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Halfway to Nowhere

Chapter Text

If only he were an Alpha. If only he were an Alpha.

 

If only he were an Alpha...

 

Jack found himself thinking that same line, over and over again, nearly every time Mark popped into his head.

 

It was hard not to. After all, he greatly admired his friend, not only as a person, but also as Mark being one of the reasons Jack had decided to start up YouTube in the first place. And Mark had all the qualities that one could hope for in a potential mate; he was strong, kind and caring to boot, and was just an overall genuinely good guy. Being attractive was just a bonus. A really nice bonus.

 

The only problem for Jack (other than the blaringly obvious 8,000+ km distance between them) was the fact that Mark was a Beta. Which wouldn’t have really been a problem, except for the fact that Jack was an Omega, and Betas and Omegas didn’t blend well together.

 

Betas made up most of the population, and were considered the ‘normal dynamic’ due to their vast numbers. And as the remaining smaller populations of Alphas and Omegas nearly always mated to each other, most Betas mated with other Betas. Betas who tried to mate outside their dynamic usually had falling outs within the first few weeks. There were certain qualities and characteristics that Betas both had and lacked that just didn’t click with those outside their dynamic.

 

These were facts that Jack was painfully aware of.

 

Part of him reasoned that it was for the best. After all, the two lived on completely different continents, thousands of kilometers apart. If they were somehow to get together, they would have to find an agreeable place to live under one roof. And while Jack was already deciding on a move, wanting a different change of pace from Ireland and all, LA just wasn’t his style. The city was too big, too busy, too noisy. It just wouldn’t work.

 

And besides, Jack looked up to and respected the Beta as one of his closest friends. In any situation where one party in a friendship wanted more out of the relationship, things could go south real quick. As the lines between ‘friendship’ blur into ‘potential mate’ territory it could lead to awkward encounters and the possibility of ruining the friendship entirely. Jack would never make a romantic move on one of his friends if the status of their relationship was at stake.

 

So maybe it was better this way. Better for Jack to be the pining Omega a great distance away from his friend and crush. And as much as he despised the distance, Jack secretly hoped it would help to quell his crush. The feelings were just getting too awkward to deal with. What kind of Omega was busy trailing after a Beta, anyways?

 

“You know, most Omegas your age have already settled down with their Alphas,” his older sister reminded him none-too-gently over the phone that night.

 

Jack sighed. “I know, Allison. But you also know I’m not looking for an Alpha to take care of me. I’m not ready to quit my job and become a full-time housekeeper with kids.”

 

Allison chuckled at that. “Yeah, you’ve always been pretty assertive. But I worry, ya know? I know ma and pa do, too. They just want to see you happy. We all do.”

 

“I know,” Jack mumbled, guilt leaking into his tone. He knew that his family loved him and wanted what was best for him, and Jack felt horrible for not being able to meet their expectations. He just didn’t want an Alpha the way they wanted one for him. His mind wandered yet again to Mark, and Jack had to physically shake his head to remind himself how impossible it would be for the two of them. “Thanks for always looking after me.”

 

“Of course,” Allison reassured, a chipper edge replacing the sombre tone her voice had taken when talking about their parents. “What kind of older sister would I be otherwise?” There was chatter in the background then, something that sounded like a crash, and was quickly followed by loud cries. “Uh oh. Will just knocked over my vase- dammit I liked that vase. I gotta go. Talk to ya later?”

 

“Sure,” Jack agreed easily. “Take care. Don’t scold Will too much.”

 

Allison huffed out a laugh. “I’ll try. Bye, Seán.”

 

After Jack said his goodbyes, his phone beeped, signalling the end of the call. He sighed again, setting his phone on his bedstand and settling deeper under the covers. As an Alpha, Jack’s sister had found her mate many years ago, and the pair already had four kids. It was another textbook example of Alpha and Omega couples working out as successfully as nature intended.

 

As an Omega himself, Jack was expected to settle down with a nice Alpha and raise lots of kids, as all Omegas were. And the older he got, the more that ideology only increased. Even though he was the baby of the family, Jack was starting to get up there in years. Most Omegas chose their mates around early twenties. Jack was nearly 27.

 

He grumbled to himself, rolling over in bed as he was reminded yet again of his upcoming birthday. The older he got, the more of a hassle it was to deal with people who insisted he hurry up and settle down. Even if they were his family and only meant good, it still bothered Jack to no end. He didn’t want to be some stereotypical Omega who stayed home and cooked and cleaned and tended to the kids before his Alpha mate came home from work. No. That just wasn’t Jack.

 

Jack was still very much invested in YouTube, and intended to keep making content for as long as his fans were willing to watch. He was sure that any Alpha that wanted to bond with him would have him try to quit YouTube and fall into the role of caregiver. That definitely wouldn’t be a thing that happened.

 

A buzzing sound snapped Jack from his reverie, whose hand quickly darted out from under the covers to snatch up his phone. Flicking on the screen, Jack took in the three new Skype messages. He tried to ignore the little flip his stomach did when he saw who they were from.

 

Markibutt: hey wanna skype?

Markibutt: oh shit wait it’s late there isn’t it

Markibutt: stupid time differences dammit

 

Jack chuckled, unlocking his phone and quickly typing out a reply to assure Mark that he was still awake and good for a Skype call. The incoming call barely had a chance to play its tune before Jack was clicking on the little green icon. One short loading screen later and Jack came face to face with his idol and friend. Well, kind of face to face. About as close as he could get.

 

“Hey, Mark,” Jack greeted, unable to stop the smile from forming on his face.

 

“Hey birthday boy!” Mark cheered back with a laugh, and Jack rolled his eyes good naturedly.

 

“Oh stop. That’s not for a couple more days,” Jack scoffed lightly.

 

“Oh, come on,” Mark whined. “You know you’re supposed to celebrate the entire week, right? It’s your birth week, sooo happy birthday!”

 

Jack snorted. “Thanks.” Mark was too ridiculous sometimes. Too cute.

 

“Got any big plans for your big day?” Mark asked, stupid, adorable grin on his face.

 

“Not really,” Jack admitted. “I might go visit my sister and her family, but I’m not sure I want to travel that far.”

 

“Does she live far or something?”

 

“About two hours out with traffic,” Jack sighed. “Probably will just end up staying home.”

 

“Interesting,” Mark mumbled seemingly to himself, looking off to the side in thought. “Very interesting.” Jack was about to ask Mark what the hell was so interesting about staying home alone on his birthday but the Beta quickly continued speaking, this time directing it at Jack. “So you’re finally joining the ranks of us twenty-sevens, how does that feel?”

 

“Like I’m getting fockin’ old,” Jack deadpanned, earning a hearty laugh from Mark.

