members in his teepee, or helping Jade concoct medicines. The ice time turned out to be the harsh one everyone had predicted and the snow now coated the land in a thick and dense blanket that had Louis stuck in his home, unable to function outside of it.

It was hard for him to thrive in such frigid air, especially without Harry around every moment, and even with the helpful assistance of Wewe’s body heat, Louis would sometimes have to shift to his wolf to withstand the temperature. Training his puppies how to shift had nothing but good benefits anyway, so he did it frequently to get them used to it.

Louis also found himself looting extra blankets from his family lately and instructing Harry to scent them so they smelled only of him. Strange behavior, but his Omega knew what it was doing—it was getting ready.

Louis’ omkin was entirely aware he was taking things from them, but they never brought it up; instead, they allowed him to continue “sneaking” objects away with nothing but amusement in their hearts.

Along with the item-collecting came a fierce protection over Harry (stronger than usual), and mood swings with a violence that surprised even himself. His possession was fiery when anyone even looked at his Alpha, dangerous if they garnered his attention. Only Niall and Zayn were safe from Louis’ wrath, but even that was questionable at times. The father of his puppies belonged to him, plain and simple, and watching him spend time on anyone else was illogically, heartbreakingly infuriating.

So much thought put on this topic inevitably pissed him off in itself, and he grew antsy sitting by himself at home. He bundled himself up in furs and ponchos and spared Wewe a farewell pat, stepping out into the deep snow and trudging through it with both arms wrapped around his stomach to find his Alpha and demand he return home. Wolves he passed bowed as usual, and though he tried, he couldn’t seem to make himself smile at anyone, too frustrated with his current travels to pause for formalities.

After too long a journey for his liking, Louis finally found his Alpha’s scent within the potters’ area, and he quickened his pace down the rows of teepees to find out just what he was doing if it wasn’t council business. And there he was—half-sat on a stack of crates with an ankle crossed over the other, talking with an unmated Omega. Louis strained his ears and listened as she expressed her concerns of new bugs infesting the fields that may hinder next season’s food production, but to Louis, it was utterly meaningless and inconsequential nonsense.

He strode angrily to the pair since they hadn’t noticed him yet, and let the Omega slag have it. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he barked with a growl, startling the Omega girl with his use of howahkan.

“Louis,” Harry warned, wary of Louis’ sudden proximity to the farmer girl.

“Apologies, Omega Louis,” she said nervously, making herself smaller and scooting away from the Pack Alpha. “I was just notifying Harry of—”

Louis cut her off with the loud crack of his palm across her face, and Harry darted forward to throw an arm around his upper chest, yanking him back against his chest and constricting him from movement. “LOUIS!” he barked in appalled displeasure, snarling at his mate’s misplaced anger.

“That’s Alpha Harry to you, whore,” Louis sneered as though Harry hadn’t done a thing to discourage him. “You don’t get to call my mate by his given name alone, who the fuck do you think you are? Me? Are you in our family? Are you on his council? No, you’re not, you desperate kitten, if I ever catch you—”

“ENOUGH!” Harry commanded in howahkan, instantly discontinuing his Omega’s fast-paced outburst by roughly biting into his bond mark, stealing his consciousness and holding him upright when he sagged. “I’m so sorry,” he beseeched Shiki, kneeling down to lift his fiesty mate into his arms, grunting  a bit from the added weight of puppies in his tummy. “He’s really territorial over me right now—he’d never act like this normally.”

“No, Alpha Harry, it’s my fault entirely. He’s pregnant and I’m unmated. My scent would have affected him either way the second you got home; I should have had someone else inform you,” she said, rubbing her stinging cheek and shrugging her shoulders.

“It’s alright, Shiki. I’m glad you told me. We’ll come up with a solution soon. I’ll have Jax come help you, he’s good with that sort of thing,” he said with a smile, making a note to tell Chibs deliver that message. “I have to go take care of Louis now…I really don’t know why he’s this aggressive,” he mumbled offhandedly, turning to leave before Shiki’s voice brought him back.

“He’s seven moon cycles, is he not?” Shiki inquired, matching up the amount of runs she’d done since the announcement of the heirs.

“Almost eight, yeah,” Harry confirmed, hiking his heavy Louis higher up in his hold.

Shiki nodded and smiled in understanding, letting out a small giggle because the reason was so obvious. “He’s pushing everyone away from you because he’s going to start nesting soon,” she stated surely, scratching behind her ear as she formulated how close he was. “Probably any day now. He’s getting definitely ready to settle in, and he won’t want anything contaminating it. I just don’t know exactly when…”

“Oh. Huh,” Harry hummed in consideration, happy with the news he’d been given—Louis had been overly obsessed with scent lately.

“I have a lot of siblings,” Shiki explained, so knowledgeable because she’d watched her mother go through this nearly seven times.

“Thank you for letting me know,” Harry said sincerely, giving Shiki a simple nod since he couldn’t do much more with his arms full.

“Mmhm. He’ll start building the nest and then he’ll settle down when it’s done—he won’t really move or leave the nest too much until the puppies are born, and he’ll stay a while after that as well. Maybe a moon cycle,” she predicted, furrowing her eyebrows in thought and jumping to reassure the Pack Alpha for not automatically knowing all of this. “You should know your instincts would have guided you just fine. I’m only informing you of what I’ve experienced with my mom,” she asserted, more than confident Harry would have fared like an expert without any tips at all.

Harry smiled down at his incapacitated mate, struggling to contain his excitement for his pups that would eventually be out in the world. It mattered not what hardships his mate would stir up before that happened, the outcome eclipsed every naughty face slap Louis could inflict upon unsuspecting Omegas. “I appreciate you taking the time. And again, sorry for his assault. I’m sure he’ll apologize in half a year. Have a good day, Shiki,” he called, already walking back to his teepee to get Louis out of the cold.

“An apology will never need saying, Alpha. Good day to you,” she bid, chuckling to herself and going back to work.

 

---

 

True to Shiki’s words of caution, one fine day after work when Louis hit his eight cycle mark, Harry came home to discover his teepee had been completely rearranged. Harry wasn’t sure how his Omega had managed to do it on his own, but everything had found a new location, and their excessive bedding was now bunched into the back right corner, surrounded by large piles of various items and furniture.

The Omega was curled up in the mountain of blankets he’d somehow procured—no doubt stealing them from the pack—and lightly snoring in the most adorable way Harry had heard yet. He’d left a small opening in the front corner of the nest for his own accessibility, and Harry carefully tiptoed to said entrance and slipped through the stacked belongings that reached to his hips, waking Louis with the movement and generating a protective growl until he realized who the intruder was.

“Wha—oh,” Louis remarked sheepishly, clearing his sore throat as he rapidly pieced everything together. “Harry, I’m sorry. You can come in,” he permitted, yawning and slinking back under the blankets where it was warm.

“Why thank you, Louis,” Harry said gratefully, glad he’d passed the test. His knees cracked as he bent down to sit, corralling his long limbs to fit himself in the cramped confines of his Omega’s little puppy nest. “I love your nest, Omega. It’s so pretty; you did such a good job,” he praised to his mate, knowing an Omega’s nest was a thing to be sweetly complimented no matter what.

“Really?” Louis asked, peeking his head out from the blankets and revealing the deep blush Harry’s words had caused. “You like it?”

Harry nodded and keeled over to lie beside his mate, sinking into the furs and running his hands across their softness. “Yeah, Kimi. It’s so soft and warm—just like you,” he added with a face nuzzle, petting Louis’ hair and checking the temperature of his face to make sure he’d stayed warm enough in his absence.

“I worked really hard,” Louis said proudly, finger-walking his hand up to rub at the dampness of his button nose, sniffling from the sting of the outside air.

“I know you worked hard, Lou. It really shows,” Harry noted with the utmost admiration, scooting in closer to share his warmth with his delightful mate. “It’s an amazing place to have our puppies,” he added with full approval, ducking underneath the blanket to rest his face against Louis’ stomach as he wrapped his top arm around his hips (as far as it could get), cooing and sighing in glee onto the Omega’s moving skin.

“I don’t wanna wait anymore,” Louis whined, crossing his forearms over his face and clenching his teeth so he wouldn’t actually start sobbing. “I want them so bad. I wanna hold their tiny bodies in my arms,” he croaked, removing only one of his arms to find his strongest puppy and push it from its current position where it was happily wreaking internal havoc.

“Don’t complain, Mama,” Harry urged in sympathy as he crept back up the bed, removing his mate’s other hand from his face and planting a kiss on his pouting lips. “They’re still growing—we’ll get them when all of you are ready,” he reminded, lying down and propping his temple up by a fist.

Louis sighed but nodded his head, moving his legs around until he found a comfortable position for them, then wincing because his legs feeling fine apparently meant his back had to start hurting. “Would you get behind me, please? I hurt so bad,” he sniffed, squeezing his eyes shut as Harry frowned and set to it at once.

Harry let out a sympathetic noise and lifted himself over to Louis’ back side, maneuvering his arm under his Omega’s neck and smiling when both of his tiny hands grabbed his and intertwined all ten of their fingers together. “Feel no pain, sweet wolf. I’m here for you. Let me heal you,” he murmured, opening their bond and running his hand up and down Louis’ frame to find the pressure points and take them away.

“What in the world would I do without you?” Louis groaned, making a lazy smile when some of his pain diminished just from the mere opening of the bond.

“Not be in pain at all, probably,” Harry snorted, biting into his mate’s mark and holding him tight as he shook in pleasure.

“That’s not true,” Louis slurred, arching back and biting his lip when he felt his Alpha harden against the backs of his thighs—looks like there was some bedtime activities to partake in before sleep, but before that, he had something to say. “It’s the opposite, Harry. I’d be in a lot more without you. My pain was never-ending before I met you. My life was a chasm of misery before you. I’ll take all the spine kicks in the world for you, Alpha. Every single one.”

 

---

 

Chibs, Daven, and Parsel entered Harry’s teepee in the early hours of the morning to alert the Pack Alpha the river had frozen over sometime in the night; they needed his help, since only his wolf could break through it. Waltzing up to their bedding, however, was an idiotically horrible mistake, and when Chibs finally realized what was happening, he held out his arms to stop his comrades from advancing any further. Louis had evidently made a nest…and they were far too close to it. “Oh shit, that’s a—that’s a—”

Louis shot awake from the foreign scents that invaded his nose, and when his eyes landed on the trio of Alphas in his home, he lost every morsel of his peace.

Harry was pulled just as roughly from his sleep at the sound of his mate’s defensive roaring, but when he confirmed there was no real threat to address, he sighed and rubbed at his bleary eyes, falling back down onto the bed and draping his arm over his sweaty forehead. “Guys, what are you doing? I can’t save you, you know,” he grunted to his council Alphas, the hand pressed to Louis’ lower back doing nothing to settle his rage.

“GET THE FUCK OUT!” Louis screeched through a burning throat, darting over to grab a spear he kept close and then sitting himself up to hurl it straight at the intruders. “Out! All of you! Out! Right now!” he commanded, fiercely shooing them with his flapping arms and holding back sobs of frustration.

Parsel dove to the left and caught the spear before Chibs would have had to block it, and gently set it down at their feet, the three wolves backing up in surrender and consistently bowing to apologize on their way out.

“You idiots,” Harry chided as they slipped out the exit, now devoted to Louis’ panic and what he could do to alleviate it. “Louis?” he asked, pressing his two hands down atop his Omega’s shoulders and trying to get him to breathe more slowly. “Louis, look at me,” he urged, raising his eyebrows when he locked eyes with his rampaging mate.

“Harry, they neared my nest! My nest! Are you gonna let them get away with that? Fucking do something about it. Punch them. Do you have any idea how much I have to fix now?” Louis shouted, highly offended at the nerve of the council members. Scents were hard to block out once set in, and not one, not two, but three extra scents now hung in the air.

“I know, Mama. I know. They’re idiots. I’ll do something about it, I promise. Now can you calm down for your Alpha?” Harry pleaded, planting his lips against his mate’s thin-lined ones and guiding him back under the covers. “Here, lie back down—let’s get you all bundled up again. Go back to sleep, my love. I’ll be back soon,” he assured, standing to go take care of whatever needed handling.

“You better not make me wait too long,” Louis warned as he indignantly accepted his position under the blankets and slid deeper into the cocoon, disappearing to become a mound on the bedding.

“I won’t, darling,” Harry promised, ducking out of his teepee and coming face-to-face with three very apologetic Alphas.

“Harry, we had no idea he was nesting—”

“We’re so sorry, we never would have barged in like that—”

“Sorry, brother. We don’t blame him for attempted murder at all—”

“It’s alright, wolves,” Harry quickly excused, motioning them to start walking. “Just don’t do it again. In fact, tell everyone of this progression. Or eventually, that spear is gonna hit someone.”

The Alphas reworded their sincerest apologies and explained the problem, the four setting off to the gathering section of the river so Harry could smash into it and allow room for collecting the trapped water.

Upon arrival, Harry shifted to his wolf and repeatedly slammed into the hard ice with his body, jumping on it until it cracked enough to break through with his snout. His Alphas watched in admiration at his incredible strength and resilience, whooping with every deepened crack he created, then outright cheering when he widened the hole enough to fit vases into and fill them to the top.

“Our thanks, Alpha,” Chibs expressed, crossing a fist over his heart as Harry’s wolf playfully bowed and ran off back to his mate.

Harry padded through the thick snow until he returned to his home, shaking the fluffy ice from his coat and nosing his way inside. He found immediately that Louis had shifted as well to guard himself from the cold, so he stayed the way he was and crept into the nest, giving his mate’s muzzle a many affectionate lick before curling around him and relaxing while he could.

Louis didn’t let him sleep, though, instead rolling onto his back and sticking his legs up in the air to initiate play. Harry licked his own nose and shook his head, his voice ringing loud and clear through the bond. I can’t play with you, Louis. You’re in too delicate a condition. You need to be resting.

Louis whined in protest but obediently gave it up, rolling all the way over cuddle into his mate’s fur. Harry laid his head down over Louis’ shoulder and rumbled in satisfaction, gigantic breaths inflating and deflating his whole form. This was true serenity.

Harry must have eventually fallen asleep because the next time he opened his eyes, Louis was back in his human form and tucked under his arm, his little fists holding onto his fur and face smashed into his chest. Harry lifted his paw away for a clearer view and craned his face down to reach him, instantly grooming him with lengthy licks to his face and hair.

Louis laughed through his nose and squeezed his already closed eyes even tighter, guarding his hair with a hand and giggling when Harry only licked his palm instead. He cracked an eye open and rubbed the dampened palm all over Harry’s face instead, then giving long pets to the dark brown fur on his side when he got his attention. “See you’re up,” he noted, recalling how deep in sleep his Alpha had been to not notice him shifting back and making a bunch of frustrated noises when his puppies were giving him a hard time switching inside him.

Harry only blinked his big black eyes and licked his own nose again, and Louis couldn’t help reaching his hand up to scratch the Alpha’s chin and tussle his fingers in-between his ears, biting his lip in a grin when it made Harry drop his head down in encouragement. He continued his affectionate pets and ran his hand up Harry’s cheek, straining to rub that orgasmic spot right behind the ear—an action which had Harry happily yipping in response. “Stay like this, please,” he murmured, kissing just beside Harry’s snout and pulling himself further into his enormous figure. “I need your warmth.”

