Katsuki stared at his last pill like a death sentence.
It wasn’t even a full dose. The Doc had only given him five pills and Katsuki regularly took two in the morning. Not one. Two. The suppressants would be out of his system entirely by that evening. He’d gone from a theoretical running out of time to a literal countdown for his last hours of freedom. Katsuki palmed the pill swallowed it dry, dropping his head onto the table and digging his hands into his hair.
Who could he ask for help?
Kirishima was the first option he’d considered, but crossed him off the list as fast as he thought of him. Katsuki glanced up at the photos sitting on the small hall table, focusing in particular at a shot of him with Kirishima’s arm around his shoulder after their first Team Mission as Pro-Heroes. Kirishima had been his first real friend and equal. Katsuki could always count on him to have his back in a fight or if he needed something—as rare as that was—and he couldn’t bear to lose that relationship.
To risk that friendship over something as stupid as his Class was not an option.
Katsuki knew that Kirishima didn’t think less of Omega, and he certainly valued them as people, but he still viewed them more traditionally than others. As far as Kirishima was concerned, Omega existed to be cared for and protected. He was the perfect Alpha to take on that role for an Omega that actually needed it, but would he look at Katsuki differently if he knew? Would their friendship turn into a weird obligation to “care for” Katsuki?
He didn’t know and it scared him.
Aside from that, Katsuki didn’t have many other options. Sero and Ashido were Beta so they couldn't help even if they wanted to. Kaminari was an Alpha, and while Katsuki could theoretically trust him with this, Kaminari also had difficulty keeping secrets. And he was really bad about keeping them when someone’s wellbeing was on the line and he felt like telling another person was the best choice. Katsuki would bet money that if he told Kaminari he was an Omega that Kirishima would know within the same hour.
Which brought him back around to his original issue.
Katsuki’s phone rang. He tugged it over from the other side of the table and frowned at the “Unknown Number” on the call screen. He hung up on the call mid-ring and put the phone aside.
As much as he hated it, Katsuki might have to risk Kirishima, though, because he sure as hell wasn’t asking—
The phone rang again.
Katsuki picked it up, saw the same number and clicked it off. It rang again and he growled as he answered, “What the fuck do you want?”
“Aren’t you pleasant,” Dabi said from the other line.
“How did you get this number?” Katsuki asked, dropping his arm on the counter. He knew that moment in the clinic was going to come back and haunt him. “The Doc has rules.”
“Yeah and the Doc is why I’m calling, so listen up,” Dabi said. Katsuki could hear the huff. “Look, I don’t give a shit about you and your problems, but the Doc does and he’s beating himself up because he’s actually worried about your ass. So he said he’d wave my medical fees for the next year if I did him a favor which brings us back around to this lovely phone call.
“You’re going to meet me at the bar at the end of Doc’s street, I’m going to pass on some information, you’re going to listen, and then we never have to see each other again,” Dabi said. “Well, until the next time we have to fight each other, but you know what I mean.”
“And why should I do this?”
“Because the Doc said you’re out of pills and you’re about to be desperate, I’m guessing,” Dabi said. “It’s up to you if you’d like a potential solution to your problem or not from a fellow Omega. I’m waiting here for an hour and if you don’t show, well, that’s your loss.”
The phone clicked off and Katsuki stared at his empty bottle of pills.
He got up from the table and grabbed his coat, cursing under his breath as he tapped out the door.
Dabi hunched in a corner booth in the back of one of the shadiest bars in downtown. Everyone in the place was either a Villain or a two-bit crook that wanted to make it big by getting on someone’s good side in the event a big time crook showed up. Fights broke out on the regular and it was near impossible to hear yourself think over the chatter of arguing Alphas.
It was the perfect place for a private chat.
Mr. Ground Zero himself walked in about twenty minutes after Dabi’s call in sunglasses and a hoodie, stopping at the bar to buy a drink before he joined Dabi in the corner. No one paid the angry blond a second look and he slammed the cup on the table before sitting across from him.
Dabi wouldn’t have recognized him either if he hadn’t been looking for him.
“Wreck” would have been too kind of a description for the mess that sat across from him as Bakugou ripped his sunglasses off and tossed them on the table. The bags under his eyes alone made him look more like that mind control guy then the explosive “Beta” that had made such an impact on the Hero Scene.
