Actions

Work Header

Blinding

Chapter Text

Baekhyun is not entirely sure why, but everyone he knows seems to have the need to hold some sort of expectation of him.

People had been whishing him to become pretty, to find a good alpha and have a lot of children since he was nothing but a mere child himself.

Even though his family was more than ideal and his parents basked in their mutual love almost all the time, he had never felt the urge to be in their place, never entertained the thought of being married and finding a mate for himself like many other little omegas did; not because he was against it or didn't like the idea, it just didn't seem that important when he had so many things to do, like catching lizards and bickering with his friends. He saw the process of finding a mate as something that would happen eventually, something that only the adults had to worry about.

Soon enough, though, his way of thinking had set him apart from all his omega peers: while they were starting to become self-conscious about their appearance and how alphas and betas perceived them, Baekhyun was still complaining about how his mother wouldn't let him beat up the kid that stole his toy car. He just wasn't ready to start seeing the other genders so maturely and even less start thinking about how to look cute or be proper. Alphas and betas to him didn't even seem to be all that special, nothing to be so crazy about.

But then again, that might be all Chanyeol's fault.

In fact, seeing the neighbours' four year old alpha running around with his tail and ears still out, at an age when the shifts should have already been completely mastered, fall on his face on a daily basis and clumsily try to show his ownership over his things, and over Baekhyun more often than not; might have taken away some of that inexplicable alluring charm that makes omegas weak in the knees. Or maybe it had just pushed Baekhyun to think that, sometimes, a label is not enough to describe a person, that eventually everyone should stay true to themselves without paying too much attention to the social norms they are subjected to and that even though they are given contrasting labels, underneath it all they are not that different.

Baekhyun, as a kid, had never been attracted to the things other omegas usually grow to love, like flowers for example or sweet scents and hobbies like cooking; he had never been attracted to any of these, curling his nose in rage every time his father came up to him with a new doll, expecting him to be excited to tend to the needs of a plastic baby with furry white ears. Baekhyun preferred playing outside with his friends, running around kicking balls and Chanyeol every time he found him collapsed on the floor. In his opinion, dolls couldn't really stand a chance.

Chanyeol, on the other hand, seemed to have never been asked to do anything, no one tried to push in his hands toys he didn't want or asked him to do things he hated.

No one ever tried to change the soft spot that he has always had for pretty flowers and how they looked tucked behind Baekhyun's ears nor his love for bright colours and his loud nature. He was completely carefree and Baekhyun believed that he had exactly the same right as him of refusing things and choosing what to wear, what games to play and how to behave.

Unfortunately, once having been thrown out of the small world made of his home and his small circle of childhood friends, the rest of the world finally caught up to Baekhyun, delivering a resounding smack right across his face and making him realize that, after all, his tall, incredibly clumsy best friend was supposed to be his exact opposite.

All of a sudden, he was exposed to all these heavy expectations and ideals that society wanted him to carry on his little shoulders alone. They wanted him to live up to a scheme that they had prepared for him, they wanted him to adapt to all the unspoken rules about submission and acceptance that everyone deemed right. All the strangers he met, being it teachers, classmates or their parents, expected him to become one of the perfect omegas that dream about a household and a loving mate to depend on. They all spoke as if they knew that he would have come around eventually and that he would become just like they wished him to be.

Baekhyun's life, and that of all the other little omegas, were public discussion, they were the topic everyone wanted to be entitled to talk about. Not even once he heard someone reprimanding Chanyeol for picking flowers and running after butterflies, but everyone were ready to jump at his throat if he only thought about using the highest slide in the park.

It was utterly confusing, how everyone had become so aware of his gender, they were all so protective and overbearing. His mother wouldn't let him do any of the things he wanted and had done until the year before, his father kept lecturing him about scents and the other wolves and even Chanyeol's attempts at marking him had lost all the humour he used to find in them. Everything had started to look like a chaotic mess of aspirations that Baekhyun didn't feel his, his body seemed to be someone else's, his mind and his wishes seemed to be not his to decide. All that seemed to matter was the fact that he was born as an omega, the only thing he had to think about was the fact that he is an omega, that he should spend his life worrying about the millions of threats that the world has in store for his delicate nature.

Everything had started being too much and his own dreams and beliefs had started to trace black thick lines between himself and the rest of the world, he wanted to prove, above everything, that he wasn't just an omega, that if he wanted he could hold his ground against any wolf, alpha or beta, it doesn't matter. What he wants to prove is that omegas can manage perfectly on their own and that they don't have to depend on alphas to live comfortably.

 

"B-Baekhyunnie!" Chanyeol was running towards him, ending up tripping on his feet, for what might already be the tenth time that day. He gets up and brushes the dirt off his already grass-stained pants, his smile never faltering

"Baekhyunnie!" He shouts again, with no real reason, just as an affirmation of the presence of the other boy, with his little black wolf ears twitching on his head and his tail swinging excitedly.

Baekhyun's face schools a glare, his frown deepens with every new little scratch he sees on Chanyeol's face, arms and legs, feeling the usual tinge of envy creep up at the back of his mind, "I'm your hyung! You have to call me hyung" he says as he moves towards the swings "Mom went to buy some tea," he continues as he speed walks through the other children rolling on the ground and fighting, holding his head high and his shoulders squared, making sure to look as tall as possible near the other boy. Chanyeol follows him with his lips stretched in a smile and his wide, brown eyes focusing on every little thing going on around them.

"Swing me" Baekhyun demands after he manages to get on the higher swing, skipping completely the one suited for his age and height.

"Yes, hyung!" Chanyeol says making a salute with his left hand and standing in his own special rendition of a straight pose. Baekhyun grasps the ropes keeping his seating in mid air and his pink tongue peeks out of his lips as he focuses on not falling down. Chanyeol puts his hands on the swing and starts pulling Baekhyun backwards.

When he finally lets the swing free, Baekhyun can barely stifle his delighted giggles, Chanyeol has moved on the side, clapping his hands, jumping around and shouting "You're so cool, Baekhyunnie!"

Baekhyun's eyes widen as his laughter becomes too much to hide, Chanyeol tries to swing himself on the lower swing, but his legs are already too long to let him do it comfortably; he still doesn't give up, though, and keeps trying, making Baekhyun's cackling grow even louder.

"Baekhyun! I told you not to get on the swings when I'm not here!" His mother jogs up to the swings and cuts short his eventful little ride "You never listen, what if you fell, eh? What would you have done then?"

"But I told you that I don't fall! I never fall!" Baekhyun's mother rolls her eyes and gets his son down from the swing as best as she can, trying to save herself from the vigorous kicks the kid is throwing

"Why don't you use the lower one at least? So if you fall you don't hurt yourself"

"Let Chanyeol use the one for the babies! He's younger than me!" She helps him adjust his clothes and then sighs, hoping to not have to reiterate their usual argument

"But you're not as tall as him, Baekhyun, and-" Baekhyun stomps his feet on the ground and almost growls as he takes Chanyeol from his shirt, pulling him away from the swings and towards the green area of the park, cutting his mother's speech effectively. The taller boy lets himself be pulled and pushed at the omega's will, following along in silence.

Baekhyun halts behind one of the biggest trees and crouches down, hugging his knees and hiding his face

"Baekhyunnie don't cry, ok?" Chanyeol's almost pleading tone trembles as he poses a hand on Baekhyun's head

"I'm not crying, you stupid alpha" Baekhyun responds, trying to swat the foreign hand away with a vigorous shake of his head

"I'm not stupid..." Chanyeol says, letting his pout morph his voice and his ears flatten against his straight black hair. He lowers himself beside Baekhyun and he starts patting his back strongly "Don't cry, ok?" he repeats for good measure

"Shut up" Baekhyun's words come out muffled, just before he pushes his face further in its hiding spot

"Hey, here, take these," Chanyeol tugs one of the smaller's arm, making him show a side of his face, and pushes right under his nose what seems to be a bouquet of grass and a single daisy "Here… Do you want to marry me today?"

Baekhyun's previous crestfallen expression transforms radically: his eyebrows furrow and he squints his slightly teary eyes, he stands up quickly and pushes the grass right in Chanyeol's face

"I told you I'm never gonna marry you! You suck!" he lands a good kick to Chanyeol's pitiful form "You stupid idiot" He runs away from the alpha, cursing him and hoping that his mental powers will make him fall on his stupid face twice as much as he normally would.  

 

"Yeah, Baek, I'm sorry... I don't think this is gonna work"

Baekhyun raises his eyes from his salad carefully, chewing slowly the few leaves he had just started munching. He gulps his mouthful down forcefully, almost chocking, and cleans his throat before asking

"What?"

"I... I think we should take a break, we should... You know-"

"Why?" he asks, not even trying to mask the defensiveness in his tone as he continues staring at the wolf in front of him

"Come on... I think you know" the other man says, finally taking a seat at the table "You're always busy-"

"I was home today, though... Where were you all day? Seeing someone?" Baekhyun lets his fork fall onto the surface of the table, silently rejoicing in the loud sound that makes the beta in front of him flinch

"No... Of course not..." The man trails off not looking Baekhyun in the eye as he tries to change the subject "We are always busy... And we don't really do... You know, you never do something nice for me... I feel like you'd do great even without me"

"Doesn't that make you proud? Knowing that your partner is good enough to take care of himself?"

"I wish you would depend on me... A bit more... Let me spoil you, you would be so cute" Junmyeon's eyes curve in shining half-moons, he scoots closer to the omega with his chair and curls his fingers to move a strand of Baekhyun's honey brown hair behind his ear "It's such a waste, you could ask me to do anything for you and I would… If only you were a bit more… Romantic"

Baekhyun turns towards the alpha and raises his eyebrows
 
"You want me to do something romantic, yeah? Here have my salad, honey" the omega smiles sweetly and throws the content of his bowl directly on the man's expensive looking clothes, then stands up and starts gathering his things "If only you had grown enough balls to deal with me" he spouts, echoing the other's words. He turns on his heels and struts to the front door.

There's a meek frown engraved in his features and a slight sheen fuzzing his vision.

 

"Alphas suck soooo much" Baekhyun is at his seventh drink; his speech is starting to get slurred and his inhibitions are letting everything get out of the omega's mouth without any kind of supervision "I work six days a week, like a fucking mad man and they don't even care… 'you're not cute, you're not cute' Fuck you and your cute shit"

"...Right, I'll take this as my cue to leave" Yixing, the only alpha sitting at their table, stands up and starts moving towards the bar

"No-" hiccup "No, no, no, you're the only one who should be listening" the end of the sentence is punctuated by another strong hiccup

"I'm not nearly drunk enough" Yixing says, as he tries to disentangle himself from the empty chairs around their table, but Yifan jolts and keeps him from his sleeve

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going to take a drink" Yixing says, realizing a second too late the great mistake he has committed: he has basically just thrown himself right into the eye of the storm

"I thought, we weren't going to drink during our pregnancy" Yifan says, a note of shy disappointment shines through the stiff tone of his voice

"Fan, don't even waste words, he can't understand!" Baekhyun butts back into the conversation, doing all he can to throw Yixing under the bus

"Xing... You said you weren't going to drink" Yifan's delicate state is already making his eyes water and his lips tremble, Yixing fumbles to get back into his seat immediately, hoping to have moved fast enough to not let Yifan crumble under his hormones.

"I'm sorry, Fan. I'm not going to drink, I'm sorry, baby" he kisses his cheek and Yifan makes himself as small as he can to fit into his alpha's side, pointing to his forehead to demand another peck. Yixing obliges and holds him close

The peaceful scene is interrupted by Baekhyun's dramatic gasp and his index finger pointing at the two future parents "I can't believe you forgave him like that!? A sorry and you're ready to iron his shirt and cook him dinner?!" once he takes in Yifan's trembling lower lip and Yixing's fierce glare, he gulps down what was left of his drink and calls a waiter to ask for another one.

"Ehy guys!" Luhan and Chanyeol appear out of nowhere, just arrived from the restaurant they work in, and greet the rest of their friends as they make their way to the table

"What were you talking about?" Chanyeol asks as Luhan sits down beside Yifan, patting his shoulder "And why is Yifan crying?" he adds tilting his head

"You arrived just in time for the 'weekly thoughts on alphas' by Byun Baekhyun" Yixing says, looking at Chanyeol as if he were his only companion in this whole situation and, honestly, he probably is, considering that Yifan's mood swings don't allow him to make a decision without having a breakdown and Luhan's a beta, which makes him wise enough to never pick sides during this kind of arguments.

