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Omega Under The Moon

N.J. Lysk

Copyright 2017

[Third Edition]

[Adult Reading Material]




School is over. Forever. And Cole is ready for real life to start. His new apprenticeship as a mechanic promises enough money to get a little flat in town, close to his pack but not too close. And who knows what else he could do with that freedom?

But before that, there’s a camping trip to the woods with his best mates, TJ and Ari. TJ has been Cole’s best friend since before school and he’s almost as good getting out of trouble as getting into it. Ari came later, but Cole can’t imagine life without his sharp intelligence and sweet smiles either.

If you are into guys, they don’t make them easier on the eyes than TJ and Ari, but Cole is just fine keeping that to himself. They have meat to grill, some beer, and three nights to say goodbye to their childhood.

Everything is going great until Cole starts feeling odd. Within a few hours, his whole life is turned upside down: he is an omega. He is in heat. And he is alone in the woods with two alphas.

There is no going back from that night and Cole isn’t sure their friendship can survive what they shared, but one thing is for certain: an omega cannot walk away from his fate.

A happier look at accidental sex story. HFN. M/M/M werewolf alpha/omega/alpha first-time romance.

Other books by N.J. Lysk:




Contents






Prologue

It wasn’t the first time they’d done a circle jerk, and Cole didn’t think it’d be the last. It was a laugh, that was all. It was fun and it meant he could tease TJ about how his dick bent left, and Ari about how he had a monster in his pants. He opened his trousers and pulled out his hard cock. It’d joined the party early, but so what? Cole had proven again and again that he could outlast the other two and he preferred to be hard when they did this anyway—it made the slight difference in size between him and TJ unnoticeable. Cole was a grower, nothing to be ashamed of.

And then, as his fingers closed around his girth, he felt the strange dizziness return. It had been coming at him all day. He stumbled a little, almost slipping on the damp grass but not letting go. The side of his hand brushed against his balls, sending another rush through him that had him tightening his grip to stop himself from coming. He glanced down at himself, frowning, and used his other hand to touch his sack. The soft touch felt good enough to make him thrust into his own spit-slick palm, but that wasn’t all; as he pushed forward, he clenched hard and the sensation that brought almost sent him to his knees. It was like a whole new set of nerve endings right inside him linking straight to his dick.

“Cole?” Ari asked.

I—” Cole looked up at him, then down at himself again. “It’s just—”

“Have you been jerking off so much you broke it?” TJ quipped from his left.

Cole rolled his eyes at him, then braced his legs and experimentally clenched again. Fuck. It felt good, but why would it…? Almost without thinking, he brought his left hand back and pushed his fingers between his arse cheeks. His gasp seemed to echo up into the treetops all around them, sending a few birds flying in alarm. Cole couldn’t have cared less if he’d caused a stampede. He was wet.

Cole?” This time TJ sounded alarmed. “What the fuck?”

But Cole didn’t have any attention to spare; he lifted his hand to stare at his fingers. They shone with slickness, transparent but with a scent strong enough to be unmistakable. He was still watching his own hand when Ari stepped forward and took hold of it. His hand encircled Cole’s wrist easily and Cole watched as his friend brought his wet hand to his nose, as if unable to do anything else. He thought the grip should hurt, but all that registered was the way Ari’s touch burned him and the way his cock still throbbed in his hand.

The next thing he knew, he was on the ground, trousers halfway down his knees and cock still hard. And he was pushing back into the fingers digging into his arse like he was dying for it. Because he was: he needed it now, and he needed it fast, and hard, and endless. He couldn’t wait. He couldn’t… and then he didn’t have to wait anymore because the fingers were taken away and something much bigger was shoved in. He keened low in his throat, desperate but pained. It was too much and not enough all at once, and a part of him was scared too because something was wrong—except that part of him was too far for him to reach, or truly care about. Hands gripped his hips and pulled until Cole got his knees under him and pushed fully into it, until it seemed the cock inside him had reached as deep as it could go.

Until the next thrust, so brutal he could swear his body was being broken open. Except it wasn’t pain, it was anything but pain; it felt so good he could hardly stay still for it. He was being fucked by someone who knew he wouldn’t break and he was allowed no quarter. He had to take it, the great length of it opening him up each time his body tightened up again, forcing him to submit and give everything he had. And Cole loved it. His dick was bouncing under his belly, abandoned but dripping, and Cole wasn’t even thinking about touching himself. All he wanted was for Ari to stay inside, to keep him open and full. He couldn’t stand the emptiness again, not after feeling this…

Knowing it was Ari made him tense for a moment—they’d been friends forever, and after this… but then it stopped mattering because Ari was giving it to him good, hard and ruthless, and all Cole could do was whimper as his friend’s cock jerked and emptied inside his body. Cole’s own orgasm hit like lightning, unexpected and unexplained. His own dick, untouched, started ejaculating hot come onto the ground.

As the endorphins rushed through his battered brain, Cole grasped for some sense, for words to explain what had just happened. And then he felt Ari withdraw: for a moment, it was just discomfort, and then came the aching emptiness again.

Cole groaned, clenching on empty air, sore and used and so… He was grateful when he felt a new pair of hands on his buttocks. He squirmed, too desperate to wait for the inevitable and after a moment, he was satisfied: the head of TJ’s cock popped easily past the well-used ring of muscle. There was no stopping it after that. TJ pushed him fully onto the ground, trapping his still-sensitive dick between his body and the grass, and started rutting into him in earnest. Cole moaned under him, face turned to the side so he could breathe, but all his attention on the man on top of him. The alpha. Because Cole was an omega, and this was heat, and this was what alphas did to omegas in heat. This was what omegas were for.