“Glad you could make it,” Dabi said, glad to get this over with. He dug into his bag and pulled out a small aerosol can and threw it at him. Bakugou caught it, staring at the label. “That’s from the Doc.”
“What is it?” Bakugou asked.
“Odor neutralizer,” Dabi said, shrugging. He slumped down and threw his feet up on the seat next to Bakugou’s hips. “It doesn’t work to hide your Scent as well as suppressants and doesn’t last nearly as long, but it’s something to help at least. He said use liberally as needed on you, your clothes, your furniture, and everything else you could Scent on accident.”
“Is that it?” Bakugou asked, popping the cap off his beer. “Because I would have been much happier with an apology bottle of pills.”
Dabi dropped his elbows on the table and rubbed between his eyes. If his stupid stitches didn’t stick him in that stupid clinic with infections at least twice a year he wouldn’t be bothering with this. “Okay smart ass, here’s part two: The Doc wanted to clarify that whole ‘take a month off thing’ but you ran out like a puppy with his tail between his legs before he could even bother.”
“Clarify what?” Bakugou asked.
“That you might not have to take an entire month off,” Dabi said. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He lit the end with his Quirk and took a puff. “What he was going to explain before you sprinted out of there is that everyone’s different and after you stop taking the suppressants, your Heat could start in two or three days or two weeks.
“Since you’re an idiot who literally can’t afford to be caught with his pants down by anyone, taking a month off would be playing it safe so it’s just you and whatever Alpha will be getting your rocks off who's around when it happens.” Dabi tapped the ashes off his cigarette into the tray. He couldn’t remember the last time he had to talk this much. “You get the picture?”
“Yeah, use the odor neutralizer until I have a Heat and disappear for a week. That’d be a great plan except it doesn’t solve the problem of how I just vanish for a week and have no one question where I went,” Bakugou said, hissing low. He dropped his elbows on the table and ran his hands though his hair. “I’m a workaholic and everyone knows it. And I don’t have anyone to cover for me because they’d never believe me if I said I was just taking a break for a week and would hound me more than ever to find out why I was really taking the time off.”
Dabi put his face in his hands. He was not here for counseling, but now he was just morbidly curious. “Okay, let’s just go with square one. What’d you do the last time you had a Heat?”
Bakugou leaned back into his seat and tapped his heel up and down. “That won’t work this time.”
“It just won’t,” Bakugou said, glancing around the room. Dabi thought in any other situation that seeing Ground Zero nervous and anxious would be hilarious. Right now it was just frustrating. “What?”
“You never did answer before,” Dabi said. He blew a puff of smoke at Bakugou’s face. “When was the last time you had a Heat, anyway?”
“Does it matter?” he asked.
“Humor me,” Dabi said.
Bakugou rubbed the back of his shoulder on the booth and pressed his lips together. After far too long of a hesitation to be normal, he admitted, “When I presented.”
Dabi must have heard that wrong under the racket of the two Alpha having a drinking contest to the left. “Say that again?”
“When I presented,” Bakugou hissed a fraction louder. “Okay?”
“You,” Dabi said and choked on an inhale of smoke, “you haven’t had a Heat since you presented. You’ve been on suppressants every day since you presented—that’s what you’re telling me right now.”
“Yes,” Bakugou said, eyes glaring and daring Dabi to say more.
He was definitely going to do that.
“Holy shit, how are you alive?” Dabi asked. He wheezed in and shoved his cigarette out in the ashtray. “Do you know how easy it is to overdose on that shit? And who knows what the hell it’s been doing to your body—oh wait, I do know. You’re on your way to total organ failure before you’re twenty-five.”
“I didn’t have much of a choice,” Bakugou said back. He bit his lip and snarled. “I had to hide what I was somehow, and frankly, that first Heat was awful enough I wasn’t exactly itching to repeat the experience. Those pills were the best damn thing to ever happen to me.”
“What? Big tough guy like you couldn’t handle his first baby Heat?” Dabi shook his head and pressed his lips together. Even for an Omega, Bakugou was proving to be rather pathetic under that Alpha act he had going on. “Who knew Ground Zero could be taken down by the fear of a little discomfort. What a scaredy cat.”
“You shut your mouth,” Bakugou said. Dabi glanced up, stilling at the sheer fury on Bakugou’s face. He leaned across the table, voice low and threatening. “I know discomfort and I know pain and I don’t think you know what the fuck you’re talking about.”