Chanyeol stands up again "I need some vodka"

"See!" Baekhyun says moving his finger in Chanyeol's direction "Why don't you want to listen Chanyeol?! Is it because of that time you peed on me to make sure no one would touch me?"

Chanyeol rolls his eyes and takes off his jacket "We were five years old, Baekhyun"

"What kind of lame excuse is that... Thanks for ruining my evening" Baekhyun affirms theatrically before he stands up, with some difficulty, and tries to balance himself as best as he can, but the alcohol rushing through his body is making it a hard feat to win

"How come we just got here and Baekhyun is already drunk out of his mind?" Luhan asks, taking a sip out of Baekhyun's eighth drink

"He got dumped again" Yixing supplies, while he's still trying to ease Yifan out of his emotions

"Yeah, because Junmyeon's a shithead! I'm never going out with an alph- Beta! Never going out with a beta again!" Baekhyun spouts as he starts wearing his coat upside down, "Chanyeol, take me home, I can't drive" he says, before another violent hiccup shakes his shoulders

"But I just got here, let me have a drink at least-"

"Chanyeol, I hate you, I swear... You selfish prick" Baekhyun staggers towards the exit, bumping into people and knocking stuff over

"Good night, guys" Chanyeol slips back into his jacket and stands up to follow the trail of destruction that Baekhyun has left behind himself. He exits the club and almost bumps into the omega's frozen figure; he's standing with his eyes squinted and the key of his car in his hand, trembling slightly because of the difference in temperature between the inside of the pub and the frigid January breeze.

"Let's go, Baek" He stops beside him and takes the keys out of his hands

"I can go home alone" the shorter says defiantly, trying to get the keys back in his grip

"It's fine, I get it. Let's go home."

"Don't fucking sound patronizing, you brainless savage" Baekhyun says through his teeth, hitting Chanyeol's chest with all his strength

"Look, not even your insults are making any sense, let's just get you home" Baekhyun lowers his head and tries to slip his hands in his pockets, but his coat it's still upside down and he doesn't find them anywhere, he whines quietly as he tries to get the coat off "Come here" Chanyeol  tugs the coat off the other's shoulders, blatantly ignoring his protests, and helps him wear it like it's supposed to. Then he offers his arm to help him balance his drunken form, the omega accepts without a word, pushing his cheek against Chanyeol's shoulder

"You stink" Baekhyun whispers before pushing his face deeper in Chanyeol's clothes

"Thank you" Chanyeol sighs, adjusting his arm to sustain Baekhyun as they move to his car. When they reach it he helps him get inside the vehicle before taking his spot behind the wheel. Just as he expected, Baekhyun has grown silent, as his drowsiness starts catching up to him and the heart-break and disappointment settles in.

Instead of starting the engine, the taller sits in silence, waiting for a sign from Baekhyun. As if on cue, the omega's shoulders start trembling and his soft whimpering fills the alpha's ears. He extends his arm and pats the omega's back

"H-He said I'm useless" Chanyeol tries to pull Baekhyun towards himself as he continues to flood the small space of the other's car with his most calming pheromones. Baekhyun gives in and pushes his face in his broad chest "H-He said I'm not cute and-" a louder sob interrupts his words and makes his crying become considerably more violent. Chanyeol settles himself deeper in his seat, he pushes his head on the headrest and looks up, all without stopping his light caresses on the omega's nape

"Don't waste time thinking about it" he says, trying to keep Baekhyun closer to himself for a bit longer as he struggles to stop himself from sniffing the upset pheromones the other is leaking, even though, despite his efforts, his hold on the smaller becomes tighter and his body stiffens as the omega's distress transfers to him "I bet he's a dick"

"You're a dick" Baekhyun gets out among his sobs

"Yeah, I know" he responds, after a short pause and a soft chuckle

 

Through his fuzziness Baekhyun catches almost nothing of what is going on around him, he feels Chanyeol help him stand up and then his deep voice ask

"Can you stand?" Baekhyun looks up at him, with his eyes swollen by a tiring mix of tears and sleepiness, just to have a perfect view of his expression when he kicks him in the shin.

Chanyeol curses and Baekhyun takes off without him, running to the front door of his apartment complex as best as he can and hopefully without face-planting anywhere; he pushes against the door with all his might, but the heavy glass doesn't give any sign of budging

"You have to pull..." Chanyeol grips the handle and pulls, moving Baekhyun around to make him find the path inside "Do you want me to help you with the stairs?" he asks and laughs when Baekhyun responds with a muttered fuck off just before tripping on the carpet. He walks up to him and loops one of his arms around the shorter's waist. Baekhyun goes almost immediately limp against his side and lets himself be taken upstairs.

Chanyeol opens the door of the small apartment and enters, Baekhyun curls himself around him, clearly far from feeling the need to make himself useful in anyway, making the taller pick him up and bringing him to the bedroom. Chanyeol somehow manages to get the other's shoes and coat off and then help him get rid of his clothes and slip into something more comfortable.

When the omega is all set and in bed Chanyeol halts by his side for a second, his hands pose on his hips and a tired sigh escapes through his lips.

"Baek?" the room keeps still, unmoving under a heavy coat of silence.

Chanyeol scratches his nape and lowers himself to leave a peck on the omega's forehead, he lets an almost inaudible whisper fill some of the quietness and then he scurries out of the apartment without voicing any more words.

The moment the door shuts close, Baekhyun curls on himself and hides his face in his hands, brushing his fingers on his forehead and letting a couple of tears wet his already stained cheeks.

 

Baekhyun always remembers that he shouldn't drink when it's eight in the morning after a night out and he has to run to the bathroom to puke his whole body content.

He flushes the toilet and the loud noise of the water makes the condition of his head worsen greatly. He brushes his teeth and waddles to the kitchen to drink some water and take some painkillers.

When he's done, he lies himself down on the worn out dark couch in the small living room and covers his aching eyes with his forearm. He heaves some loud breaths and jumps a couple of meters high when his phone rings from the bedroom.

He tries to ignore it, but he finds himself sighing when the obnoxious tune doesn't give any sign of stopping.

He was expecting to find Chanyeol's contact lighting up the touchscreen, instead he finds Luhan's.

"Lu?" he answers warily

"Hey!" Baekhyun clenches his eyes and pulls the phone away from his ear,

"Oh god, Could you... not scream, please?"

"Oh, yeah sorry" Luhan says, sounding weirdly out of breath, Baekhyun creases his eyebrows

"Are you with Sehun?" he asks, dreading the answer

"Yeah, we're about to get there, we're bringing breakfast!" Baekhyun rolls his eyes, thinking that he should probably take another couple of pills before feeling able to deal with the two, but his plans are ruined when his doorbell rings, shrill enough to pierce through his sensitive eardrums.

He pushes himself to the front door and ends the call, he fits one of his eyes on the peep-hole, finding on the other side Luhan and Sehun, clad in eccentric fluorescent gym wear.

"Just what the hell are you two doing at this hour?" he asks, as his nose catches the smell of some high-fat fry sweets and his eyes gauge the sight of the two people standing on his doorstep.

"We were out for a jog" Luhan supplies and Baekhyun arches an eyebrow, questioning the fuchsia headband around Sehun's blond hair and the elder's bright orange, skin-tight shirt.

"Hi, Baek" Sehun greets with a more than suspicious grin plastered on his thin lips,

"Yeah... Hi" he responds, his voice ends up in a questioning tone mindlessly, still not quite able to wrap his head around the two's appearance and weird behaviour.

Luhan opens the bags and starts making some coffee as he command his boyfriend to take out mugs and tissues from Baekhyun's drawers.

"So, how are you feeling this morning?" Luhan asks out of the blue, sounding way too happy for Baekhyun's current standards.

"Great, I've already puked" Baekhyun says, imitating Luhan's extremely excited chirping, making Sehun snort and almost choke on a doughnut

"Chanyeol sent us to cheer you up, since he was called in for work this morning… Oh, but he said he was going to come with us today-"

"Where are we going today?" Baekhyun asks, dreading the loss of what he thought was going to be a quiet Saturday spent on his couch, doing nothing but watching his entire collection of Jet Li's movies and eating junk food.

"Buying gifts for Yifan" Luhan says as if Baekhyun had just asked the most stupid question he could think of "There's the baby shower on Tuesday!" Baekhyun slaps his forehead, regretting it immensely as soon as his palm lands against his already sensitive head with a loud smack.

"Yeah, of course... Of course" He answers before taking one of the mugs to take a sip, the bitter taste of the coffee seems to be enough to wake him up completely and make him gain some of the energies that he had lost this morning, along his exaggerated intake of alcohol.

"So? Do you really not want to talk about it?" Luhan asks, before taking a sip of his own coffee and sitting down beside Sehun

"...Not really" Baekhyun responds, posing his chin on one of his hands "It's not any different from the other 1000 times that it has happened" he says, feeling genuinely sad, not having the strength to mask behind some of his usual snarky comments "I didn't even like him that much… He wasn't the right one" he repeats the same words that Yixing and Yifan had told him the night before and that he has already heard countless times during his short dating life.

"He really wasn't, Baek" Luhan extends his arm to grasp Baekhyun's free hand, the omega hums and turns his head to look at the couple beside him, "Why don't you-"

"Give up? I really do want to give up... I think I'm not suited for a mate" he says bitterly,

"No, that's not true." Luhan affirms pointedly, "Don't say that. Why don't you...  Just give in and try going out with-"

Baekhyun heaves a bitter laugh followed by an exasperated sigh "I don't need a mate that bad, Luhan. I can manage fine alone" He says, raising his eyebrows as he tries to prove his point with an uncaring expression "I don't need to make anything complicated"

Luhan raises an eyebrow, looking bitchier than he has ever been "You're making things complicated by yourself... Everything would be so much easier. I don't understand what's so wrong about him"

"There's nothing wrong with him... There's nothing wrong with anything" he trails off, taking another sip of coffee as he starts thinking about what he should wear to go out, hoping that the two will leave the argument as it is

"And there's nothing wrong with you, if that's what you're implying... There's nothing wrong with you, Baekhyun" Luhan affirms looking straight towards the omega avoiding his eyes. He raises his own to the ceiling "Ok, all right... But you know how people are when they meet you, they see you and they think you're a certain way then... You know… And you know that there's nothing wrong with being… A little feisty. But… If you really want to find a mate, maybe you could try being a bit more... Open minded?"

"Me?! Junmyeon expected me to do his laundry and treat him like a master and I need to be more open minded? Do you understand how fucking ridiculous that sounds?" Baekhyun's patience starts wearing thin and his head is starting to get back to the peak of pain it was going through just minutes before "I'm not a nanny. I am a man, I'm almost thirty! I just want a beta... Or an alpha that will treat me like I know I deserve to be treated... And I'm starting to believe that maybe they don't exist."

Luhan sighs and poses a hand on Sehun's shoulder "Look, Sehun has never treated me like that, he's always been careful and gentle, he's-" Baekhyun glares at the two, despite knowing that they mean no harm

"Yeah, he's like ten years younger than you-"

"Six years younger" Sehun says glaring at the shorter and circling his arm around Luhan's waist

"And you're a beta" Baekhyun says, raising his hand towards him

"Ok, you're right, then what about Yifan?" Luhan says, his voice gaining speed, sign that he feels he's about to bring up a valid argument "How he was sure he was going to be alone forever? Thant no one would have wanted an omega as tall as him and that could kick their asses in a basketball match... And yet there he is, a few weeks away from having his first pup and with an alpha wrapped around his finger" Luhan smiles and scoots closer to his boyfriend to reach for Baekhyun's hand "Just give it some time, all right? Just take a break. You don't need to look for a mate right now, there's no reason to be obsessed with it... Trust me the right person will come around eventually... If he's not been here for the whole time already" Baekhyun glares at him and straightens his posture, knowing exactly what the last sentence is hinting at.

"I didn't say anything" Luhan raises his own hands now and snorts, trying to save himself. Baekhyun lets it go, favouring the memories of all the nights he spent comforting Yifan passing through his mind.
 
"To be honest, Yifan's past makes me just realize how fucking stupid alphas are" Baekhyun says defiantly, almost fuming as he thinks of all the nights he had spent trying to cheer up his friend.

"But he has found his perfect mate and he has never been happier"

Although his appearance might be quite unusual for an omega, Yifan's attitude is almost exactly what anyone would expect from his gender. In fact, when he's not in a basketball court, he's incredibly sweet and submissive, he's soft and unapologetically sensitive; he expresses proudly all the emotions that Baekhyun makes sure to suppress and never make public. Yifan is open and understanding, but he can be assertive when needed, he's exactly what a model omega is supposed to be, and yet, because of his appearance, he had been refused countless times and even made fun of; until, of course, Yixing came along.

