Karamatsu gasped and sat upright from where he was on the couch at the desperate call of his name. He looked around groggily, taking a second to shake the sleep out of him and recover his senses before meeting Jyushimatsu’s concerned eyes.
Being woken up so abruptly from a peaceful slumber would have usually annoyed him, but the lack of smile on his younger’s brother’s face tossed the thought right out of the window.
“J-Jyushimatsu?” Karamatsu blinked disoriented, searching the room to see if anything was wrong. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“You have to go downstairs Karamatsu-niisan!” Jyushimatsu urged desperately, frowning as he glanced back at the shoji. “Choromatsu-niisan and Todomatsu are fighting and Osomatsu-niisan is not home!”
Karamatsu furrowed his eyebrows confused.
Fighting? As in arguing? Or…
Now fully awake Karamatsu finally picked up the very faint sweet smell wafting in the air, a familiar pleasant smell that immediately informed both his mind and body what was going on. Standing up hastily and running out the room with Jyushimatsu following close behind Karamatsu silently prayed that he was wrong of what he was imagining was happening.
As they descended the stairs the smell grew stronger, and bursting into the living room Karamatsu’s nostrils were overwhelmed with sweetness the moment he stepped inside.
Just as he had feared Choromatsu and Todomatsu were angrily clawing and growling at each other with Todomatsu sitting on top of the third eldest as he desperately pulled at his hoodie. From the corner Ichimatsu watched helplessly as his two brothers fought, holding his cheek painfully in one hand. Had he not lived with his brothers for over two decades Karamatsu would have thought at first glance that it was Osomatsu and Todomatsu fighting, but he was quick to notice that Choromatsu had borrowed one of the red hoodies from the eldest.
It was very unusual for two omegas from the same pack to fight so violently, but realizing by the smell that one of his brothers had gone into heat Karamatsu dreaded to know what was it that spurred their hormones so aggressively.
“Stop being so goddamn selfish for once in your life! Not everything is about you!” Choromatsu snarled angrily, pulling at Todomatsu’s hair and trying to push him off with his foot.
“You’re the one that’s being selfish! You have no idea what I’m feeling right now!” Todomatsu growled back, his voice high pitched in desperation as he kept tugging at the red hoodie.
That scent of vanilla and flowers… no doubt it was coming from Todomatsu.
“So give it to me! I need it!” Todomatsu hollered in anguish, tears noticeably gathering at the corners of his eyes.
“So what?!” Choromatsu kept trying to get off the surprisingly iron grip Todomatsu had on the red hoodie. “I need it too!”
Choromatsu and Todomatsu froze at the loud booming of Karamatsu’s voice, the raspy hint of alpha in his voice bringing a shiver to their spines and involuntarily forcing them to comply. Both gasped surprised however, when Karamatsu stepped in himself and split them apart, his movements not too violent that it would hurt them but firm enough to keep them in control. Jyushimatsu quickly took hold of Todomatsu and pulled him back while Karamatsu kept Choromatsu behind him.
“Let go Jyushimatsu-niisan!” Todomatsu tossed in his brother’s hold, still focused on the third eldest and glaring daggers in his direction.
“P-Please calm down Totty…” Jyushimatsu said hesitantly, not comfortable with using brute force against his younger brother.
“Yeah Todomatsu! How about you try and keep your shit together?!” Choromatsu spat arrogantly, suddenly feeling cocky now with Karamatsu between them.
“Says the one that loses his shit when he sees a cute girl!”
“What does that have to do with anything?!”
“I said enough!”
Choromatsu and Todomatsu flinched in response, finally quieting down but still looking defiantly at each other above Karamatsu’s shoulder. As angry as they were they knew better than to try to oppose their older alpha brother.
“What’s going on?” Karamatsu asked lowly, looking at each one of his brothers warily in case they showed any sign of wanting to jump at each other again. “Why were you two fighting?”
Karamatsu had been ready for Todomatsu to immediately start speaking up, but much to his surprise Choromatsu was the one to speak first.
“Oh you know,” Choromatsu rolled his eyes, seemingly more calm but still annoyed. “Just Todomatsu being his usual cold hearted self.”