The Pack Alpha turned his head and barked at Wewe to join, and the bunny miraculously understood him, hopping over to lie against Louis’ back so both animals completely encased the Omega in warm fur. Of course, Lou, he said through the bond, radiating as much body heat as possible until Louis was close to sweating. Of course.

 

---

 

Louis hadn’t seen his precious Niall in quite some time now, since the blonde had been nesting in his own teepee with Zayn for the last moon cycle, and almost as soon as Louis had begun the same process, the time for Niall’s pup’s birth came. Louis knew it when he woke up—this event had a very distinct scent—but he shook Harry awake beside him so the Alpha could undeniably confirm his suspicions.

“Wha—?” Harry croaked as he was suddenly brought into reality in his human form; he doesn’t remember shifting, but whatever.

“That’s Niall, isn’t it?” Louis stated inquisitively, taking in a deep breath for emphasis.

Harry repeated the action and hummed, nodding his head surely, closing his eyes again and yawning into the air. “Yup, that’s him,” he said, rubbing his eyes with the heels of his palms and then setting his gaze on his mate. “Smells like he’s been in labor all night. Sorry you can’t see him, but you know how it goes.”

“That I do…I miss him, though,” Louis sighed, arms curling around his midsection to embrace his puppies in the only way he presently could.

They both suddenly heard pained screeching coming from Niall’s teepee, and Louis paled at the sound, biting his knuckle and groaning in dread. “Never mind,” he muffled, removing the finger from his mouth with wide eyes. “I don’t miss him at all. Gods, I’m…I’m scared, Harry. Whatever pain he’s feeling, I’ll feel at thrice the intensity,” he whimpered, latching onto his mate when he pulled him in close and kissed his hair.

“Baby, don’t worry about that,” Harry cooed, formulating a way to comfort him but still be realistic. “Pain…will be a part of it, yes. But! I’ll be there to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. I’m gonna help you through it, okay? I know it’s not gonna feel pleasant, but this is what your kind's bodies are made to do, and you’ll get through it beautifully. You’re a mother of three, you can’t not be strong,” he chuckled, not needing to mention all the times their puppies had caused Louis torment over the cycles of his pregnancy—he never let it get him down.

“But what if—”

“No, Louis,” Harry hushed his worried mate, placing a finger against his lips until he huffed and surrendered. “Weak and docile Omegas have given birth to a full litter before, and they were all healthy afterward. Only unmated Omegas are ever in danger of complications, and even then, they usually pull through just fine. You, on the other hand, are in a perfect position to deliver—you’re the strongest known Omega in our world, and you have me, alright? You’ll be absolutely fine,” he vowed, sending reassuring waves through the bond to really show Louis how confident he was in his ability to mother his puppies.

“I’m not worried about death, Harry. Gods, I know I’ll be fine. I’m worried about being a bad mother,” Louis confessed, squeezing his eyes shut directly afterward because he hadn’t necessarily meant to say that.

“What? Louis, how could that even be possible? Look at how you already act toward your puppies,” Harry asserted, sitting himself up and resting both hands on the skin his pups thrived beneath. “You are so doting and affectionate, and you haven’t even met them yet—you will never lead them astray, or set a bad example. I know this for a fact,” he said sternly, locking eyes with his unsure mate to force him into agreement.

“I believe you,” Louis blurted when he met his Alpha’s blackened eyes, rolling his own when Harry blinked and switched them back to brown and green. “I just have fears. Fears I can’t seem to shake, regardless of how irrational they may be,” he explained, hardly finding himself to blame for his concerns when his pregnancy made everything feel like the end of the world.

“And I think that’s normal, Lou,” Harry noted, bending down to touch their foreheads together and revel in the contact. “All mothers start to wonder if they’ll be good enough late in their carrying. I will just always seek to squash these fears when I find them,” he warned, nuzzling their noses together and pulling back when a suggestion came to mind. “Perhaps you should speak to Joéna about some of this? She’s aching to see you, you know…”

“Oh, that’s a good idea,” Louis muttered, hating how antisocial he’d been of late, even toward his own mother. “She can’t come in the nest, though,” he passionately added, committed to barring anyone alive who wasn’t the father of the little ones he’d made it for.

Harry lowly chuckled through his nose, secretly relishing in the fact that he had a permanent pass in Louis’ wonderful nest—one not even Louis’ own flesh and blood could enter. “Of course not…but she can sit over there,” he compromised, pointing to the other side of the teepee.

After the Omega concurred to the idea, they fizzled out into silence again, training their gazes on the inner top of the teepee and unintentionally listening to Niall’s tortured screams from birth—they were impossible to ignore. Just when Louis would have begged someone to go save his friend, one of the blonde’s screeches evolved into a joyous squeal midway through, followed by the sound of a new puppy wailing, and that simple but blesséd sound made Louis weep for him.

“Baby, don’t cry,” Harry laughed, wrapping him up in his arms and cooing into his neck. “It’s okay. That’ll be us soon. And we’ll have three to dote over. You’ll even get to meet Miri before ours come. Well, most likely. At least once,” he hypothesized, hoping Zayn would be far enough out of his father bubble to allow a meeting to transpire.

“About that…” Louis began, stopping to yawn into Harry’s pine-scented hair.

“Names?” Harry guessed.

“You thought of any?” Louis asked, tightening his arms around Harry’s neck when he tried to move back and look at him. This cuddling position was here to stay, or Louis would see to it that his Alpha was severely punished.

“I haven’t,” Harry admitted, smiling at Louis’ dominance over where exactly he was to remain. “I’ve been thinking, but…” he trailed, unable to offer much of an excuse; he simply hadn’t thought of any.

“As have I,” Louis said, laying both their guilts down on the table. “I think we’re just gonna have to wait until we see them. Hopefully something will come to us,” he mused, knowing it would have to because they wouldn’t be able to go nameless for long.

“I know you’ll choose beautiful names, Lou,” Harry praised, fury overtaking him when someone meekly poked their head into the teepee. “Really?” he barked at who was revealed to be Draco, trying to fix his temper so he wouldn’t unleash it on Louis’ omkin brother.

“What is it, Dray?” Louis asked, nonstop petting his Alpha’s hair as he locked himself in his head to find peace. “Say what you need and leave.”

“Really sorry,” Draco said with a grimace, bowing to the Pack Alpha even though he was hidden in Louis’ bosom. “Parsel needed me to come get you,” he stated, instantly jumping back as far as possible and waiting for Harry outside with Parsel.

“Shit,” Harry cursed, sighing hotly against the center of Louis’ chest and then rising from his place of comfort. “Alright, fine. Wewe, over here,” he ordered, smiling when the bunny did his job. “Duty calls,” he said with an exasperated grumble, standing to leave when Louis temporarily stopped him.

“What about when our puppies are born, Harry? Are you gonna leave a hundred times in the day then, too?” he sassed, always at war with himself over whether Harry doing his duty to protect the pack was a bad thing or not.

“I’m going to spend as much of their first outside cycle with them as I can, you brat. You know I’d stop everything for you, but this is a shitty time to relax. You need to fucking—“

“Okay, okay,” Louis said quickly, pressing his palms together and beseeching Harry to cut that string of thoughts off. “I’m sorry. Just come back soon,” he said, cringing at Harry’s short glare before he huffed and walked outside. Louis didn’t really mean to always challenge his Alpha on things he couldn’t help, but…well…he’s selfish. Good thing Harry admitted that even when agitating, Louis’ all-encompassing possession over him was still arousing. Any other case, Louis would be in trouble.

 

---

 

Niall and Zayn still hadn’t come out yet, stuck deep in their newborn puppy bubble, so Louis had been condemned to spend his last cycle alone. Okay, maybe he wasn’t alone, perhaps Harry had been there nearly the entire time, but he missed his omkin.

Missing his omkin as a whole was was his own fault, too, but he knew if he let any of them in, he would only snap at them. It wasn’t fair, and he was mad at himself for pushing everyone away when he was only going to miss them terribly, but he couldn’t fight instinct.

The stress over this very thing grew so bad that Harry had been forced to hold council meetings in the opposite side of their teepee. Thankfully, after the battle, there weren’t too many dire matters in need of discussion, besides the constant worry it would happen again, and the small meetings were usually over pretty quickly.

Besides that occasional excitement, all Harry and Louis’ days really consisted of was cuddling, knotting, sleeping, Harry feeding Louis with food Jade left outside their teepee three times a day, and Louis mainly feeding Harry from his teats. His milk was something Louis was going to hate weaning Harry off of, but he knew he’d have to relatively soon—the Alpha was too dependent.

Louis’ thoughts dwelled in this because it was upon him now; he’d woken up to the familiar pulling sensation at his chest and opened his eyes to see a mop of Harry’s hair, smiling automatically from the ticklish brushes of the Alpha’s hair on his neck. A practiced hand had been placed around the skin of his swollen little breast and pushing on and massaging it so the Alpha could get the most out of his breakfast, and Louis chose not to interrupt.

He instead quietly admired the polished wooden ring Harry had started wearing like his father before him—a ring of Alpha Styles fathers. It perfectly suited his mate’s appearance, in Louis’ factual opinion, and he was glad Harry was donning it with such pride.

Harry still hadn’t noticed Louis was awake and switched to his other nipple, using enough teeth in the latching process that Louis scrunched his nose in discomfort. Then it was more of the same, both wolves at differing levels of peace in the cold morning under warm blankets, Louis listening to the raging snowstorm outside, Wewe’s wind-instrument breathing, and Harry’s measured swallowing—the only sounds in his current world to hear. 

Over time, Louis began to feel he had nothing more to give, so he pushed his mate’s curly hair off his face to simultaneously get a clear view, and alert him of his consciousness. Two mismatched eyes blinked up at him in surprise and Harry released his nipple at once, wiping his lips with a coy smile and secondly licking the spilt milk off Louis’ chest before shuffling up to lie at eye level.

“Sorry if I woke you,” he said with a good-morning kiss, lining their noses side-by-side together and simply holding Louis’ face against his to bask in him.

“Not an issue, love,” Louis assured, peppering his mate’s face with preemptive sympathy kisses before he would inevitably bring up the news that would put a damper in Harry’s day. “You know…you’re gonna have to stop that when they’re born.”

“Don’t,” Harry stressed with unintended howahkan, adopting a forlorn expression and shaking his head in genuine disappointment. “I’ll be fine when that day comes, but for now, I’m trying not to think about it. I’d like to pretend it’s a permanent system,” he explained, only hoping he’d be fine with it when the day arose.

“Understood. I’m yours to do with as you please,” Louis said, his Omega sneaking out to say hello before creeping back into his soul.

“Thank you,” Harry grunted, coughing to clear his throat of howahkan before pointedly flipping the conversation. “What did Joéna say yesterday?” he asked, stretching his limbs as he sat and feeling around for his Pack Alpha necklace—he generally only ever took it off for sleep.

“That I was worrying myself to death for no reason,” Louis responded, recalling the conversation he and his mother had partook in while Harry was asleep during yesterday’s noon. Joéna was the only other wolf with rights to be close to Louis, and they’d been talking more ever since Harry had suggested it. She’d been a real help so far, convincing him to cultivate more courage and happily bestowing every tip and warning she had. Every mother was different, of course, but there were obviously some universally shared experiences, and Louis was eager to hear each one.

Some were horror stories, though…

 

---

 

Louis was presumably on his last week. He’d been frequently dropping into Omega-space for hours at a time, shifting to his wolf at the drop of a feather without ever consciously deciding to, and having volcanic fits of crying neither him nor Harry could stop without really putting him out for a while. He’d also been eating practically everything in sight and sleeping almost all hours of the day, and to make him feel even more hopeless, he needed help to roll to his other side—if he didn’t get it, he couldn’t do it.

When Louis says he’s huge, he means huge. His inhabited torso, having grown significantly larger during his last moon cycle, eclipsed the size of any other he’d ever seen, and though it made Harry the happiest Alpha alive, every ounce of energy Louis had was pulling from an empty bowl of nothingness. He couldn’t move.

His breathing was always labored, he still threw up sometimes, and the joint pain hadn’t diminished at all, even though he wasn’t putting any weight on anything anymore. Plus, his puppies were now kicking harder than ever before, like they were trying to break out, and they were unnaturally strong. Alpha puppies…

Harry was as loving and gentle with him as his pure heart was capable of (which was overwhelmingly), and Louis cried about that as well, but thankfully those were good tears; he was just so happy to have his perfect mate take care of him; he’d be lost without it. Harry would sing to their puppies every night, and rub whatever area of Louis was hurting until it felt better—how could he ever ask for more? The Alpha would also help put the pups to sleep when they were keeping Louis up at night, and that always made Louis fall in love all over again. What a gift.

When the moon rose for the night at the end of the week, Louis asked Harry to help him sit because he felt he had ‘things to do.’ He gave a look of surprise regarding Louis’ unshakeable intensity but agreed to help, pushing his mate up until Louis could keep steady on his own with his legs out almost in a split. He then watched in rapt interest as Louis promptly fluffed up the whole nest, scooting and crab-walking from one side to the other and laying out three cuts of fabric side by side, organizing everything he could reach. “What are you doing, lovebug?” he asked in amusement, wondering why his mate hadn’t just asked him to do all that.

“Just getting things in order,” Louis said with a shrug, setting a bunch of water-filled bowls down beside the cloths, taking a small curious sip from each one, then putting them back. He meticulously redid the sides of the nest, ensuring they were as high as possible and only when he had cleaned, dusted, and fluffed everything in sight did he finally and carefully lie back down, propping himself on his elbows first before crashing all the way down. His legs were still star-fished, though, and he couldn’t successfully pull them back together, so he whined pitifully to his mate for help. “Harry,” he sung sweetly, pointing down at his splayed legs. “I can’t do it.”

Harry snickered at the adorable sight and gingerly put Louis’ legs back together, massaging each one as he straightened them out. “There you go, little Mama,” Harry cooed, blowing out their candled and settling in for sleep, now that it seemed like Louis’ late-night cleaning session had come to a close.

The Alpha had to make much larger circles on Louis’ belly with his hand now; so much, in fact, that his upper arm was severely cramping by the time five minutes had passed, but he didn’t stop until he was sure his mate had fallen asleep. When he heard the soft, unconscious breaths, he gradually slowed his movements, moving his hand to his Omega’s deliciously thick hip and giving it a small squeeze before joining in the dreams. Can’t get any better than this.

 

---

 

Louis awoke with a feeling he can’t ever describe unless you’ve been there before. He wasn’t in pain, he wasn’t panicking, nor did he have any notable anxiety or worries, but a calling deep within in his body blared with a volume no Omega could ever ignore. And he knew precisely what it meant. He turned his head to see Harry sprawled out in the nest, and he slapped him awake with perhaps more force than necessary, but he didn’t have the patience to worry about it now.

The Alpha grunted but flung his eyes open, senses zooming in on his mate as he flipped himself over to face him—face his back, that is. Grumbling once more, he wrenched into a sitting position and hovered over his lover’s side so their gazes could meet without Louis straining. “Omega?” he cooed his mate, taking in his sweating skin and mysteriously quickened pulse. “Are you okay?”

“I’m gonna…” Louis began, quickly thinking it over to ensure he was correct about his suspicion, but with just a second of pointed introspection, there were no doubts in his mind. “Our puppies… I’m gonna have them today.”

Chapter Text

"I’m gonna have them today.”

Harry’s heart stopped at that moment—he tried to contain his squeal of happiness, but failed miserably. “Really? Are you sure?” he asked with the widest of grins, nosing his mate’s face as his pulse quickened and thumped in excitement throughout his whole body.