It's incredibly hard to find an alpha that doesn't feel the need to conform to society, one moment their instincts make them growl and fight over a cup of coffee and the next they're ready to act like the perfect sons, the perfect husbands that everyone dreams of. Because of his job, Baekhyun has met more stuck up alphas and betas than he'd like to admit. Working for one of the best magazines of the country has been an honour and a curse: on one hand, he has been celebrated by many as the first omega that has gained a spot of relevance in something other than the pages reserved to recipes or love advice; but on the other, the alphas working with him in the politics newsroom haven't let one single day pass without reminding him that they think he should be at home, taking care of a mate, pups and cooking them dinner.

All these experiences Yifan and himself had to go through, make him appreciate Chanyeol even more. Even though Yixing and Sehun have never pointed fingers at him or told him he should change, he's pretty sure they wouldn't like having a mate like him; the only one that manages to understand him completely is Chanyeol, who, at the same time, is also the only one who has a real reason to complain about Baekhyun's attitude.

 

That afternoon, the three meet in front of the shopping mall, Luhan and Sehun are finally out of their ridiculous gym wear and Baekhyun has managed to partially overcome his hangover.

"Oh my god Baekhyun, you could have dressed a bit more nicely" Luhan huffs and smooths his hands over Baekhyun's crimpled gray hoodie, "You look like a teenager" Luhan shushes an incredulous Baekhyun and nods towards the sliding doors, inviting the two to enter the mall.

"Hey, what's wrong with my clothes? Isn't it good that I look younger?!" Baekhyun responds, feeling attacked and slightly confused by his friend, but also trying to cover up the uncharacteristic laziness that had made him drag himself through the whole morning and early afternoon, that had left him with not even enough strength to press his clothes.

They enter the building, glancing around, observing the people window shopping and looking for the shops they need to visit. Luhan drags Baekhyun towards a men's clothing shop and forces him to buy new clothes for Tuesday night, sighing every time Baekhyun asks him why would he need new clothes for a baby shower.

After that, they all walk a bit aimlessly among the shops realizing that this is the first time any of them has to shop for a newborn.

"What does a newborn need?" Sehun asks, ogling the clothing shops they're passing

"I don't know, what do you need?" Baekhyun asks, not losing the opportunity to tease him about their age difference

"Would you stop?! I bet you wish you were Sehun's age"

"Just to have cougars like you prey on me?! No, thank you" Baekhyun snorts, Luhan glares at him but he gracefully lets this one pass "Anyways, any ideas? Maybe a toy?"

Baekhyun hums, thinking about a solution. He was about to speak up when Luhan interrupts him to answer his phone

"Chanyeol? Yes, we're at the mall, where are you?" Baekhyun creases his eyebrows, stopping his internal voice before it speaks out his thoughts, which are all in the lines of Why is he calling Luhan? and Why hasn't he called me?

Luhan ends the call and turns towards his two shopping partners "Chanyeol's here" The other two nod and Baekhyun turns to look at the entrance. Less than a couple of minutes later the tall alpha slips through the sliding doors and Baekhyun's lips twitch when he starts waving and grinning just like he expected.

"Hey, guys! Do we know what we're going to buy?" He asks, walking up to the three and putting his hand on Baekhyun's nape. Baekhyun's form relaxes and he subconsciously moves closer to the taller

"Not really," Sehun responds shrugging his shoulders

"What about toys?" Luhan repeats his suggestion, Chanyeol pursues his lips and nods slowly, he opens his mouth to speak up but Sehun beats him to it

"What about clothes?" he says, "We have to buy her some clothes, I bet Yifan is going to dress her in weird prints for the first fifteen years of her life... We need to save her"

"One dress is not going to make any difference, though" Baekhyun raises his eyebrows and shows a teasing smile, having already seen the vast collection of interesting clothes Yifan has put together

"Well, we have to start from somewhere..." Chanyeol affirms, with maybe more seriousness than needed. Baekhyun looks up at him and jabs his side, Chanyeol flinches awkwardly and puts his hands on the zone affected by Baekhyun's elbow.

Baekhyun almost regrets not having Chanyeol's hands on him anymore.

 

It's not that Baekhyun doesn't tolerate the touch or presence of other alphas, it's not like hates alphas, at least not anymore. Especially not Chanyeol.

Even though they have had their own arguments and disagreements over the years, they have always managed to overcome everything one way or another, many times just stitching flimsy patches over their discussions instead of finding a real solution, but always just enough to not be awkward around each other. It's not a secret that Baekhyun's emotions often tend to be a bit on the intense side, but he has never felt for Chanyeol the pure hatred, he used to feel towards other wolves. Although he can't deny that, like all the alphas he has ever met, Chanyeol has always been the centre of Baekhyun's deepest envy.

What sprouted in him this envy for alphas, it's the complete freedom they're graced by: they are brought up like kings, free of having thoughts and expectations for themselves that don't necessarily have to match with what the norm is. Alphas are treated like leaders, like individuals who have the possibility to achieve anything they'd like, who are capable enough to reach results that other genders can't; the only real downside to them is the fact that their instincts tend to get in the way too often and, unfortunately, that also happens to be the only part Baekhyun can completely relate with.

In his case though, it rarely has to do with being aggressive or commanding; for omegas the instincts getting in the way are usually related to the heat. On most days, he feels as if the whole perception people have of him is based on nothing but the fact that his system has the need to deal with its own fertility. Omegas spend at least one entire week in gushing lust and need, for the sole purpose of being taken and fucked until they are too wet, too tired and all the way to another universe, and for someone, that is enough to consider omegas less capable than alphas.

Baekhyun can't really describe what it's like to be completely independent and strong one minute and the next finding himself weakened until his knees are unable to keep him up and horny to the point of not being able of seeing straight. His body temperature touching an almost unhealthy peak and then the instinctive weird desire to be breed. When he's away from his heat period children are possibly the last thing Baekhyun thinks about, to be honest if it weren't for Yifan's pregnancy he wouldn't be thinking about them at all; but as soon as the time comes and his body and his wolf push their desires over his rationality he falls into a pit of thoughts that he would never even mention of his own accord.
Being so out of character is the scariest thing that has ever happened to him, but he can't do anything to control it, it's not something he can choose, it's simply his nature.

Even though it's not his fault, his colleagues and his seniors never fail in making him feel less important because he has to take a week off every month.

 

The small group enters a cute store glowing in light pastel colours. Chanyeol enters excitedly, pulling Baekhyun with him, as Luhan and Sehun keep looking at them weirdly and walking at a steadier pace behind them

"This stuff is so cute, Baek" Chanyeol cradles a pair of light yellow shoes in his huge hands, making them look even smaller than they already are. Baekhyun catches himself smiling on one of the mirrors in the middle of the shop, he moves his gaze away from his reflection immediately and nods to agree with the other.

Baekhyun starts moving around the shop on his own, looking through the racks of baby clothes and supplies. A set of four bright coloured pacifiers catches his eye and his arm extends, without his full consent, to pick it up.

"Do you like those?" Chanyeol is beside him in an instant, startling him slightly and pushing his grabby hands onto the pacifiers "They're cute" Chanyeol nods his head as he scrutinizes the objects.

"You've said the same about... Pretty much everything in this store" Baekhyun points out with a small smirk

"Well, it's not my fault if everything's cute in here, is it?" Chanyeol says squinting his eyes towards his best friend, there's a breath of silence, two soft chuckles and then a supportive hand on Baekhyun's nape, not oppressing him, not making him bow his head or show his neck. it's just there, playing with the longer strands of his hair and leaving light touches against his skin "How are you?" his husky voice softens, voicing his worries in a whisper

Baekhyun snorts bitterly "I'm fine"

"Really?" Chanyeol pries and Baekhyun looks up at him to observe his face

"Yup, it's his loss not mine" he says, with a cheeky wiggle of eyebrows and a slight curl to his lips, meanwhile his eyes give him away, as they crease in disappointment; Chanyeol passes his thumb under one of them to make them lose the expression and help Baekhyun go back to his usual brightness,

"It really is" the alpha continues, his touch lingering against Baekhyun's sensitive skin. The omega's heart bangs loudly, but unhurriedly against his chest, spreading sheer calm through his bloodstream. An extremely pregnant silence settles between them and a dusty pink blossoms on Chanyeol's cheeks. Moments later, just as he had arrived, Chanyeol returns to his exploration of the store swiftly and in silence, forgetting to return the pacifiers to the shelf.

 

"Baekhyun are you ready?" Chanyeol asks from the living room for the umpteenth time with a teasing half smile

"Chanyeol I told you to shut your fucking trap do you think you can do that for me? Thank you." Baekhyun snaps, to the other's amusement

"Baek, we're already late enough, you can skip whatever you're doing to your hair, it already looks great anyway" Chanyeol points out, this time slightly more serious, gazing at the clock that keeps moving, informing him of their impending lateness

"And you can skip your way out of this house right now if you want to get to Yifan's on foot" Chanyeol gasps dramatically and stands from his spot on the old couch to walk to the bathroom. He freezes on the doorstep, looking at Baekhyun, one of his hands levitates near the door frame as if he were just about to grab it. Baekhyun ignores the suspicions rising among his thoughts. For a couple of uncanny moments, Chanyeol keeps trailing his eyes on his exquisitely clothed form, finally he shakes his head, pushes a stupid grin on his face and gives him two thumbs up. Baekhyun resumes his hair styling without uttering another word, way too aware of Chanyeol's sudden strange mood.

"Why are you dolling yourself up? It's just a baby shower" Chanyeol's voice breaks, taking a step inside the room stiffly. Baekhyun chooses to ignore it to focus on not stabbing himself with the eye liner, so he just hums in return to the other's inquiries. Chanyeol stands by his side, inspecting the make up items scattered on the piece of furniture in front of them. He picks up an orange tube of nail polish

"Are you putting this on?" He asks, Baekhyun glances towards him and snorts,

"No" Baekhyun says, being completely sure of the fact that Chanyeol hasn't the slightest idea of what he's holding. Thought that is verified when he opens and takes a deep sniff of the distinctive smell of nail polish

"Aargh" he whines, closing his thumb and index finger on his nose "I think it got to my brain" Baekhyun laughs out loud at that, pausing his movements to look at the alpha on his left. He closes the distance between them and takes the nail polish, starting to fill one of Chanyeol's nails

"Here you go, now can you behave for a minute and let me finish?" Chanyeol beams, a satisfied grin disclosed by his full lips. He sits on the toilet lid and observes as Baekhyun gives the last touch ups to his face

"You used to hate make up," the low voice behind him says, with a chuckle "And now you're like a pro" Baekhyun smiles at the other's words, ignoring the sparks firing down his spine

Make up used to be one of the hundreds of things that teenage Baekhyun was very vocal about. He used to think that it was just another way that society had to convince omegas that they needed to live up to certain standards of beauty to attract a mate. He has lived most part of his life without touching one make up product, the first time he wore it was in college and it was Luhan's fault, or merit. Just before a party the beta had pulled him in his room and lined his eyes in thick black eye pencil, the look that came out was positively mesmerizing, not only because it enhanced Baekhyun's exquisite beauty, but also because it gave to his droopy eyes a certain edge, a certain sharpness that made his gaze deeper, it made him look stronger, deadlier. That night Chanyeol had ended up falling face first in a bowl full of spiked punch.

"And it's not like you need it" Chanyeol moves closer to Baekhyun again, standing behind him and staring at him through the mirror. Baekhyun keeps his head high, his jaw sets as he sees Chanyeol's hand move towards him, eventually, it poses on his shoulder as light as a feather, making the chills on Baekhyun's back multiply. Chanyeol's fingers brush against the smaller's neck and starts playing with his hair and touching lightly the lobe of his ear, Baekhyun responds to his touch, as always, adoring the slight roughness of his pads.

"Chanyeol," he starts, not finishing the sentence as the taller's focused, bright eyes falter, gliding over Baekhyun's reflection. His lips break in one of his dazzling, blinding smiles and he exits the room without looking back

"I'm sorry, I'll wait in the car"

Baekhyun clenches tightly the pencil in his hand, torn between the feelings Chanyeol never fails to bring up inside him.

 

When he makes his way downstairs, Chanyeol is already waiting for him out of the car, parked right in front of the entrance. A cigarette lit between his lips and bitter gray smoke flowing out of his nostrils. He tosses it as soon as Baek moves closer and enters the passenger side.  

