It was never the feel of cold snow against his skin, or the sight of white flying down and coating the air, it was always the sound. The sound of a Detroit snowstorm, without fail, left the man's hair standing on edge, eyes snapping shut as he evaded flitting images of screaming omegas, howls carrying in the storm and ringing in his ears even hours after their trails of beaten out blood froze rock solid on the pavement at his feet.
But it never stopped him from working. To react was to show weakness, and to show weakness was to be omega, and that among all things was something Hank Anderson was not.
He kicked off the blood in slosh, looking back at the street around him. They were five damn feet away. Five feet away from making it into the police station, the steps a cusp from where their reaching hands once laid. He couldn’t help but shake his head and sigh, thinking they’d have to be pretty damn foolish to believe they’d actually get help by seeing the police. The reality was, a deviant omega was as good as dead, either reaching that point by the swing of their alpha’s fists or the snap of a trigger from a cop who decided to deal out his own justice. Not once was that cop Hank.
Either to escape the cry still carrying in the wind or to answer the one from the door, he managed to pull himself away, climbing back up the sleet-covered steps and inside the station buzzing with life. With this being the seventh case of the quarter, alpha mates and officials alike were clamoring for answers, coming to the cops with complaints and concerns of upset and fowl management in the department. More alphas even brought in their omegas, getting them tagged with glowing dyes and installing added chips into purchased collars adorned with information, or requesting new functions be installed onto their LED trackers, demanding new developments.
Passing through the halls and back to his desk, he couldn’t help but thank whatever god there was that he didn’t have a mate, his eyes caught on bites or bruises marring the whole of omegas’ throats, the purples and blues bleeding onto their jaws and leading as a path to the sight of those bright eyes, glinting with something between fear and resignation. Some had black eyes, and fewer had glistening tears, their hands shaking as suppressants and birth control pills were wrangled from their grip. He knew he was just as capable of that, that instinct buried somewhere inside as another alpha, he knew that. But under no circumstance did he want to be a part of it, even if it was expected, and he had a score to settle with every damn omega for the damage they’d done.
And at the ripe age of 53, it looked like he wouldn’t have to join in. Most omegas got shipped off to younger, wealthier alphas that wanted to claim a mate. Not grouchy old cops who hated the mere thought of bringing another kid into the world. He’d done it once, and he’d be damned if he’d do it again.
“Quite a surprise to see you around all day, Hank. Perhaps you could get working on your assignment.”
Hank whipped around, all scowling brows and excuses as he looked back to the captain, not wanting to have this conversation again.
“I am not working the case. I am the least qualified cop in the country to handle--”
“I don’t wanna hear it again, Hank.” His argument was quickly cut off, the other looking at him with a quiet anger he knew could turn explosive if he wasn’t careful. “You are a fucking lieutenant for god’s sake, and you think you can’t handle this? You were one of the best--”
“Oh, bullshit, Jeffrey. I don’t know jack shit about this-this fuckin’ omega business,” He couldn’t help but shoot back, feeling that primal rage grow at the prospect of getting saddled with this case. “I’ve never had a mate!”
“I think you’re perfectly qualified…! You’re a damn good cop, and you waste it on alcohol and outbursts. I know it’s been hard since--”
“Don’t even fucking go there,” Hank hissed, glaring daggers at him before he managed to calm down. “I am not going to take your case, so you’ll just have to find someone else.”
“No, I won’t. Hank, you're a lieutenant for the Detroit Police Department, under my command, and if you want to keep it that way, you’re gonna take this case, dammit! So either accept it or turn in your badge because I refuse to add to the fuckin’ novel of you disciplinary file.” His eyes were dark, the anger and agitation eating into the captain’s voice as he left the ultimatum.
Hank knew he had no choice. There was no way he was turning in that badge yet.
“Your mistake, Jeffrey.”
He grabbed his wallet and keys, yanking them off of the desk with the file and heading out the door, slamming it shut as he went back into the night flurry, body hot with anger unaware of the harsh chill.
