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Where Do We Go Now

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This year was going to be different.  

That was all Louis could repeat to himself as he neatly stacked his newly acquired textbooks on the center of his desk in his new dorm room.  There were fresh sheets on his single mattress, the creases still in them from being taken directly out of the package.  It was raised just enough higher than a normal bed frame to accommodate the storage beneath, two columns of dresser drawers where most of his clothing was already neatly folded.  His desk was against the foot of the bed and behind him sat a wardrobe that he would start working on next.  

The other side of the room mirrored his, a small hallway between their wardrobes that led to a small shared bathroom and the heavy door that led to the main corridor.  The opposite side was still empty, bare mattress reminding him that these furnishings had definitely seen better days.  He tried to put that out of his mind or he would never be able to fall asleep on his own abused bed.  The decision to move into the dorms had been his, after all, and he was prepared to deal with it until he could move into his own apartment off campus.  He was optimistic about saving up to afford that for next year.  For now, he was stuck.  

His pack had been shocked when he broke the news that he would be attending a human school out of state.  He wouldn’t be the first to attend a mainstream university, but it was almost unheard of for them to move away to do so.  Most just commuted to the public university near their home if that was the path they chose.  

Louis was breaking the mold for a reason.  

He was tired of living as a side character in the alphas’ world and this would finally be his chance to escape it completely.  He was envious of the simplicities of human life.  They dated like throwing a different outfit on every morning, pairing up with all different dynamics and genders just to see where they would fit best.  Louis didn’t have that luxury.  

Cursed with presenting omega, Louis was not only expected to mate with an alpha, but one that the pack essentially would choose for him.  It was a terribly outdated system, he often argued, and he refused to fall victim to an unhappy relationship based on culture and customs.  After his birth father had passed away when he was young, his mother had been paired with an older alpha who was controlling and oppressive in all the worst ways an alpha could be.  Since Louis wasn’t his biological child, the brunt of it seemed to fall onto him, especially after he had presented.  

That wasn’t to say that his stepfather was abusive.  He wasn’t violent and had never laid a hand on any member of his family, but violence wasn’t the only way to exhibit dominance and he made sure everyone knew exactly where they stood, exactly what his role in the family was.  Louis had been on the receiving end of his alpha voice so many times that it made his head dizzy just to think about it.  He loathed the feeling of being controlled by a power stronger than his own will and he vowed that he would never give himself over to an alpha, that he’d never find himself bound to one.  

If they were Amish, college would be his rumspringa and he already knew he was never going back.  

He would be perfectly happy traveling the world on his own, which was exactly what he was planning to do.  He would take his social and cultural anthropology degree and live out the rest of his days studying why tribes behaved the way they did and perhaps perspective on why his own was stuck in another time period with no evidence they were evolving.  

He had just finished lining up his shoes in the bottom of his wardrobe when he heard the lock to his door opening and, a moment later, the heavy panel hit the hallway wall.

“Oops, opened easier than I thought,” Louis heard a voice mumble.  He was about to open his mouth to laugh in agreement, to introduce himself, when the scent hit him like a ton of bricks being thrown at him and it instantly put him on edge.  His eyes narrowed and a low growl threatened to rip out of his throat, stance already held rigid with the illusion of dominance when the owner of the voice appeared from the small hallway.

The intruder stopped short when he caught sight of Louis, eyes wide and half a smile still stuck on his stupid face in surprise.  It was only for a few moments before he, too, rose to his full height in a defensive position, a pair of sneakers dangling from his fingers and a large duffle bag hanging from his squared shoulder.  

Of all the things that could have happened while he attempted to live normally for once, of course he’d be paired with a fucking alpha as his dorm mate.  Louis could smell that this alpha was from a different pack, but then of course he was.  If he were from Louis’, Louis would at least know his face, but he had never seen this stranger before in his life.

He begged the forces that be that this cocky knothead was just dropping off his real roommate’s belongings, that the real person he would be sharing his space with would walk across the threshold any minute.  

He was kept waiting.

They both stared each other down, Louis’ eyes narrowing to mere slits with anger, his jaw set and nostrils flaring.  He was going to march right down to the office and demand to be assigned a new roommate because… because why?  What would he tell them?  He couldn’t tell them that he was prejudiced against alphas because for one, they would give him a blank stare, and two, if they were aware of what that meant, he couldn’t very well use that as an excuse.  Even Louis knew that would be rude and judgmental of him, but that was exactly what was happening.  Part of him was disappointed in himself for his snap judgment.  But if the shoe fit… but did the shoe fit?  Louis hadn’t even given himself a moment to find out.  

The alpha was slowly backing from Louis into his half of the room, holding his hands up in what appeared to be surrender.  He looked stupid still holding his shoes and tripping over the corner of his desk, but Louis didn’t let up on his glare.  Alpha. Enemy. Rival. Asshole.  That was all that this person would amount to be, and he wasn’t about to let his guard down and give him the false impression of who was boss.    

“What are the odds, huh?” the alpha said, acknowledging what they both knew they could easily scent on each other.  

“Yeah, some coincidence,” Louis gritted out through clenched teeth.  How dare this alpha waltz in and ruin what was supposed to be his new beginning, what was supposed to be his breath of fresh air after so many years of being stifled.  His freedom.

Something cold hardened over the alpha’s face with Louis’ tone and he glared back for another moment before dropping his duffle bag to the floor with a loud plop.  

“If that’s how it’s going to be.”  The alpha shrugged but the underlying edge to his tone said he was anything but accepting of the situation.

Louis didn’t know if that was how it was going to be, but he wasn’t about to let this alpha get too comfortable right from the start.  He didn’t know where this stranger came from or what pack he belonged to, but there was one rule they all knew was non-negotiable: packs never mixed.  They shouldn’t be rooming together purely on that principle alone and this alpha should know that as well as any of their kind.  His pack might even be more archaic than Louis’ own, for all Louis knew, with stricter oppression of omegas.   