The ride in the car is strangely silent, all of the attempts at starting conversation made by Baekhyun end up in a tense slump, Chanyeol seems to not be paying him any mind, which is a disheartening first in their friendship.

Baekhyun's eyes catch Chanyeol's long fingers fidgeting on the wheel

"Are you all right?" he asks and cringes slightly at the awkward question

"...Yeah" Chanyeol swallows around nothing and his voice comes out strained "I'm bringing you home later, right?" Baekhyun sits up and nods before voicing his affirmation

"Yeah, sure" Baekhyun says as he moves towards the taller to straighten up his seatbelt. Chanyeol jolts and detaches one of his hands to push Baekhyun back in his side of the vehicle

"Stay still, your car makes me nervous" he says glancing at all the rear-view mirrors as he waits for the traffic light to turn green.

"Well, I'm sorry" Baekhyun snorts and goes back to his initial position, he takes out his phone "You should buy your own car, you made all that fuss to get the licence and then you have to go around with other people's cars"

"I don't mind, I like driving with you" Baekhyun arches his eyebrow and gulps without moving his eyes from the screen of his phone "…And other people, of course"

 After their little exchange the alpha's tenseness worsens, but Baekhyun doesn't dare ask anything else.

 

The party has started without them. Yifan is seated on the couch surrounded by his fathers, Yixing and the latter's mother.

Luhan and Sehun are near the small buffet, talking to each other and munching on a lot of calories. Luhan has a camera hanging from his neck and he takes a picture of Baekhyun and Chanyeol as soon as he spots them.

Chanyeol walks past him and goes congratulating the two almost parents, Baekhyun follows in tow, smiling fondly at the sight of Yifan's left hand gripped by Yixing's hold and his right caressing his swollen belly.

"Hey, daddies how are you doing?" Baekhyun greets the two before nodding courteously towards the other people gathered around them

"Very good" Yifan says, glancing towards his mate with a gummy smile, Yixing reciprocates and draws closer to brush the tip of his nose against the other's; Chanyeol squeals from beside him and hits his arm as a way to cope with the cuteness.

They're quite the couple, an omega that has made it his mission to outsmart alphas with just a word and an alpha that squeals when he sees cute things. Baekhyun finds himself smiling and shrugging mentally, that's just who they are.

After having given the gifts to the two, they waddle to the buffet, finding their other two friends, still eating whatever they can put their hands on.

"Yifan loved our gift" Luhan brags taking a sip from his glass of wine and giving a less than subtle glance to them both; Baekhyun rolls his eyes and Sehun's face displays that stupid grin that makes his blood boil. Chanyeol steps up on his side and flings an arm tentatively around his shoulders, the complete opposite of his usual unapologetic bold touches.

"Well, I'm sure he'll like ours even more" he challenges clicking his tongue and wiggling his eyebrows. Baekhyun face-palms before snorting and starting to giggle, tucking himself deeper under Chanyeol's arm subconsciously.

They bicker for a bit more, Luhan's gazes become even more conspicuous, moving between Chanyeol and Baekhyun in the most obvious way, making this already suspicious evening take an even stranger turn and, weirdly, Baekhyun might already know where all of this is going.
 
Especially when, later, after some of the guests have already gone home, Chanyeol starts brushing his rough fingers against his slim ones and letting Baekhyun know right where this is leading.

"Chanyeol," he calls, a slight frown marrying his features that is mirrored perfectly on the alpha's face when their eyes meet "We have already talked about this..." he says, his heart speeding up and his tongue tangling around the syllables that almost feel like stabs to his stomach

"And I told you I'm not buying it, Baekhyun" Chanyeol's deep voice lowers to whisper and his fingers end their aimless dance to grasp the omega's hand "I think we should go somewhere else" Baekhyun looks quickly around himself, trying to find any hook that will pull him out of this situation. All he finds is Luhan and his boyfriend giving them thumbs up and awkward finger guns.

He feels himself be pulled by Chanyeol out of the room and then outside, to stand into Yixing's precious garden. Chanyeol twirls around him and stops, facing him and observing him with the same adoring eyes that he usually keeps hidden behind a seemingly careless grin, which is always enough to blind Baekhyun and divert his attention from the ache the alpha has embedded in his heart.

"Baekhyun, listen to me, please" Baekhyun shakes his head, not wanting to hear, not wanting to let Chanyeol see him crumble under the weight of his words "Baekhyunnie, please"

The omega extends his hand and grips Chanyeol's, pushing his flesh and nails into it, pushing his digits into the alpha's skin and letting him feel how stressing all of this is to him. How any other beta or alpha could be telling him the most horrid things without making him flinch, meanwhile it takes the echo of Chanyeol's mere thoughts to push Baekhyun over the edge and free all these unwanted emotions.

"Chanyeol... We can't" and it's true, they can't. Baekhyun can't phantom the thought of having something more between them, even though it's always been there, even though Baekhyun knows he has been lying to himself for the longest time. But...

He just can't.

He can't risk it, he can't risk losing Chanyeol for nothing in the world. Pushing their understanding, their love outside of the small box, which Baekhyun has conveniently labelled as friendship, will bring nothing good. Just like it has happened with Junmyeon, with Jongdae and all the others before them, he knows that if Chanyeol pushes past those lines, he'll be disappointed by the outcome and will push Baekhyun away, just like everyone else.

Chanyeol is too precious to gamble on, what he has with Chanyeol and feels for him are far too dear to be thrown into a relationship that he knows he will fuck up somehow.

Loving Chanyeol is achingly sweet and Baekhyun prefers remaining like this instead of-

"Baekhyunnie" Chanyeol lowers his head and stops Baekhyun's train of venomous thoughts, the same train he jumps on every time Chanyeol takes his hand and gives voice to his feelings.

Baekhyun's hands tremble and he raises his eye to see Chanyeol and drown in the shameless love he sees shining in his eyes. He pushes his head in the alpha's chest. The first layer of wetness settles itself on his irises, making his eyes itch.
 
Chanyeol leaves a loud kiss on the crown of his head, repeating the same shy whisper he had left hanging in the room a few days before

"I love you"

If only Baekhyun wasn't so incredibly proud and stubborn, if he was a little bit sweeter like Yifan, or braver like Luhan; he would have already made his decision without worrying so much.

"Why don't you trust me?" Chanyeol asks and Baekhyun grips his jacket, the tears ready to roll down his eyes and his excuses right on the tip of his tongue

"Oh my god, I'm dying! YIXING I'M DYING!"

"YIFAN?!" they hear Yixing screech, they run inside in time to hear a domino of gasps erupt and spread throughout the room as Yifan grabs Yixing's neck and shouts to make someone call an ambulance. Baekhyun freezes, his hand clasped harshly into Chanyeol's bigger one.

The ambulance arrives almost fifteen minutes later, Yifan refuses anyone's help, except for Yixing's, so the short alpha has to drag his mate across their home and then into the vehicle alone, with Yifan clinging to him for dear life.

"What do we do? Should we go too?" Luhan reaches his two friends and asks, his eyes blown wide in concern, no one answers. Baekhyun is still drowning in the intense feelings that have been shoved down his throat in these past twenty minutes and completely terrified by Yifan's screams. His head starts spinning and he can't think clearly, Chanyeol circles one of his arms around his waist and he can't deny the tiny spring of calm that begins to quieten the panic.

Before they can make a decision one of Yifan's fathers nears them and asks to take care of the house and lock it up after all the guests have left. Chanyeol nods and asks the elder to keep them updated on Yifan's condition.

They do as asked and then leave for the hospital as soon as the last guest scurries out of Yifan and Yixing's home.

When they get there, a nurse brings them in a waiting room outside of an operating room, Yixing's mother and Yifan's fathers are seated in front of the door, their expressions a mixture of worry and elation.

Almost ten coffees and five hours later a nurse exits the room, a little nest of white covers in her hands, she just passes by, bringing the child in a separate room for her check up. A little later, Yixing exits with his eyes rounded by what seems to be happiness and slight discomfort at what he had just experienced. Yifan is brought out in a bed, he gives a weak victory sign to the little crowd gathered in front of him. Yixing and their parents follow the moving bed, meanwhile Luhan and Sehun go buying something to drink for all of them.

"Do you think we can see her?" Baekhyun asks, out of the blue, completely weirded out by his own eagerness, Chanyeol seems to feel the same as he eyes him suspiciously

"I don't know..." he responds, but he takes Baekhyun's hand anyway and pulls him in the direction Yifan had disappeared in not too long ago "Maybe we should come back tomorrow" Chanyeol's jaw sets, Baekhyun squeezes his hand for a fleeting moment before letting go and pulling himself away

"I... I'll go home. I'll call you" He says, his eyes staring at the floor and his fingers fidgeting, already missing the weight of the other's hand.

Chapter Text

The average age in which omegas experience their first heat is around fifteen or sixteen years old; Baekhyun, who has always been a late bloomer, was almost seventeen years old when his flower finally blossomed. He used to feel slightly self-conscious about his lateness, but the moment he felt his blood starting to boil as if it were scorching lava rushing in his veins and his hands become steadily more clammy, he greatly regretted the naiveté he was about to leave behind.

Going through the first heat is a drastic event for young omegas: overnight, their bodies, scents and senses transform, sometimes enough to not being recognizable and they become mature, not entirely, but the heat is without any doubt, the first and largest step towards becoming a full-fledged adult. To validate these changes, there's his mother's behaviour the morning Baekhyun had felt the symptoms of his first heat: her wolf had barely even realized that one of her pups was becoming of age and she didn't even worry about letting her son get out and about in his delicate condition.

That morning, he discovered that what they taught him in biology class was true. Once omegas become of age, they're on their own, parents loose their overprotectiveness and the young wolves have to find a spot in the world by themselves; which is why most omegas end up married in their early twenties. This whole notion is something Baekhyun had never believed before and when he got to experience it on his skin, he couldn't turn away from how cruel all of this seemed.

So, the kind of changes, that the first heat brings, don't apply just to omegas, but to everyone around them as well. The whole perception the world has of them shifts; if just days before they were perfect little porcelain dolls, after the heat, when their scents become heavier, they start getting looks that speak a completely different language. They start being perceived as sexual, as tempters and a huge part of young alphas and betas, finally start seeing them, treating them and scenting them as if their heads were guided by nothing but sheer instinct.

Basically, when young omegas are hit by their heats, their alphas and betas peers wake up with them and if until ten, having a boyfriend had no implication other than being with a friend that you feel like kissing once in a while; after the first heat strikes, a whole new sphere of inexplicable urges spring in every youngster's core: omegas experience all the uncomfortable symptoms and inexplicable needs, while alphas puff their chests and have their first, painful, knots and betas take interest in one of the other two genders, or even both more often than not.

After that turning point, that should be celebrated as a natural step towards maturity, omegas never get gifts and rarely receive something from their closest relatives, what they do get, though, are brand new names, brand new, shiny labels.

They become useless, filthy, needy and even far worse names if they don't score a mate during their first heats. It's during this time that society really does all it can to set them up for failure, whether it's a conscious or unconscious process, Baekhyun can't tell, but it has always been what enraged him the most: all these geezers making all the young omegas believe that it's not in their nature to take an active role into society, that their bodies were strictly made to bear children and satisfy their mates, that their heats are just a way to show that omegas don't belong out there with the betas and alphas.


Fortunately, over time, this way of thinking has changed, there are omegas that pursue careers outside of their homes, but they're rarely treated like they deserve to be, especially if they haven't been claimed and Baekhyun is the living proof of that.


For Baekhyun, his first heat served as the deepest revelation of his life. As he finally managed to make up his mind and put all his hard-work into proving all the judging people around him wrong and also as the many things that didn't seem to make any sense until then, began taking a clear shape.


"Hi, honey, breakfast's ready" His mother greets him and smiles sweetly from the pastel tinted kitchen, she sips from her regular cup of tea and goes through the same enquiries she asks every morning "Have you got everything?" Baekhyun's groggy voice is able to respond with a mere groan and her mother's shrill laugh makes him smile tiredly.

He has spent the night before rolling in his bed, tossing the covers and then pulling them back, making multiple trips to the bathroom, hoping that his condition might have been caused by a virus or maybe something he had eaten.

But it doesn't matter how hard he tries to find a better explanation, the hints are all pointing to one precise condition. A condition that he can't afford to withstand this morning. Not when in two hours he'll have to sustain the last math test of the year and he is not going to let his last chance to get an A go to waste because his body wants to get mayhem for a week.

