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James knows it was reckless. Or rather… he knows that now. If only his ambition had been tempered by sense or a shred of humility for once. But it never is. Never could be.

There is another surge of taut, hot pain through his lower half. Through his pelvis and down to his knees. He bites down on his hand, buried in his mouth to keep from crying out. He is terrified of being found. He is terrified of being alone. He thinks it has been an hour. But he can’t be sure. The hand serving as his makeshift gag is sodden with saliva and covered in teeth marks. If this is the first night of the process, he doesn’t know if he’ll make it through the rest of it. The prospect fills him with dread.

The first dull twinges had begun almost a week beforehand. Though it had been years since he felt the tell-tale signs, he recognised them immediately like a dark omen. And he had vainly (foolishly) tried to ignore that omen. To tell himself that it was cold and physical strain finally taking their toll. To allow himself to think otherwise was to invite in unbearable possibilities. The full horror of what lay ahead had felt entirely more awful and incomprehensible than even starvation and madness at the ends of the earth. Panic set in. A kind of blind denialism that reasoned that if he could just keep going, march his way on, that perhaps nothing would come of it.

Because of course, below the layer of self-delusion that thrust away the reality of the situation, he had known what was coming. Like any good sailor, he knew the signs of a storm and what was coming would blight him as badly as any tempest. Even a fortnight or so ago when the last bottle of the tincture had been drained of its last, precious drop, his mind had been blank with a kind of muted horror and dread that stifled a proper, visceral reaction. That tincture has been his saviour and keeper for so many years, that he can hardly remember what his life was before it. And now he is without it. Utterly alone.

Alone in a room that is sodden with the stench of sex and unfettered desperation.

He stares at the ceiling of his cabin, hands pressed hard into the sides of his berth. This is why they don’t allow your kind to serve, he thinks in despair and spite. If Sir John had known... James can only imagine his disgust, his disappointment. His disbelief that he had put so much trust in a—

James screws up his eyes and digs his fingernails into the wooden berth.

Omega. Still so difficult to say the word. He doesn’t even like to think it. With the tincture effectively suppressing every symptom and natural urge, he had been able to live the life he had always so desperately, thirstily craved. That of an alpha. Like every other high-ranking naval officer of note. An omega rising through the ranks the way he had... is unthinkable. They are barred from even serving in the navy. He had been fortunate to have a family who would have rather seen him dead than publicly known as an omega, that they had happily paid the king’s ransom required for the substance that would effectively mask his true nature. Until he had ascended to heights that allowed him to buy it himself. Other men spent their fortunes on women and wine, his went to a ludicrously expensive medicine that he was virtually a slave to.

Fool. He curls his hands up in agonised frustration. He is a fool. Image has always been his obsession. And now it will be his downfall. He can’t hide the state he’s in. He’s barricaded himself inside his quarters, but he doesn’t know how long he can keep the charade up. Sooner or later, someone will come looking for him. His heat could last for up to a week. And the longer he went without... He winced. Without being... serviced, the stronger his scent would be, the more slick he would produce. And eventually, eventually someone would catch his scent. He can only hope it will be someone who won’t brutalise him and then publicly humiliate him with his shame.

He grimaces as another surge of wet seeps from his hole, wide and aching rhythmically for attention. His cock is erect and pressing hard and painfully against his smalls. He has utterly soaked the crotch of them already, but he cannot move with considerable discomfort and can’t bring himself to remove them. When the sensation of sodden material around his privates and thighs became unbearable, he would drag himself up from his sickbed and tear the things off. Probably burn them at his earliest opportunity.

He doesn’t know for certain which of his fellows on board are alphas. Though as his heat had taken full hold of him over the week, he had found he suddenly had a strange, almost unworldly ability to sense such a thing. A tingling, yearning, magnetic pull and fascination that grew ever more intense as he neared full-blown rut. He had almost convinced himself it was just his paranoid imagination, when a chance encounter with Francis’s steward Jopson had filled him with such a rapid and dizzying rush that he had had to steady himself against the wall. Jopson’s good-natured concern and attempts to help had made it infinitely worse. He’d stared straight into the man’s blue eyes and seen them darken with a sudden and abrupt intensity. Jopson went rigid and James had taken the opportunity to turn tail and get the devil out.