&

Cole woke up because his feet were cold. He’d never been able to sleep without covering them. For a moment, he was confused, trying to figure out why he’d kicked off his blankets, then he realized where there were no blankets, just the hard ground under him. He tensed up, that didn’t help because he tensed right into the legs and arms tangled with his—the naked legs and arms tangled with his. He wasn’t conscious of trying to get away until the arm around his waist tightened with serious strength and he was pulled back to the ground.

It was TJ.

It’s okay,” his friend rushed to assure him. As if any words could convince Cole when he was not only naked but also had his best friends’ spunk leaking from his arse.

He was frozen, staring ahead but not seeing TJ anymore, and breathing too hard. And then TJ’s arm was forcefully yanked away and the pressure from his back disappeared. It should have made him feel better to be free, but he couldn’t seem to move. He could hear his friends’ voices, but he couldn’t understand any of the words.

When the hands came back, he almost sobbed with relief. He sagged against TJ’s chest, shaking hard enough that his friend had to make an effort to hold onto him.

“Shhh,” TJ murmured into his ear.

TJ was warm, hot even, but Cole couldn’t seem to stop trembling. He was freezing cold and feverish at once—not just his body, but his mind seemed to have been derailed. He couldn’t seem to form any thoughts, much less words. He clung to TJ, needing something, desperate for help he couldn’t ask for. And maybe TJ could read his mind just like always, because he felt Ari pressing close behind him again, cocooning Cole between their bodies. He exhaled, feeling himself relax into their embrace.

He heard himself make a noise; but it was just that, noise. He couldn’t have said what it was he needed even if he had been able to speak—he simply didn’t know. TJ was speaking again and Ari said something too—their voices felt almost as good as their bodies up close. And then Ari was entering him again, just putting his cock in him smooth and easy, hitching his hips until he was fully seated inside Cole’s body. Cole slumped forward, breathing hard but feeling his muscles unwind completely. He couldn’t move back into Ari’s measured pace, but it was okay because he didn’t need to—they were taking care of it. All Cole had to do was rest and let them do it.

After a few minutes of it, Cole’s hearing seemed to clear and he heard TJ’s soft words of encouragement. He raised his eyes from his friend’s chest and met his eyes; the pupil had swallowed all the honey. TJ exhaled a shaky laugh. “You okay?”

Cole’s lips parted to speak but he couldn’t quite manage, so he just watched TJ’s face as Ari held him still and fucked into him. TJ watched him back as if cataloguing every blink, every grimace when Ari went particularly deep. Cole was more than ready, wet with what he now knew were his own juices, but he had not teased Ari for nothing—he felt huge inside. And then TJ was cupping a palm on Cole’s cheek and leaning in to take his mouth into a kiss as filthy as any fucking. Cole moaned into it, opening his mouth for it as happily as he’d spread his legs, and TJ pressed his own body close enough to rub his cock against Cole’s thigh.

Ari increased his pace, as if encouraged by their noises, and soon Cole was getting rolled on top of TJ because Ari needed to fuck him in earnest. If TJ hadn’t held him up, he’d have fallen right on his face—his arms felt weak and loose. As it was, he ended up curled up above him as TJ held him up for Ari to fuck. TJ had braced a knee between Cole’s legs, pressing right against his cock. With each thrust, Ari’s hipbones were slamming against Cole’s arse hard enough to bruise, but it didn’t matter because he was pushing the head of his cock right against what felt like the inside of Cole’s dick. It was so good it hurt, and it hurt so good he couldn’t understand how he hadn’t come all over TJ’s knee. And then Ari whimpered his name and it was all over: his cock twitched and spilled and TJ braced himself as Cole’s arms gave way for good as Ari held him in place by the hips and rutted harder still to get the last pulses of pleasure out of him. It felt like being electrocuted. Cole’s nerves were frayed by the time Ari put himself together enough to pull out and he fell fully into TJ’s arms.

He was too hot, but he didn’t want to pull away from TJ’s embrace, so he stayed there. Ari had blown his brains out and he’d been in shock already. That was the only way he could explain how long it took him to notice TJ’s erection was still pressed against his side. He tensed up and TJ resisted for a moment before letting him retreat. Cole crawled off his lap, eyes on the ground. He only stopped when his foot caught Ari on the side. He stared at TJ in front of him: he’d seen him naked occasionally, of course. They’d gone swimming in the lake and they’d changed in the same changing rooms. And he’d seen TJ hard.

But he’d never seen both at once. And he’d never seen both at once and known he was the cause. TJ was well muscled—he’d presented alpha months ago and the surge of hormones had helped him bulk up—and his dark skin shone under the moonlight. He’d fucked Cole earlier, but he didn’t look smug about it, or even pleased. He looked afraid. He was watching Cole as warily as one might a dangerous animal, ready to retreat at any sign of violence. Cole watched him back, feeling completely blank. He was not angry, or sad; he just couldn’t understand how they’d gone from a camping trip to this. TJ let Cole watch him a little longer before he rolled to the side and got up.

When he spoke, it was mostly to the ground. “I think our clothes are this way.”

He didn’t walk fast—he had to be hard still—but he didn’t look back.

Cole?” Ari was at his side, laying on his front on the ground. Maybe he didn’t want Cole to see his massive cock right after he’d shoved it right in Cole’s arse. Not that it mattered, even kneeling on the ground, Cole could still feel it. He shivered. “Did I hurt you?”

Cole tried to think of an answer that made sense. Yes? No? But neither felt quite true. “I’m okay,” he said and only when the words came out was he sure that he could speak again.

He heard Ari move but didn’t look up from the grass. “I didn’t… You were in shock, but… TJ said it would help.”

Cole didn’t say anything. It had helped, and he’d enjoyed it. He also wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole—Ari’s come was sliding down his thighs. That was not something you came back from.