He sees his mother's nose twitch and he freezes, he gulps down his mouthful and looks at her with his eyes widened, waiting and praying that he has put on enough of his father's cologne to confuse his mother.

"Are you feeling well, honey?" she asks and Baekhyun recognizes immediately the concerned tilt in her voice

"Yes, of course" he clears his throat and poses the chopsticks down on the table, he stands up and takes his orange backpack to leave the house.

"Do you want me to drive you to school?" she pries and Baekhyun shakes his head

"No, mom, thanks. It's not that far…"

And it really isn't, at least yesterday it didn't seem to be as far as it does today. Baekhyun's limbs feel heavy, his eyes blink slowly, almost trying to cope with the whole weight of his tiredness by themselves.

When he reaches the gates, he realizes how early it is, the yard is empty apart from a couple of small groups of students, but he's happy to find a familiar face sitting on the stairs leading to the entrance

"Wow, Baek… You look like shit, did you spend the night studying again?" Jongdae's curled lips mock him mercilessly and if he had some strength, he would have landed a punch square on his face

"Thanks and no, I'm just not feeling too well" Baekhyun plops down beside him and pushes his limp weight on the slim alpha

He looks to his left and finds Jongdae looking at him, his perfectly straight eyebrows creased in worry, something he has rarely seen before, and only a slight hint of his previous smile still lingering on his lips

"You smell weird…  You could have at least taken a shower" he says and instead of pissing Baekhyun off, the omega gulps loudly.

"Well then don't smell me, you fucking weirdo" Baekhyun scoots away from him

"How can I not smell my smoking hot omega, though?" Baekhyun shows him his middle finger and tries to stand up, but his knees buckle under his weight

"I told you to stop with the unnecessary harassment" Jongdae smiles again and apologizes

"Sorry, sorry- Do you want me to help you get inside?" Baekhyun shakes his head, he isn't sure he should trust Jongdae, not now that he can barely trust himself

"I'll wait for 'Yeol" he says when he finally manages to get up and look around for his tall friend, Jongdae's snort makes his look down at him again

"Baek, I'm your boyfriend-"

"I know, that's why I'm not going to be alone with you while I go through the heat"

"H-Heat?" Jongdae snaps on his feet, his expression even more strained than before "Y-You shouldn't be here at all! Why aren't you home?"

The omega tilts his head and closes his eyes, trying to calm himself down. He breathes in all the air he can, but he has to cough it out immediately when a thousand different scents clog his respiratory tract. He loses track of his own thoughts for a couple of long seconds and he panics.

Jongdae holds and squeezes his hand, he moves in front of him and passes his free hand through Baekhyun's hair, moving the bangs away from his forehead. He calls his name and Baekhyun looks at him briefly, just to shove him out of the way

"I'm fine" he mutters, not convincing anyone. It's clear that he isn't fine and he knows very well that he isn't, but he's sure he can deal with whatever is happening to him at least until the second period. He has to make it to the math test scheduled for today, there's no way he's going to let pass his last chance to improve his grade.

"No, you're not fine" No shit, Sherlock. Baekhyun almost blurts out, but he manages to hold it in, Jongdae doesn't deserve to be the victim of his impending lash out "Call your mother"

Jongdae's commanding tone irks him, he glares at him, but Chanyeol is nowhere to be seen and he knows that he won't be able to get inside in time if he doesn't let Jongdae help him "I'm fine, 'Dae, just let me get to class and we'll talk later, I have to take the test" Baekhyun retakes the alpha's hand in his and starts dragging them both, with a lot of difficulty, towards the school entrance. The moment they reach the huge doors Jongdae stops abruptly and pulls Baekhyun back, pushing his back against his front.

"I think don't want you to get in" He says, the uncharacteristic seriousness in his voice, as well as the low growl echoing after each sound he produces, upset the omega greatly, making him start to struggle against the alpha's tight hold. The relationship he has with Jongdae is the kind of relationship Baekhyun dreams of, to be with someone he can joke, be loud and spontaneous with; he hopes he'll be able to mate with the kind of wolf that is open-minded enough to let him be who he is without any reserve. At least, that's what it has been like until now.

Baekhyun's slow movements bring him to face the other once again, as the alpha allows him to move after a few seconds of protective stillness, and the golden glint in Jongdae's eyes makes his skin crawl, in a sensation that's completely foreign to him. It becomes steadily harder to describe the mess of emotions knotting and curling inside him like threads, capturing his wolf and pulling it towards ever-changing directions, caging its unsteady movements right in the middle of their swerving, intense battle.

"You can't get in" Jongdae almost growls and Baekhyun finds himself against the alpha's chest once again, he tries to fight the other's hands trying to keep him still, but his punches fall like feathers against the other.

"So good, you smell so good…" He hears him sniff and praise his scent, making him feel even more on edge than he already is

"Let me go, 'Dae"

Jongdae's hands clasp his waist tightly, his legs start moving, pushing the both of them through the entrance and through the empty corridors. Throughout the whole way Baekhyun's knees keep buckling and the slight confusion that had been messing up with his head until now has taken over completely.

Even though the pain and the symptoms haven't increased, Jongdae's panicked actions are worsening his condition. The concerned and aroused pheromones floating around him are doing nothing to help him calm down.

"Jongdae, stop! Jongdae," he calls out but the alpha doesn't listen to him; fear is starting to well up in his subconscious, making his hands tremble around the tight grip he has on his boyfriend's shirt. For the first time in his life he feels helpless and scared enough to be on the verge of crying. The lethal mixture of heavy emotions keeps pushing him deeper into the sudden hellish warmth circulating in his bloodstream.

In a swift move, although with quite a flimsy result, he tries to push the other away meanwhile his pheromones betray him as they keep inviting the alpha with heavy sugary sweetness.

Among Jongdae's pheromones, he smells fear, panic and a heady percentage of ownership. Baekhyun's feels lightheaded but even through his strange feelings he manages to keep himself awake enough to try and pull himself away from the other one more time.

"'Dae, let me go!" It's still quite early, so the hallways of the school aren't as busy as they usually are, Baekhyun curses his extreme punctuality as Jongdae pushes him into one of the restrooms. He shuts his eyes closed and collides with a stiff surface.

"Keep him here, I'm gonna find someone to help him" He hears Jongdae's unsteady voice mutter to someone that Baekhyun can't see. He reopens his eyes only seconds afterwards, looking up at the familiar features of his best friend. Everything around him starts moving in slow-motion.

His senses are all in alert, his ears ring and his temples pulse, his eardrums are sensitive to even the lightest of sounds happening around him, from the slight gasp coming from Chanyeol's girlfriend to the loudness of Chanyeol's throat being cleared; the latter noise is so harsh on his sensitive ears that it makes him flinch in pain. His fingers try to hold tight onto Chanyeol's t-shirt, but they don't have any strength left, just like the rest of his body. His nose twitches as he smells all the different scents mingling in the room around him, his vision fuzzes, leaving him almost blind to the world.

Finally, Baekhyun falls to his knees and lowers his torso, he curls on himself as his hands fidget with the metal buttons of his denim jacket. A hand grips his left arm, Chanyeol asks something and his voice booms inside the omega, echoing in every deep crevice of his body, making him feel unbearably full. He looks up and his jaw goes slack as his nostrils catch the deep scent of pomegranates and grapes, a bittersweet autumn blossoms all around him as the sweetest pheromones, he has ever smelled coming from Chanyeol, glide over his skin, lulling his heart back to a pace closer to a calmer state, and his world starts spinning, first back to its normal speed then fast, much faster than what Baekhyun is able follow.

A first, single drop of a viscous liquid gushes out of his asshole, his penis stands up, painfully hard. A heavy cover of shame smothers him and even though he tries to push Chanyeol away, he ends up pulling him closer, until his big hands are clasped on his back and then tentatively trail downwards, touching the dampness between Baekhyun's cheeks. Baekhyun melts against the taller's chest as his voice creates sounds he has never heard before. Chanyeol's hold becomes more possessive and Baekhyun even more pliant to his touch, they rut, for a second against each other, shivering at the pleasure speeding up their heartbeats.

A door closes behind them and Chanyeol growls in his ear.

A teacher divides them hastily and Baekhyun realizes what they were about to do. His blown wide eyes stare at the alpha in front of him, they look at each other for entire seconds that seem to last hours, something clicks, something that will change the way they perceive each other for the rest of their lives.

His body slumps in shame and anger, as he thinks how his body had responded to needs that weren't completely his and left Chanyeol touch him out of the boundaries that he deemed appropriate.

He breaks down in a sobbing mess and the teacher envelopes him in sweet scents and light pheromones, trying to calm him down before his parents come to take him home.

 

The day Baekhyun needs a scandal to immerse himself in his work and forget all about his personal life, every single public figure in the country seems to have become an angel.

All the big projects this week have been handed to his non omega seniors, on the other hand, he has been given a short editorial about the pros and cons of the separate collection of rubbish and recycling, which is not helping anything other than the fact that Baekhyun can spend his whole morning searching for as many synonyms for trash as he can, making it easier to describe himself in many colourful alternatives.

He feels like utter shit. Every time Chanyeol brings this up, it's always like the first time, he is feeling the same helplessness he felt the day Chanyeol first confessed to him, during their last year in high school, just before he left for the capital to start his studies to become a chef.

To add to those confusing feelings, he has also his own behaviour to brood over. How little it took to make him panic and freeze completely at Yifan's first screams. He's usually completely able to master himself and his weird fluctuating moods, but the tidal of emotions he had felt the night before seemed to be enough to make him lightheaded and weak.

Being an omega sucks, being an omega and Baekhyun is incredibly exhausting.

These are the kind of days he spends thinking about running away to some desert island and live like a monk his whole life, devoting himself to nature and his own personal pleasures. Deserting everything he has worked for to get the fuck out of this mess and live of books and raw fish for the rest of his life.

But Baekhyun is still Baekhyun, despite his occasional weaknesses, so leaving everything he has worked for is not and will never be an option, even though that implies the fact that he'll have to write an article no one will want to read and will have to face Chanyeol, convince him once again that dating him is not worth it, that whatever they have now it's fine and that he should stop pressuring him and find a mate that will satisfy his deeply romantic heart, like Baekhyun's cold and dried out cardiac muscle will never be able to do.

The lunch breaks comes around almost too soon, making the omega realize that he has used the whole morning just to write an outstanding total of three sentences.

He leaves his office for the canteen, he buys whatever seems light enough to not add to the heaviness already weighting on his body and sits down around an empty table for two. Moments later, a thud resounds as his head collides with something coming from above him, he turns finding Luhan with a take out box from his restaurant

"Hey, lover boy" he greets, quite unnecessarily, and Baekhyun groans as he turns back to stare into his sad salad "No lover boy?" Luhan tilts his head

"Can you get the fuck out of here?"

"...Still no lover boy. Wait, I gotta tell Sehun before he gets to Chanyeol's" Luhan takes out his phone and types furiously on his touch screen, Baekhyun glares at him as his plastic fork keeps swirling aimlessly among his slim fingers.      

"What happened? We thought this was the right time!" Luhan asks next, his voice raising as high as his eyebrows because of the surprise

"In case you hadn't realized Yifan had a pup last night, I think we should be talking about that" he finally pierces through the content of his bowl and starts eating

"Well, yeah, of course, but I've seen Chanyeol trying to write a  speech for almost a month, I think we could talk about that a little bit as well, no?" Luhan opens the box and the inviting smell of perfectly grilled beef invades Baekhyun senses, but Luhan's words keep him from almost wiggling his tail at the delicious treat.

"I'm an asshole," he groans again, slumping on the table and pushing away his food "He should already be married and have a couple of kids, instead of bringing this up every time I break up with someone- Wait... A month? I broke up with Junmyeon last Friday"

Luhan rolls his eyes hard, punctuating his disagreement with a loud sigh that makes Baekhyun's head raise from the table to look at him "This thing is tiring out everyone, Baekhyun" he says, resting his chin on his palm as he pins his elbow on the smooth surface "And you should know that Chanyeol likes to prepare things ahead of time"

Baekhyun scoffs, then he poses his chin on the table and puffs his cheeks. Considering how many times this whole situation has already presented itself, he should be used to it and all its consequences, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

It has always been pretty clear to everyone, even their parents, that their last year in high school, and especially Baekhyun's first heat, had changed something in their dynamic, something that never succeeded in reverting back to normal. All those changes never affected their appearance as "best friends" and never breached through their usual banter nor their jokes; but those developments have affected them on a way deeper level, changing all the small details that neither of them had ever paid attention to: how their fingers lingered on each other's skin and how their wolves couldn't stay still at the mere hint of the other's scent.

