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Let me go, Alpha

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“I was promised to you when I was not even born, Louis. You have to understand that now I am an eighteen-year-old omega who is in love with Nick. I have chosen my Alpha, Louis. I am sorry but I cannot be yours. My father wanted me to marry you just because you are the most fearsome and prestigious alpha of our time. It would give him the support he needs for his pack and my mother wanted me to marry you because Nick and his pack is nothing in front of you and she wanted to see me as the Luna of the biggest pack. She made me swear on her name that I would marry you. So I did. You can force me to bed and have your ways with me but in my heart? It will always be Nick. I have chosen my Alpha and it is not you.”

Harry had said this on their first night. Louis did nothing. He nodded and left that room. It was two months ago.

***

Harry stayed. He had to. In their pack, it was necessary that you have to stay in a marital bond for one year then the council would call you and ask you if you want to be mated for life or not. If you agreed, they would make a marriage certificate and let you go. You have to consume your marriage and that mark would stay on both Omega and Alpha’s body. That was called mating mark.

 

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“You give your omega that mark when you fuck them. You know, knot in them and bite down. That’s all,” Liam had said. His eyes trained on their pack doctor’s son, Niall. Whom Liam had bonded accidentally. Liam did not want to bond Niall. He wanted that girl who was Eleanor’s friend, Sophia to be his mate. So he was waiting for their one year to end.

Louis did not understand how Liam would break the bond with Niall. That idiot realized or not, he cared for Niall. For an instant, now, they were sitting under the shade of the big oak tree just to see if Niall was safely walking or not. Zayn was drooling beside Louis, his eyes closed and soft snores coming from him.

“Why are we here anyway? He is limping but why do you think that he would be unable to walk?” Louis asked, his hands folded together.

“I fucked him hard last night. I was angry when he came and interrupted me with Sophia. He was crying and all.” Liam shrugged. His eyes trained on Niall.
Niall knew that Liam was there but he was avoiding him and Louis did not blame that poor sod.

“Why do you think that fucking him to oblivion is going to help? He was crying because he is bonded with you and you were with Sophia, another omega. I don’t understand what is your problem with him. Give him a break, Liam. That poor lad goes through enough as it is and you are always doing something to hurt him. He was not the one who bit you.” Louis let out. He felt bad for Niall. That lad was getting thin to thinner day by day. He used to be the happiest person Louis ever came across but now he looked like a dead corpse. That hurt.

“He was the one who went in heat and I am an alpha. How am I supposed to control myself?” Liam pulled some grass out from the ground in frustration.
“You can’t control yourself and that is your fault. Not his. He did not ask for this.”

They both turned to see Zayn was finally awake, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “I mean, look at Louis. Harry rejected him on their first night; he could have forced him but no. He respected Harry’s wish. I hate Harry for what he did but Louis here is a perfect gentleman.” Zayn patted Louis’ shoulder.

“So your Omega is still in love with Nick. You are still not taking the matters into your hands and what? In next ten months, you will hand him over to Nick?” Liam asked, his eyes trained on where Niall was smiling with a beta. Liam smashed those grasses in his fist.

“First of all, he is not my omega. He is Nick’s. Second, what? I can’t force myself on him. I am not a rapist, Liam. And third, yes. I will hand him over to Nick after the trial.” Louis ignored the pang in his chest. No. he was the leader of this pack and he would not feel bad over an omega.

“Niall,” Louis and Zayn flinched when Liam shouted Niall’s name in his alpha voice. They both looked up to see Niall was hugging Ben, a beta of their pack. Louis punched Liam’s shoulder, “don’t fucking use your alpha voice on your omega. Dude!”

Liam was not listening. His eyes were furious and Niall came running to him. His body shook when he sank to his knees in front of Liam. Those blue eyes filled with tears and apprehension. Louis stood up and pulled up Zayn. He did not wish to see what happened next. Liam was his best friend and he would not be able to punish Liam but he would not stand there and watch Niall’s despair either.

 

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“You smell like him, you slut.” Liam roared. His nose buried in Niall’s neck, where the bond mark was. Liam licked that mark and then bit down. He knew this was a sacred thing between an Alpha and his omega and they were not supposed to do it here but Liam was never eager to follow rules. Niall fell on Liam’s chest, his eyes tearing up, “he is my friend.” He whimpered. His small hands coming up to rub against his alpha’s heart. Liam stood up, taking Niall in his arms, “I think you need to know whom you belong to, pet.”

***

The cries muffled in the mattress as Liam fucked him again. Thrice in a span of four hours.

When they were locked together, Liam pulled Niall closer, his breathing heavy, “I don’t want you to go and serve there. You are royal omega. You are this pack’s biggest warrior’s omega. I want you to stay here and serve me only. Do you get it? After I throw you away, you can go back to that den you call your father’s house.”

Niall looked up at Liam’s doe-like eyes, “he is my childhood friend. Why can’t I talk to him?” his voice was small as he asked. He could feel Liam’s cum filling him up as they talked.

Liam suddenly rolled them, Niall was under him and he fit himself between Niall’s legs.

“He fucks you. Right?” Liam snarled, his teeth coming out to scare Niall. His hands involuntarily gripped Niall’s hipbones.

“You fucked me beside the lake when I presented as an omega for the first time. You fucked me every day and night after that. Do you seriously believe that I got the time to whore around? You were always on me whenever I went out. You tried to kill my father because one night you saw him leaving my room. He is my father, Liam. He was there to see if I was sleeping or not. You get all angry and vicious when another alpha comes near me, how do you think Ben would get me?” Niall was crying now. Again.

“You stay here from now on. I take you out and bring you back. You will not leave my side from now on. I will do what I feel like with you, Niall. You lured me in this mating and I will take whatever I want from this before I kick you out of my life for good.” Liam gritted out, his hips moving slowly to lock his knot firmly in Niall.

Niall did not bother with a reply. No one ever heard him anyway. He whimpered when Liam pushed the knot inside him again and curled in on him. He needed to sleep. The last thing he remembered was Liam’s hand, roaming over his stomach with a soft purr.

***

Liam stared at the omega; Niall was sleeping on his chest. Liam pulled out when his knot went down. He felt bad when he noticed the bruises on Niall’s hipbones and thought about licking them to heal the pain but then he remembered Sophia’s words…

“He-he laughed at me, Liam. He told me how he lured you in mating and he slapped me, Liam. See,” she forwarded her cheek then for Liam to see and yes, there was a handprint. Red on her beautifully soft skin, “he always mocks me, Liam. He shows me how worthless I am. He told me how he used you for the position you hold. He is now the prestigious omega exactly after our Luna, Harry. He always misbehaves with me, Liam…”

Liam pushed Niall away, jumping out of the bed. No. He would not fall for those innocent eyes or those tears. It was fake. Niall never loved him. With a squeezing pain in his chest and a burning sensation in his eyes, Liam left the house. Sophia. He would go to her.

 

_____________________

 

“You did not eat the breakfast I made.” Harry frowned down at the plate. It was noon now and Louis was lounging on the couch of their room.
The pack-house provided the highest floor to the leader and his Luna. It was good to have some peace when Louis needed it.

He looked away from the television to stare at Harry who was frowning at him.

“I did not know that you made me breakfast. I went out as soon as Liam called. Sorry,” Louis felt bad. Wasted food was not something he appreciated. Harry frowned harder. His lips pulling down, “I left a note.”

As if that explained everything. Louis wanted to shout at him about how he was trying to get away from Harry as much as possible but it seemed like, Harry did not get it.

“I left early.” He muttered instead. His eyes going back to the television again.

“I want to discuss something,” Harry said next. His hands coming up to hug himself as he looked at Louis. Louis closed the television and turned his full attention to the said Omega.

“Go on.”

Harry walked closer to him, sitting down beside Louis. Louis shifted away a bit, trying to maintain distance. He never wanted Harry to feel threatened or scared.
“Your rut is coming,” Harry said. His eyes focused on the remote beside Louis.

Louis fish-mouthed for a moment. How could he forget about it? His rut. Exactly. Now that he sniffed the air, he could smell his own mushy scent clearly. It was coming in a day. He looked back at Harry. Harry was biting his lips, his cheeks flushed. He looked anything but comfortable.

“Ye-yeah! I am…” Louis coughed, he could not find some words, “I am close. Yeah?” He was not sure why Harry was talking about it.

Harry nodded, exhaling shakily, “Jay asked me to load the ration of our house today.”

When Louis looked at him all confusedly, Harry rolled his eyes, exasperated, “so that I have enough food and I don’t need to leave the house. Eleanor told me that you get really demanding and…” his lashes fanned over his cheeks when he looked down. Louis had to force the fond out of his face. No! Harry belonged to Nick.

“… dominating when you are in a rut. Apparently. How did she know that though?” Harry asked. His eyes looking over to Louis with his brows furrowed.

Louis shrugged, “well, she helps me through my ruts. So she knows a lot of stuff. Plus I am always dominating in bed but she does not know it. She…” he stopped when his eyes fell on Harry. Harry was staring at him with his brows even more furrowed and lips turned downward into a pout or something. Louis raised his brows in question.

“You are not virgin?” Harry asked. His voice small and uncomfortable. Louis did not know how they ended up here. He was fine with not talking to each other more than when they were in public. He was not used to this.

“Err… I am an alpha, Harry. My rut gets me all needy and vulnerable. As the leader of this pack, if I take five or six days to go through my rut alone, my pack will be weak. Anyone can attack us when I am not present. I have to cut the rut short. So Eleanor helps me and it ends in four days.” Louis stopped when he noticed Harry sliding a bit away from him.

“So what about this rut?” Harry asked. His voice trembling and Louis understood why. Harry was scared that Louis would force him to spend the rut with Louis.

Louis felt the betrayal running through his veins. He did not touch Harry in these two months. He did not even try to change Harry’s mind about him for once. Louis respected his decision and honesty. He still slept on the sofa so that Harry could feel comfortable. As an alpha, Louis did not need a fireplace in his room, his body temperature was enough to keep him warm but he installed one anyway. So that Harry could stay comfortable. He always tried to make sure that Harry was fine in any way possible. Louis understood that how painful it was for Harry to stay away from Nick, his real alpha was. Louis always tried to stay out of Harry’s way. So he could expect some trust, right? Well, not really, it seemed. Here Harry was, doubting his intention.

Louis’ expression immediately hardened, he looked away from Harry and faced the switched off television again, “you don’t need to worry, Harry. I will tell mom that your father called and you need to visit him because he is ill and you can leave for those days.”

“And then what would you do after I leave?” Harry asked again.

Was he that thick? Louis would spend the rut alone here. Cause no matter what happened he would not take Eleanor’s help after he was married. He would not cheat on his omega. It did not matter the said omega would never accept him as his alpha. Louis would take the risk with his pack but would not betray the bond. It was true that Harry had no bite mark to prove the bond as that never happened but Louis accepted Harry, as his omega and he would not sleep with someone else. When Harry would leave, he would think about mating or sex again. Not now.

When Louis stayed silent, Harry squirmed in his seat, “I don’t want you to fuck her on this bed or in this room. I abhor it. I am not going to come back and sleep on the mattress where you have fucked her. That is not very respectful. I am a royal omega and I will not let you take me for granted.”

Louis nodded, “Okay.” He wanted this conversation to end. Otherwise, he would do something stupid like, shout at Harry for not being the omega Louis wanted. Or running away from this room for some solace.

“Okay, what? You would not fuck her here, would you? Where would you do it then? Don’t come to fetch me in my parents’ house smelling like her after the rut.” Harry sounded agitated. Well, Louis felt the same.

“I will send Liam or Zayn to fetch you.” He let out and stood up. He had to leave.

“But you came to receive me when I went to my father’s house last time,” Harry whispered. Louis turned to see that he was looking at Louis with those big green eyes innocently wide as they watched him. Louis noticed how Harry bit the corner of his lips with uncertainty. His fingers fidgeting with each other.

“I will reek of her. No?” Louis laughed, he knew it came out as a grimace but he did not bother to sober it up and marched away from the room.

***

Harry watched Louis leave. His eyes trained on the alpha his father forced him to marry. He was not happy when his mother had shown him the picture of Louis. One reason was he loved Nick since he knew what love was. The second reason was, Louis was nothing like a typical Alpha should be. He was smaller than Harry was and Louis’ curves were too prominent for an Alpha. He was not muscular either. Nick was an Alpha in every sense. He could not match Louis with those Alpha dynamics. Louis was grinning at the camera and he was wearing a three-quarter jungle-printed pant with a black and white striped T-shirt. He was too much relaxed. Harry saw his father, who was always composed and reserved. He would smile at Anne but otherwise, he was someone you fear. Nick was the same too. Plus he always wore something formal or nearly formal. Harry did not like Louis. He was not man enough. He was not Alpha enough.

Nick was not ready for marriage yet. His pack was going through some problem with rogue attacks and with their neighbouring pack. It was not the time for marriage according to Nick. Plus Desmond did not like Nick, he was adamant about Louis and Harry had to give up when his mother came to him and begged him about the marriage. It was somehow a thing that Louis’ pack was the strongest one that ever existed on the planet. His parents did not want to face Louis’ wrath when they deny the offer of matrimony. Harry had to agree.

When he told Louis about his decision, he was almost completely certain that Louis would force him but to his astonishment, Louis left that night and never came back. He took the sofa to sleep in their dining hall and he never asked for anything from Harry. He would not even talk to Harry if it was not necessary. But Harry was respected. Louis would always hold his hand and help him on the small stage in their city hall when they made any announcements. The whole pack called him Luna. They loved him. He made some friends here. Niall, the almost outcast omega of the biggest warrior of this pack, was his best friend now. Harry was stunned when he heard how brutal Liam was to him. harry was even more stunned when he watched Liam training their fighters and when Stan, one of the betas told him that Louis could easily win over Liam, Harry simply did not believe it.

Everyone told him about Louis’ hunting skills. They told him about the beauty that was their pack leader’s wolf form. They gushed, even Niall, about how vicious Louis’ wolf was when attacking. Harry did not believe any of it. He had looked at the alpha, who was sitting under the oak tree with his mates surrounding him. It was not quite trustworthy news when that alpha was rolling on the ground with Zayn in a mock fistfight. Harry could hear their merry laughs from the lake just beside it. Louis was dainty according to Harry. Hell, Harry was muscular than Louis. He had looked away and called Nick. He needed to hear that alpha’s voice.

That was until he saw the wolf form of Louis. That day everyone was gathering around the bonfire, Zayn and Liam arranged in their pack’s field. Jay told Harry that everyone used to come and enjoy the full moon and party around the bonfire. The alpha of the pack would go hunting and bring back any kind of meat for his omega to roast and the whole pack would have a bite from it. Other omegas would cook too. Whatever their alphas would bring back. Betas would follow the tradition with their mates in the same way.

Harry stood with every omega and beta of their pack and watched their mates getting ready for the hunt. There was cheering and whooping noise and Harry turned to see that Louis had entered the field with Liam and Zayn on his toe. Harry’s breath was slightly hitched when he noticed that Louis was wearing one of his beaten-out jeans with the buttons undone and his upper body was bare. Harry’s eyes had trailed the path of those lean muscles and he realized that Louis was fit, yes, Harry would give him that. He was fit and muscular in a different way. Not like other alphas. But that was that. Harry had shifted his eyes away when Louis’ eyes fell on him.

Then the moment came.

Louis slowly hunched down on all fours and closed his eyes. Harry watched anxiously and cold fingers gripping his own shirt as Louis shifted. Harry noticed when his palms turned into paws and his arms became furry. He was black. Louis’ wolf was completely black with two brightest blue eyes. Harry understood the fuss then. Louis was not bigger than normal wolves or anything. No. he was almost same as Liam but it was the presence. It was the aura of dominance that got everyone’s head bowed. Louis was looking ahead of him, his jaw set and high in the air but others around him was almost forced to look down. Bow their heads in surrender. His presence was empowering.

Then the snarl came. Harry had gripped Niall’s hands and let out a whimper. That was Louis’ order of attack. Harry was almost dropping on the ground when that wolf turned to him. Those blue eyes stilling on him with a determined gleam. Then Louis’ wolf was leaping forward. His whole clan following behind and in the matter of a second, they were gone. Vanished into the jungle. Harry could not look away.

Two hours. It took two hours of the celebration going on and wolves roaming around for Louis to come back. Harry noticed him first. He stood up as soon as he saw Louis. Louis was still in his wolf form. A deer was hanging from his mouth. Harry did not know if that was coincident or Louis knew that Harry loved deer’s flesh. Louis had dropped it in front of Harry, everyone around them bowing with their hands gripped in front of them. Louis was bowing too, it seemed. He did not meet Harry’s eyes. Harry stayed still, confused when the alpha would not budge.

“He wants you to acknowledge his hunt.” Jay had whispered with a teary smile on her face. Dan was nodding with a proud smirk. Harry blushed. Everyone was watching him through their lashes when he had fallen on his knees.

“Thank you,” Harry told the wolf with a tentative touch on its head. Louis’ wolf looked up at him then, those eyes taking him in. harry stayed where he was and then a growl ripped through the wolf. Everyone around them flinched and Harry watched, surprised, those blue eyes were filled with tears and then the wolf was turning on his legs and in a moment, Louis was gone.

“He would come back when he is decent and wearing something,” Jay said. Everyone laughing and nodding along. But Harry was still on the ground, his right hand outstretched.

Could wolves cry?

Then everyone was urging him to roast the meat and he was busy. He noticed Louis when he came back and joined the fest. Everyone was back by then. Niall was beside Harry, taking care of the meat his alpha got him. Harry noticed how Louis went and dropped down on Liam’s lap with a laugh. Everyone around him laughing. It was too different from the alpha he witnessed a few minutes ago.

He said it to Niall then. His brows furrowed in confusion.

“Louis is everything an alpha should be like.” Niall had said. Then Liam was coming towards them and Harry had to look away when that said alpha took Niall in an embrace and caught his lips in a rough kiss. It was all Harry got.

It was not until the meal was ready that Louis came to him. Harry watched as Louis took the bite from his meal and then turned towards the pack, “enjoy your meal, everyone. I hope you enjoy the fest and drinks. Don’t drink too much and don’t you dare get drunk and create a mess here. Enjoy.” With that said, Louis left.

Harry did not see him again that night.

 

He came back to a latter, “I am going out. Close the door from inside. I will be back tomorrow morning. I need to check the borders. It is easy to attack when the whole pack is distracted. See you.”
.
.
Harry did not sleep that night. The unwanted tension for Louis’ wellbeing did not let him.
.
.

***

 

Today, sitting on the sofa, Harry could not understand why he was feeling so clogged up. It was not as if he wanted to spend the rut with Louis. No. he did not. He was Nick’s and he knew it. Nothing could change it. But Louis was his husband. He could not let Louis spend the rut with another omega. It was disrespectful to Harry’s status. He was the Luna after all. He needed the confirmation that Louis would not spend with it someone else.

With that in mind, he came downstairs and suddenly Jay and Melissa, Louis’ sister came to him. Their faces tensed and sympathetic.

“How is Desmond then? When do you have to go away?” Jay asked, looking concerned and sympathetic altogether.

Louis told them that. Harry looked over her shoulder and saw Louis was there, talking to Zayn about something on his phone and laughing. He was always happy it seemed.

“He is ill and wants to see me.” Harry turned to see Jay when he said it. Jay nodded, her frown relaxing a bit, “we can arrange a car for you. Zany will take you.”
Zany looked up, smiling, “sure, Harry. Let me know when you want to leave.” Then his eyes were back on the phone.

“I am going to pack you some meal. Give it to Anne and tell her to visit me soon.” Jay smiled and walked off. Melissa going away to sit down beside Louis. Louis’ left hand easily came around her shoulder to welcome her.

Harry did not understand. No one asked him about Louis’ rut or how he would spend it without his omega. Harry did not understand how they were so easygoing and bubbly all the time. Like it was not even a problem.

He walked past the hall to the kitchen where all pack omegas were cooking or helping each other. He passed Eleanor, who was laughing about something to her friends.

He stood beside Niall, who was making a pie at a corner, away from everyone. Niall used to stay away from everyone in the pack. He was always trying to shield himself from the squad of the omegas. Harry liked him for that. The omega squad was too pretentious for Harry’s preference.

Niall greeted him with a smile, handing him a piece of his pie. Harry mouthed in with a frown and looked back at Eleanor. She was still talking about some fashion trends to Sophia.

“You look sad,” Niall observed. His eyes going back to the task at hand.

“No, I am not.” Harry whipped his head back towards Niall with a frown. He was not sad.

“You are pouting.” Niall shrugged. A small, teasing smile adorning his lips.

“I am going away to my parents. Louis’ rut is coming,” Harry blurted out.

Niall nodded, “and you are scared that he would spend it with Eleanor.”

Harry stared at the omega; he was too intellectual for his own good. “If he does, I have no problem,” Harry said.

Niall huffed out a laugh, “then why are you pouting?”

“I am the Luna of this pack, Niall. What would people think about me if he spends the rut with her?” he hissed, voice lowered when Kendall, one of the omega passed him.

“How does it matter, Harry? You are going to leave our pack and then you would not bother with Louis. Who cares what a temporary pack’s members think about you?” Niall asked. His eyes trained on the pot in front of him.

Harry chewed his lips. Niall was right. How did it matter? He would leave this pack in ten or so months. It should not matter.

“I am still going to stay here for some months. I don’t want to see someone disrespecting my status.” Harry told Niall, his nose high in the air.

Niall chuckled, “if you really care about your status, Luna, you should not talk to me. You should go and join that Omega squad. I am an outcast.”

Harry frowned, “you are Liam’s omega. The most prestigious alpha warrior after Louis in this pack.”

Niall stared at him, “Louis is not respected only in this pack, Harry. Every pack on this side of the world respects him.”

Harry looked at Niall, “you respect him.”

Niall nodded, “I do. He earned it.”

Harry squinted his brows, “how?”

“It is not grocery we are talking about, Harry. It is not like one day suddenly he bought it from me.” Niall laughed, shaking his head at Harry. Harry looked down sheepishly.

“It is a gradual process. I know you will come to realize how he has earned it. He will let you know through his actions. Wait,” his eyes were soft as he looked at Harry.

Harry was going to say something when there were a commotion and giggles around them. Niall looked over Harry’s shoulder and went stiff, looking away. Harry turned to see Louis was there, grinning at everyone present in the room, beside him was Liam, with a scowl on his face, his eyes searching someone. Harry stepped back when Liam’s eyes fell on him. He knew it was meant for the person behind him, who was suddenly very interested in the batter. Liam stayed there, his eyes trained on Niall and Louis stepped forward, “Hello, my beautiful omegas.”

Harry scowled but everyone seemed to enjoy it.

“Why the leader of the pack is here? Want to taste something?” Eleanor teased, coming beside him to forward her handmade cake. Louis took a bite and then moaned; Harry observed how Louis closed his eyes and chewed. His Adam’s apple working as he gulped.

“You, my sweet Eleanor, are a fantastic baker. Do you know it?” Louis was flirting with Eleanor. Harry was surely not imagining it. His blue eyes gleaming as he looked down at Eleanor, who was smiling up at him. Harry had to hold back the bile that was rising in his throat.

“Why are you here, Louis?” Jay asked then. Her expression exasperated but eyes too fond. Louis passed Eleanor and walked passed everyone to stand in front of his mother, “I came here to inform Harry that his ride is ready.” He mentioned Harry but his eyes were fixed on Jay. Jay nodded and turned her head to look at Harry, “Harry, why don’t you go and see if Melissa did the packing well or not? I will get someone to put these boxes in the car.”

Harry nodded, pushing off from the kitchen slab to walk away. He did not meet Louis’ eyes or wait for him as he left the kitchen. It was not before he heard Eleanor whispering, “Louis’ rut is coming and Harry will not be here.”

When Harry turned to look at her, she was giggling with Sophia.

Harry took the steps two at a time while going upstairs. His pride was at stake.

 

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“Done with the pie?”

Niall nodded, he felt it when Liam came to stand behind him. Liam’s hands came to rest on the kitchen island and he was peeping over Niall’s shoulder to look at the pie.

“After you make it, bring it back to my house.” It was always Liam’s house. Never Niall’s.

Niall nodded again.

“I have a date with Sophia tonight. You will help me to pick up a suit for it,” Liam said, his lips too close to Niall’s ear.

“Okay,” Niall let out. His voice small but steady. This was not the first time.

“Choose something good. Which can easily come off,” Liam chuckled, his breath hitting Niall’s ear.

Niall gripped the bowl tightly to distract himself. No, he would not cry. He nodded.

“I am not going to come back home tonight,” Liam said then.

Niall did not know why Liam was stating everything like this. He understood the meaning of those words.

“I can go and stay with my father if you need your house vacant.” Niall offered, his eyes blurring slightly. He blinked faster.

“Your father or some other Alpha?” Liam hissed, his hands coming to grip Niall’s waist.

Niall looked over his shoulder then, his eyes brimming with tears. He did not say anything. Then he looked back down at the work in hand.

Liam opened his mouth to say something when there was a hand on his bicep, “Liam, baby, when are you going to come to pick me up?” Sophia’s grin was too big for Liam’s mood.

When Liam turned to face her, he felt Niall walking away.

He ignored the part, which wanted to go after Niall.

Sophia.

She mattered.

Chapter Text

 

“We need to build the wooden bridge on the river soon, you know. The ferries are not reliable when Ciara gets ferocious around monsoon. Our people hate the ferries anyway. Plus we can’t send vehicles across the river when the bridge is broken,” Zayn said, his lips moving with a cigarette tucked at the corner.

The river, Ciara, separated Tomlinson pack from the Grimshaw pack. Louis knew the reason why the bridge was broken suddenly. He knew why Nick was not attending the monthly neighbouring pack leaders’ meeting, which was held by Louis’ pack.

He nodded, leaning against the jip that was ready to take Harry back to his pack. His eyes stuck in the jungle beyond their pack. He could see the border faintly if he squinted his eyes.

“Nick broke the bridge.” He whispered, almost to himself. Zayn turned to see that Louis was staring at the horizon with a thoughtful expression on his face.

“What? Why?” Zayn asked, confused because why would someone do that? The bridge was the sign of their treaty. It signalled their peace. Now that it was broken, Zayn did not know exactly how to communicate with that pack. Tomlinson pack needed salt and cotton. Grimshaw pack was their dealer for it. For past two months, there was no purchase done. In a matter of time, they would be in need of salt. Cotton, they could manage. They could trade cotton from the other side of the border, the Smith’s pack was eager to do business with Tomlinson pack. But they did not supply salt and salt was essential. Jay was already warning them about the state of the storage. Zayn, as the pack’s food supplier, was concerned about it.

“Why do you think?” Louis asked, his eyes finally meeting Zayn’s with a bored expression. Louis took the cigarette away from Zayn’s lips and tucked it in his. Zayn noticed the tip burning brightly as Louis inhaled. His nose-trail flaring when he inhaled.

“Harry?” Zayn asked. Finally, it clicking in his mind. He was confused though. What?

Louis nodded, exhaling with a soft chuckle, “Nick wants us to know that Harry belongs to him and if we don’t treat him like the royal he is, we will have Nick against us. You know, a threat? If we do something wrong with him, he would stop our supplies.”

He turned to smirk at Zayn, “as if he can stop me. I am already talking about this with the suppliers beyond the Styles’ pack. Desmond agreed to supply the salt from his neighbouring pack. We will be fine. Nick can go and fuck himself with his salt.”

Zayn had to laugh. He shook his head as Louis joined in. Seriously. Nick was a bit thick headed. He really thought he stood a chance with Louis and his influences.

“We can stop giving them our wheat and vegetables. Nick needs to taste his own medicine sometimes. Just tell me and next month, I will deny their access to our deliveries.” Zayn smirked at his best friend.

Louis shook his head, “we can’t do that. They depend on our food supplies. Bread is their main food source and if we stop wheat then they will starve. I can’t let that happen. Grimshaw pack covers us from the northern rouges. If they get weak, rouges can attack us through their pack. I can’t let that happen. Plus I am not a kid like Nick. Ignore him just.”

“What do we do then? Build the bridge back?” Zayn asked. He watched when Liam came out of the pack-house, his face morphed into a frown. That guy was always frowning nowadays.

“No. We will go to their pack and talk to Nick. We can’t build the bridge only for them to break it. We need to fix some ground rules. He needs to know that Harry is safe here and his innocence is not stolen. As an alpha, I understand his fear. I will go and talk to him face to face. I will do it after my rut is over. Until then, you and Liam stay at that side of the border. Nick is stupid; he can try to break in or something. I don’t want a hassle” Louis shrugged. He needed to get over this rut first.

“You will be busy with your rut for four days. We will be there at the back of our pack. What about the front? Who would guard that part?” Liam asked. His eyes on the cigarette, Louis held it out for him to take. Liam took a long drag, almost burning the whole stick down.

“Seven days. I will be busy for seven days.” Louis said.

“Seven? It is four though… oh!” Liam understood then.

Zayn and he shared a look; their eyes came back to Louis with a frown.

“You are going to spend it alone? What about Eleanor?” Liam asked. Zayn nodding along.

“I am married now. I can’t cheat on Harry,” Louis frowned back.

“Really? Are you serious? That guy is in love with Nick. He gives no fuck about you and here you are, going to fuck your own hand for seven days because of him. You don’t make sense, you know!” Liam let out, agitated.

“I agree with Liam here. No, seriously, Lou. He does not care. How does it matter? Plus an alpha’s rut is painful if he spends it without an omega and it is not cheating if he knows it. Tell him and spend it with Eleanor. He does not care and you should not too,” Zayn said. His tone softer than Liam’s.

Louis shook his head, taking back the stick from Liam, “It is not about him giving me fuck or something, you know. It is about my own morals. It is a completely selfish reason. I am married, guys. He agrees or not, I am married to him. I will not cheat. Even if it is not cheating, it is wrong from my point. I don’t care about my image in front of Harry. I don’t, but I care about my image in front of me. I will not be able to meet my own eyes if I do it. So, no, I will spend it alone and you two need to stop talking about it.” he shook his head.

Zayn bobbed his head in understanding, patting Louis’ back. Liam looked unconvinced. His eyes furrowed and lips pursed.

“I will never understand what you say and how your brain works. I will fuck any other omega if Niall is not available. I don’t care. I need my knot in someone. It doesn’t matter who it is.”

Louis laughed, Zayn joining in. they both punched Liam’s shoulders. Liam looked even more confused, “what? I am serious.”

“You try to pretend to be this big, bad alpha and all but I hope you know that we know that you are not. Right?” Zayn asked, his eyes moistening as he tried to control his laughter.

“Mate, you are wrapped around Niall’s small finger. You say things you did before mating him but do you realize, you don’t do those things anymore. I mean, you are always running behind him or even when you are away from him, you keep thinking about him. There is not a time when you stop talking about Niall. You are whipped, man. Accept it.” Louis said, his thumb wiping the corner of his eyes as he laughed.

Liam looked mortified, “no, I am not. I hate that little bitch. He is not as innocent as he looks, okay? I don’t run behind him because I am whipped, I do because I want to make sure that he stays away from Sophia. You know, I love her. In fact, I have a date tonight with Sophia. I don’t care about Niall. He just lured me in this mating. You guys know that. Stop making up things.”

Louis opened his mouth to protest when the main door of the pack-house opened. Liam and Zayn turned to see Harry was coming out of it with Niall holding a box beside him. Stan, another beta of their pack was carrying Harry’s bags behind them. Louis watched when Harry smiled down at Jay; she was saying something to him. Melissa was right behind all of them, her hands occupied with three boxes.

Zayn poked Louis’ rib with a smirk on his lips. When Louis turned to see what the matter was, Zayn gestured towards Liam.

Louis held back a laugh when he saw his alpha friend taking the box from Niall’s hand as if it weighed more than those four bags Stan carrying exactly behind Niall. Liam ignored Stan completely, walking with Niall, his eyes trained on that said Omega.

“Mate, you can help Stan, you know? Those bags are heavier,” Louis said, his voice high so that Liam could hear.

*******

“Mate, you can help Stan, you know? Those bags are heavier,” Harry turned to see that Louis was leaning against the Jip, with a smirk etched on his lips. Harry noticed how Louis had his hands shoved in his jean’s pockets, one of his legs crossed over the other. His biceps bulged when he laughed, his eyes crinkling when Zayn joined in.

Zayn was leaning against Louis. He turned his face at the corner of Louis’ shoulder to hide his laugh. Louis’ left arm came around Zayn easily, holding him close as they laughed together. Harry noticed Zayn’s arms as they held Louis’ waist when Zayn pulled the alpha closer.

“Fuck off, you two,” Liam groaned, his eyes furrowing.

Harry looked away when Louis and Zayn started laughing even more. Their mouths close to each other as they whispered something secretive.

“Language, Liam,” Jay warned, her face soft but tone serious.

Liam pouted, looking down with a subtle glare at his mates.

They all stopped in front of Louis and Zayn. Stan started loading the back of the Jip; he smiled in gratitude when Zayn came forward to help him.

“Why are you standing there and watching, Louis? Help your friends,” Jay told, she forwarded one of Harry’s bags.

Louis made a sorry face and took the bag, throwing it over those settled bags and boxes. It got him a slap on the back from Jay and two glares from Zayn and Stan. Harry watched as Louis made a kissing face at all of them.

“Take care of yourself, Harry. Call me time to time,” Niall spoke, his eyes gleaming with light when he looked at Harry. Harry could not understand what he did to make such a good friend as Niall. He nodded, pulling Niall in for a hug. Over Niall’s shoulder, he could see Louis whispering something to Zayn, his lips almost touching the beta’s ears. Zayn was trying hard not to giggle; they both were staring at Liam.

What were they talking about?

His eyes widen when Louis kissed the corner of Zayn’s lips extravagantly, getting a kick from Liam. What was going on?

“I will be fine, Niall. You take care of yourself. Give me a call or message me whenever you want. I will wait,” Harry broke the hug, squeezing Niall’s shoulders with a watery smile, “see you soon.”

Niall nodded, his hands patting Harry’s back then he stepped away. Jay pulled Harry in for a hug too, her scent soft and mother-like to Harry. He burrowed his nose in her hair strands, smiling softly. In a short span of time, he managed to get close to the mother of his husband. Everyone in this pack was close to him now. Harry loved them like his own people. They returned the sentiment.

“Give my blessings to Desmond and Anne, will you? Take care of yourself. Don’t forget to call me, yeah?” when they broke the hug, her eyes were glinting with tears, “don’t forget us because you are away.”

Harry wiped her eyes with his thumbs, his expression pained, “I will never, Jay. You know that.”

“I think we should leave now,” Zayn said, his face apologetic as he broke the conversation between Harry and Jay.

“Sure, sure,” Jay turned to face Louis, “you are letting Harry go with Zayn and there would be no more protection?”

Louis shrugged, “no one will attack them when they are in our pack, obviously. They would cross the jungle and then it is Styles’ pack. What is there to worry about? Both of our packs have our guards scattered in the jungle. He will be fine.”

Jay shook her head, “there is a jungle they need to cross, Louis. I don’t trust rogues. Stan,” she called out for the beta who was now sitting on the edge of the Jip.
“Yes, Jay?” he asked, coming forward to stand in front of Jay.

“Ask Max, Samuel and John to follow this jip. You go too. I need Harry to be safe.” She turned to face Louis with a serious expression then, “how can you be so irresponsible, Louis? Harry is the Luna of this pack now. Everyone knows that around this side. Harry is always in danger. They can hurt him or they can hurt you if they want. He is your mate. Be more responsible.”

Harry watched Louis. He was listening to Jay with his head bowed and hands clasped behind his back. He looked like a scolded puppy.

How was he an Alpha?

Then Louis was looking up, his jaw set and eyes hard, “everyone around this side knows that he is my mate. Louis Tomlinson’s mate. He is fine, mom. I assure you, he can cross the border alone. No one will touch him.”

Harry gripped the handle of his duffle bag, his hands trembling. Louis looked ready to pounce on anyone who would differ. His eyes challenging Jay to say something more. Harry wanted to hide or curl in on himself.

“Don’t show me how powerful you are, Louis. You are my son and I will always scold you. You can’t take away that right from me.” Jay glared, her eyes set on Louis.

Louis shook his head with a smile, coming up to engulf Jay in a hug, “you are my mother. You can scold me anytime you want. I am just stating the fact.” He kissed Jay’s temple.

Harry noticed how Louis looked down at Jay, his eyes soft with a ghost-like smile adorning his lips. He looked calm, the ferocious expression gone.

“The car is ready, Louis.” everyone turned to see that Stan was standing there with another Jeep and three more alphas. Harry sighed when he realised each one of them were mated.

Louis nodded his head in acknowledgement and looked at Zayn, “go on then, mate. I will see you when you come back.”

He clapped Zayn’s back with a smile.

*******

Louis ignored Harry as much as possible. He watched through the corner of his eyes as Harry took his time to say goodbye to everyone. He hugged everyone he knew and shook hands with everyone he met not so frequently.

“He loves this pack, it seems like,” Zayn said, watching Harry with a smile.

Louis shrugged with a crooked smile, “yeah! He loves everyone from this pack. Except for the leader.”

He opened the door for Zayn when Zayn went to say something but he Pushed Zayn inside the jip.

Zayn sighed, shaking his head, “you are impossible. I have got two mates and both of them are idiots.”

Louis laughed at him. He jumped almost when there was a tap on his shoulder.

*******

Harry came to stand behind Louis. He knew that the alpha was ignoring him for some reason but Harry could not just go away without saying bye. No. he was better than that.

When he tapped Louis’ shoulder, the alpha jumped. He turned to face Harry with a frown, “God, Harry. You scared me.”

Harry did not know what to say to that.

“You get scared easily, I see.” Harry settled for it. He watched when Louis composed himself and faced him properly, his expression carefully blank.

“You want to say something?” Louis asked, ignoring Harry’s taunt.

“I just… see you soon?” Harry wanted to slap himself. He sounded hopeful. It was supposed to be a bye.

“Yeah. See you soon. I mean, if you come back.” Louis said with a laugh. It did not reach his eyes.

Harry frowned, what? What did he mean?

“I… why would not I come back?” he had to ask.

Louis shrugged, not meeting his eyes, “you can stay there as long as you want, you know? I will not force you to come back. I know that you don’t like it here and The Styles’ pack is your home. You can stay as long as you want. I will tell my people something…” he gestured vaguely with his hands.

“You don’t want me to come back? Why? So that you can stay here and enjoy your time with Eleanor?” Harry asked. His chest hurting. Well, it was an insult if Louis meant it.

Louis looked at him, he looked confused, “Eleanor? Where is she coming from?”

Harry smiled, his mouth sour suddenly, “why can’t you just accept it, Louis? You have affair with her. See, I have no problem if you are fucking her. I am not into you. I have my alpha and I am happy with him but please, have the guts to accept…” he stopped when his eyes fell on Louis’ face.

Louis looked like the blood was drained from his face, his mouth open and those blue eyes storming with emotions Harry could not detect. His hands were clasped in front of him. A crucial smirk came to his lips when he opened his mouth this time.

“Bye, Harry.”

Harry gaped as Louis marched away, his back taut and legs determined. He watched when Louis joined Jay, smiling at her when she turned to tell him something.
“Get in the car, mate.” Harry turned to see that Zayn was smiling at him from the driving seat. He nodded, fumbling on his feet as he rounded the vehicle to come and hop on the passenger side of the jip.

Everyone moved forward to bid him bye, he bid his bye too. When he turned to face the front, his eyes were stuck in the rearview mirror.

Louis was standing behind everyone, away from the crowd, his eyes settled on the Jip. Harry tried to look away when Zayn turned on the engine but his eyes were still stuck there. He stared at the mirror until they took the first turn. Louis was finally out of his view.

Harry closed his eyes. His heart beating faster than normal and there was something clogged in his throat. Suddenly he wanted to throw up. His eyes prickling with tears. He did not know what was wrong. He felt like his pride was hurt. Louis did not even bother to explain himself.

Was Harry not worthy of an explanation?

*******

Louis kicked the sofa with tears swimming his eyes. So that was all he was to Harry? A cheater?

He wanted to explain himself. He wanted to clear the fact that he was not having an affair with Eleanor but then… did it matter? Did it matter if he explained himself?

Harry did not care.

So Louis decided to let it be. He knew, no matter what he said, Harry would take him as the villain of the story anyway.

But it did not soothe the pain he felt in his heart. He slumped down on the sofa, his face buried in his palms as he cried.

What did he do to deserve this?

 

---***---
---***---

 

When everyone left the yard after Harry’s departure, it was almost afternoon. Niall turned to go back to the pack-house when there was a hand, holding him back. He knew that touch. There was a time when he craved it even. Now he just wanted to withhold himself.

When he looked up, Liam was glaring at him, “you are going to go in and take the pie. Then you will come back to my house. No stoppage in between, do you get that?”

Niall nodded, his eyes back on the ground. There was a finger that was held under his chin, pulling his face up. He met those brown eyes again.

“When I ask something, fucking answer!” Liam hissed, his face suddenly too close.

“I will do that,” he whispered.

Liam jerked him away then, “now move your arse.” With that, the alpha was gone.

Niall sighed; he inhaled deeply to keep those tears at bay. He was tired of crying.

When he got back in the kitchen, it was almost empty. Well, almost. Sophia and Eva, one of her friends, were standing near the stove, heating up oil to fry something. They were giggling with each other. They both stopped when their eyes fell on him. He ignored the sour expression on their face and moved towards the pie he left on the counter.

“God, I don’t understand, why Jay let these omegas come into our kitchen. I mean, look at him. He looked like a beggar.” Eva spoke, her nose wrinkled as if she smelt something horrible.

Sophia laughed, “ignore him, babe. He is not worthy of your attention. He is just a whore of Liam’s. He fucks him when he feels like and then throws him away. Today we have a date and look, this pathetic omega is going to be alone in his house when his alpha fucks me.”

They laughed, high-fiving each other.

Niall ignored them, taking the pie from the counter.

“You know what the sad part is? Liam is engaged with me but we cannot flaunt our engagement because this bitch is still his mate. See the ring he gave me,” Sophia crooned.

Niall’s head snapped towards the ring on her index finger. It was a diamond ring on a platinum band. Simple but effective. At least Niall was affected.
He left the kitchen with tears finally falling from his eyes.

*******

“You are twenty minutes late,” Liam glared at him when he pushed the door of his house open. Liam and Zayn had their own quarters because of their positions in the pack. It was just a few steps away from the main house. Liam’s one was a bit hidden in the woods whereas Zayn chose the riverside.

“I am sorry,” Niall murmured, placing the pie on the table in front of the sofa-set. He went straight to Liam’s cupboard, riffling through the suits. He did not notice when Liam came to stand beside him, leaning against the cupboard. Niall chose to ignore him.

“This one?” Niall asked, pulling out a black suit with white checks on them. Liam looked at it and then back at Niall. Niall was looking at the suit, his eyes stuck at it.

“Do you think Sophia would like it?”

Niall nodded, “she loves you. She will love anything you wear.” His breath was irregular because of the tears that were threatening to fall; Niall took some open-mouthed air to steady him. He could not cry, he would not cry.

Liam took the suit from his hand and measured it through his eyes then threw it away on the floor. Niall watched the motion, his brows furrowing. Before he could say anything, Liam was in his space, cornering him against the cupboard.

“You are so eager for my date. You came straight here to choose a suit for me. Why so eager, Niall? Is there someone out there waiting for you?” his hands coming up to cup Niall’s face. Niall had to look up. Liam looked grim under the cupboard lights. Niall smiled, his hands coming up to hold Liam’s wrists.

“I don’t want you to waste your precious time on a bitch like me. Your fiancé urf the love of your life is waiting. You should leave.”

Liam looked confused for a moment and then he was smirking, “she is definitely the love of my life and you are a bitch. But what gave you the authority that you are ordering me? Who are you to order me? I am your alpha. Remember that, Niall.”

With every word, his grip on Niall’s chin was tightening. Niall coughed when Liam pressed down on his tonsils. His breath leaving him, he could feel his face getting redder as he coughed. Liam let go then, shoving Niall away.

“No,” Niall shook his head, his left hand going to grab the slab in the cupboard for support and his right hand came up to massage his throat.

Liam looked at him with furrowed brows, “what?”

Niall coughed, his eyes watering, “I am your omega, yes. I have to bear that mark but,” he glared at Liam; his lips trembled when he spoke again, “you are not my alpha.”

Liam did not understand what Niall was saying, he laughed, his confusion showing through that laugh, “if you are my omega then how I am not your alpha?”

“Because you don’t have my mark on you,” Niall shouted, he lunged himself at Liam, pulling his shirt collar away to reveal his throat. “See? I never marked you. You are not my alpha. I am tied to you. You are not tied to me. I will never accept you as my alpha.”

Liam’s face morphed into a frown and then realization sunk in. He placed his left palm on his neck. Yeah. He was still not marked and according to law, an alpha should be marked by their omega too. It showed that his omega loved and respected him. Liam looked down at Niall, who was now leaning against him.

When their eyes met, Niall smiled, a mocking one with sadness laced with it, “you are not mine, Liam. You are not my alpha. I did not choose you and I will never choose you.”

With that said, Niall ran away. Liam could hear the sob Niall let out. He reached out instinctively when Niall collided with the door but before he could do anything, Niall was out of his house.

*******

Sophia failed to notice the thoughtful expression on Liam’s face when he came to pick her up. She failed to notice those red-rimmed eyes too.

 

---***---
---***---

 

“Oh, my baby,” Anne came rushing towards the Jip with a teary smile hanging off her lips. Harry pushed the door of the jip open to lunge himself at her. Their bodies clinging to each other. Harry whimpered when Anne caressed his back, her voice soothing as she spoke to him.

When they broke apart, Harry saw his father was standing beside Anne. Harry was still angry on him for the wedding but still, he was Harry’s father. He went to hug him too.

“Son,” Des muttered, his voice watery. Harry pulled out of the hug to see that Zayn was still inside the jip, smiling at the family reunion.

Stan’s car stopped just beside Zayn’s, Samuel hopped off the Jip and Stan came out too. They both started unloading Zayn’s Jip. Max helped them with those boxes Jay sent. When the Jip was empty, they smiled and bowed to Desmond and Anne and waved their goodbyes to Harry.

“We are done, Zayn,” Stan called over his shoulder when they got back in their Jip.

“I think, I should head back. It is already late.” Zayn said, he nodded his head at Desmond as a greeting and waved at Anne. Harry took those few steps to reach the Jip and looked through the passenger side window, “stay the night at least. It is a long journey, Zayn.”

“He is right. Spend the night, Zayn,” Anne agreed. The sun was already setting as they talked. Harry did not want Zayn to start the journey now.

“You are welcome here, Zayn. Rest the night.” Desmond welcomed him with a friendly smile.

Zayn shook his head, “No, sir. I have the patrolling duty tonight. Louis will be busy and Liam could not come as he has some important work. I am leading the border security team tonight. I have to go back.” Then he turned towards Anne with a smile, “I will come back. Harry was talking about your cooking. I will be a fool if I don’t taste it. Next time, yeah?”

Anne laughed, happy with the praises, “sure, darling. Whenever you get the time. Just let me know before you come and I will make something for you.”

Zayn nodded with a warm smile. He looked at Harry, “see you soon, Harry.” with that said, he was leaving, the car that Stan was driving, following just behind. Stan and all those alphas waved at Harry again and then they followed Zayn’s car. Harry stood there until the cars were gone beyond his eyesight.

When he turned back, Anne was pulling him towards the house, Desmond taking his bags and boxes.

*******

“Why did you say that I was ill?” Desmond asked when the dinner was served. Harry knew this was coming. He shrugged, stuffing his mouth with some rice.

“His rut was close and I did not want to spend it with him,” he looked at Desmond, who was looking at him with furrowed brows.

“Are you still on about Nick?” he asked.

Harry smirked, “I love him and it is not going to change, dad. Just because you forced me to marry Louis, I am not going to change. I will never accept Louis as my mate.”

He saw when Anne put her hand on Desmond’s, begging him to stop this discussion. Desmond sighed, shaking his head, “I feel sorry about Louis.”

Harry gritted his teeth, “oh, don’t. He is doing just fine. He has omegas lining up for him to choose for his rut. He will be fine.”

The food was not tasty anymore. Harry left the table in a sour mood.

Nowadays, his father was irritating him more than his entire lifetime.

*******

In his room, Harry took his phone out of his pocket. The whole day playing through his mind. He still could not shake off the hurt he felt when Louis left like that. Like Harry was worthless. He did not even make up a lie. Like he did not care about what Harry was thinking.

Maybe he did not. Maybe he did not care about his image.

Harry groaned, pulling out his phone. He would just go check his social media accounts for a bit.

*******

When he opened his Instagram, there was a new upload from Nick. Harry smiled at his alpha's goofiness. Nick was showing his middle finger in front of the camera with his eyes furrowed.

"Fuck those who hate me." The caption said.

Harry double clicked the photo. His heart skipping when he realised that this alpha was his. He belonged to him.

"I love you." Harry left the comment.

Then he searched Niall on the app and as he expected, that Omega was not there. Harry knew that Niall was not really a camera-friendly guy. He would shy away whenever someone would point a camera at him.

Harry saw a photo of Niall’s on Liam’s phone. That alpha had a photo of a skull as his lock-screen but his home-screen was a photo of Niall. When Liam saw that Harry was looking at his phone, he had turned it off with a glare at Harry. Harry knew that Niall did not know about the photo as it was clicked when he was laughing with some pups of their pack, his eyes crinkling with mirth. Harry did not understand why Liam showed so much hate for Niall when in reality, that alpha was in love with Niall.

Harry noticed that there was a dot under the heart sign on the app. He had some notifications. When he opened it, he found three different ones.

The first one was Nick replying to his comment, "I love you more." Harry blushed at it, leaving a love on the comment.

The next one was someone liking his photo, the one he remembered was Nick's favourite.

The third one was a follow request. Harry happily pressed the accept button when he saw it was Zayn.

Harry followed Zayn in return. His profile was public so Harry did not have to wait for an acceptance. He went through Zayn's photos. Noticing how beautiful his every click was. He left some likes here and there, scrolling through the profile.

Suddenly Harry stopped scrolling. His thumb hovering over a picture, he clicked it open.

Zayn captioned it with a quote, "the gaze of the wolf reaches into our souls."

It was a picture of two bright blue eyes' with darkness surrounding it. Those eyes were shining as they stared at the lens. Zayn might take that photo when the wolf was really close to him.

With a shiver Harry realised, he knew those eyes.

He touched the photo, circling his thumb over those irises. A tag came up when Harry's thumb touched the junction of those eyes.

"Louis_T"

Harry tapped on the tag.

Louis' profile picture was his wolf. Harry traced the circle for a moment before he noticed that Louis' profile was public too.

Harry bit his lips when he read Louis' bio.

"Sorry, mate. I am not going to write some pretentious stuff here."

Harry scrolled down. Down till it the end. He wanted to see it from the start and he noticed that Louis was very active on that site. He had a lot of photos. Half of them were his selfies and others were of some aesthetic scenes’ Harry did not understand the meaning of.

The first one was a group photo. When Harry clicked it open, the caption said, "the ones, who matters."

Harry saw how Louis was grinning at the camera, his left hand circled around Liam's neck and right one came to rest on Zayn's waist. All three of them were laughing at the camera.

Harry pressed the back arrow. There were some random photos of scenarios and foods, Harry scrolled through them.

When he halted for the second time, it was a photo of a wolf. The photo was clicked from a distance but Harry could see the wolf was resting under a tree, some flowers scattered around it. Harry noticed the picture was zoomed and the wolf did not know that someone was clicking its photo.

The caption read, “How dare you just lay there and steal my sleep away? Who are you?”

Harry scrolled through the comments, some were teasing, some were whining about how they were not the one who stole Louis’ sleep. Harry rolled his eyes when he found Eleanor’s comment, “It was me, you fool.”

He had to bit his lips at Louis’ reply, “Nah. That wolf smelt like heaven from that distance. You stink.”

“Really? How did that wolf smell like?” Eleanor was persistent.

Harry gulped at Louis’ reply, his skin prickling, “it smelt like home.”

Zayn’s comment was liked by many, “you have insomnia. Stop romanticizing everything.”

Louis replied with a “fuck you” emoticon.

“Did you approach it? What is the gender though?” Liam asked.

“No, I did not. I don’t know. I think it is a male omega. I am not sure. I was not looking at his junk now, was I?” Louis left a reply.

There were some more comments but Harry chose to ignore it. He started scrolling up and yes, that wolf was there again.

This time it was sitting on its hind legs, staring at a distance. This time the photo was clicked from a short distance. It was a side-angled photo. Harry could see the wolf clearly now. The wolf looked lost in thought as it stared at a distance, those eyes fixed on the riverbank.

Harry gripped his phone tightly, his breath hitching in his lungs. He inhaled forcefully before looking at the photo again.

He knew that wolf.

The white-furred wolf with those green eyes, Harry stared at the photo.

It was his wolf.

This time the caption was, “this time I was waiting for you. I came here every day to see you now. You don’t come here every day though. Today was my lucky day. Am I becoming a stalker? Well, who cares? You are worth it. Who are you?”

Harry pressed the back button, shoving his phone away from him. His skin was damp with sweat now, he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and sighed. So Louis met him before. How did not Harry notice him? He remembered going into the jungle. He remembered meeting Nick there. It was their sacred place. He thought, no one knew about their secret, little rendezvous. But here Louis was, posting his photo. Harry felt cheated. How dare Louis stalk him? Of course, it was stalking.

Harry looked younger in those photos.

He pulled the phone up in his hand and checked the date of the first photo. His eyes widening when he realized that that photo was clicked even before Harry met Nick for the first time. He calculated his age and he was around fifteen or close to sixteen back then.

He scrolled up again and yes. Another photo was there. It was quite recent.

Harry was drinking water from the river in this one, his tongue coming out to touch the water. But in this one, his eyes were fixed on the camera. Harry did not remember ever seeing a guy with a camera back there in the jungle. Maybe he was not focusing on it. Maybe he was just staring at a distance and Louis being the creep he was, clicked the photo.

The caption said,

“When your eyes met mine, my wolf pointed at you and whispered to my heart, “him…”

Harry rubbed his arms when goose-bumps erupted on his skin. He closed his eyes.

What the hell? Louis did not mean it. How could he know that? He did not even approach Harry. Ever. He just stayed away and took his pictures like some creep.

How did he know that Harry was it? How did he know that Harry would be his mate? That is stupid and quite a bit ridiculous.

So this was the reason he sent the marriage proposal?

Louis knew him?

Louis knew who that wolf was? Did he stalk Harry to his pack? Did he watch when Harry shifted back to his human form?

Harry’s face heated up when he thought that maybe Louis saw him change. He felt repulsed. It was completely stalking. How dare Louis never come and confront him directly.

Such a coward!

Harry’s eyes widen when saw the last photo of that wolf. In this one, Harry was sitting beside another wolf. A grey one.

Harry knew this wolf too.

“Nick!” he whispered.

Harry’s wolf was leaning against Nick’s. Nick was licking his nose when Harry laid there, his eyes closed. They looked happy and in peace in their little world.

His eyes watered, he missed those days. A sob left his lips. He missed Nick. His Nick. He touched the grey wolf through the screen.

Then he looked down at the caption, “so today I realized that I miss someone who isn’t mine to miss. I dream about someone who isn’t mine to dream about. I love someone who isn’t mine to love.”

Harry glared at the caption. He would never understand the audacity this guy.

Love?

He did not even know Harry at that time. Loved him after stalking him for almost two years? How coward of him that he never confronted Harry in those months. He just waited for Harry, took his pictures without him knowing and then he posted them on social media sites with these shitty captions. Harry could sue him for this!

Then the suspicion came to his mind.

What if Louis knew it was Harry? What if Louis knew about Harry’s love for Nick? What if he sent the marriage proposal after knowing that he had no chance with Harry directly? So he decided that he would force Harry into matrimony.

What a perfect scheme.

Harry stood up with fury coursing through his arteries.

He paced the room while muttering to himself, “so he knew me before our marriage. He knew that I love Nick. He knew about us and he knew he stood no chance. Still, he sent that proposal. He knew that my father will catch the proposal with glee because we needed their help for our pack. Louis just played me for his selfish reasons. Oh! How smart of you, Louis!”

He came to stand in front of his window, the forest beyond their border was visible through it. He glared at the forest, “so you knew that you are no competition for Nick directly and you thought sending a proposal to my parents will be a nice idea? Well, they proved you right by accepting it but know this, Louis,” he gripped the windowsill, “I will never forget Nick. You will never have me. You are nothing but a pathetic loser!”

*******

The stars shone brightly as Harry went to sleep, his mind filled with hatred and hurt.

All for that blue-eyed alpha, who, quite literally, stole his sleep.

Chapter Text

 

“Can you come to meet me?” Nick had asked on his third day of staying in the Styles’ pack. Harry was not sure how to stop himself from agreeing.

“Where?” he had asked. His voice trembled when he remembered the last time he met his alpha. It was so long ago. Harry literally craved the alpha by now.

“At our designated place. You know that, Harry,” Nick said then, his smile was acknowledgeable on the phone. Harry had to bit his lip. He wanted to go and meet Nick. Of course, he wanted to.

But…

“That place is not sacred anymore, Nick. It is matted by some creep,” he answered then, his voice tinged with disgust. Those photos still angered him. Whenever he thought about those captions, he would feel frustrated. Louis was not supposed to see him like that. It was trespassing. It was a safe place for Harry and he never wanted Louis there. But now Louis was there, there with all those memories Harry made. Louis was there with them. He was blended along with Harry.
How could he do that?

“What do you mean?” Nick asked then. He sounded so blissfully unaware. Harry envied him. Nick was not feeling the turmoil Harry was feeling. Nick was not feeling the betrayal Harry felt when he realized how Louis had destroyed his sacred place. His secret peaceful hideout.

“I can’t meet you, Nick. Not now. Dad will never let me go without a guard now. He knows about my defiance and he knows about our secret meetings. Plus he is just very fond of Louis. He would never allow it. I am sorry,” his voice had broke.

He let those tears come then. Let them damp his cheeks. It was somehow soothing. Grounding even.

Tears were good. They made a person strong. Harry had to be strong.

“When will I see you again, babe?” Nick asked. He sounded mournful too.

Harry had gripped the bedpost, his eyes stilled on the floor, “soon. I will meet you soon, Nick. Let me go back to the Tomlinson pack. I will meet you there.”

Nick laughed then, “Your father is not letting you meet me, why do you think your husband will? He is an alpha, Harry. He is territorial since birth. We all are supposed to be like that. As your mate, he will never let you come and meet me.”

Harry had sprung up from the bed then, glaring at the mirrored version of him, “I would like to see him try and stop me. I am yours, Nick. I am all yours! I respect my father and that is the reason he can prohibit me from anything but I don’t care about Louis. I don’t care about his feelings either. So, I will see you as soon as I go there. You are just a river away from me then.”

Nick did not protest any further.

They hung up after some hours.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Laboured breathing.

That was all Niall could do when Liam stepped away from him. He rested his cheek against the cool tiles of the kitchen slab, his hands tingling with the force he had used to brace himself. He whined when Liam gripped his neck and pulled him away from the slab. When he turned, his nose collided with Liam’s chest. He had to stop himself from mewling as Liam pushed him down against the slab again, now on his back. When Niall looked down, Liam was still erect.

“Slide up,” Liam hissed, holding Niall’s thighs and manoeuvring them to lock around his hips. Niall sat up on the slab, much to Liam’s anger. Those brown eyes blazed golden when Niall opened his arms.

“What are you trying to do?” Liam asked, his left hand pressing down on Niall’s chest, trying to shove him down on the counter as his right hand held his erection at Niall’s rim.

“No- just…” Niall panted, his arms coming up to rope around Liam’s neck, he pulled Liam closer. Their lips meeting in a kiss. Liam’s head leaned forward so much that Niall had to lean back with the force. They both were panting heavily.

“My back hurts,” Niall whimpered when Liam let go of his lips. He keened as Liam pushed back in, slotting them together.

“I am not finished yet,” Liam hissed, his brows furrowed and eyes stuck on Niall’s lips.

Niall pulled Liam closer again, hiding his face against the alpha’s neck, “take me to bed. It is cold here.” As if on cue, he shivered. The window of the kitchen was open, letting in cold breeze of the night.

“Hold me,” Liam spoke, before Niall could ask for the reason, he was lifted off the counter and Liam was walking.

Niall whimpered when Liam placed him on the bed, falling with him. Their bodies joined still. Niall tried to hide his reddish face when Liam pulled down a pillow to place it under Niall’s head. Liam knew how Niall could not breathe properly without a pillow under his head. The duvet was next to hide him from the chilly midnight air.

Liam thrust in again, shoving Niall upwards on the bed. Niall whined. His arms tightening around Liam’s neck.

“Don’t come in me,” Niall whispered as Liam’s thrusts became erratic. His body cowering when Liam growled at him.

“Why not?” Liam growled out, his hands under Niall’s head pulling Niall up for a kiss.

Niall rubbed Liam’s neck soothingly, trying to ease the alpha out from his possessive haze. He was not thinking clearly, as the alpha side of him was taking over. Niall understood that with every thrust.

“You don’t want me to get pregnant. You are not wearing a condom, Liam.” He whined, his legs hiking up on Liam’s hips as Liam pushed his cock into him with a maniac vigour.

“Alpha,” Liam hissed then. His teeth bearing to bite down on Niall’s neck, where the mark opened anew. Niall clutched Liam’s shoulders, placing his lips on Liam’s heated temple.

“Call me your alpha,” Liam groaned, his movement creasing suddenly. He blinked down at the blonde in his arms. Liam growled like an animal when he saw how sweaty and radiant the omega looked underneath him. Those blue eyes were blinking up at him through those brownish lashes. Liam pressed down, his lips finding the omega’s lips then his jaw-line.

“You are not my alpha,” Niall said then, his voice trembling. Liam’s head jolted up to look at Niall. Fourteen days. It had been fourteen days. Everyday Liam would take Niall apart and demand to be called that omega’s alpha but the omega was yet to give up.

“I am your alpha. Even your body knows that.” Liam whispered, hitching Niall’s legs a bit up onto his hips as he pushed against Niall’s prostate. The omega was just panting underneath him, doing practically nothing.

“You are not wearing a condom, Liam. Pull out,” Niall’s hands came to shove at Liam’s chest, trying to topple the alpha away. Liam hissed when he felt his knot growing. He held Niall’s wrists in his left hand and his right hand went to cup Niall’s face. The omega was thrashing underneath him now, crying out with pain when Liam bit down on his neck. He was trying to be free.

“You are mine,” Liam growled just as his knot locked him in Niall’s rim. His whole body rolling with the release. Liam had to bite down on Niall’s mark when Niall tried to wriggle away. That settled the omega. Liam would never understand why he felt so accomplished whenever Niall hugged him close after they fuck. He would never understand why his alpha would growl with pride whenever Niall kissed the side of his forehead but he liked it. So today, when Niall did none of it, Liam was angry. He looked down to see that Niall was crying, his eyes shining with tears.

“You came into me,” he hiccupped, “I can get pregnant, Liam! You are still coming!”

For a moment, Liam’s brain went into overdrive. The picture of Niall, waddling around the house with a stretched belly almost got Liam hard.

Almost.

He looked down at Niall’s flat stomach, his inside fluttering. The scary thing was, he could imagine it. Liam could imagine Niall with their pups, in this house. He could imagine those mini versions of them. But that was all. It was just an imagination. In reality, Sophia would carry his children, not Niall. Liam’s alpha roared in his chest but Liam ignored it.

No.

No!

“You can take the morning after pill tomorrow. I want my pups with Sophia.” The words felt foreign in his ears. Liam gripped Niall closer.

When Liam looked down, Niall was sobbing, his hands still holding onto Liam’s shoulders. Liam smirked when he saw the mark. It was open again because of Liam’s persistent bites.

Lima manoeuvred them sideways, pulling Niall on his chest, he closed his eyes. He had to wait until the knot went down. Then he had to go and meet his friends for the patrolling duty.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Zayn’s cigarette burnt brightly under the dark shadows of the night. Louis sat on the rock beside the efflux river with his eyes focused on the tip of the light. His rut ended a week ago but he was not sure if he was ready to face Harry yet or not. So he did not call him or tried to contact the omega. Louis was not sure if he would ever be able to meet the omega after this rut.

“Why are you sulking?” Zayn’s question made no sense when it came to his ear. He quirked his brows at Zayn but then realized it was too dark for Zayn to see it. Well, in their wolf-form, they could see through the darkness but in their human-form, it was a struggle just like a normal human being.

“What do you mean?” Louis asked.

They both turned towards the narrow alley when they heard footsteps. The silhouette that walked closer to them was familiar to both of them. They both nodded their acknowledgement when Liam came to sit beside Zayn on the rock just in front of Louis.

“You are sulking since you came back from the rut-house. What is the matter? Plus when are you going to go and bring Harry back? It has been fourteen days, Lou!” Zayn spoke. He sounded a bit desperate to Louis.

“Okay?” it came out as a question then Louis furrowed his brows, “why do you care if I bring Harry back or not?”

Liam snorted just when Zayn huffed, “dude! Jay and Melissa. They both are prodding us for days now to ask you to go and fetch Harry. They are not sure if you want them to get involve or something so we are getting the hit here.” Liam said, he looked like a disgruntled pup.

Zayn nodded along, “Niall misses him too. He asked me yesterday if you are going to the Styles’ pack soon or not.”

Liam frowned at Zayn, his lips tugged downwards, “Niall asked you? He never asks me anything!”

Louis huffed out a laugh, “bro? Are you serious? You don’t share that kind of healthy relationship with him. I don’t understand why he still bears with you. If he comes to me once with his problems, I swear to the Moon-Goddess, I will fucking separate you two. He does not deserve it.”

Liam hissed, “He would never come to you with his problems. He is the one who wants to be by my side. He craves the power! He is fine. stop feeling sorry for him, okay?”

Louis threw the first gravel he could find towards Liam, hitting him on the shoulder, “quit it, you! What power are you talking about? That omega is falling apart every day. I want to help him but I can’t intrude on any pack member's matters until they come to me or at least protest against it. The council will ask for Niall’s confirmation and knowing him, he would never speak against you.”

Zayn nodded, “that is the sole reason you are still able to have a hold on him, Liam. If Niall opens his mouth, the council, I and Louis will make sure that you don’t get to lay a finger on him again. He will have my personal protection but according to our rules and regulations, we can’t do anything without a complaint.”
Liam shook his head, “exactly my point, you know? Niall knows that if he goes to you guys, you will help him but he does not. Why? Why does he tolerate all this? only because he wants it. He wants to hold onto me just like he planned.”

Louis kicked some stone-chips at Liam, “no, you idiot. He tolerates all that because he loves you. He loves you so much that even we can see it. What is wrong with you? Can’t you see it? You are thick if you can’t feel it,” he looked ahead then, “you are lucky to have someone like that, Liam. Everyone is not as lucky as you are. Realize it as soon as you can. Before he leaves you.”

Liam shook his head, “we were talking about Harry. Let’s concentrate on that for now.” Liam would not agree but the thought of Niall leaving him rubbed him in a wrong way.

Louis sighed, leaning back on his back to look up at the moonless sky. The darkness was calming, the blankness matched Louis’ mood. But at the same time, it was suffocating. The darkness felt endless, just like Louis’ state at the moment, he was drowning but there was nothing he could do to reach the shore. He placed his head on his right arm as he spoke, “I am not sure I can face him at the moment.”

For a moment, his friends were silent. Then Liam quipped, “Why? What did you do?”

Louis closed his eyes, trying not to remember those days in his rut, “I jerked off while thinking about Harry. Can you imagine it? I rutted against the bed while thinking about knotting him. Hell, for a moment I really thought about calling him and then I actually called Eleanor to help me the second day when it became unbearable. That omega would not leave my mind and I…” he stopped, inhaling through his nose. Breathe in and breathe out. Right. Calm down for God’s sake, Louis!

“Did she- did you take her help ultimately when she came?” Zayn asked. Louis craned his neck to see his friend was leaning towards him, eyes furrowed. He looked confused. Beside him, Liam was just smirking. Louis tried to ignore Zayn for at least some time.

“What are you smirking at?” he asked Liam.

Liam shrugged with a short laugh, his shoulders moving, “nothing. Just… how you gave up ultimately. I was telling you from the start. Then you two were all about morals and ethics. Now, what happened? In a rut, it is impossible to just…” he looked at Louis and then at Zayn with an obvious eye-roll.

“I did not take her help,” Louis said then. Zayn and Liam both turned to him with confusion. Liam looked like he did not believe Louis and Zayn just looked sceptical.

“But… you said you called her? She came right?” Liam asked.

“Obviously she did,” Zayn laughed, a disgusted kind of twist was visible on his lips. Louis chose to ignore it. He turned his gaze to the sky again.

“The moment she was on me and kissed me, it felt…” Louis shook his head, that unease still there in his chest. He squirmed, the alpha inside him still mad about it.

“When she has placed a kiss on my neck I felt suffocated, you know? I felt like it was so wrong. Like, I was…” like I was not her to touch anymore, “… like I was not enjoying it. I was repulsed by her touch. It felt like someone was burning those places she made contact with. I had to stop myself from vomiting when she started producing slick… I actually pushed her out of the room. I can’t tell you how ashamed I felt when I went to apologize to her. None of that was her fault. I called her. I asked her to help me out and then I just shoved her away. God, she is such an angel that she forgave me after that. I was so humiliated to even ask for forgiveness!”

When Louis looked back, Zayn was just staring at him with a blank expression and Liam had his brows furrowed.

“What?” Louis asked, his tone defensive.

Liam shook his head, “you actually sent El away? Why? It might be painful. Shit, Lou! Harry does not care for you. I hope you know how we saw Nick coming back from the Styles’ pack last Sunday. He looked…” he stopped when Zayn placed a palm on his knee. Louis watched how Zayn shook his head and Liam gulped, looking away.

The pain that shot through Louis was unbearable. But he wanted to hear. He needed to know exactly how much of a fool he was. He needed to listen and stab himself for having hopes still. Harry was not his and he was never going to be Harry’s. Shit! How foolish of him. He really got off while thinking about Harry.

How humiliating.

“Tell me,” he whispered, sitting up, he glared at Liam.

Liam hesitated, his eyes landing on Zayn, who shook his head as if he was not sure how to react. Louis clenched his fists beside him.

“As the leader of this pack, I demand to know, Liam. Tell me,” his tone left no place for argument.

Liam hesitated for a moment, looking at Zayn and then back at Louis. Zayn was just looking down at his feet, his jaw clenched.

“Please,” Louis whispered.

“You know how Grimshaw pack’s ferry-arrangement to Styles’ pack is situated just beside our border with Styles’ pack?” Zayn started, his eyes boring a hole through the ground.

“Yeah?” Louis asked.

“On Sunday, we were keeping an eye on the Tomlinson-Styles border from the southern tower. It was my duty that day as usual. Nick came to their pack around three in the afternoon.” Zayn Paused for a moment, risking a glance at Louis. Louis was not sure what he saw in his expression but Zayn looked away again, “I caught him through my binoculars. We waited for any kind of mishaps but nothing. Then after three hours or so, around five or five-thirty in the evening, he left through the ferry. He looked,” he squirmed on the spot. His eyes shifting to Liam for help but Liam was just sitting there, looking at nothing in particular.

“He looked?” Louis urged. His heart was beating slowly in his chest. He knew he had no reason to feel cheated or betrayed but the alpha inside him was roaring with anger, with pain. Unreasonable. It was all unreasonable. It was not like Harry cheated him. that Omega was not a cheater. Hell, this hurt. More than Louis would like to feel.

“He looked dishevelled,” Liam said, whispered almost. “He smirked at us and showed us the finger and then took the ferry back to his pack.” Liam finished talking in a pin-drop silence.

None of them spoke for some time. Louis was not sure for how long.

Louis gulped down the scream that was trying to tear his insides apart. He dug his toes into the grass to feel the roughness of the surface. Just to ignore the burning sensation in his chest. His nails scratched against the rough surface of the stony riverbank but Louis dug his nails even more. The physical pain was good, he could handle that. Emotional one on the other hand…

“They love each other. It is not as if… he is an omega. I mean, he needs the affection his alpha provides,” Zayn whispered. His eyes finally meeting Louis’.

“What the fuck do you mean? He can go and let Nick fuck him when Louis is here suffering for him? Liam asked, outraged. He looked scandalized that Zayn even said it.

“I did not mean that, Liam… I just…” Zayn jumped in to make Liam understand his point. Their voices raised, cutting through the tranquillity that swaddled them.

Louis stood up from the rock, his inside crumbling with pain and he could feel the air around him was suddenly too heavy for his breathing. He gulped and then just ran towards the river.

Ciara welcomed him with cold tides, soothing his flames just a bit.

For time being.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

The call came the next morning. Harry looked down at his phone with a frown setting high on his brows.

Louis.

He picked up on the last ring. Well, it was not like he was counting.

“Hello?” Harry mentally kicked himself when his voice came out soft, cautious even. He should sound unbothered.

There was the sound of Louis’ easy breathing. For some time they stayed like that. Harry stared at the white wall in front of him and Louis breathed softly on the other side. Harry was not sure how to proceed without blurting out about the photos. So he waited for Louis to say something.

The alpha stayed silent though.

“Shall I hang up then? If you are not going to talk then I can’t hold the phone against my ear for long. It is causing money too,” Harry asked after some time, his jaw tightening against his will.

Louis breathed on the line, “Do you want to come back?”

Louis’ question made Harry quirk his brows. He looked down at the floor and then back at the wall. What did Louis mean?

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Do you want to come back now? Shall I send someone to pick you up? You can stay there if you would like. I am not forcing you to come back or anything.” Louis sounded rushed at the last part.

Harry gritted his teeth with a frown on his face. His scalp itching with irritation. He felt frustrated. Why was Louis so hard to read?

“I don’t want to go back there, no, but my mother will kill herself if I stay here any longer.” Harry stood up then, pacing the room, “but I am not going to be treated like a stupid omega you can’t give your time to. I am the Luna of your pack and I demand to be treated like one!” Harry had to inhale thoroughly to calm down. His eyes still felt hazy with the temper he was feeling. It was like fog layering his vision.

“What?” Louis asked.

Wow!

He had the audacity to sound confused.

“What do you mean by what? I am not going to be sent back and forth by your people. I am not a supply you are granting in your territory. I am your ome…” he stopped, eyes widening.

There was a pause, where Harry thought about jumping off his window. Would he die though? Otherwise, it would be another humiliation. A failed attempt.

“Tell me what you want then,” came Louis’ reply. He sounded calm and somewhat distant. Louis never sounded distant. Angry? Yes. Sad? Yes. Irritated? Yes. But distant? Never. At least not with Harry.

Harry did not know what to say. He coughed, the heat rising on his cheeks felt scorching. He scratched them.

“I want,” Harry inhaled, squeezing his eyes shut, “I want you to come and take me back to your pack. I want you to treat me like the Royal I am. I demand the treatment I deserve!” he stomped his foot. Well, that was a childish behaviour but no one was there to point it out to him so it was fine.

There was a moment of silence on the other side. Harry pressed the mobile close to his ear. Then he heard some rustling sound. He furrowed his brows when he heard a female voice, talking to Louis it seemed.

“Hello?” Harry asked, his lips pursing in confusion. “Are you even listening to me? Louis?”

“Yeah, yeah. I am here,” Louis said, he sounded a little breathless, “listen, Harry, if you want me to come and get you, I will be there around noon. I will just go and pick you up and come back. Tell me if it is fine.”

Harry nodded, “fine. I will pack my things. Would you,” he stopped to cough, “would you have lunch here?”

There was a commotion then the line went silent. Harry pulled the phone down from his ear to look at it, no. it was still connected. Then he pressed it back against his ear.

There was a giggling.

“Harry, hi, it is Eleanor here,” came an overjoyed voice. It was too early for that much enthusiasm. Harry never liked these morning persons. They were not trustworthy according to him somehow.

Harry bit his lips, not knowing how to reply to that. What was she doing there with Louis? Were they out on a breakfast date or something? Harry gripped the canopy of his bed. His omega-self pouting for no reason.

“Hi,” he replied, maintaining a formal voice.

“Uh, Louis is actually here with me in my house. He will have lunch here and then go to pick you up. You don’t need to think about his meal. Just get packed to come back. Everyone misses you here.” She sounded genuine. Her voice mildly happy and cheery.

Harry gulped the sour words, something bitter coating his tongue. The next inhale was forced. “Sure, Eleanor. It is not like I was worried about his meal or something. Can you give him the phone though?”

Louis came to the line then, huffing, “sorry. She is just a tease, took the phone right out of my hand. I…”

“Don’t bother. I don’t give a fuck why you are with her at this hour. It is not as if I care where you spend your night or something. Just come here and take me back. Don’t be late.” He hung up the phone.

No.

He did not give a fuck about Louis’ life but that bastard was doing all this while staying in his pack. Members of that pack might know now how their alpha was spending his time with Eleanor and not with the Luna. It was a bad image for Harry. Still, he did not give a fuck!

.

The cracking sound of the phone breaking into pieces while colliding with the wall was pleasant to Harry.

.

---***--- ---***---

 

“See you soon.” Anne kissed Harry’s forehead with a watery smile. Harry closed his eyes, hiding his face into her neck. No matter what feud went on between them, she was still the most important person in his life.

Behind him, he could hear Louis’ laugh at something Desmond had said. They were discussing something about supplies and borders since Louis came to pick Harry up. Harry did not pay any mind to it. When Louis came to take him back, Harry avoided him as much as possible. He was sure if he stayed close, he would confront Louis about those pictures and he did not want to make a scene in front of his parents. He was not ready to lose his calm in front of Louis either.

“I will come to discuss the irrigation system of your pack soon. We all are practically waiting for the monsoon, you know? It is not just your problem,” Louis shook his head, a smile gracing his lips; “Zayn is going crazily worried about the lands and crops. He is the manager of our food-department and he takes his duties very seriously. I will ask him to come and take a look at your fields. He can give you advice about the grains too.”

Harry watched how Des was practically hanging from Louis’ every word. How bright his smile was when Louis said something witty. He noticed how Anne smiled proudly at Louis too. Harry distasted the alpha even more now. it was as if, Louis was taking away everything that was dear to Harry.

“Are you finished?” Harry asked, leaning against the side of the car. He watched with careful eyes when Louis sighed, smiling at Desmond, “I will visit soon. We can discuss the transfer then,” When Desmond nodded in agreement, Louis turned to face Harry, well, not really to face Harry but at his direction. Harry frowned when Louis passed him to go and sit in the driving seat. Louis started the Jip and waited in it for Harry. Harry ignored him to say goodbye to his parents for the final time.

 

---

 

The ride back to the Tomlinson-pack was silent. Harry took some sideways glances at Louis but Louis did not reciprocate. Not once his eyes shifted from the road. Harry squirmed in his seat, looking back and forth between the road and the alpha. He had so many things he wanted to clear up with Louis but that alpha looked closed off. His expression blank.

Harry looked up at the tower beside the barbed-wired fence of the border. Harry smiled when his eyes met Zayn’s on the tower. Zayn looked down at their car and smiled at them.

“The leader’s car,” Harry watched how Zayn informed through the walkie-talkie and the gate of the border opened. Styles’ pack did not have such security. Louis nodded towards Zayn, his smile warm and friendly and drove through the border. The car stopped when they were finally inside the Tomlinson-pack. Louis waited in his car as Zayn descended from the tower. Zayn came running and planted a kiss on Louis’ cheek with a sloppy noise. Louis cringed with a laugh and shoved him away. Harry watched the exchange silently. Then Zayn climbed into the Jip.

“Welcome back, Harry .” He grinned at Harry with those crinkling eyes. Harry nodded with a small smile. Zayn then looked at Louis while Louis drove silently.
“Okay, can I tell you about your schedule now or you will hear about it after dinner?” he asked.