Can you stand?” Ari asked.

Cole pushed his palms to the ground and shoved. His legs reacted on autopilot and he found himself upright, but something about his balance was off because he stumbled as soon as he’d managed. Ari was right there to catch his forearm to keep him from toppling over.

The moment their skin touched, Cole felt steadier. He stood straight easily and when he turned to look at Ari, he didn’t cringe. He nodded and let Ari walk him back to where they’d left their packs without relinquishing his hold. It was the same feeling he’d got when TJ had touched him after he’d started panicking. He was still shocked, still anxious, but... Ari let him go and wrapped him in one of the blankets they’d brought at their parents’ insistence. It didn’t really help; the moment his friend had stopped touching him, it was like being back to the moment when he’d woken up on the ground—disoriented, distressed but not knowing why. It was the contact that made the difference.

But of course, he couldn’t say it now that Ari had stopped; his throat had closed up again, his mind was full of half formed thoughts he couldn’t finish.

TJ approached and pressed a thermos to his mouth so he could take sip of the hot cocoa inside. “It’s okay,” his friend promised in the same voice he used to talk to his little siblings. “It’s always a shock, the first… just drink this, and then you can go to sleep for a bit.”

Cole took the flask when TJ placed it between his hands. He drank mostly because he was shivering hard enough he thought he’d spill the whole thing on himself if he tried to push the flask away. The cocoa helped some with the cold, but it didn’t really make it easier to think. A part of him had words for what had happened, but he couldn’t seem to bring them forth anywhere he could access them.

They helped him roll into the sleeping bag and closed it around him, rubbing vigorously to warm him up inside. They were speaking, but Cole could barely hear it.

Maybe he was still in shock. Maybe when he woke up, he’d feel like himself again.

Maybe he’d just wake up and realise it had been all a nightmare.

&

He blinked his eyes open to find TJ watching him. A moment later he realised that there was a hand around his wrist, he glanced down to find it was Ari’s lighter skin against his own middle-of-the-scale tan. Cole’s great-grandparents had had one thing in common: they’d been explorers, brave and curious enough to end up halfway across the world. He had half a dozen cousins all over Europe and Asia, and a group of his originally Spanish relatives had even set up a werewolf town in the middle of the Tibetan mountains—prey was scarce, but apparently they had plenty of peace.

Cole wasn’t brave. He’d just remembered where he was and the only thing he wanted was to curl back up under the blankets and go back to sleep.

Are you…?” TJ started to ask, then changed his mind. “Do you think you can walk?”

Cole swallowed. His head felt stuffed, but he pulled his right arm out of the cocoon of the bag and put down his hand to push himself into a sitting position. Ari, strangely, didn’t let go of his hold. Cole met his eyes. Did they know?

It’ll help you not panic,” TJ said from his other side. “If one of us is touching you, it’ll… it’s the instincts, I guess. Like, if we are here, then you are safe?”

He seemed unsure, but even so Cole turned to stare at him. “Safe?”

TJ’s flinch rippled through his features like a slap. He got up and turned away from Cole. “I don’t know much about omegas.”

Omegas, Cole thought, like his mind was grasping for the word’s meaning. Of course he knew what omegas were: carriers. It didn’t matter that Cole was a man; being an omega meant he could carry children. For another man. For an alpha.

An alpha like Ari or TJ.

And both of them had fucked him, probably more than once if the fuzzy memories from the previous night served him right. Ari must have heard his heart trip because his grip tightened and he jerked Cole closer.

Don’t,” he asked Cole, almost pleading. “Just… let’s just go home. We’ll sort it out when we get home.”

Cole nodded, not looking at him. Now that his mind was clearer, he couldn’t understand how he’d met Ari’s eyes moments earlier, after Ari had… He shoved the thought away and looked around himself. “My clothes?”

TJ?” Ari asked. Their friend was already standing in front of the pile of their supplies. He was carrying some clothes but they weren’t Cole’s. They hadn’t brought any extra changes, not when the river was right there and they didn’t plan to do anything more tiring than wrestle each other into submission or fight over a particularly good looking piece of meat.

He offered Cole a shirt. No, not a shirt, an undershirt. TJ’s undershirt. He glanced up at his friend and realised he was only wearing his overshirt—a chequered shirt he normally had on top of the T-shirt he was offering Cole. He wanted to ask what had happened to his own, but the idea of producing words made him nauseous, so he put it on—with some awkwardness because Ari refused to let go.

If I stop, you’ll freak,” he warned.

It was insane, and even if they were right about it... what was Ari going to do, become permanently attached to Cole? But he didn’t ask, and he didn’t complain when Ari helped him to his feet and made him stay still while TJ knelt at his feet and put Cole’s shoes on for him like he was a toddler. He thought it should have been humiliating, but either he was too deeply in shock, or Ari’s touch really worked to keep him from feeling. It didn’t matter; it meant he could follow Ari’s lead back to the cluster of houses where their pack lived without losing it.

It was enough.



Chapter One

They didn’t bother collecting their packs, just took their phones and left for Cole’s house as soon as they all were dressed again. Not that anything was going to get rid of the stench of sex, or hide Cole’s new scent. At that point, it was more a matter of discretion than secrecy.

In the end, what alarmed people into coming outside was the time of day. They’d been expected in the late afternoon at the earliest, if not the following day—after all, they were done with school for good—and they were showing up at the crack of dawn.

There was nobody in the world Cole wanted to see him like this, but seeing his mother—probably back from her morning run—was too much for him. He yanked his hand out of Ari’s loose grip and promptly collapsed to his knees, fighting for breath as if he was drowning and shaking hard enough he couldn’t even manage to lock his jaw so his teeth wouldn’t clatter together.

