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The Prize

Chapter Text

Something in the biological clock of every sea creature seemed to realize the changing of the season before the conscious mind could. The colder waters of a particularly brutal winter soon began to warm with the coming of spring. The change in water temperature brought with it an abundance of food and the promise of new life. It was the season every creature looked forward to.

Well, every creature except Izuku. Even as a merman, the allure of spring had the same pull on his biological clock as it did with every other species. However, this year was a little different. He was finally of age to take up a mate and his heat would begin in only a few short weeks. That meant that it was a race for his father to contact as many royal kingdoms as possible to put forth their best alphas as quickly as they could. If the alphas heeded the call, they would travel countless miles to begin the courtship rituals set in place thousands of years ago in order to receive Izuku’s hand.

All of it was a load of seahorse shit to Izuku. He was expected to just partner up with any old alpha just because his body clock and the royal customs said so? He wouldn’t even know the alpha for any longer than a week by the time they mated. And honestly, who said Izuku even wanted to dam some random alpha’s guppies? Izuku was in his prime. The whole world was literally his oyster and with his older brother agreeing to take over the throne when their father was ready to step down, what reason did Izuku have to follow tradition?

He was still mulling it over angrily when the blunt end of a trident came crashing down over his head. He wailed out in pain before his sleep-warmed blankets were forcefully ripped off his body. Izuku was lifted by the forearm and brought face to face with the surliest member of his personal guard; Katsuki Bakugou. A lionfish breed with a fiery temperament whose sting was only rivaled by that of the poisonous spikes that rolled down his spine. He flexed them in clear distaste before looking Izuku up and down.

“Not all of us get the luxury of sleepin’ in bed all day.  You got shit to do so by extension, so do I. The king wants to see you for breakfast or whatever and you’re gonna be late.” Katsuki tossed Izuku back on to the bed with a startling amount of ease. Then with a powerful flick of his tail, he left the room to wait outside for Izuku.

The green haired merman grumbled under his breath at the way his childhood guard treated him. He was a prince, for fuck's sake. Just because they grew up together, didn’t mean he could treat Izuku like trash. It left Izuku in a bit of a sour mood as he brought himself out of bed and swam over to his dresser. He tried his best to comb out his unruly curls but after almost getting his comb stuck in it twice, he set it down and reached for his silver crown instead.

His day went as follows; a rude awakening from his guard, a three-minute lecture on why being tardy was unacceptable by said guard, then a mandatory spring cleaning session from the servants. This included another failed attempt at taming his locks, and a team grooming from his servants to pluck the old, dull scales off of his glittering green body. One of the servants he had befriended was always a fan of this part. She was a pink jellyfish breed and didn’t have any scales of her own so she found entertainment in fawning over Izuku’s.

“You have such pretty green scales for a betta fish breed, ‘Zuku… They catch the light like shiny pearls.” The jellyfish girl puffed out her cheeks in a pout as she and a few other maidens continued their work dutifully. “You should start putting more care into them instead of letting them get all brittle and fall out. It might even attract more alphas this season you know.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively and Izuku gave her a playful shove.

“Ochako, you know how I feel about alphas. I don’t care what they think of me because, in the end, all they want is one thing.” Ochako gave a snort and shook her head.

“What do you know about what alphas want? The only alpha our age that you know of is Katsuki, and the only thing he seems to ever want is to fight everything that sways in the breeze.” Low giggles began to erupt from the other maidens as Ochako stood tall to face Izuku. “Arms out!” She unfolded the veil-like fins attached to his sides from under his arms and smoothed them out gently. Izuku kept his arms up but gave her a disapproving look through the smile that was threatening to appear on his face.

“I know enough. My teachers taught me all about my eventual ‘duties’ as an omega heir to the throne. What would any alpha want with me anyway? I’m not even the next in line so it’s not like they have a chance at ruling the Reef kingdom.” After the servants finished cleaning his iridescent scales, Izuku thanked them all before catching Ochako’s critical eye.

“That’s a pretty close-minded view of it all… I get it if you don’t think you’re ready to breed but you’re a handsome merman you know. Plus, you’re rare in that you're a male omega. Lots of fish are into that. Give the ceremony a chance and at least see what your options are. Who knows, you might find a fish that you like who’s also willing to wait for your stubborn ass.” With a passive shrug of her shoulders, she imparted her final pieces of wisdom unto Izuku as he met back out with Katsuki. Izuku noticed the way Katsuki’s eyes lingered a little longer than usual on his freshly cleaned body. Before Izuku could say anything about it, Katsuki just let out a huff and lead Izuku down the corridor to the dining hall.

 

Izuku wasn’t surprised to see that the rest of his family was already seated around the dining table before him. His father was the first to notice his arrival and a wide grin appeared on his face. His muscled chest began to expand to twice its original size, as his yellow puffer fish breed could often do when they felt excited or threatened, and he rose from his seat. His mother, a forest green betta fish like himself, smiled warmly upon his arrival as she waited for her son to get closer. Izuku smiled at both of his parents and swam over to his seat at the table across from his brother Mirio and his brother’s pregnant mate, Tamaki. Mirio, a brightly colored golden betta fish, gave Izuku a cheerful wave before turning his attention back to his introverted Moorish Idol dam.

“Ah, Izuku my boy,” His father began once everyone was seated. “The water feels much sweeter this spring doesn’t it?” Izuku shrugged in response and played with his fork as servants began to file into the hall, placing down platters of fresh fish dishes. “Perhaps it’s because you’re finally of age this year.”

Izuku flinched a little at that as he reached over to pierce his fork into the back of a red snapper. “I suppose I am… I don’t feel any different though. Not really, anyway.”

“You’ll start to feel different soon enough. But it’s my job to find you a suitable mate before you start to change too much.” Izuku tried his hardest not to gag at the thought of being so completely unable to control the urges of his body that a stranger who won the approval of his father got to dictate how he was treated. Cause that was a riveting and sexy breakfast thought right?

“Father, if I may be so bold, I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I’m not so sure I really want to go through with this ceremony thing…” He kept his eyes downcast, practically glued to the way his fork poked holes into his food. “I was, well… I was kinda  hoping that we could maybe, not, have the ceremony at all this year?” He continued to keep his eyes down as his anxiety began to feed off his father’s growing silence. “And maybe for the next few years after that... ” He added under his breath before finally looking up. Everyone at the table was staring at him like he sprouted an extra fin. He should have kept his mouth shut. His father’s smile began to fade and was replaced with a tight frown.

“Izuku, this has been the tradition of merfolk for generations. Every sea kingdom out there practices this sacred right of passage for an omega of royal lineage. This tradition dates back to the times when we were all one kingdom. If you decline this ceremony, you not only insult our kingdom but every other kingdom under the seven seas. Your request is to bold for me to allow it.”

“But dad this isn’t fair! Doesn’t the idea of giving me off to a random alpha feel kinda archaic to you? I mean, what if I’m mated for life with someone who just wants to hurt me? Or who wants the throne? Or who just wants to use me like all I'm good for is churning out their guppies and will leave with the next turn of the tide?” Izuku’s voice began to hitch up a few octaves into a complaining whine. How could his father not see that this whole thing should be outlawed? It was in clear favor of the alphas seeing as the omega being ‘celebrated’ had no say in the ceremony whatsoever.

“You’re overreacting. The whole event will be regulated thoroughly so you don’t need to worry about a thing. Your personal guards will attend to you up until you’re officially given away so there’s no chance of any alphas trying to hurt or get to you outside of the designated events.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about!” Izuku cried out impatiently. “You’re not listening to me. I don’t care what happens during the event because I’m not interested in having the event at all! I want to decide when I get to mate. And if I ever do, I want it to be someone of my choosing. Those decisions shouldn’t be left up to you-”

The king slammed his hands down on the table loud enough to draw the attention of the royal guards stationed outside the doors. “That is quite enough Izuku! I’ve entertained this blatant disrespect of our culture long enough. You disrespected this sacred tradition, you’ve disrespected me as your king, and you’ve disrespected everyone else in this room. The ceremony will continue whether you like it or not. Have I made myself clear?” 

Izuku felt the pressure of salty tears begin to sting his eyes. Without another word, he pushed himself from the table and swam out the double doors in a frustrated huff. He ignored the angry call of his name from his father and the worried croon of his mother. What the hell did they know about what was good for him? He was his own person who could think and do whatever the hell he wanted.

He swam so quickly that the people he passed looked like colored blurs. He didn’t stop until he reached one of the open hallways that were exposed to the rest of the sea. High arches between the coral pillars gave a beautiful view to Izuku’s favorite part of the castle; the garden. He continued to swim past bright anemones and sculpted pieces of brain coral, kicking up sediment from the thick seagrass with each powerful flick of his tail until he reached the wild kelp. His mother had grown tall patches of it for Izuku when he was a small fry. It always made Izuku feel safe and camouflaged whenever he swam into it.

The dark green kelp wrapped around his body like a safety blanket as he buried himself in its soft tendrils. He let out a small chirp once he found himself completely hidden away from view. It was the perfect place to sulk and be alone for a while since no one would be able to see him, but through the gaps in the swaying seaweed, he could see them. Not that anyone would be finding him anytime soon seeing that only three people in the entire castle knew about this hiding spot. His mother obviously knew he liked to be there but she could respect his space when she knew he needed it, and his handmaid Ochako didn’t even know he had stormed out of the dining hall so why would she come looking? That just left…

Katsuki.

Oh… Well…

He might come looking since it was his job, but maybe it wouldn’t be his first place to look. When they grew up together, they came up with a ton of hiding places to play around in. And in Izuku’s favor, he hadn’t hidden in the kelp in years so maybe Katsuki forgot all about it.

Or, not.

“Don’t make me have to stab into that seaweed to get you to come out. Don’t think I won’t.” Through a space in the kelp, he met the lionfish’s intense, red-eyed gaze. How did he find him so quickly when there were a ton of other spots Izuku could have been in? Katsuki stood there, glowering down at him as he gripped his trident in his hand.

“Just leave me alone…” Izuku sighed and turned away from those predatory eyes. That didn’t stop Katsuki from actually poking him in the back with his trident. Not hard enough to be considered treasonous, but enough to smart. “OUCH! What the hell is your problem Katsuki!?” Izuku bolted up out of the kelp and rubbed his back. “I just want to be left alone.”

“I bet you do, but that’s not my problem. I came to find you and bring you back to your room. You really pissed the king off back there you know. Never seen him blow his top off like that. He's only ever smiling at everyone so it was crazy to hear him yell at you.” He said with a satisfied smirk.

“Yea I bet I did piss him off or whatever. Who cares anyway… He doesn’t care about anything but his stupid tradition. He’s just got this big vision and he doesn’t seem to care that I don’t wanna be a part of it.” Izuku sighed and sat on the edge of the kelp garden enclosure. Katsuki silently joined him and they looked out into the vast expanse of the ocean together. A long moment of silence passed between them as Izuku continued to mope and Katsuki thought of the right thing to say.

“Remember when we were kids, and we used to imagine leaving this place? I said we could explore all the different kingdoms together and you said only if I stayed by your side to protect you?” Katsuki slowly rolled his trident between his palms. “If you hate this so much, why don’t you just do it then? Just leave. Pack up your shit and just go without a word.”

“What are you talking about? I was… I was being dramatic back then. I can’t just run away now! I’ve got duties a-as a prince...” Izuku mumbled. “And besides, mother and Mirio would be upset if I just left.”

“You say you got princely duties or whatever the fuck, but you’ve never given a damn about them before. Not really anyway. Yet here you are using them as an excuse not to run away. And don’t you think this ceremony is kinda one of them? Yeah, it fucking sucks and all but it’s still just a duty, right? That’s gotta mean that if you don’t run away, your other choice is to suck it up and do the ceremony like any other responsibility you got goin’ on. How do you get through the rest of your duties?”

“I just… Do them? Kacchan, I’m not really sure what you’re getting at here.” Izuku furrowed his brow and looked at him. Katsuki just let out a sharp huff and shook his head.

“What I'm getting at, is that you treat this shit like any other duty you know? You do it, but you do it your way. That’s how you win. You do it your way so that you control what you get out of it, but you’re still playing the game. You know what I mean?”

Izuku took a moment to really consider what Katsuki was saying. Play the game, but on his own terms? How could he spin this in a way where he got what he wanted out of it? He really just wanted the right to choose for himself, but that wasn’t gonna happen if his dad had anything to do with it. Well, if there’s a will, there’s a way. He’d have a lot to think about tonight if he really wanted to go through with that.

“Or, you know, if you don’t wanna play the game at all you can run away like a pussy. May not be the best decision in the long run, but if you really want out so bad then that’s your best bet. I’d follow you if you really wanted to leave. Mainly because you can’t protect yourself for shit and you’d die in the first day. Maybe two if you cried loud enough to scare off predators.”

Izuku groaned and playfully shoved Katsuki’s shoulder. “Can’t you be nice to me for just one second? I thought we were having a pretty decent moment for once until you just ruined it.”

“I’m just stating the facts, Deku.” The ghost of a smile appeared on Katsuki’s face as he looked over at the young betta fish. “But if it were me, I’d wanna go down swinging you know? Show all those alphas that I wasn’t just some omega who’d roll over and take it at the slightest preening display.” Katsuki rose from his spot and stretched out his body. “Now come on. I really do gotta bring you back to your room."

 

Now, this was a sight to see. He expected his mother to want to talk to him about his behavior but Tamaki was here too? It wasn’t like they talked a whole lot these days seeing as he was ready to pop and was always under constant protection, yet there he was unguarded and seated next to Inko on the edge of the bed. The two of them watched Katsuki drop Izuku off before swimming back out into the hallway and closing the door behind him.

“Did dad make you two come here to talk to me? Cause I’m not gonna apologize...” Izuku kept his eyes trained on the ground as he kept to the doorway. His shoulders sunk and he hunched over to make himself appear smaller.

“No, it wasn’t your father who sent us here. It was actually Katsuki’s idea to have us talk to you.” Izuku couldn’t hide the surprise on his face at hearing that Katsuki was the one who brought them all together. “He said it might be a good idea for you to understand how the rest of the royal omegas felt about our ceremonies so that you might have a different way of seeing things. After you left, your father stormed off and Katsuki came inside looking for you. I told him why you were upset and he asked us to wait in your room until he brought you back for a talk.” His mother gracefully swam towards him and took his hand before leading him back to the bed. “Believe it or not, you’re not the only omega in the sea to think the ceremony is unfair. And, you’re well within your rights to think that. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the best of it. It’s scary, exciting, maddening, exhilarating and a whole bunch of other things wrapped up into one.

“I know that when I met your father I wasn’t so sure about him either. He was so flashy and bright. It was hard to keep my eyes off him the entire ceremony because he was so much brighter than the rest. But his smile… He won me over with that smile and those beautiful blue eyes that told me everything was alright when he was near. He was an alpha who made me feel safe and Izuku, that’s the most important thing to look for in a mate. If you don’t think they can keep you safe, then they aren’t the one for you. And I went into that ceremony with a similar attitude to yours about finding a mate. They aren’t all bad you know…”

Tamaki nodded in agreement before twiddling his thumbs nervously. He took a moment to consider what he wanted to say before continuing in a soft-spoken voice. “Your mom is right. I also felt a lot of anxiety towards this ceremony in that I’d be mating with a complete stranger but when I met Mirio, something just… Felt right. He was so brave and strong but he was also really goofy. He brought me out of my shell in a way no one had ever done before and he treated me like a friend instead of as a prize to be won. I feel like I’m his equal when I’m with him and in my opinion, I think that’s also really important to have in your mate. It should be someone who’s willing to protect you without smothering you. They’ll keep you safe and keep you happy. I know it sounds sappy and impossible to find an alpha like that but they exist. You’ll feel it deep inside that they’re the one for you. Trust us when we tell you that good can come out of the ceremony if you just go about it with an open mind.”

Izuku considered what they said but it still seemed too far fetched for him. Yea so they both found their soulmates. That didn’t guarantee that Izuku would. And if he didn’t like the selection of alphas that presented themselves to him this year, he wouldn’t have a choice but to pick the best of the worst. The chances of being disappointed in his selection were just too high for his liking but, Tamaki and his mom did fill him with some hope that maybe at least one of them would be decent enough.

“Thank you both for talking to me about it. I’m still not fully convinced but… Maybe it won’t be as bad as I was thinking before. It’s possible that maybe I’ll meet an alpha that isn’t so bad. I’ll try to keep an open mind about it like you said.” He gave them a small smile and watched their faces relax. Right before his mother was about to say something else, there was a soft knock at the door. As it opened, Izuku stiffened to see his father poking his head inside.

“Ah… Pardon me. I didn’t realize you were all in here. I’d like to speak to Izuku alone, please.” Without another word, his mother and his brother-in-law rose from their spots on the bed and left the room.

This… This was the moment he was afraid of.

His father entered the room and closed the door behind him. He let out a large sigh and his muscled frame began to shrink down to that of a much smaller fish. Like this, it was hard to believe he was the king of anything let alone the biggest kingdom in the seven seas. Izuku watched in silence and stayed exactly where he was. His dad spent a good minute just looking around his room and fiddling with small things on his dresser before he was finally ready to talk.

“Izuku I just wanted to apologize about, raising my voice at you earlier. I didn’t mean to get so upset or upset you and I just wanted to let you know that even when I’m angry, I still love you... Very much. You, your mother and your brother are everything to me.” Izuku had never seen his father seem so sincere before. In this light, he could see the sickly tint to his father’s skin and the slightly labored breathing. Every now and then he would bring his hand up to cup the injury on his side. Izuku faintly remembered the story of how he got it in the ceremony for Inko’s hand. Some other alpha played dirty in the fighting portion and nearly killed him. It looked like the wound was starting to act up again. “But with that being said, I just wanted you to understand that this ceremony is a sacred tradition and birthright of every royal omega. It’s been performed for thousands of years and will be performed for thousands more.”