Harry watched how Louis’ face twisted as if he was in pain.

“Just tell me now. I want to sleep after dinner. I am too tired.” Louis whined almost.

“You whine!” Harry whispered. His eyes on the alpha.

Louis sat up straighter, his expression turning back to normal and impassive. Behind them, on the back seat, Zayn barked out a loud laugh.

“Yes, Harry. He whines whenever things get unbearable for him,” Zayn spoke, still laughing.

“Alphas don’t whine!” Harry said then. He sounded confused to his own ears. When he looked at Zayn through the rearview mirror, Zayn was looking back at him, furrowing his brows. Harry turned his head to watch how Louis gritted his teeth and then huffed. He did not say anything though.

“Alphas don’t whine? Why not? Who told you that, Harry ?” Zayn asked. He looked confused.

Harry was even more confused. He shook his head, “it is such a weak thing to do for an alpha. They should always be in control and tame their emotions. They never whine or complain because that shows weakness. Alphas are not weak so they don’t whine.” Harry stopped when his speech was over. He was proud that he remembered Nick’s words so thoroughly. He would pat his back if Zayn was not gaping at him.

What?

The car stopped in front of the Pack-house and Louis turned to look at Harry with a twitch of his lips. Was he laughing at Harry? Harry wanted to speak again but Louis shook his head in something like disbelief.

“I don’t know who told you that, Harry, but that is such a bull-shit knowledge,” Louis spoke, Zayn nodding along.

Louis exhaled, relaxing in his seat, “there is no difference between Alphas, omegas and betas except some physical ones. Emotionally we all are the same. Emotions are your strength, Harry. You should always be able to show it. Those who hide their emotions behind the mask of masculinity and braveness, they are the weakest ones. Alpha or not, omega or not, you should be able to show your emotions. Your strength does not depend on your wolf’s genre, it depends on you. We don’t look down on others just because they are born as Omegas or Betas. In this pack, we respect everyone who deserves it. What you said is the point some alphas still believe in and they try to dominate their mates or their packs but I am against it. I will always protest against it until a day comes where,” Louis looked ahead at the pack-house, his eyes not focused on anything, a determined expression adorning his face, “every wolf is judged by abilities, not by his or her status. I will fight for the equal rights until I die. I will show those aristocrats that no, omegas are not weak just because they are omegas or no, alphas are not strong just because they are alphas. There is nothing dangerous than these prejudices. The animalistic side of us should not lead our thinking process. It is just a part of us but we are more than a wolf.”

Harry could feel his eyes burning. Why?

Oh!

He forgot to blink.

He flapped his eyelids as fast as he could and stared at the alpha in front of him. Louis turned his head to smile at Harry and then he was opening the door of his side of the Jip and hopping off. Harry watched him go around the Jip. He watched how effortlessly Louis was picking up his luggage from the back.

“We have an omega troop,” Zayn’s words brought Harry back from his haze and he turned to look at the beta who was smiling at him, “do you want to see it?”

Harry furrowed his brows, “omega troop? What is that?”

Zayn laughed, “You don’t know anything about our pack, do you?” when Harry just shrugged, Zayn smiled at him, “We have a troop of omegas, whom we train. They are our precious fighters. They join us along with alphas and betas when needed. Louis trains them twice a week. Liam and Melissa are mostly in charge. Our omegas can take down any alpha around this land. Today Louis trains them till dinner, that is why he was saying that Stan should go and bring you back. He had to cancel the training and ask Fred to take his position.”

They both flinched when there were suddenly sounds to banging against the door of the Jip. Harry looked out to see Jay, Niall and Melissa were standing there to greet him. Harry smiled when Jay almost pulled him out of his seat and wrapped him up in a warm hug. He ignored the confused and almost floored part of him for now.

An omega troop?

 

---

 

When he stepped into his room, his eyes fell on the bed. Harry took in the white bed-sheets and the neat surroundings. He turned to see that Louis was sitting on the sofa, his lips pressed together to hold a cigarette in place.

He looked exhausted.

So Harry refrained himself from confronting Louis about those photos.

Tomorrow, he thought. He would ask tomorrow.

“You made the bed?” He asked instead.

Louis’ eyes shifted from the television to Harry and then he shook his head, “no? I did not. You made the bed when you left, remember?”

Harry gaped at Louis. What?

Louis smiled sheepishly then, “err… sorry. I should have asked someone to clean it. Actually, I was not coming here often after you left,” this place felt strange without you, “so I did not notice. Shall I call someone to clean it?” Louis stood up hurriedly.

“I was not coming here often after you left,” Harry’s head swirled with the information.

Right.

Louis was not coming here after Harry left. Of course, he was not. He went and stayed with Eleanor or some other omega then? Harry could not get rid of the bitter taste that filled his mouth, he twisted his lips and shrugged, “no need. I cleaned it before I left. So it is fine.” he turned to go inside his room but then stopped. He whirled to face Louis again, “you can go and sleep with your omegas even now if you want, you know? I will not mind.”

There.

He said it.

He did not care.

Louis looked confused, his eyes fell on Harry and then at the bed and then came back on Harry, “what?”

Harry shrugged, he maintained a straight face as he spoke, “I don’t mind if you sleep around.” Hold your chin high, Harry, “I mean, obviously, you are not going to stop having sex for one year. I know that. I am not that naïve and I don’t want you to stop your life for me. I am fine. more than fine actually,” he watched when realization settled on Louis' face. Harry watched how Louis’ jaw flicked as he gritted his teeth. Harry pushed further, “you can go tonight also. I don’t care. Do you want to bring them here? I have no problem if you fuck them here on the sofa. I don’t give a damn.”

The room was silent after that.

Harry stared at Louis who was staring right back, their eyes meeting with confusion and something like hesitation.

Then Louis shook his head, tilting his head downwards. A small laugh escaped his lips, “thank you for your kind permission, Luna.” Harry balled his fists at the sarcastic indication on the last part of Louis’ words.

Louis was already sitting down on the sofa to turn on the television. Harry could not understand how an alpha was so calm and composed all the time. Alphas, according to Harry, were short-tempered and arrogant most of the time. Louis, on the other hand, was everything an alpha should not be like. Harry tried to rewind the last two months of their marriage to see if Louis ever lost his temper but nothing came up in his memory. He watched how the alpha in front of him was smiling at the Television while watching an episode of FRIENDS. Harry could not match Louis with that traditional alpha image. It confused him and at the same time, angered him.

“I want to meet Nick,” Harry’s voice sounded adamant in his own ears and he held his head high when Louis shifted his eyes over to him. He would not back out even if Louis tried to stop him.

There was a frown on Louis’ face, his lips pursed. For a moment, Harry thought that Louis would deny him and Harry was ready with protest if that was the case. But then Louis nodded, his expression clearing. The smile that came to Louis’ lips resulted in Harry’s furrowed brows.

“You are an adult, Harry. You don’t need my permission to meet your alpha. You are free to do whatever you feel like,” Louis said, his eyes again back on the television.

Was this guy serious? Harry could not understand how Louis was so laid back about everything! He did not even ask Harry about the details or why he was trying to meet Nick. At this rate, no one from this pack would listen to him. Harry frowned at his own thoughts then. He did not care if someone gave Louis respect or not. He did not care. Nope.

“I know that. I am not asking your permission,” Harry gritted out. Louis confused him. He was married to Harry but how easily he just now said that Nick was Harry’s alpha. It was not something Harry was used to. Since childhood, he grew up seeing those possessive alphas, who would beat their omegas up if they did something without permission and Harry hated them too but Louis was not… this was not something Harry anticipated. Harry felt out of his depth with Louis. He felt like his knowledge never worked in front of Louis. As if, Louis was always challenging those prejudices. That made Harry uncomfortable. Somehow, the image Harry painted of Louis’ was breaking and that was not something Harry wanted to happen. Harry was not sure about the unknown image Louis was painting of himself.

“I am just informing you. Tomorrow I am going to meet Nick and I don’t want you to stop me.” Harry looked how Louis paused the show and faced him.
With a smile, Louis shook his head, “I will never stop you from anything, Harry.”

Harry did not wait any longer. He left the room as fast as he could.

 

---

 

The moonlight showered the Tomlinson pack with its whitish glow. The pack looked calm and finally ready to let sleep consume them. The whole pack was resting in their houses and just the patrolling team was awake.

Well, not just the patrolling team, an alpha was awake, his eyes glinting with tears as he tried not to think about the omega who slept in his bedroom, who was his lawfully wedded omega but was not his to claim.

And one omega, who was twisting and turning in his bed as his thoughts kept running back to a certain alpha.

They both cursed the situation.

They both stayed awake while thinking about each other.

Without them knowing, they both went to sleep while thinking about each other.

---***--- ---***---

Chapter Text

Loud crashing noise woke Harry after a restless night. He jumped when there was a loud curse after the crash. What was going on?

He rubbed his eyes, it was not even eight in the morning. What was going on?

When he opened the door of his bedroom, the first thing he noticed was Louis jumping around in the dining room on one foot. His expression pained and mouth open to make some hurt gibberish noise. Next thing Harry noticed was blood. On the floor.

His sleep was well off his eyes by now still Harry rubbed his eyes and widen them to take a sure look. Yes. It was blood.

“What the hell did you do?”

Louis flinched, turning to face Harry with an apologetic expression. The corners of his eyes were moist. He looked like a hurt pup right at that moment. Harry bit his lips, frowning at the alpha to urge him for an explanation.

“I was making breakfast,” Louis whispered, looking down at the floor like a scolded puppy, “I am not quite good at it?” he phrased it as a question. Harry watched how the alpha pouted when he looked up. “The bowl fell when I went to whisk the egg,” Harry bit his lips harder, trying not to laugh when the alpha glared at the broken bowl.

“How do you whisk?” Louis asked, looking confused and genuinely concerned.

Harry rolled his eyes. He turned to go to the storage room, “don’t move from that place until I come back.” He called back.

When he came back, Louis was on the phone, smiling about something. Harry noticed how the morning rays of the sun were framing the alpha from behind through the window behind him. He watched how motes were floating around his figure. Louis’ brown hair was suddenly golden under the rays. Louis’ face was glowing with the orange shadow. He looked warm. And cosy.

It looked like the sun was charging up the alpha somehow.

Like the sun was leaving behind a piece of him in that alpha.

What?

Harry shook his head. What was he thinking right now? Was he calling Louis a part of the sun? What?

Harry stepped beside the alpha, bending down to wipe the floor with the broom he brought.

In a second the broom was snatched away from his hand. He jerked his head sideways to see Louis shaking his head, still talking on the phone. Louis motioned with his chin for Harry to step back. When Harry followed suit, Louis started swiping the floor, slowly gathering the broken pieces of glasses at a corner.

Harry watched for a moment how Louis was still barefoot. He sighed, going back to his room to fetch the first-aid box. this time when he came back, Louis was shoving the phone into his pocket.

“Sit down,” Harry instructed, making a gesture towards the chair in the kitchen. Louis looked at the chair and then back at Harry. He looked uncertain. Harry did not have time for that.

“Come on, do it. I am not very patient this early in the morning,” he said, fixing Louis with a frown.

A small smile came upon Louis’ lips, he hopped towards the chair. When he sat down, Harry walked closer.

“Wh-what are you doing?” Louis asked, alarmed suddenly.

Harry looked up at the alpha from where he was sitting down on the floor in front of the alpha.

“I need to see the cuts before I can do anything. Right?” Harry asked. He opened the first-aid box to pull out the cotton and the disinfectant liquid.

“I can do it. You don’t need to worry,” Louis said. He reached out to take the cotton from Harry.

Harry sighed. This alpha had a way of making everything difficult for Harry.

So he slapped Louis’ extended hand away. He glared at the alpha, “you woke me up at the crack of the morning and then now that I am helping you, you are protesting. Stop testing my limits, Louis. I don’t do well with resistance.”

Louis pulled his hand back, his expression softening, “I can never resist you.”

Harry looked down at the floor. Louis coughed when he understood what he said.

Right.

Harry pulled Louis’ right foot on his lap to examine. There were two pieces of glasses stuck there. Harry hissed when he pulled them out one by one, blowing air against the open wounds. His cheeks heated up when he realized what he was doing. He risked a glance at Louis through his lashes and the alpha was smiling at him. Not a smile that was knowing or teasing. It was like a dreamy smile that was gracing his lips. Harry looked down again.

He took some disinfectant in the small ball of cotton, “it will sting a bit.”

He did not wait for Louis’ answer. Slowly Harry put the cotton on one open wound, gripping Louis’ ankle tightly when the alpha tried to flinch away by instinct. Harry dabbed the cotton on the scar and wiped the blood away. He did it for both wounds and then he pulled out the tape to bandage the wound.

“Don’t bandage it, Harry,” Louis stopped him. When Harry looked up, the alpha was smiling at him. “You don’t need to bandage it.”

Harry frowned, looking down at the cuts and then back at the alpha, “but if you leave it open, you will be infected.”

Louis shook his head, “no, Harry. Did you forget that I am a wolf, an Alpha to be precise? My wounds heal in a moment.”

The realization was like someone splashing cold water on Harry. Right. Louis was an alpha. His wounds would be healed in a matter of seconds. His eyes went towards Louis’ left foot and yes, it was already healing.

Harry sprang on his heels, taking several steps away from the alpha. Why was Harry doing it? Exactly. Louis did not need it. He would be fine. Why was Harry suddenly bothered?

“Harry?” Louis asked, his smile evaporating. His expression confused now.

Harry threw the tape at Louis, it rolled off Louis after hitting him on the chest. Louis frowned, “Harry? wha-what,”

“Why did not you say it before? Did you like the show when I sat on the floor in front of you? Did your alpha-self enjoy it? You manipulative pervert!” Harry screamed. How could Louis just enjoy Harry’s concern? Was he making fun of Harry? Why was Harry concerned, anyway? The alpha did not deserve it. He knew that the cuts would be healed but he let Harry work anyway. Well, how would Louis be able to humiliate Harry and point out how Harry did not know about the healing power of a wolf if he did not let Harry make a fool of himself first?

“Harry? What are you- what did I do?” Louis asked, looking astounded. His brows knitted with confusion. Harry flinched back when Louis reached out to touch him.

“No, don’t you dare touch me. You hurt yourself knowing that I will come here to see what happened. You did this on purpose. How desperate are you, Louis?” Harry let out a disgusted laugh, the humiliation of Louis doing all this just to get Harry close was eating at him now. Obviously, a creep like Louis would do this. Harry should have known.

“How desperate are you for my touch? How perverted your thoughts were when I knelt in front of you?”

Harry’s eyes followed Louis’ movement. He noticed how the alpha took a step back. As if some force had hit him.

Louis let out a laugh, a strained laugh.

“Are you serious right now, Harry? I am desperate to touch you?” Louis’ tone was mocking.

Harry gritted his teeth, “Why? Don’t you want that, Louis? You are an alpha. Your first instinct is to claim me. No?”

Louis laughed, flaring his hands widely, “I am desperate to claim you? I am the leader of this pack. If I want, in a second,” Louis snapped his fingers, “in a second I can make you mine, if I want, Harry. What do you think?” Louis’ lips twisted up in a soured expression, “do you think that Nick can stop me if I really want you?”

Harry could hear the taunting layer of Louis’ words. His eyes burned with unshed tears. He could not believe he went and humiliated himself like this. For his own mistakes, this disgusting alpha was dragging Nick now. Harry could bear anything but the insult of his alpha? No.

“Don’t you dare drag Nick in this, Louis. Don’t take his name from your dirty mouth,” he shouted. Harry never dealt well with anger. Here humiliation was mixed in it.

Louis shook his head, his hands coming up to rub against his face. Louis shook his head, laughing in his hands.

“I don’t deserve this, you know?” Louis said then.

He looked up to face Harry with a self-deceiving smile. Harry balled his fists beside him when Louis turned away from him.

“What? You don’t have anything to say?” Harry prodded, leaning forward in his spite.

Louis went to splash some water on his face, leaning against the basin. Harry saw the alpha standing there, his back muscles twitching.

When the alpha turned to face Harry, Harry held his position. No, he was not weak. He would not back away.

Though it was not like Louis was going to pounce. Louis looked defeated, his eyes empty. The warmth from earlier gone and his expression blank. Harry faltered for a second.

“We can’t do anything now but stay together. The council will not give us divorce until the end of ten months. But we don’t need to torture ourselves like this either.” Louis looked at Harry then, “I am going to move my things in Zayn’s house. He lives alone. You stay here until the date comes and you can leave finally." The smile that Louis gave Harry was fake, Harry could see how the alpha was gripping the edge of the basin,
“I am sorry if I gave off that impression. If you ever felt attacked or something, it was not my intention. I am sorry.”

Harry stared at the alpha. Louis was now moving ahead to open the fridge. He watched how Louis pulled out a granola bar and ripped the plastic off with more force than needed.

“If you go and stay with Zayn, the pack members will talk,” Harry uttered. He was not comfortable when people pointed at him and made him the topic of their gossips. He was always conscious of it. Now if Louis went and spent his nights with Zayn, people would surely talk. They would look at him and make remarks.

Louis shook his head, chewing the bar slowly, “What do you want me to do then?”

“I don’t know, maybe you should just stay away from me?” Harry asked, “you creep me out.”

Louis nodded, his expression unreadable.

He left the kitchen after that. Not only the kitchen, in a minute or so, he left the house.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Harry came downstairs to see the whole pack house was buzzing with excitement. He could not understand what was the reason for their excitement and he could not find out someone familiar to ask. Finally, over everyone’s head, he saw Niall. A smile automatically came up on Harry’s lips, he pushed through the crowd to reach near Niall and when he did, he hugged the omega from behind.

“Jeez, Harry,” Niall jumped, smiling as he turned to face the Luna properly. They hugged for a moment and had to break off when some betas pushed past them.
“What is going on here?” Harry asked, his head turning around in confusion.

Niall gave him a white rose, “today is our pack’s centenary birthday in normal words. It is an occasion we celebrate here every year but this one is even more special because of the number. ”

Harry looked down at the blossoming white rose, “what about this rose? Why are you giving me this?” he noticed one was tucked in Niall’s pocket too.

Niall smirked playfully, “it is a couple entry pass. We omegas choose our partners from within this pack and give them this rose and in return, they accompany us to the party. So go ahead, choose your partner.”

Harry rolled the rose in between his index finger and thumb, “I don’t have anyone to ask. I don’t even want to come.”

Niall placed his hand over Harry’s, “you have to come, Harry. You are the Luna now.” with a soft slap on Harry’s shoulder, Niall grinned, “and you know the best part? You don’t need to choose your alpha. You can choose anyone. You are not going to be questioned about your choices. Or you can come alone but people mostly come as a couple.”

Harry smiled. When Niall smiled it is really a tough job not to join him, “really? That helps me, I guess.”

Niall looked bewildered for a moment, “are you two still fighting?”

Harry looked away from those sad blue eyes, they reminded him of someone, “we are always fighting, Niall. We don’t belong together. Both of us are waiting for the trial to be over.”

Niall did not stretch the matter anymore, well, he did not get the time. Sophia was suddenly in front of them with a white rose in her hands. Harry noticed how the omega sneered at Niall. Harry placed a hand on Niall’s shoulder, looking at Sophia with an impassive expression. Sophia’s expression crumbled slightly at that but she did not back out.

“You know, Niall, I am going to ask Liam and I am sure he is going to say yes. Do you even have anyone you can ask without getting rejected?” her tone was mockingly sweet.

Niall looked at her with tired eyes, his expression holding nothing, “do whatever you feel like, Sophia. Liam is yours anyway.”

Harry and Sophia both watched with furrowed eyes how Niall walked away from them. His posture hunched and defeated.

Harry turned to face Sophia then, “I feel sorry for you.”

Sophia turned to face Harry, “what?” her brows quirked up.

Harry shrugged, “no matter how hard you try Liam always runs behind Niall. Even you know that, Sophia.” Harry felt satisfied when the omega’s face twisted. Harry shrugged, unbothered, “I don’t know what Liam is thinking right now but know this, honey,” he leaned closer to Sophia, “you are always going to be a mistress, a mistress who is not worthy enough to take the mate’s spot. We both know, when the time comes, Liam will choose Niall.” Harry straightened up, holding his chin high, “that is the sole reason you are so jealous of him.”

Harry did not wait for her reply, he just walked past her. She was not worth his time anyway.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

“Niall is coming this way,” Louis said, peering over Liam’s shoulder. Liam shrugged, a smirk tilting his lips, “he has no one to go to, you know? Obviously, I am his only choice.”

Zayn was sitting beside Louis on the bonnet of Louis’ Jeep, while Liam was standing in front of them. They were sharing a cigarette.

“This negligence will cost you one day, I am telling you.” Zayn shook his head, taking the cigarette off Louis’ lips even though Louis protested.

Before Liam could answer there was a cough. Liam smirked and turned around to face Niall with a faux bored expression. Louis and Zayn both peered over Liam’s shoulders to see Niall was looking at them with wide eyes and a small-hesitant smile.

“What is it? Could you not convince anyone to go with you? Or did everyone reject you?” Liam asked, his tone mocking. Louis kicked his arse lightly from behind.

Niall’s eyes fell on Liam and then slid towards his left. A smile graced his lips as he held out his rose, “will you go to the function with me?”

Liam turned his whole body and Louis turned his head to see that Niall’s hand stretched towards their left and Zayn was the point of the omega’s focus.

Louis knew he was gaping and he had to bite back a laugh when he saw Zayn’s expression. Zayn looked like a shocked puppy. His eyes first went to the outstretched rose, Louis and then at Liam. Louis turned to see that Liam was standing there, his eyes shifting from Niall to Zayn. He looked astonished.

Louis wanted to see how Zayn reject the offer but to his great amusement, Zayn hopped off the Jeep.

Louis smiled when Zayn knelt down in front of Niall with his head bowed, “yes, Niall. I will go with you. It is my honour that you chose me.”

Louis wanted to clap when Niall softly tucked the rose behind Zayn’s left ear and Zayn looked up at him, smiling.

“I will see you tonight?” Niall asked. He sounded a little scared like he was not getting his hopes high.

Zayn stood up and nodded, “of course, Niall. I will come to pick you up.”

Niall left without even glancing at Liam.

Few moments passed in complete silence. All three of them watching Niall go.

“What the fuck!” Liam said, his voice breathless. Louis guessed Liam was still not believing his own eyes.

“Niall just asked Zayn to be his partner,” Louis supplied, smirking at the brown-eyed alpha.

“You actually accepted his offer?” Liam shouted at Zayn.

Zayn hopped back up on the Jeep and then he shrugged, “it is an honour to be asked by such a high reputed omega.”

Liam advanced towards the Jeep, his jaw clenched, “he is just roping you in his trap, Zayn. Don’t be fooled. And high reputed? Everyone knows him because of me.”

Zayn tilted his head sideways, “why does that bother you, Liam? You should be happy that now you are free to go with Sophia! If Niall is trapping me, I am not a kid, I can handle myself. Why don’t you mind your own business?”

“I agree,” Louis chirped in, “you should be happy, Liam. He is willingly letting you off the hook. Take the opportunity. Plus who told you that he is known for you? He is popular for his kind nature. He was popular even before he presented. Who do you think you are?”

Liam looked at Zayn first and then at Louis, “he is just playing with both of you.”

Louis shrugged, “then I guess, we will handle it.”

Liam could not answer back because Jay was calling them from the main door of the pack-house. The three of them jogged to her and bowed jokingly. It was like an inside joke to them. Jay waved them off with a smile and gave three of them the instruction of their duties.

“Liam, you will take care of the food and drinks. Make sure we have enough of everything. Order some liquor if needed.” She turned to face Zayn, “Zayn, you will handle the music and decoration of the field. Make sure you get the lighting right, Zayn. The field is quite dark if you ask me. The paths should be decorated too. Take care of all this.” she turned to face Louis then, “you, Mr. Leader of the pack, you are going to supervise everything. I want everything to be perfect. If something goes wrong, I will demand an answer from you.”

Louis nodded, along with Zayn and Liam.

“We will do everything you said, mum. You relax.” Louis smiled at her. She left then, her hands full with lists of works.

Louis watched her leave with a smile. He was proud of her. He was not sure if he would ever be able to find a Luna like Jay for his pack. It was not possible he guessed. The way Jay handled the pack, the people in it, it was incredible. An alpha was always busy with foreign affairs but an omega had to handle the inside chaos. They had to handle domestic matters. It was harder according to Louis.

An image of Harry running around the pack came to his mind, with orders flowing from his mouth and those bow-like lips pursing whenever someone got something wrong. Of Harry coming to Louis with lots of complaints while rubbing his swollen belly, shouting at Louis for doing that to him. He could imagine how he would pull the omega along with him to their bedroom. He would claim the omega again and again until Harry was whining for Louis to stop.

Louis would give anything to make those images come true but he knew when to stop his horses. So he turned away, stepping towards the field with Zayn and Liam following. They both were still bickering about the party, how Zayn got the rose and how Liam would definitely go with Sophia. Louis ignored both of them.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Harry came out from the pack-house, his hands holding the rose in front of him. He could not understand whom to ask to be his date for tonight. He did not even know a lot of people here. So he was kind of in a problematic situation right now. He did not even want to go to the party but Jay was persistent and Harry could not deny her this. She was really a great person according to Harry. He could not understand how Louis was her son.

"Luna?"

Harry turned to see Ted, one of the pack-security guards standing behind him. Harry saw him when they came back from the Styles' pack yesterday.
He smiled as a greeting, "yes, Ted?"

Ted looked surprised. He fish-mouthed for a moment then smiled, "you know my name?"

Harry nodded, "of course. You bowed yesterday to Louis when we were coming back from my pack."

Ted laughed then. "I am glad that you remember me. That is generous of you."

Harry nodded, looking at Ted with expectant eyes.

"Oh, yes. I am here to give you this," Ted handed him a box. A Tiffin box.

Harry looked down at it and then back at Ted.

"What is it?" He asked.

Ted gestured towards the path that was going towards the field, "Jay told me to ask you if you can go and give this breakfast to Louis? That guy left to work for the party without eating anything and he cannot tolerate hunger."

Harry looked down at the box and then at Ted. He remembered how today morning Louis was making something and then left because of their fight.

Harry did not want to go and meet Louis at the moment. Hell, he did not want to meet Louis ever.

“Why can’t you ask someone else to go to Louis, though?”

Ted looked at him with confusion. Harry watched Ted as he searched for a word or something.

“Err… you are the Luna. His husband?” Ted asked.

Well, how could Harry reply to that?

So he nodded, turning towards the path of the field.

On his way there Harry saw how the members of the pack were running around and talking to each other. Harry nodded to those who waved or smiled at him. Some betas were chatting on the roadside, Stan was one of them. He smiled at Harry, which Harry returned.

“Going to meet Louis?” Stan asked. Harry nodded, walking fast now. He needed to drop off the box there.

When he reached near the field, he saw Liam first, getting in his car and driving off to somewhere. Harry crossed the small gathering of four omegas, who were discussing something about the party, it looked like everyone was discussing the party. Harry ignored everyone, the box was hot and his hands were getting numb at the moment. He was not sure how to face Louis either. Then the rose in his chest-pocket was pricking him too, he had to ask someone to accompany him.

Damn it!

 

---

 

The field was a busy place when Harry stepped at the boundary of it. Harry watched how Zayn was laughing and painting something under the maple tree and beside him, Louis was pouting down at something on the ground. He had a pen in his hand and he was probably doing something with it. Harry quickened his steps.

A dairy.

Louis was looking down at a dairy with a forlorn expression. When Harry’s shadow fell on it, the alpha craned his neck to look at the intruder. Harry was looking at the dairy though, it had something written on it, some ruff notes or something.

“What are you doing?”

Harry sat down beside Louis, his eyes still stuck on the pages. Until the diary was closed with a thud and the omega jumped. He saw how Louis placed the diary behind him and looked at Harry with a blank expression.

“Why are you here, Harry?” Louis asked, his tone matched his expression.

Harry looked at the alpha and then back at his hands, where the tiffin-box was nestled. He stretched it out for Louis.

Louis looked at it and then back at Harry. His brows furrowed in confusion.

“Jay sent you breakfast,” Harry supplied finally. His eyes shifting from the alpha to the beta, who was lost in that painting. Harry placed the box absentmindedly on Louis’ lap and leaned over to Zayn with curiosity.

The beta was painting the Moon-Goddess. Harry gasped when he leaned further in. The painting was marvellous. The background of the picture was black and the Goddess was emitting blue lustre. Her silver-blonde hair reached her hips in waves. She was looking at the onlookers with a soft smile, her eyes gleaming blue. Both of her hands were joined in front of her, where she held a cane. The cane’s head was of a wolf with bared incisors. The Goddess was wearing a white-sheer gown that cascaded down on her lean body. Harry was out of words when he noticed how thoroughly Zayn had painted it. Her skin had freckles just like any normal skin type and her eyelashes were perfectly shaped. Even the colour of her iris looked perfect. As if the beta took his time and gave this painting his everything. It was like the Moon-Goddess would come out of the portrait now.

“You are an amazing painter, Zayn!” Harry whispered, his eyes still on the Goddess’ hair, every strand of it was perfect.

“Thank you, Harry,” Zayn laughed softly when Harry settled down beside him with a disoriented look.

“How can you draw someone so thoroughly?” Harry asked, his eyes stuck on the painting.

“I just try,” Zayn shrugged, going back to shimmer the darkness a bit more with his paintbrush. Harry watched with mesmerized eyes.

“I have always liked painters,” Harry spoke, his eyes on Zayn’s fingers, on how effortlessly they were moving.

“Yeah?” Zayn asked, his eyes stuck on the painting but his lips tugged upwards.

“Yeah,” Harry nodded, “I am fascinated with how they can draw anything they like and just express themselves through their works.”

Zayn looked up then, a smile still there on his face, “you are quite fascinated, I see.”

Harry nodded, “I am just easily attracted to those who can express themselves through their works. You know? But it is hard to find nowadays. Everyone is just so extravagant with their gestures and so bold with words. This subtle way of showing love is not present in people nowadays.” Harry said forlornly.

“Subtlety has gone nowhere. It is just that people are just too used to boldness that they easily ignore an introvert and his subtle ways of showing affection.”

Harry and Zayn both turned to see Louis spoke those words, his eyes lingering on Harry for a moment and then the alpha's eyes were back in his diary.

Harry almost forgot about the alpha for past few minutes. He watched the alpha lean against the maple tree. His left leg stretched in front of him whereas his right leg bent near his chest. He placed the diary on the right knee and was penning something down with great interest now.

“You mean, introverts are not recognized nowadays?” Zayn asked Louis. Harry watched how the alpha laughed at that.

“Introvert. That word is a burden on one’s shoulders, you know?” Louis said, “people just like to say that introverts are so charming, their love is so consuming. I say, bullshit.” There was a frown on the alpha’s brows.

Harry slid a bit close to Louis.

“Why bullshit?” Zayn asked, well, Harry was going to ask the same.

Louis shrugged, “Cause no one cares. How many introverts, do you think, have the guts to confess their feelings? I guess, none. Those who get the love of their lives are extroverts. Cause they have the guts to go up to their interests and confess. An introvert can’t. An introvert can’t just go and confess. Their pride will not let them. So what he does? He hides. He hides his feelings to a level where his loved one misunderstands him. At the end of the day?” Louis looked at Zayn with a grievous smile, he held up his dairy and pointed at Zayn’s painting at the same time, “he writes or paints his feelings. And guess what? His loved ones come to praise his works with someone else in their mind. And he, the introvert fool that he is, stays silent. Cause he cannot fucking say it.” Blue eyes came to rest on Harry, “he cannot fucking say that when his loved one ignores him, it hurts. He cannot say that he breaks whenever that person, he likes, goes and shows affection to someone else. He cannot scream with pain when his loved one just stomps on his feelings.” Louis looked down at his dairy, “so don’t tell me it is fascinating. Introverts are not fascinating. They are not there for extroverts to compliment them as an object or as a fascinating trend. They don’t need your praises.”

Harry did not know why but whenever Louis rambled, he forgot to breathe. So he took a deep breath and then he shifted his eyes over the alpha’s silhouette. The alpha was inclined to that dairy once again. Harry tried to understand what the alpha said just now.

What?

“If you love someone dearly, I believe, you get them. Introverts can love someone like that. With that passion. And so I think, at the end of the day, they get their loved ones.” Harry had to say that. Louis looked so disturbed when he talked about feelings.

Was he saying it from personal experience? Who was the one Louis was thinking about when he said it?

Blue orbs found green ones. A laugh met Harry’s ears.

“If you are an introvert, all you get is a diary full of scribbles and memories full of failures. That is all. You love Nick, is not it?” Louis smiled when Harry nodded, “then remind him that every day through words, Harry. Cause actions do not speak louder than words. No matter what people make you believe, actions are easily ignored in this society. Words matter. So tell him, remind him every day that you love him with words. Be an extrovert. Party hard, be the centre of attention, live life to its fullest in the loudest way possible. Otherwise, you will be forgotten. Everyone forgets an introvert. Don’t be one. It hurts to just sit aside and watch your love go,” Louis stood up then, his dairy hugged close to his chest as he almost rushed away.

Harry reached his hand out by instinct.

“He is in a bad mood today, don’t mind him.” Zayn’s voice snapped Harry back to the present. He turned to face the beta and then looked back at the alpha, who was now running towards the jungle that covered the east side of the field. “He will be fine after a run,” Zayn said, his eyes on the said alpha too.

Harry looked down at the untouched tiffin. His heart pounding against his ribcage. Louis was like a mystery. Harry could not figure him out. His words confused Harry. Real Louis clashed with Harry’s thoughts about him.

“Can you make sure he eats?” Harry asked, his eyes searching the alpha in those dark shadows of the jungle at the boundary on the field. His eyes widen when he realized what he said. He whipped his head towards Zayn, who was smirking at him.

“I mean, um… Jay will be pissed if he does not.”

“I will make him eat everything you packed in that box,” Zayn assured with a smile. Both of them ignored the part where Harry should have declined such assumption of him preparing the box.

.

Harry left the field with words swirling around his head. His eyes took a last glance at the jungle but the alpha was nowhere to be found.

“It hurts to just sit aside and watch your love go.”

Harry walked faster.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

The whole pack-house was ready as evening crept in. Harry could see the paths around the pack-house lightening up with white fairy lights. Even the trees were glowing with small bulbs hanging from their branches. Harry admired the view he was presented with. The moon was showering them with its light and it felt like the pack was returning the favour with these lights. Harry looked at the watch, it was already half past five in the evening and Louis was still not home. He was the leader. He could not be late. Harry wondered if Louis was going with someone else to the party. Was he going with the person he was talking about today morning? That thought brought his eyes on the white rose on his desk. Harry had placed it in a glass full of water when he came back home. He did not ask anyone for the party. He was not sure whom to ask. He did not know anyone properly here. How could he just ask anyone? Plus, Niall said, he could go alone. So he did not.

There was a sound of footsteps when Harry sat down on his bed. He stared at the door of his room as someone came to stop on the other side. Harry sniffed the air, it was suddenly heavy with a mushy scent. It was like burned woods in the monsoon.

An alpha.

The knock was soft.

Harry did not respond, instead, he went to open the door.

Louis looked startled, his right hand raised as if he was going to knock again and his mouth ajar. Harry risked a look at the alpha. He was wearing the jeans but his upper body was bare, some scratches marring his chest and stomach. Harry bit his lips when he saw how the alpha had a deep cut in his left palm. It was still bleeding. Well, he would be fine.

“I need to use the shower,” Louis said, his voice scratchy. Harry noticed those messy strands of hair that was haphazardly falling on the alpha’s forehead. In short, Louis looked dishevelled.

Harry stepped aside, letting the alpha in. Louis went for the towels Harry kept in the drawers beside the bathroom. Harry furrowed his brows when he noticed some deep cuts on Louis’ back, rippling muscles gashed inordinately. He took a step towards the alpha without him noticing. Harry leaned closer, the cuts were new, like they happened today or something.

“How did you get them?” The question was out before Harry could stop it.

Louis jumped almost, turning to face Harry. He shrugged when he realized what the omega was asking.

“I took a run through the deeper part of the jungle,” he bundled two blue towels in his hands and went into the bathroom. Harry stood there until the sound of the shower hit his ears. The air around him was thickening with the scent of the alpha that was rafting from the washroom. Harry ran towards the window. He needed fresh air.

The alpha smelt like someone else.

Like an omega in heat.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Liam watched the rose in his hands, a white rose that was yellowing now. The petals were falling slowly. He looked beside him, where the suit was folded neatly on the bed. Niall folded those clothes, Liam knew it just from a glance. It was paired with two silver cufflinks, one black silk tie, one white handkerchief and Liam’s wallet. Everything looked perfectly poised. Liam knew how Niall liked grooming the alpha. He knew how the omega would pout when Liam go anywhere without styling his hair or taking some time to look presentable. Liam knew how the omega would discreetly smooth out the wrinkles on Liam’s shirts. He liked the alpha poised. So Liam would mess up more. Just to see the omega pouting at him. Just to get the omega close when he came to arrange the alpha’s attire.
“Niall,” Liam shouted. He sat on the bed, looking at the arrangements.

Niall came running, his chest rising and falling with the effort.

“What?” Niall asked, his eyes wide.

Liam took an unrushed look at the omega. Niall was wearing a white button-down shirt, the buttons were done til his throat. Liam beckoned the omega closer. When Niall’s thighs touched Liam’s knees, Liam gripped the omega’s left forearm. The pull was jerky, it left Niall on Liam’s chest. Liam sunken down, sniffing the omega. His alpha-self smugly looking at the omega when he smelt himself on Niall. Niall whined, burrowing his face into Liam’s neck.

“Get ready,” Niall whispered, his left hand going around Liam and his right one bunching up Liam’s shirt in a fist. Liam caught the omega’s right cheek in between his teeth, biting softly, “eager to throw me out of my own house?”

Niall shook his head, his nose rubbing against the alpha’s neck. Liam pulled the omega on his lap, cradling him in between his arms.

“I hope you know this, Niall,” Liam spoke, his lips resting on Niall’s cheekbones, “no matter whom you go with, you will always come back to me. At the end of the day, I am the one you will seek. I know that.”

Niall looked up through his lashes, his eyes shining under Liam’s gaze, “what if one day I don’t come back?”

Liam gripped the omega closer, “I will not let you go anywhere until I throw you out personally.”

Niall let out a soft chuckle, “you will invite me to your wedding, right?”

Liam furrowed his brows, “my wedding?”

Niall looked down at Liam’s chest then, “your wedding with Sophia. Will you invite me?”

Liam contemplated the question, “will you come if I do?”

Niall smiled, “no.”

Liam bit his lips, “why not?” He did not know why they were talking about weddings suddenly.

Niall shrugged, his hand fisting Liam’s shirt even more tightly, “I will not be here then.” Niall smiled when Liam raised his brows, “I will go to Ireland to my grandma. I am not going be around you. You don’t have to see me. Ever.”

There was something like a twisting pain in Liam’s chest. Never seeing that omega’s face gave a chill down Liam’s spine. Reaching out and not having this omega in his arms was a bleak thought. Liam shook his head, “I will not let you go out of this pack. Never.”

Niall frowned, “but why? You will have a family then.”

Liam shrugged, “I don’t know. I don’t care. You are not going anywhere.”

Niall tried to protest but his voice was stolen when Liam pushed him down on the bed, the alpha capturing his lips in a kiss.

The omega whined in protest when Liam almost kicked the clothes out of the bed and keened as his shirt was unbuttoned.

Their room filled with the smell of pheromones. Their lips meeting again and again. Liam kept weeping Niall’s eyes with his lips and Niall sobbed through it all, his hands gripping the alpha close. Both of them held each other close.

“You can travel the world, Niall,” Liam panted in Niall’s ear as his cock slid into the omega, the omega whined, his hands pulling Liam closer, “from the circle of my arms.”

Niall could not reply, he had nothing to say, so he did not. Instead, he cupped Liam’s face, nudging the alpha to attach their lips again. He could forget about everything when Liam was with him. So he let himself dream. He dreamt about a future with this alpha. Niall let himself dream of a future he knew he could not afford.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Harry watched Louis as the alpha got ready. Louis was wearing jeans again. Harry frowned, “are not you supposed to wear trousers?”

Louis shook his head, “I don’t like formals.”

Harry took out his own trousers, “but that is the dress code?”

Louis huffed out a laugh, “I set rules here.”

Harry turned to stare at the alpha with an unimpressed glare. Louis took a glance at him and reached out. Harry swallowed when the alpha bopped his nose with a smile, “sorry for being obnoxious, autumn.”

Harry rubbed his nose, his eyes glued on the alpha, “autumn? Who is autumn here?”

Louis laughed, “You are. You are autumn to me.”

Harry scrunched his nose, “who told you that you can call me with nicknames now?”

Louis shrugged with a smile, “no one. I decided it myself.”

Harry chewed his lips, “why autumn?”

Louis looked at the shirts in front of them with a thoughtful expression, his fingers running over them, “cause it is my favourite season.”

Harry did not know what to say to that. He watched Louis pulling out a shirt.

“Who are you going with?” Harry asked, gnawing his lips at Louis’ attire.

“Well, I got some proposals,” Louis said, his eyes still on the shirt in his hands, he looked sceptical with his choice, “but I am going alone.”

Harry frowned, “why?”

Louis smiled, his eyes finally turning to Harry, “I was waiting for a proposal but I did not get it.”

Who? Harry looked at Louis’ face. Who was Louis talking about? Was it Eleanor? Or someone else? Well, Louis was quite popular in this pack, maybe a lot of omegas and even betas asked him out. Obviously.

Harry looked at his own rose on the table, its petals crimping now.

“Who is your partner then?” Louis asked, his hands still playing with the shirt.

Harry shrugged, his eyes falling on the rings on his fingers, “I am not going.”

Louis now turned on his feet to face Harry, “why? What happened?”

Harry rubbed his index finger on his wedding ring, “I did not ask anyone. If I go alone, I will be bored.”

Louis frowned, “but why not, Harry? This is like a festival in our pack. You will love it. It is a massive business. Singing, dancing, games, rides, we arrange everything for this. You will love it. Come on.”

Harry shook his head, “I don’t know anyone here. I am not sure if Niall will be fine with me clinging to him for the whole night. I will be bored.”

Louis shook his head, “you will be bored if you stay here.”

Harry stared at the alpha, watching the alpha’s back muscles flexing when he shrugged the shirt on.

“You are going alone. Then I can go alone too. Right?” Harry asked.

Louis nodded, “yeah. Sure. People just love going to the party with their chosen partners. If you don’t have anyone, come alone. That is fine.”
Harry nodded, turning away. He would go alone.

---

Harry squirmed under Louis’ heavy gaze. The omega was finally ready in his off-white blouse and black dress-pant. According to Harry, he looked perfect but the moment he was out of the washroom, Louis had frowned. The alpha’s eyes lingered on Harry’s neck and then glided down on the omega’s chest.

Harry gulped when the alpha stepped closer, his eyes hard as he looked at Harry’s neck. The woody smell of an alpha’s frustration was emitting off Louis. Harry clasped his hands in front of him, trying not to buckle under the heavy gaze. Louis stopped when their toes touched, his eyes finally coming up to meet Harry’s.

“You can’t wear this,” Louis said, his voice blank, dangerously blank. Harry tried to breathe through his nose and faltered when he smelt the pheromones the alpha was giving off.

“Wh-why?”

Louis pointed at his neck, “You don’t have my mark there. People will talk. Plus it is too revealing. You are an unmated omega, Harry. If you don’t wrap your neck in a scarf, your scent comes off strongly.”

Harry looked down at the blouse he was wearing, it was his favourite one. He customized it.

“But, I love it!”

Louis shook his head with a grim face, “I am sorry, Harry. I don’t want to stop you like this but my pack members think we are mated. If you go wearing it, people will see that you don’t have my mark. Your neck is revealed too.” Louis stared at Harry’s neck again, “you smell, Harry.”

Unconsciously Harry placed his left hand on his neck, rubbing the place of mating. His omega-self whined when Louis’ eyes darken. The alpha visibly reached out, his right hand gripping Harry’s forearm.

“Don’t rub your neck like that,” Louis hissed, his hand forcefully pulling Harry’s hand away from his neck, “you are thickening the scent.”

Harry pulled his hand free from Louis’ grip, his face reddening when he felt his body reacting to the alpha. Harry held Louis’ gaze and rubbed his neck again. He did not know why he was doing it but his omega was shoving at his willpower. Harry whined when Louis growled, the alpha’s eyes hardening. Harry’s neck felt itchy.

“What are you doing?” Louis gritted out, his alpha-self coming out through his eyes.

Harry shrugged, “my neck itches.” He could feel goose-bumps rising on his skin, the hair on his nape curling up. There was a burning sensation around his neck, it was spreading.

Louis took a step closer to Harry in a daze, his chest rumbling when his alpha growled at the untamed omega in front of him. Harry whined, his eyes squeezing shut, his left hand rubbing the joint of his shoulder and neck.

“It hurts, Louis,” he whined. Louis watched the omega’s eyes squinting shut. It was a reaction an omega gave when a potential alpha was around. It was not the omega’s fault. If their neck was left bare before mating and an alpha came in touching distance, the omega pheromones wafted more persistently. The alpha would provoke it with his scent. Louis knew how Harry would lose his rational mind soon and drop into the haze of want and lust. Louis reached out, holding Harry’s biceps with a tight grip.

“No, Harry. Concentrate. Don’t let your omega take over now. Come on,” he urged, shaking Harry. Louis watched with horror how Harry leaned closer, his eyes wild and scared but his body getting warm.

He would go into heat if it continued. Louis tried to shove Harry away. His alpha growling when Harry wrapped his arms around Louis’ neck, mouthing against the alpha’s jaw.

“Harry, stop it. What are you doing?” Louis hissed, his hands coming to rest on the omega’s waist. Louis could not understand how he ended up here. The omega smelt like freshly bloomed roses and sandalwood. His scent enveloped the alpha.

“Louis, it hurts,” Harry whined, his hands roaming over Louis’ body, patting, touching, grasping. Louis’ alpha was howling, trying to be free and blend in with Louis’ rational mind. Louis had to fight against it and bring Harry back to senses at the same time.

“Nick,” Louis whispered in Harry’s ear, his lips touching the omega’s earlobe, “think about Nick. You love him. Rein yourself, Harry. Come on.”

Harry fluttered his eyes, trying to focus, he looked at the alpha in front of him. Those blue eyes betrayed everything he was saying. Harry could see Louis’ resolve breaking. Harry was scared. He did not want this. He did not want to let his omega take over. But the animalistic side of them was reacting to each other.
Harry’s human side slowly retreating and his wolf-self taking over. Harry tried to shove Louis away. Louis stepped away easily, as if he was trying to get away from Harry.

Pain shot through Harry’s veins. Like electric shock. Like someone was cutting off his organs with a saw. Harry doubled over with a pained gasp. His hands reached out towards the alpha for help.

“Do something,” Harry coughed, his body getting warm with time. Someone was choking him. His eyes watered when he realized if it went on, he would slip into heat. Harry did not want it. No. He did not want to fall prey to Louis’ hands. He would not lose himself in front of Louis.

No.

Louis looked like he was fighting his own battle. His eyes flashed silver. Harry could see the black wolf’s outline in Louis.

“Go lie down on the bed, Harry,” Louis said, pointing towards the bed with a slight shove. Harry whined, trying to reach out to Louis.

Louis growled, “I said, go and lie down, Harry.”

Harry’s knees almost gave up then.

It was the alpha voice.

Louis was using his alpha voice.

Harry turned on his heel, almost falling as he wobbled his way towards the bed to comply. He hated that part of himself. He hated how his omega would do anything if Louis asked in that tone. He collapsed on the bed, resting on his back. His eyes tearing up. He looked at Louis with tears welling in his eyes, “it hurts, Louis.”

Harry watched Louis discarding his clothes. The omega mewled when Louis stood beside the bed just in his jeans. His upper body undraped. Louis’ eyes took Harry in. Harry’s omega preened under the alpha’s gaze. Harry reached out, his hands grasping for Louis.

Louis came to sit on the bed on his knees, looking down at Harry. Harry arched his back, trying to get up. Louis held Harry down, “stay still.”

Harry watched the alpha lying down beside him. His arms reached out to touch.

Louis took a deep breath and turned his face towards the ceiling, his arms opening for the omega.

“Use my scent to calm yourself. Come on,” he pulled Harry to rest on his left arm, where the omega could rest his head against the alpha’s neck, “sniff me.”

Harry closed his eyes. It was humiliating for him but he was more ashamed about Louis’ state. Louis was indifferent. Harry’s omega was hurting when he realized the alpha was not affected. At all. Harry had never felt like it. He was always wanted, cherished. Louis did not even look at him. Harry shifted on the spot.

“Make it fast,” Louis urged, his eyes still on the ceiling, arms opened for Harry. Harry rolled closer, his left hand going for Louis’ midsection and his head rested on Louis’ neck. Harry rubbed his nose on Louis’ jaw. His omega gasping for more. Harry rubbed his nose on Louis’ neck, whining when Louis' arm came to hold him closer.

“Feeling good?” Louis whispered, his eyes fluttering. Harry watched how the alpha was still looking at the ceiling. He reached out, pulling at Louis’ jaw. The alpha gave in, his head turning to look down at Harry. Harry nosed along the high cheekbones. His rational mind forgotten.

“It still hurts,” Harry spoke, his voice trembling.

Louis frowned, “what is hurting, Harry? Your neck?”

Harry bit his lips, shaking his head. That was humiliating. Could the alpha not sniff the odour?

“M-my,” he coughed, burying his face against the alpha’s throat, “my back hurts.”

Harry shivered when he felt Louis’ palm rubbing in the middle of his back, “here? Shall I rub it for you?”

Harry frowned with frustration. Was the alpha that thick or he wanted Harry to explicitly say it? Instead, Harry reached back, holding Louis’ wrist he manoeuvred the alpha’s palm downwards. His face heating up when the alpha’s palm rested on his arse.

Harry could feel Louis’ body stiffening. He could feel when the alpha stopped breathing for a moment. Then Harry squinted his eyes shut, his voice caught in his throat when Louis’ index finger tentatively rubbed against Harry’s hole.

“Louis,” Harry gasped. The alpha dipped his index finger into the clothed rim of the omega.

“The point,” Louis cleared his throat, “the point behind my ear. Sniff there. Try to relax. Think about something else.”

Harry complied, his nose finding the place easily. Harry closed his eyes, inhaling as much as he could. His omega cried out in frustration. He wanted to discard his clothes too. The smell intensified there, behind Louis’ ears. It was closing in on Harry, making a cocoon around him.

“You are more than an omega, Harry.” Louis’ voice came, “you are an individual with strong morals. Concentrate on your human instinct. Let it guide you back out of this fog. Relax. You will be fine.” Louis’ voice was soothing. Harry concentrated on Louis’ heartbeat. It was erratic but Harry’s heart matched it, beating in sync.

Harry placed his leg on Louis’ lower stomach, caging the alpha in. His lips parted in a soft gasp when Louis rubbed his thumb against the crack of his arse-cheeks. Harry could feel his omega settling down. As if, the alpha was reigning in the omega. Harry could feel his breathing coming back to normality.

“Feeling fine?” Louis asked, his hand rubbing on Harry’s back.

Harry’s head was clearing slowly. He inhaled the alpha once more. His mind finally registered everything. His omega subdued now. The room came back in focus.
Harry gave a nod, his throat too dry to generate words. He untangled his fingers from Louis’ grasp, lightly pushing at Louis’ hand.

Harry felt when the alpha went stiff, “good,” Louis’ voice sounded hoarse, “you are getting better.”

Harry whined when Louis tried to untangle himself. His eyes snapped open. Louis was staring at him too. Blue eyes measured Harry. Harry noticed the alpha’s lips trembling. As if, he wanted to say something but restrained himself.

“I will go and bring you a scarf, yeah?” Louis whispered, “can you try and stay quite now?”

Harry looked away, nodding, “I am fine.”

Louis sighed. He left the bed. Harry wanted to die with shame. How could he cling to Louis like that? How could he be so desperate?

Now Louis would be smug about it.

He turned to face Louis when the alpha coughed. Harry gritted his teeth, sitting up. He took the offered scarf and wrapped it around his neck hurriedly. Louis turned to go but Harry could not let him leave like that.

“If you think you are important and all that, don’t. My omega would react the same way with any other alpha out there. You are nothing special.” He rubbed his face with his hands, “I wish Nick was here to take care of me.”

There was no reply. Harry looked up from his palms.

Harry watched Louis. He watched the alpha silently going to pick up his shirt. He watched the alpha getting ready. As time passed, Harry felt restless. He felt weak after such a drop. But what made him edgy was Louis’ indifference. Louis looked stoic. The room felt suffocating. The tension was thick in the air. Harry rubbed his fingers together, his teeth sinking on his bottom lip.

“After a drop like that, you should be pampered,” Louis said, his back facing Harry, “call Nick or something. You need to be taken care of.”

Anger was not something Harry felt so fiercely before meeting Louis. Frustration was a close competitor. He thumped his fists on the mattress and sprang up. His eyes set on the alpha as he marched towards him. Harry gripped Louis’ right shoulder and forced the alpha to turn.

“Fuck you,” he hissed on Louis’ face, “fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.” Harry left the room with tears building in his eyes. He wiped them furiously, running past everyone who came in his way. How could Louis humiliate him like that? How could he talk about Nick and calling him just after doing those things to Harry? How could Louis be so indifferent? How cruel was his behaviour towards Harry? He let Harry lean on him and then cruelly reminded him that it was supposed to be Nick in his place. How cruel was Louis to look that cold? Was not he supposed to look after Harry? Louis did all that just because Harry was being desperate. He did not even offer a single word of assurance.

Harry let the tears fall after he left the pack-house. This torture was not something he wanted. No. God! He could not wait for these ten months to be over.
“You are killing me here, Louis. Do you even know that?”

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Louis looked down at the broken mirror, his knuckles bleeding. Louis wiped his eyes. No. He would not cry. He would not let his feelings consume him again.

“You are killing me here, Harry. Do you even realize that?”

Chapter Text

Harry did not go back in the pack-house. He sat on the steps of the main door. No one was in the house. They left as soon as the sun was setting. Harry looked at the pink sky turning lilac in front of his eyes. He wiped his eyes. The evening was his favourite time of the day. Something like longing always filled Harry’s heart when he looked at the setting sun. He liked to sit and watch the sunset, just letting the evening breeze flow around him. Today the same sunset made him feel restless. Harry did not want the night to come. He did not want to spend any more time here, with that alpha messing up his feelings. He rubbed his hands persistently on his body, in hope that, maybe, maybe if he rubbed with enough force, the smell of Louis would go away. He cried harder when the smell did not fade. It was clasping him even more tightly. Harry bit down on his hand, trying to silence his voice.

There were footsteps behind him and Harry knew that sound. He felt when Louis stopped just behind him. He cried harder. He felt repulsed. How was he affected like this?

Louis sat beside him, his left side almost touching Harry. They both looked ahead at the skyline. None of them said anything. Harry wiped his eyes, in the process his eyes fell on Louis’ knuckles. They were bleeding. Harry stared for a moment. Noticed how swollen and red it looked. Louis was shaking it time to time, as if it was burning. Harry looked away.

Louis breathed out beside Harry. Harry stiffened when the alpha shifted in his space, trying to find a comfortable position.

“I don’t know if I shall tell you this or not,” Louis spoke, his voice hushed in that melancholy atmosphere, “you confuse me, Harry. You drive me up the wall. What am I doing wrong?”

Harry flinched when Louis held his bicep, slowly turning the omega to face him. Harry held his head stubbornly down, no, he would not let the alpha see his red-rimmed eyes.

“I am thick headed. I know,” Louis let out a pained laugh, “I am an alpha and that is not an excuse to hurt you. I am sorry. I have never,” Harry waited with baited breath for the alpha to continue, “I have never been in a relationship. I don’t know how to treat an omega. Am I doing something wrong? Please guide me through this, Harry.” Harry let his posture loosen when he heard the sorrow in that crispy voice.

He did not look up though.

“Guide me to be the one you at least feel comfortable with. Your tears,” Harry risked a glance at the alpha in front of him and immediately looked down when he saw how glossy those blue orbs were, “they hurt me. I am a novice. I don’t know what makes you sad or happy. Did I hurt you when I asked you to wrap the scarf around your neck? Did I come off too pushy? I am sorry. I was just… I was just scared that you would get hurt. Someone might attack you if you go out like that. I did not want you to feel like I am restraining you. Please don’t feel like that!”

Harry looked up this time, his eyes meeting Louis’ side profile. The alpha was facing forward again, his head bowed. Harry noticed how pale the alpha looked. His cheekbones were prominent. Dark circles prominent under those sharp eyes. He looked tired. As if, someone sucked away the energy from him. Harry noticed how the knuckles were still bleeding. Why was that not healing?

“Tell me if I am doing something wrong. Maybe I am doing everything wrong. Just tell me. Don’t leave it like that. Maybe you are expecting me to understand what is going on but I don’t. I really have no clue why you are so upset suddenly,” Louis faced the omega with a small, tentative smile, “teach me to be a better alpha. I might need it for my future.”

Harry looked down again, “I am not a teacher, Louis. I don’t like you. There is no reason for it.”

Harry watched Louis smiling at the horizon, his eyes sliding over the sky, “So you hate me for no reason?”

Harry did not answer it, his eyes still on the bruise on the alpha’s knuckles. It was not healing!

“Why did you leave the room like that?”

Harry shrugged, his inside churning, “I was smothered by your scent. You reek.”

Louis chuckled, “I am an alpha. Of course, I smell strong.”

Harry shook his head, “Nick does not reek. He smells so good.”

Louis stood up, brushing his hands on his thighs, “that because he is your alpha. You love him and your scents blended together when you…” he coughed.

Harry frowned at the ground.

When you?

“If you don’t want to go to the fest, it is alright. I will make some excuse,” Louis took a step, stopping on his path when a hand reached out to hold his wrist. Louis looked back to see Harry was looking up at him from the steps. His eyes fixed on Louis and his expression puzzled.

“Our scents blended when we?” The omega asked.

Louis looked away from him, “when you had sex or something?” His voice came out rough.

In a second, Harry was pulling at Louis’ shoulder, forcing the alpha to face him. Louis stumbled to his feet to keep his balance.

“What did you say?” Harry asked. Louis looked at the omega. Harry was glaring at him now. They stood in front of each other. Harry leaned forward with his eyes shooting daggers at Louis.

Louis frowned at Harry; he could not understand why the omega looked that shocked. Maybe he was not ready to tell Louis that.

“It is fine, Harry. I am no one to judge you. He is your alpha you can have sex with…” a loud cracking noise echoed through the air. Some birds flew off from the trees around them. Louis placed his left hand on his burning cheek and stared at the ground. His ears heated up with anger. He was mortified. The alpha inside him bellowed, telling him to force the omega into submission, to show the omega its place. The Alpha’s pride was hurt. Louis faced Harry finally. Louis held himself back when he finally took in the omega’s state.

Harry was breathing heavily, his eyes moist and expression hurt. Harry took a step closer to Louis, his hands coming up to grip Louis’ un-buttoned shirt-collars. Louis stood his ground when the omega leaned closer. They glared at each other.

“How dare you!” Harry hissed on Louis’ face, jerking him, “How dare you to assume something like that? How dare you think that I had sex with Nick? Moreover, how disgusting of you to think that even if I did, you can judge me? How could you assume it even before asking me? You just announced it, like; you know it is the truth. Why can’t you just ask before you do shit like that?” he pulled Louis closer, “yes. Yes, I kissed him. I kissed him every time we met. I wanted him to fuck me but we did not do it. Not even once! I wanted to wait. I wanted my first time to be special. When I will be his mate,” he shouted the last part. He shoved at Louis’ chest, “how dare you? Even if I had sex, how dare you say it like that?”

Louis gripped Harry’s wrists in his hands, jerking the omega forward. Their foreheads touched when Harry stumbled over Louis. Both of them breathed heavily. Their eyes on each other.

“I did not judge you. You can do whatever you want! How do you always end up thinking so bad about me?”

Harry tried to pull away. The tip of Harry’s nose turned red when he smelt the alpha. Louis still smelt like lilac and something like burned wood after a rainy day. Harry let out a whine.

Louis pulled away then, “I am sorry.”

“You do your mistakes and then you say sorry. How do you expect me to forgive you?”

Louis shrugged, “I guess, we will always fight like this, then?”

Harry did not answer.

A horn was heard behind them. They both whirled around to see a Jeep coming their way.

Zayn and Niall.

“Hey?” Louis asked when the jeep stopped in front of the pack-house. Harry wiped his eyes discreetly but when he looked up, Niall was frowning at him with concern. Those blue eyes scanned Harry with worry colouring them. Harry looked away.

“Niall asked me to make this detour. He was sure that both of you were not ready to leave yet. So we thought to give you a ride.” Zayn motioned for them to hop on.

Louis took a sideways glance at Harry and then smiled at Zayn, “thanks for coming, Zayn.”

“I can go to the back seat if you want to sit here?” Niall offered to Louis. Louis declined with a smile. He motioned for Harry to climb first.

Harry sat on the back seat, facing the other side and Louis sat in front of him. Their eyes met when Zayn pulled off.

Louis looked away first.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

“You smell like him,” Niall’s first words as soon as they were inside the field after an entrance procedure where Harry was listed as Louis’ partner.

Harry looked at the omega and then at the said alpha. Louis was smiling at Natalia, one of the female omega from the security service of the pack. Harry noticed how Louis placed his hands around the omega’s waist and leaned down to whisper something to the omega’s ear. Natalia laughed soon enough, playfully slapping Louis on the chest.

“I fell into a drop,” Harry shrugged, looking down at the wine in his hand, “he helped me out of it.”

When Niall did not reply, Harry looked up to see the omega was watching Louis, those blue eyes calculative as he stared at the alpha.

“Well, that explains the slow healing process,” Niall muttered.

“Slow healing process? What do you mean?” Harry looked at Louis. The field was decorated with shaped fairy lights, lanterns and sky lanterns. Some were flowing slowly over Louis’ head, washing the alpha’s features in the soft yellowish light. Louis' hair looked golden under the lights and then the alpha looked up, smiling at the sky. The orange glow illuminated his face. Those high-cheekbones reflected the fire over his head, those eyes flashing bluest when moonlight flickered over them.

“His knuckles, Harry,” Niall brought Harry back to the present. Harry looked down at the alpha’s knuckles and yes, they were still swollen and scratched. Harry frowned when Louis rubbed them.

“Why is it not healed yet?”

Niall huffed, “because he helped you out of your drop by using his own energy. His wolf is tired and weak right at the moment. He had to give his own energy off to you to charge you up. That is why you are here. Otherwise, you would have been staying home, unconscious. There are only two ways an omega can come out of a drop.”

Harry did not know all these things but it was no surprise that Niall was aware of these things. He was the doctor’s son after all.

“Two ways? What is the other way?” Harry frowned at the alpha, “I am sure there was another way. I did not have to smell and cling to him like that to recover. How pathetic of him to use my vulnerability like that? I knew he could have done something else.” He was angry now. How could Louis just use him to fulfil his own dirty fantasies? Harry would ask about it when he got the time.

“You come to conclusions too easily!” Niall exclaimed, his face scrunched up in disbelief. Harry raised his brows at his friend. As usual, Niall was supporting Louis.

Niall shook his head, “don’t blame Louis for everything that is wrong with this situation, okay? Trust me when I say this, he did not choose to be in this place. You want to know what the other way is?”

Harry nodded dumbly; he had never seen Niall so angry before. The omega was talking so fast as if he had to let out those words before his courage evaporated.

Niall pulled his own shirt-collars away from his mating spot, revealing the scar for Harry to see, “this was the other way.”

Harry looked the scar, two teeth marks rested side by side on the omega’s pale skin. It was not a neat work. It looked marred and blotched. Harry did not know what to say.

“I presented when I was coming out of the pond. Liam was just there, cutting some woods for us to use in that night’s bonfire.” Niall looked at the entrance of the field, not specifically at anything, “when my pheromones hit me there, I doubled over on the steps, crying out with pain.” Harry tried not to find the similarity in their situations, “Liam came down to help me up. He did not know what that smell was. Neither did I. But I liked his smell, I almost leapt at him.”

Harry watched how Niall’s cheeks were reddening, those eyes losing focus, “I did not budge when he tried to shove me away and maybe he did not want me to leave either. He was losing himself. I could feel it but I was in pain, I could not just untangle myself from his body,” The omega frowned, as if remembering that day was painful to him, maybe it was, Harry thought.

“He did not try after that. I remember his hands on me. I remember how he bent me over the steps and…” the omega coughed, his expression wretched, “and I remember him knotting me. He mated me there. In public, I was bare for everyone to see.”

Harry stumbled back, his eyes widening. Niall went on, “I remember the pain, Harry. I was not sure what to do. I let him have me. I liked him, of course, I did, but I expected my first time to be special. It was not,” Harry wanted to reach out and hold the omega in his arms but he was sure Niall would push away, “it was filthy. I was on the steps of the pond, pathetically crying and screaming as Liam took me from behind. It calmed my omega, yes, when Liam bit down on my neck, my omega was satisfied, but my human side? I was humiliated. And you know what hurt me the most?”

Harry reached out this time, wiping Niall’s eyes, he felt how cold Niall was under his touch, “everyone was watching, Harry.” Harry gripped the wineglass in his hand, trying not to cry, “Everyone was watching from a distance, some hooting even. Like that was normal. Like Liam was winning a match for them to witness. As if, I was a possession Liam won or something. I wanted to hide, I was bare, and it was my first time. I was looking at them, trying to reach out for help but no one came to help.” A dry heave left Niall’s throat.

Harry took the omega’s hands in his, squeezing them, Niall did not acknowledge it though; he was lost, as if back to that day. Those blue eyes shone with tears, a smile made its way on his lips after that, “then suddenly Louis was there. I watched him descending the steps with speed. His mouth moving, he was screaming at us. He ripped me away from Liam,” Harry just listened, his chest going through a spasm. His hands shook beside him. Harry could not look away from Niall.

“I struggled in Louis’ arms too. I thought he pushed Liam away because he wanted me next,” Niall shuddered, “but then I was wrapped in a coat. I was cocooned in Louis’ arms as he snarled at Liam for doing that. I was unconscious after that.” Harry’s chest expanded, he risked a glance at the alpha and Louis was talking with Zayn, his eyes crinkled as he smiled. Harry looked away.

“He took me away from that place, in his house. I was placed in Jay’s bed and taken care of for at least one week. I remember how Louis punished everyone who was there and did not help me. I know how Louis punished Liam by sending him away from the pack. Liam had to come back soon though, my omega was getting restless without that scent but that is another story. Do you get the point, Harry?” Blue eyes looked up at Harry. Harry had no words to say, he took a large gulp of the wine and looked down, his boot scrubbing against the grass.

Niall placed his index finger under Harry’s chin, forcing him to meet Niall’s eyes. When Harry did, Niall smiled, “I am not telling you that you are wrong in being cautious of alphas. You should. Of course, you should but it is high time you give Louis a benefit of doubt. That guy could have taken me that day; he was an alpha too, right? He did not. Today he could have taken you. Hell, you are legally his, but did he knot you? No!”

Niall took Harry’s palms in his, squeezing them, “I am not telling you to forget Nick. I know, you can’t. Nick is your alpha but you can be a bit more patient towards Louis, right? Cut that guy some slack. You are going to leave anyway. Why don’t you take some good memories with you when you leave? Yeah? He is not bad, Harry. He is way too good. I told you that I have my reasons to like him. Well, this is my reason and I am sure,” Niall smiled at Harry, “when you leave our pack, you will have your reasons too. Open your mind a bit about him. Let him show you how good he is. A chance, I am asking a chance for Louis because I know, that idiot will never ask you.” Niall laughed.

Harry bit his lower lip, “I can’t accept him as my alpha. Ever. I have my alpha, Niall.”

Niall nodded, “then accept him as a friend. Give him a chance to show you how good he can be as a friend.”

Harry looked at the alpha and then back at Niall, “can you really be friends with someone you resent? I can try to tolerate him after your words but friends? I am not sure, Niall!”

Niall nodded. His smile was good to see. Harry hugged him then, burrowing his face into Niall’s neck, he tried not to cry.

“I can’t believe you went through so much, Niall. I can’t tell you how strong you are. You are amazing. You still go on with your life after all that. You are still so positive and you still have the guts to love that brute. How do you do that? Does not he remind you of that day?”

Niall shrugged, “He reminds me of that day. But what can I do? I don’t have a choice. My omega accepted him as our alpha. I can try to go away and what happens? Nothing. I keep coming back to him. No matter what. I think, one day he will do something excessive to break the bond and I will be free. I hope that day comes. Until then, I am stuck here, Harry. I am emotionally and physically dependent on him.”

Harry squeezed the omega’s hands, “you will.”

Niall smiled at him, “so are you going to give Louis a chance?”

The answer was complicated. How Harry was feeling, it was complicated. It was a constant battle between his heart and his body. His heart was not ready to accept Louis, in any form. But his body was affected by the alpha. Harry could still feel those pheromones reacting to the said alpha. He could feel his restless omega whining at him for just a touch.

“I will think about it, Niall.”

Their chatter ended when Zayn came to ask Niall if he wanted to go and dance. Niall nodded eagerly, the omega loved dancing. Harry smiled as Zayn bowed to him and took Niall away.

Harry looked at his surroundings finally. His hands still nursed the same wine.

The field was glowing as Harry looked around. The yellow and white lights illuminated the trees around the field. Mason jars were hanging off the branches, moving slowly with the breeze. Their lights created shadows around the trees; it was giving the place a mysterious vibe. Harry turned to face the small gathering at the southern corner of the field. A piano and a small stage were set there, live music playing with some members dancing. Niall was giggling as Zayn twirled him. Harry smiled.

His eyes caught the fairy’s wheel next. It was a medium size one, rounding slowly as some pups and some couples sat in it. Harry could hear their happy shouts and laughter. Next, there was a merry-go-round. Pups of the pack sat in those seats and one of the betas was rotating it slowly. It was rotating at a medium speed.

Some lights were planted on the ground too, making a path for them to walk. Harry went towards the fairy’s wheel. There were some small shops on the way. One with shooting guns, one had a lottery, one had ring toss. Harry stopped on his track when he saw Louis was there, Eleanor, Stan, Oli and some other alphas and omegas surrounding him. Stan was trying to throw the ring and get it on the stake. He failed as soon as the ring hit the background though.

“You are horrible at this, mate!” Louis was laughing. Stan turned to glare at the alpha and his eyes fell on Harry. A big smile came up on the beta’s lips. He waved at the Luna.

“Hey, Harry!” everyone turned to face him when Stan shouted his name. Harry watched how Eleanor smiled at him and other omegas stopped leaning over Louis. The man in question turned his head sideways, not completely facing Harry.

“Hey,” Harry waved back, trying to get away from the stall as soon as possible.

“Where are you going? Come, join us, please,” Eleanor asked, beckoning him with a grin. Louis said something to her, Harry watched how she pinched the alpha with a mock glare.

“Err…” Harry could not find a word. His steps were hesitant as he went to stand beside Louis. Louis did not even acknowledge him, Harry nodded his greeting to everyone and Stan handed him some rings.

“Louis always wins this game. Come on, Harry, let’s show him that you can do better.” Eleanor giggled.

Harry looked at the rings in his hands and then back at Eleanor, “I am terrible at it, Eleanor!”

She shrugged, “so what? Louis will teach you. Is it fine, Louis?”

Louis paused for a second to look at her and then slowly faced Harry, his eyes found Harry’s as he nodded, “I can teach him if he wants?”

Harry peered at the alpha, who was staring at him with an unreadable expression. Harry did not know what to say but it looked like everyone around them was making decisions for them. In a second, Eleanor pushed Louis closer to Harry and Stan gave Harry’s right hand to Louis.

Louis touched Harry’s hand and forwarded it, “always stretch your hand forward and stand in a straight line with your target,” the alpha said. Harry tried not to focus on Louis’ body heat pressing against his back. Louis’ left hand pressed down on the middle of Harry’s back, “bend down a little; you need to be like a bow.” Harry turned to see that Louis’ face was centimetres away from his. The alpha was looking forward, his eyes focused on the stake in front of them. Harry noticed the red spot on the alpha’s jaw.

Something like a bolt of current ran through Harry. He left that mark. He bit along Louis’ jaw like that. Harry whipped his head forward. His breathing picked up.

“Now don’t move your whole arm. Just pull your wrist back towards your chest,” Louis covered Harry’s palm and did it with him, “and then let the ring go with a strong flick of your wrist.”

The ring was flying over the stakes. Harry watched when it landed on the red one at the end of the table. His insides brightened up when he saw it was the first prize. He could not believe it. For the first time, he won in ring-toss. That too, first prize!

“We won!” Harry jumped up and down on his feet and everyone around him clapped, laughing at his wide grin. Harry could not stop laughing. He bounced on his heels and turned back to see Louis was staring at him, without even thinking, Harry jumped into the alpha’s arms, hugging him around the neck.

“We won!” Harry giggled, his nose burrowed in Louis’ shoulder. His lips still stretched on a smile.

“Just look at them!” One of the female omegas cooed, efficiently breaking Harry’s trance. He detached his face from Louis’ neck and looked at the alpha. Louis was looking at him. Harry could feel that the alpha was not hugging him back. His hands did not pull Harry close. Harry let go with a bolt. His face reddened when everyone around them started teasing them. He risked a glance at the alpha and frowned. Louis looked unbothered, he took some more rings and placed them in Harry’s hands, “now you can do it on your own.”

“I will go and check out the other stalls,” he spoke above everyone and turned on his heels. Harry watched Louis leave. His eyes followed the alpha as he went around a stall, disappearing behind it. There were no stalls behind the field, was there?

“Why does he look so bothered today?” Stan asked aloud. Harry turned to see everyone was looking at the stall where Louis took a turn.

“He looked tired. His hands were bleeding too. When I asked if I shall bandage it or something, he denied it!” Sarah said, her eyes sorrowful.

“He is never like this. Maybe he is down today.” Eleanor observed then clapped her hands, “anyway, he will be fine. Harry,” Harry jumped when she called him, “let’s play one more round.”

Harry took a look at the shop, where Louis had disappeared and then back at the stall. His mind was telling him to just forget about the alpha. Louis was not his subject to think about. Harry should ignore Louis. What he did, what he felt was not Harry’s business.

“I,” Harry hesitated, “I think, I will go and check on something,” Harry told them. He turned to go towards the direction of Louis.

He could hear giggles behind him. With heated cheeks, he ignored them.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Louis was smoking when Harry found him. His back leaning against the bark of the tree and his head tipped upwards as he let out ring after ring of smoke.

Harry watched him from a distance. Watched how moonlight was gleaming over Louis’ white shirt. It was unbuttoned, the golden skin of his chest exposed. Louis let out another ring and closed his eyes, letting the breeze ruffle his quiff.

“What are you doing here, Harry?”

Harry jumped on the spot. So the alpha knew he was there. Harry stepped forward, stopping when he was mere inches away from the alpha.

“I don’t need to tell you about my every move, do I?” Harry shrugged.

Louis’ eyes were still closed; he put the cigarette in his mouth and took a drag, letting the smoke come out of his nose. Harry watched the process. He did not know why he was there either.

“If you don’t have anything to say then go back. Enjoy the fest,” Louis said, his eyes fluttered open.

“I can do what I want. Stop instructing me,” Harry whispered, trying to sound angered but it came out as petulant.

Louis chuckled, shaking his head, “I am just doing what is best for you. You know?”

Harry frowned at the alpha, “what? You are trying to boss me around and that is good for me?”

Louis shrugged, letting the cigarette fall on the ground. He smashed the flaming tip of the cigarette with the tip of his boot, “I am weak at the moment, physically, mentally and emotionally. If you stay with me like this, I might,” the alpha coughed, not meeting Harry’s eyes, “I might do something unforgivable.”

Goose-bumps appeared on Harry’s skin, he gulped. The alpha was not looking at him but suddenly Harry realized how strong the alpha’s scent was. That place was dark, as it was the back of the field. Every shop was facing the centre and the lights were brightening up the field. This side was illuminated with just the moonlight. There was no one around them. Harry looked back at the narrow alleyway. It was at least thirty steps away from him. If Harry screamed, no one would hear him. He turned back to see the alpha’s eyes were on him. Blue orbs shining brightly as the moonlight shone through them.

“Go back, Harry.” Louis pointed towards the pathway with a jerk of his head.

Harry did not move. Instead, he took a step closer to the alpha. Watched how the alpha growled at his stubbornness. Harry stopped when they were centimetres away. Louis was leaning against the tree, so when he stood up properly, there was barely any gap between them.

“Stop playing with me if you are not ready for the consequences,” the alpha snarled.

Harry took a hold of the alpha’s collars, pulling him close, “what are the consequences then? What can you do after all? Show me.”

Something like fury flashed through Louis’ eyes, he gripped Harry’s waist and took a swift turn. Harry gasped when his back hit the tree, his hands coming to rest on Louis’ shoulders. Harry gripped the alpha’s shirt there, pulling him closer. His omega was tired of resistance and fights. His omega was beating him down with time.

Just a touch. Let him touch. For a moment.

Harry whined when Louis pressed his whole body against the tree. They were touching from chest to knees, their legs entangled.

“Show me the consequences, Louis,” Harry muttered, his hands digging into the alpha’s shoulders.

Louis closed his eyes for a second, breathing heavily, “what are you trying to achieve, Harry?”

Harry smirked, “nothing. I am just trying to prove that you don’t have an alpha bone in your body.” He let out a moan when Louis rutted down on his groin. Their hips moved together. Both of them tried to inhale the other as much as their wolves crave.

“Your omega is still not satisfied. Right?” Louis hissed in Harry’s right ear, his lips touching the shell. Harry ignored the question, his lips on Louis’ neck, biting with every frustration he had pent up. He mewled when Louis gripped his bum, slowly putting those hands in Harry’s back pockets.

“You know how to satisfy it then?” Harry asked, his teeth bare to bite the alpha. A chuckle was Harry’s answer. There was a tapping sound behind him. Harry jumped when he felt Louis pressing something against his ear. He looked at the alpha who was detaching himself from Harry now.

Louis’ lips twitched as he took Harry’s hand and helped him to hold the phone against his ear. Harry frowned at the alpha in confusion as Louis took two steps back.

“I know how to satisfy you. Yeah,” Louis said.

Harry could not reply when he heard the voice on the other side of the phone, “Hello? Harry?”

Harry’s eyes widen when he heard Nick’s voice. When he looked at Louis, the alpha was retreating. Louis turned his back then, walking away. His white shirt glowed under the moonlight.

“Hey, hi,” Harry whispered, his whole body sagging against the tree. His eyes followed Louis. He watched the alpha lighting another cigarette.

“You finally got the time to call? How are you, love?” Nick’s voice was like a wakeup call. Harry let out a breath. What was he doing?

“I am fine, Nick. How are you?” Harry bit his lips when his voice came out so formal. He coughed. His eyes went again on Louis. Louis was now near the alleyway.
“I am fine too. Why do you sound so lost, Harry? Is everything fine?” Nick sounded worried.

Harry nodded, “I am not sure, Nick. I don’t know.” He stood up straight when Louis turned to look at him at the curve of the road. His lips pressed down on the butt of the white stick. Harry balled his fist when the alpha smirked, bowed and left. Finally out of Harry’s sight.

“What? What happened? Is everything all right? Did Louis do something? Harry?”

Harry closed his eyes, “I went into a drop.”

There was a pause. Harry took that moment to sit down on the ground, his inside twisting with something unknown. He looked around, the place was dark and quiet. He did not feel safe here anymore but he was not strong enough to stand either.

“Did-did he try to touch you? Harry?” Nick was almost shouting now. Harry flinched at the tone.

