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Presentation Isn't Everything

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Changbin was okay, really he was.

Yeah he’d kind of been warm the last few days, and maybe he wasn’t lasting as long during dance practice as the others, and sure he’d felt nauseous more often than not lately, but he was fine.

There was absolutely no reason to worry, he had been planning on seeing a doctor when he had the chance and until then sleep and vitamins were holding whatever was beating at his immune system off, really they were just so busy organizing and practicing and making music that he just hadn’t had the chance to have one of the company doctor’s tell him exactly what kind of cold he had.

These were all assurances that were met with understanding nods and agreement, because they were reasonable Changbin was reasonable, even as Chan and Jisung maneuvered him out of the studio they’d escaped to for some 3racha bonding and escorted him to the clinic.

It wasn’t a big deal.

The doctor took his height, weight, and general vitals before asking a few questions about how he’d been feeling.  How long he’d been feeling like that.

Then she asked Chan and Jisung to leave the room, which they did reluctantly, before asking more pointed questions.

You’re about twenty right?

Have there been any cramps in your lower abdomen stomach area that coincide with the nausea?

Have you been sleeping more by a significant amount?

Have you been waking up sweaty?

Has there been any food or drinks you’ve been drawn too?

Changbin did his best to answer them all as honestly as possible.

Thinking about them made him realize he had been having cravings, fruits and eggs and really bready stuff, that he’d been having trouble sleeping in his room, even though he’d been almost constantly tired, but would drop in within a few minutes in shared places.  That he’d been getting jittery when he was alone too long and was seeking out the others much more often than he usually did.

With more questions he realized that it’s been going on for a lot longer than he’d thought.

At least a month and a half.

Finishing her questions, the doctor sat back and reviewed his file in silence leaving Changbin to desperately try and not MedMd himself into thinking he was dying.

Finally she leaned forward and looked at him, “Well you don’t have a bug or the flu.”

Changbin sighed in relief.

“Judging by what you’ve told me and your increase in heart rate as well as low grade temperature rise, I’d say you are in the process of presenting Mr. Seo.”

“What?”  

Presenting?

He hadn’t even thought of that as a possible reason for how he’d been feeling.

“Yup,” It was calm and matter of fact. “Many of your symptoms are congruent with a slow presentation.”

Wow.

He thought about the rolling discontent of his stomach and the way he’d been wearing less and less clothing even as the weather turned cooler.  And well, with what he could remember from his general health classes, that made…

So much sense.

“I understand that most of your group mates have had nominally shorter presentation times, so the thought in all likelihood had no reason to occur to you that this was happening.  Two weeks or so is the generally accepted average presentation periods that are seen,” She gave him a gentle smile. “But everyone is different and a sizable percentage of people take a little more time for their systems to settle.  There’s nothing weird or strange about this happening to you.”

She said it like she was trying to reassure him or keep him from panicking.

Which like, she probably dealt with panicky teenagers all day working here but Changbin was fine.  It’s not like presenting would really change much for him.

“So, I’ll present and I’ll be back to normal?”  It was really only half a question so he wasn’t expecting anything but an affirmation.

“So to say,” Changbin felt his nose scrunch in confusion and she gave him a good natured smile. “Things will be a little different on an anatomical and legal level but yes, you’ll go back to ‘normal’.”

She finger quoted normal.

“Anatomical?”  

Neither Chan or Minho mentioned anything really changing when they’re presented.

With betas is was mostly a strengthening in scent and scenting abilities and the common factor in all orientations’ presentations, a fever.

Enough to knock someone out for a few days of oversensitivity and dehydration but nothing ‘anatomical’.

“Well, yes,” She put her hands out placatingly. “Now it would take some time to come back but I can do a hormone or Type test if you’d like, but again judging by your symptoms and behaviors, and by many many years of experience, I would confidently say you’re going to present as an omega.”

She seemed ready for him to get upset or ague.

Which again, understandable what with all the kids she deals with working at JYP.

But…

“Oh.”

An omega?

She nodded and gave him a few moments to process the news.

An omega?

It had always been a possibility, much more so than presenting as an alpha for him, really anyone had the chance of presenting as any of the orientations.  But by a certain point there were behaviors, characteristics, that developed that could give clues to how someone would present.

Things like proto-nesting or a specific kind of territorialness that would usually start up when puberty did.  There were other things too but Changbin had never really concerned himself with it because it hadn’t seemed to concern itself with him .  

(He himself had known he wasn’t going to be an alpha, they tended to present earlier in the general timeline and with the dorm situation the kind of young alpha disputes that could happen did pretty quickly.)