“Positive,” Louis confirmed, taking in a deep breath and humming a sigh—this would be interesting.

Harry carefully climbed over his Omega to sit in front of him where he could be easily seen, eager to help in any way he could. “What do you need, baby? Anything I can do for you?” he asked with a tilted head, petting Louis’ tensed arm and trying to thumb the tightness away.

“We’ve got time. I want our family here until I’m ready. If you could get them here, that would be great,” Louis said, putting pressure on random parts of his belly with a shaky hand.

“Of course, Kimi. I’ll round everyone up right now—one second,” Harry said, quickly popping up and jogging to the entrance, poking his head out into the dark morning. “CHIBS!” he roared to the chief warrior a few teepees down, disinclined to actually leave his home for anything.

The requested Alpha tripped and stumbled out of his teepee in a flurry, flailing his way through the deep snow until he got to Harry’s home and stood at attention before him. “Yes, Alpha?” he asked diligently, taking a few studious sniffs of the air in surprise.

“Sorry for the rude awakening, Chibs. But before you ask, yes, that is Louis’ labor you’re smelling. He’s requested our family spend the day with us while he progresses. So I need Perrie and Jade, Katniss and Peeta, Daven and Kurt, Norman and Joéna, Parsel and Draco, Ianalfto, and of course you and Jackson,” he listed, smiling at Chibs’ proud grin.

“Oh, Alpha! This is fantastic news! Go back inside, consider it done,” Chibs pledged with a bow, raising his knees to his chest with every step to get through the snow as quickly as possible.

Harry chuckled at his enthusiasm and ducked back into his home, sighing pleasantly at the toasty temperature of its interior. It was unexpected, but it seemed as though Louis’ body was subconsciously radiating all of its warmth for the pups, and Harry consequently worked on doing the same thing. He sat beside his red-faced mate where he belonged and used a quilt to cover the Omega’s bare lower half from the visitors they would soon have. “Anything else I can do, my beauty?” he inquired, his chin resting in his palm while he propped his elbow up on a knee.

“Probably,” Louis muttered, snorting at his own indecipherable antics and trying again. “Yeah, uh…can you take down some of these walls around the nest? I’m not feeling obsessive over it right now, and I want to be able to see our family,” he said, realizing that could change in an instant and letting his Alpha know as such. “I might ask you to put them back up, though, so don’t put everything back where it goes.”

“Of course, love,” Harry said without missing a beat, getting to work on breaking down the height of the walls for however long Louis would desire. As he was finishing, the physically tired but mentally ecstatic forms of everyone he’d listed began filing into the teepee.

The alkin and omkin of the Chehalis leader mates greeted them with respect and love, voicing their endless congratulations and taking their seats close to the nest because Louis had permitted it, yawning uncontrollably but bombarding the expecting mother with excited questions of his current state. When Ianalfto entered, Louis figured everyone that was going to be here had now arrived, but he was met with an unexpected surprise.

An alert Zayn walked an exhausted looking Niall through the entrance, and wrapped in a bundle of quilts in the Omega’s arms, was baby Miri. Louis fought the urge to screech for Miri’s sake, who was obviously asleep, but he did cry buckets from the sight.

Niall met his brother’s eyes and grinned bright as the stars, walking slowly to the closest spot by Louis’ head as everyone cleared a path for them. The Alphas hounded Zayn with claps on the back, but the Beta was extremely territorial and didn’t acknowledge them at all, following closely behind his Omega with his arms out, blocking Miri from anyone who would potentially get too close. Luckily, nobody pushed their interest because they understood, and he gently helped Niall into a sitting position, taking his spot directly behind him and meeting Harry’s loving gaze. “Hiya, Harry,” he said tiredly, his voice deep and strained from an obvious lack of sleep.

“Zayn,” Harry greeted with a wide grin, happy he was the only Alpha wolf around who didn’t bother the new fathered Beta.

“Louis, this is Mirima,” Niall announced to the teary-eyed Pack Omega, setting his puppy down before him so he could see, giggling when Zayn blatantly struggled to let it happen.

Louis cooed at the tiny little bean in fascination; it made his impatience to have his own worse than ever, but he is in labor after all, so he wouldn’t have to worry about that much longer. “She’s perfect, Nini,” he praised, meeting his brother’s similarly watery eyes. “I missed you so much, Niall. But I don’t even care anymore—look how busy you were,” he laughed, gazing back to the well-mannered and sleeping puppy.

“Don’t touch her, please,” Zayn piped from his position behind Niall just in case Louis might reach out and try. “Only you and Harry’s scents can mix with her directly like that, but...not yet. I’ll let you later today, I promise. Just let me adjust to this,” he said apologetically, crawling over and taking Miri back in his arms before scooting away from Louis’ nest.

“We understand. We’re glad we could see her at all,” Harry said for him and Louis, turning to address the rest of the wolves who were watching the scene before them in fierce adoration. “Louis has asked us to come together on this day before he is ready for delivery, so Ian, if you could get your paint, and Jade, if you could fetch some drums, we’ll start the ceremony here. We should also get some food,” he listed, pleased when everyone sprung into action immediately.

“Niall, what does it feel like?” Louis asked the blonde, who was engrossed in making funny faces at Miri.

“Like you’re getting ripped in half,” Niall stated bluntly, grimacing from the mere memory of that torturous event.

“Oh,” Louis remarked, nodding with pursed lips. “That’s great—thanks, Niall.”

“Sorry, Lou. It’s awful,” Niall reiterated, of the opinion that making light of it would only leave someone nakedly unprepared for the harsh reality. “But it’s so worth it. Isn’t it, Mimis? Isn’t it worth it?” he cooed at his pup, giggling when he got a big, confused smile in return.

“Why can’t Alphas just take away the pain?” Louis muttered, side-eyeing his own in mock annoyance.

“You’d be surprised how much we actually do,” Zayn said, one arm draped over Niall’s shoulder as his index finger idly circled his mate’s enlarged nipple on his left breast.

“Explain?” Louis asked, taking in Niall’s hushed groan and knowing there was some sort of story there to relay.

“Niall didn’t believe I was doing anything—I had the bond open, but he kept insisting I either didn’t, or couldn’t,” Zayn chuckled, taking the tiny handful of Niall’s breast he could and massaging it so subconsciously his arm could have had a mind of its own. “So…I dropped the connection entirely. For one short second. And what happened, Niall? Go on, tell him,” he goaded, nosing at his petulant mate’s neck in smug satisfaction.

“It got worse,” Niall admitted in a low grumble, lifting Miri from her little spot in the criss-cross of his legs to hold her against his chest.

“A lot worse, huh?” Zayn taunted as Niall slapped his hand away to feed their little one, sharing some knowing wink with Harry that did nothing but piss Louis off.

“That’s cruel, Zayn,” Louis chided, under the impression that birth is possibly the worst time to prove a point.

“Cruel is not being there at all,” Harry contended, sliding his hand into Louis’ hair and ensnaring the locks with a firm grip, using it to turn Louis’ head to look up at him. “Sometimes we Alphas need to put you in your place,” he said, releasing his hold and smoothing out the disrupted strands.

“Do you want me to have these puppies or not?” Louis seethed, narrowing his eyes to slits and scooting his head away from Harry’s patronizing pets.

“As if you could stop them,” Harry snorted, leaning his weight back on his hands and pushing his pelvis forward to line his legs up with his Omega’s sweating back. “You forget—they’re Alphas too.”

“Oh, believe me, I don’t forget—“

Louis’ words were interrupted when the wolves who had left on their missions returned, stocked with ceremonial paint, sage for burning, drums and pan flutes, a few platters of light food, and several vases of fresh water.

“Thank you,” Harry said with a polite nod of his head, hanging back with his Omega instead of rushing to help organize the loads. They were doing just fine on their own.

“You’ve got some presents out there,” Parsel commented, leaping over to Draco’s side and crashing down on his butt to throw his arms around him.

Louis was confused by the notion of presents, but Harry explained the tribe had been making gifts over the course of the last moon cycle to offer when the day came. Obviously, they’d either smelled or heard of Louis’ delivery by now, so baskets of little outfits and toys were beginning to stack up outside the teepee. Daven appointed himself to collect them, and just the sight of carefully-decorated presents made Louis’ heart soar. He loved Chehalis with all his heart. Chehalis had given him everything—including the pain he would endure today, but that was an occupational hazard.

Liam and Demila had been left in charge of the pack today, and for the next week or so, so everything was in order for the leader couple to relax their worries and have the time they deserved.

Louis was still outstandingly drowsy, so whenever he couldn’t keep his gaze on their company, he settled for listening to conversation with closed eyes, sighing whenever his Alpha rubbed his back in just the right way. Harry sat with criss-crossed legs and a blanket upon his lap that served as Louis’ pillow, and the Alpha’s frequent purrs shot down his neck and into his split soul like the palm-swipe to a set of wind chimes. He could almost ignore the chill in his bones.

Harry’s deep and rumbling voice as he talked with his brothers also held the same ability to lull Louis’ every fear—it was more of a feeling than a sound for the Omega as he lay on his mate’s warm legs, and he found himself trying to sink deeper into his lap to chase the vibrations. Every time Harry’s hands lifted so he could talk with them as he always did, they would always come back down to softly pad at his skin, and even that short time spent without contact cooled the Alpha’s hands enough that they felt cold breezes on his sweltering flesh.

All things considered, he could get used to this.

 

---

 

That is, until his first contraction hit. It happened in the early afternoon—admittedly mild, but not something he wanted to feel again. Too bad for him, huh? The sun was truthfully nowhere to be seen because of the raging snow storm, making it dark as twilight outside, but Louis figured it was about mid-day. The contraction spurred a full-bodied clench and his nails dug into Harry’s thigh as he balled his hand into a fist, taking long and heavy breaths when the wave of pain crashed over him. It scared the Omega even though he knew what it was; he just wasn’t looking forward to this.

Harry obviously picked up on this moment of disorder and ceased his conversing immediately, tilting his head toward his Omega and gently pushing some sticky hair off his grimacing face. “How are you feeling, Mama?” he murmured to his stressed Louis, his palm gliding over to stroke up and down his bared throat.

“It’s not my favourite,” Louis gritted, wrenching his head up to establish eye contact with his mother. “What was that? Was that what I think it was?” he asked her, somewhat hoping she’d tell him he was just being paranoid, or some other similar lie.

“Yeah, darling. Looks like you just had your first contraction. Don’t worry, you’ll be getting them all day. They’ll grow in strength the closer your water is to breaking, but don’t fret on it. Happens to us all,” she assured, still in awe her cub was having pups of his own.

Miri suddenly reached for Louis and Niall put her down curiously, observing as she wiggled her way to Louis’ belly and slapped at it with a tiny hand.

“Hello,” Louis greeted, lightly rubbing at her smooth back. “What are you doing?”

“I wonder if Miri will bond with one of your Alphas,” Niall wondered, his mused theory causing Zayn to choke on his own air.

“Oh, no,” the Beta argued, skewering his subpack with a feisty glare. “No, no, no, my daughter is not mating with anyone,” he passionately declared, scoffing when the wolves inside the teepee snickered at his /irrational/ fatherly claim.

“It is hard to sit back and let it happen at first,” Joéna admitted, giving Harry a wink, “but you can’t stop destiny.”

“Honestly, Zaynie. Who could possibly treat her better than a Styles?” Niall reasoned, chuckling at Zayn’s groan as he tried his best to accept the idea; it wasn’t working, but Niall appreciated the effort on his behalf.

“You realize we all have a long time to wait for something like that, right?” Louis pointed out, preoccupied with all the thoughts of his puppies’ cubhoods—the playing, the cuteness, the high, squeaky voices. He would treasure every second of it; then, when they were older, and only then, would he confront the notion of their courtings and matings.

“Yeah, I know. I just don’t want her growing up,” Zayn complained with a long and miffed sigh, big sad eyes peering down at his tiny nursing puppy.

“None of us like that part,” Joéna agreed, vivid memories arising of the precise point wherein Louis had begun to act out and lose his cub charm. “But they will make you so proud as adult wolves. Just think…you’ll be having conversations with her someday,” she said, giggling when both Zayn and Niall’s eyes grew to the size of the moon. Evidently, they hadn’t thought that far ahead.

Louis’ smile was cut short when his own little ones made a ruckus in his stomach, and he groaned in displeasure, a lazy hand flinging up to tap Harry’s upper thigh in what was more of a slap. “Harry, can you flip us over? We don’t like this side anymore,” he requested, suddenly hyperaware of his exact position and discovering he was anxious to get out of it.

“Of course, love,” Harry said with a nod, hooking his arms below the underside of Louis’ glancing at the spot wherein he’d have to transport him to. “Alright, here we go,” he said, commencing the difficult turning ritual they’d configured over the last few cycles. It had been a mission the first few instances, but they’d gotten it down to a science. This time was a bit different because Louis still had to face the pack, so Harry spun him on the spot, switching the directions of his head and feet, then settled in to sit behind his mate's back when the deed was done.

Louis’ skin had sustained such an ever-present feeling of burning that he moved to weakly kick the quilt from his lower half, done with the sensation of being cooked over fire water, but his Alpha instantly stopped him, smacking a hand down on his hip to keep it in place. He even fastened the edges under him for extra security, and this didn’t go over well. “What is your prob—“

“Lou, stop that, love,” Harry bent to whisper into his Omega’s ear, pleased their family had begun avidly talking amongst themselves. “I can allow my wolves to hear the sounds of pleasure I pull from you, and I will permit their presences around us when we’re connected, but I draw the line at the full exposure of your body. You are for my eyes only,” he stated inarguably, living up to his reputation of possessive values.

“Chehalis has seen me before, you know,” Louis whispered back, glaring at the ear he was speaking into because he wouldn’t last directing it at the actual eyes of his dominant. “The bonding ceremony?”

“You weren’t this pregnant back then,” Harry brushed aside as if it was an ignorant argument, nipping Louis’ earlobe for talking back to him. “Just…do as I say, Kimi. It’s important to me.”

“I’m sorry, Alpha. I’m just so hot,” Louis explained, his relevant panting speaking for itself on that front.

Harry hummed and scooted away toward the edge of the nest, grabbing a cloth and dipping it into a vase of water. He then returned and gingerly ran it all up and down Louis’ body, making sure to cover his lower half under the quilt, and his mate sighed in grateful relief. “There you go, Mama. I’m sorry I didn’t do this earlier.”

Louis’ tranquility was interrupted (will he ever not be?) when a slightly stronger contraction rolled through his body, and his whimpers precipitated a responsive whine from his contrite Alpha. It was hard to explain what contractions felt like, but it could be compared to an object being thrown into the air and falling back down to the ground. So, as the object is tossed upward, the enclosing pressure inside Louis’ core increased, and built up to reach a peak; then, when the hypothetical object began its descent, so did the internal pressure, replaced with pain as it ended before finally rolling over into a wave of dull aching. It was wildly uncomfortable—and he’d only just begun.

“I believe it’s time to start the ceremony,” Harry said after peppering Louis with an abundance of supportive kisses, knowing they wouldn’t be able to have the event at all if Louis’ contractions started getting too frequent.

With his words, the wolves (apart from Zayn and Niall) began their celebrating, retrieving the available instruments and dancing around the teepee to an upbeat tune as Ian set his paints out. Louis had to be semi-lifted into a sitting position, which he fought greatly, but Harry succeeded in heaving him up against his chest. The Elder of his pack painted his face with black swirls and lines as he chanted for the coming of his heirs, and then directed the focus to his Omega, who cheered up when it was his turn.