“What? Where did you get that from?” he asked, his eyes still on the curve of the alley.

“You went into a drop and he was there, right? I am an alpha, Harry. I know how an omega smells normally and how they smell when they are in a drop. Your smell intensifies. It is impossible for an alpha to ignore that smell. An alpha’s wolf tries to take over the rational side of him. If he does not fuck you then it is not possible for you to come back to your senses so soon.”

Harry looked down, his eyes tightly shut, “he did not fuck me. I am fine.”

“How is that possible? How did he resist?”

Nick laughed then, “are you sure he is not already mated with someone else? Either that or he is impotent.”

Harry felt sick to his stomach, “What is wrong with you, Nick? I am telling you that I went into a mind drop and all you are worried about Louis’ sex life? Why do you think like that?”

Nick sighed on the other side, “I am not worried about you because you are fine as you said. I am just telling you the fact, Harry. Louis did not touch you as you said.”

Harry stayed quiet. He did not want to tell Nick about what actually happened. His omega was not ready to share the moment with someone.

“As an alpha, it is impossible to just ignore that smell. Either he is already mated or he is impotent.”

Harry gritted his teeth, his eyes burning with the lack of tears, “or maybe he has enough control of himself.”

He cut the call and turned his phone off then. A dry sob escaped him. He had never fought with Nick before. Harry could not remember when he last shouted at the alpha like this. He had never. Why did he feel defensive suddenly? He should have laughed along with Nick. What was wrong with him?

Harry stood up. Why the thought of Louis already mated to someone bothered him? How was it his concern anyway?

Harry wiped his eyes, marching towards the alley. He would go back to the pack house and rest. Enough! He needed some rest. That was all.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

The second song ended. Niall giggled when Zayn twirled him once more. The beta laughed along with him. Niall ignored every snide remark and looks around him. He was happy today. Really happy. He embraced Zayn, giggling in the beta’s arms.

“You are crazy!”

Zayn laughed, “Well, that makes you laugh this hard. So I am not complaining.”

Someone coughed behind them. Niall turned his head with a grin, a grin that faded as soon as he saw the person.

“May I have the next dance, Niall?” Liam asked, his posture stiff and eyes on the omega.

“I think…” Niall was not finished when Liam placed an arm around his waist, pulling him away from Zayn.

“Hey? I think he did not finish his answer!” Zayn said, holding onto Niall’s left forearm. Niall looked at the beta and then back at Liam.

Liam’s jaw ticked, his brown eyes fell on Zayn’s hold on Niall’s arm. He smiled at the beta, a sneer hidden underneath the smile, “I think you should know your limits, Zayn.”

Zayn took a step closer to Niall, his eyes fixed on Liam, “I think you should treat him like a respected individual, Liam.”

Niall smiled at Zayn but before he could answer, Liam was pulling him away from Zayn, “you are my friend, Zayn. I respect you. Don’t make me angry though.”

Zayn laughed, “What are you going to do? Punch me or something? Go on then. Niall has a right to choose and you can’t snatch it away from him.”

Niall looked at Liam. The alpha was already glaring at Zayn, his grip tight on Niall’s waist. Niall looked around, everyone was now looking at them. As if waiting for a fight to happen. Niall knew Zayn could not fight against Liam’s strength and he did not want any one of them to get hurt. So he placed his hand on Zayn’s wrist.

Both Liam and Zayn looked down at the omega. Niall shook his head at Zayn, his eyes pleading.

“You don’t need to be worried about me, Niall. Just tell him to fuck off and I will see how he stops you.” Zayn said.

Liam growled, “Enough, Zayn. Stop trying to provoke him!”

Zayn glared at Liam, “he has one night to enjoy the fest. Can’t you just let him? Go and fuck around with Sophia or something. Why are you here anyway?”

Niall watched Liam’s eyes blazing, “I just want a dance with him. I am his alpha, he can grant me one dance. Right?” Liam’s eyes fell on Niall.

“Oh! Ask? You just waltzed in, threw the question and pulled him away before he could even answer. Let him give his permission first.” Zayn shouted almost. Niall had never seen the beta this worked up before.

“He is mine!” Liam shouted back, “I can’t take this anymore. Since the starting of the fest, you are all over him. Making him laugh, dancing so close to him, touching him! He is mine!”

Niall wanted to run away. The music had stopped and now everyone was definitely looking.

“He is not a property!” Zayn shouted back.

“Shut up!” Niall shouted, holding his head in his hands. His eyes watered. Why was he subjected to these things?

“Niall?” Zayn and Liam both reached for him at the same time. Niall stepped away.

“Don’t you dare touch me! Both of you, stop! Why are you fighting for me? Stop it! Today you two are fighting for me in front of everyone, making a scene. Tomorrow you two will go back to being best friends and I will be back to being the slutty omega of the pack. You guys don’t need to hear the backlashes but I have to. People will talk and they will point at me and tell me how I made two best friends fight for me. No one has the guts to tell you guys anything. So they will make me the target. I have had enough of that. I can’t take it anymore. Stop it!”

When Niall stopped, Zayn and Liam were looking at him. Their face contorted with worry. Niall huffed, trying to gain his breath back.

“Excuse me,” Niall left the dancing ground. Liam tried to follow him but Zayn stopped him, “let him take some time, dude!”

Liam glared at the beta, “stay away from Niall!”

Zayn watched Liam go. His lips quirked up in a smile.

 

---***---- ---***---

 

Harry came out of the alleyway and into the field again. If he wanted to leave, he had to go through the main exit of the field. He walked faster with his head hanging low. In his hurry, he did not notice the person who was coming his way. They collided and Harry tried to clutch the hand in front of him to stand properly.

“Harry? Here you are and I am searching you everywhere!”

Jay.

Harry looked at her with a bewildered expression. Why was she looking for him?

Jay took Harry’s left wrist in her hand, pulling him along, “it is the final dance.”

Harry arched his brows in puzzlement, “final dance?”

Jay nodded, turning back to walk towards the dance floor, “yes. It is close to midnight. There is a saying in our pack that the Moon Goddess watches us from the crown position now and if you dance with your mate in front of her, she blesses you with eternal happiness and togetherness. After the dance, when you embrace or kiss your mate, she bonds you forever.”

Harry stumbled on his walk. His eyes widened. Kiss your partner? What?

He coughed, “everyone needs to do that?” He could see the dancing ground now. It looked crowded. It looked like everyone wanted to please the Moon Goddess.
“Yes. Everyone takes part in this. It makes your bond stronger. Who would not want that?” Jay laughed.

Well, Harry would not.

They stopped near the dance-floor. Harry noticed Niall in Liam’s arms; the alpha hugged the omega tightly to his chest. Niall was gripping Liam close, his face hidden from the crowd. It looked intimate.

“There is my son!” Jay exclaimed. Harry turned to see, Louis was standing with Zayn, their heads bent together as they talked.

“Louis!” Jay called.

Louis looked up and smiled at Jay. His smile dimmed when he saw Harry standing beside her. Harry leered at the alpha when he came towards them.

“Yes, mum?”

Jay pulled Harry forward and gave Harry a little push, Harry fell on Louis’ arms. They both stumbled a bit to find their footing.

Jay giggled, “You two better dance the final one. I am watching from there.” She pointed at Dan and walked away after winking at Harry.

Harry stood on his feet, looking at the alpha. Louis was looking at his mother’s back as she walked away.

“We can’t do the final dance.” Louis looked at Harry. His cerulean blue eyes determined.

Harry shrugged, “I don’t believe in these prejudices. It is not like we will be really bonded forever after this!” He wanted to laugh at the alpha’s superstitious beliefs.

Louis craned his neck sideways and stared at Harry with a bored expression, “I don’t know if you are thick or naïve!”

Harry furrowed his brows, the alpha was insulting him! He held his chin high, “what do you mean?”

Louis gestured towards the couples behind them, “at the end of the dance, you need to kiss your mate. What are you going to do? You flip the table when I dare to touch you even. I don’t want to create a scene.”

Harry gritted his teeth, he could see Jay watching them, so he plastered a wide smile on his lips, “do you have another choice? We will see.”

Louis exhaled, giving up. He glanced at Jay and then offered Harry his hand.

Harry looked at the offered hand and then back at the alpha. Louis was looking at him. His face glowed in the moonlight, casting shadow under the cheekbones. Harry placed his hand in the alpha’s.

Louis pulled the omega close. Their chests touched. Harry placed his left hand on Louis’ shoulder and Louis gripped the omega’s right hand in his left one. Green met blue under the moonlight as someone dimmed the artificial lights. Moonlight washed over the couples who were taking their place on the ground.

Niall looked anywhere but at the alpha in front of him. Liam was persistent though. He kept kissing the omega’s temple and nudged his chin until those blue eyes met his.

Zayn stood on the small stage and pushed some buttons. The music filled the air slowly.

Harry gripped Louis’ hand tightly, his feet moving with the alpha’s.

Niall let Liam lead him, his body reacting to the alpha’s movements.

“If you're not the one then why does my soul feel glad today?
If you're not the one then why does my hand fit yours this way?”

Louis pulled Harry closer, his eyes settled on the omega. Harry felt the alpha’s heart against his chest, beating slowly. His own heartbeat matched the rhythm. Harry maintained the eye contact. Their hands clasped tightly together when Harry stumbled. Louis gripped his waist even more tightly. They moved slowly. Harry’s hand in Louis’ and Louis’ arm around the omega’s waist.

“If you are not mine then why does your heart return my call?
If you are not mine would I have the strength to stand at all?”

Niall looked at his alpha. The one who always hurt him, the one his omega still loved immensely for no reason. He knew Liam was not his. His eyes got moist when he reminded himself that. Liam was not his. Liam was looking at him though. For now, the alpha looked content. Niall gripped the alpha’s shoulder tightly, in a faux belief that maybe that way he could make the alpha stay.

“I never know what the future brings
But I know you're here with me now
We'll make it through
And I hope you are the one I share my life with…”

Something was breaking inside Louis as the song went on. He looked at the omega in his arms. He knew Harry was not his but right at this moment, he was in Louis’ arms and Louis would give anything to believe that the omega felt the same for him. Louis let himself imagine a future, where they would dance their last dance like this. He let himself hope. Just for now. Just today. He pulled Harry closer, his eyes getting blurry. The omega came without any fight. His forehead touched Louis’. Louis closed his eyes. No, he would not see this fire consuming him. He would not hurt himself more than necessary. Harry was a passing cloud in his life. He would not wish for more.

“I don't want to run away but I can't take it, I don't understand
If I'm not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am?
Is there any way that I could stay in your arms?”

Niall could not stop his tears anymore. They fell. He did not look away from Liam though. He did not hurry to wipe them away either. He let the alpha see how he felt. He let the alpha see how broken he was. Niall held his head high, looking at Liam as he cried. He wanted the alpha to see those drops. He wanted the alpha to feel those emotions. Liam pulled him closer, hugging him now. Niall placed his head on the alpha’s chest, where the heart was beating erratically. Was he affected then? Niall let himself hope. For now. For that moment.

“If I don't need you then why am I crying on my bed?
If I don't need you then why does your name resound in my head?
If you're not for me then why does this distance maim my life?
If you're not for me then why do I dream of you as my wife?”

Liam wanted to know how a writer wrote a song like this. How was it possible to reflect his thoughts like this? He could not stay away from Niall. When the omega was in Zayn’s arms, laughing and happy, Liam’s inside was breaking. He was scared. He could not shake off the image of Niall leaving him for someone else. He did not know a mere thought could scare a person that much. Liam looked down at Niall’s head against his chest. Yes, he dreamt of this omega as his mate. He did. In his heart, in his deepest thoughts, he imagined a future with Niall in his arms. Like that. A happily ever after.

“I don't know why you're so far away
But I know that this much is true
We'll make it through”

Everyone was now so close to their partners that their breaths mingled. Liam touched Niall’s eyes with his lips, sucking away the tears that fell freely.
Louis kissed Harry’s temple, his eyes shone under Harry’s watch. Harry closed his eyes, they were moist for no reason. He placed his face in the crook of Louis’ neck, trying to wash away every protest and heartache with the alpha’s scent. His heart jumped when Louis tried to pull away. Harry clasped the alpha’s neck with his hands, their heads pulling away to look at each other. Louis placed his arms around the omega’s waist. Both of the couples moved side to side.

Slowly.

They looked at each other as if the world around them did not exist. Their eyes could not move away. Harry let his omega have this. He let his omega take away the night.

“And I hope you are the one I share my life with
And I wish that you could be the one I die with
And I'm praying you're the one I build my home with
I hope I love you all my life.”

Harry watched the alpha mouthing those words while looking intensely at him. Something like a tingling sensation ran through Harry’s fingertips to his toes. Harry could only look at Louis, his eyes stuck on those bluest orbs. His eyes fell on those thin lips as they moved with those words. His omega preened under the feel of the alpha’s eyes. Harry did not step away when Louis stepped closer.

“I don't want to run away but I can't take it, I don't understand
If I'm not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am?
Is there any way that I could stay in your arms?”

Niall tried to shove Liam away when the alpha kissed his cheeks so softly. He did not want to dream too much. He knew, when the dream would break, he would be the only one standing there, alone. He tried to look sideways but Liam did not let him. The persistent alpha clutched him close, mumbling words of endearment in his ears as they moved. Niall tried to block those words. His omega was savouring them with greedy ears but he knew it was futile. The alpha would leave after this dance. He would leave Niall here, standing alone to find his footing. Yet his ears perked up, taking those words in greedily. Niall could live with that. He could surely live with that.

“'Cause I miss you, body and soul so strong that it takes my breath away
And I breathe you into my heart and pray for the strength to stand today
'Cause I love you, whether it's wrong or right
And though I can't be with you tonight
You know my heart is by your side”

Louis’ eyes fell on Harry’s lips. Harry felt the stare. It was like a caress against his lips. He licked his lips unconsciously, watching the intensity in Louis’ eyes. The alpha leaned closer, his eyes not moving from Harry’s lips. Harry did not know what to do. His hands were clammy behind Louis’ nape and he realized with a shy flutter in his stomach, he was pulling the alpha closer. Both of them could feel the heat of their lips. Their noses touched. Harry looked down at those thin set of lips in front of him. His mind went blank as they stopped just inches away from each other.

“I don't want to run away but I can't take it, I don't understand
If I'm not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am?
Is there any way that I could stay in your arms?”

The song ended. Someone turned off every light on the field, immersing them in darkness. Well, not really darkness.

The moon shone brightly over their heads. They all looked like ghosts under the soft light. Every couple lost in their own world. One could only see their partner in that way.

Niall whimpered when Liam pulled him in for a kiss. Their lips met persistently. Liam pressed down on Niall’s lips, trying to pry them open. Niall resisted, his hands clutching Liam’s shirt tightly. Liam licked the omega’s lips, prodding the parting to widen. Niall let him, slowly his lips opening up to let Liam’s tongue meet his. Niall let out a shaky breath when Liam cupped his face, deepening the kiss.

 

Harry blanched on his feet when Louis pressed those warm lips against his forehead. Harry closed his eyes; the skin where Louis’ lips touched his forehead was burning, spreading warmth through his body. His omega was content now, settling down in Harry. Louis cupped Harry’s face, kissing his eyes next. Harry’s hands flew up to hold Louis’ wrist lightly, his body sagging against the alpha. Harry waited with baited breath as those lips grazed his cheeks next.

Then it was gone. Harry fluttered his eyes open to see Louis’ eyes, watching him. Harry stared right back, waiting. A small smile grazed Louis’ lips. He leaned close again. Harry did not close his eyes this time. He held his breath when Louis’ nose touched his.

But Louis moved away as soon as the lights were back on. Harry flinched, the harsh lights breaking the spell around him. He looked around. Everyone on the field was still in their partner’s arms, smiling or looking shyly at each other. Some were still kissing. Harry looked back at the alpha in front of him.

Louis was looking at the moon, his eyes reflecting the light. Harry watched the alpha. Why was his resistance breaking like this? Why did Harry feel like something was breaking inside him when Louis moved away? Was it the side effect of the drop?

Harry nodded to himself. That might be it. It was the side effect of the drop. Harry’s omega was reacting to an unmated alpha. It was not Louis in particular. It could be any other alpha.

The chain of thought broke when a frantic beeping sound of alarm was heard. Harry blinked his eyes because of the noise. He looked around to find the source of such a horrendous sound. Everyone was alert now.

Harry watched Zayn and Liam looking around frantically. What was happening?

“Louis!” A beta came running towards them, almost falling on his face.

Harry watched with horror how the beta fell in Louis’ arms.

He was bleeding.

His clothes were torn and his body heavily wounded. Gasps and murmurs filled the ground. Louis held the beta and Liam came rushing forward to help him, Zayn was not far behind. Louis sat down on his knees, holding the wolf close. He was trying to say something. Niall came to stand beside Harry; their hands came up to hold each other.

“Ro-rouges,” the man coughed out blood. Harry, Niall and everyone around them gasped. The beta tried to grip Louis’ shirt with his shaking fingers.

Louis tried to wipe away the blood with a worried expression, “Stefan, where? What is happening?”

The man, Stefan, coughed out even more blood, his eyes red with blood lining the veins, “th-they are searching for you, alpha!”

Chapter Text

“Th-the Styles-Tomlinson bo-border,” Stefan whimpered.

“Ste-Stefan! What…” Louis stuttered when the man’s hands touched the ground limply. His neck fell backwards in Louis’ arms.

“Niall!” Louis shouted, “Check him!”

Niall knelt down fast, pressing his index and middle fingers on the man’s pulse point in his neck. Everyone watched the omega with a frightened expression.

Niall shook his head, “He is unconscious. I think they are using some kind of herbs on their nails and teeth that can make a wolf weak and fall unconscious very soon.”

Gasps were heard throughout the ground. Harry gripped his fingers tightly together. His eyes fell on Louis, who was frowning down at the unconscious beta in his arms.

“They are searching for me,” Louis whispered to himself, looked down at the beta and then gritted out, “then I shall give them a visit.”

Cries of disbelief tore through the wolves around him. Harry watched Jay shaking her head in denial but keeping her mouth pressed together as Dan placed a hand on her shoulder. Harry tried not to feel the swoop of discomfort in his stomach. Uneasiness filled his guts.

“Don’t even think about it, Louis,” Liam spoke, his eyes boring into the unconscious beta’s form, “Niall? Call your nurses and tell them to take Stefan to the pack-hospital.” Niall hurried to follow the orders, already dialling a number. Liam turned towards Louis with a calm expression.

“I will go and see what the situation there is at the moment. You take all our mates back to the pack-house. Zayn,” the beta looked at Liam, “you come with me.”

Louis shook his head in denial, “no, Liam. I will go to the borders and see what is happening.” He stood up, looking down at Liam on the ground, “take everyone to the pack-house. Zayn, you go to the tower. I need you to update Liam in the pack-house about everything that happens at the border, so that if needed, Liam can take everyone away in our hidings. Come on now, move!” Louis shouted the last part for everyone to hear.

Liam and Zayn stood up, looking at Louis and back at each other. Their faces showed uncertainty.

“But, Louis…” Zayn stopped when Louis held up a hand.

“We don’t have time, Zayn. Do as I say.” Louis hissed. He was already discarded his coat.

Liam shook his head, “the pack leader should stay behind the fighters. You are more important than us.”

Harry watched with baited breath as the leader shook his head, “no, Liam. A pack alpha is nothing if the pack is destroyed. You can get another alpha anytime. You can’t get a whole pack back.”

Liam tried to argue but Dan spoke this time, “He is right, Liam. As a pack-alpha, let him take the decisions.”

Everyone settled after Dan’s words. Harry frowned at the ex-leader and then looked back at Louis. Louis was already out of his shirt. Harry’s eyes dropped on the alpha’s knuckles. They were still bruised. Harry shifted on his feet uncomfortably. Something like fear twisting in his heart.

“Everybody, move as I said,” Louis shouted.

Hustle broke through the wolves. Harry watched everyone gathering around Louis. Eleanor came to stand beside Louis with, what Harry assumed, the omega fighters. They looked determined as they stood beside the alpha.

Some alphas helped Stefan up on the stretcher the nurses brought when they finally showed up.

“Take him to the pack-house too, Niall. I want all of you in the house,” Louis ordered. His shoulders taut as the wolves around them shifted. He would shift when everyone was done.

“Do it fast, guys.” Louis was getting impatient. He needed to go and see what was happening there as soon as he could.

When he went to pull his mobile out of his pocket, he smelt the omega. Harry came to stand beside him with a hesitant expression. Louis looked at him with a raised brow but when the omega offered nothing, he went back to his mobile. The network was dim here, which was odd because they have a personal tower fixed beside their border. Maybe the rouges did something to it. Louis frowned.

Exactly how prepared were these rogues?

 

_____

 

Harry flinched when Zayn cursed loudly beside Louis, his eyes stuck on his mobile. Harry watched the beta’s face darkening with worry.

“What happened?” Louis urged.

Zayn shook his head with a deep frown, “they have omegas with them.”

Harry did not know why that was so astonishing. They were rogues; obviously, some of them would be omegas. He did not quite understand the beta’s concern. It looked like Louis had the same question.

“How does that matter?”

Zayn looked at the questioning alpha, “omegas in heat. They are luring our alphas like that. John said they have at least five or six omegas just outside our border. Waiting. I hope you know why?”

Louis grimaced, “for me!”

Harry could feel his insides churning. Omegas in heat? For Louis?

What?

“How is that a help?” Liam asked, incredulous.

Louis shook his head, his hands on his hips, “they planned this. They definitely planned this. I wonder how they got the time. Did someone betray us from this pack?” His eyes flew over the people around him.

“What do we do then?” Zayn asked.

Louis shrugged, “Nothing. The previous plan stays. I am going. I don’t see any other options.”

Zayn and Liam hesitated for a moment. Their eyes met over Louis’ head.

“They are in the middle of the heat, Louis!” Liam said, his voice tentative, “your alpha will be heady as soon as they come closer to you. I don’t think you will be clear-headed enough to fight.”

Harry watched Louis shook his head with a soft laugh, “I will be fine.”

“You are still bleeding,” Harry interjected before he could stop himself.

Louis’ eyes fell on him and then down at his own knuckles. He frowned at the hand and then shrugged.

“I will be fine.”

Harry squirmed with anger. Why was Louis so stubborn? In his urgency, Harry stepped closer to the alpha. His eyes took in those cerulean blue ones as they watched him with composure.

“You are weak today. What if they get you?”

A slow smirk flitted over Louis’ lips; he tilted his head back towards his left.

“Easy there, Harry. People might think you care for me.”

Liam and Zayn nodded at each other and stepped away, giving them an illusion of privacy among the hustle-bustle.

Harry balled his fists in vexation. His teeth gritted together with fury. Why was the alpha so stubborn?

He shook his head, “I don’t care for you. Not even a single ounce.” The alpha let out a soft laugh. Harry continued before Louis could interject, “but I think Jay and other members of the pack would be crestfallen if you die.”

Louis shook his head, “she is my mother. She vowed her loyalty to this pack. When I became the pack-leader, she signed me off for the people in this pack. If I die for them, she will be proud. And the pack-members? They will be sad until Liam becomes the new leader as per my will. I don’t have an heir so Liam will be the leader next if something happens to me.” Harry watched the alpha leaning closer to him, “you will be free too, Harry. If something happens to me, you will be free to go back to your pack as per the pack’s rules. You should be happy. You can marry Nick and set off to lead your happily ever after.”

Harry stomped his left foot on the ground, his heart swirling with anger and something like fear, “you can’t go to the battle while being so negative! Stop it!” Harry knew he sounded frantic but he had no other option, “you talk like you planned this! How can you go to the fight while thinking about dying? I don’t care about official announcements but I know everyone will be heartbroken if something happens to you. Don’t go there with this mindset, Louis.”

Louis shrugged, “forget about others, Harry,” something dangerous shone in those azure-coloured eyes, “you will be free.”

Harry stepped closer. The alpha was emitting heat, his bare torso shone under the moonlight, sweat reflected on his chest. Harry grasped the alpha’s arms under his grip, digging his nails in those meaty biceps with desperation.

“I don’t want to leave this pack in those circumstances, Louis! I don’t want to kill you! I will not take that kind of accusation.”

A time came in everyone’s life when they could not put their feelings into words. They could simply not speak their mind because even they did not know what they were feeling. It felt like their mind twisted with a pain they should not feel. No matter how much you blabbered, you could not put that swooping feeling into words.

Harry felt it when Louis shrugged him off. He stared at the alpha who was smirking at him.

Frustration always ended with tears for Harry.

Louis’ smirk was wiped off his face when a single droplet of tears touched Harry’s left cheek, sliding down until it reached the omega’s jaw. Louis reached out then, wiping it away as Harry stared at him.

“I will be fine, Harry. I was joking.” Louis mumbled, his eyes searching Harry’s face.

Harry recoiled back to himself, his eyes reddening, “stop joking. I can’t live with such blames. I don’t want you dead, Louis!”

Louis watched the omega with a soft expression, “I will be fine.”

Harry could not reply because suddenly Liam was calling for them to gather in a circle and telling Louis to shift.

Harry did not move. He stood where he was. His eyes fixed on the alpha.

With a small smile, Louis went down on his knees, his face directed towards Harry when he hunched on all fours.

Harry watched the alpha’s shift. His omega whined inside his ribcage when the alpha scrunched his face with the pain that was inevitable with the shifting. Every bone in the alpha’s body folded them to restructure in a form of the wolf. Harry gripped his hands together when Louis howled as his nails extended and those muscles on his skin were covered with fur. The omega pressed his lips together when he realized, Louis was still looking at him.

Harry looked back. His eyes frantically moved over the alpha’s body. His omega wanted him to shift too. He wanted Harry to join the alpha, go with him. He craved a run with the alpha in front of him.

Those crinkles under the alpha’s eyes transformed into furry lines and that button nose became a snout. Louis bared his molars with a roar. Harry shivered when Louis was finally in his wolf form. The black wolf waggled his tail in front of Harry, his eyes still set on the omega. Harry hunched down, his hands reaching out to touch the alpha’s face. The wolf licked Harry’s left palm when he placed it on the wolf’s cheek.

“Don’t let them get you,” Harry said, choking on a dry heave of breath, “please, Louis!”

The wolf just stared and then turned on its feet. He howled for his fellow wolves to follow him.

Harry felt Niall when the omega came to stand beside him. His eyes were set on the alpha, who howled once. Every wolf around him howled back and then Louis was leaping forward. Harry watched him run towards the exit. His eyes followed the black wolf as long as he could. Then the wolf was gone.

Harry let out a shaky breath. He could not understand why he was so anxious. His omega twisted and turned in him.

“Let’s go,” Liam shouted an order and everyone followed him silently. Niall held Harry’s hand throughout the journey back to the pack-house.

Harry was grateful for it.

 

---***---- ---***---

 

Raindrops pelted down on the windows of the pack-house.

Everyone in the pack-house sat quietly in the drawing room. Harry sat beside Niall and Jay. His eyes stuck on the mosaic pattern under his feet. His heart skipped every time the walkie-talkie in Liam’s hand came alive. He heard with rapt attention when Zayn notified them about the fight. How the rogues were more than fifty. He heard how Zayn said that Louis killed four members of the rogues already. Zayn was shooting some of the rogues down too. They were fighting skillfully. They were trained. Liam swore after hearing that. Where did the rogues take the training? Definitely in one of the neighbouring packs? Who was helping them?

Harry’s breathing hitched and then he was leaning against the backrest of the sofa when the beta informed them about the gunshot.

Someone shot Louis.

Liam had left the house exactly after landing the walkie-talkie on the floor.

Harry did not know what to do then. He just stared at the walkie-talkie while everyone around him went frantic. Jay was the only one who stayed silent, her hands shook but her expression was unreadable. She had taken Harry’s hands in hers and said while rubbing them, “my son is stronger than a bullet. He will be fine.”
Harry was not sure if she was assuring him or herself. Either way, he had just stared at her.

Harry did not want to say anything. Not when he could not locate his voice. Not when his heart was in knots.

His hands were shaking the next time Zayn spoke through the gadget just to inform them that Louis killed the main rogue. Harry did not say anything even then. Just took a deep breath, his chest shook.

His expression was blank throughout the night until it was the next day noon, exactly when Zayn said that the fight was over.

They were coming back.

Harry stood at the doorframe of the pack-house as everyone ran out of the gate to greet the wolves. Harry watched the fighters descending from the cars, wrapping themselves in their family or mate’s arms.

He stood at the doorstep of the pack-house when Louis had stepped out of one of the car.

Harry did not move when the alpha spotted him at the door. He did not even say anything when everyone almost carried the alpha into the house. He just followed them inside. His eyes stuck on the alpha.

“Niall, call you father,” Liam yelled, taking Louis’ left hand on his shoulder to carry him, “I am taking him to his bedroom.”

Harry watched Louis resist, stopping in his track with a feeble, “no. no-not the bedroom.”

Harry stayed silent when Liam and Zayn just carried Louis to the topmost floor and laid him down on the bed. They ignored his protest. Just like Harry.

He stood at the end of the bed, watching.

Louis was heavily wounded. His left shoulder bled profusely.

Harry had kept his silence when the doctor, Mr. Horan came and cleaned the wounds. Louis was wincing whenever Mr. Horan wiped over the bullet mark. It was not healing, partly because Louis’ wolf was exhausted and partly because the bullet was layered with mercury.

Mercury was killer for a wolf.

Louis was lucky that the bullet was not made of mercury but just layered with it.

Harry had watched the alpha laughing and trying to hug his mother when she started crying. Harry stayed silent when Louis’ eyes fell on him at the foot of the bed. The alpha had looked at him when Mr. Horan bandaged the wound, telling him to not move for at least two days. Nothing was serious as per Mr. Horan. Louis would be fine in a week. Ready to fight another battle maybe.

“I am going to the kitchen to make some chicken soup for you. Stay exactly where you are. Harry,” Jay looked at Harry then, “stay with him, yeah? Make sure he does not move.”

Harry nodded his head, eyes still on the alpha who was now watching him back.

“I will go and check on the others,” Mr. Horan had said, taking Zayn with him to check. He did not even look at Liam, who was standing beside the beta, his bicep scarred with three long nail-marks.

Niall came to stand in front of Liam then, frowning up at the alpha. He took Liam’s hand in his and gave a pull. Liam followed him, without a question. His eyes locked on the omega in front of him.

Harry lingered at his spot until the room was empty except for the two of them.

Louis squirmed in his spot, “I am sorry. I will go back to the sofa when everyone leaves tonight. Yeah?”

Harry did not answer.

He just stepped around the bed. His eyes were fixed on the alpha who was now lying on the bed with his back propped with the pillows as his support behind his back. His jeans now discarded on the floor, the alpha was just wearing a soft pyjama and nothing on his upper body. The bandage on his shoulder was already turning red. The smell of blood was prominent on the leader. Harry came to stand at the side of the bed, the alpha looking up at him.

“What? Are you sad that I made it back home?” Louis smiled, his eyes shining brightly as he looked at Harry. A smile graced his lips.

The smile was wiped off Louis’ face when a lone tear escaped Harry’s left eye, sliding down over the pale and smooth expanse of skin.

“Ha-Harry?” Louis did not know what to do. He stared at the omega in front of him. Harry was looking back at him now with green-orbs pooled with tears.
“Why do you affect me?” Harry asked. He sat down beside Louis, facing him.

Louis fish-mouthed for a second until Harry’s hand reached out, touching the scar on Louis’ chest. The omega’s face was soft, brows furrowed and eyes glinted with tears. He touched Louis’ injured shoulder with those soft fingertips. Louis looked down at where Harry’s fingers touched him, pale against his golden skin. The alpha smiled at the contrast.

“Do you feel bad that I do?” Louis asked, his eyes fixed on Harry’s fingers. Now they were brushing over the bandage.

“I should,” Harry whispered, his eyes fixed on Louis’ injuries.

Louis took Harry’s hand in his, grasping it tightly when Harry tried to recoil. The omega met the alpha’s eyes. Louis’ temple had a cut too. Harry’s eyes fleet over the scars on Louis’ face. The right corner of those thin lips was bleeding too.

“I thought…” Harry choked on his words, stopping to take a deep breath; Louis kept his eyes fixed on him, “I thought you are going to act on your words and not come ba…” tears rolled down Harry’s eyes. Louis tried to reach out to wipe them but Harry leaned away. His right hand still in Louis’ grasp but he wiped his eyes with the back of his left hand. He let out a sob in his hand.

“The guilt would have killed me!” he said, looking at the alpha through his eyelashes.

Louis rubbed his thumb over the omega’s pulse point under his wrist, noticing how erratic it was, “just guilt then?”

Harry looked away, “you don’t raise any other feelings in me.”

The alpha sighed.

He let go of Harry’s hand, “then you can relax now, Harry. I am fine.”

Harry bit down on his bottom lip, watching how Louis slid down on the bed in a lying position. He closed his eyes, as if trying to sleep.

Harry could not look away.

His heart still hammered against his ribcage. His omega still fidgeted in him. He needed assurance that the alpha was fine. He needed to stop shaking too. Harry felt cold.

Harry’s face flamed red when Louis opened his right arm without a word. The alpha’s face angled at the left as he rested. Those blue eyes closed as if he was sleeping.

Harry hesitated for a moment, his eyes taking the alpha in. Louis’ chest rose and fell slowly. Harry watched, transfixed, how the alpha’s marred skin glowed under the sun’s ray that was coming from the window over the bed. Louis looked golden under the rays. His skin reflected the sun.

Louis sighed then, his eyes still closed.

Impatient.

Harry slid off his slippers and slipped under the cover. His head rested under Louis’ neck as he fit himself against the alpha. A blush dusted Harry’s cheeks when Louis pulled him closer.

“It is just because my omega is restless,” Harry whispered, slowly putting his right leg over Louis’, “it could be any other alpha and I will react the same way.”
Louis’ chest shook as he laughed, “I did not even say anything, Harry! I think I know that you don’t want me. I get it.”

A frown marred Harry’s face when he inhaled the alpha’s scent. His nose scrunched up with something sick rolling in his stomach.

“You smell like those omegas in heat,” he said, his own omega jabbing against his ribcage.

Louis turned his head to face Harry, he shrugged, “they were pretty much all over me, yeah.”

Harry pressed his lips together, his eyes on Louis’ face, “don’t say it so nonchalantly. You liked it. No?”

Harry wanted to die just when the words were out. He did not care. He should not care if Louis liked it or not.

His answer was a long stare from the alpha. Then Louis nodded with a thoughtful expression on his face, “one of them smelt really good. I have to say, yeah. His wolf looked beautiful too.” Those blue orbs glinted with mirth.

Harry’s nails dug into Louis’ belly, his eyes set on the alpha who was looking at him. Then Harry put on a terse smile, “great then. I am happy that you got the time to smell them in between a fight.”

Louis’ lips tugged slightly upwards, his eyes fixed on Harry, “he smelt really good. What can I say?”

Harry did not reply. Instead, he rubbed his chin on Louis’ neck, burrowing his face at the crook, where Louis’ hair tickled his nose, where the alpha smelt like himself. Like something soothing. Very alpha-y.

Louis’ chin nudged Harry’s forehead but Harry did not look up. He rubbed his nose on Louis’ jugular. The alpha let out a small chuckle, “are you scent-marking me, Harry?”

Harry said nothing, his cheek rubbed against the alpha’s shoulder. His omega preened when the alpha’s scent reached it, heavy in the air now. The alpha in Louis was awakening. Louis let out a soft purr, his alpha’s assurance for Harry’s omega. Harry’s omega whined back. Like it was answering the alpha.

Maybe.

Maybe he was being irrational but after an emotional whirlpool like that, Harry let his omega have it.

One day.

Just for one day.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Liam hissed for the tenth time when a cotton was dabbed over his wound at his abdomen. He gripped the omega’s wrist, “enough. It hurts!”

“What?” Niall asked, looking at him.

Liam took the cotton from his hand and threw it away, his jaw set, “I don’t need your fucking antiseptic. I am fine.”

Niall rolled his eyes, “you don’t look fine. Let me at least bandage it.”

Liam shook his head, “I am fine. You are dabbing it so harshly.”

“I am not. You are just restless after you came back from the border. What? Liked those omegas and now you are irritated that you did not get them? One is caught, you know? You can go and have her or something if she wants.” Niall hissed. His eyes on the alpha’s scar.

Liam frowned, his grip on Niall’s hand tightening, “what? Are you jealous?”

Niall shook his head, his fingers pressing down even more on Liam’s wound. The alpha hissed in pain, the antiseptic stung on his open wound.

“Seriously? You are jealous that I was among them? What about when you were flirting with Zayn?” Liam could not forget it. No matter how much he tried. He just could not.

“You are not over that yet? I can’t believe you!” Niall shouted, standing in front of Liam with an annoyed expression.

Liam gripped the omega’s waist and gave a swift tug. Niall was on him in a second and they both were falling on the bed. Niall whimpered when Liam did a roll. Liam ended up on Niall.

Liam looked down at his omega. Who was glaring at him, his blue eyes shone with anger. Liam let out a pleased growl when the omega whined.

Liam could not say exactly how much he had missed this particular smell. How much his alpha had sought this smell among those hideous smelling omegas. Liam was confused. His alpha felt cornered among those wolves in heat. Liam could not confess how much soothing Niall’s smell was to his alpha. He could not kill his pride and accept that he had missed Niall and he could not accept that his alpha had craved this omega when those omegas were all around him.

“Quiet,” Liam spoke in his alpha voice, pleased when Niall stopped writhing under him. Wide blue eyes gawped at him. Liam pulled at Niall’s collar, revealing the bite mark. His teeth sunk down with ease on the same spot. Niall let out a whine when Liam’s teeth sunk there, his hands coming up to hold the alpha around his shoulders.

“You were all flamboyant and flirty with Zayn. What were you aiming at, omega? His cock?” Liam asked, his hand going down between them to open his own fly. Niall bit down on his jaw, it was not that painful to Liam. Definitely not more than the pain he went through while watching his omega in Zayn’s arms.

“Well, you are no one to talk. You were planning to take Sophia home anyway,” Niall said, trying to stop Liam when the alpha took a hold of his jeans. Niall gasped when his pant was shoved down to his knees, Liam’s leg coming to rest between his.

Liam sat up then, kneeling over Niall, caging the omega. Liam pulled his own shirt over his head and looked down at Niall’s flimsy one. Without a word, Liam tore through it, Niall’s pale skin finally visible. His alpha perked up with interest as soon as Liam’s hands touched those soft muscles on Niall’s stomach.

“Liam, you are bleeding,” Niall mumbled, his hands coming to rest on Liam’s thighs.

Liam pulled his pant down, throwing in over his head, his eyes not leaving the omega’s face. Niall looked breathless, his pupil dilated. The red flush grew from those pale cheeks to his chest. Liam hummed in content when he smelt the arousal.

“You are craving me, Omega,” he said, watching with pleased eyes how Niall turned his neck sideways to avoid his eyes.

Liam flipped him then, earning a shocked gasp from Niall. His eyes found the omega’s arse, covered in a black boxer. Liam tore it down, his eyes glinting with arousal when he noticed slick smeared on Niall’s arse-cheek.

“I am glad that you are so wet, Niall,” Liam said, his index finger rubbed over the omega’s rim. Niall whined, pushing against the touch. Liam let the tip of his finger enter the omega, pushing past the tight ring of muscles. His cock twitched with arousal when the finger came out moist, slick dripping from it. Liam looked up to see Niall’s eyes were on him, his cheek smashed against the pillow. Liam sucked on his finger, watching how Niall’s face went redder. The Omega did not look away. Liam took his cock in his hand, slowly rubbing the tip against the omega’s rim.

“Look how eager you are, Niall,” he said, the tip of his cock prodding against the omega’s rim. Liam watched the head of his cock pushing into Niall. His mouth fell open as Niall’s heat enveloped him.

The alpha coved the omega’s body with his, pressing down completely on the omega.

“Do you feel me, Niall? My cock splitting you open?” he gave a slow thrust, his lips stretched into a smile when Niall whined, “yeah. This is your reality. You are mine.”

Niall said nothing. He turned slightly, opening his mouth and Liam was there, kissing him without any request.

Niall did not say anything if he noticed how gentle Liam was, for the first time since their mating.

Liam said nothing when he realized how the omega held him close.

Both of them ignored the fact that they had missed each other. They were worried about one another’s well being. Both of them pulled each other closer, not letting even air pass between them.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

“What are you doing?” Harry asked.

He came out of the bathroom, freshly bathed and ready for a good night’s sleep. A smile graced his lips as he smelt the lavender on his body. Then his eyes found Louis and the smile turned into a confused frown.

The alpha was almost on his feet, trying to take steps for somewhere.

Harry rushed forward, his hands reaching out to grab the alpha’s right hand securely. Louis gripped the bedpost and steadied himself. Harry gasped when he saw the wound across Louis’ chest had open up to release fresh blood. The metallic smell filled the room. Harry hated the smell.

“Louis! What are you trying to do?” He asked, trying to shove the alpha gently back on the bed. Louis did not budge, his left hand curled on the bedpost and his right hand held Harry’s tightly. Harry noticed how the alpha was pressing his lips together in pain. His brows were furrowed when he looked down at his feet and then at Harry.

“It is night,” Louis said as an explanation. Which. Harry could not understand. What?

“Yeah? I can see that,” Harry snapped almost. The proximity gave his omega something to wage its tail about. Harry hated his omega-self sometimes. He glared at the alpha who caused these weird feelings in him, who stared back.

“I want to sleep,” Louis tried again. His voice slow and pained. Harry let out a breath. His irritation built slowly. He could not understand exactly what the alpha was trying to say.

“Why are you up from the bed, Louis? Can’t you just make this easy for both of us and do as the doctor said?” he snapped. He knew he should not but he could not help himself. The alpha drove him up the wall sometimes.

Harry needed some time away from Louis as it was. He had woken up from the afternoon nap to find himself cuddled in Louis’ arms. His lips pressed against Harry’s forehead and Harry’s nose buried in Louis’ chest. Harry could not forget how the alpha had growled unconsciously when he tried to break free from those arms. Harry had whined, his omega telling him to submit and go back into Louis’ arms. He was able to ignore that part of himself when Jay had walked in with a bowl of soup.

“I am going to sleep on the sofa,” Louis said.

Harry stared at him. His hands loosened when Louis pulled away, standing with the support of the bedpost.

“No,” Harry said, “you are sleeping here and I am sleeping on the sofa. Now go back to bed, come on.” He tried to force Louis to sit on the bed.

“No,” Louis said, “I will be fine. You sleep here.”

Harry glared at the alpha. Was Louis doing this knowingly? Did he want Harry to do something like shoving him out of the window or something? Harry did not know it was possible for him to get so frustrated.

He took a long breath, staring at the alpha who was now watching him with determined eyes, “listen, Louis. I am going to the kitchen. I need to make you something to eat as per Jay’s order. Then I will come back and feed you. I want you to sit on the bed and wait for me to come back. Don’t you dare move or,” he stopped when he noticed a small smile on Louis’ face, it irritated Harry even more, “what? What is so funny?”

Louis shook his head, “nothing. I just…” when Harry arched his brow for him to continue, Louis laughed, “I like it when you try to be so bossy. You look like a disgruntled kitten.”

Harry stared at the alpha. His words died in his throat as he watched the alpha sitting down on the bed with a smile. Harry tried not to feel the quiver in his chest when Louis called him a kitten. His eyes fell on the floor, not ready to meet those earnest blue ones. Then he shook his head.

No!

What the hell!

“I am not a kitten. I can strangle you with my arms,” he hissed, stepping closer to the alpha and to prove his point, he gripped the alpha’s nape in his both hands. Louis was sitting down now, Harry’s lower-chest was the point Louis’ head reached. Harry gulped when Louis looked up at him, his hands coming up to hold the omega’s waist.

“Really? Show me then, kitten,” Louis purred the last word. Harry was not ready to show how his body shook with anticipation.

“I am not a kitten,” Harry hissed. He gave a harsh tug on Louis’ hair, forcing the alpha’s head to bend backwards. Louis’ smile widened as his eyes stayed fixed on Harry, much to Harry’s chagrin.

“Denial is the first stage of acceptance,” Louis said, his hands now rubbed on Harry’s sides. Harry refused to quiver under the alpha’s touch. His eyes betrayed him when they closed for a second. When he opened them, Louis was watching him with blown away eyes. Harry felt the same.

“You don’t have any rights to call me a kitten,” Harry said, his eyes fell on Louis’ Adam's apple. He watched how it bobbed. Harry’s thumbs pressed down on it, pulling out a cough from Louis. Harry’s thumbs caressed the skin there, feeling the stubble that dusted Louis’ chin. Hard and prickly under Harry’s thumbs.

“As I don’t have any right to call you a kitten, you don’t have any rights to stop me either,” Louis said. Harry felt his throat vibrating with those words under his fingers.

“Stop it,” Harry said, his eyes fleet on Louis’ face. He frowned when he saw the alpha smiling at him. He hated how the smile made him feel. Harry hated how that smile made him feel like an adolescent. Like, his words were amusing rather than threatening to Louis. Like, Louis was not taking him seriously.

Harry’s hands slid down from Louis’ throat to his shoulders. Without a second thought, Harry pressed down on them, hoisting himself up on the bed slowly. He watched how the smile was slowly ebbing off Louis’ lips. Harry smirked when he was finally on Louis’ lap, straddling him.

Louis’ chin touched Harry’s chest, tickling him with his stubble. Harry gripped the hairs at the back of Louis’ head in his right fist while he maintained his balance with his left hand firmly planted on Louis’ shoulder. Harry gave a tug, forcing Louis to look up at him.

“I am not a kitten,” he said, leaning down until his curls touched Louis’ face, “You should not test my limits as you are already weak from the fight.”

Louis’ hands were resting on the bed as he supported himself up. He watched Harry, his eyes glued to Harry’s face. Harry smirked.

He liked it.

He liked when Louis was speechless.

“Maybe I am just letting you win,” Louis said, his left arm coming up to circle around Harry’s slim waist. Harry sat up straighter when he felt Louis pulling him closer.

“Maybe I am letting you play with me. Did this thought ever cross your mind, omega?” Louis said.

Harry gulped the whine that was coming up through his throat, his eyes on Louis’. The alpha was smirking now. Harry could feel how strongly Louis was holding him. He looked down at the alpha’s face, it was still too close. Harry could smell him now. The woody smell intensified. His senses were screaming at him to pull away but that playful smirk on Louis’ face.

Harry hated it!

“You are in denial. You are dainty, Louis,” Harry said. He cursed in his mind when his voice came out breathless.

He was bothered.

Louis’ eyes flickered down on Harry’s lips. Harry felt the sensation in his abdomen. His omega was pleased with the alpha’s attention. It was raising its snout in victory when Louis’ chest rumbled, his alpha taking an interest in the matter.

“I think you should back off, Harry. You will regret this later,” Louis said, his eyes still fixed on Harry’s lips. Harry shivered when Louis nuzzled his nose on Harry’s bare chest, his silk robe giving way.

Harry’s face flamed hotly when he felt his anus leaking. He pressed down on his whine.

Louis’ eyes were on his revealed nipples now. Harry tried to pull away when Louis’ breath hit them.

It was a bad decision. What was Harry thinking? Straddling an alpha like this?

“Louis,” he whimpered when Louis lips softly touched the middle of his chest, breath tickling Harry’s skin.

Harry’s grip tightened on Louis’ hair. He closed his eyes with shame when he felt his hands pressing Louis’ head down even more.

“Fuck,” Louis swore and then he was pushing Harry away. Harry stumbled when his feet touched the ground. He watched Louis rubbing his face with his hands. Harry turned his back towards Louis, swiftly redoing his robe. He could not face Louis. The mortification too much this time. What was he doing?

“I-I am sorry,” Louis whispered. Harry closed his eyes, not facing Louis. He ran to his cupboards and pulled out his shirt and a pyjama.

When he left the room, Louis was sitting on the bed. Exactly where Harry straddled him.

Harry had never run faster.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

When Harry came back with the dinner, Louis was sitting on the bed. Harry placed the tray on the table between them and sat down quietly.

“Harry, I- look,” Louis spoke, his voice reluctant and alert. He stopped when Harry held up a hand in front of his face.

“I want to say something,” Harry said, meeting Louis’ eyes. The alpha looked at him with curiosity. Harry looked down at the dishes in front of him. He cut one meatball in half and held out that part in front of Louis’ lips. Louis took it slowly, his eyes never leaving Harry. Harry tried not to look away but he could not stare at the alpha’s intense eyes. Louis was overwhelming for him.

“Whatever happened,” Harry whispered, his eyes forcibly meeting Louis, “it was a mistake. I got carried away and it happened because we were talking.”

He watched Louis’ eyebrows furrow in confusion. Harry opened his mouth before Louis could stop him. He needed to let it out before the alpha convinced him otherwise.

“I mean, we are talking a lot to each other lately, don’t you think? We should maintain some distance.” He gestured vaguely around himself, waving his hand between them, “I think it is the proximity. We are always just there around each other. Our wolves are getting used to the feelings and that should not happen.” Harry saw when Louis stopped chewing. His eyes finally not so sceptic and getting distant. Harry did not wait to see the transformation.

He looked down at the plates, “let’s not communicate that much from now on. If we can avoid each other then we will be fine.”

A laugh escaped Louis’ lips, startling Harry. Harry looked up to see, Louis was shaking his head, “so you mean it is all our primal instinct? That our wolves are just reacting because we are easily accessible to each other? If we stop talking, it might not happen. You think that this makes sense?”

Harry nodded, “what else, Louis? I don’t feel anything for you! What other reason do we have?” Harry knew that he sounded defensive but he was confused. What was Louis aiming at? Of course, they were just reacting because of the proximity.

Louis leaned back to rest against the pillows, his eyes boring in Harry. Harry noticed how the alpha opened his mouth to say something and then stopped.

Louis shrugged then, “fine, Harry. If that is what you want, I will not come in your way. In return, promise me one thing.”

Harry nodded for Louis to continue. Louis looked at him with a small smile, “you will let me be. Whatever I do, whatever I don’t, you will not try to invade.”

Harry chewed on his bottom lip, “I don’t invade anyway. But fine, from now on, we are just going to ignore each other.”

Louis nodded. Harry gasped when the alpha hoisted himself up from the bed, wincing when pain shot through his muscles. Harry reached out, his eyes widening when he noticed the wound across Louis’ chest bleeding.

“Louis, you are…”

Louis shook his head, “remember I don’t exist in your world, Harry. No communication.”

Harry felt like someone had slapped him. He closed his mouth and sat down on the bed. He watched the alpha slowly making his way towards the living-room. Harry looked forward, “what about the dinner?”

Louis said nothing. He closed the door behind him as he left.

The room was suddenly colder than a few minutes ago.

Harry went to sleep after throwing away the food. He could not eat anymore; it felt like the food was coming up if he forced himself so he let it be.

When his head hit the pillows, Harry whimpered, taking in a deep breath. The bed smelt like Louis. So much like the alpha that his inside churned.

He did the right thing, right?

No one was there to answer him. His omega was not bothering him either. He frowned when his eyes moisten up. Why did not Louis fight his decisions? Ever?

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Three days had passed.

Three days of Louis behaving like Harry did not exist.

Harry could not tell if he was guilty or simply frustrated. Louis would go to a point where if he collided with Harry, he would not even look up and just slide past him with a soft apology. Harry hated the part where even Jay looked sceptically at them.

Louis was oblivious.

The fourth morning Harry woke up with a sound of clatter. He frowned at the closed door of his bedroom and then put his feet on the ground. When he reached the door and pushed it open, he met the sight of Louis on the kitchen stool. The alpha was cutting the old bandages with a scissor. Harry’s eyes widen when he saw how the alpha strained his shoulder to cut the bandage properly. Blood oozed out of the wounds as Louis’ chest muscles twitched.

Harry was marching towards the alpha before he could think about something else. His eyes still focused on the wound on Louis’ shoulder, the bullet’s scar was not healed yet. Niall said that they had to be more careful about it or it could get poisonous.

“What do you think you are doing?” Harry said unbelievingly. He grasped Louis’ wrist in his grip, pulling the alpha’s hand away.

Louis startled away from Harry, his eyes on the omega who was now prying the scissor away from his hand. Louis leaned away when Harry tried to cut the remaining bandage. Harry looked up at him questioningly. Louis noticed how Harry’s eyes shone under the morning rays of the sun. How the omega looked at him earnestly.

He looked away.

“Stay away, Harry. I might influence your omega.” Louis said. The corner of Louis’ lips twitched up in a dejected smile. His eyes locked on Harry.

Harry tried to find words. He looked at Louis’ face. The alpha looked detached. His eyes returned to his own wounds. Harry tried not to notice how Louis’ eyelashes cast a shadow under the alpha’s eyes. His cheeks pale and beard growing on those high cheekbones. It looked soft, if one touched it, it would feel velvety under their touch.

Harry gulped and then reached forward. Louis was leaning away again. Harry frowned, his lips tugged downwards in a frown.

“I am just trying to help you with the wounds. No need to behave so rudely.” He said.

Louis let out a ridiculed laugh. His eyes set on Harry. Harry shifted under the alpha’s gaze. His eyes narrowed with embarrassment. Was Louis making fun of him?

“What?” he asked, jaw clenched with rage.

Louis shrugged, “I am just following your orders, Harry. You said we should maintain distance. I am just compelling it.”

Harry threw the scissor on the floor, ignoring the metallic noise when it hit the floor and slid away from them. His eyes on the alpha who was just driving him crazy.

“Can you stop saying that? Stop this, please. You are making a scene for nothing.”

Louis arched his left brow in question, “how am I making a scene, Harry? I am just obeying your words. Shall I not do that? I am just respecting your boundaries. Your omega gets affected when he is around me. Our animalistic instincts make you uncomfortable. I am just trying to give you space.”

Harry took a step closer to the alpha in anger, “no. You are just making this impossible for me. You are just trying to humiliate me in front of the whole pack. You are ignoring my existence. Everyone is taking a notice of it. Can’t you see how they are getting tense when we are in the same room?”

Harry did not notice how his hands were gripping the alpha’s knees now. Louis looked down at where Harry’s hands rested on both of his knees. His eyes came back to Harry’s face. He sighed.

“Was not that what you wanted? You wanted to forget about me and I am just helping you, Harry. I am just erasing myself from your life.”

Harry opened his mouth and then closed it. He did not know what to say. Louis was right. He was doing exactly what Harry asked him to do. Harry should be happy. Yet it bothered him. When Louis refused to look at him even once, it bothered Harry. Harry was not sure what he wanted but it was surely not this.

“Can you just,” Harry shook his head, his curls flapped on his head, hitting his eyes, he tried to convince himself that it was the reason of the moisture in his eyes, “can you just be normal?”

Louis pursed his lips, “define normal, Harry.”

Harry clenched his jaw, “stop making this so difficult, Louis. Stop it!”

He hated how helpless he felt in front of Louis. Why was Louis so intense? Harry felt inarticulate in front of Louis. The alpha was calm and matured in a way that made Harry’s toes curl. He tried not to acknowledge the fact that how intriguing Louis’ thoughts were when he gave a glimpse of his thoughts to the omega. His words were resolved when he said something. Harry noticed how Louis would say directly if he did not know the topic someone was discussing. He would accept his ignorance on a topic with a sheepish smile. Unlike other alphas who pretended to know everything. Harry liked that about him.

Louis flared his hands, “I am making this difficult for you? Do you even know what you are saying, Harry? Can’t you see how much you affect me? Can’t you see how hard I try every day to just give you what you want? You want me to stay away from you, I am doing it. Do you know how my alpha goes wild when you move around me? Do you know how hard I try to tame my alpha when you leave your traces everywhere around me? And you know what is more difficult for me? I know how strong I am. I know I can take you, my primal instinct wants to,” Harry shivered when the alpha’s eyes flashed, the wolf peering out of Louis for a second, “and I quell it in. I repress it. Do you even know how much cautious I become when you are around? I am always trying to give you space. I am always trying to make you comfortable. What do you want me to do, Harry? What else do you need?”

Harry shook his head, trying to will away the moisture in his eyes, “give me reasons,” he screamed, pushing himself to stand between the V of Louis’ parted thighs. His hands came up to rest on Louis’ shoulders, Harry let his fingers caressed the soft skin under his fingertips. His eyes roamed over the alpha’s face, who was staring at him impassively. His blue eyes were fixed on Harry’s face. His jaw clenched.

“Give me reasons to hate you. Cause,” Harry let the alpha see the vulnerability in his eyes, “my resolve is breaking here, Louis.” His voice broke at the last word. The alpha’s name came out as a plea and Harry was tired of hiding how restless he felt. So he did not look away. He let Louis’ eyes scan his face for the truth.

Then Louis choked out a soft laugh, “I don’t know what to say, Harry. I do whatever you tell me to do. Tell me what to do to earn your hate then. I will do it.”

Hold me in your arms.

“I don’t know,” Harry said, desperately holding on to Louis' shoulders, “don’t ignore me like that!”

Louis’ face crooked on a smile, “I am sorry, Harry. I can’t just flip my switch like that. You are saying this now and then you will switch back to your normal self when your mind says so. I can’t cope with it. I am fine with your ignorance but your rejection hurts me. Every time I open up to you, you reject me. I can’t do that, Harry. I am sorry.”

Harry knew Louis was saying the truth. No one could cope up with his mood swings. Not even Harry. He was confused with that newfound longing for Louis. He did not know what to do.

“You affect me, Louis. I try so hard to ignore you but your every action affects me. Your silence affects me. When you look at me like I am the only one in the world, it affects me,” Harry whispered, his eyes on Louis’, “you ignite frustration in me. I feel cornered with the way you break through my conclusions about you. You scare me when my omega wants to be close to you. I don’t know how to react so I push you away. I misbehave with you because I can’t stop myself. I don’t know, Louis.”

Harry stopped when his voice choked on a sob. He was aware of his morning breath as he leaned closer to the alpha. Harry’s eyelashes were sticking together with gunk from a night’s worth sleep. Harry knew how tousled his hair might look at the moment. He felt self-conscious as Louis looked at him.

Louis smelt like the soap he used, fresh and lemony. His hair soft with the smell of rosemary and mint, like his shampoo. Harry liked his own shampoo to have the smell of honey and coconut but his nose-trails flared as he inhaled the scent of Louis’ shampoo. Louis did not cut his beard though. The alpha liked having stubble. He said it made him look wise. Harry agreed.

Harry let out a shaky breath. He was feeling light as he let those words out. He had to. The weights finally off his heart. He could not fight the conflicts alone anymore.

Louis looked dumbfounded, his eyes sliding over Harry’s face. Harry looked right back at him. Their heartbeats drummed in their ears.

“Can we be friends, Louis?” Harry asked eagerly. He could not forget about the things Louis did. He could not forget about the photos in Louis’ account what he took without permission. He could not even forget how Louis was the reason he was away from Nick. But Harry was ready to try. He was ready to give Louis a chance.

Louis flinched as if he was burnt; he pulled away from Harry’s touch. Harry’s hands fell from Louis’ shoulders as he stared at the alpha confusedly.

“No, Harry. I- I can’t,” Louis combed his fingers through his hair, messing it up even more. Harry refrained himself from righting the strands himself, “I can’t be your friend.” Louis finished with a sigh.

Harry blinked at Louis, “why? Why can’t we be friends?”

Louis let out a small laugh, shaking his head as he looked down at his feet, “I can’t ridicule my feelings for you like that, Harry. I can’t pretend to be your friends when my feelings are anything but platonic.”

Harry could not say anything to that. Louis had feelings for him that was more than platonic?

What Feelings?

When he looked at Louis, a blush was dusting the alpha’s face. Louis was now looking at the window at his left. Harry watched how the alpha’s lips were pressed together as if he was trying not to say something like that again. He looked embarrassed.

“You like me?” Harry whispered. His brain could not cope up with that realization. He exhaled when Louis shrugged evasively.

“We can try to be civil around each other. I can do that but I can’t be your friend. I am sorry.” Louis said. His face turned.

Harry wanted to prod the alpha for answers. He wanted to demand an answer of Louis’ unsaid words. He restrained himself when there was a knock on the main door of the floor. They both turned to see Jay, Zayn, Liam and Niall were standing there.

“Are we interrupting something?” Jay asked. Her smile teasing and eyes scattering over Harry to Louis.

Louis huffed out a laugh, “never, mum. Come in.”

Jay stepped into the room, the other three following.

She frowned when she noticed the open wound on Louis’ shoulder, “Are you fidgeting with your wounds again, Boo?”

Louis looked at her sheepishly, “err… was it itching? I can’t keep a bandage on me, mum. You know that.” Harry bit down on a smile when Louis whined.

Jay took the fresh cotton balls from the first-aid box and dabbed it in antiseptic, “you need to take care of yourself, Louis. If you behave so errantly then you will not be healed soon.”

“I would like the leader’s post but I don’t want to kill you for that, Lou!” Liam said with a sweet smile. A smirk was hidden underneath it. Everyone laughed when Louis threw a cotton-ball at his head. Liam ducked it expertly.

“You will be a horrible leader, mate,” Zayn said, earning a glare from Liam and a chuckle from Niall. Who coughed in his hand when Liam arched a brow at him. Harry noticed how Niall blushed when Liam’s hand came up to hold his neck softly.

Harry blushed and looked away. It was a sacred touch between an alpha and his omega. An alpha would do it when the omega would behave like a pup or try to misbehave with the alpha. He would hold the omega’s neck and squeeze slowly, just to remind the omega where he belonged and how the alpha could force him to submission just by pressing his neck.

Niall scooted closer to Liam, trying not to mewl. Liam grumbled under his breath, his eyes on the omega who looked up at him innocently.

When Harry looked ahead, Louis’ eyes were on the couple. His eyes soft and a lopsided smile graced his lips. The alpha looked glum. Then his eyes shifted onto Harry. Harry frowned when the smile was wiped off the alpha’s face; Louis looked away after a bit.

After a while, Jay was done with the bandage. Harry helped her tie the knots, blushing when she said how good they looked beside each other. Louis did not acknowledge the remark.

Jay left after that, saying she would come back with something she wanted Louis to have. Louis nodded, kissing her cheek before she left.

“Why are you all here? Everything is fine, right?” Louis asked, his face scrunched up when he tried to move his hand.

Zayn nodded, “everything is fine at the moment. I think we might find out the pack who helped the rogues in some days. Our investigation team is progressing. Liam is leading them himself so you can be assured about that.”

Liam nodded, “we think we will be able to show you the result in the next pack meeting. I already have some clues that can help us to find them.”

Niall spoke after Liam, “I have checked the Omega who was caught in the fight. She is fine now and it looks like they used her. She is not a part of the clan; she was just there because the rogues stole her from the heat-house of the Smith pack. She could not defend herself against those brutes. She is ashamed of what she did and wants to thank you for not killing her or something.”

Louis nodded with a thoughtful expression, “I kind of figured that, you know? They were all so confused and vulnerable. One of them was almost on me but she was telling me to save her or something. I could not concentrate enough.”

Liam shuddered, “they smelt terrible. I was not even the target but you were in the middle of it. I don’t know how you handled it.”

Louis shrugged, “I did not concentrate on them. I was too occupied with the alpha.”

Zayn bit his lips, “ask Niall what the prisoner said about you.”

Harry noticed how Zayn’s lips were turned upwards as a smile. His eyes were glistening with mirth.

Liam laughed, “yes, Niall, tell him what the omega offered.”

Louis looked questioningly at them. Harry frowned when they shared a laugh.

“Well, she said, in the middle of a fight, the leader of this pack has stolen her heart. She is taken by the strength of the leader who did not budge even when he was surrounded by so many omegas in heat. She would like to meet you and say how grateful she is and would very much like it if you give her a chance to know you better.”

Liam and Zayn rolled over with laughter, slapping their knees.

Harry stared at Niall, who was grinning at Louis. Harry’s eyes fell on Louis; the alpha was looking at Niall, an amused tilt in his smile. His blue eyes shimmered with hilarity. The alpha looked pleased. Harry felt his mouth getting sour.

“What is her name then?” Louis asked, much to Harry’s displeasure.

“Esme Brown. She is the daughter of the right-hand-man of the leader of the Smith pack, Peter Brown.”

Louis nodded, looking at Niall, “I think, I know her,” a laugh escaped his lips, “I will give her a visit then.”

It was all for the fun of it. They knew Louis would do nothing to lead her on. They all laughed along. Well, not Harry. He fiddled with his wedding ring, looking down at it as resentment built in him.

“You should,” Liam smirked, “she is your type too. Small, petite, has brown straight hair, greyish blue eyes. Seems quirky. What else do you need?”

Zayn laughed, “I think you two are perfect for each other. Think how beautiful your pups are going to be.”

Harry stared at Zayn, how the beta looked pleased with his words. His eyes found Louis, who was smiling at the beta.

“Pups? How many are we talking about here?” Louis asked, sounding more amused.

Niall giggled, “Tell me the numbers, Louis?”

Louis shrugged, “I want at least five or six, minimum.”

Harry’s eyes widen.

“Five or six?”

Four pairs of eyes turned towards him. Harry closed his mouth with a soft gasp. He could feel how his face was heating up, spreading downwards. Until his chest. He closed his eyes, trying to evaporate from that room.

“Yes, Harry. Five or six. Minimum,” Louis was speaking again when Harry opened his eyes. The alpha was looking at him as he spoke, “I want my omega full with my pups every year, I guess.”

Three occupants of the room roared with laughter.

Harry could not move.

Not when Louis was looking at him with those heated eyes. Harry’s skin prickled with goose-bumps when Louis’ eyes glided down on the omega’s stomach and then back up to his face. Unconsciously Harry’s hands cradled his stomach, his omega made a soft noise when the alpha’s eyes darken.

Louis looked away first.

When Harry turned his face away from the alpha, his eyes landed on Niall. The omega smiled at him, a knowing smile. Harry frowned in confusion but Niall shifted his eyes away.

“You need to tie her up in your bed then, mate,” Liam said.

Louis laughed, “You know me, Liam. I like bondage.”

Harry shivered; standing up tall to leave the room but Jay was coming back.

“Here is your surprise, boys.” She said, waving something like a paper over her head.

Everyone turned to face her with curiosity. Jay laughed when Louis almost snatched the paper out of her hand.

Louis skimmed the paper and then raised his brows at his mum. Confusion was clear on his face.

“It says we can leave the pack for a week. What?”

Jay grinned, “It is signed by your father. All five of you are going for a vacation. Road trip.”

They looked at each other confusedly.

“But we can’t leave the pack at the moment, Jay. You know how crucial the time is, right? Louis is not fine here. The pack-members are quite shaken up by the attack. They are practically looking up to us for their protection. We can’t leave like this.” Liam said.

“I agree,” Zayn piped in, “I mean, Louis is not completely healed yet. We don’t even know who sent the rogues. What if they attack again? We need to be here.”

Harry looked at Louis. The alpha was nodding along with his friends but Harry was not sure how he would fight again if the rogues were to attack again. He stayed silent though.

“I know all this. I know how worried you boys are about the pack. Trust me, I feel proud that we gave the pack in your hands, boys. You all are so fiercely protective of each other and the pack. We feel proud,” Jay smiled at them, her eyes sweeping over all of them, including Harry, “I feel proud when Dan says that the pack is doing better than his time. I feel so proud when our pack is mentioned as one of the best packs of this century. I know that takes a lot of work and I am so proud that we chose you boys for all that.” She stepped closer to Louis, her eyes kind and loving as she placed a hand on his shoulder, “but I am a mother too, Boo. I worry about you. I worry about all of you. After such a big commotion, you all need some rest. A mind change. And so this trip is needed.”

When the alphas and the beta shook their heads, Jay huffed, “look at your omegas, boys.”

Harry flushed when Louis’ curious eyes fell on him, “look, how tired they look. Niall is not sleeping more than four or five hours per day because he is running around the pack, checking on fighters and their families. He is so busy that he did not eat his dinner last night. Do you even know that, Liam?” The way Liam looked at Niall; it was easy to know that he did not. The alpha looked positively outrageous. Niall sheepishly looked down, biting his lips.

Jay turned to face Louis then, “and you,” Louis squeaked when she pulled his ear, “do you even know how Harry did not sleep the night you were fighting? He did not even move from the spot. He was so worried. These past few days, he was bringing you your food three times a day. Do you know that he made them? You can’t even remember the timing of your medicine. Do you ever wonder who remembers to give you the correct medicine? Plus now that you are taking rest, everyone in the pack is coming up to him. Harry has to listen to their complaints and give them some kind of solution. He is practically running the pack while you rest. No one disturbed you about your duties because Harry is doing them for you. Don’t you think he deserves a break?”

Harry tried not to fidget under everyone’s gaze. His hands gripped the side of his pants in discomfort when no one said anything for a long time. He wanted someone to distract this sudden attention away from him.

He did not like it.

“Think about this as your honeymoon, Boo,” Jay broke the silence, “show your omega the affection he deserves.” She turned towards Liam, a stern expression on her face, “you too, Liam. I want you to take Niall out of this pack and show him some good time. He deserves it.”

Zayn coughed, “well, if it is a double honeymoon thing then I shall not disturb them.”

Jay slapped the beta’s shoulder with a playful smile, “guess where you guys are going, Zayn.”

Zayn looked at her curiously and shook his head, “no idea, Jay. Where?”

A smirk crossed her face, “to the Edwards pack.”

Harry did not understand why the beta went all red, the tip of his ears and nose heated up. Louis coughed pointedly, earning an eye-roll from the beta. Liam laughed freely, clapping his back. Niall smirked just.

“Oh, let him be, you boys,” Jay chided with a smile, “so are you guys going or not?”

Liam looked around and shrugged when his eyes fell on Niall, the omega was looking at him expectantly, “well, we can, I guess? I mean, we do have more wolves that can protect the pack when we are not here.”

Zayn nodded, “well, I guess Liam is right. I will make sure to tell them how to take care of the supplies and all. We will be fine.”

Louis smirked, “are you sure, Zayn?”

That earned him a bored expression from Zayn.

“What do you say then?” the beta asked Louis.

Louis’ eyes fell on Harry, he was watching the omega with contemplation. Harry stared back. He wanted to go. He really wanted to take a break from this secluded floor. He wanted to go out and take a break from all these newfound feelings. Harry was sure that if he could go on this vacation, these feelings would go away. His omega was just getting used to seeing Louis around him. It was just the proximity that was causing so much conflict in Harry. Harry nodded eagerly, trying to convey his consent.

Louis understood. He nodded his head curtly once at Harry and then smiled at the others, “okay then. Let’s go on the trip and refresh our wolves there.”

Everyone smiled when Louis took the paper from Jay’s hands.

“When are we leaving?” Zayn asked. Niall came to stand beside Harry, he squeezed their hands together in excitement, Harry squeezed right back. A giddy laugh escaped their mouths.

“Yeah, Zayn can’t wait anymore.” Liam teased. Louis laughed.

“Tomorrow morning. I have arranged everything. The campervan will be ready by tomorrow morning. You are travelling through the Smith’s pack. It will take one day to reach your destination. Do you need a driver or you guys will manage?” Jay stopped for their replies.

Zayn shrugged, his lips tilted in a thoughtful curve, “I think a driver will be needed. So that we can rest and all. Don’t worry. I will ask Paul and Alberto to join us.”

Louis nodded, “Okay then. We will leave around nine am tomorrow. Come here when you guys are ready. We will wait for you.”

Everyone smiled and thanked Jay as she left.

Harry’s eyes fell on Louis, the alpha was now laughing with his friends.

Niall nudged Harry, “what are you thinking?”

Harry shrugged, a happy smile on his face, “Nothing.”

He did not say that he was thinking about getting rid of these newfound feelings. Harry was relieved. He knew, by the end of the trip, he would be back to hating Louis. He would be fine with Louis’ indifference.

Like everyone in the room, he was looking forward to it.

Chapter Text

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Louis could not look away. No matter how hard he tried.

Harry was lying on his stomach on the campervan bed, watching the jungle pass through the large glass window. His green eyes would go wide when lightning would tear through the otherwise dark trees. They were travelling for past eleven hours now.

They reached the Smith’s pack around noon. Louis was welcomed by the leader of the pack. He got the pass from him and a bucket full of fruits and champagne for the travel. It was courtesy. Louis could not help but watch how Harry had blushed when the Luna of the pack, Maisie, had given him a flower crown as a welcome gift. It was a common gift for a Luna to give another one as a sign of tenderness. Harry had kissed her cheeks to show his gratitude.

They would cross the border of Smith’s to enter the Edwards’ pack the next morning.

“It has to rain now? I can’t believe it! Everything is going to be patchy now,” Liam muttered. He was standing at the very back of the campervan, where they had a small balcony kind of open space, secluded from the main area with a glassed door.

“The weather report says it will continue for the night,” Zayn said, sipping the champagne they were offered.

“Why are you so upset about it? It is so beautiful out there,” Niall praised, his smile wide from where he sat beside Harry. Liam looked at his omega, a small curve on his lips.

“I agree. It looks so beautiful. The climate is so wintry now. I love it,” Harry gushed. His eyes set on the window.

Louis watched the expanse of Harry’s bare waist, where the shirt had rolled up to reveal the smooth skin. He followed the dimples of Harry’s back, so deep and the spine that divided them looked delicate somehow. Louis’ eyes took in the dip of that lean waist, where the perky bum started. Then his eyes traced the long legs, long but so gracefully slender.

Louis had to physically shake his head to push away the images of those legs wrapped around his waist.

Those thighs looked so alluring under the thin fabric of the pyjama. So smooth. Louis would love to rub his chin there, at Harry’s inner thighs and make the omega laugh and squirm under his touch. He would love to kiss the burn away. What he might pay just to be able to kiss those dimples and nuzzle against the swell of that bum. Then he might slowly climb higher, kissing that spine as he went. He would bite those knots on that spine. He would not hurry. No. Harry deserved the detailed and prolonged show of affection. Louis would show him how much he adored the omega. He would serenade him.

Louis would slowly open the omega up, rubbing his fingers into that soft crack of the omega’s arse. He would kiss the omega’s neck as he pushed in slowly. He would not hurry. He would give Harry time to adjust. He would feel the throbbing of Harry’s muscles around his girth. He would whisper beautiful nonsense in the omega’s ears. Then they might connect repeatedly. Louis would take Harry as the omega laid on his back, staring up at him with trust and Louis would do everything in his power to not break it. He would breed Harry, plant his seed in that slim stomach and watch it grow bigger as time went on. Louis would give anything to be able to fulfil Harry’s weird cravings. He would love to be able to grow their pups together. Louis would love to kiss Harry goodnight till his last breath.

He wanted it all.

Everything Harry would put him through.

Everything Harry would give him.

He just wanted one thing in return.

The Omega for himself.

He would fight the whole world if Harry agreed to stay beside him, holding his hand. They would set the sail together. Louis would live happily under any circumstances if Harry was there as his mate.

He blinked back to reality when thunder cracked through the clouds.

The campervan was suddenly too crowded. Louis stood up, placing his book and the glass of champagne on the small table.

He opened the glass door of the tiny balcony attached to the campervan. The protests were immediate.

“Are you crazy? The rain will drench you, Louis!” Zayn yelled, horrified.

“Don’t go out. It is raining so heavily,” Liam called from his place.

There was a soft tug on his wrist. Louis looked down to see Harry holding him back. Louis did not want to meet the omega’s eyes, not after imagining those things about him. He felt shameful.

“What?” he asked, not meeting the omega’s eyes.

“Don’t go out. Your wounds…” Harry mumbled, looking up at Louis innocently.

Louis shrugged his wrist free, “they are healed, Harry. Even the bandages are gone.”

He was right anyway. The wounds were healed by now. Just some yellow marred scratches were left behind.

He almost ran out on the really small balcony, sliding the door closed behind him.

Rain pelted down on him, drenching him in a minute. Louis welcomed it. He welcomed the chilling reality. It was better; it was as if those raindrops were washing away his guilt. He looked up at the sky as the campervan went. The sky was clouded, just like his mood. Louis leaned against the campervan, pulling out his cigarette. He needed a smoke.

Now.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Harry watched the alpha outside through the glass door. He watched how rain cascaded down on him, slowly soaking up that white shirt and those tight-fitting pants. Harry could see the alpha’s lips pressed on the cigarette. He was leaning against the partition of the campervan. The quiff on the alpha’s head was now a mess. Water droplets hung from the tip of those messy hair-strands. Those eyelashes were glinting with raindrops too.

Thunder would strike through the sky, lighting up the alpha’s features. Harry watched how unbothered Louis looked. The alpha was looking at the sky, a deep frown set on those brows. Louis was always so quiet. Harry could not understand what the alpha was feeling. Ever. Those blue eyes would take in everything around him but those thin lips hardly moved. That made Harry curious. Harry sometimes found himself looking at the alpha, just trying to figure out what was going on in that head.

The alpha was wiping off his face, the rain had soaked him thoroughly but Louis stayed put, looking as calm as always.

He tried not to think too much about Louis catching a cold.

It was not his problem.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

They had reached the Smith’s pack sooner than Harry had expected. Bleiz Smith, the leader of the pack had welcomed them with a large smile.

Louis was welcomed by the whole pack as they stepped out of the campervan. Harry was welcomed by their Luna, Maisie. He had accepted the flower-crown she offered to put on his head with a kiss on her cheeks and then went to stand behind Louis.

Just the way he had seen his mother doing since he was a pup.

It was a well-maintained custom in every pack. Omegas were supposed to stand two steps behind their alphas.

Louis had frowned, facing the front where Bleiz stood. But his left hand had reached out, gripping Harry’s wrist. Harry could not even yelp before he was dragged forward to stand just beside Louis. Side by side.

Everyone had noticed it. Harry could see the proud smile on Niall’s face, just like Liam and Zayn.

His eyes then fell on Bleiz and yes, the old alpha was frowning. Harry had fidgeted under the stare. He knew it was not supposed to happen. An omega belonged two steps behind his alpha.

“Louis,” Bleiz had started but Louis had raised his brows, challenging the older alpha to say something. There was a smile plastered on the Louis’ face, Harry had noticed, but Harry could say that Louis was ready to defend Harry if something came up.

Harry could not suppress the flutter of pride that had bloomed in his chest even when he was trying to stomp it out.

He could not help the small smile that had blossomed on his lips when Maisie had stared at Louis with awe shining in her eyes. He had glanced at the alpha by his side.

Louis was not looking at him. His eyes were boring into the leader’s eyes. Bleiz had smiled then, opening his arms for Louis to hug. Louis went easily, smiling.

“You are never going to change, are you? Always so active about omega rights and all things that are wrong with the universe?” the alpha had said, laughing.

“There is nothing to change, Bleiz. I do what I feel is right. Nothing out of ordinary,” Louis said, smiling pleasantly at the alpha.

Bleiz had clapped Louis’ back with a pleased smile, handing him the approval paper, “well, go on, then. I am no one to stop the change, am I?”

Maisie had kissed Harry’s forehead when it was time for them to leave, “he is a jewel. That one,” she had pointed with her chin at Louis, “don’t let him go. I have always wanted a son like him.”

Harry could not say anything after that; he had just squeezed the omega’s shoulders. He knew how they had lost their son in an attack. He tried not to think about the attack their pack faced some days ago.

He could not say thank you to Louis for doing what he did because of his pride. But he wanted to.

It was something even Des would not allow Anne to do. Standing beside your alpha was frowned upon. It was not as if Des did not love Anne, he did, but he would not cross the ages-old prejudices.

No one in his life had stood up against those prejudices. When Louis did, Harry had no words to show his gratitude. He did not want to show how touched he was anyway.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

The alpha was now completely drenched as he stood there.

“He is going to be sick if he stands there the whole night,” Niall muttered.

Zayn stood up from the bed, stepping forward to open the door.

“Get in, Louis, you will be sick at this rate!” Zayn pulled the alpha into the security of the van.