 

Their banter went on from there, Mark teasing Jack and even going so far as to sing ‘happy birthday’ at the top of his lungs before Ethan ran into Mark’s room to shut him up. Jack laughed so hard he cried at that.

 

Eventually, as most conversations did, the tone changed as things gradually died down.

 

“So, you ready to settle down with a mate yet?” Mark asked, voice oddly strained.

 

“Ugh,” Jack groaned, tossing his head back on the pillows. “Not you too.”

 

Mark raised a brow. “‘Not you too’ what?”

 

“You’re the second person to say that to me tonight,” Jack grumbled. “I was talking to my sister before you. She, uh, basically said the same thing.”

 

“Hm,” Mark hummed, face carefully blank. “And what did you say?”

 

Jack huffed a sigh. “I don’t want to be taken care of by some Alpha like most Omegas do. I– I just don’t want that. I don’t think, anyways.”

 

Mark’s face softened on the screen. “And there’s nothing wrong with that.”

 

Jack’s breath caught in his throat. “Really?”

 

“Of course,” Mark said so casually, as though this topic weren’t something that Jack constantly fretted over in private. “Everyone moves at their own pace and everyone has different wants. We’re not like a hive mind or anything, completely controlled by our biology.”

 

Jack chuckled at Mark’s last comment, which he knew the Beta threw in there to lighten the mood. “Thanks, Mark.” He let out a yawn after that, stretching out tiredly on his many pillows.

 

“No problem, but hey. It’s super late there now, right?” Mark’s voice had taken on an edge of concern, and the Beta’s brows furrowed as Jack nodded blearily. “Then I’ll let you get some sleep. We can talk more later.”

 

Jack wanted to protest, and opened his mouth to reply but was cut off by another yawn of exhaustion. “Mmm, okay,” he mumbled reluctantly.

 

A smirk quickly lit up Mark’s face. “Besides, I’ve still got a few more days to sing you happy birthday annoyingly before the main event!”

 

Jack rolled his eyes but a smile found his lips nonetheless. “Sure, sure. Good night, Mark.”

 

“Night Jack.”

 

With a single tap of the red icon, Mark’s face disappeared from view. Jack whined out loud, immediately being filled with shame for reacting so strongly. Jack had felt relaxed and comfortable with the Beta’s presence, even though Mark hadn’t been physically present for the call. Without him chatting away through Skype, Jack felt his absence like a punch to the gut. Not talking with the Beta hurt.

 

And it shouldn’t, Jack mentally scolded himself, irate. There was no reason to feel so upset over a friend, a friend being all they were. Nothing more.

 

Jack was having a hard time trying to remind himself of that.





Chapter Text

As soon as Jack woke up he could already tell it was going to be a good day.

 

His morning started with Jack checking his phone, it already being flooded with messages from friends and family. He smiled to himself as he replied to each and every one, thanking them in turn.

 

Oddly enough, Mark hadn’t texted him yet. Weird, Jack thought, figuring Mark would have been one of the first to wish him a happy birthday. With a shrug, Jack pushed the thought away, knowing Mark would more than likely text him eventually. After all, Mark had been true to his word about annoying Jack on his ‘birth week’ as much as possible, the two having been talking more so than usual. Not that Jack minded, of course.

 

He headed downstairs and brewed himself a steaming cup of coffee, Jack scrolling through his tumblr feed and reblogging several happy birthday fanarts. He couldn’t keep the smile from his face, knowing how much everyone cared for him enough to take the time to make something for him.

 

Finally fueled and feeling energized from the coffee, Jack went back up to his recording space to get started on his videos for the day. He booted up Party Hard, feeling in the mood to play the fan-made levels so he could focus more on having fun rather than passing the level. They weren’t overly difficult, and Jack had a blast recording it. Afterwards, Jack gathered all the footage files together and sent them to Robin. He then took the edited videos from Robin and added them to his YouTube queue.

 

Out of habit, Jack switched over to Skype. He had gotten a few more messages from people, all being various iterations of ‘happy birthday’, yet still nothing from Mark. Jack chewed on his lip nervously, trying and failing to shrug off the rising sense of worry. It was his Omegan instinct, wondering if Mark was avoiding him. Though logically Jack knew he hadn’t said anything to upset Mark, so he could scratch that off the list of why Mark wasn’t talking to him.

 

“He could still be sleeping,” Jack reasoned aloud. Even to his own ears it didn’t sound nearly convincing as he thought it would.

 

His phone buzzing broke him from his train of thought, and Jack quickly snatched it up, hoping it to be the Beta.

 

He tried not to be disappointed when the caller ID read as ‘Allison’.

 

Steeling himself, Jack clicked the green icon, bringing the phone to his ear. “Hey sis,” he greeted simply.

 

“Happy birthday!” came the response, sounding like a chorus of several voices at once, and Jack chuckled, knowing he was on speakerphone with his sister’s family.

 

“Thanks, guys,” Jack said, greeting and thanking them all in turn.

 

There was a pause before Allison’s voice appeared, clearer this time, now off the speaker. “You’re still gonna come out today and visit, right?”

 

Jack sighed, already knowing his sister wouldn’t like his answer. “Probably not, I’ve got a lot of stuff to take care of here.”

 

As expected, Allison huffed irritably. “Come on, Seán! I know it’s your job and all, but seriously? It’s your focking birthday for chrissake. Come spend some time with family for once!”

 

Jack winced at the last bit. “I know,” he mumbled quietly, feeling a tad like a child being scolded by their parent.

 

“Then what are ya waiting for! Get dressed and ready. Call when you’re on your way.” Allison’s tone left no room for argument.

 

“Fine,” Jack relented, trying to keep a neutral voice. Arguing with his sister would definitely ruin what little of his good mood was left at that point. “I have one more thing to record then I’ll be on my way.”

 

“Alright,” Allison said, and Jack could practically hear the triumph in her voice. “See you later!”

 

“Bye.”

 

Clicking his screen off, Jack threw his head back against his chair with a groan. It wasn’t as though he disliked his sister’s family or anything, it’s just that he’d rather spend the time by himself. He didn’t really want to go out, Jack not being one for big parties or events centered around him. He’d much rather celebrate at home, playing games and catching up with television shows. Alone.

 

“I guess that’s all I do, actually,” Jack mumbled to the empty room. He didn’t exactly have very many friends that lived near him, most of his friends being ones he met online. Because of that, he really didn’t get out much unless it was with his family. How lame is that. Jack rolled his eyes, sighing as he opened a new tab on his computer to order himself some pizza for lunch. It was still a little early, but Jack figured it would arrive just in time for lunch.