He’d never really displayed any dominantly alpha or omega indicators, so he’d been content with the prediction of being a beta that he and pretty much everyone who knew him had.  All he’d really been waiting on was the actual presentation to make it an official status, no big deal.

(Some people had even said that they thought he’d already presented given how settled he seemed, which was funny and wow it was really funny now wasn’t it?)

It’s not like it was a big deal now, to be told he was showing signs of being an omega.

It was maybe a little confusing, but not really upsetting.

A little shocking to his self image, but not bad.

Half remembered snippets from those old health science classes drifted through his mind and Changbin hunched a little at the ‘biological transformations’ that were on closely approaching horizon for him.

But okay.

He licked his lips and looked up a the doctor.

Okay.

He would be okay.

Besides, omegas were pretty badass.

“So how long do I have before-?”  He trailed off unsure of exactly what he was asking about.

“Anywhere from one to two weeks.  No more than that. To be honest, the stress of all this,” She made a sweeping gesture around the room. “Has probably been what’s prolonged your presentation.”

She glanced down at her notes and nodded in approval.

“But from what you’ve said, you’ve been taking pretty good care of yourself, so it shouldn’t have any effects on your first heat.  In fact,” She looked at him. “It will probably be a pretty calm experience. I know there are horror stories that float around about heats, first ones in particular, but they are just that.  Stories. Heats are natural and while they are discomforting, there are plenty of ways to make them pass by without more than cramps and a lot of slick production. That’s not to say the cramps won’t be bad, because they can be, but you’ll have to find out how your specific heat symptoms manifest.  But we’ve come a long way in heat aides and comfort research, so there are plenty of sources of information and application for young omegas these days.”

Changbin felt enough embarrassment at the idea of it that he really wanted her to stop talking, but he knew it was important that he listen.

“I would suggest getting a room at one of the ‘heat hotels’, especially for your first.  I can inform your managers, if you like, so they can start making arrangements?” Changbin nodded thankfully that he wouldn’t have to bring it up, he’d have no idea where to even start. “Okay then, now you are going to notice some twitchiness and sensitivity when it gets closer to your heat.  There will be some minor mood swings and your temperature is going to spike, so when you start to feel a sudden increase in warmth, one where you feel almost too hot, that is your best indicator that your heat will start soon.-”

She kept talking while gathering some papers and writing a few things down before handing them to him.

She gave him an encouraging smile and shooed him out the door with a request to see him in a few days.

Information packet clutched firmly in his hands he looked up to see Chan and Jisung watching him expectantly.

“I,”Changbin started, before pausing, trying to figure out how and what he wanted to say to them.  Worry flooded into their expressions and he hurriedly told them. “I’m not sick! Nothing’s wrong!”

He hesitated again, all the confusion at his situation coming in full force making him sound unsure of himself.

“I’m presenting?”

Both of them immediately began making excited noises and congratulating him.

Jisung, the idiot, leant in to give Changbin a few delicate sniffs no doubt trying to detect any changes in his scent.

“According to the doctor there’s a pretty big chance I’m going to present as an omega.”  Jisung reared back and nearly fell into a wall, leaving Changbin and Chan to laugh at his reaction.

“What, really?”  Jisung asked.

“Yeah, that’s what she said,” He shook the papers in his hand at him. “That’s what she spent the last fifteen minutes telling me and why she gave me all this information.”

“Oh my god,” Jisung shook off his shock. “We’re really gonna be a three for one deal now!  Holy shit guys we’re gonna be a full house of rappers!”

Chan led them,laughing all of them laughing now, to the studio they had practically manhandled Changbin out of not even an hour earlier.  

Changbin collapsed into his chair still giggling a little, and tossed the packet onto a table to ignore while he signed into the computer hoping to distract himself from the changes coming for him.

He only got a few minutes before the soft fwap of papers being turned and shuffle reached his ears.

“Holy shit,” He heard Jisung softly breathe out from him left, turning his head to see him reading through one of the thicker pamphlets. “Dude, this is A LOT.”

“Yeah I know.”  Changbin felt himself shrink into his chair.

“So what are you gonna do?”

“Not much I can do?  I don’t think you can do anything when it comes to presentation.” Changbin said, not really looking at the other two. “The doctor said she’d tell management and they’d work out the stuff for my first heat.”

“Makes sense.”  Chan said cautiously.

“No I mean like, what are you gonna tell everyone?” Jisung said, Changbin made a confused noise and he continued. “Are you gonna tell them that you’re presenting and that you’re going to be an omega, or are you gonna just tell them that you’re presenting?”