Louis admittedly had to bite back a constant stream of giggles while Ian unintentionally tickled him with his fingers, especially when they trailed over the expanse of his stomach, and several times he grabbed Harry’s knees to keep himself in check.

Harry enjoyed seeing his mate smile so easily when he had a day of crying ahead, and he lowly sang along to the ancient chant in his ear, expertly massaging his wide hips with just the right amount of force.

Ianalfto smiled at the Pack Omega’s amusement and went on to trace every mark he bore from the Pack Alpha’s teeth. The visible ones, at least—it was no secret there were more in unseen places. It took him an unnaturally long time regardless, but he eventually concluded, taking a hand from each parent and putting them together to shake the joined hands over their heads in a cheer to the Gods. “Your parents would be very proud today, Chaska,” he professed to his Alpha, trying to talk over the joyful howls of the teepee’s occupants.

“I know they would,” Harry agreed, reaching a hand back to the back corner of the nest to procure Anneya’s necklace and drop it around Louis’ neck.

“Oh, thank you,” Louis breathed, thumbing at the beads and using them to ground himself as his puppies reenacted the sensation of wading in an ocean. Just having it on gave him strength, and he sort of wished he didn’t own it (since that would mean Harry’s mother was still alive), but all things considered, in this moment, he was glad he did.

The ceremony gradually came to a close with a serene meditation session to the burning of the sage, and Louis may have fallen asleep once or twice (was out the entire time), but he needed the rest and wasn’t even remotely blamed.

Harry thanked Ian for his services and saw him off with a hug and kiss, embracing each of his brothers and sisters for a hefty length of time as they rode out the highs of their Elder’s spiritual guidance. He then crept back into the nest to continue the conversations at Louis’ side, hand unable to stay away from him for long. All wolves took their spots and jumped into whatever topics arose, excitement still thick in the warm teepee air. The ceremony may be over, but the day certainly wasn’t.

 

---

 

“I just wish she was here today,” Louis lamented to the white-haired Draco in the arms of his black-haired Parsel, of course referring to their late sister, Camila. The subject of her absence on this day had inevitably sprung, and now the previously celebratory Omegas were quite sullen. All this time, and it was still a fresh wound.

Draco was adamant on treating it, though. “Oh, she’s around,” he stated, looking at their surroundings mysteriously. “Probably laughing at your pain because she doesn’t have to feel it anymore.”

“Aha. What a bitch, right?” Louis chuckled fondly, groaning through another contraction before he had the freedom to continue. “I miss that laugh.”

“So do I,” Niall agreed, adopting a devious smirk that had Louis reeling in confusion. “You know what I don’t miss?” he asked, obviously expecting Louis to start guessing but he wasn’t in the mood.

“What?” Louis asked, wincing from the afterwaves of pain as Harry doted on him from behind.

“That,” Niall teased with a point to Louis’ pitiful position and little shakes, tossing him some grapes to munch on.

Always with the damn grapes.

Louis took the fruit without conflict and nibbled on it absentmindedly, welcoming anything that served as a distraction from his situation. His head ended up back on Harry’s lap and he nuzzled further into the criss-cross of his legs to press his face against his covered cock, breathing in his Alpha’s scent where it was strongest.

Harry flinched from the tickling sensation and let out a chuckle, relaxing his tensed muscles and scratching his Omega’s scalp in encouragement. “You’re gonna be okay, Kimi,” he reminded, gazing down at his mate and raising his eyebrows when he got an intense glare thrown up at him.

“Mentally, maybe. But physically,” Louis argued with a shake of his head, going limp as Harry held his neck up and uncrossed his legs, scooting in to carefully drop him back down on his parted thigh.

“Physically too, Louis,” Harry stressed, reaching out to take a hand and grinning when his Omega held it so tight he lost circulation. “You’re an Omega, Louis. Your body is going to be fine.”

“He’s right, actually,” Niall added, his statement opening Louis’ curious eyes because as a fellow submissive mother, he could be trusted. “This won’t ruin you at all. Only at first.”

“I hardly consider loose ruined,” Zayn muttered, joining Harry in some Alpha handshake of agreement he initiated that neither Omega paid much attention to.

“Whatever. Just touch me,” Louis sighed, closing his eyes and frantically chasing sleep he knew he would thank himself for later. Harry never once stopped caressing his skin, always emitting a soothing rumble whenever he squeaked in discomfort, and before he knew it, he had left that reality.

Niall and Miri had fallen asleep in Zayn’s lap as well, and Draco cooed at his brothers when he noticed the comparison. “Oh Gods, look at them. They’re so cute,” he said, looking between Niall and Louis with stars in his eyes.

Harry followed his gaze and smiled down at his mate, struck with such a fierce adoration that he had to hold a hand over his heart. “The very definition,” he agreed, including Niall in his compliment as he glanced between both Omegas, snapping his eyes upward when Zayn began to speak.

“New mothers are rarely awake, and sometimes only puppies can accomplish waking them at all,” the Beta remarked, plenty of examples with the ever-dozing Niall whirling around in his thoughts. “Harry, you’re going to have to tend to your pups when Louis’ out. Because he will be. And he’ll be out for long periods of time after this,” he informed, removing his cloak to drape over Niall and Miri instead because the cold air was still blowing through the entrance no matter the general warmth inside.

“I got this,” Harry said with confidence, planning all the ways he’d play with his pups if Louis was more or less unavailable. He couldn’t wait for the games of chase and climb; the games of catch in their puppy forms; it was all sparking a hot twinge in his chest. He would love every second.

“Are you nervous?” Parsel asked curiously, finding the prospect of being a father desirable yet terrifying.

“No, not at all,” Harry said with a quick shake of his head, taking a second to find the right words for his emotions if they didn’t consist of that one. “I’m proud. More proud than I’ve ever been in my life. And it’s so much bigger than pride, too, but I don’t believe either this language or Na-Dene have the words. I’m full of love—it’s indescribable. Whether or not parenting will always be an easy time, nervous is not quite applicable. Both their mother and I will handle every hurdle they may face…or throw themselves,” he snorted, well aware of his puppies’ gender, and what that meant for their maturing. Chaos.

Parsel hummed as he considered the given information, and Draco took that time to twist around and give him a patient but pointed look. Parsel’s eyes darted left to catch his Omega in his sights, then he turned his head, leaning forward until their foreheads were touching and saying nothing because nothing needed to be said—they were both thinking about it.

“Take care of him, Harry,” Norman piped from his place against a horizontal log with Joéna between his legs, sharing a long, almost desperate but still content look with his son’s mate—his Pack Alpha. He had no doubts Louis would be taken care of, but what kind of father would he be if he didn’t at least mention his one and only condition?

“Always,” Harry swore to both of his Omega’s parents, setting his gaze on the canvas floor a few steps ahead of them as he thought of his own parents. They really should be here, but they weren’t. Camila, Lauranna, and everyone else they’d lost should be here, but they weren’t. He may not be able to change that past, but he could still control the present, and he had his claws embedded in the future of peace from his dreams. Nothing would stop him from seeing it through, making his real. Louis, his puppies, his friends, and the pack as a whole deserved nothing less. “Always, and a long time after that.”

 

---

 

The day had progressed in a similar manner, with Louis slipping in and out of consciousness, holding conversations in-between, whimpering every once in a while, but routine was bound to break at some point—and at dusk, it did. Around when what would have been sunset if the clouds weren’t so thick, Louis’ pain woke him up with a clarity that made him feel as though he hadn’t slept at all. He grasped Harry’s hand in an instant, searching for him with wild eyes that filled with tears when their gazes locked. “Harry,” he choked in a moment of terror, motivated to finish his thought by his Alpha’s vigilant expression. “Harry, I think—” he began, gasping when he felt an odd snap inside his body that instantly precipitated his water spilling out and soaking his legs. “Okay, I don’t think, I know,” he heaved, struggling to breathe as Harry lifted the quilt to peer down at his situation with a studiously sniffing nose.

“Everyone out!” the Pack Alpha commanded of their company, his heart racing along with Louis’ as they processed what this meant. “Thanks for coming, it’s been great, out, out, out,” he snapped with frantic shooing waves of his arms, hoping no one would hold his abrupt farewells against him later.

The wolves in their teepee hopped and scrambled to obediently disperse, voicing their support and best wishes to Louis, but he was barely listening. His limited attention was stuck on his brother Niall, who had woken from the commotion and was regarding Louis with utter glee in his eyes. “Nini. What do I do?” he asked fearfully, his senses on overload as his puppies wiggled around impatiently.

“Oh hush, you,” Niall chided, not even acknowledging his hypocrisy because he’d panicked even harder when it had been his time. “You already know what to do. I’ll see you in a few weeks, okay? I love you,” he rushed as he was lifted into his Alpha’s arms and carried out of the teepee, only after Harry and Zayn had shared a loving kiss, though.

“Love you too,” Louis whined as the pair left his home, thereby leaving the leader couple entirely alone, fixing his nervous gaze on Harry as the Alpha sat down in front of him and reached out to hold both his hands.

“What do you need, Mama?” he asked, holding back all intense displays of emotion to be the eye of the storm Louis needed.

Louis fought to stay calm and thought it over, looking around and noticing the nonexistent walls of his nest. “Fix the walls back to how they were, please. I need my nest back,” he requested, surprised he hadn’t realized how uncomfortable he was with the loss of seclusion until now.

“Of course, my love,” Harry said as he jumped to complete that very task, stacking whatever was logical to utilize to build the nest back to its former glory. It was when he was halfway done that Louis’ first screech penetrated his sympathetic ears, and he doubled his speed so he could get back to him.

The first big contraction ripped through his body like a storm wave in the ocean, and Louis was not happy. It felt like his insides were being crushed together, and he curled in on himself in dread, crying out helplessly when it rolled over into the shooting pain he’d anticipated. It was far worse than he’d expected. “Fuck!”

“I’ll be right there, baby. Just hold on,” Harry whined as he added the last touches to the barriers, finishing haphazardly and rushing back to his whimpering mate. “Sweet wolf, it’s okay. “I know it’s scary, Mama. But you’ve gotta be strong, okay?” he said as he took him into his arms and pressed kisses to his bond mark, shushing him with redundant whispers of encouragement.

Louis scoffed and grumbled at the seemingly simple solution, wishing he could, but being unable to put any belief into Harry’s kindhearted murmurs. “Easy for you to say.”

 

---

 

For the next hour, Louis suffered from gradually intensifying contractions, crying every time they started, and screeching every time they were ending. Every time he would endure one, he would swear to the Gods he couldn’t do it again—and then another one would always come. He was having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that his pain would get outstandingly worse as time went on. Every time he thought this must be it, the contraction would subside, leaving him only with the warning that the next would be worse. It was agony—only the knowledge of the outcome made the present bearable.

Harry was committed to sending love through their bond each time he felt Louis tense in dread—and that getting more frequent. He knew he was helping, but like Niall, Louis didn’t seem to feel it. Harry, however, would not be backing off just to prove a point—not with Louis.

He was currently washing and massaging Louis’ entire body, now that the blanket covering him was off, and his sympathetic whines slipped out at least once every minute or so. His poor Omega was inconsolable; covered in sweat and panting heavily; shifting his legs every few minutes because he said they hurt no matter where he put them, and Harry had never seen a more sadly endearing picture in his life. He helped Louis switch positions every time he asked, because it was one of the only things he could offer, and sang to his pups as he rubbed his mate’s hurting hips, all up until Louis barked at him to stop.

Harry never felt offended when Louis got short and snappy with him, and even if he frowned a few times, he’d rather have snapping than crying. After yet another bathing and grooming session was completed, Harry fetched some twine to tie Louis’ hair into a high ponytail so it would stay off his face, and the angle made the Omega’s lock resemble a carrot top on his head. He suppressed his laughter and convinced him it looked ravishing, playing with the little tufts until he got another warning growl.

Louis knew he was being a bit unreasonable with his irritation levels, but no matter how flattered he was at Harry’s help, he couldn’t seem to meet such actions with the respectful reaction of gratitude they deserved. Everything hurt too much. Harry was just now applying a dampened cloth to his sweaty forehead, and after a while of silence, Louis huffed in annoyance and tossed the rag from his face, meeting Harry’s expectant eyes and revealing his inner thoughts. “This is taking forever,” he whined impatiently, wondering if he’d run into some sort of complication that would prohibit a smooth delivery.

Harry frowned in sympathy and shimmied down Louis’ lower half, lifting his right leg and disappearing between his legs. Louis stared at Harry’s curved spine until he couldn’t take it anymore, his exasperated gripe leaving his mouth before he could even try to contain it. “Harry, what are you doing?”

Harry reemerged and set Louis’ leg back down, crawling up to eye level with an easygoing smile on his face. “Sorry,” he said plainly, promptly giving the report to his investigation: “They’re not ready yet.”

“Wha—were you smelling me?” Louis balked, outright laughing when Harry slowly nodded his head. “And you know they’re not ready yet?” he asked dubiously, amazed a simple test like that could tell his Alpha so much.

“Uh-huh,” Harry drawled, his cautious tone suggesting it the most obvious thing in the world but he didn’t want to admit that to his temperamental Omega.

Louis just scrunched his brows and blinked sluggishly at his mate, shaking his head at Harry’s antics and letting his elbows slide out to lower himself down onto his back. “Alpha things?” he guessed.

“Alpha things,” Harry confirmed, a sheepish grin spread on his features.

Louis took a deep breath and pressed his palms to his eyelids, rubbing them tiredly and then splaying his arms out at his sides. “Well, how much longer?” he asked, realizing that study could have benefits to it. Harry hummed curiously and made to go back and sniff out the answer, but Louis stopped him before he could, lightly tapping his back in rapid succession. “No, no, no, stop that. Just guess.”

“Mm…an hour?” Harry theorized, scratching at his head as he debated the accuracy of that prediction.

“A WHAT!” Louis shouted, eyes wide as he stared at his Alpha, squeezing them shut again when he didn’t “correct himself” like Louis thought he might. “Gods, but I’m already so tired,” he groaned, stifling a yawn that independently proved that very thing.

Harry hated hearing his Omega troubled, and he wrapped his arms around what he could reach, petting his hair and purring into his neck. “Then you should get some sleep, Kimi. If you’re tired, your body is telling you something, and you should listen. Just relax—our puppies will let you know when they’re ready,” he reasoned, more confident in that than any time limit he could give on their progression. In the end, they would decide.

“Sleep!” Louis scoffed with a snorty laugh, seriously doubting that was something within his grasp. “Right. Yeah, I’ll just take a nap now, shall I?” he sassed with an overload of sarcasm, closing his eyes and getting comfortable to prove how impossible it would turn out to be.

To Harry’s amusement, as soon as Louis closed his eyes, he appeared to have zonked out. There we go, Harry thought to his irritable and luckily sleeping mate, nosing at his cheek and placing a kiss to the corner of his lips. You’ll need it.

 

---

 

Harry spent the last episode of calm fluffing up the blankets, refilling the water bowls, and whispering excitedly to Wewe, who may have not known what he was saying, but certainly understood the intent. Harry could sense his puppies were closer now than ever before to their awaited arrival by their strengthening scent, and he raced against their own impatience to ensure everything was perfect for them.