He had decided after that that it was time to quarantine himself. Almost being ravished by Francis’s steward (and fuck, fuck wanting it so goddamn much), seemed like a sign that he needed to remove himself from a quite literal nest of alphas. He has heard the horror stories, of course. Young omegas were regaled with them often: the cautionary tales of heat-struck omegas who had found themselves preyed upon by packs of slavering, half-mad alphas. Being fucked until they were half dead. He doubts that the good, honourable men on board would allow such a thing, but he is frightened of his own nature. He’s frightened of the part of himself that feels like it could easily beg for someone, anything to just fill him, take him, satiate him. He lifts his hips up to feel the full force of his sickening need. His breeches are soaked almost to the knee like he’s wet himself.

A quiet knock at the door of his cabin causes him to go rigid. And then fills him with a sharp and nauseating kind of panic. Sprawled on his slick-dampened bed with every muscle and limb aching, yearning he is horrifyingly vulnerable. He can’t cry for help. He can’t fight back. Not like this. And especially not if it’s an alpha. He doesn’t think his body will even allow him to. He’ll offer himself up like a prize whether he truly wants it or not. The thought is devastating. Far worse than any pain.

“Please.” His voice is hoarse, strained. “I’m… I’m ill. Contagious, I think. Stay… stay out.”

The door opens and James can’t breathe, move, think. He thinks the fear might kill him before his heat does.

“I’m so sorry to barge in.”

James blinks, bleary and uncomprehending. Goodsir’s expression is flushed and apologetic. He’s still dressed, even though it’s late. He isn’t wearing his glasses though and his eyes are bright and knowing.

He closes the door of the cabin firmly behind him. James can’t speak. He just stares and almost forgets that he is in the throes of full-blown heat. And then he catches a full, heady breath of it. Alpha scent. It is everything his body wants and is aching for. Musky, raw, earthy, commanding. So incredibly masculine that his hips begin to rock on their own accord. His body reacts to Goodsir’s presence with a veritable cascade of fluid from between his legs.

“Please… Please, Goodsir. Leave,” James pants, arching his back and gripping the sides of the berth so tightly he fears he could break his fingers. “Please.”

Goodsir’s expression is calm, concerned. Not pitying. James doesn’t think he could have taken pity. But there is the tell-tale flare of his nostrils, the way his eyes are blown out and sharp. Focused on him with almost frightening precision. But he is containing himself well. Even as his brow sweats, and his hands flex restlessly.

“Captain Fitzjames, Jopson came to speak with me. He told me…” He takes a brief, shuddery breath. He shakes his head like he’s trying to focus himself. “He… he believed you may need aid.”

James considers Goodsir a friend. The long months in the ice have often found them in close company, finding that despite appearances they have much in common. And yes, James had often found himself drawn to the doctor. Kind, steady, capable Goodsir. There have been mad moments when he has yearned to yield to his protection and guidance. Moments when he has marvelled at his quiet strength and felt foolish smitten by him. And now he knows why. Goodsir is an alpha and he is standing there in all of his compassion and self-control and it’s utterly too much.

James tosses his head to the side as his groggy mind fights between duelling desires. The desire to not destroy his friendship with a good man and to not wake with the regret that he had shown himself to be nothing but another mewling, subservient omega.

And the desire… the decidedly more pressing desire… to have Goodsir’s fat alpha cock buried deep in his hole from now until dawn.

He cries out aloud in pain as another shudder wracks his body and presses a hand vainly to his mouth to stop the pathetic, needful sounds that are spiling from his mouth.

“Goodsir— Please—” He no longer knows what he is pleading for. Whether he wants the man to go or stay.

He jumps as though burned when Goodsir’s warm hand touches his arm. He looks up blearily into the man’s face. He is the picture of an alpha at that moment. Gentle, firm strength. A willingness to protect that permeated off of him. That mingled with the musk coming off of him like perfume and it is all James can do not to beg.

“Sir, I want… I need to help you.” James suddenly realises that Goodsir is panting. His lips are parted, his eyes intensely dark. He is just barely, barely keeping himself back from James. From pressing his body against James’s and giving him what he craves for better or worse. “We can’t have you suffering through days of heat unsatisfied. You need to retain some strength.”

“What then?” James croaks, as though he doesn’t know perfectly well the only alternative. He needs an alpha to tend to him through his heat. Satiate him so he comes through it strong and satisfied and not exhausted and frail from days of pain. If not for himself, then for the crew. They can ill afford to lose another man to physical frailty.