The alpha tossed his sneakers into the corner of his space, and that act alone grated on Louis’ nerves.  Why did everything alphas do have to be so irritatingly… just so irritatingly alpha ??  He couldn’t grasp another word to describe how they came in and took over anything and everything they wanted to claim as their own.  

“Keep your mess on your half of the room.” Louis clenched his fists at his sides.  It wasn’t that difficult with the way his tall body already took up so much space, how his scent invaded the air, how he was daring to exist there in front of Louis.  

The other looked up at him incredulously.   

“I just got here! I don’t have anything that would even qualify as a mess yet!” He threw his hands up in the air, gesturing around the space.  

“Yeah, yet ,” Louis scoffed, turning back to make sure nothing in his wardrobe had decided to shift out of place in the last few minutes.  It was satisfying to see all of his things so neat and organized.  With so many siblings back at home, it was a given that everything would be disrupted at some point, even if it was unintentional.  He was looking forward to having a place for all of his things and all of his things neatly in those places for once.   

Louis sat down at his desk and tried his best to ignore the wrinkled bundles of clothes the alpha was pulling out of his duffle.  Even the sight of it stressed him out and he purposefully angled his chair away from the disaster.  The zen of his fresh start was being thrown all out of whack already.  

His orientation papers were slid into a folder and Louis opened it to look over his class schedule once again though he was sure he had it memorized.  He was most looking forward to the anthropology of reproduction course that he had been lucky enough to get into, extremely curious on how humans had analyzed and explained the alpha and omega behaviours that existed around the world in their studies and textbooks.  Louis couldn’t wait to share his “opinion” on the matter in what he was already planning to be an epic term paper.  Humans always had the most creative ways to explain away what should be painfully obvious behaviours, if they’d just open their eyes and their minds for once.  

A small piece of paper fluttered into his lap when he pulled his schedule the rest of the way out and he picked it up before it fell onto the floor.  It was the small rectangle of cardstock that had been handed over with his room key when he checked in earlier in the day.   Harry Styles , it read just above his own name. Of course this stupid alpha would come first in alphabetical order too, and Louis glanced over at the alpha without thinking.  Maybe he looked like a Harry.  Harry was an old person name and Louis knew a lot of old, gruff alphas that had probably been vaguely attractive knotheads at some point in their lives before letting the power and bitter hormones shrivel them up into angry raisins.  

Harry had somehow pulled a snapback out of the bottomless Mary Poppins bag he was digging through and was currently wearing it backwards with loops of curls escaping from underneath it in a way that looked too irritatingly perfect to have happened coincidentally.  Louis half expected him to pull out a basketball next and ask if he wanted to go shoot some hoops with the sleeves of his t-shirt rolled up like that and the athletic shorts he had apparently changed into without Louis noticing.  A jock, just like the rest of them, Louis decided before any part of that scenario had actually taken place.  

It was going to be a very long, exhausting year if the last 10 minutes were any indication.

“Is it cool if I claim a shelf in the bathroom?” Harry asked him, knocking him out of his judgmental trance.  

Louis shrugged because what else was he supposed to do?  Banning him from their bathroom wasn’t exactly something he had the authority to do, not when it had been assigned to both of them.  He thought about the shelf he had already claimed for himself, the lower one, of course, and all of his toiletries already perfectly arranged in order of use.  

The racket coming from the small room was alarming, the sound of aerosol cans and bottles against the porcelain sink, and Louis had to sit on his hands to keep himself from rushing in to make sure they weren’t his own items making the sound.  It wasn’t that he was anal about everything, but he had learned rely on the small things he was able to control in an environment where control was frequently taken from him against his will.  Those tendencies would be hard to break. His own toiletries being disrupted, wait, his own toiletries…

Louis froze and immediately the heat of embarrassment crept up his neck and onto his cheeks.  He had assumed his roommate would be human and, when you assume, you make an ass out of… well, apparently only himself this time.  The things he had brought with him would look completely harmless to a human, but, to Harry, they would mean something entirely different.  Harry would see the embarrassing truth.    

On his shelf - right next to his toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, and all the normal things one would expect to find in a bathroom - were products for his omega needs.  Pheromone soother oils for his diffuser, neutralizers, and, of course, his suppressants.  Those oils would be a lost cause now with an alpha around, and he’d never cursed having a vomeronasal organ more in his life.  Louis couldn’t believe he’d spend the next year of his life having to sneak off to huff some soothers like some kind of drug addict.  The thought alone caused enough stress to make him need them even more.  It wasn’t like there would be a selection of alphas around to choose from when he desperately needed a contact boost, so the soothers were really his only choice.  His friend back home always gave him enough to at least get by.  Without that, he’d have to solely rely on chemicals and now he’d have to anxiously use them outside of his comfort zone which in some ways defeated the purpose entirely.  

That outraged Louis more than the embarrassment of Harry finding them to begin with and the embarrassment of a strange alpha being reminded of your heat rituals already ranked pretty high on his list.  And…

Oh fuck.  How was he going to deal with his heats now?  Harry would be able to scent them days before.  There wasn’t enough blocker spray in the world to cover himself for that long when they were sharing such a tight and enclosed space.  He could already smell Harry’s own scent permeating his things, clinging to his hair and his clothing like the aftermath of being in a smoky bar.  

His face was surely beet red by the time he heard Harry come back into the room, but he couldn’t look out from beneath the hands that were covering his shame.  Everyone was right.  His whole plan had been knocked off course by one singular variable that he hadn’t accounted for.  He should have listened to their pessimistic opinions and just stayed home in the first place.  At least the alphas would have been from his own pack that way.  

“It’s Lewis, right?” Harry asked, knocking him out of his pity party.  

“Lou-EE,” he shot back on instinct.  It was a habit of having a commonly mispronounced name.  

“Okay lou-EE,” Harry parroted back with an eye roll while he grabbed his wallet and phone from his desk. “I’m heading out.  Don’t wait up, darling dearest!”  

