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“I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do.”

Rey stared disbelieving at the small old woman seated behind the desk. “I’m eighteen, nearly nineteen, Ms. Kanata. I don’t understand why—”

“Those below legal independent age require a signature of a parent, legal guardian, or mate in order to stay in on campus housing.” Kanata sighed, pushing her overly large glasses up her nose asher magnified brown eyes tinged with pity. “I believe you knew this already, Miss Johnson?”

“I’m eighteen!” Her fists clenched together. This was ridiculous. If she was anyone else, she wouldn’t need a guardian’s signature. If she was anyone else she wouldn’t be beholden to Plutt till she was twenty one— she would have been “of legal independent age” on her last birthday.

“This isn’t even campus policy, Miss Johnson. It’s the law, whether we like it or not the university is still beholden to state and federal laws and regulations.” Kanata glanced down at the papers before knitting her small brown hands together. “Rey—May I call you Rey?”

She sputtered, not bothering to respond to the woman’s question.“This is… this is…” Her mind failed to provide an adequate word. Ridiculous? Insane? Asinine? Fucking discrimination ?

“Bullshit,” Kanata provided, matter-of-factly, hands still folded together in front of her. Rey blinked at her in surprise, trying to rectify the word she had just heard come from the prim, little old lady Kanata’s mouth. Maz Kanata looked like the type of Beta who would get faint and pass out at foul language.

Kanata gave Rey a grim, slightly sad smile. “The word I think you were looking for, Rey, is ‘bullshit.’ This is bullshit.”

Her eyes were probably as wide as Kanata’s were magnified now. “I, um… yeah. It, well, it is, Ms. Kana—“

“Maz. Call me Maz.” Kanata—Maz—took her glasses off and sighed. “I understand, Rey, I do.”

“Oh, do you?” She crossed her arms across her chest, sinking down in her chair and staring at the edge of the desk.

Maz raised her eyebrows, not saying anything. Rey blinked and then flushed, embarrassed. Had she just implied a black woman, one in at least her seventies, didn’t understand discrimination?

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled. “I mean, I’m sure you can relate, in a way at least…”

“I’m no Omega, but I’m eighty seven years old, my dear. I protested for equal pay for women. I marched with Dr. King. And I’m old enough to remember before the start of the first designation rights movement, when my uncle was imprisoned for having children with another beta.”

Rey blinked, startled. Beta rights had been in place so long that it was easy to forget that there were still people alive who might remember the days when only male Alphas could be people in positions of authority and power and Betas could only marry other Betas if they agreed to sterilization. And Omegas were practically forced into marriages with Alphas, never allowed any independence, but always under the control over a guardian or a mate.

She groaned and leaned onto the desk, burying her face in her hands. The “legal” age when an Omega could live independent of a caretaker was twenty one, as opposed to eighteen for an Alpha or a Beta, so it was the residual laws and prejudices related to such that were ruining her chance to get away from her asshole of a stepfather.

“I assume you don’t expect your legal guardian would agree to allow you to live on campus?”

“Plutt?” Rey laughed bitterly. “Give up free labor, his nice tax credit for having a dependent Omega, and my grant money? Not going to happen.”

Maz’s magnified eyes narrowed. “He’s misusing your education funding?”

“The stipend after tuition.” She leaned back and blinked, eyes stinging. “I don’t know how I’m going to buy my textbooks.”

“Hrmph.” Maz picked up a pen and tapped it on her desk. “I’ll have to see whether I can do anything about that. In the meantime… You’re taking Overview of Designation, I assume?”

She winced. Designation Studies were the last thing she was interested in, and the last thing she wanted was to be instructed on the fucking biology that was currently fucking over her life. “Yeah, it’s required.” Rey glanced down at her watch and winced; she was also late for that class.

Maz chuckled. “You seem less than thrilled. I suggest you keep an open mind, you might be surprised. But I suggest you talk to your professor for that class, Dr. Effan Finnigan. Tell him Maz sent you and explain your situation. He’ll give you options, depending on how far you want to take it.”

Rey frowned, not sure of what that meant. Glancing at her watch again, she got to her feet and sighed. “Okay, thanks, I guess. I need to get to class.”

 


 

DS-101 was in a huge lecture hall across campus, and even practically running, it took her ten more minutes to get there. That meant she was twenty minutes late when she attempted to open the door a crack and slip in quietly. The door refused to cooperate with her plan, squealing loudly and causing the entire room to fall silent as every head turned to look at her. A hundred eyes seemed to be crawling over her sweaty skin, judging her.

“They have got to get that door oiled or fixed,” an amused voice echoed up from the front, breaking the tension enough to get a chuckle from the entire class. She looked down towards the voice and found it belonged to a surprisingly young black man, couldn’t be more than his mid-twenties. He smiled at her and waved toward the packed rows of seats. “Take a seat, and come see me after class to get the syllabus.”

That was Dr. Finnigan? She’d just assumed in her head that a professor with a doctorate was going to be an old frumpy dude. Nodding, she headed towards the back row of seats that were mostly empty, save for a small pack of guys sprawled out in the middle, laughing with each other. Down in front, the professor had gone back to talking.

Before she even reached the end seat, the smell hit her and caused her to practically gag at the body odor and heavy alpha scent. Her head snapped up to look at the guys, who clearly had more interest in laughing and talking than listening to the professor. Good god, hadn’t any of them heard of anti-perspirant, deodorant, and anti-pheromone? Hell, had they heard of showers and basic fucking hygiene?

She dropped into the end seat, trying not to breath through her nose. Despite science saying an Omega like her should love Alpha scent, she personally had always found the heavy and musky smell revolting.

It had to be intentional, had to be trying to be as overpowering with their scent as possible to rub their Alpha-ness in everyone’s noses. They were casting glances in her general direction, eyeing her down and smirking.One leaned towards her, greasy brown hair hanging in his face with flared nostrils as he scented her. His eyes immediately dilated.

Rey turned away. The anti-pheromone and scent-neutralizing deodorizers coupled with the suppressants she took to prevent heats should have kept her scent neutral unless someone was practically sniffing one of her scent glands, but her sweatiness from her run across campus must have raised her scent, now she had a group of horny Alpha boys leering at her.

Great.

On the plus side, they’d at least mostly shut up now, murmuring quietly to each other, of what could only be about her. But at least she could hear the professor.

“—over the course of this class we will touch on everything from the biology and science to the real history of designation casting and the sociological implications of designation in both archaic and modern society to the philosophical and existential pondering of the meaning and purpose of designation.”

Someone in the Alpha pack snorted, muttering something that sent all of them into an obnoxious burst of laughter. She shot a glare at them and caught one of their eyes, who shot a cocky, amused smirk and a wink at her irritation. She huffed and turned away.

“—we won’t shy from the ‘taboo’ subjects here. Expect to delve into subjects such as how Christianity reshaped the concept of an ideal pairings and designation rights, to transdesignation and how modern technology is redefining the role designation plays in society.”

“Overall, our goal is to try answer one overarching question.” Finnigan clicked to a new slide with just a single question written on a white background.

What does designation mean?

“What does designation mean? What purpose does it truly serve?”

The Alphas burst into laughter again, one of them suddenly shouting, “Like what the fuck is purpose of a male omega?”

Heads turned, people murmuring in surprise and shock. Male Omegas were rare and had long been sidelined as a useless designation, a side effect of the view that Omegas were meant to pump out babies and a man couldn’t do that. Female alphas, which weren't exactly common either, had similar, though less extreme, prejudices against them. Even so, it still was unexpected to hear someone give voice to such things in a crowded room.

Finnigan stopped, squinting up and folding his arms. “Purpose of a male omega?” he asked, voice musing. “One could ask what the purpose of any designation is. What’s the purpose of an Alpha?”

“To lead and protect,” the same Alpha called back, cockily. He cast a sideways glance at Rey and smirked. “And to impregnate omegas.”

She rolled her eyes. Asshole Alphas.

“Uh-huh. Female alphas might have trouble with that last part,” Dr. Finnigan seemed nonplussed, looking up at the Alpha thoughtfully.

“Aberrations, just like male omegas,” the alpha sneered. “Alpha males are meant to be mated to Omega females who will bear and nurture young, Betas are meant to serve and tend to the Alpha’s needs.”

The majority of the room had now turned to glare up at the alpha prick, though his eyes were locked on the professor in a challenging stare. Finnigan raised his eyebrows before turning and walking up the stairs towards them, eyes locked on the Alpha the whole way up. He stopped at their row, leaning on the wall across from her, now looking down at the Alpha.

It was a look that was clearly meant to be a challenge, which surprised her a bit. She took a deep breath, curious, but couldn’t pick up Finnigan’s scent, which just meant he probably used a decent anti-pheromone like most civilized people did.

“The idea of ‘correct’ designation roles loses creedence once you come to understand that such views varied across different civilizations and different times in history. The Romans very much idealized Alpha-Alpha pairings as a way to produce more Alphas.” Dr. Finnigan shrugged. “Of course, they also didn’t know how the genetics worked or understand sterility. Some people think the population decline before the Roman empire fell was due to the high number of Alpha-Alpha pairs and the one in four chance of producing a homozygous sterile Alpha.” The Alpha boy raised his lip in distaste as Finnigan continued. “Now, in contrast, the Mayans completely revered omegas. A male Omega almost always ended up mated with a female Omega. The high probability of producing Omegas apparently overrode made the occasional homozygous omegas produced which were either lost in utero or born too malformed to survive acceptable to them.”

“Now if we look at examples in history”—Dr. Finnigan spread his hands—“we see the modern western ideal of male Alpha-mega female is not as consistent as ‘common wisdom’ suggests. Queen Isabella II and King-Consort Francis of Spain are one of the more famous instances of a powerful female Alpha and male Omega pairing. The two also had at least a dozen Betas, male and female, who took oaths of fidelity and loyalty… essentially creating a polygamous marriage of Alpha-Omega plus Betas under the guise of Beta servants. And I say guise cause they were without a doubt all fucking one another.”

The class murmured, seemingly as surprised as Rey was to hear a teacher drop an f-bomb in class. Finnigan ignored it and continued. “In fact, the children of those betas were all adopted by Isabella and Francis to give them royal rights. Essentially they revived the type of extended pack family of Alpha-Omega-Betas that had been extremely common before the spread of Christianity.”

Finnigan waited a moment before continuing, “And then there are Omegas like Catherine the Great, who helped orchestrate the coup that overthrew her Alpha husband and took over ruling Russia after he was deposed. She refused to marry again, Alpha or otherwise, ruling alone and mating with a variety of Alphas and Betas during her heats.”

“There’ve been freaks in history, so-fucking-what? Doesn’t change what’s normal,” the alpha growled, jaw set.

“’So-fucking-what’”—Finnigan took a step forward, eyes still locked on the alpha boy, challenging—“is that your concept of normal is a lie. That’s what the science, history, and facts tell us. Your narrow-minded and limited point of view that has been dictated by our social norms is one that’s a fairly recent development in history and complete and utter bullshit.” Dr. Finnigan smiled. “Given this conversation exposed your very obvious lack of knowledge on the subject, I think some research is in order.” He broke his eye contact with the Alpha to glance around the room. “Five pages, due next Monday.” The room groaned, everyone casting annoyed looks at the Alpha who’d triggered all this. Even his Alpha buddies were muttering and giving him dirty looks. “Non-standard pairings or mating groups as they’ve occurred historically, or on individuals who did not conform to the expected social roles of their designation.”

Dr. Finnigan met the Alpha’s eyes again and smirked before turning and heading back down to the front as the entire lecture hall grumbled.

“With that out of the way…” He clicked his remote and changed the slide, this one displaying the four designation chromosomes. “On a base genetic level, this is what designation comes down to. Dominant Beta, Recessive Beta, Alpha, and Omega. A combination of two of these chromosomes define whether you’ll be a Beta, Omega, or an Alpha.”

Rey sighed, opened her notebook, and began to take some notes.

 


 

When the class was over, Rey headed down to the front, where Dr. Finnigan was now sitting at a desk, writing in his notebook. He didn’t look up as she approached, but she was certain she saw him draw in a deep breath through his nose.

“You must be Miss Johnson, then?” Dr. Finnigan asked as he slid the syllabus across the desk to her.

Rey blinked, surprised that he knew who she was. “I, um, yes, how did you—”

Dr. Finnigan looked up, the left side of his lips curling up. “There are three omegas in this class, and the other two were accounted for when I took attendance.”

“Oh,” Rey answered stupidly, as she leaned down to grab the syllabus. As she did she caught a faint trace of Dr. Finnigan’s scent.

To her surprise, it wasn’t the normal, bland scent of a Beta. It was… it… Oh. Oh.

Finnigan cocked his head and smiled, “Ah, man. Mitchem forty-eight hour anti-pheromone and deodorizing protection my ass.”

That got a laugh out of her, “Really I just barely picked you up at all. You’re a—”

“Yes, I’m an Omega.” He smiled. “And trust me, that little Alpha prick was aware.It’s right on my staff biography page on the college website. Public knowledge.”

“What a douche,” she muttered.

Finnigan laughed. “Unfortunately, alphas that age tend to be. Sorry about the paper, but pricks like him need to be shunted into their place carefully.” He looked back down at his notebook.

She shifted her weight, “Um… so… Ms. Kanata said you might be able to help me?”

His brown eyes darted up, eyebrows raised.

“I was trying to apply for campus housing, but I can’t without my guardian’s signature…” Her voice trailed off, cheeks heating in a combination of embarrassment and anger.

Resting his elbow on the desk and propping his chin against his hand, Dr. Finnigan studied her. “Because you’re not twenty one. How old are you, Miss Johnson?”

“Eighteen.”

“Legal age for everyone but an Omega,” he supplied, dryly. “Let me cut to the chase with my assumption that part of why you want to get campus housing is to get away from your guardian.”

Rey bit her lip. “Yes.”

Finnigan nodded slowly, “Is this a parent or—?”

“I… He puts stepfather down on paperwork, but I don’t think he ever was married to anyone related to me. I was young when I was left with him.”

Left with him.” Dr. Finnigan grimaced. “Okay, please tell me he’s not an alpha.”

She blinked, then her eyes widened, “No, no, Plutt’s a beta. A seedly, slimy, mean-tempered Beta. He’s never…” After stumbling over her words for a moment, Rey took a breath,.“I mean, not that way, Dr. Finnigan.”

Finnigan let out a relieved sigh. “Okay. So two things. First, call me Finn. Second.” He paused. “I need you to tell me about your home life with this Plutt guy and then tell me everything you know about him, everything you know about how you ended up with him. Even if there are things you’re not comfortable sharing, you need to tell me. Can you do that?”

Rey closed her eyes and nodded once.

“Good,” Finn said and stood up, gathering his papers. “You and I best move to my office because I’m pretty sure there’s another class in this room soon.”

 


 

Finn didn’t say much as she just sat and talked, just taking notes and occasionally asking for her to expand on something she said. When Rey finally felt like she had spewed out her whole biography she fell silent, looking across his desk at him as he skimmed his notes, waiting.

“I’d love to tell you there was a magic loophole for you,” Finn said, finally, as he looked up, “but there really isn’t. The laws suck, and, unfortunately, the system is still prejudiced against Omegas. This makes a lot of the legal routes risky, because there’s a good chance someone will make a very shitty decision on your behalf, because they think they know better what’s best for a young Omega girl.”

She scowled at that, and Finn nodded. “Or you can end up with a good old boy who thinks Omegas shouldn’t be going to college because you should be mated off and be pumping out babies.” That drew a snarl out of her and Finn raised his hands, palms out “I know, it’s all bullshit, but it’s the reality of the legal system. It sucks. Trust me.”

“So I’m better off doing nothing?”

“I didn’t say that.” Finn leaned back, folding his hands together. “So you have a couple things going for you if you want to try to play within the system. Your guardian isn’t a blood relative—if you were with your parents you would be completely screwed. Judges rarely remove Omegas from their parents, even in cases of obvious abuse.

“Two, this Plutt guy seems shady as fuck. At the very least he’s misusing government grants that were provided for your education expenses. Which probably means he could be declared inadequate and you’d be assigned to a foster guardian. A lot of times these fosters are very hands off if you’re over eighteen. So there’s a chance you’d get somebody who’d just sign the paperwork for you so you can live on campus. Mostly in those cases you just need to check in every few weeks. It’s annoying, but you’d get some independence.”

Rey frowned. “Isn’t there also a risk I’d end up with someone worse than Plutt?”

“Yes.” Finn shrugged. “Depends on the judge, depends on the foster assignment. You have a case to be made, but you could end up fucked over by the system as likely as being saved by it.”

Staring down at her lap, Rey shook her head. “You said if I wanted to play within the system? What did you mean by that?”

Finn gave a small smile. “There are three options. One is try to manipulate the system to get things better for you. Two would be to fight the system. In this case, you sue for your independence and equal rights, keep appealing up to the Supreme Court, and hope they think it’s time to start throwing these archaic laws out the window. This isn’t for the faint of heart, though. It’ll be a media shitstorm and you’ll probably become a household name.”

She flinched. Fighting for her rights sounded good, it was probably what she should do. But that sort of attention sounded… She shuddered.

“Don't feel like you have to be the one to fight that fight. I can tell you from personal experience that it's hell, and my case was more low key since it was against colleges and not the government.”

“Your case?” She blinked.

“I had two, actually. First against the discriminatory acceptance policies towards male Omegas. I had high test scores, excellent grades, and was rejected by nearly every college I applied for.”

“Why? I mean, they get bonus funding for taking Omegas, don’t they?” She’d actually been approached by multiple college recruiters her senior year of high school. All eager to get her to attend their school so they could get the extra cash the government doled out to help “encourage omegas to get higher education.” That wording always pissed her off. More like encouraging colleges to quit refusing to educate omegas.

Finn gave a wry smile. “Up to a quota, yes, though the Department of Education and Department of Designation Affairs, which are the two that pass out the different grants, tended to be a bit, ah... stingier... when it came to male omegas. That was nearly my third lawsuit, but thankfully the DoE and DoDA agreed to clean up their acts without a court case.” He shrugged, “But back before that, moneywise it made more sense for universities to try for female Omegas. Couple it with ingrained prejudices and disdain of male Omegas and you pretty much had the same situation for male O’s as it had been for all of us omegas back before Equal Education act—nearly impossible to get an education beyond high school.”

She just shook her head. It wasn't right or fair.

“I wasn't keen on that, obviously, and my guidance counselors all just told me this was the way it was and I should quit trying. I said fuck that, went to the ACLU. They were on a roll with designation rights cases, so they took one look at my high school transcripts and test scores and took up the case.”

Rey had a sudden recollection of working dragging heavy crates around Plutt’s garage while the news played on the TV, talking about a male Omega that was suing universities. She had been maybe eleven… Plutt had scoffed to a few of his cronies about what the world was coming to, leering out at her scornfully before saying “Brooders are starting to think too much of themselves. My little gilt is constantly forgetting her place.”

She’d glowered at him and kept working. If she didn’t finish her chores or if she talked back, she wouldn’t get to eat for at least a day or two.

Recalling that now, Rey realized it had to be Finn’s case. What kind of asshole was she that she wasn’t willing to put up the same sort of fight for her own rights?

“Ah, I see that look. Again, don’t feel obligated to take that path. It’s brutal. During the years right after that case I had hate mail and threats for years, and I still get the occasional death threats.”

It was still hard to not feel like she should .

Finn shook his head. “Honestly, I doubt we’re at the point yet where we’d win either. The court isn’t quite ready to make that ruling yet, unfortunately.”

“So what other options are there? I mean, I either do nothing and keep getting fucked over by Plutt, or take a risk with the system and maybe get fucked over more?” She rubbed her eyes, frustrated. “What else can I do?”

“There is one other option—”

A knock came on the office door and it creaked open, letting in the smell of fast food along with a very mellow, faint Alpha scent. She turned around to see a man with brown hair and brown eyes peering into the office.

“Am I interrupting?” the man asked Finn, raising his eyebrows.

Finn grinned, waving him in. “You got great timing, bae. Get in here. I got someone here you need to meet.”

 


 

The newcomer introduced himself as Poe Dameron. Neither he or Finn explicitly stated they were mates, but the way they casually touched brushed hands as they cleared some space on the desk and the affectionate pet names they called each other, it was pretty obvious.

Dameron spread a bunch of styrofoam takeout containers across the table, and Finn insisted on doling out portions from both his and Poe’s orders for her to eat.

“Okay, so like I said, good timing,” Finn began. “I was just about to get into option three for Rey here.”

Poe rolled his eyes as he took a bite of his sandwich. “You know, one of these days this shit is going to get me in trouble?”

“Come on.” Finn snorted. “I’m not asking you to go beat the shit out of anyone. Just pay people visits and flash that badge while asking questions and be your big, intimidating Alpha self.”

“Yeah, see, some people report that as harassment.”

“Her guardian is sketchy from what Rey’s told me about him. I don’t think you have to worry.”

Badge? Rey blinked at Poe, “Wait, you’re a cop?”

“Detective,” Poe answered through a mouthful of fries.

Finn raised his eyebrows disapprovingly. “Bae.”

Poe rolled his eyes, scent suddenly spiking with irritation. He grabbed a paper napkin and dabbed at his lips with exaggerated daintiness. “There, happy Effan?” Finn leaned back and crossed his arms, lips pursing. His agitation was obvious, though she didn’t catch any change in his scent. Maybe he didn’t give Mitchum anti-pheromone enough credit.

The room fell silent as the two of them glared challengingly at one another. She shifted uncomfortably in the tension filling the air, finally speaking meekly, “Um… so could someone explain to me what option three is?”

After what felt like an eternity, Finn finally broke his gaze from Poe to look at her. As soon as he did, she heard Poe exhale and sink back in his chair.

“Option three, is… um… under the system,” Finn smirked as he grabbed more of Poe’s fries to add to the plate in front of her, ignoring Poe’s annoyed huff.

She stared at them blankly. “I don’t understand.”

“Option three is we make whoever’s giving you trouble rethink if it’s worth giving you trouble,” Poe answered, looking down at his hands and chewing on his cheek. He looked up suddenly at Finn. “Finn, look, I—”

Finn didn’t look at him. “You know I hate being called Effan.”

“Yeah, so I was being an asshole.” Poe huffed. “But you were being an overbearing—”

“Um—” Rey cut Poe off as she saw Finn’s eyes shoot to him, looking seriously pissed off. “Could you explain this a little clearer?”

“Maz is probably already getting started on this, if you told her about him stealing your grant funding. I’m guessing she’s going to go with the grant audit route.” Finn poked her plate. “You should eat more.”

“Audit?” She briefly glanced at her plate and then shoved some fries into her mouth. “You really didn’t need to give me some of your lunches…”

“Yes, I really did. There’s like, nothing to you.” Finn shook his head, then shot Poe a glare as he gave an exasperated sigh. “And, yeah, basically she’ll send him a letter claiming that you’ve been chosen for a random audit where you need to provide proof the funding is being used for your living and education related expenses.”

“Great, we got another asshole pocketing grant money?” Poe muttered.

“Audits like that are a thing?”

“Fuck no, but this Plutt guy won’t know that. The idea is to freak him out and make him rethink doing it again.”

Poe stiffened suddenly and sat straight up. “Wait—”

Finn continued, ignoring Poe. “Which is option three in a nutshell. Maz as a representative of the college administration, me as a staff member, and we get some police influence as well with Poe. We give Plutt a lot of unwanted attention until he’s willing to sign that form and you can at least get away from him by living on campus.”

“Did you say—” Poe tried to cut in.

“That sounds almost crazy,” Rey stammered. “I mean, couldn’t making things up to give Plutt headaches get you guys in trouble?”

“Did you say this guy’s name was—” Poe tried again, but Finn still ignored him.

“It is a little.” Finn shrugged. “But it’s for a good cause, and I think in your case we don’t need to worry much. This guy isn’t going to report us. It would bring even more attention on him.”

Poe’s fist slammed into the table, making the contents, Finn, and Rey jump. “Did you call this guy ‘Plutt?’” She and Finn looked at each other, confused. “Unkar Plutt?”

Rey blinked. “Uh, yeah.”

Running a hand over his face, Poe shook his head, and his scent spiked again in agitation. “You’re telling me your legal guardian is the fucking Blobfish?”

 


 

Snoke’s club, The Supremacy, reeked of alcohol, smoke, and musk.

Kylo wrinkled his nose in distaste as he made his way through the crowd. There was a mix of designations—plenty of people just there for the club to dance and get drunk and high and find someone to fuck—but Snoke’s “staff” of Omegas and special services that could be purchased downstairs meant it did tend to be Alpha-heavy. Little pissants who spread their scent everywhere because they thought stinking made them tough, all while having to pay for an Omega cunt to knot because they couldn’t get a girl on their own.