“What,” Changbin didn’t understand. “Why wouldn’t I-”

“Dude, do you want everyone knowing what your orientation is gonna be?”

Changbin jerked his head towards Jisung.

What did he mean by that?

A flash of fear raced through him.

Was there something wrong with being an omega?

Would him being an omega mean something bad?  

Would they hate him?

“Is, is there something wrong with people knowing about me?”

Is there something wrong with me?

The question went unasked but was heard loud and clear by both Chan and Jisung and they rushed to reassure him.

“No, no no,” Chan smacked the back of Jisung’s head. “No one cares about anyone’s orientation.  No one thinks less of you or shit.”

“Yeah, I just meant, like do you want people knowing before you present,” Jisung rubbed his head where Chan had hit him. “Remember how people would crowd around Woojin when he was close to presentation?  And everyone wanted to give him advice and they would treat him like he was so delicate? Even once he told us he wasn’t comfortable with it, literally anyone else who knew wouldn’t leave him alone.”

“Oh yeah,” Chan nodded in understanding. “He felt so awkward with everyone knowing his business.”

“Yeah because people think that an omega’s business is everyone’s business.”  Changbin said rolling his eyes.

“Exactly,” Jisung declared. “We’re all older now and know how frustrated and upset it made him, but other people would know and would probably treat you the same way they treated him.  So do you want to wait to make your big reveal until after and avoid a lot of that?’

“Oh.”

Changbin thought of how utterly uncomfortable and unhappy Woojin had been the days up to his presentation and tried to think of himself being treated similarly for anywhere up to the next two weeks.

He frowned, just the thought of that much focus on him made him feel itchy.

“That, yeah that’s a good idea,” Changbin said with a deep breath. “A great idea.”

“I do have them on occasion.”  Jisung said full of satisfaction.

“On a very rare occasion.”  Changbin snorted.

“See if I try and keep you from being upset ever again.”  Jisung turned away with a huff.

“Aww, don’t be mad Sungie,” Changbin cooed at him. “Can’t have my favorite dongsaeng mad at me.”

“Don’t let Felix hear you say that.”  Jisung muttered to himself.

“Huh?”  Changbin had only heard a few words of what he said, Jisung just shook his head with a bright smile.

“Hey, maybe you should talk to Woojin about being an omega.”  Chan suggested before Changbin could try poking the answer out of Jisung.

“What, why?”  Didn’t they just agree it would be better to keep it between them.

“Well he is the only other omega in the group, the only one we really know well enough to ask, so he probably has some advice on… stuff.”  Chan waved a hand a Changbin and the younger boy went red.

“Right.”  He coughed out as the other two laughed at him.

-

Evening practice finally ends and Changbin tries to keep a hold on how much he wants to collapse, admittedly this isn’t too different from normal because they are almost always working on intense choreo that requires a lot from all of them, but he needs to talk to the oldest member as soon as possible so he chugs some water, tosses the bottle, and heads towards the door.

Felix and Hyunjin stop him on his way to ask if he wants to stop at the convenience store on the way back with them, but he tells them he needs to see Woojin for something and takes off before they can try to pout an agreement out of him.

“Hyung!” Changbin calls out to Woojin when he sees him and Chan heading down a hallway.

They both pause at the yell and turn to look at him.

“Woojin-hyung,” Changbin gasps out, still very winded and aching all over. “I need- can, can we talk?”

“Uh, Chan and I were kind of in the middle of something…”  Woojin gives him a concerned look.

Chan hands Chanbin a water bottle and pats his back.

“It’s fine,” He says to Woojin. “This is important, we can finish later.”

He jogs back towards the practice room and directs the others coming out of it down to the other end of the hall, leaving them alone.

In the few moments it takes for Changbin to catch his breath Woojin’s worry mixes with exasperation and he looks at Changbin expectantly.

“Uh,” Changbin looks around them at the hallway. “Not here, I- it’s a private thing.”

Woojin sighs and leads him back to the practice room they just left.

It’s empty and their steps echo in the rare silence of the room when they enter it.  Woojin turns to face Changbin once he closes the door and he spreads his arms out.

“Well?”

“I’m presenting.”  Changbin rushed out.

A few seconds for him to process and Woojin was grinning and congratulating him.

“That’s great Changbin, but why did you need to tell me in private?”