Izuku let out an agitated sigh and folded his arms. This isn’t how he wanted to hear this. His father made it sound as if giving his youngest son away to be fucked like some cheap hagfish was an honor just because it had been apart of tradition. Not to mention his father still seemed to think that Izuku had absolutely no choice but to go along with tradition even though Izuku now realized that wasn’t true. Katsuki had really opened his eyes about it all earlier. Even though he didn’t have a choice in participating, he had a choice in how he participated.

“Right, yea… Sure.” Izuku mumbled and scratched at his arm. “Hypothetically, if I refused to participate, what would happen?”

“I would… Have no choice but to banish you. Please don’t make me do that. I would really appreciate it if you behaved in front of several other royal families. I feel as though you’re making a big deal over nothing about this ceremony.”

Oh.

So,

Not wanting to be forced into a mating relationship with a stranger and being forced to dam his kids against your will counted as overreacting these days? That was news to Izuku. Last time he checked it was a perfectly good reason to be upset. But the young omega had stopped listening to his father anyway. He had made up his mind about what he was going to do, regardless of what his father would have said to him.

“No, you’re right. I’ve spent some time thinking about it and I’ll go through with the ceremony. I realized that maybe I was a little too hasty about my decision to turn it down.” Izuku offered up his brightest, sunniest smile. His father seemed to buy it as he straightened up and smiled back at him.

“Great! I’m glad to hear that you’ll be taking it seriously. I’m proud of you for accepting this responsibility. If you’ve got any questions, come and find me or my royal advisor. He’ll be waking you up early to get ready for the upcoming ceremony.” With that, Toshinori puffed out his chest again and left his son alone in the room. Now that he was gone, Izuku could focus on his plan to turn the games in his favor. Izuku had been unwillingly forced into this game and if this was how his father wanted to play it, then so be it.

Let the games begin.

Chapter Text

As much as it pained Izuku to admit it, his father was really efficient when it came down to organizing the whole affair. In less than a month, he had gotten the whole kingdom into the festive spirit with his bright smile and enthusiastic mating ceremony propaganda. The whole inner city was eating it up as the second royal born was finally ready to take a mate. And since Izuku was the one requiring a mate, that meant the festivities were going to take place on home turf. This also meant that spectators from the respective kingdoms who put forth their alphas were going to be coming to watch and root for their kingdom like a giant sports game. Nobles who made the travels would likely end up fucking the residents of the hosting kingdom and spending their sand dollars at shops, hotels, and on food. It was the mating season after all and the mating season was an expensive time of year, ceremony aside. So all things considered, the whole shebang would be good for the economy and the population.

That still didn’t mean that Izuku had to be happy about it.

The week of the ceremony coincided with his heat cycle and the preparations began and ended with his pre-heat. He had to spend the first four days of his cycle preparing for the event with his father’s advisor, Shota Aizawa. This guy could turn a fish to stone just from looking at it with that disapproving scowl he always carried on his face. He was also smart as a whip and without him, Izuku was sure the kingdom would have gone belly-up moons ago. His father was just too kind on his own to resist giving away everything in the castle’s treasury. Aizawa was the pragmatic other half Izuku’s father needed in order to keep the Reef kingdom the most prosperous kingdom in the seven seas.

The stern mimic octopus breed used one of his colorful arms to lift Izuku up by the wrist from where he had fallen on the smooth stone of the courtyard. That disapproving frown discouraged Izuku even more as once again, he messed up the timing to the royal courtship display which caused him to trip and fall. 

“Again.” Aizawa commanded and tossed his pupil back into an upright position. Izuku’s cheeks burned as he went through the motions for the seventh time that hour while his royal guards watched.

“I kinda feel bad for the prince you know? Aizawa is never satisfied and the prince is just clumsy by nature. If this keeps up, he’ll be tripping over his own fins once the actual ceremony begins.” Eijiro Kirishima, a sharp-toothed barracuda breed, remarked with a pitiful shake of his head. He leaned lazily against his trident and suppressed a long yawn as his attention began to wander towards the schools of fish swimming overhead. Their shimmering bodies provided a great distraction before the back of his head was smacked.

“Shut it and be respectful, Eijiro. You’re supposed to watch, stay silent, and be ready to attack if any stray alpha tries to intrude. That’s it.” Katsuki, ever the vigilant guard, stood at attention and remained ready to strike at a moment’s notice.

“Quit being so uptight man. It’s not that serious. Izuku is literally JUST dancing. Plus the only alpha here is you so unless you’re ready to kick your own ass, you can get out of high alert.” The blond sea dragon-moray hybrid standing next to Kirishima chimed in as his pinky finger dug into his ear. “Besides, there’s no need to show off. Izuku isn’t even paying attention to you right now so you can cool it-” Before he even had time to react, the blunt end of Katsuki’s trident was digging into the soft flesh of his stomach and knocking the oxygen out of his lungs. The blond doubled over, his grip tight on his trident as his tail curled up to where he looked like he was in a ball. Kirishima couldn’t pretend like he didn’t see that coming and instead just offered a breathy chuckle.

“Well, you kinda deserved that one Denki. Maybe next time you should think about what you say to Katsuki before you say it.” He continued to chuckle at his friend’s misery as Denki fell over on to the ground and let out an exaggerated groan. 

Izuku glanced over to where his guards were fooling around and offered them a sympathetic smile. He knew that they must’ve been just as bored as he was and that was why they decided to bully Denki. He had to admit, it was a little funny… But looking away cost him his coordination and he ended up bumping right into Aizawa’s back. Izuku went pale as Aizawa’s octopus arms shot out like bullets to wrap around his body and keep his arms pinned to his sides. The colors of the arms changed from their usual black and white pattern to a fiery red and orange.

“If none of you will take this seriously then I suppose you should all just be punished. Is that what you want? Izuku, you are to drill this dance until the moves are ingrained into your muscle memory PERFECTLY. I don’t care how long it takes you to get it right. But you won’t stop until you do.” Aizawa growled before looking over to Katsuki. “And you, captain. I expect better discipline from you and your subordinates. You understand just how important this dance is and treating it like playtime is of the highest disrespect. I’m not doing all of this for my health you know. I couldn’t care less if Izuku fucked it all up in front of the seven kingdoms. If he truly cares so little about it, then fine; he can reap what he sows. But I won’t have my teaching ethics besmirched just because you want to act like children.”

All four boys hung their heads low in shame as they muttered apologies and promises to pay more attention. After Aizawa let out a frustrated huff, he rubbed the bridge of his nose and let Izuku go. In a softer tone, Aizawa spoke to the green haired omega and allowed his arms to go back to their original colors. “I don’t want to drill this any more times than you want to practice it, prince Izuku. But it really isn’t that hard. If you can just focus more on the timing and less on how you look, then you’ll be headed in the right direction.”

“Yea… I know, I’m sorry… I’m just really nervous and I want to get this right. I will master the routine, I promise…” He kept his head down and rubbed his arm as his instructor nodded his head.

“I know you will. You can take a break for a few minutes. I need to speak with Katsuki in private anyway.” He looked over to Katsuki who already seemed to know what this talk would entail by the somber expression on his face. Once the two of them were out of sight, Izuku let out a deep exhale before collapsing backward from exhaustion. Before he could hit the ground, his guards were at his sides and holding him up by looping their arms under his. They kept him parallel to the ground so that he didn’t have to do anything except trust them to hold him afloat.

“Is the jerktopus getting you down? Have no fear for Eiji and Denki are here!” Denki grinned as he looked down at the prince. Izuku giggled as he was hoisted back up and supported by their combined strengths.

“Thanks, you guys… I never knew dancing would make you feel like you were dying. My fins are cramping...” Izuku sighed.

“Well, if it’s any consolation your dance moves were really working for Katsuki. His eyes never left you. He was even kinda smiling a little when you got the moves right. I mean, maybe if I was an alpha like him I’d feel the same way, but something about it seemed kinda genuine.” Kirishima added casually.

“Kacchan was… Watching me?” Izuku repeated. It was hard to believe that Katsuki would watch him with that much raw interest. It couldn’t have been for the reason Izuku thought… No. Of course not. Katsuki didn’t think of anyone like that. In all the years he had known Katsuki, he hadn’t once shown any kind of romantic interest in anyone. “It was probably just because he was doing his job. You know how he gets when he’s been given a task.”

“Yea, you’d think he was a dogfish instead of a lionfish by how eager he is to do the tricks he’s told to do.” Denki began to sway side to side with his friends and brushed his leafy fins against Izuku’s sides. It caused the young omega to giggle when he felt a light tingling jolt from Denki’s electrifying skin. “Now for the record, I’m not some gossipy bitch but I know a few things about Katsuki. Like, I know he’s got a crush on you for sure and he hides it by saying that it’s his ‘duty’ or whatever to be by your side. Yea, right. It’s his duty to ogle you and daydream about being your mate.”

Kirishima laughed and swayed along with them. “You actually are a gossipy bitch, Denki. You shouldn’t tell the Captain’s business like that. Whether it’s true or not, you know he’ll kill you for spreading rumors. Let’s just say that it’s too coincidental that he’s always there for you even when he’s off duty. He goes above and beyond his pay grade if you think about it. Even when we were kids he’s made it his point to be the main guard you could count on.” Kirishima took Izuku’s other hand and began to spin in circles with him. “Don’t tell him we said any of this but, we’re kinda rooting for you guys!” He twirled Izuku and let him go to spin in a tight circle. When Izuku finally stopped, dizzy and full of giggles, he spotted his two guards standing stiff and at attention as their captain came striding back over with Aizawa not far behind.

“I leave for five minutes and you’re both goofing off with the prince? I expected better discipline from you two.” He growled and watched his two subordinates mutter another apology and shuffle off to the edge of the courtyard where they had stood guard previously.

Aizawa just gave Izuku another disappointed look as he slowly approached him. “Break time is over. Start the routine from the beginning.”

Izuku flinched a little at his harsh tone of voice, but he got into position anyway. With a soft exhale, he performed to the best of his ability in a rush of turns, spins, and fluttering fins.

“Again.”

 

Now that the preparations for the ceremony were all finished, on the afternoon of the fifth day, the royal alphas from all across the seven seas began to file into the city. The large coral gates parted and allowed the entrance of carriage after carriage from all over.  The town square was filled with excitement at seeing so many new and exotic royals and nobles parading through the streets and the royals seemed just as excited to be seen.

Mirio, dressed nicely for the occasion in traditional robes, was peering out of Izuku’s window at the crowds below. He let out an impressed whistle before looking back to where his younger brother was pacing back and forth. “They sent a lot of alphas your way this spring. I’m kinda jealous! But only because you could make a ton of connections through this.”

Izuku could hardly hear his brother over the pounding of his own heart. He was taking in shallow breaths while he muttered possible ways this could all go wrong, under his breath. Mirio sighed and swam over to Izuku. He placed his hands on Izuku’s shoulders to force Izuku to look at him and stop him from moving around. “Hey… Hey, look at me ‘Zuku. It’s not gonna be as bad as you think it’ll be. It’s really just networking and matchmaking on a grander scale. But all the important stuff is still gonna happen behind closed doors. Or, maybe it won’t happen at all. If you’ve got yourself a genuine alpha, he wouldn’t mind waiting until you’re ready.”

“That... That’s not really why I’m freaking out… My heat is coming. M-My heat is practically here, and what if they take advantage of that? What if I let them take advantage of that? I’m gonna be so vulnerable… What if they lead me off somewhere and-”

“That won’t happen. Ever. And do you know why? Because you have three attentive guards who will never lose sight of you, AND you’ve got the bestest, strongest, handsomest big brother in the world who isn’t afraid of kicking some thirsty alpha’s ass.” Mirio responded with his trademark smile. His brother, while rarely serious, always seemed to know just what to say and do to make Izuku feel better. Mirio pulled Izuku into a hug and straightened his brother’s silver crown. “And honestly at the end of the day, you’ll still be able to know right from wrong when your heat starts up. It’s not like all functionality except wanting to screw, shuts down. Tamaki used to push me away during his heat all the time in the beginning cause he wasn’t ready, and you know what I did? I agreed with his decision and waited until he was. Trust me, you’ve got nothing to worry about. And if your heat starts to get really bad, we’ll pull you away from the festivities. You don’t have to watch all of it if you don’t think you’re up for it, you know.”

“You’re right… I’ll see how I feel but today I just feel so hot and uncomfortable. Are all heats like this?” Izuku sighed and buried his face in the blond betta fish’s chest. He took in the comforting scent of his brother and let it calm him down some.

“I’m gonna tell ya right now, I’m the wrong person to ask about this sort of thing. You’d be better off asking Tamaki. Well, maybe ask him after he’s out of the delivery room.” A wide grin spread across Mirio’s face and Izuku moved back to look up at his brother.

“W-wait does that mean…”

“Yup! He’s giving birth as we speak.” Mirio said proudly. “I was kicked out of the delivery room for cheering him on and getting in the way of the doctors…” He added sheepishly. “I’m sorry in advance but I’ll be missing dinner and your courtship display. He’s supposed to be finished around then and I’m gonna rush over to see our guppies. I should be around tomorrow to hear all about what I missed and to watch the last part of the ceremony.”

“That’s great! Congratulations Mirio! I’m finally an uncle! You’re gonna be an amazing dad… And don’t worry about missing the ceremony. Tamaki and your guppies come first.”

“Ha ha! Thanks, I really hope I can be a good dad and a good king. I mean, Aizawa doesn’t seem like he’s retiring anytime soon so if he’s my advisor too then we’ve got a good chance of not going bankrupt as a kingdom.” He chuckled.

The trumpeting of conch shells outside signaled the last of the arrivals and the official beginning to the whole event. Izuku wished this moment with his brother could last just a bit longer but the whole kingdom was quite literally waiting to see him. Besides, Mirio was already on his way to the door. He opened it with a supportive smile and put his thumbs up.

“Go get ‘em tigerfish! And remember, if they try to touch you somewhere inappropriate, go for the gills. Then scream until I can get there and I’ll kick their ass.” Izuku couldn’t help but laugh at his brother’s advice. Mirio was one of the most docile alphas he had ever seen. Not that Izuku had seen a ton of alphas or anything, but it was still hard to imagine him taking on another alpha for the sake of Izuku’s maidenhood.

“Yea yea I got it covered!” Izuku followed Mirio into the hallway where his personal guard was already waiting for him. Eijiro and Denki were all encouraging smiles while Katsuki… Well, Katsuki was glaring as usual but something about him seemed a little off today. He seemed to be in a particularly tense and irritable mood as he led the way towards the balcony overlooking the front of the castle. Izuku figured that it was probably just because Katsuki’s skills as a guard would really be tested during the next few days. The pressure of having your work really count would make anyone a grump.

On the balcony, four thrones were set up; three in the back and one towards the front to be seen by all. The rest of his family had already settled into the back three chairs so that meant that the chair in the front was… For him. Izuku gulped and watched his guards spread out to either side of the balcony as Izuku slowly swam to the edge and looked over.

The biggest crowd of merfolk he had ever seen were gathered in the front courtyard to see him. They cheered louder once they could see his face and he watched the crowds break away to form a crescent around the eligible alpha bachelors and bachelorettes. Upon a quick count, he concluded that four out of the other six kingdoms put forth their best alphas for the occasion. They all stood in a horizontal line next to the reigning king or queen of their respective kingdoms and they were all looking up at him. The green haired prince gave everyone a sheepish wave and they seemed to eat that up as the cheers continued to get more and more excited. Izuku felt a wave of nausea wash over him and he was ready to show the entire kingdom what he had for breakfast when a heavy hand rested on his shoulder. He looked up at his dad who had gotten up at some point to be by his side.

“Ladies and gentlemers! I am King Toshinori and I would like to officially welcome you all to the Reef kingdom! We take pride in hosting the mating ceremony this year as it has been quite some time since the Reef kingdom has put forth an omega.” Toshi rose to his full height and kept his chest puffed out for all to see the kind of king it took to rule a kingdom such as his. “But this year, my son Izuku is finally of age to take a mate! Let us hope that the alpha chosen by fate is one who will meet his needs in every way. The suitors may now present themselves to the prince, in order.”

The first alpha was a sockeye salmon breed from the arctic regions. She was still covered in a layer of protective fat from the harsh winter that just passed. Izuku was able to get a better look at her fair features once the alpha swam up to Izuku’s eye level with a few powerful flicks of her tail. She was powerful, Izuku had to admit and her preening display was a bit unusual. She showed off her best features in an exotic dance to capture Izuku’s fancy. Once the dance finished, she offered Izuku a polished and beautiful pebble from her area of the ocean before introducing herself.

The others went in order and displayed their strong, unique, or eye-catching features to keep Izuku’s attention, before offering him their name and a trinket from their homelands. Each offering was covered in their pheromones and Izuku had never realized just how good alpha scent really was. He witnessed a strong swordfish breed from the coastal regions and a majestic manta ray breed from the open ocean. It left Izuku’s cheeks in a constant shade of cherry red up until the last alpha was ready to put himself on display.