Louis laughed, shaking his head so the water drops went flying everywhere, hitting Zayn on the face in the process. The beta squeaked, jumping away from the alpha.

“I am a wolf. Do you people forget it sometimes or something? My body is made to take any kind of storms. Relax, it is just downpour.”

Louis went to the bag he had packed for himself and pulled out a track pant and one black T-shirt.

“You are a wolf and we know that but you were injured some days ago,” Liam pointed out, sipping his champagne.

Louis rolled his eyes, “keep saying that for coming thousand years if you can, Liam.”

Harry said nothing.

He just looked back at the window. His reflection on the glass stared back at him because of the darkness that surrounded the van. He noticed the dark circles under his eyes, he could see how pale he looked. Harry knew it was because of his omega. His omega was getting weaker day by day. It was craving something Harry could not give it. He closed his eyes, resting his forehead against the cool glass. His hands folded around his torso. He was in conflict with his own rational mind and irrational heart. He was torn between his human senses and his animalistic instincts.

.

After eating dinner on the floor of the campervan, it was time for bed.

They all gathered around the bed to stare at it.

The van had one long bed that could take four people easily. They were five though.

“I think, if we squeeze right in, we all can sleep on it,” Liam mulled over it, his eyes measuring the bed.

Zayn stared at Liam with a disbelievingly lifted brow, “even if we did, who would sleep where?”

Louis shrugged, “two omegas at the corner, then Liam, me and you.”

Zayn shook his head, “no way I am sleeping at the edge. You all will flare your limbs and I will end up on the floor after hitting my face or something.”

Harry smiled at the beta’s disgruntled face.

“We will not flare around. Jesus, Zanie, have some faith in us,” Louis rolled his eyes. He looked tired.

“You four go on and sleep on the bed. I have my sleeping bag with me; I will sleep on the floor.”

The beta went to pull out his sleeping bag from the bag he was carrying.

Louis looked at the beta as he pulled out his bag.

“So, Harry, go for the corner, Louis beside him. I will be beside Louis and Niall at the edge,” Liam said as an announcement and pushed Niall slightly towards the bed to settle down.

Harry gaped at Liam. Now Harry had to sleep with Louis?

Shit!

Louis fidgeted beside him, “err… I can sleep on the floor too. We all have sleeping bags with us.”

Liam shook his head, “what? Am I going to be a tit and sleep with two omegas? Seriously, Louis?”

“Why that idea scares you now, Lima bean?” Zayn said from his position on the floor. A smirk was adorning the beta’s lips.

Louis coughed to hide his laugh and Liam glared at them, “shut the fuck up. Louis is sleeping here. That is final. Now move your arses.” Liam clapped his hands to hurry them up.

Harry hesitated, looking at his designated space and at the alpha who would lie beside him.

Louis rubbed his nose with a thoughtful expression. He said nothing.

“I can’t sleep so close to you,” Harry mumbled under his breath, watching Niall and Liam as they got ready for bed. He could not look at Louis.

Louis let out a hushed laugh, “don’t worry, Harry. I will not take advantage of you in the darkness.”

Harry snapped his head towards the alpha who was looking down at the bed.

He balled his fists in anger.

“I did not even say that!” Harry hissed, trying hard not to stomp his foot on the ground like a toddler.

Louis shrugged, slowly leaning down to kneel on the bed, “I can read between the lines.”

Harry watched the alpha crawling on the bed, going under the duvet. He watched how Louis pushed Liam playfully when he tried to hug him.

Niall laid on Liam’s hand like it was natural. Liam had spread his arm as if he knew Niall would like to snuggle in and Niall did, easily tucking himself against the alpha. Everything about them screamed intimate.

Harry looked at Louis then. He watched how the alpha was discreetly putting a pillow between them. A barrier.

Harry lay down, pushing himself against the wall as much as he could. He was almost plastered to it when Zayn turned the lights off.

“Paul and Alberto said they would stop somewhere to eat and rest. That might take some time and then we will be on the road again.” Zayn announced from the floor.

Liam and Louis hummed their approval.

A small green light was illuminating the campervan.

Harry was breathing as slowly as he could. No matter what he did, Louis’ scent was prominent to him.

The smell was consuming Harry as time passed. Louis would move around a bit and Harry would jump on his position. It was merely fifteen minutes when he felt his omega awakening. Harry tried to suppress it. He tried to concentrate on Liam’s smell or Niall. Liam smelt too strong for Harry’s liking, it rolled inside his stomach and Harry could not help but feel nauseous. Niall smelt like pineapple and something sickeningly sweet. Just like an omega. It was too sweet.

Harry closed his eyes, lying on his back, he willed himself to sleep. Louis was not asleep beside him, Harry could tell. The alpha’s heartbeat was erratic, just like Harry.

“Louis, stop shifting back and forth. You are taking up our space. Niall will fall off,” Liam said, pushing Louis towards Harry with a shove of his hips.

Harry gasped when the alpha rolled over because of Liam and almost fell on Harry.

When he opened his eyes, Louis was almost hovering over him. Those blue eyes looked panicked and startled. Harry placed his hands on those biceps that framed his face, slowly. His fingers twitched when Louis looked down at them. Harry said nothing; he looked at the alpha’s face that was so green now under the night bulb. Louis opened his mouth to say something, dragging Harry’s eyes on chapped lips. Harry did not realize when he had pushed his chin up towards the alpha, his eyes still fixed on those thin lips as they trembled slowly. Louis let out a low groan and then the alpha was rolling away, as much as he could.

Their limbs touched anyway. Louis’ left hand touched Harry’s right and their sides touched from the tip of their heads to the tip of their toes. Liam was a bad sleeper as it looked like, he moved around a lot. Louis could not shove his friend in fear of pushing Niall over the edge. So Harry watched the alpha as he tried to stay in place, not touch Harry as much as he could manage. The pillow between them was now squeezed, bent in a weird position.

Harry watched how strained Louis looked as he tried to hold his position against Liam’s constant push. His shoulders moved as he tried to dig them into the mattress. It hurt, Harry could say as Louis squeezed his eyes shut. It would surely hurt. The wounds were gone from the surface but that place was still sensitive. The bones were not formed rightly yet. Harry watched Louis trying to stir away from him as much as he could. Those blue eyes were fluttering back open to look at Harry apologetically.

Harry said nothing; he just turned away from the alpha, facing the wall. He could not look at the alpha without feeling like his chest beating out of his ribcage. Why was Louis so different? Why could not he be like any other alpha?

The roar of thunder was heard from the campervan as it tore through the jungle. Harry shivered involuntarily as the night dragged on. It was cold even in the van. Harry wrapped the duvet around him tightly, willing his body to stop shivering. There was a hushed conversation going on between Niall and Liam. Harry could hear it without even trying.

“Just hold me and bury your face in my chest. I will keep you warm, you idiot,” Liam said.

A huff was heard before Niall hissed, “I don’t think I can go any further. There is no space left between us, Liam!”

Harry could not help but feel empty. He closed his eyes, wiggling on his spot to find the right position. He pulled his feet closer to his chest, balling himself to shy away from the cold breeze. It was somehow rafting from the windows, making Harry tremble. His body temperature was not as high as an alpha or a beta. Niall was fine because his alpha was so close to him, holding him. Harry had no one.

There was the sound of shuffling behind him. Harry closed his eyes tightly and buried his face into the pillow when he felt the warmth of another body that was sliding closer to him. He pressed his lips tightly together to suppress his mewl of protest when the alpha stopped just behind him, not touching anything.

Harry frowned. If Louis wanted to keep Harry warm, why was he not reaching out? Harry stared at his fingers as they gripped the duvet anxiously, waiting for the alpha to do something but nothing. The alpha just stayed there, warmth radiating off his body, seeping into the omega’s body. Harry was not satisfied though. It was still cold. He wriggled some more, trying to show that he was not comfortable yet. Louis did nothing. He stayed as still as the wall of China.

“Don’t worry, Harry. I will not take advantage of you in the darkness.”

Harry sighed. His teeth sinking on his bottom lip as he squirmed backwards. He closed his eyes in mortification when his bum touched the alpha’s hipbones. His back was yet to be pressed against the alpha. Louis was not even meeting him halfway.

Harry shifted again, feeling the alpha’s arms. They were crossed over the alpha’s chest as it felt. Harry let out a whine.

Minutes passed before those arms were uncrossed and Harry was slowly pulled against the warm torso of the blue-eyed alpha. Harry hid his flaming face into the pillow as Louis’ breath tickled his neck. The alpha purred softly when a loud crackling sound of thunder was heard. Without even knowing, Harry gripped the alpha’s hand in his, pulling Louis closer. Their legs were tangled as Louis’ lips rested just millimetres away from the omega’s neck. Harry could feel the alpha’s nose against his nape and he quivered when Louis inhaled deeply.

They said nothing when they felt their fingers were entangling. Harry looked down to see Louis’ fingers intertwisted with his.

Sleep came easily after that.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Harry woke up to find Louis sleeping beside him. He did not know how early it was or how late it was but it looked like everyone else was sleeping too.

Harry watched how the alpha’s mouth was slightly open as he breathed slowly, his chest rising and falling. Somehow they ended up facing each other over the night. Harry was now resting his head on Louis’ shoulder, his hand clutching the alpha close. Louis’ arm was placed around his waist. Harry watched how the alpha’s eyelids fluttered as if he was fighting the unconsciousness. Those long eyelashes creating a brown shadow on those high-cheekbones as the sun fell on them. Louis’ button nose was scrunching up as he shifted slightly.

Harry could not look away.

There was a shrill sound of a horn and the whole campervan jumped into consciousness. Liam jumping in his sleep and sitting up hurriedly. Niall just behind him. Louis jerked his eyes open and Harry gasped when the alpha’s arm tightened around him possessively.

Blue eyes fell on green ones and Louis jerked away, freeing Harry.

“Sorry,” Louis said, sliding away.

“What the fuck, Alberto? What happened?” Zayn yelled from the floor, rubbing his eyes.

Liam grunted as he yawned, Niall almost falling off the bed as he could not stay awake.

Harry sat up slowly when Louis slid out of the bed.

“What happened, Paul?” Louis called.

The mentioned man peeked through the door and shrugged with a sorry face, “there was a herd of deer so we had to blow the horn. Sorry for the inconvenient.”

Louis waved his hand dismissively, “it is fine. We had to wake up anyway.”

Harry noticed how the alpha did not meet his eyes when he turned.

“Come on, boys, get ready. We are almost there if we are already seeing a herd of deer. We will be crossing the borders in half an hour or so. Get ready.” Louis clapped his hands and went to pull out his outfit for the day.

Harry yawned and left the bed, agreeing with Niall’s groan of protest.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Perrie Edwards.

An overwhelmingly charming, enthusiastic and pleasing omega. Her blue eyes vibrated with friendliness. Those lips stretched widely to welcome them as they stepped out of the campervan. She hugged Harry with so much hospitality that Harry had to smile when she pulled back. In some minutes, he knew, he would like her.

“Welcome to the Edwards pack, boys,” she bowed extravagantly. Everyone laughed. Well, except Zayn. Harry noticed how the beta was smiling at her. His eyes all for the omega.

Harry frowned when he noticed a mating mark on her neck but it looked burnt.

Failed mating.

Harry looked at her beautifully curved face. He could not understand what went wrong in her life and how did Zayn meet her. There were a lot of questions in his mind. How did they cope up? What about she being an omega and Zayn being a beta? How did they manage when her heat came?

He asked none of that. He just met the girl and he would not prod those parts of her. They were her past to tell. Harry had nothing to do with it.

“Thank you, miss Edwards. How are you and where is Alexander?” Louis asked, grinning at her.

She made a sorry face, “he had to leave to attend a meeting about the pack’s safety and all after the attack in your pack. He was really not ready to leave but I said, I will welcome you and knowing you, you will be fine with it. Right?”

Louis nodded, “absolutely. Pack duties come first. I will meet him soon for the all-alpha conference soon anyway.”

They hugged again. Harry observed how comfortable they both were around each other. They looked close.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” Perrie pulled out of the hug to look at Louis, “my cousin Mason is here and he wants to join us on this trip. I thought it would be fine as you two are friends and all. Is it fine?”

Before Louis could answer, someone came running towards the group.

“Of course he is fine. How can he deny me?” the person said, huffing as he bent over to rest his hands on his knees to even out his breathing.

When the person looked up, Harry’s mouth fell open. His eyes took in the omega in front of him.

The Omega had blistering blue eyes with the longest eyelashes that fluttered as he winked at Louis. He was sharp. Long, pointed nose reflected the sunrays as if he had used highlighter but Harry knew it was because the omega’s skin was silky smooth. The omega’s brown long hair was swiped off his wide forehead but one strand fell over his eyes. His lips were thick, beautifully shaped. His teeth gleamed as he grinned. The silver chain around his neck looked sexy. The see-through deep V-neck T-shirt was making the omega even more strikingly gorgeous.

He was smiling flirtatiously at Louis, “Hey there, gorgeous.”

Harry’s eyes followed the omega’s hands as they reached out to wrap Louis in a hug. The omega cooed as he hid his face in the crook of Louis’ neck.

Harry’s eyes widen when he mewled, “goodness, you smell too alluring.”

Everyone around them shifted uncomfortably until Louis pushed Mason away discreetly, laughing, “You always find me alluring. No matter what.”

Harry looked at them, observing the exchange. They looked… cosy, intimate.

He turned towards Niall for any clue. Niall twitched his lips, leaning closer to Harry, “Mason Edwards. Louis’ once fuck buddy, a childhood friend from school time.”

Harry stopped for a moment. His eyes glued to Niall, too afraid to look back at the exchange now.

He turned when his name was called.

Mason was staring at him, a smile on his lips, “so this is your mate,” he came to stand in front Harry, looking up and down as if measuring Harry. Harry did not like it.

Finally, those eyes came back to Harry’s face. The omega smiled widely at Harry.

“So you stole Louis from me,” Mason said, laughing.

Louis shook his head, smiling. It looked like only he found the words amusing as others stood stiffly.

Harry straightened up, smiling, “I don’t think I stole anyone from you. He is not mine.”

Harry could see Louis’ smile dropping and Perrie’s eyes widening.

Mason arched his brows, “what?”

Harry did not reply. He shook the outstretched hand politely. He was a royal omega; he knew how to hide his emotion very well.

Harry stopped at the steps of the van to take a look behind him.

Louis was telling something to the omega as he held the alpha’s hands in his, listening to him with piqued attention.

Harry gripped the door tightly in his hands when his eyes followed the way Louis’ arms came up to rest on the omega’s hip. He huffed out a small disbelieving laugh.

Every alpha was same. Just put them in the right situations.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Three hours.

Three hours had passed since they started their journey.

Mason sat almost on Louis’ lap as the alpha’s hand rested on the omega’s thighs. Harry looked at Louis and his smile that looked so easily put there as Mason told another joke, which was not even funny.

Harry’s insides churned when Mason leaned in, whispering something in Louis’ ears. Louis rolled his eyes, shushing the omega but he was smiling nonetheless.

Harry could not understand what he was feeling. He was not involved with Louis. He could not understand the burning feeling in the middle of his chest. He could not look away from the alpha’s beaming face. Louis looked happy. Really happy as Mason giggled beside him. They looked perfect.

They looked like the mated couple. Harry’s eyes burnt when Mason leaned in to whisper something again. Was the whispering necessary?

Harry could not breathe when he noticed those lips touching Louis’ cheek softly. Louis just tickled the omega, smirking as he flinched with a bark of laughter.
“So tell me about yourself, Harry. I could not make it on your wedding,” Perrie said, her eyes soft on him.

Harry looked at his husband, who was now looking at him.

Harry looked at Perrie with a smile, “Well, I was not really in a mood to enjoy my wedding either. So it is fine, I guess?” he took a glance at Louis, who was just staring at him.

Perrie looked confusedly at Harry and then at Louis, “what? Are you two fighting for any reason at the moment?”

Mason laughed, “Is it because of me? Am I being the third wheel?” he leaned closer towards Harry, those eyes glinting with mirth, “are you jealous?”

Harry gritted his teeth. His eyes went to Louis but the alpha was impassively staring at his own fingers now. His expression blank.

Harry stretched his lips for a wide smile, “no. I don’t have anything to feel jealous about. Louis is not mine to feel anything about. We are just married,” he raised his chin in defiance at Louis and said, “unfortunately.”

The van was silent after that. Everyone shifted uncomfortably around them. Mason looked at Harry and then back at Louis.

Harry ignored everyone as he stared at Louis. The alpha had no expression on his face.

“He is right. I am not his to feel jealous about,” Louis finally said, his eyes hard on Harry and then he smiled at Mason, “you know Nick? The leader of the Grimshaw pack? They are together.”

Harry clasped his fingers tightly together when Perrie and Mason’s eyes fell on him. He tried not to lose his temper as Louis smiled at him.

“So why did you get married to Louis?” Mason sounded accusing.

Harry grazed his teeth together, “I am not sure if I want to discuss my failed marriage with you.”

“Where are we staying when we reach the fest? Did any of you book a hotel or lodge?” Niall asked suddenly. A very obvious attempt to shift the topic of discussion.

Perrie looked relieved, “yes. Yes. Where are we staying?”

Harry looked around. Liam and Zayn looked grateful too.

The conversation flew after that. Everyone around them took part in the discussion. Even Mason was engrossed as he said something about his experience when he last attended the fest.

Harry glanced at Louis. The alpha was looking at the group with a smile on his face, nodding with them.

Harry looked where Mason had his right hand on Louis’ thigh, giggling on his shoulder. Louis was smiling down at him.

Harry felt like an intruder all of a sudden. He watched how comfortable Mason was in that group. He noticed how familiar the omega was with Louis and his circle and then he thought about his own relationship with that group. Harry was not very close to Liam or Zayn. He did not even know Perrie existed until that morning when Jay mentioned her. He did not know Zayn loved an omega. Mason knew these little things. He had his memories with this group. He was so openly welcomed. Everyone was happy and so at ease around him. Even Louis.

If Harry left the group, would anyone miss him? Probably Niall. Would anyone notice if he just left that circle? Maybe no one.

Harry frowned when he felt a lump at the pit of his throat. Was not that was what he wanted? He wanted to leave the pack and never look back. How did it matter if anyone would miss him or not? Why was he expecting them to remember him anyway?

Would he remember these people when he left?

Harry’s eyes sought out Louis.

Would Louis remember him when Harry left?

Harry watched how the alpha laughed at something Mason said.

Would Louis tell his mate about Harry? About his failed first marriage?

Maybe Mason would be Louis’ mate after all. Would they laugh while thinking about Harry as they go on this same fest next year? Mason might be talking about how out of place Harry looked among them. Louis might agree, kissing the omega’s mating mark as they sat cosily.

Harry stood up.

He needed to leave this place for a second.

His volatility got a stable ground when no one called him back to stay.

Harry came to stand on the tiny balcony. The van was running fast now. Harry looked at the passing trees. They were left behind as the van went. Harry closed his eyes, willing them to not spill the drops when he felt like those trees.

He was confused why it hurt so badly. He was pixilated when he realized he cared.

He cared about Louis’ thoughts about him.

He cared about the alpha’s attention.

He gripped the railing in his hands tightly when he realized he hated it when Louis was not noticing him.

It made him feel cheap. So cheap that he liked the alpha’s attention. He felt like crying when he realized how piteous he was. What was Louis thinking about him?
Harry gasped for air. His eyes screwed close as he leaned against the balcony.

He would forget all this. He had to.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Deeper down the Ditty Valley, beyond the forest resorts and million-dollar mid-century modern homes, was Fiasco, where the Ditty festival was organized every year for music lovers and celebrities. Held on polo grounds in the desert, Ditty was a camping destination of sorts. It was a great place to get drunk on craft beer after stuffing your stomach with the latest festive foods. Everywhere you turned there was vitality to be found – especially if you stumbled into some of the more extravagant cabaret tents and stages dotting the woods. The music only started around 5 pm and continued throughout the night until the next morning. You could rest the whole day and get tanned under the sun. It had all kinds of live bands and singers. Apart from music, Ditty festival offered sports grounds, dancing arenas and discotheques.

From the suburbs of Fiasco started the valley of Cordiella. Ciara and two more rivers generated from the Mountains of Cordiella. People went hiking there. 84 miles of hiking was one of the main attractions of the festival.

Their campervan stopped in front of the tavern they were staying.

When all their luggage and belongings were put inside the inn, Louis turned towards the group with a list in his hands.

“Okay, guys. We will stay here for two days. As in tonight and tomorrow. Our hiking trip starts the day after tomorrow. We will spend two days hiking around Cordiella. I don’t know if you all heard about the fireworks that happen every year at the top of the mountain but we will attend that. I have been there and I can assure you all, it is a sight to behold.” He smiled at them.

Mason nodded, grinning, “Last time it was just me and Louis. Remember how we had to share one sleeping bag because you forgot to take yours?” his eyes shone at Louis.

Louis grinned, “I had it with me just fine. You were cold, you little shit!”

Mason laughed. His eyes sparkled as they took in the alpha.

Harry looked down at his shoes.

Zayn coughed, his eyes on Louis, “can we see the room assortments?” He turned to face Perrie, “how many rooms did you book, Pez?”

Perrie twisted her lips thoughtfully, “I have booked three but now I guess we need four?”

They all started towards the reception.

Harry was held back. Harry looked down where Louis had his wrist confined in a tender grip. He looked up to see Louis was looking at him. Harry arched his brows in question, pulling his wrist free. The skin burnt where Louis had touched him. Harry rubbed the place to wipe away the feeling.

“If you want, I can take another room. I mean, we don’t need to share a room,” Louis said, a small smile playing on his lips.

Harry hated that smile.

He snickered, “why, Louis? Do you want to share a room with Mason?” He smirked when the smile was wiped off Louis’ face, “am I stopping you? Oh, please, do go on. I don’t want to hold you back.”

Louis furrowed his brows, taking a look at Mason where the omega stood with Perrie and then back at Harry, “why would I share a room with him?”

Harry shrugged, crossing his arms over his chest, “because you want to stay with Mason? I don’t know, maybe want to spend some intimate time with him? You can go on, you know? It is not like we are holding each other back or something.”

He could see when Louis understood his meaning and the alpha’s eyes hardened. Those thin lips curved down in a disgusted frown. Louis looked like he had tasted something sour. The alpha stepped forward, holding both of Harry’s wrists when Harry tried to step away.

They were standing in a lobby full of onlookers. Harry’s wrists held captive by Louis.

“If I can, I will hold you like this throughout my life,” Louis said.

Harry looked up, those blue eyes held no accusation. Louis’ expression was soft. A smile was playing on those thin lips.

Something was breaking in Harry.

He looked down at where Louis held him. The grip was not tight, Harry would pull and it would break.

Harry did not.

“But I don’t want to be the anchor of your ship, Harry. I don’t want to stop you,” Harry looked up to see the alpha was smiling at him, a doleful smile, “I would rather be your compass and guide you home.”

Harry bit down on his lips when they wobbled.

Louis took a step closer, “I would rather break my rope and set you free.”

Louis freed his grasp on Harry’s wrists, letting them go.

Louis was stepping around Harry to leave. Harry grasped the alpha’s shirt in his hand. When Louis tried to turn around, Harry placed his forehead on the alpha’s shoulder blade, hiding his face there, “don’t do something to disgrace our marriage, Louis. I don’t want anything else from you. No matter what, we are married. Please respect it.”

Louis’s body shook with a small laugh, “why do you get to ask so much of me and I get nothing in return?”

Harry bit his lips, “ask me. What do you want, Louis? Tell me.”

Harry could hear their group coming back towards them. He let go of Louis’ shirt and the alpha turned to face him.

“I can’t. I don’t think I have the rights,” Louis said.

Before Harry could answer, everyone was back around them.

Liam held out a key for Louis to take.

Louis took it and placed it in Harry’s palm. His eyes were on Harry. Harry understood what it meant.

Louis wanted him to decide if they were having one room or Louis needed another.

Harry could not understand what he wanted. He was not sure. He looked at Mason and then back at the key in his hands. The turmoil was eating him alive.

He could not ask for another room here. Everyone would bomber them with questions. Harry did not want to face that.

“I don’t want to create a scene here. We can share a room.” Harry said.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

“You love him,” Mason said as soon as Harry was out of their view.

Louis looked at Harry’s retreating back and laughed lightly, shaking his head, “Oh, that is very nice to know. I thought it was just a stupid crush or something. Thanks for hitting me with such realization.”

Mason had a thoughtful look on his face when he watched Louis, “no. It is not just a crush. You love him.”

Everyone around them was now moving towards the staircase as the inn had no lift. Louis stood there, his eyes fixed at the distance, not on anything particular, “why do we fall for someone who will never be ours?”

Mason smiled, “maybe your karma wants you to feel what you put me through all those years ago?”

Louis turned to look at the omega. Mason looked back, a smile played on his face. Louis could see the hurt that coloured those eyes.

Louis felt helpless, he reached out, taking Mason’s hands he gave a squeeze, “you still…”

Mason laughed, shaking his head to shush Louis, “it does not go away like that, Louis. I still love you and I had hoped that one day you will come around,” he craned his neck with a soft expression, “but now I know, you will not.”

Louis did not know what to say. He shook his head, “what changed your thought?”

Mason’s lips curled up in a sad smile, “when I saw how you look at Harry. You have found your omega, Louis.”

Louis could feel his eyes burning, a tight grip suffocating his heart with something like longing. He looked at Mason and could not help but wish to love him back. Well, at least, he had a chance with Mason.

Where did he stand with Harry? Harry did not love him. He never will. Louis would be left behind when the time came. Harry would be gone to start a new life with his alpha and Louis would live with this hollow feeling in his chest forever. A gap that burned deeper with every passing day.

That scared Louis more than anything did. Would he ever be able to move on?

He exhaled helplessly, combing his fingers through his hair frustratingly, “why it is so complicated, Mason? Why could not I love you instead? Life would be so much easier for all of us.”

Mason held Louis’ hands, squeezing them, “I don’t know, Louis. Maybe the Moon-goddess, Selene, likes putting us through all this. Maybe we all are not meant to be with the one we love. Those are lucky who gets the one they love.”

Louis huffed out a despised laugh, “I feel like I am losing myself every day in him. I feel like Icarus, flying so close to the sun that is Harry. I know how it is not good for me. The days pass and I feel this void space in my heart that crave him. It gets deeper day by day. My determination is like wax in front of him. It melts away when Harry comes close. When he needs me, I could not be strong and leave. It feels like, I cut my pieces to give him and then he just…” Louis tried to even out his breathing. He would not cry.

No.

Mason sighed, “I never thought, you would feel like this ever. I always thought I am the only one who goes through emotions like this. I am not going to lie; I wanted you to feel what you put me through. But now…” he looked back at Louis, “I don’t think I like this forlorn look on you, Lou.”

Louis shook his head, “I guess we both are stupid. We have fallen in love with the person who is not ours to have.”

Mason said nothing.

Louis did not wait either. He took his bags and stepped towards the stair. He hated discussing his feelings and he would not start now.

“I guess, I am the only one who will be left alone cause Harry…” Mason shook his head, smiling. He followed the alpha.

Their rooms were on the same floor after all.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Louis was abnormally distant.

Harry watched the alpha eating his food quietly as everyone around them chattered happily. When he came to rest in their allotted room, he did not even look at Harry and just went to take a shower. They did not talk while getting ready. Well, Louis looked deep in thought. They came out to eat a late lunch. The sun was already setting when their orders were served.

Harry looked down at his plate after watching the alpha for time being.

“Where are we going after this?” Niall asked, gobbling down his food.

Liam shrugged, “Louis? Where next?”

Everyone watched Louis eating without a word. Zayn jabbed his elbow in the alpha’s rib, making Louis flinch.

Harry watched Louis looking up at the beta, “huh? What?” he asked Zayn and looked around the table.

“We asked where we are going after this,” Perrie said.

Louis nodded, “well, the fest has begun as you all can see. I guess we will wander around a bit. Then as the festival map says, a new band, Orbit is performing the opening act. We can go and attend that if you all want.”

“I would love to see some live bands,” Niall said. Harry nodded. He loved music festivals for these live bands.

Louis smiled at Niall, “okay, then. We will go there.”

“They are going to cover some of Ed’s songs as the pamphlet says. I feel so proud when I see that half of them are written by you.” Mason said, chewing the bite of his chicken nuggets.

Harry stopped eating, his eyes wide at his plate. He looked up to see Louis eating silently. The alpha did not even look up.

“I want him to sing thinking out loud. I still can’t believe you wrote it when you were just eighteen.” Perrie gushed.

Harry felt his heart throbbing in his chest as he could not help but look at the alpha in question.

Louis wrote songs for a living? Louis worked?

Louis was squirming under everyone’s praising stares, “yeah. Yeah. Eat now. We will be late otherwise.”

Harry could not eat anymore. Thinking out loud was one of his favourite songs. He knew it was one of the most played songs on his phone.

“My all the time favourite song is Photograph. Are you writing something at the moment?” Mason asked.

Harry willed himself to look at the alpha in question. Confusion and curiosity were eating Harry alive. Louis wrote all these songs? He did not even know what the alpha did for a living.

Nick was a radio jockey. Did he know that Louis wrote songs?

Harry looked at Louis.

The alpha was looking down at his plate, the tips of his ears red.

He was blushing!

Harry noticed the alpha squirming on his seat, moving the food around on that disposable plate.

“Well, yeah. Writing one for a newcomer. Nothing important,” Louis said. He sounded uncomfortable.

Zayn chuckled, “look how uncomfortable he is! He hates the attention.”

Everyone laughed.

Liam patted Louis’ back, grinning widely, “he is always like this. Never even speaks about his achievements.”

Niall nodded, “he got four Grammies. Can you imagine?”

Harry gaped at the omega and then looked back at Louis. Louis was stuffing his mouth with the cake. His cheeks heated.

“Four Grammies?” Harry asked. His eyes fixed on Louis. Louis looked at him through his eyelashes then looked down again.

“Yes. For thinking out loud, Stay with me, Just hold on and all of me,” Mason said proudly. His eyes on Louis.

Harry could not gulp down the lump in his throat. His hands shook over the table. He was sure that his breathing was not normal.

“I love these songs,” he whispered, almost to himself.

Louis heard him though. Those blue eyes snapped up at him. Harry could not look away.

His head swirled with the emotions he was feeling. Louis wrote thinking out loud and all of me?

Louis was still looking at him. The alpha’s expression gave nothing away. Harry was sure, he himself looked vulnerable and he could not help it.

“We all love his writing,” Mason nodded.

Harry could not look at Mason. He could not look at anyone but Louis.

“You…” Harry could not finish before Louis was standing up, pushing away the chair.

“Okay. Enough of my career and me. I just do it for a living. No need to glorify it so much,” Louis clapped his hands with a smile at everyone, “can we move now? We will be late otherwise.”

“You are the only one from the industry who does not attend any award shows or anything related to celebrities. At least, let us serenade you,” Mason said, getting up from his chair.

Louis shook his head, “award means a log speech under those spotlights and media. Are you kidding me? You know how much I hate media and any kind of attention.”

Everyone laughed, shaking their heads at the alpha.

Harry said nothing. He needed some time to digest the whole thing that happened. It was a lot of information to have over a lunch as Monica’s mum would say.

All those songs were Harry’s favourite. Harry could not even count how many time he had listened to All of me. He was not sure how to feel when he realized, he knew practically nothing about Louis.

Louis was walking ahead of the group, his hands shoved in his pockets. Mason skipped the group to walk with Louis, his right arm going under Louis’ elbow to hold it. Louis smiled down at him, pulling him closer.

Harry looked away.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

The fest was buzzing with people. Everywhere they looked, people were strolling around in their fancy dresses. Different kind of music filled their ears as they went.

Small shops littered the path. The main arena was located on the beach. The speakers played some loud music and the beach was filled with the crowd’s excited voices. Harry looked around to see some people were sitting on the beach, enjoying the sunset. Some were walking on the beach while holding their mate’s hands. Harry took off his shoes, feeling the cold sand under his feet. He dug his toes and stood for a moment, letting the group leave him behind. He wanted to sit down and just… think.

He looked up to see the sun was almost over the ocean, colouring the sea with its orange hue. Some pups were running around with ice-creams or balloons in their hands. Their mothers ran behind them, trying to catch up. Harry watched a couple kissing. The Omega had his eyes closed as he lay on the sand and his mate was caressing the omega’s rounded belly, kissing him softly. Another couple looked newly married. The girl was smiling shyly at her husband as he told her something with a lot of hand gestures.

“Harry?”

Harry jumped on the spot, looking back to see Louis standing behind him. The alpha’s eyes reflected the setting sun. The golden skin looked darker now. Harry watched the alpha’s hair moving as the ocean breeze went through it.

“The concert is going to start in some minutes,” Louis said, gesturing towards the crowd around a stage with his thumb.

Harry looked at the stage. The band was already there, getting ready for their performance. His eyes flickered back to the alpha who was looking at the sea now.

“You have never told me that you write,” Harry said. His voice slow and confused.

Louis’ eyes flickered over him. A smile played on those thin lips. He shrugged, jostling the collar of his shirt, “let’s go, Harry.”

Harry scrambled forward to hold the alpha’s shirt, pulling Louis back to stand in front of him, “why did not you tell me, Louis?”

Those eyes searched his face for a moment. Then Louis was shaking his head, “I don’t think it is important. Even if it was,” he smiled at Harry, “did we ever just sit down and talk?”

Harry had no answer for that.

He followed the alpha then. His mind was still on loop.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Mason had a presence.

He would move like an ophidian. His smile was flirtatious as he looked at his dancing partner. That defined bum pressed against his partner’s crotch.

Harry did not blame Louis for having his eyes only for that omega. His brain knew Mason deserved the attention for being so sexy as he moved against Louis’ crotch. Louis had his eyes set on the omega as they danced.

Harry looked at the stage, where the band was blasting ED Sheeran’s new hit, Shape of you. Harry might be the only one who stood there in silence. He watched Perrie and Zayn kiss as their bodies moved. Liam and Niall were nowhere to be found. Liam had pulled Niall away from the crowd a long while ago. Harry looked down at the warm beer in his hand. He was not feeling like drinking. His mouth felt acetic.

Louis’ smile was widening as Mason leaned in to say something in his ears, looping his arms around the alpha’s neck. Harry felt like an intruder as he watched them.

Everyone around them moved with the music, making it hard for Harry to stand still. There was someone who kept pressing against Harry, touching Harry’s hipbones. Harry turned to see an alpha. His brown eyes glimmered when Harry looked up at him.

The alpha took a quick look at Harry’s unmarked neck and smirked widely. His hands came up to hold around Harry’s waist. Harry looked back at Louis, who was now moving side by side as Mason leisurely leaned against him.

Harry turned back towards the stranger with a smile and roped his arms around the alpha’s neck. Their bodies moved in harmony. The alpha smelt too strong for Harry’s liking but who cared? It was just dancing. Harry closed his eyes, let the alpha lead him. He moved on his own accord, losing himself in the song. The alpha was mouthing against his neck now, Harry’s skin tickled under his beard. Harry moved his hips, pulling the alpha closer.

He felt that man’s breath against his ear, “I am Luca by the way.”

The Australian accent was clear in Harry’s ears. Harry swayed, giggling when Luca’s groin rubbed against his. He was pulled closer to the alpha. Harry grinded against the alpha, his eyes watering as he laughed, throwing his head back, “I am Harry.”

He did not know why tears were pooling in his eyes as the alpha started kissing the bare expanse of his neck, those rough hands groped his arse and then his slim waist. Harry giggled through those tears. He wanted to forget.

“God, you look so fucking pretty. Let me show you a good time, princess,” Luca said, his tongue coming out to lick Harry’s earlobe.

Harry giggled some more, his eyes closed, “take me away from all this. Will you?”

There was a hand on his elbow, someone pressing against Harry’s back.

“Sorry, dude. I have got him. Find someone else,” Luca said, not even pulling his face away from where he was kissing Harry’s neck now.

“I think he is my husband, pal. Get yourself someone else,” the voice said.

Harry turned to see those blue eyes. They were looking at Luca now. Harry tried to pull away from that grip on his elbow but Louis was not budging.

“He is yours?” Luca said, his voice light as if he was laughing at Louis, “he was grinding on me a second ago.”

Louis’ eyes found Harry, a hard expression on his face, “yeah. I saw that. Let me ask him what is going on here.”

Harry could not protest. He was dragged away from the alpha just after that. Harry turned back to see Mason was still dancing. Perrie and Zayn were giving him company as they danced together.

“What the hell! Where are you taking me?” Harry screamed over the music but Louis was not answering. He just pushed past everyone. His right hand held Harry’s left wrist tightly. Harry almost tripped on his feet as he tried to match the alpha’s speed.

“Louis! What the hell!” he screamed when they were away from their group.

Louis stopped when the crowd was not so thick anymore, almost at the edge. He turned to face Harry. Blue eyes blazed on Harry’s face. Harry hated how gorgeous Louis looked right at that moment. Harry was not drunk enough to deal with it.

“Care to explain?” Louis gritted out, his arms crossed over his chest. When Harry just furrowed his brows, Louis pointed over his shoulder at the crowd, “what were you doing? Who was that guy?”

Harry looked back, well, he could not see Luca or anyone he knew from here. He turned back to face Louis with a shrug, “I was having fun. You have a problem with it?”

Louis pressed down on his lips, too clear that he was trying to stop the growl that was threatening to break free. The alpha sighed, “And having fun includes grinding on a random alpha?”

Harry was done with all this. He was not going stand here and get scolded like a toddler. He smirked, “why? You seemed to think that is quite fun.” He leaned closer to Louis’ ear as he whispered, “was Mason good? I bet he was. Did you like it when he was just all over you?”

Louis gripped his elbows, jerking Harry away to maintain some distance. Harry was glad for it. The alpha smelt like Mason. His scent was mixed with Louis’. Harry did not want to vomit.

“Are you seriously making sense at the moment? What do you want from me, Harry?” Louis shook his head disbelievingly, his hands waving over his head, “you wanted me to leave you alone. I did. I fucking tried to not invade when you were all over that guy but for how long? You should know your limits!”

Harry was feeling anger prickling his skin, his eyes burnt with angry tears when Louis scolded him like a pup.

“Don’t you dare tell me about my limits!” Harry shouted, throwing the remaining beer at Louis’ face. He threw the red cup at Louis too; it hit the alpha’s chest and dropped on the sand.

Louis sputtered for a moment, wide eyes taking in his T-shirt and then Harry. Harry watched victoriously when the alpha wiped his face with his hands.

“What the fuck!” Louis hissed.

“Fuck off. Let me enjoy the night and forget all these conflicts,” Harry hissed back, turning away from the alpha. He was angry. He could live with anger rather than facing those unexplainable emotions.

Harry pushed through the crowd, ignoring everyone as he went. When he was in a place where he could flare his limbs, he started to dance. He would forget about his conflicts at least for tonight. He would lose himself in this crowd.

“Thank you so much, guys. I hope you enjoyed the song. Now as we can see, you all are a bit tired after an energetic song like that. How about we play something else?” the lead singer of the band said, smiling at the crowd. Everyone cheered and the singer smiled, turning to face his band to say something.

Beyonce’s “Dance for you,” started playing with others. Everyone started moving slowly.

Harry moved his hips, swaying with the music. His eyes closed as he tried to let his mind take in the music.

“I just wanna
Show you how much I appreciate you
Wanna show you how much I'm dedicated to you”

Harry jumped when he felt someone pressing against his back. He turned swiftly to face the stranger and came face to face with Louis. The alpha’s face was glistening with the beer that Harry threw at him. Louis placed his hands on Harry’s hips, pulling the omega closer as they moved.

“What are you doing?” Harry asked, moving along with Louis.
Louis shrugged, “let’s forget our conflicts together.”

Harry said nothing after that. He moved with Louis. Their chests touched when Harry pulled Louis closer. Louis’ hands going for Harry’s hips. Harry pressed in harder.

“Wanna show you how much I will forever be true
Wanna show you how much you got your girl feelin' good
Wanna show you how much, how much you're understood
Wanna show you how much, I value what you say
Not only are you loyal, you're patient with me babe”

Harry threw his head back when Louis leaned in to place his lips against his throat. Their hands groped each other. Harry turned to face the stage, leaning against Louis. Their waists moved together, in sync. Harry could feel Louis’ groin against his arse. He grinded back. Louis’ lips were against his neck. The alpha groaned when Harry moved again.

“Wanna show you how much, I really care about yo heart
I wanna show ya how much, I hate being apart
Show ya, show ya, show ya til you're through with me
I wanna keep it how it is, so you can never say how it used to be”

Harry mewled when Louis bit down on his shoulder, kissing that place after it. Harry turned to face Louis again; his fingers went through Louis’ hair, pulling at it roughly. Louis hissed, pulling Harry closer by his hips. Harry stared at the alpha. Louis was somehow able to turn his world turn upside down. Harry was not sure how he felt about it. His eyes closed when the alpha leaned in. Their breath mingled. Harry was not sure what Louis wanted so he just stood silently.

"Loving you is really all that's on my mind
And I can't help but to think about it day and night
I wanna make that body rock
Sit back and watch!"

Harry wailed when Louis’ teeth grazed the junction of his neck, slowly scraping that place. His body went lax. Harry gripped the alpha closer. His omega resurfacing from the depth of his mind. Harry mouthed Louis shoulder, pressing his lips to the alpha’s neck. His body was suddenly too hot.

How was this his life? How did he end up in Louis’ arms every night after a whole day of distance? It was like coming back home after a day’s worth hard work.
A chilled current went through Harry’s spine when he realized, every day his omega waited for this moment when Louis would pull him back in his arms. His omega thrived when after a day of distance; the alpha would finally come to claim him in some ways. Harry exhaled shakily when he realized, how his omega was so used to coming home to this alpha by now.

He placed his lips against Louis’ ear and moaned, “Take me home.”

Chapter Text

 

---***--- ---***---

Taking Harry home found them on the beach, walking with their shoes in their hands. Louis had folded his jeans up and Harry followed. As soon as they were out of the crowd, Harry had sobered up. They had decided to take a stroll when Louis had mentioned how beautiful the sea looked as moon glowed over it. Harry could not help but agree. The crispy breeze was light as it touched his face. Harry inhaled deeply. Sea had a specific smell. Something like fresh lemon squeezed over your hand. The ocean smelled like it. Harry loved it.

As the moon crossed the sky, the beach went silent. Night had a magic. Only few could appreciate it, those who could not, they went back to their designated hotels to sleep.

Harry looked down at where his hand almost touched Louis’. Harry took a sideways glance at Louis. Louis was looking down at his feet, his walk slow. His heart fluttered when he noticed a small smile on his lips. What was the alpha smiling about?

Then his eyes fell on the sand. The alpha was kicking sand as he went.

Harry was not sure what to say. He was not sure what to feel when he realized that he liked that silent walk. Their stances relaxed. Harry felt comfortable. But he was not sure if Louis felt the same or not.

He was not sure if he should say something. Was Louis bored? Was he regretting coming here, leaving Mason there with his friends?

“Do you want to go back?” Louis asked, his face thoughtful.

Harry looked at his left, where the sea was glimmering under the moon and then back at his right where the alpha stood. He was not sure about whose shine blinded him.

Harry shook his head in denial. His voice too caught up to come out. Or his pride too big to accept that he was enjoying the alpha’s company.

Louis nodded, looking ahead, “let’s sit then?”

Harry watched how Louis dropped on his arse and leaned back on his elbows. He was almost lying with his back propped.

Harry sat down beside him, pulling his keens closer to rest his chin on them. His eyes were set on the horizon, where the sea met the moon.

He was not sure if he should say something. His mind had so many thoughts. So many confusions to clear. He wanted answers but he was not sure how to ask those questions. Sometimes he had struggles finding appropriate words for his thoughts. Sometimes, people misunderstood him for his words being too slow. It was not Harry’s fault. His words did not match his mind as it is.

“You look lost,” Louis said suddenly. When Harry turned to see, the alpha was looking at him.

Louis looked at peace. His face calm and body lax against the sand. Harry could feel the tension in his heart. He was in knots.

“I don’t know anything about you,” he spoke. His eyes stuck on Louis.

He really did not know anything about Louis. Since the first day of their wedding, Harry was dead set on hating the alpha. He did not even hear his mother out when she praised Louis or ignored every compliment his father gave to the alpha.

Louis arched his left brow in amusement, “and that is my fault when you run away from me like a plague?”

Harry looked down at his toes, where they are rubbing against the sand, digging it, “tell me.”

Louis laid down completely, his head supported by his hands under it, “I am terrible at introduction. You have to ask me.”

Harry chewed his bottom lip; there were so many questions he wanted to ask Louis.

“You write,” he whispered. He was still in shock.

Louis said nothing.

Harry took a sideways glance. Louis had a frown on his brows now.

“I do. Yeah,” Louis said. His voice stiff.

“Tell me about it,” Harry said. His curiosity overpowered his pride and Harry found himself shifting to face the alpha completely. Louis just looked up at him. His shoulders tensed.

“You don’t like talking about it,” Harry said like a conclusion. He could not understand it though. Louis was a lyricist. He should be proud of himself. Why did the alpha look so uncomfortable?

Louis shook his head, expression thoughtful, “it sometimes affects people’s actual view of me. They either start treating you as if you are a royalty or just stay away from you because of a nonsense fear of power. I don’t want that. My profession should not describe me. I just write songs and earn money from it. Just like someone else goes to an office and works his arse off to earn money. Work is work. So, I think, we should just leave it to that.”

Louis was saying the truth. Harry felt it. Harry could see it in those eyes as they stared ahead at the sea.

Harry tried not to feel the tingling sensation that was crawling up towards his belly from the tip of his toes. His skin prickled with goosebumps.

“What was the first song that you wrote?” he asked sheepishly.

Louis’ lips twitched up in an amused smile. As if, he was remembering something. Then he shook his head. A soft laugh escaped the alpha’s lips.

“I don’t remember the first one, I guess. I was a pup. Some of them were just lines with no such endings and all. The first complete one was dedicated.”

Harry frowned with curiosity. The alpha’s cheeks were pink if Harry could see accurately in the darkness. Well, his wolf-eyes were not playing tricks on him. He was sure that Louis was blushing.

“Dedicated to whom?” he could not help it.

Long eyelashes flapped and those blue eyes came to focus on Harry’s face. Those thin lips curved in a sad smile.

“My grandparents and their love story,” Louis said. His eyes turned towards the sky. He smiled as if recalling that day, “I sang it at my grandma’s funeral. My grandpa was so proud of me. He gave me his favourite pen, the one my grandma gave him as their wedding gift. I still write with that pen.”

Harry looked forward. His eyes set on the sea.

“Can we not talk about my work, please?” Louis asked then. His voice sounded soft and sleepy.

Harry nodded, “okay. Do you want to go back?” he was not sure where. To the inn or the concert.

Louis shrugged, “if you want, we can go to the concert. Or the inn?”

Harry looked at his feet. The cold sand under his feet felt good, his toes were moving as they dug a deep line into the sand. Harry felt the soft brush of the gust was calming against his skin.

He liked staying here. He would like to stay here.

“I want to stay here,” he said.

Louis said nothing. He just closed his eyes; chin rose high as if he was sniffing the air.

Harry watched the alpha. He had so many more questions to ask.

“The sand is going to ruin your hair,” he said instead.

Louis blinked his eyes open, looking at him with a curious smile. Harry gestured towards his head.

“Nah. I am fine. Ever just laid like this and watched the sky full of stars?” Louis asked; his hands opened up beside him. He was lying there like a plus sign. His arms stretched and his legs crossed. Harry was not sure if Louis really wanted an answer.

“I do it when I am sad or confused. I just lay and watch the sky. Those stars. Can you imagine how small we are compared to them?” Louis’ voice held awe; his blue eyes glinted as he looked at those stars.

Harry looked up, watching those stars. They were dim on the sky. Some were twinkling.

“Lay down, Harry,” Louis said, his voice endeared, “you will crane your neck like that.”

Harry scrunched his nose as he looked at the sand, “I don’t want to get sand in my hair.”

Louis smiled, “lay on my stomach then.”

Harry’s eyes went on the alpha’s stomach. He gulped and looked at Louis. The alpha was watching him.

Harry moved slowly. His heart sped up as he leaned closer. He rested his head on the alpha’s stomach and lay on his back. His eyes found the sky but he could feel the alpha’s stomach moving.

“You are moving my head with your stomach,” Harry whined.

He bit back his smile when Louis laughed, almost dislodging his head.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

“Here you are.”

Niall jumped when he heard Liam’s voice. The alpha came to stand beside him. Niall took a look at him and then looked down at his feet. The cold water of the sea was touching his feet time to time as tide after tide rolled over them. His pant folded around his knees as he stood there.

“Are you running away from me?” Liam asked, coming to stand just behind him. Niall did not fight it when the alpha’s arms came up to hold him around his waist. Liam leaned closer to kiss his neck, sliding down his shirt to bite his shoulder as he went. Niall let him. He would take anything before he left. Maybe it was their last vacation together.

Maybe it was their last time together. He would never see Liam again after this tour.

He closed his eyes when Liam rubbed his groin against his arse. A cynical smile adorned Niall’s lips. Of course. That was the only reason Liam was here.

“Remember the time when I fucked you beside Ciara?” Liam whispered in his ear. Niall remembered. He remembered holding on to Liam for dear life as the alpha’s knot locked them together.

He looked down at where Liam held him. Niall rested his hands on Liam’s over his stomach. His eyes welled up as he watched how protectively Liam held his stomach. Maybe it was the alpha’s instinct.

“Want to fuck me here?” he asked. He tried not to think about the fact that they had no normal conversation when they met. It was always about sex. Liam would never come to him for a cuddle. It was always about fucking him deep and fast.

Liam growled in his ears, “You are wet. I can smell it.”

Niall smiled, “I am. Yeah.”

He turned to face the alpha. His eyes fixed on Liam’s chest as he went to unbutton his shirt.

“You smell so good,” Liam said, “but I am not going to fuck you here. I don’t want people watching you.”

Niall’s eyes found Liam’s. The alpha pulled at his wrist, “we are going back to the inn.”

 

---***--- ---***---

 

“On your stomach,” Liam said, almost shoving Niall on the bed.

Niall held the bedpost, “I want to do it on my back, please.”

Liam growled, “I said, on your stomach.”

Niall hugged himself, closing his eyes, “no. Not on my stomach.”

Liam watched him for a moment. They were naked and Liam was hard. He sighed.

“Fine. Just lay down,” Liam said, impatient.

Niall did. He closed his eyes and said nothing throughout the preparation. His eyes stayed closed when Liam leaned over him, cloaking him with his body. A whimper broke through his lips when Liam pushed in with a grunt. His hands found the alpha’s shoulders and Liam’s growl forced his eyes to open. Liam liked watching Niall’s eyes set on him.

Niall watched how sweat beads formed on the alpha’s forehead, running down over his nose and then falling on his own cheeks. He opened his mouth to each of Liam’s kisses. He took as much as he gave.

“Jesus,” Liam grunted, his cock trying to push further in even when his balls slapped against Niall’s arse, “you smell sweeter. Are you close to your heat?”

Niall said nothing. His eyes fixed on the alpha’s face.

I am pregnant with your pups.

He bit down on his lips. No.

He could not say that. He knew the deal. Liam had told him this when they were forced to this arrangement by law.

“I don’t want pups with you. If you get pregnant, don’t even wait for my confirmation. Just abort it. You are just here for my pleasure and when the time comes, I will kick you out of my life. I don’t want my first born to come from your womb.”

Niall had found out three days ago. All of his reports were positive. He was pregnant.

He had planned everything after that.

He would run away. At the last day of the trip, he would leave. His grandparents lived in a village near this fest. He would go there. And after two or so days, he would leave for his friend who lived in a nearby city. He had called that friend and everything was fixed. He would work there in a hospital as a nurse. He would do everything and fight until his last breath but he would not abort his pups. He knew he could tell Louis. Niall knew he could ask for help from the leader and he was sure Louis would help him. Hell, even half of the pack would help him. But he would not be able to stay in that pack where he would meet Liam every day. He would not be able to see the alpha with Sophia when he needed him. Liam was powerful. What if he forced Niall into doing something horrific? Sophia was sneaky. What if she did something to kill his babies? He could not take the risk.

“Fuck.”

Liam’s swear broke Niall’s trance. Liam’s knot was securely locked in him. The alpha almost collapsed on him. Panic seized Niall’s heart. He squirmed under Liam’s body. His hands went to push against the alpha’s chest.

Liam thought someone was pushing him away from Niall. His alpha instinct flared up and he growled.

“Liam, you are crashing me,” Niall whimpered. His eyes welled up when Liam shoved his hands away to lie down on him. Niall could not breathe. His stomach!

“Liam, I will die,” he whimpered.

Liam leaned away in a blink, balancing his weight on his elbows as he looked down at Niall with furrowed brows. Niall closed his eyes in comfort, trying to relax. His hands immediately went to hold his stomach.

“You behave like a tit nowadays,” Liam said, rolling off Niall. He pulled the omega close when he was settled comfortably.

Niall’s eyes widen when Liam’s hand came up to rest on his stomach. It was like an instinct. Liam purred in Niall’s ear. Relaxed.

Tears escaped Niall’s eyes. He placed his hand over Liam’s. He would take it. He would take whatever he could before leaving. His babies deserved their father’s touch. They deserved so much more.

“Will you miss me if I leave?” Niall asked, his heart pulsated in his chest.

Liam’s hand tightened on him. The alpha went stiff against Niall’s back, “try and leave, Niall. I would like to show you the consequences.”

Niall said nothing. He closed his eyes. Liam did not know the desperation of an omega when it came to his pups. Niall would leave. He had to.

 

---***--- ---***----

 

“Morning,” someone whispered near Harry’s ear.

Harry whined, rolling away from the voice. He wanted to sleep some more and that voice was clearly trying to wake him up. A chuckle was heard. Harry pulled the pillow over his head and rubbed his face against the mattress.

Pillow? Mattress?

Harry sprang up on the bed.

The bed.

Right.

What?

He looked around. He went to sleep on the beach. When did he come here?

He turned back to see Louis was smiling at him. Harry’s throat felt dry. The alpha was wearing nothing but a white towel around his waist. His hand held a trimmer and he smelt like fresh lemons. Louis had showered. Harry could see that as water droplets rolled down over those pecks. His hair was wet too, messy as if Louis had towel dried them.

“I went to sleep on the beach,” Harry said as a whisper. His eyes still fixed on Louis’ chest.

“Yeah, you did,” Louis said, turning away to go to the bathroom, “I carried you here,” he said over his shoulder.

Harry pulled the duvet away from his body and sighed in relief. He was wearing his boxer and the shirt.

His face heated up when he noticed the jeans on the floor though.

Louis did that.

He slowly hopped out of the bed and walked towards the bathroom. When he reached the door, Harry leaned against the doorframe. His naked legs crossed around his ankles and his arms crossed over his chest. He watched Louis trimming his beard. Louis smiled without turning around. As if he knew, Harry was there.

“Are you upset that I carried you here? Well, I am sorry. I did not have a lot of choices,” Louis said, smiling as much as he could as he trimmed the side of his cheek, “you were constantly moving around when I let you on the bed. Therefore, I figured the jeans was not comfortable. I had to take it off. I hope I did not offend you.”

Harry said nothing. He walked into the bathroom and hopped on the counter there. His eyes fixed on Louis’ cheek. He watched, transfixed, as Louis shaped his stubble.

Louis gave him a curious look and then went back to do his work.

“What are we doing today?” Harry asked.

Louis put down the trimmer, leaning forward to look in the mirror properly. He moved his face from this side to that and touched his cheeks, chin and the underside of the jaw-line. When he was satisfied with his work, he exhaled happily and looked at Harry.

“Well, I need to go and check on the arrangements of the trekking. You all can roam around the fest. They put out drinks and festival foods, or you can enjoy the rides. You have Ferris wheel, other rides. Perrie was talking about going to the beach for a swim of a sort. Zayn hates it but Perrie loves it so he might go as well. You can join them. Or whatever pleases you,” Louis shrugged.

Harry contemplated those ideas and blinked at Louis, “and how long you are going to take with the arrangements?”

Louis shrugged, “not sure. I just need to rent some tents and some trekking equipment. Then I will call Liam to know where you guys are and join you all.”

Harry watched the alpha combing his wet hair, quite literally pulling them out of the scalp with the comb. He was rough with his hair. Harry reached out, holding Louis’ wrist. Louis stopped on his track, his brows furrowed in confusion.

Harry could feel his stomach swooping as he tugged the alpha in between his knees where he sat on the countertop. The alpha inhaled shakily when Harry’s inner-thighs touched his hips. Harry bit his lips when Louis placed his hands on his waist, looking at him questioningly. Harry could feel his waist tickling where the alpha held him. His ears felt hot as they burned with something like shyness. He reached out anyway. His hands took the comb from Louis and placed it on the countertop.

“You need to be gentle with your hair when they are wet. Never comb them in this state,” he whispered as a way of explanation and placed his fingers among those caramel strands. He tried not to massage Louis’ scalp when his fingers went through the wet hair.

Harry’s eyes dropped on Louis’ face when he felt the alpha’s hands tightening around his waist. He felt the jittery feeling in his chest when he saw those blue eyes watching him. Louis’ jaw was set and the vein at the side of his temple throbbed under Harry’s touch. Harry slowly combed his fingers through the alpha’s locks, pushing them away from his forehead.

“Do you want to do a quiff?” He asked in a shaky voice. The proximity was too much. Harry could smell the alpha’s musky scent and he was sure that Louis was able to smell him. Louis was bracketing him away from the room. Harry’s body was heating up as Louis stood so closely.

Louis shrugged, his eyes set on Harry, “whatever you would like.”

Harry hummed, looking down at those thin lips. They were chapped. Louis did not use anything to fix them. Maybe some balm would do. Harry thought about it. His fingers were now moving down, around the alpha’s nape. He tugged those strands there, earning a hiss from Louis. Harry jolted, his eyes focusing back on Louis’ complete face.

The alpha’s pupils were dilated. There was something flipping in Harry’s stomach as he watched Louis. His arms were now around the alpha’s neck and his legs pulled Louis closer. Harry was not sure what he was trying to do.

“I can put them in fringe,” he murmured, searching Louis’ eyes for answers to some unknown questions.

Louis did not look away as he nodded. He did not say anything either.

Harry dropped his eyes on his bare thighs, where the alpha’s stomach almost touched his. He shook his head slowly, “or I can just comb it. You would look fine without any product in your hair.”

“Are you,” Louis coughed, “are you awake yet?”

Harry frowned, looking up to face the alpha with a questioning expression.

Louis shrugged, his cheeks tinted, “I don’t get to hear you complimenting me every day. Well, I think this is the first ever time when you actually noticed me. Are you awake?”

Harry looked sideways, trying to hide his heated cheeks. His arms were resting on Louis’ shoulders now. Even he was not sure how they ended up like this.

“I don’t have a hangover if you are concerned,” Harry furrowed his brows to look offended.

Louis’ smile was not prominent. Just the right side of his lips quirked up but those blue were crinkled. Harry found himself pleased.

“Okay, then. No hair product for today. Anything else?” Louis asked with a grin.

Harry shook his head, pulling his hands away and rested them on his lap with a small smile. Louis hesitated. He was not fast to move away. Harry watched through his lashes how the alpha looked at him. As if, he wanted to say something but was not sure how to.

Then Louis shrugged, “Ditty arranges the best evening film fest where you can go with anyone and just enjoy a night on the beach with fruits, food and a film. Will you… um…”

Harry watched the alpha’s eyes dropping on the floor. Louis squared his shoulders and then looked up again but Harry could tell that Louis was not looking at him as he asked, “will you go there tonight? With me?”

Something was there in Louis’ voice. Hope. Fear. Hesitation. Longing.

Harry felt something too. Shy. Fluttered. Bubbly. Hopeful. Confused.

He smiled down at his knees and nodded, “yeah. Okay.”

He saw the alpha’s arms shooting out to touch him but then Louis balled them and pulled them behind his back. Harry pressed his lips together as a bubble of happiness unfurled in him.

Harry was confused at his own behaviour. He was not sure why he felt so happy all of a sudden. He was uncertain about the reason of his escalated heartbeat. He found himself questioning his omega when he realized he was looking forward to watching the movie.

“Just you and me?” he asked.

Louis nodded, trying hard to suppress his grin, “just you and me.”

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Liam watched Niall laughing at something Perrie said. His head thrown back and his eyes closed with glee. Perrie laughed along.

He frowned when he watched Niall eating a toast with nothing on it. Niall loved eating. He would make a huge burger or sandwich for breakfast with so much meat in it. Liam had never seen him munching a toast before. Then that banana-lime smoothie.

Smoothie!

Niall hated smoothies. He would roll his eyes at Harry when Harry would ask him to take a small sip and now…

Something had shifted. Liam could tell. His eyes fell on Niall’s forehead. Niall was sweaty; he looked tired as he walked. He was not running or jumping around as much as Liam was used to.

Then Liam tried to think about the changes in his alpha. His alpha was on high alert. Even more than he would normally be around Niall. His eyes were always on the omega and he was literally panicking whenever Niall left his side. His pheromones were on overdrive too. He was always horny if his eyes found Niall. When they had sex, Liam could feel his alpha on high-drive, more careful. He found himself staying awake almost the whole night to guard Niall. The place was new to him, his alpha was not very at ease, he understood that but still… he was overly concerned about Niall.

“Taste these. These burgers are so tasty,” Perrie was saying. Liam watched her placing the burger in front of Niall’s mouth. Niall jolted away, his nose scrunched with something keen to disgust.

“No, I am going vegan today,” he said, smiling when Perrie pouted.

Something was wrong.

Liam placed his arm around Niall, pulling the omega closer. When Niall’s eyes found him, Liam purred. He liked having Niall around but nowadays he felt obsessed about the omega’s presence.

“Don’t leave my side,” he said. Niall looked down and said nothing.

Well, he did not get the time.

There was a voice calling Harry’s name from their side.

Liam and Niall both looked up to see the person and both of them frowned.

Nick?

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Harry blinked. His eyes were playing a prank on him. Right?

Nick?

“Nick?” he whispered.

Nick grinned, coming forward, “Haz? You are here! You did not tell me that you are coming here. Oh, my God!” the alpha pulled him in a hug. A bone-crushing hug. Harry giggled as Nick swayed him.

“Nick!” he squealed when Nick pulled him up and circled on the place, laughing.

“Oh, baby, I missed you,” Nick said when he dropped Harry on the sand, pulling him back into his embrace. Harry closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. His eyes watered. He had missed Nick too. So much. The alpha smelt familiar, so much like those old days when they would meet in the jungle. Nostalgia enveloped Harry and Harry found himself pulling Nick closer.

It was such a tremendous surprise.

“Where is your husband? Left you with his gang?” Nick asked then.

Harry pulled away, looking back at his gang. Well, they were all looking at Nick and his little reunion. Harry watched their expressions. None of them looked hostile or anything. Just shocked and confused. Liam and Zayn looked a bit uncomfortable though.

Harry turned back to face Nick, “you did not tell me you are coming here,” he looked over his shoulder to see Nick’s group. They were more rowdy and extravagant. They waved at Harry. Some of them knew Harry. Harry waved back.

“I come here every year, Haz. Maybe I forgot to mention. God, Haz,” nick pushed him a bit away, holding him at arms’ length as he looked at Harry with a happy smile, “I have missed you so much, baby.”

Harry could not answer. His throat was closed as his eyes watered. He missed Nick too. He almost jumped in Nick’s arms. Again. It had been so long.

“There is your husband,” Nick said in a mirthful voice.

Harry pulled away to see Louis coming their way.

Louis’ eyes fell on Nick when the alpha said those words and he stilled. Harry watched Louis’ eyes falling on Nick’s arms around his waist and Harry frowned when he felt the uneasiness in his bones. As if, someone was telling him to move away from Nick. He did not though. He clutched Nick’s jacket in his fists, looking down at his feet.

“Nick, hey?” Louis said as he came to stand behind Harry. Harry was not sure if he should face the alpha or not but well, his body reacted before he could decide. He turned to face Louis.

Louis was looking at Nick though. His lips stretched on a small smile and his eyes hidden under the blue Ray-ban.

“Lewis,” Harry cringed at the way Nick addressed Louis. He could see Mason leaning forward to say something in Perrie’s ears. Liam and Zayn came to stand beside Louis.

Nick laughed, “Long time no see. You did not even arrange the meeting we have yearly.”

Louis shrugged, “well, I will. As you know the attack somewhat messed up the routine. How are you?”

Harry saw the way Louis’ hands were shoved in his pockets. The alpha was stiff, his shoulders taut. Harry had this undeniable urge where he wanted to reach out and hold Louis’ arms. He shook it off.

Nick shrugged, placing his right hand on Harry’s neck, rubbing the junction. Harry sucked in a breath. What was Nick doing? He saw Louis’ jaw ticking and then Louis was coughing in his hand. Harry tried to discreetly shrug off Nick’s hand but Nick held him closer. His skin prickled when Nick placed his left arm around his waist, pulling Harry flushed against his chest.

“How can I be fine when you stole my omega?” Nick said.

Harry closed his eyes. He wanted to hide. What was Nick doing? Now everyone’s eyes were set on him.

Louis shook his head, “well, he is not a property for me to steal. And it would be better if we don’t talk about him like that. He is a living being. Anyway, we need to leave. We have many places to visit. See you around, Nick.”

Nick tusked, “well, you can leave any time, Tommo. Let Harry stay with me. At least today. I mean, we don’t get to see each other a lot after his marriage. What say?”

Louis looked at Harry then. His eyes locked on Harry's face through his sunglasses. Harry could not say anything. He felt tongue-tied. He wanted to go. Of course, he wanted to spend the day with Nick. But he promised Louis an evening movie. Harry would never say it loudly but he was looking forward to it.

Louis shrugged, “ask him, Nick. If he wants to go, I will never hold him back.”

Something like longing washed over Harry. Harry looked at Louis who was watching him with a blank expression and then he heard Nick’s voice.

“Babe? You want to go with me, right?”

Harry watched Louis, trying to gauge the alpha’s reaction. But the alpha stayed impassive, watching him back. Liam and Zayn looked at him with furrowed brows. Their hands balled beside them. Behind them, Niall was looking at Harry. Perrie and Mason looked confusedly between them.

Harry’s eyes came back on Louis. He could not understand the alpha’s reaction. Louis was calmly watching him.

“Okay, yeah. I will go with you,” Harry said, his eyes fixed on Louis.

Nick laughed, “see? He would always choose me over you.”

Louis said nothing.

“Let’s go then, Hazza. I don’t want to waste my time with these minions,” Nick said, grasping his wrist to make sure Harry followed him.

Harry could not help but look back. Zayn and Liam were telling Louis something. Their faces showed disbelief and their hands flared as they talked. Mason and Perrie joined the gathering too. Mason’s hand going through Louis’ and Niall stood beside everyone. When Harry’s eyes fell on the omega, Niall smiled, showing him thumbs up.

Harry was not sure how to respond. He was tripping over his own feet, as he was not facing the front. His eyes were stuck on Louis. Then Louis turned away, pushing past everyone to leave. Harry craned his neck to see but Louis was lost in the middle of the mass. He was gone.

Harry turned back to face the front. Nick was laughing at something one of his friends said. His hand was over Harry’s shoulder. Harry looked down. He tried to smile when Nick leaned forward to place a kiss on his head. His eyes closed, as he smelt the rich cologne Nick wore.

The smell was too strong.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Nick’s friends were loud.

Harry watched them igniting joints to enjoy as they sit on the grass. Harry denied when someone shoved the joint in his hands. Nick took it though, inhaling deeply. Then he leaned forward, cupping Harry’s face in his hands.

Harry pulled away, “I don’t like it, Nick!”

Nick pouted, exhaling almost on Harry’s face. Harry coughed, looking away as his eyes moistened when the smoke reached his nostrils.

Nick passed the spliff to the next person and turned to face Harry with a wide smile. He took Harry's hands in his and pulled Harry closer.

“Tell me how are you, Harry?” he asked.

Harry shrugged, looking down, “I am fine.”

Nick kissed his cheek, where normally his dimples would be visible. Harry twisted his lips at the smell in Nick’s breath. The alpha smelt like weed and alcohol.

“Did Louis do something to offend you? He did not misbehave, right?” Nick asked.

Harry smiled. Well, no matter how gone Nick was, the alpha was caring. He would take care of Harry. In every situation. Nick was protective of him.

Then Harry thought of Louis. He thought about when the alpha held him in his drop. He recalled how Louis had shown him respect in the Smith’s pack. How the alpha was reluctant to sleep in the bed even when he was so injured.

“If he wants to go, I will never hold him back.”

Harry’s heartstrings tugged in his chest.

“He didn’t. He did not even try to touch me. Ever, and even if he did, I am not a damsel in distress, Nick. I can stand up for myself,” Harry whispered, looking down at his fingers.

Nick laughed, “Well, he would not dare anyway.”

Harry looked ahead of them. The Ferris wheel stood in front of them. His eyes went ahead of it, stuck on those palm trees. The sun was now edging towards the west side of the sky. The clouds were now orange. The day was leaving behind evening. Twilight was Harry’s favourite time of the day.

The beer in Harry’s hands was not cold anymore. He took a sip anyway.

The thing was… he was not really comfortable. Well, he looked around and understood why.

He had met Nick alone in the jungle. Where they were away from their circles. Harry had never met these people. When he met Nick, Nick was not drunk or high. He was radiant, happy and oh, so mannered. He had met Nick in the silence of the jungle, where Nick’s loud persona amazed him. They had chatted; they had shared their stories with each other. He had Nick all to himself.

Here Harry was meeting Nick’s world. Here Harry could see the other side of Nick. This was reckless, carefree and somewhat ignorant. Harry watched Nick leaning in to exhale the smoke in another omega’s mouth. Harry watched how the alpha laughed when the omega pursed his lips and let the smoke come out of his nose. Harry looked down at his lap.

He missed Niall.

He missed Liam’s overprotective orders.

He missed Zayn’s eye rolls and calm nature.

He missed...

His rolled a grass around his index finger. His heart thumped in his chest. Even accepting it in his heart was tough for Harry.

He missed Louis.

Without him knowing, Harry had come to feel at home with those people. Without even realizing, he had come to consider them his friends.

And Louis…

Harry was not sure what Louis meant to him but his whole body prickled with goosebumps when he remembered how the alpha had looked at him when Harry had combed his hair. A smile grazed Harry’s lips when he recalled how Louis had smiled at him.

“You are smiling like that,” Nick said suddenly.

Harry blinked back to the moment and looked at Nick. He was confused when Nick smiled at him.

“Smiling like what?”

Nick smirked, “like you did when you told me that you were falling in love with me.”

 

---***--- ---***---

 

“Are you fine?”

Louis looked at Mason who was watching him with a worried expression as they stood in the line of the food-truck.

Was Louis fine?

He looked at the front, where a girl was handing off a man his orders and shrugged, “what happened to me? I am fine.”

Mason chuckled, “you can’t even lie.”

Louis looked back at Mason, “is it supposed to hurt so much when I knew that this would happen?”

Mason said nothing. He just looked at Louis and squeezed his bicep. His eyes tender as if he understood what Louis was talking about.

Louis sighed. His heart was beating normally but there was a dull ache whenever he thought about that curly-haired omega. When Harry left with Nick for the day, Louis tried to tell his heart that it was fine. It was just for a day. Then he realized how that was just a snippet of what would actually happen in nine months. Harry would leave with Nick and that time he would not come back.

His eyes pricked behind the shades as he recalled Harry’s smile from the morning. Louis was so happy. He was over the moon. He thought they were making progress. When Nick whisked Harry away, it was a pain for Louis to watch. They were back to square one.

“It is not just him leaving, you know?” Louis shrugged, his expression thoughtful, “it is more like self-pity.”

When he looked at Mason, the omega looked confused.

Louis stepped ahead when the line moved and made a vague gesture with his left arm as his right one was in Mason’s grip, “it is like when you let your guard down, let someone in and then they leave. Like, it was not worth it. You were not worth it. You know how much that hurt? How defenceless you feel after that? How weak and priceless? It scares you forever. You don’t open up ever again to someone else, thinking, what if he leaves too? What if I am really not worth the effort? And you know what hurts the most? I am so desperate for him. I want him to like me. I have never felt like it. You know me. I don’t give a damn about someone’s thoughts on me but whenever it comes to Harry, I…”

Louis stopped rambling. His forehead was crinkled with thoughts and doubts.

He forced out a laugh, “I booked a bloody porch sofa. Six fluffy pillows and two bottles of champagne only because Harry agreed to go and watch that bloody movie shit with me. I can’t believe I let it affect me so much.”

Mason moved forward when it was their time. He ordered for all of them as Louis stood beside him. Their gang was sitting under a palm tree at a distance. Louis took the containers from Mason as the omega handed them over.

When they were done, Mason pulled Louis away from the truck, towards their friends. Louis walked with his head down, his eyes glued to the grass.

“I know it hurts, Lou. I really know that. But what can you do? You need to give him time. Harry thinks he loves Nick. He is very stubborn if I can say that even. Like, he is fighting his own battle as much as I can see. You need to be patient with him.”

Louis shook his head, sighing hopelessly, “don’t tell me bullshit, Mason. I know when to stop dreaming. I let my guards down, which,” he gulped, “was my foolishness. I will maintain distance from now on. I think I needed this reality check. I needed this slap on my face. If not now, Harry will leave in some months and I can’t just let him hurt me so much.”

Mason smiled, “can you help it?” when Louis looked at him confusedly, Mason tilted his head in a knowing gesture, “can you help it if he comes back now? Will you be able to stay away? You love him.”

Louis visibly flinched, “don’t say that over and over again. I don’t want to hear it. Please.”

They were almost near the palm tree where their group was sitting.

Mason held Louis’ wrist. When the alpha looked back at him, he smiled knowingly, “we are all fools in love, you know? It takes maybe a lifetime to forget the one you loved with everything within you.”

Louis could not reply. He knew his voice was not lost. He could protest but what for?

Mason was right.

He turned away to face his friends then, “food, anyone?”

Everyone groaned and reached out, pulling at Louis’ wrists for him to drop down beside them.

If he could not forget Harry, he would just forget his own self.

 

---***--- ---***----

 

Harry lay on the beach. Nick just beside him, sunbathing.

Nick suddenly rolled over, hiding the sky from Harry. Harry furrowed his brows in confusion.

Nick’s right arm came up to cup his chin and the alpha leaned in, “I have missed having you beside me, Harry.”

Harry could feel Nick’s lips ghosting over his. Then they were covering his in a kiss. Nick was never a gentle kisser. His every kiss was hungry and Harry loved it. He loved having that with his alpha. But…

His omega recoiled in him as if it was burnt. The wolf was scared; it sniffed around and to Harry’s utter confusion, howled in disdain when Nick’s scent reached its nostrils.

Nick’s lips parted and Harry could smell the smoke and alcohol there. His inside churned. Nick’s teeth bit down on his lower lip, pulling it in the alpha’s mouth. Then the alpha’s tongue was prodding in, feeling the heat inside Harry’s mouth. Nick suckled Harry’s tongue in his mouth, roughly playing with it.

Harry’s hands shot up to grip the alpha’s shoulders. He was not sure what he wanted. Was he trying to pull Nick closer or shove him away?

His confusion was cleared when Nick reached down to touch his cock. Harry gasped, shoving at Nick’s shoulders with force.

Nick lost his balance, flopping down on his back. Harry shot up in a sitting position. His lips throbbed from the kiss. Nick had bitten his lower lip raw. Harry winced when he touched it. His eyes suddenly moist. Was he feeling guilty? But why? It was nothing new to him. They had kissed before. Harry even initiated some of them.

“Whoa, Harry? What happened?” Nick did not sound offended, just worried about him. Harry shook his head. His brain felt like mash but his heart was sinking low in his stomach.

“I-I should go back. It is almost evening,” he panted. His eyes searched the beach with something like desperation. He was cold; he could do with a hug. Or someone holding him close to their chest.

It was like, he was a kid who was lost and could not find the person he wanted beside him. His heart thumped with worry and fear like he was lost and no matter how loudly he screamed, that known face was not coming to rescue him.

What known face? Nick was his alpha. He was the person Harry felt the most secure with. And Nick was just beside him. Then?

Then why was he so unsettled. He felt like crying. He felt like a cheater. He had asked Louis to respect their marriage and what did he do? He kissed Nick! He did not protest too soon.

“But it is just evening. You can stay the night. Right? You don’t need to go back!” Nick said, sitting up and pulling Harry against his chest.

Harry pulled away, standing up on his wobbly feet. His eyes were unfocused.

“No. N-no. I should… I should leave,” he murmured as he searched for his shoes. Where were they? He cursed when he could not find them. Everything about that situation was making him frustrated. Why was guilt consuming him? Because he asked Louis to not do anything to disrespect their marriage and here he was, doing exactly that. Harry was anything but a hypocrite? Never. He was stubborn, petty, grumpy but he was not a hypocrite.

“Harry, Hazza, what happened?” Nick stood up too. He reached out to hold Harry’s wrists but Harry flinched away. His eyes were burning with hot tears. How was he supposed to face Louis and hold his head high after this?

“Please, Nick. I need to leave. Don’t ask why. Please,” he said, giving up on his search for the shoes.

Nick nodded with a deep frown, “okay, babe. Yeah. Let me drop you off then.”

Harry shook his head determinedly, “no. I want to leave alone. Please, Nick. I want some time alone.”

Nick opened his mouth and then closed it in confusion and worry. Then he gestured towards the vast beach, “You don’t even know the way, Haz! Let me at least drop you off.”

Harry stepped away, “please, Nick. I will be fine. I need to go.”

Nick inhaled deeply, “okay then. But promise me that you will call me or message me when you reach. Yeah? You will call me, okay?”

Harry nodded absentmindedly. His eyes too misty to see Nick’s face properly. He turned away when Nick tried to reach out. His feet fast on the sand.

The first tear that touched his cheek came with anger. He felt angry at his own omega. How was this fair? He just kissed Nick. His alpha. Why did his omega deny it so vehemently? Why did he feel so much shame? He was not a backdated omega who would shy away from a bloody kiss then why was he crying? And more importantly, where was he going?

He pulled out his phone and dialled the number Niall had forcefully saved on his phone. It was the first time he was initiating a call.

Louis picked up on the last ring, “Harry?”

Harry stopped dead in his path. His eyes closed in their own accord and he sighed.

“I am standing in front of,” he looked around; there was nothing specific to indicate his location, “in front of the ocean. Can you come here?”

He closed his eyes when Louis said nothing for a while. He might have sounded so stupid.

“You need to be a bit more specific, Harry. Where is Nick? Ask him to drop you to the inn. We are all back here,” Louis said. His voice composed.

Harry combed those unruly curls away from his face and whimpered, “I don’t know anything, Louis. I am standing in front of the ocean. I can’t see anything. It… I feel cold. Alone. Can you come?”

He sounded like a child. He sounded stubborn and his eyes tear up. He knew Louis could not find him out like this but he wanted Louis to do it anyway.

“Okay. Can you at least tell me where you were before you ended up in front of the ocean?” Louis asked, there were some sounds coming from the other side. As if, Louis was leaving the room.

Harry looked around, “I was sunbathing with Nick. We came here after we had lunch in McDonald's. Just walked straight out here.”

“Okay, Harry. I got you. Just stay there, yeah? I will find you,” Louis said.

“Don’t cut the call,” Harry hurried out, “please,” he said it after a beat.

Louis was silent for a moment. Then the alpha sighed, “okay.”

 

---***--- ---***---

 

It took Louis ten or so minutes.

Harry cut the call when his eyes found Louis among the crowd. The alpha had already seen him. Those blue eyes were furrowed with tension as he came closer. Harry watched Louis. His heart leapt up to his throat. His guilt washed away his anger and he was tearing up again. God, he had never felt so bipolar in his life.