“The doctor said I would probably present as an omega, and I didn’t want to really tell anyone,” He saw Woojin’s expression drop and continued before it and his scent could sour over. “Right now!  Jisung reminded me about how much people annoyed you when they knew you were presenting and I don’t want that! I’ll tell them after it happens, I just want this to happen as calmly as possible.”

He spoke quickly in hopes of not offending the older omega.

Woojin nodded slowly then squinted his eyes, “That makes sense, are you sure Jisung thought of it?”

“If I wasn’t there I wouldn’t believe it either hyung.”  Changbin said laughing.

“So I won’t be the only omega any more, huh?”

“Nope.”

“Well if you have any questions I’-”

“So many.”  Changbin cut him off almost desperately.

“Oh really?”  Woojin laughed.

“Yes!  I took the general ed classes  on dynamics, but people always assumed I’d be a beta.  I always assumed I’d be a beta. I’ve never displayed any strong indicators otherwise,” Changbin looked at his own hands, now that he was saying it he was realizing he had no real idea what to do with himself. “There’s so much I don’t know!  I didn’t figure I’d need to, I mean yeah I knew it would be beta or omega but everyone who’s ever talked with me about it pushed the beta side of things. I’ve been reading these guide things for heats and presenting and my brain is going in circles.  There’s cramps and slick and keeping hydrated and comfort scents and So. Much. Stuff. On. Nesting. Hyung, I don’t know the first thing about nesting!”

Woojin stared at him with wide eyes after his outburst before breaking into a smile and ruffling his hair with a coo.

“Awww, look at you,” He tugs Changbin out of the practice room. “All worked up.  You’ll be fine Bin. Every omega is different in their own ways, every person is different.”  

He started ticking things off with his fingers as they made their way through the halls.

“I can show you some of the best hot compress brands for cramps and where to get the really good slick pads for cheap.  Most take out places will send a special delivery person if you tell them it’s for an omega in heat. Not that you’ll have to worry about that for your first, because the company has a contract with a private heat hotel and they’ll have the room stocked with food and water.”

“Yeah one of the managers texted me that they were taking care of the scheduling.”

“Good, you don’t want to be overwhelmed anymore than already will be.”

“Wha-”  Woojin cut him off before he could ask.

“Right after you present, you’ll be pretty sensitive to everyone’s scents,” Woojin tilted his head trying to come up with the best analogy to describe it. “Like walking into a crowded locker room after you’ve had a stuffy nose for three weeks.  We had to start filming right after I presented but you should have some time to adjust on your own.”

“So, I’ll be alone?”  Changbin already knew this was the case, but the more he thought about it the more unprepared he felt.

“Yeah,” Woojin sighed as they finally made it out of the building. “Yeah it has to be that way Binnie, your first time is best if you go it alone, especially for omegas.  You’re body will take care of you.”

“Right, yeah.”  Changbin agreed with a jerky nod.

“It’s okay,” Woojin put an arm around his shoulders. “What if Channie and I come get you afterwards and take you down to the river for a bit?  You can get some fresh air before going home after being locked up.”

Changbin nodded and made an affirmative sound, that sounded nice.

“It’ll also help air you out some, so you don’t walk in the dorms smelling like you spent three days at an orgy.”

“Ah, hyung!”  Changbin whined and shook his arm off.

Woojin laughed at him and took off towards the dorms.

Changbin feels something in his chest loosen as he laughs and chases after him.

-

They have dinner all together and nestled between Felix and Jeongin Changbin feels happy.

Chan looks across the table to him and wordlessly asks how he’s doing, Changbin smiles in response because he feels good.

Feels like everything is going to work out just fine.

Jisung catches their conversation and perks up with a questioning look.

Changbin nods and Jisung lets out a yell to catch everyone’s attention.

“Binnie has news!” He shouts and Changbin laughs as he swats over the table at him.

Chapter Text

The heat hotel Changbin ended up going to was nice.

It was near a calmer part of Seoul, close to the boundaries of urban and suburbial life mixed, three stories surrounded by gardens filled with plants that he now knew were used to dampen and overpower scents.  There was obvious thought and finances put into the construction, it made sense that this would be the kind of place that the company would have a contract with for their omegas to spend heats in.

Escorted by a manager as far as the lobby, he’d had to remove his hat and mask to confirm his identity with security before being led to nice room on the second floor with a view into the back gardens.  There was a microwave and a minifridge, stocked with water bottles and meal bars and basic foods when he looked inside, near the bathroom and a small table and chair closer to the windows.

(The windows wouldn’t open.

Woojin had told them they wouldn’t, that any half decent heat hotel would take the kind of precautions to avoid any possible incidents of someone that shouldn’t be there getting in.)