“Then enlighten me,” Dabi said, scoffing. He’d had his first awkward Heat just like everyone else at the Finishing School he’d been trapped at for two years. If anything, Bakugou’s first Heat should have been even more of a breeze because he’d been at home for all of it. “Sharing First Heat stories is practically a beloved past time between Omega.”
Bakugou snorted heavily through his nose and turned his face to the side. He spoke softly and Dabi struggled to hear him. “I’ve taken a punch to the face from Deku in a spar, so I’m no stranger to pain, but nothing has ever came close to that fucking day.
“At first it was only sharp pains in my gut that sent me to my knees. By the time I figured out what was going on, the pain was so bad I couldn’t stand,” Bakugou said. He glanced at the table, swallowing. “It felt like that Toga chick had taken her knife to my gut and went to town stabbing it over and over, and that was at its most tolerable. By the time someone found me, even breathing hurt and I couldn’t get off the floor.”
Bakugou’s eyes glazed over and Dabi felt something twist in his gut. He pulled his feet off the seat and set them on the ground as he sat up against the booth's backrest. That—that didn’t sound right.
“Eventually, the pain was so bad that my bones hurt,” Bakugou said, his breath picking up. His anger returned and his red eyes bore into Dabi’s own. “I was so desperate to stop it that I begged my own mother to fuck me. I was relieved when I thought she would, but she didn’t. She left me on the damn bathroom floor alone and in so much pain I passed out.
“When I woke up, it’d managed to get worse somehow and I prayed to die because I couldn’t do anything else to make it stop, but I didn’t. For two weeks this went on and I still don’t know how I managed to live through it.” His voice choked and his palms smoked as he clutched his hands together under the table. “I know what pain I can take and I know what I can’t, and that? I wouldn’t have wished that on the most evil Villain in the world, so don’t you dare fucking tell me I was a coward for not wanting to go through it again.”
Katsuki swallowed as he caught his breath. Dabi stared at him, wide eyed and mouth open. Katsuki rubbed the tears out of the corner of his eyes and hissed. “What? Something else to say?”
“Bakugou,” he said, catching Katsuki off guard with his name spoken so softy. “That’s. That’s not normal. Shit.”
Katsuki put his hands on the bench seat and frowned, searching Dabi for any hint of a lie but all he saw was horror on Dabi’s face. “What do you mean? Heats hurt, don’t they? That’s like the whole reason you’re supposed to have an Alpha or some bullshit, right?”
“Or some bullshit, yeah,” Dabi said, falling into a calmer state as he stared at Bakugou. He covered his eyes and dragged his hand down. It would have been nice of the Doc to warn him about this part of the conversation at some point. “You don’t know anything about Omega, do you?”
“You’re acting like I know any,” Katsuki said, looking to the side. “Mom’s an Alpha, Dad’s a Beta, and everyone at U.A. was one or the other. The only Omega I know are spouses to my classmates, and I usually try to avoid them because I’m terrified they’ll just sense out I’m one of them even with the suppressants, knowing my luck.”
Dabi sucked in a breath and tugged on the stitches on the back of his hand as he dragged the taut, wrinkled skin. “Okay. We’re going to do this.”
“Do what?” Katsuki asked.
“Sex ed,” Dabi said. He opened his mouth before he shut it with a snap. Dabi squinted at Katsuki and pursed his lips. “Wait. There was something else weird about you, wasn’t there? Aside from the whole Beta pretending to be an Alpha thing people accuse you of. It was a big deal your first U.A. Sports Festival that year we kidnapped you, but I don’t remember what it was because I didn’t care at the time.”
“I hadn’t presented yet,” Katsuki said. He shrugged and rubbed his arm. “I won First Place without a Class which was big news at the time.”
Dabi narrowed his eyes. “How old were you when you presented?”
Katsuki matched his glare and muttered, “Seventeen.”
“Holy shit,” Dabi said, leaning back into his seat again. He tugged on his hair before dropping his hands on the table again. “That’s insane. Most late bloomers are fourteen at the oldest.”
“I know,” Katsuki said, remembering many a doctor’s appointment double checking nothing was wrong with him every year he failed to present. “You don’t have to tell me.”
“But that explains more than I thought it would,” Dabi said. He sighed and slumped on the table. “Most Omega present the same age as everyone else: somewhere between eleven and thirteen.”
“Yeah, I know,” Katsuki said. He knew his information on Omega was limited, but he knew the basics, dammit. “What of it?”