When Louis came to stand in front of him, Harry’s world zeroed in on him. Every other sound was muted as he heard Louis’ laboured breathing. Those eyes were the only view Harry granted himself.

“Harry? What happened?” the alpha asked.

Harry wanted to say something but his words were a jumbled up mess in his head. He could not find the right thing to say because his heart was swirling with emotions his pride did not want to acknowledge. Harry would do everything to get over these feelings and he would not say it to Louis.

He shook his head, “nothing. I just… I could not find my way to the movie ground.”

Louis looked startled for a second and then looked over Harry’s shoulder as if he was trying not to see too much of Harry, “I… I have cancelled the tickets.”

Harry creased his brows in puzzlement, “but… I thought we were going? Why did you cancel it?”

Louis made a deadpanned face, “because you were not there? I thought you are not coming back.”

Harry was not sure what to say to that. Louis thought he was not coming back. Why did he think so? Harry went just for the day.

Harry hugged himself, the cold feeling coming back. Louis was not waiting. He had accepted the fact that Harry would leave. He was not going to fight it.

“Well, then. Let’s go back,” Harry whispered, turning away.

His feet halted when someone held his wrist captive. Harry looked down at where the tanned fingers clasped around his pale wrist and stopped him. He turned to face the alpha but did not make eye contact.

Louis stepped closer, their toes touching to the tip. He did not let go of Harry’s wrist. Instead, he rubbed the pad of his thumb over Harry’s pulse.

“I can rebook the tickets. The film has not started yet. If you want, we can still watch it,” his voice was smooth, fleecy.

Harry watched their toes. They both were not wearing shoes. He had no idea why the alpha was not wearing shoes though.

“Are you sure? It is fine. We can watch it next year,” Harry said. He did not meet the alpha’s eyes. He was sure if he did, he would cry. That would be so embarrassing.

“Where am I going to find you next year?” Louis said, forcing out a laugh.

Harry’s eyes jolted up to Louis’ face. His heart thrummed in his chest. Right. Next year at this time, he would not be here. With Louis.

Louis chuckled, “we might collide here or something but I would not be able to whisk you away for a day then. Will I?”

Harry had nothing to say to that. Yeah, he would be with Nick then. Louis would be a forgotten page of his past. Something did not feel right about the thought. His chest felt tight.

“No. I will not go with you,” Harry said, his tone suddenly bitter, “I would be happy to leave you behind.”

He was not sure why he was saying all these words. Why was his heart throbbing with sharp pain? It was like a defiance mechanism. He would rather hurt Louis then get hurt himself. And Louis’ words hurt. They hurt for no particular reason.

Louis said nothing. A smile prominent on his lips, “well, why did you come back so soon today?”

It was as if Louis knew. Like he knew how uncomfortable Harry was there. Harry hated that. Was Louis being smug?

Harry shrugged, “I wanted to watch the film.”

Louis nodded, “okay. Let’s go. I will rebook the tickets and everything. We have to go now though.”

Harry nodded, “okay.”

They started walking in silence. The sun was now almost a deep shade of orange, yellowish hue circling it. Their shadows almost merged. Louis was walking with his head lowered, thinking something. Why did Harry call him here?

Harry’s inside was conflicted with so many emotions. When they reached the small shop where the tickets were supposed to be booked, Harry stood at the side and watched Louis talking to the shopkeeper.

When Louis came back, he had two tickets in his hands.

“Want to grab some beers?” Louis asked.

Harry shook his head, “can we just skip that? I had a lot of beer today.”

Louis made an approving noise and said, “banana-strawberry smoothie then?”

Harry’s head snapped up, startled. His confusion only grew when he realized, Louis had never seen him drinking that.

“How do you know that I like it?” his voice was hoarse with hesitancy.

Louis shrugged, “you were talking about it to Niall today morning.”

Without him wanting, Harry pouted, “Niall did not even concentrate. I rambled for so long. He did not hear me properly.”

Louis chuckled, “well, I did.”

Harry had no answer to that. He just stared at the alpha in front of him and stayed quiet.

His heart was a mess. Why was Louis like this?

In some minutes, Harry had his smoothie in his hands and one basket full of snacks.

Harry nodded his thanks to Louis and started following the alpha towards the ground.

 

---***--- ---***---

 

Harry had never watched, “Me before you.” So he was watching it intently as they sat with their backs leaning against the fluffy pillows.

The ground was filled with round, big sofas. These sofas had headboards and a shade covered the sky from the ones who were resting in it. You could pull the shade all the way down and make a tent kind of secluded place for yourself. It was one of the deluxe seats as the tickets said. One could just book a blanket and watch the film on it too. Louis just went out of necessity here if you ask Harry. But well, Harry liked it. After a day spent under the scorching sun and rough sand, these mattresses and fluffy pillows were a welcomed comfort. Harry liked how some butlers were moving around to serve them beverages.

Louis was smiling when Louisa sang the Molahonkey song to Will. His eyes crinkled with mirth. Harry smiled along with him. His eyes fixed on that blue-eyed alpha.

Those chapped lips curved so sharply to form such a soft smile, Harry wondered.

His own lips were chapped now. Nick’s kiss had sucked away the balm Harry had applied but he could not remember where he had put the balm. He was sure; he did not take it with him when he left the inn. Now his lips felt rough and no matter how many times Harry licked them, they were not moistened enough.

“I kissed Nick,” he blurted out. His eyes focused on Louis. So he noticed the moment the alpha stopped smiling. It was as if a switch was turned off. His shoulders went stiff. His relaxed composure went rigid in just a fraction of seconds. Harry pressed his lips together, tasting the french-fries in his mouth. It was somehow bitter.

Louis faced him then. His eyes a deep shade of blue, vulnerable. His expression was maturely blank. Then the alpha smiled, a clipped one, Harry could tell.

“Okay,” Louis said. He sounded breathless.

Harry arched a brow, frustrated, “okay?”

Louis looked down at the popcorns between them, “I don’t know, Harry. What am I supposed to say? You don’t have to tell me what you did with Nick. You two are together and all. I have no reason to feel bad; I don’t have any claim on you. It is not like I own you.”

Harry frowned, “why would you own me in any situations? Just because you are an alpha and I am an omega?”

Louis chuckled, “why do you think that owning someone is a bad thing, Harry? There is only one type of ownership we all are familiar with, master and slave kind of ownership. You can be owned by someone’s love for you, you know?”

Harry furrowed his brows, confusion weighing down his brain. What?

Louis understood his confusion and pursed his lips, “someone can own your heart. Just like, why are you staying away from me? If something happens between us, like, a kiss or something, you would feel bad afterwards. Why?”

There was a certain way one’s heart would beat when that person run a mile or two or just run to catch a train. It beat audibly. Like, you could feel it against your chest, slamming against the bone structure. You could be sure that if you put your hand on it, you would feel it. The loud thump of the heart.

Harry was feeling it then. He was just sitting there beside Louis and feeling that kind of heartbeat. Louis’ words were reminding him of the kiss he shared with Nick.

“Why would I feel like it?” Harry asked, his voice meek.

Louis smiled, “because, in your heart, you know that you belong to Nick. He owns your heart or a huge part of it. That is why you would feel bad. Like a…” he furrowed his brows, trying to find out the right word.

“Like a cheater,” Harry whispered. A long breath escaped his lips. Like, he had finally realized something.

“Yeah,” Louis sighed, shrugging.

Harry looked at Louis, the film forgotten, “forget these facts and reasons for a moment, Louis. Tell me how you felt honestly.”

Sapphire eyes found his virescent ones. Louis searched his face for a moment and then forced out a small chuckle, “why do you ask these questions, Harry? It is like you enjoy my vulnerability.”

Harry just stared.

Louis closed his eyes, sighing. When he opened them, they were shining with the lights of the lanterns, “It hurt. It angered me. I was, for a moment, ready to accuse you of cheating.”

Harry tilted his head sideways, “why didn’t you?”

Louis just looked back at the screen, “I don’t have the right.”

“I am sorry,” Harry said. He had to.

Louis turned to him again, his eyes confused, “why?”

Harry shrugged, “I asked you to stay away from Mason or to not do something like that and I did it instead. I am sorry.”

Louis said nothing. He just nodded and looked back at the screen.

The rest of the movie went like that. They did not talk but they could feel the tension between them. Harry would feel goosebumps on his skin whenever his hands would touch the alpha’s when they both reached out to take popcorn from the bowl. Their eyes would meet time to time.

Harry felt ticklish in his stomach when Louis’ legs touched his, they were moving closer as time went on. Their shoulders knocked time to time but none of them moved away.

Harry felt his eyes tearing up when Will said he could not live this life. His nose felt clogged. He sniffed.

And then Louisa was reading the letter Will had written for her.

“Don’t think of me too often.”

Fat teardrops rolled out of Harry’s eyes. He sniffed loudly then. His eyes clouded up.

Louis’ left arm came around his shoulder to hold him closer. Harry let him, his heart hurt for Will. For Louisa. She was alone now. Maybe she would find someone but was it going to be the same?

“If she finds out someone else, will it feel the same? Do you ever feel those emotions again? Does it feel the same like the first time again?” Harry asked.

“I think, forever is relative. Someone just lives their forever once with their loved ones. Your forever can be finished before you die or you can spend your last breath with your forever. We always remember that person who gives us that forever. Even if they leave us, we will always remember that person. We will move on, yeah, life moves on but our hearts will be connected. You live your forever once, Harry. Others are just our desperate attempts at finding love again,” Louis said.

Harry looked up at him, “so our first love is our forever then?”

Louis shook his head, smiling, “no, Harry. First love and forever is not the same thing. First love is that person who comes in your life and just unsettles everything in you. He teaches you how love works. He teaches you about heartbreaks. Maybe sometimes first love doesn’t work out but your forever is the person who settles you. He would ground you. It would feel like he has matured you in a way, no one else can. Am I rambling?” Louis asked, smiling.

Harry smiled, nodding, “you are, yeah. But I like it.”

As the words were out, Harry looked down at his lap.

Louis chuckled lowly, “I was told that I bore people with my rambling.”

Harry shrugged, “I am not bored,” then something came to his mind and Harry looked at the alpha, “how do you know so much about these things? Did you find your forever?”

Louis looked at the white screen in front of them, the whole beach was now dark, only lanterns and the lights from the fair illuminated the place. In those lights, Louis looked like a sculpture. Harry could see the white light washing over those high-cheekbones. He wanted to swipe his finger over that button nose. How was it reflecting the lights?

“I think I have got my forever. But…” the alpha’s eyes slid over Harry’s face. Harry watched how those blue eyes searched his face for something and then Louis gave him a half smile, “maybe my forever will be unrequited. Yeah.”

Harry had nothing to say. His Adam’s apple bobbed when he tried to push past the bile that was suffocating his vocal chords. His stomach tingled like someone was caressing it with a feather.

Louis’ face was open, earnest. The alpha did not look away, as if he was waiting for Harry to do so. As if, he was challenging Harry to do so.

“How would you know that he is your forever?” Harry asked, his voice so low that he doubted that Louis might not hear him.

Louis pursed his lips, “because my walls break when he comes to me. Even when I know that he is not going to stay, I let him destroy me. Piece by piece. With the hope that maybe one day he would come back to build me again.”

Harry was not sure who was breaking whose walls.

Because lately, it felt like, Harry could see a silhouette at the doorstep of his heart and shockingly, it was not Nick’s.

And even more shockingly, Harry’s omega was ready to open the door of his heart.

He could feel it. He could almost hear the sound of the door opening.

He was not as repulsed as he should be.

Reluctant? Yeah.

But repulsed? Not so much.

---***--- ---***---

Chapter Text

Harry came out of the bathroom to see that Louis was on phone, talking to someone.

Louis was leaning against the windowsill, looking out at the fairground. He wore a black track pant and his upper body was bare. The humidity was forcing even omegas to wander around in minimal clothes and alphas were obviously feeling suffocated. Louis was sweating even when he wore nothing on his upper body.

Harry watched from the bathroom door, how the alpha’s back glistened with sweat and that spine was gleaming under the inn’s dim lights. Louis was nodding to something as he listened to the phone and Harry could see how his back muscles contorted. The track-pant was hanging low on his hip, revealing the dimples at his back. Harry looked away when Louis reached around to scratch his lower back.

Harry’s face heated up as he turned away, going for his bag on the other side of the room. He pulled out a headband and pulled his curls back with it, tying them up in a bun on his head.

When he turned to face the bed, his eyes furrowed.

The floor had a pillow and the duvet. What?

“You take the bed. I will be fine on the floor,” Harry looked up at Louis as he spoke, his phone call done, “it is really stifling here. I will be getting fidgety on the bed anyway.”

Well, the thing was…

Harry knew, if Louis stayed on the bed beside him, he would not touch Harry in any wrong way but Harry could not say it out loud. He could not just ask the alpha to join him in bed. He was never good with words or expressing his feelings anyway.

So he nodded, going to the bed. As he lay down, he watched the alpha settling in. Harry pulled the spare cover over him because no matter how humid the weather was, he could not sleep without a cover.

“The lights on or off?” He asked Louis.

“Whatever you like,” came the reply.

Harry turned off the lights. The moon was high in the sky anyway, washing the room with a soft glow. Harry could see it from the window just at the foot of his bed. He could hear the tides of the ocean. There was an owl somewhere outside their window, calling out time to time. Harry could hear the soft murmur of insects out in the shore and the jungle beyond it. Everything was foreign to him here. His eyes were wide open even after quite some time. His fingers fidgeted with the hem of the shirt he was wearing as he twisted and turned. The mattress was cold and hard under his back. Nothing was familiar here.

“What is it?”

Harry jumped when the alpha voiced his curiosity.

“I- I can’t sleep,” he whispered, his voice low and desperate. Harry heard with baited breath as Louis sighed. But nothing came as verbal answer. Harry crept closer to the edge and peered down to see that Louis was laying flat on his back and his eyes were open as he looked at Harry.

“What do you want me to do, Harry?”

Harry shrugged, “the mattress is burning as it seems.”

Louis’ lips tugged up in a rueful smile and the alpha shrugged, “come here then. The floor is nice.”

Harry pouted, “The floor would be hard and I don’t like how my elbows or shoulders hit the rough surface.”

Louis laughed, “Then stay on the bed.”

Harry hesitated, his eyes roaming over the alpha’s body. Louis was laying there with his left arm cradled on his tummy and his right one resting on his forehead, hiding his eyes halfway. He looked relaxed and cosy.

“Come here. I will not let you hurt your bones,” Louis said, smiling at Harry, “promise.”

Harry sat up on his bed slowly, taking the pillow and hugging it close to his chest. He slid off the bed and sat down beside Louis. He placed his pillow beside the alpha.

“No,” Louis said suddenly, sitting up on his elbow. He took the pillow from Harry and placed it at the omega’s right side, “you are sleeping on my pillow and I am at your left. You need a pillow to cradle you from the right side. Lie down,” when Harry lay down, Louis arranged the pillow at Harry’s side, placing the omega’s right hand over the pillow so his shoulder and elbow were safe. Then Louis lay down at Harry’s left.

“Lie on your right, Harry,” Harry did and clasped his eyes shut when he felt the alpha closing in on him. Louis placed his left arm around Harry’s waist and his nose touched the omega’s nape. Harry let out a shaky breath when he felt Louis’ chest rumbling with something like a purr.

“Sorry,” Louis said. It was unintentional then. Harry hid his small smile on the pillow and shrugged.

They went to sleep like that.

This time, Harry was fast asleep.

 

+++++++

 

Niall slept with his alpha’s knot securely tucked in him. Liam watched as the omega slept, his nose dragged over the soft skin of the omega’s neck. Niall smelt different. His all the time sweet scent was now tinted with something even sweeter and lactic. Liam could not pull away. His alpha was howling something at him that was fiercely protective and ferocious. Liam licked the bond.

His heart swelled when Niall whined and tried to wiggle away but the knot kept him in place. Liam could not sleep, his eyes trained on the omega. He traced the red finger marks he had left around the omega’s wrists and then his waist, where Liam had held him while slamming into him. Liam bit down on the boy’s jaw-line, nipping there.

Something was changed and Liam could not pinpoint what but his alpha was getting restless. He would have to find out soon.

With that thought, he let his head rest on the pillow and manoeuvre himself to sleep.

Subconsciously his hand came up to rest on Niall’s flat tummy. Liam pulled the omega closer, his alpha growling in him as Niall came easily.

 

+++++++

 

Trekking was one of the things Harry had on his wish list since childhood. He smiled when Niall joined him in packing. Both of them laughed, talked, and bantered as they packed.

Louis walked into the room when Harry was folding one of his cotton shirts and tusked. When Harry looked at him questioningly, Louis pointed at the shirt and shook his head.

“Take non-cotton shirts. Anything that dries quickly should be your first choice as you will sweat and get soaked time to time.”

They both flushed when Louis mentioned getting soaked. Louis coughed, looking down at his feet and Harry looked at the backpack.

“Why don’t you come here, the trekking guru, and help Harry pack? He is novice after all,” Niall quipped. When Harry turned to look at his friend, that idiot had a smirk on his face. Harry looked down at his bag and then at the alpha.

Louis hesitated, looking at Harry and then back at Niall.

“Niall?” Liam called from the other room, shouting frantically, “where is the first-aid kit?”

Niall rolled his eyes and huffed, patting Harry’s back, “take Louis’ help, Harry. I will go and help Liam. He can’t find anything without me.”

Louis chuckled, “he needs you for everything. I wonder what would have happened if you were not there with him always.”

Niall gave a weak smile, “oh, he will be fine. I am easily replaceable.”

At that moment, before Harry or Louis could say anything, Liam stormed into their room. His eyes fell on Niall and the alpha stepped forward to hold Niall’s wrist.

“What are you doing here? Come with me and help me pack,” he said and pulled Niall away with him. Niall went, his eyes fixed on the alpha as a sorrowful smile graced his lips.

As they left, Harry looked at Louis. Louis rubbed his nape and looked at Harry’s backpack sheepishly.

Well, the awkwardness was there since morning. When they woke up almost tangled to each other, Harry was the first one to freak out and then Louis almost tripped on his feet as he had left the makeshift bed. Harry was still on the floor when Niall had knocked on their door to wake them up for breakfast.

“What else?” Harry mumbled.

Louis looked at him confusedly, “what?”

Harry huffed and flared his hands towards his unpacked bag, “what else do I need to pack?”

The alpha took some tentative steps towards the bag and peered in. He looked scared as if a python would come out of the bag any moment. The thought made Harry smile and then press his lips together to hide it.

Louis coughed, “um… you need sunscreen lotions as your skin is very soft and pale.”

Harry nodded, turning away to pull out the lotions and to hide his blush.

They were not leaving the inn as they went for trekking. They would come back here after two days of trekking, take rest for one day and then finally leave for their respective packs.

Louis opened his own bag, packing it with Harry.

“Take your waterproof pants, track-pants, long boxer shorts, rain-jacket, bathing suit,” Louis stopped to see that Harry was taking them out of his luggage and then folding them into the trekking bag. He waited until the omega was done and then did his own.

When Harry looked at him expectantly, Louis furrowed his brows to think some more and then clicked his fingers.

“Socks. Do you have long socks?”

Harry pursed his lips in confusion, “long socks? Why is that?”

Louis gestured vaguely towards the window or at the jungle, “mosquito and insects. You need to wear high-knee socks to escape those bugs and all too. It is very important.”

Harry crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Louis, “well, I would have if someone told me that we were going to the trekking camp. I packed for a fair. How am I supposed to know that we are going to climb bloody mountains here?”

Louis fish-mouthed for a moment and then gestured towards his bag, “Well, I have four pairs of socks. You can wear mine if you would like.”

Harry huffed, nodding, “okay. What else?”

When Louis did not answer, Harry looked at the alpha. Louis was watching him with concerned eyes and something like contemplation.

“What?” Harry asked, self-consciously.

“You don’t want to go to the trekking, do you?” Louis asked, “Are you going because of pressure or something?” The alpha looked really disturbed now, “if yes, then please don’t. You can stay here. Trust me; no one will force you to come with us if you don’t want to.”

Harry wanted to smack the alpha on the head. Or maybe just… well…

“Do you want me to stay here?” he asked instead. Well, violence was not his forte. The other option was not really an option anyway.

Louis shrugged, “well, Nick is here. You might want to spend time with him and…”

Harry closed his eyes, trying to stomp down on his temper and when he opened his eyes, Louis was looking at him sceptically.

“Do you want me to not go with you?” Harry asked, pointedly.

Louis said nothing, packing again.

“Take sunglasses too. Do you have earplugs? If not, we will buy it on the way,” Louis said, pulling out two boxes to put in his bag.

Harry clutched his wrist then, stopping the alpha’s ramble. When those blue pools met Harry’s green ones, Harry tried to search them for answers but they were expertly vacant.

“Do you want me to go with you?” Harry asked again. He needed to know.

Louis sighed, “Well…”

Harry shook his head vehemently, stopping Louis on his words, “no, don’t tell me what others might say. I want to know what you want. Stop thinking about what others might do or want and tell me what you want, Louis!”

Louis looked down at his wrist, where Harry had a firm grip on him and sighed. This time when the alpha looked at Harry, those eyes were shining with vulnerability.

“Yes,” the alpha breathed out, “yes, I want you to come with me. I do.”

Something like molten heat surged through Harry’s stomach and his skin tingled, as if ants were walking over his skin, leaving behind goose-bumps. He ducked his head, chin against his chest to hide the smile that was threatening to break free. He scrunched up his nose and looked at Louis then.

“What next then?”

Louis looked back at his bag, hiding his own smile as he rattled out more things they needed to pack.

 

+++++++

 

“Where is my shaving kit?” Liam ran to the washroom and looked through the tiny slabs there. Nothing.

When he came out of the washroom, Niall was holding it out for him to pack. Liam let out a relieved sigh. He took the box and shoved it in his backpack. He was not going to be the late one. Liam hated being late.

“My toothbr…” he stopped when Niall placed it on his backpack. Liam looked up to see that Niall was holding out another box.

“Why don’t you just sit and let me do your packing?” Niall asked.

Liam shook his head, “I don’t need your help. I can take care of myself.”

“I know. You will be fine if I leave,” Niall said, folding a jogger for the alpha.

When he turned to give it to Liam, the alpha was staring at him with an angry glare.

“What do you mean?” Liam asked, his hands balled beside him.

Niall bit his tongue, shit!

He shrugged, “well, I was thinking of visiting my aunt in Thomas pack. Maybe for some days or weeks.”

“No,” Liam said, going back to his packing.

Niall furrowed his brows, “what?”

Liam gritted his teeth, “I said, no. You are not going anywhere. You will not leave the Tomlinson pack even for a day. Get that in your head.”

Niall crossed his arms and tapped his foot on the floor, “and who do you think you are? I am a free person, you know? I can bloody well leave if I want to.”

There was a cracking sound and Niall watched with horror as Liam broke the plastic box with his sunglasses in it with his left hand. His palm started bleeding but those brown eyes were set on Niall. Impassive.

“Shit, Liam! What are you doing?” Niall hissed, pulling the alpha’s hand in his, trying to see the wound.

Instead, Liam gripped his chin and his left arm went around Niall to pull the omega closer. Their chests collided and Niall could feel the blood from Liam’s wounds colouring his chin. He squirmed when Liam leaned closer to stare pointedly at him.

“You are going nowhere, Niall. If you try to disobey me then the result will not be good for you.”

Niall laughed, shaking his head, “I can’t have my free will now? Really, Liam? Why are you so scared?”

Liam could not answer that.

Niall’s lips pulled up into a mocking smile, “What? Do you think if I get a chance at escapade then I will never come back? Or maybe I will find someone else for me?”

Liam’s hand tightened around the omega’s throat, he tried not to let his anger take a hold of his wolf but Liam was seeing red. Niall was, without intention, spilling out Liam’s worst fear.

“A whore like you should not talk back to me, Niall,” Liam pushed the omega away, not caring when Niall fell on the bed with a cry as his spine hit the bedpost.
Liam did not care when the rusty smell of blood hit his nostrils. He did not care when Niall whimpered while sitting up.

“Funny,” Niall whimpered, “I have never taken another cock up my arse. Yet I am the whore but you are fucking around the pack and you are a nobleman. The society is full of hypocrites, don’t you think?”

“Then fuck off and go find someone willing to even touch you! No one would. You repulse everyone, Niall!” Liam said, folding his shirts.

Niall said nothing more, he went on with his packing too.

Just a few more days, Niall. Just a few more days.

 

+++++++

 

Harry huffed with his weight completely balanced by the trekking-pole. His heart hammered in his chest as the sun beamed down on his back. The backpack was not that heavy but his camera was weighing down his neck, cutting down on it almost.

Niall was sitting on a rock, sipping water from his sipper. His bag was noticeably small and not that heavy. Yet the omega was slacking off. He was slower than everyone else in the group was.

It was just ten past nine in the morning and Harry was already dreading the walk.

“Hurry up, you two. We need to reach the firework point before sunset,” Liam said from a distance. His cap was hiding half of his face, those eyes were hidden behind that blue shades he wore. He was almost jumping from one rock to another.

Well, so were Mason and Louis.

Harry watched, with his hands resting on his knees as his support, Louis and Mason standing over a boulder. Mason stood with his eyes at the horizon and his arms open and Louis was clicking his photo, laughing. Then Mason slid closer to the alpha to see the photo and giggled in Louis’ neck, swatting him when Louis said something.

Harry looked away.

Liam was suddenly beside Niall, pulling the omega up on his legs and pulling him along.

Harry followed, his head bowed.

The path was bumpy, filled with small pebbles that slipped under their feet. Harry had to hold the pole very tight in his hand to not slip. His eyes were almost always set on the path. He was stopping time to time to click some photos but then he had to walk faster to not lose his companions in the jungle.
Louis was walking just at the front, Mason beside him.

Always beside him.

Zayn and Perrie, they were walking leisurely, holding hands or stopping time to time to click selfies. Harry saw how Zayn would kiss the omega when Perrie would stop to catch her breath. They would smile at each other for no particular reason and then walk again.

Harry saw Liam and Niall too. Niall was unusually slow today, getting tired easily. Harry noticed how Liam was frowning at him worriedly, his hand just behind Niall to catch him if he fell or slip. Niall did not notice but the alpha was just behind him like a ghost, moving with ease to shield the omega. His hands outstretched around Niall, not touching but ready to hold if something happened.

His eyes were on Louis when suddenly the pole faltered in his hand and Harry tripped, falling on his front. The pain was not felt right away but Harry could feel his elbow burning as it was scratched against those rough pebbles. He whimpered as he tried to sit upright, his cuts oozing blood. It stung and burnt. Tears of frustration and anger filled his eyes. He felt filthy on the ground, dry leaves were on his body, clinging to his clothes. There was a mud patch on his white shirt and Harry was so angry at it. He felt humiliated.

“Shit, Harry,” it was Louis. Suddenly the alpha was beside him, reaching out to take Harry’s elbow in his grip.

Harry flinched, pushing Louis away, “don’t touch me.”

Everyone was surrounding them by now. Harry tried to stand up but hissed in pain when his palms were exposed to those rough stones. They were burning with the sun. Everyone was peering down at him, how mortifying!

He stood up clumsily, brushing his clothes.

“I am fine. Can we proceed now?” He gritted out for everyone. When Louis stood up and reached out to touch him, Harry started walking again, his pole tightly gripped in his hand.

“What is wrong with him?” Mason whispered to Louis. Well, Harry heard.

“No idea,” Louis whispered back.

Harry walked faster.

 

+++++++

 

They stopped to take rest around noon.

Everyone heaved a sigh of relief at the order and now they were scattered on the ground. Mason was resting with his back against a boulder. Niall was flat on the ground, his face up towards the sun. Liam was sitting beside Zayn as they shared a cigar. Liam’s eyes were just glued to Niall.

Harry whimpered, stretching out his legs. They were thumping. He had never walked so much in his human form. His thigh-muscles were shaking with effort.

“Here,” Harry looked up to see that Louis was standing beside him, holding out a granola bar, “you need some energy. You haven’t eaten in hours.”

Harry looked at Mason as the omega pulled out two cups and filled them with tea from his flask.

Two cups.

Harry took the bar from Louis and threw it away, “I can take care of myself. Stop pretending as if you care.”

Louis’ smile dropped, his expressing quizzical. Harry wanted to punch him in the face.

“What?” Louis asked.

Harry gritted his teeth, “I said, I can fucking take care of myself. You go and enjoy your lover’s company.”

Louis looked back at Mason.

Something like thousands of pins pierced Harry’s heart when Louis just looked at Mason as Harry mentioned “lover”. His heart ached. Harry refused to feel the pain.

Then Louis was turning back to face him, “what are you talking about?”

Harry said nothing.

“Louis,” Mason called, catching the alpha’s attention just like that, “the tea is going cold. Come on.”

Louis looked at Mason and then back at Harry. His expression was hesitant. Harry huffed out a laugh.

“Just fuck off already.”

And Louis did. He dragged his feet away, his head hung low.

Harry closed his eyes, lying back on the ground. They would rest here for at least half an hour. He could just take a nap.

“Can I sit here?”

Harry sighed and opened his eyes. Perrie smiled at him.

Okay, the pretending-to-be-composed time it was.

He nodded.

Perrie did not sit. She lay down on her back, looking up at the sky.

Harry tried to close his eyes again. He wanted to go back. Already.

“I was just fifteen when my parents had to let me go as I was promised to the son of the Smith’s pack,” Perrie said suddenly.

When Harry turned his neck to see, the Omega was looking at the sky. Harry was not sure if he should say something or just let Perrie say whatever she was trying to say. Why was she suddenly talking to him anyway? What should Harry do?

Perrie decided it for him though.

“I was scared but excited at the same time. He was my alpha even before I had my first heat,” there was a small smile on Perrie’s lips, “he was so handsome and his nose was always high in the sky. I loved how dominating he was. He was strong too. Very alpha like. I was in my dreamland.”

Harry listened with no clue of what prompt this. Why was Perrie saying it to Harry? But he would not ask that. He was curious. He wanted to know what happened. If Perrie was happy then how did she end up with Zayn?

“Adam was six years older than me. At the age of twenty-one, he was very persuasive. He wooed me in bed the very day of our marriage. I was not ready but who could deny those honey-coated words? I let him do what he pleased. It hurt,” Perrie’s face had no expression, “it hurt immensely. I cried, tried to push him away but his alpha was awake, he took me against my protest. I thought it was normal. I thought that was what happens to every omega. I was just being naïve. It went on like that. He would take me six or seven times a day. He was never working. He was the alpha son of the leader and he was ready to take over the pack. He told me that working was not for him. I believed him. I was head over hills for him then. He would teach me lessons time to time. You know?” Perrie turned her neck to look at Harry, “with his belt he would beat me up if I tried to stop him from having me. When I told my mum that, she said, it was just the nature of an alpha. It will pass as time went on. I believed it.”

Harry could feel dread filling his stomach. He turned on his side, looking down at Perrie now. He wanted to protest. That was not how alphas should be like.

His eyes fleeted over Louis once.

“One day I caught him with three omegas. In our bed,” Perrie inhaled shakily, “when questioned, he told me that alphas have urges. One omega was not enough for them. I was so heartbroken to know that I was not enough. He told me how I was juvenile for crying and he took me to bed. With them. He watched as one of those omegas fucked me and he jerked off on it. When done, he cuddled me throughout the night and I was fine. I thought, it was normal. I was disappointed in myself when Adam told me how he liked fucking those omegas and he would have them over time to time. I had no say in it. One year passed like that. By that time, I was used to those omegas coming and going from his chamber. After all, he was an alpha. He had a lot of kinks. I hated the breath play but I was just a body, an omega. An inferior. Who even listens to us? He did not. He choked me, he loved seeing me thrashing on the bed as he pressed down on my face with a pillow and fucked me at the same time. I had to let him have me even if I was ill. He was the alpha.”

Harry’s hands balled in anger and sadness. Perrie was just sixteen!

“Days rolled like that. One day I found out, I was pregnant. I was seventeen and pregnant. I was over the moon.” She chuckled, there were tears glinting in those eyes, “I told him. He was not happy. It was too early. I was not supposed to be pregnant. I remember the beating I received that day, with a baseball bat. I was hospitalized with injuries and heavy blood loss.”

Harry restrained himself from whimpering. His eyes were moist by now. He looked at the omega and tried to match the story with her. He tried to imagine those incidents. Well, he could not. It was not the same Perrie. Thank God it was not the same Perrie. She was fine now. Well… yeah!

“There I came to know that my baby was…” tears rolled down her cheek, getting lost in those hair-strands, “miscarriage.”

Harry tried to even out his breathing, his eyes pricking with tears. There was a sharp pain in his chest. He tried to reach out and take Perrie’s hand in his but he restrained himself. Perrie was in a haze as she spoke. Her eyes pooled with tears. Harry could not disturb her.

“I refused to go back to him. I was broken, completely broken. I hated my parents too. I hated how they forced me to stay with him. I hated myself for being so ignorant. I was almost on the verge of losing myself completely. I wanted to file a case against him but everyone told me that he was an alpha. The violence came with his status. Can you imagine it, Harry? That was his golden bait. He was an alpha. I could not believe it. No one was ready to support me. Then one day, I met Mr. Horan there. He came there especially for me. I was marked as the mental omega. Niall was there with his father as his assistant. I begged them to help me. Mr. Horan was very professional. He paid no heed to me but prescribed shock therapy. I was declared a mental patient because I refused to obey my alpha. Niall heard everything and before leaving, he assured me that I would be fine. I did not believe him. I was losing hope.”

Harry watched Perrie’s lips trembling, her hands clasped together, “next day I met Niall again. This time he was not alone. There were four more boys with him. I met Zayn for the first time that day.”

Harry could not help but take a glance at the said beta.

“I was terrified of alphas then. I started screaming and crying when Louis or Liam tried to reach out. I was not comfortable with omegas too. I hated them more. I hated how submissive they were. I hated how they reminded me of my stupid trust on those alphas. Then Zayn was there. He did not back away, you know?” The omega’s blue eyes met Harry, smiling at the memory.

“He did not give up. I was always so rude, so cruel to him. He came back every time I lashed out at him. He was always bouncing back to me with more determination. I was irritated, I was so frustrated with him. He was persistent. I remember those two years of my life, Harry. I was so holed up in my own head that sometimes I did not even notice that he came to meet me and without even knowing, I started getting used to him.”

Harry took a glance at Louis. His heart thrummed in his chest. He was eager to know more about Perrie and Zayn but at the same time, he was not ready to hear it. Perrie’s story matched his, well, to a level. Harry was not ready to know the ending because well… his heart was taking him there too, where Perrie’s story went. Harry was not ready to hear about the conclusion because it was like knowing his own future where he was not ready to go.

But Perrie was speaking anyway.

“I was not sure how he managed to make me stay in a room with Louis and Liam. I remember clutching his wrist as Louis sat across me. Louis gave off the aura of a powerful alpha and I was so scared. I told Louis about my past as Zayn held me. I was lost but Zayn kept rubbing my shoulders and back, supporting me silently.

When I was done, Louis assured me that Adam will pay for it. I did not believe him. I really did not. Why would I? Louis was an alpha too. Why would he support me? Then I told Zayn that and again pushed him away. We had the biggest fight of our time together that day,” she laughed, “if you can even call it our time together. He left, he looked so broken and hopeless. I told myself that I was fine. I assured myself that I was okay. It was good that Zayn left.

But I could not sleep that night. I just could not. I realized with fear that I missed him,” she shook her head, her eyes stuck on the cloudy sky, “I waited eagerly the next day. He did not come to the hospital. I could not describe the feeling, Harry. I just could not. I was scared. I missed him, I got angry as the day passed. I was sad for no reason. It was like, I had a right on his time and I was angry because he did not give me the moments I deserved. Then the next day, when I woke up, he was there.”

Harry had never felt so eager to hear someone’s past. Harry smiled along with Perrie. It was like a fairytale coming to its end. The princess was ready to fly off with her prince and Harry could not wait.

“I remember slapping him across the cheek,” Perrie laughed.

Harry could not believe it.

“What? You slapped him? Why?” He asked, incredulous.

Perrie rolled her eyes, “because I was angry and hurt. He let me. He let me scream at him. Then…” it looked like someone was spreading vermillion dust on Perrie’s cheeks as she blushed, “then I kissed him. There, tangled in IVs and cords and smelling like medicine. It was…”

Harry jumped when Perrie grabbed his hands and giggled, “it was perfect, Harry. He was perfect. The kiss was so painfully terrible. More teeth than tongue. I tasted like pills and he tasted like nicotine but, Harry, I have never felt like it before. He made me realize that I was missing out.”

Harry was not sure if he was breathing or not. He was not sure about the time or if it stopped entirely. He was not sure if he was grinning or crying but he was screaming inside. He was so happy for the girl in front of him. Suddenly Perrie was so much closer to his heart than before. Suddenly the girl was not just a teammate, she was a friend. Harry managed to squeeze her hands in his, trying to smile widely for her. He was so happy for her. She deserved Zayn. They deserved each other.

Those glossed eyes fell on his face then and Harry was not sure why Perrie looked so calculative suddenly. She looked like she was getting ready to say something that might offend Harry. Then she sighed and shrugged as if letting go and going for it anyway.

“Do you know why I told you all this, Harry?” She asked; her tone held patience, “I did not tell you this because I wanted you to know me more closely or something. I did not tell you this to gain sympathy either.”

Harry shook his head. Obviously not.

Perrie smiled, “I told you this because this story has a moral kind of a thing?”

She laughed at her own words.

Harry arched his brows, confused. Moral?

Perrie held his hands tighter as if Harry would run if she did not.

“Through Zayn, life taught me that if someone gives you so much love…” she sighed, “then you should try to return it. When someone floods you with so much love, you should let go.”

Something like cold sweat broke through Harry’s skin. His heart skipped on several beats. He could definitely hear the hint in her tone. Unwillingly his eyes found Louis. The alpha was frowning down at the map, measuring something. A cigarette was hanging between his lips.

Harry looked away as if he could not watch the alpha more than few seconds. As if, Louis was blinding him.

He met Perrie’s composed eyes and exhaled helplessly.

“And what if letting go makes you feel like you are cheating on someone else? What if letting go feels like destroying everything you believed ‘til now? I would feel like my whole past was worthless if I let go now. I would be a fickle minded omega who sways too easily.” Harry said, his tone desperate.

Perrie chuckled, “if you are confused about it then you are already questioning your feelings. And cheating? On whom, Harry? Sometimes, we move on. Or maybe sometimes, we just mistake infatuation for love.”

Harry could feel his frustration channelling itself to anger. He could not and would not let Perrie assume that his feelings for Nick were just infatuation.

No. Harry loved Nick.

“No,” he shook his head vehemently, “I love Nick. It is not infatuation!”

Perrie sighed, “Tell me how he made you feel, Harry? Happy?”

Harry sighed, smiling to himself, “yes. I was happy with him. Always.”

One of those delicately plucked brows raised as Perrie stared at him.

“Always happy?”

When Harry nodded in affirmative, Perrie pursed her lips.

“You two never fought or had those broken heart days? Or longings after a little fight? Never cried for each other?”

Harry furrowed his brows, “well… no. Why would we? We are not that type of couple, Perrie. We are always happy.”

Perrie shook her head, chuckling.

“Love comes with baggage, Harry. Love makes you feel like you are on a rollercoaster ride. You don’t just feel happy, Harry. Love is a feeling so intense that it makes you feel confused. You go nuts thinking how that person affects you more than your own brain. You feel angry when you miss him or just could not wait to see him but at the same time, you want to be as far away from him as possible. You feel uneasy when that person doesn’t give you his full attention. Then you get angry with yourself for even expecting it. You tell yourself that he doesn’t mean anything to you but then he distances himself from you and suddenly you feel this longing, longing to be near him. Your crush or your infatuation has no responsibilities, Harry. They make you feel like a free bird but love? Love feels like a chain that goes around your heart and holds you prisoner but you know the interesting part? You tie that knot yourself. You tie yourself to that person willingly. Did Nick ever make you feel so angry that you lost your mind?”

Harry tried to remember but…

When he failed to answer, Perrie smiled. She did not look smug, just knowing.

“Love comes to you when you least expect it and you should grasp it and hold it close to your heart, Harry. Before it leaves.”

Harry glanced at Louis.

Mason was leaning over Louis’ shoulder, looking down at the map along with the alpha. His chin was resting on Louis’ shoulder and Louis was telling him something. They smiled together when Louis pointed something on the map. Their cheeks knocked together time to time.

Harry looked back at where Perrie held him.

“You have never seen me with Nick. I respect your thoughts, Perrie. But…” he sighed, dejected, “everyone has their own definition of love. You have yours and I have mine. I would appreciate it if you did not try to make comments about my love life.” Harry said, his eyes set on Perrie.

To his surprise, Perrie smiled.

“I will not. I will let you think about it,” she patted Harry’s knuckles, “because I know, love will find you when the time comes. Just hold on.”

She closed her eyes, tilting her head towards the sky as she closed her eyes.

Perrie failed to notice the thoughtful mess that was Harry.

 

+++++++

 

Louis was almost jumping from boulder to boulder as they went. He was not reckless but he was carefree. He laughed along with Liam and Zayn and talked as they went. He looked like he was having so much fun.

Harry noticed how the atmosphere was changing as they walked up towards the peak of the hummock. The climate was changing, getting colder as they went. The breeze was fast as it collided with Harry’s face as left behind two rosy cheeks and a red-on-the-tip nose. The voices and sounds of the valley were not reaching them anymore. Instead, they heard the birds chirping around them and occasionally some insects wheezing. Their voices echoed in the jungle around them and left behind a sense of aloneness. The trees were swishing left to right as the wind whispered through them. Harry tried to capture everything he could. His camera was always on his hands. The muddy path was getting whiter as they went. Snow was starting when Louis stopped, blowing his whistle.

“Okay, everyone,” he said, looking back at his followers, “put on some jackets or something. In a few minutes, we will cross a river. When we reach the other side of the river, you will feel the chill. So, I ask you all to be prepared. Just try to wear something warm but not very heavy. You need to be light on your feet as you go. Yeah?”

Everyone grunted in agreement and stopped to pull out their jackets and caps. Harry pulled out a grey beanie and his favourite purple sweater. He rolled up the sleeves and then put on the beanie. When he turned back, Louis was watching him. Harry held the alpha’s gaze, watching how Louis took in his appearance. Then Louis looked pointedly at Harry’s bare neck.

Harry rolled his eyes in defiance, crossing his arms over his chest. He watched with baited breath when Louis jumped off the boulder and walked briskly closer to him. Harry could smell the alpha as Louis came closer. When finally Louis was just in front of Harry, Harry opened his mouth to protest but Louis tusked.

“Wear the damn scarf, Harry. I don’t want you to go in a drop in the middle of a fucking jungle.”

Harry pressed his lips together, unimpressed. Louis huffed and pulled out a polka dotted scarf from Harry’s opened bag.

Those rough fingers touched Harry’s neck as Louis tied the scarf around the omega’s neck and then his eyes blinked up at Harry. Harry could only stare as time ticked away slowly around them.

Then Mason was calling for Louis.

Harry threw the backpack over his shoulders and gripped the pole tightly in his fist.

“Let me go,” he hissed at Louis and pushed past him.

The walk was good. The burn he felt in his legs was good, distracting him from the burn behind his eyes.

 

+++++++

 

On their way towards the peak, they had to cross a river.

Malory. As the map called it.

They had to cross the river on ropeway. The river had created a canyon that was really deep and the ropeway was connecting those two sides.

One gondola lift had only two seats and the front was just secured by a rod. It was like a hanging chair. Harry gulped when he saw some trekkers buying tickets from the checkpoint and riding it with a smile adorning their faces.

He watched how they looked down at the river and took pictures, laughing and chortling.

He watched Louis stepping ahead to buy tickets.

Harry could feel his hands sweating. He could feel his heart beating a notch faster second by second. Someone was digging a hole in his stomach where he was drowning.

He had acrophobia.

Harry tried to even out his breathing, concentrating on his exhales and inhales. There was a pull on his muscles as he took three or four steps towards the cable-car. His muscles were freezing as something like extreme fear engulfed them. His vision was losing focus, the edges of his eyes going hazy time to time. Harry knew what would happen next.

Either he would faint, which would be perfect or he would have panic attacks.

He flinched when suddenly Louis called his name. His omega scratched his ribcage for him to leap at the alpha. His omega urged him to just let go and let Louis take care of him.

“Do you want to go with me or would you like to go alone?” Louis asked.

Harry shook his head, trying not to vomit.

“Wi-with you,” he whimpered. His fingers twitched with the need for reaching out and holding the alpha closer.

Louis nodded. He turned to tell the group about the arrangements.

“Okay, so Niall and Liam, go first. Zayn and Perrie will follow you two.”

Mason nodded towards a girl who was now standing beside him, “she is travelling alone. She is going with me.”

Louis nodded, “okay. Then at the end, I and Harry will go.”

Everyone nodded.

Harry watched Niall and Liam settling in, buckling their seatbelts and then closing the metal bar over their lap. When Liam showed the employees a thumbs up, the chairlift started sliding away towards the abyss. Harry watched how the lift shook side to side as it went.

Mason and the girl went easily, their laughter echoing in the air when Louis turned to ask Harry to move.

Harry could not even find his voice as he went. He stumbled over the chair and when he sat, his eyes were already getting watery. He could see the edge, where the hill ended, from where he sat. His hands fumbled for the seatbelt and he knotted it tightly.

His omega in him was hiding in a fetus position. His inside churned as the chair shook already. Louis settled himself down beside Harry a moment later. His sides touched Harry’s and Harry could not help but reach out for the alpha’s hand.

“Hold tight,” an employee said, smiling, “the abyss is a long one. Takes almost four minutes to reach the other side. Enjoy the ride,” with that the lift was sliding away from the station.

Harry gripped the bar in front of him, plastering his back on the back of the chair and trying not to cry. His legs were instinctively trying to pull themselves closer to his chest but the bar was getting in the way. Harry let out a small sob when the chair slid out of the edge and his eyes landed on the river. It was just a silk line!

Harry wanted to hide. He wanted to scream. He wanted his father to come and hold him or maybe his mother. He wanted to die. His hands throbbed with pain as he gripped the bar too tightly.

Then the car jerked on its way.

The sob was loud as it left his lips this time.

He was not going to survive these four minutes.

 

++++++

 

Louis jumped when Harry let out a sob. His eyes were focused on the scenery around them and the river underneath. Louis had loved this trekking so much. He loved the ropeway and how out of the world it felt to just hang in the middle of nowhere.

He turned to see that Harry had gone pale. Paler than normal. His eyes were screwed shut but Louis could see tears springing out of them. His hands were holding the metal bar so tightly that Louis feared about the boy’s palms. The omega was breathing heavily, as if he was in the middle of a panic attack.

Louis reached out and took one of Harry’s hands in his, rubbing it furiously with curiosity colouring his heart.

Harry flinched almost, not ready to let go of the bar.

“Hey, Harry, hey,” Louis spoke, urgently, “what happened? Are you fine?”

Those green eyes flipped over his face and Harry whimpered, tears rolling out of his eyes.

“I… Louis,” he let go of the bar and grasped for Louis’ hands, almost crushing them in his vice-like grip, “scared. Height…head hurts…vomit, I… phob…” the omega chocked on bile, trying to breathe, “Take me…back…height…”

Louis could not understand and then Harry’s eyes rolled back towards his head and the omega swayed on the seat.

Louis’ eyes widened.

Acrophobia!

Harry had acrophobia!

Fuck!

Shit!

Louis reached around Harry and pulled the omega as much closer to him as he could muster. Harry sobbed, whimpering. His head lolled back and forth, eyes losing focus.

Louis knew about this phobia. His mother had it. He had to do something quickly or else Harry would lose himself in the pit of his fear and that would leave behind a shock to his brain.

Louis held Harry closer by his left arm and with his right arm, he slapped Harry’s cheeks lightly but continuously.

“Harry, Harry, stay awake. Please, Harry, look at me. Come on, love, look at me.”

He watched Harry shaking his head furiously, crying as the car jerked on another point.

“Come on, Harry. Look at me, I am here. See, we are almost there, love. Please, open your eyes.”

Lies.

They were not even in the middle of the line but Louis had to do something.

Louis gripped Harry’s jaw and shook him.

“Harry,” he would not forgive himself for doing it but he had to let his alpha speak for him now.

Harry whimpered, the undertone of his omega coming out.

“Look me in the eyes,” Louis felt when Harry’s omega started battling with the human Harry. Harry’s eyelids fluttered but it was not open yet.

Louis let out a growl. His chest shook as his alpha howled in him. For the first time, Louis was forcing Harry to do something. Louis was not proud of himself but Harry could not slip away. That would be painful for Harry’s stability.

Those eyes startled open. Those pupils were blown and Harry tried to look down.

“Don’t,” Louis warned, “don’t look at the river. Just focus on me. Look at me.”

 

+++++++

 

“Look at me,” Louis said.

Harry tried to do just that. He whimpered at Louis, telling him to come closer in his mind but he knew, Louis could not. They were kind of cuffed but Harry was losing his breath. He tried to concentrate on Louis’ eyes, those blue pupils were staring right back at him. Harry tried to count those wrinkles around the alpha’s eyes but all he saw was the blurry horizon and all he felt was the shaking of the moving lift. Harry hiccupped.

“Forget about everything and just feel me, Harry,” Louis was saying, his tone urgent and fearful, “feel my body close to yours. I am here. With you. Just forget about everything else.”

Harry shook his head, trying not to faint. His hands twitched on the alpha’s collars as he clutched them, pulling and grasping at the same time.

Harry blinked up at Louis with pleading eyes, his body already losing energy. Harry could feel his taut muscles aching. He was almost ready to pass out. He knew that his muscles would give up any moment because of exhaustion.

“Make me forget,” he sobbed, the fear so prominent on his nerves that his pulse points throbbed, “Louis,” Harry would be ashamed of the way he took the alpha’s name if he was on the stable ground but now…

“Take my mind away from this, please,” he cried harder. The air was so cold around them, blowing so harshly. The weather was unforgiving. Everything was going against Harry today.

Louis let out a breath, audibly, and Harry shook like a leaf in his grasp.

Then the alpha’s left arm was pulling at Harry’s nape, forcing him to look up.

Harry did, his eyes fleeting on those blue ones. They were filled with regret and hesitance.

Louis’ face crumbled, eyes pleading.

“I hope you can forgive me for this. I am so sorry, Harry.”

Harry did not understand, he was not trying to understand either. His brain was not working anyway.

The alpha’s right arm came up to nudge the omega’s chin. Harry looked up at Louis, his green orbs filled with fear and dread. Louis’ left arm cupped the omega’s nape.

Harry watched Louis’ eyes sloshing with regret as the alpha leaned closer.

“I am sorry,” Louis whispered.

.

Harry’s nose touched that alpha’s beard and his nostrils were filled with the alpha’s scent. There was a pause where Harry just looked at Louis. The alpha was nothing but a foggy image because of the closeness.

Then those thin lips touched his, pressing softly against Harry’s.

Harry whimpered, closing his eyes.

Louis’ lips were rough and so thin against Harry’s fuller ones. Harry could do nothing as Louis just pressed closer. There was no real force behind the alpha’s lips, Louis was not trying to open up Harry’s lips. He was happy with the way their lips just stayed touched.

Harry felt the alpha’s breath hitting his upper lip and he moved his lips, trying to take that thin upper-lip in his mouth. His tongue slowly slid out to prod against the alpha’s Cupid’s bow.

Something like a growl broke through the alpha. Harry’s omega answered with a small whimper. Harry could feel his muscles easing out the tension. He could feel his omega shaking out its fur and then hunching down on its hind legs as a submissive gesture.

Louis’ lips opened then, letting Harry take that upper-lip in his mouth. Harry sucked, slowly, then whimpering when the cable-car jolted again. But this time Louis was there, pressing down on his nape and pulling his chin up to cram their faces close together.

Harry’s tongue prodded the alpha’s teeth, shyly asking for Louis to open up. His hands gripped the alpha’s collars tightly.

Louis let out another growl when Harry’s omega whined. Then the alpha was opening his mouth for Harry to explore. Harry let his tongue slid into that heat, meeting the alpha’s tongue halfway.

The alpha tasted like tea and nicotine. Harry lapped at Louis’ tongue, moving and rolling along with it.

Louis could taste the omega’s mint gum in his mouth and his tongue found the gum in the omega’s mouth too. Louis sucked the gum in his mouth and Harry chased it, trying to steal it away. Louis let Harry’s tongue chase his into his mouth and then bit down softly, earning a gasp from the omega. His alpha was rolling around in his chest and puffing out its chest with pride and something like tenderness.

The omega was grabbing Louis’ nape, trying to pull him closer. Louis let him. He would do anything to ease out the omega’s tension.

They broke apart when they had to. Their breathing harsh against each other. Louis opened his eyes to see that Harry was staring at his lips, his eyes wide and so innocent.

Louis chewed the gum in his mouth, opening his mouth to show it to the omega as he rolled the gum on his tongue with ease. Harry mewled, his eyes set on Louis’ tongue. Louis could not help it, he was attracted to this omega. His alpha was finally energized enough to go on for at least one week. He licked his bottom lip, leaving behind a glistening effect.

Harry could feel heat coiling inside his stomach, his omega seeking out the heat that the alpha gave off. His eyes darted on those lips and then in that mouth where Louis was chewing the gum. Harry’s gum.

Harry frowned, leaning forward to connect their lips once again. His hands pulled at Louis’ hair on his nape and the alpha gasped, opening his mouth.

The feeling was something Harry had never felt. The kiss was not rushed or Louis was not trying to suck his face off as they kissed. Louis was gentle, goofy as he kept stealing the gum or moving it away from Harry’s reach, but gentle. The alpha was purring time to time, easing Harry’s omega out. Harry could feel his skin heating up with something like goose-bumps. His hands were now groping Louis’ back and shoulders. Louis’ hands were just holding his cheeks, so lightly. Harry could feel their lips moulding together. His eyes watered when Louis’ alpha hummed, trying to reach Harry’s omega. Harry’s omega answered right back with a moan.

Harry’s heart was just slamming against his ribcage, his breathing erratic. He panted against Louis’ mouth, just like the alpha did. Harry’s omega was running around in its pit, so charged up with energy. It was begging to come out.

Harry’s senses were highlighted suddenly. Louis’ every touch was sending current through his body. Harry had to hold the alpha closer for grounding his own heart and mind. The alpha’s every touch was electric, jolting Harry thoroughly.

There was a mechanical sound of screeching and they both jumped away from each other.

Harry jerked his head away to see that their lift was sliding into the station. They were finally over hard ground. There was no abyss anymore.

But Harry’s heartbeats were erratic and sped up even more when he risked a sideways glance at the alpha. Louis’ hair was not dishevelled but not perfectly combed either. His eyes were shut and he was inhaling so deep that Harry could see his chest filling up. Then Harry’s eyes fell on the alpha’s lips and he pressed down on his lips to force the moan away.

They were glistening, so pinkish and raw.

Louis wiped his lips and opened his eyes.

A worker was unbuckling them now, freeing Harry from his cuffs and security ropes. Harry let them do the work as he fumbled with his feelings.

What was he supposed to do now? What was Louis expecting him to say now? Was the alpha expecting something from the kiss? What was the alpha’s intention behind it anyway?

When they were free from every hasp, Louis jumped out of the lift. Harry followed just behind.

Harry watched the tensed shoulders of the alpha as Louis walked before him. His hands were tucked in his pockets and his head hung low.

Harry was confused and reluctant. He wanted answers but what was his question?

He could not blame Louis for kissing him when he kissed back that enthusiastically but was he supposed to just take it and not even mention it? Louis did not even look at him when they pulled away, was Harry that bad?

Harry frowned at his own thoughts. How did that matter? It was not like, they would kiss ever again. Hell, he was not sure why they kissed there in the first place.

Harry halted on his path when he realized Louis had kissed him because of his phobia. Louis was just trying to channel his thoughts somewhere else. He had apologized even before slotting their lips together.

He wanted to ask Louis about the kiss. Harry had so many questions but then the station’s door was opening and Louis was practically running towards their gang as they stood beyond the railings.

“Finally,” Liam groaned, rolling his eyes. Mason laughed at Liam’s restlessness and Zayn smirked amusedly. Perrie and Niall just smiled as Louis joined them.

“Where is the luggage?” Louis asked, his eyes fleeting over the group.

Perrie shrugged, “they are coming back with it. We have to wait.”

Louis nodded, looking anywhere but at his left where Harry now stood.

Harry sighed.

What the hell was that kiss?

 

+++++++

 

They finally reached the camping point. The flat surface, where they had decided to camp, was pretty close to the peak of the mountain. The rocks on the mountain were crushed and engraved as steps. Total thirty or so steps and they could just reach the highest peak of the mountain.

There were a lot of people on the peak where they settled down to open the tent. It was like a festival. Everyone came here to witness the fireworks that happened there every year.

Harry helped Niall to build the tent. His hands worked but his mind was elsewhere. His head was still stuck in that cable-car. In those shared breathes. Harry’s heart was still holding onto those soft touches. His brain was confused and his heart was unsatisfied.

Louis had not acknowledged him since then. Now Louis was just walking around and laughing at Liam’s angry grumbles about him being unproductive. If it was not for the way his omega paced in his heart, Harry would have thought that he had dreamt it, the whole kissing part. Louis was that unaffected.

Maybe Louis was not as invested as Harry, he thought. Maybe the alpha had kissed a lot of people and it was not a big deal for him. Maybe it was just a method to distract Harry and it actually meant nothing to the alpha.

Harry was not sure what it meant to him but he was surely not that unaffected. His lips still tingled and he could still feel Louis’ hands around his neck, on his cheeks. Harry could still feel the way Louis had purred to console him. Harry was shaken up, well, not Louis, as it seemed.

Something like rejection and confusion was clouding Harry’s heart. His eyes kept going back to the alpha.

Harry’s heart clenched with an uncomfortable twist when he saw Mason kissing Louis’ cheek, smiling widely up at him. Louis did not move away or ignore him. Instead, he shook his head with a soft expression on his face and rubbed the omega’s back.

Harry looked down at the pole in his hands. He shoved it into the sleeve of the tent, his eyes burning.

Was he not good? Was it that unimportant?

It was their first kiss!

Harry halted on his track, his hands tight on the pole and the tent.

First kiss?

Where was that coming from?

It was the only kiss they shared. There would be no such actions again. Never!

“You look so lost.”

Harry jumped on the spot and looked at his helper. Niall was regarding him with a frown and something like concern.

Harry shook his head. He was not lost or anything.

“I am just tired, I guess. Need some rest.”

Niall nodded, yawning as he straightened out the poles, “same here. I am so knackered. Need to sleep.”

Harry said nothing in reply. He was not into the conversation that much. His mind was elsewhere.

Mason’s tent was done. He was now setting up the bonfire they would have in the middle of their four tents. Louis was there, helping the omega with branches and some middle-sized rocks. Their lips were stretched on a smile, little glances were shared as they talked through it.

Harry could feel his headache coming. He needed to sleep.

 

+++++++

 

Louis could not look at Harry without thinking about the kiss that took away his peace. His eyes kept going back to find the omega and he had to force himself to just ignore his every instinct. He stayed closer to Mason, engaging himself in small-talk to just stop himself from going to Harry.

His alpha was roaring in him to just go and take the omega again. Every fibre in his body was screaming for him to be near the omega. He knew it was a mistake. It was a recipe for disaster. He knew it.

Harry looked so disturbed, his brows furrowed with something like displeasure. Louis understood him. Of course, the omega was not happy about the kiss. Obviously, Harry hated every second of it and now he wanted to confront Louis to just set the record straight. And Louis was dreading it. He did not want to face the rejection. He was not sure if he would be able to handle it. He was tired, so tired of Harry’s rejections.

“Your tent is ready. I have left your luggage there.”

Louis turned to see that Liam was addressing him as he gestured towards the orange tent on the west side of the square.

Louis could feel dread pulling at his heart when he realized that he would share a tent with Harry. In fact, Harry was just getting in the tent as Louis watched. The omega turned to look at him and Louis hurried to look back at Liam. He was not ready to see the hostility there.

Not yet.

He sighed, rubbing his temple.

“What’s wrong?” Zayn asked, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand as he exhaled.

Louis shrugged, sitting down beside Liam where the alpha sat on a stone.

“Yeah, you look half-dead on your feet. What is the matter?” Liam enquired.

Louis was not ready to open up about it yet. He wanted to keep it to himself. As long as he could.

Was Harry regretting it? Was he calling Nick and telling him how this trip was a bad idea? Harry looked upset. Well, he had the right to. Louis forced the kiss on him.

Shit! He should have talked Harry out of his trance. Why did he kiss him? Harry might be so mad and upset. Well, he had a right to but Louis was not ready to go up to him and say sorry. Because…well, he was not sorry. No matter how unexpected the kiss was, Louis was not sorry. He liked it. He loved it in fact. He would do it again if he could. Well, not that it would happen again.

“Nothing new. Just exhausted and pretty damn tired,” Louis said. His eyes were carefully away from the orange tent.

Zayn pulled out the box of cigarette and held it out for Louis and Liam to take. Both alphas took it with a relieved sigh. All of them were worn out and needed some rest.

As Zayn helped Louis with the lighter, Liam groaned beside them.

“I think something is wrong with Niall,” Liam said suddenly.

Louis was letting out rings of smoke, watching them fade away in thin air. His eyes flicked on Liam’s face. Zayn was watching the alpha too, confused and concerned.

“What?” Louis prompted Liam.

Liam looked exhausted, his eyes dull. He was trying to look nonchalant but Louis and Zayn could easily see the tension in his eyes. His fists were clenched and those thick brows were furrowed as Liam shrugged.

“He was never like this. He looks tired and he vomited in the cable-car. His scent is changing too,” Liam mumbled, looking so pale.

Louis looked at Zayn and Zayn looked back.

“Did you ask him what is wrong?” Zayn asked.

Liam nodded, “won’t tell me. Sometimes he behaves so stubbornly, I feel like strangling him. If something is wrong, he should tell me, right? No, he is, in fact, ignoring me. Well, he will eventually come to me. I think he needs time and all.”

An idea came to Louis’ mind. He pursed his lips.

“Even if he is ill, it shall not bother you. Your trial is ending in… what? Two or so months? Then Niall is not going to be your responsibility. Right?”

Liam looked up at Louis, his jaw ticking. Zayn smirked, understanding Louis’ plan. He joined Louis.

“Yeah, Louis is right. After that, Niall is not your problem. He can just leave our pack and never come back and you won’t have to blink…”

Zayn was not finished when Liam stood up. His eyes were hard and jaw set.

“Well, even if I leave him after the trial, I don’t want him gone. Okay? He is not leaving or anything. Fuck you two!” Liam stormed off.

Zayn watched him go with a smile, Louis doing the same. They turned to face each other and laughed.

“He is gone for that omega,” Zayn shook his head, laughing at his friend’s annoyance.

Louis nodded, “he can’t even imagine Niall away from him. I can’t believe he thinks that after trial, he will leave that boy. Some nerves he has.”

Zayn sighed, “Just like you think it is fine to kiss the person who doesn’t even like you.”

Louis jumped on the rock. His eyes widened as he stared at Zayn. The alpha could feel sweat building at the back of his neck. Louis felt trapped by the beta’s gaze. His hand tightened on the cigar, crushing it.

Zayn was just staring at him, expression blank. The left corner of his lips held the cigarette and he was leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees.

“Wh-what?” Louis coughed.

Zayn smiled, shaking his head.

“Let’s save both of our time and cut the bullshit right here. You kissed Harry. I saw when I came out of the cable-car. I am pretty surprised that no one else noticed.”

Louis could not answer. He had nothing to say. So he did what was best. He stayed silent, head hung low.

He heard when Zayn sighed, “I will not ask you that why you did it. Well, it is your personal matter. But, Lou! I am concerned about you.” When Louis looked at Zayn, the beta looked sad, “I am concerned because Harry has no feelings for you, man. He is a good person but he is not the one for you. He treats you so poorly. He has a boyfriend who is just there in the fest. He is just counting the days and when the trial is finally over, he will leave.”

Louis flinched when Zayn placed his hand on top of Louis’ with a small smile.

“Don’t want your heart to be broken, Lou! Be careful there.”

Louis could feel his eyes itching with something like tears and his heart clenching in his chest. It was like, Zayn was just stating what his mind wanted to tell him.
Louis knew these facts.

He shrugged, helpless.

“Can you really help it, Zayn?”

When the beta looked at him confusedly, Louis gestured towards the orange tent where Harry was currently in.

“I want it or not, Zayn. I already feel so strongly for him. Can you really choose the person you want to fall in love with? Hell, even if I could, I would choose Harry,” Louis laughed, tiredly.

Zayn said nothing for a moment and then the beta puckered his lips, thinking.

“Did you talk to him after you kissed?”

Louis shook his head, dread filling his stomach.

“He looks upset, mate. You should at least talk to him!”

Louis knew that. Of course, he knew that but…

“He looks a bit moody. Don’t you think?” Zayn asked again.

Louis nodded, he had noticed.

“Well, I have no idea why I did that. He was just scared and on the verge of losing his consciousness and you know how damaging a panic attack can be, right?”

Zayn nodded, he understood Louis’ point but he knew Harry too. Harry might blame Louis for doing it. The omega was fierce and very unforgiving towards Louis.

“Just talk to him. You can’t just ignore someone after something like that,” Zayn said, stubbing out his cigar to stand up.

Louis did the same. He stood up and followed Zayn towards the tent. Zayn and Perrie’s tent was the green one, besides the orange one. Liam and Niall had the reddish one and Mason chose the jungle-print one.

“Talk to him,” Zayn said and clapped Louis’ back. Louis watched him disappearing in his tent.

Louis sighed, looking at the orange tent. He could not sleep there, could he? He had kissed the omega and now Harry might feel cornered if they shared a tent. Harry might not even want to see his face.

Something like anger flared through Louis’ chest, his alpha growling at the omega’s disobedience. The next moment, Louis ducked his head in shame. How could he just think like that? Harry was more than an omega. He was a person who had a lover. Shit! Louis blew up everything, did not he?

Louis wanted to give Harry space. The omega needed it. Harry needed some time alone to forget the kiss.

Louis thanked his stars as he recalled bringing a hammock with him. He had always liked sleeping in a hammock when he came to these camping trips. He liked going to sleep under the stars and just move slowly with the wind. Louis decided that he would just tie the hammock to the trees and just sleep there. That way, Harry would be able to have the distance he wanted.

Yeah, that would be amazing.

 

+++++++

 

Harry stilled himself when he heard the footsteps. His eyes fell on the shadow that was getting bigger on the tent wall. His heart rate picked up as he smelled the alpha.

He pulled the T-shirt over his head and waited.

Louis coughed outside.

“Can I come in?”

Harry nodded, eyes wide at the door and then gulped.

Louis can’t see you, idiot!

“Ye-yeah, come in,” he said, voice low.

Then the flap was moving and a head of brown-feathery hair ducked in. Louis’ head touched the roof of the tent and the alpha sat on his knees to pull his bag to himself.

Harry watched Louis with confusion. The alpha was not meeting his eyes, looking just at the bag. Harry could feel the air thickening with tension. Was Louis going to address the kiss? Was he going to just ignore it?

Harry was not sure how to react. His eyes fell on those thin lips, they were pressed against each other. They were on his lips…

Harry looked down at his hands, trying not to blush. He felt so stupid for blushing like that. The kiss was not supposed to happen. It was not supposed to linger in his mind either. It was not supposed to leave a tingling sensation behind.

He frowned, why was he blushing anyway? It was a onetime thing. It would never happen again. Harry had his goal set, he would not jinx it like that.

His eyes fell on Louis then. The alpha had a hammock in his hands as he closed the zip of his backpack. Harry frowned, a hammock?

Louis coughed, forcing Harry’s attention on the alpha’s face. Louis was not looking at him though. His eyes were set on the bag in front of him.

Louis said nothing as he stood up, turning his back towards Harry to leave.

What?

“Where are you going?” Harry asked, confused.

Louis shoulders tensed up, going taut. He did not turn to face Harry but his neck moved, his face turning sideways slightly.

“I need to set up the hammock now,” the alpha said as if it was so obvious.

Harry looked at the hammock and then at the alpha’s back, even more confused.

“Why do you need a hammock?”

Louis shrugged, “I will stay on it. You can have the tent. I don’t want to invade.”

Something was wrong with Harry as he felt his heart throbbing. His hands curled into fists as he glared at the alpha’s back.

Oh! So he was running away now.

“Well, I don’t think you remembered your invading rules when you kissed me, did you?”

Harry could not help it. Was Louis regretting it? Was he disappointed? Was Harry not good enough to get an acknowledgement even? Did not he deserve some kind of talk after what happened?

He watched Louis’ spine going stiff, building up the alpha’s taut image even more.

Then Louis sighed, his shoulders hunching.

“It was my mistake. I did not mean to kiss you, I am sorry.”

Everything went still around Harry. His heart stopped on a beat as Louis said it. He could do nothing but gulp the bile that was threatening to come out. His eyes forgot to blink as he stared at the alpha. Something in his heart was cracking.

It was a mistake! The kiss was a mistake. Kissing him was a mistake to Louis.

 

+++++++

 

There. Louis had said it. No one heard the crack that left an ugly line on his heart. No one noticed those blue eyes glossing over.

Yeah, doing it to Harry was a mistake, Louis could agree. But his heart denied accepting the kiss as a mistake. He could not just say that the kiss in itself was a mistake. Doing it to Harry was a mistake. He said just that. He had to. He had to save his heart and his alpha ego from Harry’s rejection. So what was the better step? Accept it before Harry said it.

When Harry said nothing, Louis sighed. Silence meant consent, right? Harry agreed with him. The kiss was a mistake to him.

Louis held the hammock closer to his heart, anything to ground him.

“I did not mean to…” Louis shrugged, having no proper excuse.

“Get out.”

Louis flinched, turning around to see Harry looking at his feet with a steely expression.

“What?” Louis asked, tentative.

Harry pointed at the door, his eyes fixed on the floor.

“Get out.”

Louis opened his mouth to say something, anything but nothing came out. Harry looked sad. His eyes were cold where it was stuck. Louis wanted to reach out, hold him in his arm or maybe just kiss him again.

Shit! Louis! Shit!

What was he thinking? How could he just let his mind wander to that topic again? They had a pep-talk that Louis would never think about the kiss again. Ever!

He nodded, clearing his throat.

“Yeah, okay,” with that Louis ran out of the tent. His chest expanding as he inhaled in free air.

Harry hated the kiss. He hated Louis too. It was entirely his fault, was not it?

 

+++++++

 

Harry threw the sweaty, crumbled shirt at the flapping door of the tent in frustration. His teeth gritted together.

The kiss was a mistake to Louis. Of course, it was. Why was it bothering Harry so much? He should be relieved. He should thank his stars that Louis was not stuck on it.

But Harry was stuck on it. His mind was stuck on it. He had questions. So many questions he wanted Louis to answer.

Instead, Harry slumped down on his sleeping bag, rolling over to hide his face.

It was afternoon and Harry was not really sleepy but he would just lay there and ignore everything.

Even a certain alpha who just might have cracked his heart a little bit.

 

+++++++

 

Niall looked at his phone.

“Everything is settled here, Niall. You will come to your grandparents’ and Shawn will pick you up from there. He works at the hospital you wanted to join. He had received your resume and he loved it. I think you will be fine with a job. I hope you are fine now. Let me know if you are confused about the plan. I am here to talk.”

Niall’s heart hammered against his chest as he read Will’s text. It was all a plan until now. It was all in Niall’s head. His escape was a plan Niall wanted to execute but now… it was final. Now he had no way to turn around. Well, it was not as if he wanted to turn around. Liam would never accept his baby and Niall could not abort.

He was done with everything in that pack. He was done with those mean omegas. He was done with Sophia and her hurtful words. He was done with bachelor alphas who thought he was a whore, easy to pass comments on. He was done with those betas who just ignored him like a plague. He was done with his own father who could not save him.

Even after all that, as Niall sent a thumbs up to Will, his heart lurched to his throat. His eyes became watery.

He would miss the pack too. He would miss Jay, their kitchen, her overwhelming love for Niall. He would miss those pups. He would miss the small hospital in the pack. He would miss Harry and his stubborn pouts. Niall smiled to himself. Harry… they would never meet again.

He would miss Zayn. God, he would miss the beta so much, one of his closest friends. Niall wiped his eyes, determined not to cry. Zayn would be pissed that Niall did not tell him.

He would miss Louis. He would miss the leader so much. No matter where Niall went, he would miss the best leader he had ever come across. And a friend that Louis was to him. Louis might blame himself for Niall’s escape. He might search for Niall.

He would miss those omega-training times with Melissa.

He would miss Dan and his father-like care for him.

With a heavy heart and a broken sob, Niall realized…

He would miss Liam.

So much!

He would miss Liam when he would go for his first ever ultrasound. He would miss Liam when he would get his first ever craving. He would miss the alpha when he heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. He would miss the alpha when his baby would kick him for the first time. He would miss Liam when the baby would ask about the father.

He would miss the alpha when he gave birth.

Niall cried. Why was he going through this? Why was Liam like that? Why did not they get their happily ever after?

He sobbed in his palms, curling in on himself.

He would be a fading memory to Liam after a few days. He would be busy with Sophia and his new life. He might throw a party even. The trouble that Niall was would be gone from his life. He would marry his omega. They would have a happy life, where Niall did not exist. Liam might thank his stars.

The thought that scared the shit out of Niall was…

He would never see Liam again. He would never be able to tell his baby about his father. Maybe his baby and Liam would meet somewhere and they would not know each other.

And maybe Niall would move on, find out his mate and live happily. But would he forget Liam? The one who ruled Niall’s heart without even trying?

Never.

Niall closed his eyes. The future was not something Niall wanted but that was all he could do to save his baby.

He could do it.

He would do it.

Chapter Text

Harry twisted and turned on the air mattress. The afternoon sun was looming over the tent now, making the inside glow with orange ray. It was somehow warm inside the tent as Harry had closed the windows too.

Harry could not sleep. He pushed the blanket off his body and sighed, sitting up. The tent was getting steamy now. Harry looked at the draped window and sighed. He would have to keep it open at night.

Harry looked back at the hinged door, the curtain made a sound as it flapped because of the breeze. Harry knew, could feel, that the alpha was there, just outside.

“It was my mistake. I did not mean to kiss you, I am sorry.”

The thing was… Harry hated people who could not take responsibilities. He hated those who would do something and then just never acknowledge it because they hated confrontation. Louis was just one of them. Was not he? He had kissed Harry and now he was running away. He said he was sorry.

Louis was sorry.

Was he sorry because he kissed Harry or because Harry was not up to the mark?

Harry’s nostrils flared.

Was he not good?

Harry glared at the door. He would just ask Louis. Yes, he would just confront the alpha about the kiss if the alpha was not doing it himself.

Harry nodded to himself, heaving up on his feet. He walked fast towards the door and opened it. The soft and cold breeze touched his face as Harry peeked out. His eyes automatically found the alpha at some distance.

Louis was binding the hammock to a tree. His hands moved with skill as he tied the rope on a tree. His tank-top was plastered on his back with sweat dripping down his neck and shoulder-blades. Louis was working with deep concentration. His eyes were set on the knot he was doing on the rope. The alpha let out a ragged breath, closing his eyes as he tied one knot securely.

“Getting all sweaty, I see.”

Harry flinched just like Louis. They both turned to face the source of the voice respectively.

Mason smirked from the doorstep of his tent. Those eyes were stuck on Louis’ sweaty figure.

Louis shrugged as he gestured towards the hammock.

“I am almost out of practice. Can’t believe that I forgot how to tie these knots.”

Mason nodded, walking forward leisurely.

“I see. I hope you remember how to knot other things,” he stepped in front of Louis and leaned closer, “or may I say, other people?”

Harry felt his fingers curling tightly on the door as he watched their interaction.

Louis chuckled, wiping his forehead with the hem of his tank-top. Harry noticed how Mason’s eyes swooped down to look at the pudgy tummy under the alpha’s top.

“Well, why do you think that I might forget that?” Louis asked, smirking.

Harry frowned. Wow! Louis was not offended.

Mason shrugged, gesturing towards the alpha in general, “You know, your omega hates you and all…” he stopped with a hint of something in his voice.

Louis laughed, shaking his head, “yeah, well. He does, doesn’t he?”

Mason nodded, “pretty much.”

Harry hated how they were talking about him as if he was an object and not there.

Louis quirked his right eyebrow, leaning against a tree, “well, what if I am doing the deed with someone else?”

Mason giggled, “Whom are you talking about?”

Louis shrugged, “you know, someone special. Someone who is way more handsome than Harry?” He eyed Mason with a playful smile.

Harry balled his fists so tightly that he could feel his own nails cutting in the skin of his palm.

Louis was openly flirting with Mason.

Mason laughed, swatting Louis’ shoulder, “shut up, Lou!”

Louis laughed too, turning back to do the other side of the hammock.

“Do you need help?” Mason asked, leaning forward.

Louis shook his head, “Nah. I am almost done.”

Mason nodded, “okay.” Then his face brightened up, “hey? You tie the hammock. Then we can maybe drink some beer and talk about shit on it until the evening?”

Louis nodded with a smile, “sure, Mason. That sounds good.”

Harry turned away, his breathing laboured.

As he threw himself on the mattress, his eyes welled up.

Louis was fucking other people.

He was surely flirting with Mason. Did they do something during the trip that Harry did not know of? Were they going to do something after they came back from the firework?

Harry wiped his eyes. It should not bother him. He should not care about Louis’ affairs.

Then why was he feeling this gut-wrenching pain in his chest? Why were his eyes pooling with tears? His stomach rolled as he thought of Louis with Mason.

His omega was silent, mute almost. Harry did not know what that meant.

Was he affected?

Harry shook his head.

No. He was not affected. Louis did not affect him.

But…

Harry could not deny that at this point he was somehow, physically at least, attracted to the alpha. It was not like he was in love with Louis but he was attracted. Biology. It was simply their biology.

Harry loved Nick but it was not as if he was cheating if he thought that Louis was attractive, was it? He would never leave Nick for Louis. However, it was not bad to accept that he found Louis attractive.

He would forget Louis when he left the pack. As they said, out of sight out of mind.

Harry sighed, burying his face in the pillow. He did not sign up for this. He did not want this. He did not deserve this really. He felt pathetic as soon as he accepted that he was attracted to Louis. That was not supposed to happen.

All he wanted was a peaceful future where he was happy with his mate. All Harry wanted since childhood was someone who would love him without needing any reason. He wanted to fall in love with his mate and give everything to that person. He was ready to start a family with his mate.

Harry was tired. He was tired of his measured words when he loved rambling. He was tired of his hesitant stance in everything when he was always the confident one in their pack. Harry was tired of holding up that arrogant mask when all he wanted was to cuddle someone and just be the emotionally dependent one. He was done with the fake bravery he had to show when in reality, he was scared. It was as if the petals of the rose were falling one by one now. No matter what he did, his mask was breaking. No matter how hard he held it, the sand was slipping out of his fist. His control over his omega was slipping.

He loved being a little spoon, now he had to sleep alone in that big bed and pretend to be fine. No one asked him what his heart went through the night of his and Louis’ mating. He was scared shitless. He was trembling when Louis had come in. No one was there to hold him close or ask if he was all right or not. Harry was not sure if Louis would force him or not and he knew that if the alpha forced himself on Harry, he would be helpless. That helpless feeling was never good.

No one asked him what he went through every day when Liam or anyone close to Louis would look at him with fury. He had no one to stand up for him. It felt like, someone was hammering him to the wall. No one asked him how he was. The pain intensified when he went home and his parents kept reminding him that he was supposed to be the submissive one and take everything Louis was giving him. Harry’s anger had flared when Anne had told him how lucky he was to have Louis. No one really asked him if he really was fine or not.