Fucking soft-knots, all bluster and no bite.

Bass pounded around him as he shouldered his way through sweaty bodies. The Supremacy was one of the largest clubs in town. A converted warehouse that was easy to secure, and the activity of the club masked the more unsavory activities that took place in the maze of backrooms or the services being bought down in the basement.

He was nearly to the edge of the crowd when someone stumbled into him, splashing some kind of cheap liquor onto his suit jacket. His new fucking suit jacket. Grabbing the asshole by the throat, he lifted the man—some drunk ass Beta—off the ground and slammed him into a support pillar.

People around them scattered, some stopping to stare, but most having the sense to fuck off and be somewhere else.

“Maybe”—He glared into the man’s eyes, speaking calmly—“you should learn to watch where the fuck you’re walking.”

The man wheezed, clawing frantically at his throat. Kylo gave a wry smile, tightening his grip. If he wanted to, he could crush the man’s windpipe with ease.

“Mr. Ren?”

Kylo glanced over his shoulder to see Nines and a few of his men walking over, dressed in the signature white suits of First Order security. Nine’s glanced calmly at the man he was still dangling by the throat before smiling, “Is this man bothering you, Mr. Ren?”

The Beta kicked his legs, face starting to turn a little blue. He turned, lifting the man higher in the air before dropping him in a heap at Nines’s feet.

“This man owes me money for a new suit.” Kylo smiled. “Please take him out back, teach him a lesson about respect, and arrange for payment.”

Nines bowed his head as one of his cronies smiled and cracked his knuckles, before reaching down to grab the man by the shirt. “Of course, sir.”

He watched coldly as they were dragged the now blubbering man out towards a back exit, pawing one large hand at the wet spot on his jacket. Fuck. Turning, he walked over to a steel security door, cordoned off with velvet ropes and guarded by Slip, another of Snoke’s security. Slip smiled at him, turning and entering the code to unlock the door, nodding politely, as he opened it. “Mr. Ren.”

Nodding back, Kylowalked into the long, dimly lit hallway. The music dying to a muffled bass as the door shut behind him, the stench of the nightclub fading along with it. Only members of the First Order syndicate were allowed back here.

At the end of the hall a pair of large double doors stood open, bringing the scent of cigar and cigarette smoke, and the faint musky scent that always permeated a room filled with Alphas, no matter how good their hygiene was. Like most syndicates, the majority of First Order members were alphas, with a few aggressive betas filling the rest of the ranks.

There was a private bar along the back wall and several poker tables. Loosening his black tie, Kylo walked over to a chair and took off his black fedora , setting it on the adjacent table. “Deal me in next hand.”

Rodinon looked up and gave a surly nod, his red, heavily-gelled hair glinting in the light.

“Snoke was looking for you.” Canady looked up from his hand, hat pulled low over his eyes. “Something about wanting you to pay a visit to the Blobfish.” Rodinon raised, and Canady looked at his hand once more before throwing the cards down, glaring over at Rodinon as the man grabbed money in the center. “Go knot a bottle you little fuck.” Canady huffed as he grabbed the cards and started to shuffle.

“Plutt?” Kylo tossed his ante in before pulling out a pack of cigarettes. Unkar Plutt was a low key player, just a garage and chop shop, a little larceny and car theft. Not big enough to be on First Order radar. “When did we start giving a shit about that fat fuck?”

“Talk to Hux, he has the details.” Canady shrugged him off as he dealt the next hand. His nose wrinkled in distaste. “Little bitch went downstairs, so I’m sure he should be back soon.”

“Fucking mock-knot,” Rodinon muttered under his breath.

Kylo snorted. Hux was a Beta with something to prove, always playing like he was an alpha—getting in people’s faces, starting shit, finding or buying Omegas to fuck. None of them could stand the little knotless prick.

“Speak of the devil,” Canady mumbled, nodding towards the door where Hux had just walked in. His tie was loose and collar of his black silk dress shirt was open, red hair barely visible under his black fedora.

Hux’s blue eyes scanned the room before locking onto Kylo. He smirked, walking over with an irritating swagger. “There you are,” he drawled, before collapsing in the chair next to him.

Looking up from his cards, he gave Hux a bored glance. “Here I am.”

“Back already?” Canady asked, not bothering to look up from his own cards. “Ah, well, guess you can’t help your lack of staying power.”

Hux stiffened as his eyes narrowed. “Little needy thing was quite content.”

“Needy?” Rodinon glanced Hux’s way.

“One of the girls is in heat,” Hux smirked. “I gave her a hand.”

He glanced at Hux in distaste. Bad enough to be a Beta fucking Omegas, but to be fucking one while in heat...

“Poor thing needs a good hard knot, not a hand,” Rodinon said.

“She was plenty sated,” Hux said, voice growing icy cold. Rodinon smirked, eyes flashing.

This wasn’t going to end well if it kept escalating. “What did Snoke want you to tell me?” he asked, interrupting the tense staring match between the two redheads.

Glaring a moment longer, Hux turned to look at Kylo. “Snoke wants you to pay a visit to Unkar Plutt.” When Kylo just raised his eyebrows, Hux continued. “Seems the Blobfish’s been making some investments, expanding his business into areas we control. Snoke wants you to make sure he thinks twice about continuing to piss in our territory. And find out where he’s getting this extra money from, see if there might be even more going on that we don’t know about.”

“Hm.” He looked down at his cards as Canady saw and raised Rodinon’s bet. Fucking shit hand, he tossed the cards down, and stood, grabbing his hat, “I’m out.”

“Going so soon?” Rodinon asked, frowning at his cards before seeing Canady’s bet.

“Apparently I got a job to do.” He put his hat on and nodded before heading out the door. “Another time.”

Chapter Text

Instincts were a bitch that Rey felt she’d been fighting all her life. Instinct that made her want to be subservient and docile. Instincts that made her want to cower in the presence of an angry Alpha and acquiesce to that alpha in order to appease them, even the young dumb Alphas Plutt liked to keep as his underlings. Instincts that did nothing but weaken her, and that probably would have done nothing but harm if she hadn’t spent her life fighting them.

Suppressants helped, but some things were so ingrained in that stupid, primitive corner of her brain where the base animal she descended from still lived that nothing would ever completely make them go away. It wasn’t just a problem for Omegas. Betas also felt that deep pull to fear an angry Alpha, to want to earn praise and acceptance from them. It was why Betas, despite outnumbering Alphas, somehow still ended up being second-class citizens for so long. It was why Alphas still, even in this modern day, dominated government and other positions of authority.

It seemed that humanity was slowly winning the battle of the mind over instinct, but it had and remained a slow process.

And it was that never-ending battle of mind versus instinct that came into play as she tried to tell the part of herself that was trying to panic at the sight of an agitated Alpha pacing Finn’s office to shut the fuck up and settle down. She’d done nothing wrong, nothing, and she would refuse to apologize for things that were outside of her control.

If Finn felt the same anxiety at Poe’s agitation, he didn't show it. He watched Poe with a somewhat bewildered expression as the man paced and muttered under his breath. “Bae. Settle down.”

“This is not good,” Poe snapped. She stiffened at the tone of his voice, entirely against her will.

“Yeah, how about you sit down and explain what’s not good?” Finn cast a concerned glance at Rey, before raising his voice. “Poe!”

Poe froze mid-stride and slowly turned to meet Finn’s eyes. Finn stared at him with a strange intensity, holding his gaze for at least half a minute before flicking his eyes towards Rey and then returning to Poe. Her cheeks reddened at the realization that Finn was noticing her reactions, that they were already so far out of her control.

Slowly, Poe turned to look at Rey, his demeanor appearing far calmer despite the agitation she could still pick up in his scent. He raised his hands appeasingly. “I’m not upset at you.”

Good, because you have no reason to be angry at me. The indignancy of her thoughts contrast with the strange relief flooding her at his words. It made her almost irrationally angry at herself for not being able to control these feelings and angry at the universe for dealing her genetics that were both biologically and societally a handicap.

Poe sat down, casting a wary glance at Finn, who was still watching him intently. “I’m upset that the assholes down in the robbery division didn’t think someone like Plutt having an Omega under his care was concerning enough to even put down in the case file they passed up to us when the case was transferred.”

“Case?” Rey asked, a sinking feeling in her stomach. She wasn’t surprised, not really. Plutt’s garage was shady and his books were sketchy. He often brought perfectly good cars in and broke them down for parts even though they would have been worth more if he just sold them.

Poe sighed, leaning back in his chair. “He’s been under investigation for his little crime ring—mostly stealing cars with some petty theft mixed in here and there—for a few years. They know he’s the ringleader but they weren’t able to get enough evidence against him. Plenty against goons, but Plutt’s good at making sure the trails stop before him.”

“Why did it get transferred to you ?” Finn asked.

“Cause he recently appeared to be expanding into new markets.”

“Um”—Rey shifted nervously in her chair—“what division of the police do you work in?”

There was a pause as Poe seemed to stop to take her in. “Narcotics.”

“Plutt is dealing drugs?” That seemed… almost absurd. Across from her Finn looked down at his notebook and tapped his pen against it.

“Kinda.” Poe, frowned, chewing on his cheek. “He seems to be acting as a middle man mainly for prescription drugs that have have been banned in the States.”

Finn’s head snapped, eyebrows raised. Poe met his eyes and nodded.

Rey looked between them. “What?”

Sighing, Finn dropped his pen. “There’s a large collection of hormone therapy drugs that were originally used for treating disorders where a person doesn’t produce them in normal levels. And later medical use was expanded for other treatments.”

Poe snorted, rubbing his chin. Finn shot him a glare. “Don’t you fucking start.”

“I didn’t say anything.” Poe shook his head and raised his hands.

“Yeah, I can hear you thinking it.”

“I apologize for having thoughts, I didn’t realize you’d recently gained telepathic ability.” Poe rolled his eyes.

The room fell quiet as Finn glared at Poe, who averted eye contact after a moment. Rey glanced between the two of them. “What other treatments?”

“Don’t matter.” Poe shook his head. “These drugs were meant for people who didn’t have enough aledrigen or omerin in their systems for… whatever reason, and their safety even for those conditions was sketchy at best. The big problem with them is if you take a perfectly healthy omega or alpha and give them these drugs, they act as very potent enhancers. Safer options for medical treatment have been developed, so the U.S. government classified the others as an illegal substance and barred production, import, sales, and possession.”

“Safer options for some medical conditions,” Finn muttered.

Letting out an exasperated sigh, Poe shook his head. “They work for people who have an actual medical necessity.

“I still feel like I’m missing some big part of this conversation.” Rey glanced between the two men, who were once again having a stare down.

After a moment, Finn broke eye contact with Poe to look at her. “They were also used for cross-designation therapy, sometimes in conjunction with suppressants. And were quite effective.”

Rey blinked. “Oh, like for—”

“Transdees,” Poe finished, not hiding a look of disdain.

Finn gave him an icy glare, before continuing, “Yes, for transdesignation people.” He sighed, “The new drugs they’re using simulate the body to produce more of the hormones. Which works great if you’re an omega not producing enough omerin, not so much if you’re a beta who is transitioning to an omega since their bodies aren’t capable of producing omerin at the levels needed.”

“Maybe cause it ain’t natural,” Poe said, offhandedly, ignoring the murderous glare it earned him from Finn.

“There are people who say you and I fucking isn’t natural either.”

Rey coughed, flushing slightly. This conversation was getting extremely awkward.

“That ain’t the same,” Poe said dismissively.

Finn took a deep breath, looking at Rey. “I apologize for my boyfriend. He has some unfortunate unenlightened views on certain things.”

“Unenlightened,” Poe muttered before sitting up and pointing a finger at Finn. “I can’t believe you of all people still argue against moving those drugs into category one. You know what those omerin supps were being used for.”

“I’m not saying it’s awful that they’re less readily available and a hell of a lot more expensive to get on the black market. But refusing it for people who need them isn’t right.”

Rey cleared her throat, raising her eyebrows in question when the two men looked at her.

“Omerin supps are used quite heavily in the sex industry since high levels of omerin trigger heats. Sexual slavery rings would use it to take unwilling Omegas and keep them in a constant heat cycle to keep them compliant. It can also in high doses trigger flash heats in omegas, even those on suppressants. Slip it into an Omega’s drink at the club and—” Poe shrugged. “All around dangerous shit.” Pausing a second to give Rey an appraising look, “Even more reason to be worried about someone like him having guardianship over a young Omega.”

“I… no... I mean Plutt’s an asshole but he’s never…” Her cheeks flushed again. Plutt had always treated her like property, made her work to exhaustion if she wanted to eat, and never missed an opportunity to demean her. But he’d never in her life touched her or even looked at her in a sexual manner. The thought of it was rather revolting.

“It’s not necessarily him that I’d be worried about.” Poe was still studying her. “There’s still a trade for Omegas. It’s illegal, not that Unkar Plutt gives a shit about legal, and far less common now that there’s more enforcement. The tax write-offs have helped as well, since a guardian gets a money kickback every year.”

“Which might be why he didn’t…” Finn started, then stopped if looking for a different word. “Didn’t do anything. He found out you were worth more as long as he kept guardianship over you. But the fact that you were left with him when you were young is a red flag, that’s why I reacted to it earlier. For poorer families, se—uh, leaving, a female Omega in a Beta’s care for either erasure of debt or monetary benefit, was a common practice.”

“Still is.” Poe shook his head, curling his lip. “Lots of times we can’t do anything about it, cause you need to be able to prove that the transfer of guardianship was paid for, and most of the time the evidence ain’t there even if everyone knows that’s what happened.”

Looking between the two men, Rey’s stomach churned. “Are you trying to say you think I was sold by my parents to Plutt?” That was… no, that couldn’t be. She might not remember her parents, but… but they couldn’t have done something like that to her. They wouldn’t have… would they?

Finn and Poe glanced at each other a second, before Finn looked down at his notebook, chewing his bottom lip. “We really can’t know what the circumstances were, given how long ago it was.”

“Don’t…” Rey blinked, eyes stinging. “It’s what you think, isn’t it?”

“All I’ll say is someone like Plutt doesn’t take a kid in from the goodness of his heart,” Poe answered after a few seconds of silence.

Rey blinked again, biting her lip.

“Up to about thirty years ago it was an acceptable norm. Especially for families that had Alphas living in the household. A Beta caretaker was considered a safer, morally superior option for a female Omega. The fact that money was being exchanged was frowned upon, but mainstream moral majority was willing to look away on that part, ‘cause the child was safer. Which was bullshit, there was plenty of abuse—”

“Finn.” Poe cut Finn off, shaking his head. “Honey. Not the time or place for a history lecture.”

Finn blinked, glancing at Rey. “Sorry. I go off on tangents sometimes.”

“I’m not sure what to make of all this,” Rey said, gripping the armrests of her chair with a white knuckle grip. It didn’t seem like it changed much of anything with her shitty life as it was at the moment, but at the same time it seemed like it changed everything. She’d spent her childhood imagining reasons why her parents might have left her, and the idea that she’d been sold just… left her feeling so hollow.

Poe rubbed a hand over his eyes, “Right now there’s not much to make, other than I want you to be careful. If he’s been keeping you around for the tax write off, and now for the grant money he can siphon too, he probably ain’t going to change that.” Reaching across the desk, he grabbed Finn’s notebook and tore off the blank bottom of the page and snatched pen that was sitting on the desk.

“Hey!” Finn snatched the notebook onto his lap.

“I’m giving her my number,” Poe said, not looking up. “And yours too. If anything happens where you feel unsafe, Rey, I want you to call us. The type of business Plutt’s in, it can go bad in a hurry. And if that asshole finds himself up shit’s creek I don’t trust him not to see if he can use you as a bargaining chip to get out of it.”

“I…” Rey pushed her palms against her eyes before letting her hands fall into her lap. “Okay.”

“We’ll also see about putting some pressure on him regarding the grant money and letting you go live at the dorms. Sooner you’re out of there the better,” Finn said, staring down at the torn sheet of paper in his notebook.

“Yeah, and I’ll be keeping tabs on you.” Poe rubbed his chin, “The boss lady at the precinct ain’t going to like this at all.”

Finn looked up from his notebook, “I’d have gladly removed the next page for you if you’d just ask, you know.”

Poe rolled his eyes, “Babe. Seriously.”

“I had notes on that page.”

“I tore off the blank part!” Poe huffed.

“I had notes on it!”

Looking between the two men, eyebrows raised, Rey burst out laughing. They both turned to look at her and she just kept laughing. Laughing so hard that tears came to her eyes and her sides hurt. It felt good, overwhelmed as she was. It was a relief to be able to laugh at all.

As her laughs tapered off to giggles she looked up to see Finn and Poe looking at her with bemused expressions.

“You two are crazy,” she offered, giggling again.

Finn chuckled. “Bae, she’s on to us.”

“Hey, I ain’t the crazy one. He’s the OCD neat freak.” Poe grinned.

“Ha! Says the slob!” Finn shook his head. “You should see what cleaning up after him is like.”

Rey smiled, shaking her head. As Poe looked at Finn and winked, “I love you for it, Babe.”

Finn rolled his eyes. “I know.”

 


 

The small estate didn’t look much different than any of the others in the affluent suburb. Gated with a large, sprawling house and a elegantly landscaped property. It wasn’t until you got closer that you might notice the details— the extra high security fence, the manned gate house, the surveillance cameras. Even that most people probably just wrote off to a rich, eccentric owner who was overly paranoid. In all likelihood, Bazine Netal’s neighbors had no idea they were living next to one of the most exclusive whorehouses on the entire east coast, catering to the wealthy and the powerful who either had expensive tastes or needed the discretion offered from Bazine’s establishment.

Driving his black Cadillac up to the gatehouse, Kylo shook his head. One day Bazine’s little empire would come crashing down on her, and the numb fucks that bumbled about their boring lives would be interviewed on the news so utterly shocked that something like this could be in their backyard.

But for now, she was someone who tended to know things about things. He didn’t care much for Bazine or her ways of doing business, and God knew she was someone you didn’t want to turn your back on unless you wanted a knife in it, but people who had their ears close to the ground were always people you wanted to keep close.

Hux, he was sure, had been given more details about Plutt’s new business ventures than what he’d passed on. Kylo could have asked for more, but the mock-knot would have been insufferable about it. And he didn’t put it past the knotless prick to withhold key bits or misrepresent something to make his life more difficult.

No, he thought as he shifted into park at the gate house, rolling his window down , it’s better to work a little bit and make sure you knew what you needed to know.

The guard in the gatehouse was a Beta, an unintimidating and meek little fuck that looked barely old enough to drink. Probably a conscious choice on Netal’s part to make sure he didn’t agitate or scare her clients. The big guns of her security crew would be kept out of sight unless they were needed.

“Do you have an appointment?” the guard asked, dully, not bothering to look up from his cellphone. His blue dress shirt was wrinkled, tie crooked, and hat cocked back on his head. Everything about him made Kylo’s teeth itch.

“Tell Ms. Netal that Kylo Ren is here to see her,” he said, taking his sunglasses off and narrowing his eyes at the guard.

“Do you have an appointment ?” The guard poked at his phone’s screen, still more interested whatever game he was playing than Kylo. “No appointment, no entry.”

Kylo clenched his hands on the steering wheel, taking a deep breath. “Call up to the house. She’ll see me.”

“No appointment. No entry.”

Lunging halfway out the car window with a snarl, Kylo grabbed the guard by his tie, dragging him partway out the small sliding window of the gatehouse. The man flailed, his phone falling from his hand and bouncing on the asphalt driveway. He jerked the guard’s head so the disrespectful little shit was looking him in the eye. “Pick up that fucking phone and tell them that Kylo Ren is here to see Netal.” Twisting once hard on the man’s tie, he shoved him hard back so he collapsed back into the narrow room of the gatehouse.

Killing the engine as the guard scrambled to his feet, wide eyed, Kylo straightened his collar and black tie in the rearview mirror before getting out of the car, kicking the cell phone the guard had dropped so it skittered down the driveway. He smiled tight-lipped at the guard as he leaned against the gatehouse window.

Slowly the guard reached over and picked up the phone, waiting the few rings before someone picked up, and from the sound of it, barked “WHAT?” loud enough to make the guard flinch.

“Uh… um, sir there’s a Kylo Ren here demanding —” whoever was on the other end cut the guard off, he snapped his mouth shut and listened. “Y-Yes sir, I will. Right away.”

Kylo cocked his head innocently as the guard walked over to the window, pressing the button that opened the gate. The guard leaned down warily, “My apologies, Sir. Someone will meet you at the door.”

“Thanks, kid,” Kylo smirked, reaching out towards the guard, who flinched and tried to pull back. Before he could he grabbed the guard’s shoulder in a bruising grip with his left hand, holding him in place as he reached up with his right hand and straightened the guard’s tie and righted his hat to sit straight on his head. Letting go of the man’s shoulder, he patted him twice on the cheek. “Much appreciated.”

The guard took several steps back from the window as soon as Kylo stepped back, watching him warily as he got back into his car and headed up to the house. As he parked, a burly Alpha, looking a bit overstuffed in his black suit, walked out to meet him.

“Grummgar.” Kylo nodded as the man walked over.

“Ren,” the man huffed, showing a mouthful of crooked teeth, “Business or pleasure?”

“Business. I’m here to see Netal.”

“You implying Ms. Netal ain’t pleasurable?” Grummgar smirked, walking in Kylo’s space and grinning again. “I can tell you from experience she’s quite pleasurable.”

“I’ll take your word for that,” Kylo pushed his way past the other Alpha casually, heading towards the door. Grummgar fell into step behind him, still looming well closer than was respectable. If they hadn’t been in the heart of Grummgar’s territory and surrounded by his people, it would have triggered the confrontation his Alpha nature screamed for, to show his dominance and put the other in his place.

Here though, he knew better than to follow his instincts. Instead, he ignored Grummgar, knowing that it would irritate the fuck out of the man that he had been unable to get a rise out of Kylo.

The house was a heady, overpowering mix of scents. Most predominantly the sharp, briney scent of Omega that tickled his nostrils and the back of his throat. The majority of Netal’s girls were Omegas, so that wasn’t surprising. Under that was the lingering musk of Alphas, the bland scent of Betas. Faint under that you could pick up the faint dank pungence of a place dedicated to sex.

At the foyer, a small Omega girl, maybe twenty years old, hurried over, offering meekly to take his jacket and hat.

“No thanks, doll, not staying that long,” Kylo winked at the girl and gave her a small smile. She flushed, flashing a smile before she glanced at Grummgar looming over Kylo’s shoulder and scurried away.

“Ms. Netal’s in her office,” Grummgar grumbled. “Don’t keep the lady waiting.”

Kylo glanced over his shoulder to find his face inches away from Grummgar’s big ugly one. He smiled, ignoring the surge of adrenaline that told him to smash his fist into the other Alpha’s face. “Don’t intend to.” He tipped his fedora, feeling a wave of satisfaction at the annoyed curl of Grummgar’s lips, before turning and walking down the hall. There were several parlors on this floor where clients could be waited on, and plenty of rooms upstairs where business tended to take place. The darker aspects of Bazine’s business were hidden away in the basement, in rooms where more eccentric tastes could be fulfilled, and in cells where girls were held before being sold or broken in.

His lips curled as he knocked on the door to Netal’s office. Sex trafficking was a lucrative business, but an ugly one. The First Order had their fingers in it, though he tried to keep his distance from those dealings. Compared to the Order’s dabblings, Bazine Netal had built a small empire in the sex and Omega trade.

“Come in,” a voice called from behind the door. It creaked as he opened it, Bazine’s briney scent punching him in the olfactory nerves. “Kylo, my dear.” Bazine stood up from behind her desk, black dress clinging tightly to her frame as she walked over. “What do I owe the pleasure?”

“Just looking for some information,” he smiled politely, tipping his hat.

She stopped, hovering near him, making sure he could scent her, not just the briney overtones of Omega but also the unique scent that belonged just to her—it was pungent, smoky, and reminded him of tobacco. “Always so serious. You need to learn to relax, seek out the finer things in life.”

“I’ll take that into consideration sometime,” he answered, walking over to sit in one of the velvet armchairs opposite her desk.

Bazine sighed, walking over to a side table and pouring some whiskey, “Fine, love. What could I possibly know that a big, strong Alpha like you doesn’t?”

“Now now, you’re proof designation doesn’t limit you.” Kylo forced a pleasant smile as she walked over hovering near him longer than was necessary, dark eyes watching him carefully for any sign of reaction.

It was a fight not to give her any. Being this close to an Omega, and one who didn’t try to mask her scent, was always going to be stimulating. Reminding himself who this was on a loop worked well to keep his urges in check. His designation and instincts didn’t control him. He controlled and used them as needed.