When he was as done as he had to be, he returned to his puppies’ sleeping mother and sat silently beside him, giving frequent pets and rubs until he couldn’t take it anymore, leaning down and whispering, “Ready when you are” against Louis’ stomach. With a response as if they understood him, the little ones seemed to take charge of their own commencement, and Louis shot awake, slapping both hands onto his forearms and sinking his claws into his skin.

“Harry!” Louis croaked, immediately heaving what once deep and timely breath. “Harry…”

“It’s time, Kimi,” Harry confirmed, repressing his passion once again to be a pinnacle of calm of which Louis could depend on.

“What do I do? I don’t wanna do it, oh Gods, help—“

“Louis, you need to focus,” Harry interrupted, holding Louis’ face and maintaining eye contact. “You’re gonna do great. When you have to push, do it, otherwise just let your body do the rest. You don’t need to know what to do; you’ll feel it,” he reasoned, gently rolling Louis onto his back and taking a seat in-between his legs. “Alright? Do you understand?” he asked softly, needing to establish some kind of foundation for the upcoming chaos.

Louis groaned but nodded his head, gnawing on his lip and suppressing his tears—he’d save them for the actual finale. “You’re sure I can do this?”

A bubbly laugh tumbled out of Harry’s mouth and he pushed his mate’s knees up to hold them apart, nodding surely to answer Louis’ silly question. “Of course. I wouldn’t have breeded you if I thought you couldn’t handle it. When that next contraction comes, I need you to try as hard as you can. You can do this, Mama,” he stressed, walking his hands up the bedding to seal his lips over Louis’ in encouragement before scooting back down. “This is what I first knotted you for, my Omega. We made these puppies together, now hand them over.”

“Don’t rush me, you Alpha. I’m doing better than you ever could,” Louis sassed, displaying a sharp contrast from his earlier hesitance—that attitude crumbled when that mentioned ‘next contraction’ started, though, and his grumbles turned to whimpers in their midst.

“Oh, sweetie. I know. I know it hurts, Kimi. But you can do it. Better than I ever could,” Harry reminded, holding Louis’ legs apart because he kept subconsciously trying to close them.

Louis screamed his way through the worst pain yet and pushed as hard as he could as per request, and it was almost laughable how much he’d underestimated the pain of it. It was exactly as Niall had described, and Louis wasn’t sure it wasn’t actually ripping him in half. “Anything?” he asked breathlessly when it passed, knowing the answer to that was ‘no,’ but still feeling the need to ask.

Harry shook his head and firmly pushed Louis’ legs further apart, losing his tolerance for Louis’ constant attempts to close himself—that wouldn’t even help. “Not yet, darling. Just keep going, alright?” he said, unable to say much else in a situation that spoke for itself.

“I can’t do it,” Louis sobbed after a minute of silence, overtaken by discouragement as he felt the next contraction come on.

“Louis. Yes. You can,” Harry pressed, unwilling to let Louis lose his motivation. “You are the Pack Omega of the Second Great tribe of Chehalis. Act like it,” he said with a sternness that got his Omega’s instant attention.

Louis raised his head to glare at his goading mate, his canines bared in defense over Harry’s insensitivity. “Oh, we’re playing it like that, are we? A challenge? Fine. You wanna see birth, I’ll fucking show you birth, fucking watch me,” he seethed, succumbing to the throes of his contraction and giving it everything he had.

“That’s it, Kimi. You’ve got it. Just keep doing it like that, and we’ll have one in no time,” Harry praised, circling his hands around his hidden puppies in their large home—a home they were also trying hard to leave. Seems only yesterday Jade informed them they would have three little wolves together; every moon cycle from then to now could be summed up with a single sentence. They all led to now—this day that felt like nine cycles in itself. “I’m so happy with you, Louis. This is the best day ever.”

“It will be,” Louis groaned, finally free from his contraction and using the short time he had to efficiently breathe. “But not at the moment.”

Harry was about to respond when Louis started squirming and crying again, so he diverted all attention to between his legs, seeing everything over like some sort of professional, when in fact, he was just as clueless as his Omega. First-time parenting was a learning experience for both participants, that was for sure. “That’s close to your last one,” he remarked, knowing that if the contractions were seeing less time between them, then delivery would be more or less imminent.

“I know,” Louis screeched, wailing helplessly when his pain increased significantly and made him bear down, his every inch of skin on fire except where Harry was holding his hips—Alphas really did help. Niall was an idiot for thinking otherwise.

“By the Gods. You’re almost there, Louis,” Harry said with a shocked gulp, watching with amazed eyes as Louis’ body started to open up for his traveling puppy. “You should see this, it’s incredible! You’ve got this, my love,” he babbled, growing more passionate with each and every little progression their first puppy made.

“This is terrible,” Louis gritted, feeling a bunch of sensations he couldn’t even begin to explain as Harry’s cheers grew louder, intermittently pushing six more excruciating times with shrieks to accompany each until he was positive his efforts had seen success. He then collapsed onto his back with countless whines of exertion, finally relaxing the likely pulled muscles throughout his entire body.

Meanwhile, Harry was a sobbing mess, having been given his firstborn wolf. He’d squealed embarrassingly shrilly when the pup had fallen into his waiting hands, and the heavy tears had flowed like a river when he’d finally processed what he was holding—he couldn’t stop crying.

“What is it?” Louis asked deliriously, weakly lifting his neck to try and look at the product of his suffering.

“It’s my Chaska,” Harry cooed as he sniffed excessively, holding the wiggling puppy up for Louis to see.

“Eyadon,” Louis announced, automatically naming the firstborn Alpha son upon seeing his face, then dropping his head because he couldn’t hold it up any longer.

“Eyadon,” Harry repeated in adoration, making quick work of biting the attachment cord off and setting his son down in the first water bowl, washing him carefully but hastily because he knew they were racing for time until the second puppy would restart the process. Once decently bathed, Harry wrapped him in a soft cloth and licked his face clean, crawling over to Louis when he was done so they could awe at him together.

Louis’ tears of joy shuddered through him as he properly saw Eyadon for the first time, and Harry lay on his side to set Eyadon down just beside his face. “Hi, Eyadon. You were doing most of the kicking, weren’t you?” he guessed, nuzzling the Chaska with his nose, who started wailing as soon as he got the breath to. “Oh, I know,” he cooed at the splotchy little Alpha, “life is just awful, isn’t it?”

Harry crawled further upward to look down at Eyadon with his mate, and was still struggling to stop his tears. “You did so good, Lou. Look at him,” he blubbered, petting the back of his tiny head and carding his free hand through Louis’ hair while he was at it.

“Only two more to go,” Louis groaned with a little chuckle, making the most of and basking in the current serenity before round two began. “It’s definitely worth it…” he admitted, finding himself dozing off before he could finish the string of sentences he’d prepared.

“Aw. Sleep, my precious mate. You’ve earned the world,” Harry praised, kissing Louis’ cheek and then lifting Eyadon up to lay down on his chest. He was still sniveling, but Harry only joined him, Father and Chaska son crying their hearts out to each other because what else was there to do?

 

---

 

Unfortunately, Louis was only able to close his eyes for fifteen minutes before the unthinkably tormenting process started up again, and both parents tuned out the excitement to handle it with what was now practiced efficiency. This time around passed quicker than the first, which was to be expected, but the pain was almost sharper—lemon-on-a-cut type of deal. No matter the struggle, Louis grit his everything and successfully delivered his second puppy, into the expectant hands of its father, and now four beings were crying into the teepee.

Turns out the second-born had been the only other boy of the trio, and when he was cleaned and handed over, Louis once again had an automatic name to bestow upon him: Nordé. He held Nordé close and studied every facet of his tiny face, making use of his second break to coddle both of his little achievements. Said break came to a shorter close than the last one, and though once motivated, this time Louis began to complain. “Harry, I can’t. I’m so tired. I can’t do it again. I physically cannot do this, please,” he rasped, his plea hopefully suggesting Harry could do anything about it.

“Of course you can. Look what you’ve already done. I’m right here, Kimimela—I’m with you all the way—but I can’t stop this any more than you can. Don’t give up—just one more, Lou, and then you’re done. I want my daughter,” he said with a half-smile of sympathy, grinning in full when his words seemed to light a spark and make up Louis’ mind.

An unknowable amount of blindingly severe discomfort later, when Louis finally, finally delivered his only female puppy, he could do nothing but sob in relief that it was over. He didn’t even have the energy to raise his head to see her, so a request for assistance needed to be made. “Just bring her here,” he slurred, waiting as Harry bit the cord and wrapped her up, then crawled over to deposit the bundled puppy onto Louis’ chest.

“Carmela,” Louis said in an instant, stroking her amazingly soft cheek and noting how quiet and well-behaved she was, especially for an Alpha. That might change soon, but for now, she was pensive and studious, unable to see but pointedly looking and searching anyway.

“Eyadon, Nordé, and Carmela,” Harry listed, leaning down and nuzzling each one to get them familiarized with his scent, though there were no doubts they knew it was their father. “Beautiful names for beautiful puppies.”

“Mm…they like your voice,” Louis giggled, watching the instinctive smiles on their creations’ faces whenever met with Harry’s deep and rumbling timbre. If Harry bent down to give them kisses and then rose, their arms (having broken free from the cloths ages ago) would try to reach out and bring him back. That was love at its purest, most basic form—the notion of ‘don’t go.’

“Probably because I never stopped talking to them,” Harry guessed, switching his focus from his puppies to their mother to give him a similar barrage of face kisses.

Louis released a breathy chuckle and his nose scrunched up, but he couldn’t even come close to matching Harry’s exuberant energy; all he could do was smile and hum in content. He’d done it.

“You did so well, Kimi—look at them. You did this,” Harry praised as he surveyed the finished products of the family he’d bred for, clasping hands with his unique and sometimes unconventional but always irreparably perfect mate. “You are a champion, Kimi. A warrior of motherhood. That was so beautiful, every single aspect was spiritual, and you are the most amazing wolf in the world…” he sniffed, letting himself leave it there for now because his head was starting to throb from all this crying.

Louis smiled and covered their joined hands with his free one, starting to turn onto his side to face his puppies when he felt something else stir within him. “Oh Gods, what is that?” he huffed, cringing when an incoming pressure announced itself from somewhere inside his midsection. “Is there another one? What…?”

Harry furrowed his eyebrows and it took him a few moments of contemplation, but then he realized what was happening and returned to Louis’ lower half to help out, patting Louis on his parted knees in support. “Placenta. This will be easy in comparison to what you just went through,” he assured, repressing his laugh at Louis’ untrusting expression.

“It’s really sore,” Louis argued, having forgotten about the last sequential step in this life-altering process because he’d been understandably distracted by his own living puppies right next to him. “Just…take care of it, I don’t know. You deal with it,” he said, refusing to focus on it since puppies took precedence.

“How can I deal with it? It’s your placenta,” Harry laughed, flicking Louis on the inner knee and accepting the responsibility anyway, grabbing the three cords at their base and working on carefully pulling it out. With a few winces and hisses from Louis, Harry won himself the success, and he set it in a cloth-rimmed basket to deal with later. After this first night, it was to be buried out by his own from Anneya a hearty steps out east of Ianalfto’s home; this burial was an olde tradition, but one that stood prominent among Chehalis.

“I can’t even think about how I must look right now,” Louis sighed, muttering in pity when his puppies started crying simultaneously like they had some mental link of protest alarms.

Harry set the basket down behind their short table so it wouldn’t be knocked over and looked back to Louis’ hole, gauging the answer to that muse even if it wasn’t necessarily what Louis had meant. He immediately pursed his lips in thoughtful concern, and Louis caught the meaning behind his feature like a hawk.

“Am I dying?” Louis croaked as he narrowed his eyes, thinking he wouldn’t be surprised even if he was—how this process didn’t kill everyone was a mystery. Omegas truly are incredible—he feels stupid for ever wishing to disassociate himself from who he is.

“Far from. There’s just a bit too much blood for my comfort, so I’m gonna clean it, it will heal quicker that way. And it’s not going to feel good, okay?” he warned, feeling it deserved proper heads-up. “I’m sorry, but it will help afterward. Ready?” he asked, leaning the side of face on Louis’ knee and making his own eyes shine to appeal to Louis’ obvious reluctance.

“What’s more burning pain today?” Louis bravely reasoned with a defeated shrug of his shoulders. “Just do it.”

Harry actually giggled and promptly bent down, considerately licking the area clean without giving too much thought to make it painless to save on duration time (Louis would thank him for it later), additionally pouring water over his entrance and dabbing him with cold rags until he was sure the bleeding would subside.

Harry was right about it not feeling too great, but it was tolerable, and Louis just snapped his jaw shut, handling it admirably until he was done. By this time, all his puppies were shrilly screaming at him to be fed, and Louis asked Harry to help roll him to his side so he could give them what they wanted.

Harry sat back and watched the following scene with something close to worship. All the jealousy they'd joked about Harry having was of course nonexistent, and he cooed at his puppies almost pushing each other to be fed first. They were definitely Alpha children, there was no doubt about that.

After a stressful game of choosing who’s next, the pups were full and content, and Louis was now done with reality, all current duties accomplished.

Harry positioned himself on his side across from Louis and curled around the sleepily squirming pups in the middle, the parents acting as the pea pod for their three tiny peas. He turned his gaze from them to Louis’ sky-blue eyes, and a wave of hypnotic worship almost knocked him out—Louis’ beauty was ethereal. It didn’t matter how haggard he looked for the sheer mass of exertion he put himself through today, every detail was still as flawless as the day he’d realized he was in love with him. Much more so, in fact. “I love you. You are the most exquisite thing I’ve ever seen,” he stated, craning his neck for a kiss with the lips he still couldn’t believe were his to kiss.

When he pulled back, Louis was asleep, hidden from consciousness like the sun behind storm clouds, but a tiny lingering smile proved the Omega had heard what he’d said. The puppies miraculously followed their mother’s example, or maybe they were just as tired, and they all drifted off into the scape of dreams, leaving Harry in his perception of reality that already felt so much like a dream of its own. Could this be real? he thought, petting his puppies and sighing onto his forearm that was bent underneath his head. I’ll never stop pinching myself.

 

---

 

Eventually the puppies awoke and started crying, but Louis was up before Harry could even turn his head. The Alpha had been organizing the teepee and all the puppy clothes the tribe had made, and he wandered back to the nest to help out in any way he could, beyond ready to take on any mission Louis could have in the world.

Louis gazed at his slowly-calming pups in sheer awe, because he still couldn’t believe what he was seeing, and when his Alpha sat down beside him, his tear-blurred eyes sought his mate’s intricate ones. “Harry,” he croaked, throat sore from all the violent use of it he’d made today. “We have puppies…”

“We do,” Harry agreed with a grin, his eyes darting from Louis to said puppies because he didn’t know where he wanted to look more. If only he had more eyes.

“Yeah, but…no but…we have puppies, Alpha. Look, one, two, three, we have three,” Louis stressed, emphasizing his words with a finger point to each puppy as he counted.

The laugh that came out of Harry could be categorized as a giggle, but he certainly wasn’t going to be admitting that. “Well, you should know. You carried them for nine whole cycles,” he said, eternally enamoured by how beautifully Louis had housed their puppies for so long when he was such a small creature himself.

“Yeah, but I don’t think I really knew how very cute they’d be. Gods, look at them,” Louis squealed, holding Nordé up for apparent proof.