 

Order placed, he then switched back over to Steam, booting up some random game he’d gotten in a Steam sale pack. He set up all his equipment, started his recording, and began.

 

Just when he was getting back into the proper jacksepticeye headspace, his doorbell rang.

 

He glanced to the clock on his monitor in surprise. “Pizza’s early.”

 

Jack paused all his recordings, grabbing his wallet as he headed downstairs. He fished out a twenty from his wallet, greeting the delivery guy with a smile and telling him to keep the change. His scent washed over Jack, and the Omega’s breath caught in his throat. The guy was an Alpha, only a couple years or so younger than Jack. The Omega found himself breathing the scent in even after the man had left.

 

He set the pizza box on the counter, scratching at his messy green locks with a groan of annoyance. Jack found that whenever his heat neared, he’d be more susceptible to scents, especially those of an unmated Alpha. Jack would much rather stay on his suppressants, but under the recommendation of his doctor and family, Jack was taking some time off from them to give his cycle a chance to regulate itself again. Staying on the pill for too long could lead to infertility and other health problems, and Jack knew he’d eventually want kids someday, so he decided a cleanse was for the best.

 

That just meant putting up with a couple of messy heats, alone, while Jack gave his body a chance to sort itself out naturally.

 

The doorbell startled Jack from his thoughts, and Jack frowned as he headed to the door again, wondering what the pizza guy could’ve forgotten.

 

What he wasn’t expecting was for Mark Fucking Fischbach to be standing on his doorstep, large red suitcase held onto by his right hand, left hand clenching an assortment of balloons, floofy black hair a mop on his head, and face lit up like a child at Christmas as he eyed Jack excitedly.

 

“M-Mark?” Jack gaped, wondering briefly if there was any chance he could be hallucinating his best friend and crush showing up at his home oceans away from where he lived.

 

“Happy birthday!” Mark cheered, immediately shoving the dozen or so balloons at Jack who fumbled with the strings.

 

“What the hell?” Jack laughed in disbelief, backing up to let his friend in. “What the fuck are ya doing here?”

 

“Uh, hello? The main event?” Mark said with more than a touch of sarcasm, as though the answer should be obvious. When Jack merely pursed his lips in thought Mark sighed exasperatedly. “Oh, come on, Jack. I told you that I’d call you every day before the main event! That being me visiting you on your birthday!”

 

“Main event?” Jack echoed with a note of incredulity. “I thought you were talking about my birthday itself!”

 

“Details, details,” Mark waved it off, attempting to remain nonchalant, though he was fighting to keep the grin from his face. Jack snorted in laughter and Mark finally broke, erupting into giggles. “Alright, come here buddy.”

 

As Mark’s arms opened wide for a hug, Jack eyed him, hesitating. He knew he shouldn’t; he would likely confuse Mark’s skinship as romantic rather than platonic.

 

Yet he couldn’t resist.

 

Jack closed the few steps distance between them, attempting to wrap his arms around the other despite the balloon strings getting in the way. He leaned into Mark’s broad chest, the Beta’s arms immediately closing around him, comforting, but not caging. Jack relaxed at the contact, one of Mark’s hands stroking his back soothingly. Warm fingers carded through his hair, and Jack’s eyes fluttered shut as a rumbling purr erupted in his chest. He was jostled slightly against Mark’s frame as the Beta chuckled, still gently scratching at his head.

 

Unable to fight the urge, Jack turned his nose into Mark’s neck, inhaling deeply as he scented the older. He heard Mark’s sharp intake of breath of surprise before the other settled down again, tentatively lowering his own head into the juncture of Jack’s neck and shoulder. The Omega tilted his head to give Mark better access, and he shivered as he felt the warmth of Mark’s nose as it traced against his skin. Jack jolted slightly as there was a dab of wetness, Mark’s tongue darting out to taste him.

 

Jack then pressed his own face in deeper to get at Mark’s scent better. He smelled faintly of spice and something he knew was inherently Mark, yet it was... dull. It wasn’t a bad scent per say, just muted. Weak. As all Beta’s scents were to other dynamics. Jack nosed along Mark’s neck, more frantic this time, eager to get the entirety of the scent, though he knew it wouldn’t get any stronger than it already was.

 

Jack also knew that their hug had lasted for far too long.

 

Reluctantly he pulled back, and Jack swore he saw a look of hurt flash across Mark’s tanned face before it was replaced with something more neutral. His dark eyes held an odd kind of intensity, one that Jack had seen on the other only a few times before. Those times were when the Beta was scent drunk.

 

Jack chuckled then to try and lighten the mood, but it came out uncomfortably forced as he pointedly avoided Mark’s heavy gaze. “Well, uh, I’ve just gotten some pizza, so after you put your stuff away you can help yourself.”

 

Mark nodded, chocolate brown eyes then wandering over Jack’s apartment for the first time, taking everything in. “Nice place,” he murmured, grabbing his suitcase and wheeling it with him as he walked through the living room. “Very uh, minimalistic?”

 

“Well, I am getting ready for a move,” Jack huffed, eager to defend himself. Sure, his house may not have much to it, but it was home. “Guest room’s upstairs, first room on the right.”

 

“Got it.” His words were slow, and Jack felt a hint of regret, knowing he had let the scenting go too far to affect his friend in such a way.

 

While scenting between friends wasn’t uncommon, it wasn’t usually as intense as Jack and Mark had just done. Usually, friends would scent each other at the pulse point in wrists or necks when going in for a quick hug. Licking was something saved for mates, as tongues could pick up the purest and most concentrated scent.

 

For Omegas, it was more common to scent with other Omegas. If they scented with Alphas, it could quickly turn into something more instinctual, and scenting with Betas could lead to the latter getting what was known as scent drunk. While Betas didn’t have particularly good noses, when exposed to the source of a strong scent it would flood their being and put their senses on the fritz.

 

Jack felt bad, knowing the risk of getting Mark scent drunk and still letting the Beta scent with him as he had. Then again, Jack hadn’t been much better. He had been about two seconds away from nibbling at Mark’s shoulder before he had broken it off. Still, the slight guilt remained, especially as Jack was aware of his approaching heat and how his scent would only become stronger.

 

Oh well, Jack mentally shrugged. It’ll wear off soon enough. Besides, it had felt right in the moment to scent with Mark as he had, that amount of contact only serving to strengthen and reinforce their friendship.

 

There was a thump on the stairs, and Jack watched as Mark struggled to get his suitcase up to the second floor, laughing loudly when Mark dropped it halfway up. As the Beta disappeared from view, Jack gathered the balloons once more, jumping up to catch the strings for the ones that had managed to drift upwards, and tied them in a knot, attaching them all to a leg on his kitchen table. There were twelve in all, most green and red, though a few were the larger, specialty kind that had text or unique shapes.