Todomatsu shot a glare at his brother, but still refrained from saying anything else.
“Todomatsu wanted to take Osomatsu-niisan’s hoodie from Choromatsu.” Ichimatsu finally dared to step closer to his siblings, moving his hand away from the cheek he had been covering the entire time to reveal a fresh scratch wound. “He just jumped at him suddenly.”
Karamatsu furrowed his eyebrows concerned. Ichimatsu must have tried to break apart their fighting but got injured in the process; at least it wasn’t anything serious, but it needed to get taken care of.
“My heat is almost over, and you know that Osomatsu’s smell makes it more bearable Todomatsu!” Choromatsu explained through gritted teeth, gripping his hands into fists. “You could have gone get another one or one of Karamatsu’s if you wanted one so badly!”
Todomatsu started struggling again, startling both Karamatsu and Jyushimatsu.
“It’s an emergency! I need it!” Todomatsu cried desperately, his watery eyes causing Karamatsu to hesitate for a brief instant.
“Why should I care?! A dry monster like you would never care about others but himself!”
Suddenly Todomatsu stopped struggling, widening his eyes in shock as the words sunk in. Even Karamatsu could tell that had been too much, and what made it worse was that Choromatsu showed no remorse over his choice of words or the amount of venom he spoke them with.
The tears that had gathered at the corners of Todomatsu’s eyes ran down his cheeks, and in a desperate move to be set free elbowed Jyushimatsu under the ribs. Jyushimatsu recoiled in surprise, holding his side as it ached lightly and involuntarily let go of Todomatsu.
As soon as he was free Todomatsu ran as fast as he could straight up the stairs, not looking back or saying a single word.
Karamatsu tried to call for him, but the only audible response was the shoji of their shared bedroom being loudly closed shut.
With an angry huff Karamatsu turned to glare at the third eldest, both Jyushimatsu and Ichimatsu visibly startled by the furious expression on his features.
“That was uncalled for Choromatsu.” Karamatsu reprimanded narrowing his eyes.
Too stubborn to apologize but not stupid enough to try and go against an alpha Choromatsu sat back down on the table with a scoff, going back to reading his magazine that had been left opened by itself and clutching the red hoodie possessively.
Although Choromatsu needed to be talked to, Ichimatsu was injured and Jyushimatsu was still startled over the whole situation, Karamatsu quickly decided that he needed to go see Todomatsu first. Emotional distress and the wild activity of his hormones caused by his heat were without a doubt a bad combination.
“Jyushimatsu, please take care of Ichimatsu’s wound. Check if he’s injured anywhere else.” Karamatsu commanded hastily before dashing off after their youngest brother, not even seeing when Jyushimatsu nodded in acknowledgement.
Following the scent upstairs Karamatsu stepped inside the bedroom only to find it completely empty. He arched an eyebrow confused, taking a moment to quickly asses every single corner of the room in case Todomatsu had hidden himself somewhere. His eyes immediately fell on the closet, and sniffing the air more carefully he was able to pick up the source seeping through there.
Karamatsu approached the closet slowly, and in the softest way he could muster opened the door. As soon as it was opened the strong concentrated sweet smell that had been trapped inside hit his nostrils and brought a pleasant shiver down his spine. Karamatsu quickly shook his head to not let himself fall into a drunken stupor and focused on Todomatsu, who was curled up in the corner wiping his tears away.
“Leave me alone.” Todomatsu hiccupped, not sparing a glance at his older brother.
The closet was not a place to spend the first day of his heat. Usually at this point Todomatsu already had a nest prepared with a couple of hoodies from his older brothers at hand, yet the corner of the room Todomatsu liked to pick for himself still remained empty.
“Why haven’t you built your nest Todomatsu?” Karamatsu asked softly, ignoring the previous comment.
“I don’t care about that.” Todomatsu murmured, hiding his face in his knees.
Karamatsu sighed worriedly, his younger brother seemed too distressed to try and bother moving anymore. Walking away but still leaving the closet open Karamatsu quickly got to work to build Todomatsu a nest, grabbing pillows and bed sheets and arranging them as accurately as possible to how the young omega did. Once Karamatsu deemed it good enough he approached Todomatsu again, leaning down to his height and taking hold of his wrist.