Even without a preening display, he stood out like a sore thumb; red and white hair split perfectly down the middle of his scalp and two different colored eyes. But to be honest, those weren’t what immediately caught the omega’s attention. It was the unique pattern that stretched across his body. He was clearly a tiger shark of some sort but… The shark portion of his body was a crisp white with splatters of a reddish orange outlined in black rings. The same pattern traveled up his flanks, the outsides of his arms, and decorated his shoulders in a more faded tone. It was an extremely unusual pattern on a shark. Typically the diluted shark appearance was more dominant genetically and the offspring would usually look like the shark parent. But this alpha looked like a perfect mix of koi and tiger shark. It was like he was a watercolor painting... A handsome watercolor painting who was swimming right towards the gawking omega.

“H-Hey…” Izuku muttered awkwardly to save himself from being caught staring. A look of shock seemed to briefly flash across the tiger shark’s expression before he settled into a polite smile.

“Hey yourself. You’re not supposed to talk to me during the ritual dance. I hope this doesn’t disqualify me.” He whispered back before spinning around in a flashy display of color. It had Izuku absolutely hypnotized as he watched the way those beautiful spots glittered and caught the light of the afternoon sun. Izuku had to refrain from reaching out to touch them. Sharkskin was deceptively rough but it seemed so smooth. Smooth enough to touch and rub against. Maybe even smooth enough to have it rub all over Izuku’s…

Whoa, what the hell was he just thinking? He was getting really hot and bothered sitting here and watching the displays. This display, in particular, was really doing something to him. He had to remind himself not to let out a whine as the tiger shark finally ended his courtship dance and gently put a necklace of sculpted obsidian around Izuku’s neck. Just when Izuku was sure it was all over, he felt a hand travel along his cheek, down his arm, and eventually lift the back of his hand to a misleadingly soft pair of lips.

“I am the third prince of the Lava kingdom, Shoto Todoroki. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, prince Izuku.”

 

That evening after the preening display ended, Izuku was allowed back to his chambers while the castle staff prepared for the largest feast they would ever have to make in their lives. It had to be enough to feed not only the Reef kingdom’s royal family but the royal alphas, their parents, and the nobility that arrived. All of the families were guided to their own guest chambers to stay and freshen up until dinner was ready. This also gave the alphas time to wander around and explore, but Izuku was forbidden to leave his room until dinner unless otherwise accompanied by all three of his private guard. Which was perfectly fine with him. Wasn’t like he really wanted to see anyone when his body was already starting to betray him. He was burning up and the entire time he watched the preening display, his anal fins had gotten sticky with slick. He was so glad he was able to get to his room without anyone else being able to catch on to the change in his scent. He was quick to place all of the alphas’ offerings on his nightstand to avoid getting too wrapped up in their pheromones. The only ones who would be able to smell the change to his own scent at this point would be any unbonded alphas and the only unbonded alpha around him at any given moment was Katsuki. But as his guard, there was an unofficial rule that he wasn’t allowed to lay his hands on Izuku, even if Izuku initiated it. Besides, Katsuki was too serious about his job to think about touching him anyway.

At least, that’s what Izuku had convinced himself of all his life leading up to crawling under his sheets. Although for a few crucial minutes under the covers, he allowed himself to imagine a scenario in which Katsuki truly did give in to his carnal desires. How would Katsuki approach him? What would he say? How would he touch him?

Izuku imagined being stopped in the middle of a hallway where anyone could catch them. The thrill of possibly being seen made Izuku’s breath hitch for a second. Katsuki would pin him against the wall with strong hands and say something along the lines of, ‘What do you think you’re doing, swimming around like you’re asking to get fucked, Deku? You’re making it so hard to just let you walk by when you’ve got a scent like that. Guess I should just teach you a lesson about tempting me.’ And then he’d capture Izuku’s lips in a rough kiss of teeth and tongue and Izuku would be at his complete mercy. It wasn’t the best dialogue in the world, but it was all his brain could muster without any reference.

The poor omega let out a needy whine as his finger trailed along his genital slit. His clitoris began to inflate from repeated prodding and touching, along with the aggressive scenario playing in his head. A small groan was pulled from his throat as the sensitive bit of flesh grew into a larger sex organ. He gripped the short shaft of his now fully inflated penis and gave it a few tender strokes. It had never been this sensitive before. It usually took him a few minutes to get hard enough to feel good, but during his heat, it only took a matter of seconds.

So while stroking his pink and throbbing length with one hand, his other traveled even further down to circle the rim of his entrance with his finger. He had never been so wet before in his life. He used some of the warm fluid to coat his shaft which drew a keening noise from his lips as his hand slid up and down faster.

“Ooh~ Kacchan~!” He moaned out as two fingers gained entrance inside his throbbing pussy and his back arched off the bed. Pleasure like this was previously unknown to the desperate omega. It’s not like he had never touched himself before, but he had convinced himself that he was never doing it right since he didn’t feel the type of pleasure his friends always whispered about. But now, he could hardly stop his fingers from claiming new territory inside himself. In no time at all, he was moving his fingers and his hand at the perfect rhythm when the scenario in his head began to shift.

A different figure was looming over him now; a prince with red and white hair had him pinned down to the bed. Blue and grey eyes traveled the length of his body with a passion so hot he felt like he was being eaten alive. Hands roamed Izuku’s burning flesh and a single kiss was pressed to his neck; right above his gills. Izuku tingled all over from the sensation emanating from his scent gland as the ghost of Shoto’s voice felt so real he could swear he felt his breath upon his neck.

‘You’re so beautiful, Prince Izuku. Splayed out and exposed like this; it makes me want to do so many bad things to you…’ Izuku let out a soft cry and added a third finger to his greedy insides. The wet squelching of his fluids seemed to grow louder and louder the faster his fingers moved.

“P-Prince Shoto… I’m so close… Knot me please~!” He begged for no one to hear as Izuku imagined Shoto fitting himself inside of his folds and bucking his hips as fast as he could. His eyes drifted to the obsidian necklace resting on his desk and he thought back to the smokey scent that had emanated from it. It was so rich and deep and to be surrounded by that scent would certainly bring Izuku under the Prince’s hypnotic spell. The fantasy alpha was working Izuku to completion with each solid thrust of his hips as the poor omega hardly stood a chance. His mind changed direction once more and Katsuki’s rough hands appeared out of nowhere to roam his chest from behind.

‘Who said he could have all the fun? You’re not forgetting about me, are ya? You’ve been mine since we were kids. You belong to me too~’ Izuku turned his head into his pillow and felt the ghost of Katsuki’s lips against his own. The omega opened his mouth to moan and an imaginary tongue mingled with his in a passionate kiss.

Then, all at once he felt the constant pressure that had been building in his lower stomach, finally release. With a pathetic cry into his pillow, his cock throbbed and sterile seed spilled into his hand. At the same time, his insides quivered and a large gush of slick squirted past his digits. Izuku gasped and his eyes rolled back as his body trembled from the force of two orgasms at the same time. It left him breathless as his mind drowned in an ocean of euphoria. His muscles were already growing heavy and languid as slowly, his eyelids began to close...

“Izuku?” There was a brief knock at the door before it suddenly swung open. His heart leapt into his throat and he quickly shifted into a casual position under his sheets as Ochako came into the room. “I heard you weren’t feeling well on your way back to the room. Are you okay? Your face is really flushed and I heard noises... “ She began to float towards him but Izuku sat up quickly. He kept his hands under the thick covers and cleared his throat. He really needed to remember to lock his doors.

“I-I’m fine! I just took a nap and woke up from an intense nightmare… I’m sorry for worrying you.” He said quickly as he flashed her his most convincing ‘I’m-totally-not-guilty-so-don't-come-any-closer’ smile.

“Oh alright,” She didn’t seem completely convinced but she stopped moving towards him. Instead, she nervously worked her hands along her translucent bell-shaped lower half. “Well, I just came by to let you know that you need to get ready for dinner soon... I’ll be dressing you and doing your makeup! Oooh, I’ve been looking forward to this for years! I’m going to make you look so beautiful! You’re already so pretty but you never wanna flaunt it!”

“Y-yea I know… I’ll leave it up to you to make me the center of attention okay? I’ll have Kacchan and the others escort me to the grooming parlor in a few minutes. I still need a little time to shake off the sleep.” Ochako was too excited to notice the nervous look in Izuku’s eyes as she floated back towards the door.

“Alright but don’t wait too long! There’s a thin line between fashionably late and just late.” Once the door was finally closed and Izuku was all alone again, he let out a small sigh and looked down at the damage beneath the sheets. He winced as they were saturated with his sticky fluids and he knew they would need to be washed privately. He wiped his hands off on the already ruined fabric and tossed the blanket on to the ground beside his bed. He felt a little better than earlier but his body was still hot. Hopefully, dinner wouldn’t last too long and he could come back to his room to fresh sheets and no questions asked. But with his kind of luck, that all seemed too unlikely.

 

Ochako had probably spent a good hour and a half on the entirety of Izuku’s body. She pushed his curls out of his face and somehow managed to smooth them down underneath his crown, as well as clip flowers and other eye-catching accessories into it. She also gave his body a fresh scrubbing and used a bit of makeup around his eyes and lips to really make him pop. Then, she wrapped the ceremonial veil over the lower half of his face before layering the other thin pieces of fabric modestly around Izuku’s waist. It was all really just for tradition. It wasn’t like there was much allure to what lay behind the fabric when nine times out of ten, Izuku could be found swimming around naked just like almost everyone else.

“Do I really have to wear all of this…?” Izuku groaned as Ochako slid intricate gold bands up Izuku’s upper arms.

“Yes, you do. The king said so and he’s also your dad so he’s got double authority in the matter.” She pierced his right ear with a heavy jeweled earring and Izuku cried out. “Oh hush! If you wore earrings more often and didn’t let the holes close up, you wouldn’t be in pain. Now, turn around for me so I can put the collar on. It’s the last piece I swear.” With a sigh, Izuku turned around and faced the large slab of sea glass behind him. He watched as Ochako placed the beautiful gold collar around his neck and he gently thumbed over the jewel with his family’s crest hanging from it.

He looked… Stunning.

He had never felt so beautiful before in his life. His skin was positively aglow with color and vibrancy. The fabric clung to his wide hips and the veil around his face drew more attention to his large, deep green eyes. He was radiating a reserved kind of mature beauty that he only now seemed to notice. His hands traveled along the mirror and he committed his appearance to memory. “Is this… Is this really me…? I look like… W-wow… I look so nice…”

“You really like it??” Ochako asked excitedly. “Ooh! Please tell the king that I did a good job! Not that I’m not grateful to everything he’s done for me, but I wouldn’t mind a little raise or something you know? Your girl loves to shop.” She grinned.

“Haha, once this is all over, I’ll take you shopping myself. I wouldn’t mind getting your advice for some stuff to wear that would make me look… A little more like this on a daily basis.” Izuku said as he turned around to face his handmaid.

“I’ll see what I can do if I get that bigger paycheck!” She giggled and gave Izuku one last look-over. “You look absolutely fantastic… All those alphas out there are super lucky that they even get to be considered by you. You’ll do great, I know it. Knock ‘em dead kid!” She punched his shoulder encouragingly before pulling him into a tight hug. Izuku hugged her back with a smile before pulling away and swimming towards the door.

“Thanks for everything Ochako. You’re the greatest friend I could ever ask for. And I’ll see what I can do about the paycheck. No promises though.” He chuckled and waved to her with a smile before exiting into the hall where his guards were waiting loyally for him.

Denki whistled when Izuku came out and he put his thumbs and forefingers together like a picture frame. “Damn Izuku, you look like a whole snack! I bet those alphas out there are gonna start drooling the moment you walk in. What do you think, Captain?” He nudged Katsuki’s side and the alpha seemed to jolt back into reality. He had been staring at Izuku the moment the blushing omega exited the room.

“What? Oh uh, yea. You… You look nice. And you smell pretty good too. Did Ochako spray you with some perfume?” Katsuki asked as they began to head towards the dining hall.

“Perfume…? I can’t smell anything on him.” Eijiro mumbled and shared a confused look with Denki.

“O-oh, no she didn’t use any perfume on me…” Izuku rubbed the back of his neck and Katsuki went quiet for a while as they both realized what he was smelling.

 

Once they entered the dining hall, all eyes were truly glued to him. His sparkling veils shimmered as he swam forward and he kept his eyes trained on the wall in front of him before he took his seat at the head of the table. His guards stood at attention behind his chair and he felt a lot safer knowing the heat of Katsuki’s classic glare over his shoulder was directed at the others in the room instead of at him for once. Izuku made eye contact with his father at the other end of the table and he blushed at the proud look on his face.

“My son has finally arrived! Doesn’t he look magnificent everybody?” Toshi grinned and gave a hearty chuckle as there were mutual murmurs of agreement all around.

“Yes, truly magnificent enough to be mated to my son.” Snarled a deep voice from the center of the long table. All eyes turned towards an older tiger shark breed large enough to rival Izuku’s father. He had fiery red hair and a long, gnarled scar over his left eye. He was likely very handsome in his youth, but those cold blue eyes felt devoid of any love and that was what gave him such an ugly and oppressive aura. “Shoto will be the clear cut winner of course. I sired him to be that way, and therefore your son will be the fortunate dam of a truly magnificent bloodline. Count yourself lucky that Shoto is of age to bless your son's offspring with good genes.”

A tense silence fell upon everyone at the table and Izuku looked to his father in horror. The absolute insolence of this tiger shark was remarkable! Not to mention what he was saying was utterly archaic. He may be the king of the Lava kingdom but right now he was in the Reef kingdom and had to show Toshi respect. Even Izuku’s mother looked shocked as she covered her mouth and looked towards her husband.

But Izuku’s father took it in stride. His smile didn’t even falter as he trailed his finger in circles on the table. “And you’re all about perfect genetics aren’t you? Quite unfortunate that you didn’t get your first choice of dam then, isn’t it? How is your wife by the way, Enji? I would have loved to officially meet her here. Such a shame she couldn’t make it.” Toshi’s smile and friendly voice was merely a façade as his words held a poisonous bite. Izuku saw his mother quickly grab Toshi’s hand and whisper something towards him. She seemed worried about the growing anger in the shark’s eyes.

“She’s currently with her parents. She fell ill a while back and I sent her away, not that it’s any of your concern.” Shoto looked away from his father and furrowed his brows angrily. He mouthed ‘liar’ and gripped his fork in his fist. “And I gave a good fight for my first choice. How is your side, by the way? Looks like it hurts. Hasn’t healed properly has it?”

“I could ask the same of you and your left eye. I would like to say it healed nicely but, well, you’re just fortunate to still have both eyes at all.” With a bit of a chortle, Toshi continued. “I’m sure you’ve seen better days!” He chuckled heartily before a loud bang on the opposite end of the table silenced him. Izuku had risen from his seat and was staring angrily at both his father and the insolent king.

“That is enough!” Izuku exclaimed with a frown. “You’re both acting like… Like guppies! Show some dignity, please. You’re both kings and should act as such. Instead of insulting each other, you should eat. The kitchen staff spent a lot of time and effort on this all. And while we eat, I don’t want to hear another hostile peep from either of you.” Izuku sat down in a huff and stabbed his fork angrily into some cooked fish. Enji looked away with a growl while Toshi cleared his throat.

“Yes, you’re quite right. This ceremony is about you, after all. I apologize for the interruption. Please, everyone, eat and enjoy the rest of your night. After dinner will be a special courtship display from Izuku and a mixer.” He added softly as the rest of the royals went back to eating their meals.

Izuku accidentally shared a glance with Shoto who seemed to smile at him a little. The omega blushed and looked away before sheepishly eating as well. He had no idea what had just come over him to scold two kings like they were children. But he was glad he did it because now his suitors were looking at him in a new light. Hopefully, now they could see that Izuku wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill omega.

 

After a tense and subdued multi-course dinner filled with furtive glances towards Shoto, everyone left the dining hall to another large hall with an elevated stage. It was time for Izuku’s courtship dance and he couldn’t have been any more anxious about it. It was supposed to be alluring and seductive and every omega before him from the Reef kingdom had done the exact same dance. It was the omega’s version of a mating display in order to remind all of the suitors what they were vying for. But Izuku was so worried that after days of practice with Aizawa that it still wasn’t right. What if he messed up? What if the alphas grew disinterested in him? What if he accidentally disgraced his entire kingdom?

No, stop.

He was tired of thinking so negatively about himself. He wasn’t going to mess up because he had a plan. He was a fighter and god damn it if this was his last stand then so be it. He shook his head clear and pushed on towards the stage. A band was already there off to the side as they awaited Izuku’s confirmation. The omega waited just a bit longer as the royals continued to file into the room and get situated. Shoto stood beside his father who made sure to stay on the complete opposite side of the room from Izuku’s mother and father. He also spotted his guards standing close enough to the stage that they could protect him if need be. Katsuki… He stared at Izuku like he would disappear if he looked away. He was just as filled with anticipation as everyone else was.

All eyes were on him.

He spotted Aizawa staring up at him from the back of the room. He gave a nod of approval and Izuku closed his eyes. With a deep breath, he draped an arm over his head and the other across his chest in a demure position. His hand rested upon his shoulder and he slowly tilted his head away from it as the music began to start up. It was the soft thump of a drum that matched the rhythm of a heartbeat. After the drum, a shaker filled with broken shells was added to the mix. Izuku absorbed the music into his skin and felt it rattling through his bones. His eyes remained closed as he spun around and raised his arms above his head. The bright wing-like fins under his arms unfolded in a sparkling mating display and his sweetened scent began to fill the room the more he swished his hips and moved his arms. He gyrated his hips and rolled his body to the tempo’s lively crescendo while his bright colors and sparkling jewelry insured that he captured everyone’s attention.