 

Jack felt a light pang in his chest. His friend went through so much just so the two could have some time together and celebrate his birthday. Mark must’ve known Jack would do nothing otherwise, he’d practically told him as much, and the Omega was touched that his friend actually cared about him that much.

 

A passing thought reminded Jack of something important for him to take care of. He took his phone from his pocket, going to his recents and selecting Allison’s number.


It looked like Jack wouldn’t make it to her place, after all.

 

Chapter Text

 

“You’ll just have to give me the grand tour!” Mark exclaimed, and Jack rolled his eyes with a fond chuckle. “Show me everything Ireland has to offer!”

“I thought we were gonna celebrate my birthday, not go around while I give you a tour of the country,” Jack pointed out. “Besides, it’s just like, castles and shit.”

 

Mark reeled on him in shock. “Castles are fucking cool, Seán.”

 

Jack merely snorted, taking another bite of his pizza.

 

After Mark had put his suitcase away and unpacked a bit, the Beta had joined Jack downstairs for some pizza. Jack had resisted the urge to help his friend out, but ultimately decided to give him the time alone to clear his head a bit. Jack figured that Mark had needed it from how out of it the Beta was after their scenting.

 

“No worries, we’ll still celebrate,” Mark assured, gesturing around with his half eaten pizza slice. “But we can do some sightseeing along the way.”

 

Jack scrunched his nose. “Really not too much to see here. Just… greenery.”

 

Mark gave him the puppy dog eyes and Jack’s heartbeat stuttered. “Oh, come on! There’s still the castles, and any greenery here is going to be much more impressive than what I have in LA, I guarantee you.”

 

“I guess... and I mean, it might be a nice change of pace from LA life,” Jack reasoned, fighting off a rising blush as he avoided eye contact with the Beta.

 

Mark’s deep brown eyes lit up. “Exactly!”

 

Jack chuckled, grinning at his enthusiasm. After living in Ireland his entire life, the scenery had become normal to him. The castles and the countryside didn’t excite him like they used to. But with Mark being as gung ho as he was, he was sure that the Beta would enjoy just about any place Jack took him.

 

“Do you have any more videos to do today?” Mark asked, taking another bite of his pizza.

 

“Yeah, just one more.” Jack swallowed his own bite, and an idea hit him. “Hey! Wanna record a collab with me?”

 

“Of course! That’s what I was hoping for.” Mark smiled, so open and pure, and Jack had to look away again to keep from blushing.

 

Jack tried (and failed) to quell his nerves and hammering heartbeat as the two cleaned up after their meal. He then took Mark on a mini tour of the rest of his apartment, pointing out the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms and the like. As they entered his office, Mark looked around in wonder.

 

“It’s so nice to finally be in here,” he said with an honest grin. “It’s one thing to see the back of this room on video but another thing entirely to actually be in it.”

 

Jack swore his heart was going to leap out of his chest as he mumbled something close to ‘thanks’, quickly busying himself in getting the room set up for their video. He had to drag his his loveseat away from the wall, Mark catching on and after a moment helping rearrange the furniture. They placed the sofa to the center in front of the bookshelf, and then Jack moved his tripod and lighting in front of that.

 

“What kind of video did you have in mind?” Mark asked, voice calm and right by his ear, and Jack gave a little start as he hadn’t noticed the other get so close. “Sorry! Didn’t mean to startle you.”

 

“‘S fine,” Jack said with a nervous laugh, placing a hand over his wildly beating heart. He really needed to control himself today. “But, um. Maybe we could do one of those ‘how well do you know each other’ type challenge?” He had seen Felix and Marzia’s video that the two had done quite a bit ago, and Jack figured something like that would work for them. Even if he and Mark weren’t a couple, it would still hopefully be a fun video to do.

 

Mark barked out a laugh. “Seeing how bad I did on my ‘how well do I know jacksepticeye’ video, I’ll do great on this!”

 

To neither of their surprise, Mark did horribly.

 

He only got two questions right out of the ten Jack asked him about himself.

 

“Come on! My favourite color is blue! That’s not even that hard,” Jack said with a laugh.

 

“But- but! You’re green! You’re a literal green bean and have grass for hair!” Mark defended himself, exasperated. Jack looked the camera with a deadpan expression, sighing exaggeratedly.

 

Meanwhile, Jack had gotten eight out of Mark’s ten questions correct.

 

“Okay, that’s it,” Mark huffed, crossing his arms over his broad chest. “You’re definitely cheating.”

 

“Nah, I just know you well,” Jack chuckled, waving him off. “I was a fanboy once too, remember?” Rather than turning away and avoiding Mark’s eyes like he really wanted to, Jack faced him head on with a raised brow, as if challenging the other to tease him.

 

And tease him he did. Jack should’ve known that Mark wouldn’t miss the opportunity to mess with Jack for his cheesy admittance. “Awww, did Jackaboy have a little crush on me?” he crooned, raising his hand to his lips with a gasp.

 

“Of course not,” Jack snapped a bit too quickly, realizing his mistake when he saw the kicked puppy look on Mark’s face. Knowing he had to salvage the situation, Jack sighed and continued. “Okay, maybe a little.”

 

Mark laughed, and the awkward tension that Jack had created dissipated almost instantly. He breathed out a sigh of relief, though after the two said their goodbyes to the camera (which Jack almost forgot was even there) Jack could feel the tension returning. He quickly occupied himself with transferring the recorded footage to his desktop, not wanting to face Mark at the moment. After all, he had just admitted to having a crush on the other man, even if it was referred to in past tense. And if Jack had learned anything since Mark showed up at his home, his crush was anything but in the past.

 

“Did you mean it?” Mark asked, and Jack jolted in his green gaming chair.

 

He took a deep, steadying breath, the faint sour tinge in Mark’s scent telling Jack the Beta was nervous. That made two of them. “I mean, yeah,” Jack said quietly, feeling the butterflies return twofold from earlier. “I looked up to you, and I still do. You’re one of the reasons I wanted to start YouTube in the first place. So, yeah. I kind of thought my crush was obvious.”

 

It was embarrassing to admit that, but Jack felt compelled to tell the other the truth. Jack didn’t want to lie to his face, and Mark almost deserved to know at this point. They had been friends for years, and hearing Jack had a ‘little’ crush probably wouldn’t destroy their relationship. Mark wasn’t that type of guy.