Cole!” she called at once and crossed the distance between them like it didn’t exist. She knelt with him, taking hold of his face, but Cole closed his eyes, refusing to look at her, refusing to see… And then a heavy hand curled around the back of his neck and he could breathe again, still ragged, still laborious but no longer impossible. Unfortunately, he could hear her speak now and understand her words. “What happened? How…?”

Cole didn’t answer, and he didn’t look up. Not even the strange calm an alpha’s touch brought him could make up for the darkness of his thoughts. Of course his mum wanted to know why this had happened: almost no male omegas existed. And yet…

Are you touching to keep him calm?” Her voice was like ice and only when the response came did Cole realise it was TJ’s hand on him.

“Yeah, it—”

Very well,” she cut him off. “Come, Cole, we need to get you inside.”

He had been taller than her for a while, but that didn’t matter now; she was solid muscle and forced him to his feet smoothly. TJ’s fingers curled for a moment to keep hold of him—despite the awkward angle, he didn’t let go as they started for the house.

His mum pointed at the sofa. “Sit.” Cole didn’t react, so TJ used his hold to pull him down. Cole sat, and TJ sat next to him, unable to do anything else the way they were connected.

I just…” TJ started. Cole didn’t look up. “I am going to swap hands, it will only be a second.”

He was as good as his word and Cole’s terror didn’t have time to resurface. Once TJ was holding his wrist, he let himself slump back against the headrest and close his eyes. Not that he could really block out the world that way: his hearing was plenty sharp to tell that Ari was in the room as well and that his mother was rummaging in the kitchen on the other side of the house.

But he’d take it. He’d take anything as long as it meant it was a little quieter, a little less…

Cole opened his eyes when he heard her come back in, mostly because TJ tensed up at his side. She was already measuring half a glass of a reddish liquid. “Drink up.”

Cole did, and, to his surprise, it tasted alcoholic. It wasn’t that his parents were opposed to him drinking, but alcohol didn’t work on werewolves’ accelerated metabolisms. He glanced up in shock before quickly lowering his eyes again, but his mum caught him and explained, “It’s highly concentrated, and it has belladonna in it. It’ll help you settle down.”

He nodded, and drank. It was too sweet, nothing like wine or beer—not that Cole liked the wine or beer his human classmates had shared with him, anyway—and it seemed to clog up his throat. But it was only half a glass and with an effort, he finished it.

He looked up to give the glass back to his mother, and found she’d gone across the room to the phone. Ari took it from him. His red Converses were covered with mud and grass stains. Cole wondered if the drink was going to kick in any minute now, but it was an idle thought. He was worried, intellectually, but he couldn’t seem to attach any feelings to that concern.

And then his mother’s voice cut out. She’d hung up, he realised. Ari’s shoes hastily retreated and TJ straightened by his side. They were afraid, he understood at last. They thought she would blame them for what had happened. Alphas were supposed to protect betas and omegas, after all.

Doctor Jaswinder will be here shortly,” she said. “TJ, let go of him but don’t move away.”

TJ let go like Cole had caught fire. Cole was about to comment, but that was quickly forgotten as the tide of emotion he’d been suppressing suddenly rushed to the forefront of his mind. He curled forward, too overwhelmed to even speak. Then his mum was kneeling at his feet and putting a gentle hand on his back. “It’s okay, just let it go through you. It was scary, but it’s over now. Everything will be okay.”

Cole choked at that. It wasn’t true and even in the state he was in, he could hear her heart skip a beat at the lie.

Oh, dammit, Cole,” she said, realising her mistake. “It will be. I will make it.”

She leaned further in to embrace him fully and he let himself take the comfort, let himself shake in her arms. It wasn’t as bad as it’d been; this time, he could breathe. It was just that he was still royally screwed and he could do nothing about it. There was no coming back from presenting.

He was stuck like this.

He didn’t know where TJ and Ari had gone, or when, but they weren’t around anymore when his mum helped him walk down the corridor into the bathroom. She helped him unbutton TJ’s overshirt and unlace his shoes as he slumped on the toilet seat. Then she hesitated: he was still shaking badly enough to make buttons a challenge but she probably didn’t feel comfortable unbuttoning his jeans. Cole definitely didn’t want her to, and he was more than half out of his mind.

“Can you do the rest? I will turn around.”

She went and set up the shower, letting the water start to warm up as he struggled with his zipper—he was not wearing any underwear—and finally stepped out of his jeans. Her voice was distant when she asked, “Can you get in?”

Cole didn’t think so, but he was damned if he was going to have his mum give him a shower like he was 5. He concentrated on the stall—thank god it wasn’t the bathtub—and took a step closer. He dared a glance at her and realised she was turned toward him, eyes fixed on his face. She probably thought he’d fall, but the idea of how he must reek to her sensitive nose turned his stomach and made him flush with shame. She stepped up, opened the shower door for him and tsked.

“Come on, get in before it goes cold.”

It was a ridiculous thing to worry about: they had their own tank. Water hadn’t gone cold once in all their lives, not even when they had visitors from other packs filling up the house.

He had to cling to the side of the screen to be able to lift his feet enough to step inside, and the feeling of the water hitting him at once was almost too much for his overworked brain to handle. He froze for a long moment before he thought to put his other palm flat against the tiles that covered the side of the stall to support some of his weight.

I’ll be back in five,” he heard his mother say behind him, and then the bathroom door opening and closing.

He let the water pound him for long minutes, probably more than five, before he opened his eyes and searched for the multi-coloured bottles. He opened one without looking at what it was—it was hard enough for him to read when his mind was clear—and smelt it instead. Strawberry, his little sister’s favourite. He poured too much into his hand, leaning clumsily against the back wall for support. He closed his eyes again and scrubbed his hair. He didn’t really care about cleanliness but he needed the smell of sex replaced with something else. Anything else.