Everything was soft.

All the furniture had beveled edges and was pushed out of the way leaving a large open space of empty floor.  The carpet was thick and plush, his feet half sank into it and it must have had a rubber layer underneath it because he felt a small bounce when he moved around.  The bed had at least twelve pillows that he could see and there was a pile of blankets in on the chair.

Changbin put his bags on the floor.

He pulled his shirt off, basking for a few moments in the cool air before tossing it aside and taking out his phone to set the emergency lock on it.

(Another piece of amazing advice from Woojin.

To use a special app that locked him out of most of his phone settings so he wouldn’t have to deal with notifications going off or the possibility of messaging or calling anyone while he was in the ‘throes’ of heat and potentially embarrassing himself.

Something that he’d never of considered on his own.)

Changbin took a deep inhale.

Breathed in the carefully neutral scents of the room and sat on the bed.

He immediately sank into the mattress.

Okay, he thought all the air rushing out of him in a huff, this is definitely too soft.

-

Telling everyone but not telling them everything was easier than Changbin had thought it would be, the starting part being the easiest after Jisung’s call to attention.

“Right, umm,” Changbin had blanked for a moment when everyone turned to him expectantly. “I went to the doctor today-”

“More like we made you go.”  Jisung butted in.

“I was going to go,” Changbin whined out the same argument from earlier that day. “We’ve just been so busy.”

“Well we found the time didn’t we?”  Chan asked, teasing tone setting Changbin at ease.

“Umm, sorry,” Jeongin interrupted looking at Changbin worriedly. “Doctor?  Hyung, is this about your fever?”

“Kinda,”  Changbin pushed some food around on his plate. “I’m not sick, the doctor, uh she said I was, that I’m presenting.”

There were a few seconds of silence before the five who didn’t already know started talking all at once.  Happy and excited and joking about how ‘it took you long enough’ and generally filling the dorm with the babble of voices.

And maybe there was a twinge of guilt over the way that three sets of eyes stare back at him, lit with happiness for him but also with a knowing tinge that he hasn’t told the full truth.  That he’s keeping a part of this to himself.

They know why, and they all agree that it’s for the best because the more people that know the more likely it is to get out before they want it to.  

Before Changbin is ready for the extra scrutiny and attention that has nearly nothing to do with his talents and hard work.

(He isn’t ready for the way that some people are going to talk about his achievements as though they occurred despite his orientation.)

-

Waking up in the aftermath of his first heat, Changbin didn’t feel different.

Okay, he felt kind of gross and sticky from sweat and slick and he really really wanted a cup of coffee, but he didn’t feel that different.

Coffee versus a shower was a difficult decision to make as he hauled himself out of the blankets and clothes he’d very precisely laid out two and a half days beforehand.

Then every part of his skin that had been touching another part went through the stinging sensation of pulling apart.

A shower first, he decided in what was probably one of mankind’s best decisions if the way warm water loosened muscles he hadn’t even realized were strained and how the smell of his shampoo was the most wonderful thing he’d smelled in weeks was any indication.

Stepping into fresh clothes and using a fluffy towel to dry out his hair, Changbin decided that with a cup of ramen in the microwave and a bottle of juice in hand, after the absolutely best cup of coffee he’d ever had, he was ready to face the world.

He unlocked his phone.

There were… so many notifications.

The group chat was thousands of messages in and the kept coming even as he closed it to text the manager that he was done, followed quickly by a similar message to Chan and Woojin.  In the half minute it took him to pull his ramen to him both his group mates had messaged back.

Chan with a series of celebration emojis and Woojin with the news that they’d be there in about two hours to pick him up.

Changbin looked from his phone to the mess of a nest that took up the space under the windows and back to his phone.

He had enough time to catch up on some of the group chat before he had to pack up.

-

Felix had been working so hard at not thinking about Changbin being gone that he didn’t realize Chan and Woojin had split off to pick him up till the rest of the group was nearly at the dorm.

(There hadn’t been his favorite hyung to sling an arm around.  No one to whisper a joke in his ear and pull back with a smug look as Felix tried to keep his laughter down to keep from disturbing anyone.  No one to wiggle around and say his name with just that mix of encouraging cheer when he did something cool in practice.

A space missing when he’d look up to share a smile or pointed look when someone did something stupid.  A little tug at his awareness that something was off, and that something was in fact the way a person was missing.)

Then when Jisung shouted that Chan texted him as being on their way, and that they were walking so it might take a little while, Felix was maybe sweating.

Maybe.