 

There was a tug on his chair as Mark leaned his weight on it, and Jack looked up to meet the grinning Beta’s eyes. Jack didn’t pick up anything condescending from the other; it was actually the opposite. Mark’s scent lightened significantly, the nervous quality fading as a calm spice of relief took its place. Jack blinked a couple times, wondering if he was reading the situation right. Because if he was, then Mark was actually happy and glad that Jack liked him.

 

His brows furrowed. “You’re not mad?”

 

Mark shook his head fondly, still smiling. “Nah, of course not. Especially since I could be saying the same thing about you. I thought it was obvious at our first PAX together from how all over you I was.”

 

Although Jack had been more or less picking that up from the current situation, Mark’s confession still hit him hard, Jack stilling from shock.

 

“Shit, sorry, I shouldn’t have said that,” Mark said hurriedly, face contorting in a frown.

 

“No, it’s fine,” Jack assured quickly, knowing he’d have to explain it out for the other. Mark wouldn’t be able to pick up his emotions through scent as Jack could, Betas having weaker noses and all. “I’m just surprised to hear you say it, is all. I never would have thought you felt that way.”

 

“Oh,” Mark replied slowly, and Jack could tell by the subtle changes in his scent and how his shoulders lowered that he was relaxing again. “But I mean, what’s not to like?”

 

Jack snorted, smiling at the other. “I could say the same about you.” He internally cringed at that, because goddamn was Jack terrible at flirting, but it seemed to do the trick as Mark started chuckling.

 

Mark’s carefree expression sobered up slightly as he shrugged. “Well, I am a Beta…”

 

“So?” Jack challenged immediately, feeling his heart break at Mark’s self-demeaning attitude towards his second gender.

 

“So? So you’re an Omega,” Mark countered, frowning. “Our biology is literally against us.”

 

Jack couldn’t really say anything to disagree with that. Mark wasn’t wrong, after all. And while it wasn’t completely unheard of for Betas to try and take mates outside their own dynamic, tales of their success rates definitely weren’t high. Biology specifically made Omegas for Alphas, and vice versa. Betas just couldn’t compete.

 

“Yeah, well,” Jack finally said with a sigh, turning back to his monitor. “It sure as hell doesn’t keep me from liking you.”

 

There was a startled sound from Mark as he choked on his next words, and Jack felt his face heat. Only then did he realize the heavy implications of his words, and Jack let out a whine of embarrassment, covering his reddened face with his hands.

 

“M-me too,” Mark stammered, and Jack practically whipped his head around to stare at the Beta in disbelief. “I uh, I like you too.”

 

Jack’s brows shot into his hairline as he felt an odd sense of lightness in him. His heart was a jackhammer in his chest, and Jack just couldn’t believe that any of this was even happening. Feeling short of breath, Jack gripped onto his chair to try and steady himself.

 

Sure, there were plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t be together. There was the great physical distance between them, and the more glaringly obvious dynamic incompatibility. Though even if their biology was against them, it certainly didn’t keep them from liking each other. And now that Jack knew Mark liked him back, the game had changed completely.

 

Jack licked his lips eagerly, tasting the air as he picked up the subtle spice in Mark’s scent. It wasn’t strong or prominent as an Alpha’s would be to Jack, but it certainly did have its appeal. He wanted to get at the scent again, bury his nose in Mark’s neck like before and expose himself to the source of that light, addicting spice.

 

“And, I mean, we can try and give this a shot, give us a shot,” Mark continued, tone nervous as he gave Jack a hopeful smile. “Only if you want to, of course. You don’t– we don’t have to, I guess. Just that if we both like each other then why not? I mean–”

 

Mark had to cut off his rambling right there as Jack grabbed the Beta by his shirt collar and pulled him down for a kiss.  

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“What are we doing?” Jack asked as he pulled away, breathless with a smile.

 

Mark, about as equally red in the face as Jack probably was, grinned. “Something we’ve both been wanting to do for a long time.” He leaned in again, and Jack eagerly met his lips, moaning in surprise as Mark introduced his tongue into the mix. Jack ran a hand up the back of Mark’s neck, scratching lightly, and the Beta let out a growl of approval.

 

They moved back to the couch, leaning into each other’s sides, lips moving lazily against one another. Mark wrapped an arm around Jack’s shoulders, bringing him in even closer, and the Omega purred in delight. Mark pulled away after a moment, immediately coming back in and nosing at Jack’s throat and neck, scenting deeply.

 

Jack let out a breathy sigh, running a free hand through Mark’s dark locks before moving into scent at Mark himself. He took several deep breaths, the faint spice that belonged to Mark intoxicating, and Jack let his tongue dart out to taste him. Mark shivered and groaned against Jack’s skin, and the Omega sighed happily. He jolted slightly as Mark bit at the skin on his shoulder, not enough to break the skin but enough for the tingling sensation to go straight to Jack’s groin.

 

The rest of the afternoon was spent in that manner, limbs tangled together and noses at each other’s throats. By the time Jack finally broke away, the rumbling in his stomach getting to be too much to handle, it was already evening. He turned back to Mark, pressing a sweet, chaste kiss to his reddened lips, stroking his shaved cheeks lovingly.

 

“Are you hungry?” Jack asked, voice cracking slightly from disuse.

 

Mark blinked owlishly at him, and Jack snorted. If he thought Mark was scent drunk before then he was absolutely hammered now.

 

Jack scratched at Mark’s head fondly, getting up and straightening out his clothes. “I’m gonna go wash my face. Decide when I get back if you wanna go out for dinner or stay in. I can cook, if you want,” Jack informed the other, and the Omega chuckled when Mark nodded slowly at his words, still disoriented.

 

In his bathroom, Jack switched on the tap, splashing his face with cold water to get a hold of himself and will away his erection. His nerves were a mess, hands shaking from the rush of adrenaline over everything that just happened. He didn’t know how things would turn out for the two of them in the long run, but for now Jack was more than happy to have Mark in the present after spending so long pining after the Beta. He’d take things one step at a time.

 

When he met Mark back in the recording room after, the Beta only looked slightly more put together than when he left. Mark’s raven hair was a disheveled mess, shirt crinkled from where Jack had tugged incessantly at it. Jack grinned at the other, knowing he was the one to put Mark into such a state. Seeing Mark like this because of him did things to him. It made him feel powerful, and Jack decided he liked that feeling.

 

“Have you decided on dinner?” Jack finally asked, leaning against the door frame with a smirk.

 

“Yeah,” Mark choked out, and he cleared his throat before continuing. “Let’s… let’s go out.”

 

“Sure,” Jack agreed easily, mentally fist pumping since that meant no cooking work or cleanup for him.