Fowler expected him to solve the deviant case? Fat fucking chance at that. He stomped through the trail of icy blood, growling at an aloof handler cadet also leaving for the day. Why the hell couldn’t their division get the case? It was their fault all this shit was happening anyway. They shouldn’t have fucked up the pairings and analysis. All the detectives were doing was cleaning up their damn mess. With only a confused response, he left the brunet alone and drove back home, going straight to the fridge for another bottle of liquor.
The air smelled of stale beer and leftover takeout, and with the view of strewn about laundry and tipped over boxes claiming his house, he could level that his old friend was at least right about him being a bit unsteady and alcoholic, even if he wasn’t going to change it. There was no point when there was nothing else to live for.
Even after all this time, the house looked almost identical to the day after the incident, broken glass from shattered frames still on the floor with packed up memories crammed into sealed boxes he never found the will to move. He was sure it would never change, just like his emotions on the topic. Perhaps when he was dead. That was when things would be shoved aside, the items scoured through for evidence once the body was moved away and buried, the man finally back where he was supposed to be, next to his son.
“Yeah, I’ll feed you,” He mumbled, his mood softening as his trusty companion came up and nuzzled against his leg for pets. “You’re a good boy, Sumo.” Despite how shitty the day was, he could at least be happy about that.
Taking a long pull from the bottle, whiskey tasting more like water on his parched lips, he grabbed the food, adding in a little extra to the bowl and grabbing him a treat to go on top. Sure, Sumo didn’t need it, but he couldn't stand the thought of the dog going hungry, knowing this was one of the few ways he could express his appreciation for keeping him company, never leaving even though he deserved it for constantly going out to bars instead of playing more with the dog.
Ensuring his companion was satisfied, he nodded and dragged himself into the living room, plopping down on the couch and turning the channel to the newest basketball game, as if he would remember the score, let alone his own thoughts, by the end of the night. It was always just better to have the hum of people around him, the noise distracting him from the silence once filled with laughter, discussions, and even arguments that he missed more than he could admit.
He hoped it wouldn’t be long before he’d temporarily forget that truth again, guzzling down another couple of shots and paying attention to the warm purr that wheedled into his chest the more he drank. Fuck the case and all those damn omegas Jeffrey wanted him to track. They could wait until tomorrow, the anger gradually subsiding as the man drifted off. A wave of bleak nothingness and the sting of sharp alcohol spiriting him away from everything and nothing at all.
Perhaps he’d just die like this, and never have to see the case. Maybe then the world would let him alone, and the scream of stolen children or sobbing omegas could finally leave him to rest, their cries trapped in the wind knocking on the windows, still chilling as he faded from conscious.
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Two more days.
That was all he had left before he could officially start his job as an Omega Handler for the police department. As protocol demanded, all cadets had to wait until their 24th or 25th birthday to be incorporated into the workforce, depending on when each person presented. It was to ensure no omega became an officer, since the Work and Safety guidelines were established on Christmas of 2035.
It was already common practice by that point, but that was the date the national standard was set into action: no omegas driving on the road, working outside the position of homemaker and procreator, or disobeying any guidelines laid out by their protector and alpha. If any of those rules were broken, the omega would have to answer to court of law and stand trial for the crimes they’d committed against their mate, and the public for their disruptive display of defiance.
But Connor wasn’t too worried about his birthday. Most omegas presented by 24, and as far as he’d been told, omegas couldn’t dream of having a trained eye and obedient will like he was constantly praised for having. So he waited as patiently as he could, the anticipation strong as it flipped around in his upset stomach throughout the week. It was almost like he ached to work, his heart near beating out of his chest, and his movements quickened with the influx of adrenaline. He never knew he could be so excited, his nerves impeding upon his new high score for number of bullseyes made in the practice shooting range.
Pulling the glasses and headphones off for fear of going against shooting attentiveness protocol, he almost jumped at the sound of clapping behind him, the noise catching him off guard and leaving him defensive until he realized it was Michael Fischer.