“They’re flawless, Lou,” Harry agreed, booping little Nordé on the nose before Louis lowered the confused puppy back down. “They’ll inherit only the best traits and characteristics of their parents. As well as their own wonderful individual ones, of course, but uh...as cute as they are, they’re kind of screaming, Kimi,” he commented, his overly sensitive Alpha ears being the leading cause for his mention—their cries were painful in more ways than one.

“They’re hungry,” Louis noted, holding Nordé to his chest and helping him latch on to not only feed him, but also shut him up. “Ah, Nori that tickles,” he groaned, glad at least that his efforts had seen the desired result of silence…now there were only two sets of wails in the teepee.

“Nori. That’s cute,” Harry said as he stretched to lie down on his side, sandwiching the puppies between Louis and himself like he would do so many times in the future.

“I thought so. Nori, Eya, and…Carmi?” Louis tested, determined to find the perfect nicknames to coo them with.

“Oh, about Carmela…” Harry began, pausing to formulate the right way to continue that, but luckily Louis knew where he was going.

“Camila and Lauranna, yeah,” Louis confirmed, puffing a little sigh of mourning and then forcing himself back to the present. “It’s not an exact combination, but it was what I came up with in the moment,” he explained with a one-armed shrug, switching Nori with Eyadon because his cries were undeniably louder than Carmela’s, and therefore, needed quieting the most.

“I think it’s beautiful what you did,” Harry murmured, sliding his palm up Louis’ forehead to pet through his hair. “She’s gonna be great. All of them are.”

“Of course they are,” Louis scoffed, sparing his Alpha a wink when he met his eyes with his own smug spark. “They came from us.”

 

---

 

The puppies thankfully slept all the way through the night, which Louis knew he wouldn’t have the luxury of soon, but he desperately needed the sleep, and he definitely got it, so he was happy. He woke up to the whines of his adorable little ones and fed them at once, watching as Harry stumbled to his feet and shuffled his tired way to collect the breakfast Jade had left for them by the entrance.

The Alpha then returned to the nest and Louis attempted to sit up to receive the food, but jarring pain made him gasp and he fell back down heavily, feeling a bit brainless for forgetting the current level of his limitations. “Harry, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sit again,” he whimpered, squeezing his eyes shut and clenching his teeth as he dealt with the rolling waves of pain he’d accidentally initiated from his movement.

“You’ll be alright, Lou,” Harry argued confidently, making a pouting face to match Louis’ when the Omega gave him his best. “I’ll keep cleaning it for you,” he added to reassure him, promptly spoon-feeding Louis corn that had been sliced off the cob for convenience.

“But am I gonna be fat forever?” Louis muffled with his mouth full, snorting when a few kernel pieces went flying from his mouth. “I look like I’m at five cycles again,” he said more carefully, poking at his leftover tummy pudge with a disapproving index finger.

Harry lowered his face to his Omega’s stomach and kissed it all over, running his hands up and down Louis’ thighs as he slowly shook his head. “You’re absolutely perfect, Kimi, and I don’t want you thinking you have some sort of problem. Your weight, if you’re really worried about it, will go back to normal in a few weeks. Probably by the time you can leave the nest,” he guessed, helping Louis switch the nursing puppies again and then stealing one of his hands to hold onto. “But I need you to know that flaws are things you are not in possession of.”

“You’re sweet,” Louis said with what he could only assume looked like stars in his eyes, smiling lazily until he remembered the other problem area to address. “What about my hole? Is it ever gonna be tight again? Is a knot ever gonna satisfy me again? What if—”

Louis,” Harry sighed with a chuckle, holding a finger to the Omega’s lips until he finally gave up. “Stop worrying. Your body is going to go back to normal, I promise. Omegas bounce back fast because you’re built to. But it is going to take a while, so don’t fret when nothing heals instantly,” he assured, patting around for another rag to wipe the last of Louis’ ceremony paint off with. He found it behind him and dipped it in the water bowl, and Louis’ response came after his blissful sigh from the small comfort.

“Alright, I believe you,” Louis slurred, his every muscle relaxing each time Harry made a long swipe down his frame with the dampened rag. “Can you do something about it, though? Use your Alphaness?”

Harry nodded and worked to remove every dot of paint in a timely manner, tossing the rag over his shoulder without a shoulder when he was done and pressing his lips to his mate’s chapped ones. “Alphaness at your service,” he said as he pulled back, lifting Louis’ left leg and rolling the skin of his arse up to expose his hole, ignoring his mate’s consequent hiss and got to cleaning him. If he paused for every hiss, groan, or grunt, nothing would ever get done.

Louis groaned and glared at his pups in a squirming pile at his front, unable to uphold his glare when they looked so unfairly adorable—how very like their father they were. “You did this, you know,” he said to them, resting his palm on Eyadon’s soft tummy and slowly rocking him side to side. “I know you can’t understand me, but I just want you to know that you are to blame for my young body giving up on me.”

Harry reemerged at that point and replaced his tongue with the wet cloth, wiping his chin with the back of his hand and finally laughing from Louis’ puppy-addressed complaint. “I keep telling you you’ll be fine—blame me, not them. I’m the one who breeded you,” he chuckled, knowing his Omega would never see anything to blame when it came to their first ever mating.

“And what a fantastic breeding it was,” Louis said just as his Alpha had expected, earning himself an immediate kiss to the lips for his praise.

“What do you want right now?” Harry asked as he sat up straight, prone to offer such things ever few minutes because of both his natural gender and his devotion to his mate. “Anything else I can do for you?” he asked, taking Louis’ hand back in his like before and pressing kisses to each finger.

“I just want to shift,” Louis said in frustration, gripping Harry’s hand and bringing it to his own lips to reciprocate the kisses. “My wolf would be far more capable to deal with the pain—and it would feed them better. At least my nipples wouldn’t be outnumbered,” he snored, his face lacking any real hope or expectation because he already knew what the answer to that would be.

“You know you can’t until they can see, Lou,” Harry reminded, quickly adding to that before Louis could give him a glare and sassy ‘I know.’ “But the second they can, go ahead and stay like that as long as you want. I’ll take care of everything else, and I’ll join whenever you want me to,” he promised, his nerves surrounding the prospect of angering his mate dissipating with the blinding grin he got instead. He would have said something else thoughtful, but Louis suddenly went rigid, and his own body flinched in response. “Louis?” he asked in a fret, sitting up straighter and looking around their teepee in suspicion.

“I’m sorry, I’m alright. Alpha, I’m okay,” Louis rushed to assure, tapping at his Alpha’s flexed forearms to bring him back down from his panic. “I’m okay,” he repeated sternly, sighing in relief when Harry sunk into his seated position and nodded curtly in equally-relieved understanding. “It’s just now that you’re not lying on that side, I don’t like facing the entrance with my puppies in front of me. Could you please flip us over?” he asked, holding Carmela out so Harry could move her first.

“Of course, my love,” Harry said as he transferred all his pups to the other side of Louis, rolling his mate last and fighting against the gasps and hisses the Omega couldn’t stop streaming out. “Sorry, Lou,” he whined as he finally got the incredibly sore Louis on his other side, gentle hands petting bare skin to take away some of the aftereffects of movement.

“Necessary evil,” Louis muttered in blatant displeasure. “Kiss me?” he requested, smiling right at Harry’s dimples when he gave a grin to comply. The feeling of Harry’s warm lips on his almost made Louis forget about the burning he felt in his body, and when the kiss deepened, he outright moaned his pleasure into his Alpha’s mouth, sparking a fierce combustion of heat between them that felt even less bearable than his earlier pain-heat.

Harry licked into Louis’ mouth eagerly, but he pulled back when he came to his senses, shooting a stern and thin-lipped deadpan to his opportunistic mate. “Louis, I’m going to have to ask that you do not make noises like that. They go straight to my groin,” he stated, his deceiving tone colouring it as more of a plea.

“Yes, Alpha,” Louis said, letting out the most sensual mewl he could the second Harry turned his head, laughing when Harry glared at him for the unnecessary jab at his sexual deprivation. “Oh, don’t look at me like that, Harry. You know when I’m up to it, I’ll pleasure you in every way I can if I can’t take your knot. And you’re the one convincing me I’ll heal soon, so just you wait. We’ve had to be so careful every time we’ve mated, but I’ll show you the kind of energy I really have. It will be better than my heat. I’ll take your knot; bring it out of you myself; you won’t even have to thrust once. I’ll do it for you. I’ll ride you until—”

“Louis,” Harry whined helplessly, his eyes wide with blown pupils as he worked to slow his heart rate. “Why? Why would you say that? Shut up,” he grunted, pinching the bridge of his nose and holding a hand over his pounding chest.

Louis was in the process of adding words to his smirk, but wailing of the puppies stole both their gazes and attentions, and Harry changed his tone to inquire the meaning of it.

“What do they want, Lou?” he asked the knowledgeable new mother, scooting closer to them and pointedly not touching Louis in case that spark returned with a vengeance.

“They’re bored and confused,” Louis responded, inexplicably sure of exactly what his puppies needed at all times.

“Oh no! Bored and confused?” Harry cooed in a high pitch, picking Eyadon up and tucking him into his side as he condescendingly pet his head.

“Don’t play favourites, Harry. I know Eya is the Chaska, but your other babies need to know that Papa loves them just as much,” Louis chided, handing him Nordé instead.

“I do love them just as much,” Harry argued, frowning at Louis for insinuating such a thing. “I’ll have to pay special attention to Eya because he’s going to be my successor for leadership of the tribe. He’ll need specific training that only I can give him,” he said as he nuzzled into Nordé and Carmela that he’d additionally picked up while explaining himself.

“I know that, Alpha. I just get sad when I think that maybe Nori and Carmi will be upset if they think they aren’t good enough or as important as their brother,” Louis said in concern, reaching out for his pups to be returned to his front where he preferred them in this stage.

“I’m not sure that Carmi really works as a nickname, Lou,” Harry remarked offhandedly, placing all the pups along the length of Louis’ chest and quietly clapping when Eyadon instantly took in his surroundings and sought his mother’s milk. “He really knows what he wants,” he noted, praising his Chaska’s strength and selfish determination.

“Yeah, his senses are strong,” Louis agreed, holding Eyadon’s head to his chest and finding he only needed to help a tiny bit. “He can’t see, but he definitely knows who we are, and he can find this easily enough,” he said, inclining his head to his chest to emphasize what he meant.

“He’s going to be spectacular,” Harry proudly declared, laying himself down and running a hand down his firstborn’s back.

“They’re all going to be spectacular,” Louis reminded, his stress on the word ‘all’ sending obvious shivers down Harry’s spine.

“I know. Louis, I know it’s hard to understand, but I do love all of my children equally. You know I do—that’s not something I have to prove. But you don’t understand the bond that a Pack Alpha has with his Chaska. It’s a relationship with a puppy that only two pack members ever have, and that other wolf is the Beta. Zayn will have this bond with his firstborn Alpha son as well, and it’s just us two. Our love for the Chaska is not uneven with our other children. It’s not more; it’s just different… Besides, Eya’s definitely going to appoint them to his council. Nordé might even be his Beta instead of Zayn’s son, you never know. They're all heirs to the leadership of the tribe.”

“Well, I will always love them all just the same,” Louis pushed stubbornly, not wanting to but secretly understanding exactly what Harry was saying. Of course his direct next of kin would hold a special place in his heart, and Louis would shower the other two with love and affection if they ever felt they weren’t getting enough of it, compared to their birthright-entitled brother.

The Omega communicated his acceptance of Harry’s explanation through the bond so they wouldn’t pointlessly continue the conversation, and Harry smiled in slight relief, ruffling his hair and deciding he’d attempt to comb it the next time Louis was lost to his dreams. “Get some sleep, my beautiful half,” he whispered, brushing the Omega’s forehead with his lips and then resting his own forehead against it.

“I beg to differ. I think you’re the beautiful half,” Louis murmured, close enough to sleep that his Alpha’s suggestion acted like a sedative.

“Shh, love. You are the most enticing thing in this world. Now get some rest. I’ll look after you,” Harry said under his breath, scrunching his nose in a grin when he noticed his mate was instantly sleeping. “Words can’t express it, Louis. My love. There just aren’t any words,” he whispered to his dreaming mate as his eyes watered with emotion, amazed how close his puppies were to their mother that they’d follow him right into dreamland every time this happened. “I can’t ever tell you, but I’ll always show you…”

 

--- 

 

For the next agonizing but treasured month, Louis and Harry mostly remained in the nest, tending to their pups’ needs and trying to remember to acknowledge their own. Jade made this undeniably easier on them by delivering their food and water, an action that could never receive enough thanks. Louis, guilty as he felt, still growled at the entrance whenever she would drop something outside, but he hoped she would understand. He couldn’t prevent that if he tried, and he had.

The majority of Harry’s communication methods were done with Zayn inside his head, always eager to hear every detail his Beta could spare regarding the rogues, food supply, and all other things concerning the pack. Of course Zayn had to sleep sometimes, though, and then Harry was forced to stick his out through the entrance flap of his home and shout for the nearest wolf’s attention. He’d startled a lot of wolves that way.

To address the pups themselves, Eyadon had gotten his sight first, as he’d been predicted to, while Nordé and Carmela’s vision followed shortly thereafter. At the very moment that had happened, Louis had relievedly shifted to his wolf as he’d wanted to for so long, and huffed in amusement while his young ones blinked at him in obvious confusion.

Needless to say, Eyadon had been the first one to try it, and Harry had watched with bated breath as his son proved himself once again to be the firstborn Chaska. Eya’s siblings had taken it upon themselves after witnessing their brother shift perfectly, and now all three were successfully shifting back and forth at will, whenever they pleased.

As Louis was reliving the last month in fondness, said puppies leapt out of nowhere and climbed all over him at once, yipping loudly and biting his ears in a request for play, but unfortunately he was far too exhausted to do much but wag his tail. Harry, on the other hand, wanted nothing more than to join the fun, so he shifted before an audience of attentive pups and began to play with them himself, taking the pressure (figurative and literally) off his poor mate.

Louis sighed in satisfaction from getting a bit of a break while his four wolves destroyed the furniture together, rolling away from them and stretching his legs out before him. Fate had other plans for his break, it seemed, because little cries began to fill the teepee, and he rolled over with an accepting groan, meeting his Alpha’s rather lost eyes.

Harry carried each pup one by one in his mouth by the scruff of their neck when they started really whining and dropped them at Louis’ front questioningly; he wasn’t exactly sure milk was what they wanted, but it seemed like an obvious option to consider. He was especially proud to see he’d correctly interpreted his puppies’ cries, and he shifted back to his human to give his Omega long pets down his side as he nursed them. “I still can’t ever tell you how incredible you all are to me. You’ve given me everything I was missing, and so much more,” he said, bending forward and nuzzling into his wolf’s neck, which felt three times softer against a human face.

Louis couldn’t move much while his pups were feeding, but he threw his head back to give Harry’s cheek a swipe with his tongue, dropping down then and huffing tiredly from even that small movement. It really was going to take him a long time to be at his best and strongest again.

“You’re so tired, love,” Harry muttered in what he would never admit was pity, still sending his palm down Louis’ back over and over to soothe him. “Go ahead and sleep, I’ll take care of everything,” he offered, shifting back to his wolf without being asked and crawling around to lie on the other side of his pups, facing his mate who was amusingly already sleeping—typical behavior as of late.