 

It took Mark a bit longer to get ready for obvious reasons, but he definitely looked much more collected after taking the next twenty minutes to himself. Jack sat in his living room, flipping through his Twitter feed idly as Mark finally emerged from the bathroom, and Jack gaped openly at him. His hair had been washed and combed, clothes straightened and tucked in, and his deep brown eyes shone with a sort of confidence that one gets from having a new partner in life. And the best part? Mark was wearing Jack’s scent. His own lavender and vanilla mixed scent coated Mark, and it screamed claimed.

 

Jack ignored the flip his stomach did at that thought, knowing it only made sense from how heavy their scenting had been.

 

“Do I look okay?” Mark asked, brows drawing together slightly in worry.

 

“More than okay,” Jack assured quickly, getting up and pressing a sweet kiss to Mark’s pliant lips. “You look amazing.” And smell amazing too.

 

Mark grinned and Jack couldn’t help himself from smiling back. They put on their coats and scarves after that, grabbing their essentials and heading out into the night. It was chilly, much colder than it had been earlier in the day, and Jack ran his hands over his arms a few times with a shiver. Mark’s hand quickly found his, and Jack grinned at the Beta with a blush, holding tightly to his hand as the two walked side by side down the street.

 

They talked on the way, brainstorming ideas for things to do later in the week and other videos they could record. It was nice, to explore the possibilities for what they could do while Mark was there, but it also reminded Jack of their limited time together. Mark would be there for the remainder of the week, but he’d have to return to LA eventually. And what would they do then? Long distance relationships were hard to maintain, and since things were still unclear where exactly they stood as a couple, Jack had more than a bit of anxiety about what their future held.

 

It was hard to remind himself to stay calm and appreciate the time they had together, but as Mark ran his thumb lovingly over the back of Jack’s hand, the Omega settled slightly. This was still only day one of their time together, both with Mark being in Ireland and being together as a couple, and only time would tell how things went.

 

They arrived at a diner in town, one of the nicer pubs, and they shrugged off their coats in relief at the warm, inviting atmosphere. The place was buzzing with people, surprisingly busy for a Tuesday night, and after a bit of waiting the Beta waitress seated them at a booth. Jack tried to ignore the look of disapproval an Alpha at a rowdy table to their left gave them.

 

Mark and Jack continued to make small talk, and Jack’s heart warmed at how animated Mark became when talking about things that excited him. The Beta was so enthused about staying with Jack in Ireland, and he clearly wanted to make the most of it. Jack promised to take him out sightseeing the next day, to which the Beta grinned his big goofy grin.

 

They ordered their food, Jack choosing a pasta and Mark choosing a burger. “How American,” Jack remarked with a snort, and Mark chuckled in reply.

 

And it was nice, to talk and let loose and have fun with the other, but Jack was still anxious about the long term effects of them being together. Their food arrived and Jack tried to push the heavy thoughts from his mind, but they nagged incessantly at him. He twirled his noodles around with a fork, heaving a sigh.

 

Mark raised a brow from across the table, and Jack knew he would have asked if his mouth hadn’t been full.

 

“It’s nothing,” Jack said hurriedly, shrugging it off.

 

Mark swallowed, wiping at his ketchup stained lips with his napkin, Jack’s eyes following the movement. “That was a heavy sigh. It didn’t sound like nothing to me.”

 

“Just,” Jack mumbled, gaze drifting down as he poked at his food further. “Just worried about the future, I guess.”

 

“I understand,” Mark replied seriously. Jack’s eyes snapped back up to the Beta and found Mark smiling sadly at him. “There’s a lot to talk about. But for now, we can celebrate your birthday!”

 

Jack’s lips tugged upwards. “Yeah, you’re right.”

 

They continued on with their meal, Jack feeling minutely reassured that they would have a serious talk later on, and Jack decided that it would be best to enjoy the moment for the time being.

 

He excused himself just after the meal, heading to the washroom. He pushed down a rising feeling of panic as the Alpha from their neighboring table got up and followed him. Jack quickly entered the bathroom designated as ‘Omega’, sighing in relief as he was alone and no one came in after him. He wasn’t sure what that other Alpha wanted, but whatever it was it couldn’t be good.

 

Jack did his business and was at the sink when the door opened again, his heart dropping when a distinct Alpha scent assaulted his senses. Jack eyed him through the mirror, having his back to the other and all. “I– I think you’re in the wrong room, mate,” Jack said nervously, hurrying in washing his hands so he could get the fuck out of there.

 

“Jus’ wanted to have a ‘lil chat with ya,” the Alpha slurred with a heavy accent, and Jack scrunched his nose when the thick scent of liquor hit him.

 

“I really should be getting back–” Jack tried, hands shaking as he dried them, but stopped short when the Alpha leaned his weight against the shut door.

 

“Get back? To who?” the Alpha sneered, crossing his arms over his broad chest.

 

He was big, much larger than Jack, and the Omega eyed him warily, taking a cautious step back. This situation was getting out of hand, and quick. “My, uh, boyfriend.”

 

“Ya mean that ‘lil Beta plaything ya got out there?” the Apha jerked a thumb over his shoulder with a laugh. “Yer scent’s all over him. But since I can’t smell anything on ya he must be a Beta.”

 

“He is…” Jack affirmed with a frown, unsure what else to say.

 

“Ya know what? I’ll tell ya what ya need,” he continued, uncrossing his arms and taking a few steps forward.

 

Jack immediately backed up, trying to maintain the distance. “Um, what’s that?” His heart was hammering wildly in his chest from distress, a stark contrast to the earlier excitement from being with Mark.

 

Jack backed up all the way to the sink, trembling hands finding the edge of the counter and holding on as the Alpha crowded his personal space, grinning toothily and smugly. “Ya jus’ need an Alpha to knot ya good, keep ya on a leash to stop ya from flaunting yer scent around.” He reached a hand up, Jack flinching as the Alpha grabbed hold of his chin, tilting his head to the side and exposing his neck.

 

He knew he needed to run. But Jack’s feet felt glued in place as he gripped the counter tight behind him, the Alpha leaning down and taking a deep breath.

 

The door creaked open just then, a female Omega looking to them in confusion, and Jack took the opportunity to flee. He dashed out of the washroom on unsteady legs, leaving the inebriated Alpha and confused Omega behind. His breathing was uneven, heart beating erratically.

 

He fell heavily into his seat across from Mark, the Beta immediately giving him a questioning look. “You alright?”

 

“Fine,” Jack said quickly, not meeting the other’s eyes. “Let’s leave, though.”

 

“What? Why?” Mark asked. “The waiter is going to bring you a special dessert for your birthday.”

 

“I don’t care,” Jack snapped, eyes darting to the washroom in panic as it opened again. “Let’s leave. Now.”

 

“Okay…” Mark trailed off, brown eyes muddied with concern.