The longer the music continued, the faster it became and the faster he danced. He felt like his skin was burning as he dragged his hands from his hips to across his chest. It was erotic and passionate and a mix of old and new. He deviated from the traditional dance to incorporate his own style. It was far from his teacher’s ‘perfectly ideal’ routine, but it was something Izuku could be proud to claim as his own. He had perfected his own dance and it left his senses tingling. He was burning so brightly that he felt as though he would be consumed by it. His heart raced as he swished his flowing fins and gave it his all. He poured his heart out into the dance in a visual cry that screamed, ‘This is the real me!’

As the music reached its final decrescendo, Izuku had gone back to the same position he had started out in. His chest rose and fell with the weight of his breaths and he finally opened his eyes again. Everyone was in silent awe. Never before had they witnessed a display so full of life and emotion. Izuku’s message resonated loud and clear with every last mer in the room.

A few more seconds of stunned silence passed before claps from the back of the room seemed to snap everyone out of their daze. Aizawa was the first one to clap for him, followed by his mother, and then everyone else. Izuku stared around the room at each of his four suitors. They seemed to all be staring at him hungrily as they clapped their hands. With a blush, Izuku turned his attention to Katsuki who seemed to swipe his tongue across his lips as if he could taste Izuku on his skin. He looked just as starved for the omega as his suitors did. All of the attention was leaving Izuku dizzy as he meekly made his way off stage while the band started up in a more relaxing song.

Now was the part of the evening where he got to mingle with his suitors. He could dance with them a little, get to talk to them and their families, network, all the good stuff his brother had mentioned before. But Izuku was starting to feel a little hot again. The alpha scent in the room had doubled and there was no way for him to escape it right now. He was the center of attention as the suitors and their families all clambered towards him to further establish their impressions on Izuku.

The manta ray breed was first to get to him. Izuku had to admit, he was a fan of his bronzed skin and the ta moko tattoos racing up and down his arms and back. As they spoke, the alpha was getting a little touchy with him and Eijiro was quick to make his way through the crowds and intervene. He politely asked the alpha to move back a few strides and give Izuku his well-deserved space.

Izuku went through over two hours of mingling and introductions before finally, he had had enough. He was tired and socially exhausted from talking to literally everyone and their mothers. Izuku turned to Eijiro who had stuck close after the manta ray and he flashed him his big green eyes. “Hey, Eiji… I’m just gonna take a quick swim to the garden okay? You can stay here. I won’t be gone long.”

“Oh no no no, absolutely not. Katsuki would fillet me if he found out I let you go somewhere alone!” Kirishima whined.

“But I won’t be gone long, I promise! I just need a breath of fresh water. It’s so stuffy in here and it’s filled to the brim with posturing-alpha scent. You can’t tell me you can’t smell it too? Come on… Please do this for me? I promise I’ll sneak you some extra marinated soft crab if you cover for me.” Izuku played his trump card and watched the war between right and wrong flash across Kirishima’s face.

“I… I really shouldn’t… But…. Okay! Just go before I change my mind!” Kirishima whimpered and Izuku gave him a quick hug.

“Thanks Eiji! You’re the best.” Izuku quickly swam through the crowds with his head down. If he could just get by without bumping into someone, he was sure to get away unnoticed. Everyone was too preoccupied with their own excitement to worry about where the omega actually was. Izuku made sure to escape as quickly and as quietly as possible until he made it to the large royal garden. He could finally breathe a sigh of relief as he swam over towards his beloved kelp grove.

Except, he wasn’t exactly alone in the garden. A flash of red and white partially hidden behind a bit of colorful coral caught his eye and put him on high alert. He slowly moved closer until the warm scent of smoke and earth hit his senses. “Prince Shoto..?”

The prince slowly turned around from where he was seated the edge of the cliff face and he looked at Izuku. He seemed just as tired as Izuku felt and he seemed to have been staring out into the dark expanse of the open ocean for quite some time. The light of the full moon trickled down past the moving waves and cast shimmering shadows across his beautiful body. “Good evening Prince Izuku. I could smell you as soon as you came out here. You shouldn’t be outside alone without your guard.”

“I have a feeling that if you truly wanted to hurt me, you would have the moment you smelled me. Sharks have a more acute nose than the rest of us, don’t they? I’m sorry if my scent is bothering you.” Izuku said. “I didn’t expect you to be out here either. I’ll leave if it’s an issue-”

“No, no it’s fine. Don’t leave. It’s your garden after all. It was just… A little too hot in there following your performance and the smell of so many alphas going into rut put me off. I came out here to cool down and think.” Shoto moved over for Izuku and watched the omega sit down. “It really was a beautiful mating display. It was the most colorful and enticing thing I’ve ever seen.”

Izuku blushed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Thank you… I had my eyes closed for the entirety of it because I thought that if I looked at everyone, I would throw up.”

“If it makes you feel any better, it wouldn’t have changed the way I think of you.” Shoto glanced at Izuku with a smile. He then quickly looked back down and rubbed his fingers together. “I’m sorry about my king earlier at dinner. He’s always seen your dad as his rival since our kingdom is the second biggest. I know for a fact that he was so eager to send me out here because he’s obsessed with having grandguppies with perfect genes. And as much as he hates your dad, he wanted your mom first at one point and you’re the next best thing. He wants to be the biggest kingdom so bad but he wants to do it through selective breeding. He’s an absolute piece of shit... I hate him.”

Izuku furrowed his brows and leaned his arm against Shoto’s. Shoto didn’t seem like he wanted to move away and instead shifted a little closer. “I’m sorry he’s such a pain… There’s a thin line between being proud and being arrogant but he just comes off as arrogant.”

“Well, he is. But the way you told him off at dinner was pretty cool. Never seen him shut up so quickly.” Shoto smiled and chuckled. “You gotta teach me how to do that sometime.”

Izuku giggled and turned his body to face the other prince. Shoto turned as well to give Izuku his full attention before the omega gave his instruction. “It’s all in the hand slam. I perfected it from my dad. Too much force and plates fly off the table. Too little force and no one hears you. You gotta hit the table at a sweet spot between your fingers and the butt of your hand for maximum effect.” Shoto chuckled at Izuku’s instructions and figured he’d give it a try.

“So, like this?” He slammed his hands down on either side of Izuku’s body and leaned into his personal space. The omega’s cheeks were ablaze as he stared into those deceptively mischievous eyes. Shoto knew exactly what he was doing as the smile on his face widened when Izuku was temporarily at a loss for words. Izuku watched Shoto retreat back to his original sitting position with a soft laugh. “My apologies, Prince Izuku. I shouldn’t have teased you like that.”

“Yes, you should be sorry.” Izuku frowned and Shoto’s smile faltered. “With a technique that poor, you won’t grab anyone’s attention. It’s like this!” He slammed his hands down on either side of Shoto’s body and leaned in even closer than Shoto had done to him. He was close enough now to get a good whiff of his strong alpha scent and his heart fluttered. He had only meant to tease the other boy a little, but before he knew it Shoto leaned in too and they were locking lips in a heated kiss.

Izuku’s entire body was buzzing with carnal desire for Shoto. He could feel the intensity of their kiss growing the deeper he leaned into him. It soon went from a soft, chaste kiss to something so much hungrier. Shoto’s hand found its way to Izuku’s waist and the other cupped his cheek. The alpha prince let out a soft moan as Izuku’s sweet scent filled his lungs and danced on his tongue. Both of them were drowning in these intense waves of lust for the other. Izuku’s hands traveled down Shoto’s chest as he was pulled into Shoto’s lap. Izuku giggled a little at how easily the tiger shark placed him on his lap and he rewarded the gesture with a soft kiss to his gills.

The sigh he pulled from Shoto made Izuku’s lower half throb. The scent of alpha was so much stronger at his neck and Izuku found that he couldn’t pull away. He pushed Shoto down to the soft dirt and tangled their tails together to keep from slipping off. But like this, chest to chest, his modest veils were pushed aside enough for Izuku’s genital slit to rub against Shoto’s. He let out a small whine as he nosed Shoto’s scent glands and rocked his hips in desperate need for friction. He knew he was wet at this point and smearing all of that sticky slick against Shoto’s rough body.

“Prince Izuku,” Shoto panted softly. “We’ll be in trouble if we’re caught like this. Your heat wave is starting up, isn’t it? I’ve never… I’ve never smelled anything so sweet before…” He held Izuku by the shoulders and looked him in the eye. “Do you really want to continue?” His cheeks were flushed and Izuku could feel the dull throb of Shoto’s cock coming to life between them.

“Please... “ Izuku whined and rolled his hips faster. “I-I just need something… Anything! You smell so good and I can’t control myself…” Before Izuku could complain anymore, he felt something working its way inside of him. Two fingers were pushing past Izuku’s folds and stretching out his inner walls. “Oh~! Yes~!” He rolled his hips and sunk lower on Shoto’s digits. He could feel them scissoring and spreading him open as they pumped in and out of his body.

“Izuku…” Shoto whispered softly against Izuku’s ear and worked his fingers faster. “I hope you choose me… I can make you feel so good…” He dragged his tongue along Izuku’s jaw and grinned at the sultry moan Izuku let out. The omega arched his back closer to Shoto and ran his fingers through the alpha’s bi-colored hair as he felt another finger get added to the sloppy mix.

“I’m so close~! I’m gonna cum~! I’m gonna-”

“IZUKU!?” The rough voice of his head guard cut through the water as Izuku snapped his head towards the direction the voice came from. They were caught red-handed as Katsuki pointed his trident towards both of them. “Get away from him right now!” He snarled.

Izuku grew pale as he tried to diffuse the situation. Any way you looked at it, they were in the wrong for breaking the rules to a sacred ceremony. “K-Kacchan it’s not what it looks like! Or… Well, it is but it wasn’t prince Shoto’s fault! I was the one who pushed myself on him and initiated this whole thing.” He quickly got off of Shoto and rearranged his thin fabrics to cover his arousal. The heat of shame stabbed through his chest like a knife as he refused to look back at his partner in crime.

Katsuki scowled at the alpha still picking himself up off the floor. “I have every right to kill you right now for touching the prince. Count yourself lucky that Izuku jumped to your defense and I’m too tired to deal with this seahorse shit. Now leave before I change my mind and run you through.”

Shoto cleared his throat and straightened himself out. A cold and indifferent expression settled across his features as he took in Katsuki’s appearance. “Fine. I’ll see you for breakfast, prince Izuku. I look forward to tomorrow’s events.” He swam off in the direction of the bedchambers and Izuku watched him go with a sigh.

“How did you find me out here?”

“I found Kirishima and he had your scent all over him. You made him lie to me, you know? He told me he didn’t know where you were. But the longer I stood there, the quicker he broke. Because I can’t punish you directly, I hope you realize that Kirishima’s gonna get it twofold.” Izuku winced at the thought of his friend taking twice the punishment for him. It was unfair and the guilt settled into the pit of Izuku’s stomach. “Did he bond with you?” Katsuki continued on in a hushed but still aggressive tone. He tugged at the collar around Izuku’s neck to make sure there were no marks on Izuku’s glands. It seemed as though the protective accessory had done its job.

“No…” Izuku responded like a scolded child.

“Did he mate with you?”

“No…”

“Did he force you to do anything you didn’t want?”

“No… I told you, I initiated it all. You saw the… Extent of what we did.” Izuku sighed and rubbed his arms to stop himself from his uncomfortable fidgeting. The worst part about it all was that even though he was being scolded, his body was still on fire. If only Katsuki had shown up a few seconds later, Izuku could really let Katsuki’s words sink in. But right now, Izuku couldn’t think of anything other than scratching that impossible itch.

Katsuki looked Izuku over one last time and grabbed him tightly by the wrist. “Come with me.” He growled and swam through the less traveled hallways of the castle until they reached Izuku’s room. Izuku expected to just be tossed inside and confined to his room for the rest of the night but for some reason, Katsuki was inside the room as well. He even closed and locked the door behind them.

The following events were also strange to Izuku as this wasn’t normal Katsuki behavior. The lionfish was carefully removing the glittering cloths and jewelry from Izuku’s body before putting them away neatly. He removed everything but the protective collar and stood tall in front of the smaller omega. Like this, Izuku realized for the first time just how much his childhood friend had grown. His chest and shoulders had gotten broader with firm muscle as it tapered down into a slim waist. He was wider than prince Shoto who was much leaner and built for speed. Katsuki was an aggressive powerhouse with an explosive scent of spice and fire.

Izuku had been caught staring at him as being in close proximity of Katsuki’s unique alpha scent intoxicated his senses. “Kacchan-”

“I realize that earlier you couldn’t help what you were doing with him. It’s instinct to want it but… I’m the one you should turn to. Not a stranger like him. It’s my job to take care of you and protect you. So, I’ll help you through this wave. At least until tomorrow when you’ll have a mate to do it for you. If you hate it or just don’t want this, push me away.” Before Izuku could object, their lips came crashing together in a completely different emotion than he had ever experienced before. It was such a stark contrast to the gentle exploration of tongues he and Shoto had done. Katsuki was rough and claiming the way Izuku imagined he would be.

Izuku let Katsuki take control after a brief bout of their tongues battling for dominance. Izuku shuddered and nearly melted as Katsuki’s tongue slowly trailed along the roof of his mouth. Katsuki pulled away briefly to breathe while tugging Izuku’s bottom lip between his teeth. He then went back in and pinned Izuku to the large bed behind him. The sheets were different, which meant the castle staff saved Izuku an embarrassing explanation as to why the underside of his sheets was so sticky. But this also meant that these sheets were going to get ruined too if Katsuki was going to do what he thought they were going to do. Which, now that he thought about it, was he ready for all that? He wanted his heat gone as badly as the next guy but if it meant that Katsuki had to knot him to achieve it then, maybe he wasn’t ready after all.

“K-Kacchan I don’t think I’m-”

“Don’t talk. Just imagine I’m a knight in shining scales or something and stop overthinking this.” There was only just enough light pouring in through the window for Izuku to notice the dark red blush on Katsuki’s cheeks. The omega was silenced by another kiss, although this one was much more delicate than the last. Then a trail of kisses starting from his lips down to his pelvis set the skin underneath it aflame. Izuku let out a small gasp and bit his lip as Katsuki didn’t stop until he reached his slit. Katsuki gave it a few tender licks until it easily parted around his tongue and he gained entrance.

Izuku’s back arched and his hand flew to Katsuki’s hair as he gripped it tightly. His guard was really parting his folds with his tongue and eating him out. Had Izuku died and gone to some erotic heaven? Or maybe a repressed hell. Katsuki was only doing this out of a sense of duty after all. They both knew they’d never be able to be together since Katsuki wasn’t of royal lineage and this whole ceremony was just an elaborate way of finding Izuku the most eligible royal alpha they could get. But right now, in the privacy of Izuku’s bedroom, they could pretend they were just two horny adults taking care of their urges. Katsuki didn’t seem to have a problem pretending as his tongue delved deeper and deeper. He lapped at the honeyed nectar collecting below Izuku’s swelling clit and groaned as its sweet taste lingered on his tastebuds.

“Ooh fuck, Kacchan~! It feels amazing… P-Please touch me more~!” Izuku begged and was rewarded with fingers rubbing and coaxing his clit until it grew to full size. It was definitely smaller than alpha cocks but then again, his wasn’t for mating. It was a byproduct of being born a male omega. Although it wasn’t all bad since it was always very sensitive and made orgasming easier when it was played with. And boy was it being played with right now. Katsuki was rubbing his finger along the tapered tip and drawing all sorts of sweet cries from the omega beneath him.

Katsuki’s fingers and tongue worked in tandem to quite literally bring the poor omega to tears. The pleasure was so overwhelming that the tears bubbling up in the corners of his eyes were his only possible response. “Kacchan~! J-just a little… Ahn~! I-I’m so close… Oh please, Kacchan~!” His grip on Katsuki’s hair tightened as the heat of his orgasm curled and flickered in his lower stomach. Each wet lap at his pussy brought him so much closer until eventually, his insides were clenching and slick, thick as sweet syrup, came spilling out of him in gushes timed to his heartbeat. Each throb of his insides brought a fresh spout of it that Katsuki eagerly lapped up. His hand on Izuku’s cock had slowed down to allow Izuku enough time to recover from already cumming once. But once Izuku’s breathing began to level out again, Katsuki wrapped his lips around Izuku’s sensitive tip and gave a firm suck.

Izuku’s vision whited out from the overstimulation and his mouth hung open in a silent scream. Both hands were cupping Katsuki’s head now and pushing him further down his length. Katsuki was able to easily take all of him into his mouth as he bobbed his head up and down. Izuku was seeing stars as he rolled his hips in time with the up and down motion of Katsuki’s head. “Oh, GODS yes~! Kacchan~! It feels so good~! I’m not gonna last long if you-” He made the mistake of looking down, right as Katsuki looked up at him with those intense red eyes. Blood red and reflecting each and every dirty thought Katsuki was thinking. Izuku couldn’t resist falling victim to it. He was lost in those eyes and within a shameful amount of time, he was spilling small amounts of sterile seed into Katsuki’s mouth. Izuku whimpered and bucked his hips weakly a few times before finally settling back down on the bed.

Katsuki sat up after swallowing every last drop and he licked his lips. “I thought they’d taste the same since it’s all you but your cum tastes different depending on where it comes out. It’s slightly more bitter when it's from your dick.” He used his thumb to wipe a bit from the corner of his mouth before sucking it off his thumb. “Still tastes pretty damn sweet to me though. But I guess I can’t expect anything less of you, Deku.” He lowered his eyes to Izuku’s flushed body and hummed at his good work. “Satisfied?”