He gagged at the scent. Lorelai must not have had a proper sense of smell to use this stuff—she definitely cared too much about her shiny mane of dark hair for a 6-year-old. It was cloying as hell and so artificial it tasted like plastic. He couldn’t smell TJ and Ari anymore or… what they had done, but he had to breathe in the vapour deeply to keep back the nausea. He quickly found another bottle and scrubbed up his hair and body again. This time, he forced himself to push his fingers not just through his pubic hair and cock but into the space where most of the scent had concentrated.

He did it once, and then did it again. He would have liked to take the shower head and do it properly, but he’d have fallen for sure. Even if you healed quickly enough to look like special effects, pain was still no fun. And he couldn’t have taken the humiliation of having his mum find him fallen in the shower as well as…

He turned the shower off with shaky hands.

He almost did fall when he opened the stall door to find his father sitting on the toilet seat. He looked up at Cole, expression tight and worried, and Cole felt his stomach turn. He snatched his eyes away as if he’d been slapped.

Your mum sent me in with a towel, just let me make sure you make it alive to your room, okay?” His father’s voice was gruff and soft, none of his usual teasing or levity.

Cole didn’t move, but when his dad approached and pulled on his arm, he stepped out of the shower. He didn’t protest when a towel was wrapped around his shoulders and held on to it when he was directed to do so. His dad even got a smaller one to dry his dripping hair a little. It was too long again, and thick enough that it’d soak his pillow if left alone. His dad dropped the smaller towel and took hold of his elbow and led him to the door.

It was cold in the corridor after the heat of the bathroom, but at least it was only a couple metres to his bedroom. But as soon as the door opened, the scent of his old self hit him like a brick wall to the face. He cried out and stumbled back. He’d have fallen for sure if his dad hadn’t tightened his grip and walked him backwards.

Shit, okay, wait.” The door closed too hard in front of them. “Come, we’ll set you up in a guest room.”

&

It hadn’t taken long once Cole had lain down. Sleep had embraced him like a parent receiving a long-lost child back from the paths of life. It might not have been his own bed but he was safe and both he and his wolf knew it. He’d woken here and there throughout the day, but it wasn’t until it was dark and the moonlight hit his face that he truly became conscious of his surroundings again.

He recognized the guest room, of course, he’d helped set it up a million times. It took him longer to remember what he was doing there. He groaned, burying his face into the bedding. It only made it worse: the blanket smelt like omega.

Werewolves, like humans, got used enough to their own scent and stopped being able to detect it unless they tried. But Cole’s scent had shifted so completely that his brain now identified it as foreign. It probably didn’t help that omegas were supposed to have a sharper sense of smell than betas. He made himself breathe out; now that he wasn’t so exhausted, he could think through this.

He was an omega. There wasn’t going back from that. And being an omega meant going into heat during the full moon. Or at least that’s the way it worked for women. He had never heard of a girl going into heat for the first time a whole week before the full moon, but of course the random genetic quirk that had made him present as an omega despite being male could easily have caused that, too. After all, Cole had been an exception all his life.

Werewolves’ bodies were meant to be perfect: no sickness, accelerated recovery from injuries, and even immunity to addictions because their bodies rejected anything damaging to their organism long before they could become dependent on it.

But it couldn’t fix Cole’s brain into being able to read and write properly. His parents had been so incredulous at being told Cole was probably dyslexic that the teachers had asked him some probing questions in private. Thank the moon that even at 5 Cole had been well-trained in pack secrecy. It might have taken him until second grade to master basic literacy, but he wasn’t a complete idiot. He knew his parents loved him and he knew that adults outside the pack didn’t understand about them.

He’d kept his mouth shut, and he was okay now. He had wanted to stop going to school after he’d got his GCSEs, but both of his parents wanted him to at least try to keep going until he was an adult. Cole was welcome to live in pack territory and do odd tasks all his life, but his mother the barrister was convinced her son could do more than chop wood and fix leaking roofs. She’d got him all the tech a dyslexic kid could ever dream of—from coloured rulers to read to software that would read text aloud even before smartphones started doing it—and she’d demanded that he try so often it had actually been easier to do it than to argue that he couldn’t.

At first, he’d flat out refused to even think about A levels, but he knew he couldn’t outstubborn her. In their stupidly tiny town, he’d had no luck finding a job. So he’d looked at the BTEC videos she’d linked him to. Mechanics didn’t sound bad, really, and he definitely wanted to have a car of his own as soon as possible. He hadn’t expected to be good at it. He certainly hadn’t expected to be good enough to leave school with a job.

Oh, God, he thought now, feeling his eyes flooding with tears. Fuck, the job... he was going to have to tell them he couldn’t do it. He could barely face his family, how was he going to face the townies if he... He rolled off the bed and dropped on the floor with a thump, crouching on hands and legs. He needed to move. He wanted to run, to shift, but... was he allowed? It was pack territory, of course, so it was supposed to be safe, but... But omegas had to be careful.

He wasn’t that oblivious: he knew girls didn’t walk home alone after dark like he did when he couldn’t get out of his own head and he decided to ditch TJ and Ari. And omegas... alphas were supposed to take care of them, but alphas were also supposed to want them beyond all reason. To want to have sex with them.

If he went outside, that was what would happen. The alphas of the pack would recognise what he was and... He pressed his forehead against the wooden floor, breathing heavily.

Fuck it, he thought, he needed this too much. It was the middle of the night anyway, and if he was one thing, it was fast.

He dropped his T-shirt on the bed, but kept his shorts on. He didn’t need to flash his dad again if he was up late and if he left them on the porch, he could put them back on before coming back into the house.