 

The two quickly donned their coats, heading to the front of the restaurant to pay the tab. Jack fished out a couple of twenties, telling the hostess to keep the change and hurrying out before the Alpha could follow. Mark exited a moment later, turning to Jack with a frown.

 

Jack headed off, back in the direction of his apartment, not wanting to meet Mark’s eyes. His face felt red hot with a mixture of shame and embarrassment, and all Jack wanted to do was go home and curl up under the covers and pretend none of that ever happened. He stuffed his still shaky hands in his pockets angrily, wishing he could have done something more than just stand there and let that Alpha touch him as he had.

 

His night definitely wasn’t going as planned.

 

Mark caught pace with him after a bit, face filled with nothing but worry and concern. “What happened back there?” he asked, voice soft as though Jack would be spooked otherwise.

 

“Nothing,” Jack replied on auto-pilot. There was no way he could tell Mark the truth.

 

“Come on,” Mark pressed gently. “What made you want to leave so quick?”

 

“Nothing,” Jack repeated, but it was weaker this time. His vision blurred slightly with tears as his face heated even more.

 

“‘Nothing’ wouldn’t have you this upset,” Mark insisted. He stepped in front of Jack, stopping the Omega in his tracks. “Please, just tell me.”

 

“I– I can’t,” Jack whined, blinking harshly as the tears carved wet paths down his cheeks.

 

Rather than replying, Mark pulled Jack into a firm hug, and Jack let his walls down. He sobbed openly into Mark’s chest, wrapping his hands around the Beta and pulling him close. He didn’t care that they were still technically in public, on a sidewalk late at night. He just needed Mark.

 

The Beta reciprocated immediately, tightening his hold on Jack and being a steady lifeline for the crying Omega. Jack felt a hand card through his hair, and he buried his nose into Mark’s neck again, inhaling what little of Mark’s available scent he could.

 

The Alpha from the washroom was right. Jack’s scent was all over Mark, but the Beta didn’t have a strong enough scent himself for him to mark Jack as partners would. Wearing one another’s scent was a key part of the courting process, as it kept mates loyal to each other and warded off unwanted advances from other unmated Omegas and Alphas. Jack now knew that he wouldn’t be able to wear Mark’s scent as he would another Alpha. Mark could wear his just fine, but other Alphas wouldn’t realize that Jack was taken from such a weak scent, just like the Alpha in the washroom.

 

That crushing realization had him fisting his hands on Mark’s jacket, choking on his sobs.

 

Chapter Text

When they reached Jack’s apartment again, things had grown awkwardly quiet. 

 

Mark, being the non-confrontational Beta he was, had let Jack cry everything out, offering support and comfort where he could. Jack knew for sure that after his little display out on the streets that Mark wouldn’t question him any further than he already had. And Jack was right. Mark seemed like he had something to say, but be it his nature as a Beta or just his personality in general, he wasn’t going to pressure Jack into talking.

 

Which was something Jack appreciated in the moment.

 

He’d been half tempted to ask the Beta to sleep with him that night, just so they could cuddle up together and scent some more, but Jack knew he needed to have some alone time to put his thoughts in order.

 

After telling Mark that he was hitting the hay, Jack excused himself to his room, shutting the door behind him with a heavy sigh. His entire day had some extreme ups and downs, and Jack knew for sure that it would be a birthday to remember. He snorted to himself at the thought, shrugging off his clothes and putting his jammies on, crawling under his covers with a hum of content. It was nice to be in his own bed after such a full, eventful day.

 

But he couldn’t sleep yet.

 

Jack grabbed his laptop out immediately, opening an incognito browser to do some research. He’d never done an in-depth Google search of Beta and Omega couples before, and he figured he might as well look up some stuff to see exactly what he was getting himself into with Mark. He clicked onto some forums from other Omegas, and his shoulders slumped.

 

The results were less than encouraging.

 

‘My Beta gf and I can never scent properly… I can mark her but I can’t wear her scent… and she always ends up scent drunk… help!’

 

‘Broke up with my Beta boyfriend last week. I’ve spent one too many unsatisfied heats with him.’

 

‘I really loved my ex but her being a Beta really hindered things. Nothing against her sex, but being with a Beta was HORRIBLE! She could never pick up on my scent cues. She could never lay her own scent on me. She could never satiate me during my heats– sex toys worked better than she did.’ 

 

With a grumble of frustration, Jack slammed his laptop shut. He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting, but it definitely wasn’t the amount of negativity coming from Omegas who had Beta partners in the past. While he knew that success rates between the two dynamics were low, he wasn’t quite expecting something to that degree. As Jack’s eyes adjusted to the darkness of his room again, the Omega sighed heavily. All the stuff he was finding were problems that Jack had either already faced, or would face eventually if he kept pursuing Mark.

 

And that thought hit him hard because wow. Jack finally had Mark after spending so much time idolizing and pining after him, yet now he was considering giving it all up? After one unfortunate run in with an Alpha?

 

Though he knew that wasn’t quite right either. What happened back in the restaurant with that Alpha was nothing short of harassment. Jack shouldn’t be trying to minimize or brush off what he went through, yet that’s essentially what he intended to do.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with me?” Jack muttered aloud, throwing an arm over his face. Silence answered him.

 

He had a restless night after that, tossing and turning in bed for hours on end. Finally when light began to filter through his blinds Jack got up, heading to the bathroom for a shower. He hesitated slightly, knowing if he showered then what little of Mark’s scent he wore would be washed away. Yet he still felt gross from the night before, could still feel that drunken Alpha’s hand on his chin, tilting his head to the side so he could scent at his neck–

 

And yeah. Jack was definitely going to shower.

 

Afterwards he felt much cleaner, having scrubbed harshly at his neck and chin, skin reddened and raw as a result, but he felt much better inside. 

 

He wandered out in the hall, pausing for a moment and listening to the sounds of his quiet apartment. Mark was still asleep in the guest room; Jack could pick up the faint snoring coming from the Beta. He smiled to himself, deciding to let him sleep off the rest of that jet lag, heading downstairs to make them some breakfast.

 

Twenty minutes of ingredient prep and cooking seemed to do the trick as a blurry-eyed Mark finally emerged, yawning his morning greeting.

 

“Good morning to you, too,” Jack chuckled, cheeks heating slightly as he took in Mark’s morning appearance.

 

The Beta’s sleepwear was a mess, graphic t-shirt raised from where he’d been scratching at his stomach, red flannel pajama bottoms riding low on his hips. Mark’s raven hair was a disaster, curled and tangled and Jack resisted the urge to abandon the stove and run his fingers through Mark’s hair fondly.