There was a flash of annoyance in Bazine’s eyes as she offered him the glass. He smiled, reaching for the glass with his left hand. As he took it from her, he quickly reached out and grasped her wrist with his right hand, rubbing his thumb lightly over the scent gland that sat right behind the heel of her palm.

Two could play this game. “Thank you for your hospitality,” he murmured, eyes glittering as she tensed. He stroked the gland once more, and his smile widened as she opened her mouth and took and involuntary huff to taste his scent before her eyes widened and she jerked her hand away from him, sloshing some of the whiskey out of the glass on the floor.

She stalked to the other side of the desk and sat down hard in her chair, not attempting to hide her irritation that he’d gotten a reaction from her and she hadn’t appeared to get any from him. “What do you need, Ren?”

“Unkar Plutt,” Kylo answered, crossing his legs and hanging his arm casually off the side of the chair.

Bazine’s eyes flickered a moment in a split second of tension, Kylo’s eyes narrowed as he caught the tiny tell before it was gone, and Bazine shrugged, “That useless fuck? What about him?”

Kylo widened his smile. That tell. There was something going on here. He hadn’t expected Bazine to be involved with any of Plutt’s shit, but that little shiver of tension told him otherwise. “Come on now, I think you know quite a bit about his new business ventures.”

Her eyes flickered to the phone on her desk, then back at Kylo. There was likely a panic button she could press that would send her security into this room in force. He sighed, “You want to start war with the First Order? Is that what you really want?”

Bazine’s face contorted and she slammed her hands on her desk, “One order. I put in one order!” She got up and stalked to the window, scowling, “My business survives because my clients know I can provide what they need when they want it. If they want a bitch in heat, I need to have a bitch in heat.” She turned, glaring at Kylo as he tapped his fingers on the side of his chair, flashing her teeth in a vicious grin, “Plus keeping them hot does wonders for their work ethic. Where did the myth of the meek Omega even come from? The Betas are more of a niche market but those girls take orders so well. The brooders are so much more likely to talk back and make demands. So much easier to deal with if you keep them mewling animals desperate for a knot.”

Enhancers? Plutt was dealing enhancers? A few pieces of this puzzle were falling into place. “You know this sort of import is First Order territory. We have such a good business relationship, Bazine.” He spread his hands. “Why would you go behind her our backs? To the Blobfish no less?”

“Why?” Bazine huffed angrily. “Why don’t you ask Unamo? He’s the one who said that enhancers were too hot right now and he wouldn’t be able to get me any.”

Kylo raised his eyebrows. “I will check that with him.”

“Go right ahead.” She crossed her arms. “I practically begged him, and you know I do not beg. He told me to fuck off. So yes, I went with a second source when it arose.”

Thinking as he continued to tap the side of his chair, Kylo shook his head. “Where’d Plutt get the money for this sort of investment?”

“I don’t know.” Bazine sat down again, glowering at Kylo. “I didn’t really care. He already had a shipment coming in when I heard about it.” She huffed as Kylo cocked his head at that, “Yes, I approached him, after my current supplier told me to fuck off.”

The puzzle still wasn’t complete, but it was close enough that he could get the feel for it. Kylo strummed his fingers against the soft red velvet of the chair as a plan began to come together in his head. Plutt would have known import and distribution of enhancers and other controlled substances was a First Order business. Netal certainly knew better than to go behind the Order’s back, but if Unamo, who handled most of their smuggling operations, had stopped importing enhancers because the cops were sniffing around, she’d committed a much more forgivable offense.

“All right.” Kylo spread his hands. “Perhaps we can come up with a new business deal, one that is mutually beneficial for both you and the Order.”

Bazine eyed him warily. “What kind of deal?”

“Let’s call it insurance.”

“Insurance?” Bazine narrowed her eyes at him.

“Now, now. Hear me out. You got a new supplier, there are risks that come with that.” Kylo leaned in, “You knew what you were getting with us. But the Blobfish? That fat fuck is sketchy and squirrely, you shouldn’t trust him any further than you could throw him. Tomorrow he could tell you he was raising the price tenfold, and what could you do about it?”

Bazine folded her hands, still listening. “And the First Order would help… how?”

“We lock him into whatever deal he’s made. And make sure he doesn’t try to back out of his new little industry.” Kylo grinned. “He wanted this business, after all, we should make sure he does well enough in it.”

“Let him take the risk and you take his profit?” Bazine looked at him coyly from hooded eyes. Kylo just smirked and she sighed. “You’re going to make this hurt though, aren’t you?”

“10k”—Kylo pushed his fedora back—“a month.” Bazine flinched and Kylo grinned. “I promise that fat fuck is going to hurt more.” He stood up, smoothing his suit, “You pay us as long as you continue business with Plutt, or until the feds bust his ass or he crumbles under the pressure.”

“Fine,” she said curtly as she stood, “as long as I get my product.”

“Glad we could do business, doll, it’s always a pleasure.” Kylo smirked as Bazine rolled her eyes. “Sorry I can’t stay longer, but I’ve got to go pay Unkar Plutt a visit.”

 


 

It was getting dark by the time he reached Plutt’s property.

Plutt’s garage sat at the dead end of a dimly lit alley, surrounded by mostly shuttered warehouses and abandoned factories. The gated lot surrounding the building was more junkyard than parking lot, with heaps of scrap and broken down cars strewn about. Much of it also seemed to be spreading like a trash cancer around the abandoned buildings that surrounded it.

The air reeked of urine and garbage, bad enough that it made Kylo’s eyes sting. If there was an unfortunate side effect to his little plan, it was that he was going to have to pay regular visits to this place to make sure Plutt was paying up and toeing the line he was going to set for him. Two minutes here was enough that he already would’ve rather never have come back within five miles of this place again.

He opened a rusted screen door that hung askew on one hinge, and knocked hard on the door to Plutt’s building. A ramshackle complex that looked to be both his business and living quarters.

Heavy footsteps rattled the door as they neared, and then the door was ripped open, Plutt’s ugly face appearing as he screamed “WHAT?” angrily before he even saw who was knocking.

Kylo raised himself up, squaring his shoulders, and felt a wave of satisfaction as Plutt’s eyes widened and the blood drained from his face.

“I, erm… sorry,” Plutt wheezed, “can I help you Mister…”

“Ren. Kylo Ren,” he took a step towards Plutt, who hesitated and then took a step back, “I have some business to discuss with you on behalf of Snoke.”

Fear was settling in Plutt’s beady eyes as they darted back and forth, as if trying to find some way to escape. “You’re… First Order?”

That was a dumb enough question that he didn’t bother dignifying it with an answer. Instead, he stepped closer again, speaking quietly. “This is where you invite me inside, Mr. Plutt. Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?”

Plutt blinked at him dumbly before stepping back. “Eh, yeah, right, come in.”

He stepped inside into what might be an office. Papers and folders were piled haphazardly and junk and broken parts were scattered about. A door one one side opened up into the work area of the garage and a narrow hallway cut into the opposite wall. It reeked even worse inside than it had out. Oil and sweat and body odor and Plutt’s own dull, flat scent.

They went down the narrow hallway, him following behind Plutt, marvelling that the man could squeeze his fat ass through the space. It opened into a what he supposed was the main room living area. There was a small kitchen built into the side and a few side rooms. Every surface was cluttered with something, and boxes were piled on top of one another in places from the floor to the ceiling. Plutt staggered to the sagging, dirty couch, and sat down hard, motioning at the equally filthy chair across from him.

Kylo curled his lips in distaste. “I’ll stand.” He strolled around the room, breathing through his mouth to avoid the stench, pausing to examine a workbench against a wall that seemed to be far more organized than anything else in this shithole was. “You’ve encroached on First Order territ—” he stuttered in surprise as he tasted an unexpected scent. Subtle, almost mellow, but still distinctly briney. “Territory,” he finished, shaking his head once sharply, trying to clear it of this sudden distraction.

“I… I’m sorry, I had no idea…”

“Save your bullshit.” He turned, folding his arms. “You knew imports were our lane. Don’t pretend you didn’t you fat little knotless fuck.”

Plutt’s eyes widened with fear as his mouth snapped shut. Kylo smirked as he wandered back over to stand across from the man. “You’re lucky that the First Order is very reasonable.”

“I… what?” Plutt’s fat face stared at Kylo blankly.

He sighed, “We’re more than happy to help you on your new business venture.” Plutt’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Provided you follow the rules.”

“R-Rules?”

“You’re going to continue to import and distribute to meet the demand and keep your customers happy. Any change in the quantity you’re moving needs approval, as does any change in what you charge.” Kylo stepped in front of Plutt, smile falling off his face as he looked down. “We get 50% of the profits, on top of the 3k a week for… insurance. Someone’s got to look out for you and make sure nothing happens, right?”

“Three grand a week and half—” Plutt sputtered. “Where do you think I’m going to get that kind of money?”

“I don’t know, maybe wherever you got the money to invest in your new business venture?” Kylo cocked his head questioningly. To his disappointment, Plutt fell silent. Where that money came from was one of the few holes left in the puzzle. “I promise our offer is very reasonable, Mr. Plutt. You want to take it.”

“Ergh... right, of course.” Plutt pawed sweat from his forehead with a meaty hand.

“Glad you see the benefits ,” Kylo smirked. Judging from Plutt’s reaction, the man was going to be losing money in this arrangement. It was quite satisfying. He glanced over his shoulder, “Since we’re all buddies now, then, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind me taking a look around?”

Plutt glowered and shrugged his shoulders indifferently, not seeming to care. Probably not a good sign that he was going to find any revelations, but he supposed it was still worth a look. He wandered past a few rooms— a bedroom, bathroom, what likely had been a spare bedroom that was now jammed with piles of junk.

At the end of the hall there was a door with padlock attached to what looked like a jury-rigged hasp. He ran his fingers tips on the lock, frowning, considering calling Plutt and asking him to open it. Instead he shrugged, pulling his glock from his shoulder holster under his coat, smashing the butt of the gun down hard on the hasp.

The wood splintered with ease, most of the screws holding the hasp wrenching loose, leaving the metal dangling. He pushed the door open and stepped into a small room.

All at once the scent hit him. It was bright, like sunshine and sand and ocean. It struck him with a strange intensity, and he huffed, tasting it in the back of his throat, picking up that subtle briney Omega scent he’d picked up over by the workbench. It was too faint for this girl, whoever she was, not to be on suppressants, and too mellow for her to have been bred yet.

The single bed and ramshackle dresser against the walls took up most of the space in the room that might have started its life a storage closet. The bedding was a scavenged mix of different sets, but clean and neat. Everything in the tiny space was tidy and organized.

Kylo walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, glancing around the small room, puzzled. What was some little gilt doing in a shithole like this? He took a deep breath, feeling as if her scent was seeping into every fiber of his being. Without any conscious thought, he suddenly leaned over and pressed his face into the pillow and huffed. Her scent practically soaked the bed. It was the most amazing thing he ever scented. It made him want to roll all over the bed, to rub as much of her scent on him as he could. And to rub as much of his scent here for her to find. Rut himself right into this delicious scent.

He blinked, jumping to his feet. The fuck? What the actual fuck was that? His heart was still pounding and he was halfway to an erection. Shaking his head hard, walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him. He’d been right at the edge of losing control. Never in his life had he reacted like that to a scent.

Taking a few deep breaths of the foul air of the rest of the house, he walked back over to where Plutt sat slouched like an overstuffed sack of shit on his couch.

“What’s with the gilt?” Kylo asked.

who is she where is she need to find her protect her little omega mine

Kylo shook his head again, chasing the strange train of thoughts away. Seriously, what the fuck was this shit?

Plutt blinked in surprise, “Ah… she’s my, uh, stepdaughter.”

“Stepdaughter. You have an Omega stepdaughter?”

“Had her since she was a tiny,” Plutt shrugged once and then cocked his head. “...you interested in her?”

Excuse me ?” Kylo stepped closer to Plutt, who looked up at him before looking away, wringing his hands.

“Could make a deal… ease the terms of our arrangement and…”

Snarling, Kylo lunged, wrapping a hand around Plutt’s fat throat, lifting the man up. “Such a stepfatherly offer. Good to know you love her so dearly.” He shoved Plutt back, sending the man sprawling in a heap on the floor.

“First payment better be made by Saturday,” he snapped as he turned to leave, straightening his hat. He called back over his shoulder as he headed for the door. “Otherwise we’re going to find out how many places I can break your legs.”

Chapter Text

It was late by the time Rey got back to Plutt’s place.

Given the revelations of the day, she had been in no rush to get back. So instead she lingered around on campus after her classes were over, distracting herself as best she could in the library until she couldn’t put off going back.

Walking the half mile from the bus stop to the garage, she reassured herself the best she could. There was a good chance Plutt would have drunk himself into unconsciousness by this time of night. Hopefully. If not, he was going to give her shit for having been gone this long, and she was not in a good mental place to deal with that.

“Reyrey-ma-rey-fe-fi-bo-rey, reyyyyy,” a voice sang from the shadows of one of the abandoned buildings that surrounded Plutt’s, nearly causing her to jump out of her skin. She spun, hands clenched into fists in a defensive response, until her brain caught up with her body and she realized who it was.

“Don’t scare me like that, Bob.” She squinted into the cardboard box that Bob Bajo was camping out for the night in. Several pigeons roosted on top and at least a dozen more were surrounding in on the cracked pavement.

“Sorry, girlie.” Bajo scooted out of the box out into the open, airy smile on his crinkled face. There was a distant, spacy look in his eyes as he spread hands and sang, “Sorry sorry, sooooo sorrrry.”

Rey sighed, shaking her head and walking over. Bob was a regular fixture in the area with his pigeons and shopping cart, wandering around during the day. He tended to talk to himself, or sometimes to people that weren’t there, and scared most people away from him.

She’d known him long enough to know that he was harmless. Some of the few fond memories she had from her childhood was Bajo bringing in cans and scrap that he scavenged from the trash to Plutt, singing to her as she sorted and weighed it before Plutt would decide what it was worth and usually give Bob half of that amount and then kick him off the property.

Bob stretched a hand out to one of the pigeons, which climbed on without hesitation. He lifted it and showed it to Rey, who just sighed and nodded as the bird puffed out its feathers and cooed. “She’s a new one, thinking about calling her Rey after you.”

“An honor,” Rey said, not quite able to keep the touch of sarcasm out of her voice. Bajo didn’t seem to notice, instead starting to hum to the bird. “Have you been drinking, Bob?”

“Warms the soul.” He smiled at her vacantly.

“Right... “ She swung her backpack off her shoulder. “Did you eat anything?” He went back to humming, and she rooted for the small sandwich she had packed for lunch and didn’t eat. “Here, why don’t you take this?”

Bob took the offered sandwich, his eyes looking past her at Plutt’s as he reached for it. “Was worried you were there when that dog came barking. Happy when I saw you come walking cause it meant you weren't.”

She nodded, humoring him. “Right. Good thing. No idea what you’re talking about.”

“Big dog showed up, couple hours ago,” he waved his hand, reacting to the blank look on her face. Leaning forward, “I mean a DOG, not a dog dog. Big boy.”

“What are you talking about?” Rey rubbed her eyes.

“A knot came knocking.”

Rey blinked. “Oh. Some Alpha? Sure it wasn’t one of the regular boys?” Plutt had a tendency to hire young, stupid Alphas to work for him.

Laughing, Bob shook his head. “No, no. Wasn’t one of those soft-knotted weaklings. This was a big boy. Big dog. Looked like trouble.” Bob put his hand down and let the pigeon climb off. “Kept out of his way and out of sight.”

Something felt ominous about this whole thing, but Rey forced a smile. “It was probably just a business thing. But good idea not drawing attention to yourself. Stay safe.”

Bob had gone back to humming to himself and didn’t reply. She zipped her backpack and tossed it over her shoulder, taking a deep breath before heading towards the house.

The single rusty hinge of the screen door screeched as she opened it, making her pause and to examine the door. It was in piss poor shape, probably better suited to scrap at this point, but if she took it down she might be able to pound the bent, broken hinge back into shape and attach it properly again. Do that, add some oil, sand off the rust and hit it with some paint—might actually look decent again. Sort of.

Might be worth a weekend project. Plutt loved to bitch at her when she took these sort of things on, that she was wasting time better spent on something useful, but he almost always loved the results, even if he wouldn’t ever actually tell her that. It tended to put him in a good mood, and he was easier to deal with when he was in a good mood.

Pushing the door open, she walked inside, weaving past some of the stacks of boxes piled in his the office, listening carefully. All she heard was the TV, no sound of Plutt moving about. That was a good sign. She cautiously walked down the hallway that attached to the living room, letting out a relieved breath when she heard Plutt’s snores mingling with the loud racket of the TV.

He was unconscious slouched on the couch, empty beer cans scattered about on the floor. The one he’d been drinking when he passed out had slipped from his hand and spilled onto the stained cushion of the couch, running down the side to the floor.

Rey scrunched her nose in distaste, she didn’t usually bother trying to clean up after Plutt, but she’d have to attempt to deal with that tomorrow. Plutt was a pig, he’d just let it dry and the place would reek of stale, cheap beer for months. She turned to go to her room, when the trace of something, buried under the smell of beer and the normal stench of the place, tickled her nostrils.

It was strangely sharp and crisp, like the scent of pine needles, pine trees. A pine forest in winter, covered in snow. That was the image that popped into her head as her mind tried to take the information from her olfactory nerves and make it into something her brain could define. It smelled good, almost refreshing, and very out of place amid the normal scents of Plutt’s place.

Blinking, she shook her head, feeling slightly spacy, like the scent was trying to creep into her brain and settle there.

Weird. She’d never had that reaction to anything she’d smelled before. Heading for her room, she shook her head again. Probably just a mixture of being stressed and overtired. It’d been a long day full or horrible revelations. A good night’s sleep would—

Freezing, she stared at her room’s door. Her lock had been smashed off.

She’d put it on after catching one of the Alpha boys that worked in the garage creeping in there, pawing through her dresser. After kicking the shit out of the little prick, she’d made some hasps and gotten some padlocks for each side of the door, making sure she could lock it when she was gone or when she was in it.

Pulling the remains of the hasp dangling from the door, she turned it over and examined it. It wasn’t like she’d expected it to be unbreakable—it was more a deterrent to make it not worth the effort to try to break in, but still, the idea that someone had the nerve

Hopefully it had just been Plutt drunk and pissed that she hadn’t been home yet. The idea of one of the Alpha boys pawing through her underwear drawer again was more than she wanted to think about.

Hesitantly she pushed the door open and peeked in, relieved to see nothing seemed to be touched or moved. Rey slipped inside shutting the door behind her and setting the hasp on top of her dresser. It seemed okay but—

Pines in the snow, cold and crisp and sharp, lingered in the air. It was such a nice scent, one she could just sink into and relax. She huffed once without even realizing it, pulling the scent to the back of her throat to taste it.

Alpha alpha alpha

Yes, Alpha, it wasn’t overpowering like those asshole dude-bros in class or Plutt’s dumbasses who seemed to think hygiene was for Betas and Omegas, but it was there, faint and musky, clinging to the scent. So good, perfect, that scent, that trace of musk mixing with the scent of pine.

Feeling dazed, she walked over to her bed to sit down, but found the scent lingered stronger there. Bending over she sniffed, tracing up the bed to her pillow, where the scent seemed the strongest. Her legs trembled, heat seeming to pool in her stomach, and she sat down hard, grabbing the pillow and burying her face in it, breathing in those traces of the Alpha’s perfect perfect scent. She wished it was stronger, so she could roll in it, keep it with her at all times—

What the fuck? Rey thought suddenly, pulling the pillow from her face. What was she doing? Someone had been in her fucking room! Been near her bed and her fucking pillow and she was sitting here huffing his scent instead of freaking the fuck out?

She threw the pillow across the room, which was pointless since her room was so small, but it made her feel better. Getting up, she wiped her hands on her jeans as if she could brush the scent from the pillow off of them. This was bullshit. Someone had broken into her room, she deserved some kind of answers.

Outside the door she heard a heavy thump of footsteps. Plutt must have woken up.

On a surge of anger she stood up and wrenched the door open and stomped back out into the main room of the house. Plutt was at the fridge in the small kitchen, holding himself up on the fridge door as he leaned in and pawed around for another beer, knocking several cans out to the floor in the process.

“Someone was in my room,” she said, before she lost her nerve.

Plutt’s head swung and his beady eyes narrowed. He staggered away from the fridge, leaving the door opening, over to the cluttered counter, knocking a stack of newspapers to the floor as he half fell and half leaned onto the counter. The nostrils of his giant mushed nose flared as he fumbled with the tab to open the can. “Your room? Your room?” His voice was slurred. “You don’t have a fucking room. It’s my fucking house, useless fucking brooder bitch.”

His fingers finally managed to catch on the can’s tab, and it popped open with a hiss, foaming beer out across the counter, soaking Plutt’s dirty white t-shirt and spilling to the floor. “Put you up for all these years and gotten what for it? Useless, pathetic little bitch.”

Rey stared at him, head swimming with a mixture of disgust and anger which blotted out the fear. “You got free labor, a yearly government kickback, and now you're pocketing my education money. Such a burden, I’m sure,” she spat, voice dripping sarcasm.

Plutt stared at Rey, seeming confused for a minute before his eyes narrowed and he stood up straight, staggering sideways a step before he caught his balance. He pointed his free hand at her as he took a long dreg from his beer, wiping his mouth afterward with the back of the hand holding the can, spilling more of it around his feet. “You watch yourself, girlie. Watch yourself. Ain’t gonna have no little gilt talking back. Sending a brooder to college, such a joke. Fucking liberal bleeding hearts want to throw my tax money at bullshit like that be damned sure to take it back when I can.”

Clenching her fists, Rey shook her head, hissing, “Some Alpha broke my lock and pawed through my stuff you pathetic knotless fuck!”

“You’re…” Plutt growled, letting his voice trail off. He blinked at Rey dumbly before a spark of recognition flashed through his eyes. “Where the fuck were you?” he stumbled a step towards her. “You weren’t here. Bet he’d have made a deal if you were ‘round. Them dogs always think with their knots.”

A feeling of dread settled in Rey’s stomach. “I was at school. What are you going on about?”

“School,” Plutt snorted in contempt, trying to drink more of his beer and managing to pour more on his shirt than into his mouth. “Useless.”

“Useless? As useless as you were? Letting some Alpha sniff around wherever he likes? Did you just sit there like a good little drone and wait till he told you that you were a good boy?”

Bellowing, Plutt chucked his half full beer can at her, she ducked, beer splattering her as the can bounced off the wall behind her, and then bolted for her room. Plutt’s heavy footfalls running after her sounded like a charging bull. Darting into the room, she slammed the door behind her, grabbing the padlock and slamming it through the inside hasp just in time for the door to rattle hard as Plutt slammed into it.

Shaking, she snapped the lock shut, stumbling backwards to her bed and sitting down hard.

The door creaked and rattled as Plutt pounded on it, screaming just about every obscenity he knew at her. Rey’s eyes watched her makeshift hasp rattle. Like the outer one that had been smashed off, this was more of a nuisance than true security. She could only hope that Plutt wasn’t able to put a concentrated effort together in his drunken state.

After a little while the pounding faded and she let out a breath of relief, rolling over on her side on the bed and hugging her knees. Outside her door she could still hear Plutt stomping about and random sounds of things breaking as he either knocked them over or broke them.

Her eyes stung, but she refused to cry. Not because of Plutt. Rey had long ago decided she would never let him make her cry again.

The adrenaline of the confrontation was fading away and mental and physical exhaustion were settling in. She closed her eyes, not fighting the pull of sleep. Plutt might be drunk enough that he wouldn’t remember any of this.

She could hope at least.

The faint scent of pine tingled in her nostrils, strangely soothing as she faded into unconsciousness.

 



The Supremacy during the day was a juxtaposition to what it was at night. The club’s cavernous floors were empty, the tables clean and neat, and there was nothing to break the silence but the sound of his heels clicking across the floor.

Across the room Slip stood leaning against the door that lead to the back rooms, cigarette hanging from his lips and white fedora pulled low over his bloodshot eyes. He straightened as Kylo approached, smoothing his white suit jacket and bowing his head respectfully. “Mr. Ren. Mr. Snoke was looking for you.”

He nodded once before glancing at the cigarette. “Got one of those to spare?”

Slip moved quickly, pulling the pack from an inside pocket of his jacket and fumbling one out. He offered it to Kylo and then pulled out his lighter for to light it for him.

“Much appreciated,” Kylo said, taking a long drag. He had mostly quit the habit a few years ago, which only made him savor a smoke even more whenever he had one.

“Long night?” Slip asked, puffing on his own cigarette.

Kylo shrugged. “Not a lot of sleep.”