“Come on Todomatsu.” Karamatsu cooed gently trying to get his brother to stand up, a little more at ease when he noticed Todomatsu wasn’t crying anymore.
The touch of his alpha brother came as an instant relief. Todomatsu sighed pleasantly and looked up, his eyes still red and puffy and a mild frown on his features. He seemed reluctant for a second, but in the end gave in and let himself be guided out of the closet.
As soon as he was on his feet Todomatsu clung to Karamatsu’s arm, sniffing his hoodie and humming in relief at the strong familiar scent of his brother. Karamatsu smiled down at him tenderly when Todomatsu started rubbing his face on his arm, figuring the scent of a familiar alpha helped calm him down; maybe that’s why he had wanted Osomatsu’s hoodie so desperately in the first place.
Karamatsu encouraged Todomatsu to get inside the nest, and once inside the young omega immediately started shuffling around until he found a comfortable position lying down by his side and holding a pillow close to his chest. Though finally settled in Todomatsu furrowed his eyebrows distraught, and Karamatsu took that as his cue to take off his blue hoodie and hand it over, not minding in the slightest that his chest was left completely bare.
Todomatsu widened his eyes in anticipation and snatched the hoodie off his brother’s hands to put it on himself as quickly as he could. The smell of his alpha brother all around him finally sunk in and Todomatsu sighed relieved, bringing the fabric up to his nose and inhaling deeply.
Karamatsu took a seat right outside the nest and watched as Todomatsu steadily calmed down. His breathing returned to its even rhythm, the muscles of his face relaxed, and a small smile spread on his lips.
“Brother you know that you’re more than welcome to grab my clothes whenever you need it.” Karamatsu spoke softly, looking down at Todomatsu with a gentle smile. “I know I’m not Osomatsu but−”
“It’s okay… I like your smell too Karamatsu-niisan.” Todomatsu was quick to interject, averting his eyes bashfully.
Although most of the time Osomatsu was the one to help his omega brothers in heat whenever Choromatsu and Todomatsu synchronized Karamatsu was more than happy to step in. Both older brothers were kind and supportive, but of course their scents weren’t the same. Todomatsu would never admit that he liked being pampered by the most painful of the sextuplets or that his smell calmed him down faster than Osomatsu’s.
“It’s just…” Todomatsu continued, sighing heavily. “My heat came sooner than expected, it took me by surprise. I barely had time to react and the closest thing nearby that could help was Osomatsu-niisan’s−” Todomatsu found himself unable to finish that sentence, now that he had calmed down feeling guilty of what happened.
“Ah, I see.”
Karamatsu nodded in understanding, his hand trailing up to caress Todomatsu’s hair. He wasn’t completely certain of what heat made an omega feel, but from what he understood their body temperature rose and their mind turned hazy, and the smell of a familiar alpha was the only thing that could ease their discomfort.
Todomatsu closed his eyes and sighed relaxed at the gesture, leaning closer to Karamatsu’s touch. Any other day that would have quickly lulled Todomatsu to sleep, but rewinding the argument in his mind and the nagging thoughts that plagued him kept him awake.
Todomatsu sat up suddenly, causing Karamatsu to look curiously in his direction.
“Can you mark me please?”
Karamatsu raised his eyebrows surprised, knowing that neither Choromatsu nor Todomatsu had ever asked to be marked if one alpha sibling was away, but something about the expression on Todomatsu’s face made it impossible for Karamatsu to refuse. He was sure Osomatsu would mark him too as soon as he got home and caught only the second’s son scent on Todomatsu anyways.
“Anything for you, my sweet Todomatsu.” Karamatsu finally conceded with a radiant smile.
Todomatsu rolled his eyes with a hopeless smile and scooted over for Karamatsu to step into the nest. When he sat down Todomatsu quickly settled on his brother’s lap, pressing his back against Karamatsu’s chest.
Gently Karamatsu brought his wrists up and started rubbing them in circles against Todomatsu’s temples, humming to himself a song that Todomatsu could have sworn he had heard before. The soothing melody and the feeling of Karamatsu’s wrists working on him relaxed his body, his eyes closing unconsciously and his mind clearing of the world around him.