 

Mark finally caught on after a moment– after Jack spent too long staring –and chuckled with a smirk. “Like what you see?” he placed one hand on his hip, the other raking through his own hair invitingly.

 

Jack licked his lips, scenting the air hopefully. The Beta’s morning musk was no different than it had been the day before. Dull. He turned back to the stove with a snort, fighting to keep his expression neutral rather than disappointed. Even if Mark’s scent wasn’t reeking with sex appeal, Mark himself definitely was. There was no denying his looks. “I do. ‘Sleepy’ is a good look on you.”

 

The Beta laughed, deep rumbling voice sending a shiver down Jack’s spine. “Smells good, by the way.”

 

And Jack’s heart leaped in his throat because for a moment he thought Mark was talking about him and his own distinct lavender and vanilla scent, yet as Mark moved to stand next to Jack at the stove the Beta merely gestured to the omelets he was making. 

 

“Oh… yeah.”

 

Mark frowned slightly at that, and Jack mentally slapped himself for sounding so let down. Mark looked like he wanted to comment, to say something more, but the Beta remained quiet. 

 

When the food was ready Jack served them both up, having set the table earlier. He offered to get Mark a cup of coffee, but the Beta insisted he could do it himself. “I can’t let you do everything, now,” he refused with a chuckle, and Jack laughed nervously. He’d been so occupied with the thought of having a new partner that he was already going into ‘caretaker mode’, a common trait of Omegas. 

 

With so many different things on his mind, it was hard to focus on the food. Jack actually found himself not hungry, opting instead to sip at his own coffee mug. 

 

“Not gonna eat?” Mark asked, swallowing around a rather large mouthful of egg and cheese.

 

Jack grimaced. “Not that hungry.”

 

The Beta looked like he wanted to push it farther, and Jack was really beginning to hate that look. It reminded him that Mark was indeed a Beta, and not an Alpha like he would have wanted. If you were an Alpha, you’d be perfect, Jack thought briefly, immediately scolding himself afterwards for even thinking something so horrible. Mark couldn’t help how he presented, and neither could Jack have. Their biology decided for them, and Jack shouldn’t be feeling as though Mark were the incomplete one in any way. After all, the Beta must think the same about Jack, wishing that he too were a Beta, so their feelings for each other could be reciprocated more easily.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jack blurted suddenly, and he wasn’t sure if it was for thinking such negative thoughts about the Beta or for something more.

 

“What for?” Mark questioned with a raised brow, and Jack sighed.

 

“I don’t know,” he mumbled, scratching at his bearded chin irritably. “Just… I don’t know anything anymore.”

 

“What don’t you know?” Mark pressed, and Jack knew for a fact that the Beta wouldn’t be pushing for answers at all if Jack hadn’t brought up this conversation himself in the first place.

 

“I’m sorry for last night, I guess,” he said after a beat of hesitation. “Something happened back there that… upset me.”

 

Mark snorted, though not unkindly. “That’s putting it mildly. You seemed pretty damn upset to me.”

 

“Yeah,” Jack agreed easily. “And it also made me realize some things.”

 

“What’s that?” Mark asked, sipping at his coffee.

 

Jack sighed again, raising his own gaze to meet Mark’s head on. “It made me realize that things won’t work out between us.”

 

Mark choked on his drink, setting it down quickly to keep from spilling it. 

 

“Shit– sorry,” Jack said immediately, wishing he had kept his goddamn mouth shut so he could have sorted through his thoughts some more on his own. A high-pitched whine escaped the back of his throat signalling his grief. “I shouldn’t have said anything.”

 

“No, it’s fine,” Mark assured with a tight smile, brown eyes hardened. “I’m… I’m glad you’re saying something before we, uh, got too deep or anything.”

 

Jack whined again, nibbling at his lip. He knew his own scent reeked of regret and sorry but his scent cues were lost on the Beta. Had Mark been an Alpha, he would have known exactly how much Jack regretted letting that sentence slip from his lips. But he was a Beta, and Jack needed to let him know exactly what he was thinking to get his point across properly.

 

“I really shouldn’t have said anything. I’m still trying to process everything, and you said yourself at dinner last night that we would talk about things. And I do want to talk,” Jack insisted with emphasis, hands clenching at nothing on the table. Mark’s dark eyes darted to the movement. “I do want to give us a shot. I’ve wanted you for so long…”

 

Mark gave him a bittersweet smile. “And I you.”

 

Jack sighed out with a grimace. “I really do want to pursue this. It’s just…”

 

“...Just what?” Mark finally prompted after a moment.

 

“Well, you know that noisy table next to us… at the pub last night?” he began, voice timid.

 

“Yeah?” Mark questioned, probably unsure of the relevance.

 

“There was an Alpha there, who followed me to the washroom,” Jack continued, looking away from the Beta. His heart was going crazy at the moment, pounding hard in his chest from nerves. “He… he, uh–”

 

“What did he do?” Mark growled, and Jack’s eyes snapped back up to meet his at the sound. Mark’s entire countenance had shifted to one of pure anger, and Jack shivered at Mark’s possessive display. It wasn’t uncommon for Betas, males especially, to be territorial of their mates, but since the two were a new couple of whatever the hell they were and not mates, Jack was surprised at Mark’s show of possession for him. It was touching.

 

“It wasn’t anything too bad–” Jack tried, but another growl from Mark easily silenced him.

 

“What did he do?” the Beta repeated, and Jack whined, the sound high and needy, only serving to rile Mark up more than he already was. “Tell me.”

 

“He just, he told me I needed an Alpha to knot me and lay their scent on me, and then he tried to scent me himself…” Jack trailed off, and he realized how stupid that sounded to his own ears. “Like I said, nothing bad.”

 

There was a pregnant pause between the two in which neither said anything. Then Mark let out a heavy sigh, expression nothing short of distraught. Jack picked up a slight sour tinge to his faint scent. 

 

“I’m sorry, Jack,” Mark murmured finally, and he took a deep, watery breath. Jack’s heart broke at the noise. “I’m sorry I can’t be the Alpha I know you deserve.”

 

Jack bit at his lip more harshly, tears flooding his own eyes. “I’m sorry that I can’t be normal, that I can’t just be a Beta like you.”

 

Food forgotten, the two shot up from the table, meeting each other for a much needed hug. They clung desperately to one another, Jack sniffling and tugging at Mark’s already wrinkled shirt and fingers tangling in his floofy hair while Mark fully enveloped Jack’s smaller frame, clinging onto the Omega as though he would lose him if he let up his grip ever so slightly.

 

And that was how the two found themselves that morning, crumpled to the kitchen floor, sobbing into each other’s arms at their own inability to change their gender and be the perfect mate for the other.