“Y-yes sir…” Izuku bit his lip and looked down at Katsuki’s inflated cock. “A-are we gonna..? C-cause I really don’t think I’m ready for all that you know? I’ve been thinking about it and-” Katsuki shushed Izuku with his finger and shook his head.

“I only came here to take care of you. I’ll take care of myself alright? Go to bed. You’ve got a long day tomorrow.” Katsuki said as he got up from the bed and swam to the door. He listened for a while to make sure no one was coming by as he forced his hardened cock back into its protective slit. It seemed so uncomfortable and there was a noticeable bulge underneath the skin. Izuku couldn’t help but laugh as he watched him struggle with it.

“Are you sure you don’t want my help with that?” Izuku’s body was heavy post-orgasm as he lazily rolled on to his side, facing the door. “I feel bad kicking you out when you’re like this.”

“Mind your own business, Deku. I can handle it when I get back to the barracks. Maybe if I’m lucky, it’ll just go down on its own. Good night, okay?” He unlocked the door and gave Izuku one last look over before swimming out and closing the door behind him.

Izuku flopped back on to the bed and his mind was racing with thoughts about everything that happened that day. He almost got caught masturbating, he yelled at his father and the king of the Lava kingdom, he made out with and got fingered by the prince of the Lava kingdom, and to top it all off he came twice from getting eaten out and sucked off by his childhood best friend/royal guard. All of this because his hormones were out of whack and he couldn’t control his body.

Nice.

Real nice.

He pulled his pillow over his face and let out a groan. If only he could drop dead now because he couldn’t imagine just how awkward it would become tomorrow when he had to see all of them again in the morning light. What would he say? How should he act? What if someone suspected something? What if Katsuki really did tell on him and Shoto after catching them together in the garden? His father would be furious… But technically Katsuki was just as guilty, if not more since he’s not even a royal and he ate him out.

Izuku pulled the sheets over his body and fixed his pillows before trying not to focus on the hot water he was definitely going to be in once the morning came. He still had the final act of the ceremony to get through and that had the most at stake. For the alphas, of course. But that would also be the point at which Izuku really needed to consider how he wanted the rest of his life to turn out. Would he roll over and just let fate decide, or was he going to take some sort of stand? His stomach lurched at the thought of possibly going against centuries worth of tradition and potentially embarrassing himself in front of his entire kingdom, plus the heads of four other kingdoms.

Well, it didn’t help to worry about it right now and nothing was going to change just by overthinking and getting no sleep. Izuku eventually settled down enough in bed and closed his eyes. He was fed, he was warm, and above all, he was sexually satisfied for now. The other problems could wait until the morning when he could come up with a solution. He always did somehow.  

Chapter Text

Izuku woke to the soft plinking of pebbles against his balcony doors. It had to have been sometime before dawn since the rest of the castle was quiet. Izuku rubbed the sleep from his eyes and slowly made his way to his balcony where Shoto was looking up at him from below. The halfbreed prince was caught red-handed with a handful of pebbles and shells in one hand, and a pebble at the ready in the other.

“Shoto..? What are you doing here? The sun’s not even up and you woke me from this really nice dream...” Izuku yawned and leaned his elbows against the coral and stone railing while he looked down at the other prince.

“I know, but this was the only time I knew I could be alone with you.” Shoto dropped the objects in his hands and swam up to be face to face with the sleepy omega. “I realize that this is all very unconventional but I wanted to sincerely apologize for last night. I… I didn’t mean for you to get in trouble. It’s my fault and I should have shown a little more self-restraint.”

“No, it was all my fault. After all, I was the one coming on to you even after you asked if I really wanted to go through with all that. If I hadn’t wanted it too, I would have stopped myself. Also, I don't mean to cut your apology short but couldn’t this have waited until breakfast..?” Izuku whined as Shoto sat down beside him on the railing. The Lava prince laughed softly and shook his head.

“I’m sorry it’s so early but my reasons are kind of selfish. I really wanted you all to myself because… Well, I wanna get to know you better. We’ll both be busy tomorrow with the ceremony and your attention will be divided between the other competitors. And technically this isn’t cheating since the winner will be decided through various physical tests. So, if we want to split hairs, this is within my rights, right?”

Izuku giggled and shook his head. “Nooo, this is definitely cheating by creating bias. But… I promise I won’t tell if you don’t.” He smiled up at Shoto and leaned into his space. “So what did you want to know about me?”

“Everything,” Shoto said without a moment’s hesitation. “Your likes, your dislikes, what you like to do for fun; the more trivial the better. You’ve been on my mind since the moment I got here and even if I don’t end up winning, I still want to know you for you.”

“You know, you’re the first alpha I’ve met to care about me as a being; enough to want to know more about me. This isn’t some trick to try and sleep with me is it?” Izuku squinted at Shoto skeptically, only to burst out into a fit of giggles at the overly exaggerated insulted look he got back.

“I can’t just get to know my potential mate a little better?” Shoto asked incredulously before a small smile appeared upon his lips.

“Well, no you can’t! That’s kinda the whole point of the ceremony; to be compatible in a primal way beyond likes and dislikes, to strengthen the royal bloodline. They don’t care about our feelings or even something as standard as knowing the other mer...”

“These ceremonies always… Rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t like the idea of swimming through hoops all for marrying a complete stranger, but that’s what my king is ready to have me do all for the sake of strengthening his genes. I honestly couldn’t give a single shit about what he wants and if it weren’t for him forcing me, I wouldn’t be here competing.” Shoto sighed and looked out at the open ocean as his hand rested over Izuku’s. “But then, I never would have gotten to know you either. I had no idea just how bold and fierce you were. You’re so… Different. I can tell you’re a lot like me; fighting silently to prove your own worth. It sucks… But we stick out like sore thumbs because of it.”

“I think I could sense it too… At dinner, when your father was talking you looked just about ready to call him out in front of everyone too. It’s hard trying to swim against the current but someone’s gotta do it. You know, Kacchan actually gave me the idea to shape my own fate with this ceremony. He made a good point about participating in the ceremony but kinda doing things my way so I can get what I want out of it.”

Shoto’s expression turned indifferent at the mention of Katsuki and he looked down at his tail fin. “Your guard… Katsuki, right? He seems to care a lot about you. You couldn’t see him since he stood behind you, but at dinner, he was glaring at everyone who made eye contact with you. It’s not any of my business, but I think he…” He stopped short when he saw the flushed color on Izuku’s cheeks. “Well, I’m sure you’ve noticed it too.”

Izuku shook his head and tried to rid himself of the memories from only a few hours prior. “N-no, it’s not like that. Kacchan has just always been really protective of me. Ever since we were kids… He’s always seen me as so much weaker than he is so he’s always felt the need to take care of me. That’s… That’s just the way he is.”

“I think you mistake his affection for pity, Izuku. He seems to have a strong way of showing his feelings but any other alpha here can tell that if he were royalty, he’d be right up there with us competing for your hand.” Shoto flicked his slender tail and cleared his throat. “You know I… I meant to tell you this earlier while we were alone together but it completely slipped my mind. A long time ago, when we were both very small, my father took me around to all of the seven kingdoms. Likely to scope out potential mates for me for the future, but he claimed the travels were diplomatic. I vaguely remember when our seahorse and carriage pulled us into your kingdom and I gazed upon your magnificent coral castle for the first time. It was all so different from the obsidian columns of my castle. Everything here was so… So vibrant and bright. It was like the walls themselves were full of life. Where I live, it’s just dark black rock. Dreary blacks and reds with no soul… 

“I remember when I first swam through that bright coral archway and found myself wandering around the castle while my father spoke to yours. I think I found my own way to the garden and that’s where I saw you for the first time… But I don’t think you saw me. You were with your mother and you had your back to me as she told you about the plants she liked to grow. I had stayed hidden behind a pillar while I just watched you bounce around excitedly naming each and every plant in the garden… Shiny green curls flowing in the gentle current, the same shade as your kelp garden. I thought you were absolutely breathtaking. I still do. And to know that we grew to feel the same way about our responsibilities is just…” Shoto let out a soft huff and his gills fluttered. “I don’t believe in leaving things to fate, Izuku. I think… Things happen because we make them happen. We need to actively want things and strive to obtain what we want most.” He slipped his hand into Izuku’s and stared at him with determined eyes. “You’re what I want. I’ve been determined since the day I first saw you and I promise you that I’ll make you mine.”

Izuku was at a loss for words. The sincerity in Shoto’s expression and the serious tone of his voice seemed to snatch the oxygen out of the poor omega’s gills. He stared at Shoto, suddenly feeling exposed by the intensity of Shoto’s gaze. “I… I believe you. And of all the alphas fighting for my hand I… I wouldn’t mind if it were you that won.” He smiled and gently pressed his lips to Shoto’s cheek. “I look forward to seeing what the tournament brings.”

The lava prince seemed to perk up from the kiss and blush settled upon his cheeks. He seemed more motivated than before, now that he had the object of his affections cheering him on. “Thank you, prince Izuku. You don’t understand how much that means to-"

Izuku silenced him by pressing his finger to Shoto’s lips. “Just call me Izuku. We don’t need to use honorifics when it’s just the two of us right? Besides, I’d like to think we’ve become friends and friends don’t need to use titles.” He smiled and began pushing Shoto off the ledge. “Now go! I need to sleep some more and so do you.”

“B-but you never told me about your likes and dislikes-” 

“I’ll tell you all about them in great detail if you win! Now head back to bed before we’re caught, again. You’ve stolen enough time with me as it is.” Izuku giggled as Shoto got up from the ledge and took his hand.

“I suppose that’s fair. I look forward to seeing you cheering me on later today, Izuku.” He kissed the back of Izuku’s hand and flashed Izuku a suave look before swimming off to his room. 

Great… How was Izuku supposed to go back to sleep now when Shoto’s sexy expression was burned into the backs of his lids? He was just glad he was able to keep himself together and not go into another heat wave from that. Izuku closed his balcony doors and made his way back to bed as he thought about what the day would bring for them all. On one hand, was his duty to his kingdom by playing his father’s silly ritual games and mating with a random alpha. There was no guarantee Shoto would win all of the fights and earn the right to mate with Izuku, so he needed to prepare for every contingency. But on the other hand, Izuku’s life was his own to live. He needed to keep that in mind above everything else; above his feelings for Shoto and above his repressed feelings for Katsuki. 

“My life is my own… My life is my own… My life is my own.” He repeated to himself like a mantra before allowing the soft lull of sleep to drag him under once more. 

 

The dining table the next morning was definitely more lively than it had been the night before. The alphas all gathered in one place, well-rested and full of pent up energy, began to size each other up and start their posturing. After Izuku’s mating display last night, all of the alphas had gone into the beginnings of their rut after catching a whiff of Izuku’s scent. But this was going all according to tradition. The alphas would battle each other at the height of their rut in the hopes of proving themselves at their strongest. 

When Izuku finally entered the dining hall with a sleepy yawn and his guards in tow, all of the alphas at the table and their respective king or queen rose in respect. They watched as Izuku slowly made his way to the head of the table, opposite his father who had probably been up for hours getting everything ready for his youngest son’s special day. Once Izuku sat down, so too did everyone else.

The alphas went right back to posturing now that their prize was within proximity. Not that Izuku cared about any other alphas besides Shoto and Katsuki. Things between him and Katsuki were still a little awkward, but he would rather that than Katsuki outright regretting what they did together and pushing him away. Izuku’s hormones made his emotions a little too fragile to handle rejection from him. Izuku could deal with averted glances and soft blushes whenever he stole a glance in Katsuki’s direction. On the flip side, Shoto never seemed happier. He was probably the only alpha who didn’t feel the need to flaunt himself off to Izuku. Anything that he had to prove would be shown in the tournament arena after all. There was no use trying to get Izuku all hot and bothered this early. Izuku was absolutely relieved that the two alphas he cared about weren’t trying to make a show of themselves like the others.

A heavy blanket of tension and enmity settled down over the table once breakfast came to a gradual close. The alphas had gone quiet now that there was nothing left to distract them from each other. Amidst the silent hostility of rutting hormones and threatening glances, Toshinori rose to speak. “You’ve all arrived here with one goal in mind; to come out on top in today’s tournament and win Izuku’s hand. Keep him in mind as you fight your opponents and prove that you are the best possible mate for him...”

At this point, Izuku zoned out of the speech. It was for all the meat-headed alphas to rile themselves up with so there was no reason for him to stay tuned. He quietly ate the last of his breakfast until his father stopped talking and excused everyone from the table. 

“You two take the prince to jelly-face and make sure he doesn’t take any detours. I need to do something real quick.” Katsuki said to Denki and Eijiro with his signature workplace frown as the two other guards gave their commander a stiff salute.

“No prob boss, just a quick question. Where is he? Kinda hard to escort the prince without a prince to escort you know?” Denki said and Katsuki’s eyes widened as he looked around the dining hall.

“FIND HIM AND GET HIM TO OCHAKO NOW!” The lionfish exploded in a fit of snarls and pent up energy while his beta subordinates quickly swam off to find Izuku. Katsuki’s eyes scanned the retreating merfolk before finally settling on the koi-colored tiger shark. “YOU, HALF AND HALF! Don’t move another fin or so help me I’ll run you through. Let’s have a little chat.” Shoto was headed outside to the tournament arena with his father when he heard Katsuki screaming in his direction. He was just about to keep swimming when his father turned and shot Katsuki a cold stare.

“You will do well to watch your tongue in the face of royalty, boy.” Enji hissed and Katsuki snarled back at him.

“I don’t serve you, extra. And I was talking to your deaf-eared spawn.” Katsuki’s fuse had always been hilariously short but now that he too was going into a rut, it was practically microscopic. “Leave us to speak.”

“Watch yourself you little insect! You were born nothing and you will die nothing. You are pond scum beneath me and as such you will respect my authority-” Enji made a motion like he was going to grab Katsuki by the neck but Katsuki was quick. He slapped Enji’s wrist away and pointed his trident at Enji’s neck before the tiger shark could even register what had happened. “Such Insolence! I’ll make this known to your king so he can punish you promptly. I believe your head would look best mounted on the wall of my trophy room.”

“Father, leave us. This conversation never concerned you in the first place. Getting worked up over the harmless sniveling of this common sea slug is beneath you, don’t you think?” Shoto said cooly as his eyes never left Katsuki’s. “He’s merely acting out because his owner has let him roam free for the time being. I suspect that had Prince Izuku been present, he would have remained the same well-trained creature he was raised to be.”

Enji gave a dry laugh before calmly knocking the business end of the trident away from his personal space. “I suppose you’re right in a way but this behavior shouldn’t go unpunished. Handle whatever business you need to with this… Thing, and then come outside to the arena.” With one last look-over, an uninterested expression settled across Enji's face before he turned and swam off. The rage in Katsuki began to build when he registered the look of someone who deemed Katsuki no longer worth their time.

“Now you’ve made an enemy of my father. You won’t be glad that you did-” Katsuki grabbed Shoto by the shoulder and roughly pinned him to the wall behind him.

“I know you visited the prince’s chambers after I sent you both to bed.”

“I know you did too. I could smell your scent all over him when we spoke.” Shoto fired back calmly but even his patience was starting to grow thin. Katsuki just seemed to feel far too entitled to prince Izuku for Shoto’s taste. After all, Katsuki was only his guard. He wasn’t even of royal lineage, yet he felt so bold as to touch the prince and treat him like he was anything but royalty. But Shoto’s callout didn’t seem to have the intended effect on Katsuki like he thought it would. Instead of turning the guard into a sputtering, guilty mess, he actually flashed Shoto a prideful smirk.

“So you could still smell my scent on him huh? I bet it really ate you up inside to know that right after he was with you, he was with an alpha like me. What do you think I did to him?”

“Not enough to make him your mate. I know you’re not stupid enough to do some shit like that. His neck was unbitten."

“I don’t need to bite him to make him mine, shit-for-brains. Even if you win today, you’ll go to sleep tonight knowing that in his bed, I was the one who made him cum and scream out my name first. You’ll always be second best to him. I bet you can’t even fathom just how sweet his slick tastes.” Katsuki slowly dragged his tongue over his lips and Shoto could feel his heart race. 

His hands shook with anger and he clenched them to control it as tunnel vision set in. He couldn’t even hear what Katuski was saying any longer and the blond’s lips seemed to be moving in slow motion. The desire to rip the lionfish’s throat out began to fill his thoughts and thrummed in his muscles like a dull pulse. He began to move but suddenly there was a larger, more intimidating figure looming behind Katsuki. The raw power emanating from this merman was enough to drain Shoto of any fight he possibly had left. The guy was so plain-faced but his mere presence screamed ‘prime alpha’. Katsuki seemed to realize it too, but not before a heavy hand dropped on his shoulder. Katsuki turned around with a gasp and quickly bowed his head low. 

“Prince Mirio… I didn’t realize that you would be back so early…” Shoto’s eyes nearly bulged out of his head at the complete 180 in Katsuki’s attitude. Mirio only smiled nonchalantly like he was completely unbothered by the previous tension in the water.

“I wouldn’t have expected you to. If you did, you’d have to be some kind of super guard!” Mirio chuckled lightheartedly. “I wanted to surprise Zuku by showing up today and watching how things went during the tournament. I have a feeling this ceremony will be… Different.” He tilted his head to the side and looked over at Shoto. “Well hello there! Has our guard been doing his job a little too well? I hope he wasn't bothering you any.”