Harry wiggled his fingers to accompany his singsong voice, and Louis couldn’t even suppress the huff of annoyance long enough for the knothead to leave the room.  

“Fuck!!!” he exclaimed and violently swiped his textbooks off his desk and onto the floor in loud echoing thuds.  His anger only lasted more as he surveyed the mess, sighing as he knelt to pick them back up and place them back into their original organized positions.  

Harry could go fuck himself.  This was still going to be Louis’ year.  

He tried to keep repeating that to himself when Harry woke him up later that night, flipping the light on and fumbling to make his bed without even acknowledging that Louis was there.  

 

---

 

It was finally the first morning of classes for Louis’ first semester as a college student and he woke up refreshed and ready for the day.  He smiled to himself while he picked out his outfit, folding them neatly up on his desk, his bag already packed up the night before with his notebooks and neatly arranged pens.  

He had just picked up his towel and robe to shower when Harry’s obnoxious alarm started blaring from his phone.  Who had the guitar riff from Sweet Child of Mine as their wake up tone anyway?  Louis huffed and shook his head, throwing his towel over his shoulder and slipping off his glasses, folding them to leave on top of his desk.  He turned to enter the bathroom just as Harry stumbled by, their shoulders knocking together as he slipped into the small cube of a room first and closed the door with a loud click.  

“Hey!” Louis pounded on the door, “I was just about to go in there!  I have an early class, you jerk!!”

He didn’t receive a response and leaned back against the door in a huff.

“You better only be taking a piss!” he yelled, slamming his palms back against the door behind him at his sides.  There was still no response, but when he heard the squeak of the shower turning on, he had reached his limit.  

“Fuck you!  You knew I was going in there!” he yelled, kicking at the door. Louis winced and began hopping around on one foot in pain while mumbling expletives.  The bottoms of his thighs hurt against the cornered edge of his dressers when he flopped to sit on the edge of his mattress, wincing again as it dug into the meat of his muscle.  It wasn’t the first time it had happened, but he wasn’t sure how to remedy the poor set up.  Comfort obviously wasn’t a priority in this design.  

The seconds seemed to tick by murderously slow as he checked the time on his phone and then looked up to the bathroom door, back and forth, like it may magically evaporate the annoying alpha along with the steam from the shower.  It was the first day and he was going to be late unless he chose to forego the shower, which would throw his day off in an entirely different way.  He couldn’t start his day in yesterday’s filth, even if his “fresh” start was only symbolic.  He also couldn’t start fresh when it was the same old alpha problem blocking him, just in a slightly younger, more attractive form.  

The water finally squeaked off and he glared daggers at the door until it opened and Harry emerged from a billowing cloud of steam like some kind of wet Adonis, fully nude and unashamed as he walked through their room with a towel around his wet hair.  He meant to be glaring daggers, at least that’s what he thought he was doing, but realized too late that his jaw had dropped and expression morphed into what he could only imagine looked like the face of someone who had just seen God.  

“Ahem,” Harry cleared his throat theatrically and Louis nearly fell to the floor as he tripped over himself to stand.  The warm steamy scent of alpha had momentarily clouded around him like soft, pillowy cotton candy, but it was just as easy for him to slide through it with a metaphorical machete.  

“You knew I was going in there!” he exploded angrily, like a bomb with a faulty fuse that had been poked with a stick.

“And you knew I was coming out, but that didn’t stop you from gawking at my dick.”  

Louis wanted to slap that smug grin right off Harry’s cocky alpha face.  Just like an alpha to think every omega was drooling over his cock.  Louis just hadn’t expected Harry’s full frontal nudity on his first day of classes.  It was too early for an eyeful of cock and balls, even if they were nice to look at.  But they weren’t , they were not nice to look at.  Absolutely not .  

“Fuck off!  Not really much else to look at when you’re taking up the whole room with your skin!!!” Louis knew it didn’t make sense as it left his mouth, but couldn’t say anything to fix it anyway.  He didn’t know what he was trying to say.  Instead, he huffed and stomped into the bathroom, nearly slipping on the wet puddles pooled on the floor in the process.  

“Stupid alphas,” he muttered to himself as he took the world’s fastest shower and rushed the routine he had left ample time for in his original schedule.  He got to class with 70 seconds to spare, but still received a warning look from the professor as he was shutting the door.  There was a shuffling noise to his right and he glanced over on instinct.  There was Harry, smug as ever, just a row behind him and several people over.  Louis narrowed his eyes at him and pursed his lips before turning back to the front of the class.  

Why were asshole alphas always ruining his life?  

 

---

 

Louis had just stepped out of the shower and stared into the mirror while he tried to compose himself, but the annoyance was still bubbling within him.  It wasn’t enough to be woken up just moments before his own alarm to the opening guitar of Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child Of Mine. No. Instead, Harry just continued to sleep through it long enough for it to get stuck in Louis’ head.  All through his shower the same riff played on a loop over and over and over, and now he could hear it playing again clearly through the bathroom door.  

He groaned and searched for his soothers hidden behind his deodorant and took a deep breath in with his nose pressed right against the opening of the bottle like he was desperate for a fix.  In a way, he was, the soothers giving him a small headrush of endorphins that would last just long enough to get ready for the day.  He should have petitioned for a single room.  Maybe he still could.

“Turn your fucking alarm off!” he shouted through the door, replacing the bottle and grabbing his deodorant instead.  He pulled off the cap and then paused, looking down at the mess caked around the edges and one hair stuck to the middle.  There was no way he would have left it in such a state the day before.  His jaw clenched just as tightly as his fist and, without even thinking about the fact he was only covered by a loose towel around his waist, stalked out into the room.  

“Did you use my deodorant?” he asked, chucking it at one of the mounds beneath the comforter.  He had no way of knowing whether or not he had hit a body part in the mess Harry slept on top of until the blankets moved with a groan of pain.  

“What the fuck,” Harry’s voice was sleep deepened and confused, muffled by the mess of blankets.  A messy mop of hair emerged and a puffy eyed glare followed.