Goodsir breathes in shakily and lifts a hand to brush back James’s hair from his damp forehead. Wordlessly he urged James’s face up and kissed him. The rough brush of Goodsir’s facial hair, the feel of his fingers firmly pressing into his jaw is enough to send raptures through James. He is in full thrall of the other man’s presence and he can do little but yield. A soft whimper leaves him as Goodsir breaks away and climbs onto the berth to press his body against him.

Somewhere between the insistent aching of his hole and the confused turmoil in his mind, James sees that Goodsir is erect and quite plainly so. He arches up underneath him. Loves the feel of his weight, loves the feeling of being trapped, loves not being in control. His fingers curl around Goodsir’s collar, pulling him closer, close enough that he can almost taste his smell. His scent, his cologne, his body heat, the salt of the sweat on his skin. It is all James can do not to bury his face into Goodsir’s neck.

“Is that a yes?” Goodsir’s voice is low, gravelly and soaked in lust. “You have to say the word, my love.”

There is something about the pet name, the tenderness in Goodsir’s voice that breaks the very last shred of his resolve, his defences. He threads one hand with difficulty through his thick hair and tugs his face down into his shoulder. He feels the damp pulse of his breath against his skin.

“Yes.” James’s voice is more a shudder than anything else. “Yes, Harry. Yes.”

Goodsir moves so quickly off of him, James almost keens at the loss. He grabs fruitlessly for his hand, filled with a burst of panic that he might leave.

“Hush, love,” Goodsir says with a soft smile. “I’m not going anywhere.”

He unbuttons his shirt without taking his eyes off of James for a moment. James returns his gaze with intensity, feeling almost physically like he can’t look away. He takes in Goodsir’s torso as it is unclothed with a soft, sharp breath in. He is broad and stocky. Heavy and fully capable of pinning James down and rendering him helplessly. His pale skin is crisscrossed with wiry, dark hair. He is so unlike James. And that is everything James needs at that moment.

He can only jerk his head up very slightly to look down at his front and the sodden mess of his trousers. He reaches a hand down blearily to try and unbutton them, but it’s caught in Goodsir’s firm grasp.

He makes a hushing sound and presses his hand back down to the bed. “Let me, darling.”

James’s hips rise again on their own. There is something about Goodsir’s soft, warm voice and the way the kind words roll so easily off his tongue that is just… too much. Almost too much. He has just enough of his senses to lift his hips so Goodsir can peel his horribly wet breeches down his thighs and off of him. It’s a small relief to be free of them, but then he immediately catches sight of his cock, straining and weeping. It brings his desperation rapidly and painfully back to the front of his mind.

Goodsir releases a soft hiss as he takes it in. He meets James’s eye and moves his hands to the buttons on his own breeches. James watches in breathless anticipation as he tugs them down his thighs. He gives a full-body jerk as Goodsir’s girthy length springs free. He knew alphas were large, but Goodsir is even more impressive than he imagined. That observation fills him with hungry, cloying desire. Never has he wanted a cock in him, any part of him, so desperately.

“Big,” he gasps out, grasping at the covers and curling his fingers into them.

Goodsir’s lips quirk into a smile. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

He crawls towards him, the smile vanishing and his meltingly perfect brown eyes darkening again. They are sharp with his intent. James’s lips slip open and he accepts Goodsir’s body against his again, spreads his legs around him. Moans as he feels his perfect, thick cock pressed against his hole. He pulls Goodsir’s head against him, holds him against him while he takes in the feel of his body. Heavy, sturdy, dense. It’s everything James needs.

Goodsir breathes heavily against him, ruts his hips against his, rubs the crown of his cock against James’s entrance. It is sore and feels impossibly open and eager. He needs to be filled. Needs to be filled so badly, it almost brings him to tears.

“Please, darling. Harry. Please.” He throws his head back and gives up his neck to Goodsir’s mouth. Allows him to suckle on his throat like they’re sweethearts in some darkened park.

“What do you need, James?” Goodsir says in a low voice into his skin. “What do you need, my love?”

James cries out. Can’t contain it any more. “You,” he whimpers. “You inside me.”

Goodsir growls. It’s the first truly predatory, possessive sound he’s made, and it fills James with an almost overwhelmingly intense surge of sensation. Hands and fingernails grasp his legs and open him up wider. Goodsir’s sex, impossibly erect and impossibly thick presses into him. The way is eased immensely by how utterly wet and open he is. The meeting of their bodies is almost too perfect. Like they had both been designed by hand for this purpose.