“Hyung,” Jeongin caught his attention. “Now that Changbin-hyung has presented, are you going to court him for real?”

Everyone around them had the distinct pleasure of watching Felix start choking at the question.

“Wha- holy shit Jeongin.”  He managed to sputter out.

“Aww man,” Hyunjin whined. “I thought for sure Minho-hyung would bring it up.”

“Please,” Minho said waving a dismissive hand. “I knew you thought that, so I got Jeonginnie to do it instead.”

Everyone laughs and Felix tries to get his heartbeat and breathing back to normal even as the question rattles around in his brain.

See, Felix had been brought up on the belief that someone wasn’t really an adult until they were of legal age and had presented.

(There were of course exceptions in the case of Nulls and certain extenuating circumstances, but it was what he’d known.  What his parents had practiced and taught and made sure he understood the concepts of consent and legality.

His family was pretty awesome like that.)

And it was a excuse to never do anything about his crush on the ‘dark’ rapper.

Felix had already presented before coming to Korea, a bit of an ‘early bloomer’ but that was a family trait no matter the person’s orientation, so he’d had at least one less thing to worry about in the strange country.

He’d had the time and guidance, really holy shit was his mom an amazing example of what an alpha could be, to settle into alphahood and knew how to control himself and the urges that came with being an alpha.

(“Being an alpha is a responsibility, one that shouldn’t be used to take advantage of others and one that others shouldn't try to take advantage of concerning you.”

All in all what his mom and uncle and cousins were preaching amounted to: don’t be a dick and don’t think with your knot.  And they basically showed him that it was all about treating people with basic human decency no matter their orientation or lack thereof.)

But Felix was a teenager.

Yes he’d presented at fifteen and yes he was now an adult in the legal eyes of his home country but not his new home, but Felix was a fucking teenager and-

And-

Holy shit, he’d thought the first time he met Changbin in the practice room and the older boy had been kind to him and tried speaking to him, I wanna bite ‘em.

Felix did not bite Changbin back then.

(Had not bitten Changbin at any point he’d felt the desire to over the past year.)

Because Felix was in control of himself, and had a purpose for being in Korea.  

And that purpose was not to bite cute boys and tell them how wonderful they were and cuddle them for hours on end.

(Felix maybe wanted to blanket Changbin in himself to keep him safe and nap against him for forever.)

So the question of courting came as a shock to his system, even though it maybe shouldn’t have.  He’d done just about every behavior associated with courting aside from out and out give Changbin a proper courting gift.  

Because the older boy hadn’t presented yet, and doing that kind of thing was rude and sketchy at best in the eyes of the law concerning a presented and unpresented individual.

(It was also maybe rude to scent mark someone as blatantly as he did Changbin.  

But no one man was a fortress, another tidbit from his mom telling him that he couldn’t hold himself to an impossibly high degree, and Changbin carried around the scent of smooth chocolate everywhere he went and Felix was only human after all.)

-

“Well that is definitely omega, right there.”  Was the first thing out of Woojin’s mouth as Changbin walked up to them outside.

He swung a bag at the older omega when he pretended to take a delicate sniff at his head.

“I want to hug you, but I also don’t want to crowd you.”  Chan said, keeping a few feet down the path from them.

“I’d be very okay with a hug.”  He said a bit too hurriedly in his opinion.

Woojin held out a hand to stop him and shook his head.

“Air out first,” Changbin tried speaking. “I know you took a shower, which thanks really, but trust me.  Let yourself get some breaze to wash out some of the more intense heat scent lingering.”

Chan and Changbin both frowned but agreed, Woojin knew more about this than either of them, considering he’d been through this exact process a year or so before, and kept a more than polite distance between them as they started walking towards the dorm.

Chan led them on a scenic route home, not quite going to the river like Woojin had suggest the week or so before but near it enough that Changbin could see the blue threading between green trees and grey buildings.  Their path twisted and turned, and without the whole group nobody paid much attention to the three boys in masks walking around aside from the occasional glance from someone who’d caught a whiff of the dissipating smell coming from Changbin.

(Any time it looked like someone might try to say something to them or get in their way, Woojin rose to his full height and gave them a cold look that was out of place on his warm face but made Changbin feel giddy at how easily strangers backed down from the teddy bear of their group.)

They talked idly about the few things of importance that had happened while Changbin was gone.