“Hope it’s a gal keeping you up and she’s worth the trouble.”

Puffing on the cigarette, he gave a weak smile. Since his visit to Plutt’s place two days ago, his sleep had been restless and plagued with dreams. Intense sexual fantasies that rivaled the ones he had as a teenager when he first went into rut.

The weird thing was that the Omega in his dreams wasn’t entirely there. She was just shadow and scent—the bright scent of sun and sand and ocean of the gilt he’d scented at Plutt’s. It was like his mind was leaving a space to fill in once he finally saw her.

Her lack of full form didn’t seem to bother his dream self, who had fucked her in just about every way imaginable in the last two nights. He would wake up restless from the dreams drenched in sweat, hard as a rock, and would jerk off desperately for relief. Once he was done he’d collapse on the better and feel despondent and lost because his ghost Omega wasn’t there.

It was bizarre. He wasn’t ever one to get too attached. When he had a need, he found himself a willing brooder girl to fuck, no strings attached. When his rut came, if he could find an Omega in heat, he’d shack up with her so they could scratch each other’s endless itch until the hormones ran their course. If not, he wasn’t particularly keen on keeping the same partner through it. Some Alphas needed that—needed to be able to play that they were rutting with a mate—in order to feel satisfied. He didn’t particularly care as long as he got off.

But now it was like he was fucking haunted and longing for a nameless, faceless scent. He was horny and cranky and the thought of finding some random girl to sate his needs filled him with revulsion.

Bizarre.

He tipped his fedora to Slip before heading through the door to the back, “Thanks for the smoke.”

It was mostly empty, just a few of the boys were around this time of day. A gleeful laugh came from the corner, where he found Snoke sitting flanked by Hux and Canady, his gold suit standing out against the black ones they wore. Hux and Canady had removed their hats and their black fedoras sat on the table. Snoke didn’t need to take off his hat for anyone, and his gold fedora was pulled low, casting a shadow over the cold blue eyes set in his long, scarred face. Snoke’s eyes flicked over to Kylo as he approached the table.

“Ah, my boy, there you are.” Snoke grinned, tapping the brass ball that topped his cane onto the table. “I’ve been being filled in on the details of our new business arrangements.”

Kylo removed his hat, nodding respectfully to Snoke as he sat down. “It all worked out rather nicely.”

“Netal, clever little brooder, ain’t she? My sources all knew about the Blobfish’s new dabblings, but not one knew about Netal being a buyer.”

“Seems like the deal is too kind to Ms. Netal.” Hux shifted in his seat, blue eyes glanced coldly at Kylo. “Sneaking around behind the First Order’s back.” The redhead clucked his tongue and shook his head. “I’d have brought more pressure down on her, maybe got us an piece of her sweet little business.”

“Netal’s business is too big, too bloated. It’s all going to come down on her one day and we don’t want it tied to us when it does,” Kylo answered, lazily, leaning back in his chair. “And apparently the Feds and police are all over enhancers in some new crackdown. Checked with Unamo, and he said he’s not willing to touch them right now. So I’m not going to blame her for finding another source.” He smirked. “At least not too much.”

“We have a good history with Ms. Netal.” Snoke lifted his cane and rapped the brass ball once on the side of Hux’s head. “And stripping ten grand off her books every month is going to be something she feels. You got to learn to think, boy.” Hux’s stiffened and glared down at the table as Snoke continued. “Not to mention everything we’ll bleed from that fat knotless fuck down in his junk heap. I want that son of a bitch to regret being born before we’re through.”

“Doubt that piece of shit drone going to be able to keep it up for long,” Canady said, before suddenly starting to snicker. Kylo snorted and rolled his eyes.

Hux looked up, blue eyes flashing. “Trying to say something there, Moden? Saying a Beta can’t keep it up?”

“What?” Canady feigned innocence, “You think the Blobfish going to keep his payments up?”

“I can out fuck you any fucking day you soft-knotted twit.”

Canady rolled his eyes. “Quit play acting something you’re not, fucking mock-knot and be the good little bitch of a drone you’re supposed to be.”

There was a clatter as Hux lunged across the table, knocking his chair over, a flash of silver glinting in his hand. Canady jerked back, but the tip of Hux’s switchblade grazed his jaw, slicing it open. The bigger man snarled, lunging at Hux. Kylo grabbed his hat out of the way and scooted his chair back away from the fray. Canady managed to wrestle the knife from Hux’s hand, but in turn Hux sank his teeth into Canady’s arm, drawing a sound that Kylo could only describe as an enraged squawk from Canady.

“ENOUGH!” Snoke’s voice seemed to reverberate through the room. The old man stood, jabbing his cane hard into Canady’s chest while grabbing Hux by the scruff of the neck and lifting him like he weighed nothing. Canady stumbled back and Snoke shook Hux once hard before flinging him into the wall. Blood dripped from Canady’s face and the man let out a growl as Hux wheezed and climbed to his feet, but Snoke whirled, staring at the Alpha until the man huffed and took a step back, breaking eye contact and looking at the floor.

“Enough,” Snoke repeated, this time more conversationally. “Playtime is over, boys.”

The two men glared at each other but didn’t move. Snoke grabbed their hats, throwing Canady his first, “You, get that cleaned up before it gets infected.” He turned, chucking Hux his hat. “And you got errands to run for me, boy, so get your sorry ass out and run them.”

Hux let out an angry breath, still puffing himself out as he slammed his hat on his head and headed out the door. Canady glared after him, hat in his hands, growling, “I’m going to kill that knotless little fuck.”

“No, you’re not,” Snoke settled back into his chair, pointing the end of his cane at Canady. “He’s far too useful to kill. Now go be a good boy and clean yourself up. Already got blood all over my floors.”

Canady huffed and shot Snoke a glare before heading out of the room, pawing his big hand across the blood still running down his face. Kylo watched him go before scooting his chair back in.

Snoke smirked and leaned forward. “You wonder why I keep a rabid cur in a place of power?” Snoke’s eyes darted the direction Hux had gone, smile widening. “A cur’s weakness, properly manipulated, can make a sharp tool. Remember that, my boy.” Snoke swatted Kylo affectionately on his upper arm before leaning back. “How long do you think Plutt will last with our heel on his neck?”

“Not long, unless he’s got a source of cash we don’t know about,” Kylo answered.

“Let’s drag it out as long as we can, I want to draw out his impending death, make sure he sees it coming before I have you gut him.” Snoke’s smile faded. “Did we find out where he got the cash for his initial investment?”

Kylo shook his head, “No, sir.”

“Hrmph.” Snoke tapped his long fingers on the table. “Anything out of the ordinary at his place? Any family?”

“I… uh…” Kylo’s mouth suddenly ran dry and his heart pounded as he spoke. “He has an Omega… stepdaughter. At least he claimed that’s what she was.”

Snoke looked up sharply, “Omega? Could he be whoring her out for cash?”

His heart was beginning to race and he felt dizzy. Why had he said anything? This was going to put her in danger. She couldn’t be in danger, he was supposed to keep her safe. He—

He shook his head hard, ignoring the puzzled look Snoke gave him. You didn’t lie to Mr. Snoke. You didn’t withhold information from Mr. Snoke. He’d never even fucking met this girl, what the fuck?

“No, gilt.” He took a deep breath, feeling like his chest was constricting.

“You see her?”

“Smelled her.”

“Well, doesn’t answer the question of where the ugly fuck got the money,” Snoke said as he stood. “But”—he waved his cane—“something of value to keep in mind. Unbred Omegas will still fetch a pretty penny if you know who to bring them to.”

No no no no no no mine keep her safe

Taking a gasping breath he nodded, feeling like all he could hear was the white noise of his blood pounding in his ears. “Yes, sir.”

Snoke ambled out of the room, tapping his cane on the floor. Kylo gasped a deep breath jesus- fucking-christ, he needed to get this shit under control. He closed his eyes, taking deep breaths and trying to calm himself down, until the sound of footsteps made him jump.

“Kylo, my buddy.” Kylo looked over to see Rodinon approaching, an exaggeratedly friendly smile on his face. “Really good to see you.”

“What do you want,” Kylo snapped, putting his hat on.

Rodinon’s smile faltered and he sighed. “So I could use a favor.”

“Of course you could,” Kylo stood, turning to face Rodinon, as he did he caught a faint, spicy smell lingering in the man’s scent and raised his eyebrows, noting the beads of sweat and the flush to the man’s face.

“Yeah, so I got some collections to do, and I’m probably going to be indisposed the next few days.”

The man was on the edge of rut, you could see it on him and smell it building. “What’s the rush? Collect in a few days.”

“Had some problem children in that area, so Snoke’s pretty adamant about keeping the pressure on.” Rodinon pulled his hat off and wiped a hand across his sweaty forehead.

Kylo sighed. “You're going to owe me, favor for a favor, and don’t think I ain’t going to collect on that.”

“Absolutely, absolutely.” Rodinon nodded, almost frantically.

“Fine, where?”

“University village,” Rodinon pulled a list out of his pocket as Kylo groaned. Millenial and yuppie hell. “Yeah, we’ve already scared sense into these guys, so you shouldn’t have to do more than show up. ‘Cept maybe for the coffee shop, that drone is a whiny ass bitch. Sometimes you got too scare him a little to make him see the light, but he scares real easy.”

Taking the list, Kylo scanned down it before pocketing it. “All right, fine.”

“Thanks, pal.” Rodinon paused as he started to turn, “Make sure you make the prick at the coffee place give you a drink, even if you just toss it when you leave. Pisses him off royally and is funny as hell.”

Kylo snorted, rolling his eyes. “Go take care of business you annoying fuck.”

Rodinon grinned, tipping his hat before bolting out of the room. Pulling the list out of his pocket, Kylo scanned it again. Collections were a menial task, but fuck it. Maybe someone would act up and he could work off some of this energy that seemed to be building kicking the shit out of them.

Probably, not, but he could hope.

 


 

Rey debated calling Finn or Poe the day after her fight with Plutt, but couldn’t do it in the end. It wasn’t like there hadn’t been meltdowns like that before, so what would she really be calling to tell them? That someone had broken into her closet of a room and didn’t seem to have messed with anything? That some Alpha had left his scent lingering about the apartment? How could she not sound dumb saying something like that?

Plutt didn’t appear to have any memories of their fight, which was a relief. He’d dragged himself around the apartment looking half-dead in the morning, not even seeming to notice her as she hurried out with her backpack over her shoulder to catch the bus to her morning class.

When she got back later that afternoon Plutt was extra grumpy, screaming at the boys working in the garage and finding tiny things to rage at them about. She did her best to stay out of his way and out of his sight for most of the day.

Her next DS-101 lecture was Wednesday, and as she walked down the huge lecture hall to get a seat in the front row, she resolved that after class she’d at least go tell Finn about what happened Monday night. But as the lecture hall began to fill with the rest of the students, she already felt the first flickers of doubt breaking that resolve.

Finn walked in with a messenger bag over his shoulder, tossing it down on the desk before going about setting up his laptop. He caught sight of her and broke out into a broad smile, winking once before going back to setting up for the lecture.

A loud group entered, laughing, and she glanced back to see the pack of alpha dude-bros she’d had been stuck by last lecture coming in. They didn’t take a seat right away, instead blocking the aisle right by the door, forcing everyone coming in to squeeze by them.

Rey rolled her eyes. Fucking assholes.

“If we could all take our seats,” Finn called, voice relaxed but eyes fixed on the Alphas. “I’d like to get the class started."

The same boy who started shit last time turned and glared down at Finn, eyes full of contempt. It didn't seem to phase Finn at all—he just maintained eye contact with the same calm intensity.

The Alpha boy looked away first. He darted one more angry glance at Finn before leading his little pack into the back row. Rey cocked her head curiously at Finn. The man seemed to be very specific with the body language and energy he used in these little confrontations.

“All right, so”—Finn clicked a button on his laptop before walking to the front of the lecture floor—“Prehistory human society and designation.”

“So this is what common knowledge says about how prehistory human societies were structured.” He clicked a button on his remote and a bullet pointed list popped up, “A clan would be made up of Alphas, Betas, and Omegas. The Alphas were the warriors, the hunters, and the leaders. The Betas were gatherers and general workers. Omegas were the nurturers and child rearers. And since Alphas outnumbered Omegas, the strongest and most the strongest and most virile Alphas took Omega mates and passed on their genes to populate the next generation of the clan.”

Finn shrugged, turning to look up at the slide. “You can see the appeal of this. It’s simple, it’s clean, it reinforces the norms and beliefs of Western Judeo-Christian Alpha dominated culture.”

He turned back to face the class. “Too bad it’s complete and utter bullshit.” The class let out murmurs of surprise as the slide changed so a giant red X crossed the bullet point list out. “Let me give you guys a tip to keep in mind as you pursue to further your education and critical thinking skills. If someone ever tries to tell you there was one way creatures as chaotic as humans structured something, know that are probably pulling that straight out of their ass.”

“There wasn’t one format that humanity had and deviated from. Different clans and tribes had different cultures. The norms were not universally the same.” Finn clicked to the next slide. “We have noticed some trends that were more common than others, some that fit the expectations, some that done. Like the fact that Alphas did tend to defend the clan, which you would expect, though it should be noted that Betas would also fight in war parties, and if the whole clan was under threat, everyone pretty much fought, no matter their designation.”

“Leadership, on the other hand, breaks the expectation. Evidence points to this varying wildly depending on the clan. We have some that were led a single, dominant Alpha male. Some were led by the Omegas. Others were led by a group of Beta elders. Some were led by a mateship—a mated triple that consisted of an Alpha, Beta, and Omega.” Finn paused for the class to catch up with their notes before continuing. “Again, those natural lines that you were taught existed that say what a person of each designation is meant to do?”

He paused, scanning the room, most of which were listening with interest.

“When you start actually looking at the evidence, those lines get really blurry, and there’s a lot doubt they exist at all.”

 


 

As the class was clearing out she approached Finn while he packed his things up.

“That was interesting,” Rey said, fidgeting with the strap of her backpack. She should’ve told him about what happened the other night. He would’ve let Poe know. They could’ve helped her out. They offered to help her out.

Finn looked up and smiled. “Good, at least one person isn’t being bored to death.”

But was there really anything Finn or Poe would’ve been able to do about it? She felt her resolve slipping away. This was her problem anyway. She’d dealt with Plutt pretty much her whole life, and this wasn’t any different. “No, I think most of us were interested. Other than those Alpha asshats in the back, anyway.”

“I’m fully expecting most of those—asshats, I have to start using that one, I love it—anyway, most of them will be retaking this course again next semester.” Finn zipped his bag closed and squinted at her. “You doing okay? Have you eaten anything today?”

Rey raised her eyebrows, “Uh, I’m fine. Really.” She paused, opening her mouth to tell him the incident with Plutt, and then couldn’t figure out what to say. Instead she blurted out a question, “You seem to stare those boys down in a really specific way?”

Rooting in the pocket of his bag, Finn chuckled. “Benefit of getting a PhD in Designation Studies is learning what body language will manipulate different designations. The eye contact is the biggest thing with Alphas, ‘cause it says you’re not intimidated.”

“I start feeling nervous if I’m even in the room with a pissy Alpha.”

“Some of that is instinct.” Finn pulled a granola bar out of his bag. “Omega brains are wired to be very aware of potential threats, it lends to anxiety. And we also prefer to avoid a conflict, so if acquiescing won’t put us in danger, instinct tells us to do that.” He held out the granola bar. “Here.”

“I’m… I’m fine, really, you don’t need to feed me,” Rey waved her hands. God, did she seem so pathetically needy that Finn felt like he had to make sure she ate? “Wasn’t the point of that lecture that how we behave isn’t really dictated by our designation? That even though I’m an Omega I’m not beholden to submit to Alphas?”

Finn sighed, sitting down on the edge of the lecture hall’s desk. “Yes, and no…” When she raised her eyebrows in him he bobbed his head back and forth. “First of all, it’s not submission. It’s really more of a method of defusing a situation. The idea Omegas are submissive is utter bullshit. Omegas are extremely protective and territorial—it’s just we’re smart about it. Alphas are bravado and show, where an Omega is going to try to manipulate the situation first. But if the threat on either ourselves or our territory continues, watch the fuck out. We can go from threat level zero to eleven on a dime.”

Rey cocked her head, remembering the Alpha she’d caught digging around in her drawers. There’d been no fear, only rage, when she had confronted him, and she’d kicked the shit out of him. “But most Omegas do seem to take a submissive role to Alphas. I mean, isn’t there problems with them not reporting domestic abuse or bad situations cause of it?”

“That’s conditioning from social norms. You grow up being told that you’re supposed to act a certain way depending on your designation, so that dictates your behavior, even makes you go against your instincts.” Finn turned the granola bar in his hands, looking down at it. “This is why I answered yes and no, because how we behave is really a mix of these two things. There’s pressure from the animal within us, and there’s pressure from what our society tells us we’re supposed to be.”

Pausing, he looked up again, and his eyes seemed a little distant and sad, “So when society told me I’m an aberration, dumped into a group home by parents who saw no value in an Omega son, and not worthy of anything other than menial labor, I can recognize that as bullshit and refuse to fall into that role that was defined for me.”

He held out the granola bar again. “Likewise, I can recognize that my nurturing instincts got kicked into overdrive after I got mated, and that instinct makes me want to feed the new student who I’m helping—because God there’s nothing to you, girl, I swear. I can recognize where that is coming from and fight the urge to act on it. Or I can decide to just give in to that instinct, cause, you know, giving you food is going to make me feel good and probably isn’t bad for you either.”

Raising her eyebrows, amused, Rey looked at the granola bar a moment, before reaching out and taking it. Finn broke out into a grin and she shook her head. “Better?”

“Yes.” He sighed contently as she opened the wrapper and took a bite. “Much.”

 


 

His last stop on his boring and uneventful day doing Rodinon’s rounds was the coffee shop. It was one of those places that made up their own names for their drink sizes ‘cause they were just too classy for small, medium, and large. It was mostly empty, save for a few kids from the college scattered at various tables. Kylo had gotten a few looks, but mostly they were all too busy with their phones and laptops.

Rodinon hadn’t been exaggerating about the coffee shop owner being a whiny little bitch. He had immediately tried to play that he couldn’t pay up, first that he didn’t have the money, then that he didn’t have it at the shop. Kylo leaned on the counter, pushing his hat up with his index finger, eyes glittering, “You really might want to go see if you got that cash in the back.”

The man flushed, then sputtered, “Or maybe I go back and call someone to take care of you and this bullshit—”

Kylo lunged, reaching over the counter to grab the man by his shirt collar, twisting it tight as he dragged him closer so there was just inches between their faces. “Are you threatening me?”

“I… no, no.” The man clawed at Kylo’s hand. “Got the money, will pay.”

Letting the man go, Kylo stood up straight and smoothed out his suit jacket. “The money you didn’t have here a few minutes ago has magically appeared. Amazing.” The smile fell off his face. “I suggest you go fetch that before I start to get annoyed.”

The man hurried to the back. Kylo glanced around the room to see wide eyes of the few customers staring. He smirked at them and they quickly all became interested in looking at anyone but him. The man returned and handed over a wad of cash, trembling as Kylo leaned on the counter as he counted it slowly.

“It’s all there,” the owner snapped.

Kylo paused mid-count, raising his eye to stare at at the owner, who averted his own gaze, muttering an apology. He went back to counting. All there, almost a pity. He would’ve loved a good reason to use this knotless prick as a punching bag.

“So”—He put the money in his pocket, glancing up at the menu—“Which one of these girly ass froufrou drinks do recommend?” The owner flushed red but didn’t say anything. Kylo sighed. “Ain’t you a worthless little fuck if you can’t recommend one of your own drinks?” He squinted up. “Frappe, that’s one of those frozen coffee shakes, right? And mocha, that’s like chocolate, right?” The owner huffed, looking gloriously annoyed. Kylo nodded. “Yeah, get me a large one of those for the road.”

“They’re $6.32 with tax,” the owner said, glaring at the floor.

“They’re fucking free for me, so go be a good boy and make me one.” Kylo smirked as the owner gave him a quick glare before stalking off to make the drink. Pissing this little fuck off was the highlight of this boring day so far.

The bell on the door jingled as someone walked in. Kylo was still leaning on the counter, watching the pissed off shop owner make his drink, when he caught the scent. Bright sun and sand and ocean, and under that a faint briny scent.

He froze, hands gripping the edge of the counter. It was the scent, the one that had been haunting his dreams the last two nights. His breath caught in his chest and he turned slowly to look behind him.

There was a girl with brown hair pulled back from her face in a ponytail approaching the counter, looking down and counting a handful of change. As she neared, she faltered a step, head snapping up to look at him.

Her eyes were hazel, and he felt some satisfaction as her they widened and darkened as she looked at him. Mostly, though, he just felt a strange sense of wonder, of awe.

She has freckles, just a little bit of freckles across that cute little nose, a voice in his head sighed.

The girl’s mouth opened and she huffed. It was subtle—like she was trying to hide it—but he caught that small intake of breath as she pulled the air into her mouth to the back of her throat. Tasting him, scenting him.

Still feeling dazed, the corners of his lips curled up into a smile.

Chapter Text

Maybe it was the drain of the emotional rollercoaster she’d been on the last few days, but by the time Rey’s last class was over she was completely exhausted. Her commute back home, which took a train, two buses, and the half mile walk back to Plutt’s, seemed overwhelming.

She reached into her pocket and jingled the change in it. There was one coffee place between campus and the train station, so far she’d stopped there twice and neither time had been a pleasant experience. The first time she ordered just a small ordinary coffee and the owner of the place had snapped at her that it was called a “short” and not a small, and then glared at her in annoyance as she counted out her change for the few bucks to pay. The second time was even worse, she had been wrong about how much money she had on her, and turned out to be ten cents short. The man had screamed at her about wasting his time and told her to get out of his shop. Everybody in there had stared, it had been mortifying.

After that she’d avoided the place, but, damn, if coffee didn’t sound good right now. Maybe if she just made sure she had the change counted out before she ordered she could just get her short coffee without it being an ordeal.

Deviating from her path, she headed to the little shop. The bells jingled as she walked in, heading towards the counter while looking down at her hand and counting out the exact amount she remembered from her previous orders, not paying much attention to her surroundings. It was fairly quiet, aside for some faint folk music playing and the sound of the blender.

Three dollars and thirteen cents, good, she had it exactly. This—

The scent hit her and she nearly stumbled. Pines. A pine forest in the snow. Cold and crisp and sharp. So good, it smelled so good… but—but it was the scent that had been lingering in her room, on her bed, on her pillow!

Her head snapped up.

A man stood by the counter, dressed in all black, dark eyes staring at her in a dazed sort of awe. She met his gaze, eyes wide. He was big, so fucking big. Tall and broad shouldered and just big all around. Rey might be scrawny, but she was above average height, but next to this Alpha she felt tiny. Eclipsed by his presence. Smothered in his scent—his perfect, just utterly perfect scent.

That scent was trying to settle like a fog over her brain, blurring out the rest of the room, leaving him the only thing in focus. Rey couldn’t seem to hear anything other than her pounding heart and the rush of blood in her ears.

The urge to open her mouth, to pull that scent to the back of her throat to taste it, was overwhelming the rational part of her brain, the one that was sounding a frantic alarm. This man had broken into her room. He had forced his way into her fucking territory and left his scent there as evidence.

His delicious delicious scent. She needed to taste that scent. Needed to taste it now.

Rey tried to hide it as she gave into the urge and softly pulled a little breath into the back of her throat. Goosebumps prickled down her arm and she shivered, which made no sense because she was suddenly way too hot and her clothes were prickly and tight.

The man’s lips curled ever so slightly into a smile, letting her know her attempt to mask her huffing his scent had failed. Somehow she felt both embarrassed at the realization that he had see her giving into her instincts and very pleased that he knew she was trying to taste him.

Good Alpha, strong Alpha

As if he had some sort of gravitational field pulling her towards him, she felt herself leaning closer, fighting the urge to take a step towards him.

He took a step towards her first.

The rational, sane part of Rey’s brain screamed at her, breaking whatever weird spell she’d been under. What was she even doing? A wave of panic hit her and she shrank back, ready to turn and run. Run very far from here and this Alpha and his scent.

The man’s eyes widened and he stepped back, holding his hands up, palms out, stuttering, “W-Wait.” He hunched, almost seeming to be trying to deflate himself, licking his lips once before repeating a little more firmly, “Wait.”

Maybe it was the oddity of seeing an Alpha trying to make himself look smaller and less intimidating. Maybe it was something in his voice. But against her better judgement, Rey found herself rooted in place, staring wide eyed at the man as he cautiously took a step forward.