Him and the sandy blond were close through training, a little more than what could be considered friends, and he often fell just below Connor when it came to test scores and accuracy, not that he didn’t find a way to decently top him when it came to stolen moments back at Michael’s apartment, internal affairs allowed in protocol until induction. Especially with the man standing there in a fitted uniform, a smirk strung on his lips, the cadet felt himself get a little hot under the collar. But perhaps that was just his weird nerves talking at the moment. They’d agreed on friends and nothing else, a choice put forward by Connor when he’d come to a standstill with his own feelings and met the roadblock of breaking protocol.
“So, still at it, huh? When are you gonna get your ass over to the station? I’ve got no one interesting to talk to,” Michael drawled, running a hand through his slicked back hair and coming closer to lean against the perch.
“As soon as they let my records through, I’m happy to join the force.”
“Speaking of that, happy early birthday,” The other added, winking and moving closer before Connor started walking away. “We should do something, since I know you haven’t made plans yet.”
“I think I’ll just work late that night, try to meet everyone on the team and catch up now that I’m a few days behind.”
“Oh c’mon, Connor. You’ve gotta lighten up a bit. Live a little and celebrate the graduation, just for a night. And I have to work late every night but that one…!”
The brunet felt the man’s hand graze his own as he caught up to him, the low voice tickling in his ear and somehow being off-putting, his hand almost yanking away like he was avoiding his fears. He didn’t know what had gotten into him. Sure, they broke off whatever it was that they had, but it’s not like anything had changed in the dynamic between them or the attraction. And yet, he felt on edge, as if he was being pulled in the opposite direction and away from the only man he’d ever been intimate with.
“Maybe… Let me start the job, and then I’ll decide,” He conceded, not wanting to keep the conversation going any longer.
“Fine, just don’t be like a pussy omega and wimp out on me, alright?”
Connor just nodded and gave a small wave, explaining that he needed to head home to finish some application work before dodging into the locker room and attempting to change into his day clothes. It was harder than usual with his limbs aching and his mind blurring out of reality, his thoughts only jumping back when he felt surprised and unreasonably threatened by knocks on the door or voices passing by. And after expending too much energy on the futile effort, he decided on staying in uniform, heading out the front door with blood splattered near the steps.
He was caught up in his thoughts, wondering how long it’d taken the cops to neutralize the omega and if it put up much of a struggle. He knew that deviants could be irrational, destructive creatures, the individuals already plagued with damaged judgement and instability. After all, that’s why they were under the protection of alphas; as he’d been told by experienced colleagues and parents... Lost in his mind, he didn’t register a man walking towards him, bumping into him and snarling as the brunet was left shocked. He felt silenced and stuck, his body lurching every which way as his mind threatened to spill over, making him even a bit horny of all things at the moment. Must be an alpha... They were known to have a bit of an effect on everyone. Although, he had little time to think about it when a group of handlers jumped out of the delivery truck, carrying in a crate with a screaming omega, a trail of blood dribbling behind as they pushed into the investigative quarter.
The man fell into the snow, feeling a venomous sting down his spine with an immense fear coursing through his system. It was almost like he could feel the terror that they felt, a lump building in his throat like he could cry. How on earth could he sympathize with an omega…? The very ones he was trained to hunt.
Not knowing what else to do, he sprinted back to his apartment, turning on a cold shower and soaking himself down like it would kill the burning ache in his quivering body. He still felt afraid, like a rabbit tracked by a wolf, and he slapped on whatever boxers and t-shirt he touched first, just wanting to go to sleep and end this day spiraling out of his control. And to make matters worse, he still felt the coil in his chest, his muscles tight below the navel to make him some morbid version of turned on.
Maybe he should see Michael on his birthday, get this weird itch out of his system even if he himself wasn't into it…
Or maybe he should just go to sleep and forget about all of this until tomorrow. That was probably the wise option between the two, with protocol and all. Though it was a struggle to pull off, he managed to get himself to sleep, repressing that anxious side and giving into the pull of impending exhaustion that was fast consuming his body.