Sure, when he was five, Chanyeol did swear he was going to marry him, but none of them actually thought he really meant it.

"Baek, do you want some?" Luhan pushes a small box filled with one of the restaurant dishes, he glances up and shakes his head to refuse, making Luhan sigh again "Every time, it literally takes a couple of drinks and less than a day to make you forget completely the people you were actually dating and then, here you are, mulling for entire years over your so called 'best friend'. You are the most frustrating omega alive"

Baekhyun sits up and glares at Luhan "See, this is exactly why I can't date Chanyeol, I can't risk losing the only person that actually makes an effort to understand me, unlike you" He raises a challenging brow "I know that I'm frustrating and that I think too much, but can you blame me?"

Luhan poses his chopsticks on a napkin and crosses his fingers before looking straight into Baekhyun's eyes "Do you think Chanyeol will leave you after managing to get with you? After waiting for so long?! Why don't you trust him? You know he's-"

"How can I not trust him?" Baekhyun's eyebrows crease, his head hangs low and he gazes at his hands, fidgeting around nothing, mirroring the chilling nervousness taking over his mind "Of course I trust him"

Luhan heaves yet another sigh and shakes his head, his face morphed by his incredulity "I don't get it" and Baekhyun thinks that he doesn't need to get it, that this is not his business. It's Baekhyun and Chanyeol's matter to deal with and Luhan is just intruding where he shouldn't "You won't know if you never try. I wouldn't have a mate if hadn't given it a chance"  

"Luhan, this is different from making an account on a dating site" Baekhyun's anger shines through unapologetically clear as he stands up abruptly and leaves his friend alone at the table and glares at him one last time. He then runs up the stairs and gets back into his office without sparing him a second glance.

He trusts Chanyeol more than anyone he has ever known, but Baekhyun knows better. Every time he tries to imagine what it would be like to be with him, he can't help but to think about all the betas and alphas he has seen come and go in the past years, how they all approached him because of how beautiful, successful, independent, he is and how they all left for the exact same reasons; how they all came to realize that admiring him and being with him are two distinct things.

Chanyeol knows better than anyone what it's like to be with Baekhyun during each of his countless moods, from the happiest to the saddest. He knows perfectly how stubborn and brilliant he is, how unapologetically proud and selfish he seems and how he knows that, no matter how many achievements Baekhyun puts under his belt and how heartless he makes himself out to be, he's still the same omega trying to fight the world on his own, living just half of his life to show how unattainable he is; leaving behind a whole spectrum of experiences and feelings that he is not allowed to show if he wants to be taken seriously.

Chanyeol has been there long enough to see everything of him. Chanyeol is the only anchor keeping him true to himself, helping him by offering a touch or even just a gesture to ground him and make him feel understood, respected and loved.

But knowing about all of this, is not enough to understand how imperfect and moody Baekhyun is, how unfitting he is to be with someone and he will be damned if he were to lose his best friend over something like this. Having a mate is not necessary, keeping the only person who understands him near and have him help to keep his sanity is more important. And less painful, less risky.

 

His phone buzzes and his ID shows up. Baekhyun shoves his phone deep in his bag, tuning him out for the time being. He focuses on his article, making sure to let himself be absorbed by his work.

He takes his phone out only when he's out of the offices and he needs to check the time.

His heart sinks to his stomach when he sees the number of unanswered calls and unread messages, he scrolls past them quickly and for the most part they're Chanyeol's; all of them apart from a message delivered by Yixing's number to their group chat informing them that Yifan and the baby will go home the following day and that they are all invited to the small welcome party he is organizing for three day from today.

His text is followed by the hyper responses full of happy emojis from Luhan and Chanyeol, Baekhyun adds his own, too caught up in being happy for the new parents and forgetting that he has completely ignored all texts from Chanyeol, making it almost too obvious that he's avoiding him, even though that's not the kind of message he wants to convey. He doesn't want to hurt him... Not any more than he already has.

Chanyeol doesn't really deserve any of this, it's not his fault if Baekhyun has issues to deal with. He has already done more than enough for him, he's the only one who has stuck with him through everything, when he should have probably been the first to leave  Baekhyun and his useless overthinking behind and get the dream life he deserves.

Baekhyun isn't even sure if he has dreams right now. What does he want from the future? What can he expect from the future?

He knows he wants his career into the magazine newsroom to progress, despite how impossible it seems, but other than that, he never finds himself wondering if he should have kids, for example. He knows Chanyeol adores pups, but Baekhyun has never been one to be charmed by those little balls of fluff, he has never developed fatherly instincts. Also, he knows he won't be able to balance his work and his private life, that he'll most likely become one of those busy parents that leave kids with their nannies 24/7. He's barely able to take care of himself, there's no way he'll be able to be a parent.

He knows his limits and to be honest, he is quite proud of what he has become, he is proud to have showed to all the betas and alphas trying to get in his way how strong he is and how omegas can be just as stubborn, just as talented and intelligent as any other wolf of any other gender.

His name goes around, he is someone. He is invited to fancy parties and ceremonies, he has his own office, he's part of one of the best newsrooms of the country, he couldn't be any prouder of himself, but he can't deny that with his success came one major side-effect: he can't help the insecurities haunting him every time he thinks of his friends, his family, his future; his continuous questioning about his capabilities, not work wise, but regarding his human value.

He can say it doesn't hurt when they tell him that he isn't what they want, that they thought he would have been different, that they expected him to be sweeter, cuter, a bit more like an omega; but it does hurt. It does push the ground off his feet, it makes him fell unbalanced, as if his body and his mind where constantly pulling him towards one single direction, letting him experience only one side of the kaleidoscope of his emotions.

Only Chanyeol can make him sway, make him lose his path and pull him to a lighter, mindless world, where he can sigh and relax, cry and smile, do whatever he feels like doing. Welcoming him in a place where he can feel comfortable even when he doesn't need to have his claws and fangs out at all times to try to protect his value. Chanyeol is his safe place, his haven; without him he would probably have all his feelings and stray thoughts trapped inside himself, inching him every day closer to desperation.

Chanyeol's presence has allowed him to have all the courage and determination he needed to reach for the stars.

Baekhyun stops mid-thought. Has he ever given something back?

He shakes his head lightly as he realizes how selfish and self-absorbed his thoughts sound.

 

"Hey, Byun? Are you all right?" Kim Minseok, one of the alphas from his department, asks, pulling him out of his intense thinking

"Yes, no problem" Baekhyun squares his shoulders and responds curtly, to the man standing beside him

"Ok" The alpha raises his hands and cocks an eyebrow "I was just trying to help" there's an amused glint in his tone and Baekhyun tries to breathe the frustration out of his nostrils

"Thank you for the concern, but it's nothing to worry about" He says and the alpha snorts

"If you need help with anything, just say it, all right?" the alpha winks and moves closer to Baekhyun

"Thank you, but there's really nothing you can help with" Baekhyun's voice falters, his face morphs in a frown

"That's not what Junmyeon was saying this morning," Baekhyun sighs, it's already horrible when he breaks up with some random guy, but now he realizes that it becomes critically worse when it's someone from work, rumors seem to spread way too quickly in his workplace "If you were a bit less stuck-up you might actually be able to keep a mate for a change" after a short pause Kim Minseok delivers the last blow and Baekhyun's distress reaches the brim

"Maybe I don't need a mate" Baekhyun responds, as he begins to walk away, towards his car

"Let's talk about this again in a week when you'll be on your knees whishing you had a knot to hang off of" Baekhyun stops, he turns and just glares at the alpha. He is too tired to be dealing with this right now, so he just stands still, completely disappointed with everything. Not only with the alpha in front of him, but also Junmyeon who goes around gossiping about him when he was declaring his love just a week prior.

Nothing is in place. This whole moment in his life feels like an unbalanced mess of experiences that he shouldn't be living all at the same time. This is too much and he's already so so tired.

Baekhyun steps backwards and then turns to walk to his car, the man behind him starts walking with him, a smirk spread on his lips and a lot of words, which Baekhyun does his best to block out, on his tongue. Baekhyun's wolf wails, limp and weakened by his tiredness. Baekhyun reaches the car and gets in, he closes the doors and drives away without looking and paying any more attention to the man.

When he's in his apartment complex garage, his fingers tremble as he grips the wheel, the erratic racing of his thoughts makes him feel lightheaded and useless. His shoulders slump and his lips tug downwards. He takes out his phone and lights up the screen finding more texts from Chanyeol. He holds the phone close to his chest and lowers his head heaving an uncertain breath, his eyes shut close and he manages to calm down slightly.


Two days later, Baekhyun exits from his office and keeps his head high all the way through the rooms, smelling Kim's scent among the other million overpowering fragrances mixing in the air. He sees him from the corner of his eye, talking to a small group of people, he sees Junmyeon laughing at something he was saying. He doesn't stop to ask for an apology, he doesn't stop to apologise either, he just keeps on moving, his finished article in his hand and his boss's office fixed on his eyes, he delivers his work and gets out of the building.

If he had to pay attention to everything alphas and betas do and say to him he wouldn't be here, he would be nowhere even close to the success he has now.

On his way home, he decides to stop his car in front of a bakery, to buy a cake and drive to Yifan's. He has thought about it and decided that he won't attend their welcome party; tomorrow seems to be too early to find himself face to face with Chanyeol.

"Hey, Baek!" Yixing greets, his dimple carving his cheek cutely, as he eyes concerned the box in the omega's hands.

"Hi, I was passing by..." Baekhyun starts as the alpha in front of him nods and moves to the side inviting him inside.

"Thank you, but you didn't have to... Tomorrow there's the party" Yixing takes the cake out of his hands and walks to the kitchen.

"Yeah, I know... I don't think I will be at the party, so... I thought I could pay a visit now" Yixing cranes his neck and looks at Baekhyun, the latter holds his gaze too pointedly to be normal, but Yixing doesn't pry

"Yifan is in the nursery, the baby is sleeping and he's convinced that the baby monitor doesn't work" Yixing's fond smile makes Baekhyun smile as well, breathing the pure happiness filling every corner of this house.

The white wooden door creaks open under the light push Yixing gives it. As soon as it opens Baekhyun's senses are attacked by Yifan's heavily sweet pheromones, he glances quickly inside the dimly lit room and then towards Yixing, trying to ask, without any words, if he should be intruding this moment.

Yifan smiles and greets him quietly, Baekhyun does the same and steps in the pastel green room as Yixing goes back in the kitchen to cut the cake.

"How are you feeling?" Baekhyun asks, reaching the small crib tentatively, he looks inside finding a little furry red pup curled on itself and sleeping calmly

"I've never been better" Yifan deep voice talks slowly, highlighting the deep love embedded in each syllable, Baekhyun smiles and tears his eyes off the puppy to walk closer to her dad, he kisses his crown and Yifan nuzzles his neck, his big hand poses on the small of Baekhyun's back, "Why are you upset?" he asks out of the blue.

Baekhyun's pheromones betray his state, he breathes in Yifan's instinctive, soothing, fatherly scent. His wolf wails and relaxes at the pheromones, proving further how Baekhyun should have someone taking care of him, not thinking of becoming a parent.
A low chuckle resounds in the room, Yifan grips Baekhyun's side before detaching his head from the shorter's chest "I told Chanyeol this would have happened"

Baekhyun's eyebrows crease and he glares, without any real hostility, "He told everyone, didn't he?" the shorter hides his face with a groan, making Yifan laugh louder

"I helped writing his speech" Yifan wiggles his eyebrows "The part with the cat and the jaguar was my favourite, he knows what he's talking about" Yifan laughs lightly and Baekhyun eyes him confused, trying to find a meaning to the metaphor he never got to hear

"He didn't get to tell me his speech, someone interrupted him" Baekhyun curls the sides of his lips and Yifan gives another blissed out grin

"Sorry," he apologizes amusedly, a light sound comes from the bed and Yifan stands up slowly, still holding his side as if he was still carrying the weight of his baby

"Are you still sore?" Baekhyun asks, not having any idea of how it feels to give birth. Yifan just looks at him incredulously for a second before snorting

"How could I not?" Baekhyun raises his hands, showing how clueless he is and follows the taller to the little bed, where the pup is still sleeping peacefully "I feel a lot lighter, though" Yifan continues, reaching inside the crib to leave a soft caress on his pup's head. Baekhyun almost blacks out because of the sheer softness exuded by Yifan's form, his fingers moving carefully on his pup's fur and can't help but ask himself if there's even the slightest chance he'll ever be like this. He certainly doesn't deny the short leap his wolf does as he looks at the scene

 "And I didn't cry when Yixing told me I'm heavy" Yifan continues, pulling Baekhyun out of his thoughts

"He told you that?" the shorter asks, surprised, considering how careful Yixing has been these past months

"Well, I was sitting on his belly and trying to choke him because he threw away the cake his mother had prepared for the baby shower"

Baekhyun face-palms and laughs. The door opens and Yixing enters, bringing two plates with the cake; Yifan's face lights up as soon as he sees the sweet treat and, of course, Yixing. The alpha gives a plate to Baekhyun and then sits on the armrest of Yifan's armchair, the taller omega sits down beside him and takes the plate with a small, thankful nod.