“H-Hi,” he breathed, pulling his hat off his head, releasing an impressive mane of black hair that cascaded around his face. Holding his hat in both hands, he opened his mouth as if he was going to say something, then closed it and swallowed. Her eyes darted to his neck as it made his cervical scent gland bob.

She looked away from it quickly, cheeks flushing even hotter somehow, considering how hot she already felt. “Um, hi.”

He was still looking at her in that intent, awestruck sort of way. Being stared at by Alphas wasn’t exactly unfamiliar territory. She got leered at just about every day. But those Alphas looked at her the way a dog might look at a steak. This Alpha…

Rey shifted her weight, suddenly very aware of her battered old jeans and baggy thrift store shirt. There wasn’t anything about her that deserved to be looked at in such a reverent way.

“I’m B—Kylo,” he said, taking another small step towards her. “What… what’s your name?”

He broke into your room, an angry voice hissed in her head. He might be stalking you. Get your head out of your ass.

“I’m, uh, I’m Rey.” She took one small step back to increase the space between them.

The Alpha—Kylo—blinked at her once and nodded, repeating her name, “Rey.” He licked his lips. “I—”

Behind him the owner of the coffee shop slammed a drink down on the counter, making them both jump. “Your damn drink,” he snapped at Kylo, who’s eyes flashed as he turned his head to look at the man. The Beta immediately broke eye contact, looking past Kylo to see her.

“You! Better not be wasting my time again! Order something, you better be able to pay for it,” the owner snapped, looking completely red faced and furious.

She didn’t even have time to react before Kylo whirled, letting out a vicious snarl as he leaned on the counter. The shop owner blanched, jumping backwards and nearly falling. Rey couldn’t blame him. A grizzly bear would have been less intimidating.

Some of the few other customers—students there mainly to get a coffee and then leech the free wifi—turned their heads, wide-eyed. One guy quickly shut his laptop and hurried out the door. A girl grabbed her backpack and followed.

Rey took a step back, feeling weirdly more pleased than frightened by Kylo’s actions. Being this close to a raging Alpha should be terrifying, should make her want follow the others out the door. Instead, she felt—uh, well, kind of turned on.

He’s pissed because that asshole was rude to me, she marvelled, squeezing her thighs together. He’s protecting me.

Yes good alpha protecting safe yes

Yes. Protecting her, defending her. Rey huffed again, pulling his scent to the back of her throat. The Alpha musk mixed into the crisp tang of pine was stronger now, and she felt that weird haze settle over her brain.

A good Alpha, protecting her just like a good mate should. Yes, this was right, this was…

Wait, mate ? Where the fuck did that thought even come from?

Jesus, she needed to get out of here, get away from his scent. It was doing strange things to her and she wasn’t thinking normally. Fighting against the small voice in her head whispering that she should stay, that she needed be close to this Alpha, she turned while he was distracted and hurried out the door.

Outside, Rey took deep breaths as she walked, the fresh air helping to clear her head a bit and quiet the urge to turn around and run back to him.

 


 

Kylo wasn’t sure he could explain what the hell was happening to him.

It wasn’t like he didn’t know better. This little gilt was trouble. Big trouble. He had enough sense to know to keep his distance. She might as well be Snoke’s property at this point, since just about anything of Plutt’s worth anything Mr. Snoke was going to take. Even if he didn’t like that fact, it wasn’t like he had much of a say in it.

But the sane part of his brain was buried under the haze of her scent, and the rest of it seemed to be running on instinct. He had nearly panicked when he had taken a step towards her and realized she was ready to run, that he had scared her. And in response he’d done something he couldn’t remember ever doing in his life—he tried to make himself look smaller. Tried to be less intimidating.

Anything not to scare her away.

Which wasn’t exactly easy. He was desperate to get closer to her for reasons he couldn’t quite understand. It was like her scent was a drug and he was needing stronger and stronger doses of it. To the point that what he wanted more than anything was to nuzzle along her neck right over her gland and sniff and huff and lick until he was finally sated and content.

Don’t be scared, little one. Let me take care of you, let me feed you, let me protect you, let me please you.

But she wasn’t having any of that, she was anxious, and responding to his edging towards her by edging back. Even though he could see her responding to him, could smell her responding to him, she warily refused to let him get close.

He’d got her name at least, Rey. Pretty. Rey, Rey, Rey. What a perfect name for a perfect little Omega.

A bang behind broke him out of his daze as that little bitch Beta shop owner snapped at him, “Your damn drink.”

Kylo turned, furious, to glare at the Beta, fighting the urge to pummel the man bloody for interrupting. To his satisfaction, the man broke eye contact immediately, but in doing so his gaze fell on Rey. And then… then…

The son of a bitch yelled at the girl. Yelled aggressively at his fucking Omega. Kylo whirled, snarling, practically seeing red. He was going to reach down this fucker’s throat and rip his goddamn spine out. Nobody was going to disrespect his mate.

Mate? A brief rational thought broke through the haze. The fuck?

Okay, that was weird, he’d admit that, but for right now he was pissed and very much wanted to beat this asshole to a bloody pulp. So maybe he’d do that first and assess his bizarre mental state later.

A flash in his peripheral vision, jingle of the bell on the door, and a swirl of bright sand and ocean mingling with the air from outside, stopped him from leaping over the counter to pummel the shop owner senseless. He whirled to see a flash of Rey hurrying away as the door closed.

No no no no no no!

Panic tightened like a noose around Kylo’s chest. He couldn’t let her leave, it’s not safe. She needed to stay with him so he could keep her safe. Be with him or be back at his den warm and protected—

Jesus fucking christ, did you just think of your apartment as a “den?”

Yeah, fine, that was weird, but—it didn’t matter the only thing that mattered was his Omega was running the fuck away from him and he couldn’t let that happen. He saw the frappe sitting on the counter and snatched before bolting out the door, looking around frantically till he saw her back, walking fast with her head down.

“Rey!” Kylo ran towards, her, flinching and slowing down as he saw her turn and eyes widen. Fuck. He was scaring her again.

She took a step back, giving cautious glances each direction as he slid to a halt in front of her. Kylo breathed hard, shoving the drink at her. “Here.” Rey raised her eyebrows, looking perplexed and still rather frightened. Fuck… he hunched so he wouldn’t tower over her so much. “I, um, do you like these?”

Rey looked between him and the cup, “I… what?”

“Take it. If you want it. I don’t.” He let out a shaky breath, needing her to take it, to accept his offering. “Please.”

For a few seconds she stared at him with those pretty hazel eyes before slowing reaching out and wrapping her hand around the cup above his own. Her fingers looked tiny next to his. Kylo released the cup, brushing his thumb against her fingers as he let go, wishing he could reach the inside of her wrist to rub against the scent gland there.

“Uh, thank you,” she said, flushing, and a pleased shiver went up his spine. “But, um, yeah.” Rey took several steps back. “I need to get going.” She took a sip of the drink before raising it up in a salute. “Thank you again, but I don’t want to miss the next train.”

Go? Train? Train?!

“Wait!” He called as she turned, but it only made her pick up her pace, looking down at her feet. Kylo hurried after her, falling in step next to her. The thought of her on a packed train car made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. What if there were other Alphas? What if one of them tried to touch her?

Her shoulders were rigid, and she kept her eyes on the ground and she walked fast, on the verge of breaking into a run. “I really have to go, sorry.”

“I could give you a ride,” Kylo blurted out. “It’s not safe.”

She bit her lip, his eyes fixed onto it as she pulled her lower lip in her teeth. “I think I can handle myself.”

They were nearing the station. He took several large steps to circle in front of her, blocking her path. She halted, eyes flashing as she snapped her gaze up to look at him. “You’re getting a little creepy here.”

Yeah, he was, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. “It’s all the way across town. I can give you a ride.”

Her eyes narrowed, hands closing into fists, and a snarl ripped out of her throat, “Yeah, you know that cause you were there, weren’t you?”

Kylo blinked. Shit. “I, uh…”

“Why are you here? Were you following me?” Rey took an angry step towards him, a tiny bundle of rage.

“I, no… I just was here on business...” His voice trailed off. If she caught his scent left at Plutt’s place, then she probably also had caught traces of it in her room. The idea of her sleeping with his scent all around her was strangely satisfying and kind of hot.

“You were in my room,” she snapped, hazel eyes flashing.

Except yeah, she probably would be a bit pissed about that whole breaking in and violating her territory thing.

“I didn’t touch anything,” he mumbled. Rey raised her eyebrows and he shifted his weight from foot to foot. “Just looked...” She moved to dart around him and he sidestepped quickly to block her path, getting another growl.

Her eyes flashed as she looked up to meet his eyes, holding the contact. “Get out of my way.”

“It isn’t safe…” he started, meeting her gaze with an intense one of his own. She refused to back down though, staring intently into his eyes until he looked down.

As soon as he did she bolted around him and booked it for the station door. He charged after her like a bull, skidding to a halt at the turnstile—he didn’t have a pass. For a second he debated jumping it, but a guard—an older, grizzled looking Alpha—sitting in a booth in the corner looked up sharply from his newspaper to glare at him suspiciously, and he gritted his teeth and glared back. The guard had a big retired cop vibe to him. Starting shit would probably be a bad idea.

On the track’s below he heard a train screeching into the station and clenched his fists. Turning away and heading back outside, he took deep breaths of air, fighting the urge to jump in his car and go straight to Plutt’s shitheap to be there when she got there.

Yeah, cause that wouldn’t be creepy as fuck.

Kylo felt like his head was clearing a bit now that her scent wasn’t so close to him. Christ. What was he even thinking? She was trouble, nothing but trouble. His best bet was to keep away from her and to not think about her pretty little face and cute ass and delicious scent. Try not to think about the fact that if he even saw another Alpha get too close to her, he’d rip them to fucking shreds.

Grinding his teeth, Kylo started walking back towards his car, fighting the urge to go back into the coffee place when he passed it to beat the shit out of the owner for yelling at his girl. As he sank into the driver’s seat of his cadillac, his phone rang. He fished it from his pocket, glancing at it to see Snoke’s number.

He swiped the screen. “Yes, sir?”

“Been looking for you, my boy. Got a job that requires your talents.”

“Sorry, sir, Rodinon asked me to cover his rounds.” He turned the ignition.

“Doing collections?” Snoke clicked his tongue. “Menial tasks like that are below your skill set.”

“It’s a favor, Rodinon is, eh, otherwise indisposed... for a few days.”

Snoke began to cackle. “Otherwise indisposed… I like that. We need to start calling all the boys ruts that.” Kylo stayed silent. Snoke’s laughter cut off abruptly. “Enough fun. We got a storage facility hit a few hours ago. Narcs. That fucking Dameron asshole. Unamo got picked up. Phasma’s pretty sure there’s a snitch.”

Kylo pinched the bridge of his nose. Cops had been sticking their noses into First Order business more and more. They were asking for a war, a very ugly war. “Phas know who it is?”

“Rivas.”

Sol Rivas. Ambitious little shit, but not someone he’d expect to turn snitch. “You want an example or want him to just disappear?”

“Too hot right now, make sure they don’t ever find him.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Oh, and Ren?” Snoke asked, warmly.

“Yes, sir?”

Snoke’s voice dropped, cold and malicious. “Make him hurt before he dies.”

 


 

Rey managed to push her way to the corner of the crowded train car, relieved that aside from a few looks she was mostly ignored. The good and bad thing about public transit was that people tended to mind their own business. Not good for the one occasion a pissant little Alpha started harassing her, getting in her space following her when she tried to change cars to get away and grabbing her ass. Good for when she broke said Alpha’s nose when she had enough of his shit. Barely anyone had even blinked for that.

It was good now, while she was highly agitated and anxious after her encounter with Kylo, and also really bizarrely aroused from it. Despite the heavy odor of all the bodies crammed into the train car, Kylo’s scent still seemed to be lingering in her nostrils, and she had a weird urge to jump off at the next stop and go back to find him.

Fumbling her backpack open, Rey fished out the ancient prepaid flip phone she kept in case of emergencies along with the torn piece of notebook paper with Dameron and Finn’s phone numbers. Her hand trembled slightly as she punched in the number and fought the urge to hang up as it rang.

“Dameron,” an irritated voice barked as Poe answered.

“Poe?” She said, softly, feeling like she was imposing. Why had she even decided to call him? This was a bad—

“Rey?” Poe’s voice softened. “You okay, kid?”

She started talking before she lost her nerve, telling everything starting from getting home and finding her room’s lock busted off and ending with running away for the train in a frantic babble.

“Okay, okay, slow down,” Poe said. “Start from the beginning again… “

The train squealed to a stop at a station platform. She glanced at the sign and swore under her breath. “I… I’m going to lose my cell signal. I’m on the green line and we’re about to go into the subway.”

“Fuck… okay… get off at 35th. I’m going to swing by and pick you up, alright?”

“O-Okay.”

“It’s going to be okay,” Poe said, soothingly. “You tell me everything when I get you.”

 


 

There were a few minutes at the 35th street station where Rey nearly panicked, sure that Poe wasn’t going to show up, and worrying if he wanted her to stay down at the platform or head up to the street. She wasn’t usually this anxious, but everything right now was making her feel vulnerable and wanting someone there to protect her.

“There you are.”

She jumped, turning to see Poe walking towards her.

“I’m sorry for causing you trouble I just…” She began to babble as Poe smiled and steered her towards the stairs up to the street.

He nodded calmly until she shut up to take a breath. “It’s no trouble. I gave you my number for a reason,” he said, soothingly. “It was hard to follow what you were saying, but from the bits I got it seems like you should have called me sooner.”

“I know… I just—just—” she started, voice trailing off as they neared a black car. An Alpha with brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard was leaning against the passenger door, cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth. He ran a hand over his beard as they approached. Rey shrank back slightly against Poe, but the new Alpha gave her a tired and very non-threatening smile.

“Sorry, this is Detective Temmin Wexley. We were working together today and I didn’t have time to dump his sorry ass at the station before I came to get you.” Poe glanced disapprovingly at the cigarette hanging out of Wexley’s mouth. Rey relaxed slightly. Another detective. Made sense since cops disproportionately tended to be Alphas.

Wexley either didn’t notice or care about Poe’s disapproval. He puffed on the cigarette, still hanging lazily from his lips. “So this is Rey? Nice to meet you. Call me Snap.”

Rey felt her cheeks heat up, wondering how many people Poe had told about her and her situation. “Are you two like partners then?”

“Nah, I already got myself a partner, he’s in the backseat. Snap just comes along for the ride now and again.” At the word “backseat” there was a jingle and a snout pushed out the part of the tinted black window that was cracked open.

“You’re not allergic to dogs or anything?” Snap asked, opening the passenger side door and lowering the back window to reveal a orange and white beagle in a black vest with a police star emblem and “NARCOTICS DIVISION” written on it along with the “BB-8”. He wagged his tail at Rey.

“Uh, he’s a police dog?” Rey asked, unable to keep amusement creeping into her voice.

Snap smirked but Poe puffed himself out slightly, looking at her seriously. “Yeah, yeah, he ain’t a German Shepard, but that there is the best damn drug detection dog you’ll ever meet.” He cast an irritated look at Snap. “And you better ditch the cancer stick before you get into my car. Finn smells that shit on me and he’ll think I started smoking again.”

“Fucking whipped.” Snap snorted, dropping the cigarette and grinding it out with his heel.

“You’re just jealous.”

“Of Finn?” Snap reached over and opened the back door for Rey, laughing. “I don’t swing that way, bro.”

“Of me being happy and content and mated while your single ass is still looking for love,” Poe answered, getting into the driver’s seat.

Snap snorted as he got into the passenger seat. “Whatever you say.”

Rey climbed into the back. The dog immediately lay down next to her and set his head on her thigh, looking up at her with his tail wagging and thumping against the seat.

“B.B., you better not be bothering that girl!” Poe scolded as he pulled out into traffic.

The dog rolled his eyes up at her, letting out a soft whine. Rey laughed, rubbing his head. “He’s fine. His name is B.B.? What’s that stand for?”

“Best Beagle,” Snap snickered.

“I’m going to kick your ass out of my car and let you walk back,” Poe huffed. “The

company that breeds and trains them gives the litters letter codes. So his was BB and he was pup eight I guess? So BB-8. The P.D.’s K9’s are usually given names once we get them but folks were kind of doubtful with his breed that he would work out. So they held off and I called him BB while working with him. And then it just kind of stuck.”

“As much shit as I like to give Poe about him, BB-8 really is one of the best dogs we got.” Snap glanced back and smiled. “Had a big bust today thanks to that overachiever’s nose.”

Rey smiled, still scratching BB’s head. She glanced out the window. “So, um, where are we going?”

“First to the station to dump my third wheel in the passenger seat off, and to talk.” Poe’s eyes flicked to the rearview mirror to look at her. “So this Alpha… was at Plutt’s and in your room and then just happened to bump into you. That’s seems a hell of a coincidence.”

“What did this Alpha look like?” Snap asked, almost idly.

She pulled on BB-8’s ear softly and swore she heard the dog sigh. Apparently he liked that. She took a breath, “He was…” Rey laughed. “It sounds weird but I swear he was dressed like a caricature of a mobster or something.”

Both Poe and Snap seemed to tensed, casting a glance at each other. Rey frowned.

“Uh, what… exactly… do you mean by that?” Snap asked, slowly.

“Black suit, black shirt, black tie, black shoes, and a black fedora. He looked kind of ridiculous, really.”

The two men glanced at each other again, Poe gripping the wheel tight enough that his knuckles turned white. Snap sighed, rubbing his beard and leaning back in his seat.

“What?” Rey leaned forward. “Seriously, what?!”

“First Order.”

“First what?”

“First Order. They’re like, the biggest and dirtiest crime syndicate in this town,” Poe bit his lip. “Snoke apparently has a thing for that look. He has all his boys dress that way…”

“Are you telling me this dude really is in the mob?”

Snap shook his head. “We’re saying he could be.”

“And I’m saying you really need to be careful, Rey.” Poe shifted in his seat. “Cause I got a bad feeling about this.”

 


 

The police station was crowded and loud. Rey felt a bit overwhelmed as Poe lead her through a maze of desks to a frosted glass door on the back wall. Block letters, peeling a little bit, spelled out “CAPTAIN.”

“Uh?” Rey asked as Poe knocked on the door. BB-8 moved from Poe’s side and sat on her feet, tail thumping the floor.

“Boss lady is going to want to talk to you. She knows a bit already.” Poe smiled. “You’re not in trouble, Rey. We all just want to help.”

Rey didn’t feel entirely reassured by that but stood and wait until a female voice called from inside. “Come in!”

Poe opened the door, and Rey tensed as it creaked. She stepped inside to a cluttered but neat office. A small woman with greying hair seated behind a giant desk that seemed to dwarf her, papers and file folders stacked neatly but filling most of the space. She looked up from a file she had been reading, eyes settling on Rey before glancing at Poe questioningly.

“Captain, this is the girl I mentioned the other day. Unkar Plutt is her guardian.”

The woman’s eyebrows raised slightly, and she dropped the file to the desk, her brown eyes, intelligent and shrewd, studied Rey. “I see. Why don’t you have a seat, Miss Johnson?”

Rey walked to one of the chairs across from the woman. As she sat down, she spotted a name plaque that had been hidden by one of the stacks of files. It read “Captain Leia Organa,” which for some reason sounded oddly familiar.

As she sat down, a faint musk hit her nostrils and she blinked. Alpha?

It wasn’t the first time she met a female Alpha—they made up about the same percentage of the population as Omegas did—but it was certainly the first time she’d met any Alpha this small.

What the woman lacked in stature she made of for in presence, every word she spoke seeming like a command to attention.

“I apologize for the situation you appear to be in… Rey. May I call you Rey?” Organa waited for Rey to nod before continuing. “If it was up to me I’d get you out of that man’s house immediately. But as I told Detective Dameron the system is set up against us right now. If we try to move you without a warrant, not only would Plutt be able to get a judge to order us to return you without much effort, but his lawyer would have a field day with it once we finally bring charges against him.”

“There’s been some new developments.” Poe nodded at Rey. “Tell her.”

She took a breath and told the story again. Organa listened intently, casting Poe a sharp look when Rey described what the Alpha at the coffee shop was wearing.

“This is not good, Dameron,” Organa said, pinching the bridge of her nose.

“That’s what I said.”

“I mean, I know if he’s with the mob that he’s a criminal, but what makes this so bad?” Rey asked, feeling tired. The bit of an energy boost she’d gotten from the frappe Kylo had given her was wearing off, and she just wanted to curl up and go to sleep.

“Plutt’s angling in on what is normally a First Order business with these imports,” Poe said.

“Which means the First Order might be a little pissed at him right now if they’ve found out what he’s been doing.” Organa sighed. “Which just puts you in more danger. FO loves intimidation tactics. I don’t like the idea that they could be stalking you.”

“Up until the end I didn’t really feel like he was trying to intimidate me.” Rey shrugged. “I’m not sure if he was then either. Kylo just seemed to be getting frantic… kind of unhinged. It was more unsettling than intimidating.”

Both Organa and Poe looked up at her. She frowned, glancing at the two of them.

“What did you say his name was?” Organa asked softly.

“Kylo? That’s what he told me it was.” Organa drew a deep breath, like she was trying to steady herself. Rey shook her head, “Why—”

Before she could ask what they seemed upset about, the office door burst open and she nearly jumped out of her chair. Both Organa and Poe’s hands dropped to their sides for a split second, until they saw who it was.

“Babe. Seriously?” Poe huffed, exasperated as Finn, breathing hard, walked over to stand behind Rey.

“There’s this amazing thing called knocking, Finnigan,” Organa grumbled. “It can keep you from getting accidentally shot.”

Finn shook his head, still catching his breath. “Sorry, Senator.” He looked at Poe, nodding down at Rey. “She all right?”

Senator? Rey blinked. Organa, Senator Organa. That’s where she’d heard that name before.

“I’m not a Senator anymore, Finnigan.” Organa, paused, glancing at Rey. “But since you’re here, why don’t you drive Miss Johnson home? She’s had a long day.”

Home? ” Finn glanced at Poe. “We aren’t sending her back to that sleazebag?”

“You know the laws better than anyone, Finn.” Organa sighed.

“The law sucks,” Finn grumbled. “She can stay at our place—”

“No, she can’t,” Organa said, getting up and opening a drawer. “Unless you want to ruin any chance of getting her out of his care .” The woman tossed something at Rey, who was surprised enough that she nearly dropped it. She looked down to see it was a phone, a Blackberry.

“Its signal is encrypted. Just in case they’re trying to spy on you.” Organa walked around the desk and stopped in front of Rey, putting a hand over one of hers, “If there’s trouble at home—if you feel threatened at all, you call. I’m going to have a car stationed near that junk heap of a garage. Call and someone will be there in less than two minutes.”

Organa glanced up at Finn. “That good enough, Doctor Finnigan?”

Finn sighed. “Not really, but better than nothing.”

“Good. Then drive this poor girl home.”

 


 

Poe walked with them down to Finn’s car in the garage, nodding at Finn’s continued complaints about how much he disliked the idea of sending Rey right back to Plutt. It was a little overbearing, but kind of comforting to realize that both men seemed to care about her. No one had cared for a very long time.

As they reached the car, she paused a second, thinking about her bizarre reactions to Kylo. She’d never reacted like that to a scent or to an Alpha. It was weird, so weird.

“Finn?” Rey asked. “Do any of those drugs, like, cause people to… I don’t know, be attracted to each other? Like extra pheromones or something?”

Finn gave her a puzzled look, “No. Hyperomerin levels will usually cause a heat cycle. Which of course makes you attracted to any Alpha. Hyperaledrigen levels cause increased aggression, endurance, and strength. And can trigger a rut.”

“But nothing that just, I don’t know, makes one person’s scent really seem to affect you?”

“Like the pheromone enhancers you see ads for at 2am claim?” Finn chuckled, “No. Nothing that actually works like that exists. And even those claim they’ll make all the potential mates throw themselves at you, not just like, attract one. I mean, there’s ridiculous theories like Pheromonal Gravitation. Pseudoscience bullshit.”

Rey squinted at him. “Gravitation?”

“Yeah, there’s a crackpot posting a few papers on it. Basically that folks have a pheromonal type they’re meant to be attracted to, and when two people with these matching types meet, they’re very heavily attracted.” Finn scoffed. “It’s basically soulbond theory being justified with fake science. Should have heard me go on about it the other night. Right, Bae?”

Poe blinked. “Huh?”

Finn froze, turning his head to look at Poe incredulously. “That thing I talked to you about for like an hour over dinner last night?”

“Oh… right… that.”

Finn’s eyes narrowed. “You weren’t listening all, were you?”

“Uh,” Poe shifted his weight from foot to foot, “Maybe I zoned out a little…”

Huffing indignantly, Finn turned his back on Poe, looking at Rey. “Come on, let me get you home.”