“Did. You. Use. My. Deodorant??” Louis asked through clenched teeth, still squeezing the cap in one fist.  

“Chill out.  It’s not like I used your toothbrush or something.”  Harry flopped back down, Sweet Child Of Mine still looping loudling from his phone.  

Louis chucked the cap at Harry’s head and stomped across towards his roommate’s bed.  He pointedly turned off the alarm before throwing the phone towards him as well.  

“Get a new ringtone, for fuck’s sake!”

Harry was so irritatingly annoying that he had to be doing it on purpose.  It was like Harry had stolen his book of pet peeves and had been making an effort to mark every single one off the list.  Hell, he was even finding new ones to add.  

He dropped his towel and roughly pulled on his boxer briefs, spinning around to find Harry’s sleepy stare focused on him.  

“Don’t you have a class you should be failing?” Louis snapped, slamming his drawer shut after pulling out a pair of socks and slamming them onto his desktop dramatically.  

Harry rubbed the sleep from his face and got up to head for the bathroom, a textbook and several crinkled pieces of paper falling off the mattress behind him.  Louis couldn’t understand how Harry could even sleep with so much crap piled under and around him.  It was like watching Hoarders: Dorm Room Edition and it took a lot of restraint to keep himself from following and cleaning up behind him.  He already had to when it came to the dirty dishes and food containers that Harry let pile up.  Louis was not about to have a bug infested or rotten smelling room, so he gave into his temptation when it came to that.  

He finished getting dressed quickly and was just picking up his bag to head out when Sweet Child Of Mine started up again from somewhere within the mess of the single bed.  

“Fuck!!” Louis shouted, slamming the door loudly on the way out into the hall.  His anger had almost erased the riff from his mind as he had pulled his clothes on, but the looped had been jump started once again.  It was going to be a long day with that stupid riff on repeat.

 

---

 

Knock knock knock.

Louis pulled off his headphones at the rapping he thought he heard on the door through his music, pausing just a moment before it sounded again, this time more urgent.  He unfolded himself from the center of his bed in the middle of a circle of his textbooks and nearly tripped over the cord still plugged into his phone on his way to the door.  He wasn’t expecting anyone and hadn’t even seen Harry since that morning.  

“Are you in there?? I left my keys!” The knocking started to sound continuously and Louis swore to himself.  Of course.  

It wasn’t the first time Harry had left his keys, but at least this time it wasn’t the middle of the night.  He pulled the door open and was nearly knocked into the wall as Harry breezed past, shoulders squared and head high like the pretentious alpha Louis expected him to be.  So fucking self entitled, like Louis was only there to benefit him and his irresponsible ways.

“Oh, thanks for letting me in, Louis,” Louis mocked under his breath in an impression of Harry’s voice as he pushed the door back closed.  The least Harry could do was acknowledge him, but that was apparently too much effort for the alpha.  Figured.  He shouldn’t have expected common decency.  

Louis sighed as he moved back into the room, Harry moving through his half like a small tornado, pushing things off his mattress and shoving them into the drawers below.  Louis stood and watched for a moment with his arms crossed over his chest, shaking his head.  If he kept his things organized to begin with, there wouldn’t even be a reason for him to be doing… well, Louis wasn’t sure what he was doing exactly.  Probably just shoving empty take out containers into his drawers for Louis to start smelling later that week.  

It was too much for Louis to watch and he had to force himself back to his circle of school work.  He angled his body away and secured his headphones, trying to tune out his number one stress factor he was sure was out to ruin his life.   

 

---

 

“Shhhh!  My roommate!”

Louis woke in a haze from hushed voices and actual giggles in the dark.  He didn’t move, hoping the unwanted company would leave shortly, but something told him that would not be the case.  The moon was full and the light streaming through their blinds was bright enough for him to see bodies with a hint more definition than just shadows.  His side of the room was still bathed in darkness, but even if they had seen his eyes crack open, he doubted they would have cared.  

“Are you sure?” he heard a female voice whisper through playful laughs.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s fine.” He recognized Harry’s deep voice answering and no, actually, it wasn’t fine.  It may have been Saturday night, or early Sunday depending on the time, but he had a job interview in the morning that he really wanted to be well rested for.  

Louis was just about to make his presence known when he heard the distinct sound of kissing and then saw the shadows of their clothing falling to the floor.  He could see the glow of the moon shining off Harry’s white little ass and flushed with the second hand embarrassment that would come if he pointed himself out now.  He just hoped they would be quick about it so he could get back to sleep and forget the whole thing ever happened.  

The girl was human, Louis could easily tell, and he wondered if this was a regular thing for Harry or if he was using the college experience for experimenting in the human world just as Louis was.  Harry seemed pretty confident, at least, guiding the girl down onto her back and dragging his plush lips over her skin with a sensuality Louis had no idea he possessed.  So that was why he’d made an effort to clear his bed. The girl was loud, her idea of being quiet very skewed with the amount of moans she let tumble from her lips. Or maybe she just didn’t care.  

Leave it up to an alpha to have some cocky power over humans as well.  He rolled his eyes but didn’t close them, watching the show the pair didn’t seem to mind if there was an audience for.  Louis saw Harry push her hand away from his dick several times, finally pinning them above her head in a move that easily fooled the girl but not Louis.  He had always been curious about what alphas that had sex with humans did about their knots and clearly he was about to get his answer first hand.  

“Real wet for me, yeah?” Harry growled out softly and Louis had to swallow hard to hold back the whimper his omega wanted to respond with even though it wasn’t directed towards him.  Harry’s sex voice had the perfect alpha timbre that would make him go weak in the knees if he had been standing and he tried desperately to ignore the fact that he liked it, that it sent a pleasurable thrill through his body.  

He could hear more than see what they were doing, the crinkle of the condom wrapper providing the details his eyes couldn’t pick up.  It didn’t surprise him that Harry wasn’t much for foreplay, he didn’t imagine many alphas were, really, especially not with a human.  