"I was just telling him how I was about to kill you because of your mom's cake" Yixing pales at the memory

"I can't wait for the hormones to get back to normal" Yixing sighs, passing his fingers through Yifan's blond strands. Baekhyun snorts so loud that the pup gives a little wail before turning on his other side and going back to sleep.

"Why are you bringing a cake today? Tomorrow there's the party..." Yifan questions before tasting the content of his plate

"Well, I'm not going to be here tomorrow," both parents look at him, Yifan's expression reveals his thoughts loud and clear "I- ehm, I'm busy... So..." Baekhyun still tries to dish out his lame excuse

"Sure," Yifan raises an eyebrow "Busy avoiding Chanyeol"

"I'm not avoiding him" Yifan looks up at him "Ok, yes, I'm avoiding him... I just need some time to think"

"Hasn't your whole life been enough time to think?" Baekhyun huffs and looks up at the ceiling

"Why are all of my friends ganging up against me? It's not that easy, ok?! You should know better than anyone else" he says and Yifan nods slowly, moving closer to his mate's body

"And it's because I know, that I'm trying to make you stop wasting your time" Yixing curls an arm around Yifan's shoulders as his mate grows agitated over Baekhyun's problems "You've been playing the insecure card for too long"

"I'm not insecure, I just don't want to lose what I have with Chanyeol"

"Who said you're going to lose it?"

"Yifan, we can talk about this another t- " Baekhyun says and Yifan slumps in his seat

"He's not going to leave you," Baekhyun moves his gaze, avoiding his friends' and poses his plate on one of the empty surfaces of the turquoise furniture around him "You have to give him an answer at least... Stop leaving everything unsolved, you won't know 'till you try"

"I know" He turns, leaving yet another unsolved argument behind.

He hates how selfish he feels. When he thinks about Chanyeol and all the things he gives to him and how little he gives him in return, it looks like he's just using him to feel better about himself, and he can't even deny that it's not completely wrong, but at the same time, there are so many downsides to a deeper relationship. Not being attached romantically to Chanyeol isn't just a way to protect himself, is to protect them both, It began as a way to buy time and let Chanyeol find someone truly worthy of his love and dedication, but now everything is getting out of hand and Chanyeol has never stopped being so devoted, so trust-worthy, so perfect.

Baekhyun stops the car in an almost empty parking lot, his forehead collides with the wheel, he closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. When he sits up, the bright sign of the grocery shop he usually frequents lights up the impending night darkness. He squeezes the wheel in his hands before letting everything go and exit the vehicle. He enters the shop and buys the first things he sees.

 

Preparing a cake is a work of precision.

First of all, the ingredients. Everything must be correct and weighted appropriately, nothing can be left to the case, nothing can be ignored.

Next, the preparation. All the utensils must be spotless, carried with confidence and attentiveness, hands must be steady and sure and the ingredients must be mixed one at the time, without any rush.

The same principles apply to the actual baking: the oven must be warmed to the perfect temperature and the cake must be put in at the right time, without wasting one  single second dwelling.

Baekhyun's scale has always been a bit imprecise, always adding a couple of milligrams to his measurements.  His hands have never been that great when it comes to anything that doesn't have to do with holding a pen... And, well, he has used his oven twice since he bought it and it has never ended the way he wanted, but the microwave will do just fine... Right?

Baekhyun witnesses the rise and fall of his first, and most likely last, attempt at baking. His resolute spirit dies down like a badly baked soufflé and his chest deflates as his fated decision starts sinking in, bringing with it all its bitter-sweet implications.

Decisions shouldn't be hard to make when you pretty much already know what the outcome will look like.

He hates feeling dependent from anyone, but he has accepted long ago the bond linking him to his best friend and time has only proved their connection to be stronger than any other relationship they have experienced. Stronger than what Baekhyun likes to admit.

Baekhyun sighs, he turns the handle of the microwave on the off option, hoping to be still in time to save the uncooked cake he has just prepared, but the low rumble he hears afterwards shatters his hopes.

Having Chanyeol by his side is like breathing, he is always there, open and ready to supply him with anything he could need: a shoulder to cry on, a cheek to slap, a smile to admire.

Chanyeol has just always been there, filling his lungs with fresh oxygen every time their eyes meet. Baekhyun can't live without him. Risking the most important relationship he has in his life, just to throw in feelings that could ruin it seems crazy, it's irresponsible. But at this point, it has become redundant to deny how right it feels.

The more he actually thinks about it, leaving all his twisted convictions and ideals behind, the righter it feels to think about Chanyeol waiting at home for him, lounging on the couch watching one of his animes, reading a book on his bed or even baking a cake in his kitchen, especially considering how bad of a cook Baekhyun is.

It's not easy to leave behind the ideas he has forced on himself for so long to take a look at the reality around him without any prejudice, it's hard to call himself out of the web of fixed thoughts, he has thrown himself in, and just accept what he experiences wholeheartedly.

The countless years he has spent fighting injustice and society's unfair treatments towards him and other omegas, have made him exactly the kind of omega he aspired to be. The fierce wolf he has always been has been accepted and the people working with him, although begrudgingly and not completely, can't deny the unmatched success he has achieved.

When everyone tried to made him believe that they knew what is better for him, he proved them all wrong, showing them that with hard-work and dedication anyone can achieve what they dream of. He was willing to fight for his rights, even when there were so many people trying to bring him down, he hasn't let any of them succeed; counting on his own strong will and the support of the few people that have always stood by his side, without them, he doesn't know if he would have been able to ignore all the spiteful words thrown at him.

In the process, though, he had done to himself exactly what those prejudiced people had tried to do to him, he had put himself in a box. A closed, empty box keeping him from living to the fullest.

Without Chanyeol's bright eyes and blinding smile, he wouldn't have had all the strength to keep looking forward, don't crumble under the weight of other people's expectations and beliefs and, at the same time, manage to keep his dreams and his balance.

He hates feeling dependent from anyone, especially from Chanyeol, because he always gives him so much, while Baekhyun keeps himself stuck behind the hard façade the world has forced him to wear. People like him aren't made for love, aren't made to keep a relationship and his past proves it, it's painfully clear but…

But still

He finds himself sitting on the floor, the kitchen is impregnated by the disgusting smell coming from his microwave. He extends his arm and reaches for the phone lying on the table in front of him, still covered by the mess of ingredients. Another long list of unread texts floods the screen. He opens them one by one, his vain arguments dying at each of Chanyeol's words.

Is it worth it? Is it worth it to ruin the balance he feels when he's with Chanyeol, hoping to get something more? Will there be anything more?

You won't know until you try

Luhan and Yifan's words echo in his ears. They have tried and now they have what they have always wanted, even though they never actually stood to Baekhyun's ideals, they have followed their own; trusted their instincts and their deep desires to reach their peak, their small rendition of a perfect life. Baekhyun has the right to have his own.

The job of his dreams, the biggest fucking balls in the whole newsroom and a mate to come home to. There's no need to sell a part of himself to keep a believable appearance, it might be too late to realize, but keeping a mate, actually trying to have a stable relationship with someone will only prove to the spewers that he is good enough to be both a successful wolf and a loving, attentive mate; that they can keep their one-tracked minds and let him live fully his life, exactly like he deserves to live it.

 

Baekhyun lies down on the floor, snorting at his own antics. He responds to the last text he received and then poses the phone on the floor, beside him. Twenty minutes later, on his pavement echo heavy steps, that stop in front of the kitchen.

Baekhyun has already hauled himself up and has been licking the spoon of ganache, the only thing he prepared that doesn't taste like coal.

"What's... Going on here?" He speaks, as the omega halts his eating. Chanyeol is clad in a thick jacket and he's still wearing his uniform, Baekhyun glances at the clock, dying a little bit inside when he realizes that he has called Chanyeol during his working hours.

"I... I tried to be a proper omega and bake a cake" he says, pointing towards the microwave

"With the microwave?!" Chanyeol starts laughing

"Shut up" Baekhyun stands up, he gasps and whines, walking towards the taller and trying to mask his disappointment by pinching Chanyeol's hand.

Chanyeol flinches and retreats his hand, before staring to laugh again and clap his hands loudly "For how long have you cooked it? Oh my god, Baek..."

"'Yeol, you're an asshole, get out" Baekhyun punches his side and Chanyeol's laughter dies down

"All right, all right" he says, but his voice doesn't lose the twinkling tilt of amusement

"I couldn't pay too much attention to it" Baekhyun pulls himself away from his position beside the alpha, as he starts putting all his baking utensils, most of them never used before today, into the dishwasher

"Were you baking it for Yifan?" Chanyeol pries, moving towards Baekhyun, but stopping himself before following the instinctual need to push Baekhyun's hair out of his face

"I don't know" Baekhyun says. They stay still for a few tense seconds, until Baekhyun kicks Chanyeol's shin

"What's up with you?! God! It's not my fault if you can't cook" Chanyeol flails around and squints his eyes,

"It is your fault! You keep confusing me!" Baekhyun snaps, he gets rid of his apron and throws it on one of the four chairs around the table

"I keep confusing you?" Chanyeol asks, he winces slightly when his voice comes out rougher than usual

"What was that? Why did you wince? You should be the one kicking my head open, you idiot" Baekhyun stomps in front of him "I stepped all over your feelings for years and you're still here! Why are you still here?! You should be gone and have the nice quiet life you've always wanted" Baekhyun's index finger presses against the other's chest, Chanyeol keeps his stance

"Would you want me to be gone?" he asks and Baekhyun freezes

"You shouldn't always be here to hold my hand while I try to get myself a mate," Baekhyun affirms, a sharp tone cuts his voice as his eyes start feeling the weight of the exchange they are having, "You should think about yourself"

"I agree" Chanyeol says "And I am thinking about myself" the alpha's hand grips Baekhyun's wrist, he pushes the smaller hand higher on his own chest and then makes it scoot towards left, leaving it on his heart, letting Baekhyun feel its hurried pace "I want you to look at me properly and tell me you don't want me... If you don't reject me, I won't ever know what you feel..."

Baekhyun's lower lip is kept at bay by the strong grip of his teeth, his hands grasps the soiled fabric of Chanyeol's work clothes, his white chef jacket is spotted by red, green and other colours, that Baekhyun chooses to focus on, instead of trying to hold the alpha's intense eyes.

"You deserve better, I'm selfish... And useless,"

"Tell me you don't want me and I'll think about it."

"I'm not cute... I swear, I even tried but I can't do it and I don't want kids, not for the next ten years at-"

"Baekhyun" Chanyeol closes his free hand on Baekhyun's cheeks, his rough fingers squish the flesh and the omega's gaze moves up. He finds his favourite alpha's wide eyes glistening in wetness, a light sheen that makes them look even more lively and honest than usual "Tell me you don't want me"

"I..." Baekhyun starts, but Chanyeol's hold on his face makes him sound funny, he detaches his hands from the other's jacket and poses them on the alpha's; Chanyeol loosens hid grip and Baekhyun continues "I can't... I don't want to say it"

The smile Chanyeol gifts him is outstanding. Blinding.

"Chanyeol, I can't make you happy" Baekhyun starts again, his voice trembling around the last strings keeping him from giving into Chanyeol's warmth "For me it's enough to just have you by my side, I don't want us to end up like my other-"

"Baek" Chanyeol stops him midsentence again, his thumbs caressing his jaw "This isn't enough for me, not anymore... I need to show you, what it's like to be in love," he stops to laugh lightly at Baekhyun's muffled sob "I want to let you see with how much love you deserve to be treated"

Chanyeol's hands cup his face and his left eye twitches as his full lips tug upwards in a half-smile

"Are you going to be mine?" Baekhyun lets his lower lip free, trembling as he tries to conjure up at least a monosyllable to answer to the taller "Baekhyunnie, is it time now? What do I have to do to be with you?"