Chapter Text

She and Finn didn’t say much for the first five minutes of the drive. Finn seemed to be fuming a bit about Poe’s admission to having ignored him during their dinner conversation, and Rey leaned on the passenger side window, trying to deal with her scrambling thoughts and emotions. There was as strange feeling of being adrift, lacking an anchor. Her world, as shitty as it always had been, seemed to have been torn apart and any illusions cast away.

Finn broke the silence first. “You doing okay, hon?”

“I’m okay.” Rey stared at her hands a minute, trying to think of something else to talk about to fill the silence. “What’s soulbond theory? You said something about this gravitation thing being that but trying to justify it with science.”

“Oh, don’t get me started.” Finn sighed then continued without any prompting. “Some people call it intended mate theory. That you’re born with an intended mate, you’ll know it when you scent them.”

“So it’s like love at first scent?”

He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, people also call it that. Just ridiculous, mystical bullshit. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we do react differently to different scents, and some people’s scents are more attractive than others. But like—your mate is out there, you’ll know it when you scent him—uh, no, it just means you like that scent. Doesn’t mean that person isn't an asshole you need to stay away from.”

Rey’s cheeks burned. Kylo really seemed to be the type of person she should be staying away from. She looked out the window. The street lights were starting to come on as dusk settled.

“Really, you okay? You’ve had a lot to process and deal with in a few days.”

“I’m fine. I just…” Her eyes stung and she blinked a few times. “I always liked to imagine my parents were out there and were going to come back for me. The idea that they probably sold me to Plutt like I was nothing but a commodity to them—”

Finn’s hand reached over and squeezed her knee. “I’m sorry, I really am.” He sighed, eyes distant. “Never was able to have any of those illusions myself, so I don’t know if it would have been better or worse for me.”

Looking over at him, Rey frowned. “Did you know them at all? Your parents, I mean?”

“No.” He pulled a hand off the wheel to rub his jaw. “I think I was dumped in the system at a year or so… probably as soon as my designation was certain. Was shuffled around until ten when they stuck me in one of the group homes for male Omegas.”

“There were group homes exclusively for—?”

“Yes,” Finn cut her off, jaw stiffening. “Partly because it was—still is, unfortunately—hard to find fosters to take male Omegas. But mostly they’re a holdover of homophobic bullshit. Cause it was believed male Omegas would likely be gay and corrupt the morality of Alphas with there queer Omeganess or something.” Finn glanced at her, “Not true, by the way. Sexuality of male Omegas, and female Omegas, and all fucking designations for that matter, break down along the same percentages.”

Rubbing his hand over his jaw, Finn shook his head, “Some of the homes were good, unfortunately, more were bad. Mine was one of the old school homophobic ones. They were a mind fuck for even the straight kids, and for those of us who were…” His voice trailed off and he sighed, shaking his head. “It was a very shitty place to be. Left most of us very paranoid and closeted. Took me a long time to be able to even admit to myself that I was attracted to men.”

“I’m sorry…” Rey said, voice trailing off. She couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“It worked out. Mainly cause I’m a stubborn, independent asshole who refused to conform. I got into designation studies because I was told my whole life that gender and designation defined everything about me, and I didn’t believe it. And I was right not to believe it.” Finn smiled. “I worked with Organa when she was a senator and one of our biggest successes was reforms to the foster system for Omegas, especially male Omegas. Managed to shut down a lot of the group homes, my old one included.”

Rey smiled, fiddling with the hem of her shirt. “It seems like you spend a lot of time trying to help people.”

Finn shrugged, smiling ruefully. “It’s more a weird mix of personal vendetta and Omega nurturing instinct. I want to see that system burn. But also want to cuddle and protect all the people being wronged by it.”

He grinned when she laughed and the two of them fell into a comfortable silence until they neared Plutt’s place. Finn shifted uneasily as they drove past the abandoned buildings. When they pulled up in front of Plutt’s dilapidated garage and the lot of scrap and garbage, he looked horrified.

“Jesus,” Finn muttered under his breath.

“It’s not that bad,” she lied, unbuckling her seatbelt. “And I’m used to it.”

“I really want to turn this car around and take you to my apartment to stay with us…” He shook his head. “Fuck the consequences.”

She gave his hand a squeeze, before opening the car door and slipping out. As she headed for the door Finn rolled down the window and called, “Hey!” Pausing with her hand on the doorknob, she turned to look at him. “Swing by my office tomorrow so I know you’re okay. We can have lunch.”

Rey laughed. “You don’t need to feed me, you know?”

“Humor me. Please.” He winked at her as the window rolled up, but didn’t drive away until she was inside.

 


 

Kylo was pretty sure he was losing his mind.

He couldn’t stop thinking about her. That little gilt was taking over his thoughts to the point of constant distraction. It was like his mind had memorized every single detail of her features and wanted to obsess over every single one.

And then there was the anxiety. He was worrying about her, about his little Omega. What if something happened? What if she was threatened or attacked? What if some other Alpha dared to touch her?

Nights were still plagued with dreams. Of fucking her from behind while she screamed out his name in ecstacy. Of them, knotted together, purring in each others arms while he nuzzled and huffed and sucked on her scent gland and she moaned “Ben” in breathy whispers.

Ben… she called him Ben in his dreams. That was weird too. He’d left that name behind years ago.

The lack of good sleep was getting to him. He’d found himself driving around University Village with no recollection of making a decision to go there. Similarly, he found himself by Plutt’s place Friday night, even though he didn’t have a reason to go there till Saturday when he needed to collect that fat fuck’s payment. He stared at the building for an hour, wondering if she was in there, if she was okay, resisting the urge to go kick the door in and look for her.

Now with Saturday here, he was starting to get paranoid about his shakedown of Plutt later. What would she think of him if she knew the type of shit he did? Would it scare her away? As much as he wanted to see her there, he was already thinking it was better to wait and make sure she wasn’t there when he was there on business.

“...believe this bullshit?”

A paper being slammed down on the table snapped him back out of his head and back to reality. It was late afternoon, still a few hours before the Supremacy opened up for business. He was sitting at one of the tables, a physical buffer between Hux and Canady. Canady puffed on a cigar as he glared at Hux, while Hux for his part shuffled a deck of cards over and over, ignoring the pissed off Alpha.

Snoke stood across from them, glaring down at the newspaper he’d thrown on the center of the table.

Kylo squinted down at the picture of the cops in front of the warehouse and Unamo being lead out cuffed.

“A beagle,” Snoke sat down, pushing his fedora up out of his eyes. “A fucking beagle! They got the nerve, the nerve , to take down one of my distribution centers, and if that ain’t bad enough, they make a joke of us by bringing us down with a drug snitch beagle !”

Canady raised his eyebrows, leaning over to peer at the picture. Kylo squinted, noticing for the first time the small dog with in a vest with a police star standing next to that asshole Dameron. It looked out of place surrounded by all the cops.

“It’s kind of cute,” Canady said as he leaned back again.

Hux stopped mid shuffle to roll his eyes at Canady, lip curling. Snoke froze, eyes narrowing on Canady. “ Cute?

Canady shrugged, looking away from Snoke’s glare. “Just saying, the dog is cute.”

“It’s a fucking joke. They’re laughing at us.” Snoke glared down at the paper. “This has Organa’s scent all over it, probably fighting for equality for dogs now. Fucking butch-bitch bleeding heart.”

Kylo stiffened, looking down at the table and grabbing the pack of cigarettes he’d bought last night. So much for having mostly quit.

“In my day,” Snoke continued. Kylo pulled out a cigarette and lit it. “People knew their place, there was an order to things. Now…” The old man huffed, spreading his arms. “Now look at the mess we made.”

Hux had gone back to shuffling his cards, shoulders stiff as he looked down at the table.

“Started with letting the Betas breed.” Snoke sneered.

From the corner of his eye Kylo saw Hux’s jaw tighten and his nostrils flare, the only sign the man gave towards his agitation. “Then the butch-bitches hitched onto the women’s rights bullshit to push their own agenda. And we caved to ‘em. Betas breeding, butch-bitches breeding with Betas and brooder-boys.”

Kylo gritted his teeth together, hand tightening on his pack of marlboros. He could feel Snoke’s eyes on him as the old Alpha kept talking. “Alpha boys being born in a home with no alpha male to guide them. Any wonder the next generation is ending up filled with soft-knotted weaklings? Handicapped from the start, it takes a special one to be able to recover and find his place and purpose.” Kylo flicked his eyes up to meet Snoke’s eyes and the man smiled at him warmly.

The click of heels on the tile floor shut had them all falling quiet and turning to see the newcomer approach.

She was tall and broad, silver grey suit standing out in the dim lighting of the room. Despite the imposing nature of her build and her presence, which screamed Alpha even from a distance, she carried herself with a delicate sort of grace that none of the male Alpha’s he knew could pull off.

“I hope I’m not interrupting?” She stopped at the table, blue eyes regarding each of them cooly.

“Ah, Phasma, my dear,” Snoke smiled, voice warm. “What do I owe for this lovely visit?”

Phasma cocked her head, ever so slightly, meeting Snoke’s eyes with an indifferent gaze, her voice polite, “After the debacle Wednesday, I wanted to check in.” She pulled a chair, sitting down in a smooth, graceful motion. Hux, Canady, and Kylo turned to look at her, eyebrows raised. She hadn’t taken off her hat.

She smiled as Snoke straightened slightly, watching her carefully. Slowly she reached up and pulled the grey fedora off, setting it gently down next to her on the table. Canady glanced at Kylo, eyebrows raised. That had been borderline disrespectful, and Phasma didn’t look particularly apologetic about it.

Snoke watched her for a second, still watching her closely, before letting his shoulders relax and bursting out laughing. “See this gal, boys? She got herself a set that puts you all to shame.” Snoke grinned, pouring whiskey into a glass and sliding it across from her, eyes flashing as he smirked. “I do love a butch-bitch with balls.”

Phasma lifted her chin ever so slightly, a flicker of anger in her eyes for a split second, so fast that Kylo wasn’t even sure he had seen it. Then they were back to that cold, indifferent stare. “Glad I can please, Supreme Leader.” She took a sip of the drink. “I take it Rivas has been handled?”

Kylo took a drag off his marlboro. “Handled.”

“Oh, good, they put someone competent on it.” Phasma smirked at Kylo. “No body found by some kids out fishing next week because a dumbass doesn’t know how to do things cleanly.”

“He ain’t ever being found.” Kylo sighed the smoke out of his lungs.

“Get anything from him before you disposed of the trash?” Hux asked, leaning on the table.

“No.” Kylo rubbed his jaw, taking another drag from his cigarette. “Claimed it wasn’t him up to the end.”

“It was him,” Phasma said, cooly.

Snoke smiled. “I would never doubt you, my dear. Though a confession would have been nice. Let him cleanse his soul of his sins before we sent him to hell.” His eyes settled on the newspaper again, teeth grinding together. “Cops are gearing up for a war, boys… and gal.” Snoke chuckled a second before his voice fell cold. “Be ready, cause if they want a war, I’m going to give them a war. Take them and everything they care about down with them.”

“How hard you think it would be to take out that fucking dog?” Snoke asked, glaring down at the photo in the newspaper.

“The dog?” Canady looked up, brow furrowing. “You want us... to kill... the dog?”

Snoke narrowed his eyes in irritation. Phasma turned her head slowly to look at Canady, “Didn’t you blow up a DA’s house with his entire family in it last year?”

Canady shrugged indifferently. “They didn’t have a dog.”

Hux rolled his eyes and looked eagerly at Snoke, “You want the dog dead, I’ll be happy to do for you, sir. Unlike some people who ain’t apparently got the knot for it.”

“You ain’t got any knot you dumb Beta fuck,” Canady growled, half standing to lean over Kylo towards Hux.

Kylo jabbed his elbow into Canady’s ribs,“Sit the fuck down, asshole.”

“Sick and tired of this fucking mock-knot little shit—”

Phasma grabbed Canady’s shoulder and shoved him back in his chair. “The man said sit the fuck down.”

“You know that killing a police dog is treated the same as if you killed a cop?” Kylo said, keeping his voice conversational. “Don’t mind taking that risk, but if I’m going to I’d rather set my sights on Dameron.”

Nodding, Phasma took another sip of her drink. “Go after the big dogs, not the actual dog dog,” she snickered. “Dameron, Wexley.” She paused and shrugged. “Pava, though it would be a shame, bitch has a nice ass.”

“Fucking brooder cop, I swear, we let the world go right on to hell.” Snoke sighed. “Fine, forget the dog—for now.” The old man’s lips curled in disgust. “But if they keep nosing around my business we’re going to take out Dameron, that fucking dog, and that brooder-boy he’s got at home.” Snoke scowled. “Queer cops. Brooder cops. Butch-bitch in charge. What’s this world coming to?”

Phasma tossed her head, her cold gaze flicking disdainfully at Canady as he snickered. Kylo tried to smooth his crushed pack of marlboros back into shape, hoping he didn’t maul the cigarettes too badly.

“Even if we going to take out Dameron, couldn’t we maybe just take the dog instead of kill it?” Canady asked, earnestly.

“For fuck’s sake…” Snoke slapped his hands on to the table, scowling at Canady before turning to Kylo, “What’s the news on the Blobfish?”

“Paying him a visit tonight.” Kylo shifted nervously as he immediately started feeling his anxiety about Rey creeping back. He wiped a sweaty palm on the leg of his dress pants. “First payment is due.”

Snoke smiled. “Good, good.” He looked at Canady. “Take this fucker with you tonight.”

Suddenly it was hard to breath. “Wha—why?” Kylo glanced at Canady, who’d sat up straighter, looking more than a little pissed. “Not expecting any trouble. Not yet, anyway. Give him a few more weeks to bleed his resources dry.”

“I want to have a backup to handle Plutt’s account, in case I need you for more important things.” Snoke tilted his chin down, glaring at Canady. “Plus maybe this weak-knotted fool could benefit from seeing a real man work.”

Canady bared his teeth at Snoke, who just raised his eyebrow and smirked. Kylo clambered to his feet and grabbed Canady by the collar before the man could do anything stupid, “Come on, dumbass.” He dragged the man to his feet and pulled him towards the door, trying not to think about how this might complicate his attempts to avoid running into Rey tonight. “It’ll take us over an hour to get there. We should just get it over with.”

 


 

“Just saying, it ain’t the dog’s fault…” Canady droned.

The sun was setting behind the rows of abandoned buildings, sun glinting pink off broken glass. Streetlights were beginning to hum to life, throwing a weak orange glow onto the street.

Canady hadn’t shut up the entire ride, and Kylo was about ready to shove his knife in the man’s gut, if that’s what it would take to get him to quit babbling about the fucking dog.

Pulling up a little down the street from Plutt’s, he put the car in park, glancing at Canady, “You probably want to quit bitching about it in front of Snoke. I like dogs and think going out of our way to kill the thing would be dumb as shit, but I ain’t about to say that to Snoke’s face.”

Canady huffed, pushing his hat up as he glanced out the window. “Fucking shitheap.”

“I know.” Kylo killed the engine, eying the building with apprehension and excitement. He wanted Rey to be there and he really didn’t want her to be there and brain couldn’t seem to decide which would be better or worse.

God, this gilt was fucking with him in ways he couldn’t even comprehend.

“Just stay here and wait for me. This shouldn’t take long,” he said, opening his door.

“Stay?” Canady looked at him, exasperated. “I’m bored as fuck just from the ride out here. Least let me do something.”

Kylo rolled his eyes. “Keep a watch out here then.” He shut the door on Canady without waiting for a response, heading towards Plutt’s door.

The car door opened behind him and he heard Canady yell, “Meant something to do that wasn’t also boring as fuck!” He didn’t bother turning around and he heard the car door slam shut again. His mind was already preoccupied with other things as he pounded his fist against the door. Like how he was going to have to not kill this pathetic fat fuck today and worrying if Rey was home and what was he going to do if he saw her.

Floorboards creaked on the other side of the door. Someone heavy trying to move slow and not give away he was there peeking. He gave the door a sharp kick, enough to rattle it in its frame. “Open the fucking door, asshole!”

It creaked open and Plutt’s beady eyes peered out. “Oh, ah… sorry. Didn’t realize it was you Mr. —uh—”

“Ren.” Kylo put his hand on the door and shoved hard, making Plutt stumble back as it opened. “Sure you didn’t.” He took a deep breath as he stepped inside, searching for Rey’s scent without consciously deciding to do so, picking up a faint trace of it. “Payment is due,” he said, pulling himself to full height and looming over Plutt as he smirked. “You going to disappoint me and pay up, or do I get to listen to you squeal?”

“I got it, I got it.” Plutt held his hands up and took several steps back. “I’ll… I’ll go get it now.” He turned and waddled fast down the hallway towards the living area.

Kylo followed close behind, making sure Plutt was aware of his presence looming over him. There was no way he’d trust this knotless bastard out of his sight.

 


 

Weekends were pretty much the only time Rey could try to earn some extra money. She could finish with her work around the garage that she had to do for Plutt, maybe attempt to clean up a little bit around the kitchen so she wouldn’t feel utterly revolted every time she had to throw together something to eat, and then head out and try to find some odd jobs to do to make money.

She knew better than to do any extra work for Plutt, even if he offered to pay her for it. Early on she learned he’d either only give her a quarter of what he offered her or refuse to give her anything at all.

There wasn’t much around the area, but there was a junkyard a mile or so away, run by a extremely small, surly man who went by the name Teedo, and he always was looking for cheap labor. If there wasn’t any other work to be found, she could always count on finding something there, and while he underpaid her, she wasn’t exactly in a situation where she could turn down cash.

Six hours of salvaging and sorting parts and she slipped the thirty dollars Teedo handed her into her sock and shouldered her backpack for the mile walk home. The sun was setting, making the buildings cast long shadows as the weak street lights flickered on. Her mind wandered back to the Alpha—Kylo—from the coffee shop. She swore at night she could still smell him in her room and would see his eyes when she closed hers. Brown eyes. That little ring around his dilated pupils had been brown. Brown eyes and full lips that she could imagine would feel amazing against her skin—

Rey shook her head, she needed to stop letting her mind go down these tangents. If Poe and Snap were right, this guy was a criminal, was literally in the mob, and was most certainly bad news.

The last few days, she’d been looking for the cop car Captain Organa had said she was going to have stationed nearby. If they were there, and she kept reminding herself she had to trust they were there since she hadn’t been able to find them. The phone she’d been given was in her backpack, and she was keeping it with her at all times.

As Rey neared the garage, she noticed a big black cadillac parked a little down the block. A big fancy car like that stuck out in this neighborhood. She hesitated, slowing down and looking around. A breeze picked up, blowing trash down the street, along with the sharp scent of pine trees.

Snow falling on pine trees, cold and crisp and fresh.

His scent.

She froze, looking at the door, part of her terrified while another part of her seemed to be equally excited. That fog was trying to settle over her brain again.

Alpha is here yes good alpha good will take care of me.

No. No. This was not good, it was not good at all. What was wrong with her? She hurried past the door, moving along the rusty chain link fence that cordoned off Plutt’s property from the street until she felt safely downwind of the scent, then fumbled her bag off her shoulder.

Rey’s fingers wrapped around the phone just as someone seized her from behind. She squawked, bag falling from her grasp and phone bouncing on the pavement at her feet as she was pulled backwards. Two big arms wrapped around her, holding her against a big body as breaths puffed in her ear. She couldn’t see him, but under the scent of cigar smoke and whiskey, he smelled like cut grass that had been drying in the sun a few days mixed with the scent of burning leaves in the fall, mingled with faint musk of Alpha.

He hummed in amusement as she kicked her feet, growling and trying to fight out of his hold on her. “Well, what do we have here?”

 


 

The apartment was about as foul as the first time, though the kitchen looked like someone had attempted to stack the papers into neater piles, and straighten the clutter somewhat on the counter. Keeping one eye on Plutt as the man his keys, trying to open a locked drawer on a desk off in the corner, Kylo wandered closer to counter that divided the small kitchen from the rest of the room.

Under the harsh scent of whatever cleaner had been used to wipe down the counter was her scent, faint but bright enough to come through. She’d been right here, probably the one cleaning up, cause God knew that fat slob wouldn’t have done it.

His eyes darted back to Plutt as the Beta rooted in the drawer he’d opened. The man gave a nervous glance over his shoulder and Kylo slipped his hand into his suit jacket, letting it rest against the shoulder holster of his glock. It wasn’t likely the knotless little bitch would have the balls to try to pull a weapon, but better to be ready in case.

Plutt hesitated before straightening up and turning around, a wad of cash balled in his hand. As he went to shut the drawer, Kylo crossed the room and caught it before it could shut. Plutt let out a panicked squeak and jumped back, as Kylo pulled it open.

There was more cash scattered in the drawer, though not a lot, and rattling loose in the back was a small .38 revolver.

“Now you weren’t thinking bad thoughts, were you?” Kylo asked, picking the gun up and cocking his head.

“N-no. Course not, just keep my extra cash in there. Forgot I even had that gun!”

“That’s good. Cause we’re all friends here, right, Unkar?” He smirked, putting the revolver into his belt. The smile fell from his face as he extended his hand. “Pay up.”

Plutt handed over the money, outer bills damp with sweat from his palms. Kylo wrinkled his nose in distaste as he wandered back over to lean on the counter, counting the bills and breathing in Rey’s scent. He let his eyes drift up to look down towards the door towards her room, feeling the anxiety building again. Where was she right now? Was she safe?

Where he was looking caught Plutt’s attention, his beady eyes glancing at Rey’s bedroom door and then back to Kylo. Shifting his weight nervously, Plutt cleared his throat. “She’ll be back soon.”

Kylo snapped his head back to look at Plutt, eyes narrowing, “What?”

“You… eh… seem to be interested.” Plutt averted his eyes. “For a price you could have her just for night or you want her outright—”

A low growl rumbled in Kylo’s throat and Plutt wrung his hands together. “Stupid little bitch is on suppressants, but I know there’s ways to get her hot so she cooperates—”

The growl grew into a snarl.

“...N-Never mind.” Plutt took several steps back as Kylo straightened and walked slowly towards him. “Just making an offer.”

“Aren’t you just a pathetic piece of shit, trying to whore out your stepdaughter to save your own skin,” Kylo growled.

Plutt gritted his teeth. “Ain’t the first or the last who took in a brooder knowing she’d be worth something once she ripened up a bit. Bitch was always an investment—”

Whatever else Plutt was going say was cut off by Kylo’s fist connecting hard with the his overly large stomach. The man doubled over, gasping, and Kylo grabbed him by the shirt collar, pulling him upright. “You make this offer to anyone else yet?”

“N-Netal,” Plutt wheezed. “But she said she ain’t taking the risk of buying anything from me past the pills we already agreed to.”

“Netal’s got a brain, unlike you, you dumb fuck.” He ground his teeth together. “Snoke’s got a lien on everything you got.”

Except her. She’s mine. I’ll fucking rip out the throat’s of anyone who tries to take her, he thought, before punching Plutt directly on his fat, mushed nose. Plutt stumbled back and fell hard on the floor, blood leaking through his fingers covering his face.

“Anything happens to her I’m going to personally cut you apart limb from limb.” Kylo kicked the man hard in the ribs, getting a satisfying howl of pain. “Understand you knotless shit?”

Plutt nodded as he writhed on the floor. Kylo growled under his breath as he smoothed the front of his suit, shoving the cash into his pocket. “Good.”

He turned and headed out, leaving Plutt groaning on the floor.

 


 

“Oooph, quit that!” The man holding her huffed as she managed to land a backwards kick to his shin.

“Let me go!” Rey snarled, kicking her feet as he lifted her off the ground.

“Fuck…” The strange Alpha growled in annoyance. “You’re a feisty little one, ain’t you?” He let go with one of his arms and she struggled harder, hoping to break free from his grip, which made him tighten his hold. She bent down and tried to bite the arm still wrapped around her chest, but only managed to snag the edge of his jacket sleeve.

“Hey!” Fingers tangled in her hair and yanked her head to the side, exposing her neck. “I said quit! Fucking suit costs too much for you to chew on.” She jerked against the hand tangled in her hair as her attacker’s chin dipped, breaths tracing down from her ear to along her neck. His voice went back to sounding amused. “Never would hurt a pretty little thing like you.”

Lips brushed against her neck, right above her gland, and then she felt warm air of his breaths against it as he huffed. She flushed, gritting her teeth together and feeling utterly humiliated. His chin finally tilted back up again and she could feel his smile press against her cheek before he spoke in her ear. “Don’t you know the Pope says suppressants are a sin?”

“I’m not Catholic,” she growled, kicking and struggling again until he huffed in annoyance and jerked her hair. Her chest heaved from the exertion. “So Pope can go fuck himself.”