It was just Todomatsu and his thoughts.
The brief moment of peace was quickly irrupted when Choromatsu’s words echoed in his mind.
Todomatsu frowned. That had not been the first time he was called that. In fact, Choromatsu hadn’t been the only brother to call him that either. Several times already had his own brothers accused him of not having a heart, of not caring for their well-being, so much that he wouldn’t notice if one of them went missing.
Sure, Todomatsu could be absentminded sometimes, and he liked to keep his social life for himself, but even he would notice if one of his brothers suddenly disappeared. They were sextuplets, they were never at ease if they were abruptly split apart, and Todomatsu out of everyone would be the most heartbroken if something happened to one of his big brothers.
Not like he’d ever admit that.
Todomatsu’s hands suddenly tightened to fists.
Yes, he loved his brothers, but did they know? Todomatsu was never one to wear his heart on his sleeve, not like Karamatsu, so he hoped his feelings for his brothers were somehow implicit. They were siblings, how would he not love them? That was obvious right? Sure, they were assholes and embarrassing and annoying, but he wouldn’t change them for anything. They all knew that right?
“A dry monster like you would never care about others but himself!”
That’s what Choromatsu believed.
And how couldn’t he? Todomatsu had tried to take Osomatsu’s hoodie off him by force despite the fact that Choromatsu was also going through his heat. Was he really expecting Choromatsu to give it up so easily just because he was the youngest? How despicable was that? As much as Choromatsu’s words had hurt he honestly couldn’t blame him.
What if all his brothers thought the same?
It wouldn’t be a surprise if they did. Todomatsu always ignored them on the streets, pretended he didn’t know them, always kept secrets to himself that apparently normal siblings would usually share with each other, and never hesitated to manipulate them to get what he wanted. A good brother would never do any of those things.
He should have expected no less.
“Karamatsu-niisan…” Todomatsu spoke softly, noticing just then that at one point Karamatsu’s wrists had gone down to rub the sides of his neck.
“Yes, brother?” Karamatsu continued rubbing his wrists gently, a smile on his lips from the pleasant proximity.
“Do you think I’m a dry monster?”
Karamatsu furrowed his eyebrows concerned, recalling Choromatsu’s harsh choice of words. The movement of his wrists faltered for a moment before resuming what they were doing, thinking carefully of how he was going to answer considering Todomatsu had genuinely been hurt.
“Of course not.” Karamatsu murmured reassuringly, a small hint of hurt in his voice over the fact that his younger brother had actually believed that. “You’re not a monster Todomatsu.”
Todomatsu bit his lower lip in frustration, turning around to face his brother and prompting Karamatsu to stop marking him.
“You’re… you’re just saying that because I’m in my heat aren’t you?” Todomatsu narrowed his eyes accusingly, an annoyed frown forming on his lips. “You know I’m more emotional at this time so you’re not telling me the truth!”
“That has nothing to do with this Todomatsu!” Karamatsu urged preoccupied. He would never lie to his brothers, whether they were alpha, beta or omega Karamatsu would always be honest with them, especially with a sensitive subject.
“Of course it does!” Todomatsu snarled frustrated, the pitch of his voice rising and tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. “If I wasn’t an omega you wouldn’t be so nice to me! It’s the only reason all of you put up with me in the first place!”
Karamatsu took firm hold of Todomatsu’s shoulders, keeping him in place so he’d be able to look at him in the eyes. He was about to argue back against such a horrible statement, but froze instantly when Todomatsu’s expression of anger morphed into one of pain and heartbreak.
“J-Just be honest with me Karamatsu-niisan…” Todomatsu sobbed, thick tears rolling down his cheeks. “I-I already know the answer anyways…”
Karamatsu felt his heart stop for a brief instant, his eyes softening in sympathy for his crying brother.
“Come here.” Karamatsu whispered sadly and opened his arms, enveloping Todomatsu in a tight embrace and bringing him closer to his chest.
Todomatsu returned the gesture and wrapped his arms around Karamatsu’s bare chest, weeping and crying onto his shoulder pathetically. The soothing beating of Karamatsu’s heart and his scent so close to Todomatsu were enough to reduce his hiccupping, but his hot tears still ran down and fell on the second eldest’s skin.