“You’re really big,” the girl squeaked when Harry must have started to push in, her body writhing a bit beneath him against the intrusion.  He wondered if it might be painful for a human whose body wasn’t made to open for a knot.  Even when he wasn’t in heat Louis got off to the idea of being split open, but then his holes were made to expand, were built to pull it in and then hook together like a key in a lock.  Humans had lost those elements of reproduction.

“Yeah baby, but you’re wet enough.” Harry’s sex voice just did things to Louis, and he fought against his nature to seek friction against the mattress.  He was hard, he realized. Harry’s sexy alpha voice combined with all of Harry’s pheromones filled his senses and the show naturally turned him on, as it would anyone else in his position.  It was so hard to stay still and not slide a hand down to palm himself, but he clenched his fists until the crescents of his fingernails were digging into his palms.  He’d never live it down if Harry caught sight of him jerking off while he watched.  Plus, what he was doing was already creepy. Louise didn’t want to add frosting to the creep cake.  

The girl slid her legs up around Harry’s waist and he started shallow thrusts into her but it didn’t look like the perfect, coordinated sex Louis would have imagined someone like Harry to have.  The girl seemed uncomfortable and Harry seemed frustrated, adjusting their position several times but still just not quite getting there.  It was awkward even to watch.  

“Maybe I could ride you?” the girl asked and she barely even seemed into the encounter anymore.  

“No, baby, don’t want you to hurt yourself,” Harry shook his head and tried to brush her hair from her face in a gentle and sweet move, but instead nearly poked her eye out.  Louis cringed for him with second hand embarrassment.  It was painful to witness.

“Hurt myself??  Sorry, dude, but you’re not that big,” the girl scoffed, her hand pushing at Harry’s chest.  Louis had to hold his breath to keep himself from snorting out a laugh. The sick satisfaction that Harry was finally having his ego knocked down a few pegs brought a smirk to his lips.  

“This isn’t really working out for me.” The girl crawled out from under him and began to gather her clothing.  

Harry just sighed out a long frustrated groan and pressed his face down into his pillow.  

“Maybe if you weren’t so cocky about how big your dick is, you wouldn’t be distracted and you’d learn how to use it,” the girl said as she pulled on her clothes and then left without another word.

Harry just sat back on his heels as soon as the door clicked shut, ripping off the condom and gripping his shaft like he was ready to strangle it.  For a moment, Louis thought he might, punishing it for its poor performance.  Instead he just started to stroke with aggressive pulls, his other hand sliding over his torso and then down to grip and pull at his balls.  Louis couldn’t help but shift his hips as he watched the now solo show, his own dick pressing against the mattress and slick gathering uncomfortably between his cheeks.  He didn’t realize he was so easy, but pheromones were going straight to his brain and he made a mental note to see if his heat was coming up to explain why he was swimming in it.  

“Such a fucking cockblock,” Harry mumbled, hand sliding up to grip tightly around the base of his dick where his knot would form.  Louis had never seen an alpha jerk off before, let alone an alpha that thought he was alone for the process.  He hoped Harry was too into himself to notice Louis’ own hand sliding down into his pajama bottoms to palm himself, biting his bottom lip hard enough to leave little teeth shaped indentations so he wouldn’t moan out with the long awaited relief of contact.  

Harry’s arms were toned, but Louis hadn’t noticed how defined they were until they were concentrating all their strength on his dick, muscles twitching and flexing under his dark tattoos that looked unreal in the moonlight.  

Louis may not want an alpha, but he was still omega. He still enjoyed the view. And the mental image of such a virile, young alpha aggressively taking him, maybe holding him down a little so he could feel the alpha’s strength, holding Louis steady to take his knot, tying them the way their bodies were meant to be…

He couldn’t hold back the moan as he came into his hand, his body releasing another pulse of slick that soaked through the thin material of his pants.  He’d just washed his bedsheets, but now he’d have to do it again with the mess he was making of himself.  

Harry was still at it, but only for a few more aggressive strokes. Large palm and fingers wrapped around, squeezing the base of his cock as his knot popped, come shooting out of him like a fucking water fountain.  He was breathing heavily and making noises with each pulse, and Louis knew that would have woken him if nothing else so far had.  Harry didn’t even seem to be keeping himself quiet anymore.  

Louis was itching to get up and clean himself off in the bathroom, but he wasn’t willing to give himself up yet either.  It would be humiliating for Harry to know what had just happened and embarrassing that he had just watched.  

After a few minutes Harry grabbed his shower towel from where he had thrown it carelessly at the end of his bed earlier.  He watched as Harry laid the towel out over the wet spot on his bed and flopped down, pulling his blankets over his naked body.  Alphas were so gross.  His habits were so stressful for Louis, he had to pretend the other half of the room didn’t even exist.

“Such a fucking cockblock,” Louis heard Harry mumble against his pillow. “Can’t hold my knot back with you even in the same room.”  

Louis wasn’t sure if he was meant to hear that or not, but when Harry’s snores soon filled the room, he figured it hadn’t been something he was expecting to response to.  Harry thought he was asleep, after all.  

Louis waited until he was sure Harry was out before slipping into the bathroom, changing into some dry clothes after cleaning up.  He returned to bed blaming the whole incident on his upcoming heat.  It was the only logical explanation.  

 

---

 

Louis’ college experience was turning out to be a string of bad days and it was wearing on him.  The only silver lining was that his annoying alpha of a roommate had started to spend less and less time in their room unless it was to sleep, which was something he was definitely on board with, minus the fact that he snored, but he could deal with it if it meant his absence at other times.  He had no idea what Harry was ever off doing, but found that he also didn’t really care.  It gave him the freedom to relax with some soothers and some quiet music while he worked on his assignments in the peaceful environment he thrived in but rarely received.  

But unfortunately, the fact was that he still had a roommate. One who still refused to wake up and turn his alarm (still that horrible ringtone) off the first, second, or even third time it went off; that timed his showers right before Louis was heading into the bathroom; that still left his side of the room an absolute mess.  He still left take-out containers on his desk, forgot his keys, and even had the audacity to ask Louis to leave the room so he could jerk off.  Not that it mattered since Louis had already seen that show before and he absolutely refused to acknowledge the reasons he wanted to stay.