Chan had tweaked a song for him and Jisung to listen to together, Jisung whined about how it wasn’t fair he had to wait for Changbin even though it was obvious to the leader that he missed him.  Seungmin and Jeongin had gotten into a ‘chubby bunny’ contest after Felix showed them a video some old friends of his had posted. Woojin had had to rescue Jisung from the cold when the younger boy had locked himself out of the dorm.  There had been a joking argument just earlier about who each of them would go on a date if they had to choose.

Just little things that made Changbin feel better, made him feel lighter and happier.

“And Minho goes, ‘Hyunjin is the only one pretty enough to deserve me’ and Hyunjin didn’t know whether to preen or-”  Woojin cut off Chan by stopping suddenly and pulling both him and Changbin into a hug.

“We’re good now.”  He muttered into Changbin’s hair.

Changbin hummed and practically leaned all his weight into the taller boy.  Chan laughed and moved a little to squish him between him and Woojin.

Changbin hummed harder.

“Dude, are you purring?”  It was said with incredulity and before Changbin had the chance to even get a little upset Woojin was letting go of him with one arm and using it to smack the back of Chan’s head.

“This is the first contact he’s had in days.  He’s rescenting pack and it’s calming his omega instincts.”

“Oh man is this gonna happen with everyone else?”

Woojin shrugged and wrapped them both a little tighter in his arms.

“Felix is gonna love this.”  Chan muttered lowly as he shuffled a little closer.

Changbin kept humming and ignored them both.

-

Woojin shooed Chan through the door first and angled himself in front of Changbin.

“I’ll keep them from crowding you at first,” He explained at the younger omega’s questioning look. “Give you a minute or two to calm your sensory input down before the hugging starts.”

“Wow hyung you’re smelling a little ripe there, take a little detour with Wooj-  OW!”

“Shut up you brat, it’s not me.”

Woojin rolled his eyes and entered the dorm, “Alright you maniacs back it up.”

Changbin inched his way through the door and was greeted with the sight of four of his bandmates scrambling back from Woojin’s squinted glare while Minho and Seungmin watched with grins over the back of the living room couch.  Seconds later he was hit with the deep mixing of nine scents, some old and some fresh and powerful and coming from the people in front of him.

All of them tinted with happiness and entertainment.

“Ah but hyung-”

“No buts you animals, give Changbin a few minutes to take it all in, I swear if you guys overwhelm him I’m cutting off the icecream supply.”  Woojin said with a pointed look at Jisung and Hyunjin who were trying to sneak around him.

“What, did hyung develop a super nose or something?” Seungmin asked leaning over the couch. “Betas usually adapt pretty fast, they don’t need this much kiddy gloves do they hyung?”

“Nope,” Chan happily chimed in. “We don’t.  But seeing as how Binnie here isn’t a beta maybe give him some space.”

“What do you mean he isn’t a beta?”  Jeongin asked squinting at Changbin as though trying to see what he was.

“Wait a second,” Hyunjin frowned and his nostrils flared. “Hyung, are you the one who smells…”

He stopped as a look of recognition passed over his face.

Most everyone else stopped too and a few took discrete, so very not discrete god none of them knew the meaning of discrete, sniffs in his direction.

“Ah yeah, well, I’m am omega.”  Changbin tugged at his sleeves while confirming what most of them were smelling.

“Oh my god,” Minho broke through the ensuing silence with a scandalized tone. “Are you telling me we’re still outnumbered by alphas?  Dangit Changbin, you had one job!”

-

Woojin thought it was pretty funny how Felix was doing his best not to look upset over the fact that Changbin was across the room, because that was exactly what Felix was upset about and no you can’t convince Woojin otherwise because Woojin knows these idiots like the back of his hand.

He shakes his head and leans a little over the back of the couch and into Felix’s view.

“Hey, kind of have a present for you.”

“What?”  Felix somehow says it in a perfect balance of confused and mulish that has Woojin grinning.

“Changbin!”  The omega looked up from the dvd basket at the call, Woojin beckoned him over.

Changbin handed a disk to Hyunjin and made his way towards them, inquisitive expression on his face that quickly morphed into surprise when he got to them and Woojin yanked him onto the couch and almost into Felix’s lap.

Felix’s arms automatically wrapped around him.

Most everyone’s attention had been captured by Changbin’s yelp and they were all waiting for him to yell at the oldest.

Instead, to everyone but Woojin’s surprise, he scrunched his nose with a whine and pressed himself into Felix’s hold.

“What the fuck!”

“Jisung!  Don’t talk like that with the kids around.”  Chan scolded from the kitchen.

“What the fuck!”

“Jeongin!”

“What the hell is going on?”  Changbin demanded looking caught between pushing himself as far into Felix’s space as he could and being as indignant of the situation as possible.