The boy, who was raised like the prince by his parents, was suddenly descended to the level of a delicate homemaker or even worse, sex slave. No one came with him to the Tomlinson pack as his moral support. They just let him go. His parents just let him go. He had crossed the border with no known face beside him. His father had told him to not look back because the Tomlinson pack was his home now. They did not even call the next day.

He had felt like an abandoned child. It had felt like his parents were relieved, as he was gone.

And Harry had no one to blame but Louis. Louis was the reason he was dragged away from his family. Louis was the reason Harry had to leave Nick behind. Louis was the reason for Harry’s tears. Louis was the cause of his distress.

He hated the alpha even before meeting him. For Harry, Louis was the golden chain Harry’s parents were tying around his ankles and wrists. He was the gilded cage they were shoving Harry in.

How was all this his fault? Why was everyone blaming him or telling him to rethink about Louis?

Did they think about his position? Ever?

He was given no reasons or excuses before Desmond announced that he was getting married in one week. Harry was not even granted the questions he had in his mind because it was announced at a party where Harry had to keep up his, “happy-go-lucky,” expression. He did not even know that he was promised to someone! Desmond did not even tell him personally. He announced it like Harry was a national property, not his son.

No one asked him what he wanted. Everyone praised him for securing such a huge position. The Luna of the Tomlinson pack! It was like; Harry was born to be a baby making machine or a stress reliever for Louis.

No one really paid him any attention. No one really noticed those red-rimmed eyes as he was just literally dragged to the chapel for his marriage. No one even asked him why he looked so pale that day. Why was he not eating?

No one cared enough. It was like; he was raised for this sacrifice. He was just an alluring trade for their pack. He was not supposed to have feelings or emotions.

What was Harry’s fault, really? He loved Nick. Why was it a fault? Was it his fault that he wanted to live his life on his own accord? Was it his fault if he was the aloof one? Harry’s opinion was never really treasured so he had stopped getting involved. He was called aloof, emotionless then. He was not emotionless but it was good to be aloof if getting involved meant hurting yourself. Harry had learnt it in the hardest way possible.

Why was everyone asking him to change or just give in? Why would he?

No one really loved him. No one really cared about him. Everyone, even his parents, was using him for something profitable.

Desmond used him for the safety of the Styles’ pack. Louis used him for the dominance he had now on the Styles’ pack. No one really stopped for a second to just ask him, “How are you? What do you want? Are you happy?”

No one.

It was like; he was thrown into the burning charcoal by everyone as the sacrifice. No one really jumped in it with him. The feeling of aloneness was the worst kind of feeling but Harry had accepted it.

If in that situation, Harry thought about his own self-respect and dignity, was it really his fault?

.

Harry wiped his eyes. No. He would not cry. It was not his fault. He would not give in. Nothing was really his fault. If they thought that he would just take everything thrown at his way, then they were wrong. Harry had his own life and he would be damned if he let someone else lead it.

He would die before giving up to their wishes.

+++

Someone was patting his shoulder when Harry blinked his eyes open.

His eyes settled on two blue orbs of his friend. He whined, turning away.

“What is it, Niall?”

Niall chuckled at his whiny voice, “get up. It is almost evening. We need to go to the peak of the mountain to see the fireworks. Everyone is almost ready to leave. Louis asked me to wake you up.”

Louis!

Harry yawned. His eyes fell on the omega in front of him. Niall was looking at him, waiting for him to wake up.

“You go. I am coming,” Harry said, rubbing his eyes.

Niall nodded, standing up.

“Don’t just drift off again, yeah?”

Harry chuckled, “no, Niall. I will join you all. Give me a minute.”

Niall nodded, leaving the tent.

Harry stood up with his mouth forming a yawn. His eyes were bleary as he blinked them, trying to focus.

Harry tried not to think too much about the fact that Louis had come in to get ready but he did not wake Harry up. Instead, he had sent Niall.

The alpha was deliberately ignoring Harry. Was not he?

 

+++

Louis was talking to Liam about a mail he got from the pack’s security team when the omega emerged from the orange tent. Louis tried hard not to stare when Harry joined them and apologized to the group for the delay.

Louis was just not sure where to go from here. Was he supposed to just ignore what happened? Well, was not that what Harry was doing?

The Omega did not even look at his way since he came out of the tent. Louis looked down at Liam’s phone where the team had sent him a photo of the lone wolf. Louis squinted to see who the wolf was but the image was so blurry that he could not really figure it out.

“Any clue?” Liam asked, furrowing down at the phone.

Louis shook his head, “Nah, mate. I can’t even see the wolf clearly.”

From the corner of his eyes, Louis saw Harry smiling at Niall and Perrie as they talked.

“I can’t either. It can be a rogue or maybe some lone wolf. What do you think I should tell the team?” Liam asked.

Louis shrugged, “just tell them to be more alert. I don’t want an unknown wolf anywhere near the pack. They should be more alert but don’t shoot the wolf. I don’t want to kill it even before knowing who it is. Just, if they get it, tell them to keep him in custody. Ask Stan for daily updates. I want photos. Clear ones.”

Liam nodded, already typing. Louis watched him type, just to pass the time.

“Can we go now?” Niall said, “We all are ready.”

Louis turned to see that yes, Zayn was finally out too. He nodded, gesturing for Liam to follow him.

Zayn and Liam stepped beside him as they walked. Liam was telling Zayn about the mishap as they walked. Zayn was not really concerned like Liam. He knew that the security team was just A class in their pack so they were fine. He said that much to Louis and Louis agreed with him. He was thinking the same.

Louis took a sideways glance to see that Harry was walking with Niall, his head ducked.

The evening sun was setting on the horizon. Louis could feel the chilly breeze. The night was going to be really cold on the hammock. He hoped it did not rain.

“Are we doing bonfire when we come back?”

Louis looked at his left to see Mason entangling his arm in Louis’. Louis shook his head, looking down at where he was stepping.

“Not really. The firework goes on 'til at least midnight. We will be knackered to do anything else when we come back.”

Mason whined, resting his head on Louis’ shoulder with a pout.

Louis chuckled when he looked down at his friend. He knew how much Mason loved bonfires. He kissed the omega’s hair with a soft smile.

“We will do it tomorrow, Mason.”

Wide, excited eyes looked up at him as they walked, “promise?”

Louis nodded with a smile, “promise.”

Liam and Zayn were talking beside Louis. Louis could hear they were still discussing the wolf from the pack. It was making Louis think too. He looked back to see the others.

Niall and Perrie were discussing something funny as it looked. They laughed while gesturing wildly. Louis shook his head with a smile when Niall squeaked.

His eyes, however, gravitated back to the omega behind them. Harry was walking all alone. His head was still bent. Those curls were hiding his face as they flopped on his forehead. Louis watched how the omega shivered under the chilly air.

Why was he not wearing something woollen?

“Oh, the stairs,” Mason complained as they reached the stairs.

Harry looked up then. Louis was losing his balance as he kept taking backwards glances. He almost stilled when the omega’s eyes found him.

Harry stilled too. Their eyes were locked on each other as they waited. Louis could see that Harry was shivering, his hands shoved in his jeans. Those green eyes moved over his face, searching something. Louis did not know what to say or do. His mouth felt dry as Harry blinked at him.

Louis was the first one to turn back to face the stairs ahead.

“Just thirty steps and we will be there, folks.” He called out behind them.

Everyone muttered their agreement or discomfort but followed nonetheless.

Louis pulled Mason with him, laughing when the omega complained throughout the journey.

 

+++

Niall huffed after just ten steps. He would like to take a break but Perrie was talking to him and he could not simply just sit down after just ten steps. He was going slowly anyway, Harry just collided with him some time ago. Now the omega was climbing the steps ahead of them.

“You look exhausted. Are you fine?” Perrie asked, worried.

Niall nodded, trying to calm his breathing down, “yeah. Yeah. I would just sit here for a moment and then climb again.”

Perrie stopped too, watching Niall, “okay.”

Niall shook his head when Perrie went to sit, “no, no. You go on. You might miss the opening firework otherwise. I will be fine.”

Perrie shook her head, “no. I am fine. I have seen the fireworks before. I will do without watching the starting of the fireworks.”

Niall shook his head vehemently, “just go. I don’t want to ruin your romantic moment. Zayn might pout throughout the trip.”

Perrie giggled, “Are you sure?”

Niall nodded, resting his back on the rock, “hundred per cent!”

Perrie hesitated for a moment and when Niall glared at her mockingly, she stepped away. Niall watched her go, sighing when she took the turn.

He closed his eyes, trying to ease out the knot at the base of his spine.

.

Niall was not sure how long he was sitting there when he felt a presence in front of him.

His eyes flew open to see that Liam was watching him. The alpha was standing just in front of him, leaning against the rock at the opposite side.

Niall gulped, staying silent under the alpha’s observant eyes.

Liam was simply watching him, his eyes calculative as they roamed over Niall’s face.

Niall was trying not to squirm as he stared back. He was trying not to hide his stomach with his arms and pull unwanted attention on him.

“What the fuck is going on in your tiny brain?” Liam asked, slowly. He looked so composed that Niall knew how angry the alpha really was. It was like watching a storm building inside the alpha.

“No-nothing, what are you talking about?” Niall fumbled for words, looking at the alpha with baited breath.

“Why are you getting all wounded as soon as you are in front of me? Why are you hiding your stomach? Is it hurting?”

Niall shook his head, trying to find out words. Nothing came to his brain.

Liam pushed his back off the rock and walked closer. When he was standing just in front of Niall, he leaned closer, eyes skimming the omega.

“Are you fine?”

Niall’s eyes met those brown ones and if he was not sure that Liam hated him, he would mistake that look as of a concern. But Niall knew Liam. Liam hated him. He was not concerned.

“I am just tired. You go ahead, I will be there when I can manage to climb the steps,” Niall gestured towards the rocky path.

Liam sighed, “You will miss the starting that way.”

Niall shrugged, “I can’t even stand up now. My legs are shaking. Might as well take some rest. You go ahead. You will miss the starting too.”

Liam said nothing but Niall could feel those eyes scanning his body. He tried not to squirm when Liam stayed there, looking at him.

“Fine, I might leave as well. I don’t want to miss the beginning,” Liam said, stepping away from him.

Niall sighed when Liam turned away. His eyes closed on their own accord as he leaned his head back on the rock.

.
Niall squeaked when he felt himself being lifted from the rock. His hands flared for a moment until they were looped around someone’s neck. Niall’s eyes flew open to see Liam carrying him bridal style.

“Wh-what are you doing?” he asked, stammering.

Liam was facing the front when he answered nonchalantly, “carrying you.”

Niall arranged himself closer to the alpha’s chest, hiding his face at the crook of Liam’s neck, “you don’t have to.”

Liam shrugged, not looking at him for once, “I know that.”

Niall said nothing more. He was tired and his alpha was carrying him. His omega was preening as he inhaled the alpha’s scent. Niall had never felt so secure. His eyes scanned Liam’s impassive face.

How was it possible to be threatened by someone and at the same time feel like that person was the biggest assurance in his life?

Niall did not know. He did not ask.

 

+++

Harry watched.

Harry watched Louis lighting up the Sparklers. He watched the alpha giving one of them to Mason and watching him with a fond smile as Mason moved it round and round.

He watched Louis lighting up some more and giving them to Zayn and Perrie.

Harry blinked down when Perrie handed him one of the sticks. He was not in the mood.

“Can I light the ground spinner?” Mason asked.

Louis shook his head, “no. You are wearing synthetic socks. You might catch fire.”

Mason pouted, blinking up at Louis innocently.

“Harry? Do you want to light the spinners?” Perrie asked, pointing at them.

Harry shook his head, “no. I am fine here.”

He watched Zayn stepping ahead to do the work.

His eyes fell on Mason again. His heart pulsated in his chest when he saw Louis holding Mason’s hand and they both making shapes in the air with the sparklers.

Harry looked back to see a lot of couples were around them, lighting spinners or sparklers and having fun. Some of them were taking selfies with sparklers lighting up their faces. His eyes fell on Niall and Liam, they were standing side by side, both holding a Roman Candles in their hands and watching it colour up the atmosphere. Niall was leaning against Liam’s side, Liam’s hand slowly came up to cage Niall’s waist.

Harry looked away, sighing.

Harry loved sparklers. He loved to watch those flakes lighting up the dark surface of night. He loved those spinners too. He remembered dancing around the spinners with his sister and cousins. He was always so eager to light up a fountain and watch it reach the peak of the sky, well, he imagined it to be the peak of the sky. Harry loved the shooting sound of these crackers.

No one really asked him again to light up the spinners or the fountains. His eyes fell on Louis when the alpha ran back to their group after lighting up a rocket. They watched it blasting in the sky, leaving behind golden hue.

Harry wiped his eyes when they started welling up for no apparent reason. His chest was feeling the void of something unknown.

Harry pulled the thin jacket tightly around him.

“Shit, Mason,” Louis’ indignant cry broke Harry’s thoughts and his eyes fell on the couple.

Louis was holding Mason’s face, the omega wincing.

“What happened?” Liam asked, not leaving Niall’s side.

Louis cupped Mason’s face and blew air in his eyes, “shit! He got flakes in his eyes.” he blew some more, “blink rapidly, Mason.”

Harry let out a breathy chuckle, shaking his head.

“It hurts, Lou,” Mason whined, his eyes getting redder.

“Splash some water,” Perrie said, trying to pull out a bottle of water from her bag.

“Why don’t you kiss it better, Louis?”

Everyone stopped for a moment around him. Louis stilled. His shoulders tensed up as he held Mason’s face in his hands.

Then all of them were facing Harry, questions colouring their eyes.

Harry was not looking at them though.

His eyes were stuck on the alpha who finally let go of Mason’s chin and turned to face Harry almost in slow motion. Those blue eyes were finally on Harry.

Harry wanted to laugh at Louis’ perplexed expression. The alpha looked white at face. His lips were trembling as if Harry might break the news in front of everyone. He looked like he was ready to run for the jungle.

“What? You know you can. Distract him from the pain, Louis. Kiss him,” Harry gestured towards Mason who was blinking at him now, his pain forgotten.

“What are you talking about?” Liam asked, confused.

Harry did not break the eye contact with Louis as he answered.

“Oh, Louis can kiss away your pain or fear, Liam. Trust me he is a pro at that. No, Louis?”

Louis’ jaw tightened, his eyes settling for something icy as he stared at Harry. Harry could see the alpha getting riled up.

“What?” Perrie asked, her voice low. She sounded hesitant but curious at the same time.

“Mason,” everyone jumped around Harry and Louis when Zayn called Mason’s name, louder than necessary, “splash some water on your face. Shit, your eye looks painful.”

The beta broke the trance around them expertly. Everyone turned back to help Mason.

Well, not everyone.

Harry was still staring at Louis and the alpha was glaring back at him. Both of them were waiting for the other to say or do something. Harry could feel his heartbeat picking up when Louis gritted his teeth. His omega was whining in him, trying to force him to submit when Louis just hissed under his breath.

Harry turned away, resigned. He was not having fun here. The main firework ceremony had not started yet but Harry was sure that he would not enjoy that one either. He was just tired. Simply exhausted.

He would just go back to the tent and sleep.

Harry hung his head as he walked away from the group, expertly sidestepping Niall who was looking back at him worriedly. Harry would talk to him later. Now was not the time.

His eyes were getting hazy as he walked. He wiped at them profusely. Why did the alpha affect him so much? How did it matter if Louis was acknowledging the kiss or not?

It mattered though.

It mattered because, throughout his life, Harry was always the neglected one. Not really worth any attention. Maybe that was the reason Harry sought acknowledgement that much. Maybe that was the reason Harry wanted to be someone’s centre of attention. He did not know. Harry was worth at least some words. Not the dismissal Louis served him. Harry was worth more than that.

 

+++

“Just give him some time, yeah?” Zayn mumbled.

Louis could feel his head throbbing with pain and he was feeling anger boiling through his veins. He watched Harry leave. His eyes followed the omega until he could not.

Harry had a way with words. He was always hurting Louis’ core. He was always stabbing Louis where it hurt the most. He was slicing the part that sizzled the most.

Why did he have to say that? Was he mocking Louis? Was he mocking Louis’ concern for him? Was Harry mocking the kiss?

What was Louis’ fault in it? He was trying to help! For fuck’s sake.

“Where are you going?” Zayn asked, placing his hand on Louis’ chest to stop him.

Louis pushed Zayn’s hand away, his eyes fixed on the curve of the rock where Harry had disappeared.

“Louis, don’t,” Zayn warned, his voice urgent.

Louis was already leaving Mason’s hand to follow Harry. He ignored Liam’s questions, Zayn’s warnings and Mason’s tug on his wrist.

He needed an answer.

Fuck it.

 

+++

It was like instinct. Harry could feel Louis.

His omega keened in him as he stopped on his track.

He turned to see Louis coming down the steps towards him. Harry was standing at the foot of the steps. His eyes were set on Louis and how the alpha was almost flowing down the steps. His legs were effortlessly hopping off step to step as he descended. Louis was looking effortlessly gorgeous under the dim lights of the path.

Harry turned back towards the trail that would lead him to the tents. He stepped forward. He would not wait for Louis.

But Harry just took four or so steps and then Louis was holding his wrist back, preventing his further steps.

Harry did not turn to see the alpha this time. He stared ahead.

“Fuck this,” he heard Louis swore.

A gasp tore out of Harry’s lips when he felt a sudden push. His whole body jerked before he hit the tree beside the path. Harry reached his flaring hands out to hold on to anything that was stable, his eyes closing with fear. Cause, his own feet were a tangled mess, he was falling. His head hit the tree and his hands touched someone’s shoulder. Harry gripped it desperately.

When he opened his eyes, they connected with a pair of blue ones. Louis was standing just in front of him, holding him in place. His hands were burning Harry’s skin where they touched him on his waist.

Harry balanced himself on his legs with Louis’ support and sighed. Then his eyes widened.

Harry tried to push the alpha away, just to have Louis pressed against him.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Harry shouted, struggling to be free.

Louis growled, his chest shaking with the sound.

It was all it took for Harry to settle. His head fell forward in a bowing motion, his omega puling in him.

Well, until Harry’s rational mind kicked in. Was the alpha really forcing him to submit?

Harry pushed harder at Louis’ chest, managing to shove the alpha away some steps.

“What the fuck?” he shouted again.

Louis growled again, “what were you saying there? Why did you say it?”

Harry scoffed, “why? I was not supposed to break the news to your lover?”

Louis furrowed his brows, looking at Harry disbelievingly, “what lover? What news? What are you talking about, Harry?”

Harry was feeling the fire of anger rising in his stomach, slowly climbing higher.

“Stop being so naïve, you fucker!” he screamed, stepping forward to jab his index finger on Louis’ chest, “you have the guts to kiss me then you should have the balls to accept it! What? Can’t you accept that you really kissed me?”

Louis did not bulge under Harry’s jabbing finger, he enclosed his fingers around Harry’s wrist instead, holding Harry’s fist hostage.

“When did I not accept it? I told you it was a mistake this afternoon. Don’t you remember it?”

Harry wanted to scream and thrash. So he did.

He stepped forward to breathe almost on Louis’ face as he screamed, “Why was it a mistake? Because it was me? Not Mason? Why are you avoiding me? Do you regret the kiss that much?”

Louis was speechless for a moment and then he let out a breathy, disbelieving laugh.

“I regret the kiss? Me? Or you regret it? You think that it was disgusting. Don’t you? You would turn back time and have it erased if you can, no? Why are you blaming me for that?”

Louis was screaming too.

The road was not jammed with pedestrians as almost everyone went to see the fireworks. They were not making a scene at the middle of the path anyway, they were on the trail.

Harry shook his head, “don’t you fucking dare blame it on me! I am not the one who practically ran out of the cable-car as soon as we reached the station. I am not the one who fucked off with Mason. I am not the one who called it a mistake. It was you!”

Louis held Harry’s shoulders and gave him a rough jerk, his eyes wild. Harry had never seen him so angry before. Louis was always calm. He was always the clear-headed one.

Harry hissed in pain when Louis’ grip on his biceps hardened. The alpha growled again, unabashedly.

“I said it so I am the villain now? You felt the same, didn’t you? For you, it was a mistake too. Wasn’t it? Just because I said it aloud, I am at fault? Where do you keep such hypocrisy, Harry?” The vein at the side of Louis’ throat was visible as he screamed, his eyes bloodshot.

Harry shook his head, his eyes welling up for no apparent reason. He tried to come back with a reply but Louis was already in his space, crowding him against a tree. Harry shivered when he felt the cool surface of the tree against his back and the warm touch of Louis’ chest on his.

Their faces were almost in touching distance.

“You are the hypocrite, Louis!” Harry hissed, his eyes set on the raging alpha, “you fucking kissed me. You had the guts to do it and then you regret it? Why? Was not it up to the mark? Was it not seductive enough for you?”

Louis’ eyes searched his face, his jaw tight as he spat his words, “I was not trying to find pleasure there. You were on the verge of panic attack. I can’t believe you are shouting at me for saving you!”

Harry shoved the alpha, failing to push him away when Louis gripped his hips and stood his ground. Harry shoved down the tingling feeling he got when Louis’ hands held his hips.

“So what shall I do, Louis? Bow down to thank you for saving me? Oh, you are such a hero, Louis! You saved a fucking damsel-in-distress! I was lost there. So,” Harry reached out to grip Louis’ collars, jerking him forward, “how are you feeling about it? Regretful?”

Louis snarled, “Who told you that I am regretting it? What the fuck!”

Harry stomped his foot on Louis’, ignoring how Louis did not even flinch.

“You said it. I am not dumb, Louis. I understand what you mean.”

Louis let out a disbelieving laugh, “do you really, Harry?”

When Harry just stared, Louis pulled him closer, “do you really understand what I actually mean?”

Harry nodded, maintaining the eye contact, “yes, I do. You regret it! You regret kissing me! You just ignored me after that. You just left me there! How selfish of you…”

Harry’s head was smacked against the tree in a second. Louis’ lips were on his, pressing him against the tree.

Harry’s eyes were wide, his hands stiff on Louis’ collar. He could feel his knees going limp as the alpha groaned in his mouth.

Louis growled in the kiss as his lips moved over Harry’s. His hands rubbed the omega’s hipbones, squeezing them.

“I,” Louis hissed, “Don’t,” another kiss, “regret,” his teeth bit down on Harry’s lower lip, “this!”

When Harry did not kiss back, Louis backed his head away to look at the omega in the eyes.

“I don’t regret kissing you, Harry. I don’t regret a moment of it and if you would let me, I will kiss you every time I see you!”

Harry could feel his body going lax, chill running up from his fingertips and spreading across his chest. Something like a feather was tickling his stomach as it rolled in him. His eyes were locked on Louis’. Those blue orbs were fixed on him, not moving. Louis was not even blinking as it seemed.

It was like; finally, his tensed muscles were relaxing. Finally, Harry’s shoulders were hunching forward as unexpected relief ran through him.

Harry let out a breath and pulled Louis closer, “fuck you!”

This time the kiss was rough. Their hands grappled each other. Louis pushed Harry more against the tree, his hands kneading Harry’s waist. Harry whimpered when he felt Louis’ beard scratching his chin, leaving behind marks.

They both pulled each other’s hair. Harry’s hands gripped Louis’ nape, pulling at the hair. Harry whimpered when the alpha growled on a certain rough pull. Louis’ fingers were woven in Harry’s curls, pulling at it. Harry leaned in the touch, his lips moving as fast as he could manage.

He was no match for Louis though. The alpha was dominating the kiss from the start. Harry was just following him. Their lips smacked again and again. Harry was breathless; his hands were gripping Louis’ collars so tightly that he was sure that he left crinkles there. Their noses were bumping from time to time. He could taste the alpha in his mouth now; his nose flaring to take in the alpha’s grounding smell. Uneven breathing was heard as they panted against each other’s mouth.

.

.

There was a shooting sound.

They broke apart to look at each other, both of them breathing raggedly.

Louis still held Harry closer, his hands unforgiving on Harry’s hips. Harry’s hands were now resting on Louis’ nape, moving softly through those soft threads.

The shooing noise was of shooting willow firework. Blue and green trails were spreading all across the sky. Harry looked down to see Louis’ face was glowing with the lights as the alpha watched him. Those blue orbs were gleaming under the fireworks.

Harry let out a shaky breath when Louis pulled him closer. Their lips met slowly this time, skimming each other. Harry’s hands were cupping the alpha’s nape, rubbing his thumb against Louis’ ears.

Louis was the demanding one. He bit Harry’s lower lip, pulling at it. Harry let him, whining when the alpha caressed his bare hips under the jacket.

The firework went on as they kissed against the tree.

“Fuck,” Louis swore when they pulled apart. His eyes closed when he rested his forehead against Harry’s shoulder.

Harry had no words. His heart was hammering against his chest as he tried to calm his breathing. The alpha’s scent was intoxicating as he nosed Harry’s neck. Harry could feel tickle going down his neck. He bit down on Louis’ shoulder, hiding his face there.

When Louis pulled away finally, their eyes met.

Louis was the first one to take a step back, his hands falling from Harry’s hips. His eyes were set on Harry, alarmed. Harry could see that the alpha was ready to run again. His eyes were scared, hesitant.

“I don’t regret it either,” Harry whispered, his eyes focused on the ground. His hands were shaking as he pushed them in his pockets. The air around him was suddenly chilly as Louis took two steps back.

“What about Nick?” Louis sounded tentative, measured.

Harry met Louis’ eyes, “It is not like I am cheating on him. We are married.”

Louis gestured to Harry, “You love him!”

Harry nodded, “I do. Of course, I do. But this is just physical, right? We both are around each other so much. Our wolves want it. We are just giving in to the physical needs. Right?”

 

+++

It felt like hot pins were pushing through Louis’ heart, trying to take away his last breath. It was painful like someone was rubbing salt on his open wound. Those words itched like a skin infection.

Louis felt like shouting. He felt like shouting at Harry and ask him what was wrong with him. What was biology? Did he not feel the way Louis felt when their lips met? Was it really just physical? Did not his heart skip even one beat? Well, Louis’ skipped several.

But Louis said nothing. He was pathetic. He wanted it all. Whatever he could get. Whatever Harry would give. If the omega wanted something physical then Louis was desperate enough to give in. He would take it and say nothing. He would choose Harry in any way he could get the omega.

So he nodded, looking down at their boots.

“Yeah, it is just physical,” he murmured, not meeting Harry’s eyes.

Harry sighed, audibly. His hands reached out to touch Louis.

Louis tried not to flinch when the omega pulled him closer again, their mouths meeting for another round of kisses.

Louis just closed his eyes, letting the omega lead the kiss this time.

If he just imagined it to be more than it was, Harry did not have to know.

 

+++

Niall clamped down on his clattering teeth when the cold air blew again. His hands were shaking as he clasped them in front of his chest. He watched everyone around him enjoying the fireworks. Couples were snogging as time went on.

He jumped when he felt someone pulling him against a solid chest.

“Turn around,” the alpha ordered.

Niall followed, his eyes meeting Liam’s calculative ones. Liam said nothing as he hugged Niall closer, their chests meeting. He pulled off his leather jacket, much to Niall’s confusion. Then he was covering Niall with it, pulling him closer in that embrace.

Niall hid his face at the crook of the alpha’s neck, inhaling the soothing scent of his mate. His heart lurched in his throat when he thought about never feeling this warmth again. His heart lost several beats as he realized that he would never smell Liam around him again. He would never come back and Liam would never search for him. Niall would never see the alpha again.

Liam held him tightly against his chest, purring to soothe him. Niall tried not to cry, his eyes welling up.

“Let’s go back,” Niall whispered against the alpha’s chest.

“Now? It has just started,” Liam said, confused.

Niall shook his head, “please, Liam.”

Liam pushed away slightly, just to look down at the omega. His eyes were focused on Niall.

“Are you fine?”

Niall nodded, “just take me back. Please!”

Liam said nothing for a moment, just staring at Niall. Niall stared right back, his eyes taking in the alpha.

“Okay, let’s go,” Liam said then, sighing.

They turned away from the group after Liam told Zayn that Niall was not feeling okay.

As they came closer to the steps, Liam stopped. Niall looked at him quizzically and Liam gestured towards the path.

“It is a long way. Hop on.”

Niall did not understand what the alpha was saying, so he just looked at him questioningly.

Liam rolled his eyes, “hop on me. I will carry you.”

Niall wanted to question him. He wanted to protest but his omega was craving the alpha’s touch. Anything. He would take anything right at the moment. So he did. He jumped on Liam, locking his ankles around Liam’s hip and hiding his face in Liam’s neck.

The alpha held him under his bum and started walking.

“Are you sure that you are fine?” Liam asked again.

Niall said nothing. He kissed the alpha’s cheek, lingering there.

When he pulled back to look at Liam, Liam was staring right back.

“I am sure.”

 

+++

Harry was not sure how they ended up on the hammock. He lay flat on his back and Louis hovered over him. Their hands were merciless as they touched each other. The alpha was a demanding lover. Harry was putty in those expert hands.

Louis was sucking a bite on his neck as Harry tried not to whine too much. He was losing it. His legs were parted open as Louis lay between them. A thick blanket was over them.

“Som-someone,” Harry mewled when Louis pulled at his jugular with his teeth, “someone might see.”

Louis pushed off, his eyes set on Harry. Harry tried not to pull him back down. The alpha looked predatory with those blown away eyes and those thin, sinful lips. Harry’s hands tightened on Louis’ hair as they watched each other.

“Want to stop?” Louis asked.

Harry wanted to smack him for sounding so smug. Louis knew that Harry would not. He glared at Louis anyway.

Louis laughed, dropping down to work on the bite. His left hand was on Harry’s chest, travelling downwards. Harry arched off the hammock, his hands settling on Louis’ shoulder blade. Louis grinded down on Harry, growling in his chest.

When Louis stopped this time, the alpha rolled away. Well, as much as the hammock supported. Their sides still touched. Harry closed his eyes, trying to even out his breathing. His hands were shaking, so was his thighs. Louis’ uneven breathing was somewhat grounding. Knowing that the alpha was affected too, made Harry smile.

He blinked up at the sky. It was clear. Harry could see stars shining across space. His head turned to see that Louis was watching the stars too. Harry tried not to feel squirmy when he saw the dishevelled state of Louis’ hair. The alpha was pulling out a cigarette and lighting it up.

Harry watched Louis inhale the smoke and then let it out.

“Are we doing the right thing?” Louis asked, thoughtful.

Harry turned sideways to face the alpha completely.

“Yeah. I mean,” he shrugged, “it is just kissing. Nothing… we are not attached or something.”

Louis nodded, his brows pulling down as he sighed.

“Nothing attached. Like, no string attached snogging?”

Harry tried not to think too much about the way that tasted in his mouth. He nodded stiffly.

“Yeah, something like that.”

Louis nodded, eyes still fixed on the sky, “and we are free to have physical relationships with other people?”

Harry looked down at the ropes of the hammock. That was not something he wanted. The thought of Louis kissing someone else, having sex…

“No.”

Louis turned his head slightly to look at Harry, his expression thoughtful.

“No what, Harry?”

Harry shook his head, “you can’t go off to snog someone else. No.”

When Louis said nothing, Harry looked up. Only to see that Louis was staring at him, the right side of his lips twitched upwards.

“Exclusive no string attached snogging then?” the alpha asked.

Harry bit his lips, nodding. His stomach flipped when Louis’ eyes fell on his lips. Harry caressed them with his tongue, looking at the alpha.

“Is it going to be a secret?” Louis asked next, his eyes still set on Harry.

Harry tried not to dwell on it too much. He wanted to keep it a secret. He was not really ready to kiss or touch Louis in front of everyone. But at the same time, he wanted Mason or anyone who had eyes for Louis to know that Louis was coming home to him.

The things were going really fast for Harry. Harry needed time to think but he wanted it to be a secret. At least, for now.

“Yes,” he said finally, “I mean,” he gestured with his hands, “we don’t really owe anyone an explanation, right?”

Louis nodded, “of course.”

They were silent for some minutes after that. Louis threw the cigar away after a long drag and closed his eyes, letting the smoke roam around in his lungs. He wanted to feel the burn. He wanted to remind himself that the arrangement was not what he wanted. He would be the only one to get hurt at the end when Harry would end it but Louis was not ready to just back off.

Kissing Harry was addictive. He was not ready to let go yet.

“What is snogging for you?”

Harry jumped at the sudden question and furrowed his brows at the alpha.

“What?”

Louis blinked up at the sky, “like, just kissing? Something more? What?”

Harry could feel his cheeks heating up. He felt his heart hammering against his chest as he tried to bat away the image of Louis and him doing something more than kissing.

“Just kissing,” he whispered.

Louis nodded, “okay.”

.

They both stopped talking when they heard footsteps approaching them. Harry looked over his head to see that Liam was coming towards the tents. Niall was almost wrapped around him. Liam did not look affected though. He was looking quite composed.

He stopped when his eyes fell on the hammock. Those thick brows furrowed.

“What are you two doing?” he asked, voice hushed.

“Resting? Having a drag? What do you think, Lima bean?” Louis said, dancing his brows.

Liam winced, “Shh! Lower your voice. Niall is sleeping.”

When Louis just arched his brow, Liam sighed.

“He is already tired. Might as well let him sleep.”

Harry looked at Niall with concern, “is he going to be fine?”

Liam looked at Niall, something like a soft smile on his face, “yeah. I will not leave his side. He will be fine.”

Harry wanted to say that it might be the problem, Liam staying with Niall all the time. But he stopped when he saw the look on Liam’s face.

The alpha had his eyes stuck on the sleeping omega as he started walking towards their tent.

“Good night, Liam,” Louis called out.

“Night, you two!”

Harry turned back to face the alpha, “might as well go to the tent. Others will come back soon.”

Louis nodded, “yeah. You go, get dressed for bed. I will sleep in these.” He gestured towards his clothes.

Harry hesitated for a moment. His eyes took in the alpha. Well, knowing the alpha, he might be able to stay here the whole night but…

What if Louis fell ill? The night was chilly.

Harry hopped off the hammock. He would just go and get changed.

 

+++

Louis was thankful that Harry did not stay or ask him to come along. He needed time to think.

He needed to go back through the evening and see if it was the right thing they were doing.

Louis knew that it was not. They both were just riled up and this, “no-strings-attached,” thing would fail as soon as Harry realized it.

Louis needed some time to talk to his wolf too. Since the evening, it was on high alert. It was thriving in him. His wolf was taking over his mind, which was not a good sign. Louis was not ready to lose himself like that yet.

He was not ready to push his luck. He was not ready to just fuck everything up even before it had started.

Harry was tentative in his touches. The omega was shy as he kissed back. He was soft and delicate against Louis’ rough approaches. Louis did not want to hurt him.

“Louis?”

Louis fluttered his eyes, trying to sort out his thoughts as he looked at the orange tent. His breath hitched when his eyes fell on Harry.

The omega was wearing a greyish bat-baggy shirt that reached his upper thighs. The backside was a little longer. That reached Harry’s knees. Louis was not sure if Harry was wearing any shorts or not but he wished the Omega did. Louis would do something sinful if Harry did not.

Those milky, smooth legs were on display. Harry stood there with his legs crossed around the ankles and his hands were hidden in those long sleeves.

“Yeah?” Louis asked, wincing when he heard his own voice. It was huskier than needed.

“I can’t sleep,” Harry said, his eyes set on Louis.

Louis sat up on the hammock, his eyes set on the omega.

“Oh,” he said dumbly, almost dropping off the hammock as he followed Harry in the tent.

 

+++

“You cuddled with Harry?”

Louis looked over his shoulders to see that Zayn was staring at him with wide eyes. Louis looked over at the culprit, Liam, who was looking anywhere but at Louis.

“Good morning to you too, Zayn!” Louis said; his eyes stuck on Liam. Liam took a glance at him and looked away, hiding his embarrassment.

It was a sunny morning and Louis had decided to take a walk around the jungle. He did not even notice Zayn and Liam creeping up on him.

“No, seriously,” Zayn said, “you cuddled with Harry?”

Louis sighed, sitting down on a rock; his eyes were taking in the river in front of him. He would like to take a swim here.

“We kissed.”

Louis waited with baited breath for their questions.

Nothing came.

He looked at his friends to see that Liam was gaping and Zayn was just looking at him, expression blank.

Louis furrowed his brows, “what?”

Liam was the first one to recover, “you kissed?”

He sounded sceptical. His eyes set on Louis. He did not really believe Louis.

Louis nodded, his heart still skipping beats as he remembered last night. Harry had slept almost on him, kissing, cuddling. They had touched each other in the darkness, nothing really explicit but Louis was over the moon. Harry had scooted closer when he had heard Mason calling Louis from the other side of the tent. They had talked, discussed and came to an agreement that it was fine. If both of them wanted it then being physically attracted was fine.

Louis did not tell Harry that his heart was on the line too. He did not tell Harry about the dull ache whenever Harry had said it was just biology.

He did not say that he was desperate to have anything Harry would grant. He did not tell Harry that his heart was breaking piece by piece as Harry had touched him. Louis did not inform Harry about those tears he had shed when Harry was asleep in his arms.

He did not tell Harry how he had felt used and cheap for settling for something like that.

Louis was happy; of course, he was but was it enough?

No.

Louis knew that now his heart would break more when Harry left. Louis knew that he would be broken when Harry finally came to realize that it was not worth it.

He jumped when Zayn’s hand touched his shoulder. Louis looked up to see the beta was looking at him with a mournful expression.

“Are you fine, Lou?” Zayn asked, his voice soft, knowing.

Liam came to sit beside Louis, hugging him closer.

Louis snuggled closer, “he wants to have a no-strings-attached relationship with me. Just kissing and all. Nothing really serious. It is just biology.”

Liam’s hands tightened around him, “are you fine with that? Did you agree?”

Louis nodded, “I can’t say no, Liam. I love him so much,” his voice broke on the last words.

Zayn sat down at his left, scooting closer, “this is a recipe of disaster, Lou.”

Louis nodded. He knew that, did not he?

“I want to see where it goes. I can’t stay away from him, Zayn.”

Much to Louis’ relief, Liam and Zayn stayed silent. They watched the day getting older together as they sat on the rock.

 

+++

Harry watched Niall making coffee on the campfire. His eyes were set on the firewood, watching the heap turn into ash as the fire consumed them.

He watched how the fire slowly licked over the wood and swaddled it completely. Harry saw observed how the fire blazed through the woods, leaving behind whitish ash and no trace of the wood. The woods became dust as time went on.

Harry was the wood. Was not he?

Louis was consuming him, slowly, gradually engulfing him in a web of arousal. Like the fire was consuming the woods and leaves. He was luring Harry in and Harry was defenceless. He was following the alpha. He had just given up his promise to stay immune to the alpha’s charm last night.

His resolve was breaking with every touch from the alpha. Louis’ lips were erasing boundaries Harry had created around himself. Those hands were wiping away any sane thought Harry had. Harry was putty in those arms and he was lost in those eyes.

And where was it going?

When the time came, Harry would leave. Louis would not stop him and Harry did not want to stay either, but…

He would leave behind pieces of himself. He would leave behind moments shared with that blue-eyed alpha. Harry would know how it was like to be with Louis.

Maybe they would never meet again. Or maybe they would meet again, look at each other from afar. They would see each other with someone else, in love. Harry would be the Luna of the Grimshaw pack. Louis would have someone else as his mate. They would just shake hands politely. No one would know that they had shared themselves with each other.

Would Harry be able to leave the arrangement unscratched? Tip top?

Would he be able to just leave and never look back? Would he compare Nick to Louis whenever they shared a kiss in future? Would he miss Louis?

“You look broody.”

Harry blinked up to see Niall was looking at him, stirring the cattle.

Harry shrugged, “did I do the right thing, Niall?”

He had told Niall everything. He had to. Niall was like the companion Harry craved since childhood.

Niall contemplated Harry’s question and then shrugged.

“Did it feel right?” when Harry looked at him confusedly, Niall gestured at him, “did it feel right when Louis had touched you?”

Harry looked down, his cheeks heating up as he nodded.

“Then it is the right thing, Harry. You should always enjoy the time you have. No one knows what might happen in the future.” Niall said, smiling.

“I hated him ‘til yesterday and now I am having this physical relation with him…” Harry stopped when Niall snorted, shaking his head.

“What?” he asked, indignant.

Niall coughed, trying to hide his smile, “you never really hated him, you know? It was just frustration at first. Then confusion and then simply denial.”

Harry did not reply. He was not sure if Niall was right or not but he was not going to brood over it.

Right.

He was going to retort back anyway when they both heard Perrie’s voice.

They turned around to see that Perrie and Mason were coming from the jungle, followed by Zayn, Liam and Louis.

Harry watched how the alpha was walking beside Zayn, talking in a hushed tone. His lips were pressing down on a white stick.

Harry frowned. Louis was smoking so much today!

“There is a river in the woods. The one we crossed at the start. Remember?” Perrie asked, her face bright with happiness.

Niall nodded, “yeah?”

Harry nodded too. How could he forget?

“We have decided to take a swim there. The water is really warm for this weather and the river is not that deep. We just came to ask if you two want to join us or not?”

Liam sat down on the makeshift chair slash rock and sighed, “Niall is going. He loves swimming.”

Harry watched how the alpha looked down at his omega. Something like fond was colouring Liam’s eyes as Niall glanced up.

“Yeah, I will…” Niall said, looking down at the cattle.

Louis sat on the ground, leaning against Liam’s legs, “is the coffee ready? I am knackered!”

Harry watched Mason sitting beside Louis, taking the mug from Niall with hot coffee in it. Louis smiled his thanks as Mason handed him the mug and took a sip. His eyes closed as he groaned.

“Damn, Niall. You make the best coffee ever,” the alpha said.

“Thanks, Tommo,” Niall grinned at him, handing out the mugs.

Harry took the mug and sipped, watching how Mason whispered something in Louis’ ear, making the alpha smile at him. They talked among themselves. Like no one else existed.

“Can you drink fast? We need to go!” Perrie whined.

Zayn pulled her closer, “she can’t wait.”

Liam held Niall’s hand, making him sit on his lap as they sipped their coffee. Niall was staring as Liam kissed his cheek, smiling up at him.

Harry looked away.

 

+++

The river was not really wide but the tides were relentless. The flow had current. It was coming from the peak of the mountain. Obviously, it was not as warm as Perrie begged them to believe.

Harry stood at the bank, watching Liam and Zayn dive head first into the water. Mason pulled Louis with him, giggling when the alpha splashed water on him. Perrie was swimming on her back, her eyes closed in pure bliss.

Niall looked at the water and then back at Harry.

“Don’t like swimming?”

Harry shook his head, “I do. But the water is really cold for me.”

It was. He stood there with his ankles under the water and he was feeling how cold the water was. Harry hated anything cold. He was more of a warm bath kind of boy. The ponds or lakes in their pack were calm and at the same time, not really that cold.

“Just walk down the rocks. Get accustomed to it, yeah?” Niall said.

Harry nodded and hesitantly took off the white tank top. His eyes immediately fell on Louis, who was now looking at him. Harry gripped the crumbled top in his hands as he watched Louis looking at his upper-body.

Harry was wearing red shorts, his legs completely on display and he had to apply a cream on the marks Louis had left last night around his collarbones. His heart fluttered in his chest when he saw Louis’ eyes gliding over his chest and then the alpha was turning away, swimming over to Mason.

“Come on,” Niall said, already in waist deep water.

Harry nodded, reluctantly stepping ahead.

 

+++

Louis ducked down into the river, letting the cold water wash away the heat on his face. He tried to calm his breathing down under the water. His alpha was on high-drive, trying to take over his senses as he watched Harry.

Harry was wearing that flimsy shorts and swimming around other wolves. Louis’ alpha wanted to hold Harry against himself and teach him some lesson by growling at him.

But it was not something Louis could do. That would be very caveman like and Louis was never going to be the dominating alpha. He came up when his chest hurt, desperate for some air.

The first thing he noticed was Harry bobbing in the water, laughing with Perrie and Niall. Niall had his arms around Harry’s shoulders from behind.

Louis closed his eyes, exhaling and inhaling.

No!

He had initiated every kiss they had shared ‘til now. He had led the way last night when he had touched Harry. He was the one who had ripped open his heart and placed it under Harry’s feet for Harry to kick.

Louis was done being the leader. He was done being the initiator. He wanted to see if Harry wanted it as much as he did or not.

So he turned to swim closer to Mason, listening to him talk about a guy he met last night.

Louis smiled when he saw Liam taking a hold of Niall and pulling him away towards the bank.

He tried not to see how Liam hid them behind some rocks. He knew what was going to happen behind those rocks.

Louis shook his head, smiling.

Idiots!

He jumped when he felt Mason’s arms around his neck. He looked up to see the omega was smirking at him.

“What? What is it?” Louis asked, clueless and uncomfortable.

Mason swam closer, “don’t look but Harry is glaring at you.”

Louis’ shoulders went stiff, his hands stilling on Mason’s waist.

“What are you doing?” he asked in a hushed tone.

Mason leaned closer, “helping you.”

Louis closed his eyes when Mason hugged him, hiding his face at the crook of Louis’ neck.

Harry would not give a fuck. He did not really care that much. Did he?

 

+++

Harry could feel his eyes burning as he saw Mason hugging Louis. The alpha’s hands came up to hold him closer.

Harry could not believe this.

Something like fire was ignited in his chest as he watched the alpha closing his eyes in Mason’s embrace.

He could feel his breathing escalating as Louis bobbed with the tides but did not let go of the omega, their bodies colliding.

Harry could not take it anymore but what could he do? It was not as if Louis was his to feel sad or furious about. Harry had said it himself. Their arrangement was nothing more than physical. But it was exclusive. Was not it?

How could Louis just touch that omega like that?

Harry turned away, swimming over to the curve of the river where the river was taking a swift turn towards the right.

No one was really there as that part was rocky and not really swimming friendly.

Harry leaned against a rock and hid his face in his palms as hot tears pricked his eyes. He could not believe he let Louis touch him. He could not believe that the alpha was such a hypocrite. But…

Could he really blame Louis? He should blame himself for caring. He should not care. Right? Why was he so upset over the fact that Louis was with someone else?

The splashing sound of water came into his ears and when Harry uncovered his face and looked up, Louis was there. The alpha was watching him from a distance.

Harry kicked the water in frustration, “can’t you just leave me alone? What do you want?”

Louis looked shocked as he stared at Harry. His mouth opened but then closed with nothing coming out of it.

“What?” Harry hissed, “Have nothing to say?”

Louis swam closer, crowding Harry against the rock to stare at him.

“What are you talking about?” Louis asked, his eyes clearer as the river reflected the sunlight on them. Harry could see the alpha was trying to breathe properly as he floated on the water. Water droplets were dropping from those chocolaty locks.

“Nothing,” Harry said. What could he say? He was the one who wanted to keep it simple and now he could not just blame Louis. Could he?

As he went swimming past Louis, the alpha held his wrist. Harry looked down at their joined hands under the water and then looked up at Louis.

Louis said nothing as he pulled Harry back, shoving him against the rock. Harry yowled as the rough surface hit his back. He looked at Louis to see the alpha was glaring at him.

“What?” Harry asked, hurt.

Louis swam closer, his chest hitting Harry’s, “fuck you.”

Harry could not retort when he felt Louis’ mouth on his. The omega flung himself at Louis, holding him as close as possible. The water splashed around them as they tried to scratch each other or just grasp each other.

“Why are you affected when I am with Mason?” Louis said suddenly, his lips pressed against Harry’s ear.

Harry’s eyes rolled back as he mewled, nosing the alpha’s neck, “I am not. I don’t give a fuck about you and your Mason!”

Louis looked up at him, smirking, “Okay then.”

Harry’s eyes widened when Louis tried to pull away. Harry parted his legs, caging the alpha’s waist between them and pulling him closer by looping his arms around Louis’ neck.

“What is it, Harry?” Louis asked, tone impassive.

Harry bit Louis’ cheek faintly, hugging him closer.

Louis held his waist, trying to push off, “say it or let me go.”

Harry’s eyelids fluttered as he hid his face against Louis’ temple, his lips touched the alpha’s throat. Harry could feel the steady beating of Louis’ heart and his face was heating up as he imagined Louis feeling his erratic heartbeat too.

“We are exclusive,” Harry whispered, placing soft kisses at Louis’ Adam’s apple, feeling the rough beard on his lips.

Louis sighed, “So?”

Harry’s brows furrowed, he looked up at the alpha through his eyelashes, “so you are not going off with him!”

Louis said nothing but Harry could see the left corner of his mouth pulling up slightly. Louis shook his head, biting his lips together.

“Your wish is my command, sir.”

Harry smiled, hiding his face in Louis’ neck, “shut up!”

The rambling laugh Louis let out was soothing. Harry bit down on the vein of Louis’ neck, feeling satisfied when the alpha choked on a laugh, his hands tightening around Harry.

 

+++

Niall was laying on the rock, his chest heaving as he tried to breathe when he heard Liam’s phone ringing.

Liam was beside him, almost sleepy as he tried to catch his breath too.

“Pick up the phone,” Liam said, his phone was in his pant and his pant was beside Niall, in a haphazard mess.

Niall pulled out the phone, sighing when the call was cut off.

But there was a message the next second.

“Who was it?” Liam asked, his hand thrown over his eyes, another one on Niall’s stomach.

Niall looked at the screen, “Sophia. She has left a message too.”

Liam nodded, “read it to me. What is it?”

Niall gulped, his body suddenly too cold.

“Yeah.” He said, unlocking the phone. He tapped on the message and opened it.

.

“What did she say?” Liam asked.

Niall could not voice the message as he stared at it.

“Liam, I am pregnant!”

Chapter Text

“Sophia is pregnant.”

Liam blinked up at Niall, his eyes on the omega. Niall looked ashen. His eyes set on the phone, lips parted with rounded eyes.

Liam closed his eyes again, “oh!”

“Oh!” Niall said, whispered almost, “what do you mean by oh?” His voice was rising, “she is pregnant with your baby!”

Liam sprang his eyes open, taking off his sunglass, “what the fuck? My baby?” a shocked laugh escaped his lips, “did she say that?”

Niall was not really listening anymore as he stood up and pulled his pant up. Liam could see that the omega’s eyes were teary and those lips were wobbling as he fumbled with the button of the pant.

“Niall?” Liam reached out, confused, but Niall jerked away, shaking his head. The omega backed away step by step.

“Don’t you dare, Liam! Don’t you dare touch me!”

Liam sat there, startled, and watched Niall speeding off.

It took Liam some time to understand what was going on and he sprang up on his feet too. He snatched his pant from the rock and pulled it up as he hopped on the spot.

“Niall,” he shouted at the retreating omega, he made a dash for the omega while doing his fly.

“Niall!” Liam snarled, speeding up to catch up with the omega. Niall was running towards the camps. Liam ran faster. He could not understand what the omega was thinking!

Sophia was pregnant, good for her. How did it bother Niall? Or him? Liam had no idea!

===

Harry swam behind Louis. His breathing still was not normal as he reached the shore.

“What happened?” Louis asked, looking at his friends who were already present there.

Zayn shook his head, “all we heard was Liam’s shout.”

“Niall was running off towards the tents,” Mason supplied next.

Harry came to stand beside Louis, “I am sure your friend did something.”

Louis looked at him, lips pressed together, “Niall is my friend too!”

Harry glared at the alpha, “but you support Liam more!”

“What the fuck? You don’t even know what happened but you are already blaming me!” Louis said, throwing his hands over his head in disbelief.

“Well…” Harry stopped when Zayn groaned.

“Can we all stop fighting here and follow them?” the beta said, glaring at the two of them.

“Yeah, let’s go,” Perrie said, already stepping ahead. Mason followed her, rolling his eyes at Harry and Louis.

Harry followed the omega, everyone behind them.

===

They reached the tents to see that Niall was packing his bags. Liam was just standing behind him and shouting with wild gestures.

When Liam’s eyes found Louis and Zayn, the alpha pointed at Niall and screamed.

“He thinks the baby is mine! What the fuck!”

Each one of them stopped on their tracks and stared at Liam.

Harry was not sure what to say. What baby?

“Baby?” Louis voiced everyone’s confusion.

“Sophia is pregnant with Liam’s baby!” Niall said, his eyes red-rimmed as he cried.

Liam pointed at Niall and looked at Louis, “can you imagine? He thinks I am the father! What the fuck!”

Zayn stepped forward, “are not you?”

Liam halted for a moment, turning to look at Zayn with wide eyes, “are you mad? Obviously not!”

Louis sighed, stepping forward to stand behind Niall who was frantically packing his bags and wiping his eyes at the same time.

“How did you come to know about the baby, Niall?”

Niall wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and sniffed, “Sophia had messaged him. Check his phone!”

Harry strode forward, standing just in front of Liam.

“Give me your phone.”

Liam looked down at Harry’s outstretched hand and then back at the omega’s face.

“Who the hell are you to order me?”

Harry leaned forward, his eyes hard, “I am Niall’s friend and the Luna of the pack you live in! Give me the damn phone!”

Liam’s eyes widened and he turned his head to look at Louis. Louis was staring at Harry too, his lips parted. He shrugged at Liam when their eyes met.

“Fine, whatever,” Liam gritted and pulled out his mobile. He slammed it down on Harry’s hand.

Harry opened Liam’s mobile and searched for his inbox.

“It says, Liam, I am pregnant,” Harry mumbled.

“Exactly,” Liam said, “did she say that it is my baby?”

Niall stood up and turned on his heels to face Liam. His chest was heaving as he pushed at Liam’s chest indignantly.

“If it was not your baby, why would she message you? You coward! At least accept your own baby!”

Everyone stilled around the two of them. No one had ever heard Niall shouting at Liam, let alone calling him names. Liam himself looked astonished. His eyes were wide as he stared at the raging omega.

Niall’s eyes were teary, his nose running along with his eyes. His chest was heaving as he tried to breathe properly. Niall’s lips were wobbling as he tried to press down on them to stop the loud sobs.

Liam wanted to reach out, cradle the omega in his arms and assure him that the baby was not his. Surely, it was not. Definitely, it was not. Liam had never really…

“How am I supposed to know that?” Liam roared instead. He could not get soft. He could not.

Niall sniffed, pushing Harry’s hands away when the omega came to support him. Niall swayed on his own feet and stepped back from Liam. His eyes were set on Liam.

“Louis,” Niall hissed, “I want to go back right now! I don’t want to be in this place any longer!”

Louis nodded, stepping away to pull out his phone. He dialled a number, talking in a hushed tone.

Niall turned back to pack his bags again, his eyes welling up. He could not believe that Liam was not taking responsibility for Sophia’s child, whom he loved. He would never accept Niall’s baby. He hated Niall, why would he? The flicker of hope was dying inside Niall, the hope that one day Liam might accept his baby was dying and the pain was unbearable. Niall could not believe that Liam would not accept the baby he was having with Sophia, whom he loved. He would never accept Niall’s baby, would he? He hated Niall!

Liam rubbed his face with his hands in frustration, “what the fuck, Niall? Why are you so angry?”

Harry could not stay silent anymore; he pushed at Liam’s torso, which earned him nothing as Liam did not even sway. That built up fucker!

“Are you fucking serious right now, Liam? Sophia is pregnant with your baby and you don’t know why Niall is so bothered? Why are you not bothered?” Harry screamed almost on Liam’s face.

Liam took a step back, his eyes rounded and his mouth hanging open. Harry could see that the alpha was shocked.

“Wait, wait,” Liam put up his hands, shaking his head, “you all think Sophia is pregnant with my baby?” When everyone looked at him with a disbelieving expression, Liam let out a short laugh, shocked, “are you all fucking serious right now? She is not pregnant with my baby! What the hell!”

Louis cut the call and stepped forward to stand in front of Liam.

“You fuck her on daily basis, Liam!” Harry flinched at Louis’ growl, “and now, when she needs you the most, you are denying the responsibilities? No, man. The baby is yours and I will make sure that you take full responsibility for it! Mark my words, Liam. I will kick you out of my pack if you try to force Sophia to do something like aborting the baby.”

Louis turned to face Niall, who was now just sitting there, on his hunches. The omega was crying in his palms, hiccups leaving his mouth. Louis sat down beside him, wrapping the omega up in his arms. Harry watched how the alpha pulled Niall closer, murmuring soft words in his ears. Niall curled in on Louis, hiding his face in Louis’ chest as he cried.

Zayn was the next one to sit beside him, hugging both Louis and Niall up. Harry was not sure what to do. He stood beside them. Just like Perrie and Mason. Liam looked shocked, bewildered. He was not even moving a muscle.

Louis looked at Liam from the ground, his blue eyes cold as ice. Anyone could feel the chill of that gaze. Liam visibly bulked under the glare.

“When we get back, you will free Niall. Niall will not be with you anymore. I will see to it that you won’t bother him again. He will start a new life. You will leave him alone. I will break the bond.”

Liam shook his head, his hands fisting up, “you can’t do that. The council…”

Everyone jumped when Louis let out a snarl, standing up. He pushed in closer to Liam’s face, glaring at the alpha.

“I am the council. I am the court. I am the leader of the pack. I would like to see the face of the wolf who would challenge me. My words are the last words. I respect the council but if I want them to bend their fucking rules for me, swear to God, Liam, they will. They have to.”

Harry could feel goose-bumps littering his skin; his eyes were set on the alpha. Louis’ face was red, the vein at the side of his neck was popping. The alpha’s shoulders were tensed, taut. Harry could feel the charged up energy in the room. Louis’ wolf was challenging Liam’s and everyone was tensed to see the reaction. Both of them were powerful in their lethal forms. The best two wolves in their pack.

Liam was flexing his hands. His power was questioned. Another alpha was ordering him that his omega would be taken away from him. His wolf was almost at the surface too. Well, so was Louis’ wolf. The leader’s wolf was ready to pounce if his orders were questioned too.

Harry looked at Zayn, who looked back at him with wide eyes. Panicked. Everyone was panicked.

“I would like to see someone forcing me to break the bond. Whoever the fuck you are, Niall is mine!” Liam roared, his eyes bloodshot.

Louis was ready to jump, attack the alpha. Harry and Zayn were ready to just jump in and pull the alphas away. Perrie and Mason were ready too but all of them stood silent when Niall shot up on his feet and turned to face Liam like a thunderbolt.

The slap on Liam’s cheek was like thunder cracking through the dark clouds. The silence was sliced by the sound when Niall’s palm touched Liam’s face.

The tension was churned as the omega stepped between them.

Louis exhaled, looking at Liam. Zayn and Harry gasped, stopping on their tracks. Perrie and Mason gripped each other’s hands in shock.

Liam touched his throbbing cheek. When he turned to face Niall, his left hand still on his cheek, Niall was in front of him.

“I am not your bloody property,” Niall spit out his words, “I am not going to bear this anymore. Don’t you dare call me your mate!”

Liam could not say anything. His eyes were rounded as he looked at Niall. The omega was hyperventilating. His eyes were pooled with tears and those cheeks were blotchy with tears.

“Ni-Niall…” Liam reached out but Niall moved away.

“Pack your things, everyone,” Louis shouted, “We are going back.”

Everyone followed the orders, scattering away to pack their bags. Niall just sat on the ground and pulled out his phone.

Harry went to sit with him but Niall shook his head, “no, Harry. Go and pack. I will be fine.”

Harry hesitated, looking back at his tent and then back at his friend, “are you sure, Niall?”

Niall nodded, huffing out a small laugh, “yes, Harry. I am finally fine.”

Harry furrowed his brows but Niall just shrugged, looking down at his phone, typing. Harry left the tent, giving Liam a hard glare when he passed the alpha. Liam did not seem to notice. His eyes were stuck somewhere over the jungle. He looked tense, shifting his weight from one foot to another.

Harry walked past him with his head held high.

“Change of plan,” Niall typed, “I am escaping tonight. I will wait for you near the decided place.”

He pushed the phone into his pocket when he saw Liam advancing towards him.

“Niall…”

Niall shook his head, “Not now, Liam. Enough. Leave me alone.”

Niall stood up, walking out of the tent to take in some fresh air. His eyes pooled up with tears. This time, Niall wiped it away. He would not cry. He would not waste another drop of tears on Liam.

No.

===

Louis’ words were drifting around Harry’s mind as he walked towards his tent.

“I am the council. I am the court. I am the leader of the pack. I would like to see the face of the person who would challenge me. My words are the last words. I respect the council but if I want them to bend their fucking rules for me, swear to God, Liam, they will. They have to.”

If Louis could make the council agree with him then why was he not doing it for their divorce? Why was he not forcing the council to break their marriage? Harry could not understand why Louis was going through their marriage and suffering along with Harry. He could just break the marriage and then have any omega he wanted. Right? He could just set Harry free and go his own way.

Harry stepped inside the tent with these thoughts shaking up his peace. He was confused and he wanted answers.

It looked like Louis always had the answers to Harry’s questions nowadays.

When he stepped in, he saw the alpha was packing his luggage. Harry stepped forward and sat down beside his own bag, pulling it closer to open it. His hands were moving but his brain was stuck. He was stuck with those questions colouring his brain.

He turned to see that Louis was almost done with his bags. Harry could not wait any longer. He stood up on his feet, looking at Louis from a distance.

Louis noticed him after a moment. The alpha arched his brows while looking down at his baggage.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

Harry pushed his hands in his pockets and shrugged, his eyes were focused on the alpha.

“Nothing. I was just thinking.”

Louis folded another one of his tank-tops and nodded.

“Okay?”

Harry craned his neck sideways, his brows furrowed.

“If you can force the council to listen to you then why didn’t you do it for us?”

Harry could see the alpha stopping his movements. Louis’ shoulders pulled up, his eyes set on the ground. Those hands were gripping the clothes tightly, so tightly that Harry could see them creasing.

Louis let out a shaky breath and dropped the folded clothes in the bag in a heap, unbothered.

Then the alpha shrugged, fussing with the zip of his backpack.

“I was selfish, that’s why.”

Harry frowned, confused. What?

“What?”

Louis shrugged, pulling up another shirt to fold. He did not look at Harry as he answered.

“I thought you will fall in love with me eventually.”

It was as if a truck had hit Harry. He took a step back. Louis’ words cut deep. Harry could feel his heart beating and skipping beats at the same time. His hands pressed down on his own thighs, cutting deep to feel just that pain. Louis’ words, the honesty in those words, shook Harry to the core.

Harry opened his mouth to protest. He could not. His tongue was dry and was stuck with the palate. He gulped.

Before he could answer, Louis was turning to face him with a smile. His eyes gleamed as he looked at Harry.

“No need to tell me that I am an idiot, I know that,” he let out a short laugh, “I was stupid and such a cliché.”

Harry’s teeth clamped down on his bottom lip as he looked at the alpha. Louis was standing in front of him, so openly telling him that he thought Harry would fall in love with him.

“I was a narcissist. Wasn’t it?” Louis chuckled, shaking his head, “I thought who wouldn’t love me? I mean,” he opened his arms, gesturing at himself, “Look at me!”

Harry’s lips twitched up slightly when Louis laughed this time. His eyes scanned over the alpha’s face with something fluttering in his chest.

Then Louis was dropping his hands, his smile dimming.

“Then I realized that love doesn’t happen like that. You don’t just simply fall in love because the person you are staying with is awesome. You don’t love them for their appearance or because you are staying with that person for a long time. That’s not how love works.”

Harry felt pinned under those blue eyes as Louis looked at him.

“You can fall in love with a person who treats you like shit,” Louis whispered, almost to himself, “You can fall in love with a person who is never going to be with you forever. You don’t fall in love on your own accord. It happens. Accidentally, gradually and very slowly. And when it does, you can’t get over it just like that. Maybe you never move on, you just start compromising. And I have realized that much.”

Harry felt the ticklish feeling again in his stomach. His chest fluttered with something very unknown. His eyes scanned the alpha’s face for something, anything.
“Don’t worry, Harry,” Louis was talking again, “I was thinking the same thing before you came in. This time I will.”

Harry frowned, the swishing sound of air that was playing in his ears stopped abruptly. His mind went blank. The flutter in his chest turned into something suffocating as if someone was cutting through his heart. His stomach rolled this time, with something like nausea.

“What?” He asked, voice soft.

Louis turned back to shove everything in his bag at once, his eyes pinned on the task at hand.

“I will tell them to proceed with our divorce papers too. This time, I will do it,” he craned his neck to look at Harry, smiling, “I promise!”

===

Louis could not look at Harry anymore. He turned back to face the bag. His eyes hazing as he tried to just shove everything in it. A sob was trying to escape his mouth. Louis wanted to leave the tent as fast as he could. He would not break down in front of Harry. He would not drop on his knees and beg Harry to love him. He would not shout and ask the omega that, why? Why could not he love Louis?

Louis would not do any of it. No.

Louis wanted to curse his fortune. He wanted to shout at the Gods above. Everything was going right. Well, at least for some time. Why did they have to slap Louis back to reality?

Why did Sophia message? Why did he say those words? Why did Harry have to hear him? Louis could not make any more excuses now, could he? He could not ask Harry to just stay with him directly. He would not survive the rejection.

What wounded him the most was that Harry still wanted an out. He would take it without a second thought. Harry would just drop everything and leave if he could. He would not hesitate. He would just forget the kisses, the caresses and those moments just to run for Nick.

Louis was worthless to him. Was not he? Louis was simply a pastime. Harry would not hesitate to just forget him. Pain shot through Louis’ heart when he realized that it was not even a battle. Harry would choose Nick without putting up the slightest bit of fight. Louis was worthless. He was not the one Harry wanted like that. There was never going to be a confusion. There was never a hesitation. Louis was not even a question in Harry’s mind.

“You thought I will fall in love with you…”

Louis closed his eyes. Harry did not sound sarcastic or rude. He sounded hesitant but Louis could not be sure. He did not like the words from Harry’s lips. It was as if the omega was scrutinizing him. Louis hated that feeling.

Was the omega making fun of him? Was he going to laugh at Louis’ face now?

Oh, God!

Louis would never be able to take it.

Louis sped up his hands, packing the bag as fast as he could. He would just leave the tent. Louis could not breathe in there, his lungs felt useless.

Please, Harry. Don’t make fun of my feelings.

Louis did not answer. He could not answer. Instead, he just shrugged, exhaling as he eyed the last piece of clothing. He was almost done.

===

Harry could feel the storm building in him. His eyes were set on Louis. The alpha was hurrying up with his packing and Harry was just standing there, his heart beating loudly, so loudly that he could almost hear it. It was in pain too. The sound of blood flowing through his veins was hitting his eardrums now. Harry could feel his eyes losing focus.

Louis so easily dismissed him. Louis was so readily telling him that this time he would let Harry go.

This time…
When Harry had given so much of himself to the alpha. Even if it was not love, it was something. It was something important. It was something vulnerable. Louis could not simply shake it off like that. Harry had opened himself up for the alpha. He had let the alpha see his vulnerable side. Was it not important to the alpha?

“You thought I will fall in love with you…”

What about you? Do you love me, Louis?

Harry could not ask that. He was not ready for the answer. Positive or negative, whichever it was. He was not ready. But he would not let the alpha shake him off like that.

===

Louis heard the omega’s footsteps and then he was tugged back by his bicep. Louis turned on his feet to face those clear, moss-like eyes. Harry was looking at him with something like fury, sadness and determination.

Louis braced himself for the worst kind of insults when Harry gripped the shirt over Louis’ chest.

“You are heartless, Louis. You are so naively cruel. You are this…” Harry gestured with his left hand as his right hand was still clutching Louis closer, “You are this powerful force that takes me up like a storm. You just waltzed in my life, unannounced and so seamless, and took me away from everything that was familiar to me. You throw me in a whirlwind that messes up my emotions. You confuse me,” Harry’s eyes clouded, “you confuse me and make me feel like I am so childish in front of your educated mind. You offer this unknown, scary yet so beautiful outtake on life that I can’t help but feel intrigued. You make me feel small when you stand in front of me, not because you are an alpha, no, but because you are so bright, lively and confident in your presence. Your presence jumbles up my thoughts. You are blinding to me. You lighten up my fears, my insecurities. I fear that, Louis. I feel exposed. How do you do it? How do you just play with me and then leave me behind like a used toy? Do you ever feel like this? Do you ever feel this unnerving feeling that you might not survive the storm but you want it to consume you? Do you feel mesmerized by something so very dangerous? Do you, Louis? At all?”

Louis sucked in a surprised breath when Harry’s hands gripped his cheeks, those pale fingers locking on his nape.

“I feel like a moth,” Harry said, his eyes frantic, searching Louis’ face for something, “I feel like a moth that is so curious and entranced to your fire. The moth who knows that it will be ash as soon as it touches the fire but it still gets closer. And the fire lets it. You know? It is the worst part,” Harry whimpered, “The fire knows that the moth has zero chance of surviving but the fire lets it come closer. Attracts it even. The fire knows that the moth will not survive the flames then why…”

Louis gripped Harry’s wrists in his clutch, pulling the omega closer. His own eyes were moistening up.

“Because the fire could not back away,” Louis whispered against Harry’s lips, “the fire could not push away the moth. The fire wants to embrace it. The moth entrances the fire too. The fire wants to engulf it and how do you think the fire feels when the moth turns into ashes? You see the bright light the fire gives but do you know what price it pays to look that blinding? It burns itself, Harry. The fire burns itself to lighten up others. He is cursed; he could not love, could he?” Louis knew that his eyes were glistening as Harry’s face went hazy, “He knows that he would just harm the one he loves. The moth, fire loved it before the moth even dared to call it love. The moth dies or leaves but it leaves behind a hollowness that only the fire feels. No one really talks about the fire’s feelings. Do they?”
Harry shook his head, squeezing his eyes close, “don’t,” he shuddered when Louis’ hands reached around him to hold his hips, “don’t compel me with your words, Louis. Just don’t. You can’t just slice through me with your words. Stop doing that. I am not used to it. Tell me how it is. Tell me what you actually feel without moulding it with your smart mouth. Tell me what you meant.”

Louis sighed, “Why do I have to say something when I have left my heart bare to you? Just laying it down in front of you. I don’t know how to say something more, Harry. I don’t know what you expect from me.”

Harry blinked at him, “would you be fine if I leave?”

Louis’ first thought was to turn away, he wanted to flinch back and never answer Harry but he knew, he knew that if he did it, they might never talk freely again. It was the time, Harry might never ask him that question again if Louis shut him off.

So Louis shuddered out a breath, “I will not but…” he gazed at those green eyes, “I will bear it if that makes you happy.”

Harry did not know what to say. He stared at those blue eyes. They were so close to each other. Harry could feel the alpha’s breath against his lips and his whole body seized up when he felt those arms pulling him closer. His own arms looped around the alpha’s neck.

“Tell me what you want, Harry. I deserve a direct answer too,” Louis whispered against his lips, not really kissing him.

Harry closed his eyes, “I am not ready,” he whimpered, sighing against Louis’ lips, “I can’t go back now.”

Louis ignored the whip of pain in his heart. Now. Harry was not ready to leave now. But he would. Eventually.

The implication was clear.

Louis ignored it. He ignored it for the selfish part of his wolf. Instead, he pulled Harry in his arms.

Their lips met again.

Louis let his aching heart go numb as Harry whimpered in the kiss.

He would survive. He would survive with these memories.

===

“Okay,” Zayn said when all of them were ready to leave, “we will go back straight to our pack. We will not take the ropeway because some of us are afraid of height,” he pointedly looked at Harry and Niall, “We will take the other way. Through the back of the hill. Our caravan is here as you can see,” he pointed at the van, “hop on. We will collect the luggage from that guest-house and then leave.”

Everyone nodded.

“Why didn’t we take this route while coming here?” Harry asked.

“Because it is the back side of the hill, Harry,” Perrie said, “the valley is at the middle but this route is not made of trekking. It is more of a bypass.”

Harry nodded in understanding. His eyes went back to Niall who was sitting beside him.

“Hey,” he whispered, placing his hand over the omega’s. Niall looked up at him, his face calm and composed. He looked collected.

“Are you really fine?” Harry asked, concerned, “you can tell me, you know?”

Niall shook his head, the left corner of his lips tugging upwards slightly.

“I don’t know, Harry. I don’t know what to feel. I knew it would happen,” the omega sighed, looking ahead, “I knew that I am not really his mate. I was kind of prepared for something like this, you know? Like, one day he would come home with Sophia and kick me out. Or maybe he would just show up with her babies. I was ready.”

Harry could see that Niall was not lying, the omega was telling the truth.

“But the point I missed was…” Niall’s chest heaved, he let out a dry chuckle, “it was all my imagination. In reality, I had him. In reality, no matter how shitty our relationship was, I had him. But today…”

Harry took Niall’s left palm in between both of his, watching as the omega wiped his eyes. His hand shook in Harry’s grip.

“Today it all came true, Harry. Knowing something is coming and actually seeing it in front of you makes a huge difference. It is like losing hope. I can’t imagine I still hoped that he was not that bad. I hoped that he loved me, even if the slightest bit but he did. Maybe he would change. But… today I lost that hope, Harry.” Niall could not help the tears anymore, “I feel so stupid. I feel so used. He will lose nothing, Harry. He has his family and if Louis kicks him out of the pack, I know that he is strong enough to catch any pack leader’s attention. Anyone would gladly take him in their packs. I am the one who is losing everything.”

Harry shook his head, “you are not, Niall. You will move on. Trust me, you deserve better. You will find someone new and move on. Liam will be a distant memory then.”

Niall looked at him, “just like Louis would be to you when you leave?”

Harry flinched, recoiling. His eyes found out the alpha easily.

“What?”

Niall shrugged, “will you be able to forget him, Harry? I know that you might never love him but still… would you be able to forget him?”

Harry could feel his heart knotting up, his breathing escalating. He could not find his voice.

Niall chuckled, “thought so. People don’t move on, Harry. They just learn to ignore that void. Simple. They just dig another hole for someone else but that corner of your heart always stays connected to that person you first loved.”

“Harry’s eyes found Louis again. Louis was helping Perrie with her luggage.

“But… I don’t love Louis,” Harry whispered.

His heart skipped three beats when Louis’ eyes found his. Like the alpha had heard him. Harry waited with baited breath but then Louis was calling them out, telling them that the van was ready to leave.

Niall stood up first, “let’s go, Harry.”

Harry just followed, his mind was blank and his thoughts too messed up.

===

Liam called Sophia as the car sped through the jungle at night. They were already in Edwards pack. In twenty or so minutes, they would drop off Perrie and Mason. The next day they would be in the Tomlinson pack.

Sophia was still not picking up her phone. Liam could feel the tension building in him as he kept the ringing phone pressed to his ear. He was tensed about her. Was she fine?

Liam could see Niall from where he was perched on the campervan bed, packing a small bag. Liam furrowed his brows but he could not ask. Louis was not letting him near Niall. Liam could defend himself, he could stand against Louis’ orders but he was not going to. He could see how stressed Niall looked. He was not going to put him through even more stress. Niall was not fine and Liam did not blame him really.

Liam knew that as soon as they would reach home, every confusion would be cleared. It was not his baby. He hadn’t…

“The person you are calling is unavailable…”

Liam cut the call, his temper rising. Why was not she picking up the bloody phone?

===

Harry hugged Perrie when the omega pulled him into a warm embrace. It was time to say goodbye. Harry closed his eyes with sadness clouding his heart as he realized that he would miss her. He would miss talking to her.

“See you soon, Haz,” she whispered against his neck and pulled away. Perrie looked teary, her eyes clouding up.

“Yeah,” Harry said, wiping her tears, “see you soon.”

Perrie pointed at Harry’s pocket, “I saved my number in your phone. Give me a call sometimes. Don’t be shy.” They both laughed.

Then Perrie was moving on to talk to Niall.

Harry saw Mason in Louis’ arms, they were moving side to side in their embrace. Harry knew that Mason was not after Louis and even if he was, it should not bother him but it did. He was bothered. His hands curled into fists and his heart lurched when Mason hid his face at the crook of Louis’ neck, murmuring something that brought out a smile on Louis’ face. The alpha kissed Mason’s temple and then pulled back. Anyone could see the sadness in both of their eyes. Harry was not sure if he should walk away or drag Louis away with him.

“I will call,” Mason said, his expression dull.

Louis nodded earnestly, “Please, do. I will wait.”

Harry turned away.

===

Niall could feel his heart rate picking up as the van geared up for the last twenty-four hours’ journey. He looked at the passing jungle and shuddered. It was raining heavily. He could hear the cracking sound of thunder. The sudden lightning was scaring him shitless. He was looking at his phone, the message glowing in the dark night.

“I will wait near the clearance. Just before the bus crosses the river. The drivers will stop the car to give the toll-tax. Slip away then. Don’t bring a lot of things. I will see you there, mate.”

Niall deleted the message after he re-read it for the tenth time. His hands shook as he pushed the mobile in his pocket. He looked back at his friends.

Louis was reading something, his eyes furrowed. Harry was playing Candy Crush on his phone, leaning against the headboard of the bed. Zayn was sitting beside Liam, sipping his beer.

Liam.

Liam was on phone. He was talking to someone. He was resting his elbows on his knees and leaning forward. His forehead had three worry lines. He looked pissed. He looked tensed and Niall could not remember a time when Liam was not tensed or pissed. The alpha was always in a bad mood. Was not he? He was always finding new ways to torture Niall. But Niall had known a different Liam when they were just pups. He knew a kind and sweet Liam when they were in school.

Niall wanted to turn back time.

He wanted to go back to their school days. When they were just two awkward teenagers. When Liam was just that muscled boy whom everyone called mute because he was too shy to even let out a word. Niall was the loud one, actually. He was the one who had a bunch of friends.

Liam would come up to Niall every day with a flower. Any kind of flower and would hold it out for him to take. Niall would take it with bright red cheeks and inhale. Then he would smile at the boy and wave, leaving.

Liam would come up to him on lunch periods and plop something down for Niall. Something. Anything. He would stand silently beside Niall’s bench and wait. He would not say a word but stare at Niall until the younger lad would eat the food. Then Liam would smile down at his shoes and leave, running off to join his own table, with Louis and Zayn.

Niall would blush and keep the packets. He would keep those flowers too.

He remembered Liam’s red eyes when Niall had picked Ben over him for the school’s annual function, as his dance partner. But Niall was not at fault, he had to choose Ben. Liam was not in his class. He could not go with a senior. That was the rule but Liam did not understand that. He had stopped bringing Niall flowers after that.

Niall could feel his eyes clouding up as he remembered how Liam had pulled away as time went on. He recalled how he had waited under the oak tree for Liam to show up with his flower one day and no. Liam did not come.

Niall had gone to school with a heavy heart and then had heard the news.

Liam had presented. He was an alpha. He was in rut. There was a girl with him, helping him through it.

Sophia.

Niall closed his eyes, remembering how that had hit him. He had waited, waited for Liam to come back. Niall remembered seeing Liam when the alpha was finally over his rut. He was a changed boy. He was a man then. Niall remembered how detached Liam was after that. How the alpha had changed just after his presentation-day.

The bullying had started after that.

Niall shook his head, wiping at his eyes.

No.

He would leave with only happy memories. He would remember that soft, shy Liam. That soft puppy who had told him that he loved how Niall smelt. Niall would remember that scared boy who had his eyes planted on his shoes as he had asked Niall if he could kiss him.

He would remember the Liam who had kissed him with tears in his eyes because he could not believe that Niall had agreed to kiss him.

He would remember the boy who had Niall’s heart even before he knew it.

Niall looked away when Liam looked up. His heart was twisting in his chest. It was coming to an end. He was leaving that boy. He was leaving the only alpha he loved.

“I might never fall in love again,” Niall thought. His eyes closed as tears blurred his vision. How could he? How could he just forget?

===

The car stopped just when Niall was ready to vomit everything he had eaten. His nerves were a jumbled mess. He was sitting on the bench directly in front of the door of the van. His hands clutched the bag closer to his chest. He had taken three jeans and some shirts. His medicines and nothing else. He took his phone too. He knew that Liam could track him through it but he would change the SIM.