Louis flopped into his seat of his first class on Monday, a disheveled mess after another rough morning of Harry throwing off his routine and barely leaving enough time for him to even brush his teeth.  Of course when he arrived the last seat in the entire room was in the front row.  Louis hated being at the front of the class.  It always felt like all eyes were on the back of his head, reading his notes, judging his hair, watching his movements.  It was just easier for him to concentrate towards the back without thinking of all of that.  He could feel one pair of familiar eyes on him in particular and, with pursed lips, he tried his best to ignore them.   

He felt hot and uncomfortable under Harry’s stare, a layer of oily skin making him hyper aware of the weight and texture of his clothing, making his nerves prickle with the urge to itch.  Logically, he knew he wasn’t that dirty just because he wasn’t able to shower that morning, but it was still making his skin crawl.  He couldn’t wait until he could run back to the dorm and jump under the warm spray of water.  After waking up abnormally sweaty, it was all he wanted to do.  Harry had probably turned the heat up in the middle of the night again.  Until then, he tried his best to push everything aside for the next hour.  



Class was nearly over, but Louis had barely been able to focus.  Someone had apparently decided to prematurely turn the heat on in the building when it was still that indecisive part of fall, warm one day and chilly the next.  He would much prefer to carry a jacket around on the cooler days than be locked up in a sweltering classroom.  Feeling clammy had just added to his already uncomfortable state.  He’d accidentally made a small scene yanking his hoodie off halfway through (he really hated being in the front of the class), but other than that, the hour had been a waste of his time.  He should have just skipped out and showered like he had desperately wanted to.  It felt like that would fix all his problems, maybe solve world peace.  

The professor had barely concluded his lesson, but that didn’t stop Louis from already gathering up his things.  He stood and raised his arms to pull on his hoodie and then froze when he felt it.  He wasn’t sure what he became aware of first, the chill of the air, the wet slide in the shift of his cheeks or the eyes of his classmates zeroed in on him at the front of the room.

With horror, he began to realize that it hadn’t been the thermostat or even his lack of shower that had him feeling so out of sorts, so ready to crawl out of his skin.  No, he plunged into reality in the worst possible way.  He could see the wet spot on his chair shining with the reflection of the poor fluorescent lighting, feel how he had soaked through his jeans.  He was falling into heat and he couldn’t believe he had let himself become too unobservant to notice.  

He looked up at the stares directed at him that had noticed the wet section of his jeans, focusing on the one with brows furrowed with worry.  To every person, save the one who knew the truth, it looked as if he had pissed himself and he was sure he would never be able to set foot in this class ever again.  He had never felt so mortified in his life.  

Louis grabbed up his books as best he could. He could feel things slip out of his grip, but he didn’t even care.  His pens scattered to the floor and his bag caught against the corner of his desk but he left it all behind, taking the loss if it meant putting more space between him and the embarrassment as he could.  

His shoes pounded against the pavement and his lungs ached, but he kept pushing as if he was being chased, desperate to lock himself away.  He’d have to transfer schools to ever live this down, his ears already prickling with the gossip that was surely being passed between the students.  A sob ripped out of him at the thought, stumbling over a break in the pavement that broke his stride.  He was able to save himself from a fall, but lost a notebook in the process, leaving it as another casualty while he continued.  He didn’t stop until the door of his dorm room was slammed shut behind him, dropping his armful of textbooks haphazardly onto the floor and curling himself up on the bed with his knees pulled tightly to his chest and face hidden close to the wall.  

The aching onset of heat that usually had him yearning to touch himself only added to the spiral of humiliation that weighed heavily on his chest and twisted his stomach.  The sobs continued to rip out of him and his eyes ached with the pressure.  

His head was pounding by the time he heard keys rattling in the lock, the door opening with less force than his roommate normally used.  Harry was the last person Louis wanted to see and he hid his face against his blankets and tried his best to rein in his sobs that still betrayed him as hiccups.  

Even through the snot had built up as a result of his tears, he could still sense the way Harry’s ever present scent permeated the room as he entered and an involuntary whine left him in his vulnerable state.  He didn’t think he could handle Harry laughing at him, taunting him, teasing him while he wasn’t in total control of himself, while he wasn’t able to let it bounce off his usually thick skin.  Even worse, he knew it would be hard to bounce back if Harry decided to use his alpha voice against him, just like his step-father, when he wouldn’t even be able to recognize the manipulation for what it was.   Louis was so sure of Harry’s game that it surprised him, made him jump even, when he felt the mattress dip behind him before a hesitant but warm hand touched his back.

His body yearned to push back into the contact and it soothed him more than he was willing to admit, but at the height of his emotions he didn’t care.

“I should have stopped you this morning, I’m sorry.” Harry’s voice was low and a little rough, volume soft over Louis’ hiccups.  “I didn’t know it was that close.”

The blankets shifted behind him and soon Harry was laying on his side, arms sliding around to hug his middle.  Louis let out another sob in the arms of the only other person within miles that understood, clung to it like a lifeline that held him up just enough to keep from drowning.  It was also far too easy to fall into the only alpha that had ever shown him any type of comfort, the sincerity radiating from Harry stronger than even his own growing heat.  It was a lot to process all at once.  

It took a while for Louis’ sobs to subside, fading out slowly into a haze that felt almost dreamlike.  He didn’t even realize he had started to gently rotate his hips back into the cradle of Harry’s until a small snuffle broke through to him.  There was a sudden chill against the skin behind his ear where he registered Harry had been snuggled into him and his nerves buzzed with the absence.  

“Do you, um,” Harry cleared his throat, stiff body trying to pretend that he wasn’t affected by their proximity. “Do you have somewhere to go?  Did you make arrangements?”