Shoto suddenly felt silly at the idea of admitting that Katsuki had riled him up to the point where he was ready to knock his teeth in. He turned his head submissively and rubbed his arm. An embarrassed blush crept up his neck and colored his pale cheeks. “It was nothing. Just a misunderstanding.”

“What a relief! I came over cause it smelled like teen angst.” Mirio laughed to himself and ruffled both Shoto and Katsuki’s hair. “Good thing big brother Mirio didn’t have to break up any rut fights huh? I don’t think you guys would have liked it if I did.” His voice was chipper enough, but both Shoto and Katsuki knew that Mirio was very serious and the threat was very much still hanging in the air. Even Katsuki was keeping his mouth shut and just nodding silently.

“I should… I should get going… I need to get ready for the tournament.” Shoto muttered without even trying to hide just how much he wanted to get out of there. Izuku's brother was no one to be trifled with for sure. He was a great white parading around like a goldfish. There was no way Shoto was going to make the mistake of challenging him; rut or not.

 

At the same time that Katsuki had asked Denki and Eijiro to watch him, Izuku had swum off on his own to avoid any accidental brush-ins with Shoto or Katsuki before he was ready to face them both. He leaned up against a pillar down a secluded hallway and took a deep breath. He was going into another heat wave after being in the presence of so many rutting alphas. Now that he was at the peak of his heat, the flare-ups were the worst they had ever been. He was doubled over with a hand over his lower stomach as a painful cramp sent a gush of slick leaking out of him. “F-fuck…”

“Prince Izuku~” Cooed the low baritone of the manta ray prince at the end of the hall. “I thought I could smell you out here.” He swam closer and Izuku let out an annoyed groan. “Where is that red-headed guard who was with you last night? Is it not dangerous to be here by yourself in this state?” He looked Izuku over and bit his lip. “You’re not even wearing your collar… It’s almost like you want some alpha to come by and claim you.”

Izuku quickly slapped a hand over his swelling scent gland and frowned at the larger merman. “Leave me alone… I just wanted to be by myself. You shouldn’t be wandering the castle either. You’re needed outside in the arena.” He began to swim off but powerful arms wrapped around his waist and held him close. This guy was hard already and rubbing his thick and dripping cock against Izuku’s backside.

“Oh come on, taupuhi. No need to tease me when you want this too. How about a little preview of what I’m fighting for?” He rubbed his thumb over Izuku’s nipple and purred at the moan he pulled from the omega in his clutches. His hand traveled lower and he ran his middle finger along Izuku’s vaginal slit. Izuku struggled against his grip but his body went rigid when a thick finger entered him. “Why don’t we just skip the whole tournament and you become my mate right now? You’re practically begging for my fucking knot by the way your pussy is sucking my finger in deeper. I promise I’ll make you feel so-” Izuku’s elbow came up swiftly and connected with the manta’s jaw. Once he was free, Izuku swam off as quickly as he could; the heat of tears threatening to spill down his cheeks from the rush of adrenaline taking over him. He didn’t stay long enough to find out that he had dislocated the man’s jaw with a strength he didn’t realize he had. When he got to Ochako’s quarters, he slammed the door behind him and locked it. Ochako turned around to face him with a jolt and Izuku apologized meekly for startling her.

“What’s got you in such a frenzy? Oh gosh… Your scent is really strong all of a sudden… Talk to me Zuku… Are you alright? You… Have an alpha’s scent on you too. What the hell is going on?” Ochako pulled him towards the fainting couch and let him collect himself. Once Izuku could keep his voice steady, he recounted his story and watched Ochako’s expression go from shocked to stern. “I’ll kill him myself… It’s against the law to touch you like that.” She gently ran her hand over his head and pulled him to her chest. She let her gentle beta scent calm him down before heading over to the door. “I’m going to have a word with the queen about him.” She smiled tightly. “He better hope I don’t run into him along the way.”

“Thank you Ochako… You’re… I knew I could count on you…” Izuku sniffled and smiled at her as she left. In the silence that remained until her return, Izuku thought back to what his brother had told him yesterday about his heat. 

He was able to fight off that alpha easily enough when he tried to touch him but… When both Shoto and Katsuki touched him he couldn’t find the strength to push either of them away. Izuku couldn’t just chalk that up to himself being horny and them being convenient. Izuku wasn’t that shallow. How did he really feel about the two of them? Honestly. Of course, he liked them, was attracted to them; he wasn’t an idiot, but his body didn’t seem to understand that he could only have one of them. Actually, he had even less of a choice than that. He could only have Shoto because Katsuki was his guard and Shoto was a participating prince in the tournament for his hand. Was Izuku happy with that..? That predetermined future cut out for him by all the alphas in his life. It rattled him to his core to feel so helpless no matter what.

“I’m sorry I took so long, I ran into that alpha and yanked him by the-BWAH!” Ochako screeched as Izuku swam off the couch and grabbed her by the shoulders. 

“I need you to hurry and dress me so I can get out there to that tournament! I think… I’m ready to participate as myself. Not as prince Izuku. I-I know I’m not saying this right at all but I need you to trust me. Make me as beautiful as you possibly can. I need all eyes to be on me today.”

“O-okay... You know I can work with this! Let’s get you cleaned up first hun. You’re covered in slick and it’s really gross.” Ochako grinned at the shade of red Izuku turned and she began to turn Izuku into a beautiful work of art.

 

The tournament arena could easily seat a little less than half of the general Reef Kingdom population in the bleachers. Nobility from the participating kingdoms and the Reef kingdom were already seated and cheering while the alphas equipped themselves underneath the arena. The royal families of each kingdom were allowed to sit in a restricted booth area with the King, Queen, and Princes of the Reef kingdom, along with their royal guards and attendants. It was the best seat in the house to watch every detail of the fights, seeing as the booth was nestled into the bleachers only a few feet above the actual arena. The fights themselves would only end when one opponent concedes the match or is deemed unfit to continue fighting. Each competitor would have to use their chosen weapon to force their opponent to concede by any means necessary. The entire arena was their battlefield and just about anything short of murder was allowed.

Shoto swam up to the full-body sea glass mirror on the wall of his changing room so that he could apply the colors of his kingdom on his body in thick red and black mud. He looked over his dimly lit reflection and sighed. He wanted to win Izuku’s hand and have him all to himself so badly. He wanted to know every single thing about him; what he liked, what he didn’t, his favorite foods, his worst fears, his best dreams, his everything. Shoto wanted to BE his everything… But so did that guard Katsuki, even if he had a weird way of showing it. Even if Shoto won and mated with Izuku, Katsuki would still be Izuku’s personal guard and would spend more time around him than Shoto. He sighed and placed a hand over his heart. Was there truly no way to win this?

The trumpeting of conch shells and the banging of lively drums snapped Shoto out of his daydream and he quickly finished getting ready. He swam over to the circular platform in front of him and once he was over it, it began to rise. He blinked against the harsh light and looked around at the countless merfolk cheering in the bleachers now that all of the competitors were visible. The arena was in the shape of a long oval with competitors across and perpendicular to each other. The four of them were covered in paint that represented their kingdom, and the armor of their choice. No one had weapons just yet as the weapons rack came up in the center of the arena for the first pair that would compete.

“Good afternoon Reef kingdom and guests! Today is a momentous occasion, wouldn’t you agree? Today marks the ninth mating ritual to ever take place in the Reef kingdom. Before your current queen, the Reef kingdom saw a long line of royal alpha males. It is with great honor that I get to stand before you and host today’s tournament for our omega son, Prince Izuku.” The crowd cheered harder and Shoto turned his attention to the beautiful betta fish that was Izuku. He was left stunned as Izuku rose and waved to the crowd. He was breathtaking and absolutely exuding a confidence Shoto hadn’t seen since Izuku’s dance the night before. It was like this was a whole different merman. Not to mention the way the sun glinted off his jewelry and made his eyes sparkle like polished emeralds. Shoto started a movement amongst the competitors as he bowed his head as low as he could in Izuku’s presence. “Each alpha fighting in the arena today has just as much opportunity to become Izuku’s mate as the next alpha. What will set you apart will be how you’ve used your natural ability paired with the specific combat training you’ve received from each of your kingdoms. This will be an all or nothing fight, so hold nothing back. But do not kill your opponent. That hasn’t been legal in centuries so don’t try anything today. Now! Let’s-”

“Very eloquently put, my love. With that being said,” The queen chimed in and guided the king back to his seat. With a frown, she cleared her throat and faced the crowd. “There is something dire I wish to discuss with you all briefly. As you’re aware, it isn’t below us to disqualify one of these willing alphas, if there was previous misconduct. They are not immune to punishment for breaking the laws set in place for the protection of my son. This includes attacking or inappropriately touching the prince, among other things, before the entire mating ceremony has been completed.”

Shoto swallowed hard and his blood ran cold. Had Katsuki really exposed him to the queen about touching the prince last night in the garden? He didn’t take him as someone who would do that sort of thing, especially since Katsuki had expressed intimately how he too had touched the prince. He looked over to where Katsuki stood behind Izuku’s seat and the two shared a tense look that felt like it lasted for ages. This was it. Shoto’s chances of being Izuku’s mate were over before they even began… 

“Prince Tane of the Open Ocean, you do your kingdom a great disservice on this day. It’s been brought to my attention that you attempted to force my son to mate with you while he was in heat and barely able to resist. For that, we bar you from participating in any way, shape or form in this final tournament.” The stadium was in an uproar after hearing these allegations. Many, including Shoto and Katsuki, were in shock that the manta ray breed actually touched Izuku with none of them the wiser. 

Tane, unable to speak for himself due to his jaw being wired shut, simply nodded and bowed his head in shame. It seemed as though the allegations were true, much to the anguish and chagrin of the nobles and royalty of the Open Ocean. There was no use denying it and it would be hard for him to lie anyway. He instead held on to what little dignity he had left and accepted the consequences. Tane’s platform began to lower where he would be reunited back with his parents discreetly underneath the arena. Only after the platform rose back up empty, did Queen Inko begin again.

“Now that that has been handled, I do commend Prince Tane for accepting this punishment with honor. I hope to bring everyone back to the main focus of why we are all here, which is to see these three alphas compete. Since we now have an odd number of challengers, we’ll be drawing lots to find out who fights first. The competitor who wins the draw will fight the winner of the first battle. From there, the true winner will emerge. Alphas, please rise to meet the prince and receive your lots.” With that, Shoto and the two other mers swam towards Izuku. Shoto couldn’t help but stare at just how captivating Izuku was, especially up close.

His lips were painted in shimmering gold and the makeup around his eyes brought out their iridescent, deep green hue. His green scales glinted in the light and his skin was dusted in glimmering gold body glitter. It accented the blush of his cheeks and shoulders in a way that made him look so much more ethereal than he had ever seen him. His usual mess of green curls was neatly styled under his gold crown and his sweet scent had Shoto slowly drifting closer. He was completely and utterly enraptured by him, like a fish to a shiny lure. He was impossible to resist and his heart beat loudly in his chest as his mind went blank. Had anyone asked him his own name, he wasn’t sure if he would have been able to answer that much. Shoto was so busy staring into his soft features that he almost missed the casual way Mirio cleared his throat beside Izuku to get the alpha’s attention. The omega blushed a little as he held up three pieces of kelp for them to choose. From the way he was holding the folded pieces, they all looked equal but there was definitely one piece that was longer than the others. The princess from the arctic region went first and it seemed as though she too was still being shaken out of her daze. She picked the strip of kelp in the middle and it turned up short. Next was the swordfish mer from the coastal region. He had a dignified air about him as he picked his piece. It was a little longer than the first and he bowed his head respectfully. 

Now it was Shoto’s turn.

Everyone was waiting with bated breath to see if his piece would be shorter or longer than the Coastal Prince. Shoto let out a shallow breath as his hand brushed against Izuku’s while he took hold of the third and final piece of kelp. He met eyes with Izuku and swallowed as he slowly pulled the strip from his hand.

Everyone gasped as Shoto’s strip was the longest of them all. This meant that Shoto would be spectating this first round and would be at an advantage. He could observe how the winner of the first round fought and make adjustments to his fighting style accordingly. He would also have more energy than the champion he faced and would likely win because of it. His chances of becoming Izuku’s mate just skyrocketed because of this small game of chance.

“It’s been settled then! Prince Shoto will sit out the first round while Prince Tenya and Princess Momo battle each other. The winner will face Shoto and from there we will see our results.” Toshi clasped a hand to Shoto’s shoulder before guiding him over to sit with the rest of the Reef royal family. He had the best seat in the house to watch his competition and keep an eye on Izuku. He could practically feel the heat of Katsuki’s glare but there wasn’t much he could do since the king allowed Shoto to sit with them. Shoto glanced over to where his own father was sitting with his sister, a few seats away. His father gave him a small nod but Shoto paid him little mind. He wasn't doing this for him. Shoto was doing this because he wanted to win for himself. So he stood beside Izuku on the opposite side of Katsuki, pretending like he couldn’t hear him growl or feel him staring daggers at him.

The fight itself was more intense than Shoto had been ready for. Both competitors had come there with a goal in mind and they would be damned if they went home empty-handed. The swordfish breeds were known for being extremely intelligent and quick swimmers. But sockeye salmon breeds were strong and cunning as well. Either opponent would be formidable. The crowd watched with bated breath as Prince Tenya picked up a cutlass and Princess Momo picked up a harpoon from the weapons rack. The weapons rack receded back into the ground on a similar platform to the ones that brought them up. After quickly tapping their weapons together, the fight began with a loud clash.

“They’re pretty strong, don’t you think?” Izuku whispered to Shoto as the fight went on. Shoto didn’t realize he was allowed to talk to the prince while they were watching the fight.

“A-ah yes, actually. Both of them seem quite adept with their chosen weapons. While prince Tenya certainly has speed on his side, princess Momo is very good at predicting his movements a split second ahead of time in order to parry them. And with her harpoon, she can create a sizeable distance between them so prince Tenya can’t rush in without a plan unless he wants to get run through. She’s very smart to turn his biggest asset into a liability.” Shoto observed, although all of this made the final outcome pretty easy to deduce. 

By the time the fight ended, there was a sizeable amount of blood in the water and both competitors looked worse for wear. Momo was deemed the victor of this round, but Tenya certainly gave it his all. Tenya conceded when Momo had him on the ground with the end of her harpoon pressed against his Adam’s apple. With a frustrated flick of his tail, he dropped his weapon and accepted his defeat. Those from the arctic region in the audience cheered as those from the coastal region voiced their clear anger and distaste. This meant that Tenya would have to go this year without a mate at all. 

“And thus concludes the first round of the tournament! You both fought valiantly and proved your worth to the best of your ability. Princess Momo, you will be moving on to the next round. Prince Tenya, you fought hard but Princess Momo just fought that much harder. Good luck in your endeavors during the next spring tide.” King Toshinori spoke sincerely as both Momo and Tenya retreated to their platforms and were lowered beneath the arena to have their wounds quickly treated. There would be a short ten-minute break before round two started. 

Shoto placed a hand over his chest and swallowed. His throat felt so dry and it was like a bloom of jellyfish were tickling the insides of his stomach. He was nervous, but he would try his best not to show it; especially with his father staring at him off to the side. Besides, he had the advantage. He had observed the way Momo fought and she would be tired after her previous fight. If he made minimal mistakes, he could win this within the first few minutes of the fight.

Once the break was over, he steeled himself and swam into the arena. Momo’s platform rose and she appeared on it alone, bandaged in soothing kelp. She looked determined but Shoto’s acute sense of smell told him that it was only a show. She was still bleeding into her bandages and Shoto was sure that her muscles were getting tired as well. He suddenly had a lot more confidence in his success once the actual match began. She chose her harpoon from the weapons rack and Shoto took up dual broadswords. He felt their weight in his hand and made sure he was comfortable with them before giving a nod to King Toshinori. The weapons rack receded into the arena once again and now the only two things on the field were Shoto and Momo.

There was a hushed silence that fell over Shoto’s mind as he circled around Momo. The screams and cheers from the crowd disappeared as he focused on the invisible strings of tension that connected him to his opponent in the water. He could hear her labored breathing, the race of her heartbeat, and he could see the way she protected her injured side. Slowly, he swam a little closer, just to get an idea of how eager she was to attack. Panicked prey was the best prey for a shark like Shoto. A panicked opponent would be irrational, would break formation, would do anything to survive. Shoto, strangely enough, had a knack for predicting the thought process behind those sorts of desperate moves and had been honing that skill his whole life. 

Momo was cautious, but she was clearly frightened. A loss now meant going home with nothing after coming so far, and the odds were stacked against her. Shoto was born and bred to hunt mers like her for breakfast, and she knew that. He had one broadsword down protecting himself, and the other poised to attack. Momo hardly stood a chance when she held her harpoon out and Shoto easily knocked it out of the way. Had she not moved in enough time, he likely would have sliced her head off her shoulders, but instead, he only cut a bit of her hair. With a growl, Shoto whipped around and caught the tip of her spear between both of his blades. A small part of him relished the fear welling up in Momo’s eyes when she realized that Shoto’s strength was in a league of its own. She grit her teeth and yanked her harpoon up to break his hold before creating some distance between them.

The fight dragged on for longer than Shoto had anticipated. Momo had more stamina than he had initially thought, especially since their current fight was only ten minutes after her already strenuous fight with Tenya. She got her fair share of licks in on Shoto too, but ultimately he was deemed the winner when her string of sloppy mistakes began to stack against her. Her muscles shook with fatigue and she was too tired to keep up anymore. Before she knew it, he was on top of her with her head between both his swords as the two stared into each other’s eyes. Momo could see the determination in her opponent’s expression and she let out a soft huff. Even if they had both been at full health for their battle, she could tell that she never even stood a chance. She gently brought a hand to Shoto’s cheek and smiled. 