The distant future and entire duration of the Pack Alpha’s life looked unreasonably optimistic, what with Cassian and Roman still out there, but it would be an insult to the now if he didn’t find every little thing filled with light and love. Though Harry wished with all his might his parents could see what he’d accomplished, he’d settle for recognizing and understanding how happy they would have been. You’d love him, Mother, he thought into the vastness of the otherworld, hoping Anneya was out there listening with a smile on her face. You’d love your grandpuppies, love their mother, love how my friends and I have grown…I’ll introduce you someday, how’s that? Someday, but…pardon me if I don’t want it to be soon.

 

--- 

 

It had been a moon cycle and a half since Louis had given birth, and it was finally time for him to leave the nest. He was almost nervous to go back out into pack life, but the pack bonding ceremony was in a few days, and he had to get his shit together for his puppies, whom the proceedings would concern.

The first wolves permitted in their home were none other than Zayn and Niall, as anyone could have expected, but when they got to have their long-awaited reunion, another union of sorts had stolen all the attention. Eyadon had taken to Miri pretty instantly, and as objectively cute as that was, Zayn was the least amused any wolf could be. Harry nearly had to physically run away from the fire in his Beta’s eyes at this connection so he wouldn’t get burned.

All of the young puppies got along without a hiccup, but Eya had eyes only for Miri, sticking by her and growling at others for getting too close, and every wolf but Zayn readily admitted what that maybe meant for their future.‘You’re all delusional,’ he’d say, all the while biting his thumbnail and furrowing his brow in fear. It wasn’t that he thought Eyadon was inferior, that would be delusional, but merely the speed this had blossomed. Anyone could agree it had begun rather soon, but no one took it harder than Miri’s father.

Regardless of the constant bickering over this topic, the four adult wolves worked together to get the preparations underway for the ceremony, giving jobs and duties to those who asked for them and frequently visiting with Ianalfto to take care of their own minds. Mental health was as crucial as physical health (most would argue it is more so), but Ianalfto was notorious for telling them they were already the strongest willed and most stable wolves he’d ever met. Louis disagreed vehemently—he was a mess. 

With everything back in order, and with nothing else to do for the moment but wait until the ceremony at next sunrise, the former subpack enjoyed some relaxation together leaned against the horizontal log that framed Harry and Louis’ bed, watching their puppies roll around on the edges of the bed’s cover furs. They’d invited Joéna and Norman to spend this breezy time with them, and their stance on visiting their grandpuppies was just what you’d expect it to be. They looked drunk on happiness—had been for at least an hour.

“What is it, love?” Niall asked his Alpha after noticing his pensive staring, nudging him with his shoulder when he showed no facial response.

Zayn narrowed his eyes at the puppies and crossed his arms, sniffing once in a manner that seemed petulant, as if he was already defending his position. “I just don’t like the way he’s looking at her,” he grumbled, gaze boring into who could only be the pack’s Chaska.

“Oh would you stop, Zayn?” Niall huffed, sliding into a deeper slouch from his irritation. “You cannot dictate every walk of life and path our daughter will take. It’s ignorant to think so,” he said wisely, pinching Zayn hard in the upper thigh until he twitched in pain.

“Personally, I think it’s a great match,” Harry noted, looking behind Niall to glance at his Beta’s reaction. “And the more you fight it, the more offended I’ll get. Be fucking careful how you complain about this…” he warned, not wanting to sound so angry but it was getting harder to not take this refusal personally.

Zayn leaned back as well and skewered the Alpha with an intensity that had Louis snickering into his fist, amazed these two were still at it after all the arguments that had already occurred. “Great match? I think so too, Harry,” the Beta said tonelessly, tapping his chest hard with his pointer finger. “Somewhere deep, deep down—somewhere I can’t exactly reach yet.”

The Pack Alpha let out a breathy chuckle and rolled his eyes as he looked away from the flustered Beta, training his eyes back on his puppies, who deserved the attention far more than Zayn ever would.

“It is hard to hand your Omega away to an Alpha, but it is something we all must do. Their happiness overrides your comfort, and with any luck, they will find an Alpha like Harry who will take such good care of them. And I suspect his Chaska will be quite the same if things wind up happening like we suspect,” Joéna added, giving her full support and blessings to the future bonding even if she had no rights to ‘approve’ it or not.

“Yeah, and you have it easy, Beta Zayn,” Norman added, raising a challenging eyebrow at the Alpha when he gave him a look of doubt. “If all you have to worry about is mating within a subpack’s puppies, I’d say you’re pretty lucky.” He didn’t need to mention his past void of his only son—and everyone in the teepee hung their head in acknowledge.

Louis gritted his teeth and growled menacingly at the thought of something like that cursing his own family. “Gods, if Mishella ever comes to me with some bullshit prophecy like that, I’ll—”

“You’ll do the best for your pups, Lou. First, I highly doubt that would happen. But second, you’d do whatever you had to do to ensure your children’s happiness,” Norman said, putting an arm around his mate and forcing the tough memories from his head. They didn’t matter now.

“That’s right. And it was worth it,” Joéna declared, gesturing her point between the Alpha couple and their little creations. “Look where it got us! Louis found Harry, I’m reunited with your Father, and now I have grandpuppies,” she cooed as she scooted toward those very grandpuppies to tickle them senseless.

“That must have been terrible, Norman,” Zayn said to his senior as Joéna squealed with the puppies across from him. “You are a wolf, and a father, that I respect above all others…”

“I feel the same,” Harry said, both he and his Beta staring at Louis’ father and trying to imagine his pain over the years. “The entire time I’ve known you, you were harboring that pain in the back of your mind—I can’t believe that. I am very sorry for it,” he said lowly, nodding respectfully to his warrior.

“Don’t apologize to me. Neither of you. I had a duty to fulfill, and I did. That’s all there is to it,” Norman said, waving his hands and urging both wolves to sit back up; to stop bowing their heads like he was somehow superior to them.

“At least I had Rixon and Rashan to help me through the worst parts. And I had you, most importantly,” Joéna said to Louis, meeting her son’s eyes before looking back to her mate. “Norman had to leave all of it.”

“Darling, don’t help,” Norman laughed, sighing because he’d just nearly gotten the topic out of discussion. “I may have had to leave, but I found Desmond and Anneya on the other side. Harry, they made it bearable for me, I need you to know that. They were crucial. Khanra was as well, may he rest in peace,” Norman lamented, everyone joining in an impromptu moment of silence for everyone they’d lost this round of seasons.

The moment of silence could have ended any time, but no one seemed to know what to say now. Zayn had listened to Norman’s words with a contemplative episode of reflection, thinking hard about his position and how worse off he could be, and it was to break the silence that he turned to Harry and said, “I give your Chaska all of my blessings. If he so chooses to bond my Miri, you’ll get no denials from me. This I swear. I know now that some things are just…meant to be,” he said, taking a breath while Niall rubbed pleased circles into his back. “And some of those fated things are really terrible…I’d be unworthy of my daughter’s love if I kept her from one of those things that’s actually good.” 

“There’s my sensible Alpha,” Niall said sweetly, a weight off his shoulders now that his protective Alpha had come to his senses. In this life, you have to pick your battles. This wasn’t one worth fighting.

“Just punch me once and we’re done with it,” Harry said, standing from his seat and beckoning Zayn a safe distance from the bed.

“Wait, why?” Zayn asked, looking around at everyone and nervously standing the more aggressively Harry beckoned for him.

“Because I know you were more pissed about it than you showed, and I was certainly not the happiest wolf under the moon to hear your bitching. So just hit me. Hard as you want, but only once. Whatever force you hit me with, you’ll get the same. Keep that in mind,” he said, cracking his neck and then his knuckles to prepare for both getting punched, and then doing the punching himself.

“Why do Alphas have to solve everything with their fists?” Niall scoffed as Zayn crossed the furs of the bed on his tiptoes toward Harry, visibly excited to let loose some of the tension building up in his forearms.

“You wouldn’t understand, Niall,” Louis said, acting tough as though he was still the feral Omega he used to be, but apparently he’d lost a chunk of his touch on that lifestyle—for both Omegas flinched with a squeak when the first fist flew.

Chapter Text

The Pack Bonding ceremony was in a few hours, and Louis was sat in his teepee with his Omega family, watching carefully as they fawned over the puppies. He wasn’t untrusting of any wolf here, but his protective instincts were still running high and he couldn’t even try to control them, no matter how illogical they may have been, so he just had to ask for understanding. He’d unfortunately growled at Peeta a few times, plus taken Carmela right out of the Omega’s arms when he’d picked her up once, so obviously it was a problem of his for now. He had of course apologized for his reaction profusely, but Peeta had pleaded with him not to apologize at all—he understood.

Niall understood as well, acting quite the same when and if someone played with Miri too long, so both mothers could fully say they were horrible company for the time being.

“They really are magnificent, Lou. I’m jealous,” Draco sighed, both hands pressed against his heart as he appeared to fight genuine tears.

“Thank you, Dray. And don’t worry so much. When Parsel notices how happy Harry and Zayn are, he’s gonna want to join the fun. I can almost guarantee this,” Louis assured, suddenly getting the mysterious feeling in his soul that it was now time to venture to the ritual. “Niall, let’s wrap them up, we gotta go.”

Niall nodded and the two mothers bundled their pups in overdone layers of cloths to fight the nipping cold. Niall asked Louis if he needed help carrying one, but the Pack Omega scoffed and kindly refused, effortlessly scooping all three puppies into his arms and balancing them with practiced expertise. “Any mother who is incapable of carrying all their puppies at once is a rather poor excuse for one.”

“Even if they have six?” Niall challenged, trying to imagine how he’d accomplish that feat if it were up to him.

“Especially if they have six,” Louis said, giving his blonde a wink before dipping out under the entrance.

The omegas laughed their way outside and trudged through the snow still plastered to the ground, taking wide and careful steps all the way to the ritual grounds, toward the roaring fire to warm all their bones. Upon turning the corner, they were pleased to see the snow had been scraped off the ground where the tribe was sitting; that would certainly make the proceedings easier.

Harry was seated in the center as usual, a dancing Ianalfto encircling him, and the spiritual leaders chanted and drummed to set the mood right and call upon the Gods. It had grown to be one of the most calming things for Louis to hear—his tribe’s celebrations. He absolutely loved the sound. He’d experienced this air and buzz of spiritual energy many times now, and it had gotten better each time. True peace.

The family broke off from Louis and Niall as they went to sit with their Alphas, and the mothers joined Harry in the middle, sitting down side by side before him and juggling their squirming puppies. Louis could tell Eyadon wanted to explore his surroundings, for this was the first time he had ever been outside, but the Omega couldn’t let him for obvious reasons. Not to mention he wouldn’t get very far. Or...maybe he would.

Harry began the bonding to Miri when the time came, trying to get Niall calm enough so he wouldn’t panic and lash out when Harry bit his daughter’s wrist. It took a few breathing exercises, but eventually the Pack Alpha went for it and Niall bit his own tongue to keep quiet. Miri was crying from the pain, but when everyone felt her integration to the tribe and fiercely applauded her, she seemed to realize her pain had led to something good.

Zayn was busy being forcibly held back by Parsel and Thorin, the Beta incapable of ceasing his snarls, and he made a run for it several times when he heard his daughter’s cries, but he was prevented from reaching the center every time. Their family was a very dependable one. However when Harry gave them a wink of permission, the hands that held the Beta happily let him go, and Zayn tore off to the middle of the circle.

“She’s not hurt, is she? Has the bleeding stopped? Is she okay?” Zayn asked in quick succession, not realizing he’d cut Niall’s inward breath for a response off each time.

Yes, Zayn. She’s perfect. Here,” Niall responded, lifting her upward for Zayn to take for himself. He’d played it off like he couldn’t get up without Zayn taking her to free his hands, but truthfully, he was just using her to shut the Beta up. It worked every time.

As the Beta couple returned to the tribe to sit in the designated area for the council, the nervous Louis met his mate’s glowing eyes. Harry’s gaze was all for his puppies, and Louis cleared his throat to remind them of where they were. The Alpha blinked rapidly and met Louis’ amused eyes, his lips forming a wide grin as he scooted closer to them.

The Pack Alpha spoke the words that needed to be said and gave each of his puppies his mark of acceptance, taking a shorter time for all three than he’d taken for just Miri. See, he wasn’t bothered by Nordé and Carmela’s cries because he was the cause of the pain, and in a way, that made it easier to handle. He could definitely understand being upset if someone else was making his children cry, but his own were his own. They’d be fine. Most important to note…Eyadon didn’t cry at all. Not a peep. It shocked Harry so much that he slightly twisted both his neck and his son’s arm so he could see his face as he was being marked, and the Pack Alpha was pleased to find he was being darkly glared at. It was like instead of scared, Eya was just angry at being caused pain, and he appeared to be plotting his eventual revenge.

Harry rumbled happily, and Louis could be caught rolling his eyes and muttering, “Of course” at the typical Chaska’s behavior. When the proud parents’ spirits were flooded with that of their puppies’ rambunctious ones, they too ventured to the side to watch the performances that would follow.

It wasn’t technically encouraged, but a good amount of the pack puppies approached the leader couple and hopefully asked if they could see the Alpha’s puppies, so how could they be completely refused? Louis agreed wholeheartedly because there were no adults accompanying them, but he didn’t let any of them touch his puppies, instead revealing them for closer looks.

He had concealed them in a little front pouch tied around his neck that he’d constructed with a quilt when he’d sat down, and he would only permit the Chehalis kids to walk up and in peer in momentarily when he leaned down. However, they were gleeful with what little interaction they got, and each skipped away to gush to the next young wolf in line regarding how cute the new heirs were.

Louis’ pride for his puppies was at an all-time high, and Harry was positively beaming beside him as well. When the visitors subsided in intensity, Louis had Harry help him hike up his top coverings he had on while keeping the quilt front pouch on. It was a little difficult, but Harry succeeded in pulling Louis’ shirts over his head, and he set them down behind the Omega, moving to tighten the pouch and rubbing Louis’ back idly while he fed their little ones.

Harry chuckled at his puppies’ competitive antics and possessively nipped at Louis’ bond mark, murmuring, “You’re all mine” against the column of his Omega’s neck and then hooking his chin over his shoulder. While Harry never got tired of the incredible sight of his puppies feeding, the mother  kept his eyes on the performance, blind to his mate’s focused attention on him at all. Louis didn’t even have to look to replace Carmela with Nordé, this had become even more automatic than breathing, and Harry was consistently impressed by his mate’s omniscient awareness of their puppies’ locations.

“Your milk still smells so good, Lou,” the Alpha hummed, leaning in to inhale that scent he loved so much.

That captured Louis’ attention and he looked over at his mate suspiciously, swiftly blocking his sluggish approach with a raised elbow. “Would you stop? It’s not yours anymore,” he warned in a snapping and nagging tone, making sure his wide and serious and wide eyes met Harry’s glazed ones.

“Alright, alright,” Harry surrendered as his mate established eye contact, sitting up straighter and tucking Louis’ hair behind his ear. “But you should know…that when they’re eating solid food, those will be mine once more.”

Louis held his glare as long as he could, but eventually gave up and let out a breathy laugh. “Animal,” he teased, leaning in for a kiss and humming in content when Harry met him halfway, his lips then making a trail up to his ear.

“It’s not my fault that your every breath brings my wolf to the forefront of my existence. It desires you more than life, and it will always seek to devour you, my sweet and delectable mate—every part of you,” Harry whispered with no shortage of seduction, his eyes morphing into their pure black form without him knowing it.