Louis wasn’t sure what he was talking about, whining and twisting, baring his neck as he sought out the contact that had been broken between them.  

“Or I can go, too.” Harry’s voice sounded strained and his fingers tightened into fists where they rested against Louis’ stomach.  

That thought sent panic through Louis’ body and he quickly gripped Harry’s fists, holding them pressed against his stomach lest he fall into the unknown.  

No, Harry couldn’t leave now.  Louis needed him there, needed an anchor to keep him in place, to keep him from drifting into a heat of dangerous instability, to keep him from the drop he could feel looming.  Despite the annoyances, Harry had never done anything to harm him, never shown any intention to, and that, Louis realized, was already better treatment than any alpha had ever shown him.  Harry was better than them, he knew it behind his denial, and when it mattered, Louis trusted him.  At this point, he had to.  

“Louis,” Harry warned but there was no conviction behind it, nothing that clearly spelled warning.  Louis whined in response and bared his neck more openly, willing Harry to take the bait, to scent him even if it was just to calm the panicked edge that had his chest feeling tight.  

Harry’s nose felt cool when it finally dipped in close to the space behind his ear, edging up his hairline with a confident purpose that made the omega in him swim.  He clung to the blissful high, finally letting himself appreciate Harry’s sharp scent that he had been pushing away as unpleasant.  The fact was that it was anything than but.  Though sharp at first contact, it bloomed into a rich flavour like allowing a fine wine to fully pass over the tongue, complex and consuming once you let it in.  

He wasn’t completely lost to his heat yet and knew he would always remember the way he allowed Harry’s scent to roll over him even if things snapped right back to the way they had been once it was over.  There was something about the experience of letting an alpha in for the first time that was truly altering, that dampened any rush soothers had ever given him.  

“Please Harry,” he begged, finally understanding that heat didn’t have to be just the drive for orgasms.  He’d never had that perspective on it and if Harry didn’t take him through the full journey he felt was building, he wasn’t sure he’d survive.  It was probably the heat, the emotional surge that was still zipping through him, but, in the moment, it felt that dire.  

Harry’s lips were moist and his breath warm, the groan he released making Louis ache for it.  The rigid body against him finally relaxed enough to allow him to shift his hips back, keening when he could feel that Harry was already hard against the wet denim he was still soaking through.  

Harry seemed to realize how uncomfortable they were in constricting jeans and nimble fingers moved to release the button and zip at the front of Louis’.  It was awkward to wiggle them down his legs, the wet drag pulling his boxer briefs down with them.  It was more than he normally would have been willing to expose so quickly, but when Harry’s attention moved to his own tight jeans instead of taking advantage, it gave him time to feel comfortable with what was inevitable anyway.  He wasn’t ashamed of his body, but also had never let anyone in.  

It was just the right amount of rough when Harry’s hands gripped the crest of his hips, pulling him free of the blanket bunched between them and back against the warmth of his bare skin.  His cheeks touched Harry’s lower stomach where his shirt had ridden up and he wiggled himself down until it wouldn’t take much for Harry to be fucking his thighs.  That was a thought Louis had to tuck away for another time, the slick gathered there making the image far too appealing.  That wasn’t what his body was craving, though.  

His omega gasped at the skin to skin contact, relishing in the boost it gave him after years of limited contact.  Even his prejudice towards alphas was screaming at him to give Harry a chance and he listened to every one of his instincts, gave into them readily.  

He felt a rush of hormones that would have made him dizzy if he had been standing and he closed his eyes against the feeling.  It was amazing, probably like a shot of heroin to an addict.  It had never felt so good when he was alone.  Getting himself through a heat was never an indulgent affair, only taking care of his body’s needs, but never anything that he actually craved.  The headspace he had just entered made everything a craving and he felt himself whimpering for Harry to give it to him.

The first push was a stretch, but Louis’ body was made for it, opening up in a foreign but not a painful way.  It felt so different than any of Louis’ toys and he pushed back against it, not letting Harry pause up until his hips were nestled against his.  He reached back to hold Harry in place, unable to stop himself from grinding against it but wanting to remember as much as he could about this to relive once it was over.  

Harry didn’t know he was Louis’ first, but he liked it that way.  He didn’t want to hand Harry the power of that knowledge or interrupt the unexpected bubble they’d found themselves in.  

Harry was scenting him again and the heat that ripped through Louis with that action caused him to start pulling at his shirt that he was sure was suffocating him.  Harry helped him scramble out of it, each movement of his body causing jolts of new sensations where they were connected and he pushed into it.  Harry must have taken his own shirt off as well but Louis couldn’t pinpoint when; the bare skin of his chest pressed against Louis’ back with a soft warmth.  He always imagined sweaty bodies sticking together during sex would be the most uncomfortable feeling, but Harry felt like gentle velvet and he wanted to burrow himself into it.  

He could tell Harry was having a hard time holding still and he somehow gave the signal to move but he couldn’t tell how.  It started with a gentle rhythm that had him melting into the sheets but grew to short punching thrusts that made his mind feel like a mess of cotton balls.  

Harry kept him wrapped securely in his arms when they were finally knotted together, the strength surrounding him keeping Louis grounded when all of his senses seemed beyond his control.  He gave into the pull to surrender, trusting Harry to take care of him while he slipped over into pure instinct, riding smoothly over the wave of hormones simmering between them.  

The rest of his heat was a blur of body parts and pheromones, scents imprinting the experience to memory more than any other aspect, the turn of their emotions captured through their biology more appealing than any sensation.  

Louis finally woke through the haze when their room was dark, Harry’s soft snores pressed against his shoulder not seeming quite as annoying as they had from across the room.  He quietly let himself process the events of the last few ….days? hours? he wasn’t sure, but it was enough time to feel like things had changed.  

Harry shifted in his sleep and it made Louis realize that not only did he feel clean, but he was also wearing what he could only assume were fresh boxers.  They felt a bit loose on him and the material wasn’t familiar.  He felt himself blush at the thought of Harry dressing him after a shower, all tender hands and careful touches.  At a time when Harry could have easily taken advantage of his vulnerability, of his nakedness, instead he had taken Louis’ comfort into consideration and taken care of his needs.