“I can see he means a lot more to you now than he ever could to me. The way you fought without hesitation made that clear. Too bad for me I suppose… Treat him right Shoto.” She dropped her harpoon and put her hands up to show that she conceded. 

“I will Momo. And… Tell my mother to look forward to my visit after the mating season finishes.” Shoto sighed and dropped his weapons before helping Momo up. “I’ve put it off for far too long.” He looked around at the cheering crowds while the conch shells and drums signaled his victory.

“And with that, we have a winner! Prince Shoto of the Lava kingdom is the winner and will go on to take prince Izuku’s hand!” King Toshinori chuckled and clapped his hands for Shoto. Even Momo bowed her head low before heading beneath the arena, taking her loss with every bit of grace she had always commanded. “Each and every competitor today has shown a remarkable amount of skill and power. But today, prince Shoto has proved to be the best of-”

“WAIT!” Everyone went silent and turned their heads to see who dare interrupt the king’s speech. Even Enji looked around with a snarl before his eyes settled on the disrespectful, spikey-haired guard from earlier. He folded his arms with a sneer as Katsuki turned to his king. “If I may be so bold, your highness, I think it's unfair that Shoto gets prince Izuku after only fighting one battle against a wounded opponent. That’s hardly a display of his power don’t you think?”

“Such insolence! Keep this creature on a tighter leash will you, Toshinori?” Enji snarled and rose from his seat. “How dare he question my son’s power! He won fair and square and deserves the right to breed your omega son.”

Toshinori ignored Enji and faced Katsuki with a curious expression on his face. “So… What do you propose we do about that?” 

Katsuki growled and looked over at Shoto. “I say he should fight me, the only other unbonded alpha close to the prince. Should he win, he can have Izuku’s hand. Should he lose… Shoto loses the right to Izuku’s hand and Izuku is free to go this season without a mate.” 

Izuku’s heart thumped in his chest as the entire arena erupted in anger and confusion. Never before has this ever happened and Izuku never expected Katsuki to be the one to suggest all of this on his behalf. He was… Touched… He never considered that Katsuki cared all that much about how Izuku felt towards the mating ceremonies.

“WHAT!? THAT’S ABSOLUTELY PREPOSTEROUS! Surely you can’t be considering the drivel that’s leaking from his mouth-”

Toshinori raised his hand and silenced Enji with one swift movement. “It’s not my decision to consider.” He turned around to face Izuku and suddenly more than a thousand eyes were settled on his glistening green form. “Izuku, my boy, I have not taken your emotions into consideration enough during this entire ceremony. I’ve been so taken by tradition and appeasing my people but… This is for your future and I respect what that means now. I’m not as unreasonable and heartless as you may have thought in these past few days. I want you to decide on your own.” 

“Oh come, ON, Toshinori! You can’t possibly allow this blatant disregard for tradition! Who cares about what your son thinks!? Shoto won his hand and will, therefore, become his mate! Thus is tradition! He is superior in every way and displayed himself as such!”

Izuku swallowed hard at the responsibility that was suddenly thrust upon him. He looked around at the eager faces all craning forward to hear his final decision. He looked over to Enji who bore holes with his icy blue eyes, to his mother who looked at him with absolute faith in a decision Izuku had yet to make, to Katsuki who held his gaze with a steely determination to prove himself, and to Shoto who shared the same determined look and will to be the best Izuku could possibly have as a partner. It all boiled down to Izuku choosing between the two of them. He had to choose whether or not to give Katsuki the chance to prove himself and possibly get rid of the closest chance Izuku had to a stable mate this year. 

But isn’t this what he had wanted..?

A week ago, he had yearned for the right to choose. He had begged and pleaded to be heard. He never wanted a mate, he never wanted to become a dam, he never wanted any of this. But now, given the chance to throw everything away, he wasn’t sure if that was entirely what he wanted anymore. He had spent his whole life with Katsuki by his side. As much as they’d butt heads, Izuku had grown more than just fond of him. But the same could be said for Shoto. Their interactions were few, but their passion burned hotter and quicker than Izuku could have ever imagined. They understood each other in ways no one else ever had before. 

Izuku closed his eyes and took a deep breath before rising from his seat. His decision would be resolute. His word would become law. He would be carving a new path for generations to follow after him. He was giving future omegas a voice. He was giving them hope.

He was giving them a choice by voicing his own.

“Katsuki and Prince Shoto will fight each other. But the conditions shall be changed. I will be the one who chooses the victor based on my own criteria. Shouldn't it be that if they ultimately fight for my hand, I should be the one to choose who I see fit to have it? And there will be no use of weapons in this fight. I want them to use their Poseidon-given strengths to prove they’re the better mer." Izuku looked around at the crowd silently hanging on every word he said. "This era of passive omegas just silently taking what’s given to them comes to an end with me. From now on I want royal omegas in this kingdom to have as much of a choice in their mate as their commoner brethren. If the average omega mer can choose their mate and find happiness, why can't I?” Izuku stayed firm; unwavering for the first time as he stood by his decision. The deafening silence did nothing to deter him from defying the alphas around him.

The silence dragged on until there was movement beside him. His brother clapped his hands and nodded his head. “Your prince has spoken! The games shall continue as he said, and once they're finished, he'll pick his mate!” Mirio rubbed Izuku’s shoulders and hugged him to his side. Slowly but surely, the crowd joined in and cheered for Izuku and the new ceremony. Izuku’s heart pounded in his chest and he exhaled hard once the adrenaline in his veins waned and left him on the verge of vomiting.

“No weapons huh? Fine. I don’t need my trident to put this reject in his place.” Katsuki smirked and stuck the blunt end of his trident into the dirt before hanging up his armor on it. 

“This is outrageous! Absolutely asinine! Why the hell does my son have to be subjected to-”

Izuku whipped around and snarled loudly at Enji. He had it up to his gills with Enji’s attitude for the entire time he had been here. He had been so disrespectful and spent almost all of his time either bragging or questioning how things were run here. “Are you so worried in prince Shoto’s ability to win that you feel the need to complain and whine about him fighting ONE MORE TIME!? Or perhaps you feel threatened by my loyal guard and you admit he actually has a chance at beating Shoto. Should you open your mouth to speak out of turn again, I’ll forbid you from watching the rest of this tournament.” He cut Enji with his eyes and matched the man’s sour scowl. “Go on, try me. See if I’m a merciful omega or not.” Izuku read Enji’s face for a little longer before the man conceded with an angry huff. He folded his arms and looked away as Katsuki made his way into the arena across from Shoto. 

Shoto threw down his weapons as well while he sized Katsuki up. He knew Katsuki wouldn’t go down nearly as easily as Momo had but everyone had a weakness. Surely Katsuki had one too right? The guy was a lionfish breed so he was extremely venomous. Lionfish secrete a neurotoxin that could subject their victim to paralysis and extreme pain among other nasty things. And that neurotoxin was located in the spines that ran along Katsuki’s back so Shoto couldn’t touch under any circumstances unless he wanted to go down quickly. He’d need to be careful when grappling with him.

Katsuki was also sizing Shoto up at the same time. They cautiously circled around each other as they tried to figure out the other guy’s strengths and weaknesses. Katsuki knew that Shoto was small for a tiger shark breed, but that made him quicker. He had the perfect balance of strength and speed, which Enji never shut up about as he attributed it to his perfect breeding. On top of that, Shoto’s skin was rough to the touch and the guy was a smart fighter. Katsuki could tell from the previous fight that the tiger shark knew exactly how to strike in the most efficient way so he could lose the least amount of energy as possible. This wouldn’t be an easy win for anyone…

The water was stifled by rut pheromones and unresolved tension between Katsuki and Shoto. Two powerful alphas in their prime who commanded the attention of all those around them faced off for their most valued prize. The loud conch shells signaled the start of the match and without hesitation, Katsuki swam towards Shoto in a trail of kicked-up dirt. His goal was to catch him off guard and disorient him with the debris floating around in the water. If Shoto couldn’t see, he was more likely to lash out randomly and accidentally hit one of Katsuki’s spines. If he could get Shoto with those, Katsuki’s win would be secured. 

But while Shoto was caught off guard, he wasn’t thrown into a panic. He braced himself for Katsuki’s flurry of quick jabs. The guard hit hard, but Shoto could sense he was still pulling his punches. He was unsure of something; unsure of what Shoto might have been hiding up his sleeves most likely. The fight with Momo was telling, sure, but it didn’t give Katsuki everything. He would need to play it safe for now if he planned on unraveling the shark prince. So little by little, he chipped away at his defense with a flurry of punches. 

Shoto had a hard time seeing which punch would come next when Katsuki kept kicking up a cloud of dust with his tail. It was a smart move, but Shoto didn’t need to see to find a pattern. Katsuki swung in a steady ‘left, right, left’ punching style before putting a bit of space between them in case Shoto went on the offensive. Shoto waited a few heartbeats for Katsuki to swim back a little and then swim back in before Shoto attacked.

In one quick motion, he dodged Katsuki’s punch and snapped his arm forward. His fist connected with Katsuki’s nose and he broke Katsuki’s concentration. Shoto took advantage of that and tackled the lionfish out of the cloud of dust. He used his shoulder to his chest in a football tackle to knock the oxygen out of his gills and avoid touching his spines. The two alphas landed in the dirt and began to grapple with each other as the crowd cheered their names. 

There was biting and scratching and curses being thrown at each other, along with punches and dominating growls. Shoto was able to rake his nails along Katsuki’s chest when the other alpha got too close. Dark blood seeped into the water as the two stared at each other in shock. Shoto hadn’t meant to scratch him that deeply and Katsuki looked stunned that Shoto actually went through with it. The more he moved, the more Katsuki’s wound opened up and it leaked even more blood into the water. 

The smell of it was intoxicating to Shoto. He could feel the corners of his vision going blurry like they had when Katsuki pissed him off earlier. His adrenaline was rushing even harder and his own blood was pumping in his ears. He could easily let loose his control of this part of him and let his instincts take care of everything else. It would be so easy… Before he could talk himself out of it, he was shortening the distance between them in two powerful pumps of his tail. He was dodging frantic punches from Katsuki as they seemed to come at him in slow motion. He watched as fists whizzed past his ears and Shoto quickly used that to his advantage.

He grabbed Katsuki’s arm and slammed him into the dirt. He watched the shock register on Katsuki’s face as he gasped for breath. He used his spiny tail to keep Shoto at bay as he created as much distance between them as he could. Shoto snarled and swam after him when he caught the pleased look on his father’s face. Shoto had given into his father’s side of his genes, despite fighting it all his life. He hated the shark side of him with a burning passion. It meant he was becoming the very thing he hated; had despised and tried to separate himself from it his entire life. He was turning into the monster his father had so eagerly created. 

Shoto faltered as he looked over at his father. It was only a moment’s hesitation; no longer than a heartbeat, but it was more than enough time for Katsuki to tip the scales. A hard punch to Shoto’s gut had him sputtering. Without giving him enough time to recover, a rough uppercut knocked Shoto’s head back before a sharp tail whipped around and slapped him across the arena. Shoto watched his father’s face distort angrily in slow motion as blood filled his mouth. He was flying across the ground, an intense pain exploding across his chest as he landed in the dirt a few meters away. He felt like he was on fire. He was convulsing from the pain and screaming out. He looked down at his chest to see that one of Katsuki’s tail spines had been ripped off and lodged in his chest after he was smacked by his tail. He had never felt pain more excruciating than this. He couldn’t breathe as he struggled to rip the sharp spine out of his chest. 

Katsuki, ever the opportunist, didn’t stop to make sure Shoto was alright. He was on top of him in a matter of seconds, hitting him with punch after punch to the face. Shoto barely had enough time or energy to throw up his arms to defend himself. He mustered up as much strength as he could to grab Katsuki’s arms and pull him into a headbutt. That bought him enough time to switch positions and wail on Katsuki with everything he had. His muscles screamed and ached as the neurotoxin raced through his veins. He couldn’t lose after coming so far. He needed to prove himself, not for his father’s sake, but for Izuku. He… He loved him. He loved him just as much as Katsuki did and there was no way he was gonna give all of that up after coming so close.

Izuku couldn’t sit here and watch them destroy each other any longer. He quickly swam out on to the arena, tears bubbling in his eyes as he cried out to them. “STOP! STOP PLEASE! YOU’VE BOTH PROVEN YOURSELVES ENOUGH TO ME!” He grabbed Shoto from under the arms and hugged himself close to his back. “P-Please stop! Don’t hurt him anymore...”

Shoto held his last punch as Katsuki rolled his body and knocked Shoto off. He spat out some blood and wiped his nose with an angry huff. “So that’s it huh? You’re gonna call the fight right as that bastard prince got the upper hand? I was gonna win Deku-”

“I said I reserved the right to choose the winner, no matter how the events of the tournament turned out; did I not?” Izuku helped pick them both up before wiping the blood from their faces. “I don’t want you to fight for me anymore…” He turned to face the crowd as he took both Shoto and Katsuki’s hands. “Everybody… I’ve made the decision that… Both Katsuki and prince Shoto are the winners.” The crowd erupted and Enji, as usual, was quick to voice his displeasure.

“Now this is absolutely ridiculous! You can’t possibly have them both be the winner! Shoto clearly won! Had you not interrupted, Shoto would have killed that boy and secured his win!”

“I-Izuku… I don’t understand what you mean by us both being the winner…” Shoto said as he fought to catch his breath.

“I mean to say that I choose both Katsuki and Shoto to be my mates for this mating season,” Izuku said firmly as everyone grew louder. Even Katsuki and Shoto were visibly confused. “I don’t want to have to choose between you two because I love you both so… I choose you both. Either I’ll mate with you both or neither of you. This is my final decision.”

King Toshinori cleared his throat as he commanded the attention of the entire arena. “Well, this certainly is… Unprecedented… But this year’s ceremony has been filled with many surprises. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be allowed that this happen. If it pleases the Lava kingdom, Izuku can officially be labeled as Shoto’s mate since Katsuki is not of royal blood, but let it be known that Izuku decided to take two mates on this day.”

“No, this does NOT ‘ please me ’ in the slightest! Shoto won! He won, and that lionfish is not of royal lineage! These childish antics have gone too far and I-”

“I’m okay with this,” Shoto said firmly as he gave Izuku’s hand a squeeze. “I’m perfectly okay with sharing Izuku with Katsuki. I know Izuku has enough room in his heart for both of us. I trust him.”

Katsuki grumbled a little and sighed. “Yea... What the half and half said I guess… I'll be damned if I let Izuku go to him so if this is the only way I can win too, I'll take it.” He growled and squeezed Izuku's hand possessively. 

“The champions have spoken, old friend. I’m afraid there’s nothing else to be done about this. As unconventional as this may be, it makes the three of them happy.” Toshi said with a shrug. “Besides, the old ways are a little archaic, don't you think? Izuku, lead the two champions to be seen by Dr. Chiyo. I’ll handle everything else here.” Izuku smiled warmly before leading both Katsuki and Shoto inside the castle.

 

Shoto awoke to a shimmering ceiling covered in Mother of Pearl, the twilight colored waves from outside lazily reflecting over its shiny texture. Hanging from the ceiling was a thick white curtain acting as a partition to separate Shoto from the rest of the room. He slowly sat up with a groan and noted that he had been put up in a soft hospital bed and that all of his wounds had been treated with immense care. He could move around somewhat freely which meant that he had been given an antidote to Katsuki's neurotoxin. The hole in his chest from where the spine had pierced him likely wouldn't scar since they had been treated with a healing balm and fresh bandages. Whatever nurse they had in this infirmary was a goddess when it came to fixing wounds. 

He pulled back the heavy curtains to see Katsuki sitting on the edge of the bed across from him. He was covered in kelp bandages and bruises just like him, but he was just as alert as ever. Katsuki took his time looking Shoto over before laughing. 

"It's about time you woke up. I thought you died in that bed. You look even worse than me despite supposedly 'winning' or whatever." Katsuki stretched his arms over his head with a small wince. 

Shoto rolled his eyes and carefully pulled himself into a sitting position. "Where's Izuku?" 

"Just missed him. He was waiting for you to get up but he went into another heat wave so he left to his room. He said I couldn't come to the room without you so I had half a mind to drag your unconscious body with me and just prop you up in the corner while I made Izuku see stars~" 

"Enough, Katsuki. We both won. And while neither of us is super happy about that outcome, it's better than not having him at all. I love him just as much as you do-"

"No, you don't. You could never understand just how much I love him. He was MINE before you showed up." Katsuki snarled and gripped the edge of his bed.

"He was never yours! Izuku is a prince and would have never been with you if not for his last-minute decision. And you need to stop with this whole antagonist shit right now. Izuku made his choice whether you like it or not, which means that he likes us both equally. You're free to swim away at any point and leave Izuku to me if the fact that I’m in his heart too, bothers you so much." Shoto said plainly. 

"Absolutely fucking not. I… I swore to protect Izuku and give him my life since I was young. I'm never leaving his side no matter what." 

"You think I'm in the business of hurting Izuku? I want to make him feel happy and safe, just like you… I promise that. You don't have to see me as a threat anymore… You have my word that if I ever swim out of line, you have every right to set me straight in whatever way you see fit. Deal?" He figured he'd be the bigger mer as he offered his hand in a truce. 

Katsuki huffed and knocked his hand away. "I'm not gonna need to beat you down cause you're never gonna act up. Right? If you love him as much as you say you do, you'd never even think of hurting him."