The man burst out laughing. “Oh you are a treat, aren’t you?” He let go of her hair and wrapped his hand instead around her throat, squeezing slightly. “What you doing wandering around this shithole at night?”

His hand tightened a little bit when she just growled in response, just enough to make her wheeze. “I live here,” she snapped.

She felt him turning his head and look back and forth. “That’s unfortunate.” He hummed again, huffing next to her neck. “Hmm mmmm. Smell good even on suppressants. Oh, could I teach you some things, little one.”

“Canady!” A voice snarled, eclipsing her own responding growl. She looked up to see him , striding towards the two of them. Dark eyes flashing dangerously from under the brim of his hat, upper lip curling to show his teeth.

The man holding her jumped. “Oh, Kylo, found this—”

“Let her go,” Kylo’s voice rumbled. Dangerous, low. His hands clenching and unclenching into fists. He was standing at full height, shoulders squared, an intimidating monster ready to attack.

Heat pooled low in her stomach. He was terrifying and magnificent.

The man—Canady?—hesitated for a second before he let her go, taking a few steps away from her. She bolted a few more steps away, but was boxed in between the two men and the fence. Her back pressed against the chain link, giving a quick glance at her attacker. He was dressed in that same ridiculous suit, hat perched on top a balding head of red hair.

“Jesus, relax already, Ren. Was just keeping watch like you asked.” Canady squared his shoulders, posturing ever so slightly without pushing it to the point that would be a challenge. “Girl was snooping around—”

“She’s Plutt’s,” Kylo cut Canady off. Rey bared her teeth. Fuck that, she wasn’t anyone’s property. Kylo’s eyes flicked to her and she swore she saw the corners of his mouth curve up at her reaction. He walked over to her fallen bag and phone.

“Plutt’s?” Canady raised an eyebrow, looking at her from head to toe.

Kylo growled. Rey was pretty sure she could see him shaking with restraint. “Go wait in the car,” he snapped, picking up her backpack and phone, glaring at Canady. As he straightened he stiffened, nose twitching, and his gaze snapped away from the other Alpha to look down at the phone.

He sniffed it once, eyebrows knitting together.

He looked back up at Canady, who hadn’t moved, flashing his teeth. “I said to go wait in the fucking car.”

The other Alpha hesitated, gritting his teeth, and then broke eye contact. “Fine, hurry up though, I’m done with this bullshit.” He stormed off towards the car parked up the street, Kylo watching him go. Rey pressed her legs together and tried to tell herself she didn’t find this show of domination over another Alpha stimulating in inappropriate ways.

She really needed to get out of here. Kylo was still fixated on Canady, so she edged over a few steps along the fence before making a break past him towards the front door to the garage.

“Hey!” Kylo whirled before she could make it past him, grabbing her by the elbow and spinning her around. She twisted in his grasp and slapped at his face. He didn’t try to stop her, instead just held her arm firmly, pushing her back into the fence. His grip on her released, but his hands slammed into the fence on either side of her, caging her in. His scent seemed to envelope her as he leaned in close. She huffed involuntarily even as she snarled, teeth bared.

“Let me go!” she snapped.

He pulled back an inch or two and hunched, the way he had back at the coffee shop, looking like he was trying to fold his massive frame in on itself, but didn't move his arms. She might be able to duck under them, but he’d catch her again.

“Need to talk to you,” he murmured, dark eyes searching hers. His pupils were blown wide with just the thinnest line of brown along the edge. But they were gentle, soft—a complete contrast to how he had looked a few moments ago while growling at Canady. “They aren’t going to protect you.”

Rey’s heart skipped a beat, growing anxiety fighting against the way his scent seemed to make her want to relax. Make her want to lean into his arms and let him envelope her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“The cops aren’t going to protect you.” He pulled one arm from the fence and showed her the Blackberry she’d dropped. “Best they’re worthless, worst they’ll use you to get what they want.” His voice was soft, gentle, almost hypnotic. He leaned closer. “I can protect you—”

That broke through the haze she was falling under. “Protect me? What? By bringing your buddy who just manhandled me here?”

He flinched and pulled back slightly, looking like a kicked puppy, and she fought an urge to apologize and try to comfort him. She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, he sure as all hell didn’t deserve an apology and the fact that some part of her seemed to think he deserved one just made her angrier.

“You feel it too,” he said, softly, and she snapped her eyes open to glare into his. “Yeah, you do, don’t you?”

Swallowing, she stared into Kylo’s eyes, wanting to tell him that he was crazy, that she didn’t know what he was talking about.

Except she did, even if she didn’t know what it was anymore than he did. So she kept her mouth shut. He sighed, glancing towards the car Canady was waiting in, cocking his head. “You want me to kill him?”

Rey blinked. “What?”

“For touching you? Say it and I’ll do it.”

It was hard to tell if he was serious or not. She shook her head. “I—no. What the hell kind of thing is that to even ask me?”

Kylo shrugged, reaching over and brushing his hand down her arm. “Just wanted you to know I’d do it, if you wanted me to.” His hand rubbed her shoulder, then back to her arm. The relaxed haze returned as his scent seemed to grow stronger. It was weird but kind of nice, kind of like he was petting her—

Her eyes widened and she slapped his hand away. “Stop that!”

His cheeks reddened as he looked away, sheepish, huffing once. “He got his scent all over you,” he muttered.

At least he didn’t deny that he’d been rubbing his carpel scent gland up and down on her. “I don’t want your scent all over me either.”

Except she did. There was some part of her that was as happy as could be that he’d rubbed his scent over Canady’s. Which made the part of her that was infuriated and indignant all the more upset. “I don’t belong to you, or Plutt, or anyone! And I don’t need your help!”

Kylo sighed and looked back up at her, staring into her eyes a moment before offering her backpack to her. She snatched it from him and he backed away. Her eyes darted to the phone as he wrapped his hands around it. It wasn’t until he snapped the back cover on she realized what he was doing.

“Hey!” she snapped as he tossed her the phone back, battery still in his hand. “Give me that!”

He chucked it over her head, over the fence into Plutt’s yard, where it clattered amid the junk scattered about. Rey stared, finding it was going to be hard in the daylight. At night it was going to be impossible.

Teeth bared, she turned, back to Kylo, who shrugged, a small smirk on his face, “Sorry, but we need to be long gone before you call your friends .” The smirk faded into a gentle smile before he turned and headed to his car. “See you around, Rey.”

 


 

They were a couple miles away before Kylo let himself breath again.

Canady was pissed and sullen, thankfully keeping quiet. Kylo was pretty sure the man was completely oblivious to how close he’d been to having his throat ripped out. Even now, when he thought about his Canady’s hands on Rey it was nearly enough to make Kylo pull off the road and beat the man senseless.

He’d been pretty sure Rey wasn’t going to take him up on his offer to take out Canady for touching her, and he’d offered it with the expectation she’d refuse just as she did. But if she had said yes? Canady would have a knife in his neck right now.

Which would have been hard to explain to Snoke, but he would have done it anyway. Good that he hadn’t, cause he already had enough to worry about.

Girl was working with the cops. Organa’s scent was all over that phone. He’d have recognized it anywhere. Rey didn’t realize this was only going to bring her more trouble. Cops, just like the system they protected, were good for nothing but fucking you over. Kylo was the only person she could count on to protect her.

He had to protect her.

“What was up with that gilt?” Canady asked, voice still sounding petulant. Kylo bared his teeth swinging one arm sideways to slam his fist into Canady’s nose. It crunched in a satisfying way.

“Ah fuck!” Canady covered his face with his hands as blood dripped through them. “The fuck that was for?”

Kylo growled low. “I told you to stay in the fucking car.”

Chapter Text

After an hour of searching through the junk heap the next morning Rey felt like crying, or finding Kylo and kicking the shit out of him, or both. Finding the battery was looking more and more like an impossible task.

At least Plutt was sleeping off his latest bender so he wouldn’t be a bother.

She crouched down to peer under a Buick that was more rust than metal at this point, reminding herself that she still had her own cell phone in her room. There wasn’t much money left on her plan, and it wasn’t a secure line or whatever. Kylo already seemed to know she was in contact with the cops, so it probably didn’t even matter.

This was more principal, she wanted that damn battery back. Fuck that stupid fucking Alpha and his stupid fucking smile and his stupidly amazing scent. A shiver ran down her spine at the thought of him, a flash of heat radiating through her.

Last night she'd slept fitfully, Kylo and his stupid smile haunting her dreams.

Footsteps crunched on broken glass somewhere behind her, and the scent of body odor and Alpha musk was like a punch in nose. She looked over her shoulder to see one of Plutt’s Alpha goons leaning against the wall of the garage, leering at her through strands of greasy brown hair.

“Fuck off,” she snapped, before crouching down to take one last look under the car.

“Lose somethin’?” he drawled behind her.

“Fuck. Off.” She pushed herself to her knees and glared at him. It had been years since she bothered to learn any of Plutt’s goon’s names, and she didn’t know this one’s. He’d been working in the garage for a year or so, and she hadn’t crossed paths with him much.

He smiled, flashing a smile missing more than a few teeth. “Where’s the Boss?”

“Probably sleeping off his hangover.”

“Huh.” The Alpha walked closer and smiled again. It wasn’t a particularly nice smile. “Drone’s doing that a lot lately.”

“Yeah,” a voice joined in, one of the other boys walking over. She narrowed her eyes. This was the asshole she had caught in her room a ways back. “Seems like the ugly old Blobfish might have gotten himself in over his head or something.”

Rey glanced between the two of them, the hair starting to prickle on the back of her neck. Chances are they were just fucking with her, but if they did decide to try something she wasn’t sure she could take them both. “I wouldn’t know.”

“Ain’t paid us this week.” The first Alpha’s nostrils flared as he moved closer, side stepping over to the left slightly while the second Alpha filled in the space to the right. “Checks were supposed to go out yesterday.”

“You’ll have to discuss it with him,” Rey swallowed, looking down. “Actually, why don’t I go get him for you—” she tried to dart between the two of them quickly, but the second one grabbed her arm. Rey jerked back, twisting enough to nail a kick to his shin. He yelped, releasing his grip on her. Before she could run a pair of big hands grabbed her shoulders and shoved her hard, sending her into the chain link fence.

The first Alpha closed in, caging her against the fence. She flashed her teeth at him as he huffed, licking his lips and flashing her that unpleasant smile. “You smell even nicer than normal.”

“Plutt’ll cut your fucking knot off if you try anything.”

He laughed, “Money’s the only reason any of us put up with that knotless fuckwit. And the money ain’t coming now.”

“And word on the street is he’s a fucking zombie anyway.” The second Alpha limped closer, glaring at her over the first one’s shoulder. “Fuck with the big dogs and they rip your throat out and piss on your cooling corpse.”

“If we don’t get our pay, maybe we need to take what’s due in trade.” The first Alpha leaned closer, and a low, warning growl rumbled in Rey’s throat. He laughed, glancing over his shoulder at the other Alpha, “Feisty, ain’t she?”

“Careful, she’s a tough little bitch—”

Rey jerked forward, slamming her into the Alpha’s forehead hard enough that light’s flashed behind her eyes. It worked, though, sending him stumbling backwards and giving her enough space to bolt past him.

And then nearly collided into someone.

“Everything okay here?”

A woman was standing on the gravel walk, brown eyes glancing between Rey and the Alpha boys calmly. She was around Rey’s height, dressed in a light jacket that hung down past her hips and worn jeans. Her black hair was pulled back into a ponytail.

“Uh,” Rey stammered, not sure what to make of this stranger. She took a breath and she picked up faint briney Omega clinging to the woman’s scent. Rey blinked at her in surprise.

“The fuck are you?” one of the Alpha’s growled, huffing once as he picked up on the stranger’s scent.

“A friend of Rey’s,” the woman put a steadying hand on Rey’s forearm. Rey furrowed her brow in confusion—she sure as hell had never met this woman in her life. “So why don’t you boys go fuck off so me and her can chat.”

The first Alpha’s eyes narrowed, casting a glance at the other Alpha, “Did that fucking brooder bitch just tell us to fuck off ?” He walked towards the stranger, growling, “Ain’t no brooder tells an Alpha what to do bit—”

What happened next was so fast that Rey could barely follow what happened. The woman’s fist slammed into the Alpha’s nose. He yowled and charged, only to be body slammed into the ground. She dodged the second Alpha as he lunged for her, using his own momentum to send him flying into the brick wall of the garage. His head cracked loudly against the brick and he slumped to the ground.

Rey gawked, mouth hanging open slightly. The woman seemed nonplussed, glancing between the two unconscious Alphas before looking at Rey. “I’m a friend of Poe’s,” she said, pulling her jacket open just long enough for Rey to see the flash of the metal badge hanging from her belt.

Rey blinked, oh… oh.

“Why don’t you come with me, Rey? I think we need to talk.”

 


 

The woman introduced herself as Jessika Pava as she led Rey a few blocks down away from the garage.

“What was going on back there?” Jessika asked, quietly.

“I think they were just fucking with me but it’s hard to tell with assholes like them,” Rey answered. “Plutt didn’t pay them this week and I think they’re a little ticked.”

“Fuck,” Jessika muttered. “Sounds like he’s crashing and burning faster than anyone expected.”

They lapsed into silence. Rey chewing her bottom lip nervously.

“So, you’re a c—?” she asked, breaking the silence.

Jessika shook her head sharply once, “Not yet.” She sighed as Rey blinked at her, perplexed. “You hungry?”

“Um, yeah, starving.”

A car was coming down the street, older, a little run down. Even so it still looked almost too nice for this neighborhood. It slowed down next to them and Jessika caught Rey’s arm as she abruptly halted.

The tinted driver’s side window rolled down slowly, a familiar voice speaking, “She okay?”

Snap smiled at her from the driver’s seat.

Jessika stepped over and opened a back door, glancing around nervously as she pushed Rey inside and then followed her in. Snap shot Rey a startled look as he rolled the window up. Jess gazed at him sharply and he quickly turned around and pulled away.

Rey looked between the two of them, “Um, where are we going?”

“Don’t know,” Snap hummed a second. “Denny’s maybe?” He glanced at Jessika in the rearview mirror, “Everything go okay, Jess? No one saw you?”

“Not exactly,” Jess muttered. Snap’s gaze jumped from the road back to Jess, and she sighed, rolling her eyes, “Some Alpha boys. They were a little disrespectful. I may have had to teach them a lesson about respect.”

Snap groaned, “The idea was to not stand out, Jess.”

“No, the idea was to not scream cop like it would of if you went over there. Not standing out wasn’t going to happen. But it probably won’t even cross those knot-brained twits that a brooder could ever be a cop.” Jess glanced over at Rey. “We’re trying to not blow your cover that you’re working with us. The boys on watch last night when your phone’s signal blipped off the radar aren’t going to pass for anything but cops. Without knowing if something was wrong or not, we couldn’t risk sending them over to investigate.”

“Poe wanted to send ‘em anyway, but Leia overruled him,” Snap sighed. “Glad you’re okay. When Jess’ informant passed on that FO payed Plutt a visit last night, we got really worried.”

Rey shifted in her seat, “You knew something could have been wrong but didn’t send anyone?”

They were silent, casting a quick glance at each other. A confusing mix of emotions overwhelmed her, leaving her unsure if she wanted to burst into tears or start punching someone. “What good is it having the cops watching over me if they won’t come to help if something might be wrong?”

“Rey.” Snap’s voice was a little strained. “If we knew for sure there was a problem, we’d have sent in the calvary. But for all we knew you turned the phone off yourself.”

“You have to understand how big this case is,” Jess added, reaching over and squeezing Rey’s shoulder. “First Order is the biggest syndicate in this city and there’s a chance we this mess will lead us to some of the top enforcers, maybe even Snoke. We can’t risk blowing our cover without knowing for sure there was a problem.”

She jerked away from Jess, tears stinging her eyes.

“Best they’re worthless, worst they’ll use you to get what they want.”

Kylo’s words echoed in head. Was that it? Was she just a pawn for the cops just like she was a pawn for Plutt’s little game?

Rage bubbled in her chest and she punched the car door, “Pull over, I want to out.”

“Rey…” Jess started, voice calm, “Let’s just go get some breakfast, okay? We can talk more about this.”

Snap was tense in the front seat. “Fuck,” he muttered, rolling his window down and practically leaning his head out the window.

“What are you even doing?” she swiped her hand over her eyes, irritated. “Just let me out.”

“He just needs some air,” Jess gave her a forced smile. “You’re agitated and kicking up some pheromones. So why don’t you relax, we’ll get something to eat, and we can talk about all of this.”

“Shouldn’t a fucking cop be able to handle being around an agitated suppressed Omega?” Rey slammed her fist against the door one more time before sinking back against the seat. She folded her arms, once again not sure if she wanted to scream or cry or pout. Her emotions just seemed everywhere.

Jess was quiet for a long beat, “You’re on suppressants?”

“Of course I am,” Rey snapped. What kind of stupid question was that? “Since I had my first preheat.”

“Really… maybe we can chat a bit more about this too while we eat.”

“Fine. Dennys. Get me a fucking grand slam. I’m starving,” Rey turned away, glaring out the window.

 


 

Any regrets about not insisting they let her out of the car went away once Rey got food in front of her. She couldn’t remember every being this ravenous in her life. It calmed her down a bit and she answered the detectives’ questions, though she kept a lot of the details about her interaction with Kylo to herself. Snap and Jess sat across from her in the booth, taking notes as they prodded her for information.

“Who you think it was that grabbed her?” Snap asked Jess, looking up from his notes. He still seemed a little tense and strained around Rey. “I can’t tell all those fucking gingers apart.”

“Canady.” Jess sipped her coffee. Rey ignored them, adding more syrup to what was left of her pancakes before shoveling another forkful into her mouth.

“Your contact tell you that?”

“No. Process of elimination. An Alpha so we know it isn’t that douche Hux.” Jess glanced at Rey and then waved to the waiter, asking for extra sides of bacon and hashbrowns.

“What about Rodinon? He’s an Alpha.”

“From what I’ve heard he’s still holed up with his girl on the west side keeping his knot wet.”

“You got a charming way with words, Jess.” Snap tapped his notebook thoughtfully. “Ren doesn't usually work with anyone. Were they expecting a fight?”

“I don't think so. My source would mentioned it.” Jess glanced at Snap, “Would you mind going out to the car and putting a new battery in Rey's phone? And see if you can find another charged one we can give her to keep as back up?”

Snap closed his notebook and stood up, holding out his hand to Rey. It took her a second to realize he wanted the phone Leia had given her. She dropped her fork and fished it out of her pocket, handing it over.

Once he was gone Jess picked up her coffee, “So you mentioned you're on suppressants…”

The waiter came and dropped off the side of bacon and hashbrowns. Rey immediately grabbed a slice of bacon and shoved it in her mouth, nodding, “Planned Parenthood clinic provides it free of charge.”

“Hm mm… yeah they've got a good program.” Jess watched Rey over her coffee cup. “For the next week, I think you should take a double dose.”

Rey pulled the hashbrowns over, looking at Jess in confusion, “Why? I'll run out before my next refill if I do that.”

“You said you've been on them since your first preheat?”

“Yeah.”

“Have never had a breakthrough heat?”

Rey shook her head, “Uh uh.”

“Yeah, I figured. So you've never been through a true heat cycle, right?”

“Thankfully.”

Jess set her coffee mug down, “Are you feeling a little strange today? Emotions a little unstable?”

“What the hell kind of question—”

“And hungrier?”

Rey shrugged, “Yeah, what about it?”

“You're starting to go into heat.”

Stopping mid-bite, Rey stared at Jess in disbelief before busting out laughing. “That's ridiculous.”

“It's early enough that if you up the suppressants you should be able stop it before you get to far along,” Jess continued, face serious. “You’re throwing off pheromones like crazy right now. You're emotional instability is because your body is producing excess hormones as it starts to rev up. And you're appetite is increasing because your body is preparing for a week of… well… let's just call it strenuous activities.”

“You're serious?” Rey swallowed and dropped her fork. She couldn't be going into heat. She wasn't going to lose control over herself and become a mewling fuck-needy animal controlled by her instincts. No. No!

Her growing horror must have been obvious. Jess reached over and squeezed Rey's hand, “No need to panic. Like I said, you're early enough that you can stop it before it starts.”

“But…”

“We can get you more if you can’t get an early refill. Just take the double dose, okay?”

Rey nodded, wringing her hands. They stuck together, sticky with pancake syrup, she winced and pulled them apart. “What if it doesn’t work?”

“It will,” Jess answered calmly.

“But if it doesn’t…” Rey shook her head. She was completely vulnerable at Plutt’s. Hell, she was vulnerable wherever she went. If she lost control over herself someone would be waiting to take advantage.

“Then we’ll get you to a safe place,” Jess leaned across the table. “There’s ways to get through heats solo and clinics that will help with that. But you should be fine to stop this with suppressants, okay? Just relax.”

“Okay.” Rey nodded once, “Okay.” She paused, taking a breath, “You… I mean, you’ve had… um…”

Jess raised her eyebrows, “Yes, I’ve had heats, if that’s what you’re trying to ask.”

Heat rushed to Rey’s cheeks, “Is it… do you really lose control?”

There was an awkward stretch of silence that made Rey regret asking, before Jess finally sighed, “I want to be able to tell you no, but—now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of moments of clarity when you’re sated, but at the height of a heat there’s really only one thing that matters. It’s why you want to make sure you’re in a safe place, or with a safe partner. Somewhere you can be kept safe and helped, or with someone who won’t take advantage of you.”

Rey shivered, and Jess shook her head. “Heat isn’t a bad thing. It is… ah… enjoyable, when you have them on your own terms. I know it sounds terrifying, maybe even humiliating, but it’s not unless it’s under the wrong circumstances.”

They sat in silence for a minute before Jess spoke again, “You’re going to be fine, honey. We’re not going to let anything happen to you.”

Looking up from the table, Rey met Jess’ eyes and nodded once, wishing she really thought she could trust that they would really protect her.

 


 

Rey spent the next few days expecting the worst, keeping the phone and the extra battery on her at all times, looking over her shoulder expecting someone to be lurking there. Despite her anxiety, everything seemed fairly normal. Plutt’s Alpha boys were leaving her alone, Kylo was nowhere to be seen, and Plutt, while agitated, was pretty much his normal asshole self. She did her chores, went to school, did her homework, and stayed out of Plutt’s way. Pretty much her normal routine life.

Thankfully Jess seemed to have been right, taking the double dose of suppressants had stopped whatever was starting, and Rey felt fairly normal again. Kylo still seemed to seep into her thoughts though, and his scent seemed burned into her nostrils. Whenever she thought about him she would start feeling odd, flushed and light headed, heat pooling low in her stomach. She’d never really touched herself, and wasn’t entirely sure what to do to relieve the tension, so she rutted against her pillow until she got some relief.

By Thursday she was finally starting to relax a bit. She spent the morning decluttering the spilled over piles of papers and other junk into stacks. Under a pile of newspapers she found a pile of mail, mostly bills, from God knew when. Rey rolled her eyes and dropped the mail on his desk as she let for school, hoping that he hadn’t missed paying the electric bill again.

The day went by with nothing much to note.

She supposed later that she should have known better to expect the lull to continue.

“GIRL!” Plutt’s angry voice greeted her as soon as she opened the door.

Rey swore under her breath as she closed the door behind her.

“GIRL, GET IN HERE NOW!”

Steeling herself, she walked through the narrow hallway to the apartment, where Plutt stood, red faced in the living room. He stomped over and shoved a letter into her face, “Explain this!” His voice got higher, edging towards panic, “Explain what the hell this is!”

It was impossible to read anything with the paper shoved that close to her face. Rey grabbed it and yanked it out of Plutt’s fist, looking down to see an official university header.

“Uh,” she mumbled, scanning the letter.

Mr. Plutt, you, and the student under your guardianship, have been randomly selected for a financial aid audit. These audits are used to ensure that federal and state provided funding are being used properly for educational and related living expenses. This can be provided in the form of bank statement showing any funding not yet spent and receipts showing money spent thus far has gone to valid expenses—transportation, food, text books, and other educational supplies. In lieu of receipts, physical items such as text books and supplies that were purchased may be shown to the auditing team. Failure to cooperate will result in this account being passed to the IRS for further investigation.

Shit.

She skimmed through the rest of the letter, down Maz Katana’s signature at the bottom.

“They want proof that my grants are being used for what they’re supposed to be used for,” she said, quietly. “Receipts and stuff. Or proof the money hasn’t been spent.”

“Ain’t got that money anymore,” Plutt spat, face getting redder. “What happens if I tell them I lost the receipts?”

“Um, I think they investigate further into you and your business's finances.”