It’d felt like he’d never even fallen asleep when he was harshly woken up. There was a shrill beeping that reverberated in his ringing ears, and the sound of people clamoring into his room startled him into springing up before the pain in his sweat-coated body forced him back down. He could feel the panic in his system, and he frantically looked from side to side, the gun in his nightstand knocked from his reaching hand by a man in the familiar gear of an armored handler.
“Stay the fuck down, you omega cunt!” The man shouted, the laser light on his weapon disorienting Connor and making his dizzy.
“Officer, what are you talki--” He began, the handler bashing his face in with the end of his weapon.
He was sure he at least had a split lip and bloodied nose, tasting the iron tang of his own blood. But beyond that, he wasn’t able to make anything out, everything hurting when the brunet was yanked from his bed and thrown belly-first onto the floor. The feel of sweat-soaked clothes ate into his heaving chest, mixing with the blood, and he moved to wipe the mess on his face away, catching sight of the blinking epidermal chip in his left wrist, the bright violet flicks indicating he’d presented. As an omega.
“He’s gotta weapon! Stop him!” Another commanded, two officers coming at him too fast to see before they began stripping his clothes away, going against every rule he’d learned about waiting for the omega to provoke action, though not against the glory stories he'd been told by other handlers. He clearly wasn’t armed, and he’d said nothing to threaten them, and yet he was being ripped apart.
He could feel the scratch of their rough hands on his skin, tearing away his shirt and boxers for no reason at all, yanking his hips up before smacking his rear, hard. He’d never felt so violated and broken, crying out with the smack as he felt a trail of unfamiliar slick run down his thigh. Though he’d been told about the signs of an incoming heat, this was all so new, and happening so fast. He wretched as he felt the wave of sensations, trying to close his thighs before they were forced open again.
“The fuck’s already in heat. Fucking disgusting bitch couldn’t even wait for an alpha to start.”
He heard the words, felt the described symptoms, and saw the chip indicate it was so, but he just couldn’t believe it. All his life, he’d been told that he was better than an omega: the second sex focused only on breeding and reliant on its alpha for every thought its mind would think. But here he was, living the beta life until this very moment, now being ripped apart and manhandled like his supervisors had described since day one those two years ago.
“Please, there’s been a mistake--!” He reasoned, earning nothing but a gun on his head and a harsh hit on his already collapsing knees, thighs splayed and tight erection pressed into the cold tile.
“Learn to shut the fuck up, Co-Omega. Or we’ll have to teach you again.”
His head snapped around when he heard the familiar vibrato in that deep voice, unable to make it out with his ill-adjusting eyes, but being sure it was Michael.
“Not another fucking word, or your brains are gone!” The man shouted this time, tapping it against his sweaty skull and burying a boot in his ass to give the man a painful stretch of his damp thighs.
Connor could feel tears nipping at his eyes now, burying his nose in the floor to avoid the others seeing and getting in trouble once again. Knowing that Michael was one of the people swarming above him, he was sure this must actually be real, and his body started to give up, becoming what he’d been taught to hate, submissive, omega.
“Good, you weak bitch. Now keep your shit together, and you might make it.”
The gun withdrew, and he was left to breathe for a moment, his body convulsing by this point and his lungs struggling to get oxygen. But as with the rest of his freedom, the air was ripped away, another handler burying a gloved hand in his hair and forcing him up as his free hand shoved the muzzle bit between his lips, tying it in the back with a bruising tightness. It pressed on his nose and mouth, anchored on his chin and throwing him in a delirious state of asphyxiation; the taste of blood and choking metal keeping him from passing out.
He wanted to know where Michael was: if he was the one clipping the collar round his throat or the one throwing him into the kennel, or the third one that laughed as he smacked against the metal walls and scrambled about as they carried him out of his home, maybe even the silent when against the wall.