“Look, I’m only saying this shit once so shut up and listen,” Dabi said. He tapped his fingers on the table and continued and Katsuki resigned himself to listen to things he didn’t want to hear. “When an Omega presents, they have their first Heat.
“What you went though? That’s not how it’s supposed to happen.” Dabi shook his head and winced. “Your first Heat is a week of being aroused constantly. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, but you could totally power through the day if you had to. Everyone’s favorite thing to do in Finishing School when someone first arrived was to weasel out their ‘First Heat’ story because they were always a riot from people presenting at the wrong place and the wrong time.
“For goodness sake, I presented in the middle of a field trip and had to try and keep from jacking off in front of the Zoo staff while I waited for the ride to the doctor to confirm my Class,” Dabi said. “Your first year’s worth of Heats are about that level. It’s annoying, but harmless.”
Katsuki straightened his back.
“After about two years, your Heats get more concentrated and,” Dabi paused, “loud, I guess, might be a good way to put it. The horniness makes it hard to think and you start noticing just how good an Alpha can smell. But still, you can suffer through it for a week with your own hand if you had to. You can still think and make decisions.”
Dabi drummed his fingers. “Things get more complicated after that. By the time you’re fifteen or sixteen, that’s when Heats can start to hurt if you don’t actually get an Alpha’s attention. At that point, they start handing out suppressants for the week of your Heat, but no longer, and that goes on until you get a mate or find an Alpha to jump, whichever happens first.
“Omega go to Matchmaking Houses when they’re sixteen because that’s around the point where they actually need an Alpha mate to get through a Heat,” Dabi said. “And why Alpha have to be at least twenty years old with a decent job before they can pick out an Omega. The chances of getting pregnant on your first Heat with an Alpha are through the roof and they have to prove they can take care of you and the kids.
“But that’s beside the point,” Dabi said, shaking his hand back and forth. “Your situation was not normal, is what I’m trying to get at.”
“So what the fuck happened to me?” Katsuki asked, his breath picking up.
“Heats get worse the older you get and apparently they don’t care if you presented late in your case. Instead of slowly working your way up to the adult stuff, you just started there,” Dabi said, digging his thumb into the stitches in his hand. “Most Omega by the time they’re old enough to hurt even a fraction of what you described have figured out they need suppressants or an Alpha. Since the first option tends to have some serious health issues associated with it, most sensible Omega take the second route.”
“Bakugou,” Dabi said, voice low and serious. “Even Omega that get out of the system like me can find an Alpha for their Heat, whether it’s a friend they trust or if they have to lend themselves out to a whore house for the week.
“The only Omega who go through what you did are usually being abused by some sadistic Alpha who gets off watching us suffer,” Dabi said. He twisted his hands into fists and laughed. “I light people on fire for kicks and even I think that’s disgusting. No one, and I mean no one, should go through what you did.”
Katsuki pressed his lips and whispered, “My parents didn’t abuse me.”
“I know,” Dabi said. “They didn’t know any better, right?”
Dabi breathed out and reached into his coat for another cigarette. He lit the thing and put his feet back up on the seat next to Katsuki’s hip. Dabi tapped Katsuki’s side with his loafers. “So let’s try this again: Do you have an Alpha that can help you through your upcoming Heat, yes or no?”
“No,” Katsuki said.
“None,” Dabi said again. “You, surrounded by do-gooder, meddling Heroes who have nothing better to do with their time than save people, don’t have a single friend who can help you?”
“I have one that’s a maybe, but I don’t actually know what he’ll do if he finds out,” Katsuki said, hating to speak so low of Kirishima. “And the others are idiots who’ll probably say something on accident.”
“What about that Midori—”
“No!” Katsuki shouted, scared of the force in his own voice. He inched back down into his seat from where he’d jumped up and grabbed his beer to stop the shaking in his hands. “Deku can’t know shit about this. Ever.”
“Ah, he’s one of those Alpha.” Dabi whistled and nodded, almost knowingly. “The kind who don’t know the meaning of no-strings, casual sex and think they own you.”
“You have no idea,” Katsuki said, shaking his head.
“Likely more than you think and pretty sure I’ve killed one or two, but I’ll let your ignorance slide,” Dabi said. He tapped his cigarette against the ash tray as he and Katsuki stared at each other in the awkward silence. He licked his lip and shot Katsuki a small smile that made him nervous. “But I do think I might have an answer to your problems.”