Louis’ breath faltered at once, but he was in expert control now of his once-uncontrollable lust, and he ended up only rolling his eyes at his Alpha’s advances. “Not a chance, Harry. Give me another month or two… Hey, did you hear me? Snap out of it!” he said a bit louder, having gotten nowhere as Harry had dove right for his chest.

Harry shoved his inner Alpha back down with as much force as he could manage, coughing into his fist as his irises returned to their natural multi-coloured state. One could argue which of the two forms was in fact the ‘natural’ one, but it’s currently a pointless discussion. “Sorry, Kimi. I lost control a bit there,” he confessed, running a ringed hand through his thick and voluminous hair, letting that same hand rest calmly on Louis’ inner thigh.

Louis snorted and leaned into his Alpha, beyond happy his puppies had become full and finally relaxed their fidgeting. “You losing control is what got us here in the first place. So never apologize for that,” he mumbled, yawning in exhaustion and sighing in bliss when Harry positioned him in the most comfortable way yet against his chest, he and his puppies all fully supported by Harry’s strong arms.

Harry smiled down at all his darlings and turned his gaze to the ceremony he’d momentarily forgotten was transpiring. He tried to think of what could make this better, or anything he was missing, and he came up with nothing. Everything in his life was absolutely perfect, and he had never been this happy. He would give anything to maintain this peace, and he prayed it would stay the way it was.

He knew someday he was going to kill Roman—he was going to have to. But for now, right this second at least, the rogue didn’t exist at all. When his puppies and mate were in his arms, alighting his spirit with the fierce reality of true love, Roman wasn’t real.

 

~~~***

 

“Mmm…the heirs have been born, have they?” Roman mused from his throne, a devoted Cassian on his knees before him, washing his leader’s feet with a cloth.

“Yes. The ceremony is likely happening today.”

“Where do they think you are?” the rogue leader asked, slightly kicking his foot to get Cassian to stop his actions.

“On an extended patrol duty.”

“What do you think, my love?” Roman asked Cassian, pulling him up by his chin and giving him an uncharacteristically soft look.

Cassian sighed happily at the attention Roman gave and then gave a devious smirk. “I want that Omega bitch,” he sneered with an overload of hatred in his tone, “Chehalis’ Seer went and stopped me last time. I have unfinished business.”

Roman frowned in remembrance of his servant’s failure, perhaps close to seriously reprimanding him for that, but he approved of his determination so he let it go for the most part. “Indeed. You were hopeless to do the only thing that was asked of you…but fret not, my darling. I, too, did not succeed in my goal at the fault of the Seer’s mate’s foolish interception.”

“What would you have me do?”

Roman and Cassian mulled it over and came to the same conclusion, turning to their ally and citing a determined conclusion: “Bring Louis to the caves,” they said in unison.

“It will draw Harry to us, and then I can end this game once and for all. Once I’ve disposed of the two leaders, we will invade the tribe once more and destroy the heirs, ending his treacherous bloodline forever,” Roman added darkly, his hand clenching into a fist to evidently represent Chehalis in his grip.

“I could have him here in a week’s time.”

“Are you stupid?” Cassian spat, but Roman put a hand on his shoulder to quiet him.

“Now, now, Cass. Stupid can’t be helped, but that question definitely could have been thought over twice,” Roman agreed, scowling at the other wolf in their presence. “You know as well as us that you cannot remove a new mother from their family without encountering the unnaturally strong and powerful wrath of the father. Harry is the strongest he’ll ever be in his life right now—you wouldn’t make it two miles outside the border with his mate before he found you and ripped you apart. We have to wait this out,” he explained to his loyal friend, who nodded his understanding.

“How long do you suggest we wait?”

“They need to be ignorantly comfortable and complacent with their happy lives...thoughts of our last attack far out of their minds. Give it a year or two,” he decided, stroking Cassian’s neck affectionately while he spoke.

“Truly that long, my superior?”

“Yes. It’s of no consequence to you. This is everything to me, you know what Harry symbolizes to me—I’ve waited for twenty two years, I can wait a few more. He must die at my hand and there is plenty of time to make that happen. Let him forget about me, let him drop his guard, then capture the queen bee. He will crumble without his precious Omega; it will draw him out, and then I shall defeat him. Simple. Now get back to Chehalis, they’re going to get suspicious. Cassian tells me they already are,” he added with the most disapproving look possible.

“It has been hard to keep up appearances, my lord.”

“That’s your problem. Nobody will come running to your rescue if your mutiny is discovered. So don’t get discovered. Go now, old friend, and come back in six months with pleasing updates,” Roman said with a snap of his fingers and wave of his arm, dismissing his company as Cassian climbed in his lap for more attention.

“Yes, sir. I won’t let you down.”

 

~~~

 

---

 

That first year of the pups’ lives had been filled to the brim with exciting milestones and grueling hardships. Louis had been tested further than he ever thought possible, but he never took one second of it for granted. He knew he would miss his puppies’ dependence when they were fully grown Alphas, so he got as much time as he could mentally documenting them as cute little beans.

Eyadon had proved time and time again that he was unmistakably the heir of Chehalis’ Pack Alpha. Everything he did screamed leadership, even this young, and Louis and Harry were excessively delighted at his progression. Harry had even taken Eya hunting in their wolf forms several times a week, and the pup was getting stronger by the day.

Carmela and Nordé had started playing a game with their brother wherein soft toys would be thrown at him from opposite sides, and the Chaska would attempt to catch them both, or prevent them from making contact. It was thrilling for Harry, tiring for Louis (since he would be the one that would retrieve the objects scattered all over the floor), but both parents were proud beyond measure.

Eyadon was vivaciously working toward his first word, and to Louis’ dismay, in lieu of the infamous "Mama" he’d been hoping for, the gradually evolving word was sounding more and more like "Mia." Any time the little Chaska started working on it in the presence of the subpack, either Harry or Louis quickly collected him and ran outside with some haphazard excuse before Zayn could discern the pup was striving for "Mirima."

Louis’ other two pups hadn’t gotten this far in their development yet, and were content to babble nonsensically; they were still superior to Miri’s growth as an Omega, though. She was a docile and kind pup; she hardly ever screamed or cried, and that was incredible to witness. She was extremely dependent on her parents, and infinitely patient when she desired something.

The Alpha pups on the other hand, were an utter mess.

Eyadon, Nordé, and Carmela caused so much ruckus, destruction, and wanton obliteration of serenity that Louis frequently found himself chucking them into Harry’s arms and ordering his mate to put him to sleep with howahkan so he could catch a break. Harry always laughed at Louis’ desperation and he’d gently set the puppies down so he could sink his teeth into the Omega’s bond mark and compel him into unconsciousness—Louis greatly appreciated it. Plus, the more alone time Harry spent with his puppies, especially his heir, the better for their development.

Eyadon had a complicated relationship with his father, though. When the puppy didn’t get what he wanted, he made an immense fuss that surely made even the Gods cover their ears, and Harry would be forced to use his timbre to try and settle him down. Yet, instead of the submission he  received from his other pups, Eya saw it as a direct challenge and tried to reciprocate it. The Pack Alpha could do nothing but coo in adoration every time, but he was also substantially impressed because around Miri, his son’s howahkan growls already had the ability to lower the Omega pup’s head in respect.

It maddened Zayn to no end, and Harry always apologized, but inwardly, he was cheering. Nordé and Carmela easily recognized their father’s dominance over them, but Eya instinctively knew they needed to be equal. Someday the pup would learn why, and a whole new manner of fights for dominance would entail. Eyadon would learn and understand he didn’t need to bow down to his father, he would need to become him. What a period of time that would be. Such times would be troubling indeed, because Harry was still the highest authority—he wouldn’t tolerate being challenged in his right—and he’d need to find a way to show his son that factor while simultaneously treating him as an equal. Through everything, Louis still had all the faith in their world that everything would work out fine.

To speak of Nordé, his strongest bond was with Louis, and he’d frequently tire first from playing with his siblings and crawl to him, curling up against his front and joining him in sleep. Louis felt the strongest connection to little Nordé as well, and he always knew that if he were lying back and relaxing as his family played, and he suddenly felt a puppy crawling up his leg or slapping at his face, it was Nori.

As for Carmela, as long as everyone was together and having a good time, she didn’t mind anything. She didn’t seem to have a “favourite”, simply family-oriented as things were, and Louis could see her being a strong mediator for her brothers’ squabbles in the future. She kind of already was.

 

---

 

Currently, Harry had gone off gallivanting with his pups in the forest, no doubt teaching them the most efficient way to kill prey, or predators for that matter, and Louis was getting some coveted rest with Niall in the Pack Omega’s home. Wewe was also getting some long awaited sleep while the puppies were away. They definitely never let the giant bunny get a moment’s rest if they could help it. Louis couldn’t blame them, most all who encountered his inexplicable pet wanted nothing more than to gawk for hours. It was only natural his fun-seeking puppies would see the creature as a breathing playtoy and climb him like a mountain as a result.

Zayn came over when he felt Niall was about to fall asleep so he could take him back home to rest together, and Louis rushed his goodbyes to Mirima before she was taken through the exit. Louis fell back onto the bedding, which smelled strongly of his family, and he snuggled further into the scent, flipping onto his front (because he could now) and breathing deeply as he gave himself to sleep.

Harry was walking back from the hunting grounds, his children hanging off of him like monkeys, as he recounted today’s events. Carmela and Nordé had managed to take down a squirrel together, which was worthy of praise because those were generally frantic and quick creatures, and Harry was glad to know they were still no match for his pups’ mirrored speed.

What he was most jubilant over, though, was Eyadon’s staggering accomplishment. Eyadon had taken down, swiftly killed, and eaten a huge portion of a fully antlered buck. Harry had hung back and watched vigilantly to witness the outcome, and it was technically perfect. The execution of the tracking, waiting, watching, charging, grappling, and killing were all exactly how Harry would have done it himself if he were that helpless size.

Because of this major milestone of prey, Eyadon got to eat his fill of all their game before his siblings for the rest of the day, and the Chaska made sure to growl dangerously if Carmela and Nordé even tried to get close to him as he was eating. Typical Alpha behavior among other Alphas; everything’s a competition, and everything is a show of superiority, a chance to prove yourself worthy of leading everyone else, and Eya was the only wolf this young Harry had ever seen exuding such Alpha-like confidence among their peers.

Harry was actually on his way to talk to Ianalfto now to question the Elder on his own behavior as a cub before the tragedy. He wanted to know how identical Eyadon was to him in these early stages of life, and Ian was one of the only wolves who would have that memory.

The Pack Alpha walked through the village with his firstborn sitting on the back of his neck, little hands tangled into his hair to keep himself steady, and feet kicking his collar bones. Carmela was balanced on Harry’s right hip, held up by his hand and purring against his side, and funny little Nori had wrapped his arms and legs around Harry’s left thigh, refusing to move, so he had to take extremely wide steps to help Nori maintain his odd position.

About halfway through the village, Nordé climbed his way up Harry’s torso and ended up sitting on his left shoulder next to Eya, the two surveying their domain together. Carmela quickly felt left out and she let go of her father’s side, taking a dive and swinging off his arm instead. The Pack Alpha almost lost his balance as she did this, but he straightened his arm out and watched in amusement as she hung from it, inching herself closer to him and somehow managing to throw a leg over his upper arm, then climbing up to sit with her brothers. See? Monkeys.

Harry didn’t understand how he had broad enough shoulders for this, but he could only chuckle as he traveled the rest of the way to Ianalfto’s home, balancing all three pups on or around his upper body as they roughly pulled at his hair.

The wolves of Chehalis bowed respectfully when they saw their leader pass through, admiring his heirs and pointing for their own children as they educated them on who they were gazing at. “See those puppies on Alpha Harry?” the Pack Alpha heard whispered from an Omega mother to her puppies. “Those are the pack heirs, darlings. You need to be very nice to them, and always treat them with honor.”

Harry smiled to himself at his pack’s loyalty and dedicated reverence to his bloodline, and he pushed through Ian’s teepee entrance with his head held high. He found the Elder sat with his pupils, apparently in the middle of a meditation circle, but Ian opened his eyes and brought it to a close, reminding everyone to come back tomorrow for an advanced spiritual awakening.

The Elder gestured for Harry to sit down, and the Pack Alpha slowly lowered himself down so his puppies had a safe distance to drop from, and observed fondly as they settled in for a nap at his feet. The Elder looked at the scene in equal affection then cleared his throat when he had put all things away, signaling that he ready for Harry to state the reason for his visit. "What brings you here, my child?” he asked in his low, rumbling tone, his windpipes just a bit stressed from so many decades of tobacco usage.

“I was wondering if you could tell me what I was like when I was a cub,” Harry said to the Elder, who took a seat across from him and pushed his long grey braid to hang over his shoulder.

“You want to know how alike Eyadon is to how you were at his age,” the Elder mused knowingly as Eyadon’s eyes flung open at the mention of his name, the pup sitting up expectantly. Ian’s eyebrows rose in surprise at the Chaska’s clear awareness of his identity, and he smiled warmly into Harry’s eyes.

“You two are extremely similar,” Ianalfto confirmed to the puppy who had crawled to him and was staring unblinkingly at the Elder. “You obviously had no brothers or sisters to conquer, so in your case, you attempted to push your dominance onto Anneya,” he said, snorting as he recalled some memory Harry couldn’t access.

“I really dominated my mother?” Harry asked in surprise, having no recollection of such behavior at any age.

“Not just then, Harry, you dominated Anneya well into your late, late puppyhood,” Ian said, nodding with a grin at Harry’s widening of eyes. “You didn’t abuse her, but you would permit her from doing certain things, order her to stay somewhere, to sit and come to you, not to mention fighting your father for her undivided attention, you were a handful. She was the closest Omega to you in your life for a long time, and your nature made sure she knew that you were an Alpha. It was perfectly natural behavior, don’t be shocked if you see it from your Chaska either…but he’s found an Omega to showcase his nature to, hasn’t he?” he surmised, knowing all too well about Zayn’s daily complains of Eyadon.

“Yeah, he has. Niall and Zayn’s Omega,” Harry said, his mind still reeling from the knowledge of what his puppyhood was like. Those examples stretching further and more recent into his life, he assumed he should remember, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t recall his Alpha exerting any kind of ownership over his mother at all. Had Eyadon ever been like that with Louis even a little bit? “What else?” he asked, saving those thoughts to ponder over later.

“By your second year of age, you were more than comfortable in challenging the pack warriors and your father…it never ended well, but you never gave up. Any Alpha was your enemy no matter how neutral they happened to be, and if they did not compliment you or shower you in adoration, you pitched quite the fit,” he recalled, Harry furrowing his eyebrows in response.

“But I hated growing up being worshiped,” he said, nearly going crosseyed as he tried to register all this information. “Maybe I got it all out of my system by the point that I can clearly remember, though. I think Eyadon is even more fast-growing than I was. I have found he’s very protective of Louis, if not overly possessive, and he’s hissed at Louis’ family if they speak to him too long, or touch him too much,” he informed the chuckling Elder, patting his puppy’s side and making kissy sounds at him when he grumbled in annoyance.

“That doesn’t shock me. You can be assured with minor differences to your circumstances, both of you Chaskas are one in the same, destined for greatness, and the true pride of the pack. Enjoy his youth, my Alpha, he will mature young and it will happen in an instant, or so you’ll consider it,” he stated wisely, Harry bowing in respect and gathering his pups into his arms.

“Thank you