Other than the pleasant ache in his body, the kind after a satisfying workout, he felt like his body had remained in one piece.  There were no pains or any other indication that Harry had been excessively rough with him and it settled him to know that his decision to trust Harry had not come at a cost, had not backfired on him.  

He wondered where this side of Harry had been since the semester began, sweet and caring and everything Louis had never imagined him being.  As he started to think about it, he began to recall small details that he had been too stubborn to acknowledge before.  A soft conversation overheard with his family, the rom com playing on the screen of his laptop, the way he was always covering the cost of meals in the cafeteria for students who couldn’t afford it.  They were all there under the layer of annoyances that Louis focused on to fuel his alpha hate.

Louis carefully rolled his body in Harry’s embrace until they were facing each other, pressing his face into Harry’s chest to indulge in his scent and comfort for just a little bit longer until Harry woke and remembered that Louis was a judgemental person.  He had been fighting against the idea for so long that he never let himself consider that there would be an alpha out there who could be good to him.  Maybe Harry could have been that alpha if he hadn’t bared his teeth at him from the start.  They could have been the happy ending Romeo and Juliet deserved; the mates that broke the separation of packs, that pushed traditions into the current century.  

He didn’t realize he had been crying until he sniffed, Harry rousing slowly, pulling the omega in closer.  

“You okay?  Was I out too long?” Harry’s voice was rough, but his hands were soft against his back in their soothing pattern. “Do you need me?”

Louis wasn’t even annoyed that Harry thought he was still in heat, clinging to the last few minutes of time they had together before Harry pulled himself away.  

“Please don’t hate me,” Louis mumbled once he had stopped his tears, unable to look up to confront the alpha, afraid of what he might see written over his face.

“I don’t hate you.  I was afraid that you might hate me after this.” Harry ducked his head to press a kiss into his hair, holding it there for a long moment.  Louis could feel him breathing in, scenting him in much the same way Louis was himself.

“I didn’t… you were… I didn’t know…” Louis tried to find the words he was looking for but didn’t even know where to start.  He hadn’t been able to process whether it was an apology he was trying to form or just a request for a new beginning.  He wasn’t even sure what he wanted.    

“Shhh, it’s okay.  I tried to hate you, I wanted to hate you, but...  You think I didn’t figure out where you were from?  After that I kind of couldn’t even blame you for how you were acting.  Your alphas have a reputation even outside your pack, so I can only imagine what you’ve been through.”  

Louis pulled back enough to meet Harry’s eyes, unable to name the emotion he felt from his words.  Maybe one heat wouldn’t change what had already happened between them, but maybe Harry understood him enough to give them a chance.  Louis wasn’t sure what that meant quite yet, but it seemed that both of them were hopeful.  

 

---

 

Louis let the heavy box of unassembled Ikea furniture fall heavily onto the carpeted floor with a loud slam, wiping the sweat that had collected on his forehead under his bangs.  He looked around the nearly empty apartment, nothing but a few boxes stacked along the wall and the box he had just left unceremoniously in the center of the room.  It was a modest sized apartment, probably considered tiny by anyone else’s standards, but after coming from a shared dorm room, it felt like a mansion.  The kitchen and the living room were only separated by the shift to vinyl flooring along the cabinets and sink, but it was enough to suit his needs.  

He rested his hand on his hips while his breathing started to return to normal, the struggle to get the box up the stairs taking more of a toll on him than he was willing to admit.  

“A little help?” Louis heard from behind him, snapping around to see Harry struggling through the door with the larger of the furniture boxes awkwardly weighing him down.  Louis couldn’t help but burst into laughter, but still rushed over to hold the door open while Harry dragged them the rest of the way into the room.  

“Take the smallest box and then bolt,” Harry muttered.  At another time, it might have sounded annoyed, but it just sounded fond.

“I am small and fragile!” Louis claimed with a laugh, gesturing up and down at his stature.

“Why are you only small when you’re trying to get out of something?” Harry smirked, crossing his arms over his chest.  

“Oh, strong and powerful alpha!” Louis rushed over to stroke Harry’s bicep like he was worshiping it before both of them dissolved into laughter.  

“Fuck off, just for that you are putting all of this together.” Harry playfully pushed Louis away before wrapping him up in his arms, lifting him off the ground.  Louis tried to wiggle his fingers into all of the ticklish spots he had identified on the alpha until they both gave up.  Harry let Louis sink down to his feet, looking down at him fondly for a moment before leaning in to give him a soft kiss.  

It wasn’t like they were bonded, they hadn’t even discussed it yet, but finding an apartment together had been such a natural decision.  They had grown to be close friends and Louis couldn’t picture himself finding another roommate after such an intense whirlwind of a year.  A new school, a new city, a new outlook on life; Louis felt reborn, but in the best possible way, and Harry had played a leading role in so many aspects of that rebirth.

There hadn’t been a rush to get into a relationship, hadn’t even had sex again for months after Louis’ heat.  There were too many things that needed to settle between them first, too many ways they had avoided getting to know each other, but when they had, everything felt like it was falling into place.  They taught each other how they were different and ended on a level playing field that made their relationship feel nearly as simple as the human experience Louis had been thriving for in the first place.  

Their rocky beginning had only benefited them in the end, forcing them to address the negatives long before they lost themselves in the positives.  It felt healthy, at least it did to Louis.  

He looked up at Harry, once they separated, and a small smile curled his lips.  It wasn’t difficult to see himself bonded to Harry, exactly the way he had sworn he never would.  Harry was different than the alphas that had driven him to that decision and learning (and remembering) that was something that Louis was working on.  He still had his moments, but Harry was patient and kind with him, never lashing out when Louis expected him to.  He was exactly who Louis needed.  

They were still young and Louis knew they would have many trials to overcome, but he couldn’t help picturing a future where they ended up together.