His eyes fell on the sleeping figures. Niall saw how Harry was snuggling closer to Louis as the alpha slept on his back. Louis pulled Harry closer, even in his sleep. Zayn was on the floor, his mouth parted as he snored.

Then there was Liam.

The alpha slept on his side. On the floor. He had his left arm folded under his head as a pillow and his right hand was clutched closer to his chest. He was frowning in his sleep.

Niall took a last glance at the alpha, his lips wobbling as a dry sob left him. He inhaled deeply, closing his eyes.

“Let’s go, Niall. Let’s go,” he murmured to himself and slowly cracked the door of the van open. He could see the jungle and the toll-point. Someone was handing Paul the receipt of the money and Niall sighed.

The van came to life, ready to head over the bridge and Niall hopped out of it.

He stepped forward, hiding in the darkness. He hid behind a tree beside the high road and risked a peek at the retreating van.

The van honked twice before rolling over the bridge. Five more minutes and they would be in the Tomlinson pack.

Niall wiped his eyes. The van’s backlights were the only thing he could see. He tried to tame his heart. It was beating so fast now.

Niall turned away.

As he stepped into the jungle, he realized.

It was the final goodbye. He would never return. He would never have to see Liam again.

The twisted part was… that assurance did not feel good. That felt scary and somehow heartbreaking.

Niall shook his head, marching forward. He had no time. He had to reach the border of the jungle soon. He would have a lifetime to think about Liam and the pack that was his home.

===

It was like a wrenching pain. Something was twisting in Liam’s heart. Someone was pricking it with needles and then slicing it open.

He twisted and turned, sweating.

He could see a figure. A dark figure, stepping away from him. Liam could not see that person’s face but he could feel that the person was close to his heart. He was leaving. Stepping back as Liam stepped forward.

“No,” Liam wailed, reaching out. The man in front of him had something in his arms. It was crying, so loudly crying.

Liam could feel his heart breaking as that bundle in that man’s hand cried.

“Make it stop. Where are you going? Stop, just make it stop. Why is it crying? Where are you taking it? Who is it? Who are you? Don’t go,” Liam shouted. He could not see. All he saw was a silhouette. The light was coming from the back of that man, illuminating his figure but shadowing his face. But he was someone close to Liam’s heart.

Liam felt breathless when the man turned away, his steps speeding up.

Liam followed, hands stretched out in front of him, as if he was trying to touch that man. Liam could see the darkness closing in on him as the man in front of him speed up his pace, taking away the source of the light with him.

“Wait. Don’t leave, please.” Liam cried and then suddenly the light was gone. Liam could not see anything.

Darkness.

Silence and something like void filled his surroundings. As if that man had left with everything that was life to Liam.

The silence was choking him. Liam could not breathe. He thrashed on the ground.

Someone was calling his name. Someone was slapping his cheeks…

===

Liam sprang up on the floor. His eyes rounded and his chest heaving. He could feel how sweaty he was. He looked around, disoriented.

“Liam?”

He blinked and then focused, his eyes zeroing in on the face in front of him.

Louis. It was Louis.

He looked around.

The campervan. Right. They were in the campervan. He was dreaming.

Liam sighed, leaning back on his elbows.

“Liam?” Louis urged again.

“What?” he asked, irritated. His heart was still thudding in his chest. What the fuck was that dream?

“Niall is not in the van.”

Liam sat up, almost knocking Louis off as their foreheads rammed together.

“What?” Liam shrieked. His muscles protested when he jumped up on his legs, looking around.

Harry and Zayn were standing behind Louis. All of them looked scared, tensed. Even Louis looked frantic.

“What do you mean that you can’t find him?” Liam roared, shoving past Louis to go to the toilet.

Niall was not there. Liam pushed open the kitchen’s door and he was not there too.

He came back to the main area, eyes moving over every piece of furniture.

“Niall,” Liam shouted, looking around.

“His phone is not here too,” Harry said, “it is switched off.”

Liam could feel something crawling up from his toes, upwards. Something like chilled water, locking the muscles as it went. He sniffed, taking in as much air as his lungs would permit. It was as if someone was drowning him in a pool of icy cold water. Liam’s breath hitched.

He could not smell Niall. Niall was not there.

Liam pushed past everyone, going to the balcony.

Nothing. Niall was not there.

He came back to where everyone stood.

“Are you all punishing me like this?” he screamed, “it is not funny, Louis! Zayn?” he turned to the beta, gripping his collars helplessly, “Zayn, where is he? Please don’t play this shitty game. I am not liking it!”

Zayn looked frantic too, his eyes wide as he looked at Louis over Liam’s shoulders.

“Liam…” Louis said slowly, reaching out to touch the alpha’s shoulder.

Liam flinched, shaking off the alpha’s hand. He rounded on Louis, grabbing his biceps.

“Where is Niall?”

Louis shook his head, his eyes hooded with worry and uncertainty.

“Harry woke us up when he went to the bathroom and could not find Niall anywhere. I woke you up as soon as I was up and Zayn had stopped the van.”

Liam then realized that the van was not moving. They had stopped. He ran towards the door, shoving it open.

The darkness of the jungle welcomed him; freezing cold air blew over Liam’s warm body. Liam shivered, not because of the cold but because Niall was out there. Somewhere. In that cold and dark night. It was raining a few hours ago. Was he fine?

He looked around, inhaling until his chest was full. Nothing. He could not smell the omega.

Something ugly was prodding at Liam’s heart, like a connection was getting thinner as he rounded the van, calling out for the omega.

Niall was leaving. Liam could feel it. Niall was leaving him behind.

“Niall,” Liam screamed, his eyes losing focus as tears sprang up to them. His hands shook as he looked around hysterically.

Everyone was out of the van now. Louis and Zayn were searching too. Harry was in the van, going through Niall’s abandoned luggage to find something. Anything. A clue.

Louis crouched down on his knees, taking up some soil and sniffing it. Zayn stood behind him and Liam came running.

Louis shook his head, “he did not come this far. I can’t pick up on his smell here. He left before we crossed the bridge.”

Zayn’s eyes lit up, “he left when we stopped at the toll-tax point! Fuck!”

Liam turned towards the van, running to the driver’s side.

“Turn the van. We need to go to the toll-tax point.”

Louis and Zayn ran after him. Louis held Liam’s wrist as the alpha tried to hop on the van.

Harry came to stand in front of the door of the van as Louis pulled Liam down again.

“What?” Liam seethed. He was getting scared as time went on and fear made the alpha angry. He glared at Louis.

Louis shook his head, “we will find him sooner if our wolves go there. Our human forms are not as keen to smell and sound like our wolves.”

Liam looked at Louis quizzically. He knew that Louis was right but he was not sure about the alpha’s plan. What was Louis planning?

“What are you suggesting?”

Harry voiced Liam’s concern.

Louis pointed at the van and then at the jungle.

“I suggest we let the van stand here and go, search Niall in our wolf forms. That would be easy and we will be more alert. Our wolves are powerful in the jungle and we will find out Niall sooner. Plus the darkness… we can’t even see properly but our wolves will be fine. What say?”

Liam and Zayn nodded, already stripping off their clothes.

Louis pulled off his T-shirt and threw it in the van and then his eyes fell on Harry.

The omega was shifting on his feet, looking at Louis and then back at his toes. Louis could see the distress in those green eyes. Harry looked scared and hesitant.

Was he scared of them?

“Harry?” Zayn called, “what happened?”

Harry looked at the beta with wide eyes, his lips parted but nothing came out except a strangled whine.

Besides Louis, Liam was already on his hunches, ready to shift. Louis was ready too but Harry was still fully clothed.

“What happened?” Louis asked.

Harry looked back inside the van and then at Louis.

“I should stay here. What if Niall comes back? Someone should stay here.”

Louis shook his head. He could not leave Harry in the middle of the jungle with two drivers. Well, he knew Paul and Alberto but Alberto was an alpha and Louis did not trust anyone near Harry.

“No, Harry. Get inside and shift. I am waiting here. I will shift after you.”

Harry’s eyes widened even more. His hands clasped together in front of him as he stared at Louis with apprehensive eyes.

Louis pointed at the van, “We don’t have time, Harry. Niall is not safe out there.”

As Louis knew, that moved Harry. The omega went inside to change and Louis turned back to his friends.

“You two go ahead, cross the bridge and search. We will join you. Don’t wait.”

Liam and Zayn’s wolves lowered their heads as the sign of obedience and then wagged their tails. Liam was the first one to leap away and Zayn followed closely behind.

Louis waited outside the van. His eyes were on the door as he waited. He could feel the bubble of excitement in his stomach as he stood there.

He would see Harry’s wolf for the first time. Louis was tense and worried about Niall but at the same time, he felt excitement running through his spine.

He knocked on the door, “come on, Harry. Hurry up.”

===

Harry stood in the van naked. His eyes were boring at the door when Louis knocked on it.

He let out a shaky breath, goose-bumps rising on his skin. It was time.

It was time for Louis to see Harry’s wolf and it was time for Harry to know if Louis really knew the wolf as his or not. Harry hunched down, sniffing his surroundings. He had never shifted in a closed space; his wolf did not like the walls around him. He was familiar with jungle and wide expanse of fields in front of him.

Harry could feel his nervousness. He could feel his body shaking as he hunched down on all four. He looked at the door as he willed his human side to subside and let his wolf take the control. The shift was always intense. It took everything in the body and formed you differently. The bones would transform too and it was painful. Harry gritted his teeth as he felt his ribcage moulding.

His muscles cramped as he felt his legs turning into hind-legs. His curls were getting white as Harry closed his eyes. His nails were growing and so was his fur. Harry surrendered his humanity to the omega and let it grow in him.

Harry let out a strangled cry as finally, the wolf took control.

===

Louis knew that Harry had transformed as soon as he heard the howl. His skin broke with goose-bumps and Louis rubbed his hands together. His eyes were fixed on the door of the campervan. He took three steps, standing just in front of the campervan door. He almost heard the footsteps. The wolf was standing behind the door, ready. Louis could feel his hands shaking as he reached out. He let out a sigh as his inner alpha sat up straight on its hinges. Louis could feel the beast in him rising on its feet. His eyes flashed bright blue as the alpha peered through them. The animal was ready to see the omega, in his primal form.

He pushed open the door.

The omega was standing just there, in front him.

Louis closed his eyes and took a deep breath, taking in the omega’s real scent and then flapped his eyelids open.

It was like… someone had hit Louis. Right on the chest. With a baseball bat. He could feel the sudden pain in his chest, his heart leaping up and down. Louis staggered back, his feet dragging on the uneven ground and almost making him fall on his back.

Dark. Everything around him was dark. Darkness was all Louis saw.

Except for that white wolf, standing just in front of him. Those green eyes were focused on him.

Louis tried to breathe, his eyes moistening as he could not pull in air in his lungs. His eyes were set on the omega.

Everything. Everything was rushing back to him. Someone was rolling the film of his life and taking him back to those days. The first day when Louis saw those eyes. His mind was back to that first time when he had taken two steps forward in interest.

This time Louis took two steps backwards. In dread.

It was Harry’s wolf.

That white wolf, Louis’ first ever love was Harry’s wolf.

Harry was his first love.

Louis swiftly turned on his heels, trying to wipe his eyes. He took in a shaky breath, trying to even out his breathing when he heard the wolf jumping on the ground, sniffing it.

Louis tried not to feel so disturbed. Why was he disturbed anyway? It was not like he was hoping to meet that wolf again. He knew that it was not possible. That wolf had someone.

Like lightning cracking the ground, he realized the wolf he had seen with Harry was Nick. Louis had seen them in close proximity.

Louis wanted to laugh. His eyes shifted over the dark horizon. He shook his head in disbelief and rubbed his hands on his face to wipe away the astonishment.
He was always gone for Harry. Was not it? It was always Harry. Always him in different forms.

Louis turned when he felt the omega stepping closer, almost behind him.

He had to bite down on his lips as his eyes found the wolf. That white wolf was staring up at him with wide green eyes. His fur was so silky and was gleaming under the moonlight. Those ears perked up and then flaked, hearing everything around it.

Louis tried to even out his breathing. What if Harry could hear his heartbeat? Louis sucked in a breath and crouched down.

The wolf’s eyes were on him the whole time. Louis was on his knees in front of the wolf when it stepped forward, scrubbing its snout on Louis’ knees. Louis laughed, a watery sound, really.

He sighed when Harry looked up at him. Louis was not sure what to feel. His heart was in knots and so was his mind. Harry was his first love, whom he would never get. Harry and his omega both had rejected him. Louis turned around again.

“I will shift now,” he said, “you can go ahead.”

===

Harry did not.

He waited for the alpha. His omega whined when Louis went down on his knees. For an omega, watching their alpha’s shift was fixating.

Not our alpha, Harry chastised his omega but his legs did not move though. He stayed where he was; staring at the alpha’s shifting profile.

Harry’s omega was sitting down on its hunches because of the raw power Louis’ alpha displayed after surfacing. He could not take the scent as the black wolf growled at the sky, revealing its jugular.

Harry dropped his head on his paws and waited, his breathing uneven.

As he peered up, the omega whined.

Those glowing blue eyes were on him. The alpha’s fur was so dark that all Harry saw was two blue eyes and a shadow in that darkness. Then the alpha was stepping forward. Those eyes were fixed on Harry.

Harry’s omega thrashed its tail on the ground, showing its obedience. He stilled when the alpha’s silhouette shadowed him.

Harry looked up to see that those eyes were hooded; Louis was not really in there still. The wolf was not lead by Louis’ mind yet. It was just on its own and that scared the shit out of Harry.

Harry mewled, nosing the alpha’s neck and shivering when the alpha bellowed. Then the alpha’s nose was nudging Harry’s neck up, sniffing him. Harry let the alpha do its work. He could not stop it. He would not stop it.

In his mind, Harry tried to call out Louis, the human form but he could not. They had never talked about mind link and Harry could not reach Louis.

So he did what was the last option for him.

He reached out to lick the alpha’s jugular, biting it softly to show his loyalty.

“Louis. Please. Control your wolf.”

Nothing.

The beast’s eyes grew darker. It snarled, revealing those sharp canines. It was demanding full control over Harry’s wolf.

Harry closed his eyes, dragging his paws behind.

That spurred the alpha on, even more, making it angrier. Stepping away meant discomfort and the omega should not be discomforted in the presence of its alpha.

Harry fell on his hunches, again. His omega trying to reach out for the alpha. His omega was trying to do what it took to make the alpha happy. His omega was revealing its neck, watching the alpha’s eyes set on him.

Harry tried desperately this time. He knew that if he could not stay sane, his omega would lose control too.

They both would regret the mating if it happened like that.

Harry centred his power and tried to mind-link Louis.

“Louis,” he whimpered in his omega, reaching out verbally for the alpha.

There was a yowl.

Harry opened his eyes to see that the beast in front of him was shaking its head, trying to reach forward but something was stopping it. Harry watched with horror and amazement as those eyes changed colour. It was sharp blue at first but then it bled azure.

Louis.

It was Louis’ eyes. Harry’s omega reached forward, only to jump back as the alpha howled.

It was like watching someone’s internal battle.

The wolf was trying to fight Louis’ control. Those eyes would shift time to time as the beast fell on the ground.

“Louis, please,” Harry bleated, feeling scared and alone in the middle of the jungle. He could not understand what was happening. He had never seen someone’s wolf like that. He had never faced that problem with his wolf. Why was Louis’ wolf not listening to Louis?

Then the alpha was letting out a cry. Harry flinched, stepping back.

He watched with comprehension when those eyes opened again.

Azure eyes stared back at him, unblinking.

Harry had never felt so safe. He had never felt so happy and peaceful. It was like, coming home after a long and hard journey.

He let out a soft mewl and reached forward.

This time when he nuzzled his snout against the alpha’s jugular, the alpha rubbed its cheek on his head. Harry’s omega sighed in contentment when the alpha sniffed at him, licking a long stripe up his neck. Harry could feel his fur getting sticky with the alpha’s saliva but he stayed mute, letting the alpha take care of him.

The alpha rounded him, growling softly for Harry to surrender. The omega kept his nose high but wagged its tail, making a swishing sound in the breeze.

The alpha came to stand in front of him. Harry’s omega matched its gaze on point, not backing off.

The alpha nudged the omega’s snout and then looked over his shoulder.

It was asking Harry to follow him.

Harry’s omega mewled, showing its agreement and the alpha made a sound deep in its throat before it was leaping forward.

The omega followed right behind.

===

Chapter Text

They could not find Niall.

When the sun was up and the morning was almost rolling towards noon Louis had ordered for them to go back to their pack. Liam had not objected, he had not said a word.

He had not said a word when Louis had informed the whole pack about Niall’s departure. He had not reacted when Mr Horan, Niall’s father, had slapped him and shouted at him, blaming him for his son’s misery. He had just stood there, looking at nothing in particular.

Zayn was there to pull Mr Horan away, stopping the one-sided fight.

“Sophia,” Louis called over everyone’s whispers. Every member of the pack stopped their gossips to look at their leader.

“Where is Sophia?” Louis had sounded angry, frustrated.

Harry had watched Sophia stepping forward, her eyes apprehensive as she stood in front of Louis with her eyes zeroed on the ground in fear.

Louis had stared at her for a long time and then he had sighed, “You are pregnant.”

Gasps and more hushed voices were heard among the members. Harry glanced around to see that everyone’s eyes were set on their leader and Sophia.

Louis had said it like a statement, not a question. Sophia nodded nonetheless.

“Who is the father?”

Everyone stopped to stare at the omega. Harry did too. Except for Liam. He was simply standing there, looking at somewhere over the horizon. His gaze was void of any emotion.

Sophia gulped, blinking at Louis unsurely, “I am not sure how that… why does it bother you…” she fumbled with the words.

Louis’ blue eyes flashed under the sunlight, forcing a shiver through Harry’s body. He could feel anger rolling off the alpha in waves.

“Who is the father, Sophia Smith?” Louis asked again, sounding steely, “I can surely force you to spit the truth but you are pregnant and I am not really fond of violence. But…” those blue eyes turned periwinkle blue, hard on the omega, “I will do it if you don’t open your mouth right now.”

Sophia looked visibly shaken, her hands flying up to cover her nonexistent stomach. She paled, eyes going wide. There were no words though. She stared at the ground, looking hesitant.

“I am the father.”

Harry and everyone around him turned to see that a beta, Jamie, was walking forward to stand beside Sophia. His eyes determined as he looked at Louis but at the same time, fearful.

Harry looked at Liam to see that the alpha was looking at the interaction but his face was void of any emotion. Liam literally looked zoned out. He was not showing any kind of emotions.

Louis watched the beta for a second and then looked back at Liam.

When he turned back to face Sophia, he looked irritated and confused.

“If he is the father then why did you message Liam?”

Sophia’s eyes watered, “because it was an accident!”

Everyone stilled in the room and Louis just arched his brows. Harry wanted to scoff but he settled for rolling his eyes.

“We both were drunk and I don’t remember how it happened. I actually forgot about it as time went on but then I found out I am pregnant that morning and I panicked. Whom was I supposed to call or tell? Liam is the only one who matters to me.”

Zayn let out a laugh, “yeah. He matters to you so much that you cheated on him. Sure.”

“What a cliché excuse though,” Harry muttered, earning a mirthful smirk from Zayn.

Louis was quiet. He looked at Jamie and then back at Sophia.

“So you two are going to keep the baby?”

They both nodded. Sophia looked at Liam, hesitating before she reached out to take the alpha’s hand in his.

Liam let her, his eyes unfocused as he looked down at her.

“I am sorry,” she whimpered, “Please, forgive me?”

Liam looked at her for a moment and then blinked back at Louis, completely ignoring Sophia, “can I go now?”

Louis looked at him questioningly, “where?”

Liam shrugged, “I want to take some rest.”

“Are you serious?” Mr Horan screamed from the crowd, “you will fucking rest? What about my son? You all are just going to ask this whore about her baby and not search my son? I see, for the leader, his right-hand man matters more than anyone else. So what if my son is missing, Liam needs to be taken care of!”

Everyone jumped when Louis let out a growl. Harry shivered beside him, clamping down on his lips to suppress his whine.

“Shut your mouth,” Louis gritted out, “we are searching for Niall. We searched for him the whole night and as we are talking, some of the pack members are searching for him. I am going to join them after the meeting and I have called every other pack to inform them about the mishap. They are searching too. Your son will be here soon. Don’t you dare question me!”

Harry could not help himself, the way Louis’ low timbre rumbled through his body was causing dizziness in him. He was weak from the transformation and Louis’ every word affected him to his core. Even when the anger was not channelled at him, Harry felt scared. Louis had not talked to him when they were back in the campervan. Hell, he did not even look at Harry since the transformation. He had simply offered a blanket as after the transformation an omega felt cold, freezing even. Harry had taken it with a simple thanks and Louis had not even acknowledged it.

Harry stepped closer to the alpha, trying to be subtle about it when his arm touched the alpha’s elbow. Louis went stiff, his eyes sliding over to see where their bodies touched and Harry waited.

Louis stayed where he was, not moving away but not acknowledging Harry either. Harry stomped down on the disappointment in his chest.

“So,” Louis said, “Sophia, you did not even say the whole thing. You just said that you are pregnant and that was all. Can you tell me why? Why did not you tell Liam everything? You are literally the reason for Niall’s departure!”

Sophia gestured wildly with her hands, “Because I wanted to tell him in person. How can I explain everything over a bloody message?”

Louis glared at her, “you should have waited. Telling the half-truth was really not necessary,” he looked at them both, Jamie and Sophia and waved his hand, “I am not done with you two but,” he turned to look at Zayn, “we need to take care of the business. I will call a meeting when I see the necessity. You all can go but remember, everyone,” Louis’ voice rung in the air, “Niall is a part of this pack. He is an honourable omega and a very trustworthy friend of mine. I don’t want any kind of gossip about him in the pack. If I hear something rude and snide about him, I will take action. Help us in his search but don’t spread gossip. Don’t try to pry too much and please understand that one of our very precious members is out there, alone. Maybe in trouble. Please, cooperate.”

Every member of the pack voiced agreement and the meeting was over.

“Liam,” Louis said, “You go with Zayn and search Niall’s room. Try to see if you can find something. Anything. I am trying to trace his number with the help of Aiden. Go.”

Liam and Zayn nodded and walked away.

Harry lingered, his eyes set on the alpha.

Louis looked forward, waiting until every member of the pack was out of the room. He exhaled then, his shoulders slumping.

“You are staring,” he said, finally turning to meet Harry’s eyes.

Harry knew he was pouting when he blinked at the alpha, “you are avoiding me.”

Louis shook his head, “no. Why would I?”

Harry stepped forward, noticing how the alpha went stiff again. The alpha looked isolated, his hands locked behind his back.

“Did I do something?”

Louis looked past Harry’s face and shook his head. When he smiled at Harry, Harry knew that it was fake. The lines around Louis’ eyes were not visible and those muscles of his cheeks looked tight.

Harry tried not to twist his fingers together; a tensed habit, but he could not help it.

“I will just…” Louis gestured towards the door, “I should just go and see what Zayn and Liam found out. I will see you soon.”

The alpha did not wait for an answer as he almost ran away from Harry.

===

Nausea.

That was what Liam was feeling.

Zayn had sent him back to his own house when Liam had tripped over his own feet for the fourth time. The beta had assured him that he would take care of the search and Liam should actually take some rest.

However, Liam could not rest. How could he rest when his own room reminded him of the omega?

He looked around his room and all he could think about was Niall and his traces around the room.

There was a T-shirt hanging from Liam’s bedpost, without even touching it Liam could say that it belonged to Niall. There were three packets of Kit-Kat on his bedside table. He hated Kit-Kat but he would buy them anyway.

Niall liked them. Loved them, actually.

Both of them knew that Liam would buy it as an apology after a heated fight between them. He would place it on the bedside table for Niall to accept and if Niall did not eat it, that meant he was still angry. Liam would bring home two or three more, placing them exactly over the last ones, maybe under Niall’s pillows even, Niall would glare at him and with a sigh, rip open one and take a bite. He would try not to eat some more and then do it anyway, turning away from the alpha to hide how pleased he was.

Liam would pretend to not care, turning away from the omega with a grumble. A smile would grace his lips anyway the next morning when he would see the bedside table empty. All of those packets would be gone.

There was a bottle, a damn plastic bottle that Niall liked. He would fill that up and leave it on the fucking bed. Liam would be irritated by the way the bottle would end up at his side of the bed and literally leak all over the bed sheet. He would throw the damn thing away. The next day, it would still greet him on the bed. With water almost everywhere.

There was the clock, alarm clock that shouted some Chinese song and looked like a penguin! Liam hated how shrill it was but he kept it. Niall was a heavy sleeper, he would whine when he would not wake up on time and according to him, that was the only clock that could wake him up in the morning. Liam would like to argue but he did not. He was used to it by now. He would never accept that in front of Niall though.

There was a used towel, on Liam’s ironed shirts! It would always end up there, damping his shirts and whenever Liam would shout at Niall for it, Niall would jut out his chin and say that he ironed Liam’s shirts anyway, Liam did not need to bother. Liam would throw the towel on the omega’s face and Niall would kick it back at him right then. It would be a back and forth thing until one of them stalked away, mostly Liam.

Everything was there. Just like they used to. The damn bottle was there, now empty but waiting for Niall to fill it up. The Kit-Kat packets were laying around the floor and the bedside table, waiting to be cleared out and that towel was not damp anymore but it was still on Liam’s ironed shirt, where Niall had left it before the trip.

Everything was there, except the person who made them a noticeable problem for Liam. The person was gone and suddenly, none of those problems mattered. Liam did not even flinch as he sat down on the soaked bed sheet. He did not even bother as the wrappers of Kit-Kat touched his feet, making a crunching noise.

The damn curtains. Liam hated how colourful they were but Niall had selected them, grinning at Liam as the alpha had stared at him in disbelief.

“You need every colour in your life, Liam. Colours are important!”

Liam had just picked the omega up by his waist, helping him to put them on the window. Niall had grinned when he had put him down, looking so happy and vibrant. Liam had kissed him, right there.

Liam blinked at them, his eyes tracing the edges.

Niall had somehow decorated the whole room, planting his trace here and there and Liam had let him, silently watching the omega grow in his house. Niall had a say about everything Liam did, wore and even ate. Niall did not know that but Liam knew. He knew how much Niall controlled his life decisions without really meaning to and even after knowing it, Liam had not change it.

He had noticed when his meals started having more veggies. He had noticed the change in his protein shake. He had noticed Niall sneaking in some lunch in his bags whenever he would go out with his friends so that he would not have to eat something greasy. Liam had always eaten those packed meals, avoiding anything his friends offered. Niall did not say but Liam had noticed the small smile when he would give the empty box to the omega.

Niall would call this house Liam’s and Liam would agree verbally but in his heart, he knew how much this house belonged to the omega. Niall did not notice the amount of time he spent here. Liam did not point that out, ever.

He wondered about the omega. Would he miss Liam? Would he feel what Liam was feeling?

Liam pushed the heavy feeling away from his chest, trying to be angry at the omega. He could not. All he felt was fear.

When they were searching in the jungle, all Liam could think about was how he would find the omega and drag him back home. He was thinking of ways to punish the omega for such a stunt but as time went on and the reality settled in, Liam found himself worried, tensed and sick.

Niall was an omega, out there in the jungle. Even if he was with someone… the thought sent a wrenching pain in Liam’s guts, but even if he was with someone, was he fine?

Niall was smart, Liam knew that the omega could take care of him but the worry was eating Liam alive.

He sat down on the bed and pulled out his phone.

As he dialled Niall’s number, his eyes closed. It went straight to the voicemail.

“I am sorry but if you want to tell me something important, please say it after the beep.”

Maybe it was the exhaustion, maybe it was the worry or maybe it was the anger, maybe the heavy feeling in his chest or the fear that coursed through his body but Liam found himself crying. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he tried not to audibly break down.

“I am not sure where you are but I will find you, Niall,” Liam said, biting down on his lips to hide the hiccups, “I will find you and you will regret your decision. I hope you know that I am not giving up on you. I will never give up on you.”

He cut the call, throwing the phone behind him as the first loud sob broke through him. Liam hid his face in his hands, trying not to think about Niall’s wellbeing.

===

“We can’t track the number.”

Liam, Zayn and Louis looked at Aiden. Aiden worked in the police force of the pack. He was the Chief Inspector of the Tomlinson pack. Plus, he had degrees in Software engineering. He was the most in-demand man in their neighbouring packs. Louis felt proud to have him in his pack.

“What do you mean by that?” Zayn asked, confused.

Aiden shook his head, “that means, either he has thrown away the SIM or he is using GPS jammer. I am not sure which one.”

“He hadn’t thrown away his phone.”

Everyone turned to look at Liam. Liam was looking at the computer as he shrugged, “I called him and it went to voicemail.”

Zayn looked at Aiden, “that means he is using GPS Jammers.”

Louis shook his head, “so he is not alone in this.”

Liam and Zayn looked at Louis in confusion while Aiden nodded in understanding.

“What?” Zayn asked.

“How do you know that?” Liam followed.

Louis gestured towards the blank computer screen, “can’t you put two and two together? GPS jammer is illegal around any pack. You can’t simply use it or find it in markets. Only the leader of a pack or someone really prestigious in a pack can get a hold of that thing. Niall is none of it. He did not even have money to influence someone. How did he get the jammer? Someone helped him with it. That means someone is helping him,” Louis’ brows furrowed.

Aiden nodded, agreeing with Louis, “and it proves another point too.”

When the three of them looked at him, Aiden shrugged, “it was pre-planned. Obviously, it was pre-planned. Otherwise, how did he just vanish like that? Someone is there. Helping him.”

Louis nodded, “what can we do now?”

Aiden shrugged, “all we have to do is search that jungle and try to find some clue. I will try to track the number again. Let’s see.”

Louis turned to look at Liam and the alpha looked ashen. Louis understood. As he met Zayn’s eyes over Liam’s shoulders, the beta looked tensed too.

“We will find him.”

Liam and Zayn looked at Louis. One’s eyes held hope, fear, tension and another’s eyes were simply lost. So lost.

Louis pulled them both in for a hug.

===

Harry was going crazy. He called Niall’s number. He had recorded a voice message too. He had sent seven, actually. All of them fueled by anger and fear. The last one was simply a plea for the omega to come back. He had blamed Niall for not telling him. They were friends, right? He had asked if Niall was okay. He had ordered the omega to call him back. He had promised that if Niall did call back, he might not tell Louis or Liam. Anyone. Just call.

“Please? Just so I know that you are all right. Please, Niall.”

Now he was standing in front of the window in his room and trying to recall their past interactions. He was trying to point out if there was something missing in Niall’s actions lately. Nothing. Harry had not even noticed anything amiss. He had no clue that Niall was planning all this. Harry felt horrible. He was not a good friend if he did not even notice that his friend was this heartbroken. He felt terrible as he thought of the times when Niall was there, with him.

Harry was in tears when there was a sound of the main door of their floor opening. Louis was home.

Harry wiped his face hastily and bolted towards the door of his room. When he stepped into the living room, his eyes automatically fell on the alpha in the open kitchen.

Louis was drinking water as he stood near the kitchen counter. He looked deep in thought as he chugged the water.

“What did Aiden say?”

Louis jumped, the water spilling over his jumper.

“Oops,” Harry covered his mouth with his hands as the splash made the alpha groan.

“H-hi,” Louis said, setting down the bottle and wiping the water from his jumper.

“I am… I am sorry, I didn’t mean to…” Harry stepped forward, taking a tissue from the counter and reaching forward to wipe at Louis’ jumper.

The alpha recoiled, taking the tissue from Harry and dabbing over the soaked fabric himself.

“It’s fine, it’s fine.”

Harry stopped on his advance and stood where he was. Louis sighed when he was done and looked at Harry.

“You were saying something,” he said.

Harry nodded, awkwardly fidgeting with his clasped hands, “I-um… what did Aiden say?”

Louis shrugged, twisting the bottle’s cap in his hands, “he is not sure about the tracking thing. Niall is using GPS jammer apparently. Well, maybe he has some help with him. Someone powerful who is helping him to hide. I don’t know.”

Harry tried to take in the information and he leaned his hip back against the counter.

“So it was pre-planned?”

Louis nodded, not looking at Harry, “yeah. It looks like it. I mean, he is not in a position where he can get a jammer on his own. Someone knows and planned all of it out for him. Let’s see. We will find him but it might take some time.”

Harry nodded, not sure what to say next.

Louis looked down at his damp jumper and tugged at it, “well, I will go and change.”

Harry nodded, “okay. Let me make something here for dinner tonight.”

Louis hesitated for a moment and then shook his head, “don’t worry. I will eat downstairs. Mum made dinner tonight for everyone.”

Harry could feel that Louis was trying to get away, avoid him and that hurt.

Louis rounded him when Harry said nothing. Harry watched the alpha go, his eyes closed when Louis closed the door of the bedroom behind him.

===

The day was draining Louis. Niall’s departure was shocking and it scared Louis and made him worried.

Then there was Harry. His wolf. The white wolf Louis fell in love with. It was Harry.

Louis could not meet those green eyes without thinking about how cruel his fate was. He could not look at Harry and not think or picture the way he had seen Nick with him in the jungle. Louis could not simply forget the longing he had felt then. It felt like if he looked Harry in the eye, the omega might find out his truth in his eyes and mock him. Louis could not take the risk.

When he was done with the shower, he came out of the bathroom in blue Bermuda shorts. As he rubbed the towel that went around his neck to dry out his hair, his eyes fell on the omega who was now sitting on the bed and looking at him.

Louis looked away instantly.

“Did you need something?” he asked, rubbing his nape with the white towel.

“I sleep in this room,” came Harry’s reply.

Louis nodded, going to the wardrobe. He pulled out a white, soft-cottony tank top and pulled it over his head. When he turned back, Harry was watching him.

“Sorry if I am disturbing but can I use your dryer?” Louis asked.

Harry nodded mutely and stood up. He took the dryer out from the bags they took to the trip and came closer to Louis to hand it over.

Louis took it from him and shot him a thankful smile.

As he plugged and turned it on to dry out his hair, his eyes fell on the omega. Harry was standing behind him, maintaining distance but there was something in his eyes. Through the mirror, it looked like sadness. Louis’ heart twisted in him but he blinked forward, drowning his screaming mind in the sound of the dryer.

===

Harry watched Louis talking to Zayn as they ate. The pack-house dining table was huge and it had seats for almost everyone from the pack-house. Louis sat at the head and Dan occupied the other end of the table. Jay sat on the right side of Dan and Harry sat at the left of Louis. Liam normally sat at Louis’ right and Niall beside him but today they were missing. Niall… well, he was not there and Liam did not show up. Zayn was sitting on the chair instead.

Harry sipped the stew and blinked at Louis. Louis was not even acknowledging he was there.

Something was breaking in Harry's heart. He tried not to care but he could not help it. Louis’ ignorance bothered him, to a level where his eyes stung with something like tears.

Harry blinked and looked down at his bowl. He could not stomach the soup.

“Excuse me,” he said to no one in particular and left the room.

===

Liam blinked when the light of the room was suddenly flickered on. His chest expanded, hope, irrational hope blooming in his stomach. Something like fear and excitement was engulfing him…

“Hey.”

Zayn.

Icy drops of dread and hopelessness showered over him, Liam closed his eyes against the pain in his heart.

Zayn. It was Zayn not…

Liam sat, not facing the beta, stoically looking at the wall in front of him.

The beta came to sit beside him on the bed, the room so silent that Liam could hear Zayn’s heartbeat.

“You did not change?” Zayn asked, eyeing Liam’s outfit.

Liam said nothing, his hands held the phone as he stared ahead.

Zayn’s eyes widened suddenly, “Liam? You are sitting here since morning?”

Liam said nothing.

Zayn gripped Liam’s shoulder, jerking him, “Liam? I am asking something.”

Liam looked down at his hands. The phone.

“What if he calls and I miss it?”

Zayn gaped. His eyes were on Liam and then the phone in the alpha’s hands.

“What?”

Liam exhaled shakily, “what if he called and I was not there? What if he needs me?”

Zayn had no words. He blinked.

“It’s a mobile, Liam. You can carry it around!”

Liam shook his head, “what if I miss the ring?”

Zayn could feel his eyes stinging, “he will be fine, you know?”

Liam shook his head, “I don’t know. Isn’t it?” finally those brown eyes met Zayn’s as Liam let out a shaky smile, “I don’t know if he is fine or not anymore. I can’t say it now, can I?”

Zayn did not know what to say. He slid closer, holding Liam in his arms.

Liam did not cry, he did not say anything. His eyes were just set ahead of him and he looked completely blank, stoic and unaffected.

Zayn knew better though. He felt the tremble in those muscles, he knew the way Liam’s eyes twitched, the way those lips were pressed together.

Liam was forcing himself to not cry. He was literally on the verge.

God!

Zayn hoped Niall was fine.

===

Louis sat on the sofa, exhausted, and closed his eyes. The whole day was unexplainably complicated to him.

He did not know exactly what he was feeling. The first and foremost shock was Niall’s escape. Louis could not understand what to do to know where the omega was. He knew that Niall had planned the escape beforehand but he could not help but feel anxious. What if Niall was injured? What if he was not able to execute the plan properly? Was he fine?

The next shock was…

Harry.

Louis needed some time to get over the fact that Harry was the one he fell in love with. He pulled out his phone; going to his Instagram was painful. He had to watch those photos and try not to wince or laugh at the captions.

God! What would Harry say if he saw the photos? What kind of lunatic stalker would he think Louis was?

He shook his head. No. Harry could not see those photos.

The first tap on the delete button was hesitant. Louis stared at the photo, taking in the way the wolf looked. So beautiful. Definitely Harry. Now that he knew, Louis could surely see the similarities. The wolf looked as proud as Harry was. The wolf carried itself with as much class as Harry did. The wolf was as elegant as the omega was.

Jesus! Louis had to forget it.

Louis held his breath throughout the deleting process. When he was done, his feed looked empty. Louis wanted to delete his account. He did not like the way his feed looked, he did not like the way his eyes stung.

Louis dumped the phone carelessly on the sofa beside him and slid down, leaning against the backrest of the sofa.

Then he heard it.

Footsteps coming his way.

Louis knew that sound. He knew that scent. Jasmine and something like freshly cut grass. It always made Louis feel like he was lying down on the grass on a crisp day in October as the gentle breeze ruffled through his hair. It was like a fresh breath after a long time under the water.

He could almost see even with his eyes closed as Harry stopped, hesitating. Louis counted four in his head. He knew exactly that much time Harry needed before he would start talking.

One…two…three…four… and…

“Why are you avoiding me?”

There it was.

Louis opened his eyes, blinking. He looked up slowly, dragging his eyes over the omega’s body.

He took in the pink-fuzzy slippers, black shorts and a white Tank top. Louis’ eyes stopped for a moment on those plum lips and finally, they met those green, earnest eyes.

Harry looked sad, hesitant and vulnerable. He twisted his fingers and shifted on the spot.

“What?” Louis croaked out.

Harry took a step forward, like outrageous and then stopped, dragging his feet back.

“Why are you ignoring me?”

Louis did not know what to say. He stood up instead.

“I am… I am not ignoring you. Why’d you think so?”

Harry shook his head, his lips turned downwards as if was trying not to cry.

“You are. You are ignoring me and I don’t know the reason. What happened? Did I…” Louis hissed when Harry stepped forward, grasping his shirt in those pale fingers as a fist, “did I do something?”

Louis tried to lean away, his hands itching with the urge to just push Harry away. He needed some time. Louis needed some space. He needed to clear his head and then come that close to Harry.

Harry seemed oblivious though. In his urgency, he stepped even closer, “what did I do? Why are you behaving like this?”

“Harry…” Louis stopped when he felt Harry’s nose against his temple, rubbing down… down… down…

“Louis,” Harry whined, low in his throat, his lips sliding over Louis’ right cheek, towards his lips.

“Harry, just…” Louis placed his hands on the omega’s hips, trying to hold the omega.

Harry took it as an invitation. Hot breath tickled Louis’ lips and Louis growled. High and menacing. Harry jolted back, his eyes wide and jaw slack.

Louis could feel frustration building in him, guilt coating it a deep shade of red. Louis saw red.

“Lou,” Harry’s voice trembled, “Louis?”

Louis turned away, trying to breathe through his mouth.

“Just go to sleep, Harry. Leave me alone.”

He should have known. He should have known by now that Harry was stubborn. The omega was stubborn and persistent.

Louis pressed his lips to silence the next snarl when Harry, instead of backing off, came around to stand in front of him.

“No, I am not going to sleep. You are not going to order me!”

Louis’ eyes were on him, those green eyes held fear, hesitance and something like hurt.

“Okay. Fine,” Louis said, enraged, “I will go out then.”

Harry reached out, gripping Louis’ shirt, again.

“No,” the omega bleated, “tell me what’s wrong. I deserve to know.”

And…

What was Louis supposed to say?

“I saw your wolf and I had realized that I fell in love with you when I first saw you? I wanted you even before knowing the wolf was you? I feel ashamed that you still affect me?”

No. Louis could not say any of it.

“I am just overwhelmed. That’s all. Please, Harry. Let’s not make it complicated.”

Harry shook his head, “no. You are lying. Tell me, Louis…”

Louis gripped the omega’s wrists in his, jerking Harry to silence.

Their eyes met and Louis leaned forward to snap on the omega’s face, “Why do you think you have any right to ask me these questions? Who the fuck are you?”

Harry halted in his movements, his eyes taking in Louis. Louis hoped he did not look as broken as he felt.

Then Harry was letting go of Louis’ collars, stepping back. Louis could see tears in those eyes and Louis had never felt so restless and angry. He had hurt Harry for no fucking reason.

Harry nodded, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked vulnerable, so fragile as he looked down at his inwardly pointed toes.

“Right,” he whispered, “I am… I crossed my line. I am… sorry.”

Then he was running away to his room, the door closing with a slam.

Louis stood there, still.

Fuck.

He fucked up, did not he?

===

Harry almost threw himself on the bed, hiding his face in the pillows. He willed himself not to cry, his tears were not worthless that he had to waste them on Louis.

They came anyway, soaking his pillows.

He turned to his side, facing the wall as he pulled his legs up towards his chest. Like a fetus. The sobs were wrecking through his body, muscles after muscles. Harry closed his eyes.

He did not notice when the door opened. He did not hear the footsteps over his own sobs. No one had ever shouted at him in his life. No one had ever made him feel so inadequate. And no one had ever affected him the way Louis did.

He felt the dip of the mattress though. Suddenly the bed was bearing the weight of two wolves.

Harry pressed down on his lips and stayed put. There were movements, the sound of a person moving around.

Harry’s breath hitched when he felt the presence behind him, lying down to almost cover him.

Harry saw the arm coming around to hold his waist. Harry placed his hand over that arm, trying to push it away from his body. It burned Harry’s skin. He would not be persuaded by physical contacts.

There was a growl, making Harry stop. It was not harsh this time, more like a scolding one. Harry frowned, perturbed. Louis would not dominate him. Harry would not let him.

Harry pushed at the arm with everything he had. It was like a steel cuff, it stayed where it was, over Harry’s stomach.

Hot breath licked over Harry’s nape, cold teeth biting down softly.

“I am sorry,” was whispered against his ear. Harry bit down on his lips when the alpha purred, completely in control and persistent.

Harry fought against the hand as the alpha tried to turn him over. He dug his nails on that arm, trying hard to stay put.

“Yield, omega,” Louis’ voice was heavy, commanding.

Harry’s stomach swooped. He turned over, not looking straight at the alpha.

He came face to face with Louis’ bare chest. Harry suppressed his shiver when Louis cradled his jaw and slowly pushed it upwards. Harry let him, his lips quivering.

“So beautiful,” Louis whispered, hovering over Harry. Harry closed his eyes when their lips met.

The growl that ripped through the alpha was animalistic. Louis pressed down, demanding. Harry whined, his hands coming up to touch. Louis’ shoulders twitched when Harry’s blunt nails dug into them. Harry mewled, gasping for air when Louis suddenly rolled over on him, covering his body.

“You…” Harry whizzed, turning his face to the left when Louis tried to capture his lips again, “you can’t just kiss and take forgiveness.”

Louis bit down on his jugular, making Harry whine. Harry’s hands roamed over Louis’ back, scratching, digging or cutting, leaving behind marks.

The next kisses were landing on Harry’s collarbones. Over his T-shirt. Harry wanted them directly on his skin.

Louis did not take it off though. He glided down, kissing the middle of Harry’s chest, nipping. Harry looked down, only seeing the head full of brown hair. His fingers made their way in those strands, pulling at them.

Louis placed open-mouthed kisses on Harry’s chest, purring and making noises. Harry could not look away. His eyes were set on the alpha. Hot breath fanned his nipples next and those blue eyes peeked up at him.

Harry had to stop himself for a second. He had to inhale and just… hold the breath in his lungs for a second.

Louis looked like a wolf in the middle of a hunt. Effortlessly gorgeous and casually dangerous. The window behind the alpha, at the end of the bed, was open, white curtains hid the midnight world from the room but the moonlight was gliding in, making a mysterious halo around the alpha’s figure. Harry could only make out those blue eyes and the way Louis’ stubble reflected the whitish light of the moon. The short strands of Louis’ hair made a silhouette around Louis. The alpha gave off a predatory aura.

Harry felt like a prey under that heavy gaze. Louis’ blue eyes shone when Harry squirmed. Those hands flexed to hold him up over Harry. Harry reached out, desperate, scared and so ravenous to have the alpha closer.

Please.

He held his arms out, looking at the alpha.

Louis’ eyes scanned his face and then looked at those extended arms. Then he moved, gliding over Harry’s body, coming up face to face.

Harry mewled as Louis’ face loomed over his. Those eyes slid over the omega’s face.

“Forgive me, omega. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Harry was not sure why but as Louis called him, ‘omega,’ Harry’s inside went fuzzy. His brain stopped whirling for a second.

Harry shook his head, his hand coming up to frame Louis’ face, rubbing over the stubble.

“No,” he whispered, looking at those intense eyes, “you can’t have forgiveness just like that. You…” Harry blinked, “you hurt me.”

Louis sighed, breath fanning over Harry’s cheeks, “what can I do to gain your forgiveness then?”

Harry arched up, his lips searching those thin ones. Please.

Harry did not say anything when Louis claimed his lips again. Their mouths moved together.

Harry gasped, his eyes snapping open when he felt Louis’ right hand on his left nipple. Just a slight roll with the alpha’s index finger and Harry gasped for air. His hands pulled the alpha closer, closer to him. There was no way to differentiate their bodies. Puzzle pieces. They fit like puzzle pieces.

Louis did it again. With a bit of force this time. Then he pressed down on the nub with his thumb. Harry threw his head back, grasping at Louis’ shoulders.

“Louis…”

Louis did not answer but his face was not looming over Harry anymore.

“Can I take the shirt off, babe?”

Harry nodded, jerkily and so desperately.

Please. Please.

Harry’s eyes flew open when Louis shoved the T-shirt up, stopping at his armpits. Harry squirmed out of it, not looking away when Louis threw it on the floor. Then Louis was gliding down.

Harry looked down and moaned. Louis was taking his left nipple in between his lips. Harry parted his legs, letting the alpha rest between them.

The first suction was maddening. It was as if Louis was sucking away Harry’s blood through the nipple. Harry could feel the alpha’s teeth behind those lips, ready to bite but holding on. Louis sucked again, making a sound in that silent room. Harry hissed, gripping the alpha’s hair and giving a hard pull.

“So pretty, you are fucking gorgeous, omega,” Louis purred against Harry’s nipple. Then there was a cold breeze, Louis blew over the taut skin. Harry’s eyes rolled backwards, his hands tightening on those soft strands. He realized with mortification that he was pushing Louis’ head down, over his chest. Harry could not think about it for more than seconds because the alpha was moving, so slowly but moving.

The right one. Harry watched, heaving and transfixed.

The alpha lapped at his right nipple, kissing it afterwards. Harry was not sure where to put his mind when he felt the twisting pain on his left nub when Louis pinched it and gave it a little twist.

Harry could feel something fluttering in his abdomen. It was unfurling and molten heat was spreading from it. Harry could feel the first wave of arousal. His arse clenched up.

“Do you like it, omega?” Louis was whispering, his lips so close to Harry’s nipple.

Harry bit his lips. His cheeks heating up as he tried to answer but it looked like Louis was not waiting for an answer.

The alpha delved down, taking the already sensitive nipple in between his teeth. A soft bite and Harry whimpered, his hips rolling on the mattress.

“Lou…”

Louis’ hand went down, down and down. There was a pause, both Louis and Harry stopped to stare at each other and then Louis was raising his brows. His hand stopped at Harry’s waistband.

Harry could feel tears clouding his eyes. He wanted to give himself over. He wanted to submit to that shattering need and thirst but was he ready?

Louis seemed to understand his dilemma and shushed him, “I won’t fuck you, Harry. Relax,” but his hand pressed down, “I want to suck you off.”

Harry closed his eyes. His chest felt heavy, so stuffed and his stomach curled, letting out wave after wave of heat. Louis wanted to suck him off. Those lips on Harry’s cock…

Harry tried to reason with himself. He should not allow it. What about Nick? What about his own dignity? His omega had never let Nick do that to him. How could he possibly let Louis do it?

A look at the alpha and Harry settled. He knew that his dignity would be protected and his omega wanted nothing more than to give up. Harry let his omega have it. Once. Just that once.

“Pl-please.” He sounded broken. Desperate.

Louis shook his head, his eyes wild but his actions reined.

“No, Harry. Words. I need your answer verbally.”

Harry whined, closing his eyes.

“Please, Lou… suck…”

Louis growled, “Say it.”

Harry blinked, looking down at those stormy eyes, “suck me off.”

Louis did not move though. There was a look in those eyes and then Louis’ hand slid inside Harry’s shorts, almost over Harry’s cock. Not touching. Why not touching?

“Are you sure?”

Harry stopped, his eyes set on those Prussian blue ones. A soft nod and Louis’ hand was moving.

Harry watched how easily the alpha pulled his shorts down, his dick free, slapping against his abdomen. His inside churned when Louis placed his hand on his left knee and pushed it up a bit. Harry let him do what he wanted to. He watched, trying to breathe properly, as Louis moved.

The alpha ducked down, nuzzling his nose on Harry’s right inner thigh, kissing the skin there. Harry squirmed, Louis’ hard stubble scratching his milky soft skin. Louis groaned, mouthing at his thigh and squeezing the left one.

“Put your leg over my shoulder, baby,” the alpha ordered, his lips moving over Harry’s soft skin. Harry did as told and moaned. The sight was so surreal. His eyes would not move. He could not look away from the alpha’s face. The rush of desperation, the heat of need left him limp in those hands.

Louis inched closer and Harry started getting paranoid. He did not smell bad, did he? He had shaved his pubes but what if… what if Louis liked his partners unshaven?

The thought of Louis’ partners had Harry’s left hand tightening in Louis’ hair. Harry tried not to tense up when Louis kissed the joint of his thigh with his hipbone.

Louis’ hand came up to caress his pelvis. The alpha stopped, moving away to stare at the skin properly and Harry held his breath. Louis did not like shaved omegas. Right?

“Fuck, Harry,” Louis whispered, sounding choked.

Harry waited, saying nothing. He could not understand if Louis sounded repelled or not.

“Wh-what is…” Harry mumbled, scared to know but impatient to go on.

“You are…” Louis placed his palm over Harry’s pelvic bone, caressing the place. Harry bit down on his lips.

“I love how smooth you are, baby,” Louis said, “so fucking smooth.”

Harry exhaled when Louis’ lips touched his pelvic bone, again, for longer this time. He knew he was blushing when his cock jumped, almost against Louis’ cheek.

Then Louis was moving down, looking at his cock. Harry wanted to hide it. His hands rose to do just that and Louis growled, stilling him.

“Hands besides you, omega. I will tie them otherwise.”

Harry let his hands drop beside him. His eyes wide and glossy.

Louis’ left hand came up slowly and took Harry’s cock in a circle. Harry jumped, feeling the heat from the alpha’s fist. He did not know his dick could be that hard. Louis gave it a tug, purring when he saw how pre-cum shone on the tip. He pulled his hand down to see the head, pulling down the foreskin.

Harry was squirming. His hands were grasping the bed-sheet.

“Louis… please,” he whimpered as the alpha jerked him. Once.

“On a second thought,” Louis mused, frowning, “I can jerk you off like this. Would you like it?”

Harry shook his head, whining high in his throat, “please. Please.”

Louis squeezed the base, “words, omega. What do you need?”

Harry glared down at the alpha, his lips trembling, “your…you-your lips.”

There was a small tug on Louis’ lips, lifting them upwards slightly, “my lips on?”

Harry closed his eyes, face heating up, “on me.”

Louis sighed, “be more specific, Harry.”

Harry blinked, his name sounding foreign coming from Louis. Omega. He liked that.

“Your…” he gulped, trying to coat his dry throat with saliva, “your mouth on my co…cock.”

Louis hummed, “as you wish, Harry.”

It sounded wrong. Harry tried to say that. Omega. Call him omega.

His entire body seized with current when he felt those thin lips over the slit of his cock. Harry jerked bodily, his arms flying up and fingers grasping the alpha’s hair in a death grip.

Louis kissed the slit thrice and then went down. The tip of his nose dragging over the underside of Harry’s cock. Harry was not sure how to hold back the moan. He let it out.

When Louis reached the base, the alpha nuzzled his nose there, inhaling. Harry opened his mouth, trying to inhale some air.

“You smell so good,” Louis said and then he was kissing Harry’s balls. Harry jumped as the alpha’s left hand came up to fondle with them. Louis came up, his lips hovering over the head of Harry’s cock.

“Look at me, Harry.”

Harry shook his head, eyes closed. He could not. He would come if he looked at the alpha.

“I said,” Louis spoke, tone hard, “look at me, omega.”

Harry blinked, looking down and instantly arching off the bed. Louis looked predatory even when he was taking Harry in his mouth. He looked fully in control. Harry was not sure what to do, so he just stared, his eyes shimmering with tears.

Louis opened his mouth, slowly bending down.

The moment the head of Harry’s cock disappeared into that mouth, Harry cried out, thrashing his head from side to side. The moist heat around the head was something Harry had never felt.

When he looked down, Louis was hollowing his cheeks, taking Harry deeper. The alpha bobbed his head, his tongue caressing the underside of Harry’s cock, following the vein with the tip of his tongue. Harry gasped when he felt the suction. Louis was sucking him in time to time.

It felt like Louis was sucking away Harry’s life through his cock. Harry whimpered when Louis tugged at his base, tightening his hold there. Harry watched, mesmerized as Louis went down, down until his nose touched the base. Louis stayed there, letting Harry feel the contraction of his throat. Harry mewled, his hips moving, jerking forward. Louis pulled away, his eyes glassy as he stared at Harry, eyes hard.

“Stay still,” the alpha said.

Harry nodded frantically, eyes wide. He did not want to offend the alpha. He did not want Louis to think that he was not worth it. That he was irritatingly naïve. Harry bit his lips, trying to still himself against the pull he felt towards the alpha.

Louis studied him for a moment and then the alpha took him in again. Harry pressed his lips together, trying not to cry out. Louis placed his hands on the sides of Harry’s hips, bobbing his head with such vigour that Harry felt the skin around his cock was getting sensitive. He pressed his tongue on the underside of Harry’s cock, rubbing it. Louis was taking Harry deeper and pulling out as fast as he could and then he was going down again.

Harry could not hold back his cries when Louis hummed around his cock. The vibration buzzing Harry’s entire self and the omega whined, earning a growl from the alpha.

The next drag was slow; Louis went slowly down and came up slowly, licking the slit. It tickled and Harry had never felt so sensitive in his entire life.

Harry could feel the heat in his stomach, growing. A fireball was forming in his abdomen as Louis kept going on. The intensity of the fire was so much that Harry’s whole body went rigid, his toes curling.

He could not help but tug at Louis’ hair, asking or just trying to convey his need.

“Come, Omega.”

Harry closed his eyes, his dick twitched in Louis’ mouth and the fireball was bursting in him.

Louis did not pull back. Harry watched as the alpha took everything Harry let out and then pulled away.

Those blue eyes were set on him as Louis glided up over Harry’s body.

Harry shivered when the alpha came up face to face. Their eyes met, nose almost touching.

Louis leaned in, saying nothing.

Harry jutted out his chin when Louis’ closed lips touched his. He opened his lips to welcome the alpha. His eyes closed. Satisfied and sated. Harry felt like soft cotton, floating in the air.

His eyes snapped open when he felt hot liquid oozing out of Louis’ mouth and into his. Harry could taste the saltiness in his mouth. It was warm and somewhat bitter. Harry blinked up at Louis when the alpha looked down at him, detaching their lips.

The alpha was sweaty; his brows furrowed and face gleaming with sweat. The white substance was coating the corner of his lips, making them glossy. His cum.

“Swallow it,” he said, ordered almost.

And Harry did, swallowed his own cum. His eyes were set on Louis’ face. The alpha’s eyes were set on his lips though.

“Show me,” came another order. Harry opened his mouth silently and Louis groaned.

Harry jumped when the alpha’s mouth crashed down on him, taking him up in a bruising kiss.

“Fuck, you are so beautiful, Harry,” Louis was saying between the kisses, “do you have any idea what I want to do to you?”

Harry’s hands came up to hold the alpha closer his body relaxing under the weight of the alpha. He mewled.

“So fucking pretty,” Louis said.

Harry felt the hardness of Louis’ cock against his stomach, his brain finally catching up.

“You…” he moaned, Louis pushing down more to capture his lips again. Harry looked up at him, “you did not come.”

Louis shrugged, “I am fine. It was about you.”

Soft tickles went through Harry’s body, his eyes drooping.

Louis pulled away then, after planting an open mouth kiss on Harry’s lips.

“Sleep now,” Louis said, detaching himself from the omega.

Harry frowned as the coldness took place around him suddenly, the alpha’s warm body moving away. He watched Louis rolling over, almost at the edge of the bed. Then the alpha was sitting up, leaving the bed.

Something broke inside Harry. Right.

It was just physical. There was nothing more to it. Louis was not his alpha. He would not stay with Harry to lead him through the aftermath, the next part that came after sex. There would be no cuddling. No spooning. Harry blinked, his blissfully tired body now suddenly exhausted. He watched the alpha as Louis stepped away from the bed, going for the door.

Harry could not blame the alpha. He wanted it to be physical. Louis had asked, did not he? Harry was the one who wanted it to be strictly physical.

The room was icy suddenly. The bed cold and void. Too big.

Harry whimpered, his eyes watering.

Louis stopped at the doorframe. His neck craning as he looked back.

Harry whimpered, his lips wobbling. He felt vulnerable, naked and left alone on the bed. The duvet was almost around his ankle and Harry was so tired, he could not pull it up. He did not want to pull it up; he wanted the alpha to take care of him. He wanted Louis to think about him. His brain was too fuzzy to work properly, sex driven. That was what it felt like and Harry knew that stage. His teachers from sex education class had taught him how an omega would go in subspace after sex, even if it were not a full course. He knew that subspace happened only if you trusted the alpha to a level where you knew that he would take care of you. Harry did not know that he trusted Louis that much but his omega was almost shutting off. It wanted Louis to take over. Please.

Take care of us as we nest. Please.

“What?” Louis asked, tentative.

Harry reached out, knowing that the door was on the other side of the room and the alpha was out of his reach, “stay.”

Louis hesitated, his eyes roaming over Harry’s face and then looking down at his own feet. When the alpha looked up, he looked unsure.

“Are you sure?”

Harry nodded, his eyes set on the alpha. He could not move his head too heavy and his body still floating. Was not it Louis’ duty to check if the omega was fine or not? Harry could feel tears forming in his eyes and he felt woeful. He almost cried with relief when Louis turned back towards him, stepping closer.

Harry pressed his lips together when Louis pulled down his track-pant, leaving himself only in his black boxers. Then the alpha was climbing up on the bed on all four. He watched Louis coming closer, looking like a scared yet monarchical alpha.

When the alpha lay down beside Harry, Harry sighed. Louis rested on his back, his right arm folded under his head and his left arm opened wordlessly. Harry blushed, looking at the inviting gesture and then slid up. His arm found its way over Louis’ chest and his head rested at the crook of the alpha’s neck.

He felt the press of those lips on his head and Harry inhaled shakily, taking in the alpha’s scent.

“Sleep now, omega.”

Harry closed his eyes.

Omega.

He liked when Louis called him that.

===

Harry woke up to shouting. He blinked, trying to come back to sense when Louis stormed into the room, his posture tensed and hands shaking.

The alpha went straight for the cupboards, pulling out a drawer that had his shirts.

Harry watched, wordlessly, the alpha dress. Louis was muttering something to himself, pulling up the jeans. He hopped on the spot, turning around. Their eyes met and Louis just shook his head when Harry opened his mouth.

“I need to leave,” the alpha was rushing out after that.

Harry blinked.

His eyes on the door.

What had the hell happened? What was the time? For how long did he sleep?

===

All Liam saw was blood and it was satisfactory. Punch, pull your hand back, and punch again. It was like a dancing move. The wail that came from the man was music to his ears. Every other noise was white noise by that time. All he saw was the man in front of him, saying something or just simply crying for mercy.

Liam growled when he felt someone pulling him away from the man, restraining his arms. Someone was pulling him back by holding his waist.

He thrashed, shouting, screaming as the person in front of him curled up like a ball, shielding his body from Liam.

“Liam! Let go,” someone was shouting, trying to hold him back.

Liam shook his head, “this bastard knows…” he gave a jerk, freeing himself, lurching forward, “this motherfucker knows where Niall is.”

“No, he doesn’t, Liam. Stop beating him!”

Zayn.

He was trying to hold Liam back.

Liam hauled Mr Horan up, shaking his body like a dry leaf, “tell me! Where is your son?”

Mr Horan tried to push him away, fueling Liam’s anger even more. He brought his knee up, hitting the man’s abdomen perfectly.

Mr Horan coughed out blood, wailing in pain. He begged the onlookers to help him but everyone knew Liam in their pack. No one came forward to help.

Liam pulled his hand back, looking at the man’s pained face.

“Liam!”

The shout rattled Liam’s bones, shaking up everyone around them. The whole gathering stopped on their tracks. Liam could hear omegas gasping around them. Yes, his best friend still had that effect. Bastard!

Liam let go of Mr Horan, sighing. He looked ahead, hearing the footsteps.

Louis came to stand beside him, looking at Mr Horan.

“Steve,” he called, voice thick with tension.

Liam watched Steve stepping forward, looking at Louis.

“Take him to the pack-house. Arrange whatever he needs. Call the doctors,” the alpha commanded.

Steve nodded, stepping forward. Two betas came up too, helping him to carry Mr Horan in his arms.

Liam’s jaw clenched when Louis turned to look at him. He was ready to pounce if Louis was going to shout at him.

“Come on,” Louis said instead. Liam almost flinched back when the alpha grasped his wrist and pulled him forward. By the sound of it, Zayn was following them too. Liam noticed that they were not going for the pack-house. Louis pulled him towards the river.

Their hanging-out spot. The flat surface over that huge boulder at the bank of Ciara was their hanging spot.

Louis hopped on the boulder, looking at Liam. Zayn nudged him forward, Liam leapt over it, sitting down with his hands over his bent knees. Zayn sat beside Louis.

They stayed quiet for a long time, just watching the river.

“Why beating him up was a valid idea?” Louis sounded controlled, calm.

Liam shrugged, “he knows about Niall.”

Zayn shook his head, “how would you know that?”

Liam glared at the beta, “of course he knows. Niall loves him too much to leave him like that. He would surely know about this plan. Niall left the pack, Zayn! He would have surely discussed it with that fucker!”

Before Zayn could say something, Louis was pulling out a pack of cigarette for them, lighting up one for himself.

“Mr Horan knows nothing,” Louis said, letting out a ring of smoke.

Liam and Zayn both looked at him questioningly.

Louis was facing the river, his face as calm as always.

“How do you know that?” Liam asked, indignant.

Louis shrugged, “I have fixed a spy behind him.”

Zayn and Liam made eye contact, silently trying to come up with words.

Louis smiled, turning his head towards Liam with a smirk, “I am always two steps ahead of you, Liam.”

Liam had no words. He had to agree.

“Well,” Zayn said, “that’s good.”

Louis nodded, “I have spies allotted for almost all of you and beyond our packs. I am not sure about the exact time but I will find Niall. Soon.”

Liam frowned, “almost all of us means? Us too?”

When Louis nodded, Zayn and Liam frowned, “why would we hide Niall?”

Louis shook his head, “not because you will hide him. They follow you so that they can keep eyes on those people who meet you every day. Maybe someone is involved in this. They might come to meet one of you to see how you are doing. I want to know if something like that happens. I have my eyes fixed on Harry too. If Niall calls him, I will know.”

Zayn snorted, “You have your eyes fixed on Harry anyway.”

Liam did not indulge in that though, he looked deep in thought, “Well, if not his father then, he has a relative in the Holland pack. Remember? His aunt or something?”

Louis looked at him questioningly, “In the Holland pack? I have never seen them. How’d you know?”

Liam shrugged, “I have heard him talk to her. He was really close to her as it sounded. They would talk almost every day.”

Louis frowned, “how did I not know it?”

Liam shrugged, “he never really talked a lot to us, did he?”

Louis nodded. Right. After a certain age, Niall kind of recoiled, keeping everything to himself. The easygoing omega was lost somewhere and they did not even bother to ask him why. Niall was suffering and no one really thought to ask him how much. Louis felt like kicking himself. How could he just turn blind eyes towards the omega? Niall was his friend too!

Zayn leaned forward, “do you know their names at least?”

Liam nodded, “Martha something. I never paid that much attention.”

Louis looked down, “none of did. We cared but not enough.”

Zayn and Liam stayed silent, nothing was there to say.

“What can we do now?” Liam asked.

Zayn looked deep in thought, “we can call them up. Ask them about the aunt?”

Louis shook his head when Liam nodded in agreement.

“What?” Liam asked, irritated, “why are you shaking your head?”

Louis looked at him, unimpressed, “you two are idiots. We will call them and then what? Niall will sit there, waiting for us to go and get him? He ran away, Liam. If he is there, he might run again. We can’t call them.”

Zayn nodded, deep in thought, “then what?”

Louis made a clicking sound with his tongue, “then we call Mason and ask him to collect the information.”

Two pairs of eyes turned to look at him, both confused, “Mason?”

Louis nodded, “he works in that pack. He goes there almost every day. If we tell him, he will find out Martha.”

Zayn nodded, “okay then. You call him,” he turned to face Liam, “did Sophia try to contact you?”

Liam shook his head, “no. I didn’t see her face ‘til now.”

Louis nodded, scraping the surface of the stone, “how are you?”

Liam said nothing.

How was he?

He felt nothing. Which… maybe was a relief. The emptiness was always better than pain filling you up.

Liam had not eaten in so long that his stomach rolled from time to time. Yet, he did not feel like eating something.

Tears were not coming to his eyes but they burnt, itched with something like pin poking on them.

He had left his house in a track-pant and a T-shirt that had so many wrinkles on it. Niall would have scrunched his nose up in distaste but he was not here. Was he?

Liam’s wolf was in a complete shutdown mode, ignoring every command from him.

How was he?

“I am fine.”

Louis looked like he knew anyway. He did not prod. Zayn squeezed his knee, smiling at him gently.

“It’s not like I can’t live without him,” Liam whispered, blinking rapidly.

Louis pulled him into his chest, hugging him from the side. Zayn rubbed his back, sniffling.

Liam hid his face against the soft fabric of Louis’ T-shirt.

Louis ignored the dampness against his chest, his T-shirt soaking up as Liam hid there. He looked at Zayn, the beta had tears in his eyes too. Louis held his hand open, accepting the weight of the beta when he threw himself in the hug.

None of them said anything when Liam’s sobs started catching the sound.

===

Harry worked along with Melissa and Jay in the pack-kitchen. His eyes kept wandering over to the spot at his left. No one was working there today. No one was offering him cookies or bites of cakes. No one was cracking jokes with Harry. No one was trying to distract him with a bit of flour on his head. That side was empty. Cold. Silent.

Harry blinked down at the flour, trying not to cry. He missed Niall. Niall was the first friend he made who was there only for him, Harry, not his status or the power that came with his title. Niall was the first friend Harry made with whom he was completely himself. Niall was the pillar for Harry.

“He will be fine,” Jay said, her hand coming up to rest on Harry’s back.

Harry shook his head, “I can’t believe he just left, you know? I can’t believe he was going through so much but he did not even tell me. He had planned this, yeah? That means he was going through the turmoil for so long. He did not even utter a word to me, Jay. I feel like I have failed him as a friend. I knew I saw that Liam was a pathetic alpha to him but I did not realize… it was so deep. I thought they were just waiting for the divorce and Niall was…”

Melissa came to hug him from the side as Harry closed his eyes, trying to get a grip. Jay kissed his hair, pulling him in for a proper hug.

“Niall will be fine. He is very stable and composed. He will be absolutely fine. I know that,” Melissa said, murmuring.

Harry hid his face against Jay’s shoulder, trying to breathe.

“Melissa is right. Niall is not hurt, I am sure,” Harry shook his head, not believing it. Jay sighed, “If you can’t trust that, trust my son,” Jay said, “he will find Niall out. Liam and Zayn also. Liam is his alpha. He will not give up. None of them will.”

Harry shivered as Jay mentioned Louis.

Louis.

Louis, who left in a rush and did not even come back yet. Louis was taking up Harry’s mind since that morning.

Harry closed his eyes, trying to absorb Jay’s warmth. Away from his home, away from Anne, Jay had become a mother figure to him. He had started to love her. Harry hugged her tightly, trying to shake off every tension he had.

There was a commotion and they broke apart. They looked at the door of the kitchen to see the invaders.

ED walked in, smiling shortly at Jay, “Louis asked you all to come into the living room, please.”

Jay nodded, gesturing for Harry and Melissa to follow.

When they reached the living room, Harry noticed Louis out of everyone. He was sitting on top of the backrest of the sofa, his boots on a cushion.

Jay swatted at his bicep, “put your dirty shoes on the floor, mister!”

Louis made a face and hopped down, sitting properly in between Zayn and Liam.

Harry noticed how Louis completely ignored his presence.

“Why did you call us?” Melissa asked, sitting down beside Liam, hand coming up to rest on Liam’s back softly. Liam leaned against her, his shoulders sagging.

Louis waited until Jay and Harry were sitting down too and ED left the room.

Then he looked at Melissa and Jay, perfectly ignoring Harry, “We think Niall is in the Holland pack.”

Harry gasped, leaning forward with interest, so did Jay and Melissa.

“Why Holland pack?” Melissa asked, curious and confused.

Jay shook her head, “I can’t believe I did not think about it. Holland pack, yes. He has an aunt there.”

Louis nodded, a smile gracing his lips, “exactly. That’s what Liam said too. I just want to know if you all know something more than that aunt’s name.”

Melissa shook her head in denial but Jay frowned.

“Well,” she said, thinking, “She is Martha Walsh. Niall’s mother’s cousin or something but she was really close to him. She had lost her child in an accident. Since then she took care of Niall like her own son. She lives with her second husband in Holland pack. Works in a hardware store. Her husband is a merchant. I think they hold a good status in Holland pack. They can give Niall shelter and you might need to force your power to bring him back if that is the case. They will fight tooth and nail.”

Louis nodded, his hands folded and index fingers touching his lips as he frowned down at the floor.

“So who is going to check if he is there or not?” Melissa asked.

“Mason,” Louis said, still thinking, “I will take his help as he works in that pack. He will do it for us.”

Harry wanted to scoff, of course, he would. Not for them but for Louis.

Maybe his face showed something. When he looked up, Zayn was watching him with a twitch of his lips, his eyes glinting with mirth. Harry rolled his eyes, looking away.

Zayn coughed to hide his surprised laugh.

“What?” Louis asked the beta, confused.

Zayn shook his head, “nothing. Continue.”

Louis nodded, “So, I was saying that Mason will get the information for us and then we will go there. I don’t want to warn Niall by any chance if he is there. We don’t know how he might react.”

Everyone nodded.

“When is Mason going to call you back?” Melissa asked.

“Tomorrow, after his shift is over. He needs some time to gather the information. If Niall is there, he might not come out of the house in fear of someone knowing. In that case, Mason needs some excuse to go to that house and talk. That might take some time.” Louis explained, his eyes set on a point at the opposite wall.

“Why are you so tensed though?” Jay asked.

Louis looked at her, “what if he is not there?”

Jay reached out, squeezing Louis’ left knee, “be positive, Boo. We can’t lose hope.”

Liam shook his head, “we are not losing hope. We will find him out. We surely will.”

Melissa held him closer, it was so blatantly visible that she cared for him just as much as she did for Louis.

Harry sat there, not sure how he could help. His eyes fleet over everyone but mostly stayed locked on Louis.

The alpha’s attention was divided. Jay asking him questions, Zayn telling him about the progress of the plan, Liam and Melissa murmuring something that catching his attention and his vibrating phone.

A call.

Louis pulled out his phone and looked at it. A smile graced his lips. He hushed everyone, silencing them all.

“Mason,” Louis sounded breathy and so delighted.

Harry looked down, at Liam’s jeans. It had a hole, raw fabric bitten and cut through. Harry concentrated on the skin that was visible through the gap. Scratched and batted, Liam’s skin looked scratched and batted.

Harry felt like Liam’s skin.

“Great, then. Tell me, when can we meet? We need to discuss it face to face. Yes. Okay. Fine. I will pick you up. Call me when you reach.”

Harry stood up, gaining everyone’s unwanted attention. He motioned towards the staircase.

“Excuse me,” he whispered, leaving the room as fast as he could.

He was not crying, he was not wailing but there was something, nagging him. He left shreds of clothes behind him throughout the floor and closed the door of the bathroom.

Pulling the curtains close, he turned on the shower, closing his eyes under the spray of water. As the temperature of the water settled, Harry closed his eyes, revealing his face to the force of water.

His arms came up to hug his stomach, curling in on himself.

Bluest eyes flashed through his mind, making Harry flinch. Harry blinked, trying to wipe away the drops of water from his eyelashes. New drops took place over them and after a moment, Harry gave up.

Harry felt insecure. He felt insecure about his body, his capability and last night. At the same time, he felt over dramatic. Why was he wallowing in his own petty insecurities when he should be worried sick about Niall?

He was. Of course, he was worried about Niall but at the same time, what happened last night was huge for him.

He was not sure if it was equally important to Louis or not but to Harry, it was very important that he let someone touch the most private parts of his body and heart last night. It was important to him that he had trusted the alpha with everything he had and he wanted the acknowledgement. He could not blame Louis, the alpha was busy, Harry knew that. Louis was not ignoring him on purpose but Harry’s omega was unsettled. He did not get what an omega deserved after a night like that. It was Harry’s first time experiencing passion like that. His omega wanted what every omega deserved.

Nest.

His omega demanded a nest, with the alpha by his side. His omega needed the aftercare, which was missing. It was like after a hardcore BDSM scene the master left the sub without bringing him back from the subspace.

Harry was not out of the space where his mind had wandered off. He was still skittish and jumpy. He needed some time to nest.

The alpha should be here.

Harry felt hollow, his skin burning even under the water. Steam curled around him, enveloping him but Harry felt stripped naked for everyone to see. He felt like everyone was watching him as he desperately searched for a piece of clothing to hide his nakedness. He felt helpless because it was not a piece of cloth he needed, he needed a living being, that alpha who had opened the floodgate and was now missing. Harry wanted a pair of warm arms around him, soothing him as he soaked in the warmth. He wanted soft words murmured against his ears as he tried to breathe normally. He wanted to nest with the alpha.

His knees were shaking, the distress pulling him down. Harry gave in, sitting down on the cold tiles, cross-legged and folded arms. Lukewarm water sprayed over his body, erasing and washing away the presence that clung to his skin. But what about the presence that tormented his heart?

There was a sound.

Harry blinked as the door of the bathroom opened. His heart thrummed against his chest as his eyes focused on the shadow beyond the curtain.

Louis.

Harry knew that instantly.

Louis walked closer, the shadow growing against the curtain. Harry sat there, watching.

Louis did not slide the curtain away. It stayed between them, hiding them from each other.

“Are you fine?” came an uncertain voice.

Harry wanted to laugh, shout at the alpha that no, he was not fine. He wanted to rip the curtain off and just glare at the man who stole his peace. He wanted to scream and hurt the alpha the way his omega was hurting.

But he had no energy. His eyes were set on the shadow for a second and then he looked down at his hands.

“I am removing the curtain, yeah?”

Harry said nothing, his eyes boring on his hands.

The curtain made a sound against the metal rod as it slid away, removing the last wall. Harry squeezed his eyes shut when he felt the alpha’s eyes on him. It was tranquillizing and disturbing at the same time.

Nothing. No sound, no movement, nothing.

He blinked his eyes open, the tiles coming in his focus. Harry looked at them and then the movement caught his eyes. Someone was moving around behind him. Harry craned his neck to see that the alpha was doing something in the bathtub.

He was filling the bathtub.

Harry turned on his spot, watching silently as Louis moved around.

Epsom salt, different kinds of oils were poured into the bathtub. Then Louis was leaving the room.

Harry sat as time went on; Louis came back with a carton of milk! Harry furrowed his brows, curious.

He stood up, naked and completely at the display. He did not care though. He tapped the shower off and walked closer to the tub, watching.

Louis poured the whole carton of milk in the tub, mixing it with his hand.

“Sit,” he told Harry, pointing at the edge of the tub. Harry did, silently watching the alpha at work.

Louis looked focused, an expert in the work at hand. He turned towards the curtains then, dropping them and closing the source of sunlight into the room. The orange hue was enough for them to work with.

Next was a bottle of scented oil, poured into the water.

Some kind of minty bath salts were mixed in the tub too.

Then Louis was dusting his hands off on his jeans and unbuckling them.

His eyes fell on Harry and stayed there as he undressed.

“Boxers on or off?” he asked Harry, sounding so neutral. Harry had no words. He was shivering, cold from the shower. He looked down at his thighs and shrugged.

“Whatever you prefer.”

He was not sure what was going on but he knew that a bath was the first step of nesting. What was Louis doing?

Louis kept his boxers on, motioning for Harry to sit in front of him when he was into the tub.

Harry did, slowly sank down. His back was pressed against Louis’ chest and the alpha pulled him closer, steering Harry properly.

A sigh escaped Harry’s lips when he closed his eyes, his head falling back to rest on Louis’ shoulder. It was calming, the way Louis’ chest rose and fell against Harry’s back was soothing.

The water sloshed against their skin, splashing over the rim of the tub when Louis’ hands came up to hold Harry’s waist.

Harry blinked when he felt the alpha’s nose trailing over his shoulder, leaving behind soft kisses.

“I wanted to stay with you when you wake up,” Louis murmured against Harry’s ear, “but Zayn had called and I had to leave. I am sorry.”

Harry shook his head, turning as much as he could to mould his sides to the alpha’s front. When he looked up, his head resting on the crook of Louis’ neck, he found the alpha’s eyes easily. Harry reached out, rubbing his left hand on that sharp chin.

“I understood,” he whispered.

For a moment, Louis just stared down at him and then the alpha was looking away, not meeting Harry’s eyes anymore. Harry stared though, his omega cataloguing everything. There was rigidness in Louis’ stance. The alpha did not look comfortable or maybe he was thinking something. Harry looked down, his hand rubbing the alpha’s chest, water smearing on those brown strands. Harry turned his head slightly, inwards, kissing that collarbone. His omega was thriving, soaking up the alpha and the warmth. The bathroom was filled with the scent of the salts and bombs and Harry inhaled, taking everything in. He took a handful of water and rubbed it over Louis’ collarbones, wiping it gently.