Plutt’s red face paled, “They can’t do that. They ain’t got no right to do that!” He snatched the letter from Rey’s hand, looking down at it with a pained expression, “What does it mean account could be passed to the IRS? They mean they get the feds involved?”

“I… guess so.”

“Fucking Feds might start looking at my business cause of this?” Plutt’s voice wavered.

Rey tensed, ready to run if Plutt exploded. Instead, he just stared at her a minute before letting the letter drop from his hand. It fluttered to the floor as he turned and stumbled over to the fridge, grabbing a beer and chugging it. Wiping his hand across his mouth as he finished, he glowered at Rey with beady eyes. “Get out of my sight,” he hissed at her.

She obliged, hurrying to her room before Plutt’s mood could change and he lost his shit at her over this.

 


 

“You might not be much to look at, kid, but it don't matter cause you got it where it counts.”

His dad's words flitted through Kylo’s head as he let his Cadillac idle next to an abandoned warehouse down the street from Plutt’s. He smirked to himself, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, wondering if the double entendre in that statement had been intentional. Probably not—he’d been eight when his father said it while trying to comfort him after being teased in school—but with his dad it would be pretty hard to know for sure. Han’s sense of humor was always a little bit inappropriate.

It had been back before he was old enough to be embarrassed about his parents atypical relationship and horrified at being seen out in public with an Omega father. His mother was too busy to be much of a worry to be seen with, though she was high profile enough that he had always been paranoid that someone would out that he was her son. Thankfully back then, with re-election always looming on the horizon, she seemed interested herself on keeping her family out of the spotlight. She did a good job of it, really, until his father’s history caught up with them.

Kylo sighed, staring down the street at the garage. He’d kept an eye on her from a distance as she walked from the bus stop till she disappeared into Plutt’s trash heap. Keeping an eye on her but keeping his distance so he wouldn’t agitate her. It was becoming beyond a slight obsession at this point to keep tabs on his girl, but he didn’t know how to stop, or how to approach her without scaring her.

Glancing down at the time, he winced. There was a job across town he needed to do, and he was just sitting and staring at a building. Shifting into gear, he gave the garage one more look before pulling away.

If everything went smooth tonight, he would be able to make it back here to watch her head to school in the morning.

 


 

Rey woke up an unfamiliar voice talking in Plutt’s living room.

“—safe passage.” The voice was muffled through her door, but the accent was strange—Scottish maybe? “For the right payment, of course.”

Furrowing her brow, she got out of bed and cracked open the door to peer towards the living room. Plutt was on the couch, wringing his hands, talking to a man in a black leather jacket who was flanked by several more men in red tracksuits. Alpha musk tickled her nose.

“Told you, you can take all the goods I got. Just as long as you get me out of here and away from the fucking First Order.”

“Yes, the enhancers. What about cash, how much?”

“C-cash? I—” Plutt looked confused.

“You want Guavian Death Gang’s protection? We’re going to need more than a few drugs for that.” Black-Leather-Jacket smirked.

“A few—” Plutt sputtered, turning red. “There’s at least 50k worth of them enhancers!”

“I hope you haven’t been wasting our time here, Mr. Plutt?” Black-Jacket cocked his head. “Perhaps we should be leaving?”

“No! No! I, uh, got a little cash, a few grand…” Black-Jacket clucked his tongue as if disapproving, and Plutt continued quickly, “And the girl, the girl too! You take all of it if you can help me disappear!”

Rey froze, goosebumps prickling down her arms. She glanced over her shoulder where her backpack sat on the floor next to her bed. The phone was in the front pocket—she needed to call for help now .

Before she could turn the door to her room jerked all the way open and a red gloved hand wrapped around her wrist, jerking her out of the room.

“And this is the lass in question?” Black-Jacket smiled as she was dragged over to him, another of the red track suits coming over to help restrain her when she nearly fought her way out of the first man’s grip. Black-Jacket grabbed her by the chin, “Feisty little thing. Tell your new friend Bala Tik your name?”

“It’s R—” Plutt started, only to be cut off as one of the Bala Tik’s henchmen punched him hard in the stomach.

“Didn’t ask you to speak for her, now did I?” Bala squeezed Rey’s chin harder and she growled. “Your name, Omega?”

“Fuck you,” she snarled.

Bala raised his eyebrows and laughed, glancing over his shoulder at one of his henchmen, “I don’t know, boys, maybe it’d be worth having a little fun with this one before we go? Teach her what her place is?”

Plutt darted his eyes warily at the Alphas as they murmured in approval.

“Plus we can check the potency Mr. Plutt’s product.” Bala grinned as Rey jerked her face out of his hand. In a panicked blur, she found herself being wrestled into a chair and restrained. A needle pricked her upper arm. Bala patted her cheek, “I think you’ll be much more appreciative of us soon.” She snapped at his hand as he pulled away, drawing another laugh from his men.

“Drugs, cash, the gilt…” Bala turned to look at Plutt. “For protection and safe passage out of First Order territory—I think we have a deal.”

Chapter Text

A strange unease had settled over him as he drove across the city. It was like a string was wrapped around his soul and trying to pull him back to Rey.

Kylo ignored it, reminding himself he had a job to do. There was a situation that needed to be cleaned up and judging from the fact Snoke had personally called him in to handle it, there was a high probability it was going to be ugly.

The bright street lights reflected off his windshield as he drove past the lines of identical three story brick buildings. Small trees were planted in wrought iron grates, evenly spaced down the streets. The landscaping of the front yards looked meticulously maintained.

His jaw worked as he passed by the address he’d been given, pulling up in a shadowed parking spot halfway down the block. Popping his trunk, he glanced up and down the street, not wanting to be seen by some pedestrian taking his dog for a late night walk. Once he was sure no one was around, he grabbed two bags out of the trunk, shouldering them and heading down to the house.

Kylo set the bags down at his feet and knocked, once, then five times, then three. An agreed upon pattern that would let his contact know who he was. He rubbed a hand over his mouth and waited.

Light flooded out as the door was ripped open, and he closed his eyes against the sudden brightness on reflex. “What the fuck took you so long?” a voice hissed.

He blinked, eyes already narrowing at the man standing in the doorway. Who the fuck did this guy think he was talking to? This lowly little grunt wasn’t a big enough fish for him to even know about by name.

As his vision cleared he noticed two things. First, the man—a Beta with narrow features and brown eyes—blanching slightly as he realized he wasn’t dealing with another foot soldier, and second, the blood.

It was splattered on the wall behind him, pooled on the floor. The arm of a body in view laying in it. If anyone walked by right now, it would be in plain view to them since this imbecile had the door thrown open wide.

Letting out a growl, he grabbed the man the throat and shoved him back further inside, ignoring him as he slipped and fell in the blood, instead grabbing his bags and stepping quickly over the threshold of the house, turning and closing the door behind him.

“You want someone to see this shit?” he snapped. He set the bags down in the doorway and bent over, unzipping the first one and pulling out a pair of disposable shoe covers that he quickly snapped over his feet. Then taking out a pair of coveralls that he stepped into and snapped over his suit.

“S-sorry,” the man said, slipping as he got to his feet and nearly falling. Kylo glanced him up and down, as he snapped on a pair of latex gloves, noting the blood soaking into his black suit, coating his hands and splattered on his face. The man pulled his hat off, wringing it in his hands, “Things got a little out of hand here.”

Covered up, Kylo proceeded to walk through the house, taking note of this disaster. There was the body just near the foyer, a woman. Another two bodies in the living room, man and a woman. A man in the kitchen who looked to have been bludgeoned before being shot. Jesus fucking Christ, this was a mess.

The man trailed behind him, fumbling out a cigarette, “This was just supposed to be routine deal and the son of a bitch tried—”

“This it?” Kylo asked, turning and brushing past the idiot and heading to the second floor.

“Yeah, yeah! Just them four. Wasn’t even supposed to be anyone else here but that assho—”

“Shut up and stay down here,” Kylo snapped as he started up the stairs. The man closed his mouth, waiting at the bottom of the steps as Kylo did a quick sweep to confirm the second and third floors were empty and there was no additional evidence up there that needed special attention.

When he came back down the man shifting his weight nervously, bloody hands in his pockets and cigarette hanging from his lips. Kylo came to a stop a few steps above him, leaning on the railing, “What’s your name?”

“Shay. Rumitar Shay. I—”

“Your contact was the guy in the kitchen?”

“Uh, yeah, fucking asshole he—”

Kylo cut Shay off again, “And the other three? Collateral damage?”

“One in the hall is his wife. Don’t know who the fuck the other two were.”

Three wrong place wrong time, two of which were unknowns. Great.

Kylo preferred to do a quiet clean up, wipe away the evidence, make the bodies disappear. But this was a disaster. Too much blood, too much risk. As much as he hated to do a burn, he didn’t think this was salvageable.

He pulled a plastic bag out of his coveralls’ pocket, “Your piece.”

“Wh-what?”

Kylo raised his eyebrows in annoyance, “Your fucking gun. The murder weapon. Unless you used something else?”

“Oh, I, uh, no.” Shay fumbled his gun out of his shoulder holster, dropping it into the bag. “None of this would have happened if that fucking prick didn’t threaten me. Threatened to go to Guavian Death Gang if I didn’t give him the deal he wanted.”

“What?” Kylo snapped his head up. First Order had run Guavian Death Gang out of the city years ago. He knew that better than anyone, having play his role in those gang wars. “GDG wouldn’t dare set foot in First Order territory.”

“Guy claimed Bala Tik himself was in town and would be willing to make a deal.”

Kylo stiffened at the name, eyes narrowing.

Hey Solo!

He ground his teeth together as he sealed the gun in the bag. It would be sanitized and destroyed somewhere far from here—never good to leave it at the crime scene. He wouldn’t trust a burn to take care of something that important.

Bala Tik. Fuck. That fucking Scottish accent was seared into his memory. He’d sworn that if he ever saw that son of a bitch again he would kill him.

Think you were just going to get away with double crossing us?

Kylo shook his head, this was a distraction he didn’t need. It needed to be done thoroughly. Evidence could survive a fire if you weren’t careful. No, he could figure out what this all meant later.

Taking the gun and packing it into one of his bags, he pulled out a bottle of accelerant and walked into the living room, setting the bottles down on the floor. It would burn fast and hot. Arson would be obvious, but the evidence would be incinerated.

Shay was still trailing behind him like needy puppy.

He sighed inwardly. Snoke had told him to use his best judgement once he assessed the situation, but what the old man wanted had been clear. Snoke hated a fuck up, and a fuck up that could put the First Order at risk was not forgivable.

“You need anything else from me?” Shay asked as Kylo circled around him, pretending to be studying the room.

“Just one more thing,” Kylo answered, before moving in a blur, grabbing Shay from behind and snapping his neck in one smooth motion.

He dropped the body on the floor next to the man’s victims, massaging the back of his neck as he looked one more time around.

Now just to clean this mess up. Then he could get back to keep an eye on Rey.

 


 

A bead of sweat ran down her temple and dripped down onto the floor. Rey took a deep breath, hunched over in the chair, shivering even as she felt like she was burning up. Her neck itched around her scent glands, and tied to this fucking chair she couldn’t scratch them. It was going to drive her insane.

Plutt had slunk out of the room at one point to pack a bag, and Bala Tik had ordered his minions to search the garage for anything else of value they might want to take with them. She could hear them and smell them still as they clomped around. The musk of the Alphas seemed to be growing more intense and the taste of their scent seemed to burn the back of her throat. It made the thinking part of her brain even more revolted at what was happening. The animal part of her brain seemed weirdly torn, unable to stop her from reacting physically to the pheromones as they stimulated her further, yet some other part recoiled angrily from the scents. It was the wrong scent.

They were not the right Alpha, and even the animal part of her brain seemed intent to fight against the physical reactions it couldn’t stop.

A bag was thrown on the table, startling her. She jerked back and nearly flipped the chair she was tied to over. Bala Tik caught it before she went over, shoving it back upright. He leaned over her, smiling, and the musk seemed to settle over her like a smothering blanket. It made her want to throw up even as her lower belly cramped and dampness grew between her legs.

“Now now, lass. You might hurt yourself.” Bala brushed a hand against her forehead, smirking as she jerked away from him. “Feeling a bit warm?”

“Go to hell,” she rasped, baring her teeth at him.

He clucked his tongue disapprovingly and sat down, pulling the bag over to him. Her eyes narrowed as she recognized her backpack. “You're going to take some breaking, aren’t you, pet? Maybe I’ll have to take on that task personally for awhile before we start offering you out.” Bala unzipped her bag, beginning to root through it, clucking his tongue again. “That shot we gave you should have you mewling for us by now.”

“What can I say, your faces are a turn off,” she panted, hunching over as another cramp hit her.

Bala ignored her, pulling her books out of the bag and tossing them on the floor. “It’s a matter of time now,” he leaned towards her and huffed, licking his lips as he sat back again. “But we’ve got a bit of travelling to do, and the boys all want a taste before we hit the road. Could just pin you down and fuck you, I suppose, but it’s so much better you beg for it.”

Rey growled, a low warning in her throat, which only earned her a laugh as Bala rooted through her bag again. “Your friend Plutt mentioned you were on suppressants, didn’t see them in your room so this seemed a likely place to look. Figure it’s worth checking the dosage to see if you need a touch more help to speed this along.” A bottle rattled as he pulled a prescription bottle out of the bag and let the backpack fall to the floor under the table. She glared down at it as Bala hummed, “What you got should be enough to overpower this.” Bala tossed it to the floor and stood up, winking at her, “You’re just a slow brooder to rev up, eh, lass? We’ll give you another hour or two.”

“And if you’re still not ready to play nice,” Bala chuckled as he headed out of the room, “there’s enough of us to make you cooperate.”

 


 

Kylo lit a cigarette he stole from Shay before dousing the body in accelerant, dangling his elbow out the window. The coveralls and shoe covers had been left behind in the house to burn with the rest of the evidence.

Using a delayed fuse gave him time to move the car a safe distance so people would be less likely to connect the strange car in their neighborhood with the house fire. He was a few blocks down now, waiting. Once he was sure the house was burning he’d be able to finally leave.

It couldn’t come soon enough.

His anxiety was growing with every passing minute, between the constant tug at the back of his mind that insisted he needed to get back to Rey and the memories now haunting him. It made it impossible to sit still. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and fidgeted, feeling too big for the seat and the car. Loosening his tie, he glanced at the time for the fourth time in the last minute.

Any time now… once it started it would go up fast and burn hot enough to destroy any evidence that could trace the murders or the arson to the First Order. Job done, he could go back and assure himself Rey was all right, then get in touch with some of his informants to see if there was any truth to Guavian Death Gang’s presence in the city.

Hey Solo!

Kylo shook his head, wondering if his father’s past would have never come out if GDG hadn’t found him? It was hard to say, really. His mother had enough political enemies that someone was bound to have dug up Han’s criminal past eventually. Maybe some overzealous reporter even, looking to make their career by exposing that the first female Alpha senator’s husband’s criminal records.

Being murdered in front of his son in broad daylight just put the media scent hounds on the case that much faster, likely to the delight of those in power who’d hated Leia for her designation and using her office to shake up the status quo. She hadn’t hid the fact that she was in an inverted mating, nor the fact that she had a child, but that had blown back into the forefront of the headlines with Han’s death. Mildly scandalous just on it’s own, it went to a new level as it was exposed that her husband had been a criminal—a smuggler who freelanced for some of the worst of the worst if they paid enough. A male Omega who fought back against the cage society had tried to put around him by playing fast and dirty.

No wonder their kid was having problems and was getting himself on the wrong side of the law, right? An Alpha boy without an Alpha male to raise him was bound to be trouble. Run that story too.

Kylo squeezed the steering wheel in growing agitation. He tried not to think of any of this shit. Not of watching his father bleed out in front of him from a gunshot to the chest. Not of the chaos that followed and the public scrutiny that had left him alone to wallow in his own guilt and the realization that the cruel things he’d said to Han in anger would now never be able to be taken back.

His mother had been too busy futilely trying to save her political career to mourn or make sure her husband’s killer was ever brought to justice, much less pay any attention to her son.

Light flickered down the block, building quickly. The fire had started. By the time the fire department got there, it would be an inferno.

He put the car the car into drive and pulled away before the neighbors woke up and started to come out to gawk at the burning building.

Finally, he could get back to check on his girl.

 


 

It was getting worse.

Rey wasn’t sure how much longer she had before she totally started to lose herself. She already felt on the edge of complete delirium, feverishly hot and thighs wet with slick. Her clothes felt like they were smothering her and her skin felt too tight. Need throbbed low in her stomach and between her legs, like an itch she needed desperately to scratch. It drew low whines out of her throat, no matter how much she tried to stop them.

“Shouldn’t we be going?”

Plutt’s voice. She didn’t look up as footsteps grew closer. Alpha pheromones tingled along the roof of her mouth and back of her throat, and her body reacted with another cramp that sent more slick down her leg, even as she felt herself recoil from the scent. It was the wrong scent, wrong Alphas.

Mate need mate

She shook her head, the dueling attraction and revulsion was bizarre and making her stomach churn. In a way, she was grateful, because it seemed to be the one thing that was keeping her from losing herself completely.

“Soon.” Bala’s scent tickled her nose as he approached and she turned her head away with a growl. He let out an annoyed huff, “You’re gilt is a stubborn little bitch, isn’t she?”

Rey turned her head to glare at them. Plutt was avoiding looking at her, shifting from foot to foot, his voice raising in pitch, “I want to get out of here—what if Ren or some of them other First Order goons show up? Your supposed to get me—”

“Ren? Kylo Ren?” Bala Tik’s head cocked slightly and laughed, “Oh, of course it would be that pain in the ass. Don’t worry about him, or any of the First Order.” Bala turned and walked towards Rey, pulling his gloves off. She tried to jerk away from him, but he grabbed her by the hair. “Going to make us do this the hard way, lass?”

“I’ll bite your fucking knots off if you try,” she hissed. Drawing a laugh from one of the red jackets who had walked up behind her.

Plutt looked away, raising his voice, “I got a right to be worried! Said you’d get me out of here and I want to get out—”

“Shut up, you whiny knotless little bitch.” Bala glared at Plutt coldly, pulling a switchblade out of his pocket and popping out the blade. Plutt blanched, snapping his mouth closed. “We can handle Solo’s lad or any of Snoke’s other soft knots. We’ll keep our end of the deal and get your pathetic ass out of First Order’s reach. But we’re going to get a taste of our new little pet first.” He cut through the rope tying Rey to the chair. She attempted to lunge out of it, but he dragged her up by her hair, slamming the knife into the table. The red jacketed goon hurried over to help restrain her, shoving her down to the floor.

From the corner of her eye she saw Plutt stiffen before turning to walk away.

“Come on now, so nice and wet for us, lass. Quit fighting what you know you want.” A hand cupped between her legs and she kicked out, panting as her face was shoved down to the floor.

There a sudden high pitched whine filling room, causing her attackers to freeze. It built in pitch and then there was a loud pop as the electricity cut out and the room went black. She blinked, eyes unadjusted to the dark.

“What the hell?” One of the men pressed his knee into her back.

Another loud bang, like a door being kicked open.

Then the gunfire started.

 


 

It had taken a lot of effort not to not just charge in like a bull when he’d gotten there and saw a man in the red leather jacket the GDG grunts wore walking to a van parked out in front. He knew what it meant, what the Blobfish was trying to pull, and likely what he’d be using to barter with.

Somehow he’d kept his growing panic and rage under control enough to improvise a plan, slipping quietly out of the car and stalking behind the man, breaking his neck, then rigging the building’s electrical to short out. He was going to be outnumbered, and could only hope that cutting the lights and taking them by surprise would give him enough of an edge. Kill all of them, find his girl.

If anything had happened to her—

He shook his head, not letting his thoughts go there as the building went dark and he kicked the door open, glock in his right hand. Cutting down two GDG men before their eyes could adjust to the dark.

The scent hit him hard enough to make him stagger. Rey’s scent. Omega scent. The scent of heat. It made his heart jump into his throat and his blood rush down to his cock. Shit.

If they had touched her he was going to rip them apart limb by limb.

Trying to ignore the way his body was reacting to the pheromones, he rushed into Plutt’s living quarters, diving to the floor as he was met by gunfire. Before he could get his bearings, he was hit hard as a man slammed into him, the butt of a gun slamming into the side of his head. Snarling, he slammed his elbow into his attacker’s chin, knocking him back enough for Kylo to turn and shoot him point blank into the chest.

Kylo threw the body off of him and leapt to his feet to face the other men across the room, raising his gun.

A bright light erupted across the room, the beam hitting him square in the face. His eyes slammed shut on reflex. Footsteps, he forced his eyes open but could only see a blur of red as the man slammed into him, knocking the gun from his hand and wrestling him into a choke hold. He grabbed at the arm around his throat.

“Hey, Solo!”

That voice.

That fucking voice.

He blinked across the room, the flashlight that had been use to blind him rolled on the floor, dimly illuminating the room. Bala Tik stood by a table, leveling a gun at Kylo. “Tell your dad I say hello when you meet him down in hell.” Bala smirked, ready to fire.

Then staggered sideways, a spray of blood fanning from his neck. As the he fell, Kylo saw the handle of a knife glinting in the man’s neck. The man holding Kylo loosened his grip in surprise, giving him the opportunity he needed to break out of the hold. He turned, slamming the man back into the wall, fumbling his knife out of his jacket pocket. The man’s fist connected with his head as Kylo drove the knife into his chest. Blood spurted as he stabbed him again, then again, before staggering back and letting him fall to the floor.

Slowly, he turned to see Rey standing, disheveled and panting, over Bala Tik’s body. Bala’s blood had sprayed across her face, and she trembled as she looked up to meet Kylo’s eyes. He took a step towards her as she let out a sob and crumpled into a heap on the floor.

Kylo started for her, when movement behind him made him spin. He caught a meaty arm, slamming its fat owner hard into the wall.

Plutt let out a panicked wheeze, blubbering out words that Kylo couldn’t make out and didn’t really care to anyway. Snarling like a wild animal, he spun the knife in his hand and sank it into Plutt’s stomach, then ripped the blade down to slice the pig open and leave him writhing on the floor.

He turned and stumbled over to Rey, picking her up and cradling her to his chest.

 


 

She nuzzled into Kylo’s chest, crying as he carried her outside.

His scent was everything, washing over her, soothing her, stopping her mind from replaying her stabbing the knife into Bala Tik’s neck and the feeling of his warm blood spraying into her face. They had let her go when Kylo had burst into the room. She had managed to scoot away from the fray, seeing an opportunity to try to run. But her feet had frozen in place as she saw Bala aiming a gun at Kylo. Rage bubbling through her, driving her forward to grab the switchblade Bala had left embedded in the table, stabbing him before he could hurt her Alpha.

“Shhh,” Kylo murmured quietly, “it’s okay.” He pressed his mouth against her throat and huffed, letting out a soft groan,that brought a new gush of slick out of her cunt, “Fuck.”

He shifted her weight and she blinked, eyes blurry with tears. A car door opened and he awkwardly climbed into the passenger seat, still holding her. Rey squirmed on his lap, feeling his erection hard against her thigh. She flushed, trying to scoot back, but his hands locked around her hips holding her in place.

“What—” she started, words cutting off in a trembling gasp as his hand slipped down between her legs, rubbing the wet fabric. “I—Kylo,” her voice rose into a whine as his hand slipped into her pants.

“Shhh, it’s okay.”

Rey squirmed, “I, no.”

“Rey,” his voice was soft, and it seemed to go straight to the most primal part of her brain.

She fought it, “Don’t—”

“Not going to hurt you,” he shushed her again. “You need this…”

“I don’t want—” His thumb pressing against her clit was like an electric shock through her body. She bucked against his hand, a needy whine coming from her throat.

“See?” He nuzzled her neck, mouthing her scent gland as he thumbed her clit. She moaned, pressing her forehead against his chest as she felt a thick finger sinking in side of her. Kylo let out a guttural groan, as he thrust gently, still thumbing her clit, “ Fuck , Rey. So slick and ready. Fuck.”

It didn’t take long, her orgasm crashed over her, her cunt clenching around his finger as she cried out. Relief washed over her as she collapsed, boneless and exhausted against Kylo’s shoulder. The need that had been growing for the last hours fading to something numbed and dull.

“Good girl,” he murmured. She could hear him licking her slick and come from his fingers, and a shiver of pleasure went down her spine. “That should help for awhile.”

He shifted, opening the car door,“Tired?”

She nodded her head against his neck, already feeling exhaustion pulling her down.

“I need to take care of this,” he sighed, wiggling out from under her and out of the car. She whined slightly at the loss of his warmth and the potency of his scent. “Rest, I’ll be back soon.”

Nodding numbly, she felt herself swept away to unconsciousness.