Getting out of the house was surprisingly easy. Everything was quiet; the scents of his parents and siblings had faded in the living room. His sister must have been watching TV late again—probably sneaked back down after the grown-ups had gone to bed. He could detect her scent was stronger—more recent—than the others without having to think about it.

It wasn’t all bad. It never was, he knew he had his own strengths. Being an omega had to be good somehow. There had to be some compensation. Something had to make up for the fact that he’d accidentally had sex with not one but both of his best friends while he was so out of his mind that he could barely remember it.

He wanted to remember it.

Almost as much as he wished it hadn’t happened at all.

He dropped his shorts on the easy chair and jumped down the porch as he let his wolf come forth. It was a risky move—a small miscalculation and the shift wouldn’t happen fast enough for him to land properly. But he knew he could handle it.

He got to the ground smoothly and used the momentum to push himself forward, tail swinging for balance as the world of sound and scent opened up to him like the world of sight opened up to his human eyes with the sunrise. He followed the scent of a hare without conscious thought; words only resurfaced briefly as he sank his teeth into it with relish, blood flooding thick and salty and good. He’d missed too many meals today and everything in his body sang in satisfaction.

After he was sated, he turned back towards the house. He wanted to run forever, to run away. If he never stopped running... but he wasn’t that stupid. He couldn’t outrun the wolf, or the moon, or himself. As a wolf, it was even more obvious how completely he’d changed, the scent like a marker of status with all its implications instead of simply a word and a strange odour.

He paused when he arrived back home. There was someone there. No, not just someone. It was TJ. He was curled up in the shadows of the easy chair, but wolves could see in the dark. He was staring straight at Cole already and he jumped to his feet now.

“I can go,” he offered.

Cole hesitated a moment longer, trying to understand what his instincts were saying. TJ’s touch had been such a balm earlier, forcing all of Cole’s terror down like a big irresistible blanket of calm. Except now that Cole wasn’t panicking, the idea of having all his feelings smothered didn’t really appeal.

TJ took a hesitant step away from the chair, and Cole made a decision. It seemed safe enough as long as TJ didn’t touch him, and now that Cole wasn’t... well, irresistible, he supposed, TJ wouldn’t do something like that. He jumped up onto the porch, and when he stepped towards the chair, TJ took an instinctive step away from him.

Werewolves weren’t more aggressive than their human counterparts, but they did snap sometimes if their personal space was invaded. So it was a very poor idea to do it while you were in skin. He ignored TJ and went up to his shorts.

And then he was stuck. He’d transformed in front of TJ probably thousands of times, but that was before TJ had... He turned towards his friend, who was still watching him as if spellbound, and growled low in his throat. TJ jumped like he’d been electrocuted, eyes widening. “Fuck, sorry!”

He turned his back so Cole could shift and, even though he must have heard the elastic of the shorts as it hit Cole’s belly, he didn’t turn around again.

“Done,” Cole said.

TJ turned around too fast, eyes a little wild, roaming from Cole’s face down his body. “Are you okay?”

Cole shrugged, looking to the side so he wouldn’t lower his eyes. He didn’t want to be submissive, and apparently he didn’t feel any natural inclination to be, but he wanted to look TJ in the face even less. “Sure.”

TJ swallowed in the silence, Cole could feel how tightly he was holding himself from halfway across the porch. “I am so sorry, I... I can’t even. I—”

“Cut it out!” Cole snapped, not so calm anymore.

“But—”

Do you think I don’t know that alphas can’t stop themselves when an omega is in heat?”

Yes, but after—

No,” Cole said firmly. “I don’t have time for this bullshit right now. I am not going to apologize to you, so you can’t apologize to me.”

TJ was silent for long enough that Cole risked a glance. His mouth was twisted up and his eyes shone with clear anguish. His best friend was a complete puppy; he just couldn’t handle anything going wrong. Maybe it was because things usually didn’t go wrong for him. He was clever, funny, popular, and beautiful to boot, but with enough muscles that nobody would have dared mess with him for it.

Are you feeling sorry for me?” Cole demanded in his iciest voice. He wasn’t quite ready to look TJ in the eye, but his bushy eyebrows were okay.

No!” TJ denied at once. He was lying and they both heard it as his heart skipped a beat. But he insisted anyway. “No, it’s not... I can’t help... I just want to help you. I don’t—”

Aren’t you the one who made me a fucking T-shirt to remind me everything has a good side?” Cole challenged. The T-shirt had been about Cole’s issues reading, of course, but maybe not just about that. Cole had been too afraid to ask if TJ knew that Cole liked guys.

It hadn’t mattered. He hadn’t been planning on doing anything about it, not when everybody thought having babies was so important to keep the pack alive.

But it could matter now.

Okay, yes,” TJ agreed softly. “Okay, I... I just can’t see it right now. If you... If you need anything. You know I got your back, right?” His voice was so full of hope that Cole’s eyes travelled too far up and met his. It felt like being caught—neither he nor TJ could break their gaze. In the end, TJ was stronger, lowering his eyes and adding, “And Ari. He said we should give you some time, but—”

It’s fine,” Cole said at once. “I had plenty of time. I’m sorry I freaked out on you.”

TJ made a sound like someone had punched him in the throat, but he didn’t look at Cole again. Maybe he couldn’t stop feeling guilty about it. It would be just like TJ. Cole did appreciate him not going on about it, though. “I should go.”

“Okay.”

I’ll... I’ll come back. Not tomorrow, your mum said you had to see the doctor. But maybe the day after?”

Okay,” Cole repeated dully. Why the fuck did he have to see a doctor? Being an omega wasn’t an illness.

He turned and walked back into the house, leaving TJ in the dark.