Just like an alpha, an omega liked to take care of the alpha who was offering him a nest. The omega liked to have the domestic urges filled.

One of those urges was taking care of the alpha.

Harry hid his face against Louis’ neck, kissing there and rubbing some water over the alpha’s chest. The milk was making the water white; it looked authentic on Louis’ golden skin. Harry watched, mesmerized, as drops after drops of water rolled down over that torso. He sighed, hearing Louis’ purring voice as the alpha mumbled something against his hair.

He never thought he would love something so typical. When he had heard from omegas in his pack and even here that nesting was the best thing if your alpha is with you, Harry had always rolled his eyes and just pursed his lips in distaste. He did not see the point of simply staying closer and doing nothing. Nick had never made it a big deal too. Harry knew that if you were strong enough, you did not need to nest. It was for the weaker ones.

Now he understood that no. It was not typical or it was not about mental strength, it was about having that person closer to whom your omega had chosen to open up to. It was about the trust. It was about reliving those moments and taking care of each other.

Harry stopped when his eyes met Louis’ Adam’s apple. It bobbed, the alpha inhaling as Harry nuzzled against his chest.

“I know,” Louis whispered, stopping to cough, “I know that one day you will leave this pack.”

Harry blinked, his eyes set on the alpha’s throat, it bobbed again.

“I know that one day you will…” there was a strained pause and then Louis whispered again, his voice thick with emotions, “you will leave with Nick. Can I ask for one thing though?”

Harry could feel his own throat closing up, his words getting lost somewhere in his twisting stomach. The warm water was getting colder, slowly, steadily. He nodded, not daring to look up.

Arms tightened around him as Louis’ chest rose with an inhale. A long pause…

“Promise me that you will inform me before you leave.”

Harry forgot blinking, his eyes set on that Adam’s apple.

“Please, I will… I will not protest, I won’t try to stop you but please don’t leave like Niall. I might not…”

There was a crack in that voice. Harry dared himself to look up and when he did, his heart lurched. There was a curling in his stomach, something rolling in his abdomen.

Those blue eyes were not on him, they were staring ahead but they were not dry. Tears were glistening in those deep pools. Harry could almost feel an arrow going through his heart, splattering blood everywhere as it went through his heart, ripping it open. Pain. Pain mixed with something unrecognizable shot through his chest.

“I will let you go, I promise,” Louis whispered, stopping to breathe, “But please don’t leave like Niall. I might not surv…” those eyes dropped on Harry’s face then, “I am not as strong as Liam.”

Harry could not breathe when tears started rolling down from those blue orbs. Not a single drop, no. Like a stream. An unbroken stream, they were falling. Louis was not even trying to wipe them away or hide the fear. Harry could easily see fear clouding those eyes and pain. So much pain.

“I will not stop you. I just… I can’t imagine waking up and seeing that you are gone… I might…” Louis blabbered, his eyes flitting over Harry’s face, “I promise you, I…” Louis closed his eyes for a second, gathering his words, when he opened his eyes, Harry felt breathless, “I will personally drop you off but please don’t leave like him.”

Harry felt like someone was peeling off his skin, then rubbing salt over those bloodied places. He felt immobile. His inside was churning but no words came to his tongue. Nothing.

Louis was looking at him; his eyes cloudy yet clear as the rain-washed sky. Harry gulped, his heart squeezing out wave after wave of agony.

He could not form words. He could not find his voice. All he got was a whirlpool of emotions that was clogging his throat and he felt desperate. He wanted to reach out, wipe the fear out of Louis’ eyes or maybe tell him that he would never do that. But words failed him and he saw, with desperation, as the fear grew in those blue eyes. And then Louis was trying to pull his arms away, recoiling.

Harry did what his desperate heart suggested, ignoring his brain completely.

He surged forward, his arms grasping the alpha’s face in his hands. Louis gasped when their lips crashed together. Harry poured everything into that kiss, every confusion, every heartbreak and every unreasonable feeling. His hands grasped Louis a little closer when the alpha’s lips started moving along with him. He felt the water splashing against the tub when Louis suddenly hauled him up and on his lap. Harry straddled him, kissing those lips so feverishly that Louis moaned, rubbing Harry’s back. Harry did not think twice before he was pushing closer to the alpha, begging him to open his mouth. Louis did just that, opening his mouth for Harry to take. Their breath mixed and so did their emotions. Harry could not pull away and Louis did not let him.

“Harry…” Louis croaked, pulling away to look up at him.

Harry was not done though, he whined, moving forward, his eyes stuck on those lips. Those lips, glistening with saliva. Harry wanted them on his. Please.

He moved forward again, whining as soon as their lips met again. They kissed like that for a long time, moans and growls filling the bathroom. Then the alpha was pulling Harry’s head down, hiding his face against his own neck.

“Shush,” Louis hushed Harry when the omega tried to say something. And Harry closed his mouth.

“Did I overwhelm you?” Louis asked then, gentle and reluctant.

Harry hid his face, shaking his head, “take me to bed, please.”

And Louis sighed, tension leaving his shoulders just like that.

“As you wish, sir.”

Harry smiled, biting his lips as he looked into those eyes, “don’t leave?”

Louis smiled, small and so very gentle, “Okay.”

===

Harry watched as Louis arranged them closer to each other. Harry wore just a boxer and so did Louis. As they lay there, on that bed, Harry nuzzled closer to Louis.

After a long silence, Harry looked up at that calm face.

“I’d never do that,” Harry whispered, watching how the afternoon sun glinted on Louis’ face. Louis did not look at him, his lips pressed together.

Harry huffed, reaching out to touch the alpha’s face to pull it down. Louis did as Harry wanted, those eyes settling down on Harry’s face. Harry tried to smile, knowing he managed a very wobbly one.

“I won’t leave like that,” Harry said, shaking his head.

Louis sighed, his eyes still so far away, “yeah. Okay.”

Then he was closing his eyes. Harry nuzzled closer again, inhaling the refreshing smell of the alpha.

Harry tried to ignore the question his heart was asking him all along.

How would he leave if Louis would look at him like that? How would he just turn away and never look back when those arms felt so assuring and secure around him?

His eyes closed when Louis’ arms tightened around his shoulders.

Some other time. He would think about it some other time.

===

Chapter Text

Louis blinked. His eyes did their job, he saw the omega in front of him, frowning at him confusedly but his brain did not work. He was not going to blame his brain though. Those eight words were enough to shock him into immobility.

“I will have my heat in two days.”

Louis opened his mouth, closed it with a snap. He eyed the omega, trying to see what the omega expected him to say. Harry looked confused, for Louis. Louis wanted to laugh. What a situation!

Finally, he settled on the most pressing question.

“Do you want to go to your parents?”

Harry blinked. His brows pulled down towards the centre of his forehead. The omega looked at him, offended.

“Do you want me to go?” Harry asked, voice deep with nonchalance but Louis could hear the insecurity in those words.

Louis back-paddled, searching his brain for something to say.

“Do you…” dread pooled in his stomach, his alpha roaring inside his chest but Louis had to ask, “do you want to go to Nick?”

The omega squirmed, his eyes zeroed on Louis’ face. Those lips, those puffy lips jutted outwards.

“Do you want me to?”

Louis stood up, going for the window and leaning on the frame. His eyes took in the mist, settled over the jungle. The sun was not brightly shining on his face, winter was knocking of their doorstep. The chilly air did nothing to sooth the burn in Louis’ chest. Louis closed his eyes, inhaling the fogged air. He needed to be mature here.

“If you want to go and spend your heat with your alpha then I am no one to stop you, Harry.”

Louis’ voice cracked at the end. He hoped Harry did not notice it.

There was no reply. Louis waited. His heart thrashed against his ribcage, or was it his primal instinct?

“What do you want me to do?” Harry sounded tentative but curious at the same time.

Louis wanted to jump out of the window, take a run or maybe just run away as Niall did. Two months ago.

“It is your choice, Harry. I can’t tell you anything.”

There was silence again but Louis could hear the omega squirming on the bed, the ruffling of the sheets.

“I can’t go home because what will your pack think? And I have never spent my heat with Nick.”

Louis let go of the windowsill and sighed. His alpha calming as he let the words settle in.

“Then?”

He heard those soft steps and then felt Harry beside him. Louis stayed where he was, staring ahead. Harry’s left arm touched his right. Louis wanted to pull back but…

“I want to stay here if it is not a problem for you.”

Louis wanted to laugh. He wanted to turn around at laugh at Harry. Here? In this room? Harry in heat? Sure, why not? Oh, wait. No, because an alpha lived here!

“I live here, Harry. In case you forgot.”

Harry huffed, “then what do you suggest?”

I suggest you kill me, free me from this misery.

Louis rubbed his hands on his face, “if you stay here and I leave, what do you think my mother will say or think?”

Harry swore, “you wanted me to go to my place, you dumbass! What then?”

Louis flared his arms, “because I just woke up, I just woke up, Harry, and you came up with this heat thing. I have not had my coffee yet. I need something to settle my head. I don’t know. Tell me what can we do now!”

Harry turned to stare at him, “are you trying to tell me that it’s my fault that you did not have your coffee? I brought it, there,” he pointed somewhere near the bed, “you did not have it. Don’t blame me!” The last part was almost a shout.

Louis looked at the omega, noticing those red-rimmed eyes. He was stunned by that sudden outburst.

What?

Harry sniffed, “I am this close to my heat, my whole body is aching yet I made you coffee and you are blaming me!”

PHS!

Harry was having his pre-heat syndrome!

Louis wanted to curse, so he did.

“For fuck's sake!”

He was not supposed to do it apparently. Harry flinched away, stepping back from him.

Louis did not think this time. He stepped forward and pulled the omega in his arms, nosing those locks as Harry collided with his chest.

“Shh,” he whispered when Harry sniffled again.

“Do you know anything about an omega in heat?” asked the omega next.

Louis nodded. He did. Well, he had been with some omegas in heat.

“I have experience, yes.”

Apparently, that was not something Harry wanted to hear. He tried to move away, pushing at Louis’ chest. Louis held on though. His arms tightened around the omega.

“You wanted to know.”

Harry sighed, “I… were they your lovers?”

Louis shook his head, “just there for each other. When my rut crossed with their heats.”

Harry stayed silent, “did you help them in nesting?”

That…

Louis did not.

Nesting? Was not it for pregnant omegas?

“Umm… none of them was pregnant?” he said or asked.

Harry huffed, pulling away to look at Louis, “when an omega is pregnant, they don’t get heats, Louis! What’s wrong with you?”

Louis shrugged, “then what nesting you are talking about?”

Harry bit his lips, his eyes sliding down to stop over Louis’ Adam’s apple, “an omega nests before a heat. Two days of nesting and relaxation graduates towards the heat. In these two days, the omega stays in the room he is the most comfortable with and tries to build a safe place for him to get…” red hue rose on those cheeks as Harry averted his eyes.

Louis blinked, confused, “him to get what?”

Harry shook his head, some of those unruly curls flopping down to hide his face.

“Pregnant. An omega’s main instinct is to get pregnant. He makes a safe place for himself and the breeding process. The omega assembles his alpha’s things around him because he feels the most secure around his alpha. He would stay there throughout these two days and leave everything on that alpha.”

Louis felt something in his stomach, growing. He wanted to know more.

“Did you…” he had to inhale some air to continue, “did you get Nick’s thing for that?”

Harry’s smile dimmed, those eyelashes fluttering as he looked up at Louis.

“I don’t nest.”

Louis blinked.

What?

“What do you mean?” he had to ask.

Harry nodded, his eyes on Louis’ face, moving, searching for something Louis hoped he found.

“I straight go in heat. I have never felt that urge. Nesting comes for the mated omegas.”

Louis took a deep breath, relaxing.

“But… since morning…” Harry mumbled.

Louis stopped breathing all over. He hoped his lungs were not going to be angry with him at this rate of irregular breathing.

“My omega is restless,” Harry said, his eyes hooded, “for the first time I am feeling those symptoms, Louis. I called my mum.” Those pale arms came around Louis’ neck and Louis could not do anything, he stared.

“She did not understand why that was a problem because apparently, I am supposed to feel like nesting because I am with my mate.”

Louis broke away, he had to. His skin crawled as he stepped further away from the omega. He needed to breathe.

“Harry…”

Harry turned away, “I don’t want to feel this way either. It’s just… biology.”

Louis hated that subject by now. He hated Harry more for blaming everything on biology.

“What do you need?” Louis asked, breathless. He had to leave. He needed a run.

“I need to stay here, in this room. The heat is looming over me so I might feel like I am having a fever. I need to rest,” Harry said, not turning around to face Louis, “but…”

Louis did not want to know anymore but…

“I need you to come up time to time to stay with me.”

Louis shook his head, adamant, “No. I can’t spend your heat with you. No.”

In this past two months, while everyone was busy with the searching, Louis had spent his free time with Harry. They had done things, blowjobs, handjobs and once… rimming but Louis stopped there. He had to. He would not do more than that.

Harry looked aghast. He looked down at his feet and then sideways to not stare at Louis’ face directly.

“I did not ask you to spend my heat with me either,” came the omega’s late but whispered reply.

Louis frowned, looking at Harry with nothing coming in his mind, “what do you mean then?”

Harry sighed, looking uncomfortable as he gestured towards the bed, “the nesting. Stay with me through the nesting.”

Louis…

Louis needed a break. He shook his head, pulling at his hair as he tried to understand the situation. If he stayed with Harry through the nesting then what? How would he be able to leave when Harry went into heat finally? What if he lost his control over himself? What if his alpha managed to dominate his senses? The omega would not be in his sense to stop Louis, Louis knew that. What if he did something wrong?

“There is so much at stake, Harry. We can’t,” Louis said, his voice pained.

Harry toyed with his flimsy shirt as he said, “please, Lou.”

Louis tried to come up with something, anything, to say to the omega but his brain was not working. He needed something strong. Coffee. Please.

“Can we discuss it while eating?” Louis pointed at the tray on his bedside table, “I am fucking hungry.”

Harry bit down on his lips, his chin touching his chest as he turned away from Louis.

“I made you prawn omelette.”

Louis groaned, closing his eyes as he walked towards his bed. That little shit! He had surely planned all this.

It was Louis’ favourite breakfast!

 

====

 

The sun peeked through the trees as Liam sat on a stone, his eyes set on a file in his hands and his lips pressed on the cigar. Grey smoke engulfed Liam’s view as he looked down at the report.

A report from the search team, claiming that Niall was nowhere to be found.

His eyes skimmed over the file over and over again. His brain acknowledged the fact that those lines were not changing no matter how hard he stared at them but his heart was asking him to read again. Maybe…

Liam closed the file, setting it down beside him as he looked up at the sun over the river. It was early in the morning, five or five thirty. The sun was not that powerful, Liam could stare at it without blinking.

His heart thrummed against his chest, his eyes watering as he did not blink for a long while. Liam stayed like that, the burning increasing. Well, that was the only way he would let those droplets fall from his eyes. He would not cry, not anymore.

Two months.

Two months of Niall’s absence and two months of Liam’s search for him. Two months of his fights with almost everyone. Two months of his leaving his own house.

Yes, he did not go back to his house in two months. Louis had dragged him in the pack house one night when Liam had thrashed his own room. The bed was the only furniture that stayed, not because Liam could not break it but because those sheets had Niall’s smell. Liam was left with just that.

Liam did not live in the pack house. He would just go to change his clothing and meet Jay. Otherwise, she would go mad at him.

He stayed in the jungle, like a lone wolf. Awake, alone and aloof. He would take long runs and keep the pack secure and then come back to rest on that boulder. He would work like a maniac and sleep only after filling himself up with alcohol. Otherwise, sleep would not come. Otherwise, that bloody omega would keep him awake while torturing his thoughts.

And he had only one work that he did every night.

While laying down on that cold rock, gazing up at the darkness that was the night sky, Liam would pull out his phone and dial Niall’s number.

It would ring and go straight to voicemail and that was Liam’s only assurance that Niall was alive. Someone was paying the bill of that phone. He could not track down the id but he would do what he could.

He would leave a message.

He would leave a message, every night, talking to the dead end about his day, about his feelings, about everything that came to his mind.

For the first two weeks, it was just angry shouts, curse words and violent threats. Then it was pleading for the omega to come back. It was tears, sobs and promises that made no sense, even to Liam.

Now it was just a resigned alpha’s need to let out everything on the person he trusted the most. He hoped Niall listened to them. He wished that Niall stayed awake with him, wherever he was or maybe fall asleep while listening to him.

He wished Niall remembered him through these messages. Liam knew Niall was maybe deleting the messages without even listening to them but still, he had this only hope left for him.

Liam closed his eyes, he felt tired. So so tired.

 

=====

 

The hospital was buzzing with activities. Everyone was running around to complete the daily errands. There was that familiar smell of medicines and coffee. Almost familiar voices talking around.

Niall sat on the back office chair. His fingers moved over the keypad as he typed away the data and his ears were open for every word that reached him.

Then he smelt the familiar scent, well, familiar in two months.

Dr Shawn Mandes.

Shawn was an intern in this hospital, Dr Sexton’s Healthcare. He joined just before Niall came here and maybe because they both were new and awkward so they held on to each other. Shawn was friendly and at the same time caring. He would pick Niall up from his house, well, his friend’s house where he stayed, and drop him back after his work was complete. He would even wait for Niall to finish his job.

Niall was at first sceptic of him, thinking that Shawn was trying to take advantage of him knowing that he was a pregnant but unmated omega but he was proven wrong as days went on. Shawn was just… friendly, with everyone.

Niall turned around to smile at the alpha as Shawn walked in, with a coffee mug in his one hand and one mug of milk in his other. He grinned at Niall and forwarded the milk.

“One cup of milk a day keeps the doctor away.”

Niall rolled his eyes but took a sip of the milk as raised his brows at Shawn as the alpha sat down on the desk.

“What?” Shawn asked, “the sugar is not enough? You need more?”

Niall shook his head, “Nah. I am just wondering if one cup of milk keeps the doctor away then why are you still here?”

Shawn looked at him with a straight face, surely not amused.

Niall beamed at him, “okay, okay. I am sorry.”

Shawn melted with a wide grin, bowing slightly in acknowledgement. Niall looked back at his computer, going through the text file.

There was a comfortable silence where Niall sipped on the milk and went through his work and Shawn checked his emails. Niall let the silence soothe him, sighing as Shawn chuckled at something on his phone.

“You looked tired again,” came Shawn’s observant words.

Niall nodded, “did not get much sleep last night.”

Shawn was silent for a moment and then the alpha was placing a comforting but curious hand on Niall’s shoulder. Niall looked up to see that the alpha was frowning at him with concern.

“Are you sure that you are fine? You don’t get much sleep almost every night. Why is that?”

Because he stayed awake to receive that one message from that alpha from whom he was running. Because he could not fall asleep without hearing that voice. Because those messages were his dosages that kept him going. Because his loneliness would ebb away as he would hear that voice.

Irony. Niall’s life was filled with ironies.

Niall shrugged, “nothing, Shawn. Just… it’s a new place and I think I need some time to fit in, you know?”

Shawn nodded in understanding but his frown was still there.

“I hope one day you tell me what really happened to you. Whatever it is, just know that I will always support you,” Shawn sent him a soft smile.

Niall had to blink twice to push away that burning feeling in his eyes. He would not cry. How was this guy so understanding and warm? Why was Liam not like this?

He schooled his face in a smile and nodded, “I will. When I am ready, I surely will tell you, Shawn.”

There was a beep that came from the alpha’s phone and Shawn stood up.

“Crap, I need to go back. See you, Niall.” Shawn nodded at him and stepped out of the room. He was in a hurry, maybe it was some emergency. The hospital was strict with its interns, they were supposed to be always on duty. Niall understood.

He watched Shawn go, trying not to feel the longing in his chest as he thought about his workdays from the Tomlinson pack. He used to work as a nurse along with his father. He used to run around throughout the day. Now, he just sat and matched the files and entered the data. He missed those days. He missed that pack. His father. Was he fine? Did Liam do something to him? Well, he would not, Louis was there.

Niall missed Harry. How was the stubborn omega doing? Was he fine? Did he give Louis a chance or was he still confused? Niall missed Jay. He missed Melissa.

He had run away from everyone. It was his complete past Niall had left behind.

But he had to. There was no option for him.

Niall went back to check the data. He had to reach his target before five in the evening.

What he dared not to acknowledge was the longing for that vicious alpha.

He missed Liam.

 

=======

 

Louis stared at the doctor as she asked some questions to Harry.

As Louis had agreed that he would spend the pre-heat time with Harry, he had to make sure that everything went right and after talking to Zayn, Louis had come to know about the restraining injections.

He was upset with himself for not knowing it so long and Zayn had just made fun of him because… “you are dense, man. You are dense.”

The alpha would have to take the restraining injections every day in the morning and in the evening. It would apparently block the omega’s scent from reaching the alpha. The alpha would be able to stay composed and by taking the injection, his scent would change too. To the omega, that would be malodour.

Louis stayed silent as the beta doctor asked an ample amount of questions to Harry.

“Did you ever spend your rut with someone else?” the doctor asked Louis.

Louis nodded, his eyes on the beta, “yes, I did.”

The doctor wrote something down, “and when was the last time of that?”

Louis thought about it, “almost one and a half year ago.”

The doctor nodded again, “you have done your check-ups after that, right?”

Louis nodded. He had, before their marriage. He was clean.

“How does that matter anyway? I am not going to knot him or something,” Louis asked, irritated.

The doctor made a face at Louis’ bluntness, “doesn’t matter. Sometimes the injection fails. We don’t want you to infect him too. It’s just routine questions, sir.”

Louis nodded, “so, what are the chances of the injection failing?”

The doctor shrugged, looking down at her papers, “only one per cent.”

Harry coughed, “do I have to take some medicines?”

The doctor nodded, “yes, you have to take the pill for pregnancy if you don’t want to get pregnant.”

Colour bloomed on Harry’s cheeks, he looked down at his fidgety fingers and nodded.

Louis nodded too, “if everything is done then we may proceed with the process.”

The doctor slid some papers towards them, pointing at the pens in front of them, “read the papers and sign it.”

Harry reached out, reading the papers. Louis did too.

It said that if the medicines failed, it was not the physician’s fault. They would not be responsible. The injections had no side effects. The omega would be perfectly fertile after the injections. The alpha would not lose any physical strength too.

Louis skimmed over the terms and conditions and looked at Harry. harry was reading something with concentration.

“Hey,” Louis asked, placing his hand on Harry’s thigh, “what is it?”

Harry looked up at him, his cheeks heated and his eyes not really meeting Louis.

The omega shook his head, “n-nothing. I am just… I have never done something like this.”

Louis smiled softly at Harry, “if you don’t want to, you don’t need to do this. We can still back away.”

Harry shook his head, “no. No, I want to.”

Louis looked at him closely, “are you sure about it?”

Harry nodded jerkily, “yeah. I am,” he took a deep breath and then smiled at Louis, “I know I will be fine, Lou. You will be there.”

Louis felt his heart swirling with something like fear and worry. What if he broke the omega’s trust? What if the injection did not work?

Louis looked at the doctor, “we are doing this, then.”

 

======

 

Harry watched the alpha talking to his mother about the heat. Harry was too shy to interfere, he just stood behind Louis as he talked.

Jay was smirking at them, “so can I expect my grandchildren now?”

Harry gripped the hem of Louis’ T-shirt and Louis coughed. The alpha shook his head at his mother, not having any words.

Jay laughed then, patting at Harry’s bicep, “I am kidding. Take your time. I will load up the kitchen on your floor and everything will be fine.”

Harry wanted to flee. He felt shy as Jay smirked at him.

Louis coughed, “okay then. I will leave you two to it. I have to go and talk to the security team because I will not be there with them for some days.”

Jay nodded, “you do that. I will go and tell someone to fill up the pantry on your floor,” she turned towards Harry and smiled, “and you, go and take some rest. Do you need anything?”

Harry shook his head, stepping away already. His heart hammered against his chest as he looked at Louis. Louis was walking away to go out of the house but Harry followed.

“Louis?” he called when Louis was almost on the threshold of the main door. The alpha turned around with a questioning face.

Harry stepped in front of him, he looked at the alpha, “What will you tell her when you come out of the room before my heat ends?”

Louis looked at him with a smile, “I will not say anything. I will just go in hiding. I will come back when your heat ends. Call me when you are done. No one would come upstairs and no one has to know. I will just go and stay with Zayn.”

Harry nodded, his eyes set on the alpha. Louis looked pale, his eyes bright blue but they were closed off.

Those eyes were like windows that showed every emotion the alpha felt but now it was closed. He had come to know the alpha more closely in these past two months. He had seen Louis’ eyes just after the alpha had come down from their highs, he had seen those eyes after coming out of a shower, as Louis had blinked sleepily at him. harry had seen those eyes, glistening with happiness when Harry would serve him breakfast.

That smile that stretched the alpha’s lips was now Harry’s favourite vision. He craved the alpha’s soft kisses on his forehead before Louis would leave for his daily works. He would wait for the alpha to come back, absorbing the alpha’s warmth as they would embrace after he came back.

Now Harry was not sure what the alpha was feeling. It looked like Louis was sinking away from him. harry hated the fear that was settling in the pit of his stomach.

He reached out to hug Louis, hiding his face against the crook of his neck. The earthy smell of the alpha’s body-wash was calming to him. Harry closed his eyes, savouring the moment, listening to the alpha’s heartbeat, steady and musical. He sighed with a small smile on his face when Louis hugged him back, pulling him closer.

They stood there, in silence as Harry soaked up the alpha’s warmth and Louis just let him, giving him whatever the omega needed.

“I will come back soon, yeah?” Louis said, soft and tender. Just like always.

Harry nodded, detaching himself from Louis, “yeah. I will wait.”

Louis stepped out of the house, leaving.

Harry reached out to hold the alpha back but stopped himself. He watched Louis hopping on the JIP and driving away.

Something curled in Harry’s chest.

Louis did not kiss him.

 

====

Chapter Text

It was not supposed to be this harder. It was not supposed to be this overwhelming either.

Louis felt exactly that.

He had to appoint Zayn to the patrolling duty and ignore his concerned yet teasing questions about the whole mess that was Harry’s heat. He had to talk to Liam and make the stubborn piece of shit eat something and shout at him when he would not listen. It was hard to explain the betas he appointed around the border of the pack the security system when his mind was jeopardized with a certain omega’s thoughts.

He came back home that later that night to find his meal ready on the kitchen top and a chit from his mum, saying best of luck. Louis tried not to swear at his mum’s nosiness. He felt shy and at the same time apprehensive. The chit went on the fridge with a P.S added to it by him.

“You are almost 45, mum. Get a grip!”

========

The stairs for his floor was the most tiresome journey to Louis. He counted the steps, eyes set on his boots. It made a scrunching noise and the cracking of the woods was heard too. Louis wondered why he did not notice any of these before. He could hear the smacking sound of his heels and he could hear the loud thrumming of his heart.

As he turned the last landing, he smelt it.

The smell was wafting in the air as Louis gripped the railing, his nostrils flaring. The sweet smell of jasmine and something like a newborn baby, mixed with the freshness of the dripping honey from the honey crop. Like a hypnotized bear to the smell of honey, Louis unlocked the door. The jingling sound of his keys made the loudest noise in the silent hall. Louis closed the door behind himself, locking it and then throwing the keys in the bowl on the table. His shoes were placed neatly, maybe for the first time in his lifetime, and his coat fell on the sofa. As he stepped into the living room, his eyes scanned the room, searching. His alpha flared its snout, scratching at his inner walls. Louis braced himself when he heard the soft rustling of sheets.

Bedroom.

Louis balled his hands, his blunt nails cutting deep in his own palms as he stepped forward. His mouth opened to help his nose in breathing. Louis tried not to wretch as he opened the bedroom door.

The scent was prominent.

It felt like someone had kept the doors closed for a long time and now that the door was open, the scent poured out of the door, enveloping Louis completely. Louis felt hot, his eyes losing focus for a second and when he blinked back to his senses, his eyes found the bed. Louis gripped the doorknob with everything he had in him. His eyes took in the scene and his alpha roared in his chest, snarling to be free.

Harry was sitting at the furthest corner of the bed; his eyes wide open with tears clinging to those long lashes. Those lips were sinfully red as the omega bit onto them, trying to say something. Those curly strands of his hair fell around his face, framing that baby face with something like vulnerability. Those cheeks were crimson, flushed with something like tiredness.

What made Louis stagger back was the omega’s choice of clothing or the lack of it.

Harry sat there, completely naked.

A black, silk shirt was draped over his frame but its buttons were gaping open. Louis’ eyes skimmed over the milky white skin. Those flushed nipples, taut and perky. That belly-button. The slight curve of that waist. Hips. Those wide hips.

Louis closed his eyes to tame in his wolf. When his eyes opened, Harry was looking at him with something like flimsy focus. Louis’ eyes slid downwards. His eyes landed on more sheets pooling around the boy’s crossed legs.

Harry looked like Louis’ worst nightmare and the best dream at the same time.

Louis gulped, trying to ease his dry throat.

“Louis…”

The plea was urgent. Louis closed the door and rested his back against it, sliding down almost. His eyes were locked with those green ones and Louis chocked out a groan.

How was he supposed to get through this without losing himself completely?

“I waited… you… why did you leave?” Harry was whimpering, his eyes pooling with tears.

Louis knew that tone. It was Harry’s wolf talking. His rational mind was closing off, so was his brain.

Louis remembered Liam telling him that omegas were completely honest in their heats. The omega’s heart would talk, closing off its brain. Louis had not believed it then. How was it possible to lose the rationality completely? He had spend heats with omegas but he did not remember them talking, well, it was not about talking anyway. It was just sex. But now…

Now he believed it.

Harry was never a crybaby and he would never accuse Louis of something so openly. He would take time, sulk and then talk round and round until Louis got to the point.

This Harry was even more dangerous.

“It hurts… my belly hurts,” Harry whimpered, sitting up on his knees, crawling forward. His eyes were set on Louis and Louis felt like a prey, captivated by those eyes.

“Harry,” Louis whispered when Harry dropped from the bed, on his hands and knees and started crawling forward.

Louis slid down then, his body giving up as he realized that Harry was stark naked. Those eyes held his as Harry advanced. The scent intensified, leaving Louis breathless.

“Shit, Harry,” Louis cursed when Harry crawled onto his lap, straddling him, mouthing on his jaw.

“Your clothes, I dirtied them,” Harry sobbed, “I… I could not wait. I am not… why is this happening… I can’t…”

Louis blinked, looking, finally looking, at Harry properly.

Harry looked scared, his eyes wild and vulnerable. The uncertainty, the fear of rejection, the reluctance coloured those beautifully wide orbs. Harry’s rational side was trying to win over as his omega side took the control. Both sides were fighting for dominance over the boy’s rational mind. Harry looked weary, drowsy and his hands trembled with exhaustion as he gripped Louis’ collars.

“I did not mean to… what’s happening… I have never…” Harry was still mumbling, incoherent words leaving his mouth.

Louis tried to make sense of them, his eyes skimming over to the bed. There were a lot of his used clothes, shirts mainly.

“What did you do?” Louis asked.

Harry’s eyes watered, the omega shook in Louis’ arms, “I came…I came on your… clothes.”

Louis banged the back of his head against the door, again and again, trying to concentrate on the throbbing pain of his skull as he looked at the omega.

“I… I could not hold… you left… there were a lot of people coming in… I was scared…” Harry whimpered, “their scents were so acrid, I could not… I could not breathe… I thought you were,” the boy choked on his own tears.

Louis gripped Harry’s wrists in both of his hands and pulled the boy closer, their foreheads touched. Both of them could feel the erratic beating of their hearts. Louis could feel it as he held Harry’s wrists and Harry could hear it as he hid his face against the alpha’s chest. It comforted them both to know that they were both affected, equally. They were in this, equally.

Not alone.

Together.

Harry trembled when Louis’ wolf gave a purr.

“Where were you when they came to stock up the pantry?” Louis gritted out, trying to understand the irrationality of his sudden rage. It filled him to the brim when he thought about someone else smelling Harry.

“I hid in the bathroom. I didn’t… I did not come out,” Harry whispered, his eyes wide, “I waited, I waited for you…” Harry stopped to shakily inhale, his eyes puzzled. He looked scared, like he had failed Louis.

Louis nodded, “I am here. I am sorry I left.”

Harry shook his head, closing his eyes with force as wet eyelashes fluttered, “It’s okay… just… hold me.”

Louis did. He ignored how insane the situation was. He ignored how starkly naked Harry was and how his own alpha was furiously trying to take a hold of his rationality.

Louis held Harry, giving the omega what he needed.

“My neck,” Louis whispered, his voice steady, “the jugular.”

Harry understood. He nosed at Louis’ throat, whimpering as sheer warmth flooded through his veins. His omega-self flaring more and more.

They sat there, both basking in their warmth and comforting each other.

Louis knew that he should go and take the injection but he wanted to wait a little bit. Wait until Harry was settled, at least a little bit.

========

The room was dark, the moonlight shone over the white sheets on that single bed. The night owl was singing just outside of the windows, chilling the atmosphere of the room even more.

Light shone through the screen of the phone as Niall stared at it, opening the newest message.

He pressed the phone against his ear and laid down, one hand around his belly to ground him and another holding the phone. He stared up at the white ceiling as the message started.

At first, it was silent. Niall could hear that someone was breathing. Niall closed his eyes, trying to match his own breathing with that sound, unconsciously.

Then a curse was heard. Niall sucked in a breath, his eyes unmoving as he waited.

“It’s chilly out here tonight,” the voice sounded low, resigned, “at this point… I don’t even know why I do this even.” There was a pause, “do you even listen to these messages? Do you laugh at me, Niall?”

Niall closed his eyes; Liam sounded vulnerable and angry, hurt. He grasped the duvet closer to his erratically beating heart and pressed the phone closer to his ear.

“I don’t know what to say…” Liam sounded lost, confused, “at this point, I am not even sure that you are… you care. I don’t even want to curse you anymore, Niall. I don’t want to shout at you either. Maybe Louis was right. I am giving up…”

Tears welled up in Niall’s eyes, he shook his head.

So that was it. Liam was finally giving up… a rueful smile shone through Niall’s lips. He wanted to laugh. Just two months and that was Niall’s worth.

“Maybe you are gone for good. I am not someone you deserve anyway. God!” Liam forced out a chuckle, breathy, the alpha sounded wounded, “it is taking everything in me to say this. I… you deserve better. You always did. I am just surprised that you did not see it sooner. As I look back now, Niall, I don’t have anything to back me up here. I have no excuses to ask for forgiveness. I don’t have any reason for you to love me. Jesus. I am a rapist. I am an abuser. I assaulted you. I am the worst nightmare. Do you remember me, Niall? Do you talk about me? How do you describe me to your new acquaintances? Hell, what am I talking about? Maybe you don’t even recall the days you spent with me. What is there to recall anyway? Pain, torture and physical assault. What else did I give you?”

“Three babies, you jerk!”

Liam paused again. The sound of the tides was clear. He was sitting somewhere near Ciara. Niall looked out of the window. It was raining heavily. Was it raining in their pack too? Was Liam sitting under the rain?

Niall wanted to call back. That idiot would catch a cold. He always did. He had sinus. God!

“I saw your father today,” Liam stated, “I am not sure who hates whom more at this point. He hates me because I treated you the way I did. I hate him because he did not protect you from me the way he should have. He is your father. He should have left, take you away from me. That would have been better. At least he would have been there with you. I hate to think that you are out there, somewhere, alone. Alone and detached from everyone you knew. Away from home, your pack, your friends. And what kills me is that…” Liam choked, “I am responsible for it. I did that to you. I pushed you to the edge and actually threw you over it. How am I supposed to get over this pain… I…”

Niall shook his head, trying not to sob as he listened. Liam still had that effect on him. His pain could still make Niall desperate.

“Maybe this is the last time I am sending one of these. I promised to myself that I will stop,” Liam whispered, “you left me, by doing this I am actually holding you back. Zayn told me that I should let you go. You deserve happiness, which you do, of course, you do. And according to him, I deserve this. I agree with him. That doesn’t mean I took the advice maturely. I punched him,” Liam laughed, “I punched Zayn until he was bleeding and Louis came to stop me. Zayn had not stopped me. I knew he could but he had not. He let me go off, maybe because he thought I needed that too. That’s when I came to my senses, you know? Realized something. I always hurt the ones who actually care for me. I am no good for any of you. I am too out of control. I am too stubborn and too hot-headed. Maybe they are better off without me… I am not made for happiness or some shit like that. You know, that fucked up character of a perfect novel, who comes out of shadows just to drag the light out of a happy person? I am that devil.”

Niall’s heart was beating loudly now, his eyes searched the ceiling. What was Liam talking about?

“They are better off without me… you are better off without me,” Liam mumbled again. He sounded lost, thoughtful.

“I am just like my father, is not it? Worse even,” Liam sniggered again.

“My father. He was such a great fighter and head of the security team of our pack. The one everyone feared. Everyone looked up to him in this pack, respected him so much…”

Niall knew that. General Payne was one of their finest warriors. He was Dan’s right-hand man. Niall remembered his father talking about Mr Payne with his eyes shining brightly, so did Dan.

“But he was a terrible husband,” Liam whispered, “a terrible alpha to his wife.”

Niall frowned.

“He would sit down and tell me how every omega deserved to be treated the way he treated my mum. I never agreed with him, growing up I hated him. I always wanted to be a fighter myself so that I can protect my mum from him. He was terrible, Niall,” a low, self-resigned chuckle escaped Liam, “just like me.”

“He was an alcoholic. His earning was not that great to support his cravings. So…”

Niall listened, intently waiting.

“He used my mum. I would come back home to find her with other men, loud noises, cries, curses…” Liam’s voice faded, he sounded lost again. He sounded like he was mostly talking to himself as if those days were playing on a projector in front of him.

Niall gasped, his eyes widening as he sat up, leaning against the headrest.

“I would look at the closed door and turn to my father for help as he would sit on the sofa, drinking or watching telly. He would look so composed and chilled. Laugh at me when I would tell him to go help mum. I remember being six, sitting on his lap as he told me how omegas liked getting pounded, by different alphas, betas…”

Niall clutched the sheet closer to his heart, squeezing his eyes shut as he tried not to vomit. Sheer terror ran through him.

“I remember crying when my mum would not wake up after some visits. She would be pale, bruises covering her. My father would feed me, telling me that I better be strong because one day, I will have my own omega and he wanted me to be a real alpha. Treat my omega properly. Just like he did,” Liam chuckled.

“I remember telling him I like you,” Liam whispered, “the first time when I met you in my school. You were this beautiful, white, fluffy boy. Bright and cheerful. Something I never was. Something I craved to be. You did not even notice me. Why would you? I was a geeky nerd. With huge, howl-like eyes and braces and everything tacky. I had only two friends. Louis and Zayn. They were my friends because our families were friends. Otherwise, who would spare me a second glance? No one. Just like you didn’t.”

Niall tried to remember, shaking his head. He noticed Liam. Of course, he did. Liam was hard to ignore. He was the smartest kid in the school. Teachers loved him, so did everyone’s parents. He sat in the popular table, along with Louis and Zayn. Niall remembered sneaking glances at the alpha, blushing if Liam caught him. He remembered thinking about that blush, high on Liam’s cheek, when Niall talked animatedly to Louis, just beside him.

Niall would collide with him in the hallways, get in his way just so those deep, brown eyes would spare him a glance. He would drop by their table, sharing tiffin. He would make sandwiches for the alpha and place it on his box with a grin, saying that he had had enough. Even when Liam would bow down lower to just eat. Niall would come back to his table with a dejected heart, thinking that the alpha did not like him that way. Why would he? Niall was loud!

Did not Liam notice all that?

“I saw you agreeing to go to the annual function with Ben. I remember how you had laughed when he had hugged you. You looked so gleeful. I remember feeling wretched. I was hurt. I went back home to cry myself to sleep. Dad found me,” Liam sighed, “I was broken. Not only because of you. That hurt, your rejection, but what hurt me more was my mum’s condition by that time. She was HIV positive. Her condition was worsening and we were given a time span that day. I was furious about everything. I felt worthless. I could not get you. I could not help my mum. I could not kill my father. Not like I wanted to. No matter what, he was my father. I had hopes that everything will be fine. I had juvenile hopes that I will have a normal family one day as Louis had. Like most of our friends had. That hope was breaking, day by day. I was watching it break bit by bit.

My father was getting out of hand day by day. I could not understand why no one noticed. Why Dan did not notice that my father was not a nobleman. I hated the definition of the nobleman by then. Who is a nobleman? A person who can fight the outer demons? What about his own demons? What about his domestic behaviour? No one gave a fuck about that. I was angry with everyone. No one stood up for my mum. She was denied entry in the pack-house because she was a dirty woman. She slept with others. Jay knew, maybe. She would come to our house, feed me, talk to my mum. Cause by then, my mum would not even recognize me. She would scurry away if I got closer to her. I think, she saw my dad in me. They would share words while I study. I hated when she would leave with no promises of a better tomorrow. She never told Dan about my father. Why, I don’t know. I hated that. I knew that it was not Jay’s fault. Dan was not like Louis. He was not very thoughtful of omegas like Louis is now. He was not my father but he was ignorant. He believed whatever my dad told him. Nothing like Louis. That night when my dad found me, I was on the verge of losing myself; I broke down in front of him. I cried my heart out, which I never did before. Because alphas never cry. That was what I was taught. I told him about you, telling him about how much I liked you. I told him about my own problems with school and everything else. He listened. I was surprised when he held me closer and wiped away my tears. Then he told me how no one likes a weak alpha. You would not too. He told me that I should take what I want. I should snatch you away from anyone who wants you. You would like that, no matter what you say. Omegas liked a strong alpha. I did not believe him, obviously, I did not.”

Niall looked down at his hand on his belly, blinking back tears.

“Two weeks. After two weeks, my mother died. I found her in her bed, naked, dishevelled, her face red with scratches and wounds. I saw my father kicking her body, her sides, pressing down on her stomach with his boots. He cursed her for dying and permanently damaging an important source of earning for him. I was not in myself after that. I was in a trance. The sound of my dad’s boots hitting her flesh, opening wounds, blood coming out... the blood that oozed out of her wounds. I remember running away, out of the house, crying, gasping for air, doubling over with vomit. I fell unconscious in front of the pack-house. When I woke up, I was laying in Louis’ bed. Jay was there, telling me it had been a week. They had already buried my mother. I was not there. I sat up thinking that it was all a nightmare. I wanted to go to my house, search for my mum. Maybe see her for the last time but Jay won’t let me. I heard, numbly, that my father was thinking about re-marrying. I… Niall… I tried not to feel that intense pain. I could not take that shit anymore. I wanted to see my mother. I was not supposed to be that weak. I hated myself for running off. I hated myself for being a weakling. I hated that I was not there when they buried her. The guilt that I failed her was unbearable. I could not think about it, so I did not. I…”

Niall remembered hearing about Liam’s mum through his friends. He remembered going to the pack-house with two muffins in a box. Liam loved muffins. He remembered meeting the boy, silently offering those muffins. He remembered Liam looking at him with void eyes, smiling, a huge but emotionless grin, and throwing the muffins out of the window. He told Niall how much he hated sweets. That was the first time he had talked to Niall. Niall remembered getting out of the room when Liam had closed the door on his face.

“I turned away from all those emotions,” Liam whispered, “you can say, I switched off my heart. I switched off the human side of myself. I closed off my brain too. Anything to get away from that intense sense of guilt and sorrow. I could not take the pain anymore. I lost the only reason for my survival. I lost the only person who loved me, accepted me completely the way I was. But what hurt me the most was my own guilt. I was not there when she needed me. The only thing that got me going was the hope that one day I will outtake my father. I was building up for that. That was the only goal of my life by then. I refused to go back to that house. Louis supported me. I was sheltered in the pack-house. I was searching everywhere to find solid proofs against my father. I wanted to get him out of the pack. Anything to not see that man’s face. Louis and Zayn were there, helping me with everything. One day Louis came back with a file clutched in his hands. I… he looked shocked and sorrowful. When I read the file, I was not sure if I was reading it right.”

Niall frowned, looking ahead and waiting for Liam to continue. Liam coughed, his shaky breath audible through the phone.

“Apparently, my father used to give my mum some kind of drugs, to numb her pain and to numb her senses too. It would make her delusional. She would sleep for a long time so that she could not run away. She would not be able to remember things properly for her to give him out either. She would see things and rattle off about it, making her sound lunatic. Just what Liam’s father wanted to happen. So, if she was to accuse him of his deeds, everyone would take her as a crazy woman. It was a costly treatment. I was not sure how he managed it. When I asked Louis about it, he was at first not ready to tell me but then…”

Niall sat up straighter, his heart skipping beats. Anxiety was flaring its head in his guts. It was like he knew what was next to come but he dreaded it anyway.
“Mr Horan was a daily visitor of our house,” Liam whispered, “I saw him so many times, talking to my father, laughing and all… I never doubted that…” Liam choked off… “He is a doctor, Niall! Was not he supposed to help people back to their health? I remember helping him inject my mother with those meds, thinking that it would help her. She cried, thrashed, shouted for me to help her out of the cuffs so she could run away. I did not listen when she told me Mr Horan was not a good man. I trusted him. He was your father, a boy who was so innocent and gentle… how could he be a bad person? It… he helped my father with the injections and in exchange, he got my mother for free. He was in need of a cunt but he did not have the money to pay for it,” the laugh that escaped Liam was hysterical, “well, I guess, my father was happy to help.”

Niall shook with a chill running through his veins, his eyes pooled with more tears. He gasped, trying to breathe evenly. His skin crawled as he listened to the alpha.

“Imagine it, Niall. I helped that man with those injections. I helped Mr Horan and my father. I pushed my mum in that hellhole even more. She trusted me. She begged me to let her out of the chains. Whenever she would come to her senses, she would tell me to run away from my father too. To take her along with me. I did not. I was scared that she might leave, leave me alone with my father. I needed her. In my need, I let her down, repeatedly. I was selfish, so fucking selfish. I thought about never seeing her again and that fucking hurt! But when I came to know everything…that guilt. The hatred. I hated the trust I had on everyone around me. God… I hated how dense I was. I hated everything about me. I hated myself. I was impotent. That hurt, Niall. I had to build myself up again, differently. A new person. Not for good, obviously. I took my frustration out on a person who never deserved it.

Now that I go back to that house, I hear my mum’s cries but I hear yours too. I added that one, completely on my own. I added you in that mix. I took you in when you did not want me. You never wanted me. I pushed you in this hellhole. Damn! I wanted to hurt your father, in that process, I hurt you. I was angry that you did not want me. I was insecure whenever you would look at someone else with adoration. I hated myself and that was another reason I had to dominate you, to feel like I have some kind of control on my fucked up life. Is this making sense? I am rambling. Jesus! What I never realized in my haste, that I have turned out to be the exact person my father wanted me to be. I am what I hated the most.”

Niall whimpered, Liam was just twelve when his mother died. For so long he had… oh, God!

“Why am I telling you all this?” Liam whispered, “Why did I start? It’s not like that explains the shit I pushed you through. I am nothing less than what my father was. Hell, I am worse than what he was. Maybe I have always had that sense of revenge in my subconscious. What was better than torturing Mr Horan’s son? It hurt that man more to see you like that, in my hands, tortured. But you did not deserve any of it. I can’t believe I… you are better off without me, anyway, Niall. I just wanted to apologize. Maybe you are not even listening to this. But if you are then I hope you are happy wherever you are. I just… I had to tell you everything. I had to let go of this pain in my chest. I have one more thing to ask from you, Niall. I know it’s unfair. I know that I have no right but…”

Niall hid his face in his pillow, crying and shaking his head against whatever Liam was going to say. He hated himself for hating this side of Liam. Liam was supposed to be invincible. He had never seen or heard Liam this broken and Niall hated it. Even now, he hated it. In his mind, Liam was this strong alpha who bowed to none and who was affected by nothing and Niall wanted that image intact. It was somehow everything Niall wanted. In a twisted way, Niall found that image comforting.

“You are marked by me, Niall. Through that mark I can still feel you,” Liam whispered, “that’s the only reason I know that you are out there somewhere, living. I can still feel you time to time. I feel your emotions, Niall. Just the most intense ones. I feel you when you go through some pain. I feel you when you are happy. I am glad to know that you are happy. I don’t know what I would have done if you were not. But one thought terrifies me, Niall.

I just… I don’t know how to say this but… I am terrified of that day when I might feel your pleasure through that mark,” Liam’s voice shook, “I am scared to feel that. I am scared to face that you might find someone and I will know that he can make you happy the way I never did. I am terrified of feeling your arousal for another man. I would not survive that, Niall. I think I deserve it though. I deserve that pain but, please, please, free me from that torture, Niall. Get the mark removed. Please.”

Niall’s shaky hand reached to that mark. The scar that he had ignored in these months. He touched it, feeling it with his fingertips. He let out a shaky breath.

He could not remove the mark before the babies were born. That might harm the babies. He could not do it.

Deep down Niall knew that he might never remove that mark. It was somehow assuring, it was like Liam’s presence in a twisted way. It was what Niall’s omega knew too. He knew that if something terrible happened, he would be able to make Liam feel it. Liam might find him if he really knew how much that mark could help. Niall hoped that Liam did not though and at the same time, his omega wanted Liam to know that mark’s importance. It was a constant battle of two sides in Niall.

Niall laughed, shaking his head. Liam had made him so dependent.

He jumped when another message started.

It was from Liam too.

He had never sent two messages in a day.

“This is my last message, I promise. Not for today but forever,” Liam whispered, “I just want to tell you…” there was a heavy sigh, “I just… that baby was not mine, Niall. I haven’t. I couldn’t. I did not do that to her. I am terrified of it. Babies. I don’t want to have babies, ever, Niall.”

Niall’s heart stopped, his eyes set on his belly. He held the bump as he closed his eyes.

“I will be a pathetic father. I would never be a role model they deserve. I am better like this. I am glad that you left without any baggage. I would have hated myself even more if I… I would never want another Liam in this world. No one deserves that,” Liam sighed again, “goodbye, Niall. I am sorry. I hope to do better. I promise it’s not like you care but knowing you, you might still care. I will do better. I will change or at least try to change. So that if we meet again,” Liam laughed, “and if you don’t run for your life if we do, I will be able to meet your eyes and apologize properly. Not like this, like a coward. Goodbye.”

Niall closed his eyes as soon as the message ended. He looked down at the phone in his hands and the words washed over him. The pain in his chest intensified, making him double over with tears rolling out of those orbs. Niall cried, his hands fisted in the duvet and mouth parting with unintelligible words.

When he had left, it had felt like departing from everything that was familiar. Now it felt like a goodbye. As if the gate was finally closed behind him. When he left, he had wished that Liam would come for him, he had never thought that the alpha would give up this easily. Did not he deserve more?

But what Niall could not fathom was Liam’s past. He had no idea. Not that it explained his behaviour towards Niall but…

Niall wanted to scream at the alpha. He did not want to have babies? Well, he was already a father! Niall wanted to call that bastard and shout at him that Niall had not left without baggage. What about the emotional baggage? What about the babies? Liam might never accept them?

Niall hated the idea of their babies never knowing about their papa. Niall had thought about it and every time he would come to the conclusion that one day, Liam would find them and he would let their babies know their papa. They deserved it.

Maybe Liam did too.

========

Louis looked down at his arm. The injection was working. Harry’s scent was not that intoxicating anymore. He was able to breathe when Harry surged up to straddle him, kissing him the next second.

Louis held the omega around his hips, his eyes closed when Harry nipped his bottom lip.

“Take me,” Harry whimpered, his eyes blown and lost. Louis pushed the omega down on the bed, his own eyes wild as he took in the omega. Harry was naked, his eyes on Louis as he roped his arms around the alpha’s neck. Louis responded, leaning forward to kiss the boy, sucking away those whimpers and cries of anguish.

Harry’s heat had hit early, sooner than Louis thought. The injections were wearing off very fast. Louis had to leave the room. He was not supposed to stay with Harry in his heat but it was not his fault. The nesting and the heat merged, not giving him time as Harry went in heat the next day.

Louis growled for the omega to settle when Harry reached for Louis’ slacks.

“I am not having you like this, Harry,” Louis hissed, trying to make the omega understand.

Harry did not. Obviously, he did not. His eyes pooled with tears as he whimpered, trying to buck up against Louis’ groin.

Louis closed his eyes, heat pooling in his stomach. The injection’s haze was breaking, letting in the heady scent of the omega. In heat, that scent was even sharper. Louis felt like choking when Harry pushed himself up, taking Louis’ lips in a vicious lock.

“Please,” Harry whispered, his tone strained, “take me, alpha.”

The snarl tore through Louis, coming from Louis’ wolf. Louis staggered back, falling on the floor. He had to leave.

They would do something otherwise. The moment he was away from the omega, Harry arched off the bed, reaching out blindly for Louis. His voice broke as he called Louis’ name, making the alpha breathless.

This was not supposed to happen.

Louis found his control breaking. His heart hammered against his ribcage as Harry keened for him to come back. Louis could feel his alpha thrashing in him to get out, to take the control from him.

“It hurts, Louis,” Harry whimpered, “please.”

Louis shook his head. He could not do it. He would not take advantage of Harry like that. The omega was not thinking, he was not supposed to be in his right mind but Louis could not take advantage of that.

Harry sat up on the bed, on his hands and knees as he faced Louis. Those eyes flashed with anger and hurt.

“If you can’t take me, I might as well go out and find someone on my own!”

========

The sunrise was beautiful. Bright orange hues reflected on the waves of the river as the trees tried to shadow the rising sun. The morning breeze was cool yet fresh, crispy against his heated skin.

Liam blinked at the sun, dreading a new day and at the same time welcoming it with mesmerized eyes. The quiet jungle was waking up, the chirping of the birds and the howls of animals were heard as Liam leaned back against the boulder. His eyes closed as he leaned his head back, inhaling deeply.

He tried not to think about the messages he had sent off. He hoped that Niall did not listen to them. What sounded soul-wrenching at midnight, under the scorching sun it felt like a sappy opera no one wanted to be a part of. Liam felt shameful. Why did he have to say all those things?

Why could not he get out of this with his head held high?

Niall did not deserve that kind of burden. He did not deserve knowing about his father like that. The boy had no one he could trust and now Liam had gone and snatched way his only support system. His father.

Liam threw the empty bottle of the scotch across the rocks as if trying to hit the sun with it.

When his phone rang, he ignored it, trying to go back to sleep. Sleep was good; it was a blissful way of forgetting his fucked up life.

The phone rang again though, breaking the silence and irritating the shit out of the alpha.

Liam picked up the phone with a growl, “Hello?”

There was silence for a moment. Liam sat with the phone pressed to his ear.

“If you don’t want to talk then why bother calling?” Liam asked, irritated.

A shaky breath was his answer.

That made Liam sit up with a jolt. He pressed the phone closer to his ear, his heartbeat rising.

“He-hello?” Liam whispered, cautiously looking at the bright sun.

“I deserve more than a sorry.”

========

Chapter Text

The air was stifled, Liam could feel it against his heated face. His eyes were burning with tears trying to come out. He held his breath, trying not to sob.
The line was silent, in fear that Niall had hung up, Liam pulled the phone away to look at the display.

No.

It was still connected.

“Niall…”

His voice was desperate, scared that he was dreaming, scared that Niall would vanish, the call would be dropped.

There was no answer and Liam waited, his eyes wide with fear, anxiousness and desperation.

“Niall,” Liam said again, like a mantra, his lips forming the word again and again.

“You don’t deserve forgiveness, Liam,” Niall said, his voice quivering and soft.

Liam closed his eyes, the words going over his head, only the voice staying. The soft whisper of Niall’s words echoed around Liam, making his heart speed up. Liam clutched the hem of his shirt, just to stay grounded.

“I…” Niall stopped, heavily breathing, “I understand what you went through but…”

Liam closed his eyes, “I didn’t tell you that for sympathy.”

Niall choked out a laugh, “Of course. Proud as always.”

Liam shook his head, tears marring his eyelashes, “An old lion is still a lion.”

Niall sniffled, “I… I don’t know what to do. Liam, I…”

Liam let out a shaky exhale, his heart beating in a tight fist, “come back to me.”

Niall whimpered, “never. No. We can’t…”

Heart almost to his throat, Liam stared at the sun, his eyes unmoving, “we?”

There was no answer.

Anxiety made his heart race fast, “we? What are you talking about?”

The line went dead.

Liam tore the phone away from his ear and looked down at the number. His fingers shook as he redialed the number.

A growl shook through him.

It was switched off.

Liam jumped up, shoving the phone down his pocket, he ran.

He had to find Niall. Anyhow.

======

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Louis almost shouted through the phone.

“Well, I warned you before, Louis,” the doctor sounded irritated and Louis wanted to reach through the phone to grab at his neck and break it, “the injections work only 99% of the time. It seems like you are an exceptional case here.”

Louis let out a hysterical laugh, “oh, should I feel happy about it? Do you want a treat? How about I tell my men to go and break your hospital down for me?”

The doctor sighed, sounding more at the edge, “I am not at fault, Louis, and the more time you spend on me, the more desperate you are leaving your omega.”

Louis shook his head, his fingers pressed against his temple, “Do something. I can’t go back in there. He is in heat, complete heat, do you hear me? It was not supposed to happen. His heat was supposed to hit him tomorrow night. How is that happening now?”

The doctor was silent but the background noise told Louis that he was going through some papers. Louis waited, he couldn’t do anything else anyway.

“Well, we can’t do anything now,” the doctor said at last, “the injection nullifies the effect of any other drugs so even if we give him heat control meds, it won’t work on him and neither would the birth control one he took. As soon as the heat subdues, he will be immune to an alpha’s semen again but for now, he is fertile, you need to…”

Louis cut the call, irritated and scared shitless. His hands were shaking and the animal inside him was tearing at his chest.

Harry was fertile now.

His animal instinct was telling him to leave the bathroom and go to the omega. His alpha was giving off that heady feeling of pheromones. Louis knew, the moment he opened the door, Harry would be all over him. The omega was on the bed, bound to the headboard by Louis’ ties because he would not stop touching Louis and Louis wanted some moment alone to think.

He dialled again.

“Should I feel flattered that even when your omega is in heat, you are still calling me?”

Louis closed his eyes, “fuck, Zayn, this is not the time! I am fucked.”

Zayn chuckled, “what happened? The injection backfired?”

Louis sat down on the toilet seat, “his heat started, Zayn. What am I gonna do?”

Zayn sucked in a breath, “fuck, Louis! Shit. I just thought it didn’t work and you left. What are you gonna do now?”

Louis could feel the headache coming, his alpha sniffing the air, the omega’s sweet scent coming to his nose even under the mask Louis wore.

“He is in pain, Zayn,” Louis said, his head bent forward, “I had to tie him up and leave him on the bed. Shit.”

Zayn cursed under his breath, “fuck. I don’t need to know your fantasies, dude.”

When Louis growled at him, Zayn laughed. After a moment, Zayn sighed.

“Want me to come up there with the car and wait for you to jump out of the window?”

Louis laughed, shaking his head, “we did that so many times, huh?”

Zayn laughed, “you always getting in trouble and wanting to run.”

Louis shrugged, leaning against the wall behind him, “but this time I don’t want to run, Zayn. I want to face it.”

Zayn grunted, “just remember, he trusts you enough to want you to be there with him. Don’t prove him wrong, Lou.”

The words were like arrows that tore through Louis’ haze, his heart sped up. He could not say anything, throat clogged up. Louis nodded, knowing very well that Zayn could not see him.

“I need to go,” Louis said, sounding as in pain as he felt. Zayn grunted again, sounding sympathetic.

“Just,” the beta said, “just remember your own morals,” when Louis snorted, the beta huffed a laugh too, “yeah. You might lose it but I think Harry will cut off your dick if you do something terrible to him once he comes out of the heat. So, be cautious.”

Louis stood up, brushing his hand against his thigh, “thanks, man, you helped so much.”

Zayn’s laugh was what Louis heard before he cut the call.

======

Louis pulled the door open of the bathroom and the first thing he sensed was the cries coming from Harry. The omega was writing on the bed, mouth ajar, those green eyes were on Louis as soon as Louis was out of the door.

Loud whine came out of Harry’s mouth. Those teary eyes were making Louis’ chest hurt. He inhaled and regretted the decision immediately. The room was filled with the omega’s pheromones. The alpha closed his eyes, trying to hold onto his already fading sanity.

“Louis,” Harry cried, eyes so distractingly teary. Louis felt horrible when the animal in him stirred, “don’t leave, please. Please, Louis.”

Louis stood there, away from the bed, his hands shaking beside him until he balled them in fists, eyes fixed on the omega.

Harry was stark naked, his thighs glistening with slick and his whole body sweaty. Those curls were marred against his head. His cock was so painfully hard, precum leaking from the tip. Those white sheets around the omega’s body were giving him an even more alluring look.

Wrists bound against the headrest, Harry had nothing to pose as his threat, well, except his tears. Those he used, oh so perfectly. Louis took a step away when Harry fixed him with a look and parted his legs invitingly.

“No,” Harry whimpered, fresh tears leaving his eyes, “don’t go. Louis,” a sob wracked through his body, “I’m… I’m scared, Louis. Please.”

The ache Louis felt in his heart was too much. Harry looked terrified that Louis would leave, leave him alone, bound on the bed.

Louis turned away, going for his wardrobe. His heart twisting in an invisible grip when Harry cried even more loudly, his voice heavy as he called Louis repeatedly.

When Louis got to the wardrobe, he slid it open, going for the last drawer. The unopened bottle of lube was heavy in his hand, too heavy. His heart felt heavy too. He did not want this to happen. This was not something he imagined.

He kept the mask on as he turned back towards the bed. When he came back to stand in front of the bed, an idea clicked in his head. Louis looked at Harry as he slowly undressed. shame wafted around him when he felt his cock throbbing as Harry’s eyes followed his hands, revealing his flesh for the omega to see.

“Louis,” Harry whimpered, twisting against the bind when the last shred of clothing left Louis’ body. The alpha stood there, naked, eyes feral on the omega.

“Louis,” Harry whined again, like a mantra, he remembered nothing. The whole world around him was a blur to Harry, just Louis. He just remembered that name.

Louis stepped forward, his eyes holding the boy captive as he sat on the edge of the bed. Harry instinctively angled himself towards Louis, his eyes pleading.
After taking off his mask, Louis sighed, taking a deep breath through his mouth.

“I will untie you,” Louis said, biting out every syllable for Harry’s heat clouded mind to understand, “I will untie you and I expect you to stay there. No touching me, yeah?”

Harry said nothing, his eyes even more teary now. Louis held his position, eyes hard on the omega. There would be no bargaining. Then Harry was nodding, his lips trembling as if he wanted to say something but no words came out of his mouth.

Louis reached forward, ignoring the way Harry’s eyes followed him, those green orbs boring on his face. As soon as the tie was falling away, Harry reached out, his arms coming around Louis’ neck.

Louis indulged in Harry’s demands a little, bending down to let the omega capture his lips in a kiss. Louis’ hands held him up over Harry as they kissed. Harry was arching off the bed, his eyes closed and lips heated. Constant whines left the omega’s lips. Louis absorbed it all, their mouths meeting repeatedly.

Then Louis was pulling away, Harry tightened his arms around Louis’ neck but Louis pulled Harry’s hands away, sitting down to look at him in the eyes.

“Do you want me to call him?”

Harry’s eyes followed his words, brows furrowing in confusion. The omega was in the heat haze, eyes set on Louis as he tried to understand what the alpha was saying.

Louis gritted his teeth, he was losing his senses, Harry’s scent making him twitch.

“Wh-what?” Harry fumbled, lips forming the words slowly as if he had no strength left.

Louis balled his fists, the words that were about to leave his mouth was tearing at his heart but he had to.

“Nick,” Louis breathed through his nose, “do you want me to call him? Here?”

Harry looked like he did not understand what Louis was hinting at. Louis was losing his patience. He leaned forward, trying to be heard clearly over Harry’s heat-haze.

“Nick,” Louis gritted out, “do you want me to call Nick?”

Harry blinked, his irises flaring when he understood what Louis meant.

Louis watched, mesmerized and awkward, as emotions played over Harry’s face, those eyes sliding over his face and then closing on their own accord. With a soft breath, Harry hoisted himself up, the little action was tiring him out.

Louis’ breath caught in his chest when the omega settled himself over his thighs, arms around his neck. The omega’s skin was heating up, Louis reached out and grabbed the omega’s waist to steady him. His own cock twitched against Harry’s stomach. The omega’s curls touched Louis’ face, those green eyes caging him in.

“Am I repulsive to you?”

The question made Louis frown, his chest twisting with pain and fierce protectiveness engulfed him when tears fell from Harry’s eyes on his cheeks.

“Never,” Louis said, voice tight with so many feelings swirling inside him.

Harry rubbed his hands on Louis’ nape, grinding down on Louis’ bare thighs, slick wetting Louis’ skin.

“Then why are you leaving me?”

Louis was losing himself, his alpha instinct flaring up. With a tight grip, Louis pushed the omega down on the floor, Harry’s eyes on him as he descended on the floor.

Louis clenched his jaw as he looked down at the alluring sight that was the omega. His own cock too close to that bow-shaped lips.

“I’m not leaving you, Harry,” Louis said, eyes void of any emotion, “but I’m not offering you everything either. That’s not my place.”

Harry seemed to descend in his own blissful obliviousness as his eyes landed on Louis’ glistening cock. He reached out, taking the length in his hands, both hands, feeling the smooth texture against his palms.

“Harry,” Louis gritted out when the omega sat up on his knees on the floor, leaning forward.

“Please,” was all Harry said before those lips enclosed around Louis’ tip, the moist heat engulfing Louis. Louis closed his eyes, blowjob he could do with. They had done that before. It was fine.

But even when Harry bobbed his head up and down, Louis knew, it was just the starting.

Harry let out a strangled moan when Louis’ right hand gripped his curls, pushing him down more on Louis’ cock, forcing his throat to adjust. The knot was already forming and Harry closed his eyes, soft whimpers leaving his mouth as the alpha thrust up.

======

With Liam gone for the day, searching for the trace of that call, and Louis busy with Harry and his heat, Zayn was the only one in patrolling duty’s control.
He sat on a tower, feeling the breeze against his face as he sucked on a cigarette, his eyes sharply observing the borders.

Noting was amiss. The darkness was not really a problem to him, his wolfish eyes were used to it and he could see clearly through the fog. Something in him was getting restless as the night went on.

Something felt wrong.

Something was happening.

Zayn could not pinpoint what it was but something was not right about the pack. It was too quiet. The patrolling guards were not giving their warning roars from every gate as they did to alert the guards over the towers.

Zayn pulled up the walkie-talkie, pressing his lips against it he called the north tower, “Is everything okay there?”

“Yes, sir,” came the answer, “everything is under control.”

Zayn sighed, the monotonous voice was telling him that the guards were giving him the practised reply, “don’t fucking sleep on me. I will find all of you and shoot you one by one if something goes wrong. Stay put.”

With that Zayn called the next tower.

The night went on with more cigarettes and some pieces of bread with water. Nothing else was allowed as supper because the guards were not supposed to fall asleep. The light the food, the better.

Zayn was tearing off a piece from the loaf when his walkie-talkie beeped. He pressed the device against his ear, biting on the bread and taking a sip of the black coffee.

“Yes?”

“There is a beeping light coming from the jungle ahead of us,” the guard said, “we can’t figure out if it’s a signal or some random light.”

Zayn sat up, the tower was near Ciara, “where is the light coming from? Which colour is the light?”

The guard talked to someone beside him, then came back to answer Zayn, “the light is yellow and it’s coming from the Grimshaw pack.”

Zayn was out of his seat, chugging down the bitter coffee, he bit out the terse orders, “keep a look. Record the lights. Whatever it is, tell me.”

“The light is going on and off,” the guard said, much to Zayn’s dismay, “it’s flashing too fast three times then thrice with less speed and then again with quick succession.”

Zayn cursed loudly, hopping down the last steps of the tower, “someone is sending messages through the morse lights. Oh, fuck. Just record the lights. I’m coming. Keep everyone on high alert.”

Zayn ordered Stan and some more men to handle the west tower, where he was staying.

As he drove through the pack, Zayn called Liam.

“I think we are going to be under attack.”

Liam said nothing.

“Liam?”

“I know,” Liam said, voice tight, “I am just outside our borders and there are some foreign scents. Some wolves are here, they are not from our pack. I was about to call you.”

Zayn momentarily closed his eyes, cursing like a sailor as he tore through the jungle.

“Louis,” Liam said, “is he with Harry?”

Something was bothering Zayn, his eyes were set on the darkness that was in front of him but he had to say it out, even if it was not true.

“There’s the light signal message coming from Grimshaw pack,” he said, slowly revealing his fear, “Harry went into heat all of a sudden. He didn’t even get in pre-heat for time being. Straight heat.”

Liam was silent for a moment and then the alpha cursed, “are you saying…”

Zayn nodded, “why so suddenly? Louis is out of the picture, right?”

Liam was moving, Zayn could hear the alpha running through the jungle by the whooshing sound of the air, “if what you are saying is the truth, I will kill him, Zayn.”

A laugh escaped Zayn’s lips, “before that, we need to survive the attack.”

======

Harry could feel his insides burning, Louis’ fingers too persistent against his prostate. He cried with loud whimpers, one arm thrown over his eyes and the other one gripping the sheet too tightly in a fist beside him.

Louis was mouthing against his neck, whispering words of assurance and telling him that everything was going to be okay.

Nothing was okay.

Harry’s veins were burning from one end to the other, it felt like sizzling lava was erupting in his stomach. He twisted on the bed, turning towards Louis for more. His hands shook, this heat was not like any other he had. He was burning, his body reacting so strongly but his mind was alert, he was not losing his mind as he would normally. Harry could feel his omega craving the alpha that fingered him but Harry was shocked to find that he wanted Louis too, heat aside. He wanted Louis to take him, make him feel things no one had before.

The lube was opened beside Harry, the tube forgotten. So much slick and lube were making Harry’s entrance sloppy.

The omega cried out when Louis bit down on his chest, his one hand under Harry’s head and the other one moving rhythmically in Harry.

“More,” Harry said, seeking out Louis’ lips, sealing them with his, “please, more.”

Louis pulled his fingers out, making Harry reach out for him blindly. A low growl from the alpha and the omega’s hands dropped. Harry watched as Louis sat up, parting his legs to look at Harry’s genitals.

Harry watched with a frown as Louis pulled a dildo out of a packet, lubing it up. Harry sat up, taking the dildo from Louis and hand throwing it away.

“What is it?” Louis asked, all calm and composed.

Harry shook his head, tears welling up in his eyes, “no. Just… no. I,” he sat up on his knees, grabbing Louis’ neck to jerk him furiously, “I want you. Please. Not that toy. No, please, Lou.”

Louis shook his head, trying to pull away, “no. I said no, Harry, it’s…”

The shrill sound of siren and the warning bells all around the pack stopped Louis’ words. Harry jumped, frightened and startled.

“Wh-what?” Harry whispered.

Louis sprang down from the bed, his hands flexing beside him.

As he ran towards the window.

Louis stood there, witnessing the ear-splitting cries and horrified shouts coming from the houses. There were more warning sirens. Louis counted them in his mind. There were two from the south side, which meant there was an attack.

There were one from the east, something was wrong in that area too. Which meant two more towers to go and the whole pack would be under attack.

“Shit,” Louis said, turning back to look at the bed where Harry was sitting on his hunches, eyes wide with fear so palpable that Louis felt it in his guts.

“We are under attack,” Louis said, rushing towards the bed.

“Louis, what?” Harry said, reaching out to hold onto the alpha. Louis shook his head, his heart already skipping beats.

“I’m sorry for doing this, Harry,” Louis said, voice full of remorse.

Harry’s trustful eyes might haunt Louis for the rest of his eyes when he placed his hand on the omega’s neck, squeezing it. He watched the air circulation stopping and Harry losing consciousness.

“Lou…” Harry’s eyes lost focus, the omega going limp in Louis’ arms. Louis placed him lightly on the bed, covering him with the duvet.

“I’m sorry but,” Louis looked back when there was a sound of something bursting. The alpha cursed.

The horizon was lighting up with yellow and orange flames.

Fire.

The jungle was on fire.

======

Zayn hopped down from the jeep, his eyes scanning the border. The guards on patrol duties were rushing around, shouting at each other, ordering something. No one really noticed Zayn. He rushed up the ladder to the tower, snatching the binocular from one of the guards, Zayn pointed it at the jungle.

He saw nothing but his wolfish ears were twitching. The whole area of the border was in hype but Zayn’s expert hearing caught the sound of footsteps in the jungle. There were many. He sniffed, picking up the scent of many different wolves.

The lights flashed again, making the beta flinch. Zayn pulled the binocular down and watched, the flashlight blinking. Someone was sending the signal. Zayn followed the light and it ended on the pack house.

The chill ran through Zayn.

Someone from the other side of the border was sending the signal to one of their men in the pack house.

Someone in the packhouse was a traitor, or hiding, who belonged to the men outside the pack.

“Siren,” Zayn shouted, his hands gripping the railing of the tower tightly, “buzz the siren. Now!”

His order was followed immediately, someone unlocked the panel of important buttons and after Zayn’s fingerprint verification, the small box was opened. Zayn pressed down on the red button there.

The shrill sound of siren tore through the calm of the night. Zayn gulped to clear out the buzz in his ears and pressed the binocular against his eyes again.

There were small movements outside.

A ring cut through his astonishment and haze. Zayn accepted the call, his eyes still searching the jungle.

“There are more than hundred wolves lurking around the border,” Liam said as soon as Zayn clicked the answer button.

Zayn’s eyes widened, his hands almost shaking, almost, he clenched his jaw and gripped the binocular in his hand.

“How’d you know? Where are you?”

Liam cursed under his breath, “I’m coming back from personal work. This is not the time for that.”

Zayn hissed, “I’m not fucking interested in your personal matters. I’m just asking if you are in the pack or out of the pack!”

Liam huffed out a laugh, “in the pack, damn it. I’m coming where you are. Wait for me.”

Zayn had no other options anyway.

======

Liam could not imagine the tension he was feeling. Louis was in no place where he could come up to save the pack.

Zayn was, no matter what, a beta. He was still second in command.

Liam the first in command and that scared the shit out of him. What was he supposed to do without Louis’ supervision?

When he jumped into the tower, Zayn was shouting orders through a walkie-talkie. He forwarded the binocular for Liam to take without stopping his rant and Liam took it, turning his back towards the beta and putting the binocular over his eyes.

He frowned when he saw the shadows moving around. Liam looked back at Zayn and frowned when the beta put the walkie-talkie down.

“Why is it so dark? Tell the guards to turn on the flashlights,” Liam said.

Zayn glared at him, “don’t you think I didn’t think about it? The flashlights are broken. Someone came in the pack and cut off all the electricity connection for the flashlights.”

Liam looked back at the jungle, his stomach rolling. The anxiety was surfacing, his heart skipping beats as time went on. There was no chaos, it was complete silence beyond the border walls and that scared Liam.

The calm before the storm.

“Sirs,” a guard came up, when Liam and Zayn turned towards him, the guard bowed, “there is no way we can fix the lights tonight. The cords are not stored. We need to order it and we don’t have that much time it seemed.”

Before they could say anything, the flashlights from the other side of the border came alive, flashing with three quick successions and then nothing.

“Signals,” Liam said, turning towards the packhouse, “they are waiting for someone’s signal before they attack.”

Zayn nodded, expression grim, “thought so too.”

Something clicked in Liam’s brain, his eyes scanning the jungle, the dark horizon staring back at him.

“We have dynamites planted in the jungle, right?” He asked.

Zayn nodded, coming up beside Liam to look at the horizon, “yes. There are dynamites planted in the jungle. Louis is very strict about that one.”

The smirk that crossed Liam’s lips was very familiar to Zayn. It was the look when the alpha was going to do something evil, cruel. He raised his brows when Liam looked at him with that look.

“What?” Zayn asked, curious and impatient.

Liam turned back to look at the darkness, “blast it.”

======

Louis left the packhouse after calling the doctor. Harry would have to wear the heat off but the doctor could help him with the pain. He would have to deal with it because Louis could not and would not leave the pack alone when it needed him.

Harry would understand.

Louis knew that, he trusted that.

As he rushed through the panicked members of the pack, almost everyone came up to him for questions or assurance that their home was fine. Louis nodded to everyone, trying to get past them as quick as he could manage. It was not easy, cutting through the crowd, while his heart was still in his bedroom, with that writhing omega. Louis hoped Jay and other omegas would be able to get Harry under control. He hoped Harry forgave him.

The thoughts flew his head when another blast was heard and it kept happening. Someone was blowing up the dynamites. Louis wanted to scream.

======

Liam and Zayn watched the jungle blowing off, their smiles matching and chests feeling light. So many cries were heard. Those wolves were dying like rats out there and nothing could go wrong after that.

“What the fuck are you two doing?”

They both jumped, ready to pounce when they turned and relief washed over them.

Louis stood there, eyes fixed on them with his jaw clenched. He looked furious.

“You?” Liam said, “weren’t you with Harry for his heat?”

Louis shook his head, snatching the binocular from Liam and pressing it against his eyes. The alpha did not answer Liam but swore loudly.

“Did you just actually blow off the jungle?”

Liam and Zayn looked at each other in confusion. Was not it the best idea?

“Um,” Liam started, “yeah. There were attackers lurking around. We had to!”

“No, we didn’t,” Louis almost growled, his expression stormy, “are you fucking serious? No, we didn’t have to. You two should’ve waited. Damn, Liam. That was our last resource! You just ruined it!”

Liam frowned, agitated, “I ruined it? What was I supposed to do? Wait for them to come in and start a war? Isn’t it good that we ended them just outside our pack?”

Louis looked like he might burst, he shook his head, “no! You just killed some wolves with that much dynamites and what? Do you think that was all? Just a few wolves lurking around? No! Think about it, Liam, if that was all then why would they so fearlessly send signals to the packhouse? Someone is out there,” he pointed at the flashlight, “Still sending signals. Some people are in our pack, traitors, who are helping them. There’s more. Obviously, that was not all! Plus,” Louis combed his fingers through his hair, pushing them back with a loud exhale, “you blasted the jungle and now we are trapped. The whole area around our pack is on fire. We don’t have the resources to stop the fire if it crosses our boundaries. It was our last option. Damn it!”

Liam and Zayn stood silently as Louis paced the tower. His hands behind his back and his head bowed.

“Call Perry,” Louis said suddenly, “make sure they prepare their fighters. We might need them. Tell them to not contact us until we call them up. Yeah?”

Zayn nodded, his mobile already in his hand.

“Liam,” Louis turned to the alpha, “call the Smith pack. Ask them if they have more gunpowder. We need to store it.”

Liam nodded, dialling.

“How come you are here?” Zayn asked when he was done with the phone call.

Louis really was trying not to think about it. He shrugged, eyes on the jungle, “that’s something I don’t want to talk about.”

The three of them jumped when something shot through the air, hitting Louis, almost.

“Fuck, Louis,” Zayn said, pulling the alpha down beside him. In a matter of second, another shot was heard and Louis stood up to see someone was falling down, rolling off the roof of the packhouse.

Someone from the packhouse had shot Louis.

“Are you fine?”

Liam’s question brought Louis back to reality. Liam was the one who shot that traitor down.

“What if there are more in the packhouse?”

Zayn’s question was unanswered when Stan came running, the three of them watched the beta climbing up the ladder. When Stan was in the tower, the three of them looked at him expectantly.

“Louis,” the beta huffed, his breathing heavy, “Harry.”

Louis came rushing forward, grabbing the beta’s shoulders to shake him furiously, “what? What about him?”

Stan shook his head, “The house...the packhouse”

Louis waited, his chest heavy and he could tell what the beta was going to say.

"The packhouse is under attack..."

======