As he was jostled and swung between them on the walk out, he shivered in his bare skin against the snowy cold, smacking against the walls of the shoulder width cage and then groaning when they threw him into the back of the truck. He knew exactly where they were going, how he was going to be processed, and what he was becoming, but it didn’t stop him from collapsing in on himself and screaming out against the frozen metal.
To react was to show weakness, and to show weakness was to be omega, and that among all things was exactly what Connor Rickson had become.
By the time the truck stopped again, he was dejected, his bare body shivering against the cold of the night more than his lungs struggled to heave.
They were on their way to his alpha’s home, having left the station a few minutes prior. It was a memory he wished he could erase, unsure if he ever could with the earth-shattering pain now residing in his skull.
They’d ripped out his wrist chip, dumping him onto the receiving bay floor and digging a boot into his shaft as if the bruising grip on the leash wasn’t enough. It was a traitorous thing, his body, getting and staying hard as he felt nothing but anguish. When they’d gotten him to stop moving, his voice hoarse and unable to cry, they jammed the ring into his temple, burying it into his skin and activating the tracker that showed he was an omega. He could still see it now, its dim blue glow illuminating a few inches in front of him as he laid captured and beaten in his cage.
As the truck abruptly halted, he groaned and hissed under his breath, new bruises forming over ones that still hadn’t even bloomed yet. And once the door swung open to the peridot gaze of someone who was once a friend, he could do nothing but submit. He pulled the reins on his desire to ask why, the words sure to come out garbled nonsense if he tried with the bloodied bit between his cracked lips. Resistance rendered pointless. The moment he’d go into that home, it would be all over for him, so he might as well just get used to it.
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There was a loud knock on his door.
Though he’d be hard pressed to open it. He was drunk out of his mind, his limbs lost in the sea of numbness and nausea. And who the hell needed to see him at this hour anyway? If they knew him, then they should be aware of the fact that he wasn’t going to get shit done at two in the morning. But with Sumo barking at the late night disruption, he couldn’t ignore it any longer, needing to get rid of that loud bark clanging in his brain.
He stepped over empty bottles and cards, yanking the front door open with a grunt. He looked at the disruptive guests, examining the uniform clad handlers and a cage in their arms before he was hit by the very strong scent of a heat.
“Hell no. Get that shit out of here,” He growled, feeling his already swimming mind now pulled into the clutches of an oncoming rut. The detective couldn’t see him, but this one smelled so fucking good, so enticing and close. It was the first time he’d been around for a heat in general, and it was harder to ignore the urge when the whiskey wooed him into complacency.
“I said get the fuck out of here!”
They all looked between each other, as if they didn’t know whether to follow their standing orders or the order of a shouting alpha. Too fucking typical for betas who were lost without the call of a commander.
“Please, Lieutenant Anderson, you were the only option. We can assure you this was the right choice,” One of them stammered, clearing their throat and broadening their shoulders like it would mean something to him.
All the alpha could think about was the smell of an omega mixed with… drying blood. And it made him unreasonably horny and even more unreasonably angry.
“So, you hit my fucking omega without permission?” He seethed, grinding his sharpened canines as he watched the exposed body rattle the cage with its shivers.
“We had no other choice…! He was armed and dangerous. He was a handling cadet, understood all of the tactics and state of the art technology. That’s why he was assigned to you.”
He was caught between two responses, unsure if he should proceed to blame them for hurting someone that he knew wasn’t actually his or argue that he wouldn’t be accepting a mate. Neither of them were great options, but he opted to make his life more difficult, moving to let them inside and looping behind them to look at the face of the new omega. The damn idiots brutalized him, and he felt his mind lurch with shock when he figured out it was the same guy he’d hissed at on his way out of the station.
The beaten brunet looked up at him, brown hair falling in his face, and his eyes glowing with emotions before he looked back down, choking on some blood he must have swallowed. Even then, he looked attractive, and Hank hated himself for thinking such a disgusting thing at the moment.