Chapter Two

Doctor Jaswinder was older than Cole’s parents. Even though their pack wasn’t that large, Cole wasn’t sure he’d ever exchanged a word with him before.

I see you are over the shock,” he said, barely having responded to Cole’s mum’s offers of tea and food.

Cole stared at him from across the room, openly meeting his eyes. He was an alpha, and Cole didn’t give a fuck.

Sure,” he drawled. “I’m fine now.”

Doctor Jaswinder inclined his head. “So I see. But of course that won’t last long.”

Cole tried not to move, but he couldn’t keep his heart from betraying his alarm. “What do you mean?” he asked flatly.

Omegas have needs, and from I have heard, yours were fulfilled.” Cole could feel himself flush but he refused to even blink. He couldn’t find any words, but the doctor seemed quite happy to continue speaking as he watched him. “Either you are already pregnant or you will need to be soon.”

He didn’t even notice that he’d looked away until his mother’s voice brought him out of his daze. “What in the moon’s name do you think you are doing?” Her voice was a growl.

Cole checked on the doctor—even humans tended to react to that tone with terror—and saw him straighten and face her. Of course an alpha would know who the real threat was.

“Telling him the truth,” he said simply.

We know the truth,” she replied curtly. “We need you to help us make the truth as easy as possible, not to play with my son’s feelings when he’s vulnerable.”

“Do you think denial will help him for long?”

I’m not in denial,” Cole said, finding he could speak again. He’d felt safe at once when his mum had walked in. She’d never let anybody hurt him.

“So you have considered who you will be taking as your mate?” Jaswinder asked.

I—” He tried, but his mouth was dry and he didn’t even know what he wanted to say.

He has a whole month,” his mum cut in. “He doesn’t need to focus on that right this second.”

Do you think people are truly that modern now?” the doctor asked almost mockingly. “He slept with them. Nobody else will touch him now.”

Cole had to dig his nails into his palm to keep from making a noise at that. The guy was an asshole, but he was telling the truth. He didn’t simply believe he was, which would have been enough to keep his heartbeat steady, but he truly was. Cole knew how obsessed alphas were with the virginity of their omegas.

And Cole hadn’t just fooled around with a human in town; he’d actually got fucked by two alphas during heat.

He had a good chance of being pregnant by two barely-of-age alphas who had plans to go off to university come autumn. He’d have liked a chair, but he’d strayed too far from the seating area so when he stumbled back all he found was a wall. He let it hold him up as he breathed through it. He could no longer hear what they were saying, or at least he couldn’t make out the words well enough to understand it. He was grateful for small mercies.

And then a hand clamped around his wrist, hard and relentless and words came through the fog. “Cole,” his mother said.

He looked up, the world coming into focus in the blink of an eye. And then he realised what it meant: it wasn’t just TJ and Ari, any alpha could influence him. Even his mother. He didn’t know if he wanted to laugh or cry, but he didn’t seem capable of anything at the moment so maybe it didn’t matter that much.

Her eyes met his steadily, holding him in place. “I’m going to let go now. I sent him away and he’s not coming back.”

Only then did Cole notice that the doctor was gone. He used his left hand to keep hers on his wrist. “Why did he do that?”

“Because he is an asshole,” she said simply.

He stared at her, he’d never heard her swear—not even the cute little replacements like “sugar” that most people relied on.

The kind of alpha who doesn’t deserve the name. He likes power a lot more than he likes to use it to take care of people, and he...” She stopped. “He doesn’t matter.”

But it’s true, isn’t it?” he asked. He felt a little sad now, despite her calming touch. “I could be—”

No, you are not,” she cut him off. Cole didn’t try to speak, but she saw the question on his face anyway. “I spoke to TJ and Ari. They were sure.”

How could they be sure? Cole wanted to ask, but he didn’t want to know enough to ask her. And it wasn’t like it mattered. If she was sure, he believed her.

“But I will be,” he said instead.

Her grip tightened and when he looked up he saw her expression was pinched too.

Yes,” she said eventually. “But it doesn’t have to be right away. You can... you can get through a heat without. My friend Celia’s pack has a male omega. I am going to call her up now and ask if we can talk to him.”

She glanced down at their hands and waited for Cole to nod before letting go. It wasn’t like the swamp of emotions after TJ had let go of him but like the final stage of waking up fully.

He frowned and she explained, “Alphas have to learn to be alphas, too, you know?”

He hadn’t known. He’d always thought that once you presented, you’d know what to do. But of course, he’d been an omega for three days and he still had no idea—maybe it wasn’t so crazy that she’d learned to use whatever it was that let an alpha calm an omega down.

&

Before, TJ would have just shown up and knocked on their door. Now, he called ahead like he needed an appointment to see him. Cole’s dad shot him questioning look from across the room—Cole suspected, but couldn’t prove, that his parents were home a lot more than even his 8- and 6-year-old siblings being on summer vacation could justify—and Cole had nodded.

Things couldn’t get back to normal, exactly, and he wasn’t stupid enough to try… But they could watch a movie or play video games even if he was an omega; his hands weren’t broken.

He startled when he found Ari on the other side of the door, too. Stupidly, since he should have been able to hear both of his best friends’ distinct heartbeats, not to mention smelled them now that his nose had got an upgrade.

Ari stepped back at once, bumping TJ, who had to hang onto his jacket to avoid falling off the porch stairs. Cole snorted. They were such a mess.

Ari’s green eyes found his. “You look better.”

Cole shrugged. “Get inside. I have popcorn.”

They’d followed without comment, until TJ had caught sight of the TV and the game currently paused on it. “Mario? Seriously?”

Oh, shut up,” Cole said, and he almost wanted to smile at how easy it was. “Lorelei was playing before she left for camp.”