Shoto nodded. "Fine. We're in agreement about that then. Let's at least try to get along from now on since we'll be seeing each other's dicks in a minute." 

"What the fuck are you talking about? I'm not showing you my dick! I'm into omegas only pal." Katsuki turned up his nose and looked Shoto up and down. 

"I meant because we're both gonna go to Izuku's room and help him get through his heat right? But if you really don't want to see my dick that badly, you're more than welcome to stay outside the door and keep watch until I'm finished." Shoto shrugged nonchalantly as he pushed himself off the bed and swam to the door. "Your choice."

"HEY! I never agreed to guard duty on this one!" Katsuki swam after him and the two pushed and shoved each other the whole way to Izuku's room. 

 

The door was (not surprisingly) unlocked when Katsuki jiggled the handle. For some reason, Izuku never remembered to lock his door when Katsuki had told him thousands of times before to keep it locked while he was away. The two alphas all but fell inside after shoving each other through the entryway, but they stopped short at the intoxicatingly sweet aroma and the lewd sight of Izuku writhing on top of his sheets. He let out a needy moan as his back arched off the bed. Two fingers plunged past his wet folds and the scent of an omega in heat grew that much stronger. 

“Izuku…” Shoto groaned and locked the door behind them without ever letting his eyes leave Izuku’s mesmerizing form. “How long has been like this…?”

“He uh, he wasn’t this bad when he left the infirmary… So I’m not sure...” Katsuki replied in the same fashion; eyes wide and trailing every minute movement Izuku made. Every twitch, every shudder, every gasp, went recorded in the two alphas brains.

“S-Shoto… Kacchan~! P-Please… I could hardly think after… After I brought you both inside… Your scents were… Driving me crazy. Please… P-please make me feel good... My fingers aren’t enough...“ Izuku begged as he brought his other hand to his throbbing member. He gave it a few pumps in tandem with the fingers pushing in and out of him and he let out a desperate whine.

“Okay so listen Half and Half, I’m willing to call a truce for right now. Let’s give him a night he’ll never forget, yea?” Katsuki swiped his tongue over his lips as he swam over to Izuku’s bed. He pinned Izuku’s wrists above his head and peered down into those hazy green eyes. “So pathetic, writhing like this for us~ You can blame that extra back there for making us late. You don’t need to wait any longer, Deku~” Katsuki captured Izuku’s lips against his own and let out a soft groan. Their tongues danced and mingled slowly and sensually at first, before quickly turning hungry and feral. Katsuki licked into Izuku’s mouth and tugged at his bottom lip with his teeth with a low purr in his throat. Izuku arched his back and gasped into the kiss as Katsuki pinched his nipple with his free hand. 

“O-Oh fuck-” Izuku’s eyes rolled back and Katsuki smirked.

“Am I really that good?” Katsuki chuckled to himself before watching Izuku buck his hips up. The lionfish’s face quickly turned red when he looked down and saw that Shoto had taken liberties to eat Izuku out while Katsuki was too busy going slow. “HEY! What the fuck do you think you’re doing!?”

“What? I thought we were just gonna swim right into this?” Shoto looked up at Katsuki with a plain expression, sweet slick practically dripping from his lips. “I figured you were more interested in his mouth so I was gonna tackle his-”

“MOVE OVER! I wanna get in there too.” Katsuki abandoned his position by Izuku’s face and took the omega’s twitching cock into his mouth instead.

Izuku was in absolute heaven with two alphas pressing their tongues against his pussy and his dick. The feeling of Shoto's tongue licking up against his inner walls was just as good as the feeling of Katsuki wrapping his lips around his member and taking him into his mouth. A particularly hard suck from Katsuki had Izuku groaning and wiggling his hips as much as they'd allow. The heavy heat in his stomach gradually began to build and he rolled his hips to try and get closer to his inevitable orgasm. But Shoto and Katsuki seemed to have other plans as they pinned Izuku’s hips to the mattress and worked him over. 

“I-I’m gonna cum~! Please~! Alphas~! Let me cum!” Izuku sobbed as he dug his nails into the sheets. He looked down at his alphas and his heart skipped a beat when they both looked up at him at the same time. Their eyes glazed over in a predatory lust, a low growl forming in their throats as they all but commanded their omega to cum for them. One grey, one blue, and two sharp red eyes piercing into Izuku's soul gave him the final push he needed to finally feel release. “ ALPHAS~! ” Izuku cried out loudly as he squirted all over Shoto’s face and came down Katsuki’s throat. The lionfish swallowed every last drop and dragged his tongue over Izuku’s oversensitive tip while the tiger shark lapped up every last drop of excess slick on his face and Izuku's pussy. 

“Mmn~ You taste so good…” Shoto sat up with an alpha's rumble to his voice and Izuku was hit with a wave of strong pheromones. The poor omega was at their mercy as the claws of arousal slowly released its grip on his mind. Izuku could now see very clearly, just how much the two alphas in front of him wanted to break him. “Katsuki, I think I’m going to take him first. Since I won our fight, it’s only fair.” He kissed the inside of Izuku’s hip as Katsuki moved back up towards Izuku’s face.

“You didn’t win, but I’ll let you go first. Only cause I know I can last longer than you and I don’t want you rushing me when I make Izuku cum around my knot~” He ran his thumb along Izuku’s bottom lip and smirked. Izuku whimpered as he looked between the two of them, suddenly becoming very scared at the thought of being knotted. He tensed up and immediately brought his shoulders in to protect his scent gland and make himself appear smaller. 

“I-I don’t know if I… I-If we should… Maybe we should wait-”

“Izuku… Remember when I came to see you super early this morning and you promised me that you would tell me your likes and dislikes if I won?” Shoto gently ran his hand along Izuku’s stomach and smiled calmly. “Can you please tell them to me now?”

“What the hell are you wasting time for? I’m rock hard over here.” Katsuki growled impatiently but Shoto continued to coax their frightened omega with gentle rubs to his hips.

“Let him tell us. Aren’t you curious too?” Katsuki regarded Shoto for a moment before a look of realization settled across his face. It quickly became apparent what Shoto was trying to do and he looked to him with newfound respect before nodding his approval. Katsuki carded his fingers through Izuku’s curly locks as a way of encouraging him to speak. Shoto really did seem to care about Izuku beyond just mating with him. He cared enough to try and calm Izuku down during this overwhelming ordeal after all, and something about that resonated with Katsuki. Maybe this guy wasn't so bad after all. 

Izuku swallowed hard and flexed his trembling fingers. “W-well I… I don’t really know where to start. I really like my mother's kelp garden… I like hiding in it when I’m scared or angry o-or stressed… I don’t like waking up early or being forced to go to boring history classes… I-I don’t know what else to say…”

“What about that curried fish your mom learned how to make for you?” Katsuki added.

“Oh! I love it when my mom makes that for me when I’m sick or feeling down. The servants don’t make it as tasty as she does…” Izuku smiled reminiscently as he continued on. Gradually his body opened up and his scent changed from being sour with fright, to going back to its optimistically saccharine flavor. “I really like visiting the town and seeing the people wave to me in the carriage as we pass by… And I hate how sometimes I can’t say hello to everyone because there’s no time. I wish I could properly meet everyone in town and make some more friends besides the mers who work in the castle.”

“You’ve got a very big heart Izuku. I love that most about you.” Shoto ran his fingers through Izuku’s fluttering fins and the omega shivered a little. “Do you feel a little better? Katsuki and I would like to mate with you very much but, if that truly scares you and you no longer want that, we understand. We can wait until you’re ready.”

“N-no I… I think I’m okay… I’m just nervous… Thank you for taking my mind someplace else… I was kinda psyching myself out over here.” Izuku flushed as Shoto took his hand and kissed his open palm. “I’m ready…”

“I’m glad to hear it.” Shoto sat up and let Izuku see his throbbing cock. Izuku’s eyes widened at the size and another wave of heat washed over his body. Slick dribbled past his folds and Shoto bit his lip while he dragged the tip of his length through it. Both of them let out a hiss as Shoto slowly rocked his hips against Izuku's pussy. “Your body is so warm… I don't think I can wait much longer. Brace yourself okay?” He gradually pushed himself into Izuku’s tight pussy and let out a groan as his muscles clenched tightly around his shaft. “O-Ooh fuck you feel so good~! It’s so tight...” 

Izuku let out a loud groan as he felt his insides spreading open to accommodate Shoto’s size. “Oooah~! Shoto, I-It’s so deep~!” His back arched off the bed as Shoto brought his hand under him and pressed his palm to the small of his back. Izuku tangled their tails together and locked Shoto against his body as he began to move. 

Katsuki smirked and turned Izuku’s face to look at him. “Fuck you look so hot taking Shoto’s cock like that~ I wish you could see your face right now. But you know, I want some attention too. Think you could lend me your mouth for a while?” He leaned over Izuku’s face and pressed the tip of his dick to Izuku's lips. Izuku's tongue darted out eagerly and he took his time licking it. Katsuki groaned and gripped Izuku's hair as the omega wrapped his lips around his cock and let Katsuki shallowly thrust into his mouth. "That's it… Holy shit your mouth is so fucking hot… Relax that throat of yours so I can really get this shit started." He slowly pushed his hips closer to Izuku's face as Izuku relaxed his throat to the best of his ability. Katsuki's cock was just so thick that the stretch was a bit much for him. But after a particularly hard thrust to his g-spot from Shoto, his mouth opened wider and Katsuki took that opportunity to push himself into Izuku's throat. 

Katsuki groaned and shuddered at the way the Betta's throat muscles contracted around his shaft. He felt like he could knot his mouth right then and there as Izuku struggled to swallow him down. Tears brimmed his eyes and drool ran down his chin, but soon enough he figured out how to use his gills to breathe while Katsuki fucked his throat. 

Both alphas took their time fucking Izuku and making the poor omega writhe. Izuku could hardly control himself as his oversensitive body betrayed him. His insides clenched around Shoto's cock and he let out a muffled scream as his orgasm ripped through his body. His senses whited out for a few seconds but Shoto and Katsuki kept going. Izuku's eyes rolled back as he felt Shoto's knot kissing his entrance and Katsuki's knot pressing against his lips on each of their thrusts. He was hungry for it; his body thrumming with newfound energy now that he was so close to being knotted by them both. The scent of alphas at the height of their rut left Izuku's body as its most willing. He was putty for them both to mold, play with, and shape to their heart's desire. 

"Izuku…" Shoto's husky voice was dripping with lust for his omega. "I'm… I'm gonna knot you… Oh fuck, I can't stop~ you're sucking me in so much I feel like I'm gonna melt~" He leaned his head forward and let his bangs shadow his eyes as his thrusts became much more erratic. He was desperate for release and there was no stopping his inner alpha now. He growled loudly as his claws dug into Izuku's hips and he forced his knot past Izuku's tight ring of muscle. Izuku's cries were muffled as Katsuki's hips began to speed up as well. Before Izuku could focus on one thing over the other, Izuku's nose was brushing against Katsuki's pelvis as his knot popped past Izuku's teeth. 

Both alphas were locked inside of Izuku, one way or the other. Katsuki was more vocal than Shoto during his orgasm as he filled Izuku's throat. Izuku swallowed as much as he could of Katsuki's thick cream but even then, some of it escaped down his chin. 

"Ooh fuck that's right Izuku~ how do my kids taste~?" Katsuki tugged Izuku's head back and made him look him in the eye. Izuku's face went completely ahegao as the pheromones in Katsuki's cum had his body going haywire. He moaned around Katsuki's knot and his eyelids fluttered like it was the best drink he'd ever had. 

Shoto's cock pulsed inside of Izuku and filled his womb with his own seed at the same time Izuku's mouth was being filled. It came out in thick ropes, plugged in completely by his knot. He let out a low groan as his hips stuttered and he wiggled them shallowly to get every last drop out. 

"I-Izu… Izuku…" He growled as he leaned in towards Izuku's neck and let instinct take over. He suckled on Izuku's scent gland which had the omega positively writhing on the bed. That was his most sensitive part and it had him cumming around Shoto's knot, milking it for everything it was worth. But before Izuku could relax, Shoto sunk his teeth into the soft flesh and claimed their omega first. 

Katsuki pulled out of Izuku's mouth once his knot had gone down enough and he ran his thumb along Izuku's cheek. "Fuck… I can't wait to knot you too and make you look that good…" He mumbled as he watched the way Izuku's eyes glazed over and he kept his eyes lazily trained on the ceiling. A mix of drool and cum was running down his chin and his hair had the tell-tale signs of a good fucking. 

Shoto purred softly and lapped his tongue along Izuku's scent gland to catch any stray droplets of blood infused with Izuku's scent. Shoto couldn't get enough of Izuku's taste, even if he had wanted to. He continued to purr and rub Izuku gently until his knot went down and he pulled out. He felt so much calmer now that Izuku was his, but it would only be for a moment. Katsuki was quick to trade places with Shoto as soon as they untangled their tails. "I love you so much, Izuku…" He wiggled underneath Izuku so he could sit up against the headboard and he held him up against his chest. Shoto kissed along Izuku's neck and rubbed his chest as Katsuki ran his hands along Izuku's smooth stomach. "Do you have the energy for one more round? It's Katsuki's turn now."

Izuku bit his lip and ran his fingers along his swollen lower lips. Katsuki's mouth went dry as Izuku spread himself apart and a small bit of cum leaked out. "I want you too, Kacchan~ I've wanted you so badly for so long… Please mate me too~" 

Shoto smirked and nipped at Izuku's gland. "That's a good boy~ show Katsuki just how good your pussy is~" 

Katsuki had to close his eyes for a second to keep himself from popping his knot and embarrassing himself in front of Shoto and Izuku. "Fuck that's so damn hot… I'm not going easy on you like Half and Half~" Katsuki warned before slamming into Izuku's freshly creamed pussy. It was so warm and wet but it was still nice and tight. 

Izuku moaned loudly at the difference in thickness between Katsuki and Shoto. While Shoto definitely had the length to make Izuku scream, Katsuki's girth felt like it was enough to split him in two. "Oh fuck Katsuki, please~!" He sobbed as Shoto's hands came up to rub his perky nipples. "P-please mate me~!"

He needed no more invitation than that to start rocking the bed with the force of his thrusts. He gripped Izuku's hips and gave him the rough fucking he deserved. It was no doubt that anyone in the hallway would be able to hear the way Katsuki made Izuku scream and beg for more. He grunted as Izuku's insides twitched around him and left him bucking his hips faster. He tangled his tail with Izuku's and brought a hand between them to stroke Izuku off. "Such a dirty little omega~ who knew a virgin like you could take two alphas dicks in the same sitting. But from the sounds you're making, I know you love mine so much more~" He smirked and leaned down to cover Izuku's body in claiming nips and licks. He wanted everyone to know just what Izuku signed up for when he chose him as his mate as well. 

"Kacchan~! K-Kacchan it's too much~! I-It's too good~!" Izuku hiccuped and sobbed as Katsuki traced his thumb over Izuku's tip. "Kacchaaaan~!" 

Katsuki continued to slam his cock into Izuku's g-spot and relished in the way his back arched and his nails dug into his arms. He let Izuku grip his forearms as the poor omega's body stuttered from his dual release. Katsuki felt his waist get wetter with Izuku's slick and at the same time, cum shot out of Izuku's cock and splattered across his own stomach and chest. It was truly the hottest thing Katsuki had ever witnessed in his life. 

"Shit... I'm so close... Izuku… Izuku~! Y-you better… have my guppies and not that… Tiger shark bastard's ugly ass spawn~!" He growled out and smirked at the angry look on Shoto's face. "F-fuck~!" He pressed his knot as deep as it could go and filled Izuku up with even more cum. It had become so much that Izuku's stomach had swollen just a little to accommodate both loads. Izuku cried out in absolute pleasure before tilting his head to the side and letting Katsuki sink his teeth into his gland as well and solidify their eternal bond. 

 

Katsuki settled on top of Izuku even after his knot gradually went down, making sure to keep him plugged up for as long as he could. He left soft kisses against his skin while Shoto soothingly ran his fingers through Izuku's hair. Izuku was in the best spot he could ever be; sandwiched between the two loves of his life as they gently took care of him in their after-sex glow. 

"Mm… How are you feeling Izuku?" Shoto asked softly, rousing Izuku from a light sleep. 

"I feel so full… I wonder if this is how it will feel when I give birth… I won't mind it so much if I have both of your guppies~" He smiled softly Katsuki took his hand in his. 

"Can't wait to see you nice and swollen… You'll make the cutest fucking dam in the whole seven seas. I'll bet money on that." The lionfish purred. 

"I'd bet money on it too," Shoto added. "Izuku you've… You've made us both the happiest alphas alive. I love you so much." He leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on Izuku's cheek. 

"I love you too, I guess… But I mean, I loved you longer so it means more comin' from me." Katsuki teased as he kissed Izuku's other cheek. 

"I love you both so much that I can't imagine life without either of you. Thank you for… For taking my proposal seriously. I can't wait to see our little gifts come the following spring." Izuku wistfully rubbed over his plump stomach and snuggled deeper into both of their arms. This was all he had ever wanted. Shoto and Katsuki were the best alphas Izuku could have ever asked for and he knew they both loved him just as much as he loved them. Sure, he couldn’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel and things were more than just a little rocky when he thought he'd essentially be forced to start a family with some alpha he didn't even know or like. But somehow, everything turned out for the best when he was able to give himself a choice; the choice to be happy, the choice to command respect, and the choice to experience true love. Who could wish for a greater prize than that?