With the sound of his struggle, three of the four handlers started chuckling to themselves, and the detective couldn’t help but snarl, marching up into their space and baring his teeth.
“You wanna tell me what’s so damn funny, betas?! It wouldn’t happen to be him, would it?” He barked out, smelling heaps of fear from all of them, including the trembling omega.
“N-No. No, sir.”
“Well, then shut the fuck up and get out of my house! I’m done with your shit.”
They all just nodded, allowing themselves to be manipulated by the call of an alpha, and handed him the keys, setting down the rest of the offerings that came with the omega before saluting and showing themselves out, leaving the man with nothing but the thick scent of that intoxicating heat.
Going up to the cage to free the other, and definitely not get a better look and smell of him, Hank grabbed the keys and opened the space, moving aside as if he was afraid to touch him. The alpha knew that if he did make contact, he would go straight into a rut, his judgement already clouded without it. He hated how the other still sat inside, despite the chance of freedom, and kept quiet, fearful eyes with swallowed up irises shining. Seems the heat was far on it’s way by now, and the shine in that mahogany gaze pulled the detective in, forcing him to take a closer look before he willed himself back.
“You can come out,” He told him softly, clearing the hungry rasp in his voice and proceeding to untie the leash from the metal bars. “I’m not gonna hit you.”
The omega hesitated, stumbling forward and crawling out of the space with a whine trapped back in the muzzle. He wondered how long they’d kept him like this, the kid on the verge of hypothermia with pale skin and darkening nail tips, the rest of his body covered in welts, boot marks, and bruises that he was positive would look even worse by morning. And at the end of it, he couldn’t help but peek at his rear, the bruised cheeks calling his disgusting alpha side out. He could hear the slight moans the omega felt with each movement, the trail of self-lubricant on his thighs becoming more bothersome on his aching skin. It sent a shiver down his own spine, making him feel himself grow a bit hard and hot. He hated this omega for being so alluring, and he hated his alpha self for being so enamored.
But Hank had to find a way to help him, even if he didn’t want him here. Maybe he could just clean him up for the night and send him back in the morning, hoping the same aggression wouldn’t happen again if he was reprocessed.
“Can you stand?” He asked, undoing the muzzle with painful slowness as to avoid touching him.
The other gasped and panted, closing his eyes and nodding before stammering to speak.
Though he seemed unable to back the claim, his knuckles paling further as he tried to climb to his feet, gritting his teeth through the effort. His legs were shaking, and when they managed to get onto their knees, the omega groaned, biting their already broken lip to keep from making extra noise. Before collapsing.
Hank was quickly at his side, not touching him but crouching down next to him. It looked like he’d have to step in.
“Alright, fine--okay,” He huffed with the inconvenience, scooping him into his arms and doing his best to carry the both of them off to the bathroom while he was still hammered.
It’d been so long since he’d worked out or even gone for a run, and he could feel the strain of carrying another person, the weight feeling immeasurable when the instinct was to throw them down on the bed and fuck the life out of them. Their skin was so cold, but it still burned against the alpha’s chest, making Hank groan and adjust himself as he walked through the maze of his belongings.
He dropped him in the tub, trying to part from the drug-like pull of the omega’s contact, and quickly started the tap going, adding soap into the water to attempt dulling the strong smell. His supposed mate just remained quiet, staying still even as new blood fell from his swollen lips.
It was shocking this lithe, shivering brunet was supposed to be a handler. From what the detective could gather, he didn’t look suited to the work or ethic at all, his features soft and meek with a spattering of freckles along his light skin. Sure, he had great muscle definition, and a calm face, but he didn’t look like someone incapable of empathy like the ones who’d brought him in that night. Not that he should care. He was just going to get rid of him in the morning...
“Okay, well. I think you know how to bathe yourself, so have at it.”
He turned the water off and moved the shampoo and soaps closer, picking up some stray clothes before leaving and closing the bathroom door behind him.
Now he just needed to figure out how he would go without fucking him until he could ship him off in the morning. Shouldn’t be so hard, right?