“You are not a dry monster.” Karamatsu said comfortingly but firmly at the same time, rubbing Todomatsu’s back and slowly rocking them both back and forth. “You’re our baby brother, and whether you’re an omega or not we all love you.”
“W-What are you talking about?” Todomatsu laughed bitterly, shaking his head against Karamatsu’s shoulder. “There’s no way they could love me… I’m selfish remember? Choromatsu-niisan said so.”
“Choromatsu was too agitated to think over what he was saying.” Karamatsu sighed heavily. “He didn’t mean it.”
“Just give it up Karamatsu-niisan... I know I am a monster.” Todomatsu sniffed quietly. As able as he was to argue back and defend himself Todomatsu couldn’t genuinely think of something that would excuse his behavior.
“A monster wouldn’t have a heart as loving as yours.” Karamatsu placed a soft kiss atop Todomatsu’s head, noticing that the omega’s tears had come to a stop. “You want to succeed so you can bring us along with you.”
“You think I wouldn’t notice?” Karamatsu smiled fondly down at his brother. “You Todomatsu, our shining star of hope, work so hard so one day you can help all your useless older brothers succeed as well. How could we not love you?”
Todomatsu took in a shaky breath, pressing his face harder down on Karamatsu’s shoulder to hide the blush that crept on his cheeks.
“Such a beautiful loving heart you have my sweet Todomatsu.” Karamatsu mumbled softly to Todomatsu’s ear, the hand that was rubbing his back moving up to caress his hair instead. “We don’t deserve you.”
Todomatsu didn’t find it in him to try to argue or say anything else, and soon enough the deep voice of his brother and the sweet nothings whispered to his ear lulled him to sleep in the safety of Karamatsu’s arms.
Karamatsu smiled relieved to himself, cherishing the feeling of having Todomatsu so close to him.
He hadn’t realized he fell asleep, but the sound of the shoji opening brought Karamatsu back to reality. He blinked groggily before realizing Todomatsu was still nestled in his arms and sleeping peacefully. A small smile crept on his lips and Karamatsu couldn’t help placing a kiss on his forehead.
“Well aren’t you two adorable?” Osomatsu snickered, enjoying the bashful frown of panic in Karamatsu’s face before it changed into his usual confident smirk.
“Ah, Osomatsu.” Karamatsu greeted him lowly to not wake up Todomatsu. “Welcome back.”
“I’ve been back for a while.” Osomatsu quipped with a tired sigh, walking in the nest’s direction and sitting right outside of it. “Ichimatsu and Jyushimatsu told me what happened, had a talk with Choromatsu about it.”
“Ah.” Karamatsu raised his eyebrows in awe. Leave it to Osomatsu to deal with anything involving Choromatsu. “And how did it go?”
Osomatsu rubbed the underside of his nose before raising a confident thumb up.
“It’s all good, he’s going to apologize to Todomatsu and everything. Aren’t I such a cool older brother?” Osomatsu winked playfully.
“Heh, we can always count on you Aniki.” Karamatsu agreed with a nod.
The goofy smile on Osomatsu’s lips vanished into a sad one as his eyes settled on Todomatsu, the light atmosphere around the two eldest changing drastically.
“Thanks for taking care of things while I wasn’t here Karamatsu.” Osomatsu spoke softly, aware that if had neither alpha being present to break up the fight Choromatsu and Todomatsu could have ended up severely injured. “You did good.”
Karamatsu’s eyes softened in gratitude, inwardly proud for being complimented by the eldest. He turned to look down at Todomatsu and his smile widened.
Osomatsu followed Karamatsu’s gaze and chuckled, noticing just then that Todomatsu was hugging Karamatsu’s torso and keeping him in place.
“Looks like you won’t be able to move for a while.”
“I don’t have anywhere I need to go, I don’t mind.”
Osomatsu shook his head with a hopeless smile and stood up, deciding to leave his two younger siblings alone.
“I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.”
The shoji closed behind Osomatsu and Karamatsu sank back against the nest once more, caressing Todomatsu’s hair lazily and smiling to himself as his eyes slowly started closing again.