Katsuki didn’t believe him, but asked anyway, “Yeah?”
“First up, that week off you need? When you sense your Heat coming, throw a fit. The media’s been waiting for you to blow up from the pressure for ages Mr. Beta Pro-Hero,” Dabi said, voice sinking back into it’s usual dullness. “I don’t care what you do, just end it with telling them all you’re taking a week off. The friends that bug you about it? Tell them if they cared they’d leave you be. Guilt trips are great for when you really want someone to leave you alone.”
“Assuming that works, there’s still the other problem of the Heat itself,” Katsuki muttered. “I’m not exactly looking forward to locking myself in a room and suffering for a week.”
“Let me put it this way: You don’t know any Alpha up for no-strings sex, but I sure as hell do and every single one of them would jump at the chance to fuck a Pro-Hero through a Heat. Who do you think helps me every month?” Dabi blew a puff of smoke. “They’re so casual about it they even take turns.”
Katsuki knew where this was going. “Fuck no.”
“I haven’t even given you your options yet,” Dabi said, smile turning sly. “For example, Twice is a riot and definitely your guy if you want dirty talk. He goes back and forth between petting your head and whispering ‘What a good boy’ to ‘Take it you filthy slut’ so fast it’ll make you dizzy.”
“I’m not listening to this,” Katsuki said, covering his ears.
“Toga’s fun because she likes to role play, sometimes even going as as far as using her Quirk to fully pretend to be someone else, and I absolutely promise you she will try to stab you at least once,” Dabi said with a shrug. “Keeps you on your toes.”
“Please stop talking.”
“Mr. Compress is the most clinical of the bunch if you really just want to get it over with,” Dabi said, scrunching his nose and staring at a spot behind Katsuki. “I think he read a book once while I rode him, the lazy bastard.”
“Why are you doing this?” Katsuki asked. “I know you’re a Villain, but there has to be a line somewhere.”
“But seriously though,” Dabi said, straightening in his seat and crossing his arms on the table. “I’d honestly recommend Shigaraki. He’s a weird blend of greedy and reverent that makes you feel wanted and respected at the same time. Because of his Quirk, not many people let him touch them, so getting to sleep with someone is a huge deal to him. Shigaraki’ll take it seriously without getting clingy.
“Plus, he already likes you,” Dabi said. “You’re still ‘the one that got away’ and on his tiny list of Pro Heroes he thinks are cool next to Eraserhead. I can’t promise he won’t give you a lit tract for joining the League in between rounds, but he will absolutely keep your secret, just to make sure he can fuck you again. He can’t exactly sleep with you if you’re arrested and rotting in whatever hell they’d put you if you got caught.”
“I can not sleep with the fucking leader of the League of Villains,” Katsuki wheezed, trying to block out all the new thoughts assaulting his brain. He couldn’t believe Dabi even suggested it. “He’s a monster.”
“Depends who you ask,” Dabi said. He licked his teeth and shrugged. “But what other choice do you have? Because at the end of the day you at least know Shigaraki, good or bad, which means he’s gotta’ be better than some random Alpha on the street who’d sell you out for a dime or blackmail you.”
“I can’t. You’ve all killed people and that’s the start of everything wrong with this.” Katsuki grabbed the back of his head and leaned on the table. “What am I even doing here?”
“You’re desperate and unless you suck it up and ask one of your Hero buddies, this is the best chance you’ve got,” Dabi said. He tugged out a piece of paper and scribbled a number on it. “But on one Omega’s word to another, I won’t tell anyone your secret unless you agree. Call me when you feel like your Heat is going to start.”
He slid the piece of paper across the table, shoving it in front of Katsuki’s face. Dabi leaned close to Katsuki’s ear and whispered, “And trust me, once your Heat starts, you’re not going to care whose cock is in you, which it sounds like you’re already well familiar with, so maybe make sure it’s one that you picked out ahead of time and not just the first one you jump.”
Dabi shoved a hand in his pocket and got up from the booth. “Don’t take too long to decide.”
Katsuki clutched the piece of paper between his fingers. The phone number glared back up at him and he breathed out before turning it over and drinking the rest of his beer. He listened to the sounds of the bar around him and counted to ten before grabbing the odor neutralizer and dropped it in his jacket pocket with the phone number.
He left the bar with a new sense of dread and a choice to make.