Ari picked up one of the controllers. “As in you were playing with Lorelei. This is set up for two players!”

Yeah, whatever, so I’m a good big brother. Sue me if I don’t want to hear her whine at me that it’s boring on her own.”

Oh, yeah, don’t front, you’ll let your kids walk all over you…” If TJ hadn’t let his teasing dissolve into a stammer, Cole probably would have flipped him the bird. But once TJ made a point of it, he couldn’t help but remember. Kids. He’d wanted them before, in a hypothetical future. Maybe in ten years or so, when he was an adult with a job and a place of his own and—

He turned and walked out of the living room, heading for the kitchen. His chest felt tight, like he couldn’t quite breathe, or like his heart didn’t have enough room to beat. Maybe with some food TJ could keep his trap shut.

He didn’t think he’d taken that long, but by the time Ari knocked on the open kitchen doorway, the microwave was dark and he couldn’t remember hearing it beep. He’d just zoned out and he didn’t even remember what he’d been thinking about. He looked up at his friend, who didn’t cross the doorway—as if he didn’t dare approach. “TJ said we’re cool…?”

Cole exhaled, nodded, looking back at the counter. “It wasn’t anybody’s fault. It was a fucking accident.”

Okay,” Ari said easily.

Ari was easy. TJ had been his friend first, but any time Cole tried to think of a time when it’d been just TJ and Cole, he got the vague sensation that something was missing. If Cole had a bit of a temper, and TJ was a bit of a joker, Ari was the calm strategist. They worked together, and when one of them was away for some reason, the other two always felt the absence keenly.

But it wasn’t just your accident, I’m here to mop up,” Ari insisted.

Cole snorted, shooting him an incredulous look. Ari read too many books; it wasn’t enough for him to be a good person, he had to think about why and how.

Just get the Pepsis out of the fridge, will you?” he asked, taking the popcorn out of the microwave. He could take Ari’s support, but only if he didn’t insist on talking about it.

&

They got tired of the game eventually and switched to the latest Avengers movie. They’d run out of popcorn, and chips, and chocolate buttons. But there were enough explosions and shouting that nobody needed to talk.

After his first disastrous attempt at teasing Cole, TJ had stuck to ribbing Ari about his gaming. Ari was pretty unflappable and although Cole had tried to help, his heart hadn’t quite been on it. He wanted things to be normal, of course, but after TJ’s fairly innocent comment had turned out to be such a landmine for them both… Their teasing had never been homophobic—Cole’s dad had made him wash the dishes after dinner every day for a month in year seven when he’d called one of his classmates the ‘f’ word—but they’d talked shit about each other’s balls, about jerking off… It’d been a joke. And now it couldn’t be. The world had decided sex could never be a light and easy between them again; it’d be charged and dangerous. And then…

The sensation was so foreign that he had to look down to understand someone had just taken hold of his hand. He snatched it back.

“What the hell are you doing?”

TJ had been staring at the screen but his pulse was already racing when he turned to face Cole. “I just—”

But Cole didn’t care. He got to his feet, he needed the height advantage. “You think you can… you think you can just grab me now?”

TJ was watching him like he was a bomb about to go off. “It’s hand-holding! It’s primary-school stuff!”

Not for us, is it?” Cole asked, not quite keeping the bitterness out of his tone. It was crazy; he hadn’t even known he wanted TJ to do anything but choose to sit with him at lunch in primary school. “Or were you holding my hand in fifth grade?”

TJ huffed, starting to get annoyed. “Obviously not, I couldn’t. But I thought that now—”

“Now you can, because you…” The words dried in his mouth.

Cole?” said Ari. Cole turned to him, suddenly feeling surrounded. But Ari was still seating too and his pulse was even. “We thought you didn’t want to talk about it.”

He didn’t say TJ was right and Cole was being crazy, but he might as well have. He’d said we, as though they were separate from Cole. “So what? We don’t talk but you do whatever you want?”

I just… I wanted to ask,” TJ said quietly. “But you told me not to say anything, so—”

Cole turned back to him, feeling dizzy with the back and forth already, and then circled the table and turned off the TV, putting his back to it to face them both at once. “Can’t you just let it be? I just wanted to watch a fucking movie with you, is that too much to ask?”

TJ was still tense, transparently unhappy, but he met Cole’s eyes and nodded. “You got it.”

Ari nodded in turn, and Cole turned the TV on again. “Just… watch this for a bit. I need…”

He didn’t tell them what he needed, but then again, he wasn’t sure he even knew. They did what he asked anyway, which was all anybody could do, really.

He sat back down farther away from TJ and made himself watch the movie until it began to make sense again.



Chapter Three

The male omega his mum knew had agreed to come for a visit, since it would have been unwise for Cole to walk into another pack’s territory as he was now. But that was the end of the good news.

Sam was blond and slight and effusive in a way that read gay from a mile away. It made Cole stiffen, uncomfortable and self-conscious. He wasn’t like that. And Sam touched Cole, gave him a hug in greeting and squeezed his shoulder for emphasis like they knew each other. Like... like they had a connection.

So it was just this week?” he asked sympathetically.

Cole’s mum’s was sitting in the room with Sam’s beta escort. Of course they hadn’t trusted an omega to walk out on his own—not even when he had been bonded for ten years.

He nodded. “Five days.”

Oh, darling, you’re taking this very well. I totally lost it when it happened to me!” he admitted easily. “Woke up one morning and just... freaked out so badly my father had to use his alpha will to...” He stopped, maybe realising he wasn’t reassuring Cole any. “But I got over it!” he added cheerily

Cole ignored both the encouragement and the gratuitous congratulations. “I wanted to ask...”

Anything,” Sam said at once, earnestly sincere.


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