James has to press a hand to his mouth to keep from screaming out. The agony. The ecstasy. He thinks he might go blind from it. He feels the full length of Goodsir enter him, feels himself being filled, filled like a conduit. He feels it swell. He can’t grasp any tighter onto the covers. Somewhere in his mind, whited out like the landscape outside, he is cognisant of Goodsir unpicking his fingers from the berth and curling his around them, stopping him from injuring himself or ripping holes right through the covers.

“Harry…” James whines. “Alpha.”

Goodsir shoves his hips forward with a strangled groan. “It’s alright, lover. You’re… alright.” The words come out in harsh bursts.

James feels like his entire body is filled with him. It’s the most intense, unearthly feeling he’s ever had. He can’t understand or believe in that moment that he had ever not wanted this. He suddenly feels like he is built for this, created to have Goodsir inside him, fulfilling him, completing him. He is delirious. He knows it and he doesn’t care.

He opens his eyes to look into Goodsir’s face. He finds him already looking at him. His eyes are possessive and tender. Wordlessly, he lowers his head and kisses James firmly on the mouth. His thrusts become rougher. James can feel he is restraining himself from completely letting go. From just fucking him to pieces. More than part of James wants that. Wants it hungrily.

As though reading his thoughts, Goodsir speaks. “I don’t want to hurt you, lover.” He gets the words out with difficulty. “So… difficult not to just… ravish you.” He gives a particularly deep, hard thrust that extracts a harsh moan from both of them. “You are… so gorgeous.”

James chokes. He suddenly can’t breathe. He tries to writhe but is pinned agonisingly in place underneath Goodsir. He can only rock helplessly under him. Can only struggle against the painfully perfect and utterly complete possession of his body. Against Goodsir inside of him, unmoving against a spot that is almost agonisingly pleasurable.

Goodsir takes his hands and pins them above his head, kissing him again. Rougher. Deeper. James wants to take him in, take him in fully. He wants every part of him inside of him. Wants… He doesn’t even know. His thoughts are no longer making sense to him. Goodsir rocks forward one last time and his world goes white. Goes unearthly like the place they’re trapped in. He loses grasp of reality.

And he can’t stop the sound that comes from his mouth. He can’t even hear it, but he knows he’s cried out, screamed out. He can feel Goodsir jerking, almost spasming against him as he spends as well. The feel of it rushing inside of him, mingling with his slick, filling him until he can’t be filled any further sends one last surge of burning hot pleasure through him and he pistons his hips up.

They aren’t kissing now. Just panting and breathing against each other’s mouths, clutching onto each other as they climb down from that breakneck high. Trying to get hold of their wits. James collapses against the berth. He is suddenly and rapidly sapped of his energy. It’s like a switch has been hit and he’s suddenly bereft.

Goodsir’s weight sinks down on top of him. He is still buried inside of him and it feels oddly comforting having him there. James feels safe underneath him. He can’t remember the last time he felt safe. Goodsir mumbles something unintelligible into his neck.

They both lay there still. James loses his sense of time passing and just gazes unfocusedly at the ceiling. He feels blank. Wonders vaguely if he’ll ever be able to think properly again. He feels so bleary that he doubts he could even sit up. Well, for that reason and the fact he has just been fucked so thoroughly, he’s almost forgotten his own name.

James immediately misses his warm weight when Goodsir moves to sit up. He gives James a shy smile as he sits on the edge of the bed, reaching for his shirt. “Are you alright?” His voice is gravelly.

James wordlessly nods, not trusting his own. He knows he’ll need to be tended to again. But he is exhausted at that moment. Exhausted in the best of ways. He wants nothing more now than to fall asleep with Goodsir by his side.

He has a faint flutter of concern that Goodsir may not stay. He doesn’t know if he could cope if he left. Not at that moment. Not when he is so vulnerable and raw.

He clears his throat and ventures to speak. “You will… stay?” The words come out in a croak.

Goodsir looks at him and smiles. He strokes a broad hand gently down James’s aching thigh. “Of course, sir. I’ll stay for as long as you need me.”

James allows himself to relax. Goodsir will stay with him. There is so much that needs to be said and explained. Not just aloud, but to himself. There is still so much he is unsure of. And their present situation is hardly the ideal time to be faced with such things. But… that could wait.

Goodsir is with him for now.