Baekhyun shakes his head "Nothing, you don't have to do anything" he then nods once, twice, three times, as hard as he can, to hide the tears pooled in his eyes. He lets his trembling voice tell Chanyeol how grateful he is to have him and how sorry he feels for having forced him through all these troubles.

He whispers that he loves him and Chanyeol smiles, lowering his head and closing his eyes to pose his first kiss on the smaller's lips.

He pushes forward and claims them as his own. Their teeth clash and their fingers tremble in the intricate knot of their hands as they sustain each other, as Baekhyun finally returns the balance Chanyeol has always given to him.

A sullen calm makes his surroundings spin in slow motion, like the first time he truly saw Chanyeol, when this alpha standing in front of him stole his breath away the first of many times.

They swerve and fall into each other all over again. They let their instincts, their wolves lead them through their first proper kiss. Their lips slide against each other comfortable, easy, natural, as if there isn't any place more perfect for them than each other's lips.

Baekhyun pushes himself against Chanyeol's wide chest. None of his formal lovers come back to mind, none of them could ever make him feel like Chanyeol is doing: accepted without a second thought, without any hesitance.

Soon their light touches lose their innocence, the weight of the years spent by each other's side without being like this cumulating in the most exhilarating rush of pure lust.
Baekhyun pushes Chanyeol on one of the chairs and straddles his lap. His smaller hands show the path to follow to the bigger ones, he lets them trace the flesh of his thighs and the small of his back, where they stop with a soothing hold.

Baekhyun's wolf keens as it had never done before, it twirls and howls pushing Baekhyun further into the alpha's warmth. Chanyeol raises his arm to hold onto Baekhyun's waist and his elbow knocks a pack of flour off the table, spilling some of the content right on them. Baekhyun doesn't let him stop, though. His mind is completely intoxicated by the intimate touches they have never experienced with each other.

"Wait, Baek" Chanyeol tries to stop their flow in during one of the small pauses "The flour-"

Baekhyun doesn't let him finish, reclaiming his lips harshly as his dainty fingers start working on the buttons of Chanyeol's shirt. They detach from their kiss to breathe, but Baekhyun doesn't let any time go to waste, he trails kisses down Chanyeol's neck, worshipping ceremoniously every single patch of the other's skin, hoping to convey how incredibly precious Chanyeol is to him, trying to give some of the adoration he sees into Chanyeol's irises back to him.

Chanyeol's head falls backwards, exposing more naked skin for Baekhyun to mark and kiss lovingly. His big hands roam on the length and width of Baekhyun's back, they snap back on his hips when the shorter gives a languid roll

"'Yeol" he whispers lowly, as he binds his arms around his neck possessively, inviting him closer to himself. The omega opens the other's shirt successfully and pushes it off his shoulders along the jacket Chanyeol was still wearing. The alpha is left in a black tank top and Baekhyun's curious hands stroking lightly the rippling skin of his arms "'Yeol, touch me..."

Chanyeol looks at him, his dark eyes dilated and his musk floods the place, making Baekhyun wail quietly. The pleasure keeps increasing and his erection kicks in the confinement of his clothes as the omega's appearance becomes more dishevelled: he pulls his shirt off his chest, letting it to fall carelessly on the kitchen floor. Chanyeol raises his hands and smoothes his palms over his skin, his teases his pecks and leaves a lingering touch on the line of his abs

"God, Baekhyun," his voice is strained, as he starts playing with the other's nipples, Baekhyun looks into his eyes ferally, moaning loudly and pushing himself closer to him, lodging his pert ass right on the alpha's growing member.

Chanyeol's rough fingers travel down to unbutton the omega's pants, he makes him stand and leaves a wet trail of kisses on his belly as he pushes the fabric still covering him out of the way.

The omega's erection springs up against his abdomen, a light wetness coming out of his slit, Chanyeol lets his hands trace the enticing curve of the omega's body, leaving more kisses everywhere on his naked form.

"You're so beautiful, Baek, fucking hell... How are you real?" His dark, husky voice rumbles against Baekhyun's skin, the omega shudders, enraptured completely by Chanyeol's movements.

The taller stands up and Baekhyun looks at him, his lids battling against the haze making his vision unclear. He feels Chanyeol's hands caress his scorching skin, groping his fleshy ass and thighs, before gripping them and hauling him up

"Do you want to continue?" Chanyeol asks, making sure Baekhyun isn't just letting himself be swept away by the flow. Admittedly Baekhyun is letting himself be swept away, but in best way possible

"Yes," he curls his arms and legs around the other's body, grinding his bare form against Chanyeol's still clothed one. Chanyeol pushes his back on one of the kitchen walls and turns his head to sniff the other's sweet scent, Baekhyun lets him, tensing up in excitement into the alpha's touches and Chanyeol's head moves lower and lower, tasting his hardened nipples. He suck them hungrily one at the time, still fondling with his hands the soft flesh of the smaller's thighs. Baekhyun winds his long fingers into Chanyeol's unruly hair.

"Bedroom?" the alpha asks in a groggy whisper, almost growling the words

"No, 'Yeol, fuck me here" Baekhyun grinds again and Chanyeol's hands shoot to his ass, feeling the first drop of his wetness slide over the puckered skin of his hole. He helps Baekhyun find some sort of balance before opening his uniform pants and letting his dick out of his underwear.

He positions himself without preamble and Baekhyun pushes himself down onto him, feeling each ridge of the half formed knot catch on the rim of his entrance. He grasps Chanyeol's hair tighter as he growls into his ear, nuzzling his neck and letting himself be intoxicated by the heavy scent of the other's sweat. Chanyeol raises one of arms and slams his hand on the wall, as a way to cope with the other's amazing tightness.

Baekhyun rejoices in Chanyeol pleasured, dazed out look, as he squeezes his hole against the swelling member inside him. He poses his hands on the taller's shoulders and uses the leverage to bounce himself on the other's cock, brushing his back on the wall of his kitchen. He throws his head against the surface behind him, moaning and thrashing as the alpha envelopes his long arms around him, halting his movements to thrust inside him at an unforgiving pace. Baekhyun almost scoots up the wall as the alpha's rhythm becomes unbearably harsh and Chanyeol growls, deep in his throat, posing his fiery eyes on his fucked-out best friend.

Baekhyun reciprocates and lunges forward, posing his whole weight on the taller making him stumble backwards. After a few seconds of stillness, as Chanyeol tries to regain his balance, Baekhyun bites his hear

"Down, 'Yeol" he says, tightening his hold around Chanyeol's hips as the alpha nods and detaches them from the wall. He moves backwards, bumping into the table and then a chair, he uses the furniture to make himself land on the floor with as little damage as possible, but his hand slides on the spilled flour and he clumsily falls backwards. Out of instinct, Baekhyun grips the table cloth he had laid down while he was cooking, pulling it downwards, bringing it and all the ingredients that were lying on it down to the floor.

The bowl with the ganache falls near them and a couple of spurts end up on Chanyeol's face.

They stand still, both completely confused by the events, but too blissed to care. Baekhyun is lying on Chanyeol's frozen form, the first notes of the alpha's laughter rumble in his chest and after a breath they're both laughing and wheezing, discharging some of the adrenaline still flooding their systems.

It's all fun and games until Baekhyun sits up without thinking that there's still Chanyeol's knot lodged deep into him.

Chanyeol's cock pushes the air out of his lungs, catching on the stretched out skin of his entrance and reaching far up inside him, he yelps as he feels it reach way further than before and he can't even think before his hips are grinding and his eyes rolling to the back of his head

"Shit, 'Yeol, shit-" the string of curses is cut by a low wail as Chanyeol's big hand closes around his wet, hard member "N-No, I'm gonna come-" Baekhyun's raspy voice bounces off the walls of the kitchen, his hips move faster, fucking himself on the alpha's hot knot and fucking into Chanyeol's fist.

He reaches for Chanyeol's arm, but his hand stops on his tank top; his nails grip the fabric, pulling and wrenching it as his muscles spasm in pleasure. He looks up at the ceiling and halts his movements, an almost painful spark of ecstasy makes his toes curl, mouth fall open and his eyes close as he paints in white the man beneath him. His muscles clench so hard that seconds later, he feels Chanyeol's knot release the first spurts of come inside him.  

Baekhyun's chest heaves heavily, his head lolls down and he has to focus to guide his eyes to gaze at Chanyeol. The alpha is lying under him, his forearm covering his eyes and his fangs peeking out of his full lips, but Baekhyun blinks and they're gone.

He lets himself fall on him and then moves his arm away from his face, he plants a loud peck on his cheek and gives kitten licks to the drying chocolate staining it

"Fucking hell, Baek-" Baekhyun giggles, still too high on his climax to be somewhat coherent "This isn't what I had planned, but holy fuck" Baekhyun keeps peppering his face in kisses, stroking his face with light caresses and gazing lovingly into his eyes

"I'm so sorry, 'Yeol" he says, finally stopping his ministrations to bury his face in the alpha's neck, where the scent of grapes and pomegranates is deeper and sweeter.

"Nah, it's fine... It's not like my plans ever work out" Chanyeol's hands cross on Baekhyun's back, pulling his smaller frame further into his chest

"No, that's not what I meant, I'm sorry I... I treated you like this for so long-"

"I'd rather we leave that for later" he whispers and the shy tremble of his voice puts the omega in alert. Baekhyun moves up to look at the other's face, finding the trails of silent tears crossing his cute pink tinted cheeks.

Baekhyun's chest pangs as Chanyeol's pretty eyes shine and more tears pool behind his lids, threatening to roll down any second. Even through the tears Chanyeol grins his heart out; for the first time, showing to Baekhyun the bitter-sweet pain he has caused him for all this time.

Under Baekhyun's gaze Chanyeol's blinding smile crumbles, leaving the emotions he had welled up inside flood in and out of him, spilling with every tear leaving his eyes.
The omega cups his cheeks and apologizes again, kissing away from Chanyeol all the pain he can, trying to drown him in the love he has denied him for so long.

 

Chanyeol is at his third cigarette and Baekhyun is regretting to having let him smoke inside.

"So, maybe we just shouldn't tell them tonight? We could wait and-"

"Chanyeol, I think they're going to be able to tell" Baekhyun takes a sip from his cup of coffee and sits down in one of the chairs around his table, but after thinking about it, he leaves the hard wood to sit back onto Chanyeol's lap "And you just fucked my brains out, I'm too out of it to pretend right now"

"No! Baek, focus! This is important!" Baekhyun looks back at the alpha coyly over his shoulder

"I can think of at least ten things more important than this" Baekhyun moves sideways, to put his head on Chanyeol's shoulder.

He breathes in and curses himself mentally, as the realization of what he has been missing out on finally sinks in.

Being an omega is difficult, and Baekhyun is the first to admit that it sucks most of the times.

But being an omega is so many more, countless, things and for as weird as it might seem, no label, no prejudice, no name will ever be enough to describe it, being an omega is Baekhyun's weakness and strength, it's his richness and his misery and only after he has learned to accept every single part of himself, he has been able to be complete, has been luck and brave enough to grant to himself the little piece of perfection that he has worked so hard to gain.

Chanyeol kisses his head and lingers, breathing in his scent.

"I can't believe this is happening..." Baekhyun poses his cup on the table and stands up, he extends his arm and takes Chanyeol's hand to make him follow him.

"Let's go change and get to Yifan's... And you'll finally get to ask me out with this famous speech that everyone but me has already heard" Chanyeol puts the cigarette back in his mouth and gives him an half smile as he stands up "...And you're going to quit smoking"

Chanyeol snorts, not expecting anything else from his mate "But I need it, I can't spend the whole day in the kitchen without having a smoke"

Baekhyun widens his eyes and pinches Chanyeol's naked waist "That stuff is bad, you idiot, use your energies for something else, get a hobby, eat sweets, whatever just..." Baekhyun continues his long list of alternatives to cigarettes and starts pulling Chanyeol to his bedroom. The taller catches up with him and hugs him from behind, deciding to cross the small distance huddled together

"Maybe we should prepare another cake"

 

When they arrive to Yifan and Yixing's house hand in hand Luhan has a small heart failure and Yifan screams out of joy, congratulating them and giving them bone crushing hugs. They show proudly the result of their perfectly balanced, joined efforts as they present a perfect cake to their hosts, ninety percent of it is Chanyeol's doing, but Baekhyun makes sure to take merit as the genius behind the original idea of baking a cake. They spend the night being too focused on each other to be sociable, but no one teases them for once, no one points it out, letting them live wholly the happy moments they have been waiting for.