“Omega instincts~!” Woojin said with a shake of his hands. “You’ve still got a lot of hormones and stuff free flowing, they’re going take a while to calm down and until they do you’re going to be a cuddling machine Binnie.”

He reach out a hand to pet through Changbin’s hair.

Changbin pushed into it and let out a happy hum.

“Are you saying we can distract hyung from being mad with hugs?”  Jeongin asked excitedly.

“For a little while, a few days at the most,” Woojin answered, staring Felix in the eyes as the younger boy laced his hands together around Changbin’s stomach. “After that he’ll be back to a usual level of cuddling, maybe a little more, maybe a little less, oxytocin is pretty important to omegas but hey everyone needs a different amount.”

“So what, I’m going to be happiest when I’m touching someone?”

“Yup.”  Woojin smirked as Changbin tried to follow his hand when he pulled it away.

“How come you weren’t like that when you presented, hyung?”  Seungmin asked, watching the them with a calculating look.

“I was very angry and very uncomfortable,” He replied frankly. “Too many people were around before I had my heat and we had to start filming right away.  I was unhappy and didn’t want to have my orientation blasted all over television as some sort of thing to be used by the show.”

“Hyung, you were ready to bite someone’s hand off if they touched you when there weren’t cameras around.”  Jisung spoke up from the dvd player.

“Yes well because of my environment and stress I needed less contact than usual and by god you kids were going to give me my peace or else.”

Changbin made a sympathetic sound as he burrowed deeper into the couch and Felix’s side.

“I can’t believe I’m going to say this,” Minho shook his head and reach out a hand to ruffle his hair. “But Changbin is actually kind of adorable.”

Changbin leant into his hand Minho grinned at him before quickly looking up Woojin and easily ignoring the way Felix was staring at his hand, “This won’t last right?  We can’t have too many adorable people at one time in this group, it just wouldn’t be fair.”

“Haha, just wait till his next heat,” Woojin grinned back. “He going to have a cuteness relapse, heck it might even be worse that it is right now.”

“Wait,” Changbin sat up, as much as Felix’s arms would let him, causing Minho to pull his hand away. “Am I going to feel that sick again?”

“Maybe,” Woojin shrugged, ignoring Changbin’s look of distress. “You’ll definitely have the minor fever and the twitchies, those are pretty universal, but exactly how your pre-heat symptoms manifest?  We won’t know till you have them.”

“Listen, this is a great educational moment and all, but I would really like to watch this movie now.”  Hyunjin said waving the remote at them. When they both rolled their eyes at him, he rolled his back and pushed himself into his corner of the couch.  Forcing Changbin over and up and partially into his lap.

As soon as he was settled, Changbin leaned towards him and wrapped an arm around his shoulders.

“What?”

“Omega instincts~”  Woojin waved his hands at Hyunjin this time.

“This is dumb.”  Changbin said even as he nuzzled at Hyungjin’s shoulder.

“No it’s scenting.”  Woojin corrected him.

“Dumb.”  Changbin repeated with a pout.

“Me next, me next, me next!”  Jisung cheerfully chanted as he flopped himself down on top of Changbin.

The impact jarring Felix’s hold completely as Jisung tugged Changbin into his arms and they both tumbled off the couch in flail of limbs and squacking sounds.

“Cuddle pile on hyung!”  Jeongin shouted delightedly throwing himself into the fray.  It took a minute or so for them to settle into a position of Changbin between them and them both clutching at his waist.

“Might as well get this over with.”  Seungmin muttered under Woojin’s watchful gaze, as he slid into place on one side of Changbin and was met with the urge to nuzzle into his hair.

The movie started.

-

Felix pouted at the group on the floor.

“He’ll be back.”

Woojin’s whisper made him flinch.

He looked toward the older boy, he was looking at Felix with eyes that knew too much.  

“He needs to scent everyone and settle a bit, Lix.  But you’re one of favorites so it’ll only be a matter of time before he’s back at your side ready to cuddle as much as possible.”

His eyebrows raised suggestively.

Felix felt a blush take over his face and he slouched into his seat, doing his best not to think about the warm and comforting weight of Changbin in his lap and in his arms.  Trying to ignore how Changbin’s scent had clung to him, how different yet similar it was in just a few days apart.

It was just that bit more intense than before, the chocolate a little darker and a little purer.  The difference now feeling like comparing a generic versus gourmet chocolate bar, but with an overtone of sweet spice that grew fainter with each minute.

Felix took a deep breath, pressed his teeth together